Login now

Not your profile? Login and get free access to your reports and analysis.

Tags

Sign in

No tag added here yet.
You can login on CircleCount to add some tags here.

Are you missing a tag in the list of available tags? You can suggest new tags here.

Login now

Do you want to see a more detailed chart? Check your settings and define your favorite chart type.

Or click here to get the detailed chart only once.

Angel Wedge has been at 2 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
Ingress2,990,142Shaper Septicycle 2014.42:AF02-GOLF-05 (Recife, BR) AF04-SIERRA-01 (Ponta Delgada, Azores) AF07-PAPA-03 (Casablanca, MA) [V]AF07-ROMEO-09 (Seville, ES) [V]AF09-SIERRA-11 (Montpellier, FR) AF13-SIERRA-00 (Athens, GR) AF14-CHARLIE-11 (Durban, ZA) AF14-SIERRA-09 (Ankara, TR) AM01-FOXTROT-06 (Denver, CO, USA) AM01-GOLF-09 (Omaha, NE, USA) AM01-JULIET-03 (Madison, WI, USA) [V]AM01-KILO-05 (Toronto, CA) AM01-KILO-12 (Columbus, OH, USA) AM02-ECHO-01 (Albuquerque, NM, USA) [V]AM02-GOLF-13 (Wichita, KS, USA) AM02-HOTEL-12 (St. Louis, MO, USA) AM02-LIMA-11 (Alexandria, VA, USA) AM03-GOLF-00 (Houston, TX, USA) AM03-KILO-10 (Atlanta, GA, USA) AM05-JULIET-11 (Merida, MX) AM06-HOTEL-04 (Guatemala, GT) [V]AM06-NOVEMBER-05 (Caracas, VE) AM15-MIKE-01 (Santiago, CL) AS10-GOLF-01 (Colombo, LK) AS10-KILO-05 (George Town, MY) [V]AS11-MIKE-10 (Ho Chi Minh City, VN) AS12-ECHO-03 (Mumbai, IN) AS13-PAPA-04 (Taichung, TW) AS14-ALPHA-07 (Riyadh, SA) [V]AS15-PAPA-09 (Shanghai) NR01-ECHO-00 (Budapest, HU) NR01-ECHO-13 (Belgrade, RS) NR01-FOXTROT-02 (Zagreb, HR) [V]NR01-FOXTROT-06 (Vienna, AT) NR01-GOLF-03 (Milan, IT) NR01-GOLF-06 (Geneva, CH) NR02-FOXTROT-04 (Dresden, DE) [V]NR02-FOXTROT-15 (Warsaw, PL) NR02-GOLF-08 (Hanover, DE) NR02-GOLF-12 (Dusseldorf, DE) NR02-HOTEL-03 (Utrecht, NL) NR03-GOLF-00 (Oslo, NO) NR03-GOLF-09 (Copenhagen, DK) NR04-DELTA-08 (Nizhny Novgorod, RU)NR04-KILO-11 (Reykjavik, IS) NR13-ROMEO-10 (Portland, OR, USA) PA01-ALPHA-14 (Nagano, JP) PA03-ROMEO-11 (Canberra, AU) PA04-PAPA-08 (Brisbane, AU) PA07-SIERRA-08 (Christchurch, NZ) [V]Shaper Septicycle 2014.43:AF02-FOXTROT-11 (Salvador, BR) AF07-SIERRA-02 (Porto, PT) AF11-SIERRA-13 (Naples, IT) AF13-CHARLIE-10 (Johannesburg, ZA) [V]AF14-ROMEO-10 (Alexandria, EG) AF15-NOVEMBER-01 (Jeddah, SA) AM01-CHARLIE-07 (San Jose, CA, USA) AM01-ECHO-06 (Provo, UT, USA) AM01-LIMA-12 (Syracuse, NY, USA) AM02-DELTA-04 (Las Vegas, NV, USA) AM02-DELTA-12 (Tijuana, MX) AM02-JULIET-06 (Bloomington, IN, USA) AM02-KILO-00 (Cincinnati, OH, USA) [V]AM02-KILO-11 (Charlotte, NC, USA) AM03-FOXTROT-03 (Ciudad Juarez, MX) AM04-KILO-01 (Tampa, FL, USA) AM05-FOXTROT-05 (Leon, MX) AM07-KILO-06 (Panama City, PA) AM07-LIMA-02 (Medellin, CO) AM12-MIKE-01 (Arequipa, PE) [V]AM12-NOVEMBER-08 (Santa Cruz de la Sierra, BO) AM14-ROMEO-11 (Ciudad del Este, PY) AM15-PAPA-11 (Rosario, AR) AS02-NOVEMBER-09 (Perth, AU) AS07-NOVEMBER-11 (Surabaya, ID) AS10-KILO-08 (Phuket, TH) AS11-PAPA-04 (Cebu City, PH) [V]AS12-HOTEL-01 (Kolkata, IN) AS13-PAPA-07 (Kaohsiung City, TW) AS15-SIERRA-15 (Kagoshima, JP) AS16-NOVEMBER-08 (Beijing, CN) AS16-ROMEO-04 (Busan, KR) [V]AS16-SIERRA-13 (Hiroshima, JP) NR01-GOLF-08 (Zur#Darsana Global2014-11-15 09:00:005374 
Adam Boenig27,558I'll be doing Flash Fiction Monday through Friday until I am recharged to work on the book. If you have an image that you feel needs a story, here's a place to put it!Flash Fiction!2013-02-04 19:00:0021 

Angel Wedge has been shared in 24 public circles

AuthorFollowersDateUsers in CircleCommentsReshares+1Links
Maria Morisot31,544Moan Lisa's All Kinds of People Shared Circle04 June, 2014RESHARE if you want to be includedmoanlisa.org2014-06-04 14:37:263009496112
Shashi S6,379SOME COOL ASPIRING AUTHORS AT GOOGLE PLUS____________________________________________________This is some of the most interesting Aspiring Authors I have found at Google Plus, over the years. Following them will be one of the best thing you will do to make your timeline, interesting, informative and worthwhile. Join in and enjoy...If you are interested to join in, please leave a comment, and share Those of you who are notified are already in the circle...With this team, you will be able to find fresh content and original thoughts as well as increase your own visibility in the Google Plus. And the first step towards engaging is to join and share this circle... That way you will have some connect with the group here.To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - include me in your circles2 - share the circle 3 - add +1 to the post4 - Writing something new and share within the world of google plusThe more you add and share, the more visibility you will have and more and more people will share your own circles and content...PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE YOUR SELF BEFORE YOU HIT THE SHARE BUTTON.__Shashiॐ नमः शिवायOm Namah Shivaya#circles     #circleshare     #circlesharing     #sharedcircles   #Friday #sharingcircles     #sharedpubliccircles     #sharedcircleoftheday #circlesunday     #share     #shared     #followers     #addcircles #publicsharedcircles     #share     #addpeople     #addcircle #addfriends     #circle     #empireavenue     #socialmedia     #influencers     #influencer     #influence     2014-04-23 08:12:05371001
Shashi S5,879Circle of Authors & Poets_____________________________________This is one of the most interesting group of Authors and Poets, selected from my years on Google Plus, following them will be one of the best thing you will do to make your timeline, interesting, informative and worthwhile. Join in and enjoy...If you are interested to join in, please leave a comment, and after reviewing your profile, I WILL INCLUDE YOU IN NEXT SHARE.... ONLY IF YOU ARE AN ASPIRING AUTHOR OR A POET :-) Those of you who are notified are already in the circle...This circle also includes many of upcoming writers who are Top Google + Users, who share unique and original content. They are kind of the early trend setters..With this team, you will be able to grow in your own community, with fresh content and original thoughts as well as increase your own visibility in the Google Plus. And the first step towards engaging is to join and share this circle... That way you will have some connect with the group here.To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - include me in your circles2 - share the circle 3 - add +1 to the post4 - Start something new and share within the world of google plus5 - YOU HAVE TO BE, AT LEAST, AN ASPIRING AUTHOR OR POETThe more you add and share, the more visibility you will have and more and more people will share your own circles and content...PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE YOUR SELF BEFORE YOU HIT THE SHARE BUTTON.__Shashiॐ नमः शिवायOm Namah Shivaya#circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #sharedcircles #Friday #sharingcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday #circlesunday   #share   #shared   #followers   #addcircles #publicsharedcircles   #share   #addpeople   #addcircle #addfriends   #circle   #empireavenue   #socialmedia     2014-04-16 06:47:374134213
Shashi S4,923Circle Of Aspiring Authors_________________________TO STAY IN THIS CIRCLE (and future editions)1. keep up your activity2. support each otherTO GET IN THIS CIRCLE1. you must be a Writer (amateur or professional)2. post your own work and share thoughts of other Aspiring Authors3. Share contents or links only WITH INTRODUCTION to inspire other writers4. be active and show support for this circle in your profilePlease support each other and recommend this circle to your friends and followers.__Shashiॐ नमः शिवायOm Namah Shivaya2014-03-09 06:59:09166003
Moe Tousignant6,222RPG Circle ShareI haven't done one of these in a long time and figured it would be something for me to start again this year. It's also a good excuse to clean up my circles a bit.What you have here is my A - RPG Gamers circle. These are all G+ users who's name they have chosen to use start with the letters A. or in this case a non-letter. Everyone in this circle should have something to do with RPGs in some way. They may be a designer, a writer, an editor, an artist, a publisher, a fan, an edition warrior, a blogger, a podcaster, etc. If you do grab some of these people you should take the time to say hi! The best way I've found to do this is put them into a "New People" circle, send a message out to that new circle and then split the people up into whatever circle system you choose to use.2014-01-08 01:57:44325905
Brittany Constable3,838You know, I haven't seen any NaNoWriMo shared circles going around yet.  Perhaps communities have made them a little redundant, but this is still one of my favorite things about the Plus, so I'm sharing away.The people in this circle have all either mentioned NaNoWriMo in posts or comments, or are in the NaNoWriMo 2013 community.  Please let me know if you:- are not in this circle and should be (this is the one time of year I'll circle anyone and everyone as long as they're doing NaNo)- are in the circle and shouldn't be- are doing NaNo, but would not like to be included in shared circlesA note about adding large circlesIn the past, I've added WriMos to both the NaNo circle and the general writers circle.  This has proven a mistake, since a lot of people who pipe up enthusiastically during November later disappear off G+, or just don't prove a good fit for my stream, and it leaves me spending a lot of time doing circle maintenance.So what I'm doing this year, and what I'd recommend others do as well, is add new people only to this circle (if they're not already in other circles) and keep the volume turned all the way down.  Then you can go to the separate stream and check people out, adding only the people you want to keep around to other circles. In a couple of months you can empty out the NaNo circle and clear out all the people who didn't make the cut.2013-10-23 17:06:17401404
Moe „Gilvan Blight“ Tousignant4,123RPG Circle ShareWhat you have here is my RPG Gamer A-B circle. These are all G+ users who's name they have chosen to use start with the letters A or B.Everyone in this circle should have something to do with RPGs in some way. They may be a designer, a writer, an editor, an artist, a publisher, a fan, an edition warrior, a blogger, a podcaster, etc. If you do grab some of these people you should take the time to say hi! The best way I've found to do this is put them into a "New People" circle, send a message out to that new circle and then split the people up into whatever circle system you choose to use.2013-02-24 22:55:38446002
Peter Smalley10,425#12daysofchristmas   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles     #writing   #aperfectwritingcircle  Dear Plustopians,Welcome to my Twelve Days Writing Circles of Christmas! Each shared public circle is full of fascinating, engaging Plussers, writers and other creative folk. I encourage you to add them, share them, and engage with them - I can personally guarantee they will fill your stream with ridiculous amounts of pure Awesome. Further, anyone who reshares one of these circles will be automatically entered in a drawing for one of twelve copies of my forthcoming hardboiled detective paranormal novella, Emerald City Blues! Bonus book is bonus!Cheers, and happy holidays to all!2012-12-26 23:16:34947105
Patricia Pinto0Well, here's my circle of Random Wrimos. Apparently you can only share 500 people at one time (and I apparently have over a thousand), so I'll probably do another #nanowrimo circle share during lunch time or something. May the Muses be with you!2012-11-01 00:44:10500704
Peter Smalley (Merkabah)9,644#writing   #sharedcircles   #aperfectwritingcircle   #nanowrimo  ATTENTION PEOPLE OF EARTHIn my eleventh shared circle of the #aperfectwritingcircle  project, I give you this gem of a circle: 95 amazing people with a passion for the written word, many of whose writing cred I can personally attest to (and including some whose cred far outstrips my own). But whether you're an old hand or just experimenting with the art of writing, you'll find someone here who shares your journey.Go. Circle. Reshare. Enjoy. And keep on writing.===If you're interested in past Writing circle shares, search on the tag #aperfectwritingcircle . Want to know more about this project? Here's the summary: https://plus.google.com/u/0/117351898370193721811/posts/PA6GeQHUZWX2012-10-31 17:05:189512112
Ben Moody0My current #nanowrimo  circle. If you notice you're in here and shouldn't be let me know and I'll remove you. Mostly sharing this out so that people who are building huge circles like  me to watch others in their mad dash can snag it if they want to. This one started a bit ago from the circle +Sarah Rios shared out and I've been adding to it since. Also, if you want to be added to the circle let me know. I'll likely reshare it Nov. 2nd ( I need to get a good start on Nov. 1st :p ) if I get more than 10 or so more people into it by then :)2012-10-26 13:33:07418506
Katey Springle Lempka4,774Less than a week, friends! It's nearly #NaNoWriMo  time! Time to drop everything and write write write! Have you figured out your story idea? Plot? Do you have character sheets (or at least a favorite baby name website) so you don't have to sit there wondering what your character's name is?Below is my NaNo circle. It's not nearly as massive as +Sarah Rios 's, but it's lovingly cultivated. There are a few new adds since the last time I shared, so you may want to re-add, or at least peruse and see if you want to pick up some new writing buddies.2012-10-26 12:40:0686806
Peter Smalley (Merkabah)9,254#writing   #sharedcircles   #aperfectwritingcircle   #nanowrimo      ATTENTION PEOPLE OF EARTHIn my second shared circle of the #aperfectwritingcircle project, I give you this gem of a circle: 95 amazing people with a passion for the written word, many of whose writing cred I can personally attest to (and including some whose cred far outstrips my own). But whether you're an old hand or just experimenting with the art of writing, you'll find someone here who shares your journey.Go. Circle. Reshare. Enjoy. And keep on writing.===Want to know more about the #aperfectwritingcircle  project? Here's the summary: https://plus.google.com/u/0/117351898370193721811/posts/PA6GeQHUZWX2012-10-16 17:24:359519615
kat Folland12,222This is my NaNoWriMo 2012 Circle. Every person it is has confirmed that they are either participating in NaNo or want to be in the circle regardless of whether or not they participate.If you aren't in this circle, but wish to be, comment on this thread. Likewise if you're in the circle but have changed your mind. I will share an updated circle towards the end of the month. Happy writing, all!2012-10-09 01:21:16298906
Gord McLeod9,962Here's my first stab at a #NaNoWriMo  2012 circle. If you're not in it and you want to be, let me know!2012-10-04 18:55:492622708
Katey Springle Lempka4,238Making a rare public post to pick up any stray #NaNoWriMo  folk who may be lost in the wild! This is my NaNoWriMo circle. Sound off if you should be here, and aren't. Or if you want to be taken out of this circle, let me know that as well. I don't care if you're not participating and want to be left in the circle for updates and fun. :)Happy October, people!2012-10-03 14:15:31653004
Anna Mannino2,231Whether you have told me you write, or you participated in #NaNoWriMo last year, this is my circle of writers. Strangely only 500 people can be shared at a time, so this is only most of you.If you'd like to be in my writers circle, let me know. I mostly post around and about NaNoWriMo stuff. I try to also do a lot of hangouts to help those who need the support of a local meetup but can't make their local meetups for whatever reason, or just prefer talking to strangers on the internet as opposed to strangers in a coffee house. (Whatever, I don't judge).2012-10-02 04:30:31501501
Sarah Rios14,886WEDNESDAY IS FOR WRITERSI haven't done a circle share or any individual recommendations in a long time. I figured it was about time to fix both of those :)This is my Overlords circle (named for the way they blithely create and destroy fictional worlds). They post often about writing, or are very well known for their writing prowess. This isn't a complete list as I still have about 200 more people to sort in various temporary circles, but it's a good start. Pick through it at your leisure!As far as individual recommendations, you can't go wrong with +John Ward and +Evo Terra. Both gentlemen post often about writing and publishing. If you're looking for hangouts, myself, +Bliss Morgan, and +Rebecca Blain host writing hangouts fairly often (I know I'm forgetting other people that start these during the day... please jump in and remind me so I can edit to include you, because my memory is terrible).There are no writing Pages in this circle, just writers, so here is the full list of relevant Pages I also have circled:+Vaginal Fantasy (the once a month book review by +Felicia Day and friends)+Literary+ +Teenage Love Zombies (technically a comic, but hey, still writing involved)+Fiction Improbable +Curiosity Quills Press +SPOT +Sexy Briefs +42wd Publishing LLC +Chaotic Motion Productions +2012-08-22 21:52:0211834119
John Ward4,478This is my shared circle for people who enjoy reading comics. If you'd like to join, add the circle yourself and leave a comment on this post. I'll respond back to you individually when I have added you to the group.2012-05-20 18:13:4988205
Kathy Morlock23,320+Steven Spence (Judge) +Marla Hughes (Judge) +Shannon Brearley (page curator) +Steve Coles (page curator) +Robert Varga +Bearman Cartoons +Christiane Cantin +Monique Yates +Ricky Belanger +James Allen +Debi Vaught-Thelin +Shannon Bolin +Kwan Nam +Ron Whitmire +Marcu Ioachim +Kevin Gaspar +Hannah Roberts +Jeannette Rivera +Mihai Mecea +Jesse Jackson +2012-05-02 17:58:383437410
Kathy Morlock23,320+Shannon Brearley +Steve Coles +Kathy Morlock Will be curating the page.As soon as you add the circle the page +PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY will be circled for you, PLEASE CHECK to make sure. Updated circles will be coming as people join. We need two more judges, any suggestions or anyone interested? IF YOU'D LIKE TO JOIN US - YOU ARE WELCOME TO :-)Shannon, Steve and I will be curating the page.ALL COMMENTS BACK TO ORIGINAL POST VERSION 5.2 PLEASEhttps://plus.google.com/u/0/113242351531747014239/posts/Wq9JxBTdcZS2012-05-02 05:25:20202609
Louis Deryfus0#interestingpeople #monalisa #sharedcircles2012-04-23 15:25:25501002
Ashley Wade35pt 2Ashley Wade shared a circle with you.2011-11-02 03:51:16403011
Kimberly Froiland0I am really starting to love google+. This is one of my crazy-big NaNoWriMo circles. If I have included you in this fantastic group and you don't want to be here, please let me know so I can move you to a more appropriate circle.Kimberly Froiland shared a circle with you.2011-10-24 14:30:535001514

Activity

Average numbers for the latest posts (max. 50 posts, posted within the last 4 weeks)

1
comments per post
0
reshares per post
1
+1's per post

4,168
characters per posting

Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 6

posted image

2014-12-07 16:31:21 (6 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

My last birthday present, finally picked up from the post office, is Copy Me, by +Laston Kirkland​. Many thanks to ±Dennis for the gift.

I like what I've read so far, but I'm a little confused by the mention of "Manufactured in the United States of America" inside the front cover, and "Printed in Great Britain" in the back. Is this some inside joke I'm missing; or is 'S+ press' maybe unaware that Createspace prints books in the country they're shipping to?

I give this book four thumbs up so far, tjough it may well gain more when I've read a whole story.

Most reshares: 1

posted image

2014-12-26 15:28:47 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Yesterday's #DailyStory  is a bit risque; but it's the only idea that came to mind. I couldn't find a suitable picture to go with it, so I've spent an hour or so today sketching my own. What do you think?

Festive Cocktail

I opened my eyes with a start. I hadn’t really had that much to drink at the party, but Frankie’s melon-and-eggnog concoction had so much sugar and who knows what else, so as soon as I started to sober up I was feeling just ill enough not to sleep.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been awake at midnight as the calendar rolled over to Christmas day, but it was the first time I’d been both awake, at home and relatively sober. James’s kids were fast asleep in the next room, while James (of course) was out on an all-night bender. I cursed him under my breath, then after a moment’s pause started to wonder what had jolted meback to full w... more »

Most plusones: 11

posted image

2014-12-20 12:27:06 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

For #SaturdayScenes , I present a section from mid-chapter of what I've been working on, as most of my other work is already shared as #DailyStory . I wasn't quite sure where to start/end on this one; but Docs tells me that this excerpt is exactly 1000 words, so I take that as a good omen. Sadly, I couldn't find a larger version of this particular image :(


Olivia's House — Chapter 14: Education and Learning

It was 5 minutes after 1 when I arrived. I hated myself for that. It was the first day of college, and already I was late for a lecture. I was all ready to apologise, but when I finally found the right place there were still a few people in the corridor, filing in past a logjam in the doorway. Against all the odds, nobody noticed my tardiness.
This particular lecture was an American Culture one. That meant I wouldn’t be spending any moretime ... more »

Latest 50 posts

posted image

2014-12-27 00:23:20 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Today's  #SaturdayScenes  and #sschristmas  … a short excerpt from a story that's available in full if you follow my #DailyStory  on both pages. The full story is erotic, this extract isn't. Comments very much welcome - but I already know my drawing sucks, so you don't need to tell me that

Festive Cocktail - The Last Ingredient

When I reached the front door, the clock still said midnight. I was sure several hours had passed, but that was probably just another side to the magic. But while it was Christmas, and the witching hour, I figured that something a little crazy must be worth a try. Outside on the veranda, I called out to Santa Claus, to Father Christmas, and to Saint Nicholas. The air was so cold I could practically feel frost creeping across my skin as I waited, but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all, and I wasn’t cold.

Just as I wasabout to ... more »

Today's  #SaturdayScenes  and #sschristmas  … a short excerpt from a story that's available in full if you follow my #DailyStory  on both pages. The full story is erotic, this extract isn't. Comments very much welcome - but I already know my drawing sucks, so you don't need to tell me that

Festive Cocktail - The Last Ingredient

When I reached the front door, the clock still said midnight. I was sure several hours had passed, but that was probably just another side to the magic. But while it was Christmas, and the witching hour, I figured that something a little crazy must be worth a try. Outside on the veranda, I called out to Santa Claus, to Father Christmas, and to Saint Nicholas. The air was so cold I could practically feel frost creeping across my skin as I waited, but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all, and I wasn’t cold.

Just as I was about to give up and return to my fuzzy lover, I felt that irrational sense of someone looking at me, and he was there beside me. No flashy entrance, no words, no reindeer. Well, maybe there was a sleigh on a roof nearby, it was hard to tell in the darkness.

“You believe in me again,” it was a statement, not a question, “And you’ve been a good girl this year, nice enough to earn a gift or two.”

