Tuesday, September 30, 2008
They always want me to tell them about it. They tell me they want to understand. I believed them before, but that was then and this is now. They fooled me at one point; they blinded me. I really thought they wanted to know, to know about him. But now I know. It’s him who is blinding them. As long as he exists, I am unable to trust anyone, which worries me all the more. Oh, no, no, no. I have already told them too much.
And now he knows.
But humans can’t hide from him. Safety is not an option; we must try and outwit him. But he is so clever, so clever. I’m just lucky enough to be free of him, at least as free of him as I will ever become. I can see through most of his schemes now, but I can’t defeat him alone. I need others to believe me. But how will they believe me? I’m-I’m labeled as totally insane; part of his plan. My message can not be heard, will not be heard, not so long as I’m left in here to rot. And even if I did find a way out, they’re the normal ones. Why would they listen to me, the loon? Ha ha. It’s them against me, all of them.
And I become silenced.
But why would he need to silence me, anyway? Because he wants it. Because greed consumes him. You stupid boy; you silly, naive little boy. Greed consumes all of them, and he feeds off of it. His power grows with greed, and greed is a disease with no cure. As such, he knows what they know, and he feels what they feel. He has become them, and they have become him.
And he will never die.
So it becomes pointless. There is no hope of ending his reign of terror; he is the enemy they can’t see or feel, but he is there. He is real. His hand guides their hands, leading us further down the spiral. The further down the spiral we careen, the more I feel his presence. His power grows, his ideals spread. This invisible monster not only threatens to corrupt us all, but he threatens to destroy everything I know and love. And here we fall, further down the spiral. The scariest part is that no one cares, and no one ever will.
And so he wins.
Monday, September 29, 2008
The Next Quote
Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Stealing and cheating
Ever so slick
Jack be tricky
Jack be clever
Jack is going to live
Jack be greedy
Now he suffers
Until he repays
Jack the monster
Jack the cursed
But still he continues
To do his worst
The hour is late now
The sky is black
I hope there is some way
- Unknown Author
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The End of the World
And then, after these final words comes the reply. A reply that transcended words, transcended meaning, for in it's iteration it was and became the very act itself.
I AM THE END OF THE WORLD
As the goat flees the lion she runs - she is celerity itself - pressed from behind as existence closes itself behind her. On all sides the world begins to flake away at the edges, collapsing in upon itself and folding back into raw geysers of primordial nothing that erupt forth from the dying corpse of existence. And somewhere in the background, from nowhere and everywhere there is howling, howling like no sound ever uttered or heard by man or beast before, howling the likes of which might herald the end of all things.
She runs. The tiny, faded voices of everyone and everything that ever was and ever lived urging her forward, their hands on her back, their voices in her ears, whispering: faster, faster go faster! What is Real falls away around her, tumbling up and down as gravity flies apart at the seams of what tether holds it Being. Through it all her feet carry her along that shaky precipice, narrowing by the second, running down the last, rapidly fading vestiges of that which Is.
Sight and sound fall away, dead and gone, surrounded now on all sides by inky blackness she falls at last. Unsure of when, or how, her end - The End - will come. To think it all come to this - all the pasts, all the presents, the sum totality of existence boiled down and concentrated now in this one moment, the barrier between worlds bridged only to share the same cataclysmic end.
If it were any longer possible to scream, she would - she can feel the exertion but that part of her is dead now - she can feel it... the end claiming her too, its final prize. She can feel it tugging at her; her voice, her sight, her memories being drawn taut like strings, tensing and finally just... letting go. Peeling away and gone into the ether. It doesn't hurt, but the world fades, things fade, and thoughts become fluid in her mind, no longer connected as they once were as the strings of her being unravel to join her comrades and memories in mutual extinction.
Under her fingers she can feel Reality coming apart, in her finger-tips - as though she still had such things. The whole of it begins to give way beneath her and she begins to sink. So this is what it is like to feel the universe ending against your fingertips; like shifting sand and threads. She sinks deeper into the decaying mass of the cosmos. What little faculties, what little energy she has left strain against the windless, airless vacuum just to keep her alive. And somehow, she also feels a slight sensation - like that gentle tugging on her soul for a moment began to ebb.
A little at first and then more - she sinks herself deeper through reality, pulling herself into it even as it dissolves away around her. A little at first - enough to feel another gentle lessening in her dissolution - and then more frantically digging her way down, deeper down, where she cannot say only that it is away. She buries herself pulling her way through, tearing string-like threads to tatters, and she can feel pieces of herself being torn away as she plunges now... no longer digging but swimming through ... unknown. There are no words, but she feels them... each torn member each torn thread claiming something of herself - their blood sacrifice to her escape, plunging now, down, down deeper into...
