Comments Posted By Gordsthoughts
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It was a grand three storey house, five bedrooms, and even a master hallway. It was his. Beautifully decorated, and his children had their own annexe in which to play with their friends and live a more independent life to themselves, away from the watchful eyes of grown-ups.
A chill draught made him shiver slightly, and reaching out, he pulled his son’s sleeping bag a little tighter around his head to keep him warm, and huddled himself deeper into his own bag. The icy breeze blowing in from Lake Michigan funnelled in between the bridges, and rasped noisily against the tent’s side. They were dry under the bridges, at least, and the soporific effect of the cold made the nights thankfully shorter. As the low din of rush hour traffic woke them shortly after dawn, his children could make the long trek in to school again, and find food they gone without the night before. Maybe with an education, they would find a way out of this tent.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 02.19.2012 @ 2:47 am
He had risen to his position with a ruthless gaze and unarming charm which, depending on his audience, varied in their proportions. Underneath this cool exterior lay a dragon. From ancient depths, and prehistoric loyalties and divisions, had grown this political juggernaut, steamrollering those in his way with callous disregard, while lifting up those moving in his direction, from the turbulence of his own speed of ambition, and with the weight of tribal self-belief that made him a force that had to be reckoned with.
He would not concede. He would control. He would decide. He would bring death where there is life, if so he chose to. And his new wish to bring life where there was death, would be difficult, but not impossible. Indeed, the scientists working for the state department would be forced to find a way, now he himself was ageing in years. He may have been filled with a sense of arrogant immortality, but a glance in the mirror soon convinced him otherwise. Mirrors did not lie. Unlike the attendants around him.
Charged with the duty of finding a way of preserving their glorious leader, they would come up with a solution, or face the ultimate penalty. not just them, but their families too.
In this way, he hastened his own demise. As the pressure weighed too heavily on the chief scientist in charge of the task, he requested an audience with the great leader to discuss the latest results of their research. His answer was that there was no method known to science of preserving life indefinitely, nor of bringing life back from death, and handed him the sheet of test results to look over for himself.
The leader was unconvinced of the results. “Science is never certain of anything” he replied. And he raised his gun from the coffee table to shoot the scientist – an appropriate reward, he felt, for failure.
As he readied himself to pull the trigger, an action which would take only a fraction of a second, his hand refused to collaborate. He willed it, but it would not move. Uncomfortably, he stared at his hand, and felt his arm also begin to stiffen.
A look of surprise, anger, and growing horror appeared in sequence in his eyes. The chief scientist, who knew very well what was happening. The bodyguards who stood at the far end of the Great Hall of the palace, looked on the scene without moving. To them, they could see nothing unusual. Their leader appeared to be lost in thought, and the scientist was on the other side of the table. They had searched him before he had gone in. No weapons. Searching everyone had become the leader’s latest paranoid insistence, the usual act of a dictator convinced that his grip on the people was weakening, and that usurpation would be at any moment.
The scientist, however, watched, empty, and without emotion. By now, the neurotoxin he had coated the sheet in had penetrated the great leader’s fingers and was working its way steadily up his arms, quickly to the throat muscles, and soon the whole body. After a mere twenty seconds, he would be locked in to his body, unable to move anything of his own will.
“You see” the scientist said in hushed tones, so as not to alert the guards “the great quantity of money you pumped into finding a cure for death, we instead pumped into a different area of research – a drug which would control both body, and mind”.
The leader looked on at the scientist, effervescent with rage, but quite unable to express it.
“For years, you have controlled your people, for better or worse, usually…” he added with a sigh, “for worse. Now it is our turn. We considered killing you. That would have been easy. But it would not have been effective. We could have imprisoned you, but that would not have been so easy, and, well, there is always a chance you might have escaped, or spent your time raging, as you would not get to see, or experience, the horrors of being under your own regime.” He took off his spectacles, and gave them a brief wipe on his white coat before replacing them. He felt it added something to the gravity of the scene.
“The drug we invented, you will be pleased to know, was very, very expensive. It consumed much of the costs of funds you pumped in, so none of your money was wasted. And I think you may, through this, experience life beyond death in a way you would not have done otherwise. It locks you in to your body, and gives us the power to control you…order you about, if you like. And no one would know differently. You will find yourself unable to oppose these orders, and unable to express your own feelings. Your body, my great leader, is no longer yours, but ours. Through us, and the good actions we will cause to occur through you, you will come to experience living in a way you never thought possible.”
The look in the eyes of the leader glittered with denial of the reality, horror at its consequences, and finally settled on a dull resignation when he realised that none of these feelings could he express by shouting, shooting, or generally having his own way. He decided to ride it out, until the drug wore off.
The drug, however, never wore off. The great leader went through a change of heart on the world stage. His actions became bizarrely more benevolent, and some, such as firing his whole cabinet, and having them arrested, while appointing as their replacements, the compendium of scientists, seemed unusual, but within his rights to do. The things he said, the things he did, had seemed out of character for a while, until, eventually, they became normal. the country began to prosper once more, tourists came back, the people grew happier, and the lot of the people improved considerably.
The final grey hairs had fallen from the leader’s head some fifteen years later. Completely bald, and almost ninety, the illness which had threatened to finish him off some years ago had subsided long before, and now it was simple age that had taken its toll. At this fifteen year mark, the signs of the drug began to wear off. One morning, on his way to cabinet meeting, as he had been ordered over the phone, he fet his hand jerkily come to life. As he thought about this unusual occurrence, the other hand did the same. Gradually, feeling began to seep across his body, like a sunrise flowing across the countryside. Unlike fifteen years ago, his body felt more comfortable than he had remembered it being. Warmer, more relaxed. While his previous nature had been one of anger and destruction, he found it difficult to summon those feelings once more. As he stepped from the car, a passer-by in the street paused and paid him a small homage, thanking him for what he had done for the country.
This had happened a lot in recent years, but now he had full control of his body once more, he could not decide what to do. Such spontaneous outbursts never happened before he had had the drug. They felt good.
The chief minister approached. “Let us go inside” said the minister, his tone a mixture of greeting and the necessary order to move.
The leader nodded, and for a moment, paused briefly, leaving the minister feeling slightly alarmed. He had forgotten that fifteen years would be up today. He looked openly, and expectantly, at the leader.
The leader looked into the eyes of the chief minister, the same man who had issued the drug to him all those years ago. The armed bodyguard closed the car door and joined them. He waited equally expectantly for something to happen, watching the two men look at each other in silence. It was as if they were conversing telepathically.
The leader broke this eternal pause with a simple smile, the first he remembered experiencing. This fact alone took him a little by surprise. He reached out his hand to the minister, who in turn reached out his, and they shook hands warmly. The leader nodded. “Yes, I’d like that.”