“How… how can you do this?” I asked, “I mean, I wrote you so many letters as a kid, and I was nearly always nice, and yet all the presents I got were from people I know. except…” I trailed off, finally realising that nobody would even realise if there was one unlabelled present under the tree. A greedy kid would just think it was from their parents, and never stop to ask. My parents would both have assumed the other bought me a little extra something. “You gave me presents,” I said, “All through my childhood, and I never realised until tonight. But why, if you want people to believe in you? I mean, all it would take is one gift, one unexpected thing once they’re old enough to keep track of who sent what, and everyone would know you’re out there!”

“It’s not faith if you know,” he said, quite calmly. His face wasn’t as lined as I’d expected, but his words had an intangible undertone that indicated just maybe he was older and wiser than I could possibly imagine. “And I do still give gifts, when someone deserves it.” I could see the list in his hand now, and recognised the notepaper my parents had insisted on all those years ago. It had been folded and unfolded many times, and was quite worn around the edges, but had always been handled with care.

“I’ve always been nice, I hope,” I said, hoping that it didn’t sound as much a plea as it did in my head.

“Ohhh, yes,” he replied, with just the first hint of the belly laugh he was so famous for, “But everyone has their bad days, and some presents need a little more time to earn them.” As his finger ran down the list, I could see the careful pencil marks; I imagined they nearly all said impossible. To get all the credit for world peace, the fountain of youth, every Sega game ever made, and…

I’d almost forgotten after so many years. But as I saw the words right at the bottom of my list, through notepaper faded almost to transparency, I could see enough detail to remember what I’d asked for. My parents had exploded at that one, and I’d been forbidden from writing letters to Santa in future years. That had been my intention, of course, though it seemed a little crazy looking back on it now. They’d even burned the letter, that was how mad they’d been, and yet here it was.

“And lastly,” the fat man read, his voice an inscrutable mix of amusement and disapproval, “If you want to prove me you really exist…” he didn’t need to read any more. I gratefully took the list back, and went inside my house to decide how I was going to be better behaved next year. By the time I was half way up the stairs, the clocks started ticking again and it was Christmas morning.


If you want to see what the gift actually was, the bulk of the story (only slightly risqué) can be found here → https://plus.google.com/100823443588690900979/posts/TT8vsQRyM7B and the excised sex scene in full here → https://plus.google.com/100995669262295671172/posts/f7uwGSJ4wZe — Hope you enjoy, and don't forget to check out the other #SaturdayScenes  authors___

posted image

2014-12-26 17:41:06 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Day 360

Today's walk around Oxford yielded a couple of interesting pics; and a lot of progress towards Ingress medals. +54 unique captures for the day, and a lot of portals that had decayed to 10% recharged. Surprised these things aren't portals.

#Resolved2014 #Phonetography

Day 360

Today's walk around Oxford yielded a couple of interesting pics; and a lot of progress towards Ingress medals. +54 unique captures for the day, and a lot of portals that had decayed to 10% recharged. Surprised these things aren't portals.

#Resolved2014 #Phonetography___

posted image

2014-12-26 15:28:47 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Yesterday's #DailyStory  is a bit risque; but it's the only idea that came to mind. I couldn't find a suitable picture to go with it, so I've spent an hour or so today sketching my own. What do you think?

Festive Cocktail

I opened my eyes with a start. I hadn’t really had that much to drink at the party, but Frankie’s melon-and-eggnog concoction had so much sugar and who knows what else, so as soon as I started to sober up I was feeling just ill enough not to sleep.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been awake at midnight as the calendar rolled over to Christmas day, but it was the first time I’d been both awake, at home and relatively sober. James’s kids were fast asleep in the next room, while James (of course) was out on an all-night bender. I cursed him under my breath, then after a moment’s pause started to wonder what had jolted meback to full w... more »

Yesterday's #DailyStory  is a bit risque; but it's the only idea that came to mind. I couldn't find a suitable picture to go with it, so I've spent an hour or so today sketching my own. What do you think?

Festive Cocktail

I opened my eyes with a start. I hadn’t really had that much to drink at the party, but Frankie’s melon-and-eggnog concoction had so much sugar and who knows what else, so as soon as I started to sober up I was feeling just ill enough not to sleep.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been awake at midnight as the calendar rolled over to Christmas day, but it was the first time I’d been both awake, at home and relatively sober. James’s kids were fast asleep in the next room, while James (of course) was out on an all-night bender. I cursed him under my breath, then after a moment’s pause started to wonder what had jolted me back to full wakefulness. There had been a sound, hadn’t there? But all I could hear was… silence. Total silence. Not even the continuous tick-tock I was used to in the background. I looked up, and saw that the clock had stopped on the stroke of midnight.

I slipped out of bed and pulled on my robe. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going, but there was something odd, and I needed to find out what it was. I was glad to find that standing didn’t cause any further nausea, but I couldn’t see where my slippers had got to. Still, that didn’t matter too much. I padded quietly out into the hall, looking for a sliver of light under the kids’ door to tell me they were awake too. No, all was dark. Then I heard it again, the sound of movement from downstairs. That must be what had woken me, and I quickly headed over to the stairs.

I was right outside the lounge door before I stopped to think what I’d do if I found an intruder in the house. I didn’t have a weapon, and the sight of a 5’2” young woman in a fluffy pink bathrobe wouldn’t be that intimidating to most determined burglars. I couldn't think what else to do, though, and didn't want to wake the kids. The most likely solution was that it was just my imagination. I pushed open the door, and heard a whispered “Bollocks!” from a figure standing in the hearth.

I froze. I couldn’t see who it was, just a silhouette in the darkened room. Only the flickering red and green lights on the tree cast any kind of illumination. I could see clearly, though, that the grandfather clock here in the hallway had stopped, both hands pointing straight up and the pendulum hanging in the air to one side. I didn’t care if I was still drunk, if someone had spiked my drink or something, but that was plain impossible. The weirdness of a stranger in the fireplace, that felt like some kind of joke that would seem so funny until the perpetrator sobered up. But stopping the clocks? That would be a major effort, surely, and I had no idea where I’d even start trying to pull off something like that.

“Who’s there?” I tried to inject menace into my voice, but I was fully aware that I’d never threatened anybody in my life. I think it came out kind of needy, but I hoped that someone being there would be enough intimidation to whoever this was. If it was a joke, it would get old fast as soon as I threatened to invite the police to the party.

“I’m the Easter bunny!” she called back, exuberant and slurring her speech so badly I could hardly make out the words. I stepped into the lounge and flicked on the lights. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard, and I couldn’t believe what my eyes were showing me. She was indeed a bunny. Light hazel fur covered all visible parts of her body, and that was quite a lot. Her face was somewhere in between human and rabbit in form, with brown eyes that seemed unusually large. Her ears hung almost down to her shoulders, and trembled as she moved. If this was some kind of costume, they must have spent a fortune on animatronics. Oddly enough, all this didn’t really surprise me. It’s as if the part of my brain responsible for processing weirdness had imploded under the strain. One thing that did strike me, though, was her costume. She was wearing a red costume trimmed with white fur, and a Santa hat. A straw basket filled with gaudily wrapped presents completed the ensemble.

I looked my midnight visitor up and down again, trying to find something coherent to say that wouldn’t seem too clichéd. Quite aside from being a bunny, and having the wrong outfit for the identity she claimed, she was awfully cute. Her legs were long but muscular, and her tank top was tailored to highlight the contours of two pairs of breasts. I was surprised to realise I’d never wondered how many tits a bunny girl should have; the ones in my teenage mind’s eye had been human babes with a sexy costume, and even once I discovered the massive library of images available on the Internet’s furry communities, I was mostly seeing images that were humanoid with fur.

This was so much hotter, and I found my mind drifting from all the immediate questions to wondering how you went about seducing the easter bunny. Did they have the same dating rituals as humans, or rabbits? Or something entirely unique? Was there even such a thing as a bisexual rabbit? I knew that these thoughts revealed just how much of a freak I was, at least on certain subjects, but I’d never claimed otherwise. I don’t usually mention it, but I guess most people have their own little bit of weirdness buried deep inside their psyche.

“Look, I’m sorry, I screwed up,” she finally spoke, and strode out leaving sooty pawprints across my beautiful Ptolemy rug. Before I could stop her, she reached the mince pies the kid had left out for Santa, and downed the glass of sherry in one gulp. From the swaying and her voice, she’d had more than a few already. She didn’t touch the pies, but grabbed the carrot that Jocasta had insisted on leaving “for the reindeers”.

I didn’t bother pointing out that her whole presence here was impossible, or that a fake wood fire with an electric element shouldn’t generate soot, or even that boyshorts and a tank top probably wasn’t the most sensible attire if she was going to be out in the middle of winter. Taking my booze, though, was something I couldn’t forgive so easily.

“Hey, that’s mine!”

“Says ‘for satta’ here,” she jabbed one paw – four fingers, I noticed – at a note on the little end table. “An’ that’s me. For tonight, anyways.”

“You said you’re the easter bunny. Now you’re Santa. What the fuck?”

She backed away and shrank down in the corner, suddenly reminding me more of some pet than an almost-human exoctic babe. “Sorry, I’m just filling in, old Nick’s sick and he can’t do the full round, okay?”

I stared at her in disbelief. She looked back at me with those big, beautiful eyes, and I felt my heart start to melt. She proffered a piece of paper, which turned out to be Kaleb’s christmas list. He’d written a letter to Santa so many weeks ago, though she could tell he was really too old to believe in Father Christmas. It was right here, items annotated with little lines of text in a handwriting so neat it could almost be mistaken for printing. “Leave to humans,” she read, “Not nice enough,” “Impossible,” “Hold until next year.”

There were two things he’d asked for that just had a careful tick beside them. Popular toys that me and James hadn’t been able to afford, and now I looked I realised that the gift-wrapped boxes in her little egg basket were just the right size.

“Thankyou,” I muttered, “Sorry I doubted you, its just, you know this must seem crazy to me. Adults don’t believe in this stuff.” I thought back to the last letter I’d written to Santa as a child. I already hadn’t believed, but my parents had insisted that I write a letter to set a good example for my sister. I’d asked the imaginary man for all kinds of crazy things, like the talent of a rock star and a cure for cancer. It was sobering to think that maybe he’d been real, shaking his old, tired head in resignation as he saw the signs of one more child he’d never have to visit again.

“I know. I’m not supposed to let adults see me, but I kind of messed that up, and the instructions don’t say what to do if someone does see me.”

“Instructions?”

She didn’t reply, but handed me some kind of electronic device with a set of rules on the screen. “Deliver presents, don’t eat presents, sooty footprints (use bag of soot if necessary), drink sherry/brandy/eggnog, try to avoid adults,” the list went on and on.

“He’s connected it to this chip in my head,” she explained, suddenly more coherent despite the slurring, “I have to do what it says on there. I’d be too dumb otherwise. Don’t need so many rules to run around in spring and lose eggs, so I just do what comes naturally.”

I admit, I was a little drunk. I’d only had a couple of glasses at a party several hours earlier, but I must have been under the influence. Otherwise, there’d be no way I’d have thought to try adding my own rules to the list. I protested while I typed, saying that putting a microchip in someone’s head was inhumane. She pointed out that people did that to animals all the time; even she knew that. And she didn’t mind; it just made it easier for her to be useful.  When she wasn’t drunk (“What’s that mean?” – she’d never even come across alcohol before), she loved being able to please people. Though I still wasn’t too sure if Santa should be on his own naughty list next year, her satisfaction let me feel more confident that my experiment wouldn’t hurt her at all.

“But don’t get drunk,” I typed in next to rule 6. Nothing happened. Well, I guessed that was a little too optimistic to think that would have any effect. The tablet was just a record of the instructions that had been programmed into her brain in some way, not directly linked to the implant. I was about to hand it back, when I noticed the little button in the corner of the screen with a picture of a brain and the word “sync”. Incredulous, I tapped it.

“Did you just do something?” the bunny snapped sharply. For the first time she wasn’t mumbling, and she wasn’t wobbling as she stacked the kids’ presents next to the ones we’d already bought, in piles under the plastic tree.

“I’m sorry, I just thought…” I had wanted to help her, but I couldn’t deny that a good deal of my motivation had been raw curiosity. A device that could make someone do whatever you typed in would be a dream come true.

“I feel better, anyway,” she said, and turned to me with what I had to assume was a smile, “So thanks. You don’t need to say sorry, you know, we were created to serve the needs of humans, so it’s not my place to complain about anything you want to do.”

I smiled. She was so selfless, so willing to help others. I don’t know if that’s a normal characteristic of rabbits, or of whatever you call magical beings whose purpose in life is to deliver presents, but I know that hearing those words got me hotter than I could ever have imagined.

I glanced down at the keyboard again. I wouldn’t even think about this if I was sober, I told myself. That was it, I could just blame it on the booze if everything went wrong. I added another rule at the bottom of the list, “If an adult sees you, you can make this riight by doing everything they say, and you will enjoy pleasing them.” She was craning to see, and I hit the ‘sync’ button almost in reflex.

“Oh, that’s a good idea,” she said, apparently not realising how much a command like that violated her human rights. Or whatever rights giant mythical animals have.

“Shall we test it out?” I asked, and she nodded eagerly, “Then strip for me. I want to see you naked.” She didn’t even hesitate. She peeled off the tank top, revealing 4 breasts that I’m sure were larger than anything a rabbit normally had, or even larger than most rabbits. Then she dropped the shorts to the ground, and I saw the stubby little tail that I hadn’t even noticed before. She bent over to pull the pants off past her oversized feet, and even wiggled her ass enticingly in my direction. Before she stood up again to remove the hat, I stepped closer and put my hand on her ass. Her breathing was faster now, and I guess mine was too as I ran my hand over her soft, fuzzy fur. It seemed to be the same over her whole body, and it was wonderful to stroke. I couldn’t wait to find out all the things I could do with her once we got back to my room.

“Would it be too much if I told you to fuck me?” I asked, though I knew she wouldn’t have a choice if  gave the order.

“Ohh, please!” she squeaked, and literally jumped up and down in excitement, “I always want it, I can’t stop thinking about it, but I don’t know any other bunnies the right size for me. But…” and now she paused, as uncertain as I’d been when she first appeared in my room, “…Sorry, I thought you were a doe.” I didn’t explain, feeling that actions could speak louder than words. The only thing I had to say now was warning her to be quiet as we passed the kids’ room.

… … …

A good deal later, I went down the stairs once again, with slippers on my feet this time, as well as clean underwear and a huge smile on my face. The bunny was lying in my bed, even more exhausted than me. It would have been so nice to drift off to sleep with that wonderful fur warm against my skin, but I had a question to ask first.

When I reached the front door, the clock still said midnight. I was sure several hours had passed, but that was probably just another side to the magic. But while it was Christmas, and the witching hour, I figured that something a little crazy must be worth a try. Outside on the veranda, I called out to Santa Claus, to Father Christmas, and to Saint Nicholas. The air was so cold I could practically feel frost creeping across my skin as I waited, but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all, and I wasn’t cold.

Just as I was about to give up and return to my fuzzy lover, I felt that irrational sense of someone looking at me, and he was there beside me. No flashy entrance, no words, no reindeer. Well, maybe there was a sleigh on a roof nearby, it was hard to tell in the darkness.

“You believe in me again,” it was a statement, not a question, “And you’ve been a good girl this year, nice enough to earn a gift or two.”

“How… how can you do this?” I asked, “I mean, I wrote you so many letters as a kid, and I was nearly always nice, and yet all the presents I got were from people I know. except…” I trailed off, finally realising that nobody would even realise if there was one unlabelled present under the tree. A greedy kid would just think it was from their parents, and never stop to ask. My parents would both have assumed the other bought me a little extra something. “You gave me presents,” I said, “All through my childhood, and I never realised until tonight. But why, if you want people to believe in you? I mean, all it would take is one gift, one unexpected thing once they’re old enough to keep track of who sent what, and everyone would know you’re out there!”

“It’s not faith if you know,” he said, quite calmly. His face wasn’t as lined as I’d expected, but his words had an intangible undertone that indicated just maybe he was older and wiser than I could possibly imagine. “And I do still give gifts, when someone deserves it.” I could see the list in his hand now, and recognised the notepaper my parents had insisted on all those years ago. It had been folded and unfolded many times, and was quite worn around the edges, but had always been handled with care.

“I’ve always been nice, I hope,” I said, hoping that it didn’t sound as much a plea as it did in my head.

“Ohhh, yes,” he replied, with just the first hint of the belly laugh he was so famous for, “But everyone has their bad days, and some presents need a little more time to earn them.” As his finger ran down the list, I could see the careful pencil marks; I imagined they nearly all said impossible. To get all the credit for world peace, the fountain of youth, every Sega game ever made, and…

I’d almost forgotten after so many years. But as I saw the words right at the bottom of my list, through notepaper faded almost to transparency, I could see enough detail to remember what I’d asked for. My parents had exploded at that one, and I’d been forbidden from writing letters to Santa in future years. That had been my intention, of course, though it seemed a little crazy looking back on it now. They’d even burned the letter, that was how mad they’d been, and yet here it was.

“And lastly,” the fat man read, his voice an inscrutable mix of amusement and disapproval, “If you want to prove me you really exist…” he didn’t need to read any more. I gratefully took the list back, and went inside my house to decide how I was going to be better behaved next year. By the time I was half way up the stairs, the clocks started ticking again and it was Christmas morning. I looked at the bunny in my bed, and she stared back with unbridled lust. I’d be right on her, savouring those wonderful, furry thighs, as soon as I’d put my last ever letter to Santa safely in a drawer.

As I did, I glanced down again at the line I’d managed to forget for so long. “If you want to prove me you really exist, send me a bunny girl to be my sex slave for life. Good luck getting that down the chimney!”

I guess he’d had the last laugh after all, echoing over the rooftops all across town. Ho ho ho.___

posted image

2014-12-25 13:10:06 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

More photos; looks like it failed yo share these in my previous post.

#resolved2014 #MeryChristmyth #Phonetography

More photos; looks like it failed yo share these in my previous post.

#resolved2014 #MeryChristmyth #Phonetography___

posted image

2014-12-25 12:08:00 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

This Year's Resolutiond - Day 359, or Thursday 52nd, or χmasday the 1st

Happy Christmas!
A lot of presents here, including many books I'd first seen promoted on G+. Looking forward tk discovering +Jennifer Foehner Wells​, +Anthony Camber​, ±John Case and ±Rachel Abbott

Not doing too bad with old year's resolutions… I've changed my writing goal from 10k words per month to 1001 every day; and that's going well. Also, day 85 of writing a #DailyStory … would appreciate a bit more feedback on some of them, though.

And I've managed to walk 50+ miles, 51 weeks in a row. I call that a success.

This Year's Resolutiond - Day 359, or Thursday 52nd, or χmasday the 1st

Happy Christmas!
A lot of presents here, including many books I'd first seen promoted on G+. Looking forward tk discovering +Jennifer Foehner Wells​, +Anthony Camber​, ±John Case and ±Rachel Abbott

Not doing too bad with old year's resolutions… I've changed my writing goal from 10k words per month to 1001 every day; and that's going well. Also, day 85 of writing a #DailyStory … would appreciate a bit more feedback on some of them, though.

And I've managed to walk 50+ miles, 51 weeks in a row. I call that a success.___

posted image

2014-12-24 16:30:31 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Here's my #Phonetography  for today; walking in the park with family.

Here's my #Phonetography  for today; walking in the park with family.___

posted image

2014-12-23 18:37:14 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Yay, photos!
When I tried to do this manually it said I didn't have enough.

Yay, photos!
When I tried to do this manually it said I didn't have enough.___

posted image

2014-12-23 13:29:44 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory 83

Again, Dechha kindly provided a picture to inspire today's story. Many thanks. Comments welcome; and sorry about the typos, its hard to hit the right keys on my phone in a moving car

Rider

“It doesn’t look like it’ll give much protection…” Nick turned the motorcycle helmet over and over in his hands. The top half looked like a normal helmet, but there was no kind of chin guard, and the visor was more like a pair of inset mirror shades.

“You don’t want it, then?” the man in the grey suit raised an eyebrow disapprovingly. He’d introduced himself as Mister Vale, but right now he was acting purely as a representative for the Kauhujuttu Institute.

“I didn’t say that!” Nick took a step back. This offer had come out of the blue, he’d been looking for a new scooter for his delivery business, but Ilkeä hadapproached him in the stre... more »

#DailyStory 83

Again, Dechha kindly provided a picture to inspire today's story. Many thanks. Comments welcome; and sorry about the typos, its hard to hit the right keys on my phone in a moving car

Rider

“It doesn’t look like it’ll give much protection…” Nick turned the motorcycle helmet over and over in his hands. The top half looked like a normal helmet, but there was no kind of chin guard, and the visor was more like a pair of inset mirror shades.

“You don’t want it, then?” the man in the grey suit raised an eyebrow disapprovingly. He’d introduced himself as Mister Vale, but right now he was acting purely as a representative for the Kauhujuttu Institute.

“I didn’t say that!” Nick took a step back. This offer had come out of the blue, he’d been looking for a new scooter for his delivery business, but Ilkeä had approached him in the street as he left the showroom. He’d had three days to think about it now, but this was his first time seeing the helmet. He ran his fingers over the unfamiliar runes embossed in gold on the inside of the visor as he thought about it; he had no idea how that was supposed to work, but they were presumably connected in some way to similar symbols painted onto the circuit boards that would be resting against the back of the rider’s head. “I just… when you see the masked riders on the news, their helmets are like those huge diamond things. They don’t have helmets like this at all. I mean, they don’t have helmets, they have masks, that’s kind of the point.”

“It’s a unique technology,” the corporate salesman slipped straight into his pitch, “I’m sure you’ve noticed the circuits already, they unlock your brain’s potential by drawing additional spiritual energy from the speed of your travel, establishing a connection to the collective unconscious powerful enough to draw physical matter through from the parallel universe where the shared thoughts are stored. The superconductive membrane allows that matter to be syphoned into the thunderbike’s physical construct computer, allowing both bike and rider to be transformed. I think most members of the public don’t realise how much technology and planning goes into supporting their superheroes.”

Nick turned to look at the bike. It was the first time he’d seen that, too. It was sleek and silver. It looked fast, it was so powerful you felt you should be getting a ticket just for being near it. But for all that, it looked like an ordinary bike. No wonder the police couldn’t manage to track down the vigilantes, and the public was still completely in the dark about where the monsters came from.

“Is all the secrecy really necessary?” Nick speculated, “I mean, if I’m spending so much to join this organisation, I at least want to get something back for it. You said those guys want to keep their families safe, they’re worried about people close to them getting hurt, but I don’t have anyone else to protect. Could I be famous, maybe tell the world a bit more what’s going on so there’s something in the papers that isn’t just crazy speculation?”

Mr Vale tapped his pen against his chin for a moment, as if deep in thought. “I don’t see why not. You could be the public face of the Rider Team. So, are you in?”

He didn’t need to ask again. Nick’s mind was full of images of him being lauded by the press, turning up at posh celebrity parties and leaving with a supermodel on his arm, or even just charging through the streets on a glittering crystal motorbike, leaping over the everyday traffic as if they were standing still, and driving a nuclear-powered fist straight into the heart of a troll or a dragon. Fame was the one thing he’d always wanted, and he couldn’t give up an opportunity like this. He handed over the money, which came to every penny of his life savings, and then signed the contract. Signed in blood, of course, so that a genetic marker could be used to prove his identity if he were to go rogue or renege on the deal.

