Be My Valentine…Snack

It’s #QueerBlogWed, a day to celebrate a touch of the rainbow on our blogs.

Christopher doesn’t feel like celebrating, but he is more than ready to fight. He picks up where he left off on Monday in ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’.


I released my fury in a hot burst.

A crimson purple flame streaked out of me, almost knocking me backwards.

I stood my ground, holding onto the manifestation, the shape. This was still the Shadow Forest, even if it was Duessa’s Place of Power.

This was my anger, not hers.

I willed blue ice around the red, willing it into the shape of a sword. The shadows were shaped in my hand, as I grasped…

…a stick. A sharp, icicle shaped stick, with a hint of red inside.

I flushed, feeling a bit ashamed.

“Very good.” Duessa nodded in approval. “You can shape reality in my lair. Not everyone can do that.” Ah, but there was a glint in one of her rose colored eyes, a mocking humor I’d seen countless times in her nephew’s. “Only do you know what to do with that stick of yours?”

“We’ll see.” I tried to sound more confident than I felt.

A stick. I’d tried to will a sword into existence. I’d gotten a stick.

At least it looked sharp at one end.

I swung it at one of the strands of web, holding one of the heart-shaped cocoons.

The stick bounced against the springy softness of the web.

“At least, it didn’t get stuck!” Duessa pointed out cheerfully. “Your hand would, if you touched the web.”

My hand. I looked down at my chilled fingers, clutching the staff. Each digit felt like it was sealed in ice, unable to move.

No. This was the Shadow Forest. Things could change, if I willed it.


Be My Valentine…Snack

Welcome to Me Me Monday! A day to promote, strut, and celebrate your Me-ness!

Duessa Ashelocke is certainly doing all of that in the next part of ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’.


Her auburn hair fell loose down her back.

The outfit suited her far more than the waistcoat and buffled skirts. Each eye stared out from her face, like planets within a constellation. She stretched out with each arm from a slit in her dress, ready to embrace her Place of Power, along with me in it.

“Where’s Peter?” I spotted several niches. Statues of slender young men in various postures of sensual torment. They appeared to be statues, only they were a bit too lifelike.

“Not there.” Duessa shook her head. “Those spaces are reserved for my bridegrooms.” She allowed her eight eyes to roam over me, lingering over my neck. “Peter did consent to be my Valentine, which is why he’s within my web’s strands.”

She lifted a couple of hands to point at the danging clumps of whiteness clinging the roof and the tops of the pillars. No, not just clumps. Tiny cocoon shaped like human sized hearts.

“What have you done to him?!” No, this was a nightmare. She couldn’t have done this, not so fast. She couldn’t haven’t reduced a flamboyant flirt like Peter into one of these silent, faceless hearts. “Which one is he?”

“Ah! That is your first challenge.” Duessa lowered her arms. “You must find and free Peter. You can use any Arts you like, but you mustn’t get caught in my web.” She smiled, showing her fangs. There were more than two. “If you do, you become one of my Valentines.”

“I see.” My anger swelled at the sight of those hearts, at the thought of Peter trapped within one of them, waiting his turn to be ‘drained’.

A memory of Damian’s lips twisting with a similar rage, uttering a departing shot at Duessa bloomed within my mind.

“Give my best to your valentines. They must be feeling quite drained.”

Did he ever wander here as a child, among the cocoons? Did he ever try to touch one of them, only to get his hand stuck?

Did they feel anything? Was Peter aware of what was happening? Was he finally frightened? Or did he continue to drift in a mindless state of numbness?

Rage churned and hissed within my stomach, demanding to be released.

Why not? There was no reason I couldn’t use it.

Be My Valentine…Snack

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday, six sentences of LGBTQ+ fiction is posted on the participants’ blogs and shared.

These six sentences can be your own. They can be someone else’s. They just need to be LGBTQ+.

For mine, I’m continuing with Be My Valentine Snack, right where I left off on #QueerBlogWed


“I see you’ve spotted my web.”

Duessa Ashelocke appeared in the middle of the checkered floor. She wore a completely different dress that than the slitted waistcoat with full skirts she visited the Navel in. I’d never been sure how she managed to hide her extra arms in the garment.

She wasn’t even trying to hide them now, or anything else.

A sleek black dress with filmy skirts and sleeves emphasized every curve and every extra limb, giving them an exotic allure.