It takes her a moment to restore her old senses... the exertion pulls at her but slowly the scene comes into focus and yes, butterflies; butterflies as far as the eye can see, butterflies in their countless thousands, countless millions thick as smoke, blotting out even the midday summer's sun. Hills and the valleys spread from horizon to horizon, covered in blooming wildflowers cast in hues of red, and orange, and violet and a thousand shades in between. A whole world of hills and butterflies and flowers and bright blue sky enfolding a brilliant sun above.
This is somewhere, and some place - she cannot say where or when, or even if this place ever was; if it was a dream, or a memory. She can no longer say with any certainty. She stands.
How long? How long has it been since she stood on a world - a proper world - looking into the sky and at fields full of flowers and butterflies? How many eons since these things had been erased? Oh! How much had been lost before they had even dreamt of war, or an end. Who could dream of such things under and endless sky in summer when butterflies are in the air?
So long ago. They were all different people back then, different Beings even; how odd to stand upon earth again, after so long spent walking among stars and the expanse between worlds and now - as it seemed - back through the barrier of time itself. Somehow still alive - she had lived. It was the heroes - the brave - who had fallen first; their voices like the exaltant angels of heaven, of force like thunder, swept away as so much dust upon the wind. The shards of their shattered bodies and minds were now strewn across a hundred thousand years of time and a hundred million worlds; extinguished - as it were - forevermore. And now it was she that was standing on the hills of summer in some other world in some other time.
A thousand years and there would not be enough tears to express the sorrow and contemplate the lives and worlds extinguished. he wind begins to die, and the sky darkens as though the sun passed behind a cloud. She looks up, her head cocked against the wind like a dear sensing danger.
All around the butterflies are falling, like rain, dead. Their bodies, blackened, begin to cover the ground and she brushes away with the frantic motion of panic as they fall upon her in droves. How strange that after so long her physical form would still retain the same simple motions, the same instinctive fears. She dismisses is, fading back into Greater Reality though the experience weakens her more than it used to - more perhaps than it should have.
It has followed her, she knows, through whatever link now existed between where she was and where she now found herself. All worlds in this time too were now doomed then - and by her hand no less. She considers her options. From here it will claim all Reality up to where it was before. Not slacked with the present that was it now sought to claim the past that is; even experiences already lived are not proof against this oblivion it seemed.
She can try fighting - dissociate this world and collapse it's star; perhaps if no one is looking she might extinguish this whole galaxy and hurl the resultant energy into the darkness. They had tried that all before of course but here - now - there was so much more energy available... she could feel it coursing through the dimensional eddies and currents in which she was now wading through.
She can wait, and perhaps again slip through the barrier of time - further perhaps - back into the ancient past, maybe back near the very beginning itself. Maybe she might find some clue there as to the End that dogged her. Or she could simply condemn all time itself to the void. In either way, time is running short and soon to disappear altogether.
ALL THINGS END - RUN FOREVER, RUN AND YOU WILL COME TO ME - THE END OF TIME.
Like a presence written into everything she hears the message, the bugle call that precedes the running of the hounds. And she is to run again - she knows this game. She sees its end. Or is it.
Another possibility unfolds in her mind. Whatever it was didn't seem to work... or perhaps it was subtle so subtle she missed it the first time. She could split the time causality - and perhaps step beyond the reach even of the End of All Things. Yes, she told herself, it made a mistake following her through time. Hope it seemed, had not yet been swallowed up.
She stands on the veranda overlooking the autumn leaves laying on the ground, in reds and oranges and yellows. A mug of steaming coffee rests in her hands and she wears a mauve sweater, underneath a white turtleneck and some old pair of jeans. Her hangs in the cool morning air, drifting like idle mist. She can feel the cold, a hard edged presence pressed against her skin and tempered by the wool and the steaming cup in her hands. A moment before she had been looking out at the yard, planning her morning. Now she was staring at - and staring back at - herself.
Traces of grey had crept into her hair. Lines had appeared upon her face, and what had once - still was - been a youthful countenance now looked faded. Yet if this was an older version of herself it was the eyes that had changed the most - it was looking into frantic, half-mad eyes. She took a step back towards the door.
"I've come a long way to speak with you." Her voice too is older, and calm though she looks mad.