He put on the surprisingly flimsy helmet, sat astride his new bike, and roared down the road towards his dreams.

At first he didn’t notice his body start to change. His muscles began to bulk up, and he felt stronger, more powerful. His jaw grew more prominent, and his teeth grew to protrude from his mouth like fangs. His skin slowly faded from tanned to grey, becoming rough like sandpaper. He knew now that he'd been tricked, but it didn't matter. It was the masked riders' fault, teasing him with the glory they kept for themselves.

His fists clenched involuntarily as he thought of those losers, people who'd got all the fame just for being in the right place at the right time. The handlebars creaked under the strain, where any normal bike would have snapped in two.

They needed to be taken down a peg or two. Rider Sapphire especially, the masked figure who Emily couldn't stop staring at whenever the news showed them. She'd never even seen his face, and she said she was in love with him just because the guy had saved her life.

Well, she'd see now how weak Sapphire was. The world would see, and then he'd have the fame he deserved.
* *
A hundred miles away, Mr Vale nodded in satisfaction as the waves of self-important rage washed over him. As well as nourishment, he particularly savoured the taste of souls corrupted by pride. The red-black scrawl at the bottom of the contract writhed and changed, until he could read "*ORC" in plain block capitals. Vale folded the paper and placed it carefully in his briefcase on top of a stack of others (all stamped "deceased" now), turned and stepped back through the gateway to his own world, and his beloved Mistress.
___

posted image

2014-12-22 23:38:16 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  day 82

Fairy Tale Ending

Annie lay in bed, the blanket pulled up over her head. It wasn’t really that cold, but when she was staring at the underside of the plain white sheets in darkness, she could imagine that the room outside was some wonderful palace with real gold wallpaper, and the dress hanging up on the back of her chair was silk and fur, something fit for a princess, rather than a much-darned cotton shift. The family wasn’t poor, the clothes never actually had holes in, and there was always bread even if they couldn’t afford meat every day.

It was the Yuletide season now, and there was snow on the streets. For a few days, she’d made an effort to walk in her own footsteps, so as not to disturb the pure whiteness any more than necessary. She knew that soon, some mythical figure would visit the houses of the rich families with gifts forthe chil... more »

#DailyStory  day 82

Fairy Tale Ending

Annie lay in bed, the blanket pulled up over her head. It wasn’t really that cold, but when she was staring at the underside of the plain white sheets in darkness, she could imagine that the room outside was some wonderful palace with real gold wallpaper, and the dress hanging up on the back of her chair was silk and fur, something fit for a princess, rather than a much-darned cotton shift. The family wasn’t poor, the clothes never actually had holes in, and there was always bread even if they couldn’t afford meat every day.

It was the Yuletide season now, and there was snow on the streets. For a few days, she’d made an effort to walk in her own footsteps, so as not to disturb the pure whiteness any more than necessary. She knew that soon, some mythical figure would visit the houses of the rich families with gifts for the children. For some it was Odin bringing festive cheer, while others believed in a festive gnome they called Sinterklaas, come over from foreign lands. Annie knew where her gift had come from, because she’d seen her mother whittling a new wooden doll in every spare moment after a day’s hard work. She felt a little guilty that mother had invested so much time in her gift, when all Annie could find to offer in return was a posy of wildflowers she’d gathered in the woods above the village.

She heard a clatter, and a dull thud, and suddenly a pair of eyes peered curiously out from under the edge of the blanket. Soot was billowing out from the fire place, and there was a loose coal on the rug before it. Annie drew her breath in sharply, suddenly worried. She didn’t know how to clean the rug, she wasn’t old enough for that, but she was old enough to get in trouble for any mess. She slipped out of bed, bare feet jumping straight over to the rug to avoid risk of splinters from the rough floorboards. She bent down to pick up the errant coal, praying silently that it hadn’t left a mark. Then she froze. There was someone sitting in the hearth.

“Who are you?” her voice quavered nervously, low enough not to wake her mother in the next room.

The stranger stared back, eyes full of fear, and backed up into the chimney breast. It was a girl, with delicate features and a golden-yellow dress now marked with soot and ash. The first thing that Annie found herself staring at was the girls eyes, which looked totally terrified. Then the dress, which fitted perfectly and didn’t show a single repair. It was glittery and shiny, too, reflecting the moonlight. To Annie, that was a sure sign that this girl must be a princess, or at least very rich. Then she looked to the rich girl’s hair, sleek and shiny as if she’d never once caught bits of bramble in it running through the woods. And her ears were visible, slim and pointed, much more than any normal person.

Annie’s eyes went wide as she finally looked at the wings on the fairy princess’s shoulders, like a giant butterfly but so fine that she could clearly see the stonework behind her. And then she realised what she should have seen first, that the girl could actually fit inside the small fireplace. She wasn’t even a yard tall; if they were both standing, she would have been looking Annie straight in the chest.

“Oh wow, a fairy princess!”

“I’m…” the fairy stammered, “I’m not a princess, and you’re not supposed to see me! I’ve done it all wrong again, they said I’d get it wrong, I’m so sorry!” She seemed close to tears, and Annie responded without thinking. She walked over to the fireplace and hugged the fairy close, murmuring reassuring nonsense sounds like her mother always did when she was upset.

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone,” she smiled, “You’re nice, and I want to help you.” Another hug, and a few simple words. A hug again. The story unfolded, as the silver square of moonlight from the window slowly moved across the room. Alaretta was a winter fairy, with powers that symbolised the hope for the lengthening days ahead. She was supposed to visit all good children who weren’t getting many gifts for Yule, and bless them with at least a happy dream. She was supposed to drift in down the chimney like a snow-flurry breeze, not get stuck and fall onto the grate. But there were rules; if she was seen, she could offer three wishes to buy a child’s silence.

“Oh, wow!” Annie’s grin was so wide, it felt like the top of her head might fall off. “You mean I can have anything I want? It must be so much fun being a fairy!”

“Anything,” Alaretta produced a magic wand as if from thin air. “Normally, my wand has its power limited so it can only give you a nice smile while you sleep, but for granting wishes I’m allowed to do a bit more.”

“That’s incredible! So I could wish for like toys, or sweets, or anything?”

“You could, but remember, only three. I’m not supposed to tell you, but if you think about it, you can get a lot more than one thing for each wish.”

“Ohh, I know. I wish I’ll always have all the toys I want.” Alaretta waved her wand in a circle, and there was a subtle change in the room, like a ripple spreading across a pond from a dropped stone. In the centre of the room was a whole family of dolls, in a little wooden house. They had their own rooms, with beds and chairs and a table cut from scraps of wood, and every one of them had two or even three sets of brightly coloured clothes.

“Hmm,” Annie paused, “I should have wished for somebody to play with, as well. I haven’t got any sisters, and its just me and mother now.”

“Oh, I’m sure we can fix that without spending a wish,” the fairy smiled, and then turned to look at the dolls. “This one looks a bit like you, I think. Is this the family you’d like?”

“Yeah, if my dad hadn’t got sick there’d be loads of us, mother talks about it sometimes, all the things they planned.” Then Annie’s face turned down, the first trace of tears in her eyes. “And I wish that we won’t get sick or be hungry, me or mother, or our pets or anybody else who’s family.”

Alaretta nodded. She could see how that wish could be corrupted, to bring misery instead of security, but she couldn’t bring herself to do what she was supposed to.

“I wish I could have a family like that,” the fairy muttered as she waved her wand and the world changed again. As they started to play – quietly, of course – with the new dolls in their happy family, the two girls chatted about their own lives so far, and realised they were both alone in their own ways. Annie had her mother, but no friends her own age. Alaretta went to a school with other fairies, but her kind had no families. They just did their jobs, which often involved malice against humans for the tiniest mistakes. A man who wished to be rich might find his body turned to gold; a man who wished to never die might be changed into an undead monster. Alaretta didn’t like to do things like that, and that’s why her friends had all grown older while she stayed young.

“Is that your wish, then?” Annie giggled, “How many do you get?”

“I can’t. Fairies don’t get wishes, it’s just not allowed.”

“Well, then! I wish you were my sister so we can both have a big family and somebody to play with!”

* * *

Annie opened her eyes. The sun was streaming in through the window already, but she was still tired. She rubbed at her eyes and climbed out of bed, trying to recall fragments of last night’s dream. She couldn’t remember everything, but she knew it had been a good one.



I wrote some more of this one; but decided that makes a better ending. It doesn't need to be drawn out any further___

posted image

2014-12-20 12:29:57 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Am I the only person to expect all kinds of very scary comments from Plustopia when I see the words "Insert Anything"?

Customizable "Meaning of Time" Wall Clock___Am I the only person to expect all kinds of very scary comments from Plustopia when I see the words "Insert Anything"?

posted image

2014-12-20 12:27:06 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

For #SaturdayScenes , I present a section from mid-chapter of what I've been working on, as most of my other work is already shared as #DailyStory . I wasn't quite sure where to start/end on this one; but Docs tells me that this excerpt is exactly 1000 words, so I take that as a good omen. Sadly, I couldn't find a larger version of this particular image :(


Olivia's House — Chapter 14: Education and Learning

It was 5 minutes after 1 when I arrived. I hated myself for that. It was the first day of college, and already I was late for a lecture. I was all ready to apologise, but when I finally found the right place there were still a few people in the corridor, filing in past a logjam in the doorway. Against all the odds, nobody noticed my tardiness.
This particular lecture was an American Culture one. That meant I wouldn’t be spending any moretime ... more »

For #SaturdayScenes , I present a section from mid-chapter of what I've been working on, as most of my other work is already shared as #DailyStory . I wasn't quite sure where to start/end on this one; but Docs tells me that this excerpt is exactly 1000 words, so I take that as a good omen. Sadly, I couldn't find a larger version of this particular image :(


Olivia's House — Chapter 14: Education and Learning

It was 5 minutes after 1 when I arrived. I hated myself for that. It was the first day of college, and already I was late for a lecture. I was all ready to apologise, but when I finally found the right place there were still a few people in the corridor, filing in past a logjam in the doorway. Against all the odds, nobody noticed my tardiness.
This particular lecture was an American Culture one. That meant I wouldn’t be spending any more time with Mark sitting behind me, and I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. He seemed like quite a nice guy, once you got through the dumb, brash persona he felt the need to put on, and I would have liked to get to know him a little better. But then, it was kind of refreshing to  be with a different bunch of fellow students for almost every class, and I was looking forward to meeting a whole lot of new friends. Who knows what kind of things they might be into. Mark had seemed surprisingly calm when I showed him the state of my back. He said his cousin was into something similar, and he’d seen enough marks when they visited over summer.
To be honest, I found that attitude, being okay with someone else’s secret pleasures, even more refreshing than if he’d turned out to have some interest himself. He’d shared his own secret, too – though I guess neither of us really had a choice about it. He said his parents had named him Brutus Mark after a character in some old book, ’The Fourth Homonym’. No doubt that would mean something to Master, or even Jules (and I had no doubt that Alex could cite the reference from memory), but I’d never heard of it. Anyway, he didn’t like the name and there was nothing cool he could shorten it to, so only his family even knew it now, and he always introduced himself as Mark.
I could get my mind off him, anyway. I glanced around the packed lecture theatre in search of a familiar face, but everyone seemed to have their own little cliques already. The seats were tiered, a vertiginous half-circle around the lecturer’s podium and whiteboards, and I slipped onto the back row near the door. If there were any breaks in the lecture, I could always introduce myself to whichever of my classmates was closest. Then I jumped at the gentle touch of a hand on my shoulder.
“Hey,” Jules didn’t feel the need to say much, and slid into the seat next to me, “I was sure I was going to be late then, good to see you’ve not started yet.” I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten that they were also taking this course, but it was good to have a friend in the class.
“Me too,” I muttered, “You end up going to the faculty building?”
“I think that could be an easy mistake to make if you haven’t checked your timetable properly,” Jules lowered their voice as the lecturer strode slowly down the aisle to the front of the room, and I couldn’t tell how serious a criticism that was intended to be, “No, I was in the Heffner Building last session, and a couple of students decided to block the direct route here by having what I believe is called a ‘rap battle’ in the middle of the street.”
“Wow,” I wasn’t sure what else to say. I should have known that Jules’s reason for tardiness would be an order of magnitude more interesting than mine.
Then we couldn’t talk any more, because the lecturer started to speak. His name was Drummond, and he started the lecture by giving us a three minute summary of his own credentials, academic works, and the books he’d written. He didn’t give anyone a chance to ask questions, but rattled straight off into an introduction to our field of study. He would mention some current fad or trend, flashing up a single image on a Powerpoint presentation, and then quickly dive into a highly technical analysis of where he believed it had come from and what it meant, as well as links to similar memes in history or around the world. He never gave us a second’s pause, and never stopped to question if we were familiar with either the minutiae of pop culture or the abstract sociological and psychological concepts he was linking them to. As my first real lecture, it was awfully intimidating.
“Do you know what he’s talking about?” Jules whispered when he turned around for a second to check his notes. I shook my head. Though a glance across at their notes revealed that Jules might have considerably more experience in psychology, just lacking the real-world references to hang it on. Maybe we could help each other, then, because I wouldn’t be surprised if our notes complemented each other to produce nearly a complete set between us. Before I could say anything about that, though, Drummond had launched back into his monologue and we were racing to keep up.
An hour later, we left the lecture theatre. I scribbled down the names of the papers we were expected to read for next week. I sincerely hoped that we wouldn’t have such an intense deluge of work for every class. I’d expected it to be something like high school, but there was no asking of questions here, no exercises to make sure we’d understood, just a machine gun barrage of information that would all be on some hypothetical final exam.
“Don’t worry,” Jules smiled as we left the hall, “We’ve got ‘seminars’ and ‘workshops’ too. Not sure what the difference is, but I gather Professor Dumbledore is like a hermetic sage on a mountain, casting down nuggets of wisdom. The rest of the department staff do their best to help us extract something we can actually use from his fevered genius.”



Please, comment if you can think of anything to say, +1 to let me know if you think it's worth reading these, and click on #SaturdayScenes_  to check out what other authors have been working on this week____

posted image

2014-12-17 20:52:34 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

MFW a friend wants to go to a pub that turns out to have too much foorball

MFW a friend wants to go to a pub that turns out to have too much foorball___

2014-12-17 11:24:50 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Random #plotbunny  for adoption

Angels take on human form in order to fight vampires. But after millennia of war, the vampires find a way to kill angels. So the angels decide that they need half-angels in order to replenish their numbers

A decade later. Semi-sane single mother becomes convinced her kid has been switched for some kind of changeling (or an alien?) rather than believe in his growing angelic powers. But  as she goes hunting for her "real son", the vampires are already on the hunt...

#PlotBunnySanctuary  

Random #plotbunny  for adoption

Angels take on human form in order to fight vampires. But after millennia of war, the vampires find a way to kill angels. So the angels decide that they need half-angels in order to replenish their numbers

A decade later. Semi-sane single mother becomes convinced her kid has been switched for some kind of changeling (or an alien?) rather than believe in his growing angelic powers. But  as she goes hunting for her "real son", the vampires are already on the hunt...

#PlotBunnySanctuary  ___

posted image

2014-12-17 00:45:55 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Sorry, no #DailyStory  post for day 76… it's going straight into my anthology Whispersmiths

Sorry, no #DailyStory  post for day 76… it's going straight into my anthology Whispersmiths___

2014-12-14 22:30:39 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory 74 … Soul Forging

Why can't google docs share to G+ properly any more?

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wL-g2wiJAV_OfXwjchYh5MG4EE9xhe1Ocp98ieFqexE/edit

#DailyStory 74 … Soul Forging

Why can't google docs share to G+ properly any more?

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wL-g2wiJAV_OfXwjchYh5MG4EE9xhe1Ocp98ieFqexE/edit___

posted image

2014-12-14 21:35:00 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Unusual decor... this is my kind of pub.

Unusual decor... this is my kind of pub.___

2014-12-14 18:13:52 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Bliss Bliss +Bliss Morgan Bliss Bliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiss!

Are you planning any awesome months of image prompts next year? Days of Grey, or Endless March, or any of the other ones?

I've been doing this Daily Story thing for 74 days, and the days of Nightmare Fuel were the easiest ones. I'm running out of prompts now :p so would really appreciate any similar series.

Bliss Bliss +Bliss Morgan Bliss Bliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiss!

Are you planning any awesome months of image prompts next year? Days of Grey, or Endless March, or any of the other ones?

I've been doing this Daily Story thing for 74 days, and the days of Nightmare Fuel were the easiest ones. I'm running out of prompts now :p so would really appreciate any similar series.___

posted image

2014-12-14 00:11:14 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  day 73

I will happily admit that this follows on directly from yesterday's, Live Forever. I think both stand along, though, so it isn't really cheating

Die Forever

Claudette and Milan had been friends since childhood. The two would always be together, through her college obsession with the technology of cybernetics and his with the morals. Even when they hooked up out of convenience, they were friends first and foremost.

Their only disagreement came from the cybernetic enhancements Claudette helped to develop, with the multinational RSN providing the financial and political backup. Milan didn't approve of that kind of technology. He even made her promise that if it came to that, she would help him to die before he became anything other than human. He would rather die as himself than live on as an amalgam. Their friendship... more »

#DailyStory  day 73

I will happily admit that this follows on directly from yesterday's, Live Forever. I think both stand along, though, so it isn't really cheating

Die Forever

Claudette and Milan had been friends since childhood. The two would always be together, through her college obsession with the technology of cybernetics and his with the morals. Even when they hooked up out of convenience, they were friends first and foremost.

Their only disagreement came from the cybernetic enhancements Claudette helped to develop, with the multinational RSN providing the financial and political backup. Milan didn't approve of that kind of technology. He even made her promise that if it came to that, she would help him to die before he became anything other than human. He would rather die as himself than live on as an amalgam. Their friendship lead to an amicable solution, though. While protestors on both sides created noise in the streets, they tried to see each other’s points of view and found the acceptable compromise: that the choice between life and identity must be every patient’s own decision.

When Milan became a vampire, their whole relationship changed. She said she was worried, she couldn’t understand how it was affecting his thought processes so drastically. He was simply relieved that he had been cured of cancer, and amazed at his new abilities. They fought, in a way they never really had before. He couldn’t control himself, hormonal urges more powerful that he’d even imagined possible, and he leapt on her without any thought for how she would feel. She stabbed him in the eye with a corkscrew, and left him for dead.

She’d seen enough, though, watching his resurrection for a few moments, and known how the undead repair of organic tissue worked. That gave her all she needed in order to develop an entirely new form of biotechnology. It took years, but Claudette knew there was no rush. It was released to so many hospitals, but never advertised. If everyone knew that death had been defeated, the human race would be too numerous for the planet to support within a couple of generations. No, only the super-rich who could afford the process even became aware that it existed, and to them it was a jealously guarded secret. If they were critically injured, those on ‘the list’ would raise a red flag at their insurance companies and automatically inform a doctor ‘in the know’

On her own time, Claudette kept track of Milan, the man who had provided her with such a valuable truth. He had disappeared soon after coming clean to her, but she knew his trace was still there if she could just hire skilled enough computer hackers to mine the right data from all the news reports. Animals, missing people, random acts of violence. His hormones were so far out of the normal range that he couldn’t control himself for long when he came into touch with humans, and of course the vampire would always need to feed.

Years went past. The animal attacks were infrequent enough that nobody could realise there was a pattern. But if you knew he was out there, he was still leaving a trail a mile wide. Others were looking, too. There was a data trace that looked like maybe the marines were hunting vampires, or some British group. She trashed their traces easily enough. For all he’d done to her, or tried to do, she still cared for Milan and would do what she had to do to make sure he wasn’t captured by any part of the government; their interrogation and dissection must be a fate worse than death.

One day, he came for her. It didn’t matter how long it took, she’d always known he would try again sooner or later.

“We’re immortal,” she told him, late at night in a Tokyo hotel room rented by the hour. “Humanity can live forever now. You said you were so far ahead, and my research has already surpassed anything you can offer.”

He argued that he was stronger and faster, but she wasn’t convinced. She said that was no consolation for the way it had changed his mind. His priorities had changed, his desires, his sense of morality.

“Of course,” he said, “Why should a superior life form think in the same way as those it came from?”

The debate lasted through the night, and int the early hours of the morning. By the end, they were no closer to a compromise. Then, his hormones still enhanced well beyond his brain’s ability to master, he tried to force her again. She wasn’t sure if he wanted her to become a vampire alongside her, or if he wanted to consume her, or if his actions were those of pure lust. But it was clear that her thoughts on the matter meant absolutely nothing to him. Milan wasn’t the man he used to be, and that’s when she was sure. She pulled the gun from the inside pocket of her coat, and fired five times. It broke her heart to do it, but knowing as much as she did, she also knew that she didn’t have any other choice.

She sobbed into the cellphone on the street outside, hands shaking and voice cracking as the early frost attacked her shaking fingers. She was panicking, and it was hard even to keep her story straight, but she knew what she had to do. She had come to visit him, she said, at a hotel room he’d booked for the night. She’d gone up to the room and found him like this, bullet holes riddling his skull.

The police were on the scene, as well as the ambulance. They asked the obvious questions. The room had been rented in his name, of course, and billed to one of his false identities. Did the receptionists keep a record of who went up to the rooms? Of course they didn’t; it was one of the selling points of a place like this.

“I’m his healthcare proxy,” she told them. It took a while for the paramedics to understand, but they got it eventually. He was in the upper class, and she a doctor affiliated with the RSN Eternity Institute. They checked all the paperwork while the machines kept his heart beating; they could confirm that she was authorised to make treatment decisions on his behalf.

It was the hardest decision she had ever made, but every step of the last decade had been leading her to this point. “Yes,” she said eventually, “Give him the treatment.”

Everything he’d ever stood for was directly opposed to this. But then, the vampire transformation changed his mind more than their nanoreplication systems ever could. It was a different situation now.

She watched in horror and delight as the computer cells rebuilt his shattered skull in much the same way his own body was doing; the same patterns she’d seen years before, only so much faster. There were mechanical components linking and chaining together, and undead skin flowing over his body like molten wax to plug the wounds. It was incredible to behold. And where the two regenerative systems met, it was war. There was no other way: both the Eternity nanomachines and the vampiric symbiote were hard coded to replace anything in the body that wasn’t a healthy human cell. That was the insight, the epiphany she’d had all those years before.

He sat up from the hospital bed and screamed, fangs biting into empty air as he sought blindly for the blood, the life force, the sustenance, that would allow his inhuman metabolism to triumph over the mechanical invaders. In the observation room, Claudette was already in tears. She had always hated to see him in pain, and his anguish now was so much more than anything any other human had ever experienced.

It continued for an hour, the doctors calling in more and more specialists in the hope somebody could tell them what was going on, or explain where those fangs had come from, or even share the blame. There was nothing they could do, though, without a decade to study vampire physiology based on a few old skin and blood samples.

