it's nearly christmas. How did this happen?
Ten seconds ago, I was holding Aja's hand and we were watching the fireworks over Cambridge on Guy Fawkes' Night
Fifteen seconds ago, I was about to meet Aja at Gatwick, stomach filled with cold expectation and a weight of lonely months.
Half a minute ago, I was a sad and lonely thing, pining for the other half of my world, half a world away.
A minute before that, I was frantic, prepping a house for sale, finding homes for cats, too tired to pay attention to what I was giving up.
Five minutes ago, I was perfectly content in early March. I'd just got a pay rise, we'd just bought a Wii, my parents were coming to visit, and everything in my life felt normal.
The only good thing I can say about this year is how fast it's gone.
Why Cacti Don't Love.
I need a drink.
There's an old saying about camels: they can go for days without water because of internal reserves. What they don't tell you is that when you finally get the camel to water, it will drink anything it can find, drain an oasis to dry sand.
I've been in this terrarium for longer than days, no company but the sound of Ursula reading to us.
Ursula, blond, teutonic, last name like a stuttgart butcher yelling at a stray dog.. She was studying the effects of different voice patterns on certain forms of carnivorous cacti. To one tank, she spoke with clear hatred, to another with distinct indifference. To me, however, she spoke with nothing but love.
She didn't know that I wasn't like her other specimens, that the lab brought in something destined for a much higher security clearance. She just went about her simple research, and today made the mistake of reaching into the tank to stroke her beloved cactus.
A sharp, hollow quill entered her finger, barbs kept it in place until all the blood was drained.
She hit the floor. I'm larger now, more lush and verdant.
And still thirsty.
For Casey Jones on Facebook
The duck's treason.
He saw him coming this time. He saw him coming before he got out of bed this morning. He saw him coming before he was even born.
All these years of plans, and this idiotic prankster ruined it every time. He could have been something by now, something special, not the endless butt of endless bad jokes. He was like Lex Luthor, constantly thwarted by Superman. That is, if Superman had suffered from leporine spongiform encephalopathy.
This was it, though. This time, it was a game of wits, and he knew he had more wits in the web between his toes than this joker had in his entire cotton stuffed head. It was finally over. No more bad gags from a loki substitute who held a carrot like a cigar. No more constantly asking 'doc' what was up. It would end, and end well. He smirked, and played his final card.
“Duck season! FIRE!”
The diminutive hunter pulled the trigger. Once the smoke had cleared, he found himself hurt, rather than dead. Of course. Dead wasn't funny. With a horrible effort, he wrenched his beak back round to the front of his face.
Cosplaying Thundercats In Dorset.
At one point, Lionel had hated himself for not hating this.
The six of them stood on the beach at weymouth, not ashamed at all of their outfits, their body paint, their ridiculous hair. Adrian, who was usually Jaga, was sick today. He was getting on in years, but usually never missed a meeting.
Lionel had joined with the intention of getting an article out of it for Retrochic magazine. He had intended this to be two weeks under an assumed name followed by a two page spread of sneering and colour photographs, but he couldn't bring himself to jeer at these people. They were having a lot more fun than his normal post-ironic hipster friends, because they didn't care. Last week, he had confessed all: he wasn't Patrick, the engineer; he was Lionel, the freelance journalist. They didn't mind, probably would have forgiven him even if he had written the article.
He lifted the sword. It was mild steel, and the insignia on the hilt was plastic, but in his hands it felt real.
“Thunder, thunder, thunder...”
He held it aloft, completing the movement in the setting sun amongst his friends.
the only bad thing about the first half of the Doctor Who finale was how dogshite it made every other Doctor Who finale look.
Sparkly Vampire Nerf Romance
He tried, he really did.
The girls were willing try any book he gave them, but their previous reading habits sometimes made it a challenge. To pick an example, while they both appreciated the plot of Pride & Prejudice, they found their preferred heroine in Bridget Jones, not Elizabeth Bennett.
Still, one had to soldier on. No point in running a book club if you yelled at the kids who came to it.
This time, he thought he had the formula right. Teenagers were all about vampires these days. He'd heard these two happily converse for hours about the brooding eyes and shimmering skin of their favorite bloodsucker, so taking them back to the original seemed like the natural step. The first few chapters had gone slowly but without any major roadbumps.
“So,” he said, as they began the book club, “Last time I asked you to read up to the end of Chapter five., where you meet Mina, Lucy, and Lucy's suitors. What did you think?”
“Well,” Morgan said, “Me and Tiffany were talking about it today and...”
Tiffany butted in in her excitement.
“We're both totally on Team Quincey.”
Best, Dark and Bright
I split realities, combed through lives until two very different archetypes stood before me.
One grew up poor, won scholarships to the best schools that money didn't buy. A doctor by twenty, a spokesperson for Medecins Sans Frontieres by 24. He led the team that cured Alzheimer's disease. In his spare time he wrote love poetry: sestinas and rondels, mostly.
The other killed a schoolfriend at eight to see what would happen. By 24 he put his bodycount at 700: homeless people and prostitutes, mostly. He would hit 1000 before he turned thirty. He did it all with his hands, not wanting the distance that a weapon put between him and his victims.
Two men, the most successful in their chosen pursuit. The best of dark and bright.
Both the same man, both with my boyish smile on their faces. And me, observing from the middle, the iteration of myself that discovered dimension warping. The only one to see all this.
I took away the barrier between them, just to see what happened. One of me dropped to a fighting pose, and bared teeth with flecks of meat between them.
Well, not quite in the middle.
The Valenciennes Collection
“I have perfect recall” Monsieur Valenciennes said, “That is my curse.”
I followed him through dark hallways. Tantalizing glimpses through cracked doorways revealed the ruins of a beautiful house, like the face of a pinup girl 20 too late.
“Do you believe in past lives?”
I shrugged, “Not really.”
“Neither did I until I turned 25. The memories started on my birthday, you could call them a present.”
He laughed, a wheezing bellows clogged with dust.
“I have lived a hundred hundred lives, and I remember them in painful detail.”
He opened a door to reveal a wall of images: colour photographs, then sepia, then tin. Before that, simply sketches.
“I spent my life gathering my collection of former selves, and I suppose in my next life I will do it over again.”
“So what's the curse?” I said, “Living forever doesn't sound that bad.”
He looked at me with ancient pity.
“Growing old time after time? Getting murdered? Dying in pain to be reborn in pain? It's more than enough to make you kill yourself.”
“Not that it would do you any good.”