May 28th, 2010 -- "Wrinkled"
6684 bent the bottom angle of his flex-steel faceguard back and away from his neck so he could see better. He was leaking black fluid out of a few holes in his front guard and his arm was feeling a little weird, but he could see again. His optics trembled to life with the super white lamp backing glowing at half power. Eight more years and he'd have himself a new set of eyes, he thought.
Stretching his back a bit, 6684 picked up his Outliner with both hands and climbed on top of a nearby vehicle shell for a better view.
He had no idea what the hell that was that hit 'em, but he sure as hell knew it was going to change things dramatically.
May 27th, 2010 -- "Steps"
Baby steps got him this far, he thought. Baby steps and a lot of stairs.
May 26th, 2010 -- "The House of Noise by The Bay"
The kid they called Dog sat on the larger of the two pinions that used to allow the light's casing to spin in circles at the top of the beacon house. He sat and he spun slowly, using a crank he had rigged in a complicated fashion to power his own movement.
This was a place of caution.
He'd sit and he'd spin, only really changing his position for one of two things; the first thing being to reach a hand behind his back to collect the crank from his other hand as he turned, and the second things being moving his then-free hand to cup his mouth as his voiced a warning out to the ocean as he faced it.
He liked his job, but often wished for more.
A white car throws the sun back up into the sky at 73 miles an hour. A hot wind kicked up by the car's passing deceives the world with quick movement into thinking that it's a cool breeze. Pebbles bake by the gray grass of the median. The glinting green of faraway signs wiggle in funny frequencies with the radio stations through the curving film of heat against the surface of the asphalt. A radio in a truck in another lane crackles and sticks to the waning American station that, some years ago, would've had the budget and power to broadcast out here.
This is a blasted land.
At once, the sparks from his power tool shot up the cord from the floor and made its way, alive, quite quickly to Terrence's forearm. With a bright, searing flinch of flesh and smoke, and with a single peculiar popping sound, the spark disappeared into the meat of him, right under the bone. Terrence dropped to the floor and didn't awaken for quite some time. Little did he know that everything would be different.
May 23rd, 2010 -- "FOUND" "Okay, okay, so, okay,...so, get this. I got an idea, right? I got an idea and it's going to take me a little while to let you in on it. I'll let you in on it and it'll take some time for me to explain, but it'll be great, you know? You'll see. I've got it figured out, too! I've figured it all out with a bunch of buddies of mine. We figured it all out ahead of time, just so we could get the idea just right. It's perfect. You'll see! It's perfect and you'll be confused for a long time, but you'll know by the end that things were going according to plan the entire time - the entire friggin' time, kid... ...wait, what was I just talking about before all of that? I'll be back. I gotta go."
May 24th, 2010 -- "Last Laid Bricks"
In the last week in the last month before the last things got done, the last lady laid out the last of her errands with the last of her obligations in the last minutes. Lasting for some time on the last legs of her everlasting patience, the lady last later set out to outlast her own worst and last tendencies of late nervousness. She would later think on the longevity of her own spirits.
The dark mass, half man, half doom, sits by the sea and looks out at the horizon's dying light. In its eyes swirls an evil green and chaotically vibrant pool of iris that speaks in whispers to endless time and voracious hunger. It sits and clicks and waits in the cooling sand on the beach. Off in the far distance, his hearing picks up the worried footsteps of the island inhabitants. The massive thing furrows his brow into a squint and imagines a curled grin in his mind where his mouth would be.
The mist surrounding its face splits and crinkles to let his mouth through. He utters a word.
The day in the park was just fine. The light hung on to the pollen in the air and was warm like hot glue. The walking path leading to the shore was dotted with shade and was surrounded on both sides by the dry, twigged branches of road weeds. Steve's demeanor was calm and he remained cool beneath the brim of his hat. Children from all over the state were swarming like jovial ants over and through the playground past the line of maples as parents watched. A black dog with a red collar lay panting by a blanket and his owner; on the ground next to them a plastic water gun filled with hose water. It was eleven o'clock now and would later be evening.
