Friday, February 17, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

The blood falls from the sky like rain. They say this because they have read the old, paper books; they have never seen real rain. Much like they have never seen the ocean blue. Some of them doubt that the ocean was ever blue. That animals lived in it. Great, giant fish and things called lobsters which looked like giant bugs. Crazy creatures only a sci-fi writer would create. The others believe. They call it faith. They are branded as simpletons, but they are right. 

So it goes (this is a phrase from one of the strangest books). It has become my mantra. 

There are books that tell of a being that lives in space and controls everything. There are pictures in some of the books. Weird creatures, more plants that you can imagine. I don't care what anyone believes. I know it is true. The books are a reflection of our selfishness. The books are our legacy. 

But fewer people read them all the time. 

I told a fellow at the wake-up station that the oceans used to be blue. Not acidic and filled with micro-plastic. He laughed in my face. He was a plastic miner. He knew more than me because it was his livelihood. He laughed at me. But I am right. 

So it goes. 

I believe it all. I believe there were once animals that flew in the sky. I believe that there was once a moon that lit up the night. I believe that there used to be food, not just capsules. I believe it all. It's the only thing keeping me from going to the dead-er like they want me to. 

They are talking now of burning the old books. And they may. I will be there if they do. I will jump on the fire and burn to death with my faith. With my truth. It won't change anything. But I will die with the words that kept me afloat. 

So it goes. 


  1. Replies
    1. The end of days – MaderStyle
      I love the irony in this, the way you reset the unreality of the past on its head. We should never believe experts (or historians): they always try to use reason and denial to confound us when we should try to stop thinking and listen to what we’re being told to believe.

      Fabulous writing, as always, of course.

  2. Goodfellow

    Goodfellow shelters in the forest niche,
    seeing by the light of the fireflies,
    their golden glow coursing through the trees.
    He has far to go, but here he fears the wolves.
    They keep to the boundaries, shadowing,
    not drawing too near, watching, aloof,
    but he sees them, sketches in the dimness.

    Sticky roots hold him down, the dirt cleansing,
    twilight’s leaves comforting his rest.
    Here is solitude in broken times.
    Ice breaks beyond the forest, flooding out,
    its flow creating a severance, the deepest cut.
    Pages upon pages; a rock upon the ages.
    Life trickles with the falling rain,
    light fingers tapping on a hidden path.

    1. This is so visceral, esp. the last stanza.

    2. This is like a breath of fresh air, delicate and clear, divorced from the present world. You bring a sense of wonder and dislocation, inviting us into your world, suggesting enough to draw us in without appearing to lead us along. Exquisite.

  3. The prism

    He used to love her.
    One day she peeked out of the mirror
    and he was gone. He didn’t look back,
    he didn’t look aside. Lakes of glass
    kept her trapped in a clear prison,
    one that conjured memories and untruths,
    one that couldn’t shatter. It was a labyrinth
    of prisms she walked in, wandering this maze
    without direction, chalking the way back,
    windows upon windows, reflections within
    reflections, layers upon layers, the echoes of a life
    once lived to the full in the outside, her bare feet
    running on damp grass, the body plunging
    into the sea. She fed on melancholy here,
    palms pressed against the mirrors,
    gazing at this world that had trapped her
    inside, depriving her of the voice
    she once had. The faces outside gazed in,
    walking in an orderly line, hatred in their eyes,
    following their peers in silent review,
    uttering the same phrases, the same names.
    He stared back at her sometimes, without
    blinking, stared her out, challenging,
    but there was nothing she could say to him.
    His demons had already taken him in.

    1. I love the way you examine the world, turning it in your hands like a crystal and letting the sun shine through. Not that everything’s light, of course; you use darkness just as well, setting up facets of disappointment, defeat and dismay for your characters and your readers, manipulating us all with equal ease. You make this look so easy, but I know it’s not. You’re just so incredibly talented and make it look as simple as taking our next breath.

  4. Asteroidea

    Five arms
    afloat, seaweeds swarm
    like hair, currents blending,
    an ocean of glass.

    Our fossils
    date us to the Cambrian,
    limbs separated,
    an unliving record.

    Glistening rubies,
    spiny honeycomb surfaces.
    Tube feet twitch,
    feeding suspended.

    Impossible toxicity.
    In the face of death,
    we regenerate,
    regrow our arms.

    Ebb and flow
    a pumping heart.
    Water is the blood,
    the essence of life.

    Spin softly,
    this solitary dance,
    echoes of silence
    gaining deeper trance.

