Tag Archives: fiction

God in a Box – Part 4

In which we meet the protagonist for the first time, and where we get a hint to his character. (I.e. a bit of a prat, and a sap!)

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Weedsley drifted upwards through the last soft clouds of sleep and opened his eyes. The first dappled rays of sunshine were falling on the canvas of his tent, filling the small space with warm light that shivered with each breath of air that whispered through the trees outside. The tent was light and airy, kept warm but not suffocating by a refreshing zephyr of morning air. He felt the hairs on his legs and and chest move with the ebb and flow of it, savouring the sensation as the heat was lifted from his skin by the moving air. His morning erection was his only nexus of tension, but he dismissed its insistent nagging and heat, and listened to the whistling birds and their light hearted songs of territoriality and sex. A memory was tugging frantically on his mental sleeve, trying to get his attention, but he ignored it.

A shiver of relaxation passed through him and he smiled contentedly. Something was tickling his stomach, so he reached down to scratch it. His finger tips encountered something solid, rhythmic and apparently made of hair. He looked down at the increasingly fierce heat between legs and stomach to see a cascade of brown hair obscuring the view of his feet. The exasperated memory finally gave up all pretensions of politeness, threw up its hands, and jumped to the front of his brain.

Magda.

The frenzied pink memory of the previous night came back in a rush, all flickering diffuse firelight and soft curves.

The elegant girl had met Sir Benedict’s party as they continued their meandering away from the Imperial Citadel. Benedict’s Knights Errant, chisel jawed fops to a man, had been suggestively polite as they had passed her. She had curtsied, swooning only slightly as Sir Benedict bent to kiss her hand from horseback, striking just the right chivalrous pose as he did so. Most saw this as a sign of a true hero, but as sole squire to the whole sorry crowd Weedsley saw how much nightly effort the good knight put into his image. He was undoubtedly handsome, in extremely good shape, and in specialised areas extremely intelligent. However his narcissism tended to clog up his normal human appetites until something aside from satiation was in the offing, such as the favour of a powerful woman, money, or fame. It was for this reason that Magda had come to him. Sir Benedict was her hero, she’d confided, but as a poor girl of middling stock she could not hope to be noticed by such a man.

“But you, Sir Quadrangal, you are not of noble blood, are you? You must be a warrior of great prowess to be Sir Benedicts bodyguard!”, she had said, coquettish smile on her delicate lips.

Squire 2nd class (on probation) Weedsley Quadrangal had nodded modestly, and informed her that he had served Sir Benedict’s house for some time in the same capacity as he now did, and that the noble gentleman depended on Weedsley a great deal, and that there were many things that Weedsley could teach the knight. Would she like Sir Quadrangal to show her?

He had had to admit, the girl was an eye opener. Her shy demeanour had evaporated with her clothes, but for all her obvious experience she had sung his praises as he lay, spent, in the tent as the fire burned low outside. He had smiled, drunk on hormones and platitudes and promptly fallen asleep.

His attention drifted inexorably back to the bobbing shadow below him, and remained so his shuddering conclusion. She looked up at him, mischief in her glittering blue eyes. She crawled up to him and kissed him on the mouth as he fell asleep once again.

——

“Quadrangal!”
Weedsley sat bolt upright, adrenaline doing the work of a cold dip in the river and a run around the clearing.

“Quadrangal! Come forth from that canvas whore house you call a tent! Quadrangal!”

He looked around with incremental levels of panic for Magda, his clothes, and then anything else he could cover himself with. All three missions inevitably failed. Left with little further choice, Weedsley crawled out of the low tent flap, and stood to attention, blinking in the mid-morning sun.

Sir Benedict, resplendent from the waist up in his armoured helm and chest plate loomed like a sparkly thunderhead over the naked squire. Weedsley looked down – he couldn’t help it, the suns reflection from the Knights white legs stole the show. All he wore from his waist down were a pair of short linens. His bare feet tapped an allegro beat of annoyance on the flattened grass.

