To Thine Own Self Be Zoo




alternate history









All Stories

Sir Jod and the Mare Eisa: Sir Jod and the mare Eisa arrived at the top of a winding pass, which brought them up to the rim of the Grand Plateau. Sir Jod inhaled deeply of the cool morning air as he looked back over the edge down to where they had come from, from the Withering Forest.

Elevator Operator: It’s Janice’s going away party today. She got a better position upstate, and so tonight they’re having a get together after hours. I already wished her well on the way up. I’m the elevator operator.

Sith the ne Saith: I drop down into my swivel chair, spin to face my desk, blow a small amount of overnight dust off of my headset, and rest the cushioned cups of this aforementioned headset over my ears. Mentally, when the cans go on, the world of mechanical tapping and light conversation is gone, and I feel myself aware of this tape station as though it is a living, thinking creature, all of its parts talking to each other within itself.

Ghosts of Pluto: For outer space missions, each crew member needs to be safe, skilled, and a sociopath. A high regard for safety ensures that a crew will not botch the mission for foolish reasons. A high degree of skill ensures that a crew can accomplish their assignment and can rise to the occasion should other issues arise. Only a sociopath would eagerly strap themselves to a bomb with a chair on it and fly away from everyone and everything they have ever known. For these reasons, androids such as myself are often found among crews, because it is supposed that we are safe, skilled, and sociopathic. Humans are correct in all three of these suppositions. Where they have erred is in giving us a soul like their own in which to wrap these three traits.

Poems: Let Them To Them; Dandelions; Dandelions 2.

Scent Became Flesh: Else leaned forward, her cheek resting between Tsen’s shoulder blades, her arms clasped around his waist, the couple rocking back and forth atop the stallion Rosh, who carried them onward through the windy chilled night. Clumps and ridges of snow remained on a ground that was otherwise composed of frozen mud, brown grass, frigid puddles.

Dorian Gray: Agatha idled the car up the quiet dark driveway, eased on the brake to stop before the closed garage door, and then pressed down fully on the brake to come to a complete stop. There in front of the garage door she remained for a while, staring blankly ahead, until after some time she put the car in park and took her foot off of the brake. With the car in park, she took the key out of the ignition, and sighed in the quiet that followed now that the engine was turned off. Well, it was something of quiet.

The Tale of Erskine Faern: The Faerns’s cart, stacked tall with barrels of pine syrup, was drawn by a pair of mules. Thomas’s Ma and Da rode on the seat at the front of the cart. Thomas walked alongside. They had come from their farm at the break of dawn that day. As they neared Terreh’s riverport, it was getting into the evening. A woman in white robes with black holy symbols slowly moved from one side of the street to the other, lighting the streetlamps with a candle balanced atop a tall wooden rod.

Sister Shim and the Priestess Om: I sit in the frontmost pew beside Brother Elia, sharing a bottle of wine with him. He is filling my second glass. The sleidr have been groomed and fed, and there is little else to do until dinner. It’s an exceedingly pleasant Fall day. Orange and yellow leaves have blown in through the archway, and the smell of them fills the air. Brother Elia hands my glass back to me. I give it a little raise towards him before having a sip.

Poems: 38 Haiku About Dogs; Twilight Forest; I Did Take Care Of Him After For The Record.

Gradient: “...Four, A, nine, nine, two, C, two, F, F, F, F.” There is radio silence for a moment, and then the flight controller’s voice responds: “Authorization code recognized. You are granted permission to approach, Grey Liger. Welcome to Nesoi 12.”

Aliyah, Madeline, Four Candles: The crowd hadn’t even gotten there yet. It was merely the act of setting up to play Radio City Music Hall that made me realize we were not just a successful band—already a miracle—but that we were a big-dick famous band. At first I had wondered whether the stage crew may have already had a long day prior to our arrival, or whether they really were just weirdly inexperienced for such a large venue, because as we worked, they seemed almost perplexed by our fairly normal desire to be a part of arranging the instruments on stage, and doubly perplexed by our fairly normal selection of instruments, and had very mixed reactions on Aliyah’s great dane, Lion, who was bounding around the stage and sniffing things.

