Friday, October 11, 2013


Elias stood on the balcony, propping himself up on the stone-carved handrail. With his wan constitution, it wasn’t often that he was able to enjoy such days.
            Far below, in the surrounding town, he could hear the sounds of children running around and playing. The sounds grew louder as the children rounded the corner, approaching the loft where he dwelt.
            Part of him was filled with a sad sort of jealousy, part of him with warm inspiration. While deprived of experiencing such revelry himself, it honestly did his heart good to see others enjoying a day such as this. In Elias’ own world of doctors and nurses and lawyers and councilors and tutors and advisors and countless other adults in all manner of uncomfortable formal attire, this scene was like gazing through a telescope at some distant celestial body.
            One of the children had a bubble pipe and produce small ephemeral sphere for the others to chase and scamper around. By chance, an errant orb drifted away from the rest, weaving and meandering its  way upwards only to settle itself on the railing next to where Elias stood.
            He gazed at it, admiring the swirling myriad of purples and yellows and greens and blues—and then it was gone. Pretty and elegant in it’s delicate, fleeting existence, it reminded him of himself.
            As if on cue, his nursemaid had returned, yelling that ‘a young master with a constitution such as his would catch a death of cold being outside like that’ or some other admonishment he had heard dozen of times before.
            If she only knew how dead he already was inside.
            With slightly less that his average apathy, he returned to his world of doctors and nurses and lawyers and councilors and tutors and advisors and countless other adults in all manner of uncomfortable formal attire.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


After so many hours awake, even the most potent pot of Joe doesn’t do the deed anymore. Abigail found herself quickly reaching that point. She had been poring over several small idols which had been brought in recently. They appeared to have vague connections to the Rapa Nui, Maori, or some other Polynesian group. Her examinations so far had proved inconclusive.
            As the weariness wore on, Abigail went to reach for her mug. In her tired state, her coordination failed her and she caught her hand on a spear one of the small figures was holding. Made from carved obsidian, the point easily tore both her gloves and her flesh. A fresh surge of adrenaline brought her awake.
            Before she could react further, the idol, covered in her fresh blood, glowed brightly. An instant later her entire world whirled, a myriad of colors and textures.
            Except, for a dark spot far off in front of her, slightly to her left. As if compelled by some force, Abigail made her way there, her world still motley and indistinct. As she approached the figure, she saw it was humanoid, lying down in the fetal position. As she crouched down to touch it, the colors left.
            She was somehow in a janitorial closet, a dead homeless person lying in front of her.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Situated in a vast sand ocean many thousands of leagues from either the farm girl or the princess, it seemed blasphemously angular and dark amid the flowing, pale sand. Rising up several hundred feet, it was as menacing as it was impregnable. Composed of a bizarre cyclopean construction from an odd, dark-colored stone, it might as well have been a conjuration of fairy magic or a construction of demonic forces. The tower bore no visible entrance nor any identifying insignia. Only seemingly random small windows gave any indication that the structure might be inhabited by beings of this world. Even more surprising was that the beings were actually humans.
A piece of moldy bread and some gruel—more than a feast for the plump rat skulking nearby—was the latest in a long line of neglected prison meals. The guards still had no idea how “it” was still alive. The lump of degenerated humanity dressed only in filthy, waist-length hair mats never moved under its own volition. It never resisted, nor made a noise—even during weekly inquisitor lashings. The leaky bucket-cum-chamber pot was as empty on this day as it was the first day. This was the constant state of the cell.
Except on the nights of the full moon.
On those nights it would stand and stare up at the lone cell window. It would focus on that lone silvery glowing spot. When the moon finished its voyage across the dark gulf of the sky and sank below the horizon the prisoner would once again become a lump of flesh on the floor.
Most of the guards had no idea how long things had been this way nor were they curious to find out. When an entire prison consisted of over two hundred guards and only one prisoner even a fool should have known there were special circumstances. Anyone who asked questions or chatted idly about the prisoner was wordlessly executed by one of the warden’s dozen elite guards. The regulars’ only standing order was to report immediately to the warden if the prisoner spoke. That would turn out to be a dire mistake for the warden
Perhaps it was due to the lack of light in the cell. Perhaps it was due to inattentiveness of the guards. Perhaps it was due to a face half covered in dirty, matted hair. Perhaps it was even the lack of information they received concerning their charge. Whatever the reason, none of the guards noticed the change in the prisoner. While she did not speak, nor make any other sound, she instead did something the warden would be equally interested about. It had only been briefly, it had only been slightly, but for a few moments the prisoner had been smiling.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


***Trigger warning: Before you read this, know that this story was partly inspired by 
Edwin Emmanuel Bradford The basis for my stories is randomly generated, so they aren't always pleasant.

Emile felt the sweat still soaking his entire shirt. The dream had come to him again, and again, it left him exhausted.
            For what seemed like countless nights, his sleep was interrupted by the same horrific, nightmare. He had had these same dreams, once long ago, but they had gone away. For some reason, they now returned.

