Strange Spells (The Exchange)

Strange Spells (The Exchange)

In support of the kickstarter for BOOKS & BONE, I played a game on Mastodon where people could name a gem to me, and in exchange I would write a toot-sized (or tweet-sized) encounter with a strange spell. The encounter was not necessarily related to the gem.

Here are the results. I hope you enjoy them!

Image by Josch13, under Pixabay License.


You hear a crystalline ringing like pure, musical bells. Following it to its source leads you to a cafĂ© tucked into an alley. You’ve never seen it before. Its sign is faded and painted with rose petals.

Inside, the barista’s shock white hair is tucked under a net, pointed ears just peeking out from beneath it.

‘Oh good, the summons worked,’ they say. ‘Business has been slow. So tell me,’ they smile, revealing sharp teeth. ‘What’s your poison?’



You can just make out a cat on the street corner, a slightly paler shadow against the night.

It is large. Intimidating, if not for the pretty pink collar and crystal pendant.

It strides toward you as if it had been waiting for you. Not with haste, but with deliberation. When it gets close, it grows wary.

‘It’s okay,’ you say, crouching to greet it.

It accepts a scritch. The pendant on its collar flashes, and it meows, ‘Oh, all right. But I’ve got other business to attend to.’


Lapis Lazuli

You find it on the beach. An uncommonly clean coin, void of sand or dirt of grease. It’s just enough to get you an ice cream, so you do so.

Later, you find it in your pocket. Or at least, one very similar. Another bright, untarnished coin.

Each time you purchase something with it, you find it again in your pocket, only moments later.

When you see a man begging on the street, you give it to him. This time, it does not return, but you don’t mind.



There is a stream in the woods that flows uphill. You follow it, climbing the steep rise of land it follows.

It leads you to a cave. There, you find a sleeping bag, the remains of a campfire, and scattered food scraps being pecked at by pigeons, which barely flutter at your arrival.

You wait, but nobody appears. Just you, and the pigeons, and the oddly-flowing stream.

It grows late and you leave. When you return, the pigeons and campsite are gone, and stream flows downhill.


Watermelon Tourmaline

You find an unused sketchbook in a charity shop, with a smooth leather cover and thick, hand-pulped pages. A strange symbol adorns the cover. You don’t recognise it, but it glitters prettily.

You take it home and sketch in it.
That night, and every night after, everything you draw in the book appears in your dreams — the things you sketch, and nothing else. A vivid and inspiring experience that you somehow always remember.

When you complete the book, your dreams return to normal.


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