The Thirteenth ManThere's a saying; a red dawn brings bloodshed.
Unfortunately, from where I was standing, that red dawn seemed to be guaranteed. We were in orbit above Aurvandil's Toe, drifting above the night-side of the planet. But the system's star - a red dwarf - was starting to make its presence known. The first sliver of the sun was creeping out from behind the world, splashing a sanguine light across our humble defensive fleet, and through my ship's bridge.
We numbered no more than a dozen, and the Dain's Legacy must have carried half our guns. The archaic cruiser set me in mind of some ancient beast from the primordial ocean's depths; his hull was egg-shaped, and made up of a patchwork of re-fitted armour plates, while his main battery trailed from his stern, mounted on half-a-dozen, immense mechanical tentacles.
The rest of us were no more than gunboats or monitors, huddled behind the Legacy like fish trailing in the wake of a storm-whale.
I caught myself r
I Exist for YouYour hand is on my chest. "I can't feel your heartbeat." you say.I Exist for You5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I nod, staring out the window, my mind on other things. I can feel your fingers, working their way under my bra, hot, burning my hidden skin. But it's just fat and flesh to me - even as the pulse in your tiny veins accelerates, excited. The backs of my thighs are sticking to the faded and frayed vinyl of the bus seat, because, for some reason, the heaters are on in late May.
"I love you." you say.
"Me too." I'm still not looking at you. The truth is, I can't feel my pulse either, and that scares me, more than you scare me.
Then your fingers are suddenly on my chin, forcing my head in your direction. "What are you thinking about?"
Without hesitation, I answer. "Children's names. I can't think of any good ones for girls."
You laugh, and it's like the Earth being born. "How about Miranda?"
I smile, and giggle, just for you. You need it, after all. "I like Adrianna better."
"You and your old fashioned names."
I tap you on th
If I Were a PoetIf I were a poet I'd spin you a lineIf I Were a Poet6 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
An embroidery of words etched in silvery twine
A tapestry woven of rhythm and rhyme
And stitch it all up with each tittle and jot
If I were a poet but a poet I'm not.
If I were a poet I'd cook you a stew
A lyrical soup, a most nourishing brew
With couplets for gravy and iamb for my rue
And boil it in a pentameter pot
If I were a poet but a poet I'm not.
If I were a poet we'd take to the seas
With paragraph sails and a literate breeze
And sail on our starship to far galaxies
We'd keep captain's logs of the treasures we sought
If I were a poet but a poet I'm not.
If I were a poet I'd write you a page
Full of musical wisdom so rhyming and sage
A verse to let open the door to your cage
And give you the taste of the freedoms you've sought
If I were a poet but a poet I'm not.
The Book of MechanicusIn the beginning, there was Man. (sysDef://curious>>chaotic>>primitive>)The Book of Mechanicus6 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Man toiled, warred, and evolved. Man learned, forgot, and changed.
And at the height of Man's progress, Man created Machine, in his image and likeness. (sysRef://1936a.d.>>Z1>>filepath15a26)
And Man looked upon its creation, and saw that it was good.
Man used Machine to change, grow, adapt. In return, Man helped Machine to evolve, learn, and develop, until both Man and Machine reached the Limit of Binary. (sysRef://2632a.d.>>terminal_population_size>>filepath61b33)
Man turned to the stars, seeking adventure, power, and knowledge. Man took Machine beyond the Rim, and Machine learned Gratitude.
Machine aided Man in colonizing the stars, exploring new worlds. Man expanded its influence, adopting new ideals and variables into its swirling, undulating reach, ever striving for a higher purpose. And where Man found limitless potential
time-spinning, frail organsdecembertime-spinning, frail organs6 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
i signed the form today, the dark clouds beyond your window--swollen with rain, bruising the sky--echoing the mood trapped behind closed doors. at six, i took your bandaged hand--careful, dear, you told me six months ago. don't bump the i.v.--and whispered goodbye with my tears. i whispered my secrets before you let yourself go.
do you remember growing up? we were twenty-four, fresh out of college, and you were beautiful. your crimped-up, decked-out, rust-red-tinted hair smelled of black licorice markers and cups of chai tea. i buried myself in its webs that night. begged you to take me away.
and you did, love. the sway of your hips kissing mine stopped the world, and for ten seconds, i forgot what you told me. for a moment, i forgot you were already moving on.
your eyes were yellow, feverish, the frailty of your failing organs much too
VindicationThe good news was, he was telling the truth; Rusty really wasn't the werewolf. The bad news was, the silver bullet still killed him instantly.Vindication4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Your Eyes Are UnafraidI'm unsure of my fractured pendulum (time is now vague).Your Eyes Are Unafraid7 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
I watched you laugh up dust mites and bathe in lies.
