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|Monday, October 31st, 2005|
Hallowe'en story. Cross-posted to my own journal. Feedback welcome!
Tomorrow my wife will be killed. I sit beside her in the prison cell, watching her thrash about in her nightmares; waiting. I gave her drugs so she could sleep, but now I wonder whether she would have been better off awake. I cannot bring myself to understand that after tomorrow I will never see her again.
Ours was a love match: she the only daughter of the Emperor, I the son and heir of his vassal king. I was not her equal, but no one was. When we were nineteen, we fell in love over the course of a summer, and every day since I have learnt to love her more.
I cannot give her peaceful sleep, and I cannot give her life. I am the Emperor now – I have the power to pardon all crimes save one, and that is hers. Even so, I would abdicate my throne and steal away with her like a thief if it meant we could be happy again. But there is nothing I can give her but her death, and this, a true account of her short life.( Read more...Collapse )
A ghost story for Halloween
She came on that night with snow-driven winds, whether fairy or spirit none could say. The wind shrieked as if the Furies were accusing us. From fear and unknown guilt we inhabitants of the town behind our barred doors vainly seeking sleep, our prohibited solace, remaind awake. The gods had deserted us or condemned us, or could not hear our prayers above the wind.
We found her in the forum come morning. She stood motionless as a statue, rigid as an ancient Korê idol, and white -- horribly white, whiter even than the snow, her hair, her skin, her bloodless lips and her eyes lacking pupils. Even her peasants' dress was white, and motionlessly scorned the wind. The whiteness was almost complete, but for a hideous blemish destroying it. Her throat was bruised and blue, a mute witness to a murderer's hand.
Long and sliently we stared, but she made not a movement. The chill of the air penetrated our bones and the ice oppressed our hearts. The whole world was silent, lest any sound should anger her. One by one both my soldiers and the villagers with their eyes asked my advice, so that with pretended courage I addressed her. "Who," I asked trembling, "O goddess, are you?" Yet she remained quiet and made not a movement. And so after a long silence, "Who," I asked terrified, "O goddess, are you?" And again she gave me a lasting silence instead of a response. "I pray you," I said half-dead with fear, "o Goddess, says something to us. Who are you? Wherefore have you come into the village?" She replied in a single word, which all of us in the village, both soldiers and peasants, in the forum and even in the tents of the encampment and the peasants' huts, heard not with our ears but with our very souls. "Murder," she said. After which she was silent for a year.
Upon hearing this word we understood immediately. She came to punish us.
I will omit every name lest history remember us, the damned, but the account of the crime I will commit to paper to admonish, by this horror, our descendents. Know that I am the prefect of a legion on the far border of the empire. If only glory had not tempted me into the enemies lands! In some barbarian village we were wont to set up winter quarters; the barbarians were civilised to us and friendly. Many of their men indeed joined the legion, and many of their women became soldiers' wives. The village is unimportant; very few merchants used to stop over here, and none indeed any more, as you will soon understand. But enough about us; on to the awful tale.
Eleven years ago the fiercest of winters almost buried the village under snow. The unseasonable weather detained with us a delegation sent from Rome for several weeks. On the last night of their stay ruin invaded the village.
The night was cold and windy, and it snowed again heavily. But above the wind we heard a racket in the forum. No one, however, dared to go out into the cold. There was an escape, and through both the camp and the village a feminine voice cried for help. No one, however, cared to go out into the snow. A wailing at last was heard in the forum. When it was cut off, however, we went to sleep.
The emmissaries had left at dawn, and that morning we found a corpse in the forum. It was one of the maidens from the village, a barbarian and an orphan, strangled in the snow. Now forever will that blood-specked mouth be silent, which once before many had sought to kiss but for whom none had left the heat of their own beds to rescue.
Quickly, incautiosly, and without rites was she buried and we tried to forget. But all happiness had fled the village.
And then she came, or came back rather, with a storm one night a year later. We wondered, as I said, but soon then we knew, nevertheless from shame and horror we said nothing. And she stood, immobile, always in the forum, the empress of our silence. We could not move her, nor did we see her move, nor did she allow the snow to subside. We prayed to her, and urged, and implored, even threatened; motionless she replied with silence.
The winter lasted, and lasted, and the snow never started to melt. The crops didn't grow, the hunters fed us with ill-omened birds, the merchants avoided us who were starving. No one had sufficient strength to flee. We were all bound together by the crime.
And once in every year she ordered up a storm whose wind recalled to mind her screams. And in the morning she said one word, which we all heard, and which shattered the soul with its violence. We wept or we shouted, or madly prayed, yet we could not ever avoid it. Our mournful quiet was broken as once a year she said, "Murder."
But in the tenth year in the accustomed storm an emmisary returned. In the snowy night he had lost his way and unknowingly attained our village. Having asked for help he was bound by my soldiers and brought before me. In the morning I summoned the whole village, or rather all in the village who had survived the decade of famine. Before our murdered goddess we stood, the murderer placed in the snow between us. We waited heedless of the cold until pale dawn had lit the village.
