Catspaw

March 15, 2014 § 1 Comment

Bone charms rattle as she lifts her gnarled paw and silences the muttering of those rag-wrapped figures huddled around her. Her eyes glimmer despite the pearlescent sheen of aged decrepitude that blinds them and she spits once, twice into the sputtering fire before her.

Ghrek hehg hehhg! Ghrek hahlg harrakh! Ghrek, ghrek heeehhhgg!

That last, awful syllable stretches out, rising, and is picked up by the mewling group at her feet in splintered disharmony. Smoke puffs up from the flames, lingering briefly in the shallow cave until the cold wind rips it to tatters. She brings silence with a low growl and claw-show. She spits again and smoke rises once again, more persistent than before.

Ghrek hehg harrakh! Ghrek hahlg hehg hehhg! Ghrek hehg hehhg Ghrek harrakh harrakhiin!

And there it is. She read the moon well, the wind, the soft ripples in the earth and the grey-white lines of the sky. Smoke, more smoke than could be expected from such a meagre fire, billows up to the roof then slows, stiffens and slides back down the cave’s sweat-slicked sides. Grey smoke black now, black even against the jittering flame-cast shadows of the gloaming cave. She smiles, in her own way, as her brood are engulfed by the solidifying fumes and start to howl, deep and somehow slowed beyond any earthly voice. She hears the Pale Warders, the skull-stick totems out on the foothills, start their wail-song rolling out across the Fen. It sounds distant, fog-dulled. The smoke-mass touches her, flows around her, passes through her and for a moment she is a young leugha again, disobeying her mistress to skulk in the cavern-holes where she first found Him.

Then nothing.

And there it is. In the slow-time drag of failing thought, a binding of consciousness given up to the voids and that ur-stuff between the voids. Some willing, some not. No division. A roiling mass of beingness borne forth.

Moulder

And there it is. The Bubbling Foment. Moulder. The One Beneath. Well Dweller. Ghrek Harrakhiin, Shadow-Behind-Shadows.

And there it is. The Sleeping Cliffs sleep no more.

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Geogramancy

December 19, 2013 § 1 Comment

Whilst many Citizens never leave their Borough, let alone pass beyond the common environment of stone and brick, a not insignificant number gird themselves and press out into the oft-unknown lands of the Suburbs. It is to these doughty adventurers that we dedicate this meagre work – nought more than a collection of their experiences – and to whom we offer thanks in the name of those brothers of Science; Knowledge and Exploration.

Many Citizens will be aware of the area known by most as the Fen and its reputation as a mist-shrouded place of sickness and isolation is not unfounded; the creatures known as Fen Dogs stalk this land and even more fantastical entities – various species of carnivorous tree, bloated King Leeches and the ghastly, howling Katterjack – are said to lurk in the furthest reaches of the Far Fen. Yet, for all its reputation, The Fen has been travelled and, to a degree, mapped. The few landmarks that exist on the undulating moorland serve to direct those wise in its ways and it is these that we will discuss in this work. The silent lake of Glassmere, looming Pinstack, the stone pillars of the Fat Man and his Son; these and many more are elucidated, often with fine prints, in the opening section of this compendium.

Fat Man & Son

The latter part of the work concerns itself with those far less visited areas beyond the hinterland of the Fen; the Sleeping Cliffs, the Scatter, Aden’s Height and the Glimmersee. Whilst far less information exists for these places, some no more than names, their peculiar features make even the most vague impression of great importance. The Author notes that this section also contains a number of fictional works that relate to the locations in question. Some readers may bemoan this recourse to tall tales and hearsay but it is the Author’s most humble opinion that the greatest works of fiction can, in hindsight, be proven to contain grains of a higher truth.

N.B: The Author and Publisher, in this Second & Re-Authorised Edition, are bound by both Honour and Law to make warning to any Dear Reader who may take this work as an exhortation to transgress the boundaries of the City and adventure into the realms beyond. Paying only a small amount of attention to the tales of those who return from these places, let alone the lingering silence of those who do not, should prove sufficient to dissuade any neophyte wanderer and restrict them to the less perilous environs of the City Library.

An excerpt from the introduction to ‘Without Within: Journeys Beyond The Four Walls‘ by Leonora DeVere

The Fen

There lies, far East, a nameless fen/didst Man last tread I know not when/but beasts there are/and worse by far/things that yearn for foreign stars/things as shy from mortal ken/but dance and howl on the nameless fen…

H. Devlin Weard (attrib.)

(Fen vista by kind courtesy of edgeplorer and occasional oculist, Capt. Oaklaw)

