Thursday, 13 October 2016

In Support of the Land of Crasti

They were here, right here, I’m sure
Last night before I slept I’m sure I left them here
By the bed, by the alarm clock
Ready for me to pick up in the morning
I almost babble with panic as fingers scrabble
Over throat lozenges and fake wood veneer

Filled to bursting with the stuff I picked up in school
And added to with things I shaped myself
(haphazard and unwieldy though they were)
Shining and polished, and so so many of them
All ready to use, right here, I’m sure they were

Where did they go?  
Could they have been so carelessly mislaid
Or did some thief, clever-creeping come to my room
In the night
In the silence
And take them away?

My years.  Where have they gone?

(in response to Studio30Plus prompt "Babble")

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Anathema Drumbeat

In the dusty caverns of the temple, in the burned out ashes of the hall
In the empty echoing of ages we stand and smile and silence takes it all
Through the endless empty march of seconds, Through the days so brilliant and bleak
Through the nights and through the days so foolish, are we quite so foolish as to speak?

Where’s the voice that once proclaimed the sunlight, Where’s the hand that framed the tyger’s fire
Where’s the blood the drowned a deadly serpent?  Who’s the fool who dares to thus enquire?
We will raise our voices in the silence, we will raise our hands to show our cause,
We will shed our blood if blood needs shedding, fear and fright will never give us pause

We have something shining and surpassing, We have life that quickens every heart.
We have that within that passeth knowledge, We have light and darkness. We have art.

(For Studio30Plus and their prompt "Anathema")

Friday, 24 June 2016

Here is wisdom.

“Vimes had once discussed the Ephebian idea of ‘democracy’ with Carrot, and had been rather interested in the idea that everyone had a vote until he found out that while he, Vimes, would have a vote, there was no way in the rules that anyone could prevent Nobby Nobbs from having one as well. Vimes could see the flaw there straight away.”

― Terry PratchettThe Fifth Elephant

Wednesday, 8 June 2016


An alchemist scowled and he said
While gloomily scratching his head
Perhaps I’m too old
To turn self into gold
I guess I’m too easily led.

In Response to Studio30Plus' Prompt "Guess" or "Reckon"

Friday, 3 June 2016

The Watchers on the Wall

An extract from a manuscript discovered in the ruins of Lughdunum in the early 24th century following the great Barcode Wars.  It appears to have been a satirical play, author unknown.

This extract is from Act III of the play and takes place in Adlerstan on the Great Border

Guard 1 (entering):
What news my friend?  The waste beyond the wall?

Guard 2: 
Remains, unchanged. A desolation still.

Guard 1:
This watch is wearisome to me, and is
To each man of renown a burden bleak.
But needful, so they say, our pleasant land
To save and to preserve from evil days.

Guard 2:
What days more evil than those days we have
Could come upon us?

Guard 1:
Soft, and speak no more.
Such words as those are barbed, and pierce and tear,
And risk enough to hear, much less to speak.
There’s men enough to bear a tale for coin
And not for me the prison camp offshore.

Captain (entering):
What ho, what ho, you sturdy men and true

Guard 1:
Captain, good day

Guard 2:
Good day my captain bold.

Good day indeed, dear lads, for I have news
Today our watch is brightened from above
For to the wall there comes to see our watch
And I predict on us to praises heap
Our leader, the eternal ruler Trump
Preserved by Art a century and more
Oh glory, glory and such glory thrice
To see our leader, why it’s…

Guard 1:
Very nice?
Oh Captain do we have the right to see
This wondrous Trump, the first of God’s decree
This paragon of triumph and of will?
This golden one?  Oh may he rule us still.

Guard 2:
Your irony is showing friend, back off

What did you say my man?

Guard 2:
‘Twas just a cough.

Stand to, good men and true, stand to indeed
And every buckle shine and button close
Your halberds and your crossbows polish all
I’ll go escort our leader to the wall

Guard 1:
Great God in heaven is this not enough
To insult heap on this injurious toil
To have to smile and fawn on this… on this..
Bewigged, befouled vainglorious old boil!

Guard 2:
Peace, he comes, peace and speak no more your mind

(enter Captain and TRUMP an iron-lung on tracks, a bouffant blond wig blowing on top of it)

Hail to the chief, good men, and Hail Indeed

Hail Trump, oh steel encased and mighty one

Guard 2:
Hail Trump, Lord of a time now spent and gone


Haha, good one, a double meaning there

Guard 1:
Good one my lord

Guard 2:
and is that really hair?

(he trundles away followed by the Captain)

And so our tale must end this shocking scene
Of futures bleak, that current moods may presage.
And so, your humble narrator I’ve been,
I'm Thomas Marlowe – I endorse this message
(exeunt omnes)

In answer to Studio30Plus' prompt "VAINGLORIOUS"

Monday, 14 March 2016

Sneaky bug(ger)s

What would you do if you were a tiny insect and prey to those swooping swirling creatures of the night that can track you by sonar?

Obvious isn't it?

You learn to jam the sonar.

Bertholdia trigona, a moth native to the Arizona desert, emits ultrasonic clicks at a rate of 4,500 times per second to blur bats' acoustic vision
Next question.

What species are moving amongst us now that have the same jamming capabilities for our senses... and how would we ever know?

"there were never such devoted sisters..."

Some things just cry out for backstory, even though I know in my heart of hearts that the truth of the situation cannot live up to the possibilities.

