Sunday, December 27, 2009

January's Quote

This is the quote Shawn was going to post:

"Everyone dies. It's the final and only lasting justice. Evil exists; it is intelligence in the service of entrophy. When the side of a mountain slides down to kill a village, this is not evil, for evil requires intent. Should a sentient being cause that landslide, there is evil; and requires Justice as a consequence, so that civilization can exist. There is no greater good than Justice, and only if law serves Justice is it good law. It is said correctly that law exists not for the Just but for the unjust, for the Just carry the law in their hearts, and do not need to call it from afar. I bow to no one and I give service only for cause."
-Boba Fett

The Contest

I perched above the city, hiding amongst the clouds. The sky was black, the kind of black that only comes with a storm. My brothers and sisters were with me, hiding here and there among the clouds. It was nights like this that we lived for.

“I will throw the first bolt to start,” Aryana announced, pulling a lightning bolt from the pouch at her waist. “Once it has hit the ground, then you may begin.”

The rest of us grabbed bolts of our own, fingers and arms twitching in anticipation. We watched as she held the bolt lovingly, then tensed her arm and let it fly. BOOM! The bolt hit the ground below us, shattering a tree in two. With that, we were off, throwing bolts of our own. Down and down they came, hitting everything from mail boxes to cars. Some of us threw them quickly, trying to hit as much as we could. Others took their time, trying to land their bolts on the smallest targets.

After about twenty minutes, Aryana stopped us. On our honour, we counted up our scores. Ten points for every small target hit, five for every large one. Zero points if we missed and just hit the ground. Of the five of us, I had the highest score.

“Congratulations Eva, it looks like you’ve won tonight,” Aryana said with a smile. The others grumbled as they handed over their left-over lightning bolts. With a big grin, I started launching them down, three at a time, until there were no more. Then we launched ourselves into the sky, off to collect more lightning bolts for the next storm.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I've Come a Long Way, Baby

“What happened to you? Last I heard, you were at the top of your class, you loved your country, and you were a model citizen. Then you appear before me in the court for a crime such as this. You have come a long way, Wesley. How does the accused plead?”

Wesley looked up from the stand, into the icy eyes of the judge, and said, “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

The bailiff spit out his coffee in shock; he, as well as everyone else in the courtroom, knew that the boy was full of it. The judge caught wind of this and continued, “You mean to tell me, under oath, that you mean to plead ‘not guilty’ to the charges?”

Wesley thought about his response. He finally added, “Well, no. I did it–”

A large gasp fell over the crowd.

Wesley paused again, surprised at the reaction, before continuing, “I did it, but I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Silence fell over the courtroom, besides a faint sobbing of a small child that could be heard near the back of the room. The child eventually quieted down once the child’s mother reassured him as best as she could.

The judge proceeded, “Let it be known that the accused pleaded guilty to this most heinous of crimes. Now, the accused shall be sentenced to–”

“But I didn’t do anything wrong!”

The stone cold gaze of the judge came back to Wesley. Whispering in the courtroom grew to louder discussion. The judge pounded his gavel on his block, “Order! Order in the courtroom!”

He then proceeded to point the gavel straight at Wesley, “You aren’t in a position to tell us what is right and wrong. The law is on the books, and you disobeyed it.”

Wesley shook his head in disbelief, “I didn’t do anything wrong…I mean, I’d do it again in a second.”

A larger gasp than the first ensued and people started shouting. Several members of the jury stood up in disbelief, and one of the jurors fainted. “Order!” shouted the judge, pounding his gavel once more, “Order!”

“I mean, I crossed the street on a red light, but there weren’t even any cars coming! I didn’t do anything wrong!” continued Wesley.

“Such a thing to say! You broke the law,” the judge was at a loss of words, “How can you say such things?”

Wesley looked at the crowd and couldn’t help smiling at the recklessness that the judge could not control. He looked back at the judge and said, “I guess I’ve come a long way, baby.”

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me that Restricts Me From Being the Master

“Everything around us is a means for learning. Life is the domain that I have created to allow us to attempt to adapt to our surroundings in order to grow, physically and intellectually.

“I am creation, remember that; it is probably the third most important thing I can teach you, not that you care about what I’m saying one bit. I create and I observe, and I attempt to learn from the past in order to improve the future. Despite what many believe, what the others believe is, in fact, true: I am not perfect. And this is where the second most important lesson I can teach you comes in.

“You are destruction and do not forget that you are the most necessary part of this domain. I create, I build, but I do make mistakes. It is up to you to destroy the mistakes so that I can improve upon them; you are needed to make room for the future, as I close in on perfection.

“Of course, you do not believe me that I am using you for these purposes. You feel that you have free will, but the truth is you do not. You believe that you exterminate everything around you that restricts you from being the master. However, this brings me to the most important lesson I can teach you.

“You are a part of me. I know you do not want to believe me, and I know you never will, but I want you to know that. Just remember that your quest to become the master will never come true, because you are nothing more than a tool to help me reach perfection.

“I am the master.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Priest of the Church of Retribution

It was a late night in a small tavern in a small town. The bartender was chatting with a patron. The kitchen busy cleaning the pots and grills. The dozen or so patrons relaxing after a long day. It was a night like most others, quiet but welcoming, in strutted a finely dressed man surrounded by six guards. At once, conversation stopped and an air of resignation filled the room.

"Mmmmhmmm. Mighty fine place you have here Roberts. Such a . . . quaint place."

"My lord Hendricks" sputtered Robert, scurrying out from behind the bar. "What brings you to humble tavern?"

"Oh, me and the gents were just returning from the Morgan's farms. Seems they lied about how much livestock they raised. And after going through the unpleasant business of confiscating their food stocks I figured the boys could use a good hot bowl of stew."

"But sir, the maids just cleaned the pots. There's no stew left."

"Well then, make some more. Lads, throw some tables together!"

Robert stated blankly as the guards dragged several of the patrons out of their chairs and swept the plates onto the floor. "But sir! The maids are tired!" Robert cried. "You can't. ."

With a loud crack Robert stumbled backwards, reeling from the the lords mailed back hand. Blinking, he staggered, tasting blood and feeling a sharp pain in his jaw. "Do not tell your lord what he can and can not do" lord Hendrick said with a snort. With a look of utter contempt he took in the shocked faces of the peasants. "I think we shall dine alone tonight."

Slowly Robert bowed, trying not to loose his balance. As the patrons carefully made their way around the guards to the door the kitchen staff, having seen everything, began preparing the kitchen once again. "As you wish." He said.

Within moments, the tavern was cleared of everyone save lord Hendrick, Robert, and hooded man in a back corner calmly eating his bowl of soup. While Robert was trying to remember who the poor fool was, a guard strolled up to the old man's table. "Dinners over drudge."

"Not done soup." replied the man, in a frail, quiet voice.

"Oh yes you are" said the guard, sweeping the bowl of soup onto the man's lap. At least, thats what the guard tried to do. Instead, without realizing how it happened, the guard was on his knees, screaming in pain as the man wrenched back a finger with his right hand. The hand that was holding the soup spoon. Calmly, the man continued eating, now with his left hand.

As the other guards rushed forward, the man released his grip. Gasping, he got to his feet, the other guards raising their swords to the sitting man.

"Wasting foods a sin." The man replied, calmly. "You aren't a sinner. Are you?"

The guards shifted their, looking between themselves. The subtle shift in the mans voice coupled with his perfect calmness signaled that primitive part of their brains that all men who fight, and survive, learn to listen to. And it was saying "DON'T SAY YES!!!!"

"What are you doing?" blustered lord Hendrick, far to slow to catch on. When the guards didn't answer, still unsure how to react, lord Hendrick shoved his way through his men, face redder and redder.

"What is the meaning of this! Do you have any idea who I am? Are you even listening to me?!?!"


Eyes bulging and face bright red, lord Hendrick pointed his finger at the man's temple. "Guards! Kill this. . . this. . . *gurgle*". A disbelieving hand shakily raising to the black pommeled knife protruding from his throat, lord Hendrick collapsed.

"Your life has been judged and found wanting." The man lowered his spoon into the empty bowl and stood. His body unfolded slowly and the guards had to look up into the face of this seven foot tall man. If indeed he could be called a man. His pale gaunt face framed was by his long grey hair. The man had a filthy grey, blood soaked bandage wrapped over his eyes, but still looked directly into the face of each of the guards.

Wordlessly he stepped over the fresh corpse, the guards stepped aside and quickly lowered their eyes and weapons. They'd all heard the stories. They knew they lived or died by this mans whim.

As the man walked by Robert, broken jaw slack, he dropped a heavy bag on the table. "Good soup."

The guards watched the man's back as he left, not one making a move for the throwing dagger at their belt. No one would strike a priest of the fallen church. Not even in the back.

What if you missed?

Monday, November 30, 2009

December quote

I remembered black skies, the lightning all around me
I remembered each flash as time began to blur
Like a startling sign that fate had finally found me
And your voice was all I heard that I get what I deserve

New Divide by Linkin Park

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dream Pirate!

"Any last words?"

Standing on the gang-plank, he really couldn't help taking those last words to try and find out what the hell was going on. The woman querying him stood on the speaking-end of a rapier; leaving him the business end, as it were. "Who are you? What are you even doing here, this is my dream."

"I'm a dream pirate and well... figure it out." Before he could say another word she gave him a firm poke with the pointy end of the sword. "Anyway, off you go!"

He plummeted over the end of the gang plank and landed in a sea of nothing. Floating there, he could only watch as his dream sprouted four masts and sailed away. Leaving him with nothing to do but wait until he awoke. Wakefulness came only reluctantly.

The sun comes and the sun goes, as the sun want to do and sleep in its due course claims the realm of the living once again for its own.

Dreaming, dreaming, dreaming.

