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Benevolent Galaxy Being
Mar 11, 2010
JAWS: Chum Edition

Sheriff Martin Brody and Matt Hooper made it back to Amity Island. Both were surprised to see..."Quint. You're alive!"

"Yes, Mr Hooper."

"But, the shark...?"

"Relax Brody. I won't wear a life jacket, but I'll have my bulletproof vest on. I'm certain by now you figured me out."

"What do you mean?"

"You're both educated men, I killed the girl who became crab food. And others, like Ben Gardner. I lured a big shark here, to cover up my crimes. Once people pegged the shark as the killer, I would murder at my leisure."

"...But why?"

"Tourists. Every year I'd put up with know-it-all yahoos, kids whining that they want this and that. No one hires fishing boats anymore. People just want to get drunk and vomit all over the deck, and themselves. I'm reduced to selling trinkets and shark jaws to scratch out a living. I put an end to that. I chop people up, and feed my shark. Later I found out I could make ten grand, to kill the beast. Easy money earned, then I'd bring in another Great White."

"And continue the cycle."

"Exactly Hoop. But now, my ax and I, are gonna make chum outta y..."

Matt threw a beached jellyfish at Quint. Tentacles brushed his already banged up face, making him appear red, swollen, monstrous. "Run Martin!!!"

Quint threw his ax, felling Martin.


Hooper's severed head crashed through Martin's house window. Ellen Brody ran outside screaming, then froze at sight of hideous Captain Quint.

"QUINT!!!", shouted the injured Sheriff.

He spun around to see Martin. At that moment, Ellen shoved the sea captain, causing him to fall down the front steps, and impaling on his ax. "I always knew...a woman...would do me in.................."

Ellen embraced Martin.


We're in the pipe, five by five.
Jun 7, 2015
Liverpool, United Kingdom
The King, The Quarry & The Executioner.

The panther's back is smooth between my legs. I get my first glimpse of the beach and the sky changes, a scarlet sun hides not wanting to bear witness replaced by an insincere blue and sword-metal silver clouds.

I climb off Jakar digging my feet into the sand. It remembers them and the footprints of the fallen. A shallow tomb of shadows.

"I leave you now Erath" Jakar purrs, lurching back into the forest.

"Jakar... Thank you."

He looks back one last time eyeing the marks on my blade, all fourteen of them.

"One day?" He growls.

I smile, my cheeks warm but not from the weather and he is gone, back into the canopy, I wipe my eyes; it is a time for killing, not tears.

A sliver of a scale pierces the water and I run, unsheathing my blade, my heart drums hard, one last deed. The salt-water air tastes like freedom on my tongue.

A crimson tail flicks through the waves as I reach the peak of a dune and dive, grasping, digging my fingers into this beast’s stone spine. I begin my ascent. It unfurls its wings and makes for the sky.

A water dragon’s a tricky beast, but so am I.

It thrashes as I slice through its wing, cartwheels as I cut it off, blood blooms from the wound then bursts from its jaws.

My stomach flips as its head turns and ignites, I jump catching a front claw, dig with my blade, an almighty roar.

Adrenalin soaks me, then the sea. I search its scales with my fingers then cut. Parting my lips I drink.

I head for Tehra.

Flames grow and bind in my stomach. My spine grows sharp piercing my shoulders.

I shall have my freedom, then the throne.


Wishes she was funny
Apr 19, 2014
Rocketed Away

Private Roberts had never felt so uncomfortable. It was like a severe, constant need to use the toilet. His comrades stood beside him, nude like him, with rockets up their... he preferred not to look. Eyes forward. Keep focused on the destination: the island that sparkled like a mound of rubies.

It had to be done. This was the only way to bypass the barrier. Anything non-organic would disintegrate upon contact.

He heard the sound of rockets fizzling into life. The Ignitior's footsteps made it over to him. As his own rocket fizzed, he felt an invasive warmth up his....

