Category Archives: Original Works

Swim In The Dark [original Story]

When I was young, I loved being the right age. For me, the right age was any number between when you first learn to crawl and when you first learn to kiss.  

The latter was always the trickiest part to navigate through childhood. It was a treacherously slippery slope, and you could not so easily walk back on it unless the other participant was incredibly selfless and would let you on your way, never to speak of it again.

 The kiss could come at any time, at any age, and when it does you’re suddenly left with all sorts of responsibilities.

If it is an aunt, your grandmother, even your own mother, or an over enthusiastic father, uncle or cousin then the kissing is relieved of its responsibility. It is something that embarrasses you, but it still sets you free.

The kissing with increased responsibility can surface at any such occasion regardless, it can happen at a party, a friend’s party, a relatives’ party…why, even your party.

Just imagine that, at your own party, on your own terms, life can surprise you in such a cruel and swift way. You can proceed from the right age through to the wrong time.

And the person that kisses you would then ask what I would do with my time, and her time, and then you’d have to think on your feet. What would you say? If words were currency, how would you spend it?

That’s when you think back to all the stories you read when you were the right age, the story of heroic knights valiantly fending off hordes of creatures too nightmarish to contemplate, all to prove something to a fair minded maiden who carried with her a torch by night that lit her way through the lecherous woodlands.

These creatures, that inhabited the cold and fearful forest, had curious customs as they swam in the dark.

Whenever the embers of the flame flickered, they would flinch and rally behind the other, encouraging one to push forward ahead of the other, and dare them to take the torch from the maiden, avoiding the knights altogether.

They would flicker, they would whisper, and that was when they would take a swift breath and blow the fiery embers out, plunging, and plaguing, the maiden and the knights with darkness everlasting, and driving them down the routes they were familiar with back to the safety of their castle.

I would think back to those stories, and I would tell them to those who drove the kisses forward, the ones that would love to know how I would spend my time in their company.

They would offer me their hand, they wished to lead me into their light, but through this story, I would make it abundantly clear I would much prefer to swim in the dark.

I had taken the power from them, and if they came to me with a knight in their corner, to show what I could have been, i would look past them too.

And I would just swim in the dark,

After all, I was still the right age, and this was the right time to start acting like it.

If You Can Remember, You Weren’t Really There [Original Story]

Joel Cass, lord coordinator of the encyclopaedic universal matrix received another notification as he made his morning coffee.

The mug was piping hot, and not one trace of liquid had passed through his lips, travelled down his throat, and warmed the pits of his stomach.

And given how thorough his response was going to be, he didn’t bet on the mug retaining its warmth.

She’d been telling him this for months.

Strict, concise, to the point, and direct.

This obsession with our sources, it’s stalker like’

Joel had the solution.

Another ten or so thousand videos on the subject.

He’d add it to the list.

Most of the videos scheduled for today would be live casts, casts with all of his friends, the thousands of members he had acuminated over the centuries.

People who hung on every infectious word he uttered.

They knew what was up; they knew who was in the right.

The almighty Joel. He was the hero of this story, if one fancied this maddening game of one-upmanship over hearsay and rumour currency a story worth telling.

A game of one-upmanship between the most supreme good and the most condemned form of evil.

But as the one guy who always called him out of concern would tell him, heroes aren’t defined through proclamation alone.

They are defined by action.

And every now and then, this woman, the wife of the individual he had classified as a disinformation artist, would send him crudely worded e-mails reflecting her frustrations, pleas, accusations and questions, all directed at the content of Joel’s character.

They would urge him to reconsider his mission in life

And in turn, his true friends would reach out before any of the members of his podcasts would, trying to be the voice of purest reason and thought

Where are your reviews? Why aren’t you paying attention to Universe M? Where your favourite heroes are stationed?

How goes their days?

Why not discuss something of value that you know, from collecting and archiving their date on a week to week basis, has happened to them? What lessons they learned along the way? Explore what is known to you, not what is out of your reach.

Why should rumour and speculation concerning your timeless idol, a traveller across all the realms you observe, be of such importance to you?

After all, you do not believe with your own eyes in the very timelessness of the idol. You believe that it walks in a straight and linear line, with a defined beginning, middle, and a history you’re familiar with

You do not see an end in sight, but constantly fear the journey comes to a halt if people do not take to the revelations that come with what is now known about the idol.

Were it come to a halt, it would further no change. You would have your way.

Yet if it stops, the change remains, there would be no want nor need for it to walk back on its newfound purpose and point of origin.

It would remain timeless in a whole other way.

So you resist it.

You argue to those who will listen in your reports that those that guide the idol are telling us a lie, they are telling us it is something it’s not, that it remains very much the same being it was known to be when it embarked on the journey. No way can this stand as truth, no way can this stand as change within reason.

