Thursday, December 20, 2012

Heartstring Harper - Chapter 3: Cold Comfort

"You seem like you were awfully docile there," the Beast mused quietly, more polite now than he'd been the whole evening; after what had nearly come about from the argument a few moments ago, he had no desire to risk losing her tale. "And not just docile, too. Incurious. Never even looked to see who picked you up. Why?"

Heartstring shrugged, idly twirling her glass - once more empty, in the few moments since the Elemental had brought their drinks - as she spoke.

"Who knows? I was in shock, perhaps. And, too, I'd been drugged. But I think that some of it was her using a Contract on me, or something of the sort... I did eventually find out who it was that picked me
up, though. But you'll find that out later, if we get that far."

I played for her - them, really, I suppose, for certainly there was nothing about my Keeper to make me think of them as one thing or another, but that's a hard habit to fall out of, and it seems to fit for some reason, though I don't know why - until my fingers bled, and I could barely hold my arms up. And then, at last, they seemed to smile, though how when they didn't have a face, I couldn't begin to say. It was just an air they gave off, more than anything.

After that, the girl who brought me there helped me up, showed me to a room - her room, actually; I didn't quite rate one of my own - and got my hands tended to, then got me settled into bed, though we talked a while before I fell asleep...

"I'm sorry," Lure said softly, sitting down next to Anarya, and reaching out to lay a cold hand, like that of their mutual Keeper, though hers was made of frozen metal, delicately tooled with a pattern of snowflakes, no one matching its neighbors, instead of pure ice, on her shoulder. "I wish I could have put your dreams right, not shattered them like a mirror -"

The new-taken mortal hissed a negation, shaking her head, and looking rather as though she would have slapped the Changeling, had it not been for the fact that her arms were too tired for her to lift them, now that they had rested, and her fingers still raw, though the ointment that Lure - who, for all that she had been the one responsible for this, had proven to be a gentle and attentive nurse - had put on them earlier had numbed the pain from the wounds.

"You could. If you hadn't taken me, I'd not be here, so quit trying to make yourself feel better about it. Maybe if you'd left me alone, I'd have made it, maybe not, but either way, it would have been on my head, and you could have rested easy."

"You truly think that?", Lure asked with a bitter laugh, shaking her head. "You'll learn, then. After you spend enough time here, there's little you wouldn't do to stay in favor, or at least not fall out of it. Coming back empty-handed would have left me chained up with the Pack for a month or more, little girl. And you'd best hope that you never find out what that's like, even for just a night."

There was a brief silence, crystalline, the kind of quiet one feels is simply waiting to break, shatter like a glass hitting the floor and stab into whoever is around when it does.

"Well?", Lure said after a few moments, sounding almost impatient, though also, in some ways, with a touch of relief coloring her tone. "Aren't you going to ask, then? Come on, I expected better of you, what with your quick retort earlier, when I tried to apologize for dragging you here..."

Anarya flinched, having heard the mocking pain in the other woman's voice, but nodded, shifting slightly so as to be deeper under the thick blanket as she did, scared of what might be revealed when she spoke, and hungry for the comfort to be found there, even if it was of an irrational sort.

"What are the Pack, then?", she whispered, shivering somewhat as a chill passed through her, though whether from nerves or the cold that seemed to pervade this place, even here, next to a roaring fire, she couldn't tell. "And what do you mean by 'chained up'?"

"The Pack used to be people like us," Lure explained quietly, sighing, and once more reaching out to touch the girl next to her, this time slipping an arm around her shoulders. "Now the Keeper uses them to hunt with. They've been turned to beasts and back so many times they're no longer entirely human, in some ways. They're used as punishment. She won't let us die - but she will let them feed, either as a reward for a successful hunt, or a punishment to us.

Bad enough to suffer that perhaps every six weeks, as we all do, but can you blame me for being willing to do almost anything to not have that happening constantly, every day, for at least a month?"