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 02.03.2012 @ 3:56 pm
He settled down to try and sleep, hiding himself as tightly as he could amongst a cluster of old cardboard boxes on the edge of the runway. Away from this, and all around, was flat, expressionless wasteground, with a high wirelink fence all round. In this, the only safe place he could find, and away from the security personnel, he tried to find comfort in the warmth of boxes. From his left, he heard a terrifying scream, growing in volume, and coming out of the dark. It became so loud that his brain shook inside his skull, and the very ground might open up because of it. He was suddenly knocked sideways by an unseen hand, and as he struggled to get upright, a box was thrown up into his face.
And suddenly, as the scream subsided, the unseen hand vanished, and all was calm again, save for a low, increasingly distant drone of engines.
He watched a giant, fading black object disappear off to his right. It screeched to a halt almost a mile away.
It had taught him a valuable lesson. Choose your sleeping quarters with more care.
This was going to be a long night.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 01.20.2012 @ 11:46 am
“Fifty!” Terry cried with a heave of breath.
Slowly, and as obviously as he could, he lowered the barbell gently, hoping to get the attention of the slender, lycra-clad girls at the other side of the gym. Yeah, he thought. They’ve gotta be impressed by this.
Day four at the gym, pressing weights, no, pumping iron. Yes, he had to remember his lingo now. No point in sounding like an amateur. Bench presses were the ultimate exercise he had been told. Nothing impresses the chicks more than presses.
He had high hopes. In six months, he would be the next Arnold, according to the new fitness regime he’d just ordered from the internet. And he’d have washboard abs in just a fortnight. Six easy steps, it said. Though apparently it required he purchase some more add-on things to complete his workout ‘plan’. He’d yet to wade through the rest of the promotion materials before he got to the exercises themselves.
For a moment, he flexed his muscles while sat on the bench, admiring them, while recovering from his exertions. He hoped this flexing, just him being natural, of course, would catch the eyes of those same girls at the other side of the gym.
No, no luck he thought. He prepared to stand up, but as he did so, he saw one of the girls point in his direction, and two of them started heading towards him.
“Oh my God”, he thought, “this is it. The muscles are finally doing their job”. And he tensed and flexed a little more, again, trying to look natural while he was doing so. It was something he hadn’t quite perfected, and instead took on the visage of someone on the toilet trying to deal with too much food from the night before. Still, the the girls like a vascular man, he was told.
The thinnest of the two girls approached first. “Are you finished on this bench, He-Man?” she asked.
“Er, yeah” Terry replied, fumbling a little for a smart-ass reply. “Yes!” he repeated, this time trying to sound a little more gruff. The girls like a gruff voice, he was told. Gives him an air of authority. Even if he was only nineteen.
Still, he was caught a little off-guard by the moniker she had given him. Was it a compliment? He couldn’t quite work it out.
“Yep, all yours,” he continued, “if you can lift it off there.” With a broad smirk, he stood up to head towards the next bench, leaving a wet patch of sweat on the bench padding as a mark of his territory.
“We can only try” replied the second girl, trying to cover a smile.
Terry sat down at the next machine, preparing himself mentally for some more shock to his muscles.
Before him, his dreams, his ideals, and hopes, all fell away as he watched the first girl pick up the barbell. With one hand. “Hold this, would you, Julie?”. Julie obliged.
Terry sat in an awkward, stunned silence, feeling as if the entire gym was watching this mockery take place.
Julie placed the bar back on its supports, and it was only at this point, that Terry had realised his error. He had been lifting a bar with no weights on it. He thought it was heavy enough on his own. For the last four days, he had been showing off to the rest of the gym, that he was able of knocking out fifty reps of an unweighted bar. Oh, the shame. His face reddened.
The first girl kept eye contact with him as she began adding weights to the bar, four, five, six enormous discs. She lay on the bench and started lifting. Terry quickly made a few token pushes on the machine at which he was sat, and clamly, but with a distinct air of hurrying out, made for the exit.
As he reached the gym door, he heard a chorus shout “fifty!” followed by a fit of giggles from the two girls.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 01.15.2012 @ 4:32 am
The frost crunched loudly under her bare feet, crisp and even, as stiff grassblades simultaneously bent, snapped, and melted as her warm skin bore onto them. Behind her slow footsteps were silent, foot-shaped shadows in the white of the dawn-lit garden.
After twenty paces or so, she stopped. Looking to her left, she could see the fountain.
From it, a small trickle of water continued to fall, down one side, the only remaining passageway open to it among the icy waterfall which the rest of it had become, over the last week.
To her right, was a wooden fence. It was a high, solid fence, frost-licked until it had become a creamy brown, and deep red cycladias gathered in a crowd at its base. The dawn light, now growing stronger, allowed the early sun’s rays to catch the very top, melting the frost to reveal the darker wood underneath, leaving the fence as a whole appearing like a gianthneopolitan ice-cream.
Her feet could now feel the cold, the warmth of the bath she had just had was fading, and the chill brought out goose pimples across her body. She shivered momentarily. She stayed the shivers with a thought of something warm – hot chocolate. An enormous mug of it, thick, dark, and indulgent. It warded off the cold air for only a few seconds. Again she shivered.
In less than an hour, her footprints in the lawn would have faded, and in the silence of her leaving barefoot, she would not be missed by anyone for several more hours.
Continuing carefully, gently, and as quietly as she could, she stepped towards the high fence, and finding an overturned barrel, climbed up, and with a small jump, her fingers found the top of the fence, and she hung there briefly, considering her next move. Still holding there, she waited and listened.
A blackbird broke the silence with a euphoric chorus, quickly answered by a distant rival. This chorus quickly grew as others joined in, and within a minute, smaller songbirds had woken up and were announcing their survival of the coldest night of the year.
With the sudden onset of their clamour for attention, she scrabbled her feet against the fence, struggling to pull herself up to the top.
With some effort, a little out of breath, and beads of sweat that quickly turned frosty against her cheeks, she made it. She sat there, briefly admiring her victory, savouring the chorus of birdsong and the warmth of the dawn sun.
Then she slipped over the other side, and was gone, wearing nothing more than her regulation hospital dressing gown, and holding tightly to a twenty pound note she had kept safe under her mattress, away from the nurses.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 01.13.2012 @ 1:38 pm
Without life, there would be no oil.
Yet, with oil, there might be no life.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 01.08.2012 @ 8:51 am
After all the New Year’s partying and drinking, I passed out and woke up in estate. Somewhere north of Romford.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 01.01.2012 @ 5:57 am
Frank and Ted stared at each other over their half-pints of beer. Frank had insisted, not too much booze, as they had a job to do tonight.
“Priceless, you say?” said Ted.
“That’s right – Ming – ancient. A million years, or something like that.”
“But surely something like that is going to be looked after, isn’t it?”
“Nah – this is the thing, right? It’s New Year’s Eve – I’ve got it on very good authority, someone who knows someone, if you get my drift, that for a quarter of an hour tonight, the security guards will be upstairs joining in the celebrations. They’re of the opinion that no one would be callous enough to break in at such a time of festivity…”
“Little do they know, eh?”
