Saturday, 14 May 2016


            Nuclear fire swept across the landscape, searing flora and fauna alike.  A Tidal wave of flame and death that purged and sterilised. Regarded from afar, the firestorm was joined by many more, blooming into existence like lotuses. They merged together until they full encompassed the Earth. For one terrible moment, all that was still alive on the planet knew nothing but pain. The mantle cracked and the celestial body fractured. The Earth entered its final death throes, as cruel gravities tore it apart.


               “Did any of you guys see that?”


                Buddha regarded the shattered sphere. He watched the last fires sputter out as the atmosphere boiled, and turned questioningly to the group.

               “Of course I did, I’m All-Seeing………But why don’t you explain for the benefit of the others?”

                Buddha rolled his eyes. He was a relatively non-threatening small fat man. In one hand he grasped a wine gourd, and a smile continuously played across his lips He glanced over at…. well here was the problem. They guy insisted on being called God. Problem was that they were all gods and this made conversation a little confusing. He was the Judeo-Christian God, and if Buddha was honest he was a little sold on his own hype. A tall well-built man, with long dark hair and a beard clad in white robes.

               “The Earth, it seems to have given up the ghost!”

                God joined Buddha, surveying the devastation.

                “This certainly wasn’t my work. Anyone else have a hand in this? Shiva, this has your M.O. written all over it”

                Shiva glared at God. A beautiful blue-skinned being, with multiple arms extending from her torso, her hands constantly danced in hypnotic patterns and in their own language described the history of the Everything.

                 “Pack it in. You know I promised to run it past everyone before I did anything like that again.”

                 “All I’m saying is that last time we turned our backs we got the Asteroid Belt. I wouldn’t put it past you to ‘let off a little steam’ again.”

                Shiva shrug, a gesture magnified by the overabundance of appendages.

“It wasn’t me”

                She turned to two other beings. They were identical, perfect individuals, with skin that flowed with swirls of black and white, however whatever was projected on one, was inverted on the other. They spoke simultaneously, with voices distinctly different that resonated perfectly together.

                “It seems a balance was disturbed. A small strike escalated into global war and they wiped themselves out. They seem to have a real predilection for that.”

                God shifted uncomfortably.

                “That’s all well and good, Tao, but we need to ascertain who was responsible. Did you happen to be paying attention?”

                At this point a second confident booming voice rang out to crowd from a distance.

               “Are you going to be much longer? We’ve been waiting literally ages”

   The motley pantheon turned to inspect several factions of people, mostly dressed in white robes, all decidedly human looking. They appeared to be engaged in a social gathering, but were currently acting as an audience to Terra’s demise.

“Zeus, I assure you that as soon as we are ready to start again, we’ll let you know. Until then just polish your lightning bolts or something. You had your chance and you failed.”

“No need to be like that, and don’t think I haven’t forgiven your for stealing my look.”

“Well, you know what they say. To err is human…”

“Oh, fuck off.”

Zeus turned back to his compatriots and continued their toga party. Buddha chuckled to himself.

“Considering all your similarities, I would have thought Zeus and you would get along better.”

“If I wanted to hang out with someone similar, I would give Allah a call more often. Zeus is just a dick. Remember the century long sex marathon through Europe. His damned offspring were cropping up everywhere after that”

Shiva smiled at God

“And of course he’s the only one who ever…indulged, right?”

God glared at Shiva. The subject of his child had been a sore point for him for a while now. He was truly a jealous God, and they had even had the gall to name the religion after his son. He was not happy about having to share the limelight, even with family.

“Don’t start. Just because it’s been a couple of centuries since the crusades doesn’t mean I don’t know how to bring down the thunder. Can we get back on track here? What happened to the Earth.”

Tao reversed time to a few moments before the tragedy, and they all scrutinised carefully. Eventually Tao’s voices rang out in triumph.

“We’ve found them. It’s a member of the Russian Army. An electrical fault in his warning system led him to believe he was witnessing the start of an all-out assault against his country and he responded in kind.”

God waved his hands at the two.

“Yes, yes. But get to the important stuff. What religion was he?”

“It seems he didn’t have one. Atheist.”

As one the rest of the group sagged in disappointment. Despite his displeasure, Buddha still grinned at the others.