His comrades were rocketing to the sky, and he braced himself; ZOOOOOM, he was elevated, screaming his lungs out as he approached the invisible barrier.

He felt a pop in his head, and relief flowed through his rear, the rocket now disintegrated. He sucked in a deep breath, but couldn't breathe it out, the air too heavy in his lungs. He felt the pull of gravity, but it was pulling him upwards, above the clouds and beyond.

He was suffocating. He tried to swim towards the ground, to no effect. Everything became fuzzy and dark.

His lungs squeezed the air out, his breaths returning to normal. He opened his eyes and could see buildings floating on the atmosphere around the Planet Earth. White-winged ladies were carrying him and his comrades. "Where are we?"

The White-winged lady carrying him replied "No English. Relax. Sleep", and his eyelids instantly dropped.

He awoke tied to a pole in a small room, floating. The muscles on his shoulders felt stiff. He flexed them and a white pair of wings encased him. He flapped his shoulders, and the wings flapped along as well.

"Am... Am I in heaven?"


Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2008

The waves rolled over his arm and splashed him on the cheek. The wet kiss shocked him out of his fuzzy state causing him to sit up quickly. The sun was just rising over the distant horizon, and he shivered in his drenched clothes. He searched his pockets but all he found was a slip of paper; what looked like an address was smudged in ink over the small card. Closing his eyes against his invasive headache, he tried to remember anything about how he ended up on the beach. He came up empty. He couldn't even recall his name.

It felt like he was walking in a dream as he headed toward the street. Cars littered the road; bicycles left abandoned, not a person in sight. At this time of day he expected to see joggers out, and a food truck or two setting up for the morning work crowd.

Holding the paper out he deciphered the address as well as he could. Though he couldn't remember anything about himself, his body seemed to know which direction to go. Something niggled at his mind; that he should be afraid or concerned, but he felt oddly detached from the entire scenario.

Clothes mostly dry, and the sun higher in the sky, he approached the building. From a block away he could see that half of it was missing; the air glimmered around the other half. It covered a hundred yards in the other direction. When he was close enough to touch it he could see it looked like a giant wall of water. Slight ripples spread across the large façade.

With no other thought he walked into it. And to the other side.


The waves rolled over his arm and splashed him on the cheek.

Lex E. Darion

Formerly Alex Darion
Jan 12, 2016
Near the Bog of Eternal Stench
Time Flies

The druids chanted and burned herbs as we constructed the wooden structure with its long entrance way. Food, water and shelter provided and our spiritual well-being catered for; they called us the lucky ones. White-robed messengers of the Gods gathered the fortunate ones; the ones to be sacrificed. Their power held me in awe.

After completion, the ceremony began. Gu’lart ordered me to collect the prettiest virgin from the enclosure. Raven hair, with eyes to match, she caught my eye by hiding behind another woman. Her naked form trembled as I approached.

‘You are honoured. Be brave and you will be rewarded.’ The woman hugged her.

The girl stood straight and wiped her eyes. A smile radiated from her cherry lips as we danced along the causeway to the glorious singing drifting from the henge.

Her magnificence transfixed a hundred and more men as she climbed onto the stone altar. Gu’lart held his staff aloft. Silence. I bowed and returned to my place at the rear of the structure. Years of practice honed his knife skills and within seconds her heart beat in his hand. A tear rolled down her cheek but no noise escaped.

A thirst rose in me that I had not known before or since. It burned through every fibre of my being until I could no longer resist. Despite meaning certain death, I leapt to the altar, snatched the heart and rammed it into my ravenous mouth.

The furious Gods threw lightning and storms, the druids threw spears and rocks, but nothing touched me.


Everything decayed. The druids first, then the henge. The sea advanced to kiss the remaining wooden posts. It is my only company. Her blood won where lightning bolts failed. I am doomed to watch humans devour this earth.

Mr Orange

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb...
Jun 17, 2013
Noo Zillund
Ashes to Ashes

“…Here am I sitting in a tin can, far above-”


The penguin stopped singing and looked down to where I lay on the sand.