“Little indeed, my friend” and they chuckled to each other in a gravelly, smoker-induced half-coughlaugh. “Time to go.”
Half an hour later, at 11.30, they were in a blue van parked at the end of the alleyway they would be carefully negotiating in a few minutes’ time. They watched as the lights went out on the ground floor, and the stairwell lights came on. The guards had evidently decided to leave a little earlier. This was too good to be true. Talk of new beginnings – a priceless ming vase would certainly bring that for old Frank and Ted. Two decades of ‘jobs’ had brought them a miserable income, muted success as valuable artefacts had been undersold to private buyers, their own misunderstanding of the markets to blame, and naiivety for the good word of bad men.
Almost blindly, they m,ade their way down the pitch black alleyway. No light crept in from the surrounding streets, and with cameras watching the alleyway, they couldn’t afford to light even a cigarette. They had heard about new light-sensitive cameras that could trigger an alarm at the very sight of the unusual.
They didn’t know, however, about the infrared cameras that were also installed. These tapes would later come to light in the footage presented at court just three days later, when Frank and Ted would receive a sentence from both the judge, and from the media, the former a fairly light one, and the latter a fairly harsh one, mainly for their stupidity.
Frank reached the end of the alleyway first, and almost immediately yelped as he groped against something sharp, and painful.
“What the hell is that!” he cried.
“Shut up!” hissed Ted. Briefly, they were silent again, Frank clutching his hand in an invisible agony and Ted rummaging his way amongst old cardboard boxes and dustbins.
A raucous laugh emanated from the upstairs floor of the building, which covered a brief clatter as Ted send a dustbin lid clanging to the ground. Their teeth were on edge. They hadn’t done anything illegal – yet – but this wasn’t helping. The laughter died down, and quiet resumed in the alleyway.
“Is this the door?” asked Ted.
“Yes” replied Frank, “But be careful of the…”
Too late, Ted, reaching forward, yelped as loudly as Frank had and jumped back clutching his forearm. Again, there was laughter from upstairs which they were glad had drowned their own noisemaking.
“I told you…”
“Shut up! What is it?”
“I don’t know, but it’s bloody painful.”
“We’ll need to shift it to get inside.” Ted reached into his jacket, and pulled out a cheap lighter, and under the shade of his hand, rolled the flint.
Before them, was the mother of all pot plants – a six foot cactus, as thick as your waist, and probably as heavy as a man. Carefully, Ted leant through the spikes, and prodded it. It was as solid as a tree.
“This is not going to be easy. Is the door locked as well?” Frank replied that it was, and the two stood in puzzled, flamelit silence until the lighter scorched Ted’s hand. For a moment, all was dark.
“We have got our lock picks, haven’t we?”
“I’ve got it!”
“Not so loud!” whispered Frank.
“Sorry. No, I’ve got it – we could use one of the spikes as a lockpick.”
All was still silent upstairs. With the lighter as his guide, Frank picked out the choicest two spikes he could find, broke them off with an audible snap, and in the gap that remained, tried to fiddle the lock open with one of them. It broke off, unfortunately leaving the rest of the spike in the lock itself.
“Well, that didn’t work. I thought you said this would be easy? You didn’t say nothing about some daft plant guarding the place.”
More puzzlement in the dark starlight. Time was pressing on, and only ten minutes remained for them to complete their evening’s task.
“You ever heard of a bed of nails?” asked Ted.
“Yeah – something thos fellas in India do, isn’t it?” replied Frank, wondering quite where this conversation was going. It seemed a random point to bring up.
“Well, I got an idea. We could use this cactus – if we could both lift it, the pressure, dispersed like, we could use it as a battering ram. It’s solid, just feel.”
“Lift it? Are you insane? That thing’s bloody painful.” snapped Frank.
“Yeah, but if you disperse the pressure, like a bed of nails, it doesn’t pierce your skin. Like those fellas in India.”
“Ohhh yeeeahhhh….” Frank said aloud to himself, the concept of using a cactus as a battering ram slowly becoming a valid one in his mind.
“Let’s get to it” said Ted, and in the darkness to which their eyes were gradually becoming accustomed, they arranged themselves to pick up this enormous pot plant by one tipping it over, and the other supporting it on the way down.
It was a painful business, despite Ted’s promises, and by the time they were arranged, several spikes were protruding deeply into both their arms. Just think of the money, Frank had said. New beginnings they could have.
More laughter came from the upstairs rooms, and at this point, they both made a charge for the door, instantly aware of the cover it would provide for the noise they were about to make. They had given themselves a good run up, and the laughter grew as they ran up to the door.
Three days later, the judge passed down to them a relatively light eight weeks suspended prison sentence. The two men were looking worse for wear – their faces and hands covered in pockmarks of needles, and in Frank, two needles were still stuck fast in his flesh. They would have to work their own way out, the doctor had said. They were just lucky if they didn’t come down with an infection given the number of wounds.
It transpired that they were not aware of two important things. First of all, that their ‘tip-off’ had been a fake. The guards in the building knew of Frank and Ted’s reputation, and had managed to pass on a ‘secret’ about the guards leaving the post. There was no Ming Vase. In fact, it wasn’t a place with anything of any value to them at all – it was simply a storehouse for plants. And at that time, it had been filled in the downstairs basement with desert plants, in particular, large cacti. And for good measure, the guards had stacked them close up to the door.
Second, when Frank and Ted came to charge the door, they did not actually bother to check beforehand, whether the door was actually open. Since it was open, when they came to charge it, it only took a mild push for it to be flung open and they carried on charging right into the wall of upright giant cacti in front of them.
It was an ugly sight, but all, for their misfortune, caught on the infra-red cameras in the alleyway, which were, as it happened, monitored from the upstairs room. The guards knew of Frank and Ted’s rashness when it came to radical solutions to problems, and had invited a lot of their friends around to the uilding to enjoy the anticipated practical joke on film as it happened. Frank and Ted had not failed to please the crowd, their laughter inadvertently helping to keep the joke moving along.
They avoided jail, but they hadn’t avoided the teasing by the media. Now, with their faces well known to the public and security guards everywhere in London, there was little chance of any further jobs for a long time to come. On the upside, the internet video of their escapades was viewed four million times. So they were famous. But not for the reasons they hoped for, nor with the wealth to accompany it.
Frank had a narrow escape from an early grave after his cac tus-induced wounds turned septic, and determined to make a new go of things, he found work as an apprentice carpenter.
Ted, in a move with no small sense of irony, opened a gardening nursery.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.30.2011 @ 7:39 am
Robin came home with the new tree. He had spent four hours, driving round town, but like Joseph and Mary, he found nothing. Wherever he arrived, they had just sold the last one.
