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Ah, Well

Ah, Well 
by Jacob Budenz

“The moon grows pale, and paler.
Somewhere in the night someone’s drumming.
Out where the grass grows pretty wet,
A well stands lost in thought.”

—Itsik Fefer, “The Well”

Down in the dewy valley, he stands there dropping coins into the wishing well until the grass goes brown and the leaves turn from green to orange. He is twenty-four, too old to wish but wishing his life away anyway. Every day he comes here as the sun falls and drops a coin, two coins, ten coins into the well and wishes not for fortune but for escape. His name is Linden. He has been at this for six years and he is still a waiter at the Almond Tree Inn. This is the only inn in town, and he is the only waiter for breakfast and lunch.

Winter approaches and the seventh year of wishing begins.

The dining hall of the Almond Tree Inn is old, all dark wood and dusty air and windows with giant panes. Today, two middle-aged women order poached eggs and talk about werewolves in the next town over.

“Yesterday, two bitten!” says one woman as Linden approaches to refill her water. Her hair is bright orange and curly with a gray streak over her left ear. Crumbs spill from her mouth as she speaks. She wears a white blouse with tiny pink roses printed on it.

“I telephoned Maurine last night, and do you know what she said?” replies the other, who has straight blonde hair and wears a pretty black dress despite the cold. “She said she gives Havensville to the end of the week until the whole town catches lycanthropy!”

The two women shriek with scandalized laughter.

Linden says, “When did they know it was werewolves?”

There is a harsh pause. Then, the blonde says, “Well, immediately, dear.”

“The whole city is walled in against wild beasts, but a werewolf could walk right through the gate on a full-moon day and wreak havoc on the town the very same night!” squeals the orange-haired lady.

“It could never have been anything but werewolves. Wild wolves simply couldn’t get past those walls,” says the blonde.

“Or eat all those sheep!”

“Head to toe!”

“Tragic!” howls the orange-haired woman, and for a quiet moment in the six-table dining hall, it seems all eyes are on them.

“And witches are so expensive nowadays,” says the blonde quietly, kicking her friend under the table as the other patrons ignore, or at least pretend to ignore, the conversation.

“They’ll all eat each other alive!” says her counterpart, only a little softer than before.

The blonde looks conspiratorially at Linden. “You should really take a day trip there.”

The orange-haired woman claps. “I hear the whole town is in total disorder!”

“Really something to see.”

We’re going.”

Linden politely replies that he is the only day-time waiter and that the Inn runs most smoothly with his consistent presence. He adds that he has never taken a sick day in his six-going-on-seven years working at the Almond Tree Inn. This delights the two ladies even further.

“Oh, then you must go at night!” cries the blonde.

“The moon is almost full!” says her companion.

“Even better!”

“What an adventure!”

Linden smiles and returns the pitcher of water to the kitchen. When the women leave, they tip him forty percent. One of them leaves a note on the receipt in green ink and neat letters:

“You’ll need the money for the gas, dear.”

She has drawn a happy face with its left eye winking.

Linden sighs. He had wanted to be a magician himself, but when the recession hit, his parents simply could not afford to send him to college, and Linden has always been terrified of taking on loans and living in debt forever. His father, a meagerly successful accountant, was a slave to his own debt, and only the death of Linden’s paternal grandfather has allowed Linden’s father to pay off his loans and live in retirement off a mediocre pension. The second-best program in the country for a Bachelor of the Arcane in Medical Witchcraft offered him a scholarship that would cover half of his tuition, but even then it was too expensive. Plus, he wasn’t sure if he was ready to commit so wholeheartedly to medical witchcraft as a profession, and the scholarship was specifically in that discipline.

Linden does not go to Havensville. He hopes that the women do, that they become werewolves, that they bite him. They tipped him well, though, so he knows that they will not bite him if they do become werewolves.

And so that evening he wishes for werewolves at the well, and that very evening the ladies leave.

Linden’s favorite part about the Almond Tree Inn is that it’s always full of strangers. This young man has the look of a wanderer. He wears colorful clothing that is dusty and doesn’t match: red pants, a yellow button-down shirt, a vest with blue and white stripes, many gold rings. He drapes a black fur coat over the back of his chair. His hair is light brown like someone who used to be blonde; he has a thin, patchy beard; his voice is high-pitched, so that if Linden closed his eyes he would not know if he is speaking to a man or a woman. He tells Linden he is a professional magician.

