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About Literature / Professional Julian M. Miles - a.k.a. JaeMale/United Kingdom Recent Activity
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Literature
Seventeen Moons 'Til Doomsday
The young man is wearing a vantablack bodysuit that leaves only his face discernible. Matching cloak, gloves and boots are stacked next to the log he sits on. A sensor-laden facemask lies in his hand as he starts speaking.
“You wanted this. So, no interruptions.”
The video drone settles into a hover. A voice emerges from it: “Whenever you’re ready, Captain Tane. Just tell us when you’re done.”
He nods, then stares into the lens with disturbing intensity.
“Vampires? Werewolves? I wish. Like anyone facing a Kastonen, I wish for the mythical horrors of my youth. I’d even face them in packs.
Their vessels descended on rural Iowa and the Ukok Plateau, the former attracting far more attention than one in the wilds of Siberia. By the time the US military had laid waste to a significant amount of Iowa and still failed, the snow leopard was extinct in the wild, along with most other fauna on the Ukok Plateau, and in adjacent territories.
Kastonen
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Literature
Never the Shroud for a Good Man
It’s easy to spot strangers round here. They’re the ones who call the grass-banked sewer on my right a canal.
“And in those days of tribulation, the faithful called unto Old Peace, but his thing was endurance without fighting, so he answered not. When the Ruiner of Empires unleashed the twin demons Druntha and Thacha, the people rebelled, invoking Marilyn of the Twin Desires in the name of the Virgin Queen and the Unseen King.”
I listen to the preacher, reluctantly impressed by his hybridisation of twentieth and twenty-first century politics with pop culture to form a gutter religion that has a host of gods but only one commandment: spend as much time as possible out of your mind on whatever drugs you can find because the world has gone to shit.
Even with my possibly loftier view, I have days when I wholeheartedly agree. Today isn’t one of them.
“Shields. You owe.”
I feel the business end of something big enough to kill a lorry touch the back o
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Literature
Freya's Choice
We dash around a long curve that should get us out of their sights for a while.
“In all those old films we watched, fighting the evil empire involved a lot less running away from angry warriors with frighteningly accurate weapons.”
Freya looks back, snaps off a deterring shot, grins at me, then looks ahead before replying: “The accurate ones are million-credit death machines. They won’t risk them in pursuing rabble.”
“We’re rabble? I thought the word was ‘rebel’?”
“Semantics, Paul, semantics. We’re the opposition. Any name that distinguishes us from the Roekuld is fine.”
“That’s remarkably accommodating of you. Now, how do we avoid being called ‘dead’?”
She lashes out, flicking the end of my nose: “Less sarcasm.”
We pelt down a featureless corridor somewhere in the outer hull maintenance spaces of a Margantor-class interstellar dreadnought, the pinnacle of Roekuld int
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Literature
Down Time
The bridge is quiet. After the last escapade, everyone’s resting in some way or other. I do my down time relaxation up here, working through the after-battle reports to assess where we can improve.
“Captain Dulles.”
I look up and back to see Scarven, our Edmari pilgrim, floating serenely in the middle of the observation dome, fronds curling and uncurling with hypnotic grace.
“Yes, Holy Scarven?”
It sculls itself about so the primary eyes can regard me.
“Scarven will do. We are both peer-ranked dignitaries, in our ways.”
I nod.
“Thank you. How can I help?”
It back-paddles to stop its drift toward me.
“I have spent many homeworld-duration years contemplating humanity in all it’s diverse forms. I have come to appreciate the loud art you call music and understand the reasons why you are enamoured of fighting. But, in this moment of quiet contemplation between police aggressions that you call down time, I find myself returnin
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Literature
The Evil That We Do
On a far balcony, people are starting to panic. A crystal goblet flashes rainbow reflections as it tumbles, the hand that held it snatched backwards so quickly the goblet falls straight down. The holder was my target: now more a thing of art and geography than a man in an expensive suit.
“Successful removal noted. You are stood down while the projection is reconfigured for this deduction.”
I heave a sigh, drop down, and crawl from the rooftop. The heat radiated by the air conditioning stacks should conceal my presence from thermoscans and my stealth suit will keep me from being seen, providing I move slowly. Laborious manual checking of security footage might find me, but will reveal nothing. Just another anti-corporate fanatic distinguished by the use of an anti-personnel missile instead of a rifle or bomb. They know about the theft of the missiles and will write this off as an unfortunate occurrence of domestic use. I must have bought it from the organisation who stole th
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Literature
Smoke Break
