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I haven’t written in a year. I’m sitting in a room of cardboard, brown light and silence. A soft music is playing. My medicine is inviting me to look around, to melt and shrink into a small thing. I’m afraid. Sleep hurts, that’s when the visitor gets me. 

I’ve been living in a cardboard palace with no wall for a year. Just until I get better, just until the visitor goes away. Maybe flowers will grow up to my windrow, inviting me outside. Maybe a current of air will lift me out, or maybe it would be the visitor.

But only dust lives here. Dust from old memories. There is a strange comfort, a distance, like a church or a hospital ward that eats you alive. Sometimes, small currents of air disturb the papers, footsteps outside. Sometimes a cat speaks, from where the visitor stands out of sight. Nothing else knows of the cardboard palace, not even time. It doesn’t exist.

I’ve been living here too long. I can feel parts of myself peeling off. I don’t know how much has disappeared. I feel cardboard.

How do I leave? 


The train station is very small. Running alongside a never-ending metal track for a blink of an eye, it holds a few dozen passengers, a collapsed ticket booth, rusty rods and a discarded dog with no name, all under a stained, half-broken glass dome, which was the most beautiful part. Sometimes, the sun would reflect on the shards of glass, shining, or fall to the floor and lay still with the dust trapped inside it.

Every morning, strangers gather here. With their frayed woolen sweaters and old-fashioned fedoras, with their jackets and coats and stained brown neckties, tattered briefcases and unshined shoes, they trickle from the forest into the small shining dome of the station, along with the early warnings of the sun. For a while, they wait.

Every morning, a low, curious hum appears from afar, warning them of the train’s imminent presence. When a dark, swirling cloud appears in the distance, and a cautious red light flashes beneath it, an invisible tension joins the strangers as they stand back from the edge. Briefcases are picked up, benches abandoned, and empty coffee cups discarded.

Each morning, the train comes, entering the shining world like an iron rod thrown in water, its smoke disturbing the still dust under the dome, its horn overpowering the oppressive silence of the forest, speeding past the station, the faces, the briefcases, the coats and neckties. A wind sways the strangers, taking with it some hats as a memento of their brief acquaintance, (disturbing) the sleeping dog’s fur. The cars flash by, turning into the homogenous pattern of a snake’s skin, rattling and hissing until the last one is carried off by the steaming behemoth up front.

As the sound fades and the train slowly disappears into the morning fog, the strangers begin to trickle away, back into the forest, one by one. Soon, their footsteps fade away, and the station is once again empty and silent as the sunshine spills from around the rusted metal bars.

Until the next morning, it remains still.

Somewhere far off in a grey city lived a girl with long soft hair. Each morning she sat at one end of a table and ate cereal as the city yawned. Then she rode the train for half and hour to get to work. One of the stations was above-ground so she could see the river when she passes by, swaying to the train’s breath. The sky was cloudy, sort of orange-grey, and it was quite cold outside.
Meanwhile, something followed her. Not near, somewhere at a distance hidden behind a crowd. Always. Creeping through a window or standing right outside the door, a huge shapeless monster. She could see it sometimes in reflections or shadows, just as she turned away. She could feel it there like a wound. She knew it’s there, constantly, though nobody else does.
And every once in a while she would notice the thing coming closer. Etching toward her inch by inch until it was right behind her, so close it could touch her soft hair.
At that point all it took was for her to turn around.

As she looked at it, things started fading. Voices growing quieter. She would stare at the thing until she could no longer remember what her name was.
Then, it extended a shadow of a hand. Long, dark, unstable, like some sort of anomaly. Like a scream in the form of pure darkness.
She took its hand every time and it led her away. In the woods, onto a roof, in a dark alley. She could never remember.
As they walked, the world grew darker around them until she couldn’t tell the thing from anything else. The stars went out. Places faded. Everything died. And then in a split second there was nothing left. Nothing but the darkness.
After, she woke up and found herself filthy and bruised, in an unfamiliar cold place. She would stumble back into the city with the mist and the dawn, and go back to her life again. Before anyone else was awake she was back. Eat the cereal, ride the subway, just as before.

But somewhere far away, she knew, somewhere hidden, the thing was still there for her.

Everyone who goes on the train has a light brown bag and an umbrella. Ladies wear gray petticoats and gentlemen accompany them in flannel suits or jackets. Most have a hat on, some even a monocle.


The children are plenty, thought their mouths are too occupied with rooster lollies to make noise. Pets are neatly stashed and waved to as they are wheeled off to a far car of the train.


The tickets have no seats on them, so getting a good place can be one of those subtle nuisances that make «hassle» sounds like too strong a word. Everyone is calm, though, there will plenty of empty rooms so that if the children want to play in them, they each get their own one. Tea will be served shortly.


When everyone has settled down and their luggage is out of sight, when the coats are on the hangers and slippers replace the brown shoes, boots, or small buckled sandals, the tea is already steaming on the little tables next to the window, leaving beads of water on the glass. The cups are a decorated china, their rims thin and delicate, and the young ladies chuckle as they lift their pinky fingers to sip from the softly steaming pools of warmth. Not that they need to though, the train is warm enough as it is.


By then, the station will have been left behind. Their departure is not like in those old films when everybody waves goodbye with a napkin that they use to wipe tears with, and can’t hear some loved one or friend as they yell something to the train. Nobody is left behind on the small sunny station, so nobody notices when they begin to move.


The evening of the journey is spent by each family in their own way: some play cards and teach each other poker, some gossip, some sing old songs on guitar. Everybody brings small favorite foods from home and make their own dinner, it is like a picnic. Later, if the weather is right, they open the windows to look at the stars before going to bed.


