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The Prophet and His General Lyle was in Zekkar.
His every cell, muscle, and fibre screamed, strained to break free of its mortal coil. His nerves threatened to snap in frantic rebellion as he heaved them toward his demise, and primal impulses he hadn't even known he possessed frothed his blood, threatening to seize his limbs from him. Yet somehow he, whatever feeble system of chemicals and energy it was that writhed in agony beneath his placid features-- he was howling into the imbroglio. He begged to give in, and he couldn't revel in the strength propelling him forward because it wasn't him, it was their poxed smiles, their dreams animating his limbs, dragging his loathsome soul forth and wringing the virtue from him drop by crimson drop.
He knew he should have adjusted by then, should have hardened his heart. But he was afraid. If the pain disappeared, then he wasn't sure he'd recognize himself at the end of it all.
'No. Concentrate. Pull one leg after the other. Momentum. Keep yo
The Prophet and His General Lyle sat in an alcove he’d claimed for himself, and he took a deeper breath than any he’d dared for a fortnight. His isolation, the auspices of solitude, were necessary just then. Everything was too close. So many years he’d stood prematurely aged, at a distance from it all. Yet, since his trial before the Yggdraeil elders he’d been as a child again. Everything was heady and personal-- worse, even, than his woe-begotten youth. Back then, before he’d seen his fifth season of life, the threshold between the world and his will had been ephemeral at best; his every act had been the mandate of nature. Now, though... Now he was not a part of the weight. He bore it, and it crushed him slowly.
How easy it would be to free himself. The strictly moral action in his position was inaction—he should avoid betraying his nation, and likewise stay from abetting the slaughter of a large portion of the Yggdraeil. There would be no blood on his hands. Both sides were r
Flux-- Rejected editionHave you ever been there when the CFAS enforcers rain down? No? More’s the pity. If it weren’t for the obsoletion of old texts-- ah, Mills!, ah, Dante!-- I could describe it as the descent of a cold and pitiless heavenly host. Indeed, I think the enforcers must seem more divine than our paltry imaginings at the sacred could ever grasp. We tried to give reason embodiment and failed, because we were yet steeped in mythology and ignorance, romanticism (and because this was impossible, while we were limited to our senses). Now, in this late age, reason has conquered. And there are no totems of our new god so affecting as the enforcers. Perfectly proportioned men and women blindfolded by a single strip of cloth as a pointed reminder of their lack of prejudice, adorned by a mesh of white which covers any and all details of their marble bodies. Their feet go bare, but they do not touch the ground. (Insofar as the arbitrary bottom we give the cognitive world can be called a ground
The Prophet and His General "I-- no lay and eat only, anymore."
The weary demand battled to form itself, writhing out from between dry, awkward lips. It screeched over the stone walls of the cavern, and then clashed with the longsword hanging over the exit. Even the lanterns overhead seemed to flinch, their ruddy glow abandoning the speaker for the briefest of instants to the dark of the subterranean, the leagues of mountain overhead threatening to bury him.
His companion, however, met him with a face of indifference-- sardonic indifference, which was to say that a pale brow quirked itself at his mangled string of Yggdraeil. The brow belonged to an uncanny woman. She was angled, her bones poking from her white skin, but she possessed a graceful figure that men with proclivities opposite that of her ward would have appreciated in more than an aesthetic sense. When the foreigner below had spoken she had shifted, a worn cloth dress little too big slipping to bare her other shoulder as she surveyed his brittl
The TrundlerThe waste land behind the fire station is always silent. No birds sing there, and even the wild rabbits and feral cats avoid it. Weedy wildflowers nod their seasonal heads in the breeze. Lying fallow in the midst of housing developments, shopping malls, the new movie theater — the vacant lot stands out like a knife wound on a woman’s placid face, shocking, brazen, ugly.
It is always empty. Except for one thing: a ragged heap of old trash, all nasty black tar paper and vicious snarls of rusted wire, car parts and broken glass and other junkyard jetsam. The embodiment of injury waiting to happen, an invitation to a tetanus shot... the city never hauled it away. No one ever wants anywhere near it; it radiates an eerie sense of calculating watchfulness.
And at night, it wanders.
When darkness falls, and the last cars heading into the hives of tract housing stop illuminating the asphalt with moving-picture shadows, it… unfolds. Bitter, broken tangles, grotesquely mov
Inspector Wolf The old lady was dead. I could smell it before I even got into the house. The whole place reeked of adrenaline, sweat, fear, copper and steel. He’d dropped her right in her living room. Chopped and chopped until she stopped moving. But I could tell I was getting close. This had been done in a hurry, and the killer didn’t have the time to clean up after himself like he usually did.
Across the room, the phone rang. The shrill sound set my teeth to grinding, but I ignored it. Instead I followed the killer’s bloody footprints into the back bedroom. He’d climbed out the window. If I hurried, I could catch up to him and end this disgusting spree he was on.
Then the answering machine kicked in. “Hi, Gramma! It’s Red. Sorry I’m running late. I kind of lost track of time. But don’t worry. I packed the picnic and I’m heading out the door right now. Love you.”
She’d been expec
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