Day-old saliva drowns your words--but not your heart.
Your mouth is frayed edges of the dark
phrases that seep from your stormy lips.
Typhoons of mistaken love (you wanted to believe I was her)
are lasting in the single digits
I'm unsure of my fractured pendulum (time is now vague).
Android fingers lurch from underneath the bed,
I scream, expecting her, but it's the Bogeyman.
She happens to be hiding there, deep inside his skin
It wasn't just my imagination because
I watched you laugh up dust mites and bathe in lies.
"One can't ever be unafraid, we're all cowardly."
I'm afraid you'll have to leave; those lessons have become
integrated into master-locked brains so I'll never forget:
Day-old saliva drowns your words--but not your heart.
That Is The QuestionTo be...That Is The Question5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
...or not to be.
I never had any patience for Hamlet. He never asked the right questions.
Live or die. Do it or don't. Man up or back down. Jesus, make a choice. Either make a move or remove your influence from the gene pool. Better yet, ask what you really want to know.
Would it make a difference? Is there a right way to go about this?
Life and death, right and wrong. You can call it whatever you want, but it's still the same thing. When the time comes for you to fall, one way or the other, the impact will hurt the same way. The ground over there is just as hard as is it over here.
At the time, it was simple.
If you want to know the truth (most people don't), I knew it was wrong. All those little ribbons floating in the water were supposed to stay inside. They tied all the pieces and chunks together and I just let them unfurl out of me.
In that moment, I fancied myself a magician.
It just keeps coming. And you don't know how it got there. After al
Mission“Your mission, should you choose to accept it...”Mission2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
“Choose, you said. I never got a choice before. I don’t want to do it.”
“You don’t get a choice.”
“I lied. Your mission, whether you choose to accept it or not, is to venture to the dread caves of Rh’th’g’th’fl’th’gx...”
“Thanks. Where was I? Venture... caves... kill Certain Death Demon Monster... bring back tusks. I think that covers it.”
“I did say.”
“What was the other option you mentioned?”
“So it’s death or Certain Death?”
“Still, gosh, a choice!”
smile.An observationsmile.6 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
I cannot ignore is that
people should smile more.
To OthelloCome, my lord,and we will makeTo Othello5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that legendary beast -
your dark against my light
among these shadows
on the wall.
Let me soothe that livid pucker
from your doubting skin
and rend the jealous knit
of your jerkin
like a slow weave against my breasts.
Let me sweeten the wine -
honey singing in the gourd,
drowning his false words
in a stupor,
just a viper lost at duskling
that my lips can ease
into an afterthought.
this handkerchief is pure,
chaste as the light
that beats upon our names,
threatening this house;
and the envy of lesser men
weighs upon me here
like war drugged children
left dreaming in your fingers.
Thief - Part 1It was just after midnight when Wren slipped through the railings, his narrow frame scraping flakes of black gloss onto the front of his polo-neck. The night was a cold one, especially so far away from London's warmth, but the clouds that cloaked the sky helped take the edge off. Even better, they gagged the treacherous stars, leaving the torches of the patrolling guards to stand out like spears of light in the gloom.Thief - Part 15 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Keeping low and smooth as a cat, Wren slunk across the rolling lawn towards the warmer lights of the manor house. The caution was perhaps unnecessary. His patchwork outfit of greens, browns and dusky greys made him as much a part of the landscape as the fruit-tree shadows, laid out like darker pieces of night on the precision-trimmed grass.
He reached the outer wall without exciting incident from either inside the house or out, and paused to gently unwind the scarf from his face. The night smelt starched and taut, full of alert minds and with a hint of salt that vanished
Nathan Hale, Bibles and SuchNathan Hale, Bibles and Such7 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
Of Nathan Hale, Bibles and Such
Diana had white gloves on. She was turning the pages, not knowing where to look. And not knowing where to find something in a Bible is a very daunting task. Especially when youre looking for a handwritten note in the margins, and not something you can look up in an index. She was carefully flipping page by page through Deuteronomy, and then Leviticus, and I couldnt help wondering what on earth Nathan might have been taking notes on in Leviticus. Though in his defense, I have notes in my Leviticus.
We were looking for Nathan Hales signature. In Nathan Hales Bible. While standing in (what is arguably) Nathan Hales house.
My heart was racing. I was bent over the book so close that if I were in a museum I would have been scolded. Except I was in a museum of sorts, and Diana was right there, nose in book with me.
