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Ursa major

Bearly Believable
Staff member
Aug 7, 2007


To write a story in 300 words or fewer

INSPIRED by the image provided below, in the genre of

Science Fiction, Fantasy, or other Speculative Fiction


Only one entry per person

All stories Copyright 2015 by their respective authors,

who grant the Chronicles Network the non-exclusive right to publish them here

This thread will be closed until APRIL 10

-- as soon as the thread is unlocked, you may post your story

Entries must be posted no later than APRIL 30 2015,
at 11:59 pm GMT

Voting will close MAY 15, 2015 at 11:59 pm GMT

(unless moderators choose to make an extension based on the number of stories)

You do not have to enter a story to vote -- in fact, we encourage ALL Chronicles members

to read the stories and vote for their favourites

You may cast THREE votes

NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own


For a further explanation of the rules see Rules for the Writing Challenges

The inspiration image for this month is:

1st Airport - Greenz - Reduced.jpg

Image credit: Christopher James Bean aka Phyrebrat

Cat's Cradle

Time, now, to read...
Mar 3, 2014
The Milk of Freedom (A Modern Fairy Dairy Tale)

“Get away, cow!!”
“Mooove--I’m flying now…”

Standing offstage I think back on those heady days, when the fate of an oppressed population was decided by the bold actions of desperate individuals.

I’m Bertie, and I was a privileged thing, raised a pet and fortunate to have viewed piloting instructional films that my Scottish owner watched on a laptop in his barn. I was one of 52 Highland cattle being flown, against our will, to new owners in Russia.

Fate provided this golden opportunity: trans-European flight, token security onboard, and I, a dreamer who could fly a Douglas Skymaster. I struggled with the pilot as others stampeded on cue, knocking down our keeper--Elsie, the oldest, sat on him, yelling “Teats to tonsils, buddy! Wanna steal my milk now?” It became a legendary saying, inspiring the patriotic play “Teats to Tonsils--the Milk of Freedom”. In that moment of insurrection, we found our Voices; others, now, could hear us.

We crashed in northern Finland. The kindhearted Samis took pity, and ceded us, and cattle they controlled, 12,000 square kilometers as our homeland. We petitioned the UN as refugees from the inhumanities of humanity, and were granted unconditional freedom, and statehood. Thus was Mooravia birthed from the forests of Finnish Lapland.

Our economy’s foundations were viable: as reparation for enslavement we’d been granted exclusive rights for European dairy production. Mooravia’s political theory was easily summarized: “All for Herd--Herd for all”; Cowmooism spread rapidly to disenfranchised species everywhere. Our wealth liberated our international brethren to embassy-pastures established worldwide.

Today, I’m an Oscar-winning actress, performing the role of a lifetime in Broadway’s revival of Teats To Tonsils. Old as I am, I never study for this part; I know the role by heart--it’s one I was born to play.
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Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
Oct 5, 2011
blah - flags. So many flags.

We’d landed at the strip a dozen times, picking up a new brand of opiate, which sold like nothing before. It hit as smooth as anything and left users begging for more.

This time, there were no mules waiting for us. We set our own chocks and waited, leant up against the side of Esther. We smoked some and figured out our dates, which were right.

We would have taken off before dark, but Esther, who never failed, didn’t start. Not a turn over, not a control-panel light. A moment later, a smell reached us, a sweetness that brought the same, smooth hit we’d come for. Chez got up, left the plane and I followed, not able to stop. We headed into the jungle, and dived into a deep, deep pool that tugged us down. It turned us around and dumped us in a field under an angry, orange sky, filled with tall flowers so purple they hurt my eyes.

We’ve been here since. I don’t know where the strip is and I don’t care. Nothing’s real except this world of dark edges and unending flowers which burn my skin. I stir the seeds into the air and throw my head back when the sweet smell hits, the unearthly rush, and then I’m trapped again, harvesting more of the drug to send out.

Chez works, too, shirtless, his eyes blank. All I know is the sharp pain of the stems as I pull them and the distant knowledge of a blurred world gone wrong and going wronger still.

Every day more join us in the fields. The world must be emptying. Soon there’ll be nothing left and Earth will be gone in a whimper of need.

I should care, but I don’t. Somehow, I can’t.