Behind him could be seen the other knights errant similarly clad. Sir Bruno the Morose appeared to be wearing only his helmet, although mercifully not on his head.

“Care to explain, Quadrangal?”

“I couldn’t possibly, my Lord.”

“We appear to have been robbed, Quadrangal, and the only visitor to camp was last seen in a state of some undress leaving your tent. I am assuming she is no longer your guest?”

“No, my lord, I appear to have misplaced her.”, mutter Weedsley, looking around for signs of his recent conquest. No, he thought, his recent conqueror. Damn. He returned his gaze to the furious knight.

“Quadrangal, we cannot continue our journey like this. I have no… I mean, we can’t be seen in the…”

For the first time ever the knight appeared flustered. Weedsley stared his lords reddening face in astonishment. Sir Benedict made a mighty effort, and made an effort to stand even straighter – his breast plate seemed to puff outwards.

“Quadrangal, I deem this your fault! You will ride forthwith to the nearest town, and acquire supplies for our noble venture. To whit, one pair of platemail legguards.”

The other knights piped up.

“Cod piece, and chainmail tunic!”

“All of my armour, damn yer eyes!”

“Four sets of breeches, and my chainmail.”

“Breeches and mail tunic, greaves, short sword and boots”, muttered Sir Bruno dejectedly, before looking down and adding “And a new helmet.”

“Get riding, Quadrangal”, finished Sir Benedict, menacingly.

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God in a Box (Working Title) – Part 3

A longer bit – I was going to do this as two bits, but it didnt seem to flow as well that way, so here’s the lot! I guess I need to get a move on and write some more stuff. Slow updates, sorry, busy busy week this week.

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The caravan wound its way through the barren canyon. This was dangerous country. The smashed remains of gutted carts were strewn along the canyon floor, to lie with the dessicated remains of their guards and pack beasts. The lead cart rumbled over the rocky surface, grinding pebbles to dust under its great weight. Each time a wheel stuck on a rock, or fell into a pothole, the cart beast grunted, but the drum roll of its eight massive feet never faltered.

The guards clutched their long bladed spears tightly, every knuckle on all four hands white with strain. They scanned the jagged crests of the hills; any silhouette was studied carefully. The tribes would be watching. The guards were on edge; no-one wanted to get caught out here, when the city and it’s fortified sanctuary was so very close.

The captain clutched his spear two-handed, and used his other hand to shield his eyes. The double blue sun was bright today, it would give their attackers an advantage attacking from the top of the crag. His phantom hand twisted uncomfortably, bringing to his face what passed for a grimace among his people. That wound still bothered him. It was long past the time the limb should have regenerated, but he wasn’t as young as he used to be, and the long years had hardened his chitin, making the process more painful to boot.

*They come!*

The alarm slammed into him, each molecule of the alarm scent crashing into his receptors like a rock from a catapult. He spun in time to see the painted brown figures detach from crevices in the wooden walls of the canyon, each one a feature of the landscape until they moved. The sinuous movement of their eight limbs emerging from the background hypnotised him, but their rage filled screams as they charged brought him back to himself, and he readied his weapon.

A long spear whisked past his head, the fluidic air parting with a thin scream. He ducked, and jabbed, using his attackers momentum against him, and the spear tip plunged into the tribers thorax with the crack of splintering chitin. He jerked the spear free as the body spun past, parried a hastily thrust attack with his lower forearm before swinging the bladed edge around. Using the last of the dead creatures momentum, he smoothly separated the attackers head from his body. Both fell at his feet, twitching. He jumped, air molecules moving aside reluctantly as he did so, and landed on another triber a split second after it cut down the paralysed guard it had been attacking. The captain screamed, a screech of pain and fury as he felt the tribers head cave in under this feet.

A spear haft hit the captain in the head, and he went down, his vision blurring. He hit the ground, and rolled over. His spear has gone, flicked away by the force of the fall. A triber stood over him, and his mandibles clacked together in a smirk of pleasure. He was a tense, malevolent oasis in the chaotic melee whirling around them. The blue suns glinted off his dark brown armoured body as he brought the blade spear up in a four-handed back-swing, and began the final downward stroke.