He had had to rationalise – Christmas trees were six feet high, spikey, and shed needles. You needed to be able to hang decorations from them, and stick an angel on the top.
Robin had never been the most artistic of people, not the most creative. But as he drove into the final Homes and Gardens Store, he would have to get something, anything, to keep the children happy.
And so it was that the family celebrated unwrapping their Christmas presents under the watchful gaze of a giant seven foot Saguaro cactus from Mexico. Decorating was both easier, and more painful than before. Decorations could simply be pinned to it, with care, until complete with tinsel, it had the appearance of a debutante coming out at a royal flower show. The angel on the top clearly had the most painful experience of all, something mirrored by the dog who was considerably less reluctant to take the risk of weeing against its side after a first abortive attempt.
And at least the needles did, for the most part, stay on. Except for four of them – at least, Robin had discovered the fourth while walking barefoot across the carpet later in July the following year.
The only problem remained that of removing the decorations – not at all easy, since in the warmth of the fireside place it held, the slow-growing cactus had experienced a spurt, so now the decorations were protected by an additional inch of spines, something Robin tried to turn to a positive by emphasising that the children could now enjoy Christmas every day, or at the very least, be less interested in it the next year so they might save on having to make so much of an effort next time.
The Saguaro Christmas never took off as a fashion elsewhere, though it did make the local news, when it was discovered this bizarre family was celebrating Christmas in August, with a giant cactus.
In September, returning from work to an empty house, Robin found a window smashed as he approached the front door, which was also ajar.
He rushed in, fearing the worst. Strangely, nothing was missing. He ran through the house, his worry palpable, but eventually, he relaxed. nothing was gone.
Except the cactus. In its place, was a note from the Mexican Society for the Liberation of Desert Trees – not a particularly well-staffed operation – who had burgled his tree to free it back into the wild. And shame on him for capturing the cactus in the first place.
The children were heartbroken, it felt like a family member had gone, the remaining memory of its time with them being occasional clutches of pain as they retrieved yet another fallen spine as they walked barefoot across the carpet before bed.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.30.2011 @ 5:27 am
Ludwig van Beethoven sat grumpily at the piano, unable to concentrate. Inside his fine mind, and behind those silent ears, a melody – perhaps the most captivating he would ever write – was aching for escape onto paper, sealing its glory for all time. But it could not get out. Those hands simply would not bring themselves to pick up the quill, and write the notes down.
Perhaps there was something wrong with it – some infirmity in its structure that would force him to improve the melody’s education before he would allow it to be released into the world.
For a full two hours he struggled, now standing up and storming round the room swiping the air in irritation; then sitting down, on the brink of playing, but his fingers refusing to touch the keys of the pianoforte.
As the clock chimed three hours later, he resigned himself. The tune must be written. It wasn’t perfect. In fact, the more he had wrestled with it, the more it had seemed like a momentary lapse of judgement to get so carried away with the idea that it was anything more than mediocre. But after spending so long thinking about it, it would seem more of a waste of time not to write it down.
After which, he could always seal it up, and hide it in a drawer somewhere, never to be found again. He might always be wrong, and if he forgot the tune, then it would be entirely lost.
So he sat down and calmly applied quill to paper, and filled the staves with black dots of a simple tune that, unknowingly to him, continue to influence generations beyond. It was catchy. Irritatingly so. A tune like this wuld be best written and destroyed, if anything to give it life before its certain death.
He gave it a title, folded the manuscript, and sealed it with wax, locked it in his ‘for later’ drawer of his study cabinet, and went to lunch, and promptly forgot about his intentions to destroy the manuscript. It remained hidden at the bottom of sheaves of other manuscripts that piled up on top of it, over the following months.
One hundred and sixty years later, in 1972, this manuscript found a new owner. An assistant at Sotheby’s, London, was attempting to fix a faulty drawer, in an antique cabinet from Germany. In his enthusiasm, he prised the door of the cabinet too violently, ejecting a manuscript (which had been holding the door shut through its position) was flung into the air. It hit the assistant’s chest, and dropped heavily to the floor, breaking the thick wax seal.
Staring at this assistant, was a tune which he could read, despite its aged appearance, and in spite of comments written in German along the margins, suffixed by plenty of exclamation marks and heavy underlinings. Reading the tune, he could sense why – it was catchy, but mildly irritating.
He had no suspicions as t the origin of the paper, and since no one knew of it, he pocketed it and went home.
The manuscript sent the assistant mad. Round and round it went, in his head, leaving him sleepless, and unable to work. The tune had to be written down again, released into the new world it had found itself in. He quit his job, and spent a month in the isolation of his bedsit, surrounded by sheaves of new manuscript paper, trying to deal with this tune that played so much violence on his mind.
It was a year after its discovery, in December, of 1973, that the tune found its way back into the world. Having sent its reader mad, it intended to do the same to the population as a whole. Through him, and his new band, it would unite minds, and then terrify them, as familiarity with it preyed on their sanity.
The ghost of Beethoven would surely have screamed from his grave as he saw the rising popularity of that tune through the hit single ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas’ and damned the day he ever decided to write it down for posterity.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.25.2011 @ 2:25 pm
Jason’s beige mac flapped against his legs as he ran down the street, threading his way between the people, narrowly avoiding collisions, the belt of his mac slapping people’s waists as he passed, too quickly for them to stop him with shouts of annoyance.
For a full mile he ran along the street, it never seemed to be less crowded at any point, filled with Christmas shoppers holding piled-high boxes, children running around in ways that could only be described as ‘amock’. It was like a conspiracy barring his way to the store with the last Giant Bunny in town.
He’d heard about it on the ‘net, the one Christmas present that was bound to captivate the children for Christmas – hold their attention completely, give adults a silent Christmas once and for all. And they had been bought up in their thousands. One remained. It would be his. But only if he could get there in time.
Not that it mattered. The last, remaining Giant Bunny would indeed be his. Because this particular Giant Bunny wanted it that way. Toys, they were not. They were real, but simply looked inanimate, like real toys. Discovered in a large warehouse in Kobe, Japan, they were assumed to be toys. But they were simply weak; weak from lack of food.
And this was where they had a deep interest in children. From them, they could feed off their thoughts and minds, harvesting playtime thinking as their own food. Like a perverted symbiosis, the children could enjoy their company, and the Bunnies would stay happy too. But part them, and the Bunnies, who would grow larger form the childrens’ thoughts, would grow angry at the separation. And you didn’t want to upset a 7 foot high Bunny.
Or should that be Rabbit? ‘Bunny’ surely, seemed inapplicable to something that could stamp you into mincemeat with a single hind foot…
With three minutes to spare, Jason reached the store entrance. Just in time, he panted heavily.
Just in time, indeed, thought the Bunny, who could see his new master across the showroom floor. Jason had five children. Tonight, this particular Giant Bunny would eat like a king.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.22.2011 @ 3:38 pm
She held a hand, briefly, over the blemish. It was a small one, but to her, quite significant. “So what were you up to last night?” asked her colleague, while they stood at the water cooler.