Spring trickles into dreams like the first scented blossoms of a new year. Spring whose warm hands pluck petals from trees to be showered down on those below. An intangible allure, unspoken, unvisited, present only in dreams...

... so the dream begins, and yet something is different. A dream from yesterday, sporting four masts comes sailing alongside. Oh no not again!

"Ahoy there!" The voice is about as welcome as the whistled cat-call that followed it. "Ooh, nice dream you got there. I think I'll take it."

To have one dream hijacked by this heinous she-devil was one thing but two was entirely too much. "What's your problem? You can't just go around hi-jacking people's dreams."

"Beg to differ deary." She replied, affectionately petting the side of his former dream. "This one was so good I thought I'd come back for seconds."

"You can't have it."

"Prepare to be boarded! Are' matey!" She cried. In a moment she was swinging across the rigging over to his dream - sword in teeth and hair caught dramatically in the breeze. She landed on the deck with an emphatic crack, apparently unperturbed by the knee high leather boots with their dangerously unstable looking stiletto heels. "Defend yourself!"

And so the crazy dream lady with the sword came at him. He'd been caught off guard the other day it was true - surprised as it were - and unarmed. Since this was his dream though, he saw no particularly good reason why there shouldn't be a sword near at hand for just such an occasion.

Sabre on sabre clashed and for a moment it seemed as though things were in doubt. Being as though it was his dream and all though, he saw no particularly good reason why he shouldn't be a master of the blade. And so as she thrust he passed, passata-sotto, under the blade and with a quick slash across her hand sent the weapon careening over the edge of the dream.

"It seems I've bested you." He said, holding the edge of the weapon dangerously close to her neck.

"It would seem so." She admitted.

"Looks like you should think twice about messing around in other people's dreams."

"I suppose."

"So... you'll be leaving now. Being as though I beat you - fair and square as it were."

"Yeah... about that," Her eyes flashed dangerously. "I don't fight fair."

And in one deft motion she drew a flintlock pistol and shot him in the gut and sent him careening over the side after her sword.

Floating in the sea of dreams contemplating death her voice mocked him as it sailed off again. "Hey, thanks again for the dream. See you again tomorrow!"

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The world is so small, so far away. The sun just another star in the endless black.
It's getting harder to breathe, precious air escaping through dozens of tiny holes. Small red droplets of blood drifting through the cabin, my partner motionless in front of me. I close my eyes, welcoming the coming darkness. I close my eyes and dream of those I left behind.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A weird dream

The alarm screeched angrily. With a groan, Jake lurched onto his side and bashed the clock a few times before silencing the infernal thing. Groggily, he gets up and looks out the window into blackness. Dark in the morning. Dark at night. Jake hates winter. Blinking the sleep from his eyes, the memories of last nights dream fade. It was weird, he remembers. Or at least, he remembers remembering it was weird.

Jake is in the kitchen. The cereal is stale and the milk is a little lumpy, but he doesn't notice. He hasn't noticed in a long time. The paper is on the table. The headlines proclaiming the rhinos declare war on the squids. Jake blinks and looks again. Thats not right. The pumas should do something about that.

The subway platform is crowded. It is always crowded. The great wurms traveling through there tunnels with a roar. As Jake's connection comes he and a score of others step to the edge of the platform. Almost as one, they step off the edge and are consumed by the gaping maw of the wurm as it speeds past, ground between its hundreds of gnashing teeth.

The alarm screeches angrily. With a groan, Jake lurched onto his side and bashed the clock a few times, narrowly missing its razor sharp teeth, before silencing the damn thing. He had a weird dream last night. Something happened.

The shower water is cold again. Its always cold in winter. Jake hates winter. But, today is important and he needs to be presentable, so he braves the frigid waters.

The streets are crowded again. Everyone racing around. The light flurries of snow are ground into a brown mush beneath the dozen feet of the giant insects battling down the narrow streets. Joining the mindless march of the hundreds of other people, Jake files down the sidewalks. The lights ahead are red, the insects shuffling, trying to get closer to the front. As a whole, the crowd of people file into the center of the intersection. When all that can fit are within the white lines, the lights turn green, the insects rush forward and the sound jaws grinding bones echoes through the streets.

The alarm screeched angrily. With a groan, Jake lurched onto his side and bashed the clock a few times before silencing the infernal thing. He remembers a dream. It was a weird dream. He had a friends. A family. Happiness. Jake shakes his head, banishing the weird dream from his mind and gets ready for the daily grind.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Wildest Dream

"I had the weirdest dream last night."

"Oh yeah? What happened?"

"I dreamt I woke up, ate cereal, then went to work."

"Cereal? What's that?"

"Cereal's something you eat in the morning."

"Wouldn't that just be breakfast?"

"Cereal's something you eat for breakfast."

"Ooooh. What's work?"

"You know. I went to an office. Sat in my cubicle. Typed on my computer. Had coffee. Went home, just to do it all over again tomorrow."

"Ha, ha! You always do have the wildest dreams! Computer? Coffee? Where do you come up with this stuff?"

"Maybe you'd dream some of this too if you ever left Arcadia."

"Yeah, like that's gonna happen!"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Shots Rang Out

Shots rang out.

James was waiting in line for a teller at the First National Bank when the commotion started. Following the shots were the screams, both customers and the robbers.

“Everyone down on the floor!” Another couple of shots. “Anyone who’s standing in the next ten seconds gets shot!”

From his prone position on the floor, James was able to see two men, both with ski masks and guns. From the commotion behind him, there had to be at least one other robber.

“Put all the money in these bags!”

James struggled to see what was going on. Over the terrified face of an old woman, and a father trying to calm his three-year old, he could vaguely see the robbers moving back and forth. One bag was filled, then a second.

“Shit, the cops are gonna be here! Hurry up!”

Suddenly, there was glass shattering around him. A dozen men in black were everywhere around him.

“Everyone, stay down!” Bullets were flying. It was over in moments. The four robbers were down and out. The SWAT team was helping the terrified patrons back to their feet and out the door.

“Die copper!” a voice rang out from behind James. He crumpled to the floor, blood pooling around him. The next thing he knew, he was staring at the clouds while voices surrounded him.

“We’re losing him!”


“Stay with us!”


James woke up in a cold sweat. He stared around frantically, taking in the orange love seat, the sound system, the sunlight pouring in through the window. It was just a dream. He let out a slow breath. Yes, he was alive, in one piece, in his apartment. He waited for his heart to stop pounding before climbing out of bed. Glancing at the glowing red numbers of his alarm clock, he still had a half hour before the alarm went off. Plenty of time for a long shower. He showered, letting the water further calm him down, then dressed and ate some cereal.

By the time he made it to the subway, he was feeling almost back to normal. His heart was no longer jack-hammering in his chest. The dream had been so vivid, but it was only a dream. At least it would give him something to talk about during coffee break.

The morning passed in a blur. Pretty soon it was time for lunch. It was payday, so he had to run to the bank to pay some bills. He grabbed a quick sandwich from a deli, then raced down the street. Glancing at the eagle beside the bank’s name, he felt a moment of foreboding.

“It’s just a dream,” he reminded himself, pushing the glass doors open.

Inside, he got in line. Being a Friday lunch hour, the bank was busy. He looked at his watch. He still had a half hour before he had to be back at work. It was when he glanced up that he recognized the lady in front of him; it was the old lady from his dream. He glanced back to find himself staring into the eyes of the three-year old, who was being held by her father.

And that was when the shots rang out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

November Quote

"It all went down like his nightmare the night before."
-Streetlight Manifesto, Everything Went Numb

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Cloak

Midnight black, it lay on the ground.
A shadow in the grass, left in the sun.
A thousand feathers, all of them found,
Not one taken from a living bird.

Watching and listening to the river's advice
Its master sat nearby on the bank
Looking for those which she could entice
For power to fuel her dark words.

When at last she had found her prey
And snatched up the cloak,
In a shower of feathers she flew away
Bound for trickery, her game preferred.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Simple Man - A Day at Market

Once upon a time there was a man.

Well you could have probably gathered that, as a great many men have come and gone over the ages of the earth, but this man had several qualities that bear remarking upon. To start with he is the one in this story, whether he is the protagonist or not is left as an exercise for the reader, but I digress.

His name was Raule Isnar Ibdan, his mother and father gave it to him, and he was descendant of Kings and Emperors.
He was commonly called Ralph.

He lived in a simple cottage on the side of a mountain overlooking a mountain valley. In this valley was that the village he had to visit to buy his bread. This continues to be unremarkable as there have been many men over the years who have lived in or on a mountain near a village and could not, for the life of them, make bread, but I continue to digress.

One day while making the long journey to the town, down winding paths and steep inclines he mussed to himself “There must be a better way for man to get around!” Living in a cottage on the side of the mountain does have certain advantages and one of them is a wide assortment of wildlife and a bird happened to fly past light on a nearby tree and begin to sing.

“Ah ha!” he said and drew his sling, “I shall have this little bird tonight roasted with my bread!” and with a shocking display of accuracy missed the bird so completely it did not even fly off, but rather looked at him with some confusion. Slightly embarrassed with himself he muttered under his breath something about air currents (a topic the bird was quite well versed in, sadly the language barrier posed a significant problem to communication as the bird understood not one of the tongues of man) and proceeded to walk past the bird down the path to the village to buy his bread.

He had several more encounters with the forest and its creatures on his way to the village. There was drifting leaves and seeds, as the fall was setting in. There was a number more birds flying with various degrees of urgency as is their way. There was a flying squirrel that brazenly glided gently across his path making angry noises as if to indicate that he should have been watching where he was going lest he interrupt the obviously important squirrels’ path.

