1

Apr

by thefourpartland

The lines danced as they sung, an ever evolving wave of green. They read the music by its scent, heard it through its shape, and saw it through the vibrations in the earth. Impulses shattered their conscious, rebuilding it a moment later, yet they never missed a beat.

The earth sung with them, the stones a bass accompaniment, the trees whispering vocals in faint colours. Rocks cracked and sheered away, and the thumps as they struck gave a form to the sounds.

The lines twisted, writhing about the aromas of sound, reformed each instant in new phantasms. Yet static was seen, for in each shattering of their conscious, they lost a tiny part of the music.

The dance became frantic, the gestures wild, and the green shifted hues until it was a malignant orange note. Rocks crashed with greater frequencies, and the bass became a roaring perfume, suffusing life.

Vibrations shattered, a sun in the sound. A tincture of death spread with the noiseless light, and each who was caressed by its hand fell away, until a flat white plain was left. Barren of all sensation, it waited until impulse existed again.

27

Mar

by thefourpartland

I have within my possession a great device. It has been said that, if used, all of those who reside upon this sphere will perish, and ascend to Heaven. Others place suppositions upon its ability to render us unto a Hell unlike even that of Lucifer. Yet I believe none have discerned the truthfulness of its usage, even myself. For despite my many years with the device in my possession, examining the mechanism has proven quite difficult, for to remove the casing and make a thorough inspection would render the great device inoperable.

I have contented myself for the passing of these decades by postulates and theorems, a hope that a rational mind can discern the purpose to which it was built. Yet despite my ponderous researches into the life and history of the machine’s creator, a M. Friedrichs. I believe him to have been born in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, yet I have found precious little of the details of his existence. It is almost as if, having made this device, his history finishes, and what came before was of such irrelevance that it was never recorded.

I find this truly a pity, for I would very much have liked to examine the mind of the man who had created this infernal device. Or perhaps I should refer to it as an angelic device, as some do. In truth, I do not know, for I find there to be equal cause for explanation on either side. Which suggests that the mechanism is one to bring about the last days, and the return of Christ, yet I would find that a most unwholesome thing. A machine that is the essence of our creator, one given into our hands? A troubling thought.

My own theory as to what this blasted enigma can accomplish shall remain my own, for I do not wish to commit the full nature of my discussions to paper. Suffice to say that if I did, I would find myself within the walls of Kew Asylum, somewhere far away from the grounds that I now inhabit. Rather than risk such derision and treatment, I shall write only this: that it is a device for casting mankind from the Earth, but the destination is neither Heaven nor Hell. No, in my studies I do believe I have understood the true genius of M. Friedrichs, despite being all but incapable of unearthing material on his life.

I am willing to admit the greater possibility that I am in the wrong, for as I was forced to admit earlier, this is little more than a supposition. Yet I hold to it quite strongly, for it has found anchor within my mind, and its tendrils creep ever deeper into my thoughts, until I am all but consumed by a lust for knowledge about the device, about its capabilities, about its creator. I will not rest in studies until I have a full and complete understanding.

Perhaps I should banish all worry from my mind, and pull upon the lever that protrudes from the casing of the mechanism. For I find myself unwilling to eat unless I do so within sight of the bulk of its hull, and I have recently moved my bed to within its shadow. Strange that after so many years of possessing this contrivance that I suddenly feel the urge to spend all but a few precious moments within its vision.

That in itself has produced a worry within my mind, for the contraption pulses like a living creature, as if it awakens from a long ago slumber, and needs but a single pull of the lever to complete the transformation into something unshackled. Yet why resist the siren’s call, when I know that I shall waste away until I do, my life consumed by the singular desire to discover the secret within.

I am resolved. Forthwith I shall enable the mechanism, and may God forgive me if I have erred in my judgement. I stand at the device as I write these last notes, and I must confess that I feel a sense of satisfaction emanating from within the metal hulk. Frightful to have a machine that feels? Perhaps, yet I am certain. May the sun ever shine on this sceptred empire.

25

Mar

by thefourpartland

Marcus went blind on Wednesday. Deaf on Thursday. Friday he lost the ability to taste. Saturday, scents no longer appealed, and Sunday, he could no longer feel even the breath of the wind. Monday, they all came back.

He still worked the full forty hour week, of course. Hardest on Monday and Tuesday, when he could see. Memorize everything he could before Tuesday midnight, and then use Braille the rest of the week, typing away in blissful silence until Monday rolled around.

Thursday and Friday, he was the most productive person in the office. It’s amazing how much you can get done without even the possibility of being distracted.

There were drawbacks, of course. His wife cheated on him, twice a week. Thursday and Friday, between noon and two. Sunday he had to lay in bed, eating nothing. Too much risk otherwise.