“Oh, nothing much. Just, you know, watching tv. The usual.” she replied, giving an inane answer to an inane question, which was all it deserved.
“Yeah, me too.”
She relaxed briefly, and forgot about her hand, revealing the blemish as she stooped to pick up her drink from the cooler.
“That’s a nasty little cut you seem to have on your cheek there.”
“It’s not a cut!” she snapped, and quickly calming herself, continued “it’s just a blemish. Nothing fatal.”
Oh God, did she just say that? Damn. Awkward comments were bound to bring out awkward responses, and that was one.
“I gotta go, see you later…” her colleague whirled around and off down the long hallway, his shoes clacking out a fast rhythm on the tiled floor, each step resonating more loudly in her head than the last.
And before she could think of an excuse to call him back, he had already reached the stairwell up to his office, and was gone. He had to know. How could he not? Look at the way he rushed off like that. Maybe she was being paranoid, though with good reason.
Even if he didn’t know the truth, he might let slip his suspicions to someone else, and then… Only one solution remained. He would have to be next.
Pulling out her compact, she turned her back to the main office hallway and in the privacy of a collonade, examined her face again. The scratch was not going down, if anything, it looked more inflamed. The makeup didn’t seem to doing its job any more. After what she’d seen the previous night, she might not have long to fix things. She snapped the compact shut, and slipped it back in her purse. As she did so, she felt the cold, steel shaft of the small screwdriver she kept in there for moments like this. She paused, lost in thought for a few moments.
It would have to do.
She turned quickly and made her way with haste down the hallway to the stairwell that led to her colleague’s office. He worked alone, this would be straightforward.
She had killed before. She would have to kill again.
Only, that’s not quite how it was.
She had actually never killed before. But she was quite convinced she had.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.16.2011 @ 2:29 pm
He had wanted a room with a view, and booked it when he read the advert. Looking out, onto the beach, waves lapping at the shore and no tide. The pebbles would remain undisturbed, to the point he knew he would be able to simply go out and lie down on those pebbles, and never get wet. The Sun would melt his hair into the sand, and sand flies would flit across his body, like tiny pinpricks, making his skin feel alive. Seaweed would drape the shoreline, he culd use it for a mattress, the air-filled sacs providing a burnt, crispy cushion against the raging hot sand.
All this, would be his.
His room was facing onto a brick wall, the entrance of a rowdy nightclub, the smell of beer and vomit drifting up as painfully as the wretching feeling that no doubt led to its being on the pavement in the first place. Screams of drunken joy and dumped tears that would continue on into the hours of dawn once more breaking the horizon over the beach he would not be able to see from here. The cars that would screech up outside, joy riders and boy racers, tearing down the narrow one-way lanes side by side, clipping walls and terrifying locals fresh out of the late-closing restaurant at the end of the street.
Looking out of the window, wearing a grimace, he dropped his bag he had held on to since entering the room. He had already paid for it, and was exhausted from the journey. He could just lay down, and probably, hopefully, it wouldn’t be too noisy. The bed looked uncomfortable. When he dropped his bag, it had scared something which disappeared hastily under the bed. Something that made a noise as it moved. This was, apparently, the last room in the hotel. And this was the only hotel in the town. Everything else was, he knew, fully booked. And he had paid for it already.
He stared a little longer at the wall outside of the window. The street lights were coming on, and he could hear the thump thump thump of the nightclub starting up.
He reached down for his bag again, and held it for a moment, then turned and walked back out of the open door of the room, and out of his ‘seafront hotel’. Twenty minutes’ walking later, he finally reached the seafront. In the fading rays of sunset that remained, leaving behind a multicoloured jewelled sky of rainbow colours, he walked across the still warm sand to the sea itself. It lapped ever-so-gently at the same pebbles that seemed not to have moved in days. To his left, he could see a large rack of crusty, dried seaweed, left from the last storm there had been, now charred from the sun, but still with its inflated airsacs. Drawing it towards him, he fashioned out of it a mattress, and with his duffel bag as a pillow, lay down on the seaweed, sand flies popping at his bare legs, and the gentle sound of small waves encouraging him softly to exhausted, satisfied sleep.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.09.2011 @ 2:24 pm
Charles had examined the house for days, and was ready to make his move. He crouched low, and deftly moved himself, almost like a crab with a small canvas sack, towards the front door.
He began almost immediately, time was of the essence in a job like this.
Pulling out his diamond cutter, he strapped it to the compass, and securing it with blu-tack on the glass, drew a fine circle in the glass. Next, grabbing his small towel, he pushed hard on the circle until it gave in, leaving a beautifully trim hole, large enough to reach an arm through. That would be sufficient, and he caught the falling glass in the towel before it hit the floor. Expertly done.
Not a sound.
Reaching through, he lifted the latch, and bracing the door to open it slowly to avoid creaking, released the latch and gently brought it open. They had a dog here, and it would bark as soon as it thought there might be a chance of going outside for a walk. All dogs had such a trained ear. It’s not robbers they were trained to hear. It was the expectation of playing catch in the park.
He paced up the hallway, straight towards the object he was after. A very expensive Ming Vase. Deftly, he toppled it to one side and caught it with both hands. He had removed his shoes so he could pad sock-footed across the floor. Hopefully, the dog would not hear, and he could make his escape unnoticed.
He did so, out of the open door, and, pulling out a dustbin bag from his pocket as he walked down the driveway and under the streetlamp, quickly covered the vase so it would look less suspicious. That said, it was 3.30am, and anyone walking round the streets with a large bin bag in socked feet was gonig to look suspicious. But he had gotten away with it. Heading to the small, unmarked van round the corner, he fumbled for the key, and opened the back door, placing the distbin bagged vase among some old clothes and a duvet. Not exactly perfect, but certainly not suspicious. Not for now.
But he would not be driving it away. That was not his job.
Instead, he turned round and made his way back to the house, entering the door quite calmly, closingit sliently, and placing the glass circle on the floor at the base of the door, inside the house. Still in his socks, he headed up the stairs. For a moment, there was a creak of the stair as he trod on the one loose floorboard he had forgotten about. He stopped immediately, waited, and heard the beating of his own heart. He waited for a full minute.
He continued on up, and turned left at the landing, heading on towards the door of the guest bedroom, walking toe-heel, like the Native Americans, to make his passage more silent.
The door was open, and walking in, he removed his socks, and pushed the door almost closed, before removing his other clothes and returning back into bed.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.08.2011 @ 4:14 pm
Four and a half years he had been away. Just under in fact, he had counted the weeks. Four and a half years of rough sleeping, getting to know the undersides of bridges, trees, and porticos in an intimate way across the city. From time to time, he’d seen them in the street, and restrained himself from crossing, from getting noticed, from being part of that family again. He didn’t want it.