The world blurred and rolling wave of deafening sound bounced and ricocheted down the canyon.

The ground fell away from beneath them, throwing the triber off his feet and into a heap beside the captain. They were still falling as the ground rose again, and the captain felt his chitin crack as the rock smashed into him from below. And the world went black.

—————-

Blinba looked up. He had been concentrating so hard on his new little world that the slamming of the door had taken him by surprise. He could still feel the violent concussions rolling around the winding canyons of the wooden plank floor. If he was human, he would be annoyed. He flared his eye-orbs in what he’d learned was a menacing fashion.

“What do you want, now? It is annoying when you surprise me like that.”

“I-I-I’m s-sorry. This door doesn’t ‘alf st-stick.”, said a thin male voice apologetically.

“I was busy.”

“Ooh, w-w-what w-with?”, said the voice, curiosity momentarily getting the jump on fear, before it caught up causing him to squeak, ”I-if you d-don’t mind me ask-k-king?!”

Despite himself, Blinba liked this mind. It was fractal; the simple pattern of swirls and knots was repeated at smaller and scales smaller. And the closer he looked the more complex the pattern became, at every level. Unfortunately it was also a vivid shade of yellow. He could feel the cloying sense of unforcussed dread of the world drifting around this mind like oily smoke.

“I was building worlds.”

“Really? W-would you tell me about them?” The stutter was suddenly almost absent, forgotten. Blinba heard a rustle of paper.

“I would like to, but I would like to be left to build my worlds more.”

“Oh.” The mind flattened slightly, almost a slump of disappointment.

“But, since the world has apparently all but ended now, I will talk to you,” Blinba continued, feeling curiously reluctant to disappoint this earnest little creature.

“W-wow, thankyou!”, the shape sat on a previously unnoticed stool, pencil poised over a sheaf of paper.

“I built a city and some small creatures to make stories for me watch. They lived on the floor, in the floor. They fought, they loved. They were unique, for they were just an inspiration, and I let the nature of this universe shape them. Their shape gave them what they thought of as free will. In this they were the same as you. Their will caused them to act and from these acts emerged stories.”

“Y-you built a world, in the floor? What are they doing now?”

Nothing, they died, as all stories do. Each hour was a century to them; they had plenty of time, but their world was transient and the opening of the door was too much for it.” The scratch of pencil on paper halted suddenly.

“W-what?! Really? And I killed them by opening a door!?”, the voice exclaimed, horrified.

“Yes. Does that upset you? You did not know. You were but a natural disaster, you could not communicate with them, or they with you, you were the equivalent of a magma eddy that triggers an earthquake. You did not murder, your action merely had a consequence that you did not predict or observe, as all your actions do. That is how the world is, and that is what makes it interesting.”

“B-b-but still, I killed them. Did they suffer?”

Blinba shrugged. “Many of them did, but not for long. And at the end of things, what is the difference?”

The mind shrank slightly, and its hue became more orange.

“You are g-getting b-better at acting like w-w-one of us, you know. You can b-be mean.”

Blinba looked at him, genuinely surprised. “Do you think so? I admit I feel that I have changed. I cannot observe the world, I am broadly as limited as you in my perception. Do you think that has altered me? But I do not think I am being mean. I did not mean them to suffer, any more than you did.”

“B-b-but you made them. That makes their suffering y-your f-fault.”

“So I should have let them remain unrealised potential? Suffering and happiness are consequences of existence.”

“Can y-you not make them just happy?”

Blinba looked at him, eye orbs flaring once again, “That would be boring.”

“You seem to have an answer for everything. More so every day.”, he muttered reproachfully.

“I have little to do but to think about things from your point of view, so I suppose that I seem to have more relevant answers. It is most distracting, my mind wanders. I prefer our conversations, it allows me to focus on one subject. Does the old man know you are still visiting me?”