“Ah,” Linden says, placing a menu in front of the young man. “I always wanted to be a magician.”

The magician looks at him, puzzled. “Then why don’t you?”

“Well, you know,” says Linden, suddenly shy. “I couldn’t afford the education.”

“Education!” giggles the magician. “Who said you need an education to get into magic? I mean, magic is magic, baby, whether you learn cheap parlor tricks in a classroom or figure it out in the real world! You know, I tried the whole higher education thing and it just didn’t work out for me. Went to community college for a little while to save up money for the big pond, you know? For a big ‘university.’ Ha! After half a semester I thought, goddammit, you can’t teach this shit in a classroom! Finished the semester up and then dropped out. I’m always reading, of course, but yeah, I’m a self-taught magician. Hey, you’re a Virgo, huh?”

“How would you know that?”

Linden wants to get out of there, run, run to the well, get away from this man that is younger than he is by at least three years.

“Wanna know what I’d do if I were you?” says the magician. “Get the hell out of here and do it, you know? Or start small. Get some books on basic magic theory, the power of intention, see if it’s for you. Hey, I can lend you a couple books if you want. But you just gotta go for it.”

Linden wants to snap, Of course I’ve read all the basics! Everything I could get my hands on when I was half your age, you twerp!

Instead, he looks down and says, “I’ll be right back to take your order.”

There are no other customers in there at the moment. Linden goes into the kitchen, washes his hands, washes his face, dries his hands and face with a dish towel for three minutes.

When he returns, the magician says, “You could travel with me, you know, learn a thing or two. I know it sounds kind of bougie, but I could actually use an assistant. I’ll pay you, all that, at least as much as you’re making here.”

“You do pretty well for yourself, huh?” says Linden doubtfully.

The magician smiles, closing his eyes, and his chair begins to rise from the floor. It hovers there, perfectly still, as Linden tries to conceal his wonder and his vague but growing hostility. The chair sinks again to the floor.

“By the way,” says the young prodigy. “I’ll take a turkey burger with bacon and avocado, please.”

“It comes with sweet potato fries. Is that all right?”

“Just regular fries, please. You know, I feel like sweet potato fries are such a stupid diet scam. Like, they’re actually more calories than regular fries, and they’re not really even that much better for you. I mean, I’ve got a bad heart. It’s congenital. My dad died real young of a heart attack, like when I was still a baby and stuff, so I’m supposed to watch out for my ticker or whatever. But I do a lot of cardio, so every now and again I feel like it’s fine to just, you know, have some friggin’ fries, you know?”

“I didn’t know that about sweet potato fries,” says Linden and walks off.

For the rest of the magician’s meal Linden avoids his gaze. The magician reads from a thick purple tome, smiling to himself but openly staring at Linden each time he comes to the table.

When Linden brings him the check, which is only after he has eaten a bowl of ice cream—Neapolitan style: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, all house made—the magician grabs Linden’s wrist and says, “Well?”

Linden’s mouth hangs open for a moment. “Well… what?”

The magician seems to notice that he has grabbed Linden’s wrist. He lets go and smiles unapologetically. “Well, are you going to come with me?”

“I, uh,” Linden says. “My, um, place is here, I think. At least for now.”

The magician pinches his eyebrows with what looks like sympathy, which makes Linden feel insulted to the point of infuriation but simultaneously tempted to go with him, to swallow his pride and learn from this young man, to follow him to the ends of the earth if it means being anywhere but here.

“I’ll,” Linden says. “I’ll think about it.”

The magician stays at the Almond Tree Inn for two more days, but Linden no longer talks to him about being a magician, although he does think about it often. He has always had negative opinions about self-taught magicians. Out of all the most famous, most successful magicians, everyone always talks about the ones who drop out of college, the ones who never tried to get a degree in the first place, the ones who flunked out of their first practical magic class and went on to cure cancer with a teaspoon of goat’s milk and half a handful of mandrake roots. But Linden has always tried to explain that for every college dropout mage there are fifty better sorcerers who paid their dues at a four-year program. And how much better could those self-taught magicians have been if they had honed their craft at a university? How much more could they have achieved? Not to mention that these “Magickal Geniuses” often have more innate leadership qualities than actual magical talent. They have teams of well-educated magicians working under them while getting none of the credit!