“Yeah?” The little blue bird snapped as it swam in and out of focus.

“You’re a penguin.”

The penguin slowly clapped its wings, the soft sound reverberating through my throbbing head. “Well done, genius.”

“Penguins can’t talk. Or sing.”

“Really? I must be doin’ something wrong then.”

The bird hopped off its piece of driftwood and waddled across the deserted beach, picking its way around smouldering, metallic shrapnel.

“What happened?”

The penguin smirked and sat down in the golden sand. “Sorry. Can’t talk.”

A cough brought cold nausea up from my insides. I looked at the remains of the machines around me.

“The invasion. The Starmen… They took the city.”

The penguin nodded. I tried to pull myself up but my legs wouldn’t obey. The bird raised a wing to stop me.

“It’s not the Starmen you need to be worried about.”

I slumped back down, exhausted. “What, then?”

Its grey eyes regarded me with pity, and I knew.

“Major’s ‘Flu?”

The bird nodded its feathered head.

“How bad?”

“Well, you know the stages, where do you reckon you are?”

My heart fell. “Third stage. Tissue collapse accompanied by hallucinations.”

The penguin smirked again.

“Exactly. Penguins can’t talk.”

It looked down the beach and waved a wing.

“But, you see that elephant coming up the beach? That’s either a real elephant, a Starman war wagon, or a medi-van from the city. So, you got a thirty three percent chance of getting treatment.”

I looked at the blurry elephant labouring towards me through the sand. When I turned back, the penguin was gone.
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Finally published that blooming book!
Dec 2, 2015
Sole Survivor


Fins writhe, break surface, slippery. Hands grab, hold. Bash against rock. Teeth sink, tear. Warm, wet. Stings broken lip-skin. Chew. Soft, salt, good. Eat. Lick fingers. Belly no-gnaw self now.

Look up. Shade eyes. Light slashes air. On water, shifting. Nothing there. No danger. Look along sand. Dark splashes. Not-good-smell. Something happened. Something –

No, don’t think. Don’t.

Sun falls to water. Shadows across sand. Air cools. Go to cave. Hide.

Move deeper. Red light in rock mouth. Gone. Dark all round. Lie in hollow. Wriggle. Must sleep. Eyelids closing …

Uh! What is it? What? Bright stab. Strikes across stones. Reaches. Reaches for feet. Pull them back. Noise! Hands over ears. Don’t listen. Lies! Tricks!

Shape against light. Two-legs, like others. Second one. Light in hands. Hurts eyes. Moving.


Stones scramble. Forms loom. Rock at back. Trapped. Need sharp. Hands hold. Can’t get it.

Words. Noise is words.

“Keep him still.”

Hissing against shoulder. Sleepy. Everything going away.

Dark …

Light jabs eyes. Blink. White. Where? No sky, just white.

“Don’t worry. You’re safe.”

Flinch. Dark face looms. No hair. No mouth. Blue covering around head? Across mouth, too. Woman? Word should mean something.

“He’s awake, doctor.”


Turn head, see man. In blue. He speaks.

“As the psychotic effect of the atmosphere wears off …”

Struggle to shape mouth; make tongue work. “Where?”

Woman. “You’re on the starliner Turnbull. Rest now.” Looks round at man.

Move hand to thigh, while she won’t see.

“Keep him sedated, nurse. And clean him up.”

“Are the effects permanent?”

Man shakes head. “Too early to tell. But he’s the only survivor. Damn bad luck to crash there.”

Pull out sharp from side – pocket? Quick. Did plenty good work before.

Will have to do it again.


Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2011

“You going in today?”

Mahala smiled and took the banana-leaf packet and thanked the boy. “I don’t swim well.”

“Naui looks patient. You won’t get swept out.”

