How is it September already? ~ Outside the Margins with Lisa Henry

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Hi everyone! Well, me being me, I totally got distracted by shiny things and didn’t have a guest post ready. So I thought that this month (and how the hell is it September already?) I’d share a little bit of the latest shiny thing that’s distracting me. It’s the m/m fantasy you might have heard me talking a little bit about before. Its working title is Anhaga.


Naturally, I have no idea where the heck it’s going, but here, to hopefully give you a little teaser, is Aramin Decourcey (he goes by Min) having the start of what turns out to be a terrible day all round, thanks to his nephew Harry:

Min parted with Aiode in the street behind his lodging house, and headed down the alley to the tavern. The Footbridge Tavern attracted a particular type of clientele: slummers. Spoiled sons of wealthy families who descended on the place after dark, eager to brush shoulders, and other body parts, with the unwashed, the uncouth, and the otherwise undesirable. And why not? The alcohol and the prostitutes were cheap, and hardly an hour went by without a fight breaking out somewhere. The slummers came for blood as much as anything else, too young and stupid to care that it might be theirs.

In the day, the place was usually close to empty. This morning, apart from the boy spreading fresh straw over the worst of last night’s spills—beer, blood, piss, of a combination of all three—and a few of the regulars who possibly lived in the taproom, the Footbridge was almost empty.

Min sat at his usual table in the corner and watched a fat spider twirl and spin on a length of shimmering silk.

Freya, the wife of the owner, or at least one of Swann’s wives—Min had never been brave enough to ask—approached him. She had her sleeves rolled up to show off her beefy forearms. Not a word of a lie, Min had once seen Freya arm wrestle a blacksmith into submission.

“Porridge or porridge?” she grunted.

“Porridge it is,” Min said agreeably, and set a coin down on the table. “Have you seen Harry?”

Harry was a skinny sixteen-year-old kid with grey eyes and a shock of untameable blond hair as soft and wild as dandelion fluff. He was sharp and clever, prone to going missing for long hours at a time, and could usually be found headfirst under the skirts of whichever young woman had caught his fancy that week. He had all the gentlemanly manner of a sewer rat, and it was a source of eternal mystery to Min how he somehow managed to stay on the right side of every girl he loved and left. The charms of youth, perhaps. Harry didn’t have any other charms he could lay claim to. Or, mostly likely, the young women he pursued were so used to being bought and sold in dreary transactions that they treated Harry’s ardor as something of a happy diversion. They were flattered, bedded, and parted as friends.

“Not today,” Freya said.

“Have you checked under all the beds?”

Freya grunted. It was as close to a laugh as Min had ever wrangled from her. She swept the coin off the table into her cupped hand, and headed to the kitchen.

Min watched the spider for a little longer, and wondered if the day would bring him anything more interesting than porridge.

As it happened, it wasn’t long until a young man entered the tavern. Min had only just finished his breakfast. The young man looked around apprehensively, before apparently deciding that Min looked like the least threatening option, and approached his corner table. He was thin and pale, with soft curls that spilled down to his shoulders. His clothes were plain, but clean and well made. He had a pinched look to his narrow features that gave him an air of a slightly dissatisfied weasel and would probably be the cause of at least one black eye by the time he left the tavern. It was that kind of place.

He looked hesitantly at Min, and lowered his voice so much that when he spoke Min could hardly hear him. “Are you Aramin Decourcey?”

Min used his foot to shove the other stool out from under the table. “That’s me.”

The young man sat, pulling the edges of his cloak around him as though it would offer him some sort of protection. “Ludin gave me your name. He says that . . .” And here the young man trailed off.

“He told you I’m the best thief in the eastern quarter?” Min asked. “That I’m a filthy son of a whore with lower morals than a sewer rat, but I’ve never yet double crossed a customer?”

“Y-yes. Something like that.” The young man flushed. Of course the poor fellow had no idea how to parse something like that as a compliment, but it was high praise indeed from Ludin.

“Well then,” Min said. “How can I be of service to you?”

The young man stuttered and stammered for a moment, and Min tried desperately not to roll his eyes. He had rent to pay, and money, like always, seemed to trickle through his hands as easily as sand. He couldn’t afford, literally, to alienate a paying customer.

Whatever the bright little popinjay was going to say, however, was lost in the sudden commotion when, in a flurry of skinny limbs, a boy burst through the tavern door. It was Auric, or Aulus, or whatever the little grub’s name was. He had gap teeth, smelled like he’d never seen a bath in his short, miserable life, and for some reason thought that he was on first-name terms with Min.

“Min!” the boy exclaimed, gasping for breath. “Min! Come quick! The Sabadines are going to kill Harry!”

And then he burst into tears.


~Lisa Henry

About Lisa Henry

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

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