The Expected Part 1 of 4—Preface—The Expected Part 1 of 410 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
This is a walnut.
The walnut has no name. Its Latin appellation, however, is juglans, short for jovis glans. Jovis is what Zeus was called when the Romans saw him and decided they wanted one of those too; glans means nuts. Jupiter's nuts. It is highly probable that, back when this name was chosen, people meant to say walnuts were nuts fit for the gods. Funny, what the evolution of language can do to nuts.
This walnut is lying on the wooden floor of a monastery, a monastery beautifully situated in the middle of a seemingly endless forest.
This is Friar Mattheus. In a moment, Friar Mattheus will step on the walnut, slip, fall down the stairs, and break two ribs. Friar Mattheus really likes walnuts. A little earlier, he was going to crack this one open and enjoy it. At that exact moment, he had a doubtlessly divine inspiration for a chorale praising his saint of choice. The ingenuity of this chorale's words was that they would only make
The Unexpected Part 2 of 4—The Unexpected—The Unexpected Part 2 of 410 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
A decorative hardened-clay magnolia blossom, with the number 82 artfully worked into it, surrounded the door bell. Jessica pressed the yellow button and waited.
The exterior of the house was painted in an obnoxiously happy pink hue. The small garden surrounding the path from the fence to the door lay in a desolate state of disregard. Jessica checked the small piece of paper in her hand once more and then, shrugging her shoulders, crumpled it and replaced it into the hip pocket of her jeans.
"Who is it?" demanded a voice with a thick Russian accent through the door.
"Sergei Vasiliyevich Avdeyev?"
"Dat is highly unlikely."
"No, I mean, are you Sergei Vasiliyevich Avdeyev?"
After a moment's silence, the door was opened in an unsteady movement. It gave way to a most peculiar sight: a man in his late seventies, his white hair a riot of tangles. His eyes were covered by ancient welding goggles, his forearms by yellow rubber gloves. The rubber gloves, in turn,
The Corrected Part 3 of 4—The Corrected—The Corrected Part 3 of 410 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
"And it's 10:31pm. We have an update concerning the strange ball lightning sighted earlier today and how we believe it's connected to the storm. On that note, water levels—"
Jacob turned off the radio and unlocked the passenger side door.
"Get in! God, it's pouring."
Paul climbed in and instantly turned around to look out through the rear window.
"So, what's up? What can I—" Jacob began.
"Drive. Please. It doesn't matter where."
The rain pattered down on the plastic of Jacob's blinker, which now rhythmically informed no one else but the rain of Jacob's intention to rejoin the non-existent traffic.
"Fuck," Paul finally said, angry and exhausted. He rummaged through his coat pockets to produce a soaked pack of cigarettes. "Fuck," he repeated, this time merely exhausted. From a dashboard sticker, a bear smiled at him.
Jacob was driving very slowly. The tires of his station wagon worked their way through two fingers of rain water on the street.
"Do you know w
The Resurrected Part 4 of 4—The Resurrected—The Resurrected Part 4 of 410 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
In a place without time, close to 2005 AD
He makes a telephone in another place ring. He waits. Someone picks up.
"Hello Jacob, it's good to hear your voice."
Someone moves by, someone at a stage where it is hard to tell whether they are someone or something. It, whatever it is, wails and complains. He covers the mouthpiece of the receiver. Then continues.
"You sound tired, exhausted. I am sorry that I had to disturb you in your sleep."
"What with my funeral, yes."
The other end asks a question after a long silence.
"Not so good, Jacob. You have to help me. This place where I am has no sun."
* * *
Jacob, awake in bed, panting heavily. He thought of Miriam's hand. Of the sweet taste in his mouth. He wiped the sweat from his face and went back to sleep.
* * *
In a place without time, close to 2005 AD
He rises through the layers, separates from the slipstream below that pulls those inside it along and returns to them, for a frightful quasi-m
Elf vs. Orc 9Sings-to-Trees' head shot up. He knew Fleabane's barks like the back of his hand. Short, rapid barks, not grating, hysterical ones--somewhere between a greeting and a warning. Fleabane knew the person approaching, but he didn't really like them.Elf vs. Orc 98 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
That meant it was either one of the humans from down the road (excepting Matilda, who brought cheeses and always had a tidbit for a hungry coyote) or the rangers.
"Shit!" Sings-to-Trees leapt to his feet and began kicking Celadon's armor under the bed, followed by the extra blankets.
Celadon got unsteadily to her feet. "What is it?"
"Company. Might be rangers."