“That’s not for us to decide.” Mahala opened the leaf to find the steamed coconut and feather-fish. He took two pieces and raised them to the sky before tossing them to the sand. A stalk-eyed crab scurried to pick at the meat and the waves swept both from the land.

“Two pieces for Ahanaii?” the boy said.

“Maybe I’m desperate for an answer.”

“If you make him any fatter he’ll fall into the sea. The whole village with be drowned, strong swimmers and all.”

Mahala laughed. “Best say that one was for Wehuiina then.”

The boy went quiet.

“You asked me once why I sit here everyday.”

“You told me to mind my own nets.”

“Did I?” Mahala smiled and took a bite of coconut. “My brother and I played here as boys. He was a great swimmer, but when Naui calls you have to answer. When he was taken I saw Wehuiina rise from the water, a turtle as great as the clouds, with all the lands of Heaven on her back.” He pointed across the sea. “My brother washed on those beaches.”

“Ha! No one’s landed there.”

“Because that is Heaven. Paradise is not for the living. My brother has waited seventy beats for me, and I’m not going to miss his call.”

The boy left.


“Mahala! Did you see Her? The Heavens moved.” Haukana raced along the sand. The seas were foaming, stormy and lapping at the tree, yet the skies were as clear as a stinger

The old man’s was smiling facing the skies and bobbing like a bubble fish on the surface.


Only Forward
Jul 14, 2008
A Snapshot, With Commentary

The tracks in the sand are my own, but I follow them regardless. This beach, this sweep of solitude, lies hemmed in by a crescent of rocky crags. Only where the headlands jut out into the sea can they be scaled; an arduous traverse of peak and trough leading to…

…a crescent beach.

Not similar, but the same.

Reality is in hiatus. The sun does not set, the world does not turn. No birds wheel across the static sky. Yet the breeze blows and waves lap upon the shore. Four times now I have journeyed from headland to headland, my only reward being another set of footsteps in the sand. Despite my time here – and it must be ‘hours’ – I feel no fatigue, no need to eat or drink.

Is this, then, Hell? An eternity of tedium? I lack the courage to injury myself or even walk out into the sea. Better prolonged frustration than the risk of oblivion.

And so I walk.

Or perhaps a bolt-hole; a reality bubble refuge tucked into an obscure fold of the metaverse, safe from prying eyes?


For although I know of the universe I lack any place in it. No name, no memory of what came before the endless beach. No psychic skip-tracer could detect my life signature if I am not the same persona as before. The past can be stored against the promise of less threatening times, and restored.

A possibility.

My journey continues. One meaningless footstep in front of another, in case escape lies before me. For my first memory of the beach was not one of virgin sand, but pre-existing tracks to follow. An Ariadne’s thread of footsteps, if I can but retrace them exactly.

And so I walk.

A book would have been nice, though.


Well-Known Member
May 12, 2014
A thought in idle guise: "If she's moved on, I can return here"

My problem with this beach is the same as with this whole island, and planet: I'm not gonna be here forever.

I am used to the place, now. I've acclimatised, adapted, and perservered, but not, precisely, overcome. I've attuned myself to, not blown through or risen above, the challenges of living here, -or fully analysed, and broken down. No, I've broken round this landing.

My flight-sent's sky ending's nigh ending place.

That's one thing I've gotten good at here. Entertaining myself.

Because there's no stream of input but what I find and my senses put before, or find and in my mind create.

But I am safe here -from advertising, rhetoric... "anchoring", and all those other tricks.

My mind is alert, or rather ready, but for my body to protect, not itself: alien monsters (-that's descriptive) don't confuse me.

-I might die if I'm too slow.

...God it's not insiduous.

It's bloody comforting.

I can die and be done, and no one will wail and gnash and moan, or blame me.

Some moments of intense and, yes, unprecedented, suffering, and I'll be gone, no more.

Freer still.

Free, and still.

I don't even have to tell myself it's "only natural":

Because when you walk the razor's edge, it loses its.

..I might always get unlucky and become sick, or poison myself.

