Friday, 30 September 2016


Zhou didn’t want this to be how he died, face down in the mud, shells exploding above his head. His dream was always to die an old man, in bed, a couple of young women above him. But right now, he’d take a bowl of soup and a game of Go.

There was some shouting to his left, something about making a charge, then a shell hit and the yelling devolved into pained screaming. Zhou mentally checked out at that point, and let his training kick in until the inevitable painful death.

Been fifteen years now, still mentally checked out…

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Spanish Gold Reserve

As one after another of my plans failed, it was still my last ditch scheme I could fall back on. Even if the bird farming failed (which it did), even if my diamond mine collapsed (which it did, financially and literally), even if my stock market manipu… Genius was discovered (which it wasn’t, but only because I had to stop before I got caught), there was always my grandfather’s galleon, lost at sea with all that Spanish Gold.

Eventually, out of options, I mounted the recovery mission.

Did you know Spanish Gold was a brand name for coffee, back then?

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

"Access Denied"


“Access Denied”

He swore under his breath.


“Access Denied”

Almost there.


“Access Denied”

He wiped his brow, muttering to himself about needing to focus.


“Access Denied”

He stared at the keypad until he shook his head, droplets flying.


“Access Denied”

This time, this time he leaned in close, his forehead pressed against the wall, staining the concrete, and pressed the buttons slowly, carefully, with as much force as he could muster.


“Access Granted”

The door slid open, but by then it was too late, the blood loss from the head wound had claimed him.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

One Day...

One day…

Every dream, every hope, every plan he had, it always started with those two little words.

One day…

You can understand why, most of the dreams were scary to think about, all the work and effort needed to get there.

One day…

And putting down a hard timetable, well, that would lead to missing a deadline, and thus throwing in the towel.

One day…

So he kept his dreams vague, off in the distance, sure that he’d get there, eventually, somehow...

One day…

Except that one day, there turned out to be no more days left to him.

Monday, 26 September 2016

The One Ruler Hypothesis

If you think about it logically, it becomes obvious why one singular ruler is the default status for most of human civilization. The notion of the committee is new, one sole decision maker with advisers is as old as humanity.

Even ignoring issues like education in times without schools and belief systems that need to invoke direct lineage to gods, the fact of the matter is that in times of stress, chaos, quick decision making is needed, and the less voices arguing, the better.

It's not perfect, of course.  For starters, you can still have two voices within one mind...

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Slut Dies First, The Virgin Survives

As the killer apparition began to break down the door, she tried to remain calm, looking around for any way out, or at least a weapon. She grabbed an office chair out of desperation, and waited.

The apparition finished breaking down the door, came into the room and… stopped.

“Well? Come on then! You’re a bit late to kill the slutty one!” she dared after a moment, just wanting it done.

The ‘apparition’ lifted its mask.

“Adrian? The fuck?”

He smiled.

“Look, we’re now set for life, the survivors of-“

The real apparition chose this moment to decapitate the impostor.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Love Fixture

Everything he wanted in a girl, she was.

Everything she needed in a boy, he was.

And vice versa.

It was if someone up there had created one perfect whole, and then split it in half, then placed each equal but different half in separate containers, so that when they met, they would again create the perfect whole. It was almost enough to make you believe in a grand scheme of things, just how perfectly they complimented each other.

Except that he was a diehard Golders fan and she was from Steers Country, so they hated each other on sight.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Lone Biker

To me, he was the Lone Biker.

Every year, same day, same time, he turns up. Rain, hail or shine, there’s the sound of one of those giant motorcycles tearing down the road just outside my farm. I tend to go out and watch now, as this big, burly guy parks his motorcycle, takes off his helmet, and pauses for a moment, staring at the ground underneath a tree by the side of the road.

There’s never been an accident or anything there, so one year I waited for him, to ask what he was doing.

He never turned up.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Civil Barbarians And Their Worlds

They were two of many worlds, linked through time and space. Some worlds were identical, others wildly different. These two were similar, but different. On one world, magic worked, the other, it didn’t.

Despite this, they remained fairly parallel. So much so that at the same moment, two identical men cast a transportation spell and turned on a new particle collider, and the link between the words made them swap worlds.

Both were confused, but adapted. The scientist was quick to accept new data in new circumstances equalled new conclusions, and the magician was used to spells being extremely precise…

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

“Tick A, B, C, or D.”

The flyer promised $20 to take a survey. I called up, and turned up to find a large room with a bunch of doors. The woman sitting at one desk pointed to the other, upon which stood a thick booklet. ‘Finish it, go through the door behind her, get paid’, she told me. Every page had a few detailed, complicated questions.

I shrugged, and go to work. A few hours later, the last page said they were looking for people who would look ahead first (go through the red door) or who would be diligent (go through the green door)…

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Living In The Moment

She caught up with him as he was about to leave through the window. They both froze, as his eyes darted between the woman who he’d grown to love while she worked undercover, and the gun she had trained on him now.

