six flavours of Spring
dance along the budding branch;
life begins anew
dances along the branch;
Law AbidingJenison died screaming for his mother. Anisa, in quiet contemplation. The third and fourth souls died so quickly the other two never learned their names. But Mason? Mason drowned, a feverish bubble of breath caught in his throat.
He looked at Jenison. He looked at Anisa. He looked, also, at the monster squid, before finally, his gaze came to rest on the bloated remains of his body. "I suppose I'm dead then."
His new companions, rendered mute with bemusement, simply gaped as he continued. "Does anybody have a copy of the rule book?" When they failed to respond, he asked again.
It was Anisa who recovered first. "What rule book?"
"You know," he began, rather sanctimoniously. "The book. The bible, the King's guide. The book with the laws of this land. Dungeon Master's guide. Whatever you want to call it." He shrugged, one arm extended as if to receive the book though none was proffered.
The squid watched his ghostly form with interest, even as it consumed his corporeal leg. It, too,
MasterpieceThere are no stories left to tell, no theme unexplored. The world is populated by books alone, and I stand here amongst them, no longer triumphant.
I realised what was to come midway into things, but it was already too late. The frenzy was upon me. I devoured my people, spewed forth their stories onto pages nobody will ever read, and I created a new apocalypse as yet unimagined.
My art has betrayed me, and I walk alone through what should have been my piece de resistance - the greatest accomplishment of all.
Waiting for a MateIt's late at night and I'm just sat comfortable in front of the idiot box when I hear a commotion outside. I duck my head out to see and before I know it, I'm watching a young bogan crash into a pole, flipping six, seven times. The noise is horrific - grind! Bang! Crash! The stink of smoke and fire. People are sticking their heads out all over the joint, trying to get a squizz of the action, but I'm the only bugger prepared with a camera, so I guess it's up to me.
I'm out there like a shot, ready for the bloke to scupper, but me luck's holding and he's just sat there behind the wheel. The car's smoking, no, it's actually on fire, and the bloke's just sat there, like cor blimey, mate.
I'm ready to interview him when the coppers come on scene. It's Senior Constable Ash Bowden and he's as straight lace as they come. He's cautious as he heads over, like the smoking car might explode and the bogan at the wheel's just sat there still. I'm startin' to think he's a dummy, 'stead of a rea
Influenced"Tell me, why did the stars die?"
It's the first thing I ever heard, and if I'm lucky, it'll also be the last. If I'm not lucky, I'll die on my spirit journey, or worse, lose the Influence along the way. Only a handful of our people have ever experienced that, and their colourless lives post-Influence were at best, to be pitied. My mother's influence was stolen by a Beetnam warrior on her spirit journey, and they say she has never been the same since.
My name is Jaimerson and the elders say I was Blessed at my birth. I don't know about that - what I do know is that the Influence lays heavily on my shoulders. There are days it feels more like a burden than a Blessing - especially so close to the time of Prophecy. I would not want to be She, the Prophecied or She, the Fail before the Prophecied -- and, let's face it, circumstances are not in my favour. Both Shes were born to a parent whose Influence was stolen on their spirit journey. It doesn't say how many generations back the fail goe
Water! Earth! Fire! Air!Moist droplets clung together in small groupings. The air around him was liquid with their breath and their being.
Nearby, on the ground below, plants stirred. Their thirsty cores dug roots deep into the earth, searching out water.
Directly below, a fire crackled gloriously. Red-gold flames licked at the sky, devouring morsels of breath from its components.
His final moments would be his glory. Hissing down from his home in the sky, Aitch Tou-Owe extinguished himself.
Lost in TranslationThings were not going well. He'd knicked his hand on a sharp edge at the first hotel and had to swap to this one at the last minute. He had also forgotten his lucky pick, and his second set was missing a crucial tool. No, Adrian was definitely not having a smooth run of it today.
He was still jimmying the lock several minutes later, and the noise was attracting attention. A tourist -- recognisable by the wide-brimmed hat and extra large sunglasses she wore -- was staring in his direction. Adrian swore under his breath, affected a grin, and waved at her.
"Locked myself out," he called, bringing forth a slight blush, and thanking the Gods that he'd practiced that. He heaved a sigh of relief as she nodded hesitantly and went about her business.
Finally, the lock clicked, and he pushed open the door.
"Good morning," the gentleman on the other side said, quite amiably. He was wearing a moustache, a bathrobe, and a pair of terry cloth hotel slippers, and sipping calmly at what smelled like a
The Baker -- FFM 1, ChallengeWhen they asked his job, Howard told people that he rolled. In fact, he would continue, he rolled, he tumbled, he twisted, and eventually, he wrung. Then Howard would distract his conversation partner by talking about the local beetles, or wander off to "fix his bandage". For Howard rolled something other than himself, and he loathed knowing that. Acrobatics would require far more -- shall we say, flexibility -- than Howard currently possessed. No, Howard rolled, tumbled, twisted and wrung... bread. He dreamed of a different life, one where the tumbles were those of his limbs and torso; one where stars spangled his costume and adoring crowds gasped in wonder. He'd lived that life once, long ago.
Sprinkling cinnamon into the dough he was working, Howard would relive each moment, savouring them as though they were the finest cuisine. Spoonfuls of honey poured into the mixture would remind him of the fluid movements he had once been capable of. Exotic spices, used as flavour or for scent
The Memory Thief -- FFM2Hunched and shaking on the end of the bed, Bella Grizzel was a wretched sight. Slight for her age, she seemed almost to fade into the walls - though the walls would have had to be very dirty ones. If one had been able to see past the grime -- for Bella Grizzel was filthy indeed -- they might have noticed an odd assortment of scars. Strings of dark hair hung loosely in a dirty curtain that almost hid a face that was, somehow, dirtier still. The child's grimy fingers held onto an old and tattered bear, sewn together so many times he seemed more stitch than fur. She trembled, fingertip to toe, and the sound of her weeping carried itself through the darkness. In another room, a body turned; rolled; stilled again. It dreamed on as the weeping became pleading, before it, too, stilled.
Ragged breathing and a deep grumbling echoed through the house for the next few hours. "You must," the rumble seemed to say. "I hunger. I thirst." In response, quiet whimpers followed whispered pleas, ever more
Aftermathinconvenienced by his grief, the moon broke apart,
her shell scattering through space,
unconscious, she sheds shards,
shrunken satellites orbiting worlds old and new.
things stir in the new dark,
unnamed and unseen,
slithering through the shadows;
fishtails swish, cut swathes
through oil-laden waters. limbs,
newly minted, grow, gather strength.
the weak, asleep and unaware,
succumb to the hunger of the strong,
unwilling conspirators to a future crime
unpursued. no officer, pad in hand,
to challenge the survivors. no officer
looks askew, wonders at the armour,
wonders at the smell of fear in the air and, suddenly decisive,
walks away. the moon's delicate core,
unprotected by a fragmented hull,
observes; her shine dulls.
the dark grows darker.
the things, so many in number,
whisper to each other in the blackness,
their hoarse, dirty voices slithering from ear to ear,
laughter hissing across the surface of her existence.
every word is felt,
digested and spat back out,
over and over.