Friday, May 23, 2014

Linkdump, of sorts.

Recent stories that I have neglected to announce here:

"The Strongest Man in the World," at Daily Science Fiction - Surreal circus-flavored creepiness.

"Enginesong" reprinted in audio at Podcastle - Trains got legs? 

From eons past here at Mirrorshards, "Traveler in a Distant Land," as the drabble for Drabblecast #316, where the main story also features the vocal talents of my lovely spouse.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Jenkins' Job

“Look, Graham, before Jenkins gets in,” said Mary, “I just... I wanted to warn you not to say anything.”

“About what?”

“Shh!  He’s here!”

A small orange tomcat padded into the office, a tiny briefcase in its mouth.  It leapt onto the desk and sat to wash its face.  Then it abruptly stood and darted back outside.

“He forgot the files,” Mary sighed.  “Typical.”

“You could have just said he was a cat,” Graham snapped.

“What?  I just meant you shouldn’t mention his operation.  He’s very sensitive about it.”

Graham blinked.  “He’s neutered?”

Mary gave him an odd look.  “Declawed.”

Friday, May 2, 2014


You can get used to anything, my uncle Otto used to say.  That’s probably pretty true.  I don’t think about it much because the Noise gets louder when I do.

For me, the Noise sounds like an alarm clock in the next room.  Most of the time it does, anyway.  Sometimes it gets closer, when... you know.

Yeah, don’t think too hard about that.   Did it spike?  You’ve got to be careful.  That looked like it kind of hurt.

Oh, I don’t remember much before the Noise.  I wasn’t born with it, but I was pretty little.  I’m almost as good as most of the younger kids; they don’t even have to try to avoid thinking wrong.

What?  What?

Hold on.

Sorry.  I was... I got distracted.  I was confused.  I’m okay now.

Oh, I was telling you.  I was telling you something.  Acclimation.

Right, yes.  It was Tony.  I mean, Tony isn’t here anymore.  That’s a thing I had to get used to.

Ow.  No, I’m fine.  I said I’m fine.

Anyway.  Tony.  I saw him last, you know?  I’m the one who had to...  He was always in the basement.  He called it his “laboratory,” but it was a stupid basement and that’s all it was, okay?

Five years.  He was five years older.  So he had, you know, he knew Mom and Dad before the Noise came and taught us the right way.  To think.  The proper way.  Not many people remember moms and dads.

Tony kind of helped raise me.  Like a volunteer Mentor.  I mean, everyone does it now, yes, of course, and that’s the right way and proper, but this was before, in the early days.  The chaos.  He did it because he wanted to.

Ow.  Right.  Yes, of course everyone wants to, that’s the right way, yes.  That’s the right.  Way.  But it was different somehow when Tony.

What?  What?

Sorry.  No, I was just.  Thinking.  Tony was bad, okay?  And it’s hard for me because I liked what he did, what he was in those.  In the days.  Before.  But he was bad.  He did bad stuff.

It was in the laboratory.  He made a bad thing.  I went down there.  I went to get him because I had some food.  Some cans.  It was.  I had to work hard to get them.  I think.  It’s.  I can’t remember.

I went down and it was quiet.

Ow.  No, look, this is important.  I can do this.

Ow.  No!  I will.  I’m going to say it.

It was quiet.  And he.  Tony.  He looked up at me with a big grin, his big stupid teeth.  He looked at.  Smiled.  At me.  And he said, “I did it.”  And I didn’t ask him what.  Because.  It was quiet.

I had to.  The Noise shows us the right way.  He made it stop.  His machine.  I had to stop him.  I had to stop the quiet.  That was... the right way.

No, I’m fine.  I’m okay now.  It’s... everything’s fine.  Just remember.  You should.  I can’t.   Remember.  What I told you.  You have to.

Listen.  You have to.

Hear that?