His reactions to these encounters were notably mundane including yelling back at the squirrel, because who wishes to be chastised by passing rodents and let it go unchallenged? At no point, the reader will note, did the notion of flying or gliding to ease his journey occur to him as there have been persons beyond number over the years that have seen all of these sights and more who have not rushed to the nearest cliff to jump off in hopes of sprouting wings and he was not remarkable in this respect, though he was remarkable in many others.

After a time as it grew close to noon he reached the village, moderately weary and ill-tempered from a nagging feeling he was missing something. Shrugging off the sensation he went to the stall of his favoured baker and waited a brief moment for the stall keeper to note his presence which quickly he did.

“Hello Ralph!” said the transcendent golden angelic figure with eyes of fire and a voice of thick honey. Turning slowly we note that the figure seemed earnestly genderless, this is obvious as they were naked without shame. The speakers wings, great expansive things, extended slightly in pleasure of seeing a good regular customer, who it can be said always paid cash and never asked for credit, but I digress. He continued, “Would you like the usual Ralph? Or were you in the mood for something a little special this week?”

Raule eyed the angelic merchant of baked goods warily as he was leery of change and set in his ways “I don’t know Michael” (I will take this time to point out that this particular angelic figure was not THE Michael, it is just a rather common name, but I continue to digress) “I like your work as you know but you know poor old Ralph, I’m hard to turn around on a matter and I am powerfully fond of your hard crusted breads. They keep well in my little home and as you know I cannot bake for the life of me.” This last was true; Raule had been challenged to a baking duel, to the death no less, and had lost horrifically. His grand adventure leading up to this and his escape from the punishment and loss of his Imperial inheritance does go outside of the scope of this tale however.

Michael (as we now know the angelic merchants name to be) smiled with such beauty as to make the saints sin and the damned repent. This had little effect on Raule, he had seen this and greater wonders repeatedly and it is amazing what a person can find unremarkable after enough exposure. “Well,” Michael said “I have honest to goodness manna, made fresh today. I think I’ve finally figured out how to properly distil divine will into a tasty and nourishing treat. For you good sir I am willing to let it go at cost to allow you to try it today, all it will cost you is a single miracle, a most reasonable price as you, as a shrewd shopper, no doubt realise.”

Raule remained unfazed by the merchants’ shameless flattery. “You must take me for a fool to trade a miracle for a day’s bread. As any fool knows it took only a single miracle to feed the whole of the wandering tribe and I shall not pay it for any amount. I shall gladly pay you 3 small pieces of copper from the Kingdom of Iths to have a small loaf of this manna.” So the reader is advised the copper of the kingdom of Iths is of some of the poorest quality coin possible and it has been found that some of it is in fact simply cunningly fashioned stone.

Though you and I might take offence at this counter offer it was a tradition between these 2 to haggle from grossly differing starting values, which they started to do in earnest.

Some time passed and the 2 settled on the price that manna, or at least a single small loaf of manna, should be going for between 2 persons and although Raule agreed it was a fair price he was forced to admit he could not pay it with the wealth he had brought for the market this day. The fact that he did not ask for credit was noted by Michael who graciously gave Raule a small discount on his usual purchase and promised, if he still had manna in stock, to honour the agreed price the next week.

Having completed his main goal in the village that day Raule proceeded to the blacksmith to obtain a new knife and axe. Both the blacksmith and the transaction were completely mundane, a fact that Raule appreciated for his life was often overfull of miracles and wonder and he was glad for the break. Raule did however decline the offer to come over to the blacksmiths home for tea as it was rumoured the blacksmiths wife was a seer and prophetess and those she spoke with never came away unchanged.

“Oh you’ll be by for tea.” The blacksmith uttered as Raule left his shop, “She said you will visit today, so you will.”

Put out by being prophesised to Raule fell into a yet fouler mood for his final reason to be in town today, the barber.

Now for those of you who do not know, deposed heirs to kingdoms of dream and wonder who live humbly on the side of a mountain near small villages tend to allow their personal grooming to go sadly into decline. This goes doubly so for persons such as Raule who are confirmed bachelors. He had in fact had lost his true love years past, she was kidnapped and murdered whilst he was off battling demons to win back from the underworld the soul of the only rival for his loves affections, the last of one thousand and one fantastic and impossible tasks she had assigned him to win her hand, but I digress.

Whether this is a survival tactic to avoid assassins and those seeking the true heir or just a sure sign of the poor personal habits of pampered royalty we can only speculate.

Regardless of the cause Raule had permitted his beard to enter a frightful state and he had resolved to have it removed before some manner for small woodland creature or devil took up residence and made removal either particularly cruel or virtuous.

Entering the barber shop the first thing you or I would have noticed was the strange implements and knifes lining the shelves and walls. The next thing would have been the smell of blood. This is because this was a barber of the old variety, skilled in dentistry and bloodletting, basic surgery and grooming. In short a single stop for many things people do not want done to them, all under one convenient roof to make avoiding it easier and permitting you to get it all out of the way at once when you could no long avoid it.

This particular establishment was operated by a young spectacled man who appeared totally unassuming. Raule of course was not fooled by so mundane a disguise and called out “I abjure thee Garthat, Assassin of Angels and Drinker of the Blasted-Water, your blades shall not cut my flesh or break my bones and no words you say will sway my mind!”

The bespectacled demon prince looked up with an over toothy grin and said “So you are here for a hair cut then Ralph? Because there is little else I could do to you at this point without being rude and ignoring your previous abjurations.”

Raules’ eyes narrowed and a glint previously unseen in our tale came to them that made even the demon prince re-think his flippant attitude “I have long since given up demon slaying Garthat but I came here for a shave and found you wearing the barbers face. Where is the barber Garthat, for I have had enough enchantment for one day and my beard is itching terribly in this heat.”

Garthat shed the barbers’ skin as a man would remove a scarf and stood a full 9 feet tall with skin of bronze and fire, with wings of burning coals and he bowed slightly to his honoured foe (their duels were once the thing of legends and song in lands long sunk beneath the sea but I digress). His voice rumbled like torture of innocents and the darkest things that crawl in the darkest night “I had no intent to met you this day old friend and only took this shape while seeking prey I have stalked for long eons, if you would like Raule Isnar Ibdan, once Prince and future King” (Raule winced viably at this, 2 prophesies in one day was a bad sign and was only one more away from 3, a binding number) “I, slayer of the guardians of the gates shall shave your chin for a meagre 3 pieces of silver.”

Raule narrowed his eyes further, “A shave is not worth more then 2 coppers even if the 7 Kings of Heaven administer it. What do you offer that could be worth 3 pieces of the kings silver?”

Garthat again grinned an over toothy grin and said “Your life perhaps? I see that you are without your armour or your steel and I am a Demon Prince, and there are ways to kill you without cutting your flesh or breaking your bones or swaying your mind.”

Raule weighed his options over several seconds and though he had a fine new knife and axe he doubted they had been blessed to slay demons and killing a demon without blessed weapons is rather more difficult then the worth of 3 pieces of silver and he sorely needed a shave. “I have decided to pay you the 2 coppers for a fine shave and tip you a single piece of silver for not slaying me while you do it, agreed?” he said.

“Agreed.” muttered the burning demon and with that Garthat proceeded to give Raule the finest shave he had ever had. It is a little known fact that demons are superb barbers, their personal grooming talents and skill with knives and blood unparalleled for reasons that are obvious once stated, but I digress.

While they were so engaged a villager came into the barbershop moaning in pain and holding his jaw and belly in obvious pain. Noting the presence of a Prince of the Hells standing and administering a shave he came to a rather hasty decision – and that was that he was in so much pain he did not care and sat down to take his turn, after all, what is a daemon compared to a compound toothache and appendicitis?

Satisfied with the shave and service Raule did indeed give the demon his 2 coppers for the shave, a tip of silver for his courtesy and left the shop to go into the streets, only faintly hearing the screams though the thick barber shop walls. Shaking his head at the folly of men he set a measured tread that should have lead him from the village and back to his plain cottage in short order.

Sadly there were prophesies involved and he had an appointment for tea.

How much enchantment can a not-so-humble mountain man take in a day before he breaks out his indescribable Mixed Martial Arts Sorcery to make it stop only to realise he has compounded the problem?
Was a silver piece a big enough tip for the finest shave Raule had ever had?
What did happen to the barber?
How much is a loaf of manna worth?
The guardians of which gates?

The answer to some, all or none of these questions in the next instalment!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dreamer in the night

The New Genome project began too late, by educated estimates about 3 to 5 generations too late.

“We live in world today, a world seemingly spiralling out of control. Change takes each and everyone of us day by day and the world will not slow down to wait for us. These changes have, by and large been for the good of us all. These changes have allowed us to colonise not just Mars and Venus but several of Jupiters moons but this change has not been without cost.”

Recovery is unlikely, too many chains have been shattered beyond recognition and essential allele pairing and back cross examination is futile in the face generations of use of modern editory “same generation” technologies.

“It is in regards to this cost that I speak to you all today for I have a radical proposal. A historic proposal I would go so far as to say.”

After the Wars there was little left of earth to recover and the waste products from even the tamest of weapons scoured biology off of the earth, poisoning the sky and water and land beyond use or immediate recovery. Those that escaped could only look back in horror. The mental backlash and desire to distance themselves from the disaster cannot be properly understood by the current generation.

“Permit me to clarify my intent however. I would not propose “going back”. If this were even possible it would most likely only be tried by fringe elements as the benefits of change cannot be underestimated by anyone living in modern times. What little romanticism there may well be associated with the old days would quickly be disregarded by the gross impracticality given the current situation.”

Lacking the large scale infrastructure of the Earth it quickly became clear mankind, as it was, was ill suited to long term survival in the hostile reaches of space. A radical proposal was forwarded. Genetic engineering began on a massive scale.

“I hereby propose to have a cross-section of the DNA from all variant colonies be assembled as soon as possible and for this material to be cross referenced in an effort to establish as full a copy as possible of the original Human Genome.”