            He lay there in bed, resting comfortable on his clean linens, when it came.
            It didn’t have a face, it barely had a shape. It was human, Emile suspected, or at least close enough to one.
            The thing would come for him, and do . . . things.

            Tears welled up as the torturous memories came flooding to him, of recalling the utter revulsion the thing produced within him. It was an instinctual, something seeded deep within himself.
            It couldn’t be human—nothing could do such things and still call itself human. Emile could feel his own heart racing, his chest heaving. Mustering what strength he could, he made his way out of the bunk room, through the large antique doors, and finally outside.
            Fresh wetness from a passing squall covered the ground, leaving small puddles to reflect the moon.
            Emile looked up at the large, glowing orb. Small clouds from his own breath came and went as fast as they were formed.
            It relaxed him though, made him feel at ease. It was quite the opposite of how the thing made him felt. Staring upwards, he lost himself, and his surroundings.
            He never heard the approaching footsteps behind him.
            A familiar hand placed itself on his shoulder.
            “Welcome back, my child,” the owner of the voice said to Emile. “I’m glad you decided to return to study here after being away for so many years.”
            As the instinctual revulsion welled up inside of him, Emile dropped to his knees, crying in that abhorrent moment of clarity that was now upon him.

Monday, October 7, 2013


The cries of seagulls roused Sylvia awake. Despite being pasted almost shut, she forced her eyelids open, tearing at eyelashes as she did so, regretting instantly her decision to do so. Despite its lower angle in the sky, the sun still beat down harshly on the open sea. Additional shorebird cries roused her further.
            A sudden epiphany roused her fully—birds meant land.
             Mustering what little strength she had left in her dehydrated and starved state, Sylvia rolled over in the life boat. Despite the blisters covering her hands and sunburn on the rest of her flesh, she managed to pull herself up onto the edge of the large inflatable life raft. As she had concluded, she was drifting towards a small island.
            Somewhere, deep down inside, she managed to draw upon a yet unknown reserve of strength and will. With this, she managed to reach down into the water, meekly propelling herself towards the shoreline.
            After a torturous infinity, she managed to make it to the shoreline. Looking back, she saw the sun was quite low in the sky. Realizing how little daylight she had left, Sylvia forced herself out of the boat and onto the sandy beach.
            Lacking the strength to stand fully upright, she managed to slowly crawl her way to the edge far edge of the beach where the vegetation started. Bunking her head against a palm tree, she half-flopped, half-rolled over into a sitting position up against it.
            Sylvia, despite all her fatigue, all her pains, couldn’t help but feel anything but gratitude for finally finding land. As far as she knew, she had been the only survivor of the plane crash. All of the passengers, including the pilot of the small sea plane, had been researchers traveling to the mid-Atlantic in search of a reportedly new species of aeonium.
            A group of Portuguese sailors had brought back a single plant and several harvested samples, claiming that it had medicinal properties. Initial testing had indicated that certain essential oils it contained could have drastic effects in the restoration damaged ocular cells, but the only living sample had unfortunately been lost due to a lab accident.
            Too tired to keep her head up, Sylvia let it fall to the side, the rest of her torso following.
            And then she started laughing uncontrollably.
            There, a mere few inches from her face, growing on the cusp of the vegetation line, was aeonium she had been seeking.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Joseph had always considered himself a good soldier. Not a great one, mind you, but the kind of soldier who always met expectations and never disappointed—reliable to a fault. Fraternization, therefore, was something completely alien to him, both in concept and in practice. He understood the word in the dictionary sense, and he most definitely understood the repercussions of committing such an offense, but it would have never even occurred to him to commit such a seditious act willfully.
            Then again, when Joseph had enlisted in the army five years ago, he would have never thought himself to be in the situation he now found himself in.
            This small café, in the southwestern part of France, in the storied region called Aquitaine, was like nowhere he ever expected to be. Despite the war having been over for several months, there was still a strong military presence throughout most of the country. Having traveled through several regions, Joseph had seen towns in various degrees of destruction and degradation. Some were no more than piles of rubble, while others had received only minimal damage.
            The small village where Joseph now found himself was not quite unique, but it was most definitely a rare exception. The war had left the entire municipality untouched. According to some locals, the Germans had never even once set foot there. By his own estimation, Joseph got the distinct impression that his platoon had been the first visitors to the villages in a very long time.
            The café, across the street from the only inn in town, also happened to be the only eatery. After several days, they G.I.’s had quickly acclimated to this rural hamlet’s way of life.
            Joseph suspected that Sophia had played no small part in this adjustment. Although he had never asked, he had assumed that she was in her early twenty’s like himself.
            He had thought, several times now, that spending the rest of his days with a girl like Sophia could be quite the idyllic dream.
            And then, before they knew it, their tenure was up. Word had arrived that they were expected in another hamlet.
            That brought him to where he stood that day.
            It was mid afternoon, the time right after lunch yet still well before supper. The café was empty except just the tow of them. Joseph started and stopped several times, trying each to find the exact words to confess how he felt, but the words eluded his best efforts to hunt for them.
            Finally, she walked up to him, placing a single, slender finger on his lips. While he stood there, dazed, she turned away and went into the back where the kitchen was. A moment later she returned, a small leather-bound tome in her right hand, a peach in her left. She approached him, holding out both for him to accept.
            Unsure, he took the peach and put it into the cargo pocket of his pants. Joseph then took the book and opened it. Seeing the series of dates and short passages, he quickly realized that it was a journal. Still silent, she motioned for him to sit.
            After watching him take a place at one of the handful of tables, Sophia quickly disappeared once again, this time to return with a pen and inkwell. He immediately understood. Without a word, he took both, bowing in gratitude. Faster than he thought possible, he jotted down the overflowing emotions that now filled him. Relief couldn’t begin to describe the feeling of releasing the flood of emotions on to the rough paper.
            Once he had finished, he looked finally looked up, but she was nowhere to be seen.
            Joseph sat for what seemed like an eternity. He was about to inspect the back room for her, when suddenly his squad leader called form outside.
            There was no more time. He thought it might be better this way.
            Within a few minutes, the small troop of soldiers was assembled and making their way out of town. They exited via the road heading east out of town. Just as the were cresting the small hill just outside of town, Joseph suddenly remembered the peach in his pocket. He fished it out and looked at it. It looked almost flawless. He stopped suddenly in the middle of the road, half his squad mates almost running into him. Amidst their yelling he glanced back to look at the village. What he saw immediately broke him into a cold sweat and made him weak in the knees. As the other soldiers turned to look, he thought he heard one whisper ‘mother of God’ or something like that.
            The only thing he could focus on was the cluster of bombed-out buildings which occupied the same space where the village had been. No one spoke nor made any further sounds.
            Unconsciously, Joseph’s arms went limp and he dropped the peach. Without thinking further, he immediately broke into a sprint, heading for where the café had been.
             Initially, he thought it still remained untouched. As he crossed the threshold, the light pouring through the large hole in the ceiling showed him otherwise. Nervously, he made his way towards the backroom. Pushing past the remnants of the beaded curtain that separated the room from the rest of the café, he instinctively held his breath. The sigh he immediately let out was long and deep.
            There, lying on a small bed in the corner, was the desiccated remains of what was once a young girl. Likely close to his own age, he was sure. Clutched against her chest was a small leather bound tome.
            Joseph went to reach for it, then stopped. Something told him he was better off not opening that tome.
            Just outside of town, about half way up the hill on the eastern side, a perfect peach sat just off the road from the place it been dropped.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Giovanni had reached a point of audacious desperation. He didn’t merely want his latest effort to succeed, he needed successful results. Failure could, quite literately, mean the end of him. Saying he was willing to try anything wasn’t sufficient—he was willing to try everything.
His venture as a farm worker was short lived. How was he supposed to know which fields the livestock were and were not allowed to graze in?
Giovanni’s attempt at construction faired little better. Did it really matter if he used the metric or standard side of the tape measure?
When he had tried to integrate himself into the ‘white collar’ world, the results weren’t much different. He understood the IRS, but he couldn’t understand why the bank manager seemed so upset about Giovanni’s actions having ‘possible repercussions with both the FTC and SEC.’
He didn’t even want to think about what happened to that poor model in his one and only attempt being a photographer. He wondered how well those skin grafts had worked out.
This time, he knew it would be different. Of all the things he had tried in his life, nothing had excited him, nor engaged him, as much as the culinary arts, and more specifically baking. He truly felt this was his calling.
Having recently acquired his grandmothers collection of recipes, he improved and honed them to a razor’s edge. Giovanni had been especially proud of his latest creation. He had taken his nona’s classic amaretti cookies and, in his opinion, greatly improved upon them. He had even found a business partner willing to help him market them. Even this morning he had made a last minute adjustment, deciding to make as much as he could from scratch.

