The Plain Beyond

17 08 2015

The summer months are for demons and devils they say. Hot weather and hellish humidity offer stinging previews for the evily inclined. Its hard to disagree, looking back at those days. June was disastrous, July was no better. Hell found its way into every crack and crease of life those first few months. But as they say, it was a sick preamble to the woes to come. 

There wasn’t much left out in the reaches already. War had laid the once bustling orbitals low. The great rings of iron dock and post no longer hugged the planet close at its waist. Now the greatest constructions in the history of that world hung like rusted halos around the necks of long dead angels. The armistice that followed paled in significance to the fallout. Some of that iron plummeted to the surface, smashing cities and townships alike, scarring the earth and killing its people. 

Doomsday became the official religion, cannibalism became kind of vogue, and coveting was the mildest thing you could do to your neighbors’ ass.

The day to day is a real bitch.

As the great doors to the vault swung ponderously outward on their hinges, the event was heralded by the torturous screech of metal that hadn’t been oiled in decades. Light spilled into the cavern beyond bathing a filthy face in gold. 

Shilo stepped beyond the portal doing his best to cover his eyes. At one time he had worn sunglasses on these rare excursions but they had been smashed to pieces on the last trip out. He was much like the rest of his neighbors; thin and frail wearing a dull gray jumpsuit that had belonged to who knows how many people. His hair was the color of dirt and about as clean. His face was smudged with motor oil and sweat, and a sad canvas pack hung from his back. 

Two others joined him. They weren’t much better off. 

Shilo turned to his companions, “Any idea how many?” He tightened the shoulder straps, eyeing the others. They shook their heads, preoccupied with what might be around them. 

Their complex was cut into a single mountain that dominated the surrounding landcapes. The magistrate likened it to a beacon he learned about in a book from a place on the old world; a city built on a hill that attracted people from miles around. He had never seen it. No one had.

It was just a mountain to Shilo. A mountain that hid his home, much like the rest of the complexes spread around the plain. The three began the trek down the low trails that would lead them amongst great boulders, big as houses, before giving way to the rolling fields of grains and tall grass beyond. There were others out there. 

Today they might finally find one. 

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Friday Night Fire Fight

12 09 2014

Well look at that it’s Friday. What say we just make the whole week a fiction week, yeah?

Oh and this one is kind of messy.

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The whining of strained hydraulics weren’t enough to drown out the screams.

“Someone put her out already!” A man in a white coat stained with blood spatter shouted at a half dozen women around the table. Upon its surface the screeching, bloody highlight of the night’s latest casualties writhed, batting away restraints and making the administration of drugs a near impossible prospect.

“Fuck it.” Came a static encrusted voice as another man pushed his way through the women, his massively armored frame making the nurses seem like children. The man hefted a huge pistol over his head and brought it down hard into the face of the screaming patient. At once she was silenced, not having the opportunity to register her orbit shatter before losing consciousness.

“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” a nurse grabbed at the large man’s arm trying to usher him away. He knocked her back without difficulty, aimed the pistol and fired. A thunderous boom and blinding flash filled the room momentarily before the remaining staff was hit by fresh red mist and chunks of meat as the nurse’s head exploded like a hammered grape.

The medical staff recoiled and backed away from the giant. “Today doctor.” The armored suit spoke before returning to his place on the wall. The team resumed applying restraints and running IV’s to administer a massive cocktail of pain killers and antibiotics. No one dared a glance at their number that now lay dead on the floor.

This was best. This woman wouldn’t have lived long enough to get drugs if that monster of a man hadn’t stepped in. She was tiny, even compared to the medical staff, all normal human beings; her frame was particularly petite. Standing she was less than five feet tall, her young face was scarred with more battle field hours than should ever be visited upon a child.

“She’s set doctor.” Said a nurse.

“Okay, start popping the mods, everything below the neck and above the waist needs to come out.”

The girl’s clothing had been cut away to allow the staff unimpeded access to her most serious injuries. There was so little flesh in parts of her torso that a selection of drills, saws, and welders that wouldn’t typically see the inside of the OR had to be brought in. Only the tiny girl’s breasts and part of her midriff was still flesh, the rest having been given over to mechanical replacements; flashy ones.

“Mods are out, everything left is hardwired.”

“Shit.” The doctor started drilling into her abdomen, above the flesh of her belly, deep into the metal cavity that held her heart. He stumbled when it broke through. That was the hardest part. He removed the drill and snatched a long fiber optic cable from one of the nurses and started snaking it in, staring at a monitor suspended from the ceiling that let him see her insides.

