The Dark Lurked

October 22nd, 2019

The Dark lurked, as always it watched, it was cold, it had been that way since the beginning, the warmth had all left it, spinning out into the new youngness that it feared.

The Dark had stayed, it had drawn in on itself to preserve what warmth it could.

The Dark saw her, she had looked many ways but this was new, never had she looked like this and never had she been a she before. The Dark hated her, the Dark wanted her, the Dark owned her, the Dark knew her secret secrets, secrets she herself did not yet know nor remember.

The Dark knew that she was not yet a full person, the Dark had seen this process a number of times, she was in a dark but it was a safe warm dark, so like the one the Dark coveted but this warmth would have still seemed so cold, the Dark knew – the Dark had tried it before.

The Dark hovered at the edge of the room, it was getting harder and harder to find somewhere to hide in these rooms, these rooms of bright glaring light, so like that which had strewn forth at the beginning. The rooms where bigger with stronger lights – where was the Dark to hide?

And yet there was always somewhere and the bright lights cast deep shadows especially when they broke, sometimes it was a flickering fitful Dark that the Dark had to play with. That was all the Dark had had for a while, even the woods were no longer dark, the sky marred by orange burnt light, a thing of cities and cloud.

True darkness lurked at the heart of it all but The Dark could not get there and would not want that coldness, that sucking hideousness they had fled. They wanted to be warm, they had just remnants of warmth, it had been enough for eons and yet… they watched her, an extension of self, hungry to devour such a fragile thing.

It was the wires and the lights within that hurt so much with this version of self – what was this? Never had they seen this before.

But it could not touch her, for that was annexation and as much as it hated her, as much as it loved her, it needed her to become, to devour, to be it’s mouth piece, it’s warmth sync. It arched a shadowy tendrils, risking the light and exposure, it trembled with the danger. The child breathed and stirred and turned over, dreaming a feeling of need as the incubator beeped a warning, the machine sustained and this was a deciding time.

The Dark retreated to wait once more.

Which Way is North?

October 14th, 2019

Amy stood in the bitter ley of the granite column listening through the muffling fur of her hood, the executioners had been hard at work and the old rituals of blood sacrifice had seen a boom. This time to the new god of 2000 years or so of British culture – the site they were done upon was however a far older.

The scientists had been first when they failed to predict the cataclism, she bit her tongue from the sob because they had warned of it but amongst them they hadn’t been able to agree what it was going to be. In the end it appeared they were all right and it was only a matter of timescales and which bits happened first. She had been scientist – she hid the fact well, and so had remained uncelebrally challenged by wit of keeping her head.

Ice crystals swirled in the air to make an inverted rainbow, beauty to the grizzly execution before her, she didn’t want to be there but non attendance could lead to investigation – and that really was the last thing she wanted.

The chemists, physicists, geologists, biologist and even the Drs had all been ritually disposed off, they were even starting head hunting the soft sciences and the world trembled.

The disaster, the thing that borught the world to its knees?

She’d been on a plane, she had heard the confusion from the cock pit as the compasses had not measured North but South, her father was old school though and knew the sun and the sky, he could navigate without the aid of compass. Many other planes had not coped well and had run out of fuel and crashed in the sea. Lights had rimmed the sky in pink and green ribbons for a few weeks and the carcinoma levels in pale skinned people sky rocketed.

But it happened at the wrong time, it correlated with the Texts that had been found, enough written crap on the scriptures to make the Dead Sea scrolls look like a children’s book.

Panic ensued and governments toppled.

Witch hunts had started and Amy had shuddered and hid and hoped no one remembered what she had been before. The madness stated that the ills were rooted in science and technology and so they had stripped those away by virtue of killing those who understood it. Of course they had continued using it in order to maintain draconic control on the terrified populace a third of whom were dying of solar radiation induced cancer.

Medical care was gone and the Alternative remedies were stretched thin and clung to in despair of the gap antibiotics and aesthetics had left.

She watched numbly as the bloody acts warmed the ground before it too was frozen, the smell of iron and electric filled the air.

It was the first of that nights, more where to follow – so many many more.

