Saturday, 28 February 2015

Twice In A Lifetime

To find your soulmate is a once in a lifetime event. To meet, fall in love with someone who completes you, who understands and appreciates you, who is just as head over heels in love with you as you are with them, that’s so rare.

But then, sometimes, if the stars align just so, you might meet another one. They won’t be identical, it will feel different and yet the same, that same feeling of love and understanding, to have it twice in a lifetime is a precious gift.

And thus blowing both of them is such a huge waste…

Friday, 27 February 2015

Bounty Work

She’d hunted them for weeks, and now was her chance to strike.

After taking out the Bard, she crept towards the fire, and with simple movements she slit the throat of the Orc, the Thief, the Priest.

When she got to the Mage, the bodies vanished, the party surrounding her.

“We’ve paid the ransom for you, you don’t need to do this.”

She smiled.

“Very kind of you, but if I was doing this for the money, I’d be on my back in the Capital, much easier.” she explained as she plunged her sword through the Bard.

“But less fun.”

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Using Your Gifts

She was only just able to through the light enveloping him. Even with a tear running down her cheek, she smiled.

“I understand… You need to go.”

He looked conflicted, which made her giggle.

“Come on, you know as well as I do that your gifts… They can help the universe much more than you can help me. Go.”

After a moment more, he shook his head, and the light dimmed.

“No, screw it. Guys? Nerf me.”

There was a pause.

“You want to become a being from the Nerf nebula?”

“What? Geez, way to ruin the moment!”

“You're… Welcome?”

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Beckside Club

You don’t apply to join The Beckside Club.

There aren’t any advertisements in suitable publications, no discrete plaque above an oak panel door.

You either inherent membership (and make it through your provisional status) or you are carefully groomed and then offered membership.

Most members don’t know exactly what goes on inside the Club before they join, of course. They are instead given all the side benefits, the cash and opportunities that only Beckside can provide.

And only then, once they have enjoyed the fruit, are they shown how it is harvested.

Humanity needs leadership after all. Why not us?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Jupiter Mining

So yeah, the job itself is pretty simple, if you’re not able to afford the high end scanners and A.I. You fly out to the belt, and you wait until you pick up a rock. Then you head on over, latch on and then fly it back to high orbit around Europa or Io depending on which one will pay you best. Or if you’ve got cryopods, you could head to Mars or Earth even, us independent contractors sell to the highest bidder.

Now, on the other hand, if you find an Egg, that’s not so simple to deal with…

Monday, 23 February 2015

One Last Complication

He pulled up to the warehouse, letting the car idle as he let himself bask in his handiwork.

Quin Lin and Anosov were at this moment heading towards a bloody shootout. Sella was ‘helping the police with their inquiries’ while Hines would have to try and talk her way out of losing thirty million dollars in unmarked bills to her bosses, which everyone assumed had burned up with Pohl.

All that remained was the final complication of getting the cash out of the country.

He then saw a homeless woman dragging two suitcases out of the warehouse.

Two complications then.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

With Good Reason

I always knew the government was hiding shit from us. I wasn’t like everyone else, I knew that shit was going down.

So I spent most of my life digging around the deepest, darkest corners of the internet, and finally I found a page dedicated to exposing the truth. And while I already knew about the moon landing and the lizardman conspiracy, the schematics for a time machine? That I just had to build.

And I did. And I set it for just a few seconds for the test.

Turns out the Earth moves really far in a few seconds…

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Last Chance In Last Rites

“This is the finals of the Last Rites Tournament…” the announcer shouted as I tried desperately to hide the fact my left arm was broken. The woman in front of me was doing the same with her broken collarbone.

The sound of thousands of people silently watching intently was still off-putting, no matter how many kills I scored.

Still, I knew this was my only shot at freedom, so I met her eyes, intending to look fierce. But all I saw was a reflection of my own look.

So when the buzzer hit, we made a run for it together.

Friday, 20 February 2015

What To Read Out At My Funeral

Hello to all of you from beyond the grave. Or at least from the point before said grave.

Obviously this being my funeral and all, most of the words spoken will be kind or at least veiled in an air of generous courtesy.

And that’s fine and all, but my last wish, the one thing I’m asking of you now?

Remember how I pissed you off.

Because the last thing I want is to be remembered as just my nice points, I don’t want to be shrouded in nostalgia.

Remember all of me, for better and worse, please.

Thank you.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Global Connections

It had the fatal flaw when it came to bad ideas.

It made sense.

