R. C. Smith — Stories


The Island

The Courtship Gift — A South Sea Cannibal Opera, based upon ideas by S. Ireland

The Messenger

These three stories make up the collection “Herons and Heroines”, which you can download in PDF, e-pub, mobi and plain text format from the Dunyazad Digital Library. For separate plain text versions of the three stories see below.

The usual disclaimer applies: Do not read my works if you are offended by descriptions of sexuality and violence. (Do not read them just for those descriptions, either.)

The title “Herons and Heroines” for this collection is somewhat misleading. Herons only appear in the third one, “The Messenger”. And maybe you will feel the same about heroines. You’d be wrong, though. It’s still heroism you will find in “The Island” and “The Courtship Gift”, even if of a different kind, owing to different circumstances.

I have written “The Island” in 2008, during one of the many long breaks from working on “The Journey”. A disappointed reader, who had liked it at the beginning, disliked the end and said that obviously I had run out of ideas. No, I haven’t. This is how the story ends, has to end, how I have meant it to end. You can still think of the end as being open, if you really want to, but it’s your story, then …

“The Courtship Gift” was written in early 2014. Often, when reading one of Sabrina’s little stories, I had thought there was an operaic quality to them, and this time I finally decided to carry this idea out. I’m serious about this being an opera libretto — someone should set it to music. For more about it, see the accompanying Author’s Note.

I wrote the first part of “The Messenger” (which didn’t have that title then) in early 2015. Sabrina said she wanted more of it, but, to me, the story had been told. It was more than a year before I had the idea for the second part. I wrote the Interlude and the first half of the second part in late 2016. Though, more or less, I knew how to continue, as so often, I procrastinated — there was no hurry, after all, was there? — and when I finally wrote the first draft of the final part, in March 2017, knowing at the end that time was running out but neither of us aware of how fast, it was too late. She has never read it.


Plain text files:

The Island (2008, Last updated 03/2013)

The Courtship Gift (2014, Last updated: 04/2014)

The Messenger (2017, Last updated: 10/2018)

Character encoding is Windows 1252 (“Western”)

For PDF, e-pub and mobi (“Herons and Heroines”) go to the

Dunyazad Digital Library

(and while you’re there, why not have a look around?)

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