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Short Story Writer - Kat Dodd
Helen Carroll  

“Winterlude Paradox” by Kat Dodd

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It’s odd. Ever since my human Caitlín and I have embarked on our relationship, I have been much more settled and content than I would have thought, especially for how chaotic and unpredictable my human Caitlín is. But I believe that we balance each other out quite well. She is prone to reacting more from emotion than logic, and I am prone to considering the danger and trying to find the response that poses the most safety. I don’t believe that either answer is inherently better or worse anymore, but that it depends on the situation, and we balance each other out in that regard.

I have been endeavouring to make my human Caitlín happy. She is bright and chaotic and beautiful for that chaos and her smile makes my hearts react. I always considered that to be a weird euphemism but it truly is that my hearts spasm in different ways, depending on the cause.

I believe that I have mostly succeeded at making her happy. But lately she has been despondent and will not tell me why and insists that everything is fine. Everything is not fine. Is she no longer happy with our relationship? Does she require more? Have I been doing anything wrong?

While her smile makes my hearts jump in a pleasant way, the possibility that she wishes to dissolve our pairbonds feels as though someone is squeezing my hearts, rendering them unusable. Truly, I thought these were euphemisms but no, it does actually physically feel this way.

I must get more information. I can not second guess myself. Not in this.

I hope this is not the case. I simply cannot think of other explanations.

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Begin Entry

Well. My human Caitlín does not wish to “break up”, as she said. It appears as though I have drastically misread the situation.

Thank the stars.

She is simply sad that she can not go home for Christmas. Apparently it is a big deal for her family and this is the first year she will not be seeing them in person, though holoscreens will help.

I must do some research to find out how to bring Christmas to her. She would do the same for me were our positions reversed. I do not understand this preoccupation with particular days, but I do not have to understand it in order to respect that it means a lot to her.

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Begin Entry

I decorated our quarters for my human Caitlín. I had to hope that I was doing it correctly, because it appears as though there are many different ways to decorate for Christmas. I did speak to the human Eoman, who has been wonderfully helpful, and he told me more about how my human Caitlín and her family traditionally celebrate Christmas, and that made me feel more confident that I was doing it correctly.

However. Have you ever attempted to put a tinsel crown on a deathvok? Of course you have not, you are a computer. Suffice it to say they do not like it. Fluffy rendered many scratches on my epidermis and I had to go to the infirmary to get the worst of them treated. Of course my human Caitlín returned while I was gone so I missed her reaction upon seeing our quarters, but luckily the computer recorded it for me so that I could still see it.

At first, I was quite afraid that I had made things worse, because her eyes were leaking at an alarming rate, but she assured me that sometimes she cries because she is happy. This makes less sense to me than Christmas, but my human Caitlín has yet to lie to me.

I proposed that we create our own traditions, as well, that do not include putting a tinsel crown on Fluffy. She appears to be pleased with this suggestion, and we will be making a list of potential additions.

I am still learning about romantic relationships. I am pleased to discover that I am not as hopeless at them as I would have assumed. It helps that I have a partner such as my human Caitlín.

I find myself looking forward to many Christmases with her.

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Kat Dodd is an American transplant that escaped from a small town in Arkansas right between Toad Suck, Pickles Gap, and Wooster. The first story they ever wrote was in a purple crayon in their journal, and Kat hasn’t stopped writing since. Kat is a co-organiser of Cupán Fae and has been a member for almost 4 years and has contributed to anthologies: Dublin’s Fierce City, Fierce Mighty, Fierce New World, and Fierce & Proud.

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