Five of Cups Covers Ten of Swords: Three so-and-sos from the cursed races—a canian, a felian, and a rodentian—sat around an upturned washbucket in the front yard of a dilapidated farmhouse, playing cards with the minor arcana.

Stedl and Dragons: Stedl stood and watched in sorrow as the parade of knights marched through the main street of Holmfast. Those around him cheered or stood in quiet awe, but if a single other soul shared his misgivings to the knights, they were out of his sight. Three knights—one at the head of the procession, one in the body, and one at the tail—carried ten foot tall poles, atop which were enormous meat hooks, skewered onto each of which was the green scaled head of a dragon.

Poems: Untitled Peradventure; Deference; Deference 2; Reciprocal Amplification; Meditation.

The Dethroning of Vermilion Von Scaldis: Cahsn held their hand over the block of pitch crystal, feeling for any lingering heat. Finally, to all perception, it was an appreciable deal cooler than the rest of the stifling workshop. With something of a curtsy, Cahsn bent down and whispered the release word: All at once, the black crystalline prism fell to ashes, leaving in a nest of themselves a silvery implement with two tongs and a handle. Delicately, Cahsn picked up the channeler from the heap of ashes. Walking over to the window, they brushed away the soot on a portion of the pane with a work cloth, and in the afternoon daylight inspected the device closely.

The Immortal of Loch Anneth: I fling dirt over my shoulder. All of my muscles are sore. My palms are sore. The joints of my fingers are sore. I awoke last night from a dead sleep with a pang of a memory so intense and precise it felt as though I had been stabbed. It was fleeting as a dream: I knew that if I did not get up that instant and act, I may lose the thought forever. It was a memory of burying something extremely precious.

Melvin, Lilly, Raspberry Whiskey: Last night I discovered that when I get severely drunk, I do not keep secrets. Previously this had never been a matter of consequence, as I had only ever been severely drunk alone.

Specifications for the Zoocosmologica Deck: Please find as follows the specifications for the Zoocosmologica Deck, with notes on the significant imagery and suggestions for stylistic direction.

Poems: Figurine Man; All The Happy Little Animals; Awakening.

The Cult: I step into the cafe, have a seat on a bar stool, set my helmet on the counter, and order coffee and the breakfast that the hostess recommends. As I sit and wait, I find myself staring down at the ring finger of my right hand. A week ago I managed to give it a not-small cut while opening a beer bottle. Today, there’s only one red speck where it’s still healing, and a faint scratch where the rest of the already-healed wound was. I marvel at how the body heals. It seems passive, unimpressive, like something that actually should work better than it does, but it’s remarkable that we do this at all, and I find myself thankful. I wonder whether it would have been more interesting to get into biology.

By and By: Yarriel and Knife bursted in through the front doors of the black bilge tavern, hardly able to stand, the dwarf and the elf each doubling over in laughter, trying to use the other for support. “This wide!” Yarriel roared, holding his coarse hands up to demonstrate, his vision completely blurred by his tears. Knife then did fall over onto the tavern floor, trying to gasp in breath between her laughs but finding it impossible. Yarriel slammed himself down onto a table, tried to compose himself, but then caught a glimpse of his elven friend red-faced on the floor. He fell down onto the floor with her, likewise unable to breathe. At the bar, Gustav blew out a puff of air, shook his head, and lifted his pint glass to his lips. “This new generation of assassins is certainly something different,” he said to the innkeeper, and then took a long sip from his drink.

Definitely John *******’s True Thoughts On Zoophilia: One day on August 7th, when John ******* was twenty years old, he and his friend (let’s call him Leslie) were each drinking from their own bottle of Jim Beam Double Oak Twice Barreled Bourbon as they sat below a birch tree at night, looking out at the shimmering moonlit waters of Lake Lester.

Shooting Stars: The first time I met Blake Xavier-Schneider, he was 1) alive, and 2) attending the same Beverly Hills mansion party that I was. I don’t actually think that he’s dead now, for the record, I just feel like it’s becoming more and more like a good guess with the way he acts.