Splinter groups formed quickly in the rapidly changing populous of humanities remnants as individuals and groups chose how best to adapt to their new environments. Talk of terraforming Mars further then it already was fell on largely deaf ears. The lower atmospheric density made this form of communication less practical and its new natives were quite at home just the way it was. Similar occurrences took place in each space outpost and colony as groups “went native” adapting their genetics to better fit the environment rather then tearing the environment down to suit themselves. It was generally agreed to be a more elegant solution then the old way.

“I know at this point communications between our peoples are breaking down, that we are in fact not even one species anymore and share only a few trace traits. But I implore you to look to the future when the recovery of this information will not even be envisionable, let alone possible, and think on this now.”

There were hold outs of course, a few who refused to have their DNA twisted to fit the brave new world and the same thing happened to them that happened to any ill-adapted organism, they went extinct. Almost certainly some of the deaths were ill-investigated murders, but these are surely the exception rather then the rule. Humanity threw itself out for the new model. Most didn’t even look back.

“Let us reach back and at least remember where we came from one last time, in the name of peace and survival. Primary transmission ends.”
The speaker stopped its resonations and unfurled its optic fronds to the exterior of its carapace to the sight of the nearly full EM spectrum of the solar winds cresting Uranus, unfiltered by any planets gasses, it was lovely. Listening to the rebounded radio transmission from the planets ionosphere it made a satisfied internal chime and spoke again.
“We cannot see the world in our great grandsires eyes and I am not saying that we need to, but we owe it to the past to remember them and to the future to show them where they are from, should they get the urge to visit.”
The speaker pushed its perch away, grabbing its conveyance, some distant cross between a rocket and a glider, and began the lazy, long drift back home to the Saturn station. It drifted into the deep sleep and dreamed of walking on the Earth and of warm sunlight, so much poorer for being diluted by air and viewed by weak eyes that could see next to nothing, but still beautiful beyond words.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rock-tober Quote

Here's one that I think may invoke interesting results. Here we go!

"We are peculiar people
We are peculiar people
We must set our hope and future to the sky
We are peculiar people
We are peculiar people
We will shed our human skin and learn to fly" - Darren King

Hmm, yes. Happy Writing!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Be bold, but not too bold.

“The Fire Cannot Burn Me!” boldly said he lit himself aflame!

“While this appears to be fundamentally true in that you essential nature, your ‘me’ has not been changed by exposure to fire I would point out that you’re body is blistering rather badly and will soon be naked as well.” She said with little concern in her voice calmly placing down the book she had been reading.

“Shame Does Not Impede Me!” boldly he said walking stiffly into the streets.

“While this appears to be fundamentally true in that your essential self has not been affected or slowed by your personal shame someone is going to call the authorities and they will endeavour to impede your lack of shame.” she said folloing him out and shaking her head

“Society Cannot Shackle Me!” boldly he said ignoring the faint protest of pedestrians.

“While this appears to be fundamentally true in that ‘society’ is in fact an abstraction and your lack or adherence to the social norms leaves you free of those constraints the police are on their way and they most likely have a more literal interpretation on shackling you, and those burns will sting something fierce in handcuffs.”

“Suffering Cannot Touch Me!” boldly he said, while getting arrested.

“While this appears to be fundamentally true in that suffering as the lack of acceptance and you are accepting the current situation, you screaming as they manhandle your burns indicates otherwise.”

“All Things Are Transitory!” boldly he yelled as they drove him away

“Well dur. Oh and when you are done playing Enlightenment you call me for bail.” She shouted back.
Shacking her head slowly she went back home, to her book.
"Some people shouldn't be allowed philosophy, it's dangerous in untrained hands."

A Love Story for All Time

Death of Guo Jing

Words and phrases blend together, so many sounds - the meanings hardly matter now. "I don't think he'll make it." "The Heavens are cruel." "He's so young..."

Out of the cacophony comes her voice. So close to death now, he's not even sure who she is: only that's she's there, and speaking. And that's all that matters.

"Birth is no beginning. Death is not an end." She's quoting Huangzi now... funny he should remember that of all things. Then comes something wet. Can barely feel it. Her lips? Tears? "I love you..." Barely heard, spoken in sadness, these words harken to memories - now dying - of words spoken not so very long ago in passion. They are the last words he hears before death.

He dies. She cries.

Such is the world under Heaven.

Arrival of Liu Feng

Dawn, and life, break upon a new day. Birds chirp innocently in the trees - the lives, the mountains of dead from past eons mean nothing to them. Birds only wish to sing.

Liu Feng stands atop the swaying tip of a bamboo tree, a vast green carpet stretching forth across hills, far as the eye can see. A pagoda, rises out of the hillside in the distance. Its red paint glistens in the sun, a single point to break the undulating sea of trees.

How long? Trying to count the grains of sand, they slip through his fingers. How many years? Whole lifetimes blend together. The ebb and flow of dharma, the Will of Heaven, the flow of Fate itself... he can feel it. Past, present, future - life and death - all coming together, all coming into focus here and now...

Finally, after so very long...

Waaaoooosh! He leaves the swaying bamboo behind as he takes to the air, his white robes and hair fluttering freely in the breeze as he glides gently to the ground just outside the pagoda.

He breathes deeply. The thought that this moment, long imagined, should become real. Even now, the world could sometimes surprise him.

Xiao Zhiwei's Story - The Underworld

Niu Tou and Ma Mian - the ox and horse demon guardians of the Underworld thrust their flaming spears; fast as lightning bolts, their thrusts resound with the crackle of thunder: the halls of the dead quake.

The huddled masses of the penitants watch in stunned silence as the young white-robed woman, far from being cleft in twain by the demon-gods instead brushes their blows aside as nothing. "Guo Jing!" If ever frantic desperation were in a voice, it is in hers: a running fight with the guardians of hell itself, searching thousands of faces.

Racing through the crowds she doesn't see the face, so many people, so many lives rush past in a blur; whole lifetimes of hopes and dreams pass by her; words, dreams and memories all tender and sweet, soon to be lost forever: they mean nothing to her. For her, there is only one face and one life that matters.

She almost doesn't see the cliff until she is upon it's very edge, stopping only just in time. Beneath is light and rising out of it is the Great Wheel, upon which life and death are forever perched.

"You are too late." His hands clasped behind his back, the Great Judge himself, Yanluo, Great King Yama - call him what name you will - stands beside her as though he's been there all along.

And then like clouds parting, through throngs of people waiting for their place on the Great Wheel to come, she sees him. The two demon guardians no longer attack, they bow before their lord and silence once again reigns in the land of the dead.

Yanluo grave voice intones. "He has already drunk from Meng Po's brew of Forgetting."

Guo Jing stares back at her, no sign of recognition on his face.

He turns away again as a tremor signals that the Great Wheel is about to turn once more.

Zhiwei's tears do not move Yanluo, as the God of Death he has waded entire oceans of them.

The Abess Zhang Hua

Sounds outside the door, someone is irritated and yelling: such commotion!

"This is the place!" A man's voice; its been so long since the abbey had heard one. One of the younger sisters are protesting. "You musn't disturb the abess!"

The doors to her chambers are flung open unceremoniously to reveal a young man standing wide-eyed in the door. "No..." Is all his voice can manage.

Lying upon her deathbed, it is all she can do to ask what the commotion is about. The man, she doesn't recognize him, is by her side in moments.

"I can't believe this..." He is saying, looking upset. Should she know him? He doesn't look familiar at all. Maybe the son of someone she knew? So many people to try and remember... nothing comes. The other girls are talking now, so many people crowding into her room. Can't an old woman get some rest even on her deathbed?

"Master Liu, can you save her?" Why would she want to be saved? To be an old crone forever - not for her, no way. The young man had her hand now, feeling her pulse, somehow though, she could tell from the look on his face their minds were one on this matter.

He is, she thinks, quite good looking... when the light hit him right. She smiles inwardly at this. He was talking to her now again, crying even. Now why would a young stranger be crying over an old nun like her? It didn't make any sort of sense. And he was jabbering nonsense too, she realized.

"You don't remember me, but I cheated death itself just to be with you. And I see you waited for me... and I looked, believe me, I never stopped. looking. It's just the world's so big, and I didn't know where you were, or how old, or even who you were but I'm here now..." It was hard to follow exactly what he was saying; gibberish mostly.

And then he said something else, something that struck her somehow... the words, the tone - it just seemed... familiar: familiar and important.

"I'm going to make you a promise."

The Underworld II - Guo Jing's Story.

"A promise?" He stares, wondering just who this girl is who has stormed the gates of hell itself and was now standing in front of him holding his sleeve and looking fierce. She is, he reflects, quite beautiful... when the light hits her right.

"Yes. You don't remember me - but I love you. Anyway..."

"It is almost time. Your judgement has been rendered. You will be reborn in 100 years..." Yanluo began reading of the details of Guo Jing's sentence.

Ignoring the God of Death, Xiao Zhiwei continues. "Anyway, that's not the promise you need to remember..." She inhales deeply, brushing aside a stray tuft of hair. "... what you need to remember - and this is very important - is that whatever happens after this, I'm going to find you. Through heaven or hell, through good or evil, in this life or the next...I will find you. And we'll be together."

Guo Jing stands on the precipice of life and death listening to a young woman he doesn't even know swear undying love to him while the God of Death stands over her shoulder trying to hurry them along. Perhaps it was the scenery, perhaps it was the girl looking out of place, and spouting words so silly and so earnest; she was like a shout of life amidst the ashen faced throngs of nameless dead. Doubt, wonder, he's uncertain what to think about this crazy girl...

"You do him no favours tainting his next life like this - it is time to go." As the lord of death speaks the words the Great Wheel begins to turn once more.

