skonen_blades: (Default)
The studded club swung down and cratered the ground with a sound like a collapsing house. The Brinotaur’s muscles shuddered with the impact as it’s weapon hit the ground. To call it a club wasn’t entirely correct. It was more like a building with a handle. The creature was the biggest mass of flesh I’d seen down here in the under.

I had rolled to the side, pushed even further by the shockwave of the club’s impact. A wall of air like a giant hand swept me across the ground. I wouldn’t have survived a glancing blow and I’d be disintegrated by a direct hit. I needed to think of a way out of here fast.

It felt like I was in an arena but there didn’t appear to be an audience. The Brinotaur and I were in a circular room with a dirt floor about as big as an empty warehouse except the walls climbed up into darkness. A few support pillars lanced up into the blackness from the ground but I couldn’t see the ceiling. The Brinotaur seemed to know not to destroy them but I didn’t see how it could avoid it, being so large and clumsy.

I’d woken up here. I couldn’t tell if I’d been randomly selected from the other kidnapped humans or if this was punishment. The creatures here had an opaque system of governing that I couldn’t parse.

The Brinotaur, for instance. I’d heard of it but I hadn’t seen it yet. A mythical creature used as a boogeyman to our slave work force if we didn’t pull our quotas. My quotas were up and my quotas were fine. I’m not sure how I got here.

The Brinotaur tugged his weapon up and back onto his shoulder. It was an amphibious creature. A head like a bull but green and slimy with no hair. Gills fluttered under its ears. Mottled skin glistened, wrapped around his enormous muscles. It looked too big for the gravity here. Like merely breathing and rolling over would be a herculean feat but here it was, walking around disturbingly quick even if imprecise and hampered by its immense inertia. It must need a water source but there was none here in the room.

That’s when the ceiling exploded into light and the ocean came down from the sky.



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skonen_blades: (Default)
The front steps of the castle were littered with the bodies of the palace guards. Their sightless eyes stared up at the nighttime sky, catching snow.

Occupying the massive throne at the end of the cold, cavernous ballroom was King Orlond. The wind whipped snow through the huge open doors at the other end of the room. King Orlond, old and frail, stared at the fur-clad, red-eyed visitors that strolled into the chamber before him. They were framed against the blizzard that raged outside. King Orlond’s entourage pulled their feeble cloaks and blankets tighter around themselves and watched the creatures walk forward. Queen Orlond bit her lip and held tight to her husband’s rings.

It hadn’t snowed in Orlondia for sixty years. The winter had come with the demons. King Orlond’s people believed the end of the world was coming. Looking at the invaders, Orlond was forced to believe that it was a possibility.

The visitor in the lead was over eight feet tall, a thin giant who quested around the room with his eyes like a bear testing the air with his nose. When his eyes fell on the servant girl next to the King, he held up on clawed hand in the air. The small crowd that came with him stopped with a shuffle, breath pluming from each of them like horses in a yard. Sweat dripped off of them onto the cobbles at their feet with a hiss. Even this cold palace was too warm for them. One of them yawned and his huge blue tongue lolled out like a dog’s.

The servant girl, Marla, was a sixth-generation servant in the castle. She was the illegitimate half-daughter of the king although she didn’t know it. The lead invader looked at her, cocked his head, hummed deep in his chest, and began to walk forward. He had a limp, the King noticed with a smile. At least one of his army’s blades had found its mark. The entire palace listened at the steps echoed off the walls. Step. Drag. Step. Drag. Slow but unstoppable.

The siege had lasted five months. The people who hadn’t starved or fled were in this room with the king. There were thousands more of the visitors outside the gates. They were brutal, calculating, and worst of all, patient.

As the creature came closer, the reek of violets wafted off of it and the King heard the horrible ticking that came from their skulls when they were awake, like an abacus being shaken. It angled its head down like a panther and stared at Marla.

Marla’s eyes glazed over. She stood up, dropping her jug of water to shatter on the floor. In that silence, the sound caused what few survivors there were to gasp. A few snarls from the crowd of demons blocking the door scared them back to quiet.

Marla walked towards the lead visitor. It was cooing softly and swaying, each nod of its head timing with Marla’s steps, like a conductor timing out motion instead of notes as Marla got closer to its claws and teeth.

Marla got with two feet of the creature before it stopped humming. Marla stopped walking, balanced on one foot in mid stride, as still as a statue.

What happened next was too quick to define but suddenly Marla has no head, her mother screamed and the tension broke.

The King watched helplessly as what was left of his fife was butchered in front of him by tooth and claw. Then he himself faced the red, dripping muzzle of the lead creature, its breath reeking of the Queen’s blood.

The creature lunged and the King's world turned black.