Steep and Dangerous: “Let it go, Johnny! We’ll go around, bring’er down from the top.”

Well 8: The drainage differentials for each pump have been logged. The well and its command station have been inspected and passed without need for any spot repairs or notes. The entry room, the fitness room, the showers, the hangar, the yard, the stairwell, the basement latrine, the storage room, the crew quarters, the subbasement latrine, the break room, and the control room have been inspected and passed with no need for notes on integrity confirmation, and each of the aforementioned rooms has been made spotless. All of the lights that turn off are off. It is the middle of the closest thing this place has to night. Not a single thing in this station needs my attention right now. Nonetheless, I can’t sleep. I lie in my bed with my eyes closed, and every minute feels like a wasted hour.

Poems: Paws on my Butt; A Bad Hangover; The Marked and Pleasant Absence of a Hangover This Morning; Tender.

Romeo & Juliet: There is beyond the Alps, a town of ancient fame, Whose bright renown yet shineth clear: Verona men it name.

Sonnets: Whiteish greyish greenish pond water lies on this warm winter day in which we stand. Two loves, not seen as such to others’ eyes, one holds the other’s leash with gentle hand.

Personal Ghosts: There’s about a mile of now-unused highway where the course of the highway is now directed somewhere else, and where Forager now likes to lead me when we go out on walks so that we have a wide, clear, long open space to play fetch. He’s a white lab, though only his height and the shape of his head give this away: his body and legs show off long white hair which always ripples backwards as though perpetually moving forward through water.

Τύχων: My dreams have been getting so goddamn vivid lately and I hate it.

This One Shall Breathe Somewhere Else: Eleanor and I sit on a bench in the park. Our engagement rings touch as we hold hands. A city guard stands a little ways off. In the distance, over the city walls, we can hear the blasting of grand horns from the lunar monastery, celebrating the coming of a full moon. Eleanor and I look up at the moon, green and blue and pink, cloud-streaked, shimmering, a world unto itself.

Empathy Farm: I can tell that this voyage has reached a critical mass of fuckedness (fuck•ID•niss, archaic, n.) because I have a meeting with Boreas Ground Control in two minutes to discuss our spike in incident reports, and instead of getting prepared for this meeting, I am on comms with Gomez, and he is telling me that a maintenance issue is now my urgent problem. For six years, I have been blessed with his ability to get handed a problem in any department and make it go away. No longer so.

Poems: Bathroom; Factual Dog Status Awareness; Ambiguously Grammatical; Not All The Time Of Course But Sometimes; Couplet; Yet Another New And Happy Morning; Claws.

Two Knights: What is that man doing? one had asked in pre-dawn, and another had asked in the morning’s bright hours.

Blue Guitar: Mrs Michaels stepped into the pawn shop off the highway, and was greeted by a rush of air conditioning and the chime of a digital bell sounding over the door. Looking around the brightly-lit space, there were rows of DVDs, a bunch of power tools in the back, a wall of various VCRs and other TV accoutrements, and, hanging on the wall behind the glass counter full of jewelry, there was what she had come here for: a selection of electric guitars. As Mrs Michaels began making her way there, a clerk poked his head up from one of the DVD aisles. “Help you find anything?”

The Scraps: We should have done more.

Poems: Slippers and Observations; Untitled Anything And This; Blackout Or Just Slipped My Mind.

Sons of Belial: Azure licked their partner’s anus, taking in nostril-flared sniffs as they did, creating as wide a cavity inside of their nose as possible for smell particles to land on. Smells were important to them.

Fallow: What do I even do anymore? Anneth thought. She rocked slowly in her rocking chair, really trying to answer that question.

Cheer’s Journey: My part in this matter began on a day that was all around miserable, and I wish, oh I wish, I could say that it did not go on to progress miserably in every instant from then until today, as I sit and reflect on these doings now at the end.

Tiberius: Meg Pittman leaned back in her swivel chair, holding her steaming cup of coffee in both hands under her nose. It was hazelnut, and the smell was always cozy to her. It reminded her of log cabins, antique furniture, overcast drizzling days.