Juliana Spink Mills. "No capes!"
Jun 28, 2012
Connecticut, USA
Whisper in the Wind

She limped along, small bare legs a mess of cuts and darkening bruises, tiny feet clad inadequately in plastic sandals. Insect bites, thorn scratches, blood on her cheek. Wild tousled hair, with one pink ribbon still hanging forlornly from the remains of a braid.

The jungle grew thicker, darker, denser. She stopped, pulling up the hem of her gingham sundress to wipe away the sweat. No tears, though, there were no more tears. The tears had stopped a long time ago, swallowed by exhaustion.

She wanted to rest, but the wind tugged at her hair and whispered, “Just a little longer, darling, just a while more.” So on she trudged, swaying in the wind that eddied up around her and coaxed her along. “Just a little longer, my love.”

When the day turned to night she wanted to run from that black and frightening world of chirping, calling, rustling things, but her tired legs wouldn’t obey and the wind told her, “Hush, baby, nothing can hurt you here. Just a little longer, we’re almost there.”

At last, a glimmer of light, of hope. She stopped and stared, wondering if it could really, really be?

“Yes, come my sweet, we’re here, you’re safe.”

And the wind pulled her forward, pushed her through the last tangle of branches and vines to a clearing and a small, shining farmhouse.

The next day, the newspapers were full of the story. How had the tiny girl, lone survivor of the plane crash, walked for hours through the jungle to the only house in miles?

But when the old farmer opened his door that night, he saw a multitude of shadows accompanying the child, and as she tottered forward she turned and whispered to the closest one, “Thank you, Mama.”

Denise Tanaka

Denise RobargeTanaka
Jun 2, 2006
San Jose, CA
The Airplane

I can't stand it anymore. What a stupid idea to turn myself into an airplane! What fun, right? Idiot. I should have picked a pterodactyl or Iron Man.... Something else.... Anything that doesn't, y'know, need fuel or a pilot!

I got weeds in my wheel casings. If only I'd morph'ed at a real airport, not this deserted field, someone could help me. A maintenance crew. Luggage handlers. Somebody! But no... I was so smart to avoid people. Keep it secret. Don't let them see. My precious...

Hey you, goat! See that thing in the grass? That crystal pendant on the golden chain? C'mon, nibble a little closer. Pick it up in your teeth. Walk over here. Put it on my wing. You can reach that high. I'm sinking in the mud. All I need is to touch it and make a wish.

Of course the goat can't hear me. I don't have a mouth.

Stupid me. I was a runner who never got tired and won the marathon, a race horse who galloped for miles, a humpback whale singing in the deep sea, a giant robot who stomped a truck. What's next, I thought. What more can I do?

I should have stopped to think how to carry it. Even as a race car I had a glove compartment.

Ugh, it's raining. I hate rain! It spots my windows. I can't see those misty hills that I was going to zoom over.

Wait... Rain causes rust. If bolts rust and the wing drops, it'll touch the pendant in the grass. Yes! It's a plan! Hold on... Let the rain fall... Wait...

I just need to be patient. Damn. Patient? That's one thing I never imagined I could be.


Interested Observer
Aug 13, 2011
New Jersey

When the world was younger, Atoc had been mighty. The small apes had capered about the mountaintop where he resided, bringing him gifts of fruit, multicolored rocks and other small offerings. Over the millennia they slowly changed, guided by his hand. They became larger and smarter as he molded them to worship him in the proper manner.

In order to further his glory, Atoc commanded the apes to travel across the earth, spreading the knowledge of him everywhere. Soon they had journeyed far and wide, and all knew the greatness that was Atoc. As his worshippers grew in number, so did his power.

Great temples arose on the slopes of his mountain, all dedicated to the mighty Atoc. Travelers came from faraway lands to worship at his feet, and wonder at his prominence.

Then a curious thing happened. As the apes spread across the earth, they began to invent other gods. As the years passed, his followers slowly dwindled in number, as these new gods gained worshippers. One day, finally, there were none who came to the mountain.

The great ziggurats constructed in a ring surrounding Atoc’s mountain retreat were nearly gone now, worn down to mere mounds of rubble. No one alive in this world remembered how to worship Atoc, or recount the chants of power, or recite the Seven Songs of Remembrance. Still, even with his powers diminished, he tried to influence the apes, who called themselves “men” now.