Even as ‘ordinary’ crime fell (at least according to the statistics), it quickly became more common to hear about another terrorist attack, another shooting, another bombing, each cause getting ‘championed’.

And given that this upswing occurred with the rise of the internet, they had to be connected. Terrorists able to talk across cast distances, stood to reason.

But to be fair, at the time, who could have realised it was just the natural outcome of humanity sensing its oncoming extinction without being able to stop it?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Paying Off The Long Shot

Yuna carefully picked her way across the stones crossing the shallow pond.

Once she got to the front door of the home, she smoothed down her suit and then rang the door chime.

“Nyoro-san, I’m from the office, I’m here to pick up the concept art for the 2016 Pachinko line?” she called out when there was no immediate response.

After a moment, a European man opened the door. Her mouth opened slightly.

“I… uh…”

He sighed.

“Blame random chance that brought my father’s shipwreck here. Chance’s a fickle bitch.”

There was a brief pause as the universe did nothing.      

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

What Happens Next

I died.

I had spent my entire life, or at least the portion of it where I was aware of the concepts of time, existence and mortality, thinking about what would happen when I died.

I had started with science, but the flat statement that I would just cease to be, I couldn’t accept that.

I had then moved onto the various religions, learning from each in turn, finding common themes but not enough of a consensus.

I had, in the end, decided to just wait and see.

And then I died.

Still wasn’t prepared for what happened next though…

Monday, 16 February 2015


She had spent her entire life turning jewels and metals from all over the world into beautiful, wearable art. Ever since she was a little girl, sitting next to her father, she had studied and worked hard and developed her skills. She could spin any metal into chains that looked hair thin, and could turn a random collection of stones into pieces that would be the crown jewel of any set of crown jewels.

In any world, any land, she would be known as the finest craftsperson of her lifetime.

Except the one where she lived, since magic was easier.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Avid Horticulturist

I looked over my garden with some pride. The roses were coming up nicely.

But like anything worth doing, you have to keep at it, I couldn’t afford to become complacent. So I pulled on my gloves and set to work.

I must have spent all day working, pausing only for chilled homemade lemonade twice and some rather nice egg and cress sandwiches round lunchtime.

But then, just as I was finishing, as I bent over to pick up my trowel, I saw it. The unmistakable pale white of human bone, just visible in the soil.

Rose’s coming up again.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

For The Season

He stared at the canvas for what seemed like ages.

Create an artwork, he was asked, that encapsulated love. For the season and all.

He could paint famous battles, he could paint fantasy landscapes, he could go to the furthest points of the galaxy. But love? That threw him.

He kept starting a painting, he tried painting a couple in love, a family, a carnal act… None of it gave him the deep seated emotional response he knew meant a good picture. He just didn’t feel any of them.

So in the end, he settled on his true love.


Friday, 13 February 2015

Bad Luck

His entire life was just one long series of unfortunate accidents and plain bad luck.

From his parents vanishing, to his school burning down, to his skateboarding ‘incident’, to being robbed again and again and again… The kind of major incident that would define someone else’s life as the worst ever moment, he got one of them every few months.

But he never gave up hope that one day, he’d get the hit of good fortune to balance out all the bad.

Until he got hit by the bus. Then he gave up hope.

But then he met Nurse Suzanne.

Thursday, 12 February 2015


I was never really on board with the idea

It seemed hard enough to run a global shadow government without being found out, but to occasionally go out and hunt down and obviously ‘mysteriously remove’ people who were going on about Lizard people or ranting about fluoride in the water… Seemed far too messy to work as a smokescreen for long.

But I had my well paying job (when you can literally create money in a computer, payroll can afford to be generous), so I went out and played into other conspiracy theories.

And then one of them played back…

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Floor Plan

It was pitch black.

Since it was 2 in the morning, that was expected.

Without opening his eyes, he pulled back the covers, trying not to wake her as he stood up. After a moment, he began to walk.

He knew his apartment well, and he’d walked this a thousand times. Every step was soft but sure as he left the bedroom, walked across the living/dining/everything room and into the bathroom.

He didn’t bother with the light as he adjusted himself, relieved himself, then turned around to wash his hands.

And hit a wall that wasn’t there a second ago.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Landslide

The final tally was indeed a landslide, we only managed to get a little over thirty percent of the vote and thus we lost.

In the last few days before the election, all the pundits, other than the ones I was paying off, were predicting I’d lose.

In the last weeks, I seemed to be unable to do anything right, as every day I made another gaffe.

At the halfway point of the campaign, while touring a shop, I asked a young woman if she was happy with the color scheme of our brochure.

Every landslide starts with a pebble.

