Saturday, 31 December 2016

Commiserations & Resolutions

I know it’s an arbitrary turning over point, a relic of when everything revolved around the seasons and their passing in a specific part of the planet. It’s just bookkeeping.

But even bookkeeping has influence if the culture decides it should.

So then. The past, the future.

You’re tempted to exaggerate the first, to claim that it was either the best or worst year ever. The second is similar, in that tradition says you make bold claims or none at all.

I’m not good at any of that, so all I’m left with is reality.

Dull past, probably dull future.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Two Damning All Over One

Every few generations would see the three souls play out the story they seemed destined to repeat forever, the story of Two damning All over One.

It began with two knights letting their kingdom fall to darkness as instead of standing together against the oncoming hordes they instead fought and killed each other over the hand of the maiden they both loved. They were all cursed because of it, before the kingdom fell, as clearly the maiden was mostly to blame for leading them on.

So they would eventually be reborn, and find themselves again, and be cursed to repeat the same terrible actions over and over, as two Princes destroyed three lands fighting over a Princess. Two Generals had their armies destroyed while they bickered over a Batwoman. Countless other lives would be ruined at best, lost at worst, as the Two would be unable to do anything but try and get the One.

But finally, the cycle was broken this time around. The Two CEOs did not, in fact, drive their companies into the ground, did not put hundreds of thousands out of work. Because this time the One was playing the Two and her hostile takeovers worked…

Thursday, 29 December 2016

The Mental Scarring Is Worse

Glory had twice now tested every single link of the chains holding her in this unknown room. She was just starting her third one when the sole door opened, a figure slowly entering, torch in hand.

“Oh, it’s you, Cheesecake.”

The former model turned acid victim glared at Glory from behind her mask.

“You’re far too flippant my dear. Soon you will be as hideous as me!”

She pulled off her mask.

Glory’s complete lack of reaction threw Cheesecake so much that Glory had time to grab the torch and begin her escape.

She managed to avoid vomiting until later.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The Final Moments Of The E.E. Spaceship Galaxy

The battle had begun as soon as the ship had begun scanning the two clusters of unknown matter floating in space. The alien transmission was garbled, but ‘blasphemy’ featured.

As the ship’s shields began to head towards complete malfunction, the captain lurched over towards the weapons bot.

“Tell me, from what we’ve gathered so far, what would happen if we fired on the unknown matter?”

The bot beeped for a moment.

“95% chance of the galaxy being destroyed.”

“But we’d take out the other ships?”


“Do it!

Wait, when you say the Galaxy, do you mean the ship or-“

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

First Lessons

The first thing I have to teach people when they are brought into The Group is that they are not some destined chosen one that has been foretold by prophecy, just talented enough for us.

The second thing I have to teach people when they are brought into The Group is that they are not stupid or crazy for not finding out about us, once they realise the scope and breadth of our reach.

The third thing I have to teach people when they are brought into The Group is how to protect Earth from the many threats out there.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Long Term Fight Prep

He kept his guard up for the entire journey up the long, winding stairway built into the side of the mountain, but there was no attack, no surprise, just a long, gruelling journey, although that in itself was clearly the point.

Upon reaching the clearing at the summit, he chuckled as she hurriedly swallowed a biscuit she was chewing. “Did I ruin the moment?”

She gulped and then shrugged. “Perhaps, but really, you were always second to me throughout training, so why bother dragging this fight out?”

“Fair enough.”

Her skills were greater, but the poisoned biscuit kicked in quickly.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Just Another Day

Every day is important to someone.

On the most basic level, every day sees lots of people being born, passing away, obviously that day is vitally important to them, either way.

But every day sees love blossom for the first time, as true love begins to take a hold between people.

And every day sees love die for the last time, as true love turns out to be false, or at least true no more.

The world spins on birth, death, love, hate. Every day is important to someone.

But some are more important to people generally, I grant you.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Eve

She lives up on the fifteenth floor, one of the luxury units, I’m down on the second floor in one of the railroads. She runs her own business selling art online, I’m a 9-to-5er for a merchant bank you’ve probably never heard of. Most of the year, we just make small talk in the elevator at best. But we’re both only children whose parents have died, neither of us has any close family, so every year, we spend Christmas together, Eve and I.

I know giving her a proposal this year is a risk, but I’m just sick of waiting…

Friday, 23 December 2016

Something Money Can’t Buy Directly

When I saw the sponsored message, I thought it had to be a mistake, a translation error. But after a couple more times seeing it flashing above content, I got curious and clicked onto the site, where a chat window popped up.

The spiel was obviously cut and pasted, but it was the same as the ad. For a small fee, this random person would pretend to be you, making false social media accounts and the like. I asked them why anyone would want that.

But as you see by my shiny new ‘Verified’ markers, they made a good argument.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Refusing To Say It

Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes.

I heard that in a song once, and I always assumed it was just another trite lyric written to fill space.

But eventually I began to realise that it was actually true, that my life was predicated on hellos and goodbyes. Being born and thus saying hello to my parents, then saying goodbye when I had to bury them.

‘Hello Teacher’ on my first day of school, my first boss saying goodbye as he fired me.

