A Moment’s Glance…

Vivienne

And of course the rain hadn’t let up, Vivi groaned as she peeked out through the window of the taxi. If anything, it had become heavier, sheets of water dropping out of the sky. The whole world looked cloaked in blue, dripping like a whirling dervish got loose in a paint factory.

The taxi driver, perhaps sensing his client’s hesitance, turned to drape one hand back over the passenger seat. He frowned at her over his shoulder, his bushy black mustache twitching irritably on his face.

“Is the Metro Bank, yes?” he huffed. “Problem?” Continue reading

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The Battlefield Bar

I stumbled in, mud dripping off my boots, my jacket… well, pretty much everywhere, including a few places that I would rather not share with anyone else. “Faugh!” I declared, spitting on the straw covering the floor around the entrance.

Behind me, Young Henry followed on my heels, although he forewent my exclamation. He’d stuck close, practically my shadow as a round of artillery fell only meters from our position.

“Relax,” I told him, glancing back over my shoulder. “We’re on neutral ground now, lad. Take it easy.” Continue reading

Flywheels

They drive me mad, I think. Even at night, laying awake in my bed and staring up at the oppressive ceiling, I hear them turning, feel them grinding down my body.

The engineers claim that it’s free energy, the next step in our world’s evolution. It’s what the world needs, and everyone wants more. The production lines are running full steam, building them bigger and bigger.

The fools. None of them see our approaching doom, drawn closer by each turn of their infernal wheels. Continue reading

An Adventurer Writes His Memoirs

Okay. Memoirs. I’m writing my memoirs. I sat down to write them, and now that’s what I’m doing. I’m definitely not procrastinating because I can’t think of anything to say.

After all, it’s not like I’ve led a boring life. I’ve had many adventures! In adventuring circles, my name carries great weight and renown! Heck, just the fact that I’m retired and sitting down to write these memoirs is sign of my success; most adventurers don’t come back and get the chance to write these, usually because they’re stuck in a bear trap or inside a dragon’s stomach or something.

In fact, I stumbled upon some of them, back when I slew the Great Terror Beast of Barseleth, freeing the innocent peasantry from its ravening maw. There wasn’t much left of them but bones and slime. Continue reading

“Don’t dig here.”

“No, sah. Not here.”

Frowning, I glanced over at Attenib. I’d heard a wobble in the man’s voice that I didn’t recognize. He didn’t sound quite like himself.

“Atten, everything okay?” I asked in a lowered tone, taking a step closer to him. Damnable insects swooped down at my face, biting and stinging. I managed to smack one, and watched with vicious satisfaction as it slammed into a nearby tree trunk and then dropped, stunned, to the forest floor.

I returned my attention back to my guide. After years alongside Attenib, I knew his moods well, recognized the minor twitches of the muscles beneath his nut-brown skin. I’d worked with him long enough to trust in his uncanny ability to know just where to dig.

But now, today, he looked nervous, pale despite his leathery, tanned hide. And when he looked back at me, I saw a glint of unexpected emotion in his eyes.

Fear. Continue reading

Elder Gods & Beer

Ferst grimaced, gritting his teeth as he lifted his pint glass to his lips. He really didn’t want to waste any more energy on thinking; he’d had enough of that for today. All he wanted to think about was the rapidly dropping level of liquid in the glass.

But try as he might, he couldn’t totally block out the grating, strangely high-pitched voice of the guy in the booth next door.

“…and it took us at least ten years, maybe longer – we lost some of the records, damp, you know – but we’ve finally got the proper translation! This one makes sure that only the small holes open, and we retain full control…”

Maybe if he got drunk fast enough, Ferst would lose focus in his ears, his hearing growing blurry like his vision tended to do. He focused on gulping down the last of his pint, but even the satisfying thwack of the glass hitting the scarred tabletop wasn’t enough to fully block out the whining voice. Continue reading

The Island of Cipatli

Lord Herrington stepped up to the podium, gazing out at his audience. The usual learned men of London had gathered for the Royal Society’s monthly presentation, but he also saw a multitude of members of the public in the audience as well, looking eagerly up at him.

With a sigh, Lord Herrington resisted the urge to reach up and adjust his pince-nez. Word of his return from the New World had traveled quickly, making him something of a celebrity among those with an adventurous mindset. They’d come tonight to here him tell his tale, hoping for glimpses of another world, one far beyond their own humdrum lives.

He intended to speak of his observations on the biological variations in life, but he sensed his audience’s hunger for more. They didn’t want to hear about varying adaptations in the hooves of Cervidates to adapt to the moist jungle environment.

So as he wound down his speech, Lord Herrington decided to throw a bone to these common folks who had come out to hear him speak. Perhaps, he thought to himself, he could ensure that they did not leave completely disappointed. Continue reading

Boreray

My arms ached as I bent my back over the oars. The boat cut clumsily through the water, sending up splashes of spray whenever I hit a wave. I cursed at the oars of the blocky little rowboat, but kept on pulling.

Every now and then, I’d cast a glance over my shoulder, up at Boreray. The island, gloomy and wild, towered up out of the mist. Cliffs rose up in uneven teeth that bit at the dim sky, and birds winged constantly around their peaks, shrieking with harsh, hoarse cries.

My fate lay on Boreray. Continue reading