"Who are you? What are you doing..."
"I need your help. It can't touch you - you alone are safe - if it does walls of time can never be breached. It made a mistake coming here, after me. You're the only one that's safe. So you alone are free to act... it can't touch you - you have time. "
There is a pause. The dawn rises slowly above the distant horizon. "You're... me?"
"We don't have much..." In mid-sentence she can feel it stirring, nearby. Following her now.
She can feel it, almost on top of her. Waiting and almost - it seemed - goading her? It wasn't unmaking the world, it wasn't swallowing up dimensions... it was waiting. She ignores it and continues on her other self standing, looking stunned, frightened and perhaps even pityingly upon the older woman that stood in front of her. "Please listen. What I have to say means everything..."
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Messages in the Dark
I smiled, the blood drying on my lips slowly, “Lady, you don’t know the half of it.”
I listened for a while longer, what else was there to do? Her name was Janet I eventually discovered from her soothing archaically accented chatter and I almost laughed through the pain. “Sorry Gretchen, looks like I found another sweetheart!” and I did laugh then, though the pain and the sorrow and the doubt. Eventually the laughter gave way to crying and crying to blessed sleep.
I woke to a song I didn’t recognise, something simple from a distant history I knew almost nothing about, it was something about being a long way from home. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. It ended far too quickly, replaced by Janet’s lovely voice, “Thank you all of you our there on the front risking your lives, your sweethearts are at home waiting for you, please win this war quickly and please come home.”
I did switch off the speakers then for a short while and worked. I’d found some strength in that old broadcast, enough to do critical repairs, enough to limp out onto the side of the the ship and batter its shattered form back into shape.
Re-entering the ship and exhausted to the point of collapse I turned the broadcast back on and recorded as much as I could while I waited for the hyperdrive to warm back up over the next few days.
I had a fleet to rejoin, we had a war to win.
For all those back home.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The Unnamed Threat
Not that beauty would be the description that would jump to most minds at the look of her. Don’t get me wrong, she looked good for her age; extremely good. But her features were still weathered to the point of being elderly and somewhat homely; people might not think that she was beautiful at this time, but they may consider that she was beautiful at one point. And she was.
At this point, Fate made a noise so loud that it could be thought to wake the very dead themselves. Of course, Fate could not wake the actual dead, but he came close, in that he awoke the woman who everyone believed to be deceased.
She shot up quickly, gasping, as many people do when startled. No noise; none at all, in fact. Stillness again, the only noticeable difference from the previous stillness being that she was conscious this time. She glanced all around now, surveying her surroundings. From her perspective, she appeared to be in some sort of cave or cavern. From my perspective and Fate’s perspective, however, she was not just in any old cave or cavern of sorts, but rather she was located in a cavernous area beneath a booming metropolis, the name of which I can’t remember and the name of which also is not important to this story. She attempted to stand. It took a bit of effort but, with Fate on her side, she was able to awaken the rest of her muscles and gain her balance very efficiently, thus the attempt succeeded. The tiny men in her brain then commanded the tiny men in her spine to order the tiny men controlling her legs to move her forward.
This is the point of the story that Fate has been waiting for. Now that she was awake and thinking coherently, albeit quite confused, Fate took the opportunity to flick on her memory switch. You see, right before her long slumber, she was rushing to warn of an approaching army, the largest of which she has ever seen, that seemed to be burning and pillaging everything in its path. Everything included everyone in this case; our heroine being unlucky enough to be in its path, but also being lucky enough to be far enough away from it to flee. She hoped that the people in the next city would be able to take this lugubrious message and convert it into effective preparation with regards to the impending threat. This is the original point at which Fate decided to intervene, befalling her with her slumber. As I understand it, Fate can be quite a cruel personified abstract concept, especially where his amusement is concerned. I will elaborate further when the irony is unveiled.
Fate didn’t wish to make things too difficult for our protagonist, so he planned this ahead. The cave or cavern from which she awoke would not have had any light gracing its presence within the structure had it not been for a crack in one of the walls, the creation of which being the source of the sound that could have woke the dead. The man who physically created the fissure, a real man and not a personified abstract concept, was much too large to fit through it. The woman, on the other hand, was tiny enough to squeeze her way to the other side. And so she did.
