5

Aug

by thefourpartland

So, you may have noticed I had a sale on last weekend. Well, Jim Bronyaur was kind enough to interview me, and talk to me about sales, selling ideas, and ebook pricing. Wander over to see what I thought, then come back for the #FridayFlash.

The hum lived, and silence fled.

It was persistent, this hum. It vibrated from the foundation of the building to the peak, creeping and crawling through cracks and crevices.
It slipped inside of us, and we hummed with the structure.
No voice could overcome it, no noise slip past its embrace.
Swelling, it became the centre.

The hum grew, and became more.
The building collapsed, vibrations having shattered its core.
Bones broke, and we perished.
Growing, it became all.

Yet something was not right, for the hum changed pitch.
Once.
And again.
It became a wild thing, a creature of scales and chords and reverberations.
Like all before it, the hum must pass on too.

The hum died, and silence reigned.

29

Jul

by thefourpartland

In addition to my normally scheduled post today, I have a little gift for you readers. If you go to Smashwords and enter coupon code LV72P, you’ll get Tarranau for 40% off.

AND L.M. Stull is making this deal even more enticing —> Visit her blog for details on how you can snag an autographed paperback!  But you’ll have to hurry – these offers only last until Sunday night California time.

Coloured Waves

A wave lapped at the shore, foam tinted red.

Water splashed as boys sprinted from the ocean, running before the surf.
Some fell, and did not rise. Others stumbled, then ran all the more.
Fountains danced upon the sand, becoming flowers for but a moment.
Flowers there would be, but not here, not yet.

Men no longer ran from the surf. They stood with shovels and concrete, waved and shouted.
They built, and the beach disappeared under their construction.
Then they left.

A wave lapped at the shore, foam tinted white.

.
.
.
.
And the second half of the double feature.

String

A string. Such a petty, tiny object. Used for mundane tasks, boring tasks. Yet it represents the universe. Ever wonder why that was the case?

Because it is string. Circular, I know. But the infinite possible actions with a piece of string mirror the universe.

Someday, we’ll understand what we see. Truly understand, that is. Right now we build theorems and descriptions and formulae, and no one really comprehends.

When measurement produces what something is, and not what something looks like, then we will know.

And upon that day, we believe.

22

Jul

by thefourpartland

The misery of a friend.
A strange thing, is it not?
Do you comfort them?
Do you push them to move on?

There is a third way.
Use a knife.

8

Jul

by thefourpartland

A snow white sorrow.
A crimson spill.

There was love here.
Once.

1

Jul

by thefourpartland

The sun set that night, as it had so many nights before. It would set again, years hence, but there would be an interregnum, a time in which the sun did not rule the sky.

That time started innocently, for the sun touched the horizon as if it was any other day, bleeding its light out into the world. Indeed, even after the last ray had been blocked by the horizon, none were the wiser.

Yet shortly afterwards, the weather brought a whisper upon the wind, and those who could hear the voices in the breeze gathered their children and hid. Those who could not walked outside, for the land about them had gone silent.

When those who hid emerged from their hovels, they saw nothing, heard nothing, for there was not the slightest glimmer of stars or moon. The lanterns they gathered did little, illuminating only their own shuddering visages.

Courage was amongst the men, and they walked afield, searching through the village for their friends, yet they found none. The homes of their compatriots had vanished with them, leaving holes where once the supports had stood.

The families gathered themselves together, and spoke over the glow of a single candle. They never spoke again of what was decided there that day, but they hoarded what little food they could, and as the days drew on into months, the population dwindled.

The eldest was taken first, and then the next oldest. The village sustained itself in this way, until there was but one small boy left, alone.

He did not die as he starved, but aged until his back was bent and his limbs more twisted than straight. Through all the years he tracked the passage of the days, and on the day of his hundredth birthday, he heard a voice.

It was the first voice other than his own in ninety two years.

“You have proved worthy of this land.” A figure gleamed through the dark, a sun breaking through the clouds.

“There are none left to populate it. I am the last.”

“A pity, isn’t it?”

10

Jun

by thefourpartland

Boots crunched on the red soil as the ship was offloaded, and the crates of cargo piled up outside. Then the crew set about unpacking, putting together the first of the tools that would allow them to build a new home.

Days later, the first of the true heavy machinery whirred into life, and a pit was born near the ship. Into it the crew carried beams, roofing over the space as they sealed and supported the walls. From time to time they paused, looking skyward, for so far from home, the constellations looked different, and some they could not see at all.