I like to think that this wasn't some one-off dispute that had got really out of hand, but evidence of a subculture of devoted-duellists who would travel Europe seeking to settle doctrinal disputes the old fashioned way.     One red bead on the rosary for every confirmed kill as a badge of rank.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Romanian villagers: Why investigate vampire slaying? We know what we're doing?

Typical government sticking their noses in where they're not needed.

Before Toma Petre's relatives pulled his body from the grave, ripped out his heart, burned it to ashes, mixed it with water and drank it, he hadn't been in the news much. That's often the way here with vampires. Quiet lives, active deaths.

Read more here:

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Debtor's Prison

“The trouble with the old stories,” said the old man, thick smoke clinging to his hair as he paused to draw on his cigarette and exhale luxuriously, “is that they never end properly.”

Since his audience consisted of two young drunkards in a Boston nightclub he didn’t get much of a reaction.  The two men, students by the look of them, lounged on the couch across from him and nodded wobbly heads for politeness sake.

“They have ends, but they don’t end,” the old man continued.   “They come back in different ways.   You should read some of the old folk tales from before Disney took his gelding shears to them.  Blood and fire, torture and death and no happy endings mostly.   They should have been allowed to rest in peace instead of dragged from their rest and prettied up.  Like putting a ribbon in a corpse’s hair.”

Another long draw on his cigarette.   “Still he ended up as a head in a frozen jar so the laugh’s on him.   Still awake from what I hear, frozen and aware.   Serves the bastard right.    Like Loki.”

Seeing no hint of recognition on the two listeners he explained.   “The god.   Well half god, half giant.  Chained to a rock beneath the earth, venom dripping on his face from a big bastard of a snake.   Frozen in place and aware of his pain forever.  Just like Disney.”

“Bullshit,” said the shorter of the two men opposite, but without acrimony.

“Probably,” admitted the man.   “Anyway my point is… my point is the stories should be left to end.  But they don’t.  Let me tell you about last week.

“A man came into this club, this very club.   He was a little older than you boys, tall and good looking in a don’t get too close sort of way.  Fair hair with a shine of red when he passed under the lights.   The sort of man that just stinks of skulduggery.   Don’t laugh, it’s a good word.  An old word.   Older than you think it is, that word.   Anyway he was a no good bastard is what I mean.   He bought drinks for people, he laughed and he joked and he flirted with all the best looking women.  Successful too, what we used to call honey-tongued.

“Anyway he ended up taking one of those girls, Sabrina or Selena or some such name, off by themselves for a little while.   And while he was out of the room someone else came in through the front door.   Oh she was something.   Tall and strong, long golden hair, eyes that burned blue.  Nobody could take their eyes of her but she didn’t look like someone here to dance.   Looked like trouble.  Looked like someone hoping to call in a debt.  And guess who she was looking for?

“The man himself was in the corridor outside the rest room, making out with Selena or Sabrina or whatever.  Getting hot and heavy.    Then all of a sudden she tries to pull away.   ‘Something’s burning,’ says she.   He just holds her all the tighter and then something screwy happens.   She makes this god awful choking noise and then pushes him away.    The guy’s lost all his swagger now, looks confused, scared.   He stumbles away and heads for the fire exit.   Meanwhile Sabrina or Selena stands up tall and straight, checks herself out in a mirror on the wall and smiles like she likes what she sees.

“Just then the debt collector woman comes barrelling through the corridor, and I swear to God she had a sword in her hand, a damn great sword.  Out she goes through the fire exit after Sonny Jim and she doesn’t come back.  Not that night anyway.   Meanwhile Sabrina, or Selena, or whatever the hell she calls herself now goes back to the club to drink some more and dance and get laid.   What do you think of that?”

“Still sounds like bullshit,” said the young man who’d spoken before, “how do you know what happened?  Were you watching them make out you sick old bastard?”

The old man drew on his cigarette again, “You know me too well,” he said.   Across the club he saw a tall woman enter, haloed in the light of the club entrance, eyes burning and a debt to collect.    He blew his smoke out across the men opposite, and the big guy, the more drunk one of the two coughed and looked angry.

“Let’s get out of here,” he said to his shorter companion, “I need some air.”   He pulled the other man to his feet and they turned to walk away from the old man, now looking confused and lost.

“Crazy old bastard,” said the short man as they walked past the woman who’d just arrived, not noticing her sudden fierce pace.  “Skulduggery huh?”

“Old word,” said his no longer drunk friend, opening the door and stepping out into the cold night air, “Comes from the Icelandic.  Skuldari.  Means someone who’s trying to skip out on a debt.   Let’s go get something to eat.”

In response to Studio30Plus prompt "Skulduggery" 
Image by Tony Jacobson

Saturday, 28 November 2015

History never repeats itself, but it often rhymes.

Those old men in their towers
Rich in gold and oil and powers
Will never cry 'enough, I'm satisfied'

And they send out their town criers
And their skilful journaliars
And they cast their spell so trusted and so tried

See the other, over there?
What they're doing is unfair
And their ways are wrong and evil and obscene

We must fear them and must hate them
And completely decimate them
For while they live the world is never clean

So they'll march boys off to war
as they've marched them off before
And they beat the drums of falsehood and of shame

And if judgement's to be had
between what's good and bad
then first you need to ask the killer's name

In tenuous response to Light & Shade Challenge's "Incantation" and Studio30Plus's "Attack"