For each night of the magician’s stay Linden goes to the well, stands in the muddy grass, and wishes for the money to go to college.

At the end of the magician’s last lunch at the Almond Tree Inn, he says to Linden, “Look, so I’m leaving today, and honestly I can find any assistant anywhere, but I feel like I’d want it to be somebody who could really benefit from traveling with me, really have an adventure, you know? I’m not trying to be weird, like I’m not going to, like, I don’t know, jump your bones or whatever while you’re sleeping. It’s not like that. It’s just I need an assistant, and you’re into magic. You can always quit and come back. The Almond Tree Inn isn’t going anywhere.”

Linden frowns. “I appreciate the offer, but I think if I do decide to pursue a career in magic I want to go to school for it.”

“Understandable. I’ll leave you my card, anyway. No pressure. Hey, what’s your name?”


“Well, Linden,” the magician says, placing a wad of cash on the table and slapping a playing card on top of it. “I wish you luck.”

The magician vanishes before Linden can say, “I’ve been wishing since the day I started working here, and it hasn’t done me any good.”

The playing card is of an Ace of Hearts, and it says “Sydney Alders—Freelance Magician.” There is no telephone number. Linden counts the cash on the table. Glances at the check. Counts the money again. The magician has grossly overpaid, which is to say that he left a three hundred percent tip—and with a four-course lunch plus a bottle of the restaurant’s second-finest Cabernet Sauvignon (Linden had had to ask awkwardly for Sydney’s ID, finding that the “boy wizard genius” had in fact very recently turned 21), the meal itself wasn’t cheap by any means.

That evening Linden wonders if he has made a mistake. He thinks not only of the seductive possibility of learning magic, albeit sloppy un-academic magic, but also of the generosity of the magician versus the transient nature of all the connections in his life to date. He thinks about being the youngest employee at the Almond Tree Inn by seventeen years, how all the young people in Glynwood leave, how soon enough, perhaps, he will not be able to call himself young. It is the beginning of the seventh year, after all.

And that evening he wishes that the magician would come back.

The water of Linden’s shower is a tolerable temperature as always. He can never make it all that hot, even after chilly visits to the well like this one when he could use a little scald. Tonight he stands under the warmish water and looks at his feet for some time. He sees the water swirling clockwise into the drain as it passes his toes. He watches it drain and drain and disappear like his coins in the well. He turns the shower off without washing his hair.

Instead of going straight to bed he sits in his faded orange arm chair and opens an old book of magic titled The Basic Creation and Manipulation of Coloured Light. His parents bought it for his nineteenth birthday before they sold their modest-sized Glynnwood home, Linden’s childhood home, for a houseboat. He hasn’t seen them since, though he does occasionally receive a postcard with a photograph of an obelisk or a particularly compelling arrangement of cliffs from their retirement travels. He has read this book a hundred times over but has never tried any of the spells.

Now, he turns to one—the mostsimple spell: White Light from the Left Hand. He has read the spell aloud countless times without ever having the courage to cast it, and magic, of course, is all about intention. He has read it aloud because he likes the way it sounds; it is nonsense, filled with words like slip, triple, flip, fuel—words strung together that articulate no coherent thought but the secret logic of the sounds of words. So tonight he reads it not to relish in the words and imagine he is a magician. Tonight he reads it to be a magician himself.

He hasn’t cast a spell since high school because he hasn’t felt comfortable doing so without instruction, so the first time he reads White Light from the Left Hand and focuses his intention, he stutters and botches a few words although the text itself is so simple to pronounce. He takes a deep breath.

The second time he reads it, he clears his throat and speaks with authority, and his left hand radiates light as bright as a bulb, so bright Lindon has to look away as his breath escapes him. As he glances sidelong at his glowing hand, Linden feels glee in his chest as though his diaphragm is a hot air balloon; it is the almost painful glee one feels when kissed, really kissed, for the first time. Linden himself has never been kissed. The spell lasts only fifteen seconds, but the giddiness lingers.

Linden casts it once more. Twice. He lays down in his bed. He squirms. Eventually, he sleeps.

In his dream he sees a wizard, the archetypal cartoon-wizard with a long white beard and a long blue robe and a voice like tired wind. The wizard says, “You wouldn’t know an incantation if I used one to turn you into a toad. Why don’t you just get a goddamned education?”

