Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions)
Al Bruno III
Night had fallen in Olathoe, the city of bones. Olathoe was a teeming metropolis of nightmares and impossibilities, a place where magic and monsters hid away from the ordinary world. In Olathoe every fable is a prophesy and every legend is a promise...
Constable Rhoden Lunt led his squad of Sentries along Thorn Park and then turned off onto Route d'abbaye. He stopped them in front of a slouching Victorian tenement and ordered them to break down the door.
The Sentries’ heads were shaven and their faces were intricately tattooed. The dull metal armor they wore contrasted with the automatic weapons slung over their shoulders. Constable Lunt's expression was sour, he didn't want to be here.
This particular barrio had an unpleasant reputation and in a city where cannibalism was legal, so long as you had the proper permits, that was no small feat.
Rhoden's uniform was standard issue for a Constable made with a fabric so dark blue that is was nearly black. Medals and awards were prominently displayed. The helmets were conical and elaborate. Rhoden’s gloved hands were clasped behind his back and he stood perfectly still. He wanted to move around, to pace and grumble under his breath but that wasn’t something Constables did. They were supposed to be men and women whose perfect poise and posture was an outward sign of their perfect minds. He’d seen entire careers derailed by a thoughtless scratching of the nose.
After what seemed like an eternity the door to 209 Route d'abbaye. splintered and the Sentries charged inside. Rhoden waited for the all clear. There was graffiti on the wall to his right, a snarled yellow sigil.
He’d seen many streets purged during his career, entire neighborhoods cleared out. Why not this one? Why did the Regent suffer it to exist?
Still he supposed it might happen soon, especially if their tip was correct and they captured Jason Magwier. Constable Rhoden Lunt smiled at the thought of bringing him in, that certainly would be a feather in his already feathery cap.
And wouldn’t his dear cousin Jack be jealous?
A shriek startled him from his thoughts. One of the Sentries stumbled back out of the building. Blood was drizzling from the gaps in his armor. The Sentries' face was a mass of gleaming red sinew. Somehow he had been skinned while still wearing his armor but Rhoden saw it was more than this, even the Sentries’ muscles were falling away from the bone, fraying like worn strings to reveal ugly glimpses of what lay beneath.
Training overrode Constable Lunt’s instinct to run. He drew his sidearm and spat an incantation.
A wave of mystical force slammed against and through the doorway of the old house. The boards across the first floor windows snapped. Constable Lunt heard things crashing and shattering. He waited a moment more and then stepped inside.
“Prostrate yourself!” Rhoden cried, “In the name of the Regent I order you!”
Something moved to his left, something low to the ground. The Constable whirled and fired two shots before he realized it was the second Sentry.
The second Sentry had been just as horribly mutilated as the first. The Sentry quivered and crawled, the shape of his body was all wrong.
How could Jason Magwier have done this? It didn’t fit his modus operandi at all. He was a subversive and an anarchist but not a sadist.
“Just as well,” a voice said from the far side of the room, “he would have died soon enough.”
Constable Rhoden Lunt spun back around again. He stared down the sights of his revolver to see a tall man wearing an inverness coat. He had a thick mane of white blond hair and octagon rimmed glasses. In his right hand he held the skin of one Sentry, in the his left he held the spine of the other; both where perfectly preserved and bloodless.
Rhoden knew who this man was. “Dr. Flesh?” the name was ridiculous but his voice trembled when he said it.
“Indeed,” the man with the white blonde hair dropped his grisly trophies and took a step forward, “I think you know what this means.”
“Whoever’s paying you... whatever they’re paying you... my family...”
“I’m sure they could but we both know better,” Dr. Flesh moved slowly, like a man trying to charm a skittish animal.
“Stay away!” Rhoden shook his revolver for emphasis, “I’ll shoot.”
“This can be painless,” Dr. Flesh said, “it can be like drifting off to sleep.”
“I said stay back!”
“If you shoot me I’ll make the parts of your face come together. Then I’ll leave your every nerve ending screaming with pain. Not a pleasant way to go.”
Dr. Flesh reached for the Constable. The Constable fired.
The bullet’s impact knocked the assassin back half a step but the wound was bloodless and began to close. Then Dr. Flesh was on him.
Dr. Flesh’s hands were pale and slender, almost feminine. When they settled on Rhoden’s throat they sank through the skin as though it was nothing but water.
For Rhoden there was a moment of revulsion and then he felt as though he was aflame. The pain sent him crashing to the floor, he began to fill the air with animalistic blubbering. The agony robbed him of his strength and then went to work on his mind.
With another brush of his hand Dr. Flesh fused melded Rhoden’s lips and eyelids closed, melting them like wax leaving nothing of his face save for the nose.
That done he fished a dog-eared paperback copy of Atlas Shrugged from his coat, sat down on the floor beside the first of tonight’s targets and started to read. He wondered idly how long the Constable would last, how long until his heart burst in his chest from terror.
Dr. Flesh guessed he had until chapter eight, chapter nine at the most.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
In my linking and re-linking of all my social networks and blogs I somehow set it up that each of my posts was showing up twice or more and torturing you folks.
