Posted on July 28th, 2009 No comments
This is my entry for GreatHites #63. Lot of good authors over there I’m competing with – extremely pleased with the turn out for this topic. There is a bit of extra at the end of the recording so if you don’t normally listen you might check it out this one time.
July 21st 1897
To my dearest friend and mentor Father Daniel,
I write to you with desperate haste. I do hope the mail courier is able to procure this letter in a timely fashion for I require your knowledge and insight. As you know, Bishop Crane bequeathed to me his post in the town of Fairview New Mexico. The inhabitants here are finding themselves drawn to God and I find myself his living incarnation fighting for their salvation. Silver fever has polluted the many souls here and they look to me to make it right. We are also without a reputable physician so we have become reliant on the trite medical knowledge I acquired under Father Casper during my Monastery days.
The daughter of a prosperous business man Frank Winston, was brutally attacked. The poor dear was taken from her bed while she slept by something awful. She found herself clutching to life in their stable with a deep gash in her back. Daniel, it was unlike anything I have seen in all my forty years. No known animal or blade did that to her. Towns folk here formed a lynch mob that did little more than prowl the out-land ranches and scare a few sleeping farmers. These people are untamed and quick to band together, it makes me nervous.
I write to you because I fear something ungodly might be upon us. Your work with the young Doctor Van Helsing will hopefully be able instruct me and guide me in this dark hour.
May the mighty shepherd keep you and bless you,
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Posted on July 23rd, 2009 No comments
I pulled another cassette from the old box. Things were beginning to go in slow motion for me now during these listening sessions. I imagined the classical ambient musical score at the end of a war film. The brave solider you fell in love with getting killed in a hail of gunfire. Red mist exploding from each new bullet hole as the actor convulses from the supposed inertia of it all and you living that split second of life in minutes on film.
Bach’s Cello Suite One in G major suites me just fine. I hear it, as my hand clutches the plastic tape of the blind man. Each quick pull of the cello’s bow resonates within me and I slow my breathing. I rub my thumb on the pattern of scratches in the plastic. None of these tapes have numbers, just a series of scored hash marks to indicate their order in the sequence. I put on my headphones and push play. Bach fades out and the black curtain descends as the blind man once again narrates our life.
Posted on July 16th, 2009 No comments
Children of the Garden Wars
by: Danny Machal
“Hoppers of the Outlands, come forth.” Lord Cottontail and his guards stood in the middle of the Thicket.
The bushes rustled with movement. Camouflage piles of wood and sticks stirred with golden eyes agape. The Outland Hoppers, around thirty in number, covered ground sheepishly and slowly. They kept their black and brown faces pointed down as they neared the flawless white fur of Lord Cottontail.
“Who is in charge here? Why have you not rallied your fighters to take part in tonight’s raid?”
Lord Cottontail beckoned for none other than the old greying Hopper chief, Long Ear. A path formed among the bowed noses and lowered ears, out emerged the large Long Ear towering over Cottontail.
“I am my Lord, my name is Long Ear. We coexist in peace with the Crawlers here. This is your conflict, not ours.” The most massive of Cottontail’s guards stepped forward; Cottontail ordered the guard back into line with a flick of his ear.
“Not yours? My brother we are all in this fight together. Why a crawler last night just took one of our young from Hoppiton. How can you sit there and say such things? A poor mother’s child lays digesting in the belly of one of those slithering vermin,” Cottontail said.
Posted on July 1st, 2009 1 comment
I’ve been sitting on this one for a while waiting for Jeff over at GreatHites to get it in the podcast. Now that it’s in, I can post it here. 1984 meets clockwork orange is the tale I’ve written. Complete with my own butchered accents if you listen to it. Enjoy.
(about 1500 words)
“Eh, where you at mate?” Logan snapped his fingers. “Didn’t you hear me?”
“Hear you when?” I said.
“Just now? Here you are, off on some distant planet. Here I am,
spillin’ me bloody guts out about me mum. All the while your off
rodgerin’ in some dream world with lord only knows what.”
“Sorry mate. Just kinda spaced out ya’ know?” I wasn’t that sorry.