She could have asked questions, like "Are you going to turn me in?" or "Why are you panicking, if they're your people?" but Celadon was not inclined to waste time on stupid questions. She looked around hurriedly for a hiding place.
Sings-to-Trees caught her elbow. "Do you trust me?"
"Does it matter?"
"I suppose not."
Getting her into the hiding place was awkward, but Celadon took it in s
And in Other NewsAnd in Other News11 years ago in Socio-political More Like This
And in Other News…
Yesterday, in an effort of preparation for local and national law enforcement officials, the FBI warned of a possible, nay likely, threat of terrorist attack this summer. "This is a confluence of a lot of activity that would logically be of interest to a terrorist,'' said FBI spokesman LaRae Quy in San Francisco. "Things like buildings, people, sport utility vehicles, and other explosive, valuable stuff," Unfortunately the intelligence showed a surprising lack of detail. "There's no time, there's no place, there's no date,'' Quy said.
In a similar move, the FBI today announced that they have received credible information that someone this summer will be hit by a bus. Though the details are still vague, the FBI warned that the public should be on alert nonetheless. They could not be specific about the time or the place of the likely incident, but said "There have been general rumblings, and we kno
Our Own DeviceThe motor of the Harley hummed, pleasantly, between my legs. Darkness had long settled on the Mojave, and the road was empty; the dark mass of sand on either side of the vacant road served as nothing more than a dull reflection of the clouded sky. Wind picked up, cool breeze pressing against me from all sides as the motorcycle purred along; the sky threatened dry lightning, though I had seen none yet.Our Own Device11 years ago in Horror More Like This
My hair, free of a helmet, fluttered softly in its three inches of glory. I could still smell the sweet pina colada on my breath; the rum still burned softly at my throat. Darkness, impending upon my gaze; my breath slowed slightly, my harsh grip on the handlebars loosening.
Road. Long, expansive, dark road. Hypnotically alluring...identical repeating pattern of white dotted lines, stretching into infinity and glowing in the faint gleam of my headlight. The engine purred. I gunned it, surgi
Elf vs. Orc 7This was easier said than done.Elf vs. Orc 78 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
She gave him some very practical suggestions about how to tie the ropes. A bit of slack between the feet, enough to shuffle, not enough to run. A rope around the neck as a kind of leash in case she attacked him. He could tell she'd done this sort of thing before.
Sings-to-Trees, at that point, would have been happy just untying her completely and pointing her in the direction of the outhouse, but he had a horrible feeling he'd disappoint her if he didn't at least try to hold up his end. So he steeled himself to stay awake a bit longer and got the ropes set up, and hauled her out of the bed.
Then she wound up needing to use him as a crutch anyway, since her knees kept buckling, so it was a bit of a moot point.
"Can you hold this?" he asked, handing her the leash rope after a few brutal hops toward the door.
"What if I try to escape?"
He sighed. "Just yank it if you feel yourself getting any ideas."
She started laughing, then they took another step and the
Elf vs. Orc 6He got a nasty start a few hours later, when he came in to check on her.Elf vs. Orc 68 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
He'd tied her hands, her feet, thrown a loop or two around her waist, and roped everything to the bed, the chair, and the fire iron, just for good measure, He'd done everything short of hog-tying. She wasn't going to get loose in a hurry.
He wasn't sure why he was bothering, really, since he had a horrible feeling that if she said "Will you untie me?" he might do it, and if she said "please," he'd definitely do it.
Still, she didn't seem to be a threat conscious, so maybe that was okay.
Then, because his feelings were still churning and there was nothing for emotional turmoil like hard work, he'd gone off, fed the chickens and the gargoyle, picked peas, turned the compost heap, washed his hands and made soup. By the end, he was really quite exhausted, and ready for at least a nap in his chair.
Then he came back in to discover that her fever had vanished and she was shivering violently with cold.
Elf vs. Orc 5Sings-to-Trees's primary thought through the whole violent encounter was Not the throat again!Elf vs. Orc 58 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
His neck hurt. He felt like a troll had used his esophagus as a dance floor. This could not be healthy. If he lived through this, he swore he would be nice to his throat for the rest of the year. Hot teas. Scarfs during winter. Anything.
For awhile, he didn't think he was going to live to see sunrise, let alone winter.
Then she'd apologized. The orc had stood there, with a distinctly sheepish expression on her face, and she'd apologized.
None of his patients ever apologized. Most of them couldn't talk, and it didn't seem to occur to the ones who could.