Claudette knew that she would be punished eventually. There was no way to escape the law for what she had done, but Milan was the person she cared for more than anyone else. It was the one achievement she could have that would never be overshadowed, because nobody would ever understand. By the time his corpse decomposed into non-sentient matter, both the vampire cells and the mechanical would have exhausted all their resources. She had killed that which was already dead, a unique achievement, and as a side effect granted immortality to the richest men in the world.

She would be arrested, she knew, but that didn’t matter. She had fulfilled her friend’s last wish: to let him die.___

posted image

2014-12-13 22:44:46 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

I've written quite a lot of stories. I would like to know which ones you think are worth going into an anthology. Yes, you! I love you people, and I'd really appreciate an opinion, even if you only have time to read one.

Please read one (or more) of these stories, and comment with one of:
   Yes
   No
   Yes but…
      …only if its an erotica anthology
      …only if you can get permission to include the picture
      …it needs a lot of editing first


Other comments are much welcome, but I'd very much like to hear back something, even if it's just one of these.

Thanks.

I've written quite a lot of stories. I would like to know which ones you think are worth going into an anthology. Yes, you! I love you people, and I'd really appreciate an opinion, even if you only have time to read one.

Please read one (or more) of these stories, and comment with one of:
   Yes
   No
   Yes but…
      …only if its an erotica anthology
      …only if you can get permission to include the picture
      …it needs a lot of editing first


Other comments are much welcome, but I'd very much like to hear back something, even if it's just one of these.

Thanks.___

posted image

2014-12-12 23:15:11 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  day 72

Thanks again to Dechha for providing a link to an intriguing image, and challenging me to see what I could write about it. Yet again, I didn't get to the twist I was aiming for, but found another one earlier in the story. This may get a part 2

Live Forever

Monsters. They drink blood; they control your mind; they have no reflection; they have no online presence; they walk through walls; they can’t bear the light of the sun. But in all the stories, that’s not what makes you fear the vampire. The big difference between them and us, the one thing that humans could never tolerate, is immortality. We can’t coexist with a creature that will outlive our grandchildren.



They were good friends in childhood. They played the same games, supported the same team, loved the same movies, excelled at the same subjects,fantasis... more »

#DailyStory  day 72

Thanks again to Dechha for providing a link to an intriguing image, and challenging me to see what I could write about it. Yet again, I didn't get to the twist I was aiming for, but found another one earlier in the story. This may get a part 2

Live Forever

Monsters. They drink blood; they control your mind; they have no reflection; they have no online presence; they walk through walls; they can’t bear the light of the sun. But in all the stories, that’s not what makes you fear the vampire. The big difference between them and us, the one thing that humans could never tolerate, is immortality. We can’t coexist with a creature that will outlive our grandchildren.



They were good friends in childhood. They played the same games, supported the same team, loved the same movies, excelled at the same subjects, fantasised about the same girl, got drunk in the same bar when she chose Norman Struthers as her date for the graduation ball.

Nothing could come between Claudette and Milan, right through school and college. Then with increasing specialisation, they finally found a difference. Claudette became a scientist, working on ways for next-generation differential state electronics to better benefit humanity, while Milan focused his thesis on the moral and ethical implications of a technology that could couple so closely to human neurons, and whether we would one day become inhuman.

Claudette’s first project at RSN Systems was an electronic eye, a camera that could be hooked directly into the brain to let the blind see. She said it was a breakthrough, the gateway to a new world of ever-improving humanity. Milan led a protest to stop the first human trials, leading hundreds of conservatives in a march to claim that once a computer was in your brain, it would be a short hop to programming the brain itself, removing human agency and becoming a nation of machines.

Inevitably, the crowds clashed with police. Milan wanted a peaceful protest, but some hotheads threw bottles of acid at the scientists as they emerged to make a public statement. The riots were small but focused, engulfing six city blocks in an instant. Two childhood friends ran into each other in a bar just outside the warzone, both bemoaning how people could be so stupid. They drank together, and they argued.

It’s an important word, “argued”. Not fighting, but laying down arguments and supporting evidence with tactical precision, trying to persuade through logic and reason. That was one thing in common between these two, still. They enjoyed a rational argument, and never fixed their positions so much that they couldn’t be swayed by reason. Which isn’t to say they didn’t raise their voices as they became more passionate, or that the increasing alcohol consumption didn’t make it a little harder to control themselves. When they were thrown out of the bar, Claudette’s apartment was still surrounded by the conflict on the streets, so they went together back to Milan’s hotel room. They picked up a bottle of supermarket gin on the way, and continued their debate where there was nobody around to escalate the situation to violence.

In the morning, neither of them remembered who had won the debate. They didn’t remember, either, how they’d ended up tangled together under a blanket on the couch, both too generous to take the more-comfortable bed on the other side of the hotel room. It was an embarrassment, but they were close enough that neither blamed the other, or let themselves become uncomfortable. It wasn’t the last time, either, though alcohol always became the lubricant that released their self-consciousness.

Their conversations became more common, and they soon reached a kind of compromise. Claudette would research ever more invasive devices and augmentation, and continue to lobby for their widespread acceptance. Meanwhile, Milan sought proof that these things were damaging to the soul, and campaigned to preserve a patient's right to opt out of bionetic augmentation. Though they disagreed, they would always respect each other's views, and they found one thing that they could agree on at the core of the debate: that purity and longevity were irreconcilable goals, both to be striven for, and that the choice between those two must come down to the patient's own personal values.

"Promise me one thing," Milan whispered, as Claudette's fingertips traced tender lines across his chest.

"Anything," she answered, though he knew from the dreamy contentment in her voice that she didn't imagine any of the things that were in his mind.

"Let me die." Any other time, she would have been shocked, got angry or tried to talk him around. Right now, her eyes went wide but she only waited for him to continue.

"I might have… a condition. It might be nothing, they can't tell yet. Or it might be something your invention could help with."

"You know about Redstone?" she was shocked, but more worried about her friend. Project Redstone was the codename for an intelligently replicating carbon fibre framework, microscopic machines that could travel through an animal's capillaries to build a cage around tumors, isolating cancer cells from the rest of the body in order to prevent metastasization until the whole chunk could be surgically removed. It was still at least two years from the first human tests, and the company was keeping it closely under wraps.

She'd been feeding him little bits of RSN inside information for years, and he let her know what Human First were planning. They kept the tightrope taut, so nobody was blindsided and no more protests tumbled out of control into violence. Of course, he'd leverage the access tokens she gave him to get further into the company's systems. She was sure the company's security people had done exactly the same on the other side of the fence. She just hadn't realised how close he would be to her baby.

"Sooner or later, you might be in a position to cure me. I know that much, and my family will push for me to be in your trials. They'll even get Neodiva to talk to you, if I know them." Claudette's caressing hand became a clenched fist for just a second; she had been married to Milan's little sister for six month, in a relationship like a firework.

"You don't want to be cured?"

“Of course I do, but not if it means I’m not me any more. If it spreads to my brain, or some glands I guess, they’ll say I’m not of sound mind to choose my own treatment. But I know what I want. If a disease hits my brain, I want it to run its course. I don’t want to risk some machine accidentally slicing out a part of my brain and changing who I am. I’d rather die while I’m still me, than have a machine where it could change how I think, who I am, even if that’s not what it was meant for. You understand? And if anyone somehow adds anything that changes who I am, I want you to make sure it ends quickly.”

“Wow, I’ve not heard you so passionate about anything in a while,” she made a joke of it, smiled, but she knew this was something that mattered to him. It was a tough call to make. “I promise, I won’t let your sister bully me into treating you. I won’t let them use any of our technologies on your head.”

“Good. Then I’m making you my healthcare proxy,” and as if that didn’t need any further debate, he gave a wicked grin and continued, “If you want to make me passionate, do that thing you showed me in New York.” She didn’t want to put him through any more anxiety. She knew just how much thought he’d put into this, even before it was personal, and she knew that she wouldn’t talk him out of it any more than she had when they were discussing abstract possibilities. Just like that, she had the legal authority to decide what treatment he’d get, in the event he wasn’t well enough to decide for himself any more.

* * *

Three months after that. They’d seen each other once in the mean time, but didn’t push that issue any further. Milan was roaming the downtown bars, in between his protests all over the country, when he was attacked. They were monsters, something straight out of a storybook. Red eyes, razor sharp fang teeth, the vampires of myth and legend. He checked into hospital, and the police said they wouldn’t find anything. He didn’t know why they hadn’t killed him; such a vicious attack would get as much police activity on the streets as an actual murder, but he could give a description of the three young men. He assumed they were mad; red eyes and fangs were well within the range of cosmetic medicine now, but they’d never be able to go into hiding.

Then he recovered. He recovered fast, and found himself getting stronger every day. For the first time in nearly a year, he woke up without a gnawing nausea in the pit of his stomach. He didn’t feel constantly tired, didn’t feel like his muscles were constantly sore. He couldn’t believe it, and then he saw his reflection in his computer screen, and the faintly visible chair behind him, and he knew. Claudette was the first person he called, saying he needed to meet up immediately. Of course, she’d assume the worst, but he couldn’t tell her the truth on an open line, where anyone could be listening.

“Are you okay?” she sounded as worried as he was, “Is it the… you know? Is it worse?”

“No. I’m cured.” She didn’t believe him, of course. He closed the blinds of this anonymous motel room, until she struggled to see anything in the darkness. His night vision kicked in reflexively, his eyes going red, and his facial muscles began orchestrating the change from human to predator.

“I’m a vampire. I’m changing, I can feel it changing, and I’m more than I ever thought possible. Do you understand? You’re struggling to upgrade humans, but you may as well just give up, because there’s a shortcut already there to something so much better!”

They argued late into the night. Claudette didn’t get it at all, she said he wasn’t thinking right. She tested his blood, and found so many new hormones, and much higher levels of the ones that everyone else has. She said he couldn’t be thinking straight, but he knew he was thinking clearer than he ever had before. He wanted to show her how strong he was now, how much energy he had, and even how those hormonal imbalances could increase his natural pheromones by an order of magnitude. It all came so naturally; he could change his face or some parts of his body chemistry just by willing it, and he knew exactly what those capabilities would be even before he tried it.

He was back in his human-like form by then, with only his eyes to reveal his true nature. He grasped at Claudette’s wrists and held her close, pushing his metabolism into overdrive to produce the chemicals he knew would completely overwhelm all attempts at thought. He could practically taste her arousal in seconds, and he could hear her heart racing even over half-hearted protests. “Do you see how much my body has improved?” he boasted as he pinned her down on the bed, “Better in every way!”

If he’d been just a little more used to his powers, she wouldn’t have had a chance to fight. But he was momentarily confused by the first taste of blood. He wanted to take her, to show her his power and virility, but at the same time he wanted to feed on her. His own behaviour repulsed him, he knew somehow that changing someone against their will was exactly what he’d been campaigning against for half his life. It only took a moment for him to conclude that his whole life had been a series of mistakes, and that now he was so strong it was his right to do with the humans as he wanted. If they could be so easily swayed by a few hormones in the air, they were no more than animals.

A moment was all the distraction Claudette needed. As soon as his grip slackened, she grabbed a bottle from the nightstand and threw it at him with all the force she could muster at such a short distance. He fielded it out of the air with no difficulty, not even turning to look, but while he was distracted by that she had her hand around the corkscrew and jabbed up towards those red eyes, so reflective they almost seemed to glow. The vampire screamed in pain, and every instinct told her to check if he was okay, that he must have realised how afraid she was. But that was a scream of anger and pain, there was no regret in his voice, and she knew that he was fast enough that she’d need to take every second she could if she wanted to get away.

Outside the motel, not stopping to remember where she parked her car, she dashed straight across the highway as soon as she perceived the slightest possibility. The cars were all driverless now, something out of science fiction a few years ago but now already accepted as the norm. They could react faster than any human, could redirect their course around her, just so long as there wasn’t an older manual vehicle among them.

She was lucky. Of course, she realised, if he’d seen her run this way then Milan would have the confidence to be just as lucky. He would have seen how easy it was. But then her conscious mind managed to catch up with what some level of deep instincts had already guessed. The vampire’s reflection was transparent, though she couldn’t yet explain what trickery of physics could make that even possible. So the infra-red scan of the cars’ autonav systems might not see him. The crack of splintering glass and the thud of a body bouncing across the carriageway confirmed her suspicions.

She hid in the trees that covered the embankment, ready to run again at the slightest indication that he was getting back up. But he was there, still. Other people ran closer, a crowd forming faster than she would have thought possible. His head was caved in, arms and legs bent backwards by the collision, blood smeared across the rooftops of both the one that had barrelled into him at a hundred and forty, and another vehicle unfortunate enough to have been behind it. This mangled body was dead.

By the time the medics arrived, there was nothing unusual to see. Just a man executed by a malfunctioning guidance system. And among all the bystanders who rushed to offer help, nobody had the medical training to look for the signs of what had happened. Claudette was the only doctor here, and even through the tears she found a small, analytical part of her mind recording the skin knitting together where her corkscrew had pierced his cheek. It stopped eventually, needing some kind of vitality to continue maybe. But in that vision, Claudette had a revelation. Redstone was obsolete now, she could let somebody else complete the research. Watching the vampire’s skin rebuild gave her just the epiphany she needed to make a new medical technology, a machine that could restore and rebuild any damage to the body.

He thought he was so much better, but vampirism had its obvious side effects. Now, she could make humans live forever, she would conquer death. It was an achievement that would never be overshadowed.

We will be immortal! she cheered inwardly, blinking away the tears. But she knew she would have to remember Milan too, and added, All those who want to, of course___

posted image

2014-12-12 09:01:25 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Awesome :)

Holy SHIT!

#IHaveAMightyNeed  ___Awesome :)

posted image

2014-12-11 15:42:24 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  71

This is my second attempt at writing this story.The first try went too far into the background of the world, and skipped over Azonia’s quest. It makes a good prequel though, I think. Thanks to Dechha for the image that inspired it.

Chainmail Bikini

The warlock Por’tak was the most malicious ever to inherit the sorcerous powers of the tribe of Bien. Many warriors of the tribe vowed to take down his mage-run empire, and to restore the honour of their people. But fighters could not swim a moat made of fire, and no other magic user could bring their powers to bear against the master of the tribe’s power. The ancestors would simply not permit it.

Azonia had thought outside the teachings of her people’s elders, and sought the help of the elves in a far distant land. She was a fighter, as much as a woman was permitted to be, but she alsoliked to... more »

#DailyStory  71

This is my second attempt at writing this story.The first try went too far into the background of the world, and skipped over Azonia’s quest. It makes a good prequel though, I think. Thanks to Dechha for the image that inspired it.

Chainmail Bikini

The warlock Por’tak was the most malicious ever to inherit the sorcerous powers of the tribe of Bien. Many warriors of the tribe vowed to take down his mage-run empire, and to restore the honour of their people. But fighters could not swim a moat made of fire, and no other magic user could bring their powers to bear against the master of the tribe’s power. The ancestors would simply not permit it.

Azonia had thought outside the teachings of her people’s elders, and sought the help of the elves in a far distant land. She was a fighter, as much as a woman was permitted to be, but she also liked to use the power of her mind to solve problems rather than just punching them. The elves, it was said, could form all kinds of machines, their lore competing even with the power of magic.

The first thing she learned when she met the elves was that they worship money. Not that they were greedy, but that their coins were cut from the corpses of their gods. So every transaction is sacred, and cheating in trade was the worst possible blasphemy, punishable by death. They used different coin for different trades. Silver and copper could buy bread or meat, but a night in one of their crystal inns could only be bought with coins of brass or gold. The human money changers on the surface didn’t see the distinction as any more than a difference in value, so an outsider coming to Medparchen could trade in whichever currency they needed, just so long as they could afford it.

The next thing Azonia learned about was mithril. The soul alloy, the divine metal, the one pure substance that no nuclear or alchemical process could manufacture. When she said she had travelled all across the known world to trade, the mayor of the smiths here pressed a single mithril coin into her palm. It was small, a disc barely as wide as her thumb with a circle cut out from the centre so it could be threaded onto a cord. But even this small ring of the soul alloy was heavier than seemed possible.

“Feel it,” the mayor commanded, and Azonia held the coin out, closed her eyes, and tried to understand the demand. Money was sacred, right? So holding the highest denomination coin was an act of devotion, a prayer, and a communion. And with the metal cool against her skin, she thought she could feel it, the touch of divinity. When she gently tapped the coin with one nail, it rang out like a bell and she was sure she could feel her own soul shaking in harmony. Peace, respect, harmony. The emotions rushed through her soul, and she felt a tightness in her chest where it seemed the vibrations that ran through her were coming from somewhere deep inside.

“Mithril is the soul alloy, the metal that cannot be tarnished or damaged. It is impossibly precious, it is the most holy, and even your ‘money changers’,” he spat the word as if it was a curse, “know it is worth so many times more than gold. There are very few trades which are worthy of payment in the holy metal, you must understand. Any miner or factory worker may request his wage in mithril if he works without rest days for one year; and the holy coins may also be used as the reward of an artist or scientist if he creates something both unique and perfect.”

Azonia nodded with understanding. She must hope that the technologies she needed to breach Por’tak á Bien’s wall of flame did not have its price in mithril coin, because there was very little chance of her earning even one. The money changers would offer a mithril coin for twelve hundred gold, or nearly twenty thousand Imperial Merks; but that was if they had the coin to offer. The elves hated seeing their holy money degraded by the assumption that a coin was worth some number of a different type of coin, that wealth was a single quantity. A human might earn one or two of these coins that felt so natural in her hand, but a human who passed one to the changers would immediately be persona non grata in this city, and in all the underground halls of the elves.

The mayor’s stern tone softened as she went to hand back the coin. It felt so good to hold, to feel that sense of inner peace, but she didn’t want to disrespect its holiness by taking what she hadn’t earned.

“Keep it,” he said, “You have travelled a thousand miles, across mountains, desert, and swamp, in order to trade with us. And I say that makes your quest blessed in the eyes of the Great Engine.” She bowed to show her gratitude, knees bent and arms crossed behind her back in the style of the elves. Not for the first time, she wondered if there was any kind of anatomical difference that could make this pose less painful for them.

She had been in the city for a week, talking to armourers and tacticians, when she finally found an elf who was convinced by a few discs of gold to introduce her to a friend who knew someone who could put her in touch with Dennery, the master smith. She explained the problem, a sphere of sorcerous fire that enclosed the warlock’s tower.

“What kind of fire?” was his first question. And one she wished she had a simpler answer to.

“Dragon fire.” The old smith simply nodded. Magical fire could be extinguished by magical water or wind, if you knew how to target it, but dragon fire was eternal even before sorcery was involved.

He stared at the candle on the table for ten minutes, watching the flame. Then he stared at Azonia, weighing her up and judging her as he might have evaluated a vambrace in need of repair. Eventually, he made his judgement. He strode to the back of the shop and returned with a fine bracelet around his wrist. Then without explanation, he pushed it into the candle flame. Azoia winced in sympathy, but then opened her eyes and stared at the flame dancing around the band of metal.

“Entirely proof against flame,” the old elf explained, “Even dragonfire cannot burn through this. And I have the skills necessary to make one for you. Is that the help you were looking for?”

“Yes, thank you, yes,” she exclaimed, proud of her progress until the next thought brought her down to earth: “But how much will it cost?

“As I believe in your quest, I will offer this service for only two hundred gold. I believe that is a fair transaction. However,” as he removed his hand from the fire and took off the bracelet to show her, she caught sight of the inside of the band. Underneath an ornate heraldic seal, a coin was mounted on the inside of the bracelet, to keep it in contact with the wearer’s skin. A mithril coin, tiny silvery ring. “Mithril resonates with the soul of the man who touches it. It can make your skin fireproof for a few inches around the point of contact, rather than just protecting you from direct exposure.”

“How many inches?”

“A good question. I think that to protect your body and allow you to walk through fire would require armour made with one hundred and twelve coins.” And from there, the discussion only went downhill.

At their second meeting, Dennery brought a necklace. It was a fine silver chain, but every fifth or sixth link was a mithril coin. Her eyes widened when she saw it, and she held the chain with her hand around the smith’s, unable to bring herself to let go of her chance while she asked: “Can I afford this?”

“I will offer you credit,” his voice was simple and matter-of-fact, “Because I approve of your quest. I’m both a jeweller, an artificer, and an armourer in this trade, so I can ask for my fee in copper, brass or gold.” He clicked a number of syllables in the impossibly fast numbering system of this city’s language. Azonia couldn’t translate, didn’t know how much she was committing to, but the number of seconds he took to pronounce it told her that she’d be working six months or more to cover that debt. To save her people, she would do whatever it took; that was not in question.

“Though I can’t find the soul alloy in any form but coin, and I cannot risk my soul by trading coin. You must earn the mithril yourself, performing a task for which soul is acceptable currency.”

“How can I do that?” her elation quickly changed to dejection again, “I’m no inventor, or artist. I’ve got one mithril coin, and I can’t get any more. Isn’t there some other way?”

“There’s soul work you could do. You could be a model, and I need a model to help me size a suit of maille I’m working on, to ensure it fits perfectly.” For a moment, she wondered if the man wasn’t making her a gift of the coins out of respect for her, or for her quest. But then she saw the lecherous gleam in his eyes, and realised that saving her people would cost her more than she had ever thought. Just how far was she willing to go?___

2014-12-10 19:44:46 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

artists!

I'm searching for an image of Deadpool riding a minotaur pony.

Okay, I misheard, +James Willett​ asked for Deadpool riding a My Little Pony. But I have to see this now!

artists!

I'm searching for an image of Deadpool riding a minotaur pony.

Okay, I misheard, +James Willett​ asked for Deadpool riding a My Little Pony. But I have to see this now!___

2014-12-10 15:34:08 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory day 70

This came out of my brain without any planning. WTF?

Soul Alloy

The elves have a strange opinion of metals, deep in their cavernous, crystal-lined cities. They say that when the world was new, the allfather forged children in his own image, with all his omnipotentate, wisdom, and wrath. They were the first living things, set to be the lords of the World Below as their brethren the high gods ruled the World Above.

Of course, the engine gods fell to fighting among themselves, and were destroyed in the great war. Such is the fate of the primitive deities in all creation myths, else why are they not walking the world today? But theirs is different, say the elves. The machine gods are here, though they live no longer. Wherever you mine titanium in the ground, that is the bones of one of these ancient lords if creation. Every lode of iron is a... more »

#DailyStory day 70

This came out of my brain without any planning. WTF?

Soul Alloy

The elves have a strange opinion of metals, deep in their cavernous, crystal-lined cities. They say that when the world was new, the allfather forged children in his own image, with all his omnipotentate, wisdom, and wrath. They were the first living things, set to be the lords of the World Below as their brethren the high gods ruled the World Above.

Of course, the engine gods fell to fighting among themselves, and were destroyed in the great war. Such is the fate of the primitive deities in all creation myths, else why are they not walking the world today? But theirs is different, say the elves. The machine gods are here, though they live no longer. Wherever you mine titanium in the ground, that is the bones of one of these ancient lords if creation. Every lode of iron is a scrap of their muscle; lead formed their guts and spun copper their spine. What could quicksilver be, but the blood of a god, and only their brilliant golden skin escaped tarnish as their bodies began to decay.
Their works remain as well; like the sun above, which the elves say is the still-burning fire of a bomb from the gods' war.