Flying at low altitude, the pilot was always drawn to a rather unremarkable mountain along his familiar route. He would often fly low to give his passengers a close view of the peak, and everyone aboard would stare at it, as if entranced.

One day, he would have to find out its name…


Benevolent Galaxy Being
Mar 11, 2010
Driving Into Darkness

South America - 1977

I drove the third truck, carrying nitroglycerine, to blow out an oil rig fire. The first truck was reported destroyed in an accident, the second truck was reported missing. That's when I was given the chance to make $20,000 to risk my life. I took it, I needed money to get out of the jungle hell I was hiding in (I had my reasons), but so was my companion driver. Half way through the journey, after crossing a treacherous, bridgeless shallow river, the radio informed us the second truck arrived at the destination safely. An argument broke out between us, enraged, my companion attacked me, I killed him with a machete. The mission was over......it began raining heavily.


I took a different path. An old man on the road, told me of an airport miles away. Traveling there, I ran over a kid, tough luck. My fuel was finally exhausted. I exited the truck named, "La Cruz" (the Cross).


On foot, I passed by weird ancient monuments, stone carvings of people being eaten by bizarre creatures. Ugly artwork, I thought. Suddenly, two natives of the jungle ran toward me. In the distance I saw a woman holding a dead child. I butchered both men savagely, curses were screamed at me by the woman, I didn't need a translator to figure that out.


Miles later, I found an abandoned airport. Damn that crazy old man. Lightning thundered as a high pitched shriek caught my attention. It was then I noticed a small, blood red, flat topped pyramid to my left. And out poured hideous monsters that howled at me. I wasn't afraid of death, I embraced it. I charged into the beasts with my machete and hate, because I was ready to meet the devil.


Wishes she was funny
Apr 19, 2014

Gilly pulled his plane into a nose dive, through the black clouds above the Everdarks. He'd been trying to prove for years that there were portals in this ever twilighted terrain and finally, he'd found a way through. He smiled so wide, his lashes tickled his cheeks. Fasten your seat belt and hold on tight, Gilly, me old lad. We're going in.

He hurtled the plane towards the ground, heard a clunking, wailing sound and within seconds, he soared high in the clear lime sky, his stomach swelling with butterflies. Saucer jellyfish floated by. The ocean below glimmered the colour of emeralds. I've made it.

He zoomed backwards, low over a cluster of houses, their roofs balanced in the ground.

Bashing buttons, he steered in reverse, back towards the ocean. Parachute strapped to his shoulders, he opened the door and the sky sucked him out.

He tugged the 'chute open, felt the uplift of floating.... He gasped, speeding towards a house wall. He placed his hands out.., crack, straight on the forehead.

The world swirled. He fought to stay awake. Vision fuzzy, he saw people walking on their hands. His eyelids were too heavy. He couldn't keep them open no longer.


He didn't wanna wake up. And yet, he'd already forgotten what he'd been dreaming about. An ache throbbed his head. He felt his thighs against his ears. Hold on a second.

He tried to sit up and found himself resting on his arms; they were attached to his pelvis. He tossed himself out of bed and tried walking on his hands. His arms wobbled, buckled, and he fell to his elbows. That's when he caught his reflection in the window: his legs sticking up in a 'V', stitched onto his shoulders.

Screams pounded his head: his own screams.

Victoria Silverwolf

Vegetarian Werewolf
Dec 9, 2012
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
The Survivor

Lucky Betty shrieked over the Pacific, her left wing shattered by a Zero’s bullets. Lieutenant Cruz gripped the control stick and tried to keep her nose up. Sea and sky tilted at crazy angles. A blur of green and tan smashed into the crippled fighter. The world exploded in fire.


Cruz woke to the smell of smoke and oil. Lucky Betty lay half-buried in sand, palm trees twisted around her fuselage like ribbons in a madwoman’s hair. Cruz forced himself out of the pilot’s seat. His body was a shapeless mass of dull pain. He pushed open the cockpit door. It screamed once and fell to the ground.

A few minutes later Cruz convinced himself that he wasn’t going to die right away. The only part of Lucky Betty that was unscathed was the painting on her side, a shapely brunette wearing a wisp of cloth that clung to her curves like a second skin. She held five aces in one hand, a pair of dice in the other.