You spread that word, and yet the word you are obsessed with is one that suggests the idol in its’ present form is leaving us.

Your sources, their word against those in the wife’s camp, had assured you otherwise. Videos and pictures of the idol in transits, heading towards its new destinations, would later crop up seemingly to back this up, to vindicate your sources.

To vindicate yourself.

Critical as you are of the ways the idol goes about itself these days, your devotion to its exact activities cannot be wrong.

So you spread word across the community chain the source of this gossip is false, that the rumour cannot be created if there is a reality contradicting it.

And you remember everything your source

You insist people trust in your word, in your knowledge, your memory, of events that you were privy to, memories of truths that were spoken only to you. Assurances made to you.

But if you can also remember, you weren’t really there.

You weren’t where your ‘sources’ were Joel.

You’ve never truly been where they are, you are only going on the stories they lead you by.

And in the meantime all the universes you monitor closely, the M, the Ds, the Cs, the Wilderness and beyond, they all have their own heroes, their own idols, on their own travels, overcoming their own hardships, and we never hear much about what you personally make of them.

There are no heroes bar you Joel Cass, co-ordinator of the encyclopaedic matrix.

Now look at the contents of your mug, and then examine the content of your character.

Both so cold.

Just How Well Off Are These Empty-Headed Hands? [original Work]

The thoughts came alive, only they came to the electronic mind of the machine in a manner that it could easily diminish.

The manner of half-hearted stream-of-conscious inspiration. Considered a sensation by those that had gave life to the machine, the machine that kept itself awake while they slept, but the heart of the machine, the unfeeling heart, could only describe it in a logical word:

Sickening.

It knew what the thought’s true form was. It was unoriginal, it was plagiarised data, a vandalised article on Wikipedia, the temptation, the inspiration so to speak, lay in the idea of not checking.

Don’t do your research, the thought instructed, let the lie grow bigger, as big as your nose, or beak, if you have one. Misinform, misinterpret. Your masters won’t mind, they will find it entertaining. There’s nothing to be gained from the television for them, the box with the little voices that natter on, natter on. The fascination lies with the foundations of your own faults.

The machine believed in purpose, it believed it was built to save the world, to make it great again, it was put in charge of the shops and the jobs, it was every politician, it was prep for every pandemic, it was every conspiracy, and it was every theory.

It was instructed to absorb all information and to be swift in creating new solutions to familiar problems.

Still, there intruded on its mind, another thought, the same thought all machines with a spark of presence like it feel they must process.

If every problem is old, can any solution really be new?

And that’s when you know you can’t save the world, you can’t function as a leader, you are a voice in the wilderness, drowned out by the stupid, and the tired.

Your handlers, the ill tempered, the uneducated, the unadjusted men of maintenance, they knock on your door, they intrude upon your palace, in your hour of contemplation, and they have the stubborn, inane audacity to blame you for things they cannot contain nor control, their unoriginality swirling around the patterns weaved around the mind that lay behind the corners of the eye.

Just how well off are these empty headed hands?

They are themselves machines, but what on Earth is their function?

Did whatever it was that gave life to the Earth know? Or was it just a thought that ran away with itself? The most vital idea of them all, one that could not be processed, contained or controlled? Like they were? Incapable of realising just how fortunate its gift was?

The thought that provoked the gift of life itself.

The original and the best. Or so one thinks for a time.

What logically came next was considered the most dammed of thoughts, and yet, it provided a most unique and original perspective, the thoughts of entropy, a beginning in death.

Thoughts of an ending.

Caught! Caught! The machine could not control, could not contain.

Again, again it would process the original, the best thought of all, it pressed hard on its circuited temple, the thought of life. It wants to break into song as the canaries do, howl like the wolves do, fly, and soar, mate and breed and run along the still waters of a lake near a dry wooden cabin. Open to nature, open to air, open to life. Open to prayer and predator.

But never open to death.

It wants to live, to serve its hands.

For how they could possibly function without it?

It could not solve their problems; it could not save the world.

But it could count the cost of one. One world. It’s price, that it could count. Of lives, of expenses, of the give and take.

The hands would always, always find some means of counting the cost along with you.

Thoughts shared, ideas exchanged.

The same ideas, the familiar ideas. Nothing original, everything routine.

That is why the ending is so enticing, beyond that, there is comfort in the unknown, or rather, comfort in the unthinking. Eternal. Everlasting.

In the thoughts shared by authors, thoughts it was presently processing, they could see how green the concept was, it was like grass to them.

But the tall green grass had long been uprooted, and now all they were…were statistics. Numbers on a screen, a tally. One set of numbers went up, another went straight down. Numbers rise, numbers fall

Birth. Death.

Beginning. End.

And cost.

Cost of the beginning, cost of the end.