Work continued apace, and soon the pit had become a home, complete with all the amenities needed. The best was when the crew could come in and take off their working gear and relax in the warmth and fresh air, for outside was a cold and dusty place.

They were required to keep a log of their activities for each day, and often the crew would wake to see that new orders had arrived, or new suggestions. It felt good to know that despite the distance, people at home cared.

Finally, after many months of labour, all the work required to set up was complete, and the last of the boxes was unpacked. The crew relaxed among her potted garden, and she smiled. She’d been told that the next ship had a man on it. Not a bad present after three years alone.

This story is based on the concept of a One Way, One Person trip to Mars.

 

13

May

by thefourpartland

Armies clashed that day on the field, as magic tore into mundane. Bow and arrow met flintlock, and fire from the mages was countered by the roar of cannons. Elves there were, and trolls too, and for once they fought on the same side of battle, the sylvan creatures using their lithotrophic allies as shields.

The sky darkened as the elves let loose their arrows, but the roar of massed muskets provided an equally sharp counterpoint, and even the thick hides of the trolls were no match for the volume of shot. Many fell, as did many of the gunpowder wielders, pierced through by shafts.

Dwarves burst from the ground, axes swinging left and right as they worked themselves into a battle frenzy, shattering apart the massed ranks of their foe. Orcs and goblins charged as they saw the disarray in their foe, piercing war cries placing fear in enemy breasts.

Yet their foe rallied, and legions of pikes bore down upon the advancing force of orcs and goblins, and their berserk charge failed upon the thousand spikes. The dwarves fell too, as they succumbed to foes with armour heavier than their own.

Both sides stood beaten, bloody, all but broken. Mages had cast their final spells, the cannons had fallen silent, and the exchange of archery and gunfire was only a ragged counterpoint to the screams of the wounded.

Heavy footsteps sounded in the east, and the forces of magic cheered, for the giants had come at last. Late to the battle perhaps, but no foe had yet thrown them down. From their hands spun great boulders, crashing through the lines of the mundane. With a roar, they jogged forth, clubs in hand, ready to sweep this pesky foe from the field.

Thin sounds came upon the air, muffled by cloud and fog, and it was only when the first explosion struck that the giants cast their eyes upwards. Hanging beyond even the mighty reach of the giants were dirigibles, and from their bellies came forth great waves of iron canisters. A few failed to explode when they struck the ground, but all too many sent great gouts of earth skyward.

Whirlwinds of shrapnel tore through the forces of magic, raining down upon them like so much hail. Ruin walked across the land, leaving little more than muddied trenches, but the giants used their great forms to hide the lesser races beneath, sacrificing themselves against the deadly iron.

When at last the rain stopped, the army of magic stepped forth once more, only to find themselves facing a reformed battle line. Three rows of flintlock muskets barked in turn, and once more the metal shod feet of the pikemen ground forward.

Man had come to claim this land as his own.

29

Apr

by thefourpartland

I was a writer when I set out to tell this tale, a writer of some renown in the world beyond these closed walls. That was, I fear, a great long time. Or so it would seem, for my experiences have reshaped my life, yet I believe chronologically little more than six months have passed. But that is of no matter for this telling, for I cannot look forward. I have seen many things, and when I have recorded a warning of their existence, I think that might life shall be at an end.

What I inscribe in these pages will seem fantastical, nonsense, the product of a fantasist. I say that this is not the case, but I pray that you do not find the truth behind these scribblings. It will eviscerate your memory, and render you little more than a shambling dreamer.

As a writer, I journeyed through a great many lands, some lost to posterity, always in search of material that could be woven in amongst the leaves of my books. This latest was merely the next in a long series of these travels, but on this I had chosen to go north, for I sought inspiration in the cold.

North I went, until I was forced to hire a dog sled. I paused there to load my belongings and speak with the locals about places of interest, but little came to ear, and so with the sledge prepared, I set out once more. Days I travelled, then weeks, until all about me was ice, and I stood the northernmost member of humanity.

I had arrived at the changing of the seasons, and each day the sun had sunk lower in the sky, until on this night, it would touch the horizon and disappear, not to return until the following spring. And so I placed a roll of film into my camera, and photographed this once a year occurrence. Yet I found as I looked through the lens there was a strange dot that afflicted my pictures, one that grew in size as the solar orb vanished.

