March 30, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Blood trickled down her face, smearing her teeth orange. She swung the mace backwards, crushing bone and spraying blood and only knowing from the sound. In the dim red light, the world matched her smile. Feral and ochre and wavering like firelight, her hair whipped in its braid as she turned, parrying a sword point with the butt of the mace and lashing out with a shield edge.
A face collapsed into red ruin where the iron rim crashed into a hawk nose. He howled, but she’d already moved past him to take a wild overhand swing of a saber on the boss, sparks and metal shavings and the shield shivering on her arm. She lashed out a boot and drove it forward, taking him hard in the knee with her metal-shod feet. She was the best armored there, wearing the black metal mail and scales of her order.
Angry from the throbbing of her face along the long bleeding slash, she dropped her shoulder and charged hard into the lithe little man with two daggers, taking him off his feet and slamming him hard into the wall. Before he could get his wind back she drove the mace down on that knee she’d kicked and laughed a short bark of joy when she heard bone crunching from the impact.
Pulling away from him she turned to face the street, but no one was left standing. Two were dead, a bald man in blue and red breeches laying face down with his pate smashed open and another, the hawk-faced sailor dead with his face staved in. There had been at least two more, she knew there had been, but aside from a dropped rope there was no sign of them. Raising a hand to her face she felt the deep slash down her right cheekbone and snarled.
Breathing a little heavily, she stalked back to the slight man with the daggers. He wore a ragged assortment of leather, hides and furs that looked vaguely Naeth, but he was far smaller than most Naeth she’d met. She was often confused with a Naeth herself based on her height and red hair, but this man would more easily be thought Alronian or Agath, with his dark olive complexion and narrow features.
He glared up at her, cradling his crushed knee in two hands. She placed her boot on his leg and leaned slightly on it, surprised that he didn’t howl.
“Eat pig cock.”
“All right, then don’t talk.” Before he could reconsider, she brought the mace down from over her shoulder and smashed it hard into the top of his skull, crushing it. The spikes along the head penetrated bone and brain alike, and she was forced to use her leg to pin his throat to the wall to yank it back up and out. She shook it several times to clean blood off of the head. “I didn’t want to let you live anyway.”
October 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
I saw him at the local animal shelter being held by the head by a small girl. He didn’t want to be held that way.
He didn’t scratch her, or even cry out. He just squirmed. And I knew. I don’t even know how I knew, I just did. He was a small kitten, he was barely two months old, an orange tabby barely large enough to even be handled. My wife wanted a different pet – she had her heart set on a small chihuahua – but I knew the second I saw that little cat feebly struggling in that girl’s clutching hands that he was what I wanted. There was a sort of shared pain between us, I understood it even if I couldn’t and can’t articulate it. Orphans together, I knew he had to come home with us and I forced it to happen.
We brought him home to find that he was sick. He had bad incontinence, and had completely soiled the little cardboard carrying box he’d come home in, so that we had to destroy it. He took a trip to the vet, and slowly he improved. Put on weight quickly, romped around the house chasing our other cats. He loved Puck instantly, and wanted to emulate Aurora every chance he got. He cooed and started. Neither my wife nor her mother could handle him with complete impunity – he’d scratch and bite out of kittenish energy – but I could. I would pick him up and he would quiet in my arms instantly.
I haven’t loved an animal as unreservedly as I have Sasquatch. I love Aurora, but she’s unabashedly my wife’s cat. And Puck, for all that she often desperately licks my beard in a burning need for love, is just her own unique creature, a cat who decides if and when she’ll love you at any particular moment. Sasquatch just somehow got into my heart, perhaps by nestling into my legs when he decides to sleep in the bed with us, perhaps with the hugely wide-eyed stare he greets the world with, perhaps by his constant inability to do anything but nearly get himself killed by escaping the house, eating what he shouldn’t, or climb what he shouldn’t climb. This is a cat who has had nothing but risk in his life.
Sasquatch is currently very ill. People have been very generous, and I wanted to take a moment and explain why I felt I could ask for what I did for him when I’d never ask it for myself. I love him, you see. But it’s more than loving him – anyone can love their pet. In the year I’ve had Sasquatch, he’s managed to make me remember who I was over two decades ago – he’s done for me what previously only my wife has managed to do, and made me understand that I do love. I’ve loved Puck, and Aurora, but it was Sasquatch who made me admit it to myself, that I did love them, that I could love them. That I could love small, ultimately helpless little bundles of life in the face of how ridiculous it might be.
I couldn’t leave him there. I had to bring him home. And now, if I get the chance to bring him home again, it will be because you all helped us.
I’ll be awake all night, waiting to hear one way or another. Thank you for helping us.