Hopefully things should be running more smoothly.
You know as a young man I would totally have been into the Purity Movement - if I could have just stopped masturbating for FIVE MINUTES.
SOPA and PIPA are two examples of recent legislation that is lethal to the internet as we know it. The internet rose up and is on its way to successfully fighting them off, but we need to stay vigilant.
The only way to prevent legislation like this from being passed in the future is to call your Congressmen and tell them. Make it clear that you don't support SOPA, you don't support PIPA, and that you won't support future legislation that damages the stability of the internet.
For more information, visit:
...because while it may be intended to stop Piracy it could have a chilling effect on the social media we enjoy.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Wednesday June 23, 1993
Warren barreled through the wooded campus of Blessed Heart, dodging off the well-worn paths used by students and crashing through the flowering shrubs and evergreen trees. His white dress shirt was smeared with chips of eggshell and spattered with yolk. His pants were caked with mud. His whole body felt like it might give out at any moment, but he had to keep running.
They were still after him. He could hear them at his back, shouting and laughing, calling him ‘Wideload and ‘Fatass’. His only hope now was at the old chapel. He was too far from the main buildings to double back.
All in all it was a pretty fucked up way to be spending the last day of school. He’d finished his finals with a glow of accomplishment, knowing that despite all the social and physical setbacks he’d suffered he was ending his Freshman year on a high note. A’s on everything but gym, but even the gym teacher had given him a B- for effort and attendance. Warren knew that once his father saw those grades a new Macintosh Computer would be his.
But the Pretty Boys had taken all that away from him, chasing him and throwing rancid eggs. That was the problem with the school, they used some cheap chartered bus line that could only run its routes once in the morning and then back in the afternoon. Finals week was all half days. That left him and every other student at Blessed Heart with almost four hours to kill and a lot of students seemed to kill that time with pranks. Drew had had her locker broken into and vandalized. Greg had been hit with a water balloon filled with what they all hoped was gravy. Someone had ripped one of Yusuf’s shoes right off his foot while he was sitting on the can. Rich had fallen asleep in the library to find chewing gum in his hair.
Somehow Warren had managed avoid the abuse, but now he had to wonder if they were just saving him for last. He cursed his complacency. If only he hadn’t gone to watch the girl’s soccer team practice! If only he’d stayed close to the protection of the teachers and hall monitors.
With a wheezing gasp he crashed through the brambles and made his way across one of the other athletic fields, the one the K through sixth grade students used for recess and kickball. Another egg impacted on the back of his head, the smell was nauseating. Part of him screamed out to turn and fight. Maybe if it had been just one of them he would have, but the Pretty Boys were like wolves- they always ran in packs.
Almost there. He panted, Almost there.
Diving back into the woods he heard eggs shattering on trees and wondered to himself how many of the damned things they were carrying. A dozen? Two Dozen? His lungs were on fire now, it was worse than when the gym teacher had made the class try out cross-country running. He saw the feeble-looking sycamores that ringed the old chapel and its cemetery and pushed himself to go just a little bit farther.
Blessed Heart had acres of land. Most of it was left to grow wild but a small section near the gymnasium had been divided into a quartet of athletic fields. The last field bordered a cemetery, fifty modest graves for nuns that had worked and died here in the early part of the century. A small disused chapel slouched in the furthest corner of the cemetery, there was no door and broken glass rimmed the stone window frames. The roof had collapsed during a snowstorm in nineteen eighty-eight causing irreparable damage but the Blessed Heart Alumni and the school’s administration were still debating what to do about it. While they did the building rotted quietly, becoming a haven for small animals and students sneaking away for a drink or a smoke.
The very sight of it bolstered Warren’s strength, he crashed through the trees, egg yolk stinging his eyes.
Let him be here. Please let him be here!
He crossed the cemetery with nightmarish slowness, the Pretty Boys yowling at his back. He would have called out but he had no breath left.
There was a flash of pain as Warren’s foot smacked into a loose stone. He fell hard, a ripping sound filling his ears.
Another pair of pants shot to Hell.
And suddenly they were on him, pelting him with jeers and eggs. The Pretty Boys with their perfect pedigrees and their slender waistlines. Bobby Hilton, Kenny Wurman, Evan Crawford and their leader and the biggest jerk of all, Tristam Bloom.
“Fuckers!” Warren screamed tearfully, “My Dad will sue! You’re gonna pay for these clothes.”
“Hey look!” Tristam said, “Tubbo’s crying. Guess he doesn’t like scrambled eggs.”
“Awww I’ll buy you some new clothes Tubbo,” Evan sneered, “what tent factory do your parents shop at?”
“Tent factory!” Bobby screamed with laughter.
Kenny threw his last egg, “Look! His pants split right up the back!”
“I say we strip him,” Tristam drew closer “leave him here in his undershorts.”
“Just leave me alone. I won’t tell anyone. Just stop. No more!” Warren tried to stand only to have Kenny and Tristam shove him back down again.
“Think he’s got harpoon scars?” Evan followed Tristam’s lead.
Bobby was laughing so hard he could barely stand, “Harpoon scars!”