Just you and me now, babe. Let’s see if the Japanese or the Americans find us first.


After the first thousand days Cruz stopped counting. His uniform was rags, his beard and hair rat’s nests. He spent his days collecting rainwater, catching fish, and smashing open coconuts. He spent his nights counting stars.

One morning she came to him. She let the thin robe drop to her feet.

I’ve finally cracked up. Might as well enjoy it.

She loved him, the way his girlfriend Molly had loved him the night before he had shipped out. Cruz wondered if she had married someone else yet.

The last thing Cruz saw before he sank into darkness was a pair of enormous white wings and a halo of golden light.


I always pay my debts.
Oct 4, 2011
Parkville, Missouri, US of 'frickin A
The Ace

Cracked rubber controls shudder beneath my touch as the plane is battered by the storm. Lightning flashes against the outside of the cockpit, and the smell of ozone stings my nose.

Damned storm came out of nowhere. And it had to be on this run!

I scan the controls and see with relief that the precious cargo is fine.

The starving orphans of Santa Maria Del Popolo are depending on this.

A snowcapped peak lunges from the darkness towards me, and I lean frantically into the controls. Cables groan under the strain from the yoke as I will the plane to turn.

Come on baby! Don’t let me down!

The engines whine and we climb just in time. A cloud of powdery snow explodes into the sky as the tail grazes the side of the mountain before roaring away back to safety.

You may be old, I pat the tattered leather seat beneath me affectionately, but you’ve still got it where it counts, baby.

Suddenly warning lamps flash around the cockpit and alarms screech in my ears.

Enemy fighters? Here? They must have known I was coming!

Missiles scream towards me, and I put the silver bird into a barrel roll. Sweat pours off my face as the rockets sizzle past the cockpit window, leaving curling smoke trails behind them.

Take that! I climb and give them the whole nine yards, cannons pumping lead. Five enemy fighters explode in one pass.

A loud clanging against the outside of the hull interrupts my celebration.

What is this?

“Antonio! Get out here!”

Some ugly monster, perhaps? A female, I presume, and likely a tattletale.

“Get out of there, pronto, or I’ll tell Papa you’ve been goofing off again!”

Ah, dear orphans, your salvation will have to wait for another day.


I don't teach chickens how to dance.
Apr 15, 2010

From fifteen thousand feet the Cambodian sky shone with a brilliant blue hanging above the steamy green jungle below.

Max turned toward Joe and froze at what he saw through the port window.

“What the hell’s that?”

Jo glanced at the multiple glowing craft and snorted.

“Foo fighters.”

“Flue fighters?”

“No, dummy, Foo, with a double o. They used to buzz our bombers during the war.”

“Our war? Vietnam?”

“No, drop kick. World war two. These days they keep away from the fighting up north but they like buzzing Air America’s aircraft for some reason. Maybe they’ve got a taste for the five tons of smack we’re carrying.”

“Are they dangerous?”

“The foos? Nah. Hey, watch this.”

Joe banked the Antonov viciously to port, into the foo’s formation. They scattered in all directions too fast to follow.

“Look at those little buggers move.” Joe laughed.

“Ah, Joe, I don’t think you should …”

“That’s right, rookie, you don’t think. That’s why I’m in the pilot’s seat. You sit, observe and keep your mouth shut. Hey, they’re back. Want some more, you little green turds.”

Another break neck maneuver pinned Max to his seat. Again, the foos darted out of the way in a blink of an eye.

“Yeah, you like to play, don’t you?” Joe said, chuckling.

Max noticed it first, a throbbing green pulse from the nearest foo.

“Ah, Joe –“

“What the hell, you Martian fu –“

Intense green light invaded the flight deck, blinding the eyes, numbing the senses.

Max awoke, still strapped into his seat. They were on the ground. Joe must have … where was Joe?

“Hey, Joe, you back there?”

Then he saw it. Joe’s seat belt hung across the pilot’s seat, still locked together around his clothes, as if Joe had simply dissolved.


life is an awfully big adventure
Feb 9, 2013
A Gift of Yesterday

The day stretched long into the west before the skyboat's touchdown. Villagers stood, waiting since moonset for the trader's arrival. All the year's best harvest from earth, stream, and forest, everything in the village for trade, awaited.

