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.



by thefourpartland

Yet both at once…
Perhaps I dream?
Or are they yet me.



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.



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.



by thefourpartland

Thiasa waved his hand at the thousand campfires that sparkled in the night. “Perhaps none have seen their end more clearly.”

Theoso, his brother, grunted as he stirred the last of the meat into the stew. “We will be the last of our tribe to walk through the gates into Valhalla. Behind us, they will close the gates, and our people will be forgotten on this earth.”

Thiasa grinned. “They have taken our women, our children, our homes and our friends, but I do not think they will take our memories.”

“You have a plan for that, do you?”

“We are the last two. We will challenge their army to combat while it rouses itself tomorrow morning.”

“You have courage little brother. Tomorrow will be a good day.”

“Sleep well, big brother. Tomorrow we make the world remember our tribe.”

The sun rose crimson over the two brothers as they strode to meet their final hour. For what they did that day, their names and the name of their tribe lives on forever more in song and in spirit.



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.


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.



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.



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.


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.


A thin glow.


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.



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.



by thefourpartland

Noise slipped into the background, as if muffled through thick cloth. Pressure filled the room, and the walls stretched. The ceiling bowed upwards, fleeing from the floor beneath it. The floor pressed down, digging into the earth below.

The windows were the first to escape, their shards of glass fleeing into the night, lost amidst a storm of warring clouds. Next the door, the wood breaking free and making for the shelter of a nearby wood.

The pressure eased, and the walls returned to their normal shape. Sound returned, a cacophony after the silence. A moment passed.


Once more.


The building heaved, forced outward. Again the ceiling strove to escape, and the floor to dig to freedom. The pressure built, straining, falling.

Nature’s chorus, the call of birds in fear.

A thin hiss beneath.

A cat, squirming from the building.

A push, a thrust, a pulse, and then the walls grow still and silent, and the ceiling sags down, exhausted. The floor rests upon the dirt, making of it an open coffin.

Birds fled, carrying the cat with them to safety.

A darkness of wreathes blotted the open doorway.

It had returned.