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Bone Shop is a free, serialized online novella by T.A. Pratt, supported by donations from readers. Pay whatever you like.

If you like this story, visit to learn about the novel series.

Notes for Chapter Three

Ernesto, of course, will be familiar to readers of the other Marla novels. He's the junkyard magician, master of folding time and space, creator of the pollution golem, and one of Marla's few close allies among Felport's supernatural elite. They get along because, like Marla, Ernesto doesn't take any crap, and always does what he says he's going to do, and is pretty much the exact opposite of pretentious (which is maybe, in its way, a kind of pretension in itself). I never said Marla and Ernesto had the same teacher, but then again, I never said they didn't. And why not? I like the idea that Marla and Ernesto came up through the ranks together. Though Ernesto and Artie are destined to clash in a future chapter...

I was going to have Artie live in some cheesy mansion like you see in porno movies, but I decided to give him something a little more like a secret lair, with all sorts of potential sub-basements and catacombs and, who knows, access to undersea caves with his own private submarines, who knows what. When I write my novels, I like to open myself up to possibilities that way, leave potentially interesting avenues open. In writing a serial novella – where I know where I'm going, more or less, but don't know every twist the road will take along the way – it seems sensible to do the same.

Daniel, Artie's apprentice who made the poppet (and has a very cool magical specialty I can't wait to describe in detail), is a character I've been dying to write about for a long time.

I will now drive all the serious fans of the novel series crazy by telling you this: Daniel appeared in at least one of the published novels, though not under that name. (By which I mean, either he had another name, or his name wasn't revealed.) People who haven't read the books won't be mystified when that connection is revealed – it's not the kind of twist that depends on prior knowledge or anything – but for longtime readers, it should make certain scenes in the previous novels appear in a very different light.

But you'll have to wait, like, many weeks for that promise to pay off. I don't mean to be evil. It just comes out that way sometimes.

I've got no idea what was in the greasy bag Jenny Click gave to Artie, though she clearly went through some kind of ordeal getting it. The contents of the bag are a mystery, even to me. But, who knows; maybe in a later chapter I'll need to open the bag and find out. Like I said: I know where I'm going, and some of the major scenic overlooks along the way, but there are sure to be some curves in the road that surprise even me...

Back to Chapter 3

T.A. Pratt lives in Oakland, CA, and works as an editor for a trade publishing magazine.