It also meant he could never see his children play sports as they grew up, or spend time with them on the weekend. Marcus cried over that, when he thought no one was looking.

Someday, he was sure he’d find out what the affliction of his meant. Doctors certainly didn’t know, they just waved their hands. Oh, they’d been helpful at first, trying every cure and treatment they could conceive. But if you heard of a product with a 99% success rate, well, Marcus was that 1%. Everything failed on him. So he accepted life and moved on. Mostly.

It was Wednesday again. Blindness had struck, as it always did, at midnight Tuesday night. Today though, he hadn’t gone into work. Marcus wanted to experiment. So he shot himself. Dead, of course. No reason to do things poorly. As for what he found, well, he had a hard time telling anyone. But the corpse did have a smile on its face.

28

Feb

by thefourpartland

There are things better left unsaid. There always have been. I’m certainly no different. I have things in my closet that I do not speak about openly. I think we all do. But given what is about to happen next, I think today is the time to speak of them.

When I was young and our family pets were old, I’d curse and shout at them for no longer being able to control themselves. They’d give me a sad look, like they wished they weren’t growing old, but they couldn’t do anything about it.

I wet the bed when I was older. For some reason, my bladder never stopped going in the night, and I had to hide it from everyone else. A little thing, but so embarrassing as a grown man.

I stole little things, here and there. They’d call out to me, speak to me, and I’d slip them in a pocket or under my shirt, and then be off with them. Nobody noticed, or at least I never got caught.

And well, there’s the reason I’m writing this. I slept with your wife. For years. And then I killed her and ate her. With barbecue sauce. Very tasty, if I may be so bold.

Anyway, that was what I wanted you to know.

Thanks again for being my friend all these years.

The end of the letter was splattered in blood.

25

Feb

by thefourpartland

Fire flickered against the steel, a deep crimson glow in the dark tunnel. Ice rimed the wood and bronze, a counterpoint to the crimson. Lýtling chuckled, and held his axe high, letting light bounce off the worked stone.

He had come here for treasure, like so many before. But he had come better prepared than the others. The thief had seen their corpses scattered about these ruins, some cut apart, others burned, each death a gruesome testament to their folly.

Lýtling would not fall into traps such as had caught them, and indeed, had not. He had survived pits, poison, and even the odd undead. The last one had been a particularly recalcitrant zombie. Now it was a small pile of ash. It really shouldn’t have let itself dry out.

The light revealed a glimmer in the dark, and he strode towards it. The tunnel emptied him out in a spacious room, and around him glittered rack upon rack of arms and armour, all ornate and adorned in filigree. One of those suits was the right one. The rest would kill him.

A clanking sounded from deep in the racks. Lýtling turned to see three armoured figures step forth, each brandishing a claymore. “Well now, life could do with a little excitement, eh?” He hefted his axe and shield, and stared down the foe.

They rushed at him, swords swinging in great horizontal sweeps. He dove left, slashing with the sharpened edge of his shield. Where the rim touched his metal foe, ice sparkled, then engulfed the iron form below the knee. Unable to walk, it died on the following swing of the axe.

The remaining two spread wide, seeking to come at him from both sides. The thief laughed and drove straight forwards, catching in the long thrust of the claymore on his shield and turning it aside. A stab with the spike of the axe sent flames bursting from the joints of the armour, and a countering stroke, brought it about in time to behead the third, charging him from behind.

“Fools.”

Lýtling continued his exploration of the racks of armour. He had heard that the armour he wanted had a þrosm marked on the breast, a “dark space”. But all of the armour had designs in black or twilight upon them.

At last he gave up and dropped his weapons, climbing into the nearest suit of armour that would fit him.

“Ahhhh.” The cracking of bones filled Lýtling’s head. “It feels good to be worshipped again.”

Lýtling cursed. “I worship no one but myself.”

“Too late for that, boy. You wear the þrosm, now. And that means I get to feast.” A terrible ripping sound filled the room, and the thief felt strangely empty.

“What have you done?”

“Feasted. If you take the armour off now, you will die. So, death or me, boy?”

“Can you make me rich, powerful, all that claptrap gods promise followers?”

“No. But I can make life interesting.”

“Fair deal. Lead on.”

The suit of armour clanked from the room, a gaping hole where once the heart had lived.

21

Feb

by thefourpartland

Timothy struggled to bring the last of the boxes upstairs. There. He’d done it. The last of his belongings inside the house. He looked around and smiled. This was going to be a good house, a strong house. The piles of brown boxes took away from the charm somewhat, but it was his, his home.

The next few days were spent in unpacking, his belongings disappearing onto shelves, into closets, and under tables. And then the redecorating began. He should have done it earlier, before moving in, but he liked to see how his things would match up against the colours and styles he was choosing. His belongings were very precious to him, especially the ones that hung from the wall. He’d always been partial to a really nice wall hanging.