Then at the close of the war, the allfather birthed us. Beastisl humans for the World Above, and graceful elves for the World Below, though the races are not so pure as they once were. Both formed after the visage of the allfather, but made from weak flesh rather than indefatiguable metals; and we have the power to create only by the sciences we can learn.

You know that the elves say trade is sacred? Everybody's heard it, the city folk use it as a justificstion for their avarice, and the yokels who've never met an elf say it proves they're just animals. But imagine how proud the banker or the baker must feel, to know every day he is handling the bones of his god. It is an act of devotion. The beautician takes payment only in gold coins to symbolise the majestic face of his god, not because of the metal's value.

Mithril, I'm glad you asked, the most valuable coin of all. The only metal that cannot be blended from another through alchemy, or formed in the great Star Crucibles from the Pitchblende and Infinitum that were once the gods' creation glands. Because mithril is the remnant of an engine god's soul, every fragment divine, and only the greatest in each profession are blessed enough to receive it.
I wonder what the elves would say when they see us obliviously handing their soul coins to the best of the best sportsmen, or artists. Does that make the painting an icon, or the poem an oracle? And when I can spare just one coin to test their myths, what does it mean to pay a prostitute in mythril?

No, don't answer. Don't stop, you might just earn your soul.
___

posted image

2014-12-10 09:34:31 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

___

posted image

2014-12-10 01:16:49 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Today's #DailyStory  may be a little disturbing; almost posted it under my erotica account, but it kind of follows on from 'Poison' a couple of days ago, so figured I should keep them together

69 - Strange Medicine

As the show drew to a close, the fans started to drift away. Those who had been to a Blood Metal show before left slightly quicker; knowing how likely it was that the police were already on their way. The parents of their teenage fans said the craze was a poison of the mind, and others said it was the new drug driving the youngsters insane. The mad virtuoso, Mercurio, was at least more responsible than most of those who imitated his genre, though that wasn’t saying much in his favour. He played beautiful music, coaxing beautiful music out of his guitar even as he tortured the strings with a razor blade. And at the same time, he granted his devoted fansa ... more »

Today's #DailyStory  may be a little disturbing; almost posted it under my erotica account, but it kind of follows on from 'Poison' a couple of days ago, so figured I should keep them together

69 - Strange Medicine

As the show drew to a close, the fans started to drift away. Those who had been to a Blood Metal show before left slightly quicker; knowing how likely it was that the police were already on their way. The parents of their teenage fans said the craze was a poison of the mind, and others said it was the new drug driving the youngsters insane. The mad virtuoso, Mercurio, was at least more responsible than most of those who imitated his genre, though that wasn’t saying much in his favour. He played beautiful music, coaxing beautiful music out of his guitar even as he tortured the strings with a razor blade. And at the same time, he granted his devoted fans a beautiful tattoo, tribal designs and detailed sketches on their flesh, but these images were inked in their own blood. For his music and his art, he used the same blade in a complex dance of decadent violence.

He was better than the others, in that he had never worked with a groupie who was drunk, or stoned; or any girl who wasn’t both an adult and sure she wanted to experience this most extreme thrill on stage. And there were stories that he protected his fans too, those thieves and dealers who would prey on the crowd of fans being thrown out of a van in front of the police station, trussed like a turkey. But to the mass media, the man was a monster.

Today, he had picked two girls to play with. Both were beautiful, and young. Maybe they could have passed for teenagers, maybe one or both of them was barely 21. It was hard to tell. The police couldn’t arrest them, of course. Attending a show like this and being cut wasn’t exactly a crime, and the war for public opinion wasn’t going entirely the way of those in power. But the first outsider to arrive in the parking lot was a news van from RCMNB24, and the girls who’d enjoyed Mercurio’s attention were exactly who the reporters wanted to see.

“Hey, girls!” Marianne Friedrich was bubbly and lively, dressed in a sharp suit that contrasted dramatically with the black and crimson garb of most of the audience. She strode towards the girls, their exposed arms proudly showing spirals of fresh crimson, as they left the warehouse that had so recently held a performance. Mari gave a silent prayer of thanks to any deity who was listening as she saw them, and then cursed her cameraman, Andre, under her breath for not being ready.

“Hey, you two!” she repeated, “Can I get a comment?”

The older looking girl, whose fresh cuts linked creatively with an older tattoo based on one of Mercurio’s most famous designs, looked at her with disdain. “You’re on the TV, right? Planning to make us famous, tell the world we’re devil worshippers or something?”

“No, I just think the public needs to know what you get out of this, why you do it. It’s easy to demonise–”

“I know what you want,” her fresh faced companion grinned, “If you really want to understand, come with us somewhere more private. We’ll show you how it feels to live. Oh, my name’s Julienne, and this is… I don’t think I got your name?”

“Tiffini,” the other offered, “With an ‘i’. Guess we must have had too many other things to talk about.”

“Well, I’m sure you know me, I’m Mari Friedrich.” There was something about the two that made her uncomfortable, but Mari wasn’t about to let vague impressions stand in between her and an award-potential story. She cleared her throat quickly, and continued: “If you’d rather do a proper interview, I’m sure we can–”

“No,” Julienne put her blood streaked hand over the camera lens as Andre finally managed to get it rolling. “Not an interview, not now. I want to talk to you, nobody else, no cameras, and get you to understand. If you still want to do the story, we’ll give you a soundbite from the road home, or a studio interview, or whatever you want. But you have to listen to me first, and understand it yourself, before you can share our story with others.”

She agreed, of course. The motivations of the blood girls were a big mystery to 90% of the world, and the first candid interview with one would be an amazing scoop. She couldn’t talk to them right at that moment, anyway, because they could all hear the scream of sirens rushing to investigate an unlicensed public performance at which the usual rumours of drug use and allegations over the abuse of underage fans would be rife. “Get the melee,” Mari yelled to the camera guys, “We’ll need the background.”

Before she could make arrangements with the two girls for the interview, they were interrupted by an athletic, middle-aged man in a plaid shirt and jeans striding straight towards them. The anger practically radiated off him, causing even the more anxious fans to keep out of his way.

“Julienne!” he barked, a southern accent distinctive even after some years of dilution by exposure to the local dialect, “What are you doing here?” It wasn’t clear if he was angry, or concerned. The difference probably wasn’t clear to him, either, but he couldn’t help raising his voice.

The girl raised her hand defensively, and placed it flat against his chest to stop the man coming any closer. “Sorry, Dad. I need to go with this woman, she wants to do a news article.”

“Your father?” Mari asked, causing Tiffini to roll her eyes.

“Go to the top of the class, Miss Friedrich,” she muttered scornfully, “Seems a bit of an overprotective type, if you ask me.”

“Maybe he’d like to come with us, to make sure we’re not doing anything untoward,” the reporter offered. If she’d been willing to admit it, she was more concerned for her own safety than that of the two girls with the spiderwebs of dried blood across their bodies. There was something disconcerting about them, quite apart from the wounds.

There was a brief exchange of glances that were too personal for her to read, but she felt safe as she quickly bundled the three into her luxury sedan. Whatever these girls were into, they wouldn’t consider… whatever she had to be worried about before. Not with their father around.

“Press,” Mari flashed her credentials at the police as she passed the cordon around the warehouse, then turned to the girls in the sedan's back seat, "You owe me an interview now."

There was some perfunctory conversation on the road, but she didn't learn much. The family argument was obviously tense, but conducted in clipped half-sentences between Julienne and the man, David. It meant nothing to an outsider.

“What are you doing?”

“I don't need your approval,” and a sullen stare.

“It's that thing with Mark all over again.”

“Maybe I should just leave. You'd be begging forgiveness in a week.” A grunt, and her head turned aside, more to signal that she wasn't listening than to look at the rain-shrouded landscape outside. The only thing the 4 travellers managed to actually discuss was where to go for this pre-interview.

The motel seemed a fair choice. It was remote and unremarkable, with staff who seemed to make a point of not knowing anything about their customers that couldn't be conveyed by the handing over of money. It wasn't a fleapit, but it wasn't worthy of a star, either. It might have won some massive trophy for being the country's blandest place to stay, but there was nothing on display. It was called Bob's Motel. Behind the guy dozing on a chair in reception was a certificate proudly announcing that Bob had won a fishing tournament twenty years earlier. The guy wasn't Bob, but no further details were forthcoming.

The room was exactly what you'd expect. A double bed in the main room, and bunks in a kids' room off to one side. A tiny bathroom A kettle next to the TV, but only one power outlet. Cream walls to make nicotine stains less prominent, paint not peeling but not fresh either. The air slightly stale, with a hundred residual odours that never quite fade away.

“So where do we start?” Mari asked as she closed the door behind them. She wasn’t sure how this kind of interview was supposed to go, but stopped dead in her tracks when she turned to see the two girls kissing passionately on the bed. Julienne moved sensuously, writing like a snake as she licked the dried blood from the other girl’s body. Dave just sat cross legged in the corner, watching with no apparent sign of interest.

“What’s wrong, Mari?” Tiffini, with every sign of enjoyment, “Don’t you want to join us?”

“I don’t even… what is this?”

“It isn’t anything, it’s just this. I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just…” she cut off the explanation to moan in delight at Julienne’s ministrations. The more the two licked and kissed each other’s bodies, the less they seemed to be aware of the other two people in the room. Mari found herself overwhelmed by curiosity, slowly padding closer and closer across the rough carpet.

Julienne grabbed her by the wrist, and pulled her onto the bed. “No!” she exclaimed.

“I won’t hurt you,” Julienne smiled reassuringly, but there was something false about the expression. “But you have to try it. You can’t understand until you’ve had a touch, just the slightest touch, the tiniest taste. And we’re not allowed to tell anyone who doesn’t understand.”

Mari looked back and forth between the two girls. There was still something she was missing, something important, and it looked like her big reveal story was drifting out of reach again.

“Just lick you? Like you’re doing? And you’ll tell me, not ask anything else?” Mari asked, still uncertain. She didn’t know if she was worried about disease, or being caught up in some kind of perverted web, or even being tainted with the bad publicity that affected the fans. But surely any disease couldn’t spread through just a taste of blood, couldn’t survive the acid conditions of your stomach, and besides that both girls looked to be in perfect health, radiant even.

Tiffini seemed a little worried by the question, by Julienne answered without any concern: “I promise, we won’t ask you to do anything else.”

Mari nodded. She couldn’t believe she was going to do this, but she couldn’t pass up a chance to get a straight answer from a cult that had so far managed to cover half the country without any outsider really knowing what they were about. She lowered her head towards Tiffini’s body, where the girl had pulled off her stained top to reveal two crimson smears across her breast. Mari knew she’d have to show some kind of willing, so she took the girl’s nipple between her lips and sucked gently. She could  taste blood and sweat, but it wasn’t unpleasant, kind of sweet and with a faint trace of spices she couldn’t place.

Does Mercurio do this? she wondered, Does the masked maestro taste the blood of his fans, so they’d put seasoning on their bodies to please him? It’s crazy, but how could blood of all things taste so good?

“Oh,” Julienne grinned in delight, “I think she’s ours now!” There was no uncertainty or nervousness in her voice, like she didn’t need to hide her excitement any more. And also a sneer of malice, some undefinable hint that she was looking down on Mari. Could this be how they always treated new girls in this invisible clique? The closer Mari got, the less this looked like the groupies of a new, more extreme, breed of rock star. It was looking more and more like some kind of cult, with insider secrets and initiation rites.

“I did what you asked. So when shall I set the interview for?” Mari knew she shouldn’t needle the two girls like that, but she wasn’t feeling at all safe now. She didn’t like secrets, especially from her, and she didn’t like feeling like she was the butt of some giant joke she couldn’t see, just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“Oh, you don’t need to worry about that,” Julienne sprung to the floor, and paced in front of the older woman. “You don’t want to interview us anymore, now you know the truth.”

“I guess,” Mari shrugged, but wasn’t entirely convinced. “But all this, this is too weird if I’m not getting anything out of it.”

“Would it be worth your while staying if we agreed to do this interview?” Still, Julienne had that mocking tone, as if she was telling a joke nobody else got. Mari found she couldn’t put up with it any more.

“No!” she barked, jumping off the bed and marching back to the door, “Who cares about some interview, I’m not hanging around with freaks like–”

“Stop!” Julienne spat with such force that the reporter completely lost track of what she was saying. Then “Kneel!” and she felt her legs give way underneath her.

“Maybe there’s something else you want,” Julienne came to stand right in front of her now, “You want my blood, you want my life. You must have realised by now that I’m not quite human, and our kind have considerable power over the thoughts of lesser beings. From what you have tasted, I can control your body for a few moments. But I can promise you this: If you drink my blood from the source, you will become my loyal slave, unable to disobey and utterly devoted. But at the same time, your life will be extended well beyond that of a normal human. Wouldn’t you like to be young again, and know men will still be lusting after you when your co-presenters are in some dismal retirement home somewhere?”

Mari realised she was staring now at the crook of the girl’s elbow, where a single black red drop was slowly creeping down from a V-shaped incision in her flesh. She could feel the craving, she wanted that sweetness now, and it was hard to believe this was addiction from a single drop. But giving up her free will for a single taste was a cost too high. She grunted audibly as she fought against the influence on her, shook her head as if that would help to throw loose the unwelcome urges.

“No!” she said at last, “You can keep your fountain of youth. I’m going to expose you all, I’m going to tell the world what this Mercurio is doing to you, he’s the devil and you don’t even realise!”

“An impressive show of self denial. Just remember, you could have helped us to spread this bliss, and been my treasured slave.” And Mari managed to fight the control over her will, putting one foot on the ground and beginning to stand, before Julienne barked: “Drink, now!” putting all her authority into the words. Mari fought it, kept control of her own will and decided to walk away. But even the pinhead gleam of dried blood she had consumed was still in her system, and her body obeyed regardless of her decisions.  She found herself scrambling forward, taking the possessed girl’s arm in her hands and suckling at the cut like an infant. As the warm blood washed down her throat, she felt alive like she hadn’t in years, but at the same time she could imagine all her will being drained away. She didn’t need to fight any more, because her life belonged to her Mistress. She knew now she would do whatever she could to keep this little cult growing, and to moderate the hatred against them from society.

And she regretted, more than anything, that she hadn’t entered this servitude of her own free will when she had the chance. How could she have presumed to turn down such a beautiful gift?

Mistress strode outside on some errand of her own. Marianne didn’t even wonder why, because it was not her concern.

“Does it really make you young again?” she asked. Her curiosity hadn’t left her, she just knew better than to ask anything that Mistress didn’t want her to know.

“I don’t know,” Tiffini whispered, her body shaking slightly, “I don’t even know… I’ve never done this before, I just couldn’t say no!”

“Blood on the razor blade,” Dave muttered from the corner. They both turned to look at him, having almost forgotten there was a man in the room. “The blade is anointed with the Queen’s blood, so anyone it cuts has to obey for just an hour or so. Then if she likes the taste of you, she takes you forever.” He sounded resigned, as if he’d explained this so many times but knew there was no way that knowing would help them escape.

“And yes,” he added as the two tried to digest the new information, “It makes you young, and opens up your mind like some kind of instant enlightenment, gives you talent you never thought you had, and cures all disease. I mean, to look at me, you’d never think I was over sixty. Aging, but slowly, and the closer you get to the Queen, the younger you remain.”

“You drank her blood?” Marianne was shocked. And then an inner voce was even more disgusted by her own thoughts, that out of all the night’s depravity, this was the first thing she was truly disgusted by. She couldn’t harbour any negative thought about her Mistress. “But, she’s your daughter!”

“No, sorry. But when she said it, I couldn’t contradict her. I’m as much a slave of any of you girls, though she never feeds on my life force, and I don’t get the sex. She’s somewhere between a succubus and a vampire, I think, though I don’t know if anything else like her even exists.” He shrugged, able to speak so calmly about this horrific situation, he must have recounted it and thought over his options so many times, for longer than Marianne had been alive. “She’s not into men like that, I guess. I’m just the artistic slave, the one she uses to ensnare young girls. I’m the one who travels with her, but she doesn’t tell me anything, just uses me like a toy. Who knows, maybe we are related, it would explain how I can mesmerise all those girls on stage. I’m her great grandson or something, and she sought me out as soon as I was old enough to be of use. Or maybe I’m a random kid she picked up off the streets, I don’t know. She doesn’t tell me anything.”

There were so many more questions Marianne wanted to ask, though she knew now there were no answers to be had. She wondered how much the three of them could discern, if they just put their knowledge together. But then they heard the sound of Mistress’s footsteps on the cinder path outside, heard the key in the lock, and both girls turned to stare with rapt attention at the door. She was coming, she would feed them or consume their souls or make love to them, and whatever Mistress chose, they couldn’t ever have looked forward to anything more.___

2014-12-08 00:03:25 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory 67 - Poison

This story uses an alternative version of my character Mercurio. This is very certainly not the same Mercurio as in Blood Star, Mercury Rising, and Razor Edge

The moon rose high above the city skyline, cold white light just bright enough to pick out the silhouette of the jagged rooftops. Some sharply peaked, some high and flat, some artistic architecture with slightly slanted towers. It made the city centre streets look like the teeth of some ancient monster if you looked from high enough.

Mercurio watched from on high. He was a rock star, a prima donna, a visionary, a punk, and a psychopath. It just depended which newspapers you read. None of them were silent on the subject of this new idol. Everybody was talking about Mercurio and his band, the Throne of Lust. Those who weren’t fans spoke out freely about how his elaborate stage showss... more »

#DailyStory 67 - Poison

This story uses an alternative version of my character Mercurio. This is very certainly not the same Mercurio as in Blood Star, Mercury Rising, and Razor Edge

The moon rose high above the city skyline, cold white light just bright enough to pick out the silhouette of the jagged rooftops. Some sharply peaked, some high and flat, some artistic architecture with slightly slanted towers. It made the city centre streets look like the teeth of some ancient monster if you looked from high enough.

Mercurio watched from on high. He was a rock star, a prima donna, a visionary, a punk, and a psychopath. It just depended which newspapers you read. None of them were silent on the subject of this new idol. Everybody was talking about Mercurio and his band, the Throne of Lust. Those who weren’t fans spoke out freely about how his elaborate stage shows should be banned, how the guy should be put in jail. They couldn’t stop him, though. The Throne didn’t believe in performance permits. The word had gone out tonight through secret channels, a dozen obsessive fans in the city hearing from a friend of a friend that Throne of Lust were in town, and they’d be playing here. Those girls told their friends, and they invited people they trusted to come with them. It was all word of mouth in a subversive, anti-parenting subculture.

Even if someone leaked it to the police, or was overheard by an older sister or parent, there was nothing they could do. It took the police a day or more to organise a raid on an operation of this size, especially after the rapid responders had rushed too late to a show in Seattle only 2 days ago. Only two hours after the venue was first leaked, this warehouse in the shadier side of town was packed to the brim with twenty thousand screaming fans; the streets for a dozen blocks in every direction blocked by those who had arrived too late to get in.

There was a gig tonight, so Mercurio couldn’t stay up on here forever, as beautiful as the crowd of eager faces was. He looked down at them, and maybe met the eye of one over-excited fan, and a dozen teenagers observant enough to look had a heart attack as it seemed the masked figure might be looking their way. He gave a smile that he knew they couldn’t make up, and turned to descend the stairwell that led to a high, rusted gantry over a warehouse floor. There was no decoration, no seating. Just a high gantry that was being used as a stage, and fans packed as close as they could force themselves in on the floor below. The only equipment they’d bothered to install was a couple of portable speaker racks hanging from the walls. As the floodlights flashed and turned the crowd below into a screaming sea of brilliant white fire, Mercurio felt the familiar compulsion fill his body. He threw back his head and screamed out the first line of the song, booming over the sound of the fans without waiting for their fervour to subside. He strode back and forth on his high catwalk, while secondary lights sought out the drummer and bass player on smaller balconies. Mercurio wore a black and red leather kilt, as well as a top formed of overlapping PVC belts, and a mask of fine porcelain. Nobody could doubt that here was a star of the latest style to be demonised by parents the world over: Blood Metal.

The music was wild, a violent energy combined with complex riffs that would test the skills of any classical guitarist. But five minutes into the first set, the show progressed from the almost-glam strutting and posing towards the antics that made blood metal unique. The catwalk here was connected to some kind of crane, and could roll over half the audience. Mercurio had worried for a moment about screaming fans looking at him from below, but there was no way he could escape it now. When he got to the main event, though, he saw the benefit of his mobile stage.

He cast his gaze across the sea of adoring faces, most of them female. Eventually, he found what he was looking for in the eyes of Julienne Warner. She looked young, barely an adult, and had the bearing and grace of one of the tattoo-clad neogoths who roamed the street these days, though her pale skin shimmered impossibly pure white as the spotlights cris-crossed the crowd. He could see her hunger as soon as he met her gaze, and his own desire must have been reflected back almost as strongly. The girl beside her was beautiful too, but a young lady tainted by the rigours of real life. Her skin just showed the first trace of laughter lines, and her devotion to the Throne had led her to get a tattoo of interlinked teeth around her upper arm; Mercurio recognised it instantly as one of his own designs.

He beckoned to both women from directly above, and kicked down a collapsible ladder, like those on so many of the fire escapes outside. The lowest rung clanged to a halt around head height for the crowds. The two girl grabbed it and hauled themselves up eagerly; they wanted to be his playthings as much as he needed the sweet taste of them. They danced and swayed, two girls so different, but neither would have given up this moment for anything.

Mercurio played the guitar as he sang, a pick like a razor plucking out such beautiful, complex tones. But as the tune reached its frenzied peak, his hand whipped out to seize the blonde girl, Tiffani, by the tattooed ring around her arm. In time with the drum beats, never breaking rhythm as he switched between his music and his art. On the skin of two models, china white and tanned gold, he traced beautiful shapes in the medium of blood. The lines wouldn't last forever; Julienne's skin bore the faintest possible white lines from a previous show.

Some of the girls came back night after night, following the secret festival from one city to another. Those whose skin had been marked found themselves addicted to the spotlight, to his presence. Mercurio was charismatic, he couldn't help it, and he wondered if anyone else ever realised just how many times he had called this one up to dance with him.

The press said that Mercurio was a madman, that his music was poison for the soul. But to him, it was art, the most intimate form of expression. Every partner he performed with was a blank canvas, and every one was able to appreciate his talent. When he had first experimented with paintings of blood, skin, and desire, he had never known it could come this far. But now he was Mercurio, this was his fame, and he couldn't stop if he wanted to.
___

posted image

2014-12-07 16:31:21 (6 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

My last birthday present, finally picked up from the post office, is Copy Me, by +Laston Kirkland​. Many thanks to ±Dennis for the gift.

I like what I've read so far, but I'm a little confused by the mention of "Manufactured in the United States of America" inside the front cover, and "Printed in Great Britain" in the back. Is this some inside joke I'm missing; or is 'S+ press' maybe unaware that Createspace prints books in the country they're shipping to?

I give this book four thumbs up so far, tjough it may well gain more when I've read a whole story.

My last birthday present, finally picked up from the post office, is Copy Me, by +Laston Kirkland​. Many thanks to ±Dennis for the gift.