But then, I might throw myself right off this cliff

and laugh!

I can die, if I want.!

It's a glorious thought.

Somber too when I wish.

Out here, it's clear, that everything counts: one mistake, at the wrong moment, could be my end. But it's equally clear: I don't have to count, what I don't want to, -for no mistake at all could be my last.

Sometimes I think:

God must be good, for he has no peers.
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Interested Observer
Aug 13, 2011
New Jersey
Climate Change

The rising waters swallowed the coastal cities first, then spread across the continental interiors in a terrifyingly short time. Civilization collapsed quicker than you could say “we should have listened to Al Gore”.

Luckily Jon always had good foresight. Months before, he had started preparing his boat, The Titanic. With all the latest gear aboard he was assured of a good chance of survival. Paula, Angie and I felt fortunate when he invited us aboard.

After three months I felt less fortunate. The cramped quarters on The Titanic afforded no privacy. I soon found both Paula and Angie insufferable nags, while Jon was a certified megalomaniac. If I wasn’t sure that I would go mad by myself, I would have killed them in their sleep.

When we spotted the island, Jon released a drone. The video showed a small settlement, twenty or so people, living in huts. They didn’t appear to have much technology, staring at the drone in amazement. As soon as I saw them, I changed course to bring the boat ashore. But Jon pushed me aside, and returned us to our original course.

“What the hell, Jon?” I yelled.

“We’re not landing,” he announced. “There’s something wrong with those people, can’t you see?”

I knew then what I had to do. My knife flashed once, and Jon fell, unmoving. When the girls started screaming, it flashed twice more, and I had blessed silence.

Minutes later the boat nosed onto the sandy beach. As I jumped off, the natives surrounded me. When they smiled, I realized what Jon meant.

Teeth sharpened to fine points glistened in every mouth. I screamed until they gagged me. When I saw the gigantic black pot of boiling water, I thought, “You have got to be kidding me.”

They weren’t.


Western PA High Tech Country Boy
Nov 11, 2011

The sleeper arose slowly from the sea, awake after a long hibernation, and began to search with its thousand eyes for something familiar from its memory. It was time now for it to come home. It had slept long enough.

Sadly nothing looked familiar. But it did not give up. It kept looking, further and further out. It cast its eyes out like Argus in every direction searching for the home it had left behind so many eons ago.

Along a deserted shoreline its eyes crept under the sand and popped out on stalks. One after another they arose, like an army of warriors standing at attention, awaiting instruction.

Wait! What was that?

Two frail-looking creatures gradually approached the shoreline from inland, each hobbling awkwardly on two stiff appendages. Unsightly, odd little creatures!

The sleeper kept its eye stalks still as they approached, observing them in great detail.

The creatures approached, unconcerned about the row of eye stalks that lined the shore. They spread out a large cloth and dropped various strange objects on it. Next they removed their outer coverings and hung them over a couple of the sleeper's eye stalks. Exposed and unprotected, they ran into the sea.

The sleeper blinked and shook off the creatures' outer coverings.

How presumptuous of these creatures using his eyes like some utility post!

The sleeper stretched out more eye stalks further and further inland until it found more colonies of the creatures. They overran the place. They misused and abused the world. They gutted whole areas and constructed living places for themselves. The sleeper's home was being systematically destroyed!

They were so puny and insignificant. Yet they seemed to believe they owned the world.

The sleeper, now awake, would have something to say about that.

Venusian Broon

Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity
Dec 7, 2011
The Early Ghost

I hadn’t noticed her come towards me, but being a ghost she could be silent. I'd stopped crying and had been mesmerised by the sparkling sea.

“What are you doing?” she asked. Busy chewing, I nodded at the wooden bowl between my legs. There was a little liquid at the bottom. She peered in, “What’s that?”

I swallowed the sacred mushrooms in my mouth. “Piss!” I said.

“Yeuw!” She jumped back, just like Freya would have. “Why?”

