Category Archives: writing

randoms xv: it starts with the hands

I had a dream about people turning into cows. Not actual cows, more a kind of Gerald-Scarfe-Pink-Floyd-video grotesquery of lumpen bovine humanity. It starts with the hands and feet, maybe, becoming useless club-like stubs at the ends of spindly limbs. The rest of the body is bulked out, the epidermis peeling away to leave dun coloured patches of blubbery flesh. The face is elongated, snout like, the ears are curved protrusions of stretched skin. In a certain light I guess they do look more like pigs? But in the dream they called them cows at first and that name sort of stuck. 

It’s not a localised event. It’s a worldwide phenomenon; a social crisis and a health catastrophe. How does the world respond? How do family and friends cope if it happens to a loved one? What do you do if it begins to happen to you? 

I woke up before that part of the dream unfurled itself. In many ways that’s a blessing.

 

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#RPGaDay 2017: Day 30

Question 30: What is an RPG genre-mashup you would most like to see?

Urban fantasy and anthropomorphic animals. I think that would be cool. I have an idea for a novel ticking over at the moment (called The Crow Boy, there’s bits of it scattered about this blog), which features magic, steampunk style crazy science, old gods and new deities; all wrapped up in a tale about birds and cats and surly rats. I think there’s probably a game there too.

Other options for mash-ups:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer…in space!

And also something which is probably best described as a cross between Harry Potter and the Battle of the Somme.

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randoms xiv: you can sleep

She can hear the static in her bones as it gets closer.

“This thing,” he says, “the monster you say is after you-”

“It only travels at night,” she tells him. “In the light I have a chance.”

The pick-up truck is real old, a lot like its driver, and worn down; paint chipped, chrome dulled, seat leather smooth and cracked. There’s a stack of old yellowed newsprint in the foot well on the passenger side, a litter of this and that scattered here and there on what might once have been a square of carpet.

The engine grumbles and strains when he turns the key in the ignition. The whole pick-up shaking to its core as he struggles the wheel around, points the vehicle’s nose towards the rising sun.

“Don’t worry,” he says. “She’ll get going right enough.”

Maybe she’s convinced.

“Settle in,” he says. “You can sleep while I drive.”

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randoms xiii: temple althren

The temple fell burning, and black ash motes peeled off, spiralled away, swirled and scattered from a rolling turmoil of endless ruin. Molten alloys bubbled, ceramic armours splintered, whole sections of decking rippled in the maelstrom. Bulkheads bulged, faltered, finally failed as—birthed and bred amongst silence and stars—the temple at last struck the atmosphere of an unknown planet and plunged down to destruction…

All of this is accidental, incidental even; wrong space, wrong time.

A Kovanarii combat-cruiser—Empire Light class, name of  Tesallanc, for those keeping notes—in pursuit of an entirely different agenda, clipped the Temple Althren amidships with a brace of spiral seekers launched for an altogether different target.

Temple Althren warped into that field of fire, took the mortal damage aimed at another, and the Kovanarii’s quarry jumped away, lived on to fight again.

A brief scan for survivors—inconclusive—a suitably contrite and concise flash-message to high command, and the Empire Light Tesallanc left the system, coruscating waves of warplight fading, as the temple fell burning in their wake.

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randoms xii: alternative factory

No one remembers the factories. Not really. They appear only in dreams and old photographs and nobody ever thinks too hard about them or about what happened there.

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randoms xi: arena fighting

The sword swings—too slow, too high—and Lake needs little effort to avoid the arcing blade

“Not good enough.” 

Nemeric grunts. His tunic darkened by sweat, eyes wide and wild, his breath hard and ragged. Not pacing himself at all. 

“Like we practiced,” Lake tells him. “One-“ 

Lake pivots from the hip, weapon raised, sweeping inwards. A clash of his sword against Nemeric’s, the shock of it felt in the fingers and forearm. 

“-two-“ 

Lake pivots into a high, fast backswing and Nemeric dances away to avoid the speeding sword point. 

“-three.” 

Nemeric is recovering as Lake thrusts forward, a quick jab, no danger of it reaching Nemeric but he oversteps backwards, stumbles, falls flat on the sand as Lake moves in. 

“Better,” he says. 

The crowd roars in the high stands around them. Not for Lake and Nemeric. The main action is taking place on the broad wide expanse of the Square—in fact a rectangular plateau of bright white marble in the centre of the stadium—whilst Lake and Nemeric shuffle and feint and make a show of struggle, in the shadows near the edge of things. 

Nemeric is flailing around with his sword as he struggles to rise, red faced and gulping air. 

“Quickly, man, quickly,” Lake tells him. “Much longer and they’ll think your heart’s not-“ 

A howl from Lake’s right and he spins.  Continue reading

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randoms x: ‘alienist’

“I had some school days. Back at the start. Little bits and pieces anyway. There wasn’t much book learning to be had when I was growing up. On account of my situation, you know?” 

I’ve read the files. Understand all that’s been recorded about her circumstances. The next steps involve a deeper apprehension.

“Remember the Crusades,” she says. Continue reading

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