Upon emerging, this woman not only crossed her barrier, but she also crossed into a whole new world. She wasn’t aware of this at the time, although she had the thought in her head that something was up. I mean, if I approached her and told her what was happening, she probably would have believed me, as much as she didn’t want to. Of course, I couldn’t do that. Her portal into this brave new world was the crack, and it led into a subway station. Normally crowded, she happened to enter at a time of day when this wasn’t the case. The only other person who graced his presence was a man at the far end, attempting to fall asleep on a bench, out of her line of sight. So, she naturally assumed that she was the only person currently in this wondrous carved-out cavern. This also meant that she had to get somewhere else in order to relay her message in a hurry. She had no idea how long she’d been unconscious; she just prayed that she could warn these people of the threat before it was too late, if there even were any people around here.
After a few moments of searching for an exit, she found a staircase leading up; it seemed safer to head in that direction than walking down one of the tunnels in which there appeared to be no light. Up she went. The staircase led outside and, upon arriving outside, she was surprised once again. She had no idea that it would be dark outside, the lights in the subway messing with her senses. Of course, I use the description ‘dark’ very loosely in this instance, as the night sky itself was quite dark, but there were thousands upon thousands of man-made lights everywhere. The sight of the skyscrapers and streetlights and automobiles, all the names of which she did not know, stopped this woman in her tracks. And the people; there were so many people walking around. She thought that this was amazing and that this city was very advanced and she got excited when she saw people inside the metal things that were travelling to and fro. With this many people with this level of technology or magic, she felt that this would be the perfect city to quash the incoming threat that was no longer coming.
And this is where Fate truly shows his cruel side. Had Fate been a bit nicer, he might have had her realize that she was no longer in her time. Unfortunately, Fate had the foresight not to allow our heroine such a privilege and his plan was about to come full circle. She approached a nearby man who was walking briskly. She tried to get his attention, but he acted as though he didn’t see or hear her. She tried the same thing again, but got the same reaction from another woman.
She told them it wasn’t too late, that they still could react before the impending threat arrived. She told them that they had the manpower, they had the resources; all they had to do was listen. She didn’t know when they’d be here, but it would likely be soon, so they all will have to prepare. And listen. She told them the threat can’t be taken lightly, the army containing thousands upon thousands, but they could be outnumbered. They could be surprised. They could be stopped. She told them that she travelled very far to deliver this message to them and they should act upon it. It was their only hope.
By this time, she attracted the attention of some people. Unfortunately, it was not the general populace, who had taken to walking far around her, creating a large circle, centring her out from the rest of the crowd. No, the attention of some nearby police officers was grabbed by her outlandish rant. At this time, they approached her and told her to slow down. She asked them how she could possibly slow down when no one wants to listen, even when she was trying to deliver them from their doom. She added that the two men, the police officers, could help her. They could help deliver the message to the people. They told her that they would help her, and they asked her to come with them. She obliged, following them to the back of their police cruiser.
When they said they would help her, the police officers did not mean to imply they would help bring her message to the populace. In fact, they were planning to do the exact opposite; they planned on silencing the message by bringing her to a psychiatric hospital. And their plan succeeded. She was admitted without much hassle, as she claimed some unnamed threat was coming to destroy their city and she had no idea what year it was or where she was, and she did not even know how to operate a telephone when given the opportunity. Well, I use the phrase ‘without much hassle’ very loosely, as the hospital staff saw no problems with making this admittance hassle-free, while she took it upon herself to make it very hard for them. Of course, she was unable to resist them, and she spent many years in that hospital, the name of which I can’t remember and the name of which is not important to this story.
Eventually, our protagonist learned that she was in another time and the approaching threat was most likely not approaching anymore. She felt that she didn’t get her message out, but it didn’t matter. Fate knew and I knew, on the other hand, that she did, in fact, get her message out. Not to as many people as she planned, but to some people. On that eventful day, the day of her psychotic rant out on the street, the people who pretended not to hear the woman heard her loud and clear. They didn’t want to hear her message, but they couldn’t help but listen. They tried to convince themselves that what she said was not true, but in the back of their minds for the rest of their lives, they lived in fear of an unnamed threat and their impending doom.
Friday, September 12, 2008
A Slight Miscalculation
She glanced at the crowds of people streaming past on either side. No one noticed that she hadn’t been there a second before, or the odd clothes they’d no doubt think she was wearing. They were all trapped in their own little world.
“This isn’t right.” Amy said to herself, confusion mixed with anxiety.
Looking around for some reference to the year she was in, she noticed something caught in the grate below her feet. Reaching down to pick up an old newspaper she stared at the date, and cursed. June 23rd, 2010. Nine hundred years off. That last explosion must have damaged the calibration engine. These people would have never heard of the Collective, let alone the Ingrid armada.