Heartstring Harper - Chapter 2: The Instrumentality of Faekind

When I came to in Arcadia, I was hanging from a wall; apparently, someone had decided that, even if I didn't know the way home, it was a good idea to make sure I couldn't try to run anyway. Surprisingly enough, though, that wasn't the first thing I noticed – that was my new Keeper, an androgyne made
of ice, without even a set of eyes or a single strand of hair on her head, whether real or not…

"So, then. You're awake," the ice-person commented quietly, her voice sending a chill down Anriella's spine that was every bit as real as the one caused by the frigid wind, and the snow that it was blowing onto her. "Lure says you can play. I don't know if I believe her, though… She's been getting rather desperate for someone new to talk to, and I wouldn't put it past her to have brought you here just because she's lonely."

The strange – impossible, really, or at least that's what everything the musician knew was telling her – person turned away, snapping their fingers as they did, at which the manacles binding Anriella clicked open, dumping her in an undignified (and uncomfortable, for that matter) heap on the cold marble floor.
As the androgyne walked off, a massive hand settled on her shoulder, lifting her effortlessly, and with surprising gentleness, then began to guide her after them, eventually, after more twisting corridors than she could count, and, once, a room filled with people on pedestals, ice forming on their clothes and skin, though, somehow, they were still alive, to a small chamber with instruments hung on the walls, and a few – harps, and others that were too large, or otherwise unsuitable – on the floor, in recesses just large enough to hold them and their player.

"Well? Choose what you would perform on, mortal," the Shaper of the Ice said, voice soft, but with a clear tone of command in it, as she turned to face the human woman. "If it proves you do not play as well as I hope, it is Lure who will be punished, not you."

Hands trembling, both from the chill and her nerves, she stepped forward, and pulled a strange guitar, nine-stringed, from its hook, and took a seat on the only seat in the room proper, a stool at the center, then began to play, a haunting melody, composed on the spot...

As the waitress, a tall woman with ashen skin, and fiery red hair, which shifted to true flame at the tips, set Heartstring's glass down, the musician paused for a moment, carefully examining the Hunterheart she was talking to.

"Clearer memories than I'd have expected from a Spring," he said dryly, a faint, resentful, snarl in his voice. "I was under the impression that your court was primarily for dilettantes."

"And I thought Summer was for those too worried about keeping themselves safe to think about what kind of life they're protecting," she shot back, glaring venomously at him for a moment, before looking away, and taking a long pull from her drink. "Now do you want to hear the rest of my story, or would you prefer to trade insults until one of us leaves?"

Heartstring Harper - Chapter 1: Yeah, I got played

I was human, once. Normal, too, not the kind of person you'd notice on the street. At least, not unless you hung around the weirder clubs; if you did, you might have known me as the girl who played guitar, strange, experimental pieces. And if you were deep enough into that scene, maybe you'd have been aware that I wanted to get a sponsor, or if you knew music, you might have guessed that just from who I was and what I did.

 I got one. Just not the kind I was looking for; the girl I talked to was normal enough, albeit startlingly pretty for where we were, and better at talking than the people I'd seen recruiting new talent before, but it turned out that didn't mean much - she put something in the soda she gave me that put me out for a while, though I couldn't say exactly how long.

 Why not? Because the next thing I remember is waking up in Arcadia, and time is much less linear there. But that's a story for another time... 


 "Another time is not an option," the tall man sitting across the table from the Harper growled, shaking his black-maned head fiercely, and gesturing at a small knot of people on the other side of the dark bar. "My group is only in the city for one night; I hear your tale now, or not at all."

 Heartstring leaned back in her chair, the long coat she wore to hide the most obvious signs of her Durance - not because she was ashamed of them, but because some found the inhuman nature of her beauty unsettling, at best – falling open to reveal the taut strings of muscle stretched between the exposed bones of her torso. She waved for another drink, giving a musical laugh as she did.

"Fine. But you're paying for all of my drinks tonight. Tale-teller's privilege, been around longer than either of us," she answered, letting her chair drop to the ground once again, and staring into the Summer Courtier's eyes. "Deal?"