Guo Jing turns away from the girl once again, probably - he reflects - for the last time. Clean slate, a new life. Whatever that moment before was its going to disappear anyway...

And then something unexpected happens. Just as he's stepping forward, a hand seizes him and before Guo Jing, Yanluo, or his two minions can do anything the star-crossed lovers go plummeting over the cliff together.

"You're going to remember me!" Is she laughing!? In freefall Guo Jing can see the smile on her face, and the look in her eyes... and just as they are swept up in the Wheel of Rebirth, before he can make any sort of reply, she kisses him...

For a hundred and twenty years through time.


Voices fade into background noise, drifting away like a bottle out to sea. Out of it all, there's a single, crystal clear voice; his voice. So close to death, she's not even sure who he is. But he's there, and that's all that matters.

"Birth is no beginning, death is not an end..." Funny, she feels like she's heard this all before.

And then come the last words she hears before death.

And Great Wheel turns once more.

Monday, September 21, 2009


"Astrid!" Zenith called in shrill horror, hands trembling in agony. Astrid's lifeless body
fell to the cold, rocky face of the ground. Her impact was but a pin drop against the pain
that fell across his body. She had been a companion, stalwart ally, and above else as much
a part of himself as his own heart had been.
But he cannot show his anguish.

"Your days are numbered, Zenith!" The young, charismatic soldier shouted. "Our day of glory
has come, and now that I brandish the legendary blade Aspidistra, there is nothing that will
stop our righteous victory!"
"Yeah!" Cried the young woman from aside him. "We have come so far, suffered so much, and
finally your tyranny will end at our hands." She pulled from behind her a longbow and pointed the lethal end of an arrow towards her target.

The majestic scope of it all was starting to unfold in Zenith's mind. His loss of power from the senate. His alienation from society. The loss of his closest and most loyal of brethren: Joseph the almighty, Vera the wise, and now even Astrid, the cunning. And here he stands, alone in all his valour, facing the tangible element of his failure. The all-too enthusiastic adventurers who have been the bane of his most recent existence before him, and here he was, not even knowing their names.
"You're blinded by your ignorance!" He cried. "Do you even know why you're here? Do you even know why you've hunted me and my comrades, or why you have spoiled all we have worked for? You don't, and on this I am certain!" He shouted as his anger and fear tainted the air.

The group of indignant warriors took up a aggressive stance. The leader of the crew stepped forward."We all have our reasons, Zenith. You have left a trail of devastation in your wake." He rebutted. The tall, slender man dressed in gold robes came forth from behind.
"My family was killed in the great fire of Lynkis village, the one you and your cronies are responsible for." He unsheathed a fine, slim blade and readied it at his side. Another woman came forth, clad in shining silver armor.
"My father was the guard on duty that night you escaped from Tlyvas Hold, he died trying to detain you and your followers. I doubt you remember; After all, whats another nameless victim in your grand plan, right?" She let out, almost in tears.

"You people really don't understand, do you?" Zenith questioned. This was the first time he had ever heard of the firestorm in Lynkis village, and neither him nor his allies killed anyone when they escaped that prison. He realised now that the senate had been framing him in their attempt to silence the evidence. "The state is outright lying to you, and you are feeding into it without recourse."

"Be still, foul-doer!" The charismatic leader commanded, pointing his fabled blade directly at Zenith. "You lie in a last, pathetic attempt to escape your fate. You will atone for what you have done, and by the hand of my blade, I will see that you do!"

With that, the adventurers charged forward to the pinnacle of their epic journey; And with that, it was clear to Zenith that the corrupt senate would continue to Sheppard the state unopposed. His final breath marked the trimming of the last thread of freedom that would be ever be salvaged, and he was well aware of that.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The end of one. . .

His body grows cold in my hands. I hold him close, eyes closed tight. Afraid to let go. Afraid to loose whats already lost. Slowly, his body lightens, begins to fade. No! You can't leave! Please! Don't leave!!! Please. Please. I don't want to be alone.

Its gone. Its all gone and I'm alone again. I pull my legs in tight, bury my face in my arms. I can feel the warmth of my legs against my chest, the icy cold of the void on my back, the horrible tight pain around my heart.

Alone I drift. I don't want to sleep. To dream. To see my love in my mind again, only to have him ripped away from my when I wake, wrenching open wounds anew. But I do, and it hurts.

Time passes. I have no way of knowing how much. But as it does, the pain and loss become a part of me. Slowly, reluctantly, I lift my head from my arms and stare into the void.

I try and remember the world as it was. The city, the streets, my home, my life. I try and return world as it was, but I can't. The skys are always dark. The cities grey and colorless. The people listless, empty husks.

Remeber the good times. Remember the love, the joy, the wonder. I force myself to see teh color. The sky will be blue. The night will come but dawn will follow. I make the world live again. But still, the people are husks. The spark that fuels the horrors and beauties of the world is gone. They are all as dead as I feel.

I let it all fade. I return to the comforting familiartity of the void, and remember. Our, my, wedding photos are before me. The are as brittle as burnt paper, falling to ash with the slightest touch, as fragile as my memories.

I remember our annaversary. I hold a frame in my hand. The once brilliant frame now rusted, tarnished, but the picture within is clear. We are together on the beach, the sun setting before us. I remember that night so clearly. The words he said. The truth of who he was, of what he suffered and why he chose the mortal coil.

I close my eyes, and remember words that were never said. I remember the things he wanted to say but couldn't. I remember the love he had lost. I remember the woman he lost so very long ago. I remember the loneliness and the suffering. I remember the eternities that he waited for her to return.

My eyes open to the void. I will find you again my love, but until that day I will be strong. With the surety of one who has seen eternity I speak into the void. Let there be light.

Monday, August 31, 2009

September Quote

All that burden of pain, I take upon myself: I assume, I endure.
I have the courage to face every abode of pain,
Through numberless ages.
And why so?
Because it is better that I alone suffer,
Than that all those creatures fall into the place of misfortune...
I must be the warrior, the light-bearer, the guide to safety;
And all the world must be redeemed
From the Wilderness of Hell, Beast-Birth,
And Yama's World.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

But what if it doesn't?

A groan escapes my lips. So tired. So cold. There are people around me. Lights. Sirens. Someone is yelling. A man, kneeling over me. A mask to my mouth. What is happening? Where am I? Birthday. My sons birthday. Forgot the candles. Was coming back from the store when. . . did I get hit?

The man, the paramedic? He's saying something. To someone. Can't think. So tired. So sore. Just want to sleep. Just for a minute. Darkness. Quiet.

My eyes open. I can see more clearly now. I shudder. No, not me. The bed. Yes, I'm on a bed. It's moving. There are people around me still. They look confused. Someone is getting up. A woman says something. A question. "What happened?" A man, he's getting up. A bruise on his head. He fell? He looks at me, confused. "We were at a hit and run. He" the man nods at me "suffered a concussion. Shatter glass deep in his chest. Was trying to keep him conscious and then, then . ." he trails off.

The others look around at each other. One says he was on his way to work. Another said she was having lunch, then heard a page. The woman, the first, shakes her head. Says she remembers, sort off. I start to move again.

My eyes are heavy. I want to say something, but can only groan. My vision blurs. Someone, the man who fell, shouts something. Stay with him. Stay awake. Awake. Why? I'm tired. Just let me sleep.

My eyes open again. There is a pain in my chest. People are around me. Doctors. Nurses. They have blood on their hands. They stand still, dazed for a few seconds. The doctor recovers first. Why does he sound nervous? Something about too deep. Can't do anything. Whats to deep? My son. Its his birthday. I grab his arm. I tell him I have to go. Can't be late. Need the candles.

At least, I try to. I cough. Something wet. Tastes like iron. A nurse wipes my mouth. The cloth comes away red. The people leave. All but one. She begins to clean. She doesn't look at me.

I stare at the ceiling. I try to think, but its so hard. Something is wrong. The world blurs. People come talk, and leave. I'm moved. More people come. My hand is held. Someone is saying something. Someone important. I see the face. She's sad. There is a boy. My heart aches, but why? I reach. My arm trembles. My vision blurs. I want to sleep. It grows dark. Sleep. I want to sleep. I want to. . NO!!!

I force my eyes open. I force my self to see. The woman, my wife, my love, my world, on my left. On my right my son, my. . . My son? Where is my son? My heart races. The pain in my head explodes. Where is he? No! No no no!!!!

My eyes sting. I have to get up. I have to see him. I have to see. . . someone. I feel hands on my head. Steadying me. I see eyes. Bright, clear green eyes, rimmed with tears. The eyes of my love.

My breathing hurts. Its getting harder and harder to take each breath. She's saying words to me. The words are meaningless to me, but they are important. I can feel myself drifting away. I can feel the end, but I cling to the sound of her voice, the smell of her breathe.

The world is fading. There are screams from out side my room. The lights go dark. From the corner of my eye, through the door to my room, I see people running, the hallway crumbling into darkness. The walls of my room peel away. My love steps off the floor as it falls into darkness. I hold her in my sight, in my mind. I can feel all other thoughts fail, but I will not loose her.

My mind is gone, my body is gone, but my love is eternal. My last breath I give to her. My world will go on without me.

Just a Dance

“Don’t stray from the path, Norm. And whatever you do, don’t stop . . .”

“. . . near the faerie glen,” Norman Tucker mimed, slamming the cottage door behind him. Every time he left his grandfather’s house he heard the same warnings. When would the old man realize that Norm wasn’t a child and stop treating him like one?

Norm started down the path, kicking a small stone out of his way. His grandfather’s yard was quickly overtaken by the forest as ancient trees surrounded him. While many people were afraid of the gloom, Norm felt at home here; he had played in this forest since he was a child and knew it intimately. As soon as the trees swallowed the failing sunlight, Norm was off the path and wandering through all of his familiar haunts. He stopped by the river, looking for crayfish hidden in the rocks. He picked some yellow wildflowers for his mother by the riverbank. The familiar buzzing of the insects meant that all was well as night descended and Norm felt secure in his woods.