It was until several days later, alerted by complaints of the smell by neighbors, that the bodies of Giovanni and his partner were found. According to the autopsy, the amaretti the men had ingested had cyanide levels high enough to kill a bull elephant. Further investigation revealed the source to be a failed attempt at creating homemade almond extract.

The return

In short: I'm at it again.

I'm hoping this time I make it AT least past Thanksgiving. I think if I can keep the stories going that long, maybe I'll make it to Christmas, and then . . .

That's a long way off though, and who knows how long I'll be able to keep pumping out stories this time. Regardless, my mind is made up, so here we go again.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


A faint crackle of distant thunder came from somewhere in the northwestern Wilderness. TG (pronounced teej) leaned against the dorm seemingly not to notice. Taking one last drag off of his hand-rolled Bugler cigarette, he pushed himself away from the building. Fixing his gold-plated sunglasses with one hand, a pair said to have been given to him by “the King” himself, he pinched out the tiny cherry with his other hand. Without turning around, he threw the butt behind him, and popped his collar just as it swished cleanly into a nearby garbage can. The roller party later tonight actually had him kind of excited, something that was rare for him anymore, but that was still a long way away. Right now he had much more important business. If his source was right, and she always was, the most interesting “fresh meat” he was ever going to meet would be showing up nearby soon.
            TG’s mind wandered to his time as a freshman, recalling the acne, the glasses, and the girls . . . he shivered recalling his deep, dark, unfortunate past. That was many, many moons ago and he had buried that green boy a long time ago. The man in the red velour suit had quite literately all the confidence in the world. Maybe it was his overly long tenure in Professor Brewenstein’s oenology class, maybe it was his short stint as a roadie for Jefferson Aeroplane, maybe it was the girls . . . not that it mattered. As he stood facing the woods in the direction of the thunder, a bewildered young man stumbled out of the woods. Wearing overly tight jeans (no flair, hmm), strange kicks, and slight tendrils of smoke coming from his hair, TG knew in an instant this was his “fresh meat.”
            “Where am I?” the newcomer asked. Then drooped to all fours, puking violently.
            “That’s right buddy, better out than in” TG comforted him. “Release the evil. ‘Beer before liquor, never sicker.’ Didn’t you learn that as an undergrad?” As he heaved, yet half nodded, TG knew then that this “meat” was definitely going to be different.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Along the dark, twisting path the thief moved with the swiftness of a shadow fleeing the light. Not a sound did he make, not a pebble did he disturb. His strides found each mark while moving him deftly over rocky nodes and blood-thirsty brambles. On switchbacks and bends he seemed to flit from point to point using shortcuts long forgotten. The bright glow of the nearly full moon only made the trip faster still. In these conditions even a novice wouldn’t need a lantern; for a master woodsman like himself it might as well have been a bright sunny day. This did little to dispel the sounds around him though.
Every now and then faint sounds could be heard from the left, from behind, then up above. These were things whose pace could eclipse his own. None dared approach though, they only sought first pickings should he leave remains. Even fell creatures had sense enough to hold back from a larger predator. Like jackals trailing lions they knew better than to approach too close to the ‘hunter’. And a hunter he was, but not this time, though had they come at him he would have swiftly ended them. Time was something he could not get anymore of, and anyone who took more time from him would feel his harsh and instant wrath.
The forest broke and he came to a gigantic field of wild oats, a vast flood plain seasonally watered by the river swelling with melting snows. He saw several large shapes just on the edge of his field of vision. He was surrounded, but they were only stalking. The feeling of menace seemed to be coming from elsewhere. Changing directions toward the river, the beasts kept their distance from the bank but maintained watch from the tree line.
‘So the waters hold secret dangers as well…’ he half muttered as he hazarded a glance at the inky black surface. Instantly he stopped, little puffs of dust swirling at his heels. The beasts half snarled as they tumbled into each other, desperate to stay back in the shadows. He stared motionless at the water, at the reflection of the moon and stars—and then watched as the reflected lights briefly vanish as strange shadows flew overhead. The hunter bats had caught up with him. Keeping his gaze down he pulled out a short paper-covered cylinder with a long, thin stick attached. Crouching slowly, he pushed one end of the stick into the soft river bank and lit the paper on fire. Quickly the tiny blaze flared then burned out only to erupt in an ear piercing shriek of sparks and golden flame a second later. Moments later the loud splash of disoriented bats flying into the river was quickly accompanied by the louder splashing of some river denizens late night snacking.
If the bats had already found him then the rest of his pursuers wouldn’t be too far behind. Pulling a small onyx figurine inlaid with peridot eyes he whispered, “To never dream again.” The eyes flared with green flames and black smoke issued forth, coalescing into a vaguely equine shape. Green flames licked at the places where its hooves stomped and the corners of its eyes and mouth. It stomped, snorted short green flares, and then turned to faced its summoner. Grabbing what would pass for a mane—had it not been the same shadow stuff the rest of the mount was made of—he swung himself onto the steed in one easy motion.
“Take the river, head south, we’ll make better time that way.” Rearing up on its haunches and giving a sepulchral cry, the mount moved with unearthly speed and grace, going from road to bank to river as if it were all solid stone. Little green fires marked their journey in a fleeting trail, gone moments after their birth. The surface stayed calm otherwise, not even the river monsters tempting the nightmare’s hooves. On the bank, a pack of scavengers sat and howled plaintively at the moon.
As he sat hunkered down against the nightmare’s back he wondered if he would make it in time. Not in time to avoid capture, but in time to deliver his package before there was no one to deliver it to.

