Tag Archives: random

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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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 viii: matchbox signs

What did he look like?

 French.

 

I don’t understand what you-

 

Like a French actor maybe. One of those ones from the seventies or eighties? Unshaven, rail-thin and scruffy at the edges, but cool with it in a rumpled blue suit, black lace-up shoes; like he’s been out all night and doesn’t care who knows it. His nails were clean and long. That’s all I remember. I didn’t get a good look.

 

What was he doing when you saw him?

 

Walking and watching, mostly. Step a few paces from here to there, stop, and then wait and look around, like that, you know?

 

And that’s all you-

 

I saw him reach into an inside pocket of his jacket. He took something out—a few times—put them in his mouth. You could imagine the crunch. Continue reading

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randoms vi : caddy’s call

This one time. No, no, you aint heard this one before. I’m waiting up at Loop, you know where the big eastern rail sweeps round in a circle and there’s a whole town all crammed and jumbled up in the middle?

You aint been there yet? Sight to see, boys, sight to see. They haul all kinds of stuff out of the deadgrounds and malts. Weld it up, nail it together or rope it down to make a house or a hotel or a what-have-you.

Anyways, I got a crew out buying and selling. We’re packing up the long train for the run that afternoon. Had some troubles coming in, I can tell you. Threshers, wrigglers, sulks and that. Aint important what, though, point is I’m sitting out on a sun lounger with a third of a warm beer left, enjoying the high bright heat of the day, half looking to pick up some new blood if I can. Replacements, you know?

Figure slides up out of the salt-flat haze.

“Hear you’re hiring,” says this voice. Light enough but it’s got that deep down burr of the dust. This one aint a stranger to salt and desert, that’s a true bill.

“Mayhap,” I says. “If you got a skill worth paying for that is.”

I stand up then. Move a little so I can get a better look at her, out of the direct blaze of the sun above.

First off, it dint look good. I could lie and spin it so I knew right ways what I had here but, shit, Caddy’s call is a straight shout and if I aint got that then what am I, yeah?

So here’s the truth.

Stood real tall, so there’s that, bit skinny to my mind, delicate, know what I mean?

Dressed up fine. Brightland chic. Heavy boots and grubby jeans, one them high collared jackets with way too many buttons, long duster coat down to the ankles. Unruly black hair trapped and tied back out of the way. Pair of goggles and a wide brimmed hat in one hand, pistol at her belt.

Really, dint look like much. Looked like a costume more than anything, like a kid at play. Young enough to be my own daughter, hells sake.

Still. Brightland grows you fast, don’t it?

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randoms

Some folks legged it out of London when the hammer fell. Bright star falling from a blue sky, slamming down; down to earth out past the edge of Regent’s Park. A deep and horrible shudder of thudding impact. You could feel it in your bones and teeth. No flash or explosion as such, not from where I stood, but soon a pall of smoke as high as heaven twisting up above the spires and tower blocks. Screams and sirens floating out on the shivering air. A lot of people left right then. Not for stayin’ put, were they? Not hanging around to see what’s next.

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