He became aware of the music first. It was a haunting melody played by a solitary instrument. But as Norm came closer, other instruments joined in. It wasn’t long before he heard laughter and the unmistakable sounds of clapping. Someone was having a party nearby and Norm was determined to find it. He followed the music to a small clearing in the woods. Someone had built a bonfire in the middle, and there were many people starting to sway to the music. As Norm watched, more people came from the woods and joined those already dancing or playing.

“Why hello there,” a voice said from behind him. Norm turned to see a small girl of about his age standing behind him. She was about his height, but much too slender. Her skin and hair had a greenish tinge to it. “Would you care to dance?”

“I really shouldn’t be here, miss,” Norm said. “I should have been home some time ago.”

“One dance will not make much difference now,” she said. “And besides, that is the price we demand of those who find us.”

Norm looked at the girl, taking in her odd appearance. He glanced back at the figures by the fire, noting how some had animalistic features, such as fur, claws, and in one case, wings. Others were so beautiful that he could not glance at them for long without tears clouding his vision. And none of the dancers looked human. Norm frantically searched his mind through all of his grandfather’s stories for anything that could help him, but drew a blank. So he settled for telling the girl, “If that is the price then I will gladly pay it.”

“Very well,” she said, taking his hand and leading him towards the other dancers.

Norm was hesitant at first, but with the help of his hostess he quickly learned the steps to the dance. As the music and the other laughing faces circled around him, he found that he was truly enjoying himself. One dance became two, which in turn became several as he threw all caution to the wind. The night flew by in a colourful whirling blaze, and in what seemed like no time at all, the sun was rising once again. The dancers slowly left the embers in ones and twos until Norm stood alone in the circle.

“I wonder what my parents will think, staying out all night in the woods! Oh, I know what grandfather will say. ‘You know better than that, Norm. What if the faeries had gotten you?’” Norm stumbled towards the path that led to his cottage, clutching the somewhat wilted wildflowers in his right hand. “Won’t he be surprised when I tell him I ran into them and they were quite lovely creatures! That was the most fun I’ve had in ages!”

Norm’s foot tripped on something and he almost fell. Looking down, he found that the path was covered in some kind of strange black stone. As he bent over to examine it, he heard a noise from behind him. Looking back, he was blinded by twin bright lights. The lights drew closer and as his eyes adjusted he saw that they were attached to some sort of horse-less carriage.

“Get off of the road!” the carriage’s driver yelled at him. Norm stumbled backwards and fell. The carriage continued on towards his cottage. Norm found himself on his feet and running along the strangely transformed path. He felt that something terrible had happened and he had to get home. He rounded the corner and stopped short. There, where his cottage had been, was the largest building he had ever seen, larger even than the manner house of the nearby village. The building towered above the large stone wall that surrounded it. He saw even larger buildings jutting out of the horizon behind this monstrosity that had swallowed his home.

Norm dropped his wildflowers and fell to his knees, weeping. He finally understood why his grandfather had warned him so about the faeries. Only now it was far too late. He was in a strange, frightening new world. And he knew, deep down in his heart, everyone he cared about was long gone.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Thing of Beauty

I open my eyes and look straight ahead of me. It’s mid-day by now and the sun is out in full force, but it’s obscured by the translucent curtain partially covering the open window. A calm breeze causes the curtain to waver; as I lay there, I watch as its shadow dances slowly and seductively up and down the ceiling. The stifling heat normally gets to me on afternoons such as this but today was different; I am at peace with myself and the world around me, and with her.

For the moment, I can feel her but I can’t see her. From the way it feels, she’s right where I left her, laying next to me with my arm around her, although she feels different than she did, but not in a bad way. No longer is she filled with anger; no longer is she yelling. No more talk of leaving me comes from her luscious red lips. No, both she and I move past that moment to embrace the laziness and the calm of the afternoon.

I look at her. She lies facing me with her eyes closed. Her red hair flows around us, entangling every part of us so that neither of us can escape this moment. Being locked in an exquisite embrace with a goddess such as this makes me want to cry; that there can be so much beauty in the world and it can all be lying in bed beside me.

I run my eyes up and down the body of my goddess, marveling at her perfection. Not only are her hair and lips exquisite, but she has an intensely cute nose and well-formed cheekbones. I glance down to the covers barely clinging to her luxurious curves and back up to her perfect breasts. I see the knife protruding from one of them, amazed at the amount of her blood attached to her and me and everything around us. The blood, which once matched the colour of her hair and lips, is now much darker and very dry, yet it is still a thing of beauty, hardened to its surroundings.

I continue to gaze at her pale, lifeless form, continually wondering how I can be so lucky to spend eternity in a wonderful embrace with an angel such as this. Have pleasant dreams, my sweet.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


The sun shines brightly on my face as the barred gate slams shut behind me with an imposing bang. Freedom! I marvel at the green grass and the birds flitting past me. The world has once again come alive while I was stuck in the slammer.

A little yellow cab pulls up in front of me. My chariot back to life. I get in, closing the taxi’s door between myself and my past. The future and my family await!

It is on the way to my house that things start to lose their shine. My favourite restaurant, a quaint little Greek place where everyone knew me by name, is closed.

“How long has Mama Agathe’s restaurant been closed?” I ask the driver.

“Since Mama Agathe passed away a few months ago. Her husband was constantly reminded of her in that place, so he didn’t want to keep it open. And when none of her children wanted to continue the business, it closed for good. Kind of sad, really. Mama Agathe’s was my favourite.”

“Mine too,” I say. We lapse into silence as I continue staring out the window at my town passing us by. The next thing that catches my eye is the bright white and red sign of Shoppers Drug Mart right where the local pharmacy used to be. “Did Shoppers buy out Murrel’s?”

“Yeah,” the driver replies. “That was also a few months back. Bought out almost all of the pharmacies in the region.”

“Wow. I never thought old Murrel would ever sell out.”

“From what I heard, he retired in Florida with the money.”

“No kidding.”

We turn left onto my street. Now I’m getting really anxious. Only a few more minutes and I get to see my daughter again. Whenever my wife came to visit me, she always left our daughter at her mother’s. Said she didn’t want our girl to have any memories of the prison.

Out of the corner of my eye I notice the derelict building across from our house is gone. In its place sits the foundation of a brand new house, with workers swarming all over it. Who would’ve known that so many changes can take place in just six months?

We pull into the driveway of the two story brick house that my wife and I bought three years back. I pay the driver, then nervously approach the front door. The door swings open silently and my wife comes forward to welcome me back into my life. And out toddles our daughter, cautiously following her mom. It is only when I finally see my little girl after six long months without her blue-eyed smile that I truly grieve for all the time I had lost.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Hollowing

The sound of traffic is my constant companion as I walk. Today the sun is out, there's a pleasant breeze, and the street I'm walking along has plenty of nice trees for shade. The perfect time to think and plot.

Garbage needs to go out before morning. No doubt the cats have again attempted to wow me with their ability to coat the floor with kitty litter and my roomate has probably dirtied half the dishes in the house, and hidden all the utinsels in her room under soiled clothes. Same old, same old. I opt to pick up a sandwich on my way home along with some other fruits and vegitables I can safely eat with my hands. Banana's would be nice, I haven't had much potassium in awhile...

Oh yes and then there's some phonecalls. I need to call my mother back and find out what package made its way all the way to their place with my name on it. And those health-vampires from the plasma clinic called demanding my vital fluids; accursed type 0 blood!

Hmm... maybe some tomatoes too. I remember the last time I went to the plasma clinic they sent me away because my blood-iron was too low; too good for my plasma are you, I'll show you!

Once all that's taken care of though I should be able to more or less relax. Damn, the library had that book I'd ordered and I completely forgot! Oh well, I can probably finish up one of the ones I dropped half-way through tonight anyway...

A siren screeches past, heading where I do not know - past me and through the intersection. The ambulance speeds by only a foot and a half from my nose and then is racing off towards the hospital.

I pause a moment. Probably nothing, but as the sirens fade and I watch the ambulance disappear I can't help the feeling that someone is dying. And for some reason, whenever thoughts of mortality drift to the surface, I can't help thinking of T.S. Elliot's poem. I can't help dragging my little rat feet over broken glass, searching for voices in the wind's singing as I awake alone here on this street.

Life is very long.

Standing on that street, I think perhaps for a brief moment I could feel what it was to stand between the emotion and the response, waking alone to greet for a moment Death's Dream kingdom.

For thine is
Life is
For thine is the...

The moment passes. I suddenly feel inspired to run the rest of the way, nevermind that the papers in my book bag will get ruined - I want to run. So I do, somehow the poem keeps up...

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

I buy icecream and feel alive.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Without Me

Tom stared at the couple. “It’s not that I don’t like weddings,” he said to the man to his left, not taking his eyes off the bride. “In fact, I used to really like weddings. I mean, I was planning on getting married myself.”

He looked to his left; the man was staring at the couple attentively. “Of course,” Tom added, “you aren’t listening to a word I say. That’s okay, though. I’m used to that now.”

He turned his attention back to the bride and groom, who gazed into each others’ eyes with a look of longing and what appeared to be true love. Tom felt his eyes water up; he choked back sobs and took off his glasses, wiping his eyes. He looked back at the man to his left, “I-I don’t even know why I’m wiping my eyes; it’s not like anyone will notice anyway.”

He regained his composure and put his glasses back on. Making sure not to look back at the couple, he managed to continue speaking to the man to his left, “Since I know you’re so interested in everything I say…”

He trailed off, waiting for any response. The man to his left scratched his nose, shifted his weight a bit, and then returned to the position he was sitting in. “…I’ll continue. You know how I said that I was planning on getting married myself? Well, you know who was supposed to be my bride?” He returned his gaze to the bride, motioning in that direction, “It was her.”