“Strip him?” Adelphos strode out of the shelter of the decrepit chapel, a cigarette hanging out of his lips. His navy blue tie was loosened, a gold cross hung around his neck, “You guys call us fags but you get up to the freakiest shit all on your own.
“Oh shit.” Kenny blanched.
Adelphos pitched his cigarette at Bobby Hilton, “You assholes got nothing better to do than start shit?”
Warren almost sobbed with relief. Tristam’s grin widened, “Smoking on school grounds Psycho? That can get you expelled.”
“Fuckin’ with my friends can get you worse,” he stepped between in front of Warren.
The other boys looked like they wanted to back off, but Tristam kept them in place with a stare, “If I were you I’d watch my mouth, it’s four against one here.”
Scraping the worst of the tears and yolk from his face Warren stood beside Adelphos, “Four against two.”
The Pretty Boys had a good laugh at this. Evan called, “If we count your ass cheeks the odds are even Tubbo.”
Adelphos shook his head, “Just get lost, playtime’s over children.”
“You don’t tell me where to go.” Tristam advanced, “I tell people like you where to go.”
“Oh really?” Adelphos stood his ground, his posture casual.
“You really think you can take all four of us on... spic?” Tristam gestured to the others
“We’re not afraid of you.” Warren glanced to Adelphos, “Right?”
Tristam backhanded Warren, the slap echoing.
Warren reeled, almost falling over and then catching himself.
“That was a mistake.” Adelphos lashed out, his fist catching Tristam in the gut. Bobby and Kenny held back but Evan threw himself at Adelphos in a classic football tackle.
Too stunned to do anything but watch the scuffle going on at his feet Warren didn’t even see Bobby coming for him and the first punch landed squarely on his nose.
“Yeah!” Kenny jumped in place, “Get ‘em!”
Evan was screeching, Adelphos had him by the eyelid. Tristam was curled into a ball. Warren took a swing at Bobby but it went wild brushing his cheek. Bobby hit him in the chest but Warren barely felt it.
“Tubbo swings like a girl!” Kenny was laughing again.
The screeching had become begging, Evan’s hands scrabbling at the fingers pinching his eyelid. Adelphos he let go. He let Evan breathe a sigh of relief, then he kicked him.
Warren’s second punch went even wider, missing Bobby entirely and catching Kenny dead center in his forehead. Kenny went down with a yelp. Warren stared in amazement. Adelphos charged past him, grabbing Bobby by his tie and yanking hard, spinning him once in a semi circle and sending him flying into one of the crumbling headstones.
“Anyone else feeling froggy?” Adelphos was dancing on the balls of his feet like a boxer, he wasn’t even breathing hard.
Cursing, bloodied and dirty the Pretty Boys retreated back the way they had come. Warren didn’t even notice, he was still staring at his fist. He couldn’t stop smiling.
Monday, January 16, 2012
(Banned Books News) The Tucson Arizona school district goes bugfuck crazy bans and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” due to the ban on 'ethnic studies'
As part of the state-mandated termination of its ethnic studies program, the Tucson Unified School District released an initial list of books to be banned from its schools today. According to district spokeperson Cara Rene, the books “will be cleared from all classrooms, boxed up and sent to the Textbook Depository for storage.”
Facing a multimillion-dollar penalty in state funds, the governing board of Tucson’s largest school district officially ended the 13-year-old program on Tuesday in an attempt to come into compliance with the controversial state ban on the teaching of ethnic studies.
The list of removed books includes the 20-year-old textbook “Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years,” which features an essay by Tucson author Leslie Silko. Recipient of a Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award and a MacArthur Foundation genius grant, Silko has been an outspoken supporter of the ethnic studies program.
“By ordering teachers to remove ‘Rethinking Columbus,’ the Tucson school district has shown tremendous disrespect for teachers and students,” said the book’s editor Bill Bigelow. “This is a book that has sold over 300,000 copies and is used in school districts from Anchorage to Atlanta, and from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. It offers teaching strategies and readings that teachers can use to help students think about the perspectives that are too often silenced in the traditional curriculum.”
Another notable text removed from Tucson’s classrooms is Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest.” In a meeting this week, administrators informed Mexican-American studies teachers to stay away from any units where “race, ethnicity and oppression are central themes,” including the teaching of Shakespeare’s classic in Mexican-American literature courses...
Click here to read the rest of the article at SALON
This is why we can't have nice things people.
So what does this mean for YOU the reader?
Pretty much you can find the same damn updates coming through via TWITTER and FACEBOOK.
But feel free to add me to one of your circles and as soon as I find out what that means I will let you know!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions): Tales of paranormal romance for people that couldn't get laid in high school
Everything you know is wrong- there are plenty of gods but no afterlife, wizards plot rebellion against eldritch horrors with marketing departments, the Chinese Mafia runs the phone company, every tarot card is a prophesy waiting to happen and most vampires live in trailer parks. Read on to visit a world where every cliche is a parable, every fairy tale is bad advice and every dream leaves a ghost in its wake...
Why not listen to the suggested soundtrack on 8 TRACKS?