Steve padded his way down to the shore and sweated happily from the tops of his cheeks.
The impossibly colored flatlands of the computer program stretched on for what seemed like a virtual eternity. Ever changing bands of bright information streamed along in thin wires across the surface of the world, giving shape and meaning to timeless forms that smoothed and blended at a distance and broke off into a severe horizon where nonexistent dirt met nonexistent sky in this nonexistent world with a line unbelievably flattened and leveled.
It had been many years since Wilson had entered and, indeed, he had aged many years since then. He was now eighty-six of mind, though his virtual look had, in a kind of brilliant and scientific retention, kept the impression of his nineteen year old self with a frighteningly exact memory. His shirt was new and impeccably clean. His jeans held not a fray. The scars of his actual life were forgotten. His history, gone. This was his chosen world.
In life, or what could be referred to otherwise as "real", Wilson was a math student. His days were filled with chalky classrooms clapped clean by old erasers after the equations had been met an dealt with. His nights were made for dutiful study and organized routines. His leisure, when the occasion did present itself, involved much running and much sunshine. His life knew pets. He had a goldfish, once. His mother's name was Mary, and his father worked hard at the plant to pay for his lessons. Time ebbed and flowed in the trees in the highlight of his youth and he was happy.
Wilson stood for some time on the artificial rock in front of a cobalt sky and wondered, for his sense of time was now the appropriate kind of clear that allowed him to remember his old life. He and he breathed and he tried to ignore the misplaced squeaking of the wind as it got the sound of air wrong.
He looked up and continued his work.
Any day now, he thought. Any day.
May 17th, 2010 -- "Sammy and Monday"
Sammy looked down at his sleeves and thought about his clothes. His jacket, now loosely wrinkled and clinging to the higher joints of his body, laid threadbare and softened in parts. His tie, also wrinkled, was caught off to one side where his jacket pressed against his twisted shirt. His belt was a black-turned-brown; it was quite old. His shoes were old, flat. His hat was okay, he guessed.
It wasn't even eleven and he was thinking about the past.
Near him, a door opened to let the air back in.
May 16th, 2010 -- "The Last Meeting of The Friday Night Fright Club"
A branch broke and tumbled loudly to the pine needled ground in the dark, startling Curtis into a small leap.
Their eyes were huge and frantic in the flickering light of the flashlight, each set darting around the four-person circle in an attempt to rest on a courageous face among them. Stan blinked quickly at Emily. Curtis gulped and fetched Dan's squeamish glance, just as Emily breathed and batted her bangs away from her nose with a bright urgency. Dan looked at Stan. Stan looked at Curtis. Emily, with a look of desperate patience, leaned in at Dan. Stan looked at Dan. Dan signaled at Curtis. Emily waved at Curtis. Stan shrieked at Curtis, Emily dropped the flashlight, Dan fainted, and then Curtis was gone.
The club was thence disbanded as the remaining children scattered in the directions of their homes.
Large, swooshing hoops. Sparking, cold, highly pressurized atmosphere. Crackling dirt slow to freeze. Steaming, bending trees. It was all too much. Marlboro looked off to the hillside with wild, wide, stallion eyes and wondered when Clyde would decide to point them both home. He didn't like this phenomenon one bit. Warm hay in the dark of the barn seemed like a far better idea, Marlboro thought. Yes.
It was a dark and stormy night as Brinkley sat at the messy desk in his basement laboratory. Quite the Thing, INDEED, he shouted to a stack of papers just moments before he grabbed his overcoat and headed out into the rainy pitch black. The way would be long and the work hard, but it was his discovery, now, his find. The world would know now as it had not in the past. They would know! They would look upon The Thing and they would understand. They would see it and tremble at the thought of it, for the thought of it was a terrible kind of horror, its implications dry and clear and an unforgiving kind of certain. Their amazement would be total, and they would know what Brinkley had sought to know for some time. They would see The Thing and they would see Brinkley there, too, his image embedded firmly in the discovery of the horrible Thing's lurid existence.