Thief - Part 3There were a lot of stairs down to the basement, and their problems began before they even reached ground level.Thief - Part 35 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
"Ssh!" hissed the selkie. "Hear that?"
The servants' staircase had none of the fine decoration of the rest of the manor house. In the bare, windowless space, every footfall and sound from the house seemed magnified.
"Joanna," chimed a voice from somewhere beyond the barren walls. "Where are you, Joanna?"
Joanna opened her mouth, but Wren clamped a hand over it.
"Don't," he hissed. "She's seeking you. If you speak, they'll know exactly where you are. Then we're all screwed."
"I know you can hear me, Joanna." The voice was like caramel spread over silk. "Please say something."
Eyes wide, the girl nodded her understanding. Wren released her and the group continued down the staircase, a little more carefully than before. Nanook led the way, Joanna in the middle and Wren bringing up the rear.
"Joanna," said a new voice, stretc
Vamps and Hunters1. Family is everything. Bill unwrapped another lemon hard candy and popped it in his mouth. It did little to mask the stench of vampire and rot, but it was soothing.Vamps and Hunters2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Cavanaugh was the rotted out shell of a town, but Cerani was in there somewhere, hiding behind the newly erected wall of iron, silver, and oak. He'd have been lying if he said he wasn't troubled by this.
“What are you up to, Cerani Tam?” he asked.
2. It was easy to hate a man like Whit Juniper, Cerani decided as she ran. He wasn't just bad luck, he was the father of all catastrophes. The chain connecting their wrists pulled too tight. The bus driver gunned the engine and sped off through the open gate. It slammed shut as the bus passed.
“Guess that means no elimination round,” Whit said. When he stopped running, she had to stop and she didn't want to. She wanted to follow that bus until the driver took pity and stopped to let her on. “Left behind” meant disqualification, failure, and th
RevengeRevengeRevenge6 years ago in Horror More Like This
"The barren escape that lies within death's door cannot withstand the hands that will bestow mercy based on God's judgment upon those that sin. He will relieve his might upon you, but his true indignation will possess my body. The blood of my own runs from my hands, and stream before me, yet my tears withstand this flame upon my soul. The love that we once shared, is but a sword with the power to drag you to hell, as I grip its handle. The red that stains my body, of flesh to my own, cannot be cleansed by the purest water. The demons only await my final wrath that will tremor the heavens true. The only haven of protection you will find will be in the lake of the malicious. I hear the seeds of Satan's pride and joy forever fun themselves by providing a torture fit for the potential Antichrist Do not worry my love, for I will soon know the thrill and excitement that flavo
Deal With the Grey OneScathed, was the night under an easy moonDeal With the Grey One6 years ago in Other More Like This
Crept seethingly over, an injured breath
Faint, such a creature, and it did swoon
"At last," said he, "I'll catch my death"
It was his wish, at such a time
He knew himself, no more than swine
No more than dirt, no more than dark
When candle'd lit, he doused the spark
with dreams a'frayed, he hence set forth
Not he, feel weary against price to pay
Humbled fingers that touched not the earth
He looked for light and knew its worth
Black eyes, sunk cheeks, lips puckered still
Brow bent in shame, tensed since such berth
Of whence the grey man took him ill
But he would not let his mind wander
In such a atrocities and nuisance squander
He knew, it was not him to blame
There be other reasons, for his own shame
Torn against tides of a weathering heart
He took the waves in shameful plunder
His soul, drawn paintings of wicked art
For all about him, he looked down beneath
A mirror, reflecting every painful a look
And whence he look'd in such eyes of grief
Dancing with the DeadYou love to dance with the dead,Dancing with the Dead6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
tango warm in the dark
as your slippers
barely skim the night
under the willow spun moon.
You let them lead you
and pull you close
and gently trace
the blues of your face,
where stars hunt and steal
like shadow puppets.
You let them court you
and bed you,
the intimate twitch
of your silk
parting under fingers
that beg to touch your memories.
You let them explore
and feast on
the mystery of your limbs
as they fall against the sky,
watching you move
like a ghost
out under the slippery elms,
plucking ragged fire
from your youth.
A sad little poemThe roses are dead,A sad little poem8 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the violets are too,
our kisses are spectral,
but I still love you.
A sad little poem,
for a sad little girl.
She who's heart knows no bounds,
as I raise my glass of milk and alcohol,
wash the sweet, bitter, slight burning
down my smoke-wracked throat.
Here's one for the happiness, love,
that we'll feel one day.
Another for the trust in you, in me,
even in times so hard.
One more for the love I give,
and again for yours, my love.
I stood outside and watched the moon,
it didn't go anywhere, like I expected,
it just shone a little brighter,
so did your star.