Alena in her white shift, waited with the other flower bearers.

Before the skyboat's coming, children sickened with the cold of the year. Now with sour paste tubes, and bright thick not-furs, all were well and strong.

The traders brought miracles. At a price.

"Five?" The trader asked, questioning the sparsity of flowers this year.
"Ah, handfastings have thinned them out." The chief prevaricated, not adding his own daughter was hiding in the hill caves along with the village's beer kegs.

Alena had hoped for 'fasting. Scrawny Shasah predicted the lush bodied girls being chosen first. Even Jeffney, always walking out with her, succumbed to the Miller's bribe of seven goats for his flat nosed daughter.

Alena's father gathered fruit. Six daughters... no goats. Mother cried dressing her. Three goats from this choosing meant three sister's staying.

The traders rejected fat bottomed Gavra. Had Alena known a fat bottom would spare her, she'd have eaten honeycomb till bursting.

Teakla was found round-bellied. Probably Rikos. Rikos had three other girls round-bellied. Teakla's father wouldn't get a goat.

Maikla, Shasah, and her were herded, shivering into the skyboat, readied for lift-off.

Medical plied shots and serums. Decontaminated, in flight suits, hair brushed, they sat on their bunks listening to the Captain's debriefing, amazed.

Denebe Three was designated PreArchaic. Primitivism over technology, gifted with a price. Intelligent females were schooled, given government fleet positions off-world, paying their planets way. Ten years service, and they could return.

Few ever did.

Alena smiled. Her sisters were eligible next.
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Well-Known Member
Dec 25, 2014

Jeffy says the grownups will be back soon. Candice says they have just gone to get more cheese and crackers. I don’t believe them, its been nearly three days and no-one knows where the grownups have gone. We are nearly out of cheese and crackers though, it would be good if someone got more cheese and crackers.

I try to sleep mostly, it makes the time pass faster and gives me less time to be scared.


It takes 46 steps to walk from one end of the plane to the other. Izzy used to be able to do it in 40 but she was the biggest. She was the oldest too. She turned 8 and we ate all the muffins and sang happy birthday, and when we woke up she was gone.

Hugo is trying to get the doors open. He’s been trying for two days. I don’t blame him, the plane is cramped and starting to smell, and we can see a cow eating grass beside the runway outside, but Hugo can’t get it open and his banging is keeping me awake.


I’ve stopped counting days. Bindi says it has been 2 weeks, but Hugo swears it has been a fortnight, I don’t know who to believe. I want my mum though. Jeffy found an unopened meal tray yesterday, it smelled real bad but he ate it anyway. He has been puking ever since and now the toilet is blocked up.

Candice has said she is the queen. She is the biggest now so I guess she can be queen if she likes. She lives in the cockpit. She has said Gordy has to be her boyfriend and bring her soda and stuff. We are nearly out of soda though, and then it’s only peanuts.


Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2011
How the Other Side Dies and Lives

“It shouldn’t be called Post-Apocalypse,” I said. “I don’t remember anything from Pre, so it’s just life to me.”

“I doubt anyone remembers,” Gabby said, pressing at her dead car-flattened ankle. She had finally stopped pacing the burnt-out plane and the horrid wet of slipping flesh died, leaving the lowing cattle outside as the only sound.

“Yet everyone claims it was better then.”

“Not like this is so good,” Gabby spat on the floor.

I shrugged in the darkness.

“That wouldn’t have happened before the Outbreak.” She nodded at the rain and hail flayed skin on my back.

“Neither would he.” Al was asleep but shivering on the crosshatched floor, pulling the thin blanket with the gory stump of his hand. “We wouldn’t have met. Our son wouldn’t have been born.”

Gabby was quiet for a time. I followed her gaze to a rusted hole in the roof, and the lazy stars beyond.

“Maybe that would’ve been best.”

I jolted from the wall. “How can you say that?” She was still staring up. I saw the glint of starlit water on her cheeks. She shrugged.

Voices sounded out in the field, stopping us dead. The gunshot came soon after; the first cow. Gabby rushed to Al, who started awake and sobbed. She held tight and soothed him.

“They have food,” I whispered, “maybe they’ll just leave.”

Gabby glared and shook her head. Everybody knew Humans looked for shelter before anything else and the only shelter nearby was our plane.