I like what I've read so far, but I'm a little confused by the mention of "Manufactured in the United States of America" inside the front cover, and "Printed in Great Britain" in the back. Is this some inside joke I'm missing; or is 'S+ press' maybe unaware that Createspace prints books in the country they're shipping to?

I give this book four thumbs up so far, tjough it may well gain more when I've read a whole story.___

2014-12-06 21:38:00 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 


Today's #DailyStory (day 66) is based on a prompt image I don't have on my phone; so here's an unadorned chunk of prose.

The Monster

The forest was dimly lit, the scarce pathways a dappled patchwork of deeper shadows on dim shadows, midnight black fading into leaf mold green all around. I paced slowly and carefully through the undergrowth, looking into the shadows for any sign that someone else was there. It was just that kind of forest, the dark and bosky sylvan gloom.

as soon as the sun was actually below the horizon, the silver reflection of the moonshine off moist leaves conjured an answering sheen of silver in the night mists. More than once, I saw the soft vapour take the shape of a beast with hollow shadow eyes and rock-heft fists between the black silhouettes of the trees.

I saw her before she saw me, I think, but it was a close... more »


Today's #DailyStory (day 66) is based on a prompt image I don't have on my phone; so here's an unadorned chunk of prose.

The Monster

The forest was dimly lit, the scarce pathways a dappled patchwork of deeper shadows on dim shadows, midnight black fading into leaf mold green all around. I paced slowly and carefully through the undergrowth, looking into the shadows for any sign that someone else was there. It was just that kind of forest, the dark and bosky sylvan gloom.

as soon as the sun was actually below the horizon, the silver reflection of the moonshine off moist leaves conjured an answering sheen of silver in the night mists. More than once, I saw the soft vapour take the shape of a beast with hollow shadow eyes and rock-heft fists between the black silhouettes of the trees.

I saw her before she saw me, I think, but it was a close thing. She was tall and slim, all I could see from the silhouette. A moment after I spotted her moving through the clinging white tendrils, she glanced in my direction and screamed.

"Woah!" I called out, trying to calm her rather than causing further panic, "I don't want to hurt you, I don't even know you."

"I'm sorry," she melted as soon as she was close enough to see the rough cotton of my shirt and carefully groomed plaits and beard. "It's just… they say there's a monster round here. Have you heard the stories? You know the things they say?"

I hadn't heard, and I said as much. She said she'd tell me, if I just walked her home. I couldn't see any problem with that to start with, but at every junction in the faintly marked path it seemed we couldn't quite agree which way led to safety.

"It's got to be downhill! This forest is always above the town!"

"No, I'm sure we already passed that split log there."

"Maybe one like it? I can't tell in this light."

"Maybe you're right, you think we should turn left?"

But no matter how many time she ended up following my advice, every new decision was a new argument. And more than once I had to defer just to keep the peace. In the end, even with my knowledge of the woods it would have been hit and miss if either of us knew where we really were.

There's a monster in this forest, she told me.

There's a monster in this forest. Not like a wolf or a bear that would chew you up if it was really hungry, but a true monster. Shape shifting, nature controlling, elemental magic pure evil monster. The kind of thing that'd let you know it's there, and then keep stalking because it loves the taste of your fear. Not a hungry animal, but a monster of pure malice. It feeds on your soul, so it has some concept of right and wrong, though not in any way we'd understand, she said.

It could spring out on anyone, or easily tear one of the wild forest bears flesh from bones. But then it couldn't consume your soul, and that was the sustenance the monster really craves. Before it can feed on you, you have to know it's there, and you have to leave yourself open anyway. Only then, the monster can take its true form and consume you body and soul.

"Do you see that?" I pointed out between the trees, where the mist gad again formed a muscular shape, almost humanoid but not quite. It was already dissolving back into the eerie, ground level fog by the time she looked, but she saw enough.

"Spectre," she said, "they appear whenever the monster's around. To make sure its victims know, so they have something to fear."

"This monster you describe…" I started, but another of the white ghosts was already forming off to one side.

"Quick!" She took my hand and ran, "It's too close!"

I stopped only to take a glance at the half rotted signpost as we came to a scattering of cobbles that might once have been a road. "This way!" I tried to put all my authority into the instruction, but all of her actions to that point had already shown me that she got more contrary when challenged. She ran the other way, and I leapt deftly over protruding roots and rocks jutting from the ground as I followed.

We arrived at what could only be described as a sacrifice site, an amphitheatre of split logs around a natural dell, with a huge slab of granite at the centre. All the rain in the world couldn't hide the bloodstains I knew to be there. At the edge of the clearing was a simple cabin, built of more moss than timber after so many years of comfortable, reliable, but unmaintained existence.

"Crap!" As soon as her eyes accustomed to the moonlight, she recognised a scene she must have seen so many times in daylight pictures. It's so different by night. "It's the monster's lair, get in the hovel!"

The hut was homely and familiar, nothing more threatening than a faint odour of rotting rushes on the floor.

"If you know this is the monster's hut," I asked carefully, starting to worry, "Won't being here be like walking into its larder?"

"Kind of," she gave a superior grin that set my teeth on edge, "but the monster can't enter an occupied home without permission from those inside. Even in its own home, it couldn't change – to its true form, I mean – unless one of us told it to enter."

"You know a lot about this monster," I muttered, backing away. We'd met by chance, she couldn't have been looking for me in the woods, but her constant certainty was starting to worry me.

"No, no," she waved her hands as if to dispel my fears. "My family have been hunting it for years. I know the lore even if I don't see the point in their quest. I'm not the monster or anything!"

She help up her hands, palms out. Was that supposed to reassure me that they weren't ethereal claws?

"I know," I grunted, as I changed. She wasn't a fighter, and all the lore in the world couldn't help her now.
___

2014-12-06 15:17:00 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Today's #SaturdayScenes  is a short piece, while I'm working on too many projects at once. This one was based on an exercise from my creative writing class. The exercise was “Write a 2nd person piece describing the life of a nun or an astronaut.” This is what I came up with

If you like my writing (or if you don't), please leave a comment and then click the hashtag: #SaturdayScenes  to see what scenes other authors have been working on this week

Path to Heaven

It's always silent here. Some people would find that disquieting, uncomfortable. There are the people in every society who find themselves coughing during a break in a speech, or finding some triviality to talk about any time they see someone, just to fend off the quiet. Not you though, Catherine, you find the simple bliss in solitude. The view from your window before you rest each nightisn&#... more »

Today's #SaturdayScenes  is a short piece, while I'm working on too many projects at once. This one was based on an exercise from my creative writing class. The exercise was “Write a 2nd person piece describing the life of a nun or an astronaut.” This is what I came up with

If you like my writing (or if you don't), please leave a comment and then click the hashtag: #SaturdayScenes  to see what scenes other authors have been working on this week

Path to Heaven

It's always silent here. Some people would find that disquieting, uncomfortable. There are the people in every society who find themselves coughing during a break in a speech, or finding some triviality to talk about any time they see someone, just to fend off the quiet. Not you though, Catherine, you find the simple bliss in solitude. The view from your window before you rest each night isn't a blank canvas, stars to draw shapes on with your mind's eye, but the perfect work of art that is the entire universe and everything in it.

You always think that if more people took a look at the stars as they are, and didn't try to fill them with selfish dreams, there would be a lot more peace in the world. And that if more people realised that silence could be golden, they wouldn't try so hard to fill it. The empty sky is perfect just as it is.

Most people on your path have some drive to change their world, and see your path of enforced silence and solitude as a penance to be completed on the path to their dreams. Not you, though, in your tiny, lonely little chamber. You are here because you crave being alone with your simple, contemplative thoughts, with nobody who would respond even if you did feel the urge to utter a sound.

You wear the same as everyone else, you see the same stars as everyone else, and like everyone with your mission you carry the bare minimum of personal effects in your miniscule personal space. The difference is that unlike the others, you are entirely content to be alone with the universe. Alone on the path to heaven.___

2014-12-03 01:35:29 (5 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Probably a bad idea, but…
It's my birthday. It's 1am, and +James Willett​ is treating me to Shock Treatment and wine.

And +Bliss Morgan​'s recent posts have tempted me to do the #drunkblog movie thing. Would anyone be interested in reading along?

Probably a bad idea, but…
It's my birthday. It's 1am, and +James Willett​ is treating me to Shock Treatment and wine.

And +Bliss Morgan​'s recent posts have tempted me to do the #drunkblog movie thing. Would anyone be interested in reading along?___

2014-12-02 21:40:11 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Today's #DailyStory is from the first prompt in my last writing class of the year. I've got another one to share later, if anyone's interested

62 - Speed

Speed was the only thing that mattered to him, and he had it in spades. Whether it was sprinting or swimming, in sneakers or in a sports car, he always had to come first. When I first saw him on the track, he was 110lb of supple muscle striving against the air resistance to cross that line first. And as good as he looked doing it, he always won.

Our courtship was a record breaker, too. A swanky club the night after the race, serenading me with the sweetest songs, a romantic weekend in a Swedish spa only six days later. He showered me with flowers, and showed me some sights I'd never seen even around our own city. By the time he proposed, it seemed like we'd squeezed a lifetime of experience into... more »

Today's #DailyStory is from the first prompt in my last writing class of the year. I've got another one to share later, if anyone's interested

62 - Speed

Speed was the only thing that mattered to him, and he had it in spades. Whether it was sprinting or swimming, in sneakers or in a sports car, he always had to come first. When I first saw him on the track, he was 110lb of supple muscle striving against the air resistance to cross that line first. And as good as he looked doing it, he always won.

Our courtship was a record breaker, too. A swanky club the night after the race, serenading me with the sweetest songs, a romantic weekend in a Swedish spa only six days later. He showered me with flowers, and showed me some sights I'd never seen even around our own city. By the time he proposed, it seemed like we'd squeezed a lifetime of experience into those seven weeks. I said yes, of course, faster than I'd ever imagined I could think about such a momentous decision. We were the first to get married among all our friends, which pleased him no end.

First to get divorced, too, I'm sad to say. Some days it seemed that any time we got somewhere, whether it was skipping steps to achieve a home, a car, a career, or something else, within a week he was striving for something better. He was never content, and I couldn't stop speculating that some time soon, he'd start shooting for the next big thing rather than staying with me for something stable. Some day, someone younger, faster, and flightier would see his style just like I had, and he wouldn't stop to think twice before setting his sights on something new.

After all that, it was the same thing that hooked me that finally sank our six month marriage: He was just too fast.___

posted image

2014-11-30 16:54:03 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  day 60
Wow, a month already? And I've decided that this, along with Sunrise and Having Father, is going to be a between-chapters interlude for my #NaNoWriMo  story. They're all set in the same universe, after all

Image from a zip of image prompts; artist identified as Spinningangel on deviantart

60 - Star Bright, Hell Light

The sun arced overhead, beating down mercilessly on a group of students. This wasn’t their first field trip, though they wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be the last. Within the Empire, weakness was not tolerated. Within the empire, every adult could stand on his own feet to climb over the bodies of those whose hereditary traits had not shown such a distinct advantage.

That was the secret, a secret so large that every aspect of Vermen and Imperial life shouted it to the world.Thous... more »

#DailyStory  day 60
Wow, a month already? And I've decided that this, along with Sunrise and Having Father, is going to be a between-chapters interlude for my #NaNoWriMo  story. They're all set in the same universe, after all

Image from a zip of image prompts; artist identified as Spinningangel on deviantart

60 - Star Bright, Hell Light

The sun arced overhead, beating down mercilessly on a group of students. This wasn’t their first field trip, though they wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be the last. Within the Empire, weakness was not tolerated. Within the empire, every adult could stand on his own feet to climb over the bodies of those whose hereditary traits had not shown such a distinct advantage.

That was the secret, a secret so large that every aspect of Vermen and Imperial life shouted it to the world. Thousands of years ago, it had been decreed that certain sciences impinged on the inscrutable secrets of life itself, and must be restricted to the Church. Elsewhere, some people tried to cheat the laws, and were rightfully hunted down. Those who settled Vermendanyan thought differently; they continued improving their bodies, minds, and hearts in a way the Church could not disapprove of. They took the drug, Elixir, to give every couple a dozen children to choose from; and under the guidance of the Bishops of the Cult of Vermen, they slaughtered those who were too weak – in body or in faith – to become dominant men.

In the centuries since, the Vermen were no longer human. The students here, between the age of fourteen and seventeen standard years, stood at the peak of natural selection. They had survived a dozen years of schooling and competitive imagination, in which time seven eighths of their population had failed. Now, despite the typical family size, less than half of the kids here had a brother they could share stories of their school day with. And so they had survived to visit the planet known as Quest for their field trip.

Around the planet were eight Line Stations, satellites held in a geostationary orbit. One was visible in the sky now, a point of white light above the crackling static discharge of a permanent lightning storm in the upper atmosphere. Each station was anchored to the ground by a ten mile length of monofilament downline, along which Elevators made by the Grebe Elevator Corporation could be hauled up to the satellites or lowered to the surface.

“Down station,” Gelpradhistorn muttered after checking his notebook. None of the group were surprised; they would have been dead by now if they weren’t experts in navigation. Their ships had come from many imperial worlds and docked at a satellite just like that one. Then they had descended the elevator, setting off for an up station in the planet’s other hemisphere. Their teachers would be waiting for them there in three months time, and if the field trip took too long they wouldn’t be allowed on the distant up elevator. There were many ways to die on quest, but few compared in horror to reaching the goal only to find that you were too late, and must stay here for however many months you could eke out a precarious existence in the wilderness.

There were many, many ways to die on Quest. The predators were the most sudden and brutal. With no natural prey on this planet, and very little to grow, their only diet was students. This meant that the size of the herd was thinned out somewhat in recent years, especially since the Dark Ages ban on creating genetic chimeras had meant that no new specimens could be manufactured and brought to the planet. But it also meant that survival of the fittest, the axiom known as Saint Darwin’s Axe, operated in both directions here. The beasts that remained were the toughest of the tough, those with the strength and guile necessary to overcome increasingly prepared students.

Ahead of the group was a crystal glass plateau. These were a danger as well, as the crystals were formed under the strange high-energy environment when the lightning storms reached the ground. When a crystal broke, a little trapped moisture was released from between the molecules, and this could dissolve the adjacent layer of crystal, releasing more water. Hit the crystals hard enough, and a half mile slab of what felt like glass would turn into a lake, surfaced with the few remaining shards of razor-edged crystal. If the tidal wave’s teeth didn’t slash your body in half instantly, you had maybe four cents to get free before the dry heat boiled off the top of the water, and the whole lot crystalised back into its solid form with you inside.

Tapping the crystals, and separating the various chemicals, was a useful skill. Though dangerous, it required a lot less equipment than purifying drinkable water from seas of hydrofluoric acid. The beasts could survive; their creators had combined the fury of a jaguar with the efficiency of a camel to create something straight from a nightmare.

The heat was enough of a hazard in its own right. The storm clouds roiled constantly overhead, but rain rarely reached the ground. The heat from the too-close sun baked the upper atmosphere, and the green and purple lightning strokes just heated the air further, until raindrops boiled a hundred yards above the students’ heads. The heat reached them, though, and the noise, and the oppressive darkness under black clouds through which even the ever-present sun was only a dim red glow.

They trod carefully on the crystal, until they reached solid rock which would allow the to walk more quickly. There was a lake there; but it was anyone’s guess from this distance if the clear-reflective surface was contaminated with peroxides, acid, shattersalt, or some other lethal concoction. At the far end of the valley, though, something took these seven (the survivors of a standard group of nineteen) by surprise. It was a building; a castle. It was completely unexpected, something their schools had told all of them couldn’t possibly exist. And yet there it was, and none of them was willing to say “Do you see that?”, to admit to either hallucinations or uncertainty. Anyone who showed weakness would be first to die the next time their ration packs proved insufficient.

Though nobody spoke the castle, they headed towards it. Close enough to the lake that they might use their sensor packs to determine its likely composition, but not close enough to risk falling in when they were next attacked.

“Ahh, travellers!” an old man stepped out from behind a rock along the path, “It’s a long, long time since I had visitors. You’re the advantaged ones, right? ‘Wield Darwin’s Axe lest it cut you down’ and all that philosophy. Well, you’re welcome to share my tea, but you’re about a hundred clicks off course if you’re aiming for Southern Up Two. Don’t know who’s the lead navigator, but if I ended up here on a normal overland trip, I’d have shot him by now.”

Belharasgrinda, the only female left in the group, agreed completely. Her arm rose sharply to one side, holding a crossbow that was little more than a frame with a strong spring on. Two muscles tensed, and in an instant the luckless navigator fell with a shattersalt-tipped bone arrow through his eye. One last mistake; he’d been expecting Vaderspahn to take the shot first, and directed his gaze to the group’s youngest member.

The old man turned and walked away, waving a hand in the air as if he expected them to follow. He was dressed in loose beast skins, and occasional fragments of technology were draped along cord belts. The hides were stripped and clipped, tough enough to shield him from whatever high-energy radiation might penetrate the cloud layer, but so stiff that a layer of air was contained underneath, circulating as he walked to carry away the heat and sweat of his exertions. It was an ingenious way of keeping comfortable in such a climate, and the adventuring would probably have thought of something else once the Patent Silverskin jumpsuits they’d brought with them (and scavenged from fallen comrades) were all worn beyond the point of repair. But they didn’t expect to be on this Church-blasted planet that long.

The man was a good host. The meals he served turned out to be smoked meat; proteins, fats, and very small quantities of basic minerals. He had some ration biscuits too, the kind that the students never brought enough of to last them the trip, regardless of how thoroughly prepared they had thought themselves. He poured them clay pots of clear, cool water; filtered from the clouds by vanes at the very top of the castle’s spire, he said, and chilled by a condensation pump. He apologised for the lack of vegetables, and said that he’s been trying to cultivate the seeds and grains extracted from ration biscuits, but had so far been unsuccessful. Throughout the meal, they listened to discover any tricks he could give them to aid survival on this world.

The castle wasn’t nearly as impressive as it had looked from awar. It had one main room, with a blackened iron grille for the floor; a cistern for collected water and another for acid pumped up from the lake (“Sprinkler jets cover everything outside the room for a distance of twenty paces. Enough of a barrier to scare the beasts away whenever a new pack moves here.”), and then the tower was little more than a painted xylenel-plastic panel held together with rivets and tape, right up to the water collectors at the top. For all its makeshift nature, the engineering requirements were impressive. It seemed odd for anyone to choose this planet to live on, but rather than surviving, this man had thrived.

Not for much longer, though. Gelpradhistorn and Vaderspahn met each other’s eyes across the table. As soon as this man was dead, they could plunder his larder and refill all of their backpacks. They wouldn’t need to face the nightmare of hunting the beasts again, or hope for a less prepared field trip group to cross their path with rations remaining. It was the greatest stroke of luck imaginable.

It wasn’t until they drew weapons and looked around for their target that they realised he had not returned with the promised dessert, though. Vaderspahn tried the door, and found the heavy stone slab immobile, unable to pivot with a sturdy pin locking the counterweight outside in place. They heard the old man chuckle, somewhere unexpectedly close.

“Oh dear, selfish students are always the same. I was probably just as bad when I first came here, or I would have reached Up in time. You come looking for the castle’s secrets, and you never think to ask where the meat all came from. You plan to wait until you know all my secrets before you betray me and rob me, but you never stop to ask where the smokehouse is.”

They didn’t need to ask now, as they saw the banked red glow from beneath their feet beginning to intensify, and heat beginning to roll up between the bars of the soot-stained iron grill.___

posted image

2014-11-29 21:36:31 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  day 59 — Please comment, and click on the tag if you want to see what else I've written (a few this week are adults only, so I posted them under my other profile)

Today's picture was in yet another bundle of image prompts; but I've managed to track down the artist as Can Çağlar, whose page https://500px.com/srht34 has many other pics I'd like to write stories about

Lost

The storm screamed through the night, drumming a fierce rhythm on the Furunseth's steel hull. The crew slept fitfully, the decks' stillness underfoot an omen that instilled bone-deep terror in men from old seafaring families. Those who weren't kept awake through the uncanny combination of wailing wind and an even keel, their sleep was shattered by the hourly bellowing of the captain as he once again felt his discussion with Mr Tesla – the Georgiannavigat... more »

#DailyStory  day 59 — Please comment, and click on the tag if you want to see what else I've written (a few this week are adults only, so I posted them under my other profile)

Today's picture was in yet another bundle of image prompts; but I've managed to track down the artist as Can Çağlar, whose page https://500px.com/srht34 has many other pics I'd like to write stories about

Lost

The storm screamed through the night, drumming a fierce rhythm on the Furunseth's steel hull. The crew slept fitfully, the decks' stillness underfoot an omen that instilled bone-deep terror in men from old seafaring families. Those who weren't kept awake through the uncanny combination of wailing wind and an even keel, their sleep was shattered by the hourly bellowing of the captain as he once again felt his discussion with Mr Tesla – the Georgian navigator – grow too stressful to speak of in a measured tone.

“How in hell can you call us becalmed?” he boomed, “Can't you hear the wind, and the storm? Don't we have diesel enough for the backup engines, and fuel pellets for that goddamn nuc'lar contraption?”

“It’s not the wind, it’s the water,” Tesla tried to explain again, though he knew the old seadog wouldn’t understand. “The displacement engine–”

“Can get us anywhere, right? Even other planets, you said, so long as they got oceans. So why’re we not home already?”

“It’s the water, Captain Ahab. I had the drive calibrated for the electrostrong potential of salt-water, and without–”

“So we’re in a lake or something? I never seen a storm like this inland.”

You’ve probably never seen a storm like this at all, Tesla refrained from saying, fearing the huge man might actually strike him if any further provoked. In the end, he settled on: “If you wait until light, you’ll see where we are.”

“Aye, and if it’s not the Persian Gulf, I'll call ye the worst navigator I ever had.”
Tesla felt offended, knowing that nobody else could navigate the maze of virtual electrode potential phase space at all; and that being a few hundred miles off course when they'd travelled three thousand in less than a second wasn't such a large error. But he couldn't deny they were off course, stuck, and it was his mistake.

The storm quieted before dawn, and Tesla abandoned ship. He didn't want to face the captain's wrath again, so he shinned down the anchor chain and strode away with only his pride bruised.

When the sun rose, the Captain stormed onto the deck to yell his displeasure. The grey-brown funnel of the storm was still visible in the distance, but the more conscientious sailors were already out with brush and shovel, clearing away the sand and silt thrown onto deck by the night’s wind. The captain leaned against the rail and was, for once, utterly speechless as the panorama of rolling sand spread out before him, one solitary set of footprints stretching dead straight towards Baghdad, where his navigator had plotted a different course.___

posted image

2014-11-29 16:50:20 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Today's #SaturdayScenes  is from chapter 4 of Timothy.