The tip of the cigarette glows red as I slowly inhale. The taste of the black tobacco momentarily overwhelms my receptors. I wind their sensitivity down and cancel the ‘inhaled toxin’ warnings.
The second drag goes down without alerts. I exhale and look about the swamp. A lone raptor, some serpentine vulture, is target marked, identified as ‘Pargorn, male, mature’, and then dropped from targeting as a non-threat. Apart from the lizard-bird, the sub-tropical wilderness about me is devoid of anything bigger than the occasional ‘Rogan’ – a bloodsucking mosquito/dragonfly hybrid that strikes like a high-velocity bullet.
I see one land on my forearm, slam its proboscis down, and watch the rebound crack the back of its tiny skull. It falls off, adding itself to the scattering of brain-impaled Rogans on the ground around me.
My third inhalation raises that question again: why do I smoke? I’m a cyborg. My only organic bits are inside a brain case
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Literature
Honour the Bride
“If any can show just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let them now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold their peace.”
The traditional silence falls. Then a grating voice sounds in everyone’s minds.
“I speak for the dead. Conrad Conal Mulligan, your debt is due. Before whichever god is invoked and these witnesses, they call blood toll upon thee.”
Heads turn as the groom spins on his heel, away from the bride. The best man lunges to catch her as she collapses.
Three white-masked figures stand at the end of the aisle. Candlelight flickers on demonic faces and reflects from the polished surfaces of weapons. The robed giant on the left and the suited midget on the right cradle blasters. The kilted figure between them clutches a long knife in a white-knuckle grip. It lowers the blade and steps forward with left arm extended, clenched fist dripping slow drops of crimson rebuke onto the worn flagstones.
Francesca looks up from where she crou
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Literature
On the Way Home
The cube of recycled plastic is labelled ‘Egg Mayonnaise’ and filled with a yellow paste. I don’t know what ‘Mayonnaise’ is, but egg’s one of the healthy stuffs listed on the Daily Reader’s ‘Top 20 Stuffs to Eat’.
Always liked the Reader; it doesn’t use long words and the articles always carry the Ministry of Information’s ‘Short is Good’ mark.
I try a bit while I wait. Sort of fizzy and sweet but a little bit gritty to stop it being boring. Good stuff, just like the Reader says.
I check the instruction label. Drat. Says you can’t dollop it into your mug-of-hot. It’s a red circle warn-off, too. This is the real deal. Mix it with hot stuffs and it could kill you.
“You want Cee or Tea?”
Her skin shines and her hair’s wet. Running a vending machine is hot work. But, it’s good money, and you’re paid to exercise. The treadmill she’s on keeps the machine eco-friendly
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Literature
Toy Soldiers
The wind up here is gentle, bringing the smell of summer fields from the uplands. Below my bloodied feet the valley stretches from side to side as far as I can see, so wide I can only just make out the verdant walls that line the far side.
This precipice, I’ve always loved it. From standing with my face defiantly turned into the winter wind, to lying beside my first love with the stars of a spring night scattered above, I’ve always come up here when emotions exceed words.
The fires in the valley are dying. By tomorrow morning, they’ll be able walk in numbed awe between the wrecks, looking for relatives and seeking to rescue or to grant mercy. It’s been a bitter eight days and the crimes committed have no witnesses left to raise challenge totems in search of justice.
Justice. Both sides claimed to possess it. If actions speak louder than words, then what I’ve just walked from proves neither side cares about justice or even decency. We went in like berserker
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Literature
Some Questions
The laboratory is quiet at last. Carrie crouches down to retrieve a champagne bottle. As it’s not quite empty, she drinks the rest and stands up, pausing to let a lightheaded moment pass. Dropping the bottle into the bin, she turns and utters a little scream on finding a grey-suited woman standing there.
“Who are you? What are you doing? Where’s your ID?”
The woman smiles.
“I’m Linda. I’m here to talk about the necrophone. I don’t need one, I’m not with the faculty.”
“Oh, alright. You should really be talking to Professor Dangmar, he invented it.”
Linda plucks a half-empty bottle of whisky from a table, wipes the neck with a corner of her jacket, and takes a swig before offering it.
Carrie grins and takes it. Resting her butt against a desk, she takes a swig and, coughing, passes it back.
“Whoa.” She gasps.
Linda nods and settles next to Carrie.
“Tennessee fine. Never a dull mouthful. So, before I
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Literature
Trojan
The bulb swings in lazy figure eights on its long cable. Somewhere in the darkness above, there must be a breeze. The shifting light is doing more to soften me up than the ministrations of the knuckledragger dancing round my chair like he’s fighting with someone who’s not tied to one.
“Talk!”
I smile carefully because my face already resembles mushy steak: “Pick a topic.”
He hits me again: “What I asked!”
I straighten up: “Must’ve slipped my mind.”
He hits me again.