    Into sediment
    we burrow, secreting,
    living on seagrass
    in the warm shallows.

    1. Another twist of the kaleidoscope and we’re beneath the ocean, examining the wonders that lie at the bottom, fused to the rocks. You’ve an ethereal touch here, drifting as though moved by the unseen currents we’re witnessing at work. You’ve an incredible facility of being to mix science and wonder seamlessly and it’s utterly delightful.

  5. He waited for inspiration, not trusting himself. He knew he was too dark, too extreme, too beyond anything anyone else had and held himself back, unprepared to divulge. He didn’t want to taint the narrative’s flow: he wanted to share in the bliss, needed to calm the spiralling pressures. He had a valve in his head, rocking at red, threatening to blow. He could wait, though; he had control enough to do that. It was a blessing and a mercy in one.

    The rhythm began – beat after beat – establishing a pulse he could follow. A timbre, a tone, a melodic refrain; a partner needing another to define her. He rose to his feet and then stalled, unsure of the wisdom of coupling. Was it to be the one dance or much more? Did he still have a conscience, or was it already inevitable?

    A glance in the dark. A risus sardonicus. An elevated flaring of cheekbones. His partner the indomitable dreadnaught, her pressure matching his, her hips and his fusing. Maybe all this was predetermined. Kismet. A suitable fate.

    May the heavens help them both. Let the gods shake their dice yet again.

  6. Honestly JD, your stories are so dark. Are you okay?

    1. I’m fine, but the world is a dark place- JD

  7. The pandemic continued. The media had stopped reporting on it, their eyes redirected by government command. Their owners had too much to lose from the loss of income from their share portfolios, the temporary shift to a work-from-home model devaluing property, and the income from retail and travel. A caring society was a national indulgence, austerity making it a liability the establishment wouldn’t finance. There wasn’t enough money; major businesses were crumbling, and the corporations were fretting that their profits might fall. Humanity took a back seat, and the accountants worked overtime; it was inevitable that the lockdowns would be raised too soon. Besides, there were vaccines and three-word homilies, a more than ample protection against an imaginary foe.

    The virus suffered no restraints; its only limiting factor was its own drive to evolve, each strain in competition with the others. A high mortality rate was inefficient; it was more important to be transmissible, its geometric progression curves steepening each day.

    And in the rarefied heights of global power, the billionaires remained calm. There was money to be made, a wealth of new opportunities. It had been a long time since the last global conflict, but a pandemic would serve them just as well. And another war could be arranged if their net worth should ever sag.

    1. This is so good and chilling. My favorite line: "Besides, there were vaccines and three-word homilies, a more than ample protection against an imaginary foe."

  8. Mister Mephisto slept. He curled up on himself like a comma, his claws sheathed and his tail stilled. He’d been busy most of the morning and all the night, his activities ranging from innocent to diabolical, his prey either remaining stubbornly inert or dying for the sport it gave. There’d been other cats, birds and shadowy travellers he’d shied away from, their strangeness of some sufficient to engage him and to stir the whole of the fur that covered him. He was used to being feared but was also an uneasy dependant, his owner more of a partner than he would ever know.

    And yet, this was all negotiable. He was a comforter, a friend, a nuisance and a demon; the role he portrayed for his public was continually in flux. He was passive when he chose to be, manipulating his world, applying the deftest nuances to fashion it to his desires. He was stubborn at other times, doggedly resisting the efforts of those who believed him inferior to them, blindsiding them with his arrogant charm. He would always prevail; he was malleable and irresistible, a key that could fit any lock.

    This was the moment. The frame; the subject; the observer; the multiverse. The sun rotated on its axis, and the galaxy turned. Light was created and died and travelled and then went nowhere, its life without dimension or limit or form.

    The Elder Things waited. Their patience was beyond comparison. Relativity looped in onto itself, time and dimensions swapping positions with one another as they watched and planned. Civilisations died between the collapsings of the unfathomable, the unknowable and the improbable equally at home. Was this all an illusion, or was it a dream, a reverie created to distract? Or was it one of a billion disregarded truths, a lantern show in an empty theatre, playing to the vermin fighting beneath its seats?

  9. I love the way you begin with a side-swipe, selling us a pastel-coloured dummy blow and then sinking in a medical trauma. You’re so very adept at world-building, sprinkling a fine mist of detail and then embedding your readers in a full-body sensory panorama. But it’s always about the people with you; the tiredness and the pain, the never-ending grey that washes over us, giving us little hope. This is as bleak as it comes, ingrained and never-ending. It’s a masterly feat of creativity.


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