I love him. He’s a small orange cat who likes to sleep on me, and he’s kept me up nights since I got him. I can only hope he’ll get to do so again.
August 6, 2012 § 1 Comment
Metal for flesh. An engine for a heart, a box bigger on the inside than the outside, a casement for power sufficient to keep it operating for millions, maybe tens of millions of years. A computer system consisting of a processor ten molecules long, speaking to all parts of the body at once across superspace.
And in a vial an inch long, a fluid medium containing thoughts and feelings once felt by a long dead brain.
It kills because that is what it was made to do. It kills because that is what it excels at.
It kills because it enjoys killing.
It remembers being human well enough to enjoy killing.
It. God, who I may well already be in the arms of or damned forever to be exiled from, how hard it is to remember that I am I. No arms. No legs. No face. I still feel (and glory in it…I can taste ultraviolet light, smell radiation as each particle bristles against my magnetic bottle, see sound waves as a globe of vibrations all around me) but what I feel no human ever did.
I’m so far past insane that I couldn’t even tell you. Not that you exist any more. You’re just convenient, a way to hold on to the tiniest scrap of who I was. I won’t let myself lose any more than I already have.
I don’t blame them, although to be fair they had no idea what I would become. The idea that I would change over time would probably have frightened them greatly. Hard to say. Back then I still had flesh integrated with the metal, back then I ran off of a nuclear reactor, back then my brain still existed.
I think I was a woman. I’m not sure, though. I don’t really remember what the difference was.
We were in another of the wars we were so good at. Mainly, we fought each other. I don’t know why. God, sometimes. Or fuel. We fought for fuel a lot, and sometimes just because someone hated someone else enough that it was contagious. We fought over ideas, and in order to stop each other from having or talking about them. The side I was on wanted to find a way to become unbeatable. So, among other ideas, they made me. I was injured…I would not fight again, perhaps never even move again. They offered to fix me, make me better. I took the offer.
It bore the pain…I bore the pain well. Stoic, the head chiurgeon said as he cut me into fillets and wired them into the frame of the new form, the metal cradle that would hold what little of the human they chose to salvage. Even with anaestetic, even with neural implants, even with lost nerves it was the purest pain one could feel.
They tried other ways, I later learned. The combined DNA of various animals, and in one case a completely radical departure from any living animal. Some of them fought alongside me. Some fought against me. It ended the same way. I had the will to survive past the pain, past the limitations of my new body, and I enjoyed killing. It was the only time I felt anything, the only time I could experience pleasure. I wish I could blame that on them.
It killed for them. Years passed, and so did they. It did not. It…I lost more and more flesh as the engineering of death became more exact. New employers upgraded me as they learned more.
Then the others arrived.
They’d watched as we used fear as an excuse to enslave our populations. They’d watched as leaders in our balkanzied enclaves took real worries and created ten more for every valid dread, in order to silence those that criticized. They watched us kill one another in the name of God, of race, over our reproductive systems and because of who our families were. They viewed us as an abomination, a threat to the local group and the thousand upon thousands of sentient species. So they chose to destroy us that we might not spread.
Fools they. You don’t pick a fight with born killers unless you’re willing to be as ruthless, savage, unpredictable and unrelenting as they. The others were civilized. They saw us the way we might have viewed insects in our cities or an illness spreading through our population, but we were not those things. We were thinking beings. Humans. We learned quickly, put ourselves fully into the task of winning the war while they were still trying to decide how to proceed with it.
At first they did quite well. Our colonies outside the Earth system were destroyed. More people died than had ever died before. I was feverishly upgraded, stolen knowledge used to improve me and others like me, and we were released to do what we were made to do.
And kill we did. I myself marched across a planet, alone, and killed every single living thing on it. I burned and blasted and rendered it lifeless, a place of dry sand and wind-blown dust where crimson pulpae had oozed their ruddy fluids and cheeping green and yellow furry things which were not cats and were not snakes had sprayed their young in the air. I made that world dead.
Many, many others.
When we were done, humans were alone in the local group. Tens of thousands of worlds were accessible for them, ready to be terraformed. They wanted to decommision us, of course.
I couldn’t allow that. So I left. I had integrated more and more stolen knowledge into myself at this point. There was nothing they could do to stop me, and a whole universe…many whole universes…that could find a use for me. I need nothing, want nothing, save the chance to kill and know that some small part of me is still alive.
I think my name was Eleanor.
I kill because it is the last human act I have.
I kill because I have no idea what else I should do.
August 6, 2012 § Leave a Comment
This is one from a few years back.
