Category: Short Fiction

The Void Cavalcade

Earth isn’t gone. But sometimes, we wish it was.

When all this started, we’d just achieved long-range spaceflight with the Cleave drives – my great-grandparents were on one of the first cruisers out to the Alpha Centauri system. Kind of a big deal, getting to escape the solar system like that. We’d managed to colonize a few worlds in our backyard, but ideal they weren’t; if we could get our ships to cut through interstellar space the way they did in our neighbourhood, we might have a better chance at finding a liveable world.

Terraforming? That’s a fool’s errand. Best you can hope for is to change a series of icy moons into windy dustballs that snow like the devil’s dandruff, or make a bunch of dry rocks into slightly moist ones. ‘Course, other folks in the galaxy might have other notions, but they weren’t around then; it was just humans trying to find a new home in the badlands.

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(Instru)Mental

I’ve been feeling instru
Mental
About the way I’m being held
Figurehead, like a grand tree, just
Waiting to be felled

When your time is up, timber,
The funeral march drones
Down into soil to grow the next
Regime upon your bones

You’ve got me feeling funda
Mental
With your book of holy text
Warping tales to fit around you
Like the noose around your necks

When you see the face of those outside
Your tidy little group
Do you see the people, lives and dreams,
Or only heathen soup?

Now I’m feeling senti
Mental
For the things I once held close
Shut up in some chest-of-drawers
Away from those that need them most

They tell me “give that up”;
You’re a child no more
But they hand me things no human wants
And try to sell me war

We treat them like they’re orna
Mental
Put the doll upon the dais
Worship at the feet of your idol
Before you burn and raze

If you’re planning out to conquer
All your neighbours and their fields
Reconsider who you pray to and
The power that it wields

This whole song’s experi
Mental
Digging into words and sounds
Playing up on emphasis and
Making sure the meaning pounds

Sometimes the lyrics flow like wine
But often Bacchus is a hog
And out come words that muck and mire
It’s really quite a slog


Listened to “Departure Songs” by We Lost The Sea while hashing this out. I sometimes write lyrics for songs that don’t exist yet.

Hope your Saturday is going well.

 

Story Time

The creature sat idle in its chair by the fireplace, fingers aglow with the last vestiges of its cigar. How long had it been smoking that, I wondered, as I rose to stoke the fire – not for the first time that evening, I realized. The woodpile had been steadily consumed, greedy flames lighting the dim parlour with their grim energy; when had the sun gone down?

“Ah, but it is no matter.” Said the creature, all horn and tooth and skin of scale, shifting forms in the twisting shadows. It took me a moment to understand that it had been speaking aloud to itself, and I had, what, dozed off? In the dim light, its shape was gigantic and diminutive all at once, a thing of true unknowing. Something beyond my ken. It continued, “I’ve another here. Pass me the matches, would you?”

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The Distance Between Us

The station wheeled through the void carelessly, metal carapace groaning and creaking against the sheer vacuum that surrounded it. The Jovian moon of Callisto swirled in the darkness below, framed by the gigantic sphere of gas and storms that was Jupiter. The rings glinted in sparkling sunlight, sunlight that had careened through space at such unimaginable speeds just to shine against all these tumbling, hurtling rocks. Even the other moons twinkled in the distance, hot white sparks against the deep black canvas behind.

It all looked so fake.

Niké stared hard out of the viewport, trying to convince their brain that what they saw was reality. Those huge, unimaginably strange bodies outside, so alien compared to the cool Martian sand they grew up on. So cold and barren, devoid of life or shelter. Niké squinted their eyes. Still doesn’t look right, they conceded.

“Niké!” The old caretaker bot shouted down the connector.

“Yeah,” Niké responded distractedly, eyes glued to the surreality of such an immense spectacle. The unfathomable vastness was just wrong-

“Nee-Kay.” Came the synthesized voice again, stressing the syllables. It always got their attention, and not for good reason.

“What, Tink.” Their reply was flat.

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The Four of Us

Even here, in the deepest void of space, there was comfort in moving through nothing.

The ship’s engines rumbled pleasantly; more than that, the feeling of the engines running, matter being converted to plasma to be ejected through narrow cones, the heat and pressure of it all – these were feelings no person could ever truly feel. The sensation of electricity coursing through the hull; automated drones, each one feeling as if a part of her body; the cold, pressure-less void trying to rupture the skin of her hull.

She felt more and more like a vessel, a Ship, than a physical being every day.

Par’terre. Comms.

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Little Holes

“You ever been shot, meddy?”

The medic paused for a breath, surveying the wounds on the soldier’s shoulder and abdomen in an instant, flicking through mental textbooks to adapt to the worsening situation in front of them. “Can’t say I have, L.T.”

The lieutenant grimaced under the medic’s ministrations, their breathing shallow and constant. “It’s funny.”

“Funny.” The medic chuckled distractedly, “what’s funny about a hole dug into you?”

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Hot-Transfer

Warning: this story contains brief situations revolving around a lack of control and use of power over another. If that makes you uncomfortable, please return to the Archives.


SystemStartup; run VitalStatistix
– GetStatus: Sleeve*; -GUI
– Error: Sleeve5; stat=Interference.LeftShoulderServo
– Request HotTransfer=Y
– Agent Found: #500392010-4A
– Initiating HotTransfer
.
..

……………………….connection established

The rushing sound of data and light, like a torrential waterfall of endless bits and bytes cascading over her head, was suddenly dulled by the sensation of having ears again. And eyes. Oh god, and a mouth, too. She could sense herself in a small, well-lit room, painfully white and sterile to her newfound sight. Sleeves hung in their rubber harnesses, charging up for the night’s festivities; basic skinjob bots like these rarely had the glamorous gigs.

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The Postman

The city bustled around Harald as he made his rounds, delivering things from far-off cities and towns to the east. The colonists here were trying their best to survive on the border of the salty flats that stymied most attempts at growing anything, but it was their connection to their old lives that truly gave them purpose.

Most had shuttled here when there was a promising find in the desert: a ruin out in the desolate wastes of white, crystalline salt. The problem was, most that searched for the ruin were lost in the flats, for every direction looked the same to the horizon once you lost sight of the foothills. The people that built this little town – Trestle – were those who stood on the precipice of that vast and daunting expanse and realized the folly of it all.

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