Green Eyes

October 7th, 2019

Joanne’s eyes were green, not just the iris but the pupils and the eyeball as well. Different shades of green but all glowing faintly with their own light. Normally any child like her would have been have been killed but now there were enlightened and people understood it was nothing but an anomaly, a defect and not some sign of demonic possession. Society had taken huge leaps forward and Drs strove to heal the eyes.

Some people still pulled back in fear and made the evil eye to ward her off, the sign had little affect on the girl and she learnt to ignore them. Just after her thirteenth birthday cramps and blooding marked her as no longer a child and her vision began to change.

Little motes seemed to drifted in her line of sight, sometimes glinting silver and sometimes seeming to steal all the light from the other dancing particals in their strange wafting dance. The opticians discovered a strange thickening of the lense but nothing else when they investigated.

Then violet flares seemed to shoot out from the darkness surrounding people, Joanne was sure the darkness hadn’t been there when she was growing up. Maybe it was a madness brought on by her adnormalities?

Fear began to hurt her normal cheerful demenour. Concerned her mother called in Granny. Granny was ancient and still chewed raw leaf remadies, she was from the northern tribes and her face looked like weathered wood, it felt like soft furry baby rabbit and her eyes glittered with keen interest in the world around her.

It was a danger to bring Granny in, she did not always rule in your favour, she always did what was for the best regardless of if it seemed to be the right or moral thing to do. Joanne trembled at the glare as the wrinkled gnarled hands pushed at her belly and forced her eyes wide. Granny hardly spoke, and smelt of cedar wood and rosemary.

A tongue click at the close examination of her eyes, made the girl jump. “You see the spook lights.” Said the soft voice – Joanne nodded not being quiet sure what was meant but it sounded like it could be the name for the flashes and mists she had been seeing.

“Your Science and your modern medicine can not help her.”

Her mother wailed at the statement but Joanne was not surprised, she had grown ups in the shadows of society knowing how very different she was, reminded at every turn that even decades before she would have been killed for what she was.

Abnormal, deformed, different.

A look from the old woman stopped her mothers cries of despair, Joanne smiled it was as if the woman had been told she was a stupid child. A bleating lamb.

“You shall come to the North with me.” Again it was a statement and the girl found herself nodding, no longer afraid. She looked to her mother, she was surely going to object but she looked worried and confused and then just nodded.

“I’ll help you pack,” she said quietly.

“Not needed,” barked the old woman and she began to hum and held out her hand. Joanne looked to her mother and saw the hesitance there, the girl felt a jolt of fear and excitement interweaved and tangled, then she took the old woman hand. Part of her was disappointed that there was no broom or pestle and mortar that could fly them. Instead they got on the train and the old woman chewed herbs that tanged the air and made the other passengers noses wrinkle. A man in a business suite tutted, the other passengers glared and edged away from him.

People were paying Granny more attention than her with her green skin and strange eyes, this had never happened to her before and it felt puzzling and wonderful!

“You will learn to read the spook lights.” And a smokey amber lump was produced from a pouched and handed to the girl, it was vaguely sticky but also oily, it smelt of bunt sugar and reminded her of stories at mid winter. “Eat,” was all that was said and so she popped it in her mouth, it was smokey and seemed to crack and trickle honey down her throat, carrying a warmth with it. The girl sighed and slipped into a dream of lights twisting and turning and changing there in the sky, she was flying through them, her spook lights and they made her buzz no longer black and sinister – they filled her up and encapsulated her, she felt alive and safe and wondrous.

Ice had once covered this landscape and that ice was there again now glittering and beautiful a reflector for the dance in the sky.

She awoke lips tingling, they had arrived, it was dark outside – she had known it would be. The dark would stay for a good while Granny had told her.

Next there was to be a ship, they did not go below deck but watched the stars appear through the sea mists. Little hidden jewels she might have missed if the old woman hadn’t pointed them out to her. And then there… a spook light but more, seemingly tangible, rippled across the sky. To Joannes amazement everybody around her oohed and ahhed and Granny smiled.

“You have a lot to learn child.”