“No, he told me not to. He said I had not done a good job of understanding you. I think he was just angry that I hadn’t agreed with what he’d taught us.”

There was a long silence as Blinba thought about this, then he said, “So, am I to be sent out into the world again? It has been some time, has it not? I find it difficult to tell.”

The young main looked sad.

“The Reverand Scholar said that w-we w-w-were not t-to let you out again for a w-w-while. He said you are g-g-getting uncooperative. I’m sure he b-blames our talks, the ones w-we had b-b-before he b-banned me from seeing you.”

“And stopping me from doing the work he wants me to do is a punishment? If I was uncooperative, I was at least being uncooperative while working.”

“He’s just trying to hurt you isn’t he?”

Blinba’s shoulders became mistier, and rose a couple of inches; his version of a shrug, and nodded. Exaggerated affectations which took far more effort for him than speaking, but it seemed appropriate. The young man looked about to cry.

“But w-why? W-w-what have you done to him?”

“I have done nothing, I think that is why he is angry. Until he trapped me here I did not know him, or you, or anyone. You were just talking chemicals. Despite his assurances to the contrary, he is a pious man, and I have disappointed him. He believed in a god of power and influence and manipulation, something he could use. I am just a god of stories. All I really do is watch.”

“But surely that is better? We are our own, not something’s play-things.”

“I am glad you see it that way.” Blinba looked into the eyes of his only friend and his voice took on an edge of pleading. “So, can I go out again? Please?”

Even Blinba couldn’t decide if the emotion was voluntary.


God in a Box (Working Title) – Part 2

A short section this one. Just long enough for a coffee break.

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“Well, that was a resounding success, Tosty, well done!”, said Professor Aardvark Chopsticks, thumbs in his equatorial belt.

Tosty Architrave, kneeling by a half-filled chest, glanced up, triumph still glowing on his skinny face, and grinned up at his mentor, the wispy fluff of adolescence quivering on his upper lip. The professors kind eyes peered down at his protege over the curve of the enormous belly like two watery eggs in a nest of white eyebrow.

“Thankyou, Professor. That demonstration with the diffraction grating and the peashooter was a triumph. How did you know that peas could exist in superposition?”

“Ah, well, lad, I knew it had to be possible; light is made up of tiny pea shaped things that act as waves and dots, so it stood to reason that peas could do the same!”

“A marvel, sir.”

“Yes indeed. And besides, I felt a presence when we began this morning; I knew things would work properly today.”

Tosty looked uncomfortable. “Sir? Isn’t that a bit like religion?”

The big man smiled beatifically.

“A bit, my lad, but religion is only religion when faith is involved; guesswork and wishful thinking to believe blindly in a myth. When you know something exists through testing, through facts, faith isn’t needed any more, do you see?”

“Not really”, Tosty said, looking worried. The Professor patted him on the shoulder.

“Don’t worry, you will. I have decided to nominate you for a place in the Grand College in the autumn, if you are still desirous of a place?”

“That would be magnificent, sir!”, exclaimed the boy, the packing of apparatus suddenly forgotten, “I won’t let you down, I promise!”

The professor laughed, “I know you won’t lad, a great scientist I see in you. You remind me of myself at your age; you will go far.”

Tosty just grinned inanely. The professor coughed theatrically to cover his doubtful expression.

“Yes, well. When you are done packing, please be so good as to see the innkeeper about our dinner.”, he said, turning and striding to the exit, “A good glazed ham should do the trick. And perhaps some of those lovely buttered potatoes with the tasty little green things.”

“Herbs, sir. Certainly, Professor. And thankyou again!”

The professor beamed at him, and closed the door.

Tosty turned back to his task, lifting an experimental accordion from the pile on the floor. And stopped. Under the instrument was the metal plate used to display the pea diffraction pattern.
The peas had dried and had begun to flake off, but in the complex pattern of yellow-green splotches there could be clearly seen two words.

“TeSTIng tEstInG”.


