An invention is a product of the mind and nothing more
The flames rolled and whipped around the giant sphere, tidal waves of burning plasma plunging into whirling sinkholes of incandescent fury. For countless ages this had continued: without rest, without pause the wild riders and flashing manes of coagulations hydrogen had raced around the slowly contracting globe. Finally, after a few more ages had passed, the contractions began to come more quickly. The globe shuddered and pulsed and whined and groaned, shivering and burping and making GBS threads out plumes of fire, spires radiant glory. A sudden tightness, a tiny vibration and, with a silent whisper of regret the star exploded.
The light came first, burning ultraviolet and blinding white, sweeping across countless planets, moons and stars. It screamed over the strange landscapes of distant hills and mountains, destroying life and rock and all that other poo poo into atoms. This light travelled through the galaxy killing and maiming every lifeform before it. Yes everyone died. loving everyone.
Far away, a long time later, longer than you can actually even comprehend, and further away than your mind can possibly fathom, an astronomer doesn’t spot the twinkle in the sky that was caused by the supernova because his loving telescope that he had written a new bit of software for (for which he had applied for a patent no less) didn’t function correctly. And he was just hopping mad, until his assistant (who had been sleeping with the astronomers wife) murdered him so that he could be first named author on the big journal article. A few days later mutually assured destruction destructed the world in a mutually assured way and killed everyone on the planet. Yes, every loving person. And those dudes who were on the moon.
Aeons later the heavier elements that the supernova had formed coalesced into beautiful whirling structures, that mashed together to become vestigial planets, and on one of these planets a bolt of lightning struck some ooze and that tiny chain of life became the distant removed ancestor of your mum, so that, my boy, is why we are here. Fortunately the heat death of will resolve all of this some time in the future, because then everyone really will be dead.
So loving shut up and eat your ice cream.
|# ? Mar 12, 2015 22:42|
|# ? Feb 2, 2023 02:38|
PSA for Sebmojo Entenzahn and Screaming Idiot : I hosed up with the google docs and forgot to make it so that you can see the comments. You should (hopefully) be able to see them now, so you might want to check it again.
Thanks for the wonderful crit! I really did have to reach for a conflict, but I purposely made the military two-dimensional because I wanted to stay true to the kiddy nature of the original song, but you pointed out a lot of stuff that totally escaped my notice while I was writing. You're a totally awesome non-gender-specific bro, Broenheim.
And I'm really, really glad you like my description. I love the idea of a "friendly" robotic uprising. Hell, I'm a sucker for robots, period.
|# ? Mar 12, 2015 23:04|
PSA for Sebmojo Entenzahn and Screaming Idiot : I hosed up with the google docs and forgot to make it so that you can see the comments. You should (hopefully) be able to see them now, so you might want to check it again.
good crit, thanks
|# ? Mar 12, 2015 23:06|
Death of a Tyrant
Prompt: Pseudo-historical fiction
"The age of Infinite Darkness comes," the Dark Lord purred, cigarette hanging from his cracked, bulbous, protruding lips. "Even now my armies ready the death camps. America will burn, and her children will be converted to Islamo-socialists... thus fulfilling my gay agenda."
"Good thing we taxed the job creators into poverty, eh?" Clad only in his spiked S&M straps, Biden knelt before his master. He shivered in the cold -- the Dark Lord's very presence drained all light and warmth from his surroundings, leaving it cold. Dead. Sterile.
"But of course, half-wit! After all," he set the cigarette into his ashtray and poured himself a drink -- French wine mixed with pulped aborted white Christian babies -- and tossed it down in one gluttonous gulp, "redistributed wealth only bolsters my power. If the poor have luxuries like Cadillacs, cell-phones, and refrigerators, they'll break this pathetic nation under the weight of their sin!"
"Praise Atheist Allah!" Biden screamed in heretical furor as he tweaked his pierced nipples. Milk leaked from them, black and viscous, and he was quick to capture the vile ichor in a small vial -- the Dark Lord would sometimes use this blasphemous fluid to flavor his meals of roast dog and Dijon mustard sauce.
"Yes, yes," the Dark Lord muttered, flapping his hand impatiently. Though the great Moon God Atheist Allah was the source of his malefic power, the Dark Lord irked at the thought that others may be greater than him -- it was a flaw of his hybrid blood, and no number of gay abortions could soothe his wretched psyche.
It didn't mean he wasn't going to try, though.
"Tell me, gimp -- what of my daughters? And my brood-mate?" The Dark Lord glared at the tip of another cigarette, and it burst into violet flame. He took the newly lit cigarette and put it in his mouth and tossed the other to Biden, who put it out on his inner thigh with a girlish squeak of rapture.
"Your daughters are running an underaged Girl Scout brothel, just as you ordered them to. They flaunt their wicked forms to tempt good Christian men into sin-"
"Shame they were born female," the Dark Lord mused. "Young boys are so much sweeter..."
Nodding, Biden paused to wipe the viscous drool from his lip. "And your wife is currently traveling the country atop her broom to enforce her new lunchroom edicts. She's replacing wholesome vegetables like ketchup with... with..." he suppressed a gag, "carrots."
The Dark Lord laughed, and a swarm of bloodthirsty gnats swarmed from his gaping, inhuman maw. "Yes! Phallic and disgusting! My mate is cunning indeed!"
"She devoured the confiscated foodstuffs herself," Biden added, "as she must maintain her girth if she's to incubate more spawn."
The Dark Lord nodded. "Let us speak more of FEMA. Have we supplied their drones with the appropriate Ebola and autism-causing vaccines? We can't let the chemtrails lose potency, you know."
"There were some complications with keeping the carbon footprint low, but..." Biden trailed off. "My lord, did you hear that?"
The Dark Lord snarled, forked tongue lashing about his cigarette. "They're on the roof! Call the SS -- the intruders must not be allowed to-"
The roof exploded with a patriotic crash, and four powerfully muscled men leapt from above with steely glares and readied assault rifles, each with magazine capacities so high the Dark Lord dropped his cigarette in sheer heart-wrenching fear.
"Your reign of terror's come to an end," Mitt Romney said, lantern jaw set. "No more will the White House be blackened with your stain!"
The Dark Lord let out a low hiss, like a bucket of Kenyan water poured over a Muslim bonfire of burning Bibles. "You underestimate me -- I am well-protected!"
Biden leapt to his feet and pulled a shotgun from his special hiding place, and without even taking the time to wipe away the bloodied, feculent sludge that coated the barrel he fired at the four patriots. But his aged, weak liberal arms couldn't withstand the sheer majesty of a firearm, and they shattered into useless flaps of bone and meat. He moaned in ecstasy at the agony.
Martin Luther King Jr. took the blast full on, and he crumpled to the ground, torso absolutely pulped, organs leaking out like martyred strawberry jam.
"My dearest friend, Martin! I can't believe you got shot -- again!" Rick Santorum fell to his knees and tore off his red-white-and-blue sweater-vest and wrapped it about Martin Luther King Jr.'s ruined midsection. "Darn that blaugh person! Gosh darn him to heck!"
"It's okay," Martin Luther King Jr. said as blood bubbled up between his lips. "I did what I had to -- my dream turned into a nightmare, as it allowed... him to be elected. But Jesus brought me back so that I might help to end this nightmare! You must secure the existence of your people... and a future for white children..."
"Hush, sweet prince," Rick Santorum murmured, kissing Martin Luther King Jr. on the forehead as he let out a death rattle. "May you return to your separate -- but equal! -- final rest."
"You're going to pay for killing such a great, if somewhat misguided, Conservative hero," Mitt Romney growled. "Corporations may be people, my friend... but you are absolutely inhuman!"
Now useless to him, the Dark Lord disemboweled the crippled Biden with a very Kenyan flick of his limp wrist, and he smirked at the three remaining patriots, baring glistening fangs. "The only dream that has any meaning is the captivatingly Kenyan dream of my father! Behold: my greatest minions!"
The Dark Lord reached into his pocket and removed three acorns, and threw them to the ground where they exploded into large black panthers, each wearing a beret and aviator shades. They snarled threateningly, the blood of white women dripping from their tusks.
"Honkey motherfuckers," one growled.
"Jive-rear end turkeys," hissed the second.
"Y'all best not be votin'," sang the third in a deep, seductive baritone with hints of autotune.
"I got this," said the third patriot, Herman Cain. He pulled a small red and white sphere from his belt and threw it to the ground. It opened, and with a blinding light a smallish yellow rodent with pepperoni cheeks burst forth, crackling with electricity and zesty Italian marinara.
"Hit 'em with the Thunderbolt, Pizzachew!" Herman Cain cried.
"Chew!" the creature replied as it destroyed the black panthers with a bolt of lightning, causing 999 damage. It was super-effective, just as Cain had predicted using his flawless business acumen.
The Dark Lord gaped, then glared at the three patriots.
"Very well," he said at last, eyes glowing with a sulfurous light. He lit three cigarettes at once and placed them between his lips. Foul smoke drifted from his nostrils and ears. "Now I'll show you my true power -- ready yourselves for a true executive order!"
"...and that's when the Dark Lord engaged the three remaining patriots to a multi-stage boss fight," Stuart Lawson, the new transfer student, finished. "They defeated him and that's why he won't be re-elected. And that's my report on the presidential candidates!"
The class stared open-mouthed at the boy, and the teacher let out a slow sigh.
"Stuart," she began, keeping her tone deliberate and even, "where did you get your sources?"
"Oh, from my daddy, and Fox News, and my old textbooks," Stuart said with a nod.
"And where did you come from again?" The teacher surreptitiously reached for her flask.
"Texas!" Stuart replied brightly.
The teacher finished her flask in one gulp and gestured impatiently for the boy to sit.
"NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND!" screamed George W. Bush as he smashed through the window on a froth-mouthed, wide-eyed stallion. He threw his hat to the boy and shot the teacher between the eyes.
"That's what she gets for messin' with Texas!" he screamed as he galloped away. "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, and, well... won't be fooled again!"
As George W. Bush rode into the distance, a glorious eagle soared through the clear blue sky. A single crystalline tear glistened in its golden eye, and behind it streamed the colors of the flag. A lonely guitar played a song too beautiful for the ears of man.
|# ? Mar 12, 2015 23:09|
Noble soul curlingiron has stepped up to fill one of the judgin' seats this week, so pander accordingly.
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 00:31|
twistasaurausing by the pool
The Penthouse Suite
“One more step, darling,” said Rodger. opening paragraph / opening line. There's a hint of the unknown but I'm not grabbed by the entrails.
Valerie took her husband’s hand PAW - be consistent and scurried down into the furnished apartment, where the landlord, Elliott, was waiting, a smile behind his twitching whiskers. You have two subjects in this sentence - get them to fight and see who wins. Scurried is an intersting choice of word here. Could whiskers be misleading?
“Well, here we are,” said Elliott. “Bit of a jaunt to get here, but I’m so pleased to finally show you the finest we have to offer in PentMouse luxury.” He spread his front paws out to his sides. “What are your first impressions? Don’t hold anything back. Be as candid as you can.” PENTMOUSE? Are you pandering? Well done. I remember the stacks of pentmouse I used to find in the woods behind my uncle's shed. They were also candid. And with stuck together pages. But that's not important right now. What's important is that Elliott sounds like a salesperson. Paws means that he definietely of the mouse persuasion which explains scurried. Still - scurrying while paw in paw is an advanced mouse move.