The lights flickered. An explosion rocked the doors into the OR. The two armored behemoths standing watch near the operating table nodded to each other, unslung huge rifles from their backs and made for the door.

The doctor wiped sweat from his brow with the back of his sleeve, eyes glued to the monitor as it struggled to maintain functionality. The auxiliary generators were already running, if power was interrupted that would be that.

The bloody vision of the girl’s heart loomed into view.

“Holy shit we were right, it was the heart. Quick, get the cells in there before we don’t have juice to run the little bastards anymore.”

A nurse screwed a thin vial into the end of the cable. A metallic, mercury-like liquid sloshed around inside. “Go.” She said, and the doctor plunged the contents into the cable. A moment later the camera feed registered the liquid dispersing into the cavity, coating the girl’s insides with quicksilver.

The OR shook as another explosion threw pieces of ceiling and floor tiles around the room, knocking the doctor down. Another of the nurses fell dead beside him, a disgusting amount of shrapnel lodged into her face, throat, and chest.

Gunfire pulled his attention to the OR entry doors were one of their monstrous guards was blazing away at an unseen foe beyond. The other of the pair lay motionless on the ground. One of his pauldrons had been blown away, little arcs of energy flicked between the door and his helmet visor where a long metal rod had forced it’s way through.

“Charles what do we do?” Another of the nurses screamed to him from around the other side of the table.

“What?” his attention was pulled back and forth between the door and the nurse. He didn’t know what to do; this wasn’t something he was trained for. He was scared. He was breathing far too quick to think clearly.

There was a loud gritty scream ending in a sharp gargle.

He saw the remaining guard impaled by an impossibly long sword.

The giant’s torso was separated from his legs with a single flick of the man-sized blade.

Another explosion rocked the building, the horrifying sound of twisting metal and collapsing structure screamed from the floors above them. Then there was light, hot, and bright, and a thunderous clap of another detonation.

And sleep came rushing in.





Wednesday Fictioning Day

10 09 2014

Hey there. Its Wednesday. I have decided once again to assault you with another random bit of short fictioning.

I know ‘fictioning’ isn’t a word. I’m a professional though so it’s okay. 

Trust me.

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It was only when he began to slow unintentionally from exhaustion that he realized part of the problem was that he was rushing against a crowd trying very hard to get away from wherever he was headed. Seeing it as the best way to lose the crazed old Prefect he pushed on eventually exiting the rush of bodies into an open hall that ended in two massive iron doors. Across the center of each warnings flashed in a recessed strip that bathed the immediate area in pale orange light. Below the caution symbols were the words ‘pressure doors’.

What the hell?

“Governor!” came a tired scream from behind him. Albert had caught up. “That’s it.” He continued. The old man was in rough shape, the loss of blood finally seeming to have begun to affect him. The lower half of his robes were entirely red now, the tips dripping a red trail behind him.

“You don’t have to, it doesn’t need to be like this.” Said Joss.

“Give me the damn data card!” the Prefect screamed. He was frothing at the mouth, crimson bubbles popping at the corners of his mouth. 

As he continued to stumble his way onward, Joss finally noticed that the doors were not exactly the same. A pin prick of light caught his eye along the exterior of the blast door to his left. A scratching sound followed along with it.

Albert slowed to a stop, eyes fixed on the same door. Apparently he had noticed it too. Without warning another set of thick steel doors slammed shut further down the hall separating the two men from the large open area they had fallen into. An automated voice chimed a warning over a speaker system in the hall.

“Explosive decompression imminent.” It reported.

The two looked at one another, the fight suddenly drained from the old man. He dropped the knife. It clattered beside him on the ground.

The blast door exploded forward, halting as the sudden change of pressure pushed it back the other way. It caught on something and tipped flat against the floor before being sucked out into another large area, littered with broken glass. Joss lost his feet and he and Albert tumbled out together. On the other side , a ship with cargo ramp open hovered, an odd collection of men in respirators and maintenance suits crowding the ramp.

Joss could feel the oxygen rush from around him, his breath threatening to do the same. As he and Albert were blown out of the hall, the crowd gathered at the mouth of the ship jumped and grabbed to catch him.

A heavy gloved hand wrapped around Joss’ arm and he was pulled down onto the ramp which he could feel start to incline beneath him. The sound of rushing air blasted past him and the last thing he could hear before slipping into a black state of forced sleep was a familiar voice screaming over a crackly speaker.

