Thursday, October 27, 2011

10/27/11

INTERESTING TIMES
By Gil C. Schmidt


When Pritchard was about to turn 17, he figured out the secret to anti-gravity. Over a furious four weeks between his first kiss with Melanie and his mom's loony "Sweet 17" party (that included a clown, to the utter humiliation of everyone at the party, including the clown), Pritchard (he hated his given name, Percy, so he fixed it) drew up the design, polished the theoretical underpinnings in a 34-page article (never published) and built the prototype, that he tested on Muggs, his loopy bulldog. The dog's maiden, er, flight, caused the poor mutt to vomit and run away for almost a week. The anti-gravity prototype was now disguised as an 8-track player in Pritchard's home-built display of passé technology.

Between Melanie (who went off to college somewhere in Michigan, while Pritchard stayed near home) and Sally, Pritchard figured out faster-than-light travel, pushed to a superhuman effort in consolidating theoretical physics and what he called "hyperquantic thrust dynamos" for lack of a better name. Sally, a smashing little redhead with birthmarks in the darnest places, was Pritchard's first lover, and the extended post-coital daze dampened Pritchard's other thoughts about FTL travel until Sally joined the Navy and was eventually shipped out to some port in East Asia.

Pritchard tinkered with hyperspace signals based on string theory tunneling until he met Lois, the tall brunette with the perfect dimples on her (most-often) unseen cheeks. Inspired by Lois' fond memories of her childhood in eastern Louisiana, Pritchard made the conceptual leap between his anti-grav concepts (already proven) and FTL travel (which he tested by sending a 54-inch probe to the Moon and back in 6.4 seconds...twice) to discover that time could be unlinked from gravitational space-time and moved anywhere. After a frenetic series of tests, drafts, edits, rebuilds and several cameras destroyed in tests (though one brought back an intriguing half-picture of what could only be a T-Rex in full attack mode), Pritchard finally got his prototype to work after using parts from his last FTL probe (disguised as an over-sized Sith lightsaber) to power his "time capsule." Two trips later (17th century France, smelly, and 15th century Japan, bloody), Pritchard plonked Lois on his lap and took her back 16 years to the tree-lined Alexandria streets of Lois' childhood home.

Only to lose her there when she absolutely freaked out after seeing her mom sneak out of their house, climb into Russell Graham's house