He arrived at the castle just as the first hints of the coming dawn were painting the dark night sky. There were no sentries to stop him at the gate—there hadn’t been any sentries for a long time now—nor any signs of life elsewhere within the outer walls. Reaching the central keep he bounded off his mount in a swift motion giving a quick double clap as he landed. His mount lost all definition of form and quickly dissipated like steam from a kettle. Before the last of the black mist dispersed he had already placed the onyx figurine back within his satchel and taken three strides toward the keep entrance.
Deftly he navigated his way through the maze of lightless passageways as he worked his way upward to the room that housed his charge. There she lay, just as he had left her, motionless as the cold stone floor. A gnarled crone of a woman knelt beside her, waving esoteric holy symbols and offering forgotten litanies to longer forgotten gods. She looked up at his approach.
“So you have returned. Successful I hope?”
“I wouldn’t have otherwise,” he said as he pulled forth a small vial.
The old woman’s eyes grew large as saucers, her jaw going slack and a small stream of drool falling from her lips.
“Give it here. I just want to look,” she said. The lustfulness of her gaze was unmistakable. He tucked it back within his tunic.
“So the stories are true after all? Who would have thought these few drops of this panacea could even tempt the most venerable of our matrons.”
He watched as the old woman shook her head, trying to regain her composure. When she looked at him again, her face returned to its normal wizened state.
“I cry your pardon m’lord,” she said with a slight bow “The power of the fairies blood is too much for these old eyes. I have seen too much, lived too long. The youthful innocence you possess has long left this battered frame of mine.”
“Nonsense Grand Matron, I am not immune to its powers either.” He made his way to the other side of the bed and gazed down upon his bride. “It is only my great love for her that overrides the foul temptations this elixir inspires. I would have gone to any lengths to claim it.”
“And so you have.” A worried expression crossed her face. “Speaking of which, what of your pursuers m’lord?”
“Even if they are at the gate it matters not, they must retreat once the sun comes up. I doubt they were able to keep pace though…” he drifted off, thinking of his flight from the temple.
“Do not underestimate the patrons of the Dark One, they have their own brand of craftiness.”
“Aye, and I have my own. Quickly now, the sun is almost up, what do we need to do?” He gazed down at his beloved, her face frozen in time. She looked as if she might wake at the slightest noise. She looked as if she were merely sleeping.
The curse laid upon her had been anything but a simple sleep spell. All the potions, salves, and unctions, none of them had caused any sort of response. All of the chants, sutras, and prayers, all had been countlessly repeated in vain. All of the charms, talismans, and fetishes, all called forth no response from her. The fairies’ blood was the absolute last hope, a panacea among panaceas.
“Pour it into her mouth, a few drops should suffice. After that we wait.”
He did as instructed, then waited. Time itself seemed to come to a halt.
Moments later the princess’ eyes fluttered awake.
“Where am I?” the young girl asked innocently.
“It’s a miracle!” the crone howled.
He looked at her and smiled softly, the tension draining away from his body. He knelt beside her, held her hand, and gently stroked her head.
“You’re home my beloved, you’re home.”
As recognition filled her mind so did color fill her face. She sat up and embraced him.
Despite her small frame he was impressed at the strength of her embrace. He brought his arms up, hesitated, then tenderly retuned her embrace. He had almost accepted a fate where this embrace would have never come to pass. From that he felt slight pangs of guilt and regret despite his current joy. Perhaps having sensed his inner turmoil she tightened her grasp.
“I know that I can always depend on you. As long as I have faith in you there should be no doubt in your heart.”
“Yes, your high—” but was suddenly pushed away.
“In court is one thing but this is my chamber and you are my dearest, my betrothed. Call me by my name like I have told you or I won’t forgive you this time.”
He smiled, finally assured that she had fully recovered. “Yes, Prin—”
“No titles either!”
“Yes, Clavelle.” She beamed at this and embraced him once more.
They may have stayed that way indefinitely had not a cough from the Grand Matron disrupted the lover’s spell. Clavelle turned to see the smiling, time-worn face she had spent so much time around.
“Grand Matron!” She released Chevren and threw her arms around the old woman. “How I’ve missed your lessons. It seems like it has been forever since we’ve…well, anything.”
“In a way it has dearie, in a way it has.”
Releasing her, Clavelle looked back at Chevren, then around the room. She suddenly realized they were the only three in the room. A sudden grumble in her stomach and the low rays in the window by her bed told her that it must be morning.