There was one final room to redo – the master bedroom. This was going to be his brilliant work of art, and Tim spent days going over the room with a pencil and ruler, dividing the walls up just how he wanted them to be. And then when he was done, he growled at the shoddy work he’d drawn in and took it all down. He was determined to get it right.

It was another week before Tim was finally satisfied, and he could begin with the base layer of paint. Getting the colour just right took him a while, but once he had, he stepped back and smiled. Then he tried a few of the wall hangings to see how it looked. Hmm. Lacking a certain something.

Timothy took them down again and painted a little more. There, that was it. The walls were covered properly now. Up went the hangings, each suspended from a noose about its neck. He left a blank spot above the bed. His wife would go there once the divorce was finalized.

18

Feb

by thefourpartland

Tick tock. Tick tock.

“Would someone shut that damn clock up?”

Nobody moved.

“You lot…”

The clock chimed.

Once. Twice.

He walked over to the clock, glaring at the others in the room as he did.

Three chimes. Four.

He grabbed the pendulum.

Five chimes. Six.

“Damn thing doesn’t stop?” He moved the hands on the face away from the hour.

Seven. Eight.

He looked at the others. “A little help guys.”

Nine. Ten.

“C’mon, c’mon. Help me!”

Eleven. Twelve long chimes.

“Oh hell.” He pulled out a gun and faced the room.

A thirteenth chime, longer and lower than the previous twelve.

The gun fired once before he was overwhelmed.

11

Feb

by thefourpartland

A tile clicked under Thia’s foot. She cursed, and held still, her eyes searching. A glint. She dropped, rolling off the edge of the roof.

The landing hurt, her ankles howling in pain. Thia ignored them and ran. A left, two rights, straight, then dive through a window. A thud sounded on the frame. Throwing knife.

She ran for the bathroom, diving into the open pit and the stream that washed it clean. Thia brought a knife to hand, and waited.

No sound.

A movement.

Perhaps?

The knife flew. Someone grunted and died.

A whoosh, and the room above grew bright. Glassfire! Thia dropped into the water, letting the stream carry her away. If she was lucky, she’d find another cesspit before drowning. If not, well, it happened.

Choking.

A thin glow.

Air.

Thia gasped, cursed, and ducked. A knife splashed into the water next to her.

They’d catch her here, or at the next pit. Still, she had to try.

The stream carried her as far as her lungs held.

Arms pulled her from the water, and her eyes showed Thia a ring of masks, most scarred. None carried visible weapons.

“You failed.”

Thia slumped, nodding.

A knife slipped under her chin, lifting her eyes to the mask in the centre.

“You aren’t good enough any more, big sister. I’m sorry.”

The world dimmed.

6

Feb

by thefourpartland

There exists among all things a strange connection, one that cannot be defined. Philosophers will argue its existence, physicists will try to test for its presence, but none cannot prove it, or even truly explain it. Yet ask a little boy, and he knows, for he can see beyond the world that clouds his eyes.

He will see and hear things that no adult will, for the ability to make this connection seems inherently tied to human imagination, and that is all but gone by the age of twelve, driven out by the mental rubbish of “what’s cool”.

And on this day, a little boy sees a friend, imaginary to others, real to him, and that friend speaks to him. The boy runs home, and asks his mum if he can go stay with his friend. His mother says yes.

Days pass, and the boy does not return. Police hunt for him, his mother begs everyone that she knows to tell her if they have seen him, but no one has.

Later, as a couple walk beneath a tree, they look up and see a strange shape amidst the branches. They call, but the shape does not move, and so the husband climbs the tree, and brings down the stiff body of a small child.

Police are called, and soon the mother comes rushing. She cries and gathers the corpse to her. Despite all the jostling and tears, a giant grin is on the small boy’s face, and when later an examination is performed, no harm of any kind can be found.

The boy had gone and gone beyond to seek his friend.

4

Feb

by thefourpartland

A hut stood upon the strand. Driftwood had formed it, all angles and pieces piled on. Seaweed was wedged into the gaps. Pulled up in front was an old dinghy, so rotten that it could no longer float. Parts of it were being used to form the door.

A man stumbled out. He was old, certainly, although perhaps his beard and unkempt appearance aged him more than he truly was. A glance at the sky, at the sea, and up and down the shore.

Not yet.

The wizened man amused himself by making castles in the sand, the intense look of a child on his face. He carved them with a long nail, forming windows, crenellations, making it beautiful. He stood back to admire his work, and nodded.

Then he sat nearby, muttering to himself as he watched the clouds and the tides and the sun and the sea. The land he took for granted.

It was time.

The old man poked a tower on the sandcastle.

It crumbled.

He nodded, satisfied, and went inside.

Far away, in a land he had once known, a tower fell. The lord and lady died in the rubble.