They Made No Bones: Part Seventeen

“Haldrick looks a bit under the weather, don’t you think?” Finley smiled. He hoped it was a pleasant smile, and not at all the sort of grimace that made him seem dodgy. Daisy had been suspicious of him ever since his brief disappearance. “Yes, he does. All of the ghosts look unwell.” Daisy’s face betrayed no distrust. But then, faces like hers – which were more fleshless skull, than actual face – seldom did. This was lucky, because the truth was that she currently did not trust Finley Jansen Guildersand at all. “You, however, seem the picture of postmortem health. Tell me, what’s...

They Made No Bones: Part sixteen

“Bees? You’re going to use bees?” Mamma Universe stared at The Gardener in disbelief. The woman was obviously crazy. “Well, not just bees. There’s a complex interplay of conditions. The story, and its writer, are important too.” “That would make a change to how important writers and stories normally are, I expect.” “Probably, I wouldn’t know. Most of the time I’m too busy taking care of all of this.” The Gardener made an expansive gesture with her arm to indicate the part of the garden that was directly in front of them. It was the kind of lazy arm-sweep that said:...

They Made No Bones: Part Fifteen

The music washed over her. Not in waves, but in deep, blue water swells. And Mamma Universe danced. She’d had no idea of the pleasure in rhythmic movement – hadn’t expected it; had never known what it was to truly dance before her extinction. If she had known, she certainly would have done a lot more of it before her death at the hands of Quinzel. She smiled at this revelation. She’d been so busy being bored with her job as administrator to the universe, that she hadn’t realized there were at least two interesting things in it: music and dancing. At the very least, she would have gone to more concerts. Mamma...

They Made No Bones: Part Fourteen

Adjustments, within limits, are always possible. Certain conditions must be met, and there are few locations from which changes can be made, but with the right tools and knowledge the fabric of the universe can be warped. Any alteration is only temporary, of course. The universe really dislikes being bent out of shape, and will snap back to its original form quickly. Still, The Gardener thought, there should be enough time to sneak something through from the realms of the afterlife to the living universe. She began to map the positions she would have to move each beehive to. When The Gardener hit yet another thorny hive-placement issue, she...

They Made No Bones: ...

“Are you sure that this information is correct?” Ajax looked up from the scroll he had been examining, and gave Persephone a doubtful look. “Emph,” said Persephone, through a mouthful of pastry. “I’m sorry?” Persephone swallowed, brushed crumbs from...

They Made No Bones: ...

The Hounds of Fate gusted southerly. Down from the equator, towards the Tropic of Capricorn, they hunted and scavenged. They kissed exposed shorelines, and devoured small islands with warm, pleasant breath. Once they reached the tropic, one of two things would happen: either they would...

They Made No Bones: ...

In Stag Hartford’s opinion, this was exactly how forests should look. They should, as this one appeared, be unmanaged, wild, untameable. All the best forests were dark, cool, rugged places, where a dense canopy vaults a leaf-fall floor from the sky’s panoptic gaze. By those...

They Made No Bones: ...

Quinzel brooded. Not that it liked to brood. To be fair, though, the armchair in which Quinzel was seated did tend to encourage that sort of mental activity.  It was lushly cushioned, high backed, and upholstered in the most somber colored fabric it was possible to lay hands on. It was always...

They Made No Bones: ...

Just below the threshold of consciousness, there were voices. It was hard to judge how many. Perhaps a multitude? Perhaps not? Certainly there was more than one. One voice does not murmur or babble nearly so effectively. “Shhh, I think she’s awake.” “How can you...

They Made No Bones: ...

THRUMM, thrumm, thrump. A chorus of drums beat the rhythm of old powers. THRUMM, thumm, thrump. Each drum tuned to pitch a complementary harmony, a cascade of harmonic structure to awaken forces difficult to catch, and harder still to control. One drum wouldn’t’ve been able to do...

They Made No Bones: ...

Rain. It’s an environmental condition that sits beautifully in a narrative. Perhaps it hammers against a pane. Perhaps, softly, it patters. Perhaps it drizzles, a view obscured by its soft wetness against glass. Today, Mamma Universe thought, would’ve been an awesome day for rain....

They Made No Bones: ...

It’s not easy to name a planet. Even the smallest planets are still quite big, so it’s hard to give one a title that captures a world’s complex beauty in any meaningful way. It makes no difference if, instead of complex beauty, the planet is a complication of ugliness. A...

They Made No Bones: ...

Weapons. There are at least two salient things to say about them. One is false, and the other is true. The false statement is that weapons don’t kill people. It’s easy to tell that this is not true, since killing people is pretty much the whole job of a weapon. It’s one of...

They Made No Bones: ...

In the village of Cowston Field there is a pub. Some think it quaint. Others disagree, and prefer to go to the wine bar the next block over. Still others say it smells funny, but only because pubs shouldn’t smell like a mixture of pine needles and daphne. There are two things that...

They Made No Bones: ...

It’s quite an experience to watch a skeleton smoke a pipe. It’s also hard to say with any certainty just what kind of experience it is, except that there is not nearly so much comedy in it as a mind brought up on kitschy halloween costumes might expect. There is also no quality of...

