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All eight of the case study vignettes are gathered together with one (never-published!) short story for this e-book release, in which we follow xenotherapists Jahir and Vasiht’h through the ins and outs of their daily case-load. The vignettes cover everything from alien sleeping arrangements to post-traumatic stress recovery, and wind up with “The Case of the Poisoned House,” in which the two therapists run into a problem tailor-made to test their blind spots:
“So, why don’t you tell us about your family?”
/Nicely done,/ Vasiht’h sent on a curl of orange amusement. /I doubt she even noticed your double-take when she walked in./
Jahir didn’t even look at his partner as he replied in silent kind, /And what a double-take it is. No wonder they’re having problems./
Their client, currently seated cross-legged in one of their chairs, was a woman in her late twenties. That she was Harat-Shariin, one of the the many offshoots of humanity’s genetic experiments hundreds of years ago, was not particularly unusual in the primarily Pelted Alliance… no, what had surprised both Jahir and Vasiht’h was that the woman’s brother had referred her for therapy. Her Hinichi brother. People who looked like wolves did not naturally produce siblings who looked like ocelots.
/How many problems they’re having depends on how old she was when they took her in,/ Vasiht’h said, continuing their silent dialogue as the woman settled into the chair and began picking at the end of her spotted tail. /We might get lucky./
/I won’t bet on those odds,/ Jahir said.
“I’m not sure this is a good idea,” the woman began. “I don’t think you can understand what I’m going through.”
“Why’s that?” Jahir asked.
“Well, I’ve heard that Glaseah have no hormones and Eldritch have sex once every six hundred years and only to procreate, so how can either of you possibly understand me?”
/Nice opening,/ Vasiht’h muttered.
/At least we won’t be bored…/
This is the first of what I hope will be several collections about Jahir and Vasiht’h; I have in fact discovered a way to label them as a series on Amazon (go Amazon!). Since I came up with this odd couple in high school, I’ve been wanting to peek at their work, but what I mostly got was their involvement in other troubles: the Eldritch problems that we see in “Family,” and the other high-profile characters from other series that they help; I met them, in fact, when they showed up in Alysha Forrest’s life. But as much as I want to tell the stories of how they got involved in worlds-changing events (including those that helped end the Chatcaavan War!), I felt it was important to show you a bit of the life they consider their real life, the everyday, day-after-day things that created and cemented their relationship.
Some random art of Jahir and Vasiht’h, not strictly pertinent to any of the included stories… I should probably draw them working/out and about on the starbase, just for fun. I probably don’t because poor Jahir! His face has been through so many iterations. It took me forever to figure out he didn’t have the pointed elfin face I associate with the Eldritch. That’s actually Lisinthir’s thing. Jahir has a real, bona fide square jaw.
Anyway. Jahir and Vasiht’h! If you enjoyed the vignettes, now you can get them all in one volume, with tiny little illustrations at the titles (fun but so troublesome to format!), plus a longer short story. If you’re into psychology and aliens, I daresay this is one of the few ebooks that will target your itch directly. Check it out!
You can find my other stories in print and in e-book form, including many free and 99-cent nibbles, at Smashwords and Amazon. And as always, if you like what you read, please drop back by and give it a few stars or a review. Your opinions help other readers make their purchasing decisions! Thanks for helping this independent author out.