“Where is my page? Is he fetching breakfast? And what of Elsie, my chambermaid? Is she attending to the morning linens?” She caught a furtive glance between Chevren and the Matron. Both seemed to be hiding something. “Just how long have I been sleeping? It seemed like I was dreaming for days. I had all sorts of crazy, fantastic dreams. There was this giant city, far larger than any I have ever seen. It was round as a wheel and it towered above the ocean overlooking straight white cliffs all around. Then there was this dream of a frightful beast of a girl locked in some dungeon somewhere. I think I remember seeing her lashed and tortured. She would also stare at the moon silently, as if waiting for something. Then there was this bumpkin of a girl with the look of a scullery maid. She was attacked by an enormous bear. It was twice the height of a horse. It chased her up a tree but gave up after she vanished. The last dream I had was the worst of all. There was a boy, he reminded me of that one page. It was so vivid it still gives me shivers to think about it. Seeing him standing there over the corpse of a some man being held by a woman. Their faces looked similar so maybe they were family. All I really remember was the blood. There was so much of it, it seemed to be pouring from the old man’s chest.” She stopped as she noticed both members of her audience growing visibly paler. “Will someone please say something? And where is my breakfast? Chevren, answer me. Now.”
“Yes, m’la—”
“Yes, Clavelle.”
“Where is my page?”
“Six days ago had been Roger’s, your page, last day of service. He was coming of age and wanted me to take him as my squire so he might become a knight. The following morning his father was murdered, done in by an assassin’s blade. I know, I arrived shortly after the villain had fled.”
Clavelle stared at him puzzled, feeling that there was something missing from the story. Before she could ask Chevren continued with the story.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Zamir had to hurry. Saban and Loran were waiting anxiously for the results of his father’s work. Part artist, part mad scientist, his father’s skills and expertise were sought after by many.
            Their current partners were different.
            In the past, Zamir’s father had come to the aid of many. No matter how much success he brought to others' plans, he almost never seemed to have his kindness reciprocated.
            Saban and Loran were different though. Unlike many others, they had already seen much of the world despite their young years.
            Saban’s Mother had been a translator as part of a diplomatic envoy. As a result, Saban had spent many of his younger years as they playmate of diplomats’ children from all over the world. Loran on the other hand had a much different upbringing. His parents had become American citizens. He had shown an early aptitude for biology, so his parents had wished him to be a doctor. Instead, Loran joined the military after graduation and then went to college with different pursuits in mind.
            In the end, it was circumstance that brought both men back to the village of their forefathers. They had both quickly formed strong ties with Zamir’s father and had made ambitious dreams for their futures.
            And now, all of those plans rested on Zamir’s shoulders.
            Despite Saban’s savvy and Loran’s technical knowledge, none of it could have come together without Zamir’s father’s practical skills. His father also had access to facilities neither of the others did.
            Zamir thought about all of this as he sped on a beat-up old dirt bike down an ancient hillside foot trail. One false move and he would be over a cliff and tumbling down into the rocky gorge.
            The path eventually widened as it met with others until it became more of a dirt road. At the bottom of the gorge it crossed a narrow wooden bridge and headed up and over the last ridge before town.
            As Zamir crested the last hill he saw a haggard looking fellow at the edge of town. It was Loran jumping up and down wildly.
            Zamir came to a stop in front of him, his bike still idling. The older man wore an anxious face yet held out his hand in greeting.
            “Well?” asked Loran.
            Zamir just nodded.
            Loran dropped to his knees and threw his hands into the air.
            “Praise be to Allah!” he shouted, tears running down his face. “I knew those were the right microbes, I knew it!”
            “I have to go,” started Zamir. “Is Saban at the place?”
            Loran just nodded.
            A few moments later, Zamir arrived at his destination. As he turned the bike off and parked it, he shook his head. The old, abandoned restaurant looked just like he had remembered it. He pushed his way past the loudly tinkling beaded curtain, his eyes taking a minute to adjust to the darkness with in.
            Inside, half a dozen surly men sat sipping dark liquid from glasses. A man in the middle wearing fine white clothing and a thick moustache stared him down intensely, then spoke.
            “Well?” he asked.
            “It’s ready, Saban . . .” Zamir answered, trailing off.
            The small crowd erupted in cheers.
            Saban picked the youth up under his arms and twirled him around.
            “We are saved!” Saban shouted. “With Zamir’s father’s cheese, made from the samples Loran took, I will be able to restore a piece of our Albanian heritage. We will have fresh Byrek again!” 