 He simply nodded, not even making a brief sound of contemplation, or, in fact, taking the time to think about it at all, before accepting, which was all the cue Heartstring needed to pick up where she'd left off…

Monday, September 3, 2012

Corpse Worms, Part III

There have always been, and always will be, worms. Most are harmless, or even, like earthworms, beneficial. The land around the City of Bells was no exception to this rule. But at some point during the City's rise, the wild magic flowing around, or perhaps some mage experimenting, caused a rather unusual strain to appear, though admittedly, the Corpse Worm shares far more traits with grubs than true worms, and probably started as a group of maggots.

 Their origin, however, is primarily irrelevant save to historians and the idly curious. Whatever caused them to come into being, the effects are the same; every so often, someone or something freshly dead will be found by a small group, which burrows into their flesh through the nose and mouth, taking great care to leave the skin intact, secreting preservatives as they go, eventually replacing every muscle the creature or person had with a group of themselves, at which time they, if necessary, begin to claw their way free of where they were buried, or if not, simply begin to go about their business, namely, finding more bodies to infect. They have no real culture, though they do gain a basic moral and social structure, as well as speech skills, if they inhabit a person, at least once they have replicated sufficiently (as they have a form of hive mind, the more of them there are in a small area, the more intelligent they are, somewhat tempered by how intelligent the host began as; a group the size of a human or elf will probably be as smart as the host body was) to be able to recognize and use such concepts.

However, they do often try to get jobs involving the dead in one way or another, as that allows them to infect more people, normally one of their primary concerns, though this is hardly universal, at least among those inhabiting the skins of intelligent organisms, since in those cases they are essentially a thinking individual, and thus it is no more imperative for them to infect other bodies than it is for any other sapient lifeform to reproduce.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

D is for The Dreamer

Far underground in a cave, resting on an ornately carved stone slab, a person sleeps. Descriptions of this person vary; some have said they see themselves, others a tall man with short brown hair, dressed in a well-made suit, and still more a short woman wearing a red and gold dress, who has long hair, ice-white in color. Sometimes, these conflicting reports have even been gathered from members of the same party, none of whom left the room, and all of which never saw the figure on the slab alter in appearance.

That person is known as the Dreamer. What it sees in those dreams is - and, to the best of anyone's knowledge, will remain to be - a mystery. Some think it sees the future; certainly, that would fit with what the few who have dared to look into its eyes (all, sadly, now quite mad) have seen, for to them it shows their own lives, from the point that they looked into them to their death, leaving them forever wondering if they've really woken up or just seen themselves doing so.

At certain times, however, it has awoken. Why is unknown. At times of crisis it seems more likely to do so, but whether they wake it or it causes them is unclear. And occasionally, it has arisen in times of peace. But two constants do remain in its awakenings - the first is that it always has a message for someone, usually of great importance for some reason or another. Which, unfortunately for their recipients, are almost never clear; once it told an ambassaor to be sure to put out his fire before journeying. Which he did, sweeping the ashes well into a fireplace, and making sure they were quite cold. However, a lantern that he didn't extinguish burned down half of the forest the elves live in when he knocked it over while he slept.

The second is that it is far more likely to awaken when there are people about. Which is why, to get into the cave, where a person that no two people are guaranteed to think looks the same lays, one no longer has to hike. An elevator exists, under permanent and careful guard, letting in those who are no threat and wish to see it, in the hopes that one of them will cause it to stir, and deliver another message.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

C is for Comprehengeon

Comprehengeon crouches on the rooftop, carefully laying the first book. As it does, it pauses a moment, gently stroking the soft leather cover with the seven fingers of its right hand. Two of those end in claws; one is little more than a lump of flesh, with nearly a hundred tiny bones jointed inside it; another, unnaturally long, arches back, joined to its wrist by a pair of thin membranes, like those of a bat's wing, and tapers to a vicious point, capable of snapping forward with the speed of a snake to blind an unwary foe, or, if it gets lucky, strike one of the arteries close to the surface. The remaining three are more dog-like than human, with odd joints, and a thin covering of white fur.