Be My Valentine…Snack

Welcome to #QueerBlogWed, a day to bring a little touch of the rainbow to our posts.

I’m doing so by continuing ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’, my third prelude to ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’. The latter is the first novel (currently under revision) in a series I’m working on. This and all related stories are part of a universe I called ‘Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest’.

I post part of a prelude every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. It’s a little offering for readers which I hope will lure you into the Shadow Forest. 🙂

Speaking of being lured, Christopher had just stepped in Duessa’s lair in order to save Peter from her…


The web loomed over me, reaching out for me. The street, Omphalos, and the sky overhead blurred into silvery grayness.

Everything was taking on a dreamy, misty cast. A white fog rose from the street to envelop cottages.

I used to hate white. It reminded me of bleached bone.

Damian once revealed its beauty, its potential, especially when mixed with another color. He used to take a paintbrush, changing red by adding white white, blue as well.

His swirling of colors manifested around me, reacting to my memory.

Ah, yes. I must have left reality and entered the Shadow Forest. At the very least I was on the edge of a Door.

I closed my eyes and breathed, marveling that I still had a solid shape. I willed the fog to disappear, for the sky to ripple with Damian’s colors.

Another will, a stronger will, like a rope, or a strand of spider web tugged at my own. It sucked out the color in the sky, feeding it to the mist.

“Did you think it would be that easy, tidbit?” Duessa’s laughter echoed in my ears. “This is my Place of Power.”

“You’ve actually seized a corner of the Shadow Forest and made it her own.” I opened my eyes to stare at the rippling landscape, caught between horror and admiration.

No, this was not going to be easy at all. I would confront her in a setting of her choosing, not mine.

Pillars shot up out of the ground, slender columns of rock reaching for the sky. A floor of black and white squares spread out beneath my feet. A faint, shimmering web connected each pillar, forming an elaborate lacework below the ceiling.



Be My Valentine…Snack

It’s Me Me Monday! A day to promote, strut, and celebrate your Me-ness!

Only Christopher is going to have to do a lot better than strut if he wants to save Peter from the hungry clutches of Duessa Ashelocke. Picking up right where we left him on Saturday in ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’.


“You can’t make him disappear like that!” I tried to keep the rawness out of my voice and failed.

“You’ll have every opportunity to make him reappear. This I swear upon my affection for my nephew.” Something solemn and soft flickered within Duessa’s most human pair of eyes. “You have agreed to play my games, you have challenged me. Not only for Peter, but one who was rightfully mine.”

Duessa raised her eyelashes to reveal glittering rose purple orbs beneath the soft amber ones.

Oh, I’d seen a gleaming glare like that when their owner was flushed with rage. For all the extra eyeballs, aunt and nephew reacted in a similar fashion.

I’d angered Duessa when I’d claimed Damian as my own. This was her way of punishing me for doing so.

“You shall face three challenges, challenger.” Duessa allowed her many eyes to roam over my entire frame. “You must overcome each in order to win Peter back.”

I nodded, trying not to gulp. This was Damian’s aunt. He’d never been able to get the better of her in a challenge, for all he’d tried.

“Well, Christopher, go on, if you dare!” Duessa laughed, not offering any hints about what I’d be facing.

Shoulders shaking, but straight, I walked up to the doorway.


To be continued on #QueerBlogWed, a.k.a. Wednesday.

‘Be My Valentine…Snack’ is a prelude to my novel under revision, ‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’.

‘Stealing Myself From Shadows’ is the first book in a series and part of a collection of related stories called ‘Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest’.

Keep an eye on the Forbidden Cauldron at for other related stories.

Be My Valentine…Snack

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday, those participating post six sentences of LGBTQ+ fiction on their blogs and share them.

These sentences can be their own. They can be someone else’s. They just need to be LGBTQ+.

To read a wide variety of samples from different LGBTQ+ stories, go to…

For mine, Christopher is picking up where he left off on Wednesday for the next part of ‘Be My Valentine…Snack’.

He’s following Duessa Ashelocke into her lair…


“Let’s see, you have challenged me for Peter.” Duessa moved a step away from her prey, releasing him from her embrace.

He stumbled toward her with unseeing eyes and an expressionless face.

I reached out for him, only to find my hands passing through him.

Peter faded away, disappearing before my eyes.

“No!” I bit back my own cry.