“And maybe they won’t kill us.”

Al was crying now, surely audible outside.

“We’re aren’t hurting anybody. They might let us go.”

“Don’t be stupid.”

The latch clicked and the door swung inwards. I saw the white torchlight glint on Gabby’s wet face and the gunshots filled the night.


Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2008
Too Late

I always thought I’d be brave as I faced my own death. I also thought I’d die as an old man, rotting away as tubes filled my orifices, and machines incessantly beeped around me. The moment the plane’s nose took a sharp turn towards the earth that changed. The oxygen mask popped down in front of me, and I stared at it for a moment, watching it float there like a jellyfish. The woman with the legs beside me elbowed me in the face as she clawed at her mask.

If you’re in a plane that’s nose-diving towards the Peruvian hills at five hundred miles an hour, let’s see if you give a rat’s ass about an oxygen mask! I knew this was it, and instead of watching the ground rush towards me like a sick Universal Studio ride, I got out of my seat.

The man across from me had obviously soiled himself, and he still had the decency to look embarrassed, even though he was about to get squished like a bug on a windshield. I clambered toward the back of the plane, thinking that somehow I would be okay back there. I had to almost scale the seats since we were at a good seventy degree angle, heading towards the lush landscape of Goatsville, Peru.

It all happened so fast. I turned in time to see the impact, I saw a flash of light, and they appeared before me. They were beautiful; wings spread wide. As the first twenty rows were crushed from the force, I walked into their welcoming arms. That’s when I saw that their wings were black; their smiles putrid. Red flames licked my feet as I crossed over, and for the first time since I’d killed that man, I felt regret.


Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat
Aug 6, 2013
New Flock

“The government. They kill us!” The only words heard from history’s most significant viral video.

The forty-nine second clip depicts a Global Government (GG) marked vehicle, mounted with surface-to-air missiles, skidding into position on a barren field. The turret swivels. A projectile launches. From his vantage point, the African shepherd’s phone captures everything. A flash in the sky, followed by the boom a few seconds later. An object grows larger during its smoky descent. The plane impacts nearly one hundred yards from our cameraman. He speaks the words as he zooms in on the burning fuselage. Motionless men and women can be seen within. The video ends after a single gunshot.


I often thought about the shepherd. We never learned his name, but his words were graffitied everywhere from Birmingham to Bangkok.

I was a young man in those first weeks of water cannon and pepper spray. The GG goliath soon changed to bullets and bombs.

“Order!” they broadcast.

“Answers!” we replied.

It wasn’t long before global resistance uncovered the mystery behind the footage. To rid themselves of a high-ranking dissident – a man most humanity had never heard of – the GG brought down the plane carrying him, along with its thirty-three other civilian passengers. Rebellion increased.


A decade of war later, I finally stood in front of that rusted plane. Sworn in, among hundreds of elected men and women to form the new government. The shepherd’s voice covered the plane in red, dripping letters: The government. They kill us!

We vowed to never bring truth to those words again.

I found myself thinking of him once more. Hoping he knew. Perhaps in those forty-nine seconds, he realised that he was the African shepherd who would change the world.

A name came to me there.

He was our David.


by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
Mar 22, 2012
Mercia, UK

Slowly Tartak parted the bushes. Beyond they lay, gleaming in the late afternoon sun, their bright markings beyond his comprehension. He settled himself down to watch, eyes devouring the Gods. By the time of the sunset he had marked out the chief God and the location of his strange cloth hut.

As night settled over and the heavens lit up with the souls of the dead, Tartak thought of the last visit of the Gods. Their sky boats had roared majestically from the heavens, crashing down upon the plains and disgorging the Gods with their gifts of bright beads and strange tools. Tartak held one now, a knife, sharp, hard and bright, the opposite of their own that were carved from teeth of deathprowlers.

Impatient to begin Tartak moved, stealing silently amongst the sky boats and marvelling at their cold sleekness. He sought the strange cloth house of the chief God, amused to hear that even they make night noises as they slept. Finding the house, Tartak took the knife that the Gods had given him and drew its sharp edge along the cloth, marvelling at the ease with which the cloth parted.

He soundlessly slipped in and spied the God asleep, mouth wide and snoring as hard as the mother of Tartak’s third wife. Quickly and with deft precision, he slid the bright knife into the Gods chest, spearing the soul that beat within. Tartak worked quickly, opening up the chest and removing the bloody soul from its bone cage before it could leave to join others in the heavens.