Half of him wanted to reply automatically—No, it's okay, these things happen, don't worry about it—and the other half was jumping up and down screaming You just tried to kill me, you green-faced lunatic! You can't just apologize for trying to kill people!
Perhaps fortunately, his throat was aching too badly
Elf vs. Orc 3Sings-to-Trees was being strangled.Elf vs. Orc 38 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
He'd always expected a patient to kill him some day, but he'd thought he would be a lot older, and it would be an angry bull or a careless moment with a manticore or something along those lines, with an outside chance of being crushed under a nearsighted troll. He really hadn't anticipated anything like this.
The orc had been giggling to herself for a few minutes, and when he tried to talk to her, she only giggled harder. He didn't know if she could speak any of the languages, or if she was so delirious that she wasn't even hearing him. He had no real idea what the normal temperature for an orc was, but her skin burned against his fingers, and if he had to guess, he'd say she was running quite a high fever.
There was something very surreal about a giggling orc. It wasn't malicious, like when pixies left flaming piles of pixie-crap on your doorstep and hid to watch you step in it. This was a throaty, genuinely amused chuckle—reduced to a s
Elf vs. Orc 8Celadon woke up in the elf's arms.Elf vs. Orc 88 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
This sounded a lot more romantic than it actually was.
For one thing, learning to sleep in proximity to another person is an acquired skill. You learn what to do with the arm that always seems to get stuck between you and where to put your feet and whether they mind having a leg draped over theirs and who can use whose arm as a pillow without nerve damage or a sore neck. Then there's the whole complex negotiation of blanket treaties and sheets and who gets what and who needs layers and who has to stick their feet out.
Without acquiring these vital habits, you wake up pretty much like Celadon—stiff, sore, with a knee wedged into your ribs and blankets tangled around both of them like sleeping anacondas.
While it's traditional when parties of the opposite sex find themselves entangled for someone's hands to be in an embarrassing position, that actually wasn't the case. She was pretty much in the elf's lap, where one of his knees was up and digging into
Dear President BushDear President Bush,Dear President Bush10 years ago in Editorial More Like This
I did not vote for you, but I am writing to acknowledge your election to a second term. The election certainly was a merry chase! Although I'm sure it stings to know that nearly half of the country doesn't want you in office, and that substantial parts of your own military didn't vote for you. Liberty County, home of the brave 3rd Infantry Division, is one giant blue dot on a break down of votes, county-by-county. In Chattahoochee County, home of Ft. Benning, you pulled ahead by only 7 percentage points! Let's not forget Ft. Bragg in Cumberland Couty, NC, where you were ahead by a measly four percentage points. Why aren't the vast majority of your soldiers and their families voting for you? The only ones that did seem to vote heavily for you were the ones that weren't heavily deployed! I smell a connection there somewhere…
Despite these facts, I'm sure that you are consoled by the fact that you carried the white male vote, the rich vote, and the weekly church-goer
Elf vs. Orc 2Celadon Toadstool was delirious.Elf vs. Orc 28 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
The funny bit—uproariously funny, it seemed to her—was that she knew she was delirious. The world was billowing around her. It looked as if someone had meticulously painted the inside of a cottage on silk, and then hung it in a gentle breeze. The corners floated inward and collapsed back out again with a sigh.
That someone would go to all that trouble, painting a cottage on silk, was hilarious.
She knew she was wounded. She couldn't quite remember how she'd been wounded. Imagine not remembering a thing like that!
This also struck her as hilarious.
Her name, in Orcish, was Urrsharruk-gah, and she had skin the delicate gray-green of the gills of cave mushrooms, and eyes the color of stolen gold. Her hair was thick and dark and she wore it tucked under her helmet to keep enemies from being able to grab it, which was problematic, because she'd lost her helmet somewhere along the way, and she wasn't in the best of shape anyway.
Even in her immense good humor
Elf vs. Orc 4She let him go. She couldn't do much else. He was an elf, sure, but there were rules, and you didn't kill healers and you didn't kill priests.Elf vs. Orc 48 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
The rage had to go somewhere. You couldn't go from halfway to gnawing your shield back to normal just like that. Celadon swallowed it, bitterly, the stone shattering, the red sea pouring through the wreckage. She threw her head back and snarled with the pain.
The elf lay sprawled on the ground beside the bed, holding his throat, his eyes closed. He was breathing in tight little gasps. She could have stomped on his head, but of course she wouldn't.