Some time later, huddled behind the gravestone of someone long since past and gone from the world, Brinkley would fear his own demise in the blanketing light. He would tremble and see The Thing and would, in a sense that he couldn't fully, before, comprehend from that basement laboratory, genuinely discover the horror he had only - and only could have guessed at.
The pain was immense and quick and then gone along with Brinkley.
On the sunny side of the waiting room, Miranda holds an old, dusty book up to her chest and squints at the soft and yellowed pages. In soft black lettering are some basic instructions, accompanied by small, little spot illustrations of kids at play, of dad's at grills and swimming pools with splashing water and pool toys. She looks to a small list bookended by a quick drawing of a seagull and a funny drawing of a snorkel mask. She brings the book closer to her face and reads.
Invite friends over for a party!
Apply suntan lotion and get a tan in the sun. Be safe!
Go to the local grocer and purchase some supplies. Buy ground beef, chips, soda, plates, and napkins. Buy a watermelon, too!
Have a party!
Miranda chuckles but takes the advice fairly seriously on such a nice day. She licks her finger and turns the page, noting a small note written in light pencil at the top of the page.
"Summer, 1999, a good one! Congrats!"
She looks up and wonders.
A baker mixes slippery eggs loudly in a greasy, green bowl and sings something undeniably French as he pirouettes across a dusty tile floor warmed by the hearth of a large, belching fire. His movement is precisely full of mistakes and he patches things where he can - a pinch of salt for the spoon dropped on the floor, some baking soda in with the water, lots of water, some hot butter in a bowl cooled to a gel, sugar and butter, some grated cheese, some milk, another egg.
He swishes his feet in the flour on the floor and slides the bowl and the mixture across the table to the far end. He picks up an apple and some cinnamon and begins to chop them up against the wet worn wood of the cutting board. Some sticky flour smears under his fingers as he cups the cuts into a large ceramic mug.
Outside, the smoke from the fire passes up and through the pipes of the chimney and into the dusk of the air. The plume billows up and away and takes a blocky form behind the small hut with the thatched roof. The light coming from the windows pulses like the slow breathing of a full man after supper. Everything is warm in the world as the baker makes something new.
May 10th, 2010 -- "The Dreamy Dream of Weary Bethany"
The dirt steps that pass through the shade of the arbor course past a flat bench spotted by sunlight. The leaves in the trees bend and flip in the quick breeze. Her dress streams in a direction opposite to the wind as she is carried off into the sun. There is no work to be done. The dream is always the same.
May 11th, 2010 -- "The Destruction of 2800-A"
"I got him, sir! Look at this!!"
Drake held up the limp pile of metal and pulled a mess of important wires and relays from beneath the helmet with a few sprays of hot sparks. His fingers strained under the rim of the faceplate and he stumbled back a bit on his knees to brace against the weight of the thing's upper half.
"Can you believe this shit? Look at this!"
The battle had been long - too long, Major thought. They brought their sick light and their burning waves with a cold relentlessness, and the end result was much chaos and much casualty. His radio went bust after The Big One and his compass was mashed into the dirt somewhere under the behemoth. Major looked at Drake and nodded.
"You bet, son. You bet. Let's get moving."
Drake continued, with a peculiar kind of childishness, to play with the wires wrapped around his chem-gloves as he steadied that back of the thing against a large rock. He finally unraveled the mess to free his hand and got up to run back with the rest of the unit.
Major turned back for a moment and surveyed the land behind them. Charred.
This was only the beginning.
It feels like a Sunday. There aren't that many people out and the noises are simple. Rain. Occasional cars - people going home or coming out and away. The street is wet. The handrails for the steps are wet with drops. The pools of water collected in the potholes shine white to the sky. To my left, a couple of teenagers are doing tricks on their skateboards in place. They make the loud sounds of jumped, slapping wood and trucks and pavement in their loose hooded sweatshirts and talk about something unimportant.
The air here is clear. For all that could be said about a rainy day, it would be very difficult to call this particular one miserable. The regular commuters are probably here. Some of them are probably here, at least, but I wouldn't be able to recognize them. I don't come here often enough.
The thunder in the sky rumbles together and against itself and it reminds me of great change.
The Scrapper latches himself in a frenzy to my neck and head and makes moves to crawl onto my back. His movement is in vein. I'm immovable. He leaps off with a bounce and tries to push against my weight. Once - twice he tries, while laughing, to shoulder me into hell, but I just won't budge. I pick him up and throw him down the hallway with both hands like yesterday's trash. The time spent hanging in the air is impressive, and he lands smooth to the floor with a slide. He comes to a gradual stop by the front door, and everyone is laughing again.
I think we're friends.
"Oh, this is just dreadful. Yes, this just won't do at all."
The iron tower brought his fists down hard on the concrete, smashing the thick slab into pebble. His day was ruined. Many times had he tried the carving and many times again had his efforts failed miserably. Sun glinted off of his smoothed and heavy face, and his face formed a frowning grimace with the sound of bending steel. At last frustrated and dismayed after a moments thought, he threw his tools in a fit of anger. His large, sharp knife slid into the dirt with an earthy "shuck!" and jet black oil began to vomit from the underground.
Still grumbling about his failed trying, the brute casually covered the bubbling spray with a cardboard box and called it a day. The box filled quickly and folded down into itself as it was carried down the street and away on the thick river of crude.
"I'll try again when I'm ready, I guess."
He kicked a chunk of pavement into a nearby car and stormed off.
Bringing his arms quickly to the sensitive and exposed sides of his neck, Thomas did the best he could to shield himself from that sick light pouring out past the gaunt figure before him! He brought his hands to his mouth and left them to tremble uncontrollably, creating absurdly comical and quick shadow puppets stretched and perverted across the wrinkles of his face.
The figure stood cold. The skin was black. More accurate to indicate would be to say that the skin was dark. Its quality was not that of abundance but rather of a keen and pointed lack of light. Unmoving and intentionally solid, the thin line of its frame seemed to pull at the edges of light passing around it and fuzzed all realistic sense of depth. To Thomas, there was a peculiar kind of deception found with the form. At this point, he was sheepishly shielding his eyes with his forearm. Yet, still, he had to squint.
The Nonentity charmed Thomas' old frame up the ramp and on to the insane ship.
Hours later in the field by the treeline, the only evidence of Thomas' experience was a single paper shopping bag and some dropped eggs.
Ten thousand years would pass before he would set foot on Earth again.
He looked at the charring madness and was comforted.
Next stop, anywhere.
She takes another sip and flexes away some brainfreeze.
I never liked whatsherface, anyways.
He sat and watched.
"My god," he thought. "My god."
Was it warm?
Freddie stuck his hands in his pockets and pulled his sweatshirt up to his chin. There was a soft and constant, cool breeze on the flat air that interfered with the otherwise lukewarm night as Freddie made his way through the sifted, dried mud of the interstate shoulder. The weatherman predicted clouds, but the sky was swept clear and clean and completely, leaving a free sky with stars and no moon, a new moon.
The faint glow in the distance had drawn him here; and what seemed at first like the faint tapping of a distant flashlight was now forced out Freddie's mind by the blanking white shine of the empty stage in front of him. Floorboards, trap doors, voided stage settings on dusty cotton canvas backings. The only thing alive was the light, and it was bright. Bright as the moon, Freddie thought.
Off in the distance, the small flecks of white and red of the passing cars' body lights streamed across the horizon to anywhere. Freddie stayed watching the astral set for some hours before departing quickly and quietly.
Some time after midnight, alone on the landscape, the light off the highway blinked off.