The wizard laughs a breathy, pathetic laugh. Linden looks down at his tiny, slimy green frog feet, and when he looks up again the wizard is gone. In his place is the young magician in faded red pants and an oversized yellow button-down.

Sydney towers over him. “Hey, don’t worry about it. I’ll change you back, no pressure. You won’t owe me one, like I’m not going to expect you to be my assistant because I turned you back into a man. By the way, are you seeing anyone? Not that you have to kiss me to break the spell or anything. I’m just curious, you know?”

Linden grows and grows until he is face to face with the magician, who stands a couple inches taller than him with his lips slightly parted. Warm breath that smells like coffee and cinnamon covers Linden’s face. He touches Sydney’s hands with his hands, touches Sydney’s mouth with his mouth. He closes his own eyes for the kiss, but in his dream he knows that the magician’s eyes are open wide with surprise.

Linden wakes up. He calls in sick to the Almond Tree Inn for the first time in his six-going-on-seven years and spends his day in his small studio apartment playing with light. Blue light drips down the pale yellow walls; green and yellow and purple dot the white carpet like flecks of sun caught in stained glass; orbs of white light hang about the apartment in midair, ranging from the size of a gumball to the size of a fist; all the curtains are closed. It is this day that Linden remembers he is good at magic, that he remembers why he got into some of the top schools in the first place, that he remembers how magic is a muscle you just have to flex a few times to realize you still have it.

Linden does not want to go to work the day after that, but he does. He has a new verve to him. He drums his forefingers at the bottom of plates as he brings them out and sets them down. He smiles more widely, flashing bright teeth. He taps his feet as he stands waiting for an order but does not appear impatient. He appears to glow, though he tries not to show anyone he has been working magic without the supervision of a professor. He fears it will be obvious to everyone that he has gone against his own principles. His hands feel dirty. His heart feels joy.

And the ladies who went to the werewolf town have returned.

“Well, I think it was a great idea,” says the blonde. She is wearing a long silver gown and has a wild look about her.

The redhead wears black pants and a drapey black shirt. “Yes, dear, it’s just—”

“Oh, god, so what, dear? Don’t you dare say it out loud in here.”

“It’s only, well,” stage-whispers the redhead with a slight grin. “It’s only that it doesn’t make you the easiest traveling companion.”

“Shush, dear. Here comes our waiter,” says the blonde, but Linden has heard the whole thing.

He smiles. “How was your trip to Havensville?”

“Oh,” says the blonde. “It was a scream.”

“What she means is, it was a howl!” says the redhead, and both women burst into laughter. Throughout their lunch, Linden continues to smile but say little, and the ladies tip him well again.

Today is payday, and after the sun goes down Linden realizes he has forgotten to pick up his paycheck from behind the bar at the Almond Tree Inn. Since tomorrow is Monday, the restaurant will close as always, so Linden waits until after midnight to return. He wants to practice light magic with no one around. He creeps into the dark, silent restaurant and lets white light leak from his left hand (he has grown fond of that spell, simple as it is). When he gets behind the bar he releases a tiny ball of white light the size of an olive from his palm, which hangs next to him as he unlocks the strongbox where the checks are kept. There is not enough light for him to read the names on the pile of checks, so he allows the ball to grow to the size of a plum. It hangs in the air below the lip of the bar. To the unwitting, it could be the light of a lamp, a flashlight—anything. Not magic.

“I’ll take a whiskey, neat,” says an effeminate male voice.

Focused so entirely on maintaining the ball of light in the air while finding his paycheck, Linden does not even glance up as he says, “I’m sorry. The bar is closed.”

Just as Linden finds the envelope with his name on it, the visitor says, “But Linden, didn’t you miss me?”

Linden looks up to see the young man’s grin right across the bar, bathed in the dim white light, leaning so close Linden can hear the magician’s calm breath. The orb of light winks out and Linden drops the pile of checks to the floor. Fumbling, he crouches down to collect them, and when he realizes he can’t see where his own check fell he decides he will just pick it up in the morning. He begins to shuffle the checks together so he can put them all away and get the hell out of there.

“How about some light on the subject?” says the magician, and a melon-sized ball of light illuminates the entire room.

“Put that out!” hisses Linden. “You’re not even supposed to be in here.”

“Do you want me to go, then?” says Sydney. The light winks out. Behind him, the full moon glows through a window.