“House wins”

God stared dejectedly at the earth as the devastation started to play at once again.

“I had the leader of the free world following my bloody book. It was practically a certainty. I really thought I was going to win this time.”

He swept a hand across the fragmented tableau and it started to reassert itself into a sphere.

“Give a Zeus a shout that we are restarting. This time I thinking we push the crocodiles rather than the apes. Might up the hostility and speed things up.

Who else fancies another game?”

Wednesday, 2 December 2015


The prisoner awoke in the cell with a jolt. He scrabbled, both mentally and physically, as he sought an answer. Any answer. He realised that none were forthcoming. Several moments of careful self-reflection informed him that he had no knowledge of his identity. He had no recent memories at all. There were some ragged, distant childhood memories, but nothing of substance. He rose from the stiff, starched bed, and inspected his surroundings. There was little to see. His confinement was featureless.

                Apart from the bed stood a desk and chair. On it, a large number of books were stacked. He staggered to the surface and started to take in their titles. Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche. The Republic by Plato, Ethics for the New Millennium by the Dalai Lama. He glanced across the books in confusion. He saw copies of the Bible and the Quran, as well as other religious texts.

                He walked away and sat on the bed in confusion. He was still reeling from the void in his mind, and the books just raised further questions. He stared in silence. An hour later, a meal tray slid into the room from a previously hidden slot a floor level. It was basic and functional food, bland but filling. He reflected on the position of not knowing the last time he had eaten.

                He sat, masticating and cogitating, staring at the towers of knowledge.

                It was an hour before he opened the first book.

                The director watched the events of the cell play out with interest. This was the start of physical trials, and he hoped that it would bear fruit. The director was no-one special, just another government official who had be tasked with addressing the numbers of the reoffenders entering back into prison populations. He had looked at the conundrum for months before the revelation struck him. The problem wasn’t with the punishment. It lay in the perpetrators. They didn’t understand the ramifications and repercussions. The prisoner was currently being repeatedly drugged with a chemical that prevented the recall of any short-term memory. It meant he had no recollection of holding up a liquor store and beating a female worker into submission. The intent was to restructure his code of ethics and morals until he could appreciate how truly wrong his actions were. This is where the books came in, tomes collected from throughout history to allow the subject to redevelop their sense of right and wrong to higher level. Once they had a better understanding, then the drugs could be withdrawn and they would be allowed to experience their guilt and remorse properly. It would take some time, but he knew it would be an education for both of them.

                The prisoner was feeling anxious. The feeling had been growing for a couple of days, ever since he noticed a change in the taste of the food. The books had been a welcome distraction, and he had hungrily devoured the contents. The information had often been conflicting with no clear message, and he was forced to draw his own conclusions. In time he started to realise that was the point.

                Now he felt something new. Up until recently his memories had been a vacuum, but now he was starting to distinguish their shape. Elements danced infuriatingly in his mind. He tried to bury himself in another volume, but his mind would not allow him to focus. Tears started to stream down his face, and for the life of him he could not understand why.

                The director watched the prisoner with mixed emotion. The man was guilty of his crimes, there was no question of that, but the changes he had rendered into the man’s personality had produced a new individual. It was upsetting to watch him slowly hit by the revelation of his actions. The man had been sobbing for two hours. He had previously been so confident, now he found his motivations questionable. He had actually talked to the tech guys about making the memory removal permanent, but they insisted it would require constant upkeep to maintain. He had realised that he needed to allow the man to face his demons, whatever the scars they inflict.

                The administrator studied the monitors overseeing the experiment. The director had not realised in volunteering his project he would become a part of it, and he was being scrutinised as much as the prisoner. It was a good idea. Teach the prison populace to feel remorse. But why stop there? Given enough time and resources you could do this to anybody, hell everybody. It would be easier to keep a society in order. He watched the administrator start to cry. His involvement was important. What kind of individual could be tasked with the restructuring of someone’s morals? These questions were important, and heralded further research. This would pave the way to a crime-free society.  He felt righteous.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


The Mage clasped his hands together in anticipation. He had had a name once, long ago, but now was only referred to in hushed tones as the Mage. He had been like this ever since he mastered his first spell. A simple flame technique that allowed someone to start a fire. At the age of 12 he burned his school bully alive in his home, along with 6  other members of the family. He had watched from a hiding place until the former blaze was embers, and was shocked to find he felt no remorse whatsoever.