After a moment, she aimed at the wall and fired.

“Darn, I’m out.”

He smiled, and held out his hand.

“Come with me.”

She paused.


I can’t.”

He sighed.

“I know. But that pause? That’ll do.”

He ran. After a moment, she ran after him.

She saw him again three years later, when she identified his body.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Advance Warning

As the High Priestess of Cerelbella, she would often receive visions, warnings for the future. Unfortunately, she couldn’t control them, they would just arrive. Hence her always carrying around a board and chalk.

She came running out of her chambers one day, excitedly clasping her board. I looked it over, and could just make out her writing.

“Great Evil, only beatable by two warriors, born same time, opposite ends of world, 25 years hence.”

We thus prepared.

And failed miserably.

Never quite sure if Cerelbella or the Priestess forgot to specify time zones or if that was just our mistake…

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Simple Single Math

Half the town’s population is of a gender that isn’t compatible with my needs and/or wants and/or desires.

Of the remainder, a third are too young (as I don’t wish to go to jail) and a sixth are too old (as I don’t wish to go to bingo).

Of the remainder of that, three quarters are unavailable due to already being in a relationship (I’m not breaking anyone up, thank you) or not looking for a relationship (I’m not good at persuading anyone of anything serious) or what have you.

That leaves seven possible partners.

One a night seems doable.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Don't Be So Blue

I paused for a moment, a drop of ink welling at the tip of my pen.

“I’ve never signed a death warrant before. Bit odd to be signing my own…”

Slowly, I drew the pen across the parchment, my signature a few simple loops and swirls. I took my time to clean the pen, press dry the ink, and then stand up, my shackles clinking.

“So, in exchange for not dying by the executioner, instead I die on some distant shore, after I man your third ship, what did you call it?”

Christopher rolled up the document slowly.

“The Pinta.”

Friday, 16 September 2016

Fate Decides

I never understood why people wanted and/or needed there to be some sort of higher being controlling everything. Why there had to be a plan for everyone, be it because of a creator, or aliens, or some giant, overly complicated conspiracy. Why couldn’t life just be… Life? Random and pointless, except what you make of it? Take charge of your destiny, such as it is, and stop letting fate control you. Make your own!

That was a good attitude to have. Until I found out who, or rather, what, actually was running everything.

Then I got really angry about it.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Doing A Science

As the asteroid came ever closer to the spaceship, and the emergency power slowly kicked back in, he turned to her.

“You’re a scientist! Science this!”

She glared at him, incredulous.

“I’m an exobiologist, genius!”

She shoved him aside and began to press buttons.

“I have training in medicine, chemistry… Astrobiology, obviously. But science isn’t some sort of catchall title that means I can do everything.”

She pulled the emergency airlock lever, opening all the airlocks, the subsequent release of atmosphere pushing us out of the path of the rock.

“That said, I do have a basic understanding of physics.”

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

On Golden Shore

It had taken eight seasons, but I finally, through a lot of trial and error, managed to find a route through the reefs, and was quite pleased with myself as my craft pulled into the bay. There was quite the commotion, as the peoples had never seen an outsider from beyond the horizon.

As promised by the legends though, I saw gold being used for mundane purposes, these people really did not value gold. I played it cool, showing off my wares, and motioned to exchange for gold.

Sadly, the stories didn’t mention they were savvy, enough to say no.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Shrine Maiden

I spent a few weeks in Japan, having a wonderful time, and when I got back, I began to go through all the photos I took.

That’s when I saw her. I’d be taking photos of the main entrance of a Shrine (it was allowed, I’m not a jerk) and hadn’t even seen her. I guess she was one of the Shrine Maidens, they call her.

She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.

Cliché, I know, but I spent the next few years working just to get back there and find her.

I missed her by three days.

Monday, 12 September 2016

I.V And Terry

We called him I.V, but we never told him it stood for Ideas Vampire.

I’m not sure if he did it out of selfishness, brown-nosing, or just ‘enthusiasm’, but whenever he understood an idea you had created, after some ‘brainstorming’ together, he’d then run to the boss and present it as his own.

So after we worked out what was happening, we conspired to have him share a room with Terry, who always had lots of ideas, all of which were always so laughably bad. They’d get on fine…

And that’s how we indirectly helped create a Top 500 company.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

A Matter Of Survival

The sedan slowly pulled up to the curb, and the window rolled down even slower. I would have approached even slower, but I was under the gun, so I jogged over.

The shadowy figure in the back of the car held out a package, wrapped in brown paper. I took it, and the sedan immediately drove off, almost taking my arm with it.

I opened the package, and found a loaded gun, a photo, a map, and the note that said “She dies, you live.”

I followed the map, and steeled myself.

Note should have mentioned she was armed too.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

O, Be Positive!