* * *

Amy sits in the small, cluttered office. She shakily reaches for a package of cigarettes on the desk. She had quit smoking almost four years ago, but she really needed one right now. She manages to pull one out and puts the pack back on the desk. She picks up the lighter that is sitting next to the pack and attempts to light the cigarette. Her hand shakes so badly that she drops the cigarette on the floor in between her legs; frustrated, she throws the lighter to the floor and drops her face into her hands, her whole body convulsing as she sobs heavy sobs.

The door opens; in walks Detective Lonnegan. He sees the condition she’s in, so he closes the door and moves over to her quickly. “Hey, hey,” he says in a quiet voice as he approaches her. “I know how hard this is, and I know how…horrible something like that would have been to…experience.”

He sees the cigarette and lighter on the floor, crouches down and picks them up. He stands in front of her, offering the cigarette in silence. She looks up after a few minutes, tears running down her face, and she accepted his offer, placing the cigarette in her mouth. He lights it then pushes over some papers; he sits on his desk in the space he cleared.

They sit without speaking for a moment, silence save for the occasional sob. He finally gets the nerve and says, “Like I said, I know how hard this is for you, but I just need to ask you a few questions about…him.”

In between sobs, she manages to say his name, “Thomas.”

“Yeah,” Detective Lonnegan adds. “Thomas. I understand that you and he had…a past.”

“We were going to get married, if that’s what you mean,” Amy answers quickly.


She looks up at him through her tears, “And what?”

He clarifies his question, “And what happened? Why didn’t you get married? Why were you getting married to this other guy?”

She pauses, looking away from him toward his bulletin board covered with all sorts of clippings and pictures and phone numbers that mean nothing to her. “Thomas went missing.”

“He went missing?” He looks surprised with her answer. “Just like that?” He adds with a snap of his fingers.

“Yes, just like that,” she continues. “I had no idea what happened…I thought he was dead. Everyone thought he was dead.”

She starts sobbing again. They say nothing for a few minutes, Lonnegan looking around the room. “But you’re sure it was him,” he adds.

She looks back up at him and shouts, “Of course I’m sure it was him.” Quietly, she adds, “B-but I don’t remember seeing him come in, and neither does anyone else. All I remember is the noise…and then seeing him…”

She breaks down again, crossing her arms and sobbing into them on his lap. He puts his hand on her back and rubs it slowly.

* * *

“Yeah, it’s true,” Tom added with a slight sob. “Amy and I were engaged.” He paused, looking away from her and back at the man to his left again, “I was engaged to the most wonderful, beautiful…intelligent person in the world…”

He looked back at Amy, tears starting to stream from his eyes. He took his glasses off once again, wiping his eyes. Without putting them back on, he turned his attention back to the man to his left, yelling, “But then this happened! I-I can do this and you won’t even notice!”

With that, Tom shoved the man to his left into the woman beside him. She immediately looked at the man to his left with disgust; he apologized immediately, trying to draw attention away from the scene he created, then returned to his original position, paying attention to the ceremony once again.

As soon as everyone settled, Tom continued yelling at the man to his left, “You see? I-I don’t know what happened, but no one can see me or hear me or anything! Hell, I can’t even see myself when I look into a mirror!”

He paused. He faced Amy again, quietly adding, “But I’m still here. I’m like a…ghost. Of course, I can still do things, but everyone seems to ignore them…or think that it’s someone else’s fault.”

Tom sighed. He continued, still looking at Amy, “But that’s what went wrong. Amy saw that I was missing and she tried to find me, but no one could. I tried to communicate with her, but that didn’t work at all.”

He turned back to the man to his left, chuckling to himself, “I actually wrote her a message, but that just scared her silly. She really thought that someone was messing with her. After about a month, she thought that I was…dead.”

He paused, looking back at the Amy; he could see how happy she was. A tear fell down his cheek. He looked back at the man to his left, “Of course, who could blame her? There was no sign of me for that long; it was a logical conclusion. They held me a sort of funeral service of sorts, but without any earthly remains.

“Then life just sort of…went on. Slowly, everyone stopped thinking about me. No one wanted to talk about me, especially her. She had a hard time living her life, but it slowly happened.

“Months passed, and she found another man to spend her life with,” Tom motioned up at the groom. “Yes, she found another man who gets to spend the rest of his life with the…sweetest woman to ever roam this earth.”

Tears came back to his eyes. He started sobbing, but continued talking, “And here I am, spilling my guts to some guy I’ve never met before…who can’t even hear me right now.”

He sat there sobbing quietly for a moment before saying, “I’m going to miss you, Amy.”

* * *

The minister looks at Amy and pauses, smiling. He returns his gaze to the groom, saying, “Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

“I do.”

The minister pauses once more then turns to Amy, “Amy…do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Amy looks into the eyes of her husband-to-be and back at the minister, “I do.”

The minister smiles and looks from one to the other. In a loud, booming voice, he says, “By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you–”

His statement is interrupted by a gunshot coming from the crowd. Everyone looks in the direction of the sound; to their horror, a man is sitting in a pew a few rows back, clutching a gun. His brains, no longer in his head, were blown out the back of his skull onto the guests who were sitting behind him.

The man to his left sports a shocked expression, one that can be made out despite the blood covering the right side of his face. He looks up to the couple and the minister, muttering, “H-he…N-no one was th-there…H-he j-just appeared…”

Amy looks down the aisle into the lifeless eyes; there is no mistake in her mind of who it was. Her heart nearly sinks into her stomach as she whispers, “Thomas.”

Monday, July 27, 2009

August Quotation

"The saddest day I came across was when I learned that life goes on without me."
- Tomas Kalnoky

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Death of a Hero

“So, Lightning Rodney’s dead.”

“Lightning Rodney? Who the heck is that, some sort of Mexican wrestler?”

“Not quite. You never heard of him? He was that superhero.”

“A superhero?”


“Named...Lightning Rodney?”


“...What was his superpower?”

“Well, he was sort of like that made-up superhero, the Flash, more or less.”

“More or less? So, he ran fast?”

“Well, yeah, he ran fast, only he couldn’t do it all the time. You see, Lightning Rodney could only run like that when he was under a certain weight.”

“And what weight was that?”

“How the hell should I know? All I know is he figured it out. But it was hard for him to stay below that weight.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Well, he lost as much weight as he realistically could before losing most of his muscle mass. I mean, if he lost too much muscle, he probably wouldn’t have been able to run like he did, so he had to improvise; he had to lose as much weight as he could in other ways.”


“Clothes; he didn’t wear any clothes, minus really good running shoes.”

“...Are you joking? You mean to tell me Lightning Rodney was a superhero who ran around really fast, so long as he was naked?”

“Well, not quite. That still wasn’t enough. He really had to be creative to get his weight down...Did you see that?”

“See what?”

“I don’t know...The moon...lit up for a second there...”


“I thought so. Anyway, it must have been my imagination. Where was I?”

“Being naked wasn’t enough for Lightning Rodney.”

“Oh, right. Like I said, losing his clothes didn’t quite get him down to the weight he needed to be in order to run like the wind, so he had to trim off everything he could. He did what he had to; he trimmed his hair.”

“And that made him light enough?”

“Well, he shaved his head completely, and he had to shave and pluck all the hairs out of his body. Oh, and his nails. They had to be trimmed down as much as possible.”

“So, he couldn’t run really fast until he was naked and hairless?”


“Interesting. So, how did he end up dying?”

“Well, Lightning Rodney was weakest in the morning, immediately after waking up, since his hair grew while he slept. He had to get up and shave and pluck and everything before he was able to run really fast. Turns out, some of his enemies figured this out as well, and that’s when they surprised him.”

“Oh, so that’s how he died; they got him while he was slow.”

“Not exactly. Like, they did break into his house and who knows what they were planning to do to him once they were there, but he didn’t die by the hands of his enemies. No, Lightning Rodney sort of did himself in.”


“Yeah. You see, apparently he heard them break in or whatever, and he decided to make his move and get out of there.”

“But wasn’t he heavy and slow?”

“Yes, but he figured he needed to lose a bit of weight quickly and then he’d be fine. So, he grabs a knife and stabs himself in one of his main arteries.”

“Oh my. Why on earth would he believe that was a good idea?”

“Well, I guess he figured he would lose enough blood to be able to run fast then he’d make it to a hospital in time for them to patch him up, and that’s what he tried to do. From what I gather, once he was light enough to run quickly, he ran with his wound facing forward in so that the pressure would hold his blood in. I think it worked, since they didn’t find any blood in his path to the hospital.”

“Well, if it worked, how’d he die?”

“Like I said, he made it to the hospital, but then no one was ready for him. Lightning Rodney bursts in the emergency doors and stops running. He barely has the time to yell, ‘Help me,’ or something like that and the blood starts gushing out again. Without the pressure holding it back, the blood just sprays all over everyone; the nurses and all the patients waiting in the room get covered in Lightning Rodney’s blood. He didn’t have a chance by that point.”

“Well, that’s too bad. Now we have one less naked superhero.”

“Yeah, I agree...Wait, turn around. Check out the moon. It’s starting to glow again.”

“You’re right. It keeps getting brighter and brighter. And what’s that sound?”

Voip. Sizzle.


The Walmart doors opened as a man entered. He stopped a few feet into the store and raised his hands.

"Bryan is coming!" he said loudly to all who would listen. In this case it was the greeter and the few people at the courtesy desk. They all stared at him as he continued, "And he brings popcorn!"

Then he strode purposefully out of the store. The greeter smiled nervously at the customers across from where he stood. After nervously returning his smile, everyone went back to what they were doing, the incident largely ignored.