I, looking through the eyes of an owl, am almost perfectly positioned to see it work. And, to be more truthful about just why I'm here, to have a clear shot; the shadowed alcove - a story above, and across the street from, it - hides me well, the dark, irregularly stained, and somewhat patched, leather armor I usually wear blending with the shadows, and breaking up my outline, while the Cobble-born laying the stolen books in its intricate designs is wonderfully illumined by the twin moons.

Normally, I would bear no thought of harming it. Unlike most, I don't despise its kind, or necessarily find them repulsive; some, in their way, are even beautiful, at least to my eyes, though even I have to admit that the strange, androgynous form Comprehengeon has is, at best, malformed. And I surely have no grounds to harm him for his theft, not when I've taken far more valuable things. But usually, I'm not as desperate as I am now, and the bounty the Librarian's Guild has offered is too much for me to not try, even if I would ignore jobs as an assassin were it not for the fact that I've been sleeping - and poorly, at that - on the stinking paving stones in the Web for the past three days, and had nothing but a few scraps of bread and a pair of scrawny rats, viciously fought for, in the same time.

Meanwhile, below me, it slowly lays down the hundredth book in the structure it's building, using its left hand - a bizarre combination of a crab's claw and the arms of a praying mantis - to cautiously place it, taking pains to avoid displacing any of the others. To my altered vision, the mass of books is beginning to glow softly, a sign that it's most likely magical. That, or his Cobble-born body is secreting something that reacts with them, which is hardly impossible. It's one of the most extensively altered I've ever seen, and few but the gods - maybe not even its creators - have any way to know what went into its new form; some kind of secretion that glows when it touches paper may not be the sort of thing that most would intentionally put in a Cobble-born, but it certainly wouldn't be the first time that one has ended up with some side-effects.

In any case, whatever the cause, there's something about the design, especially when it's lit up like that, that's managed to pique my curiosity; I want to see what it looks like when it's finished. Especially since the glow is unmistakably magical now; I can see the distinctive currents flowing around and through it - greed from it, in the theft; lust for knowledge from the same source; hatred, coming in from the direction of the Librarian's Guildhall; even the faintest touch of need and hunger from me, along with other, more subtle, threads, that my untrained vision lacks the skill to decipher, or track to their sources. And it's well known that it sticks around for a while after completing the things, so there'll be plenty of time to kill it afterward.

Of course, now my shot is obscured; the thing's moved behind its construction - now, with the addition of the latest tome, glowing like a beacon to every mage in the district, and leaving me with no clue how Comprehengeon expects to not have a horde of people pouring down on it to see what in Sharva's name is going on -, and I can't see anything but an occasional finger, meaning I'd have needed to get poison before I came to do anything (which, given that I'm quite capable of making it, was admittedly a stupid precaution not to take), if I could hit him at all. But he'll have to come out sometime, right? Especially since he's on his last few books. His final one, in fact, if it's possible to judge by the strength of the magical field...

And, as it seems to suddenly be being put to use, it looks like it is possible to judge by that. Though the use is odd; it's hard to tell what it's doing, exactly, though it does seem to be masking the other magical effects. Or clouding my vision, maybe?


Looking around confusedly, I can't, for a moment, remember what's going on. Everything's changed... Then I actually come fully awake, hearing the sleepy owl roosting next to me hoot softly in annoyance at my movement, and realize that, while the surroundings have changed, it's only because it's now the middle of the day instead of a few hours before dawn. Apparently, Comprehengeon was a better mage than I am; he put me to sleep without my even realizing what was happening. And I'm willing to bet the contract with the Librarian's Guild is terminated, considering that I wasted a perfectly good opportunity to kill him and decided to satisfy my curiosity instead, which is what led to his escape... They're not terribly tolerant of failure, especially if it's easily avoidable. Though I suppose I should be grateful for the small things, like the fact that that contract contains a non-retaliation clause if I fail unintentionally, instead of worrying about things like that; if it didn't, I'd be lucky to end up as a Cobble-born with a heavy debt to pay off.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

B is for Blindworm

Zanevan hissed in frustration, delicately turning the statue's eyelash once again, prompting the gold orb in the socket beneath to rotate, then repeated the process on the other side; the 'eye' there was silver, but otherwise behaved much the same way... This was at least the hundredth time he'd tried it, and not once had there been so much as a sound from the iron door next to him.

