Monday, July 27, 2015

"Unbound" (Fantasy micro-short)

In my dreams there is an endless sea of stars slowly flowing around me. An infinity of wonders known only by me.

I am not chained by the earthly laws so preciously clung to by those who study the cosmos.

I am unbound.

I am a god of the mystical & unknown places that the reasonable man refuses to believe even exist.

I exist in those alien cathedrals built of glittering gems thrust out of the cliffs of infinity and hang impossibly over a sea of frothy silvery liquids.

I drift aimlessly by those places were the dark is populated by indescribable & nameless things whose intelligence is vast but live in tombs.

I watch as dust aggregates to form planets in which great civilizations rise & fall in a flash of the cosmic whims. Leaving again the dust to start the process anew.

I muse at the worlds dancing their way through the ether. Pulled by unseen forces that could just as quickly tear them into atoms, but instead plays the music that guides them in their endless journey.

I drink from primordial oceans of vast and unknown worlds where no living thing yet exists & silence reigns. A peace obtained only through the gateways of dreams.

I see endless, colorful vistas of cosmic wonders swirling past the orbs that cannot be known, only observed through the veil of dreams.

Each night I welcome sleep and the wonder it brings. I reawake in those vast spaces to take flight into that which imagination is the only limit.

I alone have the key.

I am unbound.


"A Little Vacation" (S/F Micro-short)

The great spiral arm of our galaxy can be seen out of my cabin window. It's beautiful.

I've watched over the months as Earth grew smaller and smaller until it was only a speck. I knew I'd return - if it was still there when we got back.

There's a lot of problems back there & I'm lucky my parents now lived in the Aldeberon Colonies. It's fairly peaceful there since they declared autonomy from the Union.

Over the last two centuries mankind made immense discoveries in propulsion methods in our Stellar Fleet Ships. A trip this far out from the rim only takes seven months now, where it used to be three years.

The fleet engineers sure knew what they were doing when they built the "Constellation".

The flight to Theta IV is a lot nicer this time around. I do have to share quarters with three other people, but that's OK by me. On a trip this long, you still need people to talk to and do things with to pass the time.

Last trip, on the "Vega", was horrible. First, those old grav couches made you sick and then you had to spend 12 months in suspension to protect you from the constant acceleration before you could get out & enjoy yourself during the 8 month deceleration!

Seems almost barbaric compared to the new ships. Hell, I can't even feel the rhythmic pulsing of the anti-matter engines! The "Vega" never stopped shaking!

I could hardly stand up on the beach on Theta IV after getting off the "Vega"! Took me a while to get my land legs back.

Theta IV is a beautiful place though. Great big oceans, plenty of land that's flush with flora & fauna. It's an E-Class planet orbiting a G-class sun...just like Earth. As soon as Union Astronomers confirmed its habitability - off we went!

The culture created by the indigenous sentient life forms there is pretty interesting. I think they said it was equivalent to Earth's bronze age. They also told us that the Thetans had descended from reptiles too. First time I saw a Thetan it scared me to death! They're peaceful though. They've got some kind of religious beliefs, but it doesn't make sense to me.

Looks like we are in orbit. I've got to go prep the drop ship. Lots of things to get ready to go down there.

This time when I hit the beach, I'll be ready to kill every Thetan I can right off the bat. I mean, our orders are to cleanse the sentient life and secure the safe arrival of the mining vessels.

The Thetans ain't gonna kill themselves.

"Life of the Party" (A mythos short)

The boards creaked as I stepped closer to the wooden steps of the Hotel del Mar.
The rain had been constant & heavy since nearing the coast.
I pulled the collar of my coat higher to keep the sea spray off my neck. It was cold, I was tired from walking and my bag wasn't getting the slightest bit lighter.

As I reached the top step, the front door opened. A thin man dressed in an old black suit stood there.

"Welcome to the Hotel del Mar."

His voice was strange. A hollowness permeated each word.

"Thank you."

He motioned into the lobby and I brushed past him into the dry comfort it provided. The smell, of course, was another matter.

The hotel was the only one near the coast for miles and it suited my temporary purposes.

It was unkempt as if the hotel saw no regular use. A bookshelf near the desk had near rotten books that were 90 or more years old judging from what titles were legible.

Of course the seaside motif was present but it was a turn of the century look. The 19th century kind. It stank like a rotten carcass was stuffed under the floorboards. I saw no phones, no magazines, no indication of anything truly modern in the lobby. That's a plus for me.

The thin man walked behind the desk and took out the registration ledger. He then proceeded to stare at me. Not menacingly, no, just staring at me. He didn't blink. Not one bat of an eyelid.

In the light of the lobby I could see his pallor was pale and he had dark circles around his eyes. Those big, unblinking eyes. Like a damn fish.

I knew he was one of them. He had to be. Nobody looks like that. Well, nobody outside of Innsmouth looks like that.

I slowly stepped up to the desk and he turned the ledger around for me to sign.

I saw he had webbed fingers.

"Will you be staying with us long?"

As I began to sign the book I said, "Oh, not very long."