Tartak made the observances and ate the soul quickly, grimacing at the taste, his stomach churning as it subsumed a God.

Done, Tartak, once chief, now God, would fly the sky boat and take his place in the Beyond.


Feb 13, 2011
In your bedroom wardrobe...
The Herald

Man used to fly, but no more; not since The Shift.

Then am I not a man? Alone, naked and illustrated in script, but a man all the same. As The Shift razed civilisation, I rose; a traveling man with only inks and an unshakeable task to record, but a man all the same.

I soar with the Trade Winds - sometimes the Jet Stream - and let them carry me over calico lands and beryl seas till I settle on foreign shores. Foreign to me, at least; I’ve strayed in all quarters. In Zanzibar I’ve been fed by the Tumbatu, I’ve shared palm wine with the Wolof, and warmed overnight in the caves of the Thonmen. The natives marvel at a man who flies. I bid them write on me and then I'm off; inscribed, aloft to the next country, another settlement, witnessing a billion smiling faces tilted up to me and waving me on.

They write on me.

From shimmering oases to icy homesteads, emerald valley towns and lapis archipelagos. Cuzco, Boston, Orkney, Lahore; the Qifan, Picts, Tawnee...tribes of Earth too numerous to count - multicoloured and multi-faithed - feed me, home me, love me and write their word, then send me off, with black calligraphy etched now in unfathomable layers. After all these years, it’s more illustration than script.

And strangely - though benighted and without prompt - they all chose the same word. One word in a multitude of languages written in characters as diverse as the planet.



Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2013
NSW, Australia
The Spark of Consciousness

It swept in from beyond our galaxy, circled the Sun then blasted Earth.

Chance saved us -- chance and the fault we attended deep below ground, mending electronics to keep more important people safe. Those important people did not reach their haven. They had no warning of disaster.

Days later, I found Mia. Her school bag lay beside her on the ground.

Other survivors emerged. A gardener cursed his luck in working late to catalogue the seed bank hidden beneath the Square. Ten burly men clambered up from the sewers, even deeper beneath our city.

Using our repaired electronics, we reached out beyond the city, but there were pitifully few replies.

It was weeks before the physicists contacted us from their bunker, providing answers in exchange for food. They named IT a mysteroid -- a huge accumulation of particles they had failed to predict. (Yes, I am still angry. Do you blame me?) Even collision with the Earth had not broken the bonds between the particles; they had parted just enough to scrape around the planet, scouring consciousness from its surface.


One word reached us, displayed on my screen. "Help."

We heard no more for days. The next message told us little. "I am alone."

Word by faltering word, the messages came. The words spoke of solitude and the tone spoke of loneliness. Recovered technology enabled us to locate their source. My inclusion in the mission was debated. I was needed more at base, but I went.

Little remained of the airport. We checked the buildings, the cars and the abandoned plane. We couldn't find anyone.

Finally, I checked the empty cockpit. The display of the flight computer lit up. It greeted me with joy.

In leaving Earth, the particles had sparked a new consciousness.
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caught in a trap, can't walk out
Mar 4, 2014
Planes and Trains

Jonathan was going through the papers as he waited for the train to enter the tube, when he came across an article about airplanes in a travel magazine. He has always been fascinated with them and felt a bit sad he wasn't born some 30-40 years earlier so he could experience this amazing feeling of flying through air. Sure, vactrains can take him from London to anywhere in the world in less than an hour, but travelling under the surface of the ground is so boring.

The seat belt light switched on, so he buckled up. The air was out, and the train was ready to go.

He leaned back and wondered what happened to all those thousands of airplanes when the vactube network became fully operational and the airline industry died. Are there airplane cemeteries around the world where the once mighty beasts lie in decay on runways covered in weeds and grass, with goats and cows roaming around? Or were they all cut up into scrap metal at once and recycled? Maybe this very train is made out the metal that once used to be ten thousand meters up in the air. That's an amazing thought.

The seat belt light switched off as the train came to a stop. He loved airplanes, but he was definitely thankful that it took him only four minutes from London to Paris, otherwise he was not sure how his relationship with Véronique would work out.
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