The girl nodded and smiled, she could not be odd here in this place for it had been waiting for her.

A Brooding Sky – Picture a Story

October 1st, 2019

Brooding Sky

What sort of sky is this? Where is the atmosphere real or emotional taking us? Weather is often used as a metaphor in writing – use this picture to help spark a story :)

Spaceship Earth

September 29th, 2019

It looked like a frozen white marble, rolling through an endless star studded sky, most of humanity dwelt low below the crust, it was warm there and they had all the energy they needed. But Anna had been sent to the Dome complex, it had been freshly repaired from a meteorite shower, once an atmosphere would have slowed the projectiles but no more. The domes were often damaged, they were getting better at safe guarding against it with air gaps between the tough clear layers of diamond.

Anna stared at the void and hugged herself, the pressure suit was chunky and rubbed in odd places but she was increadibly grateful for it. She was trembling slightly, all that nothing above her it was nauseating. She gave herself a shake and moved over to the central pillar, a metal tube which she entered via an depressurised chamber. Inside there were pictures of seas and sunsets, things Anna had never known, they looked pretty, but the thought of living on the surface under a sky filled her with fear. She climbed the stairs to the observertory at the top and took her tool box out.

Her focus was absorbed for a while with her tinkering, she knew how important this was, she had trained for this from 13 years of age. She gritted her teeth at a cross threaded bolt and sighed as it came free. Clicking her comms unit she spoke as clearly as she could, ‘it should be fixed’.

‘Confirmed come down here and we can remote it all’

‘Confirmed’ she muttered as she was already scrambling down almost scampering down into the tunnels beneath the layers of frozen atmosphere that enshrouded her home. It offered protection from the impacts but not as much as the rock cave citadels she had grown up in.

She popped down a hatch and emerged in the control center. Here pictures of animals that existed as nothing more than a string of numbers in a memory bank. Big black and white animals that looked as though they should be kids toys and large versions of cats. A real tabby sat curled on a chair – they were essential to hunt the rats, even with effiecient waste disposial the horrid things still lurked. They had swarmed and killed one of the early research teams. They weren’t like the sleek things found in the ponics amoungst the food and fibre crops. Those were quiet good eating and would even sit on your lap and be scritched between the ears. No these were viscous and had been getting larger.

‘Ah good Anna, help me with the recalibration would you? I need to read this report on the potential body.’ Anna nodded and headed straight to the console where she clacked away checking angles and was gratified to see the equipement slide smoothly into place.

‘Looks like we have a good ore ‘stroid here’ her supervisor announced.

‘How are we going to net it?’ She asked.

‘I think we can bring it into stable orbit’

Anna stared at one of the posters not really seeing. ‘You realise that you are increasing the impact risk with ever one we bring into orbit. We should finish the fountain and start processing them.’

‘Anna I know but we need to collect them when we see them. I want you to work out the route with an idea of changing teams on 65.’

She sighed, but consumed herself by beginning to work out the trajectories and gravity interplays. She was humming softly when the computer began to bleep at her. Her brow wrinkled when she saw what it was alerting her too.

‘We’re receiving a message,’ she said barely able to believe it.

Everyone stopped and looked at the blinking light, ‘that… that is not internal’

‘It’s probably just phantoms – our own signals bouncing around on all those asteroids we’ve netted.

Anna flipped it on feeling released and expecting nothing but static but a string of words flowed, they could not understand them but they were words, obviously words and obviously human.

‘no body panic, it may just be a vestige population we had not yet discovered and that we have just made contact with through the mining – it is after all nearly impossible to explore the entirety of the Earths interior, we only live in the out part for a start and there is plenty that the tectonics have made impassable. Yes that is what it must be.’ her supervisor sounded like he was trying to convince himself more than anything.

He sent a recording down to the linguists and they responded as best they could, ‘this is spaceship Earth, we are trying to decode your message, please hold.’

And it stayed quiet for almost 40 minutes.

‘Nemesis, there has been language shift but you should understand this. This is the Celestial Spheres of the Oort Cloud, you are far too clustered to risk entry into the debris field…. Earth sends greetings.’

