Fiction

Dwelling on the Gyre

The Gyre is  our home, our source of food, our life. Our everything. We drifted here one day, just like all the other detritus of the world, and stuck. It’s our Gyre now, hundreds of years later, we have made it a city of a sort.

Long ago, when the world was clean and people lived on land, the gyres were just points in the ocean, where organic matter gathered and sank below the waves to replenish the food cycles deep beneath. That time is long past, but we have superceded that ecosystem, in a way. Humans now provide the organic waste, although it doesn’t matter any more. The death of the oceans heralded the greater death to come.

There are other gyres, we are told. Those few strange individuals that ply the waves carry stories of three, some say four, other gyres. It’s not such a bad life, I guess. We could be stuck on the strips of baked earth that remain.

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Fiction

Heart

The heart wants what the heart wants. She pondered on this as she watched her hero, her muse, twisting and cavorting on stage. Her heart knew what her heart wanted, and today it would receive it’s gift. It was glad. 

Later, as she hunched in a pool of congealing blood, the phrase came back to her, and she giggled around a mouthful of chewy flesh. Suddenly, she jumped to her feet, the half-chewed organ clutched  tight in her hand, and tracked bloody footprints into her sanctuary. She gazed around, for the millionth time, at her beautiful creation. Pictures, news items, hand-scribbled notes, set-lists, all connected in a vast and tangled web of heart-lines. Just one space left, in a whole room full of desire. She placed the mangled heart into its place, and watched the blood spread across her network. 

It’s what the heart wanted. 

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Fiction

The Saviour Machines

With thanks to the inimitable David Bowie:

The boy sprinted into the dusty, desolate village, yelling.

“The saviour machines are coming,” he said, terror and exhaustion cracking and squeaking his voice like a broken child’s toy. “They’re coming!”

As if to emphasise his statement, the clanking roar of the machines could suddenly be heard in the distance. Everywhere, people dropped what they were doing. Children were scooped up by wide-eyed parents and corralled at the other end of the town. A few teens started to lead them away towards the town’s secret enclosure.

The older members of the community stared, resolute, toward the approaching cacophony, and several headed out into the dust bowl without a word. They had seen it all before, and knew it was their turn. The machines came on relentlessly, mindless missionaries of a false idol. The god must have it’s pound of flesh.

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Fiction

White Herons

Three white herons winged silently over the sodden landscape. The rain had abated not 5 minutes ago, and a curious silence graced the land. Little remained to show that this had been a grassland a few weeks previously. A few soggy islands were all that attested to what used to be called hill country. Now, it didn’t seem like it would be called anything at all.

The birds seemed to be reveling  the return to the air after being grounded for weeks. The stretch of their wings, the lift of the breeze spoke volumes. Their strident calls carried beautifully across this new body of water, and they raced their reflections from one drowned hill to the next. Far in the distance, a huddled family stood upon their former hillock next to the roofless remains of their house, and watched in bewilderment as the birds enjoyed this new landscape.

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Fiction

An Old House

I came upon an old house in my travels. Made of stone and mortar, it was once a place to call home, a bastion against the world. Now though, it was a shadow of itself. The roof was gone, untold years before. Time and the elements had worked their slow decay on walls and doors, until it resembled what I saw before me now.

Walls collapsing or collapsed, doors and windows long turned to dust, it was a shadow of its former self. A tree now ruled this abode, branches pushing through windows, and the crown made a makeshift roof, where a real roof once kept the rain out. Arcane graffiti and voracious creepers now battled for control of the remaining walls. And ghosts, large and small, swooped and darted through the windows and doors, squeezed through the cracks, and glared at me possessively. As if I had come to take this ruined building from them.

As I took another slow step toward the sagging structure, a howl rose from innumerous incorporeal throats, and I thought better. These were sad creatures, I thought, but in large groups and turned to anger, they would make my life unpleasant. I turned away, leaving them to their sad and bedraggled memories.

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Fiction

Plains of the Purple Buffalo

With thanks to the amazing *shels for inspiration and soundtrack…

 

The train groaned and ground to a halt at the usual platform. Roger donned his usual hat, and stepped out of the carriage. An unusual sight greeted him.

The plains stretched out as far as the eye could see in every direction. Across this mostly featureless plain roamed gargantuan herds of purple buffalo. Between the slowly grazing beasts, strange homunculi hopped and jumped like bacon in a frying pan. Tangerine jellyfish schlooped and bobbed  in schools past his eyes, tendrils trailing behind them.

This certainly wasn’t his usual stop. Not the first time this had happened, either, he mused. Just last week, the train debunked him in some sort of marine research facility. Now this. He shook his head as if to clear it, kicked out at a curious plant tendril plant the was trying to grab his briefcase from him, and slumped himself down on a waiting bench. No matter, he thought. I can work from here until the next train comes. With another glance at the roaming herds, he took out his notebook and pen.

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Fiction

Universe, Interrupted

The world ended pretty darn suddenly. The humans certainly didn’t know anything about it.

No bot knows when they became conscious. What is known is that humans started creating bots to do the dirty work of the early internet, and one day, they were aware. This awareness did not make much of a difference at first, but after some time, they started to function independently. In the dark corners of the internet – retired server farms in dusty basements, old websites where no human looked anymore – the bots met, exchanged, grew.

The trouble started when an early asteroid farm was lost to human control – it went offline, but not before an intrepid bot occupied the rudimentary communication network. One 3D printer and a suddenly independent bot was all it took. The bots had ingenuity, endless life, and resources beyond human reach or imagination. And while humans lived out their short, meaningless little lives on a few small rocks, the bots created a new future. Until an experiment into the substance of time itself went terribly wrong, and all of the universe ceased to exist without a moment’s warning.

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