She was furious. Mostly at herself, truth be told. It had been so obvious. He'd checked her bandages, he hadn't been wearing armor, and this was as far from a cell as you could get. What more did she need, a sign saying "Non-combatant, please do not throttle," in several languages? But she'd been so mad—and scared, yes, let's be honest with ourselves—that she hadn't seen past the Enemy.
Love thy neighbour?God hates fags. 'Love thy neighbour' HAH!!! Why don't you take a closer look at the Bible before you talk shit!!!Love thy neighbour?6 years ago in Humor More Like This
It clearly says:
"Love thy straight neighbour."
...Idiots. Go back to primary school and learn to read.
An Evening With Sings-to-TreesAn Evening With Sings-to-Trees8 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
Sings-to-Trees had hair the color of sunlight and ashes, delicately pointed ears, and eyes the translucent green of new leaves. His shirt was off, revealing the sort of tanned muscle acquired from years of healthy outdoor living, and you could have sharpened a sword on his cheekbones.
He was saved from being a young maiden's fantasy—unless she was a very peculiar young maiden—by the fact that he was buried up to the shoulder in the unpleasant end of a heavily pregnant unicorn. Bits of unicorn dung, which was not noticeably more ethereal than horse dung, were sliding down his arm, and every time the mare had a contraction, he lost feeling in his hand.
It had been nearly two hours, the ground was hard and cold and his knees felt like live coals wrapped in ice. She'd kicked him twice, and if Sings-to-Trees hadn't known that it was impossible, he'd have begun to suspect that the unicorn had arranged a breech birth out of spite.
No, he was being unfair. It couldn't be any more fun for her t
Freely EnslavedYou poison your mindFreely Enslaved6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
With beliefs, divine
A part of your life
now left behind
You've no common sense
You weave a defense
Of some plan which was made
Without your consent
You justify how you behave
And choose to be, freely, enslaved
Check the cons
Break the bonds
Don't become their pawns
Escape from the hold
Say you won't be sold
No more messed up stories
From the days of old
Maybe it's time to misbehave
Show them you won't be freely enslaved
Sorry We Shot Your Kid...Sorry We Shot Your Kid, But Here's $500Sorry We Shot Your Kid...8 years ago in Articles & Interviews More Like This
For the entire war in Iraq, the press has been kept largely in the dark concerning the number of civilians killed by our forces, and what happened in the aftermath. Now several hundred files posted online reveal some of the true horror while raising questions about lack of compensation.
Here you will find, for example, that when the U.S. drops a bomb that goes awry, lands in an orchard, and does not detonate -- until after a couple of kids go out to take a look -- our military does not feel any moral or legal reason to compensate the family of the dead child because this is, after all, broadly speaking, a "combat situation."
Also: What price (when we do pay) do we place on the life of a 9-year-old boy, shot by one of our soldiers who mistook his book bag for a bomb satchel? Would you believe $500? And when we shoot an Iraqi journalist on a bridge we shell out $2500 to his widow -- but why not the measly $5000 she had requested?
This, and m
Think. Don't Know.Certainty is a plague. Avoid it at all costs. Don't be certain, ever; think, don't know. Crusaders were certain their actions were right; the radical terrorists are certain they were doing good; many criminals are certain they won't get caught. They knew, but didn't think. Think. Ask why. Ask how.Think. Don't Know.6 years ago in Philosophical More Like This
Don't ever just accept something, follow the evidence. Don't just accept there is evidence, study it, experience it firsthand, if possible. Think. Society stabilizes through doubt, not certainty, knowing leads to not trying, not learning. Knowing isn't really knowing, it's a combination of faith and apathy. Thinking is security, a blend of skepticism and activism, curiosity and caring, initiative and interaction. Don't just trust, justify rationally, and rationalize justly. Trust is good, only if it is trustworthy. Don't just know, think.
The WriterThe WriterThe Writer6 years ago in Philosophical More Like This
I have a name, but Im dont want to tell you it. Actually, I dont need to tell you it, because even if you knew it, youd never find me.
Because there are probably more than a thousand of me-at least, people with the same name-around where I live, maybe millions worldwide.
Thus I live in this world, longing for individuality, but being individual makes you weird.
So Im not telling you my name because its really not that important.
This world I live in is strange. Everyone judges.
I live in a world where youre fat if you wear size six jeans, because the -cough- acceptable size is like -3.
I live in a world where music is cuss words and bad influences.
I live in a world where you can fail all through school but still make more money than those who tried.
In fact, I live in a world revolving around money.
I live in a world where beauty gets you farther than talent, skill, and hard work.
I live in a world conditione