“Ogma brought mushrooms to eat, I pee strange, and then tonight he'll drink it to commune with the great spirits. For incantations against the water.” Out on the sea, golden serpents broke the surface; small horned heads on long graceful necks. “Woah! Did the sea beasties bring you here?”

The ghost turned, “I don’t know.” She stamped her feet, but being a ghost she made no impression in the sand. Could she read filthy thoughts? I tried. Just a strange frown, so obviously not. Freya would’ve laughed.

She pointed at one of the log and pole constructions. “What are those?”

“Magic barriers. Ogma made me build them.”

“Oh, really!”

“To stop the sea flooding our village,” I said. Ogma the shaman had said something about wounding the land with iron and wood and making it swell with anger.

“And it will work?”

“Ogma also gave the sea gods a gift this morning, to make sure,” I said. He had made me hold my dear Freya when he sacrificed her to the salt marshes. The ghost sat next to me.

Eventually I asked, “Were the gods placated? You are back early.”

“I don’t know.” the ghost with Freya’s face told me. She tried to comfort me with a touch, but being a ghost I couldn’t feel it.
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Zoe Mackay

Not all those who wander... Oh, actually, I am.
Aug 19, 2014
Like a You or a Me.

At dawn, Linus and I go for walkies on the beach. It’s a quiet time, just the waves, the wind, and Linus. He barks excitedly, and brings me a piece of driftwood.

I start out before the sun is up, Linus’s blanket tucked under my arm in case he gets cold. It’s a mottled, threadbare thing that I’ve tried washing, but it still smells of him, of wet dog and seawater. I walk out to the old breakwater - past it, if the tide allows - and then along to the headland.

Linus’ loves these walks. His excitement washes against my melancholy, and I find a few minutes of joy. The sun breaks the horizon – a chord, a semi-circle, a whole. The wind snaps freshly on my face. I throw the stick and he returns.

Does he wonder why I don’t want it, why I’m rejecting his gift? Is every trip a cycle of happiness and disappointment for him? Maybe he thinks that this time I’ll keep it.

I think he knows it’s a game. I think he plays for my benefit.

Halfway along the beach is a bench. It’s a blessing: I can no longer manage the whole way without a rest. I sit, and Linus sits, and together we look to the island. Linus quivers, his muscles straining. He wants to swim across and explore the island’s tree-lined shores. I fasten his lead to his collar and hold him tightly. The island scares me.

After, I come back to the house alone. It’s dark, silent, and still, after sunlight and sea. I put Linus’ blanket into his empty bed and hang his leash up by the door. I tell myself that tomorrow will be the last time I go to the beach, but I know it’s a lie.


Professionally indecisive
Jul 9, 2015
To Fulfill Your Commands

Somber, grey clouds swirled and gathered. The storm had already picked up and was blowing their words carelessly off shore towards The Island, looming darkly behind them.

“It's okay, Mer. Don't be sad. I’m ready.”

“Don't go, Dad, please! We can find another way…”

“This is the only way. One sacrifice every year, you know the rules.” The pain showed on his face. “It only wants one.”

Meredith pressed her cheek into his warm chest and reminded herself that she had known this day would come. They had lived alone on the shores for a year now, and this was his last gift to her. She wept into him, digging her fingers into his coat.

“I have to go,” he whispered, turning away to face The Island. He strode quickly into the squalling waves without looking back.

There was a sharp flash, and the sea was calm. The Island had vanished.
Meredith gasped.

“Dad! Dad, come back!”

She yelled to the small dot already swimming far off the coast. She screamed louder, but he was too far out to hear. Running into the water, she pulled herself short as the waves reached her chest. Her shoulders dropped in defeat, but I can't swim…

Her father had taught her many things in the last year, how to hunt and cook, how to find decent shelter during a storm. She had learnt to look after herself, but not how to look after him.

When she made it back to the shore, Meredith crumpled onto the sand and wept. She prayed to the Heavens not to take him, and prayed to The Island to send him back.