Monday, 9 February 2015

The Laws Of Thermodynamics

Professor Tumult cackled as he watched the plasma begin to spin around the White Nova Diamond. His laughter became even louder when he saw the spaceship captain and her partner burst into the room.

“Far too late, far too late! My Existence Destroyer cannot be switched off, soon the pain I feel that-“

The duo froze, and all color drained from the deck.

As he looked around in confusion, a couple of shapes appeared before him, but he couldn’t focus on them for some reason.

“Who… What…”

“Reality Police, Sir. Got a permit for this device?”


The device stopped.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Pattern Matching

I noticed them the first day I took over the first grade class. There were a couple of clear gangs of boys, and a large group of girls, a few loners, and Caroline and Paul, sitting together.

They would do their work together, sit together during breaks, and while they never complained when I split them up into other groups, they always got back together as soon as possible.

I forgot about them as the years went by, until yesterday, twenty years later, I saw them shopping for curtains. I said hello.

Although it was Paul, but not actually Caroline…

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Search For Giant Rooster

I was disconcerted when I answered the door bell and was confronted with two middle fingers.

“Can I help you?”

Once they were lowered, I could see that the fingers were attached to a young woman. She didn’t look at all happy.

“I got a huge cock sixty-nine!”

I raised an index finger.

“That a question or a statement?”

Her anger softened into confusion.

“Isn’t your username ‘IGotAHugeCock69’?” she asked, brandishing a stack of printed chat logs.

After a moment I invited her in to discuss it.

After a few more minutes I began to understand why IGotAHugeCock69 trolled her.

Friday, 6 February 2015

A Short Lecture, Perhaps

The tavern was getting to that nicely drunken stage when the doors slammed open.

“Captain North?”

The question came from the figure standing in the door, the bonfire outside casting shadows over him and the object he held. Enough people glanced at me, so I stood up.

“I am Captain North, but I’m off duty, and this is a holy day of the Island-“

“Bounty to collect.”

The figure tossed the object onto my table.

It was the head of Pirate Captain Hookbeard.

I tried to work out how to explain the benefits of gold circulation via piracy to him.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Warrior Princess MacGuffin

She was once Princess MacGuffin, hope for peace and unity between The Empire and The Kingdom. But that was years ago, before she had escaped, before she had run away.

She’d never wanted to be a figurehead of prosperity. To be honest she’d never really wanted to be a roaming warrior either, moving around the lands, both mapped and unmapped, but it was a better life than tedious needlework and forgettable bards.

She blended in well with the rest of the mercenary army, just another face in the unwashed mass of fighters.

Luckily for me her birthmark was distinctive though.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Split Second Meeting

Their eyes met, and in a single split second, they each saw a multitude of emotions wash over the other person.

She saw a mix of desperation and resignation in his eyes, followed quickly by a sudden hope.

He saw determination and a sense of purpose he had never seen before, and would probably never see again.

Perhaps, in time, they could meet each others eyes again and again, and get to know each other and perhaps, just perhaps, fall in love.

But a split second is all they had, as she failed to catch him and he kept falling.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Ceremony

The Twenty-Seven Four Steps was taught to all children. Indeed, they couldn’t be considered adults until they could complete all twenty-seven sets of four steps and know how to serve Brewed Berries correctly.

From the correct way to open the door into the room, to how to hold the strainers as you mash up the berries.

From the way to serve the drink, in order of importance, familiarity and who was an Enlightened and who was not.

Plus, of course, which steps to skip so that the drink would kill the person, as well as how to add delayed reactions.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Rolling The Dice

I was still holding out hope that this was just a fevered coma dream, that I’d wake up any second and be in a hospital bed and everything would be fine.

But until that happened, it seemed prudent to not die in this fantasy RPG I found myself in. I mean, sure, my Half-Orc Barbarian could be resurrected, but I had no idea if that worked for players sucked into the world.

So I was stuck being the Chosen Hero From Another World, and faced down a Demonic Beastspawn, page 352.

Turns out D4s can be used as makeshift caltrops.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Life Management Technician

I dialled as quickly as my shaking fingers allowed me to.

“Helena, where-“ was all I heard him say before the phone was ripped from my hand.

“So this is the boss?”

There was a pause.

“I am the Executive Vice President of Personnel and Resource Management, who is this and what do you want with my Chief Assistant Manager?”

The group laughed.

“We’ve got her locked up, and we want your money.”

My boss hung up.

I had to wait a few minutes, and then I got to finally meet his Life Management Technician.

Private assassin in normal language.