Caitir struggled to catch her breath behind the water barrel. Whistles rang out in the darkness of the camp; the guards had realized something was amiss. Torches started to light up the night. Once her heartbeat had slowed, she turned her attention inwards and filled her mind with the image of a bat. She exhaled and it flowed down her spine, run along her limbs, and tingled the tips of her digits. She felt herself change. The night sounds of the camp and the surrounding forest sharpened and diversified. There was a soldier on the other side of the barrel.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
The few gods that were able manifested themselves for the divine council. Of those that couldn’t, some sent a servitor. Others sent nothing.
“So few,” Phoebus lamented. His power waxed with the moon, and it was only because it was bright in the sky that he had been able to appear at all.
“Were any more lost to the Unmaking?” Fire asked, blazing with power. He had been hidden within in the subterranean realm of the dvergr during the War of Making and Unmaking and had escaped largely unscathed.
They waited for news of any more of their number succumbing.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
The ululations of the waste dwellers pierced the morning silence with the same savagery that their crude knives pierced the villager’s chests. Thanatos was standing in his small, rented room, bleary-eyed, when one of the raiders burst through the door, covered in dirt, gore, and madness. The man lunged at him. Thanatos thrust his arms out, catching the knife. But the man was so covered with blood that his slick arm slipped free, leaving Thanatos with a long gash on his forearm. The rough man seized Thanatos and stabbed him repeatedly. He feel limply when the man finally released him.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
“That didn’t go as planned.”
Alfie turned his head towards Garth, leaning forward as though he was looking around a corner. “Ya think?”
He turned back towards the burning car.
“What the fuck are we going to do now?”
“Can’t we get a ride?”
The two men ducked as the fuel tank exploded, showering the area with bits of metal and plastic.
“Who are we going to call to come and get us? Do you have a phone? I don’t have a phone! Not anymore!”
Garth checked his pockets. “Damn, my phone was in the car too.”
Alfie just sighed.
Saturday, January 19, 2019
When Jeff came to, he was straddling an unfamiliar man. He was almost familiar though, but Jeff couldn’t place him. He felt a sliding sensation on his body somewhere, then heard a thunk. He looked towards the noise, eventually managing to focus his eyes on a bloody knife. It was lying next to the man, on the floor, just below Jeff’s own hand.
Where’d that come from?
He realized he was panting. He tried to stand, but his limbs were leaden. And he kept slipping in something. He settled for rolling off the still man and struggling to his knees.
Friday, January 18, 2019
Mattock probed the stones in front of him using a long pole with a steel cap. He’d put it there after almost losing his leg to a trap triggered by the metal he was carrying. Once his examination of the floor was complete, he placed the pole on the ground behind him and adjusted his lantern. The next set of tools clinked on their ring as he removed them from his backpack. Mattock assessed each in turn before selecting one and using it to examine the tunnel wall. Once he’d finished with it, the final inspection was with his fingers.
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Unbeknownst to nearly the entire world, all the children of that seaside town were born on the same night. This meant, on a particular winter day, when the tides were high, all the children born ten years prior would be of an appropriate age to wade into the chill waters of the Lavalcaster Bay when the full moon lights up the water, and the waving arms of the sea people waiting to take the children to lightless depths. There they would learn the history of their people and add their voices to the chorus imploring their sleeping god to awaken.
Sunday, January 13, 2019
The road wound through the mountain like a ribbon, following the landscape’s natural curves and revealing massive, tranquil beauty around every bend. Trees encroached on one side, making a fiery half-arch with their fall colors. The cracked windows brought us those smells so unfamiliar to the city: fresh air, trees, and the occasional whiff of horse. It was as though other people were absent from the world.
John Denver faded; I turned to my wife; she rolled her eyes. The song was already playing again, and we launched into the eerie single-voice harmony that only married couples seem to achieve.
Friday, January 11, 2019
The danger of the hibernal forest wasn’t a predator stalking through the snow. Nor was it a fast-moving stream, or sudden forest fire. It was stagnation. No great bear or silent pack of wolves would kill you. Your inability to get food or escape would be sufficient. The people living at the perimeter of the forest, because no one lived in it, claimed that there was a malevolent intelligence to the place that did its best to first draw travelers onto the winding paths between the soft pines and then lure the deeper into the forest to freeze to death.
“Oh my god,” she groaned to herself. “Why won’t he just shut up already?”
There had been a tickle in the back of her mind when her friend had suggested setting her up on a blind date, but she’d ignored it.
Things had started off alright: some casual getting-to-know-you discussion. But he’d slowly started to squeeze her out of the conversation. His presence seemed to fill the table completely. At was stifling even. It was as though he was some sort of talking python that crushed his victims until they couldn’t speak and then forced them to listen to him.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
His face was the color of dusty shadow, touched above each eye with a slash of white. Scars crisscrossed his dark face and bald head. One on his cheek pulled the edge of his lip into half an unsettling smile. He wore an unremarkable traveler’s outfit that hung down in such a way as to hide the man beneath. Wherever he walked, be it over gravel or up old stairs, his footsteps never seemed to make a sound. He also had a reputation for materializing out of shadows. His response to people mentioning this was a laugh and a wave.
Sunday, January 6, 2019
Jal saw his back in his mother’s old mirror. He yanked his shirt up over the splotch. It was growing. A chill tickled his mind, but wasn’t sure if it was the curse or just his imagination. It didn’t itch or burn. It just sat there, silently. He had always assumed it would do something. It turned out it was waiting.
It was waiting for him to go to sleep. And to dream. There it did itch and burn. It whispered to him, all the horrible things it would do once it had consumed his being and stolen his identity.
Saturday, January 5, 2019
They approached the old man struggling with an upturned cart in the center of the road. He looked up, face red and sweaty. When he realized who stood before him he threw himself to the ground.
“10,000 apologies young masters. I will have this offensive cart uprighted and out of your way presently. I only await your permission to continue.”
The young woman lifted her hand and the old man stood by putting one foot under him, then placing a hand on his knee, using that hand and the one hand on the ground to push himself to his feet.
Friday, January 4, 2019
It was a dark and misty morning, the kind that’d be called warm in the winter and cool in the summer. All the cars on the street were covered in dew, and inside they were just warm enough to be comfortable. It was as if the world was still in bed.
The stillness was broken by a car door opening. It was a compact, sensible car, only a few years old. The man who opened the door was unremarkable for the neighborhood; he lived alone; he had a college degree; he owned a car that he primarily used for commuting.
Thursday, January 3, 2019
“They kill for pleasure. And the glory of their faceless good.”
“What kind of god doesn’t have a face? What kind of god wants this?” I demanded, gesturing towards the carnage that was all around us.
“They call him Doom. He is death by chance. Death by no fault of your own. It’s just an excuse for slaughter.” He spit on the corpse of a raider. One of many scattered among the bodies of the townspeople that cluttered the smoldering town.
A distant sound made both men turn.
“We need to leave,” the old man said. “The crows are coming.”