With the realization that magic could resolve alot of the obstacles he would come across in life, he plunged into the ancient tomes, greedily devouring what he found, and utilising it to craft new arcane knowledge to bend reality in ways not previously conceived. The way had not always been straight, and often he had been required to shake hands with entities that would drive a normal man insane, but his ascent had lead to first cohorts, then mercenaries, then armies, and finally conquest. His name had poured across the land as he perpetrated atrocities cosmic on his fellow man.  He had defeated all that had stood before him, and was free to ransack knowledge wherever he could find it.

As he had become older, the age-old fear of age had set in. He became bitter and reproachful that all he had built within himself would be claimed by the sands, and there was not way of holding it back. Until new knowledge arose. A monastery had been discovered, hidden away in a forest. The marauders, a collection of his more dangerous biological experiments from his younger years, had made short work of the holy men, and one had retained enough cohesive thought to bring one alive to him.

He had spiritually flayed the man, one layer at a time. He had torn his essence to shreds, and in his final pain filled delirium he had started to babble of immortality. The Mage had searched for this before and found no-one had been able to defy the Reaper. He could be temporarily averted, but never discouraged. The monk provided the details of a stockpile of spells deemed too dangerous for mortal perception, and they had been sealed away. He had been uncharacteristically merciful, and put the monk out of his misery. The journey was long and arduous, taking him through mountains and deserts. He proved his determination many times over, and finally claimed that which he sought.

He had retreated to his sanctum, a safe room hidden within the spaces that focused his energies, a turned his attention the scroll. The text revealed a ritual, one where all primary, secondary and tertiary elements were represented. The rite allowed mastery of all reality, specifically over the casters self, and prevented  time from ravaging. A surprising simple spell, it had been easy to replicate. He incited the tones, and stood within the circle. After a couple of moments, he started to feel that he may have been cheated. With nothing happening, he strode to the circle edge. He found invisible resistance at the circumference, and started to hammer against it. He desperately conjured up sourceries, and found they splashed uselessly against the walls of his prison.

After a couple more moments, the air outside the circle started to bubble and foam. A figure materialised, and with a start the Mage realised it was the holy man. The man smiled, and waggled a finger at the Mage. There was a sound of glass shattering and reality fragmented around the man. When it reasserted itself, it revealed a much taller man, with skin of white marble. His eyes were glass, and his hair was thick oil that constantly poured down his back. The Mage felt the resonating malevolence through the shield and realised that he found himself in front of the the first evil, The Devil. The Fallen smiled and spoke with a voice of gravel and shards.

"Right Now? Not much of a threat. But someday in the future? Who knows. The reason I have never been usurped is because I make sure I don't have competition. You wanted immortality, thats fine. I don't want you in Hell anyways. Who knows what an enterprising little stain like you could achieve. "

The mage scrabbled for words as confusion reigned.

"I wouldn't try and overthrow you. I mean it's you?! I wouldn't dare hold myself to your level"

"I've watched and noted that your are not satisfied with what you have, constantly pursuing constantly devouring. Give it time and you'll be eyeing my throne. I've seen it before, and this is not the first time I've sent someone like you on a chase for this little ritual.You will now never die. You will never leave that circle. And no-one else will ever enter this sanctum again."

He raised a hand, and was in mid-gesture when the mage screamed.

"Please, have mercy. Was I not merciful to your avatar when I gained what I sought?"

The Devil leered at him.

"You're right. I tell you what. I may even visit occasionally."

He disappeared in a shower of ash.  The Mage stared at the dissipating cloud. He sat down cross legged and started to brood. He could wait.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015


We've all done it. That moment when we are staring into the middle distance and we think "I'm gonna remember the date and time, and if they ever invent time travel, I'm coming back to this moment." This is often followed by a pause to await potential chronal arrivals. As far as I know, this has never borne fruit. I certainly would have laughed at any who claimed it. At least up until about half an hour ago.