Presented without much comment, because I'm rushing now (and have only managed 40k words for #nanowrimo2014  this year)

Leviticus

Divine soldiers dropped into the corridors from a dozen hatches, the access tunnels connecting to so many different cruisers and freighters. Dressed in black, muscles as solid and bulky as the armour they’d left in the hangar. Unlike most military units, they didn’t have a commander. Every man in the Divine Platoon had the training and authority of a garrison commander in addition to their special skills, and their loyalty was beyond question. Every soldier knew the plan in its entirety, and could fill in immediately for another man who wasn’t in the right place at the right time. The whole unit was like a well oiled machine, ready to snap down on any heretical armyand obl... more »

Today's #SaturdayScenes  is from chapter 4 of Timothy.

Presented without much comment, because I'm rushing now (and have only managed 40k words for #nanowrimo2014  this year)

Leviticus

Divine soldiers dropped into the corridors from a dozen hatches, the access tunnels connecting to so many different cruisers and freighters. Dressed in black, muscles as solid and bulky as the armour they’d left in the hangar. Unlike most military units, they didn’t have a commander. Every man in the Divine Platoon had the training and authority of a garrison commander in addition to their special skills, and their loyalty was beyond question. Every soldier knew the plan in its entirety, and could fill in immediately for another man who wasn’t in the right place at the right time. The whole unit was like a well oiled machine, ready to snap down on any heretical army and obliterate the enemy without question.

This mission was different. In all the time they’d spent hunting down the darkest and most dangerous madmen humanity could produce, scientists who would gamble with the lives or souls of a whole planet in their quest to discover what man was not meant to know, not one of these perfect warriors had heard of someone even daring to attempt what they were doing now. It was a suicide mission in every sense that mattered.

They might succeed. They might come out alive, their distasteful task completed. But they wouldn’t fight the good fight any longer, and they would never be able to return to whatever boltholes they called home. That they had been ordered here against those problems was just another reminder of how important this particular task must be. The Church didn’t throw away a valuable asset like a super soldier without reason.

They didn’t speak as they met their allies in the long, gently curving corridors. They nodded to each other, even those who had fought together in the past and knew each other as well as two men could. There was nothing to say, and if anyone had come across anything that could jeopardise the mission, they would all have known before they came down here. They had descended in drop pods from seven different civilian ships, to storm the freighter holds of the temple ship, and to search every possible vessel for an illicit cargo that they didn’t expect to find. As far as they knew, the ships that had brought them here had probably crashed against the hull or disintegrated under the acceleration forces.

But they weren’t important. In the grand scheme of things, dealing with heretics and nightmares, and the grand ineffable plans of the church, so few little things mattered.

A troop of divine soldiers marched down the passageway, while the remaining armoured Executors continued searching the ships in the hangars above. This corridor was long and unornamented, leading only to the great ring of confessionals that encircled the entire ship. In normal operation, the crew of every ship would descend and a team of confessors would sweep through here looking for stragglers, and after confession the non-crew would be released either to follow the other corridor – a counterpart of this one but with teal instead of crimson tiles along the floor and ceiling – back to their ships, or they could descend to the pressurised parts of the temple to enjoy their voyage in comfort.

Now this way was empty save for the heavy, regular footfalls of a dozen experienced and talented killers. Every one of them was a leader in his own right, and knew the plan well enough to make the right decisions for the team even if separated from his comrades. As they marched down towards the ring of confessionals, the Cathedral of Timothy itself, the pilots up above could only pity whatever criminal or heretic this holy legion would surely kill.



Now, please comment, or click on #SaturdayScenes  to check out other authors' works-in-progress___

posted image

2014-11-27 18:09:57 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  day 57 (wow!)

Inspired both by a homework exercise (we were given a slip of paper with a secret on to write about; see how long it takes everyone else to guess what your narrator's secret is), and a photo posted on a community. I think I managed to include both

Dark Secret

They came from the future. That much I couldn’t deny, with sleek white rayguns, high collars, and visors that seemed to give them well more than 5 senses. They came in the middle of the night, appearing in my front room as I went downstairs to get a midnight snack. They didn’t appear in a puff of smoke or anything, just a vague shimmering like a mirage and there were two of them standing there. They yelled. I ran, and they gave chase. More appeared in the yard and in the street.

Their high tech slippers weren’t ideal for running on uneven cobbles – my captortold me ... more »

#DailyStory  day 57 (wow!)

Inspired both by a homework exercise (we were given a slip of paper with a secret on to write about; see how long it takes everyone else to guess what your narrator's secret is), and a photo posted on a community. I think I managed to include both

Dark Secret

They came from the future. That much I couldn’t deny, with sleek white rayguns, high collars, and visors that seemed to give them well more than 5 senses. They came in the middle of the night, appearing in my front room as I went downstairs to get a midnight snack. They didn’t appear in a puff of smoke or anything, just a vague shimmering like a mirage and there were two of them standing there. They yelled. I ran, and they gave chase. More appeared in the yard and in the street.

Their high tech slippers weren’t ideal for running on uneven cobbles – my captor told me later that they had superconductive resonance soles, and were designed for sprinting hundreds of miles per hour on specially designed, magnetised roadways – and at least one of them tripped and fell. But it was two in the morning, the world was pitch black outside the small golden islands of the streetlamps, and I was wearing my bedroom slippers too.

They even tried shooting at me. I was amazed they hadn’t tried it sooner, but they later told me that they were a little worried about the Butterfly Effect, whatever that is. Presumably there’s some scientist out there called Dr Butterfly; wouldn’t surprise me, the ones who caught me introduced themselves as Mr White, Mr Purple, and Mr Pink. The future has really weird names.

I only managed to dodge the buzzing beams a few times before one caught the back of my head. I slipped to the ground, the world spinning around me and my legs as useful as lumps of modelling clay.

When I woke up, I was in a brightly lit, white room. They were standing around me, still dressed in the crazy outfits. My wrists were held down with plastic ties. I screamed until one of them put his hand over my mouth, and then I bit him.

I woke up in a brightly lit chamber filled with white light, feeling like I’d been hit by the worst hangover of my life. There were half a dozen men standing around me, and the one right above my head was introducing himself in a stern voice like everyone had to do what he said. “We’ve come from the future to protect the existence of our peaceful society,” he said, “You can call me Mr White. These are my associates, Mr Pink and… can you stop screaming,please?” Then before I could even do anything, one of these freaks shoved something in my mouth so I couldn’t talk. I’m not taking that from anyone, so I spit it out and tried to bite the bastard.

I woke up in a brightly lit room, surrounded by angry-looking men in strange white costumes. I couldn’t move, but when I opened my mouth to scream a sudden wave of nausea rushed up and I puked all over myself.

“Well,” one of the strangers ignored my plight and launched into his spiel, “I must inform you that you are under arrest for jeopardising the logical progression of future chronology. I’m certain that you won’t interrupt us or attempt to escape again, as I’m told the effects of a stunner get progressively worse with repeated exposure.”

He carried on talking. I didn’t understand what he was going on about, but occasionally the hangover went away enough that I could ask a couple of questions. It took a couple of hours to understand what they were all so angry about, which I guess was some kind of relief. It would be weird to spend so long explaining if they were going to kill me, I guess.

They had to explain, because they ran the country in some kind of absolute justice thing. Everything was done by the book, nobody ever broke the law. It was drummed into them so hard that they couldn’t even think of punishing somebody without a trial. When they discovered time travel, there had been five years of bills and proposals, compromises and debates in the global parliament, before they were permitted to go back in time and deal with serious past criminals.

In their time, they said there were rebels threatening the good order of society. Disgusting perverts, anarchists, dissidents, and drug addicts. The addicts were the worst, because a certain amount of exposure to cannabis could reduce the effectiveness of the programming ray. Some of them had even realised that if they smoked enough weed fast enough, they’d get sentenced to reprogramming and then it wouldn’t even work. So the government had done the only thing possible to keep society safe from the drug menace: neural programming of everyone (except ministers and their children, of course) at the age of 6, so that nobody would even think of trying to avoid peace and justice in that way. It all made so much sense, but…

“You’re controlling my mind!” I shrieked as I realised. I’d known a few stoners who weren’t such bad guys. Certainly not the world-destroying anarchists these guys were painting them as, and I’d almost believed them.

“Unfortunately, miss, we can’t fully control you,” Miss Violet looked down at me like an old fashioned headmistress. She still had old fashioned glasses on, though I’m sure that by the future they wouldn’t need them. She looked like she’d be a nightmare to anyone who crossed her, though still a whole lot fairer than Mr White (of whom, all I could see was a beard and a pair of giant nostrils, as he stood just behind where my head was strapped down).

“You see, miss,” I realised with a shock that they’d ‘arrested’ me not even knowing my name, “You are unfortunate enough to carry protein synthesis genetic anomaly BGC-2041C, which makes you partially or wholly immune to the neuroprobe. This gene is becoming an epidemic in our society, with rebels who carry the gene openly flouting birth control and fidelity edicts, as well as many other laws, and thereby reproducing more widely than those who follow the law.”

“We tried to stamp out the problem,” rotund Mr Brown took over without a pause, “But by the time we had developed a scanner that would point out people with the anomaly, there were too many for the sterilisation centres to handle. So we have sent travellers back in time, to all major cities. Twenty years ago, there was not a single person anywhere we could find with the mutation. Fifty years in the future, there are nearly sixty carriers, of whom the vast majority are in this one city. So we knew that some time in this generation, the first person with the genetic anomaly must live. That’s you.”

“We scanned the whole city, a year from now,” Mrs Red explained, “And we found only you. Once we had checked your bank records, and found out that you hadn’t moved home in that interval, we could beam straight back by a year, already inside your property.”

“Don’t worry,” Mr White’s sharp tones cut in again, not calming me in the slightest, “We won’t hurt you. We simply intend to sterilise you, and thus obliterate the rebel militia back in our time. Winning the war at a stroke, our perfect utopia will no longer have to contend with such threats as crime, sexual deviants, violence, religious freedom, alternative lifestyles, or racial diversity.”

I tried to hold back the tears, but they knew they’d struck a nerve. They questioned, probed, and used their disgusting mind control ray to encourage me to be truthful. Eventually I blubbed it all out. My big secret, the second biggest shame of our family. That I’d been born poor, that my parents had lived in the toxic-contaminated region on the edge of the nuclear exclusion zone. They said it was safe, but only those who really had no choice would stay there. I’d made a decent life for myself, almost reaching middle class, but I still dreaded people finding out that I’d started somewhere like that. I couldn’t believe that I was sharing it all with travellers from the future, who probably didn’t even know what poverty was.

I nodded, I could see they didn’t have any choice. They couldn’t disobey their orders any more than they could break their laws. I didn’t tell them how disgusting I found their society; and I didn’t tell them that I’d do the only thing I could think of to stop them destroying the rebels. I certainly didn’t tell them the only thing more shameful than the poverty my parents had lived in. As they sedated me for surgery, I smiled as I thought that I still had one hopeful, terrible secret.



You see, my parents were so poor that they couldn’t afford to raise a child. They’d paid for my childhood by selling their single most valued treasure to a rich family. I have an identical twin sister, who was adopted at birth and raised by a rich, childless couple in the suburbs. And when I got out of here, I knew that all I’d have to do was pass this story on to the rich kid I’d seen in the town centre but never had the nerve to make contact with.

I hear she’s a successful businesswoman now, the commissioning editor at a major science fiction publisher. Are you reading this, Rose? Whatever you do, just make sure you’re on vacation next June. The future depends on you.___

posted image

2014-11-27 15:19:03 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Finally got up to speed, feeling proud :-).. Is 66% as high as it goes?

And is 75%+66% a 141% bonus, or 190%?

Finally got up to speed, feeling proud :-).. Is 66% as high as it goes?

And is 75%+66% a 141% bonus, or 190%?___

posted image

2014-11-27 14:30:11 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

I really wasn't happy with my #DailyStory  yesterday, I just didn't think it was up to scratch. But because someone asked, I'll share it anyway

56 - Growth

For millennia,the human race has been on the offensive. We have used the resources nature gave us, and in recent centuries out attack on the forests of the world has become a massacre. The forces of nature have tried to fight back, evolving more powerful and more intelligent creations to fight back against the sapient menace.

They couldn’t fight us, so they wondered if learning to communicate would allow them to negotiate. Could humans continue to slaughter a race that spoke to them, and offered to share their resources in the pursuit of a greater future together? The trees of the world combined their roots into a giant radio antenna; they broadcast a message to us, but we were deaf. We couldn’tdist... more »

I really wasn't happy with my #DailyStory  yesterday, I just didn't think it was up to scratch. But because someone asked, I'll share it anyway

56 - Growth

For millennia,the human race has been on the offensive. We have used the resources nature gave us, and in recent centuries out attack on the forests of the world has become a massacre. The forces of nature have tried to fight back, evolving more powerful and more intelligent creations to fight back against the sapient menace.

They couldn’t fight us, so they wondered if learning to communicate would allow them to negotiate. Could humans continue to slaughter a race that spoke to them, and offered to share their resources in the pursuit of a greater future together? The trees of the world combined their roots into a giant radio antenna; they broadcast a message to us, but we were deaf. We couldn’t distinguish between an unknown language and mere interference.

As technology evolved, they tried other methods to get in touch. They could even tap into the most advanced digital networks, and speak to us through the Internet. But without a face to the worlds, their please for mercy were ignored as the work of yet more liberals. They just didn’t seem to understand that not all humans thought alike.

Eventually, the breakthrough came when they decided to make their descendants human shaped; for who could fell a trunk that looked so human, and so vulnerable…___

posted image

2014-11-27 12:16:51 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

I only bought one of these so far.

Go enjoy! Read words!

Happy Thanksgiving!!! To celebrate the holidays, I am giving away three of my novels. Please share this with your book-loving friends so they have a chance to get the first books of all of my series for free!

You can also gift a copy of the book to your family and friends for free, so don't be shy about gifting one or all of these free titles!

If you use epub, please download a copy from amazon and convert it with your favorite converter. My novels are all DRM-free and I encourage buyers to read my novels in the format of their choice.

If you like the books, please consider buying a copy of my newest release, Winter Wolf! ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N1BXDMW )

About the Books!

Storm Without End ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GI7C0QG )

Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive. 

When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm. 

But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.

Inquisitor ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K0SDX88 )

When Allison is asked to play Cinderella-turned-Fianceé at a Halloween ball, the last thing she expected was to be accused of murder on the same night. She has to find the killer or she'll be put to death for the crimes she didn't commit. To make matters worse, the victims are all werewolves. 

On the short list of potential victims, Allison has to act fast, or the killer will have one more body to add to his little black book of corpses. 

There's only one problem: One of the deaths has struck too close to home, and Allison's desire for self-preservation may transform into a quest for vengeance...

The Eye of God ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E5R8Y2A )

Blaise tries to act like a good human, but someone always manages to ruin things for him. When the Emperor’s most powerful weapon is stolen and its human vessel is kidnapped from the Arena, Blaise must choose between meddling in the affairs of mortals or remaining true to his duty. 

To make matters worse, the Archbishop has betrayed the church and God by giving the Emperor the second piece of the Triad, the Heart of God. Should Blaise stand idle and leave the mortals to their own devices, the people of Erelith won’t just lose their lives: Their souls will be destroyed by a power that was never meant to fall into mortal hands. 

If Blaise can find the Eye of God, he might be able to save the humans from themselves. Unfortunately, his only hope for success lies in the hands of a slave who wants nothing more than to die. If Blaise can’t save Terin and enlist his help, the Erelith Empire will fall.___I only bought one of these so far.

Go enjoy! Read words!

posted image

2014-11-24 01:00:33 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

It's me!

___It's me!

2014-11-24 00:58:28 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Hard to remember so long ago, but I seem to have played a lot of Scrabble. Did I win?

No idea why it says "Southport" in the title

Hard to remember so long ago, but I seem to have played a lot of Scrabble. Did I win?

No idea why it says "Southport" in the title___

2014-11-23 21:49:30 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  day 53 - Unusual Resources

No picture today, just an idea. Image prompts for future days still very much welcome

It wasn’t the nice part of the city, that much was certain. But these days, even the good neighbourhoods weren’t clean. Shop signs had a patina of old smog, and every frontage was aged by peeling paint and chips and scratches on the glass. Out here, it was clear there was no effort made to keep the streets pleasant. The only concession to cleanliness lately was the addition of blocky concrete spikes in front of boarded up doorways, to stop the homeless seeking refuge there. Now if you couldn’t afford a home, you could sleep on a fire escape under the open sky, drenched by rain on inclement nights. The City found that much more acceptable.

Jason wasn’t homeless. He’d admit – if pressed – that he didn’t currently have a place tocall his own, an... more »

#DailyStory  day 53 - Unusual Resources

No picture today, just an idea. Image prompts for future days still very much welcome

It wasn’t the nice part of the city, that much was certain. But these days, even the good neighbourhoods weren’t clean. Shop signs had a patina of old smog, and every frontage was aged by peeling paint and chips and scratches on the glass. Out here, it was clear there was no effort made to keep the streets pleasant. The only concession to cleanliness lately was the addition of blocky concrete spikes in front of boarded up doorways, to stop the homeless seeking refuge there. Now if you couldn’t afford a home, you could sleep on a fire escape under the open sky, drenched by rain on inclement nights. The City found that much more acceptable.

Jason wasn’t homeless. He’d admit – if pressed – that he didn’t currently have a place to call his own, and that he had occasionally slept on friends’ sofas until the patience of his friends ran out, but he wasn’t a bum like the old guy in three overcoats who kept watch on the corner of Clarkson and 33rd Street. He was just between places, between jobs. Between childhood and maturity, not yet sure where he wanted to go with his life, and without any direction. He worked occasionally, cash in hand, because he still had too much self-respect to beg. He was pretty confident with a saw, and he could rig up shelves and counters from raw timber as fast as anyone he knew; so if it came to shopfitting in a hurry, for a client who didn’t care too much about qualifications or union rules, he could earn enough money to see him for food.

Unfortunately, this month’s job was refitting a store that was below the company’s offices, and next door to a bar. That meant that the shop floor wasn’t a feasible space to stay the night, and Jason had to go looking for any acquaintance who might have space for an old friend.

They couldn’t give him a place to stay, for whatever excuse they could think up, but one friend had told him about a rumour of a story, a tale that had happened to a friend of a friend of some guy their cousin’s wife’s sister had met in a bar once.

The White Box.

There was a government agency that didn’t answer to anyone, like the secret service but actually secret. Nobody knew what their jurisdiction was, how they were funded, or even their name.The rumours might say they hunted vampires, or maintained some mystic barrier to stop demons from beyond the Tesseract entering the material world, or they were humanity’s last line of defense against aliens. Or for the cynical, they were a bunch of genius snake oil salesmen who had managed to convince a committee with a huge black ops budget that they were needed to defend against some imagineered threat.

But the interesting thing about this agency was that without any official remit or paperwork, they couldn’t requisition the resources they needed. They instead had caches of guns, money, garlic and crucifixes, or whatever it was you needed to fight aliens. A storage locker or a container would be hidden in plain sight, filled with resources for the mysterious organisation. The interesting thing from the point of view of a man of no fixed abode, though, was that these spaces were supposedly signposted with cryptic clues; unusual graffiti or hidden signs.

What enemies they were preparing for, and whether they were even real, was beside the point. The agency didn’t need their operatives to learn where the caches of gear were in a new city, to maintain a list that could wreck the whole organisation if compromised, or need contact between cells in different cities. They went for the option of maximum paranoia, where they learned not facts but a way of thinking; the observant mind that would allow them to find and open the White Box in any city, if they could just spot the right pointers.

Jason knew where to look. After he’d been told about it in that bar, he found himself looking out for the marks on the walls every time he visited a new part of the city. It was pure chance he’d spotted it, not knowing what the marks would look like. As he followed the trail, he found himself thinking more and more like the people who must have left the trail. He had no need for silver bullets, of course, and he was too proud to steal, but if the storeroom was real it would at least be a safe space out of the snow as winter nights started to draw in.

The door looked just like any other in this part of town. It was battered steel, as if it had been dented several times and beaten roughly back into shape. The surface had flecks of old paint, and a smoky patina over everything. Then it was hidden behind battered wooden boards, half a dozen splintered lengths of 2×4 with mismatched nails to hold them in place, then a metal grille, and finally a layer of artwork which had been overpainted a dozen times by the city’s youth.

Jason looked at a dozen doors, before he spotted the odd one out. This one was different from all the others, in a couple of ways. He might have noticed that the images painted on the timbers weren’t some tag to identify the artist, or brightly coloured symbols of ownership, but a blown up detail from a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. The previous clue had hinted at that, as well as the pointer towards an ambigram in green ink. But Jason wasn’t an artist or a historian, so he’d gone for probably the least obvious marker on the trail.

The clue was a narrow space, maybe a quarter inch. The gap between the boards and the edge of the doorway. The timber wasn’t wedged in and nailed all around, but nailed and screwed onto the door itself, and there was enough of a gap that it would only just catch as the door opened. This was a door designed to look as if it was no longer used, without actually being rendered unusable. That was the last thing that convinced Jason there was a room he could make use of, regardless of the provenance of the marks that had led him this far. He reached through the metal grille with a pair of pliers, and after a couple of attempts managed to grab the battered and bent doorknob.

He’d been right; the door swung open an inch when he pushed it, and ground slowly open as the pressure on it increased. Inside was a dusty store, lit by grimy grey light filtering through a fly-encrusted window high up a set of stairs on the far side. Both sides were lined with shelves, turning a room six feet by four into a tight corridor. On the wooden shelves were old books, shapeless sacks, dark wooden boxes, and leather bound cases of all descriptions. Jason didn’t stop to ransack the room. In however many years this place had been empty – the floor now had a layer of white dust thick enough to coat Jason’s trainers in a white cloud – nobody had broken in to steal the treasures. He might have thought it was crazy to hide stuff like this and leave clues that any smart person could solve, but for this particular White Box at least it seemed to have worked.

He strode past the stores, and up the stairs to see what was above. He took a sharp corner, and another. After five turns, he was still climbing with no sign of exits from the staircase. He wasn’t even sure which way he was facing now, though he was surprised to find that he hadn’t emerged onto the roof of the building. The steps must be deceptively shallow, or all the turns had somehow brought him into a higher building adjoining the one he had seen from outside.

Then he turned once more, and was confronted by a light so bright it blinded him. When he could see again, there was nothing to be seen. He got the impression of a large, open space, but the walls glowed so brightly that it was hard to make out the distances. He turned to see how the light hadn’t been reflected all the way down the staircase, but found that his body wouldn’t move. He couldn’t turn his head, couldn’t take a single step. There was no pain, it just felt like he was floating in a pool of brilliant white light.

“What is this?” he tried to ask; but his lips wouldn’t move any more than his body. He wondered if he even had a body now, maybe he was just a point of view, floating in some kind of abstract space. Was this heaven?

「No」 the response came from everywhere at once. It had no tone, no pitch, no accent nor inflection. It was just pure language, without a voice to carry it. 「This is the White Box. I am the Unusual Resource at this location. You may call me Metatron.」

Jason didn’t know what to say. He’d heard the name Metatron before, but never outside a fictional context. The only rational explanation was that this was a dream, caused by endless speculation about what kinds of resources an organisation would need to fight demons. The other alternative, that some myths were real, was so off the wall that it wasn’t worth thinking about even if it turned out to be true.