A silence haunted the room of all it’s activity until Anna thought to respond. ‘We are Earth, who are you?’

‘You are Nemesis, roaming planet, Earth sends greetings… have you had regression?’

They all looked puzzled at each other.

‘Where on Earth are you?’ she asked in desperation.

‘We are the Celestial Spheres, we are no planet.’

‘You are not on spaceship Earth?’ she tried again.

‘No, we are the edge of the solar system, beyond us your atmosphere will melt, your domes are few, damage?’

‘Our… our atmosphere will melt?’ she squeaked.

‘You are the wondering planet, this happens, you have suffered regression, we shall send help.’ and they clicked off.

‘I can’t get them back!’ Anna wailed.

‘We aren’t Earth?’ someone whispered.

Anna knew what was coming next and dreaded it, they would need look outs in the domes, ‘do… do I let them in?’ she asked.

‘I don’t know.’ her supervisor said and she left to watch the skies she loathed.

Cluster Fabric

September 24th, 2019

It was hard to get one galaxy to spiral around upon itself with out reaching arms that had to so delicately be placed next too, entwined but hardly touching it’s neighbouring galaxy, a mirror image to help the fit be exact.

The symmetry never quiet worked and so the solution was to work with that and add an aspect of apparent randomness to the design, of course it could not be actual randomness as that looked far too ordered and so each and every galaxy had to be placed just so with their stars teased out into beautiful filaments.

Patterns within patterns within patterns – it had been genius to make make it all fractal and there were clusters and super clusters and voids to set it all off just perfectly. The fabric of reality was ready, now it just needed to be cut and pinned and sown into place.

The Creation Ball was only a week away. But the process had to be flawless after all no one wanted a seam to come undone or for fabric of reality to rip! No that would be unthinkable. OF course there was the slight matter of the black holes but those within the universe were unlikely to see the weave of it and even if they did none of them would be stupid enough to prod at something so dangerous. Would they?

The Bone Layer

September 10th, 2019

It doesn’t really matter where you dig sooner or later you hit the bone layer, sometimes there isn’t bones as such but great swaths of land with thick ash, analysis shows that it too is basically bone. Sometimes stones that appear carved, jut out like teeth between the bones. It was these stones that really sparked my interest in what lay beneath our feet and as a child I studied diligently.

The bone is so prevalent that it is mined for building materials, most countries have used the bones for architecture at some point in their histories – there have been and still a few way out sects, who thought it somewhat sacrilegious – after all these bones had to be the founders? The parents of all… except… there are quiet frankly too many of them. No one really believes that they are the bones of people – rather that people had formed and folded themselves around those bones that lay there as natural mineral deposits. You can even see such amorphous blobs still swimming in our oceans! No life process needed for the bone layer – the bones are merely stones scattered out and ripe for quarrying.

The best china was made from the bone beds and ash pits. My grand parents still have a set, now a days most people prefer the ones ground out of the calcium rich water agates that were found in one of the bone mines a couple of decades ago.

A few years back some scientists had lost the plot and started saying that ancient diseases lay incubating in the soil around the bones – biding their time to strike down those who dared to disturb the ancients slumber. No one really took much notice – it sounded like the religious nuts and the bones couldn’t have diseases buried with them because after all they were not human in origin are they?

Interestingly they had taken the lovely three fold flower shape imprints of obviously ancient sea creatures and started saying they were a symbol for plague! I mean I can see that it is similar to our symbol for disease but it is a much softer shape with obvious lobes rather than piercing snakes tongues. And though I am no language expert I am pretty sure they have it all backwards. Those imprints are a sign of life of something biological and that then became the sign we use for disease once we found out illnesses were caused by little blobby cells – little miniatures versions of those floating in the sea.

It is a ridiculous idea that the bone beds were created by a plague anyway – after all so many many bones – there would have needed to be billions of people alive for that amount of bone, all living so close they would have had to stack the houses on top of each other. Of course there are the metal skeletons – some did hold that those where once skeletons of buildings but they are so very large that seems unlikely and they are surrounded by silica sand (a kind of natural glass) so obviously it is just another one of those weird ways that minerals grow – metal from glass, formed and shaped by the whimsy of nature.