Here, hold this, it's my heart,
be careful with it, cause like a cliche,
it's so fragile.
You know, there's only so many times,
I can fix the damned thing
and I keep breaking it, so here you go.
Hold it tight to your breast,
nestle it gently on a chain
around your slender neck.
One day, when I pepper your
throat with tender kisses,
I'll remember it's there
and I'll stop and smile.
I'll whisper my love for you,
DeadlineDeadlines. Oh, how Langston Parker hated deadlines. They always seemed to crawl toward him at first, picking their way leisurely through weeks of plotting and typing and revising and retyping; but then they suddenly screamed, "BOO!" and leaped out from behind his computer monitor to torment him through the final weeks leading up to publication. His editors loved setting them. He was all too adept at breaking them.Deadline9 years ago in Horror More Like This
He leaned forward in his computer chair, squinting at the screen through eyes clouded from lack of sleep. Four empty mugs stood at easy reach around him, resting on stacks of discarded manuscript. Stacks that were growing taller with every passing hour when they should have been shrinking – the Day of Reckoning was a mere seventy-two hours away, and he still had fourteen chapters to write.
The bags under his eyes twitched, as though encouraging the lids above them to close. Parker blinked them into submission and rested his fingers on the keyboard once more. They spit out a s
Last OrdersLast Orders5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was Death
And Hell followed with him.
"Time at the bar, gentlemen!"
Gary rang the bell, signalling closing time at the Pale Horse. He loved to ring the bell it was his nightly ritual. Twice nightly, actually. Sometimes, when the regulars like Lloyd wouldn't leave, he even let himself ring the bell a third time.
That wouldn't happen tonight, though. It was Monday night. No-one ever stayed late on Monday night. One day, something interesting would happen on a Monday. Gary knew this: just as he knew that Lloyd would appear at 6 o'clock every evening to prop the bar up. One Monday, the bar would collapse on him. Or Lloyd wouldn't turn up. It hadn't happened tonight, though. Nor the Monday before. In fact, something interesting had failed to happen on every Monday in Gary's memory: which was probably why he hated Mondays. Even the word was rubbish heavy and charmless, like a sack o
Designing Intelligent Aliens: The Essential GuideThis guide is meant as an aide for the prospective science fiction writer, game designer or world-builder wishing to incorporate extraterrestrial elements, in order to improve quality and rationality of the created works. It is not so much a “How To”, which would broach multiple sciences and require a profound understanding of each of these, but a “Before You Go On”, things to consider, wrinkles that need ironing out rather than a methodology. Issues that I bring up here do not necessarily make a choice impossible – you must simply figure out a way around them.Designing Intelligent Aliens: The Essential Guide2 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Herein I will be dealing with sapient species, intelligent beings, if you will, since this is where artists’ and writers’ imaginations most often fall short. Here I must distinguish between sentience and sapience – sentient species are aware of their surroundings (which is to say, just about anything more complex than a jellyfish qualifies, even ants), whereas sapient
CeciliaCecilia5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It is a truth insufficiently acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good education may become easily dissatisfied with the prospect of matrimony and marriage.
Miss Katherine Godbehere, known to all as Kitty, was the very exemplar of this unfortunate affliction. She had inherited from her late father, in addition to a benevolent yearly stipend, a prodigious interest in the Sciences, and read avidly every publication put out by the Royal Society. Perhaps as a consequence of the eye-strain caused by poring over such close-worded text, she was predisposed to a slight frown which tended to deter her peers from seeking a closer intimacy. Kitty, in truth, had never noted this restraint on their part, seeking rather the companionship of gentlemen learned in the sciences than young women her own age.
Such it was, therefore, that Kitty's mother, who was confined to her room as an invalid, sought to arrange the event of Kitty's marriage be
HonorIn the distance can be heard,Honor7 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Gunfire, explosions shaking the earth
You can feel the fear rise into the air,
Your breath catches in your throat,
And the only place you want to go,
It is honor that keeps you there,
It's almost like you aren't aware,
Of being on this lonely road
Everything turns black!
Just when you thought,
You had made it through,
You have come under attack!
Memories quickly flash,
But training quickly brings you back,
To the here and now!
You've got to get out somehow!
You have walked away,
The blood that stains your arm,
Is a small price to pay,
For a life not in the grave
Pillars of smoke and angry fire,
Are consuming everything,
And yet in the distance,
You could swear you hear a child sing...
I have been there,
I have seen it with my own two eyes,
So many nightmares,so many times I've cried,
So many have died
Some scars we bare, they don't heal
Sometimes it's hard, to see what's real
Sometimes it's hard to feel...
I still remember...