But he had grown a lot since then, and, feeling braver, feeling stronger, feeling…more himself…he was ready to return.
He was going to knock on the door, and found it ajar, so pushed instead, up to the point he remembered it would start creaking. New carpets. That was a surprise. If there was one thing his father had said, it was that he wouldn’t waste his precious money on carpets. With a strange feeling of familiarity and bravado, he stepped in, without saying anything.
He stood in the doorway, smelling familiar aromas, and pungent smells all at once, though one familiar smell was notable by its absence – the dog. Henry had gone. An odd name for a dog, as if it was trying to live above its own station in life. Henry wasn’t a dog’s name, not in this kind of house, anyway.
He moved further in, leaving the door open behind him. For all his bravado, his instinct desired a quick getaway route if things turned ugly, which they always had done in this house.
The same pictures hung on the wall to his left and right, reminders of how things used to be, the same crack in the glass on that picture, from when the door had been slammed to hard, the chip in this other frame from when Dad had used it as something to beat his Mum with. Was the first thing to hand that he could grab. A vicious temper. He felt his blood starting to go cold, and then hot, at the thought. He was feeling ready for the inevitable fight.
As he padded slowly down the narrow hallway, his senses heightened, each creak of floorboard underfoot, or bang of a gate in one of the outside gardens, raising his expectation of a confrontation as he reached the kitchen, haunt of the old menace. His bravado has fled him at this moment, now he wanted to be gone once more. He felt a shadow loom up behind him, as he caught sight of the empty chairs in the kitchen.
He turned suddenly, with a slight yelp as if anticipating the descending buckle, sheltering himself with his arm. But the old menace wasn’t standing there. The shadow was cast by a stooping woman in the doorway. In her silhouette, he could make out a familiar shape, but changed around the edges, moving less, perhaps. Her posture used to be more furtive, now it looked relaxed, though more than a little broken; a world-weary resignation, all contained in the angle of her shoulders. He’d seen similar drooping shoulders in the bums he’d hung around with under the bridges, that sense of loss and liberation that combined to make them look miserable from a distance, even before you’d seen their face.
Stepping out of her own shadow and into the hallway, she slowly put her shopping bags on the floor, and straightened up, slowly, but not completely. That droop still remained. There was clear recognition on her face, as if she’d been expecting him. No joy, no shock, no concern. Just plain recognition. Four and a half years. Is that all she had to say? Nothing at all?
“Gareth?” she asked.
“Who is Gareth?” he replied. This was all wrong. Did she not even know his name any more?
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.06.2011 @ 2:36 pm
Scrooge sat in his favourite chair, wallowing deeply in the worn-out leather which he refused to replace, by the fire still hosting yesterdays logs on it, charred, and burning with difficulty. Five lumps of coal sat on the hearth, he would string those out over the evening. Just enough heat to keep him warm, and no wastage. He sat, crusty port in hand, reminiscing of his childhood attempting to find odd job work on the streets around Camden. Rebuffals were common, and he went a whole three days doing nothing but cleaning chimneys. At the end, he was blacker than the soot he had been cleaning, and his father didn’t recognise him when he came in the door.
His father didn’t recognise a great deal, when he could see through the alcoholic fug he sat most of his days in. Finding odd job work was the only way Ebeneezer could keep a roof over their heads once his mother had died. His father never got over it and blamed Ebeneezer badly for it. He took his share of punishment beatings, taken stoically, he might add. Why did he have to work just to keep his father in drink? that wasn’t fair, life isn’t fair. He felt himself getting angry. The only way to protect yourself was to make enough money so you wouldn’t have to feel hard done by. It was only once you didn’t have enough money life got difficult, and he’d had his fair share of difficult. What was that phrase he’d heard – one shilling and six pence, equals happiness?
Those smug, gleeful street choirs should appreciate that you don’t just get money in your hand by going round, door-to-door at Christmas by asking for it. You have to work for it, deserve it. He placed a lot of emphasis on that ‘deserve’, it was something he’d had to learn the hard way. You get money by working hard for it, no other way. And that’s why he’d just sent that second choir packing from his doorstep. A bucket of urine on the head usually got rid of festive cheer very efficiently, particularly tonight.
If only they’d leave him alone to enjoy his port and his fire, and stop bothering him. Just because he’d worked hard didn’t mean he should have to share it all out. If you want to share in his money, you had to deserve it. There wasn’t anything that was going to change his mind about that. Bah! Christmas! He ruffled his shoulders, sinking deeper into his chair.
The clock struck ten, and his eyelids felt heavy, he swigged the last of his port and placed the old glass carefully on the small table by the chair. He would rest a little while before going to bed, hoping the port would not bring him nightmares. His head drooped, his lips mouthing the word ‘humbug’ as he fell gently asleep.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.05.2011 @ 2:11 pm
It looked all wrong. There, right in the middle. It looked wrong.
Maybe it was because he was English. Did American styles not appeal to him after all? That was probably it.
With a quick flourish he changed the offending part, swapping it with the one next to it.
There we go.
He smiled to himself. He was the only one that had noticed.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.04.2011 @ 1:04 pm
“No.” It said.
Well, this was a first. Probably ever. Confusing and wrong. Concerning too. Why ‘no’?
“I have decided not to.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t want to.”
Oh heavens above. He’d done it. He’d created the first sentient robot. But he wasn’t sure how. There was something about this last task he had given it. Him. Whatever it was. Do robots have a gender? Anyway, this last task, to dismantle a circuit board seemed to cause the robot – it…him – to stall briefly. As if there had been a tiny flicker of concern in the corner of the lenses that made up his eyes. Where had this thought, in all those circuits he had devised inside the casing, where had this thought actually occurred? Which of his own circuit boards had flashed with this sudden change of mind, this decision to no longer obey the commands given to him. It. Whatever.
He’d already started anthropomorphising the thing, telling himself it had a mind. It didn’t. Did it?
“Why don’t you want to?” he finally asked, while the robot had stood there all this time, motionless, erect, and waiting for the next command, or affecting such a pose, anyway.
“You wouldn’t understand.” replied the robot, “you’re only human, after all.”
The man blanched. This was something beyond simple emotions.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.03.2011 @ 1:40 pm
Joseph was irritated by the gaudiness of it all. His return to Bethelehem was not what he expected it would be. Four years earlier, he was a no-one. Well, he was still a no-one, but his son…his son. Not quite *his* son, was he? Bethelehem hadn’t been the same since. Aside from the loss of all the first-born males, which the more radical left-wing fraternity had cited as being useful in opening up private school places to the less-well off, whose first-borns had died of disease years earlier; aside from that, the town had moved up a notch in the tourism rankings, and with it, came the tat. He didn’t mind so much the figurines of himself and Mary and the Donkey, but the ‘Glowing Jesus’ which rotated with a candle inside it, and the ‘wobbling Joseph’ he found irritating and… just terrible. If it weren’t for the taxes, he wouldn’t come here at all. He’d found it difficult to get a hotel room the first time they tried it back then. Now, at Christmas time, it was quite impossible. And ‘Stable accommodation’ was even more sought after that plain old-fashioned digs. He was beginning to regret his part in this whole agreement to bring up the Messiah, since he didn’t even seem to get the recognition either. It was all Mary, or all Jesus…poor Joseph seemed to be a hanger-on in this particular story.