“What are you even doing here?”

“Checked into the inn this afternoon.”

“Why? I thought you left two days ago.”

“Passing through? Was gonna go to Havensville, but when I found out about all the werewolves, I thought, well, you know, with my heart, all that excitement wouldn’t be too good for me. Goddess, Linden, is that how it is? You’re not working for tips, and suddenly you’re all…”

“Listen, I’m sorry. It’s just—”

“Surprise? You’re surprised to see me? Magicians, Linden. We, you know, we do that thing where we surprise people. Expect the unexpected, all that shit. But it looks like you’d know a thing or two about that, huh? I don’t imagine you learned your little light tricks at school, unless you’re taking night classes.” The magician giggles.

As the red warmth of shame blossoms on his face, Linden is glad for the darkness. “Oh, I—it was—I wasn’t planning on—I just don’t have the money now, but when I do…”

Sydney leans over the bar and touches Linden’s arm. “Hey, buddy, you don’t have to tell me. You don’t owe me anything. By the way, I’m just curious. Are you seeing—”

A howl from outside interrupts the magician, who flinches in surprise. He gives one slow blink, and then says, “Are you seeing anyone? Just, you know, out of curiosity.”

Linden considers the wolf outside. Swallows, hands shaking. Isn’t sure what he’s afraid of: the wolf or the young man. Thinks, How absurd. Says, “No. Glynwood isn’t exactly, well, there’s not really a lot of people my age around, you know, and I…”

“Let me take you out sometime?” says the magician.

Another howl from outside. “I—well, okay, sure,” says Linden, amazed with himself, perhaps riding on the tide of his newfound magical freedom. “How long are you in Gl—”

The sound of breaking. A mass of fur leaps through the window, showering the opposite end of the restaurant in broken glass. As Linden calls light to his left hand—“slip, triple, flip, fuel”—Sydney turns and inhales a ragged gasp. A large, hairy wolf weaves slowly through the tables, growling and grinning all at once. Its coat is a light brown, almost blonde color. It wags its tail. It prowls toward them.

With the magician frozen in fear, Linden recalls more light spells and flings them around the room. He hopes to disorient the creature, but it seems he only succeeds in further confounding Sydney, who looks around with a look of vague pain on his face and clutches at his chest. The wolf continues unperturbed, perhaps blinking a bit more. Flashes of blue and yellow splash from Linden’s hand; globes of white orbit the wolf’s head; the magician is blinded; the wolf continues to approach. It comes within a few feet of the magician, lets out a low growl, and licks its chops. The magician collapses with a cry that sounds half-pained, half-terrified. This magician—this grand, self-proclaimed prodigy who levitated in his chair and over-tipped his waiter, who would have known some defensive magic if he were half the magician he claimed to be—faints out of fear and condemns himself to the mercy of a wolf! And here is Linden, poor Linden, flinging disks of yellow light impotently at the shining eyes of the animal.

The beast begins to sniff at the magician’s feet. Wags its tail. Licks its lips like a harmless puppy.

Linden stops his light tricks and grabs a pint glass. He hurls it to the opposite side of the room in hopes that the shattering of more glass will alert the wolf and fool it into thinking that there is a more titillating foe on the opposite side of the room. But its focus remains on the magician.

Linden raises another glass. Should he throw it at the wolf? If he hits its head, knocks it unconscious—then what? He will likely miss, and the wolf will attack him, and he will die. Should he smash it and attempt to impale the wolf with the jagged shards? Even if he succeeds at stabbing the wolf with a broken pint glass—also unlikely—look at the beautiful creature he would be hurting! It sniffs at the magician with more curiosity than malice. It licks the leg of the magician’s lavender-colored dress pants. It nudges his ribs. Just as it bares its teeth and growls, just as Linden pulls his arm back to throw the glass God knows where, a piercing whistle fills the bar. The wolf looks up, turns around, bows its head. Sticks its tail between it legs.

The redheaded woman from lunch, wearing a pink nightgown, leans into the broken window with a silver whistle in her mouth. She is shivering. She snaps her fingers. The wolf shuffles guiltily toward the window.

“Virginia, will you hurry up?” she hisses. “The grass is wet and my toes are going numb. Honestly, dear.”