They Made No Bones: ...

Stag Hartford didn’t like to think about the past. Or rather, he rarely thought about his own past that often. Mostly, this was because he had quite a lot of personal history to consider now, the majority of which he hadn’t been technically alive for. In truth, when he had been...

They Made No Bones: Part One

The Universe is very old. Much older than that old guy at the pub who has occupied the same corner of the bar longer than anyone can remember. Older still than the pub itself, and even older than the textile factory built on the site before it was repurposed as a place where people drink too much and tell each other entertaining  lies. It is even older than Redhead Harry, the ghost that haunted the textile factory and, more recently, haunts the aforementioned pub. This is no mean feat, because reports of Redhead Harry date back at least to the time that the once factory, now pub, was a field full of cows. That’s actually quite a long...

An Officer’s C...

This looked bad. Really bad. If any of the bank’s General-Officers become interested it’ll be the metaphorical guillotine. Maybe it will even be a real guillotine. Such were the thoughts of Acquisitions-Lieutenant Colonel Stonechest as he took the long glass-elevator ride down to...

Arthur Returns

It is I, Arthur Wingsmith. You know, that semi-fictional, sometimes character, sometimes pen-name beloved by at least three people? No? Well, no matter, it is me nonetheless, and I have returned. This means two things. First, I have been somewhere other than where I normally am. Second,...

Season’s felicitations Dec17

Season’s felic...

  I’m not sure how to start this, which is not unusual for me. It often happens that I find the first couple of sentences quite hard to write. The sentences after those are also not as easy to pull off as you might think. Truth be told, I find it rather difficult to write all the...

The city that sleeps...

There is a city that sleeps too much. It has a name. I call it my city, and that’s about as much of a name for it you are going to get out of me. My name? It’s Joe Smote, you can wear it out if you want to. Makes no difference to me, I share the name with so many others, most...

Wreckers on a beach

It does occasionally happen that I get to the end of a week and find I have little to show for it. Alas, this has been one of those weeks. Consequently, I find myself in an awkward position, and am not sure how to twist my way out of it. The position is simply this: I have been unable to...

Utopian nightmares

There is no such thing as a priceless look. Not anymore. Perhaps, as is the belief amongst the commoners, there had never been such an abstraction as ‘pricelessness’. How could there be? It would go against the laws of nature as conveyed by the scholars of the Body-Corporate. And...

An unnatural fiction

Nathaniel has a problem. Many problems actually, but not all of those are relevant to my concerns here, and most would not be of concern to others. Which is true for almost everyone I imagine. But how rude of me, you probably have no idea who Nathaniel is. He also has a similar difficulty,...

Severed connections

Imagine it’s Sunday, because that happens to be the day it is. It could just as easily have been Saturday, but it’s not. You know this from a feeling of dehydration and moderate fatigue – both sure signs that Saturday has already happened. There’s still most of this...

Wasteland’s ga...

The garden’s eastern park had shades in it again. They looked like women, and once they had been; perhaps somewhere they still were. Not here, though. Here they were more like memories. Not quite like memories, but that’s as close a description as any known language could give...

Life by any other na...

Life by any other name, so I am told, is still life. How much of it exists beyond our world, a world held in place by the paperweight that is our home star, is as yet unknown. If we were to find life ‘out there’ somewhere, this would be one of the biggest scientific discoveries in...

The long intermissio...

Houses are great places to live if you’re lucky enough to have one. Even if your house is technically someone else’s – and you pay them enough rent every week that you’ll never be able to afford your own – they’re still a good deal. Except, of course, for...

A smoking monkey: Ep...

END OF A SMOKING MONKEY Charles, alias the smoking monkey, not-so-alias an actual monkey-clone, had planned it all. This bothered Joe. He didn’t like the feel of being a pawn in some deep simian game. He’d still been paid, and paid well, but it didn’t sit right. It had been...

A smoking monkey: Ch...

If it could be said that he had a regret about how things had turned out, it was simply this: Lily had not stroked-out. He’d done his best to induce one, but in the end she’d proved deceptively healthy. Clearly, high blood pressure was not one of her issues. But Joe had always...

A smoking monkey: Ch...

“YOU WILL TELL ME WHERE THE SMOKING MONKEY IS OR YOU WILL EAT THIS SANDWICH.” Lily slapped Joe around the face with the ‘this sandwich’ to add emphasis to the threat. “No,” Joe moaned, gag reflex barely under control, “no more...

A smoking monkey: Ch...

A summons from Charles can only be ignored under very specific circumstances. Circumstance A): your body refuses to obey messages from your brain. Circumstance B): your brain has moved on to a better life, and consequently no longer cares for worldly things. There are no other circumstances....

A smoking monkey: Ch...

It was ringing on the other end. A long, cold ring of anticipation. He’d  normally hang up by this point, but this was urgent. Perhaps just five more bells in his ear. “Hello?” “Hi, is this Amy Gridlock?” The answer came back as a question. “Yes?” It...