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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 Nine

"Cockless anomaly" is now my new favorite insult.

I considered letting the above sentence be the entirety of my notes this week, but I guess I'll give you guys a little more...

This is the chapter where a lot of cracks start to appear. Artie's obsessiveness and thin skin start to show, making him a lot more human in Marla's eyes, a lot more fallible. Which he is. There's lots of failing ahead.

Readers of the novels may have noticed some familiar faces at the sorcerer's council. And some unfamiliar faces. If you predict many deaths in the future to account for the unfamiliarity of those unfamiliar faces, you are good at predicting things.

I also got to introduce the Thrones, who are very important to upcoming events, and who the three of you who read "Haruspex" will remember. Marla occasionally bitches about creatures that claim to be angels – this is the genesis of her disdain.

I almost ended this chapter with Marla and Daniel snuggling together in bed, but I've done that, what, two, three times already? Clearly it's a chapter-ending I'm far too comfortable with, and the tradition in serials is to be a little bit more cliffhangery than that, you know? So we get a jump on something I'd planned to cover next week, with Ernesto leaving the fold. Bye bye, Ernesto. We'll see you around.

In future installments – to quote Yeats even more than I have been already in this book – things will fall apart; the center will not hold. Hope you'll be there for the collapse.

Back to Chapter 9

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