Then she looks over at a shocked Linden, who lowers his glass and places it with shaking hands on the bar. “I’m so sorry, young man. And wouldn’t you know, Virginia told me to lock her in the trunk of our car! She said, ‘Really, Lois, there’s no telling what I’ll do when the moon is full! Just lock me up and be done with it.’ And sure enough, she’s gone and ruined your window, and it looks like she’s given you such a fright! And your poor friend. She didn’t bite him, did she?”

“No, she didn’t. And he’s not my—”

“You tell me how much it costs to replace that window and I’ll write you a check. Oh, my. This is all my fault! All right, Virginia. Jump on out. We’re so, so sorry!”

And just like that, Virginia the lady werewolf leaps effortlessly through the window and the two are gone in the moonlit night. Linden makes his way to the magician—Sydney?—and feels a sense of dread.

Perhaps it is a prophetic instinct, or perhaps it is something he heard the magician say about his heart. But Linden knows that he will not be able to wake Sydney.

The magician wears a look of concern and does not appear to breathe. Linden shakes him gently by the shoulders, and the look of concern slackens from the magician’s face. After a moment’s hesitation, Linden makes his way to the bar and fills a glass with cold water. He spills a few drops on the magician’s forehead. When that doesn’t work, he dumps the whole cup on his face, hoping that the magician will gargle into consciousness. No such luck. He lights a match that he finds behind the bar, holds it close to the magician’s nose. No draft from the young man’s nostrils stirs the steady flame. Linden feels Sydney’s neck for a pulse. There is none.

The magician is dead.

Linden leans over his face and wonders who in the world would mourn this poor young man. He feels sad, but mostly he feels fear of his own death and what comes after death and what, most importantly, comes before. He looks at the magician’s mouth, and in his head he hears the spell from the old fable: “With a kiss you shall awaken.”

Linden shakes his head, collects his paycheck from behind the bar while carefully returning the others to the strongbox, stuffs his paycheck into his pocket with shaking hands, cradles the magician (who is incredibly light for his height), and makes his way toward the window. Clumsily he props Sydney on the windowsill and, placing his hands under the magician’s armpits, attempts to lower him to the ground outside. When the magician’s feet touch the ground, Linden cannot reach any further down, so he must drop the magician in a heap. He winces in sympathy for the ragdoll of a man although Sydney is dead and can feel nothing. He looks at the magician’s contorted form on the ground and thinks, heaps, we are all just heaps in death, and there is nothing left. He feels despair.

Carrying Sydney to the well is not terribly difficult—it is a mile downhill—so Linden manages without feeling too tired although the barely-living grass squishes, soggy, beneath his feet. Nor is it difficult to pluck out a pair of hairs from the magician’s head and place them carefully in the envelope containing this week’s paycheck.

Later, he will use the hairs to divine the cause of the magician’s death and will find that it was indeed a heart attack, that the magician’s heart suffered constantly, that had Linden studied medical magic he perhaps could have helped this young man, resuscitated him, cured him. Heart magic is difficult and complicated, life-and-death magic even more so; medical magic is seldom self-taught, seldom developed outside of an academic community. Later, he will gather the resolve to reapply to programs in medical magic, debts be damned. Later, in the middle of a successful career as a witch doctor, he will wonder whether medical magic was the right choice. Later, later. All later.

Now, there is a dead man in his hands who could ruin the lives of two ladies. There is a mess of glass at the restaurant. There is a broken window. And then there is Linden, who drops the magician into the wishing well and never returns there again.

* * *

Jacob Budenz is a writer, multi-disciplinary performer, and witch with an MFA in Creative Writing from University of New Orleans. The author of PASTEL WITCHERIES (Seven Kitchens Press) and Spellwork for the Modern Pastel Witch (Birds Piled Loosely Press), Jacob has recent work in Slipstream Press, Pussy Magic, Liminality, and Mason Jar Press’s Broken Metropolis anthology. Stay up to date with more at or @jakebeearts on twitter.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

I live by the personal mantra, “Trust the dream.” Most of my story ideas come to me when I’m sleeping; sometimes it’s a fully fleshed out scene that I build a story around, sometimes it’s a vivid series of events with a clear narrative arc, sometimes it’s an epiphany in a state of half-sleep upon just waking. The majority of my ideas for stories, though, have something to do with dreaming. Other sources of inspiration for my writing these days include documentaries on exotic animal behaviors, mythology, various forms of divination, and the syncretistic crossovers between early Christianity and paganism.