Saying hello to my future wife, then goodbye to my new ex-wife.

The last goodbye though…

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Or I’ll Turn Your Beloved To Stone

The couple had brought in the statue, both weeping, and eventually managed to explain how the Fair Folk had betrayed them, and turned their son into stone.

As I prepared the mixture, I kept asking them what the exact wording of the deal with the Fair Folk had been. They responded with more and more confusion each time, until finally the taller woman snapped at me, asking why it was so important.

I told them, that if they were speaking honestly, it wasn’t, and then I poured the mixture onto him.

He became flesh, as his mothers turned to stone.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Number Comprehension

You’ve heard of a googol by now, right? A one, followed by a hundred zeros? Famous website corrupted it for their name? Right, so there’s the googolplex, which is a one followed by a googol zeros, and then the googolplexplex, which is a one followed by a googolplex zeros.

Can you picture that? Can you possibly comprehend such a huge, ridiculous number?

Probably not, not truly. And yet, it’s just a whole lot of zeros and a solitary one.

So why do we think we have any hope of comprehending each other, truly and honestly, when we can’t grasp that?

Monday, 19 December 2016

Taking A Bath

The bathwater sloshed gently at the sides of the tub, almost but never quite reaching the lip.

She felt that, beyond something that she had earned after a day like she had had, she needed this. She needed to feel the warm, soapy water caress her skin, her muscles slowly relaxing as the pressures of the day seeped out of her, the glass of wine her partner had poured for her before leaving.

Her eyes slowly closed as she felt herself drift off into her thoughts and dreams.

She slid down into the water as the drugged wine kicked in.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Back To The Cosmic Wall

The two Corponations that controlled most of Earth had realised that the Sun was to die within a short period of time, cosmically speaking. Thus they both began to make plans to leave Earth.

But the two took vastly different approaches. The United Business States built one Generational Ship, where a few hundred generations would be born, and die on board. China-Yang Consolidated instead built several smaller deep sleep vessels, hoping that the tech would last that long.

When they both arrived, they found a society founded by the desperate souls left behind on Earth that had developed instantaneous travel…

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Sleepover Static

This was years ago, back when beauty pageants weren’t sexist, me and the wife and our daughter and her friend Kevin were watching one, when our daughter asked if Kevin could sleep over.

I remember glancing at my wife. “I don’t think so Hunni, I think Kevin is too mature for that now.

They both whined, so I pointed at the screen, where Miss Alabama was walking across the stage, and her stats (36-24-36) were listed.

“Kevin, what are those numbers?”

He paused for a moment, then said “96?” in a small voice.

I let him stay over.

Shouldn’t of…

Friday, 16 December 2016

In Brief

The operative carefully lined up the shot, accounting for wind on the rocket’s path towards the compound at the other end of the valley. Then, breathing out, he pressed fire.

Nothing happened.

He pushed the button a couple more times, then tapped his ear.

“Equipment malfunction Base, launcher is inoperable.”

The voice in his ear was triumphant.

“I knew it! You didn’t listen to the briefing, did you? I-“

“Shut up, Glasses, and tell me how to make this fire!”

“Well the three buttons on the bottom, but-“

The line went loud, then dead.

“… not at the same time…”

Thursday, 15 December 2016

A Tale Of Two Smiles

As far as fake smiles went, it was fairly convincing. Just the right amount of teeth to express 'genuine' enthusiasm, the lips pursed in a natural enough way.

But after seeing it a few times, and then seeing her when her partner made a surprise appearance at her work, I could tell the smile she had for her job and the one she had for genuine happiness.

The partner ran off, and I made my move with a dozen roses.

My heart sank when I saw her smile.

Then I found out she genuinely loved her job, not the ex...

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The Exact Same Swipe

Deep in his pocket, his phone buzzed.

He slowly finished the piece of chicken in his hand, wiped the grease with the towelette, and then pulled out the phone. The small banner across the top of the screen proudly declared that he had found someone!

He opened up the dating app and looked over the woman’s profile. She was certainly good looking, and the profile was just the right blend of funny, honest, and confident. She seemed like a great catch.

He opened the menu and clicked ‘not interested’. Like he’d ever have the courage to talk to a woman…

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

What Price Freedom?

What price freedom?

I ask myself that every day. Every day I awake, expecting a boot to the throat, or maybe just a bullet to the head. Every day I get up, gather my things and start moving.

You always have to keep moving, no matter what, you can’t let them catch up to you. The day you think that they’re not behind you, that they must move too slow to be there, that’s the day they find you.

Every day could be my last one free of subjugation from the ‘protectors’.

What price freedom?

Everything. No more, no less.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Swings & Roundabouts

The alarm failed to wake him up, as did the first three phone calls. The fourth one managed to make him groggily roll over. One eye managing to see the time was enough to fully wake him up in terror.

He madly rushed to work, where he was supposed to meet with a playground equipment company in hopes of getting them to sign up for advertising.

He bluffed his way through the meeting enough to fool them, but not enough to fool his boss, and was fired over it.

But he met his future wife at his first job interview.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Line Held

The Line held.