This time, however, his luck was better; the ancient mechanism was rusted, and refused to budge more than a foot, despite the door having been designed to accommodate a procession of horses in double file if needed.

Of course, what he was unaware of was that the manipulations he'd just performed had dropped a tiny pair of worm eggs onto his hands, where they had then gotten onto, and temporarily bonded with, his clothing...


Once used in egg form as traps, the Blindworm originally ate into a person's eyes when they slept, and left only infectious slime behind.

However - to no-one's surprise, given the amount of raw and only partially tamed magic floating around there - when they were brought to the City of Bells, they changed; the most immediately notable, and widespread, alteration was that they no longer secreted the slime, though it is rumored that, as additional batches were brought, other changes took place...

Some have said that, if the proper type is found, it will bind itself to the person whose eyes it eats, replacing them, and, in fact, providing additional senses, letting one sense life and magic. Others suggest yet stranger abilities, such as telepathy, telekinesis, pre/postcognition, or scrying may be granted...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Arvastel's Alchemical Abeyant

Lynette frowned, carefully feeding a bit more wood into the fire. This particular potion was, to say the least, difficult, and the results unpleasant if it went wrong... Still, it was, without doubt, quite worth it; if she was going to be breaking into the Bell of Shadows, she'd need something that could stop the Bellkeepers, and keep them that way.

Seeing that it had gone back to the pale blue it was supposed to be at this stage, the witch smiled a bit, carefully adding some of the fine slivers of Daeling flesh she'd prepared earlier, shortly followed by the blood of a Night-Ghast, and nodded in approval as it began to shift to a black-gold hue.


Carefully holding the open vial, the half-angel grinned, silently advancing on the black-fleshed, slightly transparent, man before her; apparently, the softer boots, while not as durable as her other pair, had been a good investment, as he didn't seem to notice that she was there until she was less that a foot from him... By which point, it was far too late, as she'd already tipped the vial just enough to let a drop fall, and it struck him on the neck as he began to turn.

In the few seconds that it took him to complete the movement, he had already been affected, and the Bellkeeper slumped to the ground as soon as he was truly facing Lynette, any memory he might have had of her from the instant before he lost consciousness gone from his mind.

Arvastel's Alchemical Abeyant

Recipe, in the medieval style:

Take a good length of hair from a young Elf, and grind the half of it fine; add this to a fair quantity of slakewater, and simmer until luminous; while it heats, take the remains of the hair and place it within the shafts of a few Raviien feathers, along with a small portion of water suitable for the making of tea; this is then added to the mixture upon the glow becoming visible, and the whole brought to a boil, for such a time as it takes to take on a black hue, and begin to obscure light rather than produce it. When this occurs, several drops of angel's tears must at once be added, which will cause it to become luminous once more, and change in color to grey, swiftly proceeding to blue if the fire is hot enough. Shortly thereafter add a bit of the flesh of a Daeling, chopped fine, soon followed by a good amount of the blood from a Night-Ghast, thence occasioning a transformation from blue to black-gold, at which time it is to be removed from the heat and the substance, after a fair, but short, period carefully poured over witch-ice to fully cool, which, if done properly, greatly lessens the intensity of the glow.


To the layperson, the Abeyant is a powerful soporific, with properties that cause amnesia. This is, however, while certainly not unjustified, somewhat incorrect. It does not cause sleep, precisely; rather it causes a temporary and complete cessation of non-autonomic brain functions, accompanied by the loss of several hours of memory.

When a person is exposed to the Abeyant in some fashion, whether through a drop being placed on the skin, inhalation of it in a vaporous form, ingestion, or any of the other myriad ways in which such is possible, they fall into an immobile, though relaxed, state from which they cannot be roused until 1d6 hours have passed; in this state Detect Alignment shows them to be True Neutral, spells or psionics designed to read minds or emotions will detect nothing unless they are capable of accessing memories not currently in use (though those that can will encounter no resistance to the attempt). They also irrevocably (short of a Wish, direct divine intervention, or a Miracle) lose their memory of 1d4 hours immediately prior to coming in contact with the Abeyant.

