“Cut a good story anywhere, and it will bleed.”
Anton Chekhov

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Notes from the author:

Originally written in response to a themed call for submissions: "Songs of the Cyberpagans." I submitted it and would not find out for years that it had been accepted; the editor published it but appeared to have lost my contact information. Were it not for a friend picking up a copy of the Cyberpagans issue, I'd never know at all.

The forward accompanying the piece could be the inspiration for an entirely new story, one about a mystery author who disappears leaving nothing but a strange prose poem in her wake...

A is for Arachne, dancing on her Web, testing each filament for baud rate and strength. She looks like Kali when she dances, but with an extra pair of legs as well as arms. She sends information down line: bits and bytes and tips and tricks all trapped in sticky goo. Somehow she keeps her dancing feet from being captured too. Each tidbit and atom of trivia she investigates, weighing it in her many hands, holding it to her ear. Memory doesn't catch everything, but what's left, you can download.

A is for Anything caught in the Web. You can find Anything At All if you know the hypertext links.

A is for Ariadne, a golden thread thrown through the labyrinth. Through subdirectory and subdirectory, you walk the road and wonder. Somewhere on this drive is your own secret JOURNAL.DOC which says "This is who you are. This is who you've been telling yourself that you are. Don't you get it? This is who you Are."

A is for Are and Aren't. At the end of the thread is a mirror, and in your reflection is the difference between the two.

A is sometimes for Aphrodite, thumbing her way down the road. You know better than to pick up hitchhikers. She's beckoning from those World Wide Web home pages that Newsweek warned your parents about. The only thing wider than her legs is her smile, infuriating, irresistible. She clinched the debate in Congress that passed the Communications Decency Act, but she knows exactly what you need and no legislation will stop her giving it to you.

A is for Aeolus who sets all four winds free. They howl and blow line noise across your downloads and fill your screen with gibberish. The characters aren't random. Learn to read their flow and you will learn the language of Air.

A is for Atropos with her shears wrought of iron, ready to mangle the motherboard into a thousand blue sparks. "That's enough," she says. "It's time to go home." She won't let you just exit the game and come back later. She wants you to format the hard drive.

A is for Ancient powers that will find you, wherever you Are. A is shaped like a pyramid, or a city on a hill. A holy church steeple. A phallic symbol. A sounds like Aaaaaaaaaa in long chanting tones, All of the moon in the Priestess's voice. A tastes like Apples but smells Acrid as smoke. A is for Anything At All.

A is for A and you will come round to that in the end.