And in the morning, when they wake up, the train is already at sea.


Despite what everyone had said, killing the dragon was by far not the hardest part.

A basic set of conjuration spells, a good pre-era sword (thank you, Grandpa) and a few tips from the on-duty castle magician had done that. What they should write about in the books is how impossible it is to get the damned head all the way to the capital. Now that’s a battle.

Now, I’m no idiot. Oh, no. I remember how the elf tutor my father had hired kept praising me for learning all of the sword dances in one go. He kept saying I was a “jewel”. All the ladies said so, too… Anyway, despite all my efforts and attempts to recall the textbooks, I could not remember anything about the head-carrying part.

The problem was it was too heavy to be tied casually to the saddle like in all those paintings my sisters like so much. I had to put together a pathetic parody of a carriage just to get it moving, and that kept falling apart every five yards. I had to change three horses on the five-day journey, that’s how heavy it was. And Feather spells were useless. Stupid dragons and their stupid enchanted heads.

I lucked out though, there were some bandits on the way with a nice new carriage they stole. It was still too small and the horns kept getting stuck in the branches, but at least I could go into the city with some grace. I can’t tell you how much I hated to gods-damned Queen and her bloody whims during those five days. When she got up to greet me in the throne room I almost threw a tantrum, but was too tired. I stopped hating the next day her when she granted me an early retirement and my own manor in the city, servants included.

The head is now in the middle of the castle hall, covered with a healthy layer of gold and sapphires, the horns polished regularly.

Needless to say, I still shudder every time I have to pass it.

Crumple, crumple — said the branches under her feet.

Rustle, rustle — said the leaves as she pushed them aside.

Howl, howl — cried the wind far away.


She had been here thousands of times, alone. Speaking to the leaves and the air. Forgetting herself in the forest when there was no other place left.

She swam in the light and danced through the trees, and she felt as if she was not herself. There was no point in sadness, even though the blood had not yet washed off her face.

Deeper, deeper she went into the forest. Further, further she went into her mind. The shade gathered around her, welcoming, as a friend does in memories. She did not feel the cold.

She ran, and everything ran around her. She stopped, and everything stopped around her. Even the air.

She opened her eyes. It was dark now. The sky was looking at her with a million eyes, and she looked back, and smiled.

The feathers embraced her as she sank into them, tired. This was going to be her home, just for tonight. Her soft, warm bed.

Sleep, sleep – said the trees.

Breathe, breathe – said the leaves.

Howl, howl – cried the wind.

You wake up. It’s bright. The first thing you see are the softly swaying branches in your window, letting in a serpentine pattern of sun rays. And now there is the smell – a pine forest, and a pine house – fresh, comforting.

The house is silent, as if empty. M’s sleeping face is turned to you as you try to get out from under the sheets without waking her. It’s cold without the layers of wool blankets, and you hurriedly pull on jeans and a sweater.

Nobody is awake yet. You quietly step out into the living room and breathe in the air. Behind the huge glass walls is the forest, the mountains and the sky, the spirits of this place.

The house is far away from the city. It is huge, yet one cannot find it without knowing the way, even when retracing one’s steps.

Here they have a piano and a fireplace. The powerful computers are kept in the basement, and the mirrors are dusty. Music is always playing, and sometimes, a deer comes to the porch.

Out on the terrace, you already have a favorite place to watch the mountains from, and that’s where you’ll wait for the others to wake up and come.

Tomorrow, you will leave this house for the last time. Through the years, it will fade in your memory, and so will the tranquility you felt here. But you will never forget the fragrance of this place. Someday, someone will give you a single pine branch from this forest. It will make you smile, but you will not remember why.

His steady hands, clumsy and slow in the huge metal-woven gloves, were spinning the rusty wheel of the bunker-like construction. The suit had been dosing him with the appropriate amount of adrenaline and artificial nutrients, preventing him from ever tiring, yet his breathing was slow and heavy.

“What’s taking so long?” – asked his redhead assistant, also in a space suit – the more expensive and excessively complicated one, covered in girly patterns and soft comforting colors. Rookie.

“Shut up, Sheila. I’m working.” – he said.

Sheila made a pouty grimace, but nobody saw it past her UV-protected helmet. Nobody watched, anyway. She wasn’t really offended though – getting in people’s way was was her method of making an imprint on the world.

Finally, something in the ancient mechanism started crackling. The old metal door creaked open, revealing nothing. Chaotic flashlight beams pierced the empty space as the team set out into the darkness.

“Okay, guys. Scanner says there’s still an atmosphere down here, we can take of the helmets” – he followed his own instructions without waiting for a response. Usually collected, he now resembled a little boy before Christmas – scurrying around, setting up equipment, helping the others do their job. – “Contact the base. Tell them we’re in.”

His words were hard to believe. The place had been sealed off for five thousand years, not a single atom coming in or out, not a single man making it here alive. And now, the first successful manned mission here. They were the first.

Slowly, the shock passed. Realization of the team’s success – imagined so many times before – began chaining through the people. Silence was replaced by the roar of everyone’s childhood dreams coming true. Forgetting about the weight of the suits and crates, the explorers started clapping, hugging, dancing, laughing, crying… Nobody had believed they could do it.

Nobody had believed they could unseal Serpantera’s Blog.

Well, here we are.

This day was bound to come sooner or later. There’s no running from it. I know it, you know it, even that suspicious-looking ninja behind you knows it.The time has come to hand the mic over to Captain Obvious, who seems to have a very important announcement:

“Hi guys, I’ve started my own blog.”

Thank you. Thank you very much, Captain.

Welcome to! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!