After a time, her tears ran dry and she stopped waiting for him to return.
She just waited for The Island to take her too.


Shropshire, U.K.
Feb 13, 2006
Shropshire, U.K.
Everyone Likes A Day On The Beach

He had been coming here for years. It was his favourite spot.

On occasion his family would come along, but not this time. They had chosen to stay home. He didn't mind, he enjoyed his own company. He enjoyed time to himself, time to relax and think.

He especially liked days, like to today, when the beach was deserted. Sometimes there would be annoying, noisy, groups of people playing in the sand or splashing about in the water and he'd move on to some other, less well favoured, spot.

But here was ideal, sheltered from the wind but still enjoying the warmth of the sun. The sand was soft, the water hardly ever cold.

He'd visited the island a couple of times, swimming the short distance across the bay, but the cliffs were too steep and rocky to allow him to get ashore. He must try again sometime, he thought.

Further out a small boat bobbed up and down. Further out still a much larger craft, belching smoke, headed towards the horizon. Neither of them were close enough for him to worry about.

Seabirds wheeled overhead. One landed a short distance away looking for scraps and keeping a wary eye on him. They always annoyed him and he scuffed a bit of sand towards it. It took off complaining noisily.

He was half dozing, eyes almost shut, when the slightest of sounds carried to him on the wind. Shouting? Laughter? Still some distance away but close enough for him to pay attention. He turned his head from side to side. Moving away or coming closer? He listened carefully. Definitely closer.

Time to go. The Kraken slid the short distance to the water's edge and slipped silently beneath the waves.

Perpetual Man

Tim James
Jun 13, 2006
Always Looking Forwards

I always thought the fence went on forever, y’know? I mean you stood lookin’ in either direction an’ you could jus’ sees it, wooden poles risin’ out of that there earth, stretchin’ as far as y’can see.

On one side is the harsh grass land where we lives, on the other sand and sea. Old Mother Sea we calls her. Sometimes she is blue and balmy, as beautiful as eyes y’want t’drown in. Others though she is black an’ ragin’ an’ angry, can sweeps you away an’ smash you deads! Even at her calmest she can sneak up, drags you down and drownded you.

We don’t go that side of the fence too much.

There was those that said the fence ran along one of the scars, you know, from when the stars fell from t’sky.

I don’t know about that, but I figure there must be a reason for it, else why is it there?

One day, when I’m a bit bigger, I’m goin’ t’follow that old fence, like da did, like Wilson and Belle.

I’ll go t’the left I thinks, across the scrubs, out int’ the hills and t’the mountains beyond, where they shines even at night. I’ll see if that fence goes on forever.

I knows how t’survive. How t’dig down deep for the scootch eggs, how to avoid the burnin’ blood sheep an’ how t’snare tree ratbits.

Bottlin’ t’night fire is harder, but I kin does it, so I’ll be ables t’see an’ cook.

I’m sure I’ll make it y’know? I mean, all them others that tried, none came back, so they must have got somewhere, right?

An’ if I’m really lucky I might see my da’ and brothers again too.


resident pedantissimo
Staff member
Aug 10, 2005
West Sussex
After the end

Our pipeline - huh. Plastic pipe from the local builders merchants in a trench that was as deep as we could dig the few miles between the two communities, with our precious connecting wire threaded through it for protection. Biogas exchange, to run the little generators and heating rings. And in less than two years nature had undone our attempts, revealing our inadequacies.

In truth, the coastal erosion had been well under way before the plagues had reduced humanity to 'just another species', facing extinction like just about all the others, building subsistence out of the wrecks of luxury. Even before sea level rises, cliffs crumbled, beaches grew or retreated; the sea tolerated no stability, no stasis, and in time changed everything, but recently everything had accelerated.

