Previous: A Future Found


Tum toddled down to the common room as Holly trailed after him. Hawthorn sat at a table, sipping some wine, and Tum clambered onto an empty chair beside him.

“Of all the empty tables,” Hawthorn said, “you have to sit right there? Go find somewhere else.”

“It’s rude to let someone sit alone, you know. Tum’s nothing if not polite.”

“Oh, I can think of a few things that Tum is.”

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Previous: Aggravated Acceptance


The journey back to Sarnum was largely spent in tense, exhausted silence. When they weren’t all sleeping, that is. Hemlock slept the most. Holly spent a good portion of her waking hours staring out the window, her expression pensive and distant. Hawthorn expended his energy avoiding Hazel’s gaze. She couldn’t really blame him, after all that had happened.

They reached Sarnum late in the following day. The acolyte that served as their driver dropped them off at Sensi’s Contemplation. Holly had murmured her concerns over Tum having gone missing, while Hawthorn had muttered his over his carriage that had undoubtedly been stolen. But all were too tired to do anything about those problems, so they all agreed to go back to the inn to figure out what to do next.

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Previous: An Unadorned End


A chill settled in the room—wintery, just like the silence that accompanied it. Hazel didn’t know what to say, and so she said nothing, standing stiff and unyielding like a frozen tree.

Holly fell to her knees and into tears. Hazel told herself to go to her, to comfort her, yet she couldn’t bring herself to move. Instead, Hawthorn walked over and gave Holly a handkerchief, put an arm around her, whispered words that Hazel couldn’t hear. They must have been comforting, for Holly nodded and gulped down gasps of air as her sobs lessened. She rested her head on his shoulder, so Hazel turned her attention to Hemlock.

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HazelHolly_FC_FNL_BNGTime flies, eh? It’s been almost two years since I started serializing Hazel and Holly here on the blog, with the first post going up early September, 2015. How was I supposed to know that what started out as a flash-fiction story for the 2015 A to Z Challenge would end up being an epic novel of about 150k words? It was, essentially, an experiment. To see if I could do it. To see what would happen.

It’s been interesting, to say the least. I managed to keep my schedule of posting every Friday, with the exception of one month-long lapse last Spring. It’s a story I let myself have fun with. It was an indulgence–at first, anyway. And then, later, one of the hardest things I’ve managed to wrap up and wrangle into a story since, well, I started writing. At the end of it all, it feels, to me, like a story worthy of having been told. And I really can’t ask for more than that.

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Zhi Zi

Love, Peace, Healing, Spirituality

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