I dreamt of her
I woke, drained.
With bite marks
On my chest.
I dreamt of her
I woke, drained.
With bite marks
On my chest.
The University had stood for an age, harvesting the finest minds of an entire system, spreading slowly across the skies, a sandstone and ivy cancer, blotting out the sun.
For those of us living in its shadow, it was a reminder of what we could never have, and of the privileges of the ivory tower. Our women stolen, as well as our children – and we were supposed to thank them! I always listened to my mother: Never talk to strangers. We ran, and hid in the mountains.
Yet still they came.
The air-bladders on the ships inflated, at a snail’s pace.
Surely they would discover us. Surely.
They didn’t – and we struck, our flotilla silently approaching, the setting sun at our backs and revenge before us.
Stone doesn’t burn.
But books sure do.
My article Tanuki the Tipsy Trickster God: Why a Well-Endowed Raccoon-Dog is Popular in Japan has just gone up on Atlas Obscura!
Let me know what you think!
We try to shake loose
the claws of the dead
with the comforts
of the living.
“The kingdom is mine.” From between cracked lips she whispered, as the pyre caught ablaze and the mob fell silent.
He heard her. He should have ignored her, for the mumblings of heretics should not concern kings.
He should have kept walking, dusted his hands free of the soot, turned his back on the orange fingertips of flame that already stroked her skirts.
Instead he turned, a sneer on his face.
“Say that again, peasant. And louder, so I may hear you.”
She did, and she was right. The mob bayed, the guards were overrun.
She died, a blazing icon, seared on their memories.
He died, his head on a pike.
The wind groans, whispers, muttering sweet, impossible promises.
Trying to lure me outside, into the darkness that sullies the daylight.
Into its claws.
Through people’s windows
As I pass,
To snatch a glimpse
Of lives I’m not
Empty windows, lit up.
Empty people too.
The jungle was hypnotic – fluorescent, fire-work foliage waving, near-silent at the fingertips of the wind. The heat was stifling.
How much further? – did I ask the question? Did Davies, or Bergman, or Jones? Not Bergman. We left her. Her faceplate shattered, her private atmosphere invaded. She choked to death, clawing at our exo-suits, begging for help. There was none we could give.
Just another reminder that the über-creative Tiny Owl Workshop
The deadline is on April 14th. They pay professional rates, and publish beautiful books.
So, as everyone who swings by here should know by now, the Tiny Owl Workshop is teaming up with brilliant illustrator Terry Whidborne to put together the Unfettered folio – an anthology of short stories to be paired with gorgeous artwork, like this piece:
(Your fiction, that is. )
What I haven’t mentioned, however, is that I’m working on a world-building dark fantasy project with the Tiny Owls, entitled The Lane of Unusual Traders, which opens for submissions in May. Which they mentioned in Australia’s biggest writers’ marketplace, the Australia Writers’ Marketplace.
Is this what it feels like to be famous?
I’m giddy, and excited!
Sometimes I feel
like I’m just
Breaking the surface,
over and over
and over again,
of that dark, mirror-pool inside me.
But not today.
It was the end. The end of forever, the end of an old man’s dream.
The trumpet sounded. The walls came tumbling down.
Billowing, twisting smoke rose, pillars holding aloft the blue dome of the sky – it was a beautiful day, glorious. It shouldn’t have ended. Not like this.
They were singing their dirges, their dreadful battle-hymns already – God’s Children, they called themselves, carrying before them a bleeding Christ, an emancipated prisoner-of-war still alive, crucified. He shouldn’t have looked.
I always seem to be so damned busy.
There’s always something else to do – some things are a pleasure, some things are a pain.
The image above is a pleasure. A joy.
And the project it’s a part of is also a pleasure. Unfettered - an illustration-led project by Terry Whidborne and the Tiny Owl Workshop – is open for submissions, based on this and a whole range of other illustrations.
And now I know I’ve got your attention, you’ve got until April 14th.
Get on it.
She woke, into a dream-world.
Aquamarine and burnished-orange erupted into the sky.
Wet, as though each infinitesimal droplet had coalesced into an ocean.
Thin, near-invisible fish shoaled overhead, impossible.
Koi fish stirring the heavens.
Rolling thunder became the crash of ocean waves, the jagged teeth of the city skyline a miniature reef.
She watched the fish swim and found peace, of a sort.
Enough to be getting on with, anyway.
I feel stuck.
In the moment, in the movement, in the shadows.
I feel stuck, mirroring the collapse.
In a funk, delayed, haunted by books and the images they throw, haunted by the notion of a work/life balance.
Haunted in crowded places, by faceless men and soulless women, by promise and potential and decay.
Their burned-out eyes, following me – where did everybody go?
That’s why I haven’t been writing much.
But I know how to break out of it.
I just have to write more.
Another dribble rolled downward, hung momentarily suspended from the jagged-tooth stalactite.
The surface of the water rose as it fell, embracing each droplet. Layer upon layer, each calcified drop adding another piece of skin over the rock.
I collect those falling droplets, sipping at the cold water – I figure it’s fresher than the metallic silver of the pool. I sweep my hands through that black mirror, startling the blind cave-fish, driving them onto the shore. Cold, wet flesh; warm blood trickles through my beard. It thickens, fusing together.
Sunlight trickles from above me, diluted and diffused, like the shrieking of the warm-fleshed, unreachable bats, blowing hurricanes above me each night.
At night I hold the frayed ends of my rope, remembering the
and the tumble, remembering the
of my collapsing leg on the rocks and the brilliant – cold - numbing twinge of the water on my broken bones. I see the flickering cavers’ torches overhead. I can hear them murmuring. They’re talking about me. Hallucinations, all. They come down each night and taunt me, they scare my fish and leave behind candles, blazing, too-bright.
They disappear each morning, fading into the light.