God in a Box (Working Title)

A part of a story, from somewhere right of the start, but left of the middle.

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Blinba sulked. He sat on a small stool in the centre of the Space and peered out of his own head sullenly. The term “he sat” was somewhat misleading, Blinba considered. He was a he only by convention; his shape was certainly not female, but he definitely lacked some details which would have lead an observer to conclusively declare his masculinity. Then there was the word “sat”. True, his shape appeared to be that of a cross legged figure with his rump on or about the seat, but a careful watcher would see that he hovered a fraction of an inch above the rough wood. He was also rotating slowly. His extremities faded into motes as they approached the metal slabs making up his cage, and were whisked away in a speedy half orbit, before a rapid but smooth deceleration as they re-attached themselves to his other side.

Blinba felt the iron hard knot of His mind approaching, along with another knot which was more of a heap. A thin wooden door rattled a couple of times behind him, and there was a muffled curse. The knot of the mind grew spikes.

“Bloody damp, I swear, damnable fores-” There was a splintering crack as something came free. The knot smoothed out again. The room rocked, and boots clumped on the wooden floor.

“Good morning, Blinba”, said a voice full of meticulously rationed joviality.

“Only here, elsewhere it’s the afternoon”, replied Blinba, attempting pomposity. He failed.

“Quite so, quite so. I am glad you are concentrating so much on these things, there is so much that needs to be watched, after all.”

Blinba didn’t reply.

Once, he thought, he had drifted through the world; watching, nudging a mind here, tinkering with an action there. Enjoying himself. He had been free in a creation of his own mind. Maybe it WAS his own mind, once. But his attention, while vast, was not infinite. For humans, he thought, attention span referred to time, but to the likes of him it was more a matter of radius. Time was not an issue, everywhen was now when your memory was perfect, and the future perfectly predictable. But everywhere was behind you when you were concerned with those tiny fascinating details. Things sneak up on you, even in your own mind. Without warning he had been crammed into this Space, and his attention was cut free, his predictions shattered. Now all he had were his eyes, the local limit of his attention, formed with care into two glowing blue orbs in the top of his shape.

And they were BORED.

The cage ringing the Space was made of twenty-one metal slabs about six feet tall by one wide, each with a tight coil of copper wire at top and bottom. Engraved on each was a picture. Blinba had studied them many times; the Heirophant, the Lovers, the Tower.

Shortly after he had gotten bored with these, the visits had started. The man had been okay; blond, tall, shoulders that made him look vaguely triangular. An archtypal hero, and thick as a sawmill of planks. He has been good conversation and charming. Blinba had wanted to give him a boon or, failing that, a treat and a pat on the head. His mind had been like a duvet – soft, warm and full of air.

Then there had been the woman. Blinba shuddered, and then out of pride at this human-like reaction, did so again to show off. The woman. Her mind had been a granite ball, polished to a mirror shine, but containing a seething mass of molten ambition. The man, whom she called Your Highness in Blinba’s presence, but “Dolt” when she thought he couldn’t hear, had been scared of her too, and had looked at her before every question, like an actor who had forgotten his lines.

Then one day – Blinba didn’t know how much later, he had never been good with time – another man had arrived. He was bearded, grey and hunched, and his mind was metallic, at once both sharp and malleable. He was a man used to adapting, and used to having things turn out to his advantage. Blinba had liked the beard, sharply defined and grey, like a piece of flint. He had tried to copy it until the man politely told him not to, and ripped Blinba apart. When Blinba had pulled himself together, the man had told Blinba that they were going on a journey. A score of younger men, all similarly robed, had rushed in. They’d manhandled Blinba’s cage through the door and out of the castle. It had been dark, but Blinba didn’t need light to see the citadel, and the mountains, and the sky before the door of the cart had closed them off from him one again.