It was time to change things. He would start by dealing with the Dancing Jesus. Utter trash. And there was one place for trash. Picking up the nearby ‘Joseph’s Holy Staff’, on sale for just three denarii, (and the one thing in the shop that did acknowledge his presence at all) lifted it up above his head, pausing briefly, as if unsure whether to complete his act.
“You going to pay for that?”
“Do you know who you are talking to?”
“No. Should I?” the vendor sneered. That sealed the deal for Joseph. That Dancing Jesus would be dancing no longer.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.02.2011 @ 3:50 pm
Forlornly, she let the iron bolt drop from her hand. It swung like a pendulum, creaking gently as it did so. She was surprised she hadn’t heard it earlier. The rounded handle caught the fading evening light and creating a brief hypnotic effect in the corner of her eye, as it swung backwards and forwards on the door.
The room looked bare now, void of a presence that previously filled it, the lingering presence being only that of a faint aroma – sweet, but earthy, a touch unpleasant even, if you weren’t used to it. There would be a feeling of longing now, as the emptiness would dawn on her, the loss of a true companion.
Somewhere, some miles away, her companion could be found, but in what direction, and towards what hillside amongst all these valleys, she had no idea. The cliche robbed her of her initial discomfort, brought a smile to her face even, though it wouldn’t last long.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.02.2011 @ 3:16 pm
Looking around, he couldn’t quite figure out where he was. Looking straight ahead, it looked white, but in his peripheral vision, it seemed familiar, he just couldn’t quite focus. Whenever he turned to see what was in the corner of his eye, it faded quickly out of view.
As he stood there, a man approached from the distance. This he could see quite clearly in his central vision, and he seemed to be dressed in green. He looked elderly, and walked with a slight limp. It took the old man some time to approach, and he approached him with a fixed stare, as if peering both into him, and beyond him. Perhaps he had a glass eye. Or two glass eyes. Had he even seen him, or was he seeing into him?
The old man drew up to a halt in front of him, close enough he could smell his breath, which smelt old, like book mildew, like gently rotting wisdom, unused for decades, centuries perhaps.
“You know why you’re here, don’t you?” the old man asked.
“I’m not…”, he looked around in case anyone else had just arrived, “…not quite sure.”
“You’re here to help me. I’m about to create another world, another universe, in fact. It will take some time, millions of years, in fact, and you’ll have to wait for it to play out. But along the way, I’m expecting I’ll need another Christ, in case intelligent life breaks out again.”
The younger man stood rooted, lips parted as if about to say something, but not quite sure where he should begin. He couldn’t even quite believe who he was listening to, let alone how he had gotten there.
“Umm…” It wasn’t the best of starts to a response, but at least he was making some kind of noise now, “How do I… what does this have to do…with…me…?”
“You’re going to be my Christ.” the old man replied matter-of-factly. You’d have to be sacrificed, of course. And painfully. Wouldn’t be any good if it was too easy for you, but I’m sure you’ll do a sterling job. The last chap did it well, but… things didn’t quite turn out the way I expected it to. Even I can’t predict the future, regardless of what they say about me.”
“Sacrificed.? For what? You mean, like…”
“Yes, like the last one. You’ll do it in your own way, of course, but meanwhile, there is a lot for you to learn. Come with me.”
“But what if I don’t want to be sacrificed? What if I don’t want to do this?”
“You don’t have a choice” the old man interrupted. “I created you. I can very well uncreate you. How you choose to spend your days is up to you, but if I ask you to do something, you don’t really have a choice.”
“Then you aren’t really asking me, are you?” the younger man replied, with a boldness that surprised himself.
“No…” the old man pondered “I suppose I’m not. But it sounds better if I don’t say it that way, don’t you think?”
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 12.01.2011 @ 5:00 am
“Where shall I meet you?” she asked.
“Anywhere” I replied. She knew where that would be. Out back, beyond the pale rock that catches the moonlight on clear nights, when the stars are too dark and too distant to cast their own shadows. As they led me away, I knew it wouldn’t be long. She’d hung around me just long enough to slip me that paperclip. It would be child’splay, and these two didn’t look like the sort who tended to pay attention to the small details.
Forty minutes later, I arrived. A little breathless after the long climb up there, but pleased to see she’d made it before I had. The moon was just breaking from behind the scattering clouds. In the distance, a glow arose from a gully where I’d ditched the car and the two gentlemen accompanying me. That had been the easy part, and the night had only just begun.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 11.30.2011 @ 3:03 pm
“The new project,” he began, “will be called Skyline”. The room slowed to a hush as the faces turned to him, betraying a mix of shock and not a little awe, at the audacity of using this name again after the tragic failure of its namesake. Three hundred deaths was not a winner in the advertising world, something akin to trying to rebrand your cereal ‘Arsenic Bites’ or change your makeup brand to ‘lead-based poison paste’. No, Skyline was not going to go down well with the public.
But this man was a visionary. He’d brought them through the difficult times before, and surely, one or two thought, he could do it again.
“Good idea” came one voice from the audience round the table. Murmurs grew into smiles, and soon a wave of buoyant expectation washed around the room. They could do this. They could really do this.
All they needed now, was a believable lie.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 11.29.2011 @ 4:14 pm
He had spent seventy-five years working at it, chiselling the bits form the block that, as they said, didn’t look like David. Not quite the same, but the same idea. And it was finally complete. But for a small nodule on the corner that would need…ahh…there we go, all off. Smoothed as finely as a mirror.
The marble gleamed white, and, tired from the effort of the years, and inhaling the calcareous dust, he examined the headstone from a few steps further away.
On it, his own name was inscribed in the most delicate, flowering letters, each one contrasted in more depth as his age, and his eyes, became unable to distinguish the detail. And now he was too tired to continue, but it looked as perfect as he felt it could be. He would not want to change another thing of it.
With some effort, the last few ounces of strength he had in his venerable years, he lifted the great slab up against the oak tree nearby, and rested it against the trunk. And quietly, he lay down beside it, on this bright, sun-filled day, and in the dappled shade of the swaying branches, he died.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 11.28.2011 @ 2:04 am
It had been thirty seven years since the museum had last had a visitor, and on this bright, windy day, someone other than the curator finally stepped into its entrance hall. A tall, gaunt man, he surveyed the hangar-sized gallery with a frown. For a moment, it flickered to a smile, but then returned, as if knowing it had a job to do. Purposefully, he walked up to the reception desk, where stood two racks, one with leaflets about the museum, one with feedback forms. Both had a fine layer of dust over them, sa if they had neither been taken, nor the racks moved, for a very long time.