Then we saw a miracle -- the goddess's right hand moved. She pointed at the emmissary, and --another miracle-- spoke. Not with our souls but our ears did we now hear her voice. The same word--or was it a command--she pronounced. Her mouth, twisted by fury shrieked at us, "Murder!"
At once, and with one mind, we set upon the emmissary. Armed only with anger before our lady we tore him, still alive, limb from limb. Not a sinew remained untorn, not a bone nor member intact. We avengers destroyed his whole body, so that not a part remained which appeared human. We turned the forum into a field of gore. When the madness has receeded, I looked back at her; but she had disappeared.
|Saturday, October 22nd, 2005|
pennydreadfuls Hallowe'en Challenge
This idea is blatantly stolen from ixwin
, who I believe is hosting her own ghost story party in eerie mist-shrouded Hertfordshire tonight, but...
Would anyone be interested in joining me in writing a c.1000-2000 word ghost story
in time for Hallowe'en? Finished pieces to be collated in pennydreadfuls
for all to enjoy. Those of you insane enough to be planning to go on and start NaNoWriMo the day after can treat it as a very light warm-up exercise :)
Cross-posted to my own journal and doing_words
. Feel free to pass on to anyone else who might be interested!
|Friday, June 3rd, 2005|
|Wednesday, April 6th, 2005|
|Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005|
Is this group moderated?
Is this group moderated, or is it moderated any more? I have a question regarding community standards and adult content for stories entered here. Can anyone tell me, has this issue been addressed before?
|Thursday, December 16th, 2004|
Watchmen! We love you all!
All those of you who are on the 'watched by' list for this community, and not actual members: It's just occurred to me that you won't be able to see posts under friends-lock, as those are restricted just to members. If you want to see everything, you'll have to click the 'join community' link on the info page. Just adding it to your friends list won't do it. You don't have to be writing something to be a member.
I just put up a f-locked summary of my story so far. If you can't see it (and you'd like to see locked posts!), you'll have to get on the member list.
|Monday, December 6th, 2004|
Now Peter knew what the situation was, but he didn’t have the first idea how it could have happened, what he had done, or the Other Peter had done, to … swap them. Could that be right? Yes, there was no doubt. Here he was in the room, the terribly horrifically mundane room of one Peter Alexander Chance. A man who had his name, looked like him, could, indeed, have been him, but wasn’t. ( Read more...Collapse )
|Tuesday, May 11th, 2004|
Side Effects: Chapter 7
Dan puffed nervously at his cigarette, held his breath for maybe half a second,
then exhaled smoke into the sunshine. He didn’t like waiting, and that it was
because he had turned up early only made it worse. If only the bus hadn’t been
quite so quick!
He’d wasted time as best he could: Dawdled round the corner from the bus stop;
then, having ascertained no-one was waiting for him in the flat, he’d wandered
to the end of the road and back. There was a primary school down there, its
walls covered in murals that seemed too colourful, its gates infested with
signs that pleaded with people not to park their cars there.
One black mark against the flat, and he hadn’t even seen it yet.
( “Side Effects: Chapter 7” continues…Collapse )
|Thursday, May 6th, 2004|
What's another week?
I've been right busy this week, and have written precisely this much of part 9 of The God Egg
That's a zero, folks.
Next week I will be back, but until then I advise you to read the whole of The God Egg
in one sitting and then go to the pictures for a viewing of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
|Friday, April 30th, 2004|
The God Egg
8: An Unnatural Phenomenon
Under Captain Mercer's command, the Trelawney
glided carefully to a stop beside the floating city that gently fell and rose on the ocean in sedate rhythm. I tried to imagine a life permanently afloat, the diet of the inhabitants, how they found fresh water, what kind of community they would have after thousands of years in isolation. As we had approached it was clear that there was no activity around the wooden huts and shelters, and the silence rendered the place as eerie as it was uncanny.
Our Captain stood on deck and called: "Ahoy! Ahoy there!"
There was no response.( creepy, eh?Collapse )Back to Part Seven
|Thursday, April 29th, 2004|
on the way
Oops! Just realized its time for the next bit! I will have posted it by the end of the day, hopefully by late afternoon, but apologies for the slight delay,
|Tuesday, April 27th, 2004|
I've been ignoring Cursed Queen
for long enough that I think I need to accept I've overcommitted my time, and won't be able to continue this project. Sorry y'all. I'll still be following the rest of your stories with acute interest, of course!
Side Effects: Chapter 6
Dan woke up bright and early on Saturday morning.
He bought a copy of Loot and scanned its flat adverts in search of
those he might want to live in.
Agencies were never open on a Saturday, but there were a few good-sounding
places being handled direct by the landlords. Dan phoned some of them up,
and made a couple of viewing appointments for the afternoon.