As he was leaning over to read my signature, I drew the sawed off shotgun from under my coat & shoved it into his mouth.

The gills on the side of his neck bloomed out in his dump of adrenalin no doubt, which was all I needed to see.

I blew his brains out onto the wall behind the desk.

Nice pattern too. It looked kinda like a Rorschach test, but I didn't have time to study it now.

I dragged his body into the nearest closet and the locked the front door of the Hotel.

I pulled up a chair at the window over looking the open area of the town looking towards the slimy green docks. Obviously the sound of my scatter gun made a few of the locals exit their darkened broods to search for its source.

Oh well, looks like I'm going to work early tonight. Should have used the machete on the desk clerk I guess.

I took out my cigarettes & lit one quick. I then took out my cell phone & made the call.

"It's me. I'm here. No, the Festival hadn't begun yet. Oh, by the way, I sprayed one already & its knocked over the bee hive...looks like I'm going to work early. Huh? Yeah, I'll be back in Arkham tomorrow.Yeah, you too."

I sat back watching the things limping & grunting as they gathered near the docks. I opened my bag and reloaded the scatter gun & checked both Glocks. Good to go.

Sorry Innsmouth, the party for Dagon will have to wait till next year.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"A Long Walk Home" (A dystopian short)

I'm tired of eating these rations they hand out every day. It tastes OK, but it gets old. I remember eggs. They were good. That was when Dad was alive & he had some work every now and then with the Council.
I had a sister named Evie, but when Dad didn't work for the Council any more she ran away. I sure miss her sometimes.

After the war, most of America was in poverty. I know our family had been since then, my mom told me so. I wasn't born when the last bomb dropped. I was born a week after that.

In school, the book on history only goes to 2030, so we have elders visit to tell us what happened after that. I like hearing about those days.

Today, we heard about how things were just before the war from Mr.Tomlinson. He said that people used to have everything they could ever want or need. He said that people were not satisfied with all they had and wanted more. That's what started it, he said, the wanting of things. He also told us how the Council was created afterwards to provide for the survivors. Without the Council people would have starved long ago.

I guess so, but I still remember how real eggs tasted. Better than the rations.

After school, me & Tommy walk home every day. It gives us time to talk & goof off a little before we go home to do our chores. He's my best friend. He's 14 and thinks because he's older than me, he can boss me around sometimes. His Dad works at the Council Hall.

I'm walking home alone today. Tommy wasn't at school. He said his Dad was taking him to work with him.

Sometimes we walk past the Council Halls. They're cool looking. They say all of the Council Halls are like ours, all nice & clean. They're always busy.

The ration trucks run all day from the Council Hall. They deliver the rations to each and every house. Well, almost every house. There are people with no kids that don't get the Council rations & they have to go to the food dealers, but that's illegal. I heard about one guy the Council Law Givers caught down there and they took him to jail. I've never seen the jail though. It must be somewhere far away.

Mom told me about that guy. I think she knew him or something.

I better get home. The Council trucks are pulling out & I'm hungry!

I hope there's some meat tonight.

That'd be nice.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

"Thank you, Mr.Knight."

It was in 1982 that I was given a book for my 12th birthday. To this very day, on occasion, I open that book to reminisce about days gone by. The book would help cement my fascination with speculative fiction the rest of my life.

That book was "Science Fiction of the 30's". The book was first published in 1975 and was comprised of short stories edited & compiled by renowned writer Damon Knight.

As a child, it was not only a way to escape into new worlds but also a history lesson. A view back into the past to see what those contemporary writers though their future might look like.

As I read the book as an adult, looking at it through life's aged view, the book still captivates me. More than ever, Knights opening line of the forward resonates a deeply understood truth:

" In compiling this volume I have partially fulfilled an old ambition, one which I thought I had given up years ago - to reread all the old science fiction magazines I loved when I was young and write their critical history."

Not only did this book help foster an imagination, it helped me to understand & appreciate the works of authors who were greatly misunderstood in their day.

I could relate to being misunderstood. I had always liked things that were outside of the common perceptions of normalcy. That single book, which was not my first or the greatest book that was given to me, helped me to feel a certain measure of commonality with those writers & thinkers of an age gone by.

One story I have a particular affection for : "The Fifth Dimension Catapult" by Murray Leinster (1931).

I was so captivated by the story, I asked my father to read it & he did. The memory of the discussion we had about the story is very close to my heart. A moment frozen in time for me about a story written 40 years before I was born. A memory of my father & I that I'll forever remember as a milestone in my fascination with speculative fiction.

Time moved on & my father has been gone for well over 15 years now. Of all the talks we had, of all the birthdays & holidays, the memory of our discussion about that book stays imbedded in my mind & heart.

The book I keep in a revered place on my bookshelves. It's always there for me when I need to be reminded of those times.

The meaning of "the Catapult" has deepened over the years. I can see how I enjoyed it more than the others. I am grateful that Mr.Leistner was moved to write the story a full 8 years before my father was born. He had no idea that he would be writing something so meaningful to both myself & my father so far into his future.

So, I want to thank Mr.Knight for introducing me to that story.

It will be remembered.