Alex Brightsmith

Beautiful Lies

Marra asked for The Wheel and the Stars, but I managed not to meet her eye, gazing past her and starting on Galli’s Lament as if someone behind her had asked for it. The notes flowed easily – they ought to, by now – the sweet soft yearning of it matching my mood. I could […]

Where Once Was a City

You will forgive me if I am a little shaken. I have had just now the last messages from the house of Cardallan, my full sib, and there was much in that, though I knew the day must come, that was a great grief to me. The loss of Cardallan, of course, who has been […]

Introducing Sen Foillate

If you’ve been following Dram Cetus then you may have met Sen before. This comes from both their futures, I think, and since Sen seems keen to tell me about it you’ll hopefully hear more about it in due course. I’ll just leave this here for now, half tease and half promise …

Silver and Jewels

So there was this guy in the tavern and he was talking about Sarralan and how everybody always gets it wrong. He said they see the grey sea in the winter and the flat marshes and they let the chill get in their bones because they’re not prepared for the soft, deceptive breeze that cuts […]


Darkness. Darkness and a memory of terror, as vivid as a scar, and suddenly the terror is here and real, suffocating, and there’s nothing to reach for, nothing, only blackness and – Reach, damn you. Reach for what you know. Five things. Five things now. Five things you can (but a protective instinct kicks in, […]


Mud. An eternity of mud. Mud and … softer mud? Something else. A forgotten thing. What? Beyond the screaming pressure that blocks and baffles thought, out there where the blind hand gropes, sweet open air and free movement and  … shapes? Meaningless shapes. Something round? Something cold? But thought is fading. There’s nothing … … […]

Mist by moonlight

There are a few sights that will stay with me always. The first time I saw, really saw, the Milky Way, and my naked horror beneath it. The first time that I saw a landscape lit only by the full moon – but I’m lucky with that one. It was long ago, when one had […]


“Perseverance, that’s what these children lack.” I can still hear my father saying it, and I still flinch at the bitter contempt curdled into the word children. I thought perhaps I’d have forgotten, by now, but I hear his words more and more these days, just as I see him more and more – in […]

Frozen beauty

I wrote this for the #55wordchallenge (you should probably go and look at the prompts, and the other responses), so it’s only fair that I should start with the 55 word version, though it took a turn for the bleak when I pruned it … A field of snow. Bare trees tracing prisoning bars against […]


“It’s been too long; I’m not sure I can do this anymore.” “So make it a pastiche. No need to scrabble around for something new, that wasn’t your brief.” I looked at Zachary long and hard, but I couldn’t find any hint of amusement or of mischief. That almost made it worse. Bad enough that […]


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