( “Side Effects: Chapter 6” continues…Collapse )
Dangerous Waste, Chapter 6
Well, it's rushed and it's slapdash, but hey, it's an episode. And it'll still be Monday until I go to sleep. Right? :)
The day was to turn very strange indeed by its end, but like many surprising days, it was cunning enough to start off perfectly predictable and ordinary. It was Friday, and for Dr Wakeling this meant the weekly ward round. At half past ten, coated and clipboarded, he was standing in front of a pair of heavy iron doors, wiggling his eyebrows through the little window at the people inside. They were ignoring him, despite the fact that he was leaning on the buzzer. Eventually someone stood up and opened the door a crack: the buxom ward sister, Esther, warm of heart, non-sufferer of fools, and possessed of no imagination whatsoever. “Ah, Doctor, do please come in.” She beamed at him with a white crescent of teeth. “I was just doing some knitting.”
“Jolly good,” said the Doctor. He was watching a woman pacing slowly along the ward corridor. Her face was serene, her hair on fire; a tower of flame rose up from her head, crackling and coughing sparks. She walked carefully as though the fire were an African jar of water to be borne safely home from the well. Esther followed the Doctor’s gaze and spread her hands with a sigh. “The alter-proofing’s still not been fixed,” she said. ( ...Collapse )
|Monday, April 19th, 2004|
Sorry for leaving things dangling for so long. Recent developments have sent me back to my last year's nanovel, which I've been revising frantically, trying to pull it into shape and add another 20k words or so, and I've discovered that it's remarkably hard to hold two large stories in my head at once. In the last three weeks I've only managed 500 words of this one :/
But I should have a new episode for you on Monday!
|Friday, April 23rd, 2004|
The God Egg
7: An unusual sight
Though the nights at sea were cold, the days became progressively hotter as we sailed south-west from California. The arrival of Miss Campbell, Professor Lindmann and Peter on the Trelawney
had made for a livelier voyage, and we found ourselves talking at the captain's table until late almost every night. Forbuoy had brought a crate of tequila in San Francisco, and much of it had been consumed in the best of spirit. Though I suspect Captain Mercer saw us as foolish and perhaps even idle, we must have been a far cry from his usual cargo of stuffy politicians; Lindmann especially proved popular with the captain, and the two spent much time exchanging sea-stories, and tales of storms and whales that I found fascinating. The crew seemed to view Miss Campbell with a mixture of fear and absolute wonder: she was erudite, educated and clean, nothing at all like the dockside ladies with whom these men would normally associate. I watched them as she sat knitting in the afternoons, their curious deference drawing attention to her unique beauty. I imagined her as Cleopatra, beautiful and powerful beyond belief, her servants unable to look directly at her and equally unable to look away.( Short one this week!Collapse )Back to Part SixPart Eight
|Wednesday, April 21st, 2004|
The Variants: Part Five: the harsh awakening
The Variants Part Five
Peter found the light switch and turned it on - trying to get a good sense of his surroundings in the dim gloom that seemed to permeate this place was impossible. The room was a mess. Wallpaper sagged off every wall as though it had lost the will to stick- and no wonder. The place smelt damp and fusty, as though it hadn’t seen fresh air for years. The furnishings looked like they belonged to someone’s grandparents, the single bed had certainly seen better days, and a fringed mustard-coloured lampshade dangled from the centre of the ceiling, doing its best to block any power the bulb might have had. ( Read more...Collapse )
|Saturday, April 17th, 2004|
The God Egg
6: Our Full Complement
San Francisco came quickly. I confess I was filled with a degree of excitement over seeing my old friend Professor Lindmann again, and not a little desire to confront Miss Campbell over her slanderous newspaper article. Mr Lloyd had not spoken to me in the previous day, but I barely undertook a page of reading without his revelation echoing in me: he was a spy, and I had been drafted into the service of the Crown to aid him. I could not conceive of a reason - besides some unusual bet - that Lloyd would fabricate this story, and it was easy to see that should a facet of Victoria's government have discovered that the Earth was in immediate danger then they would wish to investigate it as discreetly as possible. I found myself considering every word that Fetherley and Forbuoy uttered in the minutest detail. Though Forbuoy was as suspect as ever to me, I found it hard to detect any aspect of deceit in my affable old friend.( Dockside lust!Collapse )Back to Part FivePart Seven
|Thursday, April 15th, 2004|
The Variants; Part Four - On the Other Side
Sorry there's been a terrible delay with this one - been ill is various way and unfortunately Penny Dreadfuls fell to the bottom of the to do list. Back on track now though - promise!!
The Variants: Part Four
The Other Side
Waking in a strange bed is always disorientating. In that eternal moment before you open your eyelids your senses adjust themselves from the strange world of night-dreams and try to prepare for the cold reality of day. Peter’s senses told him that the surreal half remembered interlude last night was not the dream he hoped it was – without moving, without opening his eyes, he knew he was not in his own bed, his own room. The air smelt different, lighter, slightly perfumed. And the space around him – it just felt – different. ( Read more...Collapse )