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.
'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.
(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
William ‘Leb’ Lebowski bent down on one knee, a baboon proposing for marriage. Felt the seam in his back starting to ache but ignored it. Watched his gloved fingers slide easily over the oily liquid splashed across the grill floor. Sniffed them. Wrinkled his nose. Then waved them over the analyser set into his belt. A second later it beeped and the readout danced across the inner surface of his specs: 10% prob. oil slick nanos, 90% prob. Chromium residue. He grinned without humour, his face a bitter mask. Fucking Chromium.
Science won but look what’s left behind, Leb contumed as, with creaking knees, he lumbered to his feet.
He extended a hand; flicked a finger. An instant later, his pistol blurred up from its holster and smacked dead into the palm of his hand with a loud chunk.
Me, nightmare monsters, and the barrel of a goddamned gun. Continue reading