People complain that using the bones is morbid and makes them think of death which is daft as they are blatantly not humans and the skulls look so pretty sitting at the top of the archways and that’s another thing – no building could ever be as tall as those metal juts would create. Not to mention the water eats them away at a rather fast pace creating red flakes that are indeed dangerous to us – so no the bone layer was from early star calcium percolating down through the clouds from space. It’s not like there could have been an advanced civilisation here in that before time – it would have left something to tell us it existed wouldn’t it?

And even if there had of been billions of people they would have needed to die almost all over night for this sort of formation to be created which does seem somewhat ludicrous.

I personally am interested in what is beneath the bone layer – it is so thick that people rarely dig down deeper than it, to date there are only two such digs and they found a hard calcium surface mixed with silicone and iron so chemically it is similar to the bone bed and those jutting iron skeletons. There do appear to be little bone cusps in some of this hard substrate – they do not match with any skeletons we have found in the bone layer but maybe they are proto bones. They after all appear in pairs and are ridged fans in shape, and you can just see them morphing into the spheres and sockets of our hip joints.

One crack pot reckoned they belonged to water creatures that had gone extinct due to the acidity of the seas, but everybody knows that water creatures have no sort of hard parts what so ever. It would be some what strange for them to have hard parts as it would make floating and swimming around all the harder!

No they are obviously proto bones.

I’ve been using sound echos and electrical pulses to look through the ground and have found some interesting structures – quiet regular in form – there are rows and rows of them – they seem to lay under or be a part of the hard calcium rich substrate – I suppose slab would be a good word but don’t want it being confused with slabs that get used for buildings.

Anyway I can’t wait to find out what they are. My co worker joked that they would be more bones! Bones in boxes would that be funny! I doubt it some how as they are coming back as lead rich.

Atlantis

September 3rd, 2019

Deep within the layers of rock that make up the Earth’s crust a treasure and horror of antiquity lies, the broken corpse of a naval super power, an island nation, dashed by the very waters of the ocean for it’s decadence and ambition had arose.

It sleeps mindful of the world above, within it’s heart a vestige population roam having become something almost other to those who still swim the surface waters. They wait and hope and languish.

When the time comes and hubris raises it’s head once more – then… then the flood gates of this once great city will open and the peoples distorted and jealous will come to finish the work of the great waves and land tremors. Humanity broke the world and the World will have its revenge.

Dino Bites – Picture a Story

August 28th, 2019

Fossils and reconstructions with Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire Geo Trusts

Fossils and the stories they tell facinate us – what do these fossils say to you?

Picture a Story is a series of photographs and images by Sarah Snell-Pym that other writers may use as writing inspiration.

The Rent

August 24th, 2019

The Rent

The spire rose high into the cloudless sky. This was a dagger puncturing the vault of the heavens and sometimes on stormy nights you could see the life blood of the universe bleed in, trickling both down and up the spire.

This was the gateway but as of no-one knew – no-one saw the rent that sucked the joy from the world.

But soon they would.

Jamie had been watching the spire for years, he seemed to be the only one who sensed that there was something wrong. As a toddler he would scream and scream as they walked past it, now as an adult he stood and stared at it, day in day out reguardless of the weather.

Today was one of those days when it was bleeding, dark congealed pain seemed to wash over the honey coloured stone, it would have been more dramatic if it had been the bone grey of other churches in the area. And he was the crazy man who stood in the grave yard cackling to himself.

No one listened, and today the congealed clots of existence seemed to be rearing up, becoming creatures struggling in the half light. Jamie liked them even less and took a step back. He did not want to be here watching this, it felt somehow dangerous now. He fled to his hovel, a basement flat with slime mould on the wall, pitted and brown and shiny. You never wanted to touch it.

One wall was tins and another water. He checked his torches and candles and put a chair to the door. Something was coming. As if he were still a small boy he hide under the blanket, and whispered on repeat “Deamontide”. Outside the sky turned a smoked red and for once Jamie was not the only one who could see the rent. Screams filtered down to him in his nest and he shivered.