“Hench! Get us the fuck out of here!”





TOTALLY RANDOM FICTION

8 09 2014

Hey it’s Monday!

Have a random story snippet!

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The tune started like so many others. It was drunk and melancholy, drifting through back alleys and dark places, wrong turns, and dead ends. Notes, creeping like a serpent searching for a meal, hung on the coat tails and cloak hoods of any poor soul they could find. It was a heavy and oppressive music, a wonder that it could float at all from the twisted, hateful pipes that hung from the top of the old lighthouse, deep in the bay. Every night it would yawn over the harbor enrapturing sailors and drunkards and anyone else that would listen.

“It calls to me.” The meek would say.

“Rubbish.” The drunk would declare.

Repent, repent!” The pious would scream.

Garabaldi kicked a can off the edge of the pier, a sharp metallic sound echoing a short way out over the water before being drowned out by the dirge from across the harbor. The waves crashed against the old stone dock so high as to breach the top, soaking his black trousers and boots with salty splashes. He ran his hand down his shoulder wiping away an ever-present slick of water from his leather jacket. It was long and embroidered on the back was an iron nail on a field of red, the symbol of justice in what passed for a place like Bergen’s Bay.

Across his back was an old rifle, fitted for an army of an age long gone. At his side was a pistol of an entirely different era and a machete made from salvage metal. A wide brimmed hat, brown and beaten kept the rain off his face. He thumbed the machete handle, watching the light house torch spin about illuminating dark clouds in the sky. It was mesmerizing when paired with the droning of the pipes.

“And what brings the Bay’s youngest law man down to the pier?” the voice was deep and crackly; a smothered tone that hinted at ages of smoke. “I don’t imagine you’re just down for a visit, eh Garabaldi?”

“It’s too early. The house ain’t piped up at this hour in forty years. We got any traffic so far Bob?” the raspy sounding man cracked his knuckles and started to button his jacket. It was long and grey and torn; a family heirloom that once meant a whole hell of a lot more.

Things take on whole new meanings in Bergen’s Bay, usually empty ones.

“Actually no, nothing in the harbor near as I can tell.” He said, pulling a fat moleskin notebook from an inside pocket. He thumbed through the pages and said, “Looks like this may be the first time in a long time. According to the old records, hey look at that – forty years.”

Garabaldi plucked a cigar from a little belt pouch and lit it.

“What’s it mean?”

“Don’t know, Bob.” Garabaldi said. “You better see if you can call over to the light house. See if Bo knows something.”

“Me? Why do I have to call?” Bob choked.

“You’re the only one with a phone that works, now call him you damn fool.”

Before either could move the pipes stopped. Calm settled over the water in the bay. Only the lapping of water against the old pier could be heard. Not even the usual sobbing that accompanied the night was heard, no sign that the usual thugs and no good cancerous people of Bergen’s Bay were out.

But it was not to last and no sooner had Garabaldi resumed prodding the old bay master than the pipes let out another unexpected blast of sound. The noise wasn’t the usual droning, it was deep and angry and violent. The dock shuttered beneath them, the vibrations rumbled deep in their chests, numbing their bodies. The stone began to splinter and crack, the furthest reaches of the pier crumbling to dust, spilling into the water.

Deep in the harbor, beneath the surface, something stirred.





Picture It and Write: Tree Corpse Edition

31 05 2014

piwebookcover-copy

And queue excitement.

SO there is a  little book peddling website, Amazon dot com, you may have heard of it. And on this website there is a book. Well a grunch of books actually. Grunch being somewhere between a boatload and a metric ton.

Anyways, there is a book, the cover of which appears above. In this book are twenty-three talented folks that love to put pen to paper. Or fingers to keys. Pixels to screens maybe?

I’m one of them. I’ve been published in something – exciting times!

The book draws it’s content from short fiction written for the Picture it and Write prompts posted over at Ermiliablog. All profits benefit The Girl Effect, a charity focused on empowering adolescent girls in underprivileged countries to kick poverty in the teeth and make their mark on the world.

Available ala Tree Corpse here.

And naturally, through electronic technowizardry here.





Breaking Fiction with Fallopian Tubes

18 05 2014

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This is nothing new. That being said, it remains something that bears repeating especially since we are so close to the publication date. For anyone who may not know, early in the year a fiction magazine by the name of Lightspeed put up a kick starter campaign. But not just any old kick starter, this thing has got teeth.