Rodger and Valerie looked around the small circular room. They were surrounded on all sides by frosted glass, separated into six-inch-high panes. Instead of a ceiling, there was only open air, split into quarters by four thick bronze chain-lengths that met in the center and ran straight up to a higher ceiling, made of crown molding. In the room, they could see a couple mats of torn fabric, a few empty spools of thread turned on their sides, and a brown glass bottle that was a millimeter taller than all three of them. Soft piano music echoed through the room’s atmosphere, and bright incandescent lights blazed down from above their heads. I am intrigued by the sizings going on here. A mouse sized glass bottle is a small bottle indeed, but too big for a dollhouse bottle. What could it mean?
“It’s…cozy,” said Rodger, his eyes darting from wall to wall.
“Quite,” said Valerie, brushing her left paw against her whiskers. I know what this means, because mouse. Most people will need perhaps a hint because showing not telling gestures only works if you understand the meanings ofthe gestures.
“Oh, lovely,” said Elliott, clapping his front paws together. “But it’s certainly no hole in the wall, am I right? Here, let me get you something to drink,” he said, Don't use he said here - it's really redundants and combining it with the action makes for a convoluted sentence. Begin another with He grabbed....grabbing a toothpaste-tube cap from under one of the mats of fabric and setting it on the floor.
“Oh, no thank you, we’re fine,” said Rodger.
“No, I insist,” said Elliott as he wrapped his front paws around the large brown bottle and lugged it across the room. “Consider it a—hrnggh—consider it an early housewarming gift.” Having a hard time picturing this. How big is this bottle?
Valerie raised her eyebrows as Elliott unscrewed the bottletop and poured the liquid into the cap, using his whole body to keep it at the right angle. Some of the liquid sloshed onto the glass floor, and the room immediately filled with the suffocating smell of vanilla. OK - so that is a mouse sized bottle. at the same time. WHY IS A BOTTLE OF VANILLA ATOP A CHANDELIER? Elliott set the bottle down and stepped back, breathing heavily. “Phew. No reward without effort, right? Didn’t I say that before, when I was convincing you two to climb down? Go on, take a sip. It’s imported from Madagascar.” He picked up the cap and extended it towards Rodger and Valerie. OK - so I'm not really getting a complelling narrative at this point in the story. Househunters are wanting to rent house. Mouse wants to sell it to them. WHERE IS THE MOUSE ON MOUSE VIOLENCE?
“Madagascar by way of the hotel kitchens?” said Rodger.
Elliott laughed, bent over and slapped his hind leg with his front paw. “Oh, thank whoever’s up there for delivering me tenants with a sense of humor!” he said. “I can tell we’re going to get along just—“ I get that he's overreacting, but he's overreacting to something that doesn't even appear to be a joke, which is odd.
“These lights are really bright,” said Valerie.
“Oh, aren’t they?” said Elliott, grinning.
“No, no, they’re hurting my eyes,” said Valerie. She rubbed her eyes with her left paw. “I think—“
She staggered to the side, reaching out for something to brace herself with. Rodger rushed over to help her.
“Don’t worry,” said Elliott, wringing his paws in front of his chest. “Don’t worry about it. Takes a bit of getting used to, that’s all. By the third month or so, you won’t even notice—“ bOk - a wrinkle in the narrative. The light is too bright! That's thrilling and chilling and not really.[/b]
“I think we’ll be going,” snapped Rodger as he held his wife up, whose eyes were starting to roll back in her head. “Just close your eyes and keep holding onto my tail, dear.” They both made their way back towards the chain holding the room up.
“Wait!” Elliott shouted after them as they climbed. “I have plenty left to show you! Storage space! All eight balconies! You can’t beat the—“
Elliott stood still for a second, listening to the bare chain jingle in the still air. “—view,” he finished.
Elliott picked up the half-empty toothpaste tube cap and drank from it, then made a face as he spat the liquid back into the cup. He strode over to the other side of the room and lifted one of the mats up, revealing a hole in the floor. He poured the liquid out through the hole, mumbling to himself. Why did he offer propective tenants something that tasted like poo poo/
Six stories below the ceiling of the atrium, during the middle of Clair de Lune, the hotel pianist felt a spot of wetness on his forehead. He looked up, half-expecting to see rainclouds In a hotel?, but only saw the hotel’s antique chandeliers, swinging lightly from side to side.
You really don't do enough work here to have a story. If I told you a tale of how I went looking at a house with my partner and we turned it down because it had paint fumes from a nearby factory, that would be a very boring story indeed and you would rightly say 'interesting' and then go and immediately talk to someone else while I cried and resolved never to go to another of your parties you miserable bastard and drank to much and had to be carried home. Nobody wants that. Mice - yes, good. Mice renting a chandelier with potential landlord - yes, quirky, interesting premise. But TWIST- MICE DON"T LIKE IT BECAUSE ITS BRIGHT AND SO THEY< GET THIS< STOP ME< GET THIS>>>>They leave is pretty loving dull.
Lets see what the rexy wrote
The House on Grove Street
As far as the playground was concerned, the only thing scarier than Mrs. Hart’s tests was the haunted house at the end of Grove Street. The exact nature of the haunting was up for constant schoolyard debate. Most thought it was either vampires or ghosts but there was a small consensus who swore by witches. Some voted for werewolves. A few people even insisted that Mrs. Hart lived there. As for me, I was ten years old and I didn’t believe in any of that nonsense.
“I don’t believe in monsters,” I said,to who? You just repeated yourself from the previous paragraph, but not told me who you're talking to. kids, obvs, “Because I’m not a stupid little kid.”
But, standing on the front porch of the dilapidated mansion, I didn’t feel near as brave. I silently cursed the laws of the double-dog dare. I tried to look cool, though. to who - who is the audience? How did he try to look cool? Tried to ignore the fact that every haunted house stereotype was screaming: GO HOME YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. THE THREE INVESTIGATORS AND THE HOUSE OF THE SCREAMING STEREOTYPE - there's an inconsistency between being able to recognise the stereotype and yet not ignore it - you could put that down to age, but it undercuts either mood you might be trying to create.Howling wind? Check. Banging shutters? Check. Long, creepy grass? Why is grass creepy? Could it be the fact that it could be concealing a body, or a grave, or is it more that it's drunk at a wedding and leering at someone's niece way too young for it?Check. Strange sounds coming from within the house that could literally be anything? Double check. Doubling down on doubles in this paragraph
I turned back to my friends, safe on their bikes on the other side of the fence, and gave them a thumbs up while I tried not to pee my pants. Oh, look! There's the audience, over the fence.
“Not scary at all!” Said the scary ghost with the face like melting bums, mysteriously appearing beside the unatributed words
The door opened behind me and a voice asked, “What’s not scary?”
I froze. My friends took off screaming. Even though they could see behind me - this better be a scary thing... I may or may not have pee-peed too juvenile - he's already used pee a little.
“What’s not scary?” the voice repeated.
I would have ran, I probably should have ran, but I was a stupid kid and the voice itself wasn’t very spooky. It sounded a lot like my own voice. OMG IT'S HIMELFWhich is a lot creepier in retrospect. Oh, thanks for letting me know subtly right At the time, though, it was just confusing.
“Greetings,” said a little boy in the doorway,“I’m Langley.” TERRIFYINGly not actually himself BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE RAN SCREAMING FOR NO REAL REASON
He looked a lot like me. Same height. Same sandy brown hair. He smiled.Clone ghosts? Time travelling ones? Could be cool.
“Uh. Yo,” I said.
“Mother and Father aren’t home,” he said, “But perchance you would like to come inside and play?” hmm, snobs and toffs aren't that terrifying really
“Uh. Yeah. Sure.”
The decayed foyer was massive. Maybe bigger than my entire house. And you could see where it used to be fancy. There was an old chandelier hanging from the top of the vaulted ceiling. There were two curling, dilapidated staircases reaching towards a second floor. some nice economy of scene setting here.
“You live here?”
“I do,” he said, “Ten, eleven decades, perhaps? I’m not sure.” BUT ITS JUST A BOY! HOW IS HE SO OLD?
The stupid gears in my stupid brain turned
“You can see the whole town through that window. This house was constructed with the utmost in strategic planning this sentence rings clumsy to my ear. Care to look?”
He placed one hand on a broken banister and motioned with the other for me to join him on the stairs.
“Quick question,” I said, as the gears finally clicked into place, “Are you a ghost?” OR A TERRIFYING CLONE GHOST FROM THE FUTURE WITH PEE UNLEASHING POWERS?
“I… Yes. Yes, I am. I thought we might’ve become friends before I let you in on that little revelation. Didn’t want to frighten you. It’s been a very lonely few years.”
“I bet.” I said, “Okay. Well. Second question: are you going to try and kill me and turn me into a ghost, too?”
He put his hand over his mouth and gasped.
“Of course not!” Phew - I was quite worried about that because of all the intimidating and scary things he hadn't been doing
So I followed him up the stairs, careful to avoid the steps that had already collapsed. He gestured triumphantly towards the window.
“The entire town!”
It was a pretty nice view. Not, like, amazing or anything.
“Quite the sight, eh?” he said.
“It gets better. Follow me.”
Langley climbed over the railing and leapt towards the chandelier. He caught it easily and nestled himself into one of the rungs. I glanced towards the ground. It seemed a lot more than two stories down. OK - so here'a little bit of tension
“Come on,” he said.
“I don’t know if I can jump that far.”
“I do it all the time!” he said, “Come on. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.” and a call-back!
There it was again. The double-dog dare. And a reminder of the callback for those who can't recall what happened a few hundred words ago
“Fine,” I said.
It couldn’t be that hard, right? With a yell I launched myself towards the chandelier. I celebrated catching hold of it with another yell. A third yell came out as the old ceiling bolts snapped and everything crashed towards the ground.
I coughed and waved dust out of my face and stood up. Nothing hurt. I thought that was fortunate. Then I noticed the pool of blood underneath my feet Needs and actually mangled and crushed body, otehrwise he might just have cut his ankle or something - otherwise the next bit is just insufferably twee.. Langley hugged me.
“Oh, huzzah!” he said, “We are to be the best of friends now!”
Ok - so this one at least had a small bit of tension and an ending where something happened. What it didn't have was a particularly interesting setting or much that was original. Both stories had identifiable and separable characters but Twist had mice who are automatically more characterful and awesomer.
Hmmm - tough call
OR IS IT?
In this brawl, a small child died. Mice were seen fleeing the scene because of how eminently sensible and awesome they are. The ghost of the Ironic Twist haunted the Tyrannosaurus with the knowledge that, even though the Tyrannosaurus won, it was pretty drat close, which each entry being a bit crappy in its own special way.
Victory to the dinosaur.
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 02:17|
This week has been pretty drat great regardless, I can take a loss.
Hats off to ya, Ty.
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 02:30|
Until IronicTwist writes a story that includes the full lyrics of a song by Twista, I'm not going to take him seriously.
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 02:42|
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 02:44|
Until IronicTwist writes a story that includes the full lyrics of a song by Twista, I'm not going to take him seriously.
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 03:00|
Flash Rule: your person is Busta Rhymes and/or Tech N9ne.
I'm not even a judge but #twistatwist motherfucker
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 03:02|
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 03:28|
I'm back and I'm
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 11:22|
6 Hours Left to Enter!
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 22:03|
|# ? Mar 13, 2015 22:40|
|# ? Mar 14, 2015 00:00|
|# ? Mar 14, 2015 02:38|
Little over an hour to enter, for all you stranglers out there.