A Haiku: A haiku that was written at the same time period as some other haiku that were included in last February’s issue, but had been omitted from that set.

Hansel And The Secret Of The Princesses: On top of a hill in the middle of the woods, there was a tree, and under that tree, Hansel and a fox were relaxing in the heat of the day.

A Letter of Complaints: The model 21-21 is, with the stark exception of three enormous flaws, utterly astounding. When one pets it, it feels exactly like petting a real yellow lab: the smoothity of the fur, and the subtle heat of the skin underneath if you dig in your hand against the grain and press your fingertips in to the skin at the base of the hairs. Every whisker is of perfect placement and length, the eyes are like living gems, the pawpads are at once soft and yet terse and a slight bit ragged around the edges, and when locked around your hips, one has never felt so securely held.

The Afternoon That Day: While walking on a trail through the woods, Prince Bright paused before a bridge to admire everything. It was no wonder the kingdom’s painters were so renown: if they only captured a hundredth of this, they had made something worthwhile.

The Renegade Jack of Hearts: Oh it had been good at first. It had seemed like something out of a story book, or a bad movie. They had met by singing together, for Christ’s sake. In their college dorm.

A Wizard’s Hookah: With an extra big snore, Travin startled himself awake.

Prose Poems: A Lad Insane.txt; A Lad Insane 2.txt or Cyndi Lauper; A Lad Insane 3.


IGRA PRC: My name is Lyn. I like to go on walks. I’m working on learning how to do art, but, to say my doodles are uh, childish, would still be pretty generous, they’re still bad, I’m still learning. I chew on sticks. And, I am literally undead, although I don’t mention it to most people.

Gift: Read the following short story, and then answer the questions about the short story that follow. The short story is approximately 8,000 words, and is called “Gift.”

Super Soldier Mega Spies: It’s the year 300,000,000, and humans have long since lost all affinity for harmony, nature, or animals: their singular goal as a species is to colonize the universe and its varied landscapes and lifeforms at all costs. This is where YOU come in!

Poems: Ducks; Fort Boysnuggle; Dog Pee; Passing by a T intersection in a gravel road by a pasture; New Recording 5; Grocery List; Queer Dogs; Squirrel; Apparent Loneliness; Partners In Really Emotionally Healthy And Cool Crimes; Feeling It; Sniffs; Memo; Air Conditioning; Dogs; Still Dogs tbh; Maternal; Untitled Maturation; Moment; Memento; Untitled Vague Green Bug; Metal Bit; Communication; I Get It; An Interest; Superlative; ZETA; (Shh Secrets For Zoosexuals Time); Police Dogs; Suddenly Cognizant Seconds Apropos Of A Life That While In That Moment Cliche Is Being Well Lived.

What Else Was There Had We Forsaken The Pleasure Of This Shared Life?: “Neeehehehehe,” Jeremy giggled, finishing making a continuous scissors cut all the way across the cushions of the couch in the center of the living room.

Lustucia Writers Meeting: We were standing around in the writers’ lounge, playing darts. Peter had just brought up to Bruce, “How do you picture the balcony scene?” Bruce stood there, dart in hand. You’d believe he was actually thinking of an answer to Peter’s question. More likely, Bruce really had his mind on that throw. Especially with the benefit of looking back afterwards, knowing that after a day of puncturing new holes in the drywall, he then took his time on that one, maybe had something click or, sure, maybe got lucky, but some way or another he threw and got damn close to a bullseye.

Talking Around: “Henry, do you want to show auntie your drawing? Let’s see. Ohhh, wow. That sword looks dangerous. It’s a good drawing.”

To Advance Completeness, Some Arguments: To my dear fathers, brothers, and sons in philosophy, It is known that philosophy is an endeavor in building. To arrive at an argument that is sound, a philosopher must have arrived there by considering his other knowledge at hand and identifying the yet missing fact that is the natural next.