I first found out about the special “Women destroy Sci Fi” issue from Mur Lafferty’s site. I adore Lafferty, she writes some great stuff so naturally, when she started blogging about destroying a genre I love using only her fallopian tubes I was… curious?

I can’t say exactly where the hub was first bubbed but after reading silly things like complaints over Starbuck being cast as a woman in the Battle star reboot, well, this sounded like a great idea.

According to the magazines Kick Starter page,

It could be said that women invented science fiction; after all, Mary Shelley wrote what is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel (Frankenstein). Yet some readers seem to have this funny idea that women don’t—or can’t—write science fiction. Some have even gone so far as to accuse women of destroying science fiction with their girl cooties. So to help prove how silly that notion is, LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE‘s June 2014 issue—our fourth anniversary issue—will be a Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue. And we will also—for the first time in LIGHTSPEED’s history—have a guest editor at the helm.

The original announcement of this special issue generated so much excitement that we wanted to find ways to include even more amazing science fiction by women. So—with your help—we’re going to make the special issue twice the size of a normal issue of LIGHTSPEED.

 

Next month, June 2014, make sure you check out this very special edition of Lightspeed.





Scrawling A Bit of Fiction – MARCH

17 03 2014

 

 

You know what’s going on. Ermilia. Writing. Fiction. PICTURES.

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“What are we doing here anyway?” Girl wasn’t even looking at him. Her chin was to her chest and she picked at strands of hair dangling in front of her face. It gave her a lost almost dazed looked, like any moment she might drift asleep.

Lewis cleared his throat.

“This is one of my favorite places in the city.”

“The food sucks.”

“Does it? Honestly I mostly just come for coffee.” People had a habit of telling him what they thought of the little diner whenever he mentioned it, so much that he had stopped discussing his lunch plans with anyone at work anymore. The smell of burnt coffee and cigarettes hung in the air, a thin cloud obscured the interior ever so slightly.

 “Doesn’t matter. It’s not the food that stands out here it’s the people.”

Girl took hold of the bright green cup on the table beside her; the visual assault of the coffee receptacle’s hue made it hard to focus on anything but the cup and before long Lewis found himself lost in it, like a little ceramic lava lamp.

“Still doesn’t tell me why we’re here.”

Lewis blinked and focused on the table, wide eyed, shaking the green after image from his vision. He rubbed his eyes and resumed sipping at his own coffee. He was second guessing himself. The incident at the library was bad enough. He probably shouldn’t have gone so far. And he definitely shouldn’t have started talking to her about the old days. What was so different here?

“You said you wanted to know why.”

“Yeah, I did. I have to say that right now though I feel like I’m on a really lame date, which is weird given my present company.”

“Lame?” Lewis recoiled at the insinuation. “I’ll have you know I’ve wooed countless thousands in my time.”

“Through boredom maybe.” Girl threw her hand over her mouth and giggled. She really didn’t seem to care.

“Alright.”

“I’m sorry.” She said, standing to adjust her dress before sitting again. “Why are we here?”

Lewis scanned the crowd across the diner. There wasn’t much variety to the people who showed up here from week to week. There would be college students, far too broke to afford anything better than the corner diner, Penelope’s, right around the corner from campus. The youthful crowd would flock here before or after classes to smoke and drink bizarre varieties of coffee and eat pie, the flavors of which no one had ever heard of, in the name of fitting in.

It only took a moment to find her. Penelope, a young woman somewhere in her thirties bounced around behind the counter, serving those lucky enough to claim a barstool. She was thin and pale, but vibrant. She could put a smile on your face just being around her. She possessed an infectious cheer that radiated throughout the restaurant.

“That woman died eighty years ago.” Lewis nodded at Penelope between sips of coffee.

“The owner?” Girl craned her neck toward the counter, “I don’t know, she looks pretty alive to me.”

“Yeah. That’s what she wants you to think. The two of you are a lot alike. You both have things that you want to hide and no matter how hard you try to do so, it doesn’t help. As good as you think you might be at hiding the truth, something will always stand out. It’s like you’re hardwired to be bad liars, subconsciously sabotaging yourself in hopes of someone picking up on it.”

Girl set her mug down. She chewed her lip, eyes fixed on the little green monstrosity that held her coffee. She pulled her legs up into the chair and started picking nervously at her hair again.

“Remember how I told you, people like you made me retire?”