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 04:36 on Mar 14, 2015
|# ? Mar 14, 2015 02:50|
i thought you said stranglers because of the death theme.
you should have said stranglers.
|# ? Mar 14, 2015 04:21|
Are you happy now crabrock
That's a wrap on entries! I look forward to dashing my brain-boat against the treacherous shoals of your collective stories!
|# ? Mar 14, 2015 04:38|
|# ? Mar 14, 2015 15:39|
hosed up if true
|# ? Mar 15, 2015 00:04|
let's go you pansies
Reformation 2: Revelations Harder
Martin Luther stood atop a pile of bloodied skulls, sword in hand, screaming invective down upon the Wittenburger Catholics below. They were sinful and weak. They would be brought to Jesus, with or without their consent. Fire rained from the sky, and the friar felt himself filled with the Holy Spirit. It satisfied his every hunger and thirst, except the hunger and thirst for justice.
In his other hand was the original copy of his Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum, written in the blood of ninety-five vile bishops. Sodomites, murderers, idolaters. Each bore the mark of Cain, and each had perished beneath his mighty blade.
“LUTHER,” boomed a voice, “END THIS MADNESS!”
The Spaniard! Franciso de Jasso y Aspilicueta; Francis Xavier, of the Order of Jesuits. He stood atop the Stadtkirche, while lightning crashed down around him. Despite the pouring rain, he was not wet. Spanish-Cathay Devil-magic, surely. Luther took his Theses and shoved them down the front of his tunic.
“The only madness,” spat back Martin Luther, “is your decadent heresy! I have no mercy for you, and God has even less.”
Through the rain, Luther saw Xavier tear the cross from atop the Stadtkirche in a shower of bricks and mortar. Its end came to a wicked point. Lightning struck it once, twice, thrice, and its tip glowed white. “Then,” said Xavier, “you will suffer two times today. Once at my hand, and again at the devil's.”
With that, he roared and leapt. The young man was impossibly fast. He seemed buoyed through the air by preternatural currents. Luther shifted one foot back. The skulls moved around his feet. The first blow missed by a mile; the Spaniard sailed over his head, and slammed into a barn wall behind. The building exploded, and within seconds it burst into flames. Luther laughed, and took a cloth from his coat, with which to polish his sword. The frenzy of youth had been too fresh on that one. The young are so eager to die.
A clatter from somewhere in the rubble caught his attention, and he dodged aside just in time for the spear to glance his side. A prodigious amount of blood was already flowing from the wound, but he knew it wasn't fatal. This wasn't his first Last Supper. Xavier's eyes were pure white. The cross in his hands took the form of the Lance of Longinus.
“Christ took three days to return,” he said, “but I ain’t got time to play.”
His voice boomed. Windows shattered, and buildings shook. Each syllable was a typhoon, and brought with it a crushing heat and a smell of spices. Luther staggered. Whatever Eastern pall swirled around the man was almost too much to bear. The thunder took on a new savagery as God voiced his displeasure for these heathen magicks.
Luther shifted his footing again, took his sword in both hands, and lunged. Xavier was too quick, and darted back from the blow, keeping his spear-tip high. It weaved like a cobra, ready to strike at any moment. Fast, but not particularly tough. Luther struck for Xavier's centre line. The man blocked it with the shaft of his weapon, and Luther put all his weight behind the blow, forcing the spear's tip into the dirt. He stomped on it, and almost cheered when he heard the wood snap beneath his steel-capped boot.
Their eyes met, and what Luther saw broke his heart. It was not an Eastern-devil glow, nor the hellbound tearful eyes of a simpering Catholic, but a true fervour: this man also burned incandescent with the true Holy Spirit. As his battelust waned, he saw that Xavier had come to the same conclusion. The man was confused, and furious. How could a just God place his two servants opposed? They could not both be right. The rain slackened, and the thunder died to a whisper of cool wind.
“Brother,” said Luther, “how-”
The splintered spear's shaft caught him in the stomach, and picked him up. His whole body was lifted, and hurled through the air. His back smashed into the wooden doors of the Stadtkirche, and he felt the darkness closing in. His Theses poked up through his clothes; the paper quickly being stained red. Footsteps approached, and he saw Xavier with a cocky grin on his face.
“Protest that,” said the Spaniard.
The rain began again. Softly, as if the heavens were weeping.
|# ? Mar 15, 2015 21:02|
Roughly seven hours left to get those stories in!
|# ? Mar 15, 2015 21:13|
It is 1938, and in Nazi Germany, formerly Austria, Kurt Gödel, formerly mathematician, is soon to be a soldier.
“Fit for service,” is what the inspector says, wearing his uniform with the same tight fit that disallows any sympathy from sneaking into his face. The Nazi doesn’t care about Kurt’s accomplishments - his disprovement of Hilbert, his Incompleteness Theorem, proof that not all rules in mathematics can be proven. At the institute they called him the Mozart of Math once. Now they call him Judenfreund.
His wife Adele accompanies him home from the examination. “Did you tell them about your heart condition?” she asks and Kurt replies that, yes, he did.
“I’m sure it will work out,” he says.
Madness runs rampant on Vienna’s streets – young men with trimmed haircuts looking for trouble and a way to prove themselves to the Führer. Kurt is not a Jew, but he wears horn-rimmed glasses and neat clothing and overall looks a bit too much like his former Yiddish colleagues – logicians and philosophers who have since disappeared into the ghetto, empty tenure seats to be filled by green uniforms.
He is easily mistaken.
"I’m not a Jew," Kurt insists as one group circles him. He quotes the new testament to prove his Christian heritage. It helps little. “To the ghetto with you!” they yell. One motions to grab him by the wrist.
Adele prevents a massacre. She steps in and chases the youths away, wielding her umbrella like a furious valkyrie. Kurt is simply overwhelmed.
“Maybe it’s time we leave this country,” he says.
It’s Kurt’s last day as a German and Adele serves him the same breakfast as always - boiled egg, bread, butter. Kurt looks from the window onto his plate. He hesitates.
“What’s wrong?” she says.
“Someone shot Schlick yesterday. A colleague”.
“I wonder if they know we’re leaving.”
She follows the trajectory of his eyes and the penny drops. “The Nazis aren’t going to poison you,” she says.
Kurt knows that, of course. They have more important business, and more effective means. And yet…
One has to be so careful these days.
“It’s fine,” she says, and rips off a chunk of egg. She eats it against Kurt’s protest, not yet knowing that she will be doing the same thing again tomorrow. Kurt eats his breakfast – but not before she’s also tasted the bread and butter.
It is 1943 and Kurt’s US-citizenship hearing is coming up. He still knows far too little. From in-between a pile of books (‘Echoes of Philadelphia – The U.S. Constitution’, ‘Towns and Boroughs of America’, ...) his hand reaches for the phone and dials the library’s number.
“Yes. I need more.”
“Like? How do you elect a Township council?”
“What if he asks me?”
“You say that now.”
He hangs up. He puts his nose back in-between the covers, wondering if he will be able to finish them all.
Adele brings him water, and another hard-boiled egg. She doesn’t need to taste it. He trusts the food she prepares. She turns to leave, and Kurt meekly holds her shoulder.
“I have found a loophole in this constitution,” he tells her, “that allows one to set themselves up as dictator of the United States of America.”
“You shouldn’t tell the Examiner,” she says.
Two weeks later Kurt Gödel, mathematician, is an American. He takes Adele out for dinner. He has the fish – after Adele has tasted it. One bite. Two. He coughs. His face turns red. He fights for air. For a second Adele thinks they really did poison her husband. Then he points to his throat and Adele jumps up, gets behind him, and strongly hugs him once, twice, three times.
It lands on the table in front of him – a slimy, malformed, misplaced fishbone.
“They almost got me,” Kurt says, wheezing.
“Who?” Adele says. “The fishes?”
“The conspiracy, of course,” he says, and decides to give a miserable tip.
It is 1947 and Kurt finds Adele stretched out in the kitchen, eyes fluttering like the wings of a frenzied butterfly. He calls the ambulance, gives them his address and calmly hangs up. He sits down next to Adele. He waits for the ambulance to arrive.
She gets her own room at Princeton hospital. She barely opens her eyes, weak from the stroke and the operation. The long-term damage is unknown.
“You have to stay here for some time, I’m afraid,” Kurt says.
“What will you do without me?” she says.
Kurt insists that he’ll be fine, surely.
It has been two weeks, and Kurt is hungry, but with Adele gone, he doesn’t know how to trust his food. He turns the egg in his hand, smooth cold shell sliding across his fingertips. You never know what they put in these eggs.
“Yes,” he says. “Yes. Of course.”
He puts the egg down. Rotates it on the smooth countertop. Picks it back up. A brown, round nugget, fluid sloshing within.
“You never know what they put in there.”
He places the egg back in the fridge only to close the door and open it up again. He takes the egg and turns it in his hands. His stomach folds in on itself. Kurt thinks, What’s the worst that could happen?
He puts the egg in a pot of boiling water. The thought of a fresh, boiled egg makes his mouth water. It also horrifies him. What if it’s poisoned? What if they planned this? A delicious, poisoned egg. Brown on the outside, white and gold within. Does it contaminate the water?
He empties the pot into the sink. The egg rolls into a corner. Kurt tosses it in the trash.
What a waste, he thinks. Perfectly good egg. Such a waste. He wants to dive into the bin and pull it back out. Instead he refills the pot, opens the fridge, takes out another egg and twists it in his hand.
Adele notices that Kurt has lost weight. He looks terrible, she says from out of her hospital bed. She offers him her soup. She tastes it in front of him. Kurt takes a few sips, but he knows that she needs the soup to get stronger. He tells her to keep it. He’s fine, really.
He returns to a home filled with dog-eared books, of Kafka and Einstein and Leibniz. Leibniz was a great philosopher. Some of his later works have might have been suppressed. Another genius they were out to get. He will research further into the matter.
Kurt isn’t worried about food. He’s gotten used to the hunger. He is worried about his radiator. It’s obviously leaking poison gas. He focuses on his work as he waits for the handymen.
His last publication - the Gödel universe. A theoretical world in which time is a circle. Time travel possible. He had to redact it. Full of holes. Missed a few details here and there. He put the red pen to it. It turned very red indeed.
He sits down and takes notes:
1. If the system is consistent, it cannot be complete.
2. The consistency of the axioms cannot be proven within the system.
Today Kurt unplugs the refrigerator because it has plotted to kill him.
The door opens and Adele’s wheelchair squeaks inside. Kurt lies on the sofa, feeling quite next to himself. Are these real medics?
Adele gasps. “My God,” someone says.
Kurt weighs 30 kilograms. He protests as he is being wheeled out of his house. Fake doctors! Fake! Lights pass over him. On the street. On the hospital hallways and during surgery.
Kurt wakes up in his own Princeton hospital room. His body refused the food. His hair is a bush of brittle rags. His teeth are golden, brown. He barely breathes. Adele strokes his pointy face. She doesn’t cry.
“Kurt,” she says. “Kurt…”
But Kurt doesn’t make sense anymore. He speaks of the Leibniz conspiracy, of the fascist United States of Austria, of his impending resurrection. Adele sits and holds his hand throughout.
Finally, Kurt looks at his wife and apologizes for the inconvenience.
"What will I do without you?" she asks and he holds her hand and says, “I’m sure you’ll be fine.” He closes his eyes because he is tired.