Thursday, January 10, 2013


To his left Garbonz Franklin saw several flying daggers targeting his torso. To his right was a refrigerator sized shambling long-limbed monstrosity from beyond the void of time and space. In front of him a colossal festering quagmire of jet colored amoebic protoplasm which had battered down the front door and filled the front foyer. Above him strange insect-like creatures with multi-hued cauliflower heads buzzed and droned and flashed in macabre and arcane rhythms. Behind him and up the stairs lay his only clear path. His companions had left him behind, thinking to make him fodder to ilk beyond the ken of sane men. Little did they know he had planned the opposite for them. Staring at the clock on the wall, its hands frozen in time by his will, he thought he could do a lot in the next 93 seconds of time he had.
            With a wave of his left hand he drew strange arcane patterns that he had learned from the strange men of a certain foreign land. The men whose clothes no one made nor knew the material from which they were sown or the techniques which produced no seams. As he completes the sign a two meter long rift appears in the fabric of time as he pulls forth an infinite spell staff—

            “HOLD THE PHONE!!! STOP THE MUSIC!” Mike yelled as he stood up and waved his hand like a pro-sport official calling a penalty. His face was red and he was breathing heavily as he stared across the basement table.
            “What?” said Kevin. Looking down he rolled some dice then ran his finger along the back of his gamemaster screen. “Garbonz uses his staff and calls forth a—”
            “What part of stop wasn’t clear? This is exactly why I say we need to rotate who is our GM. With you it might as well be ‘God Master’ instead of gamemaster.” Mike was starting to sweat now, his breathing becoming labored. He fumbled around in his pocket and pulled out his inhaler. Two puffs later and he felt the welcomed sensation of full lungs of oxygen. He really hated that his mom always made him carry his inhaler but he was glad he had it now. “Dammit Kevin! Do you see what you’ve done? I haven’t had an asthma attack in almost two years—and the last time it was because I had a sinus infection!”
            “Why are you so upset,” Kevin asked with a disturbingly legitimate innocence.
             “GRRRR! I…I can’t even get upset.” Mike threw up his hands and looked over at Paul. “You try explaining it, I don’t want to get upset again.” With that he sat down, resting his elbows on the table and his head in his hands.
            “You see Kevin, the thing… we think that, um…”Paul looked across the table at Kevin, then to his right to Steve who just shrugged, made a motion across his neck, and pointed to himself. Guess it was just him. “Um you kinda cheat when you are GM.”
            There was silence for several minutes as Kevin looked around, a series of expressions crossing his face. He then started talking again.
            “Garbonz summons forth fiery minions from the star—”
            “Next week at my house?” asked Mike.
            “Deal,” said Paul, with Steve nodding silently in agreement.
And Kevin kept talking.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