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skonen_blades: (angryyes)
Check it out! Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until the end of August, Spectral Theater is running two short science-fiction plays and I'm in one of them. One called Nimbus and one called The Hunted. Check it out here and here.

Doors at 9:30, show at ten. It's a 28-seat theater so it sells out quick. Tickets are $8. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
350 Powell Street.

Wait for iiiit.....





Come check it out!


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skonen_blades: (jabbadoubt)
One tusk was silver.

It cost a lot.

Eightykills fingered the tip of the tusk with his yellow fingernail. It jutted up from his lower lip, guarding his cheekbone. He remembered how much it had hurt when he had gotten a cavity in that tooth. He remembered that every change in the wind would shove him into a stagger from the pain of the air’s caress across the exposed nerve.

Human dentists made fortunes off ogres like Eightykills. In today’s cities, life expectancy had risen for all races. Usually, up in the natural habitats of the hills, ogres were dead before their twentieth kill. Either neighbouring trolls vying for supremacy or just the treacherous rocks of the upslopes carried most Ogres to their death as young, virile creatures.

Now, in the city built by humans, beings lived longer lives with the help of new medicine.

All it cost the races that moved there was their traditions.

For instance, Eightykills' name meant just that. He had killed eighty intelligent beings in the course of his life. He'd had the name for over two of the human’s years now. His powerful employer paid him well but attempts on his boss’s life were rare. His boss ran the guild. If anything, Eightykills was there as a terrifying, two-ton, green, scarecrow.

Eightykills was embarassed that his name hadn't changed in so long. It made him feel old, useless, or like some sort of ghost.

Eightykills’ traveling cousin had come to town last week. His cousin’s name was Ninetysixkills. Eightykills had ridiculed his cousin as a child, back when his cousin had just been named Twelvekills. His cousin’s travels around the countryside had kept him poor but his name was a proud one to have now.

Eightykills, rich and well-polished, had to show deference to his cousin. Intoning his cousin’s record and flickering his thick fingers in the quick mathsigns for his name, he bared his own throat with a whine as a greeting of lesser status.

His cousin had surprised him. “Please don’t refer to me as Ninetysixkills anymore, cousin. My English name is Harold,” he had said. “It’s embarrassing and it scares the humans. We need to be more like them to succeed.”

Eightykills had been disgusted with his cousin and left in a huff. Later on, though, over a cup of fermented horse blood, he’d thought of his own slippery slope into becoming a pet for the humans.

He hadn’t killed in two years. He was dressed in silk. And here, just at the edge of his vision, was the ornate silver tusk that he’d gotten after the root canal on the old one.

The story of the ogre’s race was carved in a spiral up the silver tusk to the sharpened tip. It was beautiful and traditional.

And utterly hypocritical. It might as well have been a tombstone for the values of his race rather than a celebration of it.

He pawed over fantasies of killing his boss and as many underlings as he could before they took him down, taking a recorded name of over a hundred kills to the Great Ogre-Cave above the clouds.

He knew they were fantasies. He was as bought as the furniture in his master’s boudoir.

He went home to brood and sleep.


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skonen_blades: (notdrunk)
The lie came out of the darkness and attacked me. It had long secrets for arms and a smeared photograph for a face. Its body was one giant repressed memory, supported by twin pillars of denial. It was hiding in the closet.

It stopped in front of me with a shouting silence frozen on its blurred, vibrating lips.

It offered me a ham sandwich.

I accepted the ham sandwich. I gave The Lie half of the sandwich back.

The two of us, amorphous dark skeleton-beast and young man, sat on the edge of my bed tasting the mustard and chewing in the midnight darkness.

You’d think it would have been an awkward silence but it wasn’t. It was actually quite comforting. In the small-town distance, I could hear a car go by. Other than that, there was only the occasional squeak of the bed and the click of my jaw as I ate.

I finished my half of the sandwich. I turned to The Lie.

“Are you thirsty?” I asked.

“No.” it said.

I replied, “Do you mean yes? It’s hard to tell, you know, I mean, you’re The Lie.”

The Lie gave me a big gorilla shrug and turned its hazy black and white face back to the closet. It wanted to go home. I had no idea what it was doing outside but it was the sixth time this month that it had charged out like a B-movie monster brought to life and then turned benign.

“Well, anyway. I should probably get to sleep.” I said, with an exaggerated yawn.

The Lie stood up and dusted imaginary dust off of his furry, massive legs. The Lie went back to the closet and closed the door behind it.

I went back to sleep.

As I drifted off, it occurred to me that I was almost starting to look forward to the visits.



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skonen_blades: (inwalkinhere)
1.