“Oh, that.”
And again.
“I came to kill your boss like I killed Wallace, Kitson, and Gadro.”
Again.
“If you hit me whether I talk or not, I may as well not.”
Once again.
“No more lies! They took their enemies with them in a blaze of glory!”
I look up at him: “No need to shout.”
And again.
Every time, a gut shot followed by a cross. It may be cliché, but it gets the job done. I’m going to be
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Literature
Growing Back
The snow is so fine it sometimes drifts about for hours before finally settling. The result is a mist that makes everything vague before fallen snow obscures it completely. This being acid snow, obscuring may become erasure when thawing drenches everything in acid.
On organics, the snow is quicker to harm. Every member of our group has snowburn – blotches where snow melted on contact and scarred the skin. You’ve got to be well covered to survive out there. Even the toughest organics have a lifespan measured in days, which drops to hours if any snow is allowed to melt on whatever it is.
Every lair has a sluice, where those coming in are rinsed thoroughly as soon after entry as sensible. Filtering the water used is a continuing nightmare, as we can’t let it contaminate our potable supplies and even the vapours are noxious to varying degrees.
“Rack and ruin, rain and burn, will we see another turn?”
It’s a well-known rhyme, used to keep those who pedal
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Literature
Ashes and Dirt
I see her shoulders tense, then one hand releases as the other arm swings out and round. Ashes form a plume on the wind.
“He’s gone, Darion. Free at last.” Essa blinks back tears as she smiles at me. There’s a release in her eyes, a relief and a parting. The peace she so desperately sought has finally found her.
She watches as I think, my reply lost in the churn of memories. The man she mourns had my back across thirty worlds and ninety campaigns. We held the line at Rokuna and were part of the rearguard at the retreat from Sebastien. I held him up after he lost a leg to Blemenase Marauders off Shiristan, forming a three-legged fire team those brutal, poetic bastards still sing myth-songs about. Barely a year later he carried me from the ruins of Depnu, leaving my arms behind.
Powered prosthetics with shield generators became our trademark. On Talkinur we went from military service to mercenary elite without a blink. That’s where we were when an air condit
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Literature
Get Your Man
The truck crests the ridge with a loud whine from the drive servos momentarily rising above the sound of tyres on rough ground.
“There!”
A slim figure leans against a rocky outcrop: shirtless, barefoot, a cigarette hanging from her mouth.
Sheriff Ron Cheadle slaps Deputy Cal Danvers: “We got her. Grab your gun and let’s finish this.” He grabs Cal’s shoulder: “And no staring. Y’hear me?”
Cal nods. His fear has already overridden his usual interest in a lady wearing only briefs. He exits the vehicle and brings his pistol to bear: “Brigitte Noma, place your hands behind your head and kneel on the ground.”
She holds up her cigarette: “Couple of minutes.”
Ron’s not having any of it, leveling a shotgun: “Now.”
She shrugs and flicks the half-finished smoke toward them. Moving slowly, she complies with the instructions.
“Happy?”
Ron nods his head toward her.
Cal steps wide, then approach
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Literature
Monstrous
“‘The shell is the key’? He said that?”
“Yes. The carapace is the most remarkable aspect of this truly unusual species. In layman’s terms, it’s a pico-honeycomb that has all the useful properties of a hybrid of Kevlar and graphene. Add the light-diffusing filaments that cover it and it’s a perfect natural armour against our weaponry.”
“I always thought the ability to resist our weaponry was a bit too convenient.”
“The ‘tailored genocide’ and ‘monsters under control’ rumours? Scientist-Commander Greven says they’re nothing but conspiracy theories. Even with humanity on the brink, civilisation still needs urban legends.”
“So what has he come up with?”
“It’s an ultra-low frequency sound weapon, derived from some obscure Third Reich research.”
“Good grief, he went a long way back.”
“That’s why Scientist-Commander Greven leads us.
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Literature
Depths
I’ve travelled distances that make oceans seem like ponds. I’ve dealt with solar flares and meteor storms, flown half-blind and bleeding from situations that would make a sane man scream for his mother.
As I look up at the snow-white spume that tops this towering wall of grey water, I realise I am a tiny being and for all that I’ve endured, the depths of my terror had not been plumbed until this moment.
“Ketse! Stop staring! Get your sodden butt in here so we can close up!”
Christa, captain of this tub, grabs my belt and hauls hard. Once she gets me moving, the spell is broken. I don’t want to stare into the abyss anymore. I nearly knock her down as I scramble inside and throw myself into my couch. With a rapid series of hisses and clicks, the harness engages.
She slams the hatch and slaps the locking lever down under its restraint. Throwing herself into her own couch, she shouts over the mounting noise.
“This one’s going to be bad. Brace
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My third DD!