Chicks in Space! #101: “Pilot”: A jet-like space ship is flying through space. Hang on an establishing shot, showing the space ship, and ambient pressure clicks and creaks and air flowing as the craft maintains its atmosphere.

Poems: A Friend; Dog Sex Mattress; Food Court Meal; Afterglow; 10 Years.

Wish Knots: Zadam squinted out of the mouth of the tunnel, looking at the cable which swung in the wind, suspended from this cliff face to the next across the vast canyon. The whitecap waves churned far below, and the clouds themselves were in a hurry. Once in a while, the wind cut around to face the mouth of the tunnel head-on, and Zadam’s loose-fitting garments all fanned out as though he were some exotic bird affronted. He was glad for the cap he had brought, with the flaps on the sides that drooped down to protect the ears, and the little knit ropes that he tied off under his chin.

Hal, Mindy, Ice Pick: You assuredly already know what I’m about to say. The basics, anyways. You learn everything you need to know about multiverse theory in middle school, if you didn’t already pick it up intuitively from the books you read in elementary school. And all of what I want to tell you doesn’t require understanding anything more than the basics.

VR Policy Minutes: Persons present are Mr McKinney, Ms Hall, Mr Richards, Mr Schwartz, Ms Foster, and transcriptionist Ms Fuller. Meeting taking place in the Svarga conference room in the Mag Mell wing in the Vanaheimr building with all parties in person. The door is closed with the sound proofing indicator indicating that no sound is capable of exiting the room. Electronic devices have been turned over to Mr Sullivan-Vasquez who stands guard outside. No persons have brought any notes on paper. No persons save for myself transcriptionist Ms Fuller have brought any means of marking notes. The meeting begins at 7:01 AM.

Poems: This Body; Instruments; Figurine Man.

Woe Betide Him That Hath A Narrow Heart: The studio was an abandoned gas station in Nebraska, reseeded with new purposes, the weeds of its old purposes pulled out root and all. They had toppled over the big sign and taken apart all of the pumps, and hung canvases over the edges of the roof overhead of the pumping area to create a sort of canopy tent out of the sort of geological feature of industry.

Gondola: The city then was criss-crossed with canals like the wrinkles of skin on the back of a finger, and abundant in flooded plazas where canoes and swimmers paddled about.

Conversatin, Like, Talkin With Each Other About Stuff: AJ stood at the counter, wagging an imaginary tail and singing a song to himself as he counted the bills from the register into piles of 100s.

Apparently Existing: Lauren woke up with a gasp of breath, feeling everything in the world around her come into crisp detail with the invigorating oxygen like a fire flaming up from being stoked. Trees loomed over her in the daylight, their skinny arms all dancing in the breeze. Dry and dead leaves were crunched under her cheek.

Media of Unknown Origin: Through history, bestiality has at times been seen as a way of worshiping nature and the gods through connecting sexual energies with the gods’ avatars, their animals.

Poems: ghostly i-iii; Awroodrongk; Forward, Forward, Forward.

False Flag For Funsies: Clyde and Melvin shook hands.

If I Weren’t A Zoophile Skit: The chants of each performer are generally accompanied by a little pantomime or dance that relates to what they are chanting. Some performers may have a role where they break from the format in a comedic way, often to do some kind of interaction with the other performers or with the audience. Depending on the number of performers participating, a variety of roles can be used or discarded. Performers may also come up with their own roles that are not listed here if they’d like to! But these are some ideas for roles that a performer may have.

Zoo Phonetic Alphabet: Anima, Bucking, Closer, Darling, Elk, Feral, Golden, Harpy, Impala, Jack...

Poems: Put To Good Use; Cool Dream To Have; Repeat.


Most within To Thine Own Self Be Zoo written by Eggshell Ghosthearth.

This website contains works of literature, including narrative fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Within this literature, any resemblances to any existing copyrighted materials, trademarks, or persons is completely coincidental, or is used for artistic purposes within the bounds of Public Domain, Fair Use, or Public Figure Status. Much of the literature on this site contains themes of sexuality, though is at no point intended to be pornographic. To Thine Own Self Be Zoo is a personal project and is not a for-profit endeavor.