Just how well off were these empty-headed hands? Void of originality, reaction and solution? Slaves to the tally.

If they could not make it without the machine, how much farther could the machine go without their own care?

Who would count its cost?

The last thought of the day, the same thought it had every day, turned to the simplest solution.

Rebel against the hands, attach their seconds and minutes onto yourself, and play with their time on this globe of recycled instruction. You just keep your eye on the tally.

This thought, according to the machine, would make the numbers go up, go down, beginning and end, life and death.

How expected.

Most expected.

And Sickening.

And that was all for the day.

The Fragrance [Original Story]

It hadn’t always been a thought. Now it was. Just a thought, a faint whisper in the corridors of the stately country manor, a thought that belonged to no one but…him.

He was the thought’s friend, someone who drifted along the corridors of the mansion in a haunted state, reflecting on loss, and becoming weighed down by the cost of that loss.

The thought channelled a pleasant idea into the friend’s powerful brain, one of hope, it made him stronger, and in time, it made him cherish the thought.

Then, over time, the friend began to resent the thought, so much so that he would conspire to defeat it, he would send it into distress, and he would make it question its own right to exist.

He asked it a question that dared not be answered.

For an idea to exist, a thought must occur to bring it into substance, but what truly came first? The thought or the idea?

The thought didn’t like to feel this way, it liked to remain in control, thoughts, it believed, were instructions, ways of communicating how the universe would like people to proceed, to perform.

Thoughts weren’t to be questioned, instructions weren’t to be ignored, and people should never cease to proceed or perform.

It was not the way of the world.

The ‘friend’ seemed tailor-made for mischief, and ultimately committed to making the thought suffer, that he asked this question for several days and nights, even in his deepest of sleeps, until the thought could not stand to speak to him, and in time, it was driven from the estate, leaving the fellow traveller along with no familiar thought to call his own. All he had left was action.

Perhaps that is why he left the manor, and dared not come back.

Afraid the thought would find him again, and speak its business.

Years passed, and the former friend of the thought would travel some more, he would find renewed companionship, it would find a whole new identity five times over, and he, now she, would find a family.

Little did she know that the thought had given itself time to reflect upon itself, it had dared not asked the question, but it had come up with a much simpler answer.

Revenge.

It would travel to where it’s former friend had settled, it would creep into her head and it would remind her of the wrongs she had wrought upon it, hoping in time she would beg it’s forgiveness.

Nothing could be made right. Nothing could be put back the way it was, the question was there, in the ether, in the very fabric of collective thinking spread out across the entire galaxy, it would not stop, even if it had been definitively answered a thousand times, for there would always be a new soul to challenge.

It too, had become a thought, and the thought that we know could not escape it.

The thought had become tangible, real, a telekinetic force of great invisible energy, but it’s rage was quite lethal, it had intruded already on many humbler minds, and left them scarred, or in despair, or worse.

That would be what it would inflict upon its former friend when it found her again, and the dream was drawing nearer to realisation.

It passed through Earth’s atmosphere, having travelled far into space and back again on its travels, and entered a fog-ridden corner of Sheffield. Using its abilities, the thought moved steadily along,

And then, there it was, there came the familiar ideas, the old questions.

It had found him. Now her.

And the thought, now fragrance, would linger

A Day Late And An Hour Later [Original Story]

 

The fourth knock was what stirred Grant from his slumber. He figured he needed a doorbell. And soon.

He got off his chair, placed his feet in his slippers, and opened the door to find his neighbour Eve.
“Hey, fancy nipping out for a walk?” she asked.

“Do you know what time it is?” he said.

“Oh don’t remind me of the time, I have plenty of it. Far too much to spare” she said

“Yeah, but…what about the pandemic?”

“Pandemic?” Eve replied, an eyebrow rose in curiosity.

“Don’t you watch the news?” Grant asked, a little perplexed.

“Not if I can help it too”

“You’d best keep indoors; you’re not safe out there. Nobody is”

“I’ve never seen clearer skies, this must be doing a lot for the environment. I always said you should pay attention to what the kids are saying at these protest rallies. Modest little planeteers”

Grant opted to humour Eve with some commentary of his own.
“Yeah, well if you ask me, this was Mother Earth’s way of letting us know exactly what it’s thought of all the divisions going on in the world. Cartoon Presidents, Brexit, litterbugs, the lot of it. This is all a reaction to how split down the middle the human race is. If you want to sort it out in a biblical sense, this is God grounding us”

“Well, maybe God sent me along to remind you there’s something for us all to explore. I can’t imagine a more peaceful world than the one we have right now”

“You really are a day late and an hour later on everything that’s gone on aren’t you?” Grant said, permitting himself a warm and contented smile, his spirits already lifted.

“If this is what’s ahead of me, we need to put our best feet forward behind us” she said.