It feels like falling asleep.
|# ? Mar 15, 2015 21:55|
The Act of Disappearing
Captain Max Pruss surveyed the unconscious, maybe dead, crew strewn about the antechamber leading to the engine room. Sweat filled his glove creating a terrible sensation, but his grip about the saber’s hilt was sure.
The blade was considered ceremonial, and Pruss knew of many of his cohorts who had never plucked the steel from its scabbard, but Pruss was a German. Silent as the night, the steel slid from the scabbard and gleamed, reflecting what little light there was in the inner workings of the zeppelin.
Pruss threw open the door to the engine room ready for combat, but his face dropped.
“Houdini,” Pruss hissed. A hunched figure in front of him, shirtless and covered in graying hair, slowly stood. Even with the stranger’s back to him, Pruss knew the man’s proportions intimately. The figure turned, and his tell-tale part couldn’t be hidden by the number of ancient lines or wild facial hair.
“Ah, Miksa, so you have finally pulled back the curtain.”
“You’re supposed to be dead.”
Houdini scoffed. He opened his arms wide to reveal a more barrel-chested, sinewy self than Pruss had remembered. The curling gray chest hairs reminded Pruss of his father, or perhaps an aging circus strong-man, not the agile escape artist he had seen as a boy. Pruss raised the saber to his eye and leveled at Houdini.
Houdini’s smile faded and he assumed a boxer’s stance. Pruss expected a feint, Houdini was at a disadvantage in range and would try to trick Pruss into closing the distance. Pruss poked quickly with the saber, before raising it over his head and bringing it down in a diagonal slash. The first thrust brought Houdini side stepping in, but the grizzled old man deftly dodged the next chop with a grace Pruss had expected him to have lost in such old age.
Recovering from the slash, Pruss bent his knees, and sprang forward, his saber stabbing only air. Houdini had him by the wrist like a vice. In one deft motion Houdini wrenched Pruss’s wrist, and chopped a tendon in his forearm. Before the saber could fall to the ground useless, Houdini buried an elbow into Pruss’s sternum.
The wind climbed out of his lungs violently, stealing all the strength in his legs. As Pruss slumped forward, Houdini whirled him around, placing him in a full-nelson. Houdini yanked the man up.
“What do you see, Miksa? What do you see?”
Pruss scanned the engine room. There was a machine, with a control panel, tapping directly into the engine room power supply. He didn’t understand, there was a pylon and an orb, with seemingly no functional use. And then he sucked in a breath.
Houdini hummed in satisfaction.
“The Reds ignored him, and the Statesmen ignored him, who do you think he would go to next, hmm? Of course, you were supposed to have no idea such a thing would happen. Your friend Lehmann though, he does not trust you. And so I had to correct him,” Houdini said. He pointed to a slumped figure on the other side of the engine room.
Houdini righted the zeppelin captain before driving him back down into the metal gratings. Houdini dropped his knees onto the man’s chest, and leaned backwards.
“Awfully coincidental, a storm appearing from nowhere, Miksa? Your little spin around Boston was plenty of time. With the delay, porting would be so busy no would notice the unmarked boxes that would be stowed. We would be in Germany and the Van de Graaff’s would be safely in Nazi hands, where they could be mass produced before anyone would be the wiser.”
Pruss ground his teeth. Tesla would bring about the complete destruction of the human race, with that pawn fool Hitler riding the white horse.
“You ask how, and you ask why, but these are irrelevant. What does it matter why?” Houdini leaned in on his knee, Pruss could feel his ribs ready to crack. “The sign of an intelligent man is one who knows he knows nothing, Miksa.”
“I don’t understand.”
“No, and most don’t. Tesla, he is a lunatic, that is certain. But he is a lunatic who knows much, much more than I. In these waning years, my friend, I achieved great things. Great things! But I am not capable of achieving more, but I want to. I want to see how great I can become, in a world that is filled with nothing but death, and flame, and sorrow. How will I escape? Only the great Houdini knows! Ha ha ha!”
Pruss wrenched the scabbard at this side, swinging it upward. The thick wooden, platinum capped end hit home in Houdini’s abdomen. Houdini breathed venom and fire as he recoiled, Pruss’s attack perfectly placed. Pruss leapt to his feet and drove a knee into Houdini’s chest before running to the Van de Graaff’s control panels.
Houdini had tampered with them, and he wasn’t sure in what way. There was no telling how to divert the power from the Van de Graaff safely; Pruss panicked and hesitated. None of the controls made sense to him and he stepped back for a moment. Above his head he raised the scabbard and brought it down over and over again. Cogs and springs and handles and buttons cracked and flew away in splinters of broken metal and glass. Sharp sparks of blue electricity crackled across the control panel and Pruss halted his attack.
“Arrgh!” Houdini screamed behind him. Pruss’s instinctively dove to the side without looking, the brutish frame of Houdini brushing past him ever slightly. Houdini plunged the saber into the control panel, his eyes wide with horror and surprise. In that long instant, arcs of electricity reached out like squid tendrils, feeling for purchase in the cramped engine room. The arcs found home as they embraced Houdini in warmth; singing his flesh and hair.
And then it exploded, sending Houdini’s charred and smoking body across the room. Pruss could only watch in horror as the flames spread throughout the room. Pruss shook himself off and formulated emergency plans in his head, grabbing the nearest crew member and dragging them as far as he felt was safe. Before long the engine room was completely enveloped in flame, Houdini the only one still left in there.
Pruss sat in his hospital bed, bandages wrapped around his burnt and scarred face. He would never be the same man again.
“And Lehmann?” Pruss asked the ensign holding a clipboard.
“He didn’t make it, sir.”
“He’s in a better place, where he is loved. And you are sure, man? Everyone and crew accounted for?”
“All of the bodies have been verified and accounted for, sir. We have accurate counts.”
“You are positive?”
The ensign looked around the room, wondering if he was being put on. Pruss sighed, and waved the man out of the room. Out of the hospital room window was a field. A field with no trees, no shadows, just sun and grass, and the idea of a snake lying in wait.
|# ? Mar 15, 2015 22:21|
flerp fucked around with this message at 02:55 on Jul 27, 2015
|# ? Mar 15, 2015 22:42|
Pepe awoke to the sounds of horses neighing and soldiers preparing breakfast. He had slept horribly while on the march, as he was unaccustomed to the bedroll he was issued when he joined up with the rebels. His back was stiff, and the old scars on his legs ached in pain. The humidity was rank in the jungle, and the insects were already buzzing.
He opened his eyes and sat up on the ground. All around him the rebel camp was slowly coming to life. A group of rebels had a small fire going, over which a beaten tin pot steamed. Pepe looked up at the sun already streaming through the trees above him. “What time is it?” he asked no one.
“It’s seven thirty, sir. You hungry?” said a familiar voice nearby. It was Angel, short for Angel de La Guardia. A fitting name for the boy, thought Pepe. It’s almost poetic that my orderly’s name is literally “Guardian Angel.”
“Ah, Angel, good morning. Yes, I am a bit hungry. What’s there to eat?” Pepe said. Some of the rebels by the fire scoffed at hearing Pepe say this. “There’s beans and rice, or rice and beans, Ladybug,” said one of the rebels who had laughed. “Or maybe you can ask your little friend there to get you some nice greasy sausage. You like sausage, right?” The others soldiers sitting with him by the fire openly laughed now.
Pepe looked at Angel, and Angel could see a tiny twinge of hurt in his Pepe’s eyes. “Rice and beans will do, Angel. While you’re at it, tell the general I want to speak to him.” Angel nodded and made his way through the camp.
Some of the rebels had begun to mutter under their breath about the fancy writer and poet who had joined up with them less than two weeks ago. Pepe had grown tired of it soon after joining up. They should spend less time drinking rum and more time discussing the glorious future that lies before them after they win independence, Pepe thought. Even though these are my people, they don’t accept me as one of them. Perhaps that will change today.
Angel returned with a plate of rice and beans, some fish, and some fried plantains. “Sorry, sir, this is all I could get you,” Angel said.
“Why are you apologizing? This is what I used to eat every day growing up. Now come, join me in breakfast.”
“My apologies, sir, but I have to-”
“Nonsense, my son. Eating alone is a crime. If you didn’t get anything for yourself then you can have half of my plate.”
The poet and the orderly ate on the ground, already sweating profusely in the mid-May heat. Insects began to swarm around them. “Did you see the general, Angel?” Pepe asked.
“No sir, but I found his orderly so I passed along your message.”
“Ah, excellent. I’m sure he’ll be by soon enough. Until then, let’s continue where we ended yesterday.”
Over the next two hours Angel showed Pepe how to handle his rifle, also a piece of captured Spanish equipment. Unlike the stiff bedroll, the rifle was fairly easy to use. The Spanish could be close by in the humid jungle around them and any gunfire could give away their position, so Pepe could only practice working the action. Two weeks on the march and he had yet to fire his gun. Maybe those others are right in thinking that I’m just playing soldier, Pepe thought.
A fat rebel ran up to the stumps Angel and Pepe were sitting on, flustered and wheezing. “The general… will see you now,” he gasped.
Pepe looked at Angel and passed him the rifle. “Here, Angel, clean this for me. We don’t want it jamming in case there’s problems. I’ll return shortly.” Pepe left with the rebel, who was still panting.
The obese rebel remained short of breath the entire walk across the camp. “Why are you fighting, my good man?,” Pepe asked the fat rebel.
“I hate my landowner. He treats me like poo poo so I’m not putting up with these Spanish bastards anymore,” the fat rebel replied between breaths of air.
“Ah, you wish to live under no man! That’s wonderful. What do you plan to do after the revolution?”
The fat rebel hacked and spat something pink onto a tree. “Don’t really care, but I’d like to rape the landowner’s daughter if I catch them before they get out of the country. She has really nice blonde hair.”
The two finished the journey in silence.
It was already eleven in the morning when Pepe arrived at the general’s tent. It was the only tent in the rebel camp, and it was more of a tarp spread between three trees over muddy ground than a command center. The general sat forlornly on a bucket, absently swatting away insects.
“Good morning, general. How are you feeling today?” Pepe asked.
“Terrible, terrible. The bastards know we’re here, but not where, so now we have to live this paradise for another humid hellhole,” the general said, slapping his neck.
“Why don’t we for once bring the fight to them? It’s been two weeks and I have yet to fight.”
“Yes, yes, I know. We’ve been over this. You’re too valuable to the cause to lose. Let the peasants die heroically while you write about it and make us look good to the world.”
“I’m not here to report, I’m here to fight for my people. We’re all equals here, and we all expect to die for this cause at one point or another.”
The general laughed at that. “You see, that’s the problem with idealists. You all want to die so gloriously when the whole loving point of war is to make the other guys die. If I had a hundred idealist expatriates I couldn’t raid a kitchen, much less where the Spanish are camped. You let me lead the battles, and you keep inspiring the men. Dismissed.”
Pepe fumed at this ill treatment as he crossed the camp. The whole situation felt wrong to him, yet each day the futility of protest grew more and more apparent. Angel was diligently cleaning the rifle when Pepe arrived. “How’d it go, sir?” he asked.
Pepe sighed and plucked at his mustache, frazzled after two weeks of marching. “No action for us today, so I guess we’ll be in the rearguard as always.”
Angel looked up from the rifle and studied his superior. He could see the disillusionment, the fatigue, and the exasperation being written across his face day after day, especially after he talked to the general. He said nothing, though. As soon as he had finished cleaning, the call went out throughout the camp to move out so Angel gathered their belongings and tied them to their horses.
