Without – Excerpt 7

March 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Jospeh Rafiela was at that moment making bagels.

For the most part, working in the bagel shop was for him a perfect job. For one thing, he worked in the off-peak hours, between six and eight pm, and most of his job took place after the shop closed. He spent most of his time making bagels, cleaning up the place, counting receipts. Then he would come back in the morning, open the place up, and while the rotating girls (the D’Annunzia family seemed to have a fetish for hiring young college girls to work the registers, and so a parade of young flesh in tight yeans that rode low on the hips had come in and out of Joe’s life, which was unfortunately wasted on him, being the wrong kind of flesh) worked the front, took the orders, he would sit in the back and make bagel sandwiches, refresh the coffee, and otherwise avoid having to talk to anyone. Then from noon to two the place became a lazy little café, the girls would go to classes and he’d enjoy the quiet. Sit on the stool reading a book, stay on top of the coffee, and then go to classes himself.

Not a hard job. A touch boring, but Joe liked the quiet. « Read the rest of this entry »


Without – Excerpt 6

March 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

“I still don’t understand why we had to meet here.”

“Because I hate this fucking place.” Nameless waved his hand, indicating the hideously bright yellow and red décor, the statue of a brightly clad clown engaged in solemn discourse with sentient lumps of fried chicken, a gaudy mauve bell-shaped thing at the clown’s side, and the desperate looking people behind the counter.

“Okay, yeah, everyone hates this place. Why, therefore, are we here?” Bishop looked around at the booths surrounding them. Most were empty, except for one near the door to the parking lot jammed with several high school kids in letter jackets. There was a frazzled looking woman with four remarkably loud children attempting to maintain order by the ruthless rationing of French fries. And there were the two of them, each taking up a side of their booth, Bishop sipping at a watered down soda out of habit. “I mean, we could have met up at several other places, or I could have picked you up at your hypothetical-to-me apartment.”

“Well, so far, I’ve gone out in public twice in the past two days, and each time I’ve been attacked. The way I see it, if I get attacked here, I’m at least contributing to the shutdown of something I hate.” He put a fry in his mouth, chewed it and regretted it. “Look around you. Look at the way they lay the places out, at the scuffed floor where armies of shoes have taken and retaken the ground. This place is a psychic quagmire. You are armed, right?” « Read the rest of this entry »

Black Sun -Taklarsaza 1

March 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

Space is vast, and contains myriad myriads of worlds. One of these worlds is home to the Birth Ocean, a vast chemical slurry covering a mostly nickel and iron ball that orbits a small orange star hidden within an enormous gas cloud. The cloud is a remnant of a titanic series of stellar explosions several billion years ago that has yet to coalesce into more than a few stars and planets to spin around them. The cloud is, as one might expect from the graveyard of many destroyed stars, extremely rich in heavy elements.

The Birth Ocean is, in a manner of speaking, an enormous life form. Made up primarily of liquid methane, filled with silicates, heavy elements like iron, and much tin and germanium. However, the Birth Ocean is not a thinking creature. Instead, what it does is disgorge. What emerges from it is mostly nothing terribly interesting, heaps of randomly assembled metals and crystals. However, it is here that the Taklarsaza arose. « Read the rest of this entry »

A scene

March 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

The air above the ruined house crackled with lightning, blooming across the sky like the stresses of a shattering plate. There were sounds of thunder.

Two who were once like brothers, who shed blood together, who fought the Qlippoth at the dawn of time, who resisted the Fallen when the lightbringer made his choice, now resumed the task of killing each other. At speeds surpassing sound, they banked and whirled and slashed, obsidian and emerald streaks.

Sariel threw out a wing as he banked in the air, driving it past Baraquiel’s guard, crashing it with a squeal of crystals scraping against the spiky facets of his enemy. He barely got it folded back in time to avoid the slash of Baraquiel’s lightning-edged Sword, a crackling abhorrence that devoured life and light where it swept. Sariel was larger, stronger, faster, and more at home in war than Baraquiel ever would be. « Read the rest of this entry »

Without – Excerpt 5

March 16, 2011 § Leave a comment


The tree seemed huge to him. Enormous. So big he could barely see the top of it, so very large that it made sense to him that a dog could climb up it and get stuck in its branches, even a dog as big as Bahamut was. Up in the tree, the shivering black dog allowed itself to be cradled in his father’s arms.

His father seemed huge to him, too. Possibly that was the reason the tree itself seemed so massive: anything that could dwarf his father had to be unreasonably gigantic. Staring up into the boughs he watched as dad, holding the big black dog against his body with one arm, climbed down without even looking where he was putting his feet, murmuring reassurance to the dog the whole way down.

It seemed a very long climb down. Yet dad didn’t make a single misstep the whole way, and didn’t stop making those soft, comforting noises while the dog whined and occasionally kicked with his back legs. It was always a bit of a mystery how the dog climbed the tree in the first place… no one had ever seen him do it, yet somehow that great black bulk would end up half-way to the top, howling in distress until someone came up and got him. « Read the rest of this entry »

Without – Excerpt 4

March 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

The moon had taken pride of place in the sky and he was walking along train tracks. They were familiar enough train tracks. A long time before, when he’d been a teenager looking to achieve intoxication without the aid of either money or positive identification, he and friends long since passed out of his life had walked up these same tracks, under cover of night.

He looked to his left and saw the McLaughlin and Moran warehouses. Behind them near the loading docks were new plastic recycling units, but in the distant land that he’d occupied as a child who looked like a man, there had been dumpsters, and in those dumpsters one could find treasure, discarded alcohol thrown out for reasons none of them had been particularly interested in. Usually it seemed to be a defect in the packaging that rendered it un-sellable. Occasionally they would wonder aloud why none of the workers had taken it home, but they never wondered very hard.

Free beer is golden when you’re too young to drink at all. « Read the rest of this entry »

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