Jack Relnick deputized his wife back in 1874 in one of the few remaining frontier towns. He did it as an anniversary present. It was against regulations then to let a woman be in the force but the town was small and peaceful. No one important in the big-city head office really cared to make an issue of it and she was well-liked by the townspeople. She became the deputy, organizing town meetings and such.

One day, a gang of loud-mouthed, hard-drinking thieves came through town, kidnapped two of the whores, shot the place up a bit, robbed the bank….

….and killed the sheriff.

They left town with the whores.

Jack Relnik’s wife’s name was Shannon. Her maiden name was Wedowitz. She dressed in black out of respect for her dead husband, including a pair of men’s trousers. The star hung shining on her left breast after she'd wiped her husband's blood off it and polished it some. Her eyes were shaded by her black hat. She took up smoking. She was never the same.

She tracked every single one of them sonsabitches down and killed them dead. She did so with a task force assembled from the town that was more than fifty percent women.

She became known as the Black Widow sheriff. Every woman in the town was an official deputy. She kept a few bucks back from the rescued cash and had tin deputy stars made for every woman in the town. Those stars are heirlooms now, proudly displayed in the homes of their descendants.

To this day, they put silver stars on the birth charts of little girls born in the town hospital.


2.


I think a cool name for a band would be Monsters With Timing.

The more I think about it, the better it gets. It might be one of those things, though, where you repeat a word over and over again and it becomes meaningless. Except the opposite. It gets cooler the more you think about it and read stuff into it. That’s what it does for me, anyway.


3.



The toothpaste commercials are very close to being soft-core pornography. Plaqteria dresses in tight pink leather and causes cavities. She has four hot minions named Sugar, Syrup, Sweetness and Saccharine. The run around in your mouth in every toothpaste commercial. It’s a lot of work, running around.

It’s hot in your mouth.

Here comes big strong Crest toothpaste with rippling pecs and a dazzling smile. He beats the minions down with just a shade too much needless violence. Having defeated them, he struggles with Plaqteria before seducing her with his brilliant blemish-free smile. They kiss and he starts to rub against her.

Her lips part. Her eyes widen while his eyes narrow.

Their rubs build in frequency and intensity. There is froth. They grimace in mutual animal ecstasy. They stop in a clinch. She dissolves with a satisfied scream a la the Wicked Witch.

Crest turns to the camera, pushes his now-damp hair back from his forehead and strikes the hero pose.

It’s worthy of note that in every toothpaste commercial, Crest is always played by a different actor but Plaqteria is always the same hot woman. She’s played this part for twenty years. Her old ads when she just started out are collector’s items.

There are unsubstantiated rumours of an old 8mm stag film that she starred in before getting the part.


4.


I want you to bring your passport, your plane ticket, your bus fare, your best sneakers or even your magic beans. I don’t care. But we’re getting the hell out of here.


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skonen_blades: (cocky)
I wake up begging for my life.

My hands are clasped together and drawing blood from each other. My blankets are on the floor at the foot of the bed. I’m curled up and my eyes are shut tight. I can hear my own scream fading out of my wide open dry mouth like a train whistle fading into the distance. My heart is nearly bruising itself in a mad panic to escape and my body is slick and shivering with cooling sweat. Every muscle is pulled tight. I stay like that for a few minutes and feel my pulse and breathing rates slow down. I move slowly at first. I can feel the muscles creak. I unfold like a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis and I feel just as fragile.

My life is coming back into focus now. I have a nearly tidy sparse one bedroom apartment. I am single and I work with computers. I have no pets or girlfriend. My name is Jack. I just had a birthday a few weeks ago. 28th? No, my 29th. Yes, my 29th. I can feel my ragged breathing approaching something that isn’t panic. I climb gingerly out of bed and grab for the robe on the back of the bedroom door.

I look at myself in the mirror that was being covered by the robe. I look awful. I only sleep now when I’m so fatigued that I need to. My hair is wild and my eyes are haunted. If wasn’t for the evidence of the apartment around me, I’d think I was looking at a crazy homeless person.

It’s understood, I think, that whatever is torturing me at night doesn’t let me remember the dreams.

I wonder if it’s a survival tactic. Like kids that have been abused shutting it out and just having a blank space where the abuse happened.

But deep in my heart, I know it’s because of one thing:

The thing that’s torturing me in my dreams likes me fresh. It likes me coming to it not knowing what’s about to happen. Every time I scream under its touch is fresh and new. It can ravage me the same way over and over again or exercise its imagination when it wants to. I get the feeling that it picks people at random and does this to them until they stop showing up. Until they die here in the real world from exhaustion. I don’t get the feeling this thing is human. I get the feeling it’s like a five year old that never gets tired of playing the same game over and over again. It doesn’t get bored and it loves doing this.

I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think I am. I won’t be able to tell anyone about it because they’ll think I’m crazy.


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