It was twelve thirty when the rebel army saw the Spaniards. They were camped along the tree line overlooking a clearing, directly across from the rebel position. The Spaniards knew there were rebels somewhere, but not where exactly, so they were preparing for a jungle offense later that day. Pepe saw the smoke floating up from across the clearing and meet Angel’s eye. Angel saw a strange look in his eyes.
“To hell with this, Angel. CHARGE!”
Pepe put his spurs into the haunches of his horse and rode off towards the enemy line. Angel followed a bit behind, adrenaline coursing through his body before he knew what was happening.
A shout went up from the Spanish side and two rifle shots rang out. Angel saw a red bloom in the middle of Pepe’s back just before the second bullet blew out his throat. A trail of blood flew lazily into the sky as Pepe fell from his horse to the ground. He fell on his side on the ground unceremoniously.
A third rifle shot brought Angel's horse down. The orderly was pinned under the horse while he watched Pepe gasp the ground in agony. Angel somehow freed his leg and ran back to the tree line. He looked back once safe. He saw Pepe in the field, clutching his rifle and his face to the sun. He could hear the insects already buzzing.
|# ? Mar 15, 2015 22:46|
I am a dismal failure this week and will duly flagellate myself.
|# ? Mar 15, 2015 23:00|
Everything He Owes
(Word count: 1399)
Marshall wiped the blood from his mouth. Between shallow breaths he whispered, “Tell Hailie I still love her.” With a heavy swoop of his exosuit arm, Tupac smashed the little man’s skull.
He waited for his visor to update. TARGET: EMINEM, ELIMINATED. SEVENTH BEAT UNLOCKED.
This beat was the freshest so far. Velvety syncopation wrought by upright bass poured itself directly into Tupac’s cochlear nerve. He smiled, anticipating the rhymes he would spit to this music and the powerful effect they would have on his exosuit.
“I read you, Hailie.”
“Did…he say anything?”
Tupac hesitated. “Nah. Not a loving word.”
“DYNASTY changed him so much.” Her voice started breaking. “The father I knew died a long time ago.”
“Took it like a gangsta tho. Not like that punk-rear end DMX, tryna hit the self-destruct on his way out.”
After a while, Hailie spoke. “Let’s get you back to HQ.”
En route to HQ, Tupac’s transport pod soared above New Detroit. One hand on the control stick, the other on the blunt, he skirted over DYNASTY-controlled fiefdoms. But not even a blunt could ease the nausea he felt at having aided DYNASTY’s rise to power.
Block after block of misery stretched before him. Ragged men and women darted beneath heaps of urban ruin. They toiled in porch, lawn, and sky gardens, DYNASTY labor enforcers never far behind. Children with distended bellies knelt before marble statues, and venerated their many-named king. “Hov,” “Jigga,” “Jay-Z.”
Tupac glanced at the pits where the other statues had been removed. His own, Kanye and Nas’s after they defected, and those of the DYNASTY warriors killed in Tupac’s rebellion--50 Cent, Diddy, Missy Elliot, DMX, and Snoop. Eminem still stood. Wouldn’t be long before DYNASTY caught up to current events and removed him too.
“--Agent Shakur?” The comlink cut through Tupac’s ruminations.
“What you need, Hailie?”
“Checking in to see how well you’ve integrated the seventh beat. Are you freestyling better?”
“Aw, yeah. Flows like water while I spit fire at fools.”
“Good! Where we’re sending you, your exosuit is going to need to run off of the illest beats and rhymes possible."
“We’re rerouting your transport pod to rendezvous with Agents West and Jones.”
“Whatchu got Kanye and Nas doing?”
“A little recon. If our intel is right, we’ve located Jay-Z’s hideout. ”
“Your ETA: 140 minutes.”
“I’m comin’ for you, Jigga.”
Tupac stared at the refuse littering the bright white hallway. It was a heap of torn flesh and DYNASTY uniforms.
“Kayne and Nas didn’t waste any time,” Tupac said to himself.
He walked the length of the hallway and entered a small room through some double doors. To his left and right, he found walls of solid steel. Across from him there was a door resembling a bank vault. Atop the door, a viewscreen flashed a familiar face.
“Been a long time, Pac.”
“You gonna die tonight, Hov. You heard?”
“Don’t forget, the man who built DYNASTY got the strongest exosuit and the freshest rhymes for it to run off of. Your friends here tried to kill me. I stomped on ‘em instead."
The camera panned over to a bloody rack. Kanye and Nas were nailed to it by their hands. Tupac clenched a fist as he watched his comrades writhe.
“You still got time to save these traitors. But you gotta get to ‘em first.” Jay-Z blew a kiss to the camera, then shut it off.
KLANG. A steel plate slid in front of the double doors behind Tupac. The left and right walls rumbled and began to compress the room. He rushed to the vault door. It wouldn’t budge. A feat of strength such as this required more power to the exosuit. It was time to bump the beats.
Tupac laid all seven beats on top of each other and blasted the volume. The music was perfect, but the situation’s urgency wiped his mind of rhymes.
For a moment, he flashed back to the events that led him here. He saw himself enforcing DYNASTY’s oppressive control over New Detroit. The serfs had bent to his will, to Jay-Z’s will, and Tupac had reveled in the luxuries that followed. He remembered gourmet meals served by starving people, drugs that kept him awake for days at a time, the women—the women!
Tupac recalled an engineer he’d been with early in the days of DYNASTY. Shaunte, who had designed the exosuits. He began freestyling.
Hit an engineer from every angle,
turnt out her caboose
She had a cute pussy
but I made it obtuse
The tightness of his rhymes sent a surge of power through the exosuit. Tupac ripped open the vault door and sprinted into the next room as the steel walls slammed together behind him. He recognized his present location as the room from Jay-Z’s viewscreen. He looked upon the rack and winced. The stench was horrid as the sight. Kayne and Nas must have died hours ago.
“Pardon the deception,” said Jay-Z, stepping from the shadows. “I got a flair for the dramatic. And what could be more dramatic then showing you a pre-recording, convincing you that if only you acted soon, you could save your friends?"
Tupac couldn’t let Jay-Z see his grief. “They knew they was soldiers. Sometimes soldiers gotta die.”
Jay-Z struck first. He seized Tupac and flung him into the far wall. Tupac was startled by his adversary’s strength and agility, but then he realized that Jay-Z had been able to acquire Kayne and Nas’s beats upon killing them.
Tupac hoisted himself back to his feet and engaged Jay-Z head on. He was blasting his combined seven beats and spitting bars off the top of the dome.
I hit you wit the ruga when you feelin’ real tough,
You think you spitting that fire, but you really a bitch
I got two in the chamber
Sparks flew as the two warriors traded rapid exosuit jabs. Jay-Z spat some heavy verses, but his flow crumbled as he saw that Tupac was doling out more damage than he was taking in. At last, Tupac landed an uppercut that tore through Jay-Z’s exosuit. The DYNASTY leader collapsed at Tupac’s feet, coughed blood, and laughed.
“You don’t know who really in charge here. All the orders, logistics, coordination of thousands of DYNASTY enforcers, you think that was all me? Nah, nigga. It takes a more mechanical mind. This ain’t over, Pac. You best reconcile wit your God, ‘cos—”
Tupac stomped Jay-Z’s neck.
He waited for his visor to update. TARGET: JAY-Z, ELIMINATED. EIGHT, NINTH, and TENTH BEATS, UNLOCKED.
Tupac was looking for an exit when the ground began to tremble. He heard two distinct voices superimposed on one other. One was full throated, the other synthetic, distorted by some kind of autotune.
“You think you the only survivor, nigga? You think you the only nigga who faked they death after the East-West conflicts blew up? Mother fucker, say your prayers.”
Distorted or otherwise, Tupac knew that voice well. “Biggie.”
Up from the ground ten feet across from Tupac burst a large figure, half black, half…titanium? He was a patchwork monstrosity, fatty flesh jigsawed between ducts and wires, bionic limbs, metal plating, and a red laser emitter over his left eye.
Biggie stepped toward Tupac, but hesitated. He raised his hands to the top of his end, and his laser eye deactivated.
“I can’t control myself, Pac! You get yo’ rear end out this motherfucker—”
The laser eye powered back on, and Biggie bore his teeth. “You better be ready to die, nigga.”
Tupac and Cyborg Biggie laid the hurt onto one another, their rhymes endowing their mechanical apparatuses with unthinkable force. Tupac spat the realest verses of his life, but just like in the Madison Square Garden rap battle of ’93, he was no match for Biggie Smalls. In short order, Biggie had cut through the top half of Tupac’s suit, and wrapped a cold metal hand around his neck.
“Fight it, Biggie. I know you in there. The real you.”
Biggie’s grip loosened as his laser eye shut down. “I don’t…wanna live…no more.”
Seizing the moment, Tupac reached for the autodestruct. “Rest in peace, Big. There’s a heaven for a G.”
The last thing Tupac saw was the red glow of Biggie’s laser eye reactivating.
|# ? Mar 15, 2015 23:29|
Cognac and Pastry
Our lives are full of hardships, there’s no doubt about that. Yet not many of us, I’m sure, can fully grasp the scale of calamities some of the most influential and extraordinary people in history have to deal with. Can you even imagine what it is like to be an emperor? Believe me, ruling over your domain, and preserving its borders while devising plans on its further expansion… just may be a tad more difficult than whatever it is you do with your life.
Napoleon I, the Emperor of the French, had his ups and downs. Mostly downs lately.
‘How did it come to this? A year ago Europe lied before me ready to be conquered, and now my bitter fate is exile. There’s nothing more shameful for a benevolent ruler.’
For the past year the Emperor had been confined to a small room serving as a solitary cell to him. There were, however, two more men – Napoleon’s prison guards. They visited the Emperor every day, bringing food and water, and provided Napoleon with an occasional short conversation he didn’t care for all that much.
‘They must be Scotch, the vilest tribe among the British. They keep trying to convince me I am not an Emperor anymore. Even suggested I’ve already abdicated in favour of my son. What nonsense. Clearly, a British fabrication and nothing more.’
The door of the Emperor’s room opened and two gaolers jauntily came in. It was the time for the morning inspection.
‘How dare you enter my chamber without knocking?’ asked Napoleon calmly, knowing fully that this question could only bring him more ridicule. It was just a part of his usual routine at that point.
‘Christ almighty, it’s been a year and he’s still at it. Poor sod’, said the younger of two guards, Albert. He was a tall bald man with a lazy eye and no regard for ranks.
The older guard, Richard, produced his notebook to draft a daily report on the prisoner’s condition. He had a full ginger beard that stole all attention from other facial features.
‘Don’t mind that oaf, sir’, said Richard. ‘How are you today, any complaints?’
Napoleon usually had a fiery speech prepared to show his will was not broken. This time he felt too tired to deliver it. Instead he told guards about leaking roof and sore throat.
‘It’d be a shame, if I died from common cold on this God forsaken isle before returning to France’, Napoleon thought. ‘No reason to deny their help now.’
‘We’ll deal with that as soon as possible’, said Richard making notes with his peculiar British pen. ‘One more question, though. You refuse to read the books we have here and you don’t enjoy talking to us. Don’t you find your exile boring? Simply tell us if you’re in need of some entertainment. I’m sure we could arrange something.’