The plagues had hit the townies worse than the rural population - but there were more of them than us. Death rates had been such that, even after power cuts had killed refrigeration they'd lived almost a year on tinned and dry goods from the stinking supermarkets rather than leave their houses, however ill adapted those buildings might be without modern conveniences - by which time our numbers were low enough that we could have survived as hunter/gatherers, but we had maintained agriculture and fishing, so could feed them, but preferred they start their own community. We'd rigged communication, heating for them in Silver Sands, an old tourist trap. Until gas pressure dropped, and nobody answered the phone any more. We hitched up the donkey cart, with its big beach-buggy tyres, and sent out a rescue expedition - they were less than a day's walk along the coast, and we expected to meet them coming to us.

Footprints in the shingle showed how desultory our investigation of repair possibilities had been.


Lost Boy
Feb 4, 2005
Brisbane, Australia

They landed near the rotting hull of the galley that brought him to the island, years before. The warship in the bay flew the royal standard, and the soldiers in the skiff wore crimson: Imperial Guardsmen. Rohn’s step faltered slightly, hand reaching for the sword he’d not worn for decades.

As he approached he saw their cargo: a dark ironwood box, two feet wide, two deep, seven long, with silver fastenings. Six soldiers hoisted it to their shoulders. A casket. The realisation took Rohn’s breath.

Their commander approached, dropping to one knee. ‘My lord.’

‘Stand. I forsook titles long ago.’

The soldier stood, removing his crested helm. ‘As you will.’

Rohn gestured toward the casket. ‘My brother?’

The commander nodded.

‘What’s your name, lad?’

‘Septimus, my lord.’

Rohn let the slip pass. ‘How’d he die, Septimus?’

‘Peacefully, asleep. His surgeon suspects a clot in the brain.’

‘Peacefully. Not the way he lived, then.’ Rohn was silent a moment, remembering. There was as much blood on his hands as his brother’s. More, maybe. ‘Why bring him here?’

‘The Emperor’s wishes. Upon his death, he wanted to be brought here. To you.’

Rohn tried to speak but couldn’t. He swallowed, composing himself. ‘Thank you.’

‘It was my honour,’ Septimus said. ‘There is something else, my lord.’ He drew a heavy parchment scroll from his tunic, held it out.

‘What’s this?’

‘Official succession papers. Your brother died childless -- your imperial majesty.’

Rohn laughed. ‘I don’t want your damn Empire. My brother lusted after it, and all it made him was a tyrant. I gave it to him, and it stole him from me.’ He pushed the scroll away. ‘Go. Leave me bury my brother. I'll celebrate the man he once was, and do my best to forget the man that crown made him.’


Who are you people?
Apr 27, 2011

Ren cursed at the wind that blew sand in his eyes and lifted sprays of spume from the choppy sea. Low cliffs stretched as far as he could see, a perfect vantage point for any assassin while he walked in plain view by the thundering waves.

Why had Strycker advised him to come here when he needed to find a way to defeat the shape-shifter? The thought of the dark, fell creature raised his hackles, and he reached for his sword. It had to be killed in its lair, without waking it. Its unworldly force and brutality too much for man or beast to overcome.

A tern rose and fell on the wind, looking for its supper in the breakers.

Ren took off his sandals and let the cold waves sooth his aching feet, walking until the cliffs gave way to dunes, and then to a small estuary of labyrinthine runnels and streams. He was worn out, his head full of bitter thoughts. So many had died, and the scourge of the demon served not to unite the clans but to fuel their rivalry and bloodletting.

He realised he stank. The rank smell was him, not something rotting on the beach. Sweat, fear, the blood of himself and others, one skirmish after another for weeks. He dropped his heavy pack to the sand, removed his belt and scabbard. He scanned the dunes. No adversaries there. No-one. Even his leather jerkin and armbands smelled of death.

He stripped and as he bathed in the cold sea, the salt stinging his wounds, he realised that this state, naked, stripped of his royal trappings, armour and weapons, cleansed, with mind cleared of hatred and suspicions was how he would need to confront the beast.

‘Strycker, you canny bastard!’
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