Whenever Logan was drunk, the first, second, third, and last subject
he ever talked about was his ruddy mother. He would go on about how
she secretly wished for the Reconstruction to fail, or how she wasn’t
treatin’ his dad fair, an gettin’ round to the other toms on the
block. She was a right fair git don’t get me wrong, but a bloke can
only be told the same tale so many times. Besides, if Logan knew what
I knew through me dad, about the Reconstruction, he’d join his ruddy
ole mum and burn flags.
“Eh, you’re hopeless mate ya’ know that?” Logan said brushing the
golden shoulder length hair from his eyes.
I spaced out again. It’s getting time to head to our respective
lofts over on third street anyway. We both live in the same men’s
dorm. I’m not sure he’s going quietly or if he can even walk. He
isn’t that much bigger than me, but we are both fairly short stout
blokes. I’m fortunate to be a little more firm in the sinew than he
is though, so I can muscle him about if it comes to it.
It came to it only once before it did. Some tom gets spouting off
about how the lass Logan was seeing is getting round. Naturally this
strikes a chord with my hot tempered friend and he sees fit to break a
beer bottle on the bar. Grabs the bloke by his arm and starts slicing
at his chest, all barbarian like. I nearly broke his arm myself
getting him out of there. Of course I took a slice to the arm while
trying to save him from arrest. Bloody F5 Agents are crawling the
streets these days just looking for a good reason to send a young
bloke to a labor camp. He looked alright tonight though. As long as
we don’t run into any rebel Chavs looking to challenge her royal
Majesty’s new glorious way of living, we should be just fine. Those
Chavs got it right if you ask me.
“But ya’ aren’t askin’ me, are ya’ mate?” I said to Logan.
“Ashkin’ you wha’? Logan slurred.
“That’s all I needed, let’s go mate. Your mum’ll be expectin’ a call
that we got to the dorm safe.”
“Aye, Darren, so ish’ be. Le’sh get on with it.” Logan stood up and
started for the door. He’s walking straight tonight. This is a good
sign. We should make it back without incident. He stopped at the
door before opening it, wiggled his arms behind himself and into his
blue jumpsuit. He zipped up the front, covering the yellow work shirt
and puffing out his chest to expose the embroidered image of her
Majesty on his left breast. Bound for a warm room and a soft bed, we
set off into the icy night air.
Three blocks is all we had to make it. Three bloody blocks, but no.
Logan catches a glint of something gold in the only eye he has managed
to keep open. Turns out the gold glint is the toggle on the vest of
some Chav. A Chav spray painting a big ol’ red X on the Queens vide
in the middle of some off shoot alleyway. There she sits, smiling in
all her glory, and some Freedom Fighting Chav comes along to tag her
like a game of political bingo. This strikes a chord with my hot
tempered friend. He decides it’s time to teach this Chav a lesson.
“I’ma crush his vide in with my royal lovin’ boot Darren I am. You’s
The idea of fighting seemed to sober him up right quick. I’ll stay
out of it because I know just as well as that Chav does, it is illegal
to deface an image of her Majesty, caught by the wrong people and you
will pay the price. She has worked so hard in the Reconstruction.
Bared so much of the burden, she is our personal Jesus she is.
Logan seemed right sober on the physical like, but in the head – he
is drunk enough to send me to the F5 Court himself for showin’
sympathy to a Chav, or even acknowledging that he might not be as well
pissin’ in her royal soup as to raise that spray can. Like it
mattered, we were all headed somewhere if the F5 caught wind of the
disturbance. Either way, I had to say something.
“Go easy on em’, eh? He’s just a young tom not knowin’ what he really
thinks. Bloody parents are probably activists.” This struck a chord
with my hot tempered friend on account of his mum.
“Bullocks Darren,” he glared at me and that was that.
Logan started off down the alley. The gas lamps behind him created a
ten meter shadow monster moving toward this Chav, but the Chav stands
there smiling, vide to vide with Logan. Like he isn’t scared. Two
paces out and Logan has stopped. He is eyeing the Chav deciding the
best way to make him understand how important it is to never shat on
her Majesty’s image. Four more Chavs emerge from the shadows and
charge at Logan pouncing in the air. Their boot heels point at his
chest. He is quick to the reflex and grabs a Chav in mid air like.