‘The Emperor has no time for boredom. Don’t even think you can buy my crown with cheap whores and wine’, Napoleon protested
‘No need to be offended, sir, I was thinking more in line of a deck of cards or a bilboquet.’
‘If you want me to thank you for the harpsichord, then I am grateful. I don’t need anything else from you to fend off dépression. You call it spleen, I think.’
Albert smirked and rolled his eyes. ‘Spleen, huh? Is that what we call it? It’s so kind of you to explain to us unworthy bumpkins what depression means, Your Imperial Majesty.’
‘That’s enough, Albert. Let’s leave the man alone.’
The guards left and Napoleon felt unease over the possibility of losing his instrument. Albert visited him that day three more times to bring some medicine and food (British cuisine didn’t agree with the Emperor’s stomach as usual), but never mentioned the harpsichord again only feeding Napoleon’s suspicion.
At night, not able to fall asleep, the Emperor stood in his underwear at the window overlooking a small garden with several stunted trees. The place was in disarray as were Napoleon’s thoughts.
‘If they want to take away my only joy, I might as well play for the last time. If I wake them up, so be it. Who the hell are they that I, the Emperor, must fear to disturb them?’
Napoleon’s fingers gracefully ran over yellow and black keys, and his dark thoughts once again were overcome with music. His musical exercise didn’t wake up the guards, though, as they were still awake, drinking tea downstairs.
‘So what do you think about that whole harpsichord business, eh?’ Albert pondered for a moment on dropping another lump of sugar in his cup and continued, ‘That bugger gives me headache.’
Richard sipped some tea from his saucer and answered, ‘Aye, was thinking about it the whole day, actually. Went through some books, even. Napoleon was born in 1769. Harpsichords went out of fashion in favour of pianos when he still was a child. And as far as I can tell, no one ever saw him play the blasted thing.’
Albert smiled and leaned back on his chair. His smile reflected as a horrifying grimace in an electric samovar on the table. ‘I always knew your fancy Moscow university diploma meant something, but that’s some Sherlock Holmes poo poo right there, swear to God! Let’s wake him up and get it over and done with already.’
Richard nodded and the two rushed upstairs.
‘I am very sorry for such a sudden visit, Your Majesty’, said Richard entering the room without knocking, ‘but since you are sleepless at that late hour, would you be so kind to play us something by, let’s say, René Crevel?’
‘Only if you promise to leave me alone afterwards.’
Napoleon placed his hands over the keyboard again but froze in indecision.
‘What’s that, Your Majesty? Is your instrument out of tune or have you remembered the sad fate of Messieurs Crevel? I hope it’s not news to you that he committed suicide three years after ‘Diderot's Harpsichord’ had been published?’
Albert stood at the door admiring his colleague. ‘Sherlock Holmes poo poo, I tell you.’
‘René Crevel died in 1935, Dmitry Petrovich’, said Richard Sigizmundovich enunciating each word.
The Emperor didn’t see the harpsichord anymore. Napoleon’s eyes filled up with tears.
The next three days the Emperor didn’t say a single word, then he started to answer doctors’ questions, and in a month Dmitry Petrovich was ready to go home. Everyone at the hospital was happy for him. All of them from a janitor to doctors wanted to see him off. Richard Sigizmundovich even ordered a copy of ‘Diderot’s Harpsichord’ in French from Moscow to give Dmitry Petrovich as a memorable gift for the occasion. It was probably the first time someone left the ward of urban-type settlement Malenky in relatively sound mind.
Presenting the book to Dmitry Petrovich, Richard Sigizmundovich asked him for old times’ sake, ‘Well, pal? How are you today, any complaints?’
‘Terriblement sans aucun doute, cher docteur. Imaginez, il ya une semaine j'étais l'Empereur. Et maintenant, je suis ne rien.’
‘Now then, now then. Let’s not start this again. I learned German in school and don’t know a word in French, I’ve told you before.’
‘No, that’s nothing. Thank you’, said Dmitry Petrovich and wandered off to the nearest bus stop through autumn mud.
Later that day Dmitry Petrovich killed himself by turning on the gas on his kitchen stove.
Dmitry Petrovich lied, of course. His final words could have even advanced Russian psychiatry, who knows. What’s certain is that there wouldn’t be a story without those words. Before going back to his short life as a retired French teacher, the former Emperor said, ‘Not great, my dear doctor. A week ago I was the Emperor and now I’m nothing.’
If someone tells you Napoleon died under different circumstances, don’t believe a word. That’s exactly how mighty perish, and that’s how Napoleon I Bonaparte, the Emperor of the French, has left our earthly abode.
|# ? Mar 16, 2015 00:01|
Forever - 863 words
As the sun rose over China, the Emperor Qin Shi Huang paced the throne room of Epang Palace. He was wringing his hands nervously, his knuckles turning white. The slap of his impatient footfalls on the black, stone floor was muffled by the luxuriant flowing robes of black and gold silk.
The eunuchs and servants looked on concerned. The Emperor had grown quick tempered and they had seen what became of those who crossed him. Qin Shi Huang’s quest for immortality had made him increasingly unstable.
“Where are they?” he murmured to himself angrily.
The night before a bright light crossed the sky and came crashing to earth. Its fiery, golden tail trailed behind it reminiscent of the great dragons of legend.
Villagers and peasant mystics spoke in whispers of a large stone prophesying the downfall of the Qin Shi Huang. He’d sent a cohort of soldiers to investigate the rumours.
One of the captains of the Emperor's guard marched into the throne room hurriedly and knelt before the great steps leading up to the Emperors throne.
“Emperor, the village rumours are true, a great stone has fallen from the heavens. The words carved into it read ‘The First Emperor will die and his land will be divided’."
“Who carved the treasonous message?” The Emperor demanded.
“I beg your forgiveness Emperor. We interrogated all ten villages in the area and none would divulge to us who carved the message.” said the captain fearing they would be his last words.
“I forgive you this time. If they will not talk, take away their reason to. Cut out their tongues before you slay them all.” the Emperor ordered.
This false prophecy could not have come at a worse time. It had been months since anyone had heard from the Mount Penglai expedition. Qin Shi Huang had sent 5000 servants there, under his adviser and sorcerer Xu Fu, to find the wizard called Anqui Sheng who would grant the Emperor the secret of immortality. Anqui Sheng himself was said to be 1000 years old. He would help the Emperor or he would spend the next 1000 years of life experiencing pain like no other.
Instead of returning with his wizard they had vanished.
Qin Shi Huang’s face grew red with anger thinking about the insolent villagers and his missing expedition.
“Zhao, come here at once.” he roared.
“Yes Emperor” the eunuch Zhao Gao ran to Qin Shi Huang and knelt obediently.
“Xu Fu has failed me and this stone from the heavens that the peasants use to taunt me has made my decision final. Gather the best alchemists and physicians in the empire. They will produce for me an elixir of life.”
“It will be done Emperor” Zhao bowed again and excused himself quickly.
Zhao, like many others, feared Qin Shi Huang and knew that to fail him meant death. Men had killed themselves on the Emperor’s orders rather than face the agonizing end he would inflict upon them if they failed to obey.
Zhao stood on as the alchemists and physicians quarreled over the best method for the elixir.
“Jade and gold are renowned among all scholars for their longevity!” shouted one of them over the ruckus.
“Ground cinnabar and gold.” argued another.
Finally an elderly alchemist, known as Li Si who’d been silent the whole time, spoke up. He was a well known scholar and when he spoke all the other alchemists listened.
“Pay attention. I have found a method of extracting quicksilver from cinnabar through a roasting process, it shines with the lustre of gold, yet takes the form of a liquid, cool as water. I have been wanting to try it for some time in an elixir and I believe that when combined with gold, hematite and encased in a small jade vial we will increase the Emperors life by at least hundreds of years.” he said this all with such confidence that none dared doubt him or else look like a fool.
The men all nodded in agreement.
After the Emperor had sat for dinner that night, Zhao and Li Si requested permission to approach him with a gift.
Zhao placed an ornate jade box on the table in front of Qin Shi Huang and bowed. A great serpent, swimming against the current of a river had been carved into the lid.
“I present you with the most potent elixir of life created by any man.” said Zhao
“You have done well Zhao. If it works perhaps I will grant you immortality also” said Qin Shi Huang and with a wave of his hand bid that the two men leave him.
The Emperor opened the box and looked upon the two jade vials.
Uncorking the first he looked at the shining liquid within. It was silver in colour and gleamed as bright as a well polished sword.
He tipped his head back slowly. Drinking the elixir to its last drop. The metallic taste made him shudder.
He cast the empty, first vial aside and uncorked the second.
“This is it” he said aloud to himself with a satisfied finality.
He placed the second vial to his lips. He was ready for immortality.
|# ? Mar 16, 2015 02:10|
Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 19:10 on Dec 30, 2015
|# ? Mar 16, 2015 03:03|
Jubei paused, listened.
There was the ruffle of the grass in the autumn wind. The petals had been dancing, eager to cover as much ground as possibly with their coral hue. The result was that he was clearly aware of each leaf whisper, each restless sigh. As the days had passed he had not grown impatient with this like he had in his youth. Now each leaf was sage counsel, reminding him of the delicate harmonies of time. The actions of men changed but the leitmotif of nature was the same melody that soothed him in the most demanding times. Season after season he listened, and was glad.
But this was not the petalsong, or at least not the same orchestration. There were discordant elements now, the footsteps of men unable to resist spoiling the music with their clumsy flourishes. He was aware, too, of their harsh breath, a vocal accompaniment unwelcome, unnecessary for the piece.
“Would you strike an old man down,” he said, “in this place of life? My blood will seep into the grass and dye its faint tranquility a striking crimson. It seems unnatural for this garden to excite and horrify.” Now turning, he faced his attackers.
There were several of them, dressed in dark shades, faces shrouded with wrapping. On this clear day, this dress left them with no significant concealment advantage. He considered the implication that they felt safe, immune from any consequences. They all carried blades slung across their back, in the fashion of killers who saw these concepts in metaphors. A weight a burden, rather than something to be carried with pride and honour. To these people you were a walking lump of gold, and your philosophies, politics and manner amounted to less than the price of ale in the public house. Any appreciation for aesthetic, he thought, mildly so as to contain himself, was lost in a need for material gain and perceptual distortion.
One man had taken leadership, or at least had found himself in closer physical proximity to Jubei, and evidently took that as a vocal role. His voice through the cloth was muffled, but Jubei had to spend no effort understanding him; as if he was used to speaking loudly.
“You haven’t got any blood left,” he spat. “You’ve pissed it all out, along with your skills. Half-blind, tottering; we’re taking from you a couple years at most. The drunk beggar on the street would finish you if time did not do it first.” The men with him laughed at this; the effect to the composition was like players who had had carelessly snapped the strings of their Taishogoto. Jubei winced.
“It’s possible,” Jubei said. “In the throes of life’s passion a man may find a strength in himself he never dreamed. Perhaps he would forget the deed with the morning’s amnesia.”
The leader was tense, he saw. A man not bent towards philosophical leanings. Perhaps he only found himself in the use of his sword. That would be an all too common failing, but then again, Jubei thought, hadn’t he discovered such uninformed speculation to bear no fruit? Perhaps this man was versed in all the latest teachings, and simply favoured an approach that divided his focus clearly, so that he might think without action and kill without thought.
“We might as well get this over with,” the leader scoffed. “Old coward thinks he can waste my time with nonsense. Buy himself an extra minute so his ancient bladder has time to void itself. Draw your blade, you old fool.”