Reasons for effects (Morilar-specific):

Daelings are capable of manipulating, devouring, and stealing memories; thus, it is a simple matter, especially for a witch, who are quite skilled, for the most part, in such things, to use it for sympathetic magic relating to that.

Night-Ghast blood functions in a manner similar to that by which the Daeling flesh is used; a Night-Ghast is capable of taking one's mind (and, in some cases, soul) to their realm, causing the body to become a barely-living shell until returned.

Angel's tears are one of the more straightforward ingredients - they're simple, though powerful, magic enhancers, and thus responsible for much of the strength of the effects.

Raviien feather function, in general, as a sort of magical glue, holding the disparate effects together, and binding them to the liquid.

Elves endure for incredible spans of time; thus, their hair is sympathetic not only for its direct connection to the head, and thus serves to further enhance the other effects, but for time, increasing how long it works for.

Witch-ice helps to amplify the sympathies, thus not only strengthening the whole, but making it be tied more tightly to the water and each effect to the others.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Spell: Protection from Mnemonic Intrusion

Lynette shivered, sensing the memories beating against her shields. She was well aware of what they were, and she didn't need to see her mentor getting torn apart first-hand; she'd had enough trouble dealing with her own memories, which, gladly, only dealt with finding Nicolen's body, not what had gone before, without that. Especially since such things were hard enough to deal with even when you didn't know the person dying...

Protection from Mnemonic Intrusion:

Type: Witch/Wizard
Level: 6/6
Duration: One hour per level
Range: 100'

One of the well-known dangers of the City of Bells is that, with the amount of magic floating around, almost anything can happen. Such is the case with a Memory Stream. Some events, usually ones with great emotional content - violent death, a wedding, resurrections, or any number of other things - can cause the memories of those experiencing them to bleed into the surroundings, and, unless one is protected somehow, force them to relive the event, as well as giving them the memories as though they truly did so.

This spell provides a barrier to the vast majority of such things, and, if maintained well, by a strong mage, can prevent new ones from forming; as such, it is often kept up over the various slave markets of the City (especially those selling Raviien and Asodelians, due to the circumstances they usually become slaves under, though it's generally considered unnecessary for one specializing in Elves, since the vast majority of them enter into it voluntarily) as well as at each gate.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Greenhouse: Fungal Garden

Eventually, having made your slow way through the Garden of the Fallen, the somewhat narcotic effects of the bittersweet funerary herbs having dulled your senses and slowed your steps, you enter a cool cave, with thin wisps of mist swirling through it, and seeming to settle into your clothes, the damp, still, air a welcome cure for your half-drugged state.

Looking about, now that your vision has adapted to the dim light, you seem to have walked into yet another tomb; there are bodies set in shallow pools throughout the room, or in the wall niches that feed them through swift, though thin, waterfalls, slowly, though faster than one might expect, having a layer of stone form over them, their decay slowed by the water's preservative properties.

Carefully advancing further into the caverns, you find that the next chamber is where the bodies are placed after having been removed from the water; on narrow stone platforms around the periphery of the chamber, with a few fashioned from massive, still living, grey-spotted white mushrooms set closer to the center, apparent statues rest, green-glowing lichens having been enticed to grow over them, as well as, in some cases, red-hued mushrooms with narrow, pointed, caps, giving off faint light of their own. From the ceiling, almost like the many-stranded bead curtains seen in the City of Bells, hang the mycelia of numerous purple-tinted mushrooms, with three-tiered heads, which are set upside-down on the roof, and also, as is everything in this place, it seems - including their mycelium, which emit a cold, but pleasant blue light - glowing.

Tending the fungi are more of the mirror-skinned people from the Garden of the Fallen; possibly their kind are simply the owners of this strange building, or perhaps their race has been assigned the caste of dealing with the dead. In either case, they seem to be reasonably expert at their tasks, carefully spreading fertilizer, of various types, where it is desired that a certain type of fungi grow, and carefully, patiently, scraping it away where another, or none, should be.