I was watching a movie in my lounge when I just zoned out and started playing with my phone. A glance at the date and time triggered the familiar thought process. I chuckled and continued watching the movie. Suddenly, my phones tones rang out. With everything I had been thinking a couple of seconds earlier, this succeeded in momentarily scaring the shit out of me.

It was a number I didn't recognize, more digits than I expected, and one of them I don't know,  I think it was an 8 but it made my brain itch.  Curiosity at this point would have killed me if I hadn't answered the phone. I heard breath on the line, but nothing was coming for a couple of seconds.

Me: Hello?

?: Matt, is that you? 

Me: This is Matt, who is this?

?: Fuck me, it worked. Look I'm not gonna get much time. I'm you.

Me: ...what?

?: Look, in the very near future some really bright sparks are gonna work out how to send signals back. Look, we need to speed this up. You ask me to prove it, I recite the name of every stuffed toy you've ever kept, you say that's not enough, I then list every girlfriend you've ever had, including Anita Wright, the one you didn't tell anyone about. You freak out for a couple of seconds, but we need to get to the part where you start listening to me.

I went cold. I hadn't told anyone about Anita. There was not other explanation. He sounded like me. Talking to him was confusing and comfortable at the same time. In the background I started to hear shouting and a what sounded like something heavy hitting wood.

?:I didn't want to make this call, because of everything it triggers, but I realise that I don't have a choice. You have to get out. Get out of the city, away from civilization, away from other people. It's all about to go to shit, and -

The hammering in the background rose to a crescendo and the voices became clear rapidly approaching our conversation.

?:Get the fuck away from me, you psychos. You killed millions. We can fix it with this, just give me a chance-

He was cut-off mid-sentence. I could hear choking, gurgling noises and I realised he was being strangled. It can take a long time for some to die from strangulation. At least it felt long. He (I?) finally succumbed and there was silence. I heard the receiver get picked up. A clipped British accent resonated down the line.

?:Are you still there?

Me:...yeah, what the fuck is going on?

?: Pay no mind to this. Forget this call. Move on. 

Me:You expect me to just forget this?

?: Well, if you can't I guess I'll be seeing you soon. Good Luck.

The line went dead. I sat in a state of shock for a couple of minutes, trying to process what I had just experienced. On a whim, I tried to dial back the number. All I got was the front-desk of some university. It was answered by a bubbly receptionist. She seemed nice.

This brings us to the alleged present. Where do I go from here?
What do I do?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Help Me

Right now, I'm sat at my computer. The only thing I can do is type. I've been posting to numerous sites, but no-one believes me, and they think it's all just a prank. About 20 minutes ago I sat down and booted it up, and tossed my phone on the desk in front of the keyboard. Stuck on some tunes and just chilled. As my gaze wandered around my room, I glanced at the blank screen of my mobile. It was reflecting my monitor screen, but there was something moving. The monitor itself was projecting my desktop, yet further inspection of the reflection showed what appeared to be a dos box open. Data was streaming through it, at first too fast to follow.  Suddenly the scrolling stopped, a cursor blinking, then a line of inverted dialogue that took me a few seconds to decipher.


I dropped my phone in shock. I grabbed it again searching across the screen for any other information. Coming back to the box revealed a new line.


At this point, one of those stupid popup ads opened up on my desktop. I reached for the mouse to shut it down, but then the window strobed with colours. It was like razors on my brain. I convulsed for a second, and now I can't feel the lower half of my body. My cell phone signal has dropped out and I can hear multiple cars pulling up outside.

Someone is knocking at my door.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Flesh Market: Trader's Tales

        I'm glad you were able to return. Most would have walked away, chuckling to themselves at the notions I shared with you last time. It takes a special kind of obsession to ask questions and return, inquisitive and demanding. Well if you want more answers, this old man is going to need more libation. After all in this world, everything has a price. Including this conversation. I want your full birth name. Last time? That was advertising. You want my story, I want your name. What I intend to do with it is none of your business. Thank You.