Now, Jubei thought, if he was right, he might play this man like a noh puppet.
“I choose not to,” Jubei said, “for what use is a sword against a man without substance? It would pass through you as water and you would not feel it. No, the thing to do with water is wait for the heat to take it. With time, you are freed from its annoyance, like so many things.”
The man nearly spluttered. His hand was to his blade in an instant; and there it stayed, as he became aware of his circumstances. He had spoken out a harsh challenge and the answer had been without fear. Now he stood in full view of his men faced with an opponent who refused to fight back, who seemed to consider him unworthy of even the effort. No man would strike down someone unwilling to defend himself without at least thinking about it. He looked back at his men accusingly. They seemed confused, as if watching a student impertinently correct a teacher. Would he reach for the lash, or control himself?
“I know what you’re trying to do,” the leader said, turning back to Jubei with a leering smile. “You’re trying to make me look foolish in front of my men. Well, what you fail to understand is that this isn’t a fable. We are being paid handsomely to kill you. If you don’t draw your sword I will walk up to you and cut off your phallus. It will be my trophy; as much ale as I can drink in the public house, the bed of any city girl I might lay my eyes on.” He spoke as if he had mastered himself, his situation. But Jubei was staring at his eyes, two clear windows into his depths. They were aflame. The man was burning.
“The characters in fables find fame in the telling. What is a fable if no one cares to hear it?” Jubei asked. For a moment he imagined the grass at the man’s feet would burst into flame. It’s certainly dry enough, he thought. It’s been a dry fall.
“I know you,” Jubei said. “I know your voice, because I have heard it often enough. You are attendants to Tomonori, my half brother, who inherited Munenori’s ambition but none of his personal skill. It seems appropriate that he would delegate responsibility in this personal betrayal. No doubt he has grown impatient with the inscrutable workings of fate and wishes to influence it in his customary indirect manner. To this end he has directed his retinue to be his servants in murder, knowing their shallow focus will let the impact of their actions slip by them. Your reward will be, of course, the afterlife. This will be a respite from what to you is torment, the torment of living. For I believe we are not judged, no matter how mindless or craven, but always forgiven for our foolishness.”
And the man was running at him, his blade scraping free quickly, forgetting the jutsu in his haste and anger.
His impatience, Jubei thought, was customary of the age. Forgetting your discipline, succumbing to your drives, thinking only in the moment. As the man rushed him Jubei realized that the outcome of this fight did not matter. Whether he lived or died, he had no place in this world, which valued convenience and emotion over the wisdom that had brought them here. He would think his thoughts, and the world would move on without him. Dimly, he already thought he could see ahead to other times. There would be blood, lots of it, staining the pages of history, and they would forget the poetry, blotted out as if by an ink spill. The petalsong would be lost, he thought, the melody of the seasons. Lost because no one would stop to listen. One day all the flowers will be gone.
He stepped aside easily, effortlessly, and the man’s arm moving might as well have been in slow motion. He twisted it expertly and drove it deep, and he twisted it, hard, soft movement but a hard finish. He heard the man’s surprised gasp, felt the breathing stop through the blade. His would-be assassin’s blade, he thought, and that was important. His own blade was not worth sullying with this man’s lifeblood. To die, and that’s what he meant to do, with blood on his blade. His assassins would take it, and clean it, but the mark would always be there. The history, the history of blood, which you could never wash away, no matter how many times you doused and scoured it.
He stared at his attackers as the body slipped to the ground, becoming part of the painting. Death in the grass and flowers. The decay already begun.
“Come and kill me,” he said to the assassins, and it felt like the tableau would last an eternity.
|# ? Mar 16, 2015 03:44|
I Don't Feel All Turned On and Starry Eyed
crabrock fucked around with this message at 14:22 on Dec 31, 2015
|# ? Mar 16, 2015 03:44|
Touching the Heavens
Historic Figure: Nikola Tesla
Brilliant white flashes of light invade a young Nikola Tesla’s mind. An ethereal space without boundary presents itself and is promptly filled by a great heap of mechanical articles. Each of them perfectly represented in shape, size, and weight. They disassemble into constituent parts, bend, or spin as he wills. The pile of parts gradually diminishes until only a few objects remain.
He opens his eyes and is back in the kitchen. His mother is ineffectually sloshing a fork around in a bowl of raw eggs meant for breakfast.
Nikola sprints outdoors, scavenges parts from an old bicycle, and returns to his room with an armful of parts.
The next day, Nikola presents a funny looking contraption to his mother. A crank turns a gear which spins a rod attached to a sprocket with radially attached spokes.
“I made this for you, so that stirring eggs is easier,” he says while presenting his creation.
“Oh, is this what you’ve been working on? Well thank you! You always manage to brighten my day.”
Twenty-five years later, Nikola sits in a burgeoning power plant of his own creation. The room is sparse with the exception of an electrical device which is spewing forth a constant stream of man-sized lightning bolts.
A small and thin bespectacled woman cautiously enters from the room opposite Nikola.
“Mr. Tesla, I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
“Is it Morgan again?”
“Yes, he’s sent a letter saying that if you don’t present a showing of your invention by the end of the month that he will cease any further funding.”
Nikola winced almost imperceptibly.
“Very well. Make an appointment with the builder’s association for an installation on the twenty-eighth.”
He stands, turns off the, electrical emitter, and makes his way outdoors. He stops for a moment to look at his invention, a tower thirty feet in diameter which rises seventy feet into the air and holds a giant hemisphere with a hundred antennae poking out of its surface.
He was already on his second day without sleep and thought it best to get some rest and visit Lilly for good luck before the coming days of extreme labor. He hopped into his car and drove home.
Once home, Nikola moved to his bedroom and propped open his window. Before he can so much as grab a bag of seed, a bright white dove swooped inside and landed elegantly upon the sill. Nikola’s eyes brighten and a genial smile pierces his dogged face.
“Lilly, I was hoping you’d come to wish me luck.”
He strokes the dove with one hand and presents a palm of millet with the other.
“I’ve a week of hard labor ahead of me, but by the end I think the world should see my efforts were not wasted.” He paused, “I hope I have not made promises no mortal can keep. What do you think?”
Lilly brushed her head against Nikola’s thumb. Somehow, he felt a great lifted from his shoulders and finally, he was able to rest.
On the day of the tower’s presentation, Nikola arrived well before sunrise. He checked each nut and bolt, every point of contact or conductivity and compared it to the blueprint in his mind. No fault could be accepted on this day. A $250,000 investment and a life’s reputation was at stake.
J.P. Morgan arrived at 10 a.m. exactly. His punctuation seemed more of an aggressive gesture than one of courtesy to Nikola.
Morgan approached Nikola with a stony gaze, his enormous stature dwarfed Nikola.
“Mr. Tesla, I hope for your own sake that you have not wasted my money, and more importantly, my time.”
“I assure you that I have checked and rechecked each component individually. Tomorrow’s papers will herald a new age of enlightenment.”
“I will believe it when I see it. Your claims have become increasingly bold as Marconi’s radio waves have gained mainstream attention.”
A small crowd consisting of Morgan’s partners, a group of journalists, and a handful of curious citizens pooled about a small stage set fifty feet from the power station. Nikola took to the stand.
“Ladies and gentlemen! First, thank you all for attending this historic event, it is truly my own pleasure.”
A hush blanketed the crowd at Nikola’s surprisingly commandeering voice.
“I have dedicated my life to the invention and distribution of electrical energy. AC power has revolutionized our societal infrastructure and I stand before you to reveal an invention which will once again enlighten the world.”
He then focused his attention to a desk that stood next to him and gestured toward a large power switch. A wire trailed from the switch to the power station behind him. He picked up a loose light bulb which also sat upon the table and held it aloft.
“As I flip this switch, please keep an eye on the bulb in my hand.”
He grabbed the switch handle and swung it to the “on” position.
Nothing happened. The moments of nothing happened grew into agonizing seconds of nothing happening. Everyone’s gaze shifted between the enormous tower and the obviously-not-glowing light bulb between Nikola’s fingers.
Morgan shot Nikola a look of complete disgust and contempt. The press began furiously writing notes that were surely clever and scathing headlines for the following day's papers.
He'd checked so thoroughly, what could possibly have gone wrong? Failure sat in his throat like a swallowed stone. He couldn't speak, what could he say that wasn't already evident?
Eventually the crowd dissipated along with the whispers of disappointment and schadenfreude. At one point Morgan said something about “utter embarrassment” and a “money pit” before marching off, but Nikola wasn’t lucid enough to comprehend.
He languished at the presenter’s podium, pulling apart the design and putting it back together. It wasn’t until he heard a familiar coo that he snapped out of his trance.
“Lilly, what are you doing all the way out here?”
As he looked around at her, he realized that the sky had darkened considerably in the time he remained idle.
“You should go home. It looks like the weather is going to turn wretched.”
Nikola attempted to pet Lilly, but she lashed out and nipped his finger. He was taken aback, she'd never aggressed him before. She flew away, her white plumage contrasting against the tumultuous dark clouds. She landed atop the tower.
Nikola couldn't understand. It seemed only instinctual for a pigeon to find shelter in increasingly dire weather such as this. He couldn’t help but feel beckoned by her peculiar behavior.
As he approached, rumblings began to echo in the distance, but still Lilly remained motionless on the tower.
He began to climb to tower, if only to carry away Lilly. About three quarters up the base of the tower, he saw it. A capacitor that had been partially melted, probably a faulty part due to the monetary concessions he'd had to make in the last year of the project.
From the corner of his eye, he saw Lilly fly back toward home. A wave of relief and hope washed over him as he thought that just maybe the difference between failure and success was a single parts order away.
He began to wrench apart the connectors at either side of the rather large capacitor as if it were some kind of tumor requiring surgical intervention.
A bolt of lightning burst through the clouds and struck the tower. Electricity jolted through the entirety of the tower nearly instantaneously and Nikola could no longer let go. The strike powered the entire tower, which attracted another bolt of lightning, and another, and another. In the bat of an eye, a self-sustaining cycle between the tower and natural forces was established. A great lightshow of white, purple, and blue rivaling that of the northern lights flickered across the menacing clouds. Lightning assaulted the tower as if they were the appendages of Zeus himself.
For the brief moment he had, Nikola felt as if the gods themselves had reached down and bestowed their powers upon him. For a brief moment, the street lights in town glowed blindingly bright. And then they dimmed.
|# ? Mar 16, 2015 03:57|
The Death of Marat
Some number of words
Marat looked at the wall, at the framed note written in his own flowing handwriting. It was the first execution order he ever signed. More papers were stacked around him within easy reach, on the chair and stacked on pieces of wood balanced on the corners of the large porcelain bath he sat in.
The bathwater was thick and starchy from oatmeal, and pungent from herbs and oils. It’s opaque, glistening surface allowed Marat to imagine skin that wasn’t crusted like tree bark, and muscles that weren’t atrophied from disuse. He dipped his pen in ink and continued his letter, pressing on the board that spanned the width of the bath. The last three had warranted no reply from the convention, and he assumed this one would be no different. How easily one is discarded in this new France. At least with the royals it was the always same fuckers. How his shoulders itched. He sank deeper into the bath to steep an inch more of his pocked and weeping chest in the medicinal stew. This caused him to raise his arms awkwardly to maintain a good writing angle.
“Simone,” Marat called his wife. There was no reply, even she had lost interest in him. “Simone!”
