They Made No Bones: Part Twenty

A hunter’s super moon. Strange to see one here. Mamma Universe was sure that it had been full sunshine only a moment ago. Was it a moment ago? Had there been the blaze and heat of a star in the sky, or had it always been the cold, reflected light of that moon? And where was ‘here’, exactly? She was sure if she answered the ‘here’ question, she’d get to the bottom of this whole moon/sun thing quickly. She commanded her senses to stop mucking about, and pay attention. They refused. “Not good,” Mamma Universe said. She was unsure why she had said it out loud. Perhaps she wanted the reassurance of...

They Made No Bones: Part Nineteen

The orchard was syrupy with perfume. An exotic, sweet smell, that seemed as though it had turned the atmosphere viscous. In not too long, the blossoms would fall, and transform the air to a multichromatic wash of spent flowers. If Mamma Universe was not returned to the living universe soon, it would be too late. This worried The Gardener. For if she failed to return Mamma Universe, there would be no more chances. And if, once returned, Mamma Universe then failed in her task, all The Gardener’s machinations would come undone. In the event of one or the other of these failures, The Gardener realized, she had no clear plan as to what she...

They Made No Bones: Part Eighteen

And the Gardener spoke thus: There is a power in stories, so long as they are written by the right kind of soul. Having a soul is easy, and requires exactly no kind of work. It’s like being born attractive or smart. There’s no real achievement there; although many of the lazy would call me a liar for saying so. “Wait. What?” Mamma Universe did not like that sound of this. Especially since she’d had to die to become seriously attractive. “Sorry? You want me to wait?” The Gardener was genuinely puzzled. “I thought you wanted me to explain how this is going to work?” “Well, yes I do....

They Made No Bones: ...

“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...

They Made No Bones: ...

“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...

They Made No Bones: ...

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...

They Made No Bones: ...

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...

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...