Now to your first question, who am I? I apologise that introductions were overshadowed previously. My name is of little consequence. I am a former trader of the market. I have distant memories of being alive during the first civilization, where I traded to all. I was unscrupulous. I would gouge hard and tear the shirts from their backs if I could. I took more than I gave and eventually I was noticed. One evening as I was closing up, I was visited by a blind old woman. She offered to purchase some food, and extended a hand holding currency far greater than the value of what she was buying. I didn't even hesitate. I swiped the cash and gave her some rotten fruit. She thanked me, and left. I finished closing the stall, and took out the coins. Though I did not recognise the markings, gold was gold. It warmed in my hand, burning hotter, but when I went to fling it away it remained suck to my palm. The heat intensified until I started to scream, shout, beg and reason with the coin. The golden disc started to melt, and rivulets of molten gold burned up my arm, scoring channels as they beat a path to my face. It poured into my orifices, mouth, nose, ears and finally eyes. My mind burned and I knew nothing else.

Time passed, though I couldn't tell you how long. I don't know if I was in hell, but if I wasn't, the underworld has some competition. Eventually pained abated and my mind was capable of cohesive thought. I was now within the Market. Looking around I saw the other stalls, and the people manning them. A young woman approached me and helped me to my feet. She told me how the first few minutes can be disorientating. And then she told me where I was.

Now like any reasonable individual, I took her words at face value. I laughed in said face and spun round searching for the exit. There was none. Turning back I asked how to get out. She had gone silent. She was staring over my shoulder. Looking around there was...I'm sorry I have difficulty with this part.. you see I can tell you what he looked like, but I don't think that was what I was seeing. He was tall, far taller than any other in the market. He had long, stiff robes that gave him a pyramidal quality, raising to a tightly bound collar. I think he was wearing a mask. I hope he was wearing a mask. My eyes wouldn't let me focus on his face, and sought the ground in self defence. He glided towards me, and leaned in. I felt hot breath on the top of my head as he addressed me. "Strong heart, Quick mind, Sharp eyes. " I could feel his gaze move across my body. "Some stomach ulcers, early stages of arthritis, a broken leg at a young age". His voice was refined, educated and filled with disdain. "You will make a fine addition to the Market. Now get to work. You have a quota to keep.". The entity turned and swept away, disappearing in to the deep shadows.

I panicked and spun back to the young woman demanding answers. I begged and offered, but she would only repeat the motto of the Market. I heard this time and again over the centuries, and after a while found myself saying it, and truly believing it. Ministerium est Redemptio.  It was years before I understood the meaning. Service is Redemption.

I asked who the entity was. She shrugged. They didn't know, but they all referred to him as the Accountant. He was the one to appease here. She told stories of traders who had not made their quotas and were required to fill demand from their own bodies. In the Flesh Market, one way or another, you didn't stay below quota for long. At this, my mind focused with single intent. I had a solution now. I would serve the market and earn my redemption. But life is rarely that simple.

How did I leave? I'm...not ready to tell that story just yet. Let's just say there are some costs that are far greater than the skin off your back. But I understand you had questions pertaining to last time. It's understandable. You want to play the game, you want to know all the rules. Now there are trades that can be made, even with organs that we ourselves consider useless. The appendix, the organ that fell from grace. Having this little obstruction torn from you will result in a change in the way in which your body sustains itself. You will be able to survive on nothing but raw meat. You will not require water, vegetables, nutrients of any kind. This may sound barbaric to us evolved folks, but understand that society is transitional, and we can't always be assured where our next meal is coming from.

In recent years humanity has advanced in medicinal sciences to the level where they can actually place the organs of another within someone. To us in the market this was astounding, and we had no concept how this would impact on our commerce. It was not pleasant. One individual was noted repeatedly returning to the market. His torso was riddled with scars, and we realised that he was trading some of the less necessary organs and had made preparations to replace outside.

It was after the removal of his bladder for the fourth time. The trade gives you the ability to survive without need of water for three lunar months. The fool had been using it as a demonstration of his 'skills', and was fast becoming a celebrity as some form of holy man. As he offered his bladder again, the Accountant exploded out of the shadows. He swept towards the man wrenched him to ground, and leaned in close, screaming into his face. "Ungrateful, stupid, arrogant, obnoxious little man. You seek to defraud me?! Allow me to show you how to turn a prophet" His laughter echoed as the poor man was dragged into the shadows. A couple of days later one of other traders pointed out that a corner portion of the robe now seemed to a number of scars burned into it. So yeah. Don't do that.