One by one, Felix cracked his knuckles. He then did a few slow head rolls by a few slow shoulder rolls. Then, using his desk and chair as braces, turned to the left until his back cracked. He then repeated in the opposite direction.
            It was time to get down to business.
            Apparently, while volleyball was the national sport, cricket was actually the most popular spectator game. Felix then read on about how British colonization had influenced the spread of cricket across the country. He also read about how in the last two decades they had become an outright international powerhouse in the sport.
            Felix then got up and went to the bathroom. He somehow managed to come back with a bowl of chips and a glass of soda. After watching a few videos of the Cricket World Cup, he brought the bowl and glass back down to the kitchen.
            At the computer again, he steeled his resolve.
            Felix started reading about how Ceylon tea was considered amongst the finest in the world. He read on about how the rust blight had killed off the previously prosperous coffee growing empires.
            Once again he did some stretching, this time yawning as he did.
            This time Felix read about how Buddhism was the predominant religion. Apparently it was more popular there then Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity combined. He also learned that conflicts between various Buddhist sects had long been a cause of various incidents of internal strife within the country.
            Exasperated, Felix dropped his head onto the table.
            There was a knock at his doorway.
            He looked up to see his mother standing there.
            “How’s the school project coming along?” she asked. “Can I see your re-design of the Sri Lankan flag?”
            “I’m working on it,” Felix replied. “I’m working on it.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Rua sighed. The last of the holidays were past, which meant it was finally time for the decorations to come down.
            It also meant that winter break would soon be over.
            She was lost in thought, staring out at the ocean through the front window. Rua jumped with a shriek as her brother plopped a large empty tote down behind her.
            “Tane, you jerk,” she scolded.
            “What?” Tane laughed at her. “You should have seen your face just now.”
            “You wanna see stars?” Rua asked with a raised fist.
            “Whoa now,” he said with his hands held up defensively.
            “Sorry,” she started, and dropped her fist. “I was thinking about mom. . .”
            “Yeah . . .”
            They stood for a long moment in the silence of the house.
            “Rarotonga isn’t the same as Aitutaki,” Rua started, “there’s more tourists than anything. Plus just so many people.”
            Tane looked at her, then started laughing heartily.
            “You want to go to Auckland for grad school, and you think Rarotonga has too many people?” Tane said with a smile.
            “Well . . .,” Rua replied.
            “Listen,” Tane said “Where is our father right now?”
            “On his ship somewhere . . .”
            “Right!” Tane exclaimed as he put an arm around his sister. “Do you think he spends all those months at sea just so you can doubt yourself.”
            Rua put her head down to hide her red face and grin.
            “You’re THE top student in all the islands,” Tane said. “Have at least a little confidence.”
            “Sorry,” Rua said.
            “No, but you will be if you give up so soon. You’ve just started school, have some confidence,” Tane said.
            Rua looked up, thin streams covering her face. Before she could say another word, Tane tightened his arm around her and started to give her a noogie. Rua quickly pushed her way out of his arm, laughing.
            “Get back here!” Tane yelled, laughing himself.
            Rua ran out of the room, out the front door, and down the beach. Tane chased close behind her. Both of the were laughing the whole way.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Rudy looked at the clock. Five minutes until two o’clock.
            Five minutes until it all began.
            When he had signed up for this assignment, this was not what he had been expecting. Having graduated with an electrical engineering degree, he had originally hoped to find work in a lab.
            Instead, Rudy found himself the lead technician in a manufacturing plant.
            The position itself was not much of an issue. While unglorious, it paid very and allowed him more than a little free time to pursue his own interest.
            The problem was the nature of what was being manufactured.
            Originally, he was told that the company produced ‘customized modular mechanical systems for a variety of government applications’ and Rudy had just accepted it.
            Once he had been familiarized with the controls and protocols, he had been left mostly to his own devices. It was during this time that he started to more rigorously examine the production manuals. It didn’t take him very long to figure out what exactly the ‘customized modular mechanical systems’ exactly were, and it horrified him when he did.
            They were building firing pins.
            When he had found out, it made him sick to his stomach.
            Rudy didn’t consider himself a coward, but he had always held to pacifistic ideals. A descendant of Quaker settlers, Rudy had always taken the ‘love thy neighbor’ credo very seriously. The idea of helping to bring about the end of not just a one, or tens or hundreds or even thousands—but to help bring about the end of tens of thousands of lives was simply too much for him to bear.
            The clock struck two. It was time to start the start up procedures of the manufacturing lines. It was time to monitor the power levels in the furnaces. It was time to check and double check and triple check all morning procedures.
            But Rudy, instead, chose a different course of action. He had been mulling it over, but now his mind was made up.
            Rudy put on his hat and coat. He grabbed his briefcase and walked over to the emergency shutdown controls. He threw them all.
            He then calmly walked out the door, down the hall, and to the time clock. By the time he was punching out alarms and shouts could be heard from all over the building.
            Rudy simply headed out the door and never looked back. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Frank was tired and wanted to go home. After this one last call, his rounds would be over.             Being a locksmith may not have been glorious work, but it was something he was definitely proud of.
            Today, however, had been going especially long. Accidentally dropping and breaking his glasses after lunch wasn’t helping it go much faster.
            He checked the work order again. 
            “Here it is,” he said to himself as he parked the van, “681 Butler Street.”
            Frank turned off the van, grabbed his tools, and headed for the front door.
            A woman wearing a long coat was standing in front, holding a bag of groceries in one hand. In her other hand was a cell phone into which she was talking hostilely to the person on the other end.
            Or so Frank assumed. She was speaking in Spanish, or possibly Portuguese or Italian. All three were languages he couldn’t speak. Being a poker fan, he decided to play the odds.
            “Me abray porta,” Frank said in his best possible Spanish.
            The woman froze and stared at him. At a lanky six-foot-six, Frank was used to this sort of reaction.
            He tried repeating himself to no avail. Giving up, he pulled out his tools and started working on the door.
            As soon as he started she resumed her conversation. A moment later she hung up, then started yelling even more hysterically into the phone.
            Frank just rolled his eyes and continued on his work.
            Just as he was working on the last tumbler, he heard sirens off in the distance. It didn’t surprise him in this part of town. As he finally got the lock to pop, he heard the noises coming very close.
            He was reaching down to open the door when the police car screeched to a halt out front. Instantly, the officers were out of the car, weapons drawn.
            “Police!” one of the officers shouted. “Drop your tools! Put your hands—Frank?” the officer who was shouting suddenly asked. Both officers lowered their weapons.
            “Joey?” Frank asked. “That you?”
            “Yeah,” the officer started. “We got a call about a break-in. And here we find you.”
            “Me?” Frank said in astonishment. “But I’m on a call here. Look, let me show you the work order.”
            Slowly, he reached into his pocket, and handed the officer his work order.
            Joey looked it over, then started laughing. He showed it to the other officer, who in turn started chuckling.
            “Where you supposed to be at again?” Joey asked. “And don’t you wear glasses?”
            “681 Butler Street,” Frank said. “And I broke my glasses this afternoon. Now what’s going on.”
            Joey just shook his head. Meanwhile, his partner started speaking to the woman in Spanish, who looked at Frank, then started laughing as well.
            “Ya know, Frank,” began Joey, “It’s a good thing we know you. And maybe you should carry a back up pair of specs.”
            “What are you talking about?” Frank said.
            “This order is for 537 Butler street,” said Joey.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