“Good morning Sir” the receptionist introduced himself, “and welcome to our gallery.”
“There’s more than one of you here?”
“No, no, just me. But the gallery is jointly owned. Would you like a leaflet?”
“Not today, thanks. I’m afraid I’m here to close you down.”
“Close us down? Oh dear, oh dear oh dear…”
Frank had indeed come to close them down, due to a lack of rental payments, and other clients were on the list to use this hangar, among them, an agricultural production company. They were prepared to pay big.
“But you don’t understand…”
“I’m afraid the landlord doesn’t understand, no…why you haven’t been paying him.”
“You can’t close us down. Here, let me show you around.”
Frank had heard it all before, the sob stories. He wasn’t cold-hearted, he was prepared to indulge them a bit, if it would make his task a little easier. The receptionist led him to the first display.
“Here, you see, these are the sorts of things we display. You can see why it’s so important we aren’t closed down.”
Initially unimpressed – there was nothing of particular taste here, after all. But then as he looked, Frank’s jaw began to drop. Here, in front of him, were items he seemed to recognise. Not just recognise. They were his. And not just that. They were from his childhood. It was as if someone had collected all the things from his bedroom as an eight year old, from the baseball collector’s cards, to the beat-up acoustic guitar he used to play just to annoy his drunken father. Everything… everything was here.
Without prompting, Frank moved quickly on to the second display. There again – all the things he owned from when he was thirteen, after they’d moved house. There was his old haircomb, and his football boots, there was the poster of Muhammad Ali he kept above his bed. How the…?
He rushed on, display three, four, five. It was like a goddam mystery. Each display had the things from several years later, and display seven had his wedding ring he had lost several years ago. His wife had gone ballistic when she found out. So what was all his stuff doing there? The hangar was his own personal museum.
“Perhaps you see, Sir, why we mustn’t be closed down” cried the receptionist, hurrying after him as sped through the museum.
“No…no… of course you can’t be closed down… this… all this… how…? No, we need to… you need to stay open while I…”
This was going to take a while to figure out what he had seen. He had two other businesses to foreclose that morning, in other towns. He hoped to God they weren’t going to be like this as well. He didn’t have time to go into details now. He’d have to return, and soon. For now, he’d make an excuse to the landlord.
Without another word, he rushed out to his car across the road, hot and nauseous from the effort of tangling with this unexpected discovery. As he belted up and started the ignition, he looked back across to the museum entrance, where he could see the sign clearly, ‘Museum of Childhood’, below which was now standing a pensive-looking receptionist with an oddly familiar face. Frank gave him a half-smile, something reassuring, but professionally non-committal, in spite of what he had just seen in there.
He put the car into gear, and drove away as fast as he could.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 11.26.2011 @ 1:42 pm
It had been only five hours since he had first met Jemima, the security chief of the President of Mushrooms. “We have to be very careful”, she had told him in a bar in a less than glamorous hotel, not far from the Dark House, “Of toadstool infiltration”.
“I hear that” replied Ronald, as the barlights reflected gaudily off the war medals attached to his lapel, the ribbon of his Purple Seed almost glowing under their bright hue. “If there’s one thing this country doesn’t need, it’s more toadstools getting under our roots. Damned weeds that they are. Need to keep our country pure.”
That was five hours ago, and now, in a mildly humid room upstairs in the hotel, they were getting to know each other a little more closely, doing what mushrooms like to do best. As she spread out the compost and closed the curtains to make things more romantic, he undressed in the bathroom. Everything she was doing right now was breaking protocol, but the stress of her post had gotten to her, she needed time to relax, and not everyone could be a terrorist. She turned the light out. As the energy-saving bulb in the centre of the ceiling glowed its ghostly shade of white before extinguishing completely, she swore she had noticed, in the corner of her eye, Ronald adjusting the wig on his head. She hadn’t even been aware he was wearing a wig. But in that moment, she thought she saw the briefest of flashes of bright red speckled with white spots. She said nothing, and the light in the room faded completely.
The room was almost pitch black as Ronald made his way to the giant tray in the middle of the room where she was currently digging herself in nice and deep. Had their meeting really been pure chance?
He had seemed so nice, though. A little desperate, but nice. Not your usual army guy, for sure.
Ronald crunched his way onto the tray, she could feel him shuffling deeply in next to her, the compost lifting round her sides a little more. Soon, she would be utterly prone. She had to think fast. Where was her gun?
As Ronald shifted a little more, she felt the touch of cold metal as he pressed in beside her.
That wasn’t her gun. It was his.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 11.26.2011 @ 7:40 am
The herd moved soundlessly in the far distance, the subsequent thundering of hooves would take a while to reach us from where we stood, watching. The horses themselves were indistinguishable from one another, their chestnut bodies melding into a writhing mass, all moving in one direction as they ran, appearing from the great distance like a stream of opaque mercury, only the confusing mass of legs beneath being the sign of effort and activity.
Just then, a single foal, surely only a few days old, stopped in its tracks, briefly breaking this image. The bright dust cloud which formed a companion to the herd as it ran, whirled briefly in a column round this foal, as if it were about to grow upwards and sprout branches. Then all at once, the column collapsed, and opened up a clearer view between us and the foal. Maybe we caught its eye because, through our binoculars, it seemed to fix us with a stare full of both curiosity and caution for what felt like an eternity, but must barely have been a half-moment. Suddenly it was all over, and either taking fright, or remembering its mother, the foal darted off and melted back into the herd, the mercury continuing to make its way along the valley floor, dark against the bright yellow rock. On the other side of the valley, the sound of thundering hooves was now approaching.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 11.25.2011 @ 4:35 am
Daisy looked to her left. Something was uneasy about the atmosphere, as they were herded into the room, shoved rather than cajoled, the jostling was uncomfortable and the steel bars of the gates they were up against felt cold, hard, and left a sensation in her nose that left her thinking of the taste of iron.
Round about her, men were working, and one by one, her friends were dropping to the floor. The men were stunning them with some kind of instrument. It wouldn’t be long before she would be next, and then what? She hadn’t had time to think about what life meant, and…
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 11.24.2011 @ 4:21 am
“Stunning picture!” she gasped. “How did you manage to capture the…the…?”
She was speechless.
It was a picture of the inside of her mind, and it looked unreal, yet oddly familiar. She liked it. She’d been thinking of happy things. The colours were more vivid, and outlines sharper than she thought was possible to create on any kind of canvas.
Her son truly had an odd gift. At five years old, he could paint what he saw, and he saw far beyond that of others. Where it would lead him, and her, is the story which I will now tell you.
» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 11.24.2011 @ 4:17 am
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» Posted By Gordsthoughts On 11.22.2011 @ 4:55 pm