Grave Undertakings

The creature looked at the coffin thoughtfully, considering the problem posed by the body inside. More specifically, by the fact that the burial was going to be, at the sudden request of the family, conducted two days earlier than the traditional waiting period.

Were the gravedigger what he appeared, this would have posed no difficulty. Had there not been time on the day they wished the body buried, the request would have been politely turned down. But, despite all appearances, the creature responsible for burying it was not a human man, or human at all, though it had been once. What lifted the lid of the coffin, revealing the occupant to have been a pretty girl, were not muscles, but a mass of worms inhabiting a dead man's skin, having bored their way into his coffin a day or two ago, in another cemetery.

Slowly, it nodded. Yes... This one would do. While the girl had been preserved too well for the process to take anything less than the three days it had originally planned to have, and the alchemical agents in her flesh would slow, and in some cases even prevent, the worms' eggs hatching, and make the muscles less nourishing for those that did, and there was not enough time for her to awaken on the surface, or for it to hide her body, as the death-keeper would be coming to check on the grave's progress long before it could carry the corpse away, return, and dig the grave, it was still possible for her to return in the casket, and break free of its confines, at least if it dug a shallow grave.

Leaning over the coffin, it pried open the dead girl's mouth, just as the the worms began to spill from its lips, falling into her throat and on her face with soft plopping sounds.

That done, it replaced the lid of the coffin, and stood, pushing its shovel deep into the ground. In a few days, the girl would wake, and go to the other cemetery, the one the former man had been buried in, to get a job preparing corpses for burial. And in a few days more, when a suitable body came along, she would be joined by another, who would get a job as a gravedigger, that the bodies the girl planted the worms in would not be killed if they awoke on the surface, and her found out, or be planted too deep for escape if they had not yet returned before being buried.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Flash Fearday

Flash Fearsday is a microfiction challenge: write a horror story in 140 characters or less. If you feel that is too limiting, you can try for 140 words. Flash Fearsday was started at Porky's Expanse!; however, Porky was unable to continue hosting it, at which point it moved here. What will you create for the challenge?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Flash Fearsfardelayed

And, yet again, I'm two weeks behind on this... I would blame it on having a memory roughly equivalent to a steel sieve, but honestly, that's not at all fair to steel sieves... It's more like a mud sieve, dissolving when you try to run anything through it.


Flash Fearsday is a microfiction challenge: write a horror story in 140 characters or less. If you feel that is too limiting, you can try for 140 words. Flash Fearsday was started at Porky's Expanse!; however, Porky was unable to continue hosting it, at which point it moved here. What will you create for the challenge?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Strong drink

If into your drink you should happen to stare,
and back, from the cup, get an answering glare
as you quaff your refreshment, you'd better beware:
the effects may be more than exciting.
The brew that you drink might have thoughts of its own.
The last one who tried it fell down with a groan;
it felt, so he said, like he'd swallowed a stone;
from his guts came the clangor of fighting.
The internal struggle near tore him in two:
his complexion took on a cerulean hue,
and his actions were slowed as though moving through glue,
and the hair in his nose kept igniting.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jobs Undone

Click, click. Click, click.

"The last of the lights going off. Power cutting out, circuit by circuit. Or, less accurate, but more poetic, soft shoes, walking on graves.

Those of the ones that died in space. Or the ones who built, even if they could never go out past the atmosphere. Even the people who only kept on dreaming of the future, writing of it, inspiring those that flew, and created the ships that took us out.

We've been told that the task is finished. But nearly everyone - those that flew out into space, the people who hoped, one day, to do so, - knows it isn't. The ones that don't have chosen, since there's no changing things, to accept the lie, so that their broken dreams, with no hope of repair, don't haunt them."

I don't think I shook my head, though the urge was there. But, as both of us knew from experience, going out in space, living in a ship the size of a single room, or a station with as much room as a one man apartment, and having to share it with three other people for months at a time... You have to learn how to read the subtlest bits of body language, so you can defuse or avoid tensions, or you'll end by killing each other, and I could see in his expression that he knew I disagreed somewhere, and wanted to know how.