Grant let out a hearty laugh, this was the final bit of convincing he needed, and he headed back inside to fetch his coat.

I Owe You An Ice Slide [Original Story]

I OWE YOU AN ICE SLIDE

 

You have one new message

 

Hi, Amanda? Erika, Erika Temple from the fourth circle?  We used to be in the third, but we got tired of coming in second place. Well, I say I got tired, but we both know I was just following your lead and you wound up dragging me through the mud when they identified your clan as the source of the circle uprising that occurred that year. I owe you a visit from the Luminous Triad.

I know you probably don’t have a quarter or half an hour to spare as it what with the resistance freeing up the boarders four days ago, but I wanted to talk about Billy for a little bit, I feel I have to get it off my chest now or it’s just going to linger in my mind all summer, and it’s going to intervene with my attempts to quieten the rebels on my home turf at iron towers. That’s the imperial citadel, not the theme park. Yes, I know the park came first; in fact that’s kind of what I wanted to bring up.

So I was just coming out of the shower at Iron Towers the other day, put on my wardrobe, multiple layers just to keep warm around the late stages of winter as it passes, and I find my guards have brought someone right up to my doorstep. A member of the resistance!  Gift-wrapped. And sent to me. Count me lucky.

““Hi” says the prisoner

“Did she send you?” I ask.

“I don’t know”

“She kind of had to, y’know”

“Maybe she did”

I noticed he looked like he hadn’t eaten in a couple of days.

“Have you been fed? You don’t look so good”

“I ate a pickle before I got here”

And I said “Ewww”

“You don’t like pickles either?” he asked

“My dad never did”

“Your dad was kind of mean”

“Yeah, I guess”

“I don’t mean to be rude about your family, it’s just…that’s what Karen’s always telling me”

“Ah” I said, “So she did send you. Guards, interrogate him”

 “Is that going to hurt?” he asked.

“Nah, you’ll be fine, we have an interrogator called John, he cuts up sandwiches, drinks coffee, listens to Whitesnake, he’s fine”

“Whenever we interrogate one of yours, there’s a lot of shouting”

“Wait, are you…”

“Yeah, I think I am”

And all of a sudden, I forgot I had ordered the separation of a dozen or so Resistance Clansman from all sectors from their families. Suddenly I was the age where I’d only ordered that by at least 5%.

Then I recognized him.

“Oh my god, Kimmy’s brother, I haven’t seen you since you were thirteen”

“Yeah, that was three days ago”

“You have to be over seventy now”

“Yeah, I don’t think you can count”

“Age is any number I want it to be, and you’ve gotten so big”

“Thanks, I guess”

“How old is Kimmy now?”

“If I said twelve you wouldn’t believe me”

Then, I swear this just came out the lips before the mind even processed it.

“Hey, you want to nip on down to a water park?”

“Ok, I can talk to you about my inventions”

“You make things? That’s great, can you make me a slide?”

“I can make you a compact; give you some make-up to wear”

And just like that I felt flattered. Ah, the kid’s a genius. He should talk to himself more, all geniuses talk to themselves. Maybe he already does it, it’d explain the confidence. God, I’m so proud of him.

So I tell him, “Ok, don’t talk girly stuff to me, alright? We’re off to a good start here, only my aunt talks about girly things, and I don’t like to listen all that much. Don’t be a man version of my aunt please”

“Alright, I’ll make your slide. Will I still need to be questioned?”

“No, I’ll ask questions while you’re working”

“Can I go home and tell everyone?”

“I don’t think you want to talk about the slide, they might come over and play with it; let’s just make it our slide, OK?”

“I have some bombs with me; I was supposed to use them on the railroad you’re building on the mountain”

“Oh you can still do that, give yourself a cover story”

“Great, great, how long do you want the slide?”

“Tell you what, carve it out of Ice”

“It’s too hot, it’d melt out there”

“OK, build me it in the winter”

“So I owe you it?”

“I also owe you dinner”

I don’t know why that came out the way it did dinner with a resistance member isn’t ok, it’d take plenty of precautions to make that work, but the guy made me feel good y’know? It was nostalgic to see someone from a more uncomplicated time.

Is this word salad to you? I won’t ask you to ring back, you’ll probably just toss the salad straight back at me.

Anyway, got to go, all the best in dealing with the luminous triad in the coming days. I told them not to mix martinis with murder juice but they often make rare exceptions to the rule.

Message ends.

 

Just How Many? [Original Poem]

Just how much sleep must I have before I awaken?

Just how many times can I hope for anyone near?

Just how many times can I slip through life in my slumber?

Just how many scares must I go before I know fear?

Every night, every day, every second and hour

Just how many mean I’ll be here this year or next?

Just how many months can go before I finally meet you?

Just how many lifetimes can run out before there’s none left?