Veteran

November 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

…knew abart no rules did i never knew never knew carnt blame me for not knowin fings I dont know if I dont know I dont know em speshly if I dont get tol I dont know em makes sense dunnit but you tryn tell it to a gang o tins and yerll get a rap on the napper for yer troubles and no mistake right darn in the gutter with yer gear all filched and no sight o gettin it back not from tins the barstards not wi them all swaggrin and hollerin like they owns the place which they damn near do at least darn ere as far as anyone cares where an ol tick jus mindin is bisness gets a whallop an more jus for walkin the street all quiet like when e dint even know e wernt sposed to be walkin it cos e dunt know no better and no buggr tol im even tho e fort inna war an got a meddle for killin ooever it was we sposed to be killin back then and dun is job wi no complaynin even when there was boms and worse flyin abart or some militry tin was carryin on and a-hollerin just cos o some jonnies boots or summat I don’t recall proper no more lotta water under the bridge yer might say lotta water aye that an more besides jus to keep the chill orf y’see which is why they never believes us when I tells em I was followin a burgler or summat up in them eeves e was but they carnt see im even when I tells em you afta kinda look outta the side o yer eye a bit and not strayt at im or yerl see nowt but they jus larfs and sez eres summink for the side o yer eye and gis me the rap like I sez an this geezers up there on the roof all shifty like an creepin alon but I gets the rap again an im darn like an ol bag o spuds and probly not worf as much for all that not that any o em gis a penny for us at the best o times least of all when a gang o tins is all abart an shakin theyr sticks like they was avin a fair ol dance wi some sweet gel an not an ol tick oo fort inna war an all that besides but I keeps tellin em even when theys layin on the ol boot that I never even seen no poster or no sine or whatever they was sayin an i was just an ol tick lookin for some place to keep outta the chill and tryna keep shifty folks orf peepls roofs when they don’t deserve no feller wandrin abart all over ther ouses even less than some ol tick deserves the rap when ee never knew abart no rools cos no bugr done never tell im abart em an you cant blame im if he never knew can ye makes sense an i never done red no poster never red it did i an i never…

Hidden

October 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

///Hidden// thinks the Bat. //Hidden worlds, hidden words/Lost and found/Lost/And Found//

The Bat’s head jitters quickly. Thin fingers click against each other nervously.

///Found// thinks the Bat. //Stolen?/Difficult/Difficult thought//

The Bat walks slowly back and forth, hunkered over under the weight of brazen wings folded backwards. Quiet mutterings come from beneath its ragged cowl.

///Bat didn’t know// thinks the Bat. //Bat asked for secrets/Bat gives secrets/Bat gets coin/Always the same/Always/No trouble/ No trouble for Bat//

The Bat rubs its hands together, shakes its head.

///Bat not look for trouble// thinks the Bat. //Only lost secrets/Need home from sky colours/Bat gives/No trouble/No trouble//

Plaster

October 24, 2013 § 1 Comment

Man lies on bed. Stares. Wall. Plaster peels, partly. Echo of rain on tin, on wood, on tin again. Always noise yet not-noise persistence of indefinite sound. Hand moves, retreats. Wind on glass, glass on frame. Creak of elsewhere. Rafter. Laughter, perhaps. Old dust and webs. Thin blanket of age. Left, lost life. Guttering.

Blood Hand

Man lies on bed. Stares. Ceiling. Plaster peels, moreso. Shadows sit, soft. Rust rhythm, removed. Grasp of light, gasp of lightness. Twilight. Darkness. Warmth fades, cooling.

Man lies on bed. Stares. Nowhere.

Plaster peels. Crumbles. Collapses.

Oh why do you cry, little boy…

October 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

Oh why do you cry, little boy, said the wolf
Oh why do you cry, said the wolf

My mother is dead, sir wolf, said the boy
My mother is dead, said the boy

Yet all mothers die, little boy, said the wolf
Yes all mothers die, said the wolf

My father lies dead at my feet, said the boy
My father lies dead, said the boy

All fathers must die in their turn, said the wolf
All fathers must die, said the wolf

And where is your mother, sir wolf, said the boy
And where is your mother, sir wolf

She lies in the snow, little boy, said the wolf
Shot through with an arrow, said the wolf

Shot through with an arrow, little boy, said the wolf
From your father’s bow, little boy

So I ripped out his throat, little boy, said the wolf
And your mother’s heart, said the wolf

For all parents die, little boy, said the wolf
And all children too, little boy.

For all parents die, little boy, said the wolf
And all children too, little boy.

Trouble/No Trouble

July 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

///Hidden// thinks the Bat. //Hidden worlds, hidden words/Lost and found/Lost/And Found//

The Bat’s head jitters quickly. Thin fingers click against each other nervously.

///Found// thinks the Bat. //Stolen?/Difficult/Difficult thought//

The Bat walks slowly back and forth, hunkered over under the weight of brazen wings folded backwards. Quiet mutterings come from beneath its ragged cowl.

///Bat didn’t know// thinks the Bat. //Bat asked for secrets/Bat gives secrets/Bat gets coin/Always the same/Always/No trouble/ No trouble for Bat//

The Bat rubs its hands together, shakes its head.

///Bat not look for trouble// thinks the Bat. //Only lost secrets/Need home from sky colours/Bat gives/No trouble/No trouble//

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