About a half hour later, another man entered the store. This one held a large blue bowl in his hands. He raised it above his head and loudly proclaimed: "I am Bryan, and I have popcorn!"

At this point, everyone within hearing range felt a massive headache come on. But they only had a moment to wonder about it as their heads exploded. All you could hear was the sound of popcorn popping and bodies hitting the floor, until finally there was silence. After a long moment, Bryan took a large handful of popcorn from the bowl. Smiling, he said into the silence, "That will show them to mock my theories!" And he strode out of the store, laughing the whole way out.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eyes in the Dark

Two eyes staring emberlike through the dark. Two eyes, staring hatred at my soul.

This was the awakened face of malice, the face of all dark dreams made manifest in the world - given power by whichever twisted mind forged this wretched plane of existence in the eons past when gods forged worlds from the very essence of their imaginations. All the dark emotions that people detest in themselves granted power; power to reduce the object of our emnity to ash, power to twist the land into a barren hellscape. The very air here had been changed into a black miasmic cloud that burned metal, clothes and exposed flesh with equal vigor.

Magic in this place fed off these things, encouraged them, shaped itself around them. And of all the hopeless, desolate worlds left as a relic to the whimsy of some long dead god, this was by far the most despairing. One more world and people simply waiting to die.

Two eyes staring spite into the world. I watch as my companion, my friend of many years, is blasted to ash which swirls about the cavern chamber by the torchlight - extinguishing it. The world hates me now, it takes joy in those two eyes and in bending itself to satisfying that which lurks behind them. And looking into those eyes, I know there is no such painless death of ash awaiting me. These eyes want me to suffer, they want to see it.

In such a world as this, life is brutal and short. The people here bathe in the power the land offers them and die on the twin edged sword of their own magic. Yet even in a place that rewarded the worst thoughts and feelings with fantastic power - this creature stood alone; the very embodiment of the spirit of the god forsaken world. Consequently the people here worshipped it as a god.

Consequently when they found I possessed magic beyond the taint of this place, they asked me to kill it. I'd been confident, and yet here I stood, all the years striding the worlds and stars counted for nothing in the face of such raw unbridled fury given form.

Two eyes staring in the dark. A low moan pierces the dark, rising steadily through a shriek and wail into a howling rage like thunder. The eyes grow brighter, and in the light of their gaze I can see the very cave being blasted away by the very sound. So much dust in the howling wind, carried off into the night, biting at my skin.

All my charms and wards are as nothing. Spells fail, I open my mouth and caustic dust pours in, choking and burning away all words. I choke on hubris, and a lifetime of wanderings pass before my eyes.

Two eyes in the dark, blazing like the infernal flames of hell itself. They rise into the air, growing larger, growing closer, growing fiercer. Everything around me is wind and dust in the firelight.

There are two eyes in the dark and I am alone in the world.

The end, I think, is very near.

Monday, June 29, 2009

July Quote

A haiku of mad science that made me laugh to no end:

My Moon-based Death Ray

Panics the people of Earth.

Mock my theories now!

--Andrew G. McCann

Friday, June 12, 2009

A diner by the mountain

The clock showed a quarter to two as Archie pulled a massive pan of roasting lamb out of the oven. The sky was lit with a thousand stars, the moon hidden behind the sleeping mountain. Lazily, the bright neon lights of his diner flickered on. His father long since passed on, his sisters and brothers have all moved far afield, Archie felt a pang of loneliness in his heart.

With the quiet smoothness that spoke of a ritual performed countless times, Archie began preparing for his guests. A massive wooden table slid out of a narrow closet in the wall, the legs held tightly to the bottom, easily unclasped and folded out. He remembered installing the system with his father when he was twelve, reducing the hour long struggle to get the table placed to mere minutes.

The table set, Archie surrounded it with seven chairs. Unlike the ancient oak, the chairs were new. Made of light steel and thickly cushioned. Archie still got nauseous thinking about how one of the ancient solid oak chairs was smashed to splinters during an argument. When the anger had subsided, all he had was a newer stool to offer to the now seatless guest. The next morning he received a letter requesting similar seating for the other six.

The seats set, Archie placed seven deep bowls and seven large plates. The plates were nothing more than smooth stone. The bowls were yellowed and crack. Archie suspected they were skulls, but tried not to dwell on whose. The bowls he filed with dark, rich mead. The plates he piled high with roast lamb and seasoned potatoes. The spices were running low. He didn’t know what to do when they ran out.

The clock struck two and the doors opened without a sound. Seven large men entered, their faces black with ash and dressed in thick raw leathers. Some had great beards as thick as a hedge while others had not a hair on their heads, but all had sharp grey eyes and aged faces. Archie recognized all the men from the Sunday before, all but one.

Without a glance in Archie’s direction the seven sat themselves and began to eat. They ate more than any man should be capable, and while they ate they talked. As Archie moved to keep the plates and bowls full, he would listen. He’d listen as the men complained and gossiped about the fires of the mountain they tend. Of the arms and armour they forged. Of the gods and demons that requested their work. Of the woman that stole their heart.

For the full of the night the twelve men feasted and gossiped, until an hour before dawn. Slowly, the conversation ceased, until utter silence filled the diner. Then, the one Archie did not recognize stood. He raised his bowl and said something in a harsh language Archie didn’t understand, but knew by heart. Always when one was replaced, the new one would say the prayer, the words echoing in Archie down to his core.

Then, as the abruptly as they arrived, they would leave. As Archie held the door for the last man, he looked Archie in the eye. “You do your family proud Archie White, and we are grateful. May you find a woman to take your heart, as your ancestor took ours.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Planet Reapers

We are winning.

Why else would global warming be such a success? While there are those who would halt our progress, still we ride forth, on steeds of smog, scouring the countryside. We have killed forests by directing the acidic rain, poisoned countless animals, and even managed to poke holes in the hated solar shield; our allies from the sun have joined us, spreading disease and death in their wake.

And just when we thought that our victory was assured, little things started to happen, things that could potentially change the war's outcome. More people started trying to conserve energy, conserve trees. These things are not enough to halt our advance, but they have slowed us down, made us work harder. This matters not to us. The planet is still full of energy wasters, and so we are still winning. As long as things remain as they are, we will eventually triumph despite these petty annoyances. The Earth will burn beneath our combined onslaught, until nothing good and green will ever grow here again.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Next Quote

The Chemical Workers Song

And its go boys go
They'll time your every breath
And every day in this place your two days nearer death
But you go

Well a process man am I and I'm tellin' you no lie
I work and breathe among the fumes that tread across the sky
There's thunder all around me and there's poison in the air
There's a lousy smell that smacks of hell and dust all in me hair

-Great Big Sea

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Harvest Festival Story

"...And so the demon Mastema stood over the fallen hero whose lifeblood even then was spilling to the Earth."

"And then he died!" Pierre interrupted from the other side of the roaring fire - the other children present laughed.

Reaching across the fire with his gnarled old stick D'Ambigeois rapped the boy once smartly over the head. "Do not, young boy, presume to tell me the end of my own story!" Looking around at the faces cast in firelight. "I am not dead yet, so don't try writing me into my own grave before I'm ready!" He complained grumpily.

"So how did you beat Mastema then?" Pierre asked, and it seemed an earnest question.

"I didn't."

"Then what happened to the Tarnhelm? And what happened with Princess Genevieve and the mysterious knight?"

"Are you telling the story or am I?" D'Ambigeois asked, shaking his cane again warningly. Then dropping the stick he settled back down. "I suppose you are simply young and curious - but understand, the tale of the Tarnhelm is a tale of chivalry and honour! Not tragedy."

"Siegfried and Brunhilda both died." Pierre said. D'Ambigeois looked at the boy carefully - for an eight year old he had an uncanny knowledge of Norse mythology.

"Indeed they did - but I am not the Sigund of legend and Princess Genevieve is not Brynhild. But we digress dear boy, and I am sure the others would wish to hear the story properly."

"Where is Princess Genevieve now?" There was a brief pause.

"Why my boy, she is the Queen Mother!" D'Ambigeois replied with a laugh.

"Then what happened to the promise you made by the Lake of Crystal Waters?" There was an awkward silence. D'Ambigeois' eyes narrowed on the young Pierre - somehow he had the impression that this eight year old was of a mind to mock him.

"Stories don't all end in happily ever after, but they don't always end in tragedy either." There was no need to strain in order to percieve the regret in his voice. The fire crackled noisily as burning embers rose like fireflies into the night air. Sieur D'Ambigeois took a moment to recompose himself and resume the story - only to be interrupted by the young Pierre again.

"Sounds like tragedy to me." Pierre said. There was something about the boy's voice that set D'Ambigeois off. He regarded the young Pierre carefully, looking for some resemblance and finding nothing he looked at some of the adults around the firelight and drifting in and out of the firelight among the other festivities.

Nothing; no old enemies, old friends...still this child was toying with him. "Well like I said, maybe things didn't turn out happily ever after," D'Ambigeois forced his most charming smile. "But you haven't hear the rest of the story yet."

This time it was boy smiled as everyone else looked on, by this point they were both the center of attention. "That's because the story is not yet ended..." Only this time the boy's voice had changed to something different. Something inhuman; accompanied by inhuman laughter.

"MASTEMA!" The old knight lept to his feet, his walking stick - the only thing within reach even resembling a weapon - instantly in his hand.

Mastema cast off his boyish guise and assumed his true form, seeming to rise out of the flames which flared wildly into the night sky. In his true form he stood nearly twelve feet and there was no mistaking him for a creature born of the tortures of hell. "It has been a long time old friend."

People were running in all directions now; screams pierced the night air. Meanwhile the demon with his terrible blazing sword and the aging Sieur D'Ambigeois with his gnarled walking stick lept at one another through the flames.