Contributors, Interviews, Projects

Meet the Humans: Julya Oui

As part of our campaign we will be introducing you to our contributors – the fabulous, creative and talented people we’ve recruited for this project.

Being an author and a screenwriter Julya Oui believes in keeping monsters, having nightmares, and dreaming up worlds that defy logic. While Mother Nature inspires her, mindbending curiosities motivate her. She lives in a town known as the City of Everlasting Peace, or Taiping, somewhere north of Malaysia. She is also a pluviophile and an entomophile who loves shinrin-yoku.
BioPixHiRes.JPGYou can find her here and here.

[Knight Errant Press]: Is gender identity a theme that comes up a lot in your writing? If not, what pushed you to explore it this time around?

Yes. It’s not so much of a question as to why or how but a question of being realistic.

[KEP]: Has exploring gender affected your worldview and your writing and reading habits?

Definitely. I have seen the world through different physical forms. How I was treated for being so gave me insights I have never known or seen before through a series of actions and reactions. That is why it’s always nice to read a book without having to focus on the characters’ physical forms which can easily be misconstrued for what they’re not, like how it is in real life.

[KEP]: Was there a particular book, short story, poem or event in your life that inspired you to write your own?

[J]: I grew up with Pan Book of Horror Stories, doses of The Twilight Zone, and superstitions in my little old town. But what inspired me to pursue the love of my life and kept me going was The Lesson of the Moth by Don Marquis.

[KEP]: What author or book do you think is most underrated? And why?

[J]: Jungle without Water by Sreedhevi Iyer. She made me laugh and cringe and upset at how wonderful and terrible life can be at the same time.

[KEP]: Is there any book, written by someone else, that you wish you’d written? Would you change it, if yes – how? 

[J]: The Old Man who read Love Stories by Luis Sepulveda. I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s too beautiful to change even a single word but I would like to write something as gorgeous as this some day.

[KEP]: What’s the most famous book you haven’t read?/play you haven’t seen?/album you haven’t listened to?/film and TV series you haven’t watched?

[J]: I have not read a lot of classics but I guess the most outstanding thing I haven’t done recently is to watch or read Game of Thrones. I still haven’t a clue what I am missing.

[KEP]: Do you ever feel like you have book FOMO (fear of missing out) because of a famous title you haven’t had the chance to read, if so, which one?

[J]: Yes. All the time. I’m a slow reader and I can only go as fast as my love for reading can allow me to. I would like to get my hands on Yesterday by Felicia Yap. Futuristic murder mystery? Hell, yes!

[KEP]: Tea or coffee?

[J]: Tea.

[KEP]: Early morning or late into the night?

[J]: Early morning.

[KEP]: Digital or analogue?

[J]: Both. Depending on the situation.


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Exquisite Corpse #2

Here is a little warning before you are plunged into the story below:

  1. These flash fictions are developed during our They Come From Within workshops and their many permutations.
  2. They are a hive mind effort, developed and written by a number of individuals in tandem – not all of our writers are mind readers so sometimes the stories come out a little Frankenstein but are no worse for being a little disjointed.
  3. We will be uploading these stories one at a time,  once a week during November-December 2017 – to fill in the gap that our hiatus has inadvertently created in your life. After December updates will be more or less in synch with our workshops.

Now to the story –


Days in the greendomes were good, nights even better. With the lights low, to replicate the solar rythms of a sun nobody remembered, you couldn’t see Yellowstone billowing around in its new home in the sky. Just weak LEDs along the walkways, the white of the apple blossoms glowing sweetly as J went along pollenating by hand, bit by bit, one by one, one to the other – doing the work of animals, because this was what happened when people only saved themselves.

The first whispers of the spawncall tickled the back of J’s mind, a distraction in the first days building to a babble that teased their thoughts apart. Work became difficult, distracted, and J found themselves spending unthinking hours standing in the dome’s vestibule, staring at the doors and waiting for the blinking red lights to flick to constant green. Once the doors opened then the hot, organic pressure building in their body would be released. J shuddered at the thought.

As ever, the signal came at a painfully inopportune moment; this time, when J was hunched over the centrifuge, eyes focused on the tiny gauge. The work was sensitive and vital, but there was no question of continuing once the light glowed fertile green. J shut down the equipment, their shaking hands fumbling over the sharp-edged switches. Out in the corridor, a thrumming echo of feet started to swell.

J was compelled, by a force that outweighed their reason and one that overpowered even their most basic instinct, to join the growing shoal of humans slowly gathering outside the greendomes. First, however, they were to equip themselves in gear that protected their fragile lungs and eyes. The air outside was nippy but the shoal was safe and retained much of the tepid heat of the greendomes as it progressed, at an unrelenting pace, towards a pulsating, lilac light in the distance. Eventually, J saw the familiar pyramid outline of the Temple with its smooth surfaces perpetually covered in ash and airborne debris.

Hunger pangs of every kind pinged in each of them, identical by design and irresistible. J could feel it stacking, accelerating and synchronizing through the shoal – their steps falling in ripples through the ash and blasts on the ground – leaving a pattern of waves that’d only last a minute in the world outside.

It’ll only last a minute, J told themselves.

To the moment, the airlock door was whipping open and shut, admitting them in uniform waves to the Temple. To home, technically. Though as the door zipped shut behind J, the only feeling was of stepping into a trap.

Saliva flooded J’s mouth, turning quickly to drool as sane, rational thought decayed into pure, unthinking action. The warm, humid air of the Temple crackled with a static that made clothing confining, stifling. Strips of rent fabric, partially recognizable as shirts or trousers, lined the hallway that led to the Spawnpit. J barely realized that their own clothes had fallen away, lost at whatever point their hurried walk had turned to a frenzied run.

Down the hall, through an archway, hardly aware of the jostling masses. Then weightlessness and falling and a euphoric loss of self that went beyond pain, beyond death.

Until the impact, where they and countless others were momentarily swallowed by the elastic, slightly slippery membrane of the pit. Silence pervaded. There was a brief moment of confusion, as always, where bodies struggled to render themselves apart in order to fall back together, fitted, like pieces of a massive jigsaw puzzle.

A grip was taken. Limb slid along limb. J yielded to their place in the knot, and let their gaze drift to the pyramid’s apex, where the lights dimmed for comfort, as they were programmed to. The less that could be seen, the better. In slick increments, the process advanced. Step by step, like the pollination of the apples. Because this – this – was what happened in order for people to save themselves.


660 words

Written by many, typed by Eris Young

25/11/2017 at Woodland Creatures, Leith
Hell Panel from “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch