The virus drifts, a long silk rope that winds in a loop deep within the man’s lower intestine.
Stuck here for days, embedded within the rotting meat of a cheap beef pie that the man has bought from an old mom and pop’s general store on the way home from his job at Johnson & Hibbard—‘The Tax Specialists’— the virus knows patience. In its limited way, it understands that the body encasing it is not, by and large, a strong body.
The virus unfurls and releases the initial infection. Continue reading
John shot Sarah a look, gesturing impatiently for her to follow. ‘Come on! We’re getting close.’
She rolled her eyes and smiled, but started to pick up the pace. ‘Sure thing, Boss man. Whatever you say.’ She mock bowed, hinging at the waist as they walked. She was sweating profusely.
‘No sass today, thanks,’ he said, striding along a micrometre in front. ‘You wanted to come. We gotta be there by sundown; if we’re not, we won’t be allowed to join.’ He stared down the tracks at the dark line in the distance. The horizon was nearer now, drawing into slow focus.
A crowd of teens lined the cliff face, bodies turned away from John and Sarah, faces looking down. They were silent.
In the distance, the sun was lower in the sky.
A shorter kid with black wiry hair stepped out to greet them. ‘Here for the competition, J?’ Continue reading
Nezarre looked down into the abyss.
The ancient waterfalls were no more. A stone dam had been laid across the Henabron River a half mile above, a thing of necessary evil in the dark times ahead. This had been the King’s wish, a way of halting the main water supply to Festborough’s southern lands.
‘What have the people of Dornaday done to deserve such unprovoked attacks?’ the old monarch had cried out from his gilded throne.
History was not kind. Nezarre feared similar past acts – suppressed knowledge about the Old Kingdom – had ruined the land, destroying Nature’s balance. The bemoaning cries of the spirits, both water and wood, still haunted his people; Festborough’s subjects suffered naught, more in tune with the roaming, sprawling wilds.
‘But violence begets violence, or so the seers say.’ He sighed and stretched out a hand, caressing a memory. The sensation was bitter indeed.
Jeremy was changing.
The lights of a behemoth barrelling down the nearby highway flashed, startling him into movement. He blinked, hunkered down in the backseat. As his lids lifted, illumination slithered across the ruts and rivulets of the back of his hand.
He frowned. These were not his hands.
The meat truck disappeared, a horn blasting in the distance. As the silence poured in, up rose the whispering of the waving weeds. That susserrance blotted at the trip-trip-tripping of his conscious thought.
Every night, for weeks, he’d woke to find himself lying in the backseat of the old wreck. The main house was three miles from the fence line, far from the old Chevy’s musty interior. It was rough country, and the first few times he’d risen bloody. Continue reading
They came at midnight.
Old George had drawn watch duty that evening. As he looked over the port settlement of Old Mandre, he could see all was quiet, all was calm. The sea below lapped and washed across the dark stones of the foreshore like a hungry dog licking its master’s boot.
Yes, all’s safe and sound. As usual.
George sighed. He carefully lit his pipe, then peered down again from his perch on the high wall.
A metallic sound echoed off in the darkness.
He scrambled to his feet, dousing the flame. He squinted, night-blind, closed his rheumy eyes and then peered wide.
A minute passed. Nothing. A hissing in the black was all.
That damned cat.
George sat back down, wiped at his sweaty neck, and fumbled with his pipe. As he brought it to his lips, a soft scuffling sound behind alerted him to the danger. He turned, saw the dark figures scaling up over the wall, and reached for the bell, but it was late, far too late… Continue reading
Jeff Buckley's still dead
And these wine bottles are empty.
is floating — gently.
and raw, firey chorus
Pours no more
from his lips,
but digitally, for us.
and fury — now laid dim.
He said his 'Last Goodbye'.
We barely knew him.
'Why, oh why, does my head hurt?'
are getting far too intense.
The pain is a warning
I heed for the moment,
then I pop a pill,
and the moment is gone.
'I mean, I just don't understand.'
at a computer
on the couch
on the train
on a bus
on a plane
around a sun
that will one day go out.
Just a quick drop-in to spruik one of my favourite online resources. When I’m about to embark on a typical editing project, I must begin by having all my ‘weapons’ at the ready. I run through this list:
I’ve got my Wiley Style Guide (5th Ed.) — Check.
Macquarie Dictionary — Check.
Australian Handbook For-Writers and Editors — Check.
The Dreaded Purple Book — Check.
A Less Buggy Version of Word — (often) Check.
Battery Life — Check.
Back-up Drive — Check.
Hands — Check.
OH&S Stretches — Check-one-two-check!
Well, in addition to the above, I also make sure I have the Grammar Girl website open. Continue reading
(Legal: Thanks to David Willicome for the artwork above.)
Heinrich groaned and slapped at the ‘snooze’ button on his alarm clock. The voices stopped.
Head felt like a toilet; he’d gamed too long and hard last night, and his body was showing all the signs of it: Over-Shock.
No more than 2 days at a time, they’d said, otherwise you’re training the body to disengage from the brain. Didn’t sound so bad, in theory. Last night’s nosebleed, however, had been a wake-up call.
Flicking on his holowall—a 3D simulated projection of peace and tranquillity that neatly hid the dim walls of his lifecube—he trudged over to the fridge and opened it and quickly downed a carton of OJ. The bitterness singed his tongue, the artificial flavours mixing and sending a rush of endorphins screaming through his sluggish cortex. Continue reading
I’m still working on Smarmbeard, so until then, here’s a short extract from a novel I’ve been struggling with.
* * *
It was a common enough problem: Sarah had no motivation to get out of bed. Warm and cozy in her eiderdown cocoon, in her world of lemon-scented fabric detergent and flannel sheeting, her body felt weightless; her arms, legs and head were bits of heavy-packing foam, like the stuff she’d once seen at that decrepit self-storage unit years previously.
She and Zoe had been moving house at the time. Continue reading