As he sat on his throne, surveying his kingdom, the warm sun climbed over the horizon, melting the morning frost wherever its rays touched. A prisoner of a fate not his own, he still knew himself to be king.
            The years had been long, and the times had been harsh, but his status had remained unchanged. Regardless of events, he was still a ruler.
            His subjects had remained with him through it all. Unmovable, they were destined to be with him until the end.
            He reminisced about days long past. He thought of the times of his youth, of traveling the country with his most loyal retainers. They were young and powerful and unchallenged wherever they went. Adoration and admirations were always the greetings they had been met with. Those days seemed to stretch on forever.
            Then abruptly they ended.
            No longer did he roam the countryside. No longer was he praised or adored.
            A trapped monarchy of a trapped people was what he had become.
            These days to seem seemed to continue without end.
            Then abruptly they too ceased.
            This time the end came with a low rumble and quake. It arrived in the form of mighty behemoths. In less than a day, the king and all of his retinue were whisked away to a far away place.
            They arrived in darkness but soon found themselves bathed in light.
            Then the assault came.
            They were attacked in various ways. They were torn asunder. Nothing more than skeletons, the end seemed to have finally arrived.
            And then the miracle happened.
            Slowly, carefully, piece by piece, the king and his subjects found themselves returned. But they were not merely returned to how they had been. Instead, they were completely reborn. It was as if the hands of time themselves had been turned back.
            Once again they found themselves roaming the country side. Time had changed the landscape drastically, but some things never change. There was still the praise and respect from the time long ago.

            As the toll booth operator handed the driver his change, he whistled in appreciation.
            “That’s sure a beautiful old Caddy you got there,” he said.
            “Found it in an old farmer’s field. He had a fleet of them,” replied the driver. “A little t-l-c, a few new parts, and a lot of elbow grease and they’re good as the day they rolled off the assembly lines.”