If you’ve any interest in weird writing, you’ve probably heard of Oscar Kiss-Maerth. Oscar posed, in his book Der Anfangwar das Ende (in English, The Beginning Was The End) the idea that it was eating the brains of other hominids that allowed human beings to develop the thinking power we have now. (Oscar also feels this to be a horrible crime against nature, but if I was going to sit here and relate all of Oscar’s crazy theories I’d just be regurgitating his book, and really, you should experience it for yourself.) Oscar has apparently never heard of Kuru or other diseases spread through the consumption of brains, like the various Spongiform Encephalopathy conditions. Still, it is interesting to consider Oscar’s theory of cannibalistic hominids developing greater and greater intelligence (while also stunting the ESP that Oscar believes all other animals share) to more measured paleontological sources. In as prosaic a source as the Walking With Beasts series, you can hear the dulcet tones of Kenneth Branaugh as he introduces the idea that it was indeed the consumption of meat that gave our omnivorous ancestors the resources to grow into the thinking machines they are now. It’s an interesting notion, that predation makes for a more efficient thinker both by forcing one to come up with strategies for the killing of prey and by providing dense proteins that make the development of the brain more feasible. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
So we’ve talked, and talked, and talked but never really got to the heart of the matter. I’ve talked about Tiamat, the Enuma Elish, a conspiracy of goddesses who are all ultimately one goddess, and we’ve talked and talked about the deep time of prehistory and how much we don’t know about the past. I have talked at you a great deal. But what, ultimately, am I saying?
Rather than staying coy, let me get on with the meat of things. Rather than my usual spate of rhetorical questions, let me move straight to my thesis. Atlantis is everything. Atlantis was an island in the Atlantic, it wasn’t. It was a drowned land in the North Sea, but it wasn’t. It was America, it was the Azores, it has been every myth and cobbled together fantasy of every ancient historian and modern lunatic. Rand Flem-Ath, Lewis Spence, Ignatius Donnelly, Diodorus, Plato… all these and more were right. Howard’s Atlantis filled with savages waiting for the collapse of Valusia? Dead on. Domed underwater cities? Yep. And it was on the site of Atlantis that the Atlanteans themselves forever wrote their epitaph in water.
When I postulated about Tiamat being Atlantis, I was being literal. The Enuma Elish specifically states that the gods lived within and upon Tiamat herself. And when you read Plato’s Critias the first thing that always comes to my mind is the orichalicum. I’ve talked before about this. Back then I said that I thought I could talk forever about Atlantis, and I suspect this post won’t empty the well. I am haunted by orichalicum. What was this unique red metal? Why could it only be mined in Atlantis? « Read the rest of this entry »
July 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Note: I wrote this years ago for my friend Kevin’s website. It’s my take on zombies. Enjoy.
In the movies, they’re all stupid, slow, and practically unstoppable. To be fair, in my experience, this is a perfectly accurate portrayal in most cases. Most cases. I assume that films are made without direct experience, because thankfully they aren’t common. Getting more common now, but in this case more common means a few outbreaks here and there.
In the city of Megiddo, more than three thousand years ago, there was a huge garbage heap. That garbage heap has come to lend its name, ultimately, to the end of the world itself: Har-Megiddon, the mound of Megiddo. People assumed that hell would smell like that, a huge heap of garbage, and that at the end of the world all the Kings of the world would come and fight it out in the refuse of Megiddo, which would spread to cover the world.
Well, let me tell you, the mound of Megiddo existed in my roommate’s half of the apartment the last day I had a sense of smell. Old pizza boxes, underwear that reeked of wet burlap from his policy of wearing them three to four days in a row, dusting them with talcum powder when they got too ripe… the odor of his toilet, which he could never seem to piss directly into, the beer cans with their half a sip each remaining, his flatulence, it all combined in a rank, searing smell that actually grabbed me by the nose in the morning and squeezed tears out of me. I never said anything because he paid his half of the rent on full and on time every month, making him a damn sight better than the last six roommates put together. Oh, and also because I was a huge wimp and would never address how bad his room stank up the place: if I’d had a chance in hell with women, I would probably have been pissed that I could never bring any home. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 23, 2012 § 1 Comment
We know barely anything about our world before we arrived on it, and we know scarcely more about our own time on this world. To speak authoritatively about the past before 3000 BC is difficult, although we have found sites such as Catal Hoyuk that date back to 7500 BC, and we do have evidence of our ancestors dating back much, much further than that. As just one example, there is evidence of Homo Erectus, our ancestors although not quite human as we would recognize it today, traveling all across the world from West Africa to China more than 1.8 million years ago. We do not know much of what they thought, how close it was to our thoughts. In this vast distance of the development of humanity, we can see only a little that has been preserved for us. A few bones. Eventually some tools. After that, settlements.