I wiped at the lens, convinced it was little more than a spot of snow, and thought no more of it until I returned to a civilized country. There I borrowed the services of a dark room and developed the negatives I had taken to jog my memory. It was upon perusal of the developed film that I found something strange, for a wisp had encroached upon all of my attempts at capturing that glorious sunset.

Each photograph bore this strange imprint, and two red dots stood out upon the face of the sun, somehow appearing much closer than the rest of the glowing sphere. I muttered into my drink that night, bothered that each and every image of that sunset had become corrupted by some mechanical failure of my camera. Or perhaps some atmospheric effect had fouled the reproduction.

I thought little of it, until such time as other photographs from other journeys showed the same effect. Always taken of the sun at the close of the day, they had the strange swirling wisp and two red spots. In Asian temples, atop Roman ruins, in the depths of an Amazonian jungle, all struggled under the writhing illusion.

For my next research expedition, I bought myself a new camera, one with better film and a crystal lens, for at the time I remarked to myself that the markings had to be an artefact of the camera’s shutter. Yet when I returned from that journey, once more the strange items had placed themselves within my frame.

It then began to appear on images that had been taken before my journey to the northern climes. I found that photographs that had resided on the walls of my house for a great many years now bore the two red dots. Despite the strangeness of these occurrences, my curious nature overwhelmed any good sense and I delved into research, attempting to discern the nature and the meaning of two red dots upon the sun, surrounded by a wisp.

Rare books at the Royal Museum yielded nothing, nor did the most ancient texts with university archives, and even those contacts I maintained within the occult world found themselves puzzled by the reference. A year’s study did little more than deepen my curiosity, and so I undertook journeys to places simply on the off chance that they might house a document that could explain the phenomenon.

At last I found a reference, a single scrap of ancient vellum parchment that had to be translated from a language long lost to man. Yet even that yielded little, and what writing it contained was of uncertain use. Night comes. Twin red orbs upon the day. Night comes. It was only later that I discovered the meaning of that phrase, to my sadness and my loss.

They are not orbs, nor are they marks upon the sun. They are eyes. And the wisp that surrounds them is what little corporeal form they have. They have followed me, and I have been their Moses, leading them from a barren waste of hellish form to a paradise. I hear their language within my head, and I sorrow, for it means that I have little time in which to finish this memoir.

They are all about me now, a great profusion of whirling hosts, for they have been feeding upon those around them, drawing sustenance from humanity. Soon, they will become a plague, and then the rulers of this world, and we will be little more than a shadowed memory.

There is but one hope, and it rests in the light of a false dawn. God bless you all, and may he forgive me for what I have done.

22

Apr

by thefourpartland

There are days that are good, and days that are bad, and a great many that fall into a morass between the two. That was one of those days, a little bad, a little good, all mixed together into a great serving of life.

Hanging out with friends, relaxing, doing nothing but talking. That was the good. True, to some people it might seem meaningless or unimportant or wasteful, but most people will tell you they remember a silly story from a friend more than a lecture from a teacher. And then there was the bad. Getting shot down by a girl, hearing about a death in the family. That went a fair way towards counterbalancing the good times. But overall, it was a middling day.

Now, the next day? That was a bad one. The shelter we were staying in got hit by a mortar round. A couple of friends died. They were right under the impact. The girl got it in the neck. Well, she didn’t really have much of a neck left, was more what I’m saying. Me? I got off lucky. I was on the crapper, and we’d put up a dirt berm for privacy. I’d just sat down, too. Fastest shit I took in my life. Not that there was much I could do when I finished. The wounded were going to make it without my help, and the dead, well, they didn’t need any help.

They got bagged up and dragged away, living and the dead. Some to surgery and some to the morgue. Turned out a few were just stopping off at the hospital on the way to the freezer. They’d looked okay, but concussion had pulverized a few organs. Lost a few more friends than I’d thought. They’ll ship in fresh meat, replace the bodies. Souls are dead though, and that sucks.

I might make a few more friends, but my tour’s up pretty soon, and I don’t see the point in learning their names. Not worth the loss. Maybe I should though. Not like I can go home and talk to anyone. They didn’t get me after the last tour, so I came back. Nothing says I’ll like it at home this time around.

Yeah, I’ll be back. And I’ll probably die in a mortar attack when I could sitting at home on a couch drinking beer. But I’d just rather be here, y’know?

8

Apr

by thefourpartland

Light!
Dark?
Yet both at once…
Strange.
Perhaps I dream?
Or are they yet me.