Thank you.

I shall continue to put words into stories and stories into books.

You folk who comment, favourite, and communicate are why I do this...

And the fact it's way too late to turn it off - even if I wanted to. :)

Thank you.

PS: 'The Courtesy' will be in this year's anthology, 'Never a Sky We Know', which will be published before the end of the year - sorry to be vague; I'm completing a novel (and monthly flash fiction submissions, and the short fiction that pops into my head) and only have one set of paws to type with, so scheduling is my usual 'when I finish this, and that - oh, and that one over there, I'll do it' variety.

My main site is www.lizardsofthehost.co.uk - why not click over and have a browse? I've lots of stuff online.

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Rafellin's Profile Picture
Rafellin
Julian M. Miles - a.k.a. Jae
Artist | Professional | Literature
United Kingdom
Author, publisher, poet, storyteller, project manager, game designer, pagan, and part-time gentleman.

(Profile photo by Maricel Dragan, slitsight.com)
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:iconkittysib:
KittySib Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Kitty kitty - RaveThank you for the llama and have a good day!Kitty kitty - Dont care   
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:iconiantp:
IanTP Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday dude, hope you had a good one :) x
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:iconrafellin:
Rafellin Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Professional Writer
Ta.
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:iconlady-pilot:
Lady-Pilot Featured By Owner May 18, 2018
Happy birthday and best wishes!
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:iconrafellin:
Rafellin Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Professional Writer
Thankee.
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:iconsimonjm:
SimonJM Featured By Owner May 17, 2018
Happy Birthday!  For Rafellin 2018 by SimonJM
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:iconfrankt:
FrankT Featured By Owner May 15, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Tyvm for the Llama :)
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:iconakrasiel:
akrasiel Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2017  Professional Writer
:noes: Another Jae!
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:iconrafellin:
Rafellin Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2017  Professional Writer
Yup. 'Tis only a nickname, though. The name on my books is Julian M. Miles.

Pleased to make your acquaintance, miss.
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:iconakrasiel:
akrasiel Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2017  Professional Writer
Only a nickname for me too, even though that's what's going on my books. :giggle:
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