Desperately, Amy racked her mind for what she remembered about New York city. Never the best student, she cursed herself for skipping those ancient history classes. Still, she remembered the name. “Something about an attack in 2001 and . . . . “ she muttered, “and. . .damn it, something else happened! What was it.”
Closing her eyes, Amy tried to remember. “In the summer of 2009, meteorologists were stunned when a sudden storm decimated the city of New York. It was only the first in. . .. wait, 2009?” Opening her eyes, Amy looked again at the paper in her hand as a fat drop of rain exploded on a picture of some school. She had to leave. Now. But go where?
Even if Amy could find someone who didn’t think she was insane, they’d be more concerned with the two Great Contagions and the Three Impacts. Let alone the resource wars soon to come. No, the world would survive those things without her, she new that. If the Ingrids are to be pushed back, it be up to her to get the world ready for them.
Saying a small prayer under her breathe, and thanking the maker for those life extending procedures she’d been granted, Amy set about getting off this island before it was to late.
“First stop, Atlantis” she said with a grin. That facility should give me the foothold I need. A glance at her reflection in the window made her change her mind though. “Clothes first, Atlantis second.”
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Past Meets Present
She had been wandering around for three days now, confused and lost. She’d had a sense of deja vu ever since she first noticed the mountains in the distance. They looked familiar but ancient; their peaks tired and worn while the mountains surrounding her village had been sharp and new. Then there was the roaring waterfall that tumbled out of the mountain pass two days back. Although it looked a lot wider than the one she remembered, it still rumbled in passing between two large peaks, the water thundering into a large lake below. Finally there was the wide river draining out of the lake that she had been following since yesterday, a river she remembered with sparkling water the colour of the sea. No where else had she seen a river that colour before. But this could not be the river from her youth; the river that led to her village was a winding snake, coiling back again and again. This one flowed straight as an arrow, curving only slightly here or there.
Finally, she found herself here, staring in shock at the ruins before her. The village was long gone, without even a hint that anything had ever been here before. Tall evergreens grew where buildings had been and the only paths that existed were game trails. But there was no mistaking the castle that loomed before her. Though crumbling, it remained a bastion of civilization in the wild north. Though the wood had long disappeared, the stone foundations remained, a forgotten monument to time long since past.
With nothing else to do, she urged her horse towards it. The gate glowered down at her the way she remembered from her youth, daring you to approach. After some debate, she decided to enter, to see if the ruins could give her any clues as to what had happened.
It was along the winding front staircase wall that she found the markings: slashes scoring the wall in over a dozen places. A battle had been fought here long ago, most likely the battle that had wiped out her people.
Perhaps the army she had been trying to warn her people of had long ago made its way here. Perhaps that was who had killed everyone she knew. She sighed. Perhaps. She would probably never know for certain what had happened here.
It was then that she heard the steady beat of drums. She glanced out of a rather large hole in the castle wall and saw to her dismay an army headed across the plains. What she had thought were drums were actually the marching of thousands of feet. She stood for a moment, brushing a wayward tear from her cheek. Always a war. It seemed she had missed the one that had killed everyone she knew only to stumble onto a new one.
As the army marched on, she caught sight of their banner: a green and gold dragon on a black background. That was when she got her second shock of the day: the gold dragon was the banner of the empire that had declared war on her people! They had survived however many years had passed, and here they were, on their way to make new conquests!
"Those bastards!" She flew down the stairs and vaulted onto her horse. The past might be behind her, but the present was now. There would be new villages and people to save. Maybe this time her message would reach some of them in time.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
We rebuilt and We did not war as the legends told, with fire and sickness and devises too small for sight. We had agreed to it, what wars there can be are to stay personal and not wipe the land clean with machines that eat the soil and fires that taint. We had finally and almost too late learned Our lesson.
Imagine Our surprise, elation and horror then when We found a sealed bunker and a corpse for ages past. Low level investigation shows she died in terrible pain although whether the nanites eating her flesh, the radiation sickness ravaging his body or the gut wound finally killed her is unclear and largely academic. she died alone, a lesson to all of Us.
There are those who say Our new way are no better, that where once they abused the body, We abuse the soul. they are silenced by Our will. There will be peace.
Never again shall Mankind fight for ‘freedom’, dying and killing and scarring.
you cannot fight for what you do not have.
It has been seen to by Us.