Girl nodded her head.

“Penelope Orourke was one of the first.”

Girl relaxed her legs and leaned across the table. “What happened to her?”

Memories were something Lewis was good at, he’d hoarded centuries of them after all. His brain was like an automatic filing cabinet. Things went in, filed in neat order that made for quick retrieval when needed; a catalog of pain that stretched back through eons.

“She was a lovely woman, in spirit I mean. One of the most genuine people you could have ever met. When tragedy first struck Penelope it was by way of her youngest child, a three year old named Peter. He died in a house fire. You could say the O’Rourke family learned a valuable lesson in chimney safety that day.”

“Oh my God.” Girl gasped. Lewis sucked air in through his teeth making an audible hiss. “Oh right, sorry.”

Lewis nodded and said, “The second time was three weeks later when Penelope’s oldest, a six year old named Alexander, accidently shot himself.”

Girl threw her hands up. “Where the hell were the parents?”

Lewis sipped at his coffee. “Well, Penelope was out picking up a rather pricey birthday dinner for her husband, Michael. He on the other hand, after graciously offering to watch young Alexander, was locked away in the master bedroom with his mistress. He had left his pistol on a table in the study where he had been cleaning just prior to the harlot’s arrival.”

Girl slumped in the chair and found Penelope flying around the counter, balancing an assortment of loudly-colored mugs. She scurried around and out into the tables and booths that occupied the rest of the diner not occupied by the bar counter, stopping only long enough to deliver a few mugs before quickly moving on. She was efficient. And after what Lewis had said, a little unsettling.

“Poor woman.”

“Indeed.”

The two sat for a while without speaking. Lewis began to lose himself in the drone of youthful excitement that hung in the air like the ever-present nicotine cloud that helped define the diner he so loved.

“Wait a minute.” Girl was leaning back, coffee mug sitting in her lap. “That is a sad story, but it doesn’t explain anything.”

Lewis blinked.

“Oh right, it doesn’t does it. Well, she came home earlier than expected, right after Alexander had ended his own adventure in this crazy world and she found not only a dead son but a very naked and very confused woman in the bedroom.” He cleared his throat before adding, “With her equally naked and equally confused husband I should add. So she hung herself a day later.”

Lewis stood and produced his wallet from his jacket pocket. He leafed through it for a few bills, he was a big fan of paying for things with Benjamin Franklin pictures. It was comforting knowing that everyday human beings knew just how much of a scoundrel that man had been, he could tell since they usually gasped when they saw his face. Lying bastard.

“There’s still got to be more. Yeah life sucked but that still doesn’t make me understand what you’re getting at.”

Lewis sat again and threw a couple Benjamin papers on the table.

“She showed up on my doorstep. Why? Can you tell me what this girl’s crime was? Can you explain why she should be tortured any further?”

“No.”

“So what was I supposed to do? I finally started to think about people, looking past the surface sin, and trying to figure out what justified my new work. I had found myself, once again being used as an instrument – one of punishment, and at long last I saw that I hated it.”

“So what did you do?” asked Girl.

“I let her go. She was the first. I helped her navigate her way back here, gave her a fresh start. Well, semi-fresh, she’s still dead after all. Doesn’t have any men in her life, mostly because she would only be able to hide her lack of pulse and body temperature for so long outside the confines of a hot kitchen, but she’s happy. And now I get free lunch.”

Girl got up and slid her jacket on. Lewis joined her and threw more money at the table. As they walked out of the diner, Lewis paused, looking back just long enough to see if Penelope had noticed he was there. She had of course. She always noticed.

“We aren’t that different either.” He thought. After all, what had Lewis wanted all those years ago, to be something more, to do great things? Just like Penelope, owning her own place, serving others. No, not so different at all. Still, there was something else, something nagging at him – maybe it was doubt. He could almost taste the salt again, the sudden icy embrace of the ocean.

Thoughts of despair leapt into the foreground. Here, the undead sinner embraced people flocking to her name, she will fail – she will rise up only to be met with the inevitable fall.

“Am I supposed to be your doorman now? That wasn’t part of the original deal.” Girl was leaning against the diner door, hair blowing in the wind, wearing the friendliest scowl he’d seen in a long time. Lewis glanced back to Penelope who still stood, silent, watching him, a warm smile on her face.

“I can’t believe I didn’t include that in the fine print.” He said stepping into mid November’s chill. “It’s been a while since I made anyone deal.”