"Surely no hope of repair is a bit dramatic... Eventually, things will settle, won't they?"

He laughed, then, though there was little enough humor in it, if any, and set a hand on my shoulder.

"Look... Say there are a million people that need to be fed now, or that each plane in the war costs as much as a launch, though the actual numbers are much higher, in both cases. People keep breeding, making more mouths; research continues on better weapons, making them cost more. No matter what gets cut, and how fast, the need grows past what can be paid for, in an exponential progression. You'll never catch up with it, much less get something back. So we've chosen to trap ourselves on this world, and we can't take that back. Nor can we hope that some other country will keep trying for space - after all, with all the increased spending on war we're doing, they have to pay more to keep their defenses up. And I suppose, that, in the end, what we get from making such a choice is fitting - a society dedicated to nothing but feeding its hordes and finding new ways to kill off the rest of the planet."

The conversation pretty much cut off there. The last of the lights had just cut off, and neither of us felt like talking too much anyway. Especially not since the air system went down with them.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flash Fearsdelayed

Sorry for the rather major delay... Various things, including forgetfulness, have conspired to prevent me from posting these the last two weeks, and yesterday.

In any case, the challenge is back, and hopefully won't be delayed for anywhere near this long again.


Flash Fearsday is a microfiction challenge: write a horror story in 140 characters or less. If you feel that is too limiting, you can try for 140 words. Flash Fearsday was started at Porky's Expanse!; however, Porky was unable to continue hosting it, at which point it moved here. What will you create for the challenge?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Titled Posts (Not Untitled)

Lords of Fire, Lords of Earth.
War the child they gave birth?
What's their nature, and their worth?

Queens of Water, Queens of Air.
Are they wolves, or do they care?
Bodes their presence ill or fair?

Lords of Darkness, Lords of Light.
Do they aid, or should we fight?
Are they killers in the night?

Queens of Glass and Queens of Ice.
Trusting them tosses the dice.
Have they slaughtered our friends twice?

Lords of Wood and Lords of Metal.
Do we have accounts to settle?
Do they want us for the kettle?

Queens of Spirit, Queens of Flesh.
Do they soul and sense refresh?
Do their goals and ours now mesh?

Lords of Time and Lords of Space.
Shifting threats that we must face?
Why we're trapped within this place?

Queens of Lock and Queens of Key.
Should we fight? We cannot flee.
Will they hold, or set us free?

Lords of Blindness, Lords of Sight.
Does our pain cause them delight?
Have they caused our current plight?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flash Fearsday

Flash Fearsday is a microfiction challenge: write a horror story in 140 characters or less. If you feel that is too limiting, you can try for 140 words. Flash Fearsday was started at Porky's Expanse!; however, Porky was unable to continue hosting it, at which point it moved here. What will you create for the challenge?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Flash Fearsday

Flash Fearsday is a microfiction challenge: write a horror story in 140 characters or less. If you feel that is too limiting, you can try for 140 words. Flash Fearsday was started at Porky's Expanse!; however, Porky was unable to continue hosting it, at which point it moved here. What will you create for the challenge?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Flash Fearsday

Flash Fearsday is a microfiction challenge: write a horror story in 140 characters or less. If you feel that is too limiting, you can try for 140 words. Flash Fearsday was started at Porky's Expanse!; however, Porky was unable to continue hosting it, at which point it moved here. What will you create for the challenge?

Flash Fearsday

Flash Fearsday is a microfiction challenge: write a horror story in 140 characters or less. If you feel that is too limiting, you can try for 140 words. Flash Fearsday was started at Porky's Expanse!; however, Porky was unable to continue hosting it, at which point it moved here. What will you create for the challenge?

Flash Fearsday

Flash Fearsday is a microfiction challenge: write a horror story in 140 characters or less. If you feel that is too limiting, you can try for 140 words. Flash Fearsday was started at Porky's Expanse!; however, Porky was unable to continue hosting it, at which point it moved here. What will you create for the challenge?