I didn’t trust her the moment I laid eyes on her. Given that she then shot at me, I felt justified in that, not even with her lame excuse of there being an Arachnadrone.

I made sure to keep close watch over her, I did everything in my power to make sure she couldn’t sabotage the mission.

Then I caught a bunkhead mast to the arm, and she was the only matching blood type, so I got an infusion.

And I had a moment of glee as her nanobots took over me, that I had been right all this time!

Friday, 9 September 2016

The Failsafe Failsafe

The universe doesn’t seem to like anyone trying to destroy it.

Whenever someone develops a spell or artefact that could unmake existence, it always seems to overload or have some other fatal flaw, invariably taking out the person using it. If there’s no way it can fail, it does.

So, twisted-logically, if you make a device that can erase everything, then put in a tiny self-destruct mechanism that requires a nondescript key that you then bury halfway round the world, that should satisfy the universe. And really, what are the odds it’ll be found and used?

Greater than zero.


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Hot Stuff

I could have prevented their deaths.

No matter how many times people would try to tell me otherwise, would spout clichéd platitudes about how there was no way to know and that I shouldn’t blame myself, the scene would be thrown back up and replay itself in my mind.

The three of them, leaning out the windows of the cheap car from the nineties, all of them saying how much they’d like to engage in sexual acts with me.

The rage inside me.

The fireball that formed in my hand…

I could have prevented their deaths.

But they deserved them.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Make And Model

The worst part of being a modelling agent isn’t the prima donnas, or the hours, or the risk of losing everything with the tiniest imperfection.

Well, yes, they all suck, but you expect them. The thing that always bugged me was the look of disappointment when someone asks how I found my current client, and I tell them via a cattle call, or a runway show. There’s no story, no chance meeting, just the way that everyone gets into this business.

And then I fucking break down in the middle of fucking nowhere, and the female mechanic is fucking flawless…

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Syncing Feeling

It was just audible, in the background of the video.

“…was talking to Ethan’s girlfriend…”

I clicked back on the video, and listened again. And I was sure that was what was said by one of my closest freinds, while another friend was looking directly into the camera and talking about the performance they’d just done on stage.

Thoughts rushed through my mind. Was that a disgusted tone? It didn’t sound happy… Do they hate her? Me? What were they talking about?

Eventually, I brought it up with my girlfriend, demanded to know what they talked about.

She wasn’t impressed.

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Centre Of All Things

Every race in the galaxy that developed the ability to travel between star systems had one end goal, to reach the center of the galaxy. For some, it was merely for the pursuit of scientific knowledge, while others built their entire society around it.

You can understand the appeal, given how mysterious it was, and how there must be secrets, explanations, answers there. So, even if it was subconsciously, the drive to reach the center of the galaxy drove countless worlds, countless societies, countless species, to reach out to the stars.

Never has so little, such nothingness, inspired so much…

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Trail Mix Up

I had been hiking for a few hours, so I’d earned a short break to lean against a mossy tree.

The next thing I knew, I was falling, seemingly for miles, through a void, until I landed, gently, on something spongy, almost like a… Mushroom?

My surroundings were gloomy, but I could just make out a few figures in the darkness. One of them began ranting about ‘trespassing’ and ‘casting my fate’. Confused, I picked up the dice before me and rolled.

Next thing I knew, I was back against the tree, with a beautiful elf girl kneeling before me…

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Pressured Results

Eventually, something had to give.

You put anything under pressure for long enough, it eventually changes. Some changes, like coal into diamonds, are good. Others, like dam walls to rubble, less so.

But relationships… They can be tricky, both good and bad, often at the same time.

Sam and Olivia, they started as co-workers, cordial and polite.

But so many late nights, both slaving away on the same project… At first it was annoyance, even disgust, but eventually, they both broke, and a love affair was the inevitable result.

Then the new job opening was announced.

It broke them up.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Marble Study

The Director stormed into the lab, where I was watching the small marbles roll along the sloped surface. She removed her neural uplink hook-up and began to shout in my direction.

“I’m sick of this! All this money and power and resources, funnelled into this department, and nothing to show for it!”

I watched another marble roll.

“I’m shutting you down, you hear me?”

I looked up and laughed, which pissed her off even more.

“You think this is a fucking joke?”

I sighed.

“You’ve not noticed these marbles are rolling uphill then?”

I patted my new anti-gravity machine proudly.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Clumsy Cutting

I was in the garage when I heard the cursing. I headed into the house, expecting to find another broken plate or shattered window. Instead, I found her laying on the ground, holding a cloth over her chest, blood seeping slowly from under it.

“The hell?”

She smiled up at me.

“I was opening these boxes with the scissors opened up and managed to stab myself, you know, usual clumsy me…” she said, weakly. I picked up the dropped, bloody scissors.

“Yeah, I bet most everyone would believe you could manage to stab yourself twice with this…”


I lunged.