Thousands of troops, each of them a legend of their own armies, the most heroic Human knight fighting alongside the most feared Dwarven Axespinner, the greatest living Elven Treefarer above them, providing support.

While the sea of demonic beings, twisted dark parodies of existence throwing themselves against the castle walls again and again, melting as they died, trying to get through the assorted soldiers.

All to try and stop the young boy sitting cross-legged in the middle of the dining room, eyes closed, from holding back the force trying to enter their world.

And The Line held.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

On Fleek Language

OK, I don’t get this.

The English language works because it is open source, to use a phrase that exists because of said feature. When it finds a word or phrase from another language that means something that the language can’t yet describe well enough, it adds it in. That’s the strength of it, and the reason why it’ll probably win out.

But this also means that new words will be added that are cut whole from new cloth, because again, open source.

So why all the complaining about ‘on fleek’ and ‘bae’ etc? They aren’t buggy like ‘literally’ is…

Friday, 9 December 2016

Keeping The Action Star Alive

It was the night before, and I snuck into his tent. He stirred up from under his foil blanket. His voice was quiet, seemingly resigned to his fate.

“So are you finally here to cash in on keeping me alive?”


He sighed and lifted the blanket. I shook my head and instead tossed a notebook at him.

“What is this?”

“Your lines.

In the morning you’re going to get up on that overturned bus and you’re going to give that speech, and turn this collection of survivors into a society.”

He gave a performance worth, oh, an Emmy, maybe…

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Loving You For You

Look, I love you, right? And that means you don’t need to change to satisfy me. You don’t need to start working out on my account. If you want to do it for yourself, I’ll support you, obviously, but you don’t have to.

Although I did read that eating as much red meat as you do can be bad for you, so maybe you could switch to a more balanced diet, that might be good for you, but you know, that’s for you to decide, my love.

I want you to be you, because I love you.

But that dress…

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Telling Odds

The escape pod hitting a large enough body of water on impact had been deemed unlikely at best while in orbit, but given that remaining on the ship was certain death, the risk was taken. And the chance paid off, as it managed to land in a lake and thus survive impact, just.

The three of them salvaged what they could, but the enormity of the challenge of survival quickly became apparent. Thus, they all agreed that they had to get the radio working, and hope that the signal was found by a friendly party.

That chance didn’t pay off.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Tree Crossed Rivals

William Anderson Foster was a self made man, in the specific way people born into money used it.

Jane Murphy was a woman who had to fight every day of her life to survive and then thrive.

The two ended up as business rivals, Foster owning the large factories that made mass produced items, Murphy gathering craftsmen and women to hand make goods. Quite a few socialites assumed they’d end up falling in love, but in fact they detested each other for reasons they couldn’t quite place.

That is, until Mama Foster’s deathbed confessional about her ‘nine month trip abroad’…

Monday, 5 December 2016

Winter, Lowland Rises

For generations, the Lowlanders tended their crops, their flocks, and their sons, all for the service of the Highlanders. Those who lived above the Lowland Valley would assure the Lowlanders that they were protecting them from the world. This had gone on for so long, that almost everyone in the Lowlands had forgotten why they were so scared of the world.

Eventually, thanks to a bleak winter and a charismatic woman, the Lowlanders rose up in defiance.

For generations, the Highlanders had controlled their subjects below, but this had gone on for so long, they’d forgotten how to quash rebellion…

Sunday, 4 December 2016

I Meant That Chick From College

I’d assumed the tour of Heaven ended with the Bodily Pleasure Area, until the angel showed me a small plum tree.

“And here is the original Tree of Knowledge. The one in Eden was a graft. This one can impart whatever you wish to know, merely ask the question, then consume a plum.”

“I thought it was an apple tree.”

“Everyone does.”

I considered.

“I want to know about all the near misses I had in my life.”

I ate a plum.

The angel sighed and looked after me as the millions of times I almost died filled my soul.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Great White Patience

After five days drifting, the shark came by for the first time. He poked it in the face with the oar, and it left.

A day later, the shark came by a second time. He tried to poke it again, but the oar broke, and it left.

Two days later, the shark came by a third time. He kicked at it weakly, and it left.

Another day later, the shark came by a fourth time. He was far too weak to do anything, and it left.

Three days later, the shark came by a final time. And it left, fed.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Red, Black, Green

I picked up the small plastic disc that represented every last penny I had to my name, and closed my eyes. I tried to clear my mind, tried to let the universe speak to me, to let it tell me where I should put it.

But it remained stubbornly silent, so I sighed and went to flip it onto the felt, but when my eyes opened, they locked onto hers, through her tears.

“Please, please don’t do this. There’s no coming back from this.”

I considered her words, then placed the chip across both zeroes.

Seventeen to one, thank you…

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Break In The Weather

The music on my tablet was always the first thing to go when the power began to run out.

It’s one of those 3rd Gen Solsys tablets, all solar panel casing, which is good most of the time, and unlike the later ones it doesn’t just cut out when it starts running out of battery, which I prefer, but on the other hand it does tend to start cutting out way sooner.

I just gotta wait for the clouds...

Where’s the sun?


The weather program was always the first thing to go when the simulation began to frag out.