He’d tried to copy the human shape in the intervening months out of a lack of anything else to do, and, using the shiny surface of the metal slabs to judge the results, had got very good at it. He hardly had to concentrate any more. The illusion would have been perfect but for the fact that that he couldn’t change colour from that of early morning mist, and that the motes making up his body would get dragged away by the intense field at the edge of the Space. After the ripping apart incident, Blinba didn’t go near to them. In the end, the boredom had rendered him lazy, and it was this laziness that left him in his current form, an androgynous figure made of solid mist, with few details.

“We had a problem several nights ago, my friend”, continued the knot, measured steps circling his enclosure so that they were always behind him. Blinba stayed silent.

“One of our shows went wrong, and I know it wasn’t our methodology that caused it. Some damage done to equipment and personage, and a lot to our reputation. I am not ha-ppeey!”.

This last sentence was delivered in a childlike sing-song voice, and was all the more menacing for it. The mind spiked and then went mirror smooth. The clumping stopped.

“This world was created by you, we were all created by you; you owe us for that. This world does not run well, it runs erratically, driven by emotion and stories”, the man sneered,”not by fact and rigorously enforced RULES!” The last word was a savage scream. Blinba jumped, and congratulated himself.

These conversations were getting more common. For all his attempts to ape human behaviour (he applauded himself on the pun) he hadn’t yet got the hang of fear. This human enjoyed creating fear, and when he couldn’t instill it in Blinba, he got angry.

“So, now you are going to try again.”

Blinba felt the field around him relax its grip, and he let his mind reach out, fingers of consciousness swirled through the gaps between the slabs. He flailed for a moment, and his world flooded to meet him, tendrils intertwining. The most tenuous of bridges, the most fragile of freedoms from this prison. Blinba exalted.

“A town, east of the Sunset mountains, on the shore of a great lake. Are you there?”

Blinba felt the words flow across the bridge with the world, and he focused, a concentration of attention on the small town. He saw the cobbles, the harbour, the sun reflecting on the deck of the schooner, the men kneeling in rows scrubbing her deck. He saw the gulls swirling overhead, he saw the rat scurry through the unloaded cargoes. He saw everything at once, and every one thing in detail.

“I am here, I am everywhere, but am mostly there, yes.” He felt the grunt, and the brief annoyance at his verbosity. The heavy footsteps resumed. There was another groan of arboreal protest as the door was opened.

“There is a show, a small cart and a stage in the square. Things must be consistent. Ensure it.”

Blinba set to work as the door shut. He was dimly aware that a couple of heavy blows were needed to ensure it stayed that way.

A small human wandered into view, holding a notebook and a quill.

“W-whenever you are ready, s-sir”, said he, in a squeaky voice.

Blinba concentrated.


Still Brewing

OK, I know I promised a story update tonight, but it has got to that stage where I can see that a paragraph doesnt work, but I can’t work out why. I think I need to put this in the cooler for a day or so, until I can make out the idea trees in the tangled word jungle.

In the meantime, distract with cats!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/40-cat-hats


God in a Box – Part 3

A longer bit – I was going to do this as two bits, but it didnt seem to flow as well that way, so here’s the lot! I guess I need to get a move on and write some more stuff. Slow updates, sorry, busy busy week this week.

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The caravan wound its way through the barren canyon. This was dangerous country. The smashed remains of gutted carts were strewn along the canyon floor, to lie with the dessicated remains of their guards and pack beasts. The lead cart rumbled over the rocky surface, grinding pebbles to dust under its great weight. Each time a wheel stuck on a rock, or fell into a pothole, the cart beast grunted, but the drum roll of its eight massive feet never faltered.

Read More – Storyspace


God in a Box – continued…

A short section this one. Just long enough for a coffee break.

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“Well, that was a resounding success, Tosty, well done!”, said Professor Aardvark Chopsticks, thumbs in his equatorial belt.

Tosty Architrave, kneeling by a half-filled chest, glanced up, triumph still glowing on his skinny face, and grinned up at his mentor, the wispy fluff of adolescence quivering on his upper lip. The professors kind eyes peered down at his protege over the curve of the enormous belly like two watery eggs in a nest of white eyebrow.

Read More – Storyspace


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