Threats of violence? you think that you could rob the market, like some convenience store? Do you really think that you are the first to think of that? As long as we fall under his ownership, we are protected. Violence yields no wounds on us, but I assure that is not a two way street. Intimidation is pointless as he is far more so.

What else? Some people sometimes get their trades confused. For instance, there has always been some issues between offering your ears, and offering your hearing. Giving up your ears will result in the trader clamping their hands down on the sides of your head. You might want to tense up at this point, because I hear the next one stings a bit. The end result is a sense of balance that would make a mountain goat jealous. Not just physically, but mentally as well. You will be at peace with yourself, and in full control at all times.  Sacrificing your hearing, however will give you knowledge over all current languages. This does beg the question, is it better to be heard than to listen?

On this note, I feel we have to draw this to a close. Time has been called, and I have other places to be. You okay there, friend? You seem a little confused. Having trouble remembering who you are? You wanted the story, so you had to pay the price. You gave me your name. It's mine now. Now run along. You have others to be telling of the Market.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Cabal

“Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad”

Prometheus, The Masque of Pandora

                In the upper echelons of society there exists an ever growing group of individuals with entirely too much time on their hands. The members hark from around the world, but share similar traits. Often from lives of exceptional wealth, they are apathetic individuals, detached from day to day life and merely looking for the next  distraction. In this club they find that something they have been seeking to fill the void. The club allows its members anonymity and encourages pseudonyms taken from ancient gods.

                Now the name of the game is Despair. The members compete against each other, and a recognised hierarchy exists for individuals that have proven proficient in the past. A random person from across the world will be elected and presented to the player, who will then proceed to tear apart the person’s life in the most entertaining fashion. The resources of the cabal extend far and wide, and with the significant money at their disposal there are few doors that cannot be unlocked. The game is scored based on the speed with which the player can get the target to dispatch themselves.

                It’s not clear exactly how long the club has been in existence, but the earliest records were shortly after World War 2.  A small group of English officers returned from the war back to lives of luxury, and started to explore new ways in which hell could be inflicted upon an person. Over the years, the numbers have grown and imaginative characters have brought about the self-inflicted slaughter of thousands.

                Over the years, rules for the game have had to be implemented. The most egregious examples would be in the late 70’s. “Ares” had just been given his target and had dropped out of sight. The cabal kept the victim under constant surveillance , awaiting what would come next. During a family dinner, "Ares" calmly walked in and executed 8 members of his family. He tossed a pistol at the poor boy, and instructed that either her shoot himself or the rest of his family would be dead by dawn. Took him 30 seconds to make the choice. “Ares” loves to brag about the fact that the “No killing” rule was brought in to bring him under control.

                Now the games comprise of identity assassination and the destruction of a person’s faith in themselves. One of the more interesting examples was from “Isis”, who announced from the start that she had no care for the time taken and that this would be her magnus opus. She hired several individuals to undergo plastic surgery to make themselves identical to the target. They started to follow this young introverted woman around, always visible to her in the distance. She began to grow paranoid. At this point, the stalking escalated to several of them following at once and approaching her aggressively. She always ran from these encounters, heading home and locking her doors tight. They would post photos of her taken from her back garden through her letter box. It took 6 days before she finally snapped and opened up her arms with shards from the mirror.

                The current record is held by “Morpheus”. It was quite inspired. He paid a number of actors to approach the target, and to say deadpan “wake up, you’re in a coma” then act confused when he confronted them about what they had said. He hurled himself from the top floor of his offices before the day was out.

Now there is no limitation to who can become a target, save for the members of the club. This extends to celebrities from all walks of life. Many public rag scandals have come from machinations of the club, with the now fading star watching their glamour dissolve in front of their eyes. Those who have lived the high life often cannot continue once they are cast out.

                An interesting case was with “Jupiter”. They threw him a bit of a curveball, and elected a target from deep within the amazon forest. A tribesman with no significant concept of much outside his own village. He kidnapped the man in the night and proceeded to subject him to a clockwork orange-style lesson in the horrors and atrocities that have been committed by man. It took 3 days , but he clawed out his own eyes and died from the shock.

                Now this brings us to You. You have been selected as the next target. My name is “Mercury” and you are my target. Knowing what you know now, why don’t you save us all some time and just swallow the goddamn capsule…