When he heard her stolid trudge reach the third to last stair he screwed up his face with effort and squeezed out a fart. The bubbles moved slowly through the viscid murk, reaching the top with a turgid pop just as the polished brass door handle started to turn. He smiled as the smell reached his nostrils. It would serve as petty revenge, with Simone a wan proxy for those bastards at the convention.
“Any mail? Visitors?” His voice had become firmer and more demanding as he grew more desperate for relevance.
“No mail. You know I will bring the mail when it arrives.” Simone paused for half a beat before turning back towards the door.
Marat’s nostrils flared at the hint of hesitation. “There’s something you’re not telling me. Spit it out.”
“A girl. This morning. She said she had information on the Gironde.” Simone looked at the floor. She had clung on to her fear of her husband despite the loss of his political and bodily power. “I sent her away.”
“You should have told me.”
“It isn’t safe, you have more enemies than friends,” she seemed bolder, looking up slightly to stare at the space between his bony knees that protruded from the water. “Besides, what exactly do you think she could do for you?”
* * *
Charlotte Corday could feel the tip of the knife worrying her calf through the layers of her petticoat. There had been thousand to choose from down Boulevard Haussmann, from short, stout bladed hunting knives, to long, thin stilettos that couldn't be for anything else except killing men. She’d settled on a sharp but simple kitchen knife. Not only had she felt comfortable in the shop but she had recoiled from the more appropriate implements. She was sick of the efficiencies of custom engineered killing, of which the Guillotine was the epitome.
The structure stood proud on the Place de la Concorde in the center of the city. She had tried to avoid it but the boulevards and avenues kept leading her back there like a compass. She wondered how much of her fellow Girondists blood had drained away between the cobbles, and hoped it had nourished the weeds that were forcing their way through the cracks.
When she’d learned Marat had resigned his post due to sickness she had originally decided to abandon her task.She determined to at least see the man, and decide then whether he was still a threat. Being turned away by his wife had thrown her for a loop, but another glimpse of the timber frame and heavy steel blade had convinced her to double back and try again. This time she was shown upstairs and into his room.
She choked on the fumes when she entered, and was sat opposite Marat, her eyes watering from both the sight and smell.
“I know the whereabouts of the leadership,” she said, inspecting the sores on his face. “but I am becoming less sure that you are the right person to speak to.”
She had been told that this one death would save a hundred thousand, but she could not fathom that the pathetic apparition in front of him could harm a crypt rat, let alone send a thousand men a day to the guillotine.
“Look,” Marat pointed above the mantelpiece, at the framed letter. “The death warrant of the first man I killed. I took great pride in it.”
The handwriting was beautiful. It sang on the page, florid yet still crystal clear. Not the handwriting of a butcher.
“Guillot’s machine wasn’t built for a world of such letters. That letter took me fifteen minutes. The guillotine takes a head every two. We use a press to print them now, and have men sign them in shifts.”
Charlotte felt herself growing warm. She fidgeted in her seat and pressed against the knife, cold through her petticoats.
“The political winds in France are gusty and fickle,” he continued, “I have always found that, even more than blowing with the winds, it is best to be the one huffing and puffing. Rest assured I have the ear of the leadership. I will have their heads within the fortnight.”
* * *
“I will have their heads within the fortnight.”
The young woman had such wonderful skin. They say that a head dropping from the lunette lives for a second or two. Just long enough to blink a few times.
Marat wondered if they still itched. He’d realised as soon as she entered the room she was a Girondist. He hoped they’d paint him with skin like hers when he was martyred.
She took out the knife from the folds of her petticoat and stabbed him in the chest. He was pleased his itch subsided as he grew weaker and weaker.
|# ? Mar 16, 2015 03:59|
There were two things about her eyes that Dr. Rindon was fascinated by. The first was that they were of strikingly different color, but identical intensity – one green, the other blue, both as bright as the lamps over an operating table. Their other quality was the fact that they were staring at his own, between furtive glances in other directions.
He made his own, looking back down into this ocean-blue cocktail sitting on the driftwood counter he leaned over. Music cracked over the old radio: strings and drums filling the beachfront bar with a mean rhythm that, in the very least, urged groove.
He looked back at her through the corner of his right eye. He looked back at her tanned skin, her slender frame and the way she made the white, long-sleeved linen shirt just drift like vapor. Dark brown hair, short enough to only fall to her eyebrows.
He knocks his knuckles on the counter, and the taller bartender with a black, bristling mustache turns to him. Rindon points at his drink, and in a smooth motion swipes his finger back over to point at her as she takes her seat at the far end of the bar. Barman nods, complies, stocking a glass with blue syrup and clear ethanol. When he slings it over, the woman stands up and catches the drink in her hand, taking a sip as she walks over.
“Thanks, stranger,” she says, her Portuguese competent but still accented, no clear origin. She doesn't take a seat, opting to just lean against the counter. “Is this your first time in Rio?”
“Once, on business,” he says, sliding his drink from his right hand to his left. “I have a practice in Sao Palo. When I'm not busy with patients, I'm busy with upgrading. Not busy with upgrading, there's the paperwork and so on,” he says, his own accent bleeding through.
“Doctor, then?” she asks, bringing the glass to her lips, biting the glass.
“I'm not as wealthy as you hope,” he says, grinning down into his own glass. “I'm sorry,” he says, looking back up into her eyes. “Were you.. born with those, or have an accident? There's no sign of trauma...”
She smiles and glances away, suppressing a chuckle as she takes a sip.
“We were born with them” she takes the glass away, clacks it on the table. The song ends with a pounding drum solo and distant, electronically eroded applause melting into a news report.
“We?” he asks, while turning towards her. He sets his elbow on the table and leans his head against his palm.
“My sister,” she replies, glancing behind her and letting out a long sigh. “We get off the airplane and she's just 'oh I'm so tired, so exhausted I could not sleep on the flight, I must take a nap,' she flips her hand through the air, dismissively. “She can take her nap. I'm going to see the statue.”
He offers her a hand, a simple circular watch with a leather strap clinging to the wrist. Black hair turning silver along his forearm. She takes it in hers, shaking.
Fausto withdraws his hand.
“Well, Claire,” he starts, slugging back the rest of his drink. “Do you want to just talk at a doctor about your eyes, or go see that giant icon watching over us?”
“Do you think he would forgive me for abandoning my sister?”
“Maybe. They say he forgives all who believe in him.”
A smile cracks across her face. White teeth, gleaming like scalpels before she turns away and walks out of the bar. He pulls enough bills out of his pocket to make the barman happy, slaps them on the table to follow after Claire.
They hit the streets, winding through the city – populated, walls and shopfronts colored in bright pastels. Windows yawning open as if the buildings swallowed racks of fruit and entire boutiques. The cars are agents of a casual chaos, swerving through the roads with no fatal impact.
They talk. Claire gives him a life story about a modest life in Monaco and dreams of travel. She says she lives with her sister Alexis, who paints for the galleries. But it's Claire herself who pays the rent, dealing cards and providing watching eyes over the casinos. This vacation of theirs was the product of a dream just now earned.
Fausto says, when they stop by one boutique with clothes made from woven rainbows, that he had just started a practice in Austria, but left when the Germany addressed its need for lebensraum with the blitzkrieg.
“Why become a doctor in the first place?” she asks, after she insists on paying for a black, wide-brimmed hat out of her own purse. “It seems very difficult. So much preparation, such long hours...”
“I wanted to learn about people, and make them better,” he says with a shrug. “Compassion, and curiosity. They are very powerful engines.”
The sun follows its inevitable arc towards the horizon, and they wind their way up the crowd-choked stairs cut into the side of mount Corcovado. They stop near his feet, at the edge of a flagstone walkway. Christs' shadow looms over them, the furnace-orange sky silhouetting the monument.
Fausto glances to Claire, he with a subtle contented smile curling only the edges of his lips. She stands behind him, looking up at the soapstone lines ascending to the statue's outstretched, embracing arms. Claire's stance shifts, her shoulders tensing.
“Do you have any sins to be forgiven for, Claire?” he says, looking back up to the statue, taking a breath filled with salt and stone.
“Not as many as the todesengel, herr doktor,” Claire says, as a blade of ice plunges into his lower back. His muscles lock and pull tight from shock, chemical terror flooding his veins and shunting his nerves. He hears the blade slide out of him, but does not feel it – only a screaming emptiness through his back as he tilts backwards.
Bystanders scream but he can't hear them – only ringing and dull pain from the concussion. His vision blurs around another shadow, and resolves to terrible clarity as Claire stands over him. The off-white canvas of her shirt is pocked with red – the sleeves and lower border, above her belt line. It's a constellation of red circles, slowly growing.
She rolls back one sleeve, on the arm carrying the red-stained blade, revealing a black serial number.
Claire says, in native German, “I hope you confess, Dr. Mengele. I hope you confess, and are forgiven.”
She drops the blade on him – the point sinking into his gut.
“Because if you find my sister in Hell, I'm sure she will stab you too.”
|# ? Mar 16, 2015 04:03|
Hunter S Thompson needed a poo poo like you wouldn't believe.
He conquered it with his mind. He had writing to do. The typewriter, an electric with unjammable type ball that was the epitome of technological perfection in the transmision of fine vicious word-juice when it was released, sat there on his cluttered desk.
But there were no words to give it.
"Goddammit Maria, where's my brandy," he mumbled.
There was a cold wind coming from the Rockies. It was skirling around the pine trees that marched up the slopes of his farm, making them sway like acid-wrecked girls at the parties he'd go to on the Haight.
Years ago, gone, all gone.
The typewriter hummed quietly to itself. A smug buzzing noise, thought Thompson. How many thousands of hours had his life contained of staring at that thing, as it stared back. A metal and plastic embodiment of a hungry sucking void that could only sated by words, ever more words. Its noise was a evil noise because it was, itself, evil.
Hunter nodded grimly as the essential truth of the situation made itself apparent to him.
Then his head stopped. Not just evil: more evil than usual. He darted his head forward, squinted at the glowing numbers on the front that showed the ruler. A fly had trapped itself inside. Its wings were vibrating against the plastic, invisible in the dim light of the tea light candles scattered around his writing room, but audible. It battered itself against the clear plastic, against the numbers and letters that were glowing so smugly at him, at the metal pointer showing where his words would go. The point of the void. The entry into the void.
Hunter smiled. It was all so clear. He reached out with a long arm, with vegetable slowness. His bony fingers curled around the butt of his Remington 370, oiled double barrel steel, a deadly tool for enforcing the certainty of his will upon the world. "Ave atque vale," he muttered as he took aim, cocked one of the hammers and pulled the trigger.
The blast was shattering, tectonic. Hunter closed his eyes, then opened them, giggling. The typewriter keyboard was obliterated, shards of plastic all melted and smoking.
But the fly was still there. Then he knew, and the knowledge hit him like a freight train of bridge parts and failure.
The fly was him. Its compound eyes glinted in the dim light. Its invisible wings still batted against the glass. "This is it," they said. "You can throw the words into the well, and at the end of the day you'll still have a well".
Hunters shoulders slumped. A Yeats line came to his head and he exhaled:
He balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
The shotgun moved round in a graceful loop, the muzzle in his mouth all hot and smokey.
He thought about some last words, shrugged, pulled the trigger.
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 10:26 on Apr 9, 2015
|# ? Mar 16, 2015 04:04|
|# ? Feb 2, 2023 02:38|
That's a wrap ladies and gents!
|# ? Mar 16, 2015 04:05|