The lad’s body is deflected straight into the bricks, he hits his vide
and lights out. One Chav down, four to go, or maybe three. The
original grinning bloke still stands in the back. Hasn’t moved an
inch he hasn’t. Just what is he playing at?
The other three set to work on Logan getting him on the ground.
Boots are busting him in the ribs, about the vide, and pulling at his
queer inviting hair.
Looks like he might have the upper hand now. You see, Logan isn’t
feeling any pain, just throwing punches. Every time he lands one and
hears a Chav yelp he is renewed in spirit. Looks like he’s holding
his own, I’ll keep watch for the F5. Fights are good for wearing
blokes out right quick like.
I look out the alley entrance in both directions, and see nothing but
steaming drains. I hear the growl of Logan but with a high pitched
flavor. I look back and the original Chav has got himself a broken
steel pipe he has. He’s getting to work on Logan’s vide and I see my
mates blood start to stain the street – he goes limp. I start running
The main Chav takes the jaggy end of his steel and puts it to Logan’s
throat. Prepared to shiv him in the neck and send him to Charon.
“Eh, easy mate,” I said, stopping and holding out my hands.
“You don’t want to be doing that.”
“Oh aye, I think I do. You two toms can lick the royal Queen’s bum
all ya’ want. Tis a bad day in the Isles when a young bloke can’t
stand up for what he thinks is good an decent. Not without getting
the Queen’s blind hounds trying to stomp him and his mates,” he said.
“Look mate, I know where ya’ comin’ from, but I tell ya’ this just
isn’t the way. He’s drunk and just got a temper is all. Now let’s
just part ways, you drag your mate and I’ll drag mine, before we all
end up in the F5′s mitts,” I pleaded.
This Chav is ready to make this his defining moment in the
resistance. He was going to make my mate a martyr, and himself a
legend, I could see it in his eyes. There was nothing I could do.
He raised his arms and the jaggy steel cast a claw like shadow on
Logan’s swollen vide. Light flooded the alley from both ends.
“Bleeding Christ it’s F5,” the Chav shouted. He dropped the steel
and the four ran toward the alley exit closest; hoping for an opening
to give the Agents the slip.
An Agent stepped into the light wearing a black jumpsuit. His chest
puffed out and the Queen’s embroidered vide on his breast displayed
his allegiance. He gripped the chrome metal baton firmly in his hand,
which according to him, was just an extension of her Majesty’s own
arm. The Chavs sprinted at him and split off in pairs, as to rush
past on either side.
“Evening lads,” he shouted.
In a right quick automatic reflex, he turned that baton all
horizontal like. The ends extended and anchored into the brick walls
of the alley. The Chavs all ran into it, hitting in the vide or the
throat, knocking them to the street.
“Four rebel Chavs walk into her Majesty’s bar,” he laughs.
As they lay gasping or clutching their vide with blood inking through
their fingers, he goes to work on them with the retracted baton. An
Agent takes my arm from behind.
“Lets go, worker,” he says to me. I move toward Logan and his grip tightens.
“…but my mate, what about my mate?…Logan,” says I.
I struggle and turn back to look at the Agent. I see the reflection
of my own vide. The eyes stare back at me. In that split second I
remember everything. Everything that led to this moment. How they
came to power, how it all happened: the Queen, her Agents, the
Reconstruction, the dorms, the Rebel Chavs, the work camps, and my
Posted on June 9th, 2009 2 comments
Running Shoes – By: Danny Machal
‘My name, is Berry Augustine.’
‘I’m thirty five years old and I’m a sick man.’
‘I’m also now, dead.’
‘At the age of twenty nine I was surprised to find there was a woman who would marry me. My lovely wife Dana; she must have been sick too. No sane and healthy woman would ever get involved in my situation.’
‘She is sad that I’ve gone, but she’s also the strongest woman I’ve ever met. She’ll never stop loving me or forget me and the void I’ve left in her will be filled quickly. She is just that kind of person, a survivor. Not like me. I was weak.’
‘You see, they told me I have obsessive compulsive disorder. The three letters OCD would somehow define me to a lot of folks. I’m a person ya’ know? I’m not just an ATM for the pharmaceutical corporations, and it isn’t like I’m contagious.’
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