「You are not dreaming.」 the voice without a voice continued, and as with its previous comments Jason found it impossible to dispute anything it said. The words were truth absolute, beyond question or argument. 「Nor are you an agent of the White Box. However, you have the intellect necessary to enter this place, to reside here, and to serve the White Box. Therefore you are now an agent. Go forth: There is an incursion within this city that requires your attention.」

Jason went forth to do his job, glad to know that he would be able to return home just as soon as it was complete.___

2014-11-22 21:15:07 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

I'm still confused about how it makes (and titles!) these Stories

I'm still confused about how it makes (and titles!) these Stories___

posted image

2014-11-22 21:11:31 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  52 - Fear Itself

“You’re under arrest,” Officer Cohen managed to keep his voice steady, though his hands were shaking as he clutched the grip of his pistol so tightly. He had plenty of reason to be afraid; for months the city’s underworld had been haunted by a figure known only as The Terror. Now, on a routine patrol (though in a neighbourhood the cops wouldn’t have dared set foot in a year earlier), they had seen a figure who looked just like the descriptions they’d had from former drug pushers and castrated rapists.

He was wearing a battered greatcoat, the kind military officers from some historical recreation society strode around in. But they would never have been in a rough area like this, and even in a muddy field for a summer fayre, their uniforms never carried enough mud and scuff marks to nearly obscure the olive-drab colour of the material.What made th... more »

#DailyStory  52 - Fear Itself

“You’re under arrest,” Officer Cohen managed to keep his voice steady, though his hands were shaking as he clutched the grip of his pistol so tightly. He had plenty of reason to be afraid; for months the city’s underworld had been haunted by a figure known only as The Terror. Now, on a routine patrol (though in a neighbourhood the cops wouldn’t have dared set foot in a year earlier), they had seen a figure who looked just like the descriptions they’d had from former drug pushers and castrated rapists.

He was wearing a battered greatcoat, the kind military officers from some historical recreation society strode around in. But they would never have been in a rough area like this, and even in a muddy field for a summer fayre, their uniforms never carried enough mud and scuff marks to nearly obscure the olive-drab colour of the material. What made this man stand out as a suspect, though, was his mask. His head was wrapped in rough woolen blankets, twisted into something like a balaclava, and his face was entirely concealed by a nightmarish construction in old, tanned leather. The surface was black, battered and cracked. It had two lenses over his eyes, where dark glass admitted no light through which his expression might be judged, and the face of the mask was distended like a pigeon’s beak. Not an inch of skin was visible anywhere on his body. Even his hands were concealed in thin, black leather gloves scuffed through years of use.

“What, exactly, are you arresting me for?” The voice was deep and echoing, like the resonance of some ancient tomb. That mask must conceal an electronic amplifier to disguise his tone, for a vigilante who took every effort to remain anonymous.

“Take off the mask and put your hands above your head.”

“Are you sure that’s what you want?” his hands moved slowly through the air to rest on the leather straps at the back of the apparition’s head, but he didn’t move to unfasten the buckles yet. There was something sinister in the voice, that Cohen just couldn’t put his finger on.

“Take. Off. The. Mask.” He shaped the words deliberately, so there could be no possible chance of misunderstanding. Then he muttered again under his breath, “You’re under arrest,” as if it could make him feel a little more in control of the situation.

“As you wish,” gloved fingers crept across rough fabric, and unhooked three buckles one at a time. Every movement was slow and deliberate. And then the mask came away to reveal the face beneath.

If you could call it a face. Still, not an inch of the vigilante’s skin was visible, just dull steel with a thin, black patina of corruption, and unornamented bone crusted in red-brown corruption.

“You had to ask,” the voice was still the same funereal echo, emerging between fleshless lips. There was nothing remotely like a smile there, not even a cadaverous grin. The movement did, however, show off to their full effect glittering steel teeth, the cutting edges polished until it glittered by regular use, and faint traces of blood remaining around the point where they met the Terror’s jaw.

Cohen’s gun fell from nerveless fingers and he sank to his knees as his suspect marched away. In his mind was an image of a skull, a bird, a human skull, a mechanical face. So many fragments, but the image as a whole was too horrific to even visualise. He would never remember the events of that night, but he knew as the monster strode away – already fixing its mask back into place – that he would never raise a gun again, and the nightmares would never go away. No wonder, he thought before he lost consciousness, the gangs who had once ruled these streets did not dare to return.___

posted image

2014-11-22 13:29:57 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#Phonetography … not sure how many of these I already posted

#Phonetography … not sure how many of these I already posted___

posted image

2014-11-22 00:19:40 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

#SaturdayScenes  presents #NaNoWriMo  Timothy. If you want to see what other authors have been working on this week, click the #SaturdayScenes  hashtag, or join the Community.

Chapter 4 – Acts – The Secret Inheritance

(Carolyn, Jenner, and Niquo have fled the starship Timothy in a stolen escape pod, hoping the inquisition don't kill them all. But their landing on Magellan wasn't a smooth journey, and they barely survived)

One of the problems with the design and management of a megacity is that it isn’t always easy to work out who owns what. When a city map is in two dimensions, there might be some wiggly lines along the boundaries, but it’ll never be hard to work out who owns a particular piece of land as long as you have the right maps. But in three dimensions, it becomes a whole lot more complex. An internal wall gets moved between twoproperties... more »

#SaturdayScenes  presents #NaNoWriMo  Timothy. If you want to see what other authors have been working on this week, click the #SaturdayScenes  hashtag, or join the Community.

Chapter 4 – Acts – The Secret Inheritance

(Carolyn, Jenner, and Niquo have fled the starship Timothy in a stolen escape pod, hoping the inquisition don't kill them all. But their landing on Magellan wasn't a smooth journey, and they barely survived)

One of the problems with the design and management of a megacity is that it isn’t always easy to work out who owns what. When a city map is in two dimensions, there might be some wiggly lines along the boundaries, but it’ll never be hard to work out who owns a particular piece of land as long as you have the right maps. But in three dimensions, it becomes a whole lot more complex. An internal wall gets moved between two properties, and the boundary on this level isn’t the same as the boundary downstairs. A store is split in two as a company downsizes, but the part sold off to a neighbour follows the lines of the walls rather than being a regular shape. Two towers grow outwards until they meet over the street, but their individual levels are neither the same number nor the same height.

In such a chaos of planning, it isn’t unusual for a storeroom, an old fire escape, even an alleyway blocked off at both ends, to disappear from the maps entirely. You block off a rear exit that’s never used, in order to keep vermin from coming in that have grown on the neighbours’ garbage, but you don’t realise that the neighbour blocked off their own door a year before. The plans get confused, as intellectual planners come up with different ways to try to map a three dimensional space. Do you take cross sections through the city as it slowly metamorphoses into a single enormous skyscraper, with crenelations formed from the different heights of so many buildings that once stood alone? Or do you use some more complex method on the computer, and accept that you’ll have to build a model before anyone can actually look at the whole plan?

In any case, it left spaces like this one, where Carolyn and her companions found themselves now. It was a store room, or had been once upon a time. The walls were lined by rows of metal shelves in an antiquated style, though whatever had been stored here had crumbled into dust long ago. There was a single door, but it no longer opened. Presumably built over on the other side, through some oversight which was all too common in a city like this, so the room was only accessible through the ventilation shafts that maintained the air at a constant low temperature and near-zero humidity.

“We could have died,” Niquo broke the awkward silence. “What if we’d come in like that on some other planet, somewhere they don’t have so many lines to catch us with? If this was Whence, or Caine’s Star, we’d be dead already.”

He glanced across at where Carolyn sat, perched calmly on top of a shelving unit. She couldn’t take her eyes off her own knees, and he quickly realised that this wasn’t the reassurance she needed from him right now.

“I’m sorry, I know I’m here to protect you. I’d give my life if it meant you could stay safe,” he realised as he said it that he really meant those words, it was a decision his subconscious had come to without even consulting him, “But I’m not ready to throw my life away. I thought you had a plan, but we’ve just been sliding from one crisis to another.”

“I had it under control,” she spoke slowly, picking every word with care. “I could have brought the pod in slowly, got a roughly stable orbit, matched speed with a line top station. I worked it out ages ago, how to use the escape pod’s air for maneuvering. We just came in too fast.”

“You used the distortion from the jump to set our speed,” Jenner interrupted quietly, not wanting to be the one to point out what he thought they all knew, “You’ve been telling us how you understand that so well, how you can use it. And we’ve seen that for ourselves, though I don’t understand how. What’s different?”

“The time shift. Did you know, when you pass through the Vault of Heaven, the temple sometimes arrives on the other side of the galaxy before it set off?”

“Yes.” And that response was enough to silence both of the shipborn, making them stare in shock. “Yes, I knew. It’s one of the secrets we can use to determine if someone who claims to have the Divine Genome really does, because you’d never find out unless you could sense the flow of time. But a couple of seconds, over the kind of distances we were travelling, is…”

“Twelve years.”

“What?”

“I said, twelve years. Two jumps, a couple of ticks apart. One twelve years ahead, the other twelve years back. We slipped out in between. I thought I was imagining it at first, I must have misread the aurora. But did you see the advertisements outside, the holos advertising the current movies?”___

posted image

2014-11-21 23:01:38 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  day 51 - Spiders

“Soul-metal is at the very foundations of modern alchemy,” the guy had told her. He taught her well; his lectures were often a little preachy, but never overbearing or boring. When she didn’t understand, he’d use complex metaphors or even show her how to do it. It was great having a wizard in the family, even in a modern world where next to nobody believed that such powers even existed. No, especially when people didn’t believe in him, because the few who did would come from miles around in search of his talents.

Donna couldn’t remember now why the guy had been part of her family. That was the problem with soul metal. It was a danger he’d often warned her of, but the lesson hadn’t really sunk in until the day he disappeared. He’d just never come home one day, and the whole family had been distraught. Thinking back now, Donnacouldn’t remember ... more »

#DailyStory  day 51 - Spiders

“Soul-metal is at the very foundations of modern alchemy,” the guy had told her. He taught her well; his lectures were often a little preachy, but never overbearing or boring. When she didn’t understand, he’d use complex metaphors or even show her how to do it. It was great having a wizard in the family, even in a modern world where next to nobody believed that such powers even existed. No, especially when people didn’t believe in him, because the few who did would come from miles around in search of his talents.

Donna couldn’t remember now why the guy had been part of her family. That was the problem with soul metal. It was a danger he’d often warned her of, but the lesson hadn’t really sunk in until the day he disappeared. He’d just never come home one day, and the whole family had been distraught. Thinking back now, Donna couldn’t remember why. If people asked, she’d tell them that he’d been in a relationship with her mother. It sounded about as likely as anything else she could think of, and it was easier to explain the tears if she had some story like that. People didn’t understand the holes in her memory. It creeped them out, possibly even more than eldritch monsters could.

One day, her teacher hadn’t come home. He’d been working on something big, so maybe he’d forgotten who they were. That was the kind of realisation that left a huge, empty place in your heart, wondering if you were meddling with things man simply wasn’t supposed to understand. Soul metal was the heart of alchemy, you see, and the heart of the creator as well. You could, with the right kind of meditations and incantations, form tiny slivers of your memory and emotion into a metal. It wasn’t gold, but turning lead into gold was a pipedream of superstitious masses, a story spun to convince the scientists that alchemy had no real foundation.

A soul metal pendulum would swing faster in the presence of thaumatic energies, the driving force of sorcery. A soul metal divining rod would attune to the heart of the user, and find whatever you were searching for. A soul metal compass needle would always point the way you were destined to go, though not necessarily along the path you wanted. It was magic, pure and simple. A pretty big claim for a dull metal the colour of grey ash. Donna had learned to make it, feeding it tiny memories she no longer wanted, like the kids who teased her at school for her outlandish tie-dyed dresses and the flowers in her hair that never wilted or stopped growing. But that man, her teacher, had done larger things. He’d saved the world, maybe, and that could cost you a feeling that would never leave.

He’d never come home one day. Maybe he’d saved the world, forged a soul metal chain to reseal the gates of hell after some foolish sorcerer underestimated the danger of his powers, but the cost of that metal was to forget his family and those he loved. That was a terrible thought, and the kind of thing that put Donna off ever using those techniques again. At least, until one day the gap in their lives had seemed like a bottomless pit, the pain insurmountable, and she’d opened her crucible one last time to let herself forget him and all the things she missed most.

She didn’t remember her mother, either. Or her father now. It was only looking back that she realised just how much she’d thrown away. But she didn’t regret it, never regretted what she’d had to do. Whenever something hurt her, or someone made her burn inside, she could cut them out of her heart like a surgeon’s scalpel carving away some metaphysical tumor. She didn’t regret being the only person in her city who had the power to keep only the good memories.

That was why she had so many pets. She’d found that divining rods, ritual knives, pendulums, and blessed coins had no attraction for her. The very first time she could remember teasing out a sliver of soul metal under his watchful eye, she’d decided to use it as the mainspring and make herself a pocket watch. What better use for perpetual motion?

She had always been fascinated by clockwork, and worked for hours over a giant magnifying glass, with a jeweler's saw and tweezers. But she didn’t know the gear ratios to approximate something as human and arbitrary as time. She could shape the spring and the escapement to run at the speed that was natural, but she had no way of knowing how many ticks per second that might correspond to. And as she looked in library books, hoping to find the answer, she realised that she didn’t want to know. She repurposed the gears, and fashioned a clockwork pet instead.

Now, she had dozens of spiders. They lives all around her apartment. She could speak to them, give them instructions, get them to find things for her. It was almost like they were a part of her, and that was the most wonderful thing she could imagine. Some of them were bright silver; some chrome treated with salts and acid to give them an iridescent gleam. Some were brass, or even gold when she’d been able to hold down a good job. The smallest were the size of a pinhead, so small you’d need a magnifying glass to even recognise it was a machine. The largest was as big as her palm, a masterpiece in pewter and steel, and at times Donna wondered if Ariadne was actually smarter than her, with the massive complexity of nearly nine thousand paper-thin gears collected into a crystal-lined abdomen two and a half inches long.

Some of them even had tools. A mandible with a tiny drill bit; a foreleg with hardened and tempered saw teeth along one side, or a screwdriver tail that made it look almost like a scorpion. They could repair each other if they were injured, and even cut the patterns for their new siblings. The only part of the process that Donna had to be involved in was cutting the escapement, which was made from her own soul.

She didn’t need more spiders, and didn’t create them on a whim. Only when a memory was holding her back would she take away part of her past, and replace it with new friends. Until now, of course.

He’d broken her heart. She’d thought about all the things somebody could do to hurt her, and known nothing would ever drive her to sacrifice a serious emotion, but then she never thought it was possible to feel so bad over one person. Every time she thought of him, it was like a knife in her mind. Every time she saw a Josh on TV, some celebrity or some man on the street, it was his face that came to mind. And she wanted to punish him. So she gathered every memory she had of him, every ounce of love and every gram of hate, all gathered together into an ambivalent, mottled pebble of emotion made solid.

The soul metal wasn’t grey today. It was like burnished gold, or rusted tin, every shade of metal imaginable, shimmering as she turned the tiny sliver over and over in the air. She worked day and night on her masterwork, drawing and shaping the finest pieces of wrought iron anyone could imagine. She forged black spiders using old fashioned methods, beating out every piece on an anvil made from the head of a pin. Thirty-nine spiders, one for every week they’d been together, one for every lie in some strange symbolic way. When she was finished, she slept like she’d never slept before. It was as if in pulling out such a complex bundle of emotions from her heart, she had drained herself of all energy as well.

Two days later, she opened her eyes. Her body was stiff, her sheets soaked in sweat. She stood up,and saw the black spiders she had named Vengeance arrayed in a semicircle in front of her, like a military corps awaiting the order to attack. She smiled, and waved them back towards the complex nests in the walls. She didn’t hate anyone enough to set the spiders on them, certainly not right now. She hadn’t interacted with anyone closely enough to hate them, but she had no doubt that some day she would meet someone who deserved Vengeance.___

posted image

2014-11-21 21:05:08 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

You know the awkward moment when someone points out your beard has some food stuck in it…

Saw this photo reshared on Another Social Site™, and thought +Bliss Morgan​ and friends might appreciate it. Do you know of Mr Incredibeard already?

You know the awkward moment when someone points out your beard has some food stuck in it…

Saw this photo reshared on Another Social Site™, and thought +Bliss Morgan​ and friends might appreciate it. Do you know of Mr Incredibeard already?___

posted image

2014-11-20 19:53:58 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  day 50

Let There Be Darkness

Rijalis stood alone on the mountain top. Down below was the village, nestled in one tiny nook along the path. Beyond was a port, a market town, a city, and other nations beyond. The people of this world had finally recognised him as the creator of worlds, and they begged him to use his powers, to wipe away the grey misery of their post apocalyptic lives and to make for them a perfect haven, a safe forest abundant in luxury.

He had refused, of course.

He had waited for them to grow old and sick. He had watched their bodies twist under the effects of the radiation. He had watched the crops die under the weak red sun, and seen children starve or die screaming the moment they were born. He watched until nobody knew him as the creator any more, and they no longer begged for his help. He sat alone in the high valleys... more »

#DailyStory  day 50

Let There Be Darkness

Rijalis stood alone on the mountain top. Down below was the village, nestled in one tiny nook along the path. Beyond was a port, a market town, a city, and other nations beyond. The people of this world had finally recognised him as the creator of worlds, and they begged him to use his powers, to wipe away the grey misery of their post apocalyptic lives and to make for them a perfect haven, a safe forest abundant in luxury.

He had refused, of course.

He had waited for them to grow old and sick. He had watched their bodies twist under the effects of the radiation. He had watched the crops die under the weak red sun, and seen children starve or die screaming the moment they were born. He watched until nobody knew him as the creator any more, and they no longer begged for his help. He sat alone in the high valleys and watched the world from above like some vengeful god, never giving the people the bounty they knew he could provide, and so he grew hated.

One day, everything changed. The last man died; and then the last woman. The blasted remnants of a war that had nothing to do with the simple people out here finally scoured the whole globe clean of life, and Rijalis wept. He did not want to be cruel, but those who had begged him to make a happy, verdant world had missed the most fundamental part of creation.

Rijalis looked out over the grey-black mountains of the blasted land, and the world was without form. Without a sentient mind to say this is a mountain, and that a valley, it was just rock. Meaningless. He gathered together every last trace of hope that the people had left behind them, and the dreams they had fed him of the new world they desired so much. The thoughts curled like a gaseous gyroscope between his fingers, and when he cast it into the valley it became a brilliant, shimmering lake of potential that swelled to the horizon. It took no time at all, though from the perspective of a living human, it could be seen as an eternity.

“Let there be darkness,” he whispered sadly, looking around again at the stark land that was so terrible, it inspired the greatest dreams in its people of the heaven they would see next. “Darkness, against which the light can be seen. And then in the darkness, let there be light.”

The light was so bright that even Rijalis himself became a silhouette burned into the perception of the universe. Nuclear fires spread through that unfortunate world, and into space in a cascade a million light years long. The planet was reduced to atoms, every particle and memory of a once proud people broken apart until no trace remained. That was why he couldn’t save the people, why he couldn’t make the world they desired for them to live in happiness. When he created the perfect world that his people had looked forward to, the old world was necessarily destroyed. Utterly, totally revoked as if it had never existed.

Soon, the new world was ready. Forged from those poor souls’ imaginings, it was every bit as verdant as they had hoped. Their dreams, their fantasies, Rijalis could preserve as the one part of them that lived on. Creation and destruction must go hand in hand, and the darker the canvas, the blacker the backdrop, the brighter the flare of a single light of creation can appear. Desolation leads to perfection, and maybe on some cosmic scale that would make the suffering of those people justified.

Rijalis himself shed a tear for the people he had known, and wished they could have no cause to hate him so. But he didn’t concern himself with questions of right or wrong. He was the creator of worlds, and creation was in his nature. So now the world was made, with all the people that the old race had hoped to meet, he could only wait for them to find their own downfall, and prepare again to create a new world once they were gone.___

posted image

2014-11-19 18:17:37 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

#DailyStory  day 49

Thanks to ±Kiba for the picture; not sure who to credit it to

Angel Dust

They say red sky at night delights every shepherd. I couldn’t test that statement, as there were no shepherds over the Western oceans; just an endless vista of smooth seas, as if oil had been poured on the surface to quell the slightest ripple and render the surface as smooth as a mirror.

The sunset was a golden glow on the horizon as always, even more picturesque from places where you could see both the golden light cast on the clouds and its reflection in the suddenly-placid sea. But this was no sign of peace, because yesterday you couldn’t even see Innsmouth Bay from our house. The sea had rushed inland, rising like a monster from the tomb only to return to its rest once the village was conquered. Those rocks you see in the bay at regular intervals, thoseare t... more »

#DailyStory  day 49

Thanks to ±Kiba for the picture; not sure who to credit it to

Angel Dust

They say red sky at night delights every shepherd. I couldn’t test that statement, as there were no shepherds over the Western oceans; just an endless vista of smooth seas, as if oil had been poured on the surface to quell the slightest ripple and render the surface as smooth as a mirror.

The sunset was a golden glow on the horizon as always, even more picturesque from places where you could see both the golden light cast on the clouds and its reflection in the suddenly-placid sea. But this was no sign of peace, because yesterday you couldn’t even see Innsmouth Bay from our house. The sea had rushed inland, rising like a monster from the tomb only to return to its rest once the village was conquered. Those rocks you see in the bay at regular intervals, those are the very tips of the pillars that supported the railway bridge.

On the horizon, the clouds are gold, but overhead some trick of the light paints them pure blue. At lunch time, scientists came and sent up balloons to sample the clouds. They fed vial after vial of the crimson mist into their machines and analysers, and quickly came to the conclusion that there was nothing there. The news said as much, on a television set in the corner of the pub. They were economical with the truth, though, like the old Mackey was economical with his beer and watered it as far as he could get away with. They said that the scientists had found nothing wrong, while a quick minute listening in on the white coats’ conversations revealed they had found nothing at all. The red gas was no gas, there was nothing for the spectrometer or chromatography cell or even MRI machine to detect.

We could have told them as much, if they’d bothered to listen. The locals round here had been awaiting something like this for years. The flood was the first sign of the war in heaven, and now those who remained must prepare for the war on earth. But for those who were worthy, the rapture was here. All the choirs of angels were riding out now, to collect the souls of those who would be spared the torment of the war to end all wars. The living, and the dead, ghosts and corpses as well as men, all the deserving must be gathered up. And to that end, Jehovah had sent out a hundred billion angels, wings dipped in blood to mark them as the loyal, and bodies smaller than dust that could only be seen by men in their hearts, not their eyes.
When you knew what they were, the thronged clouds were an affirming sight, seeing the sheer size of the angelic host and knowing that they would ensure the final victory of heaven. But sad in a way, too, because the Rapture had come and the angels were blazing across the sky with their oh-so-precious cargo of enlightened souls.

We who did not come up to scratch, we did not deserve to die.___

Buttons

A special service of CircleCount.com is the following button.

The button shows the number of followers you have directly in a small button. You can add this button to your website, like the +1-Button of Google or the Like-Button of Facebook.






You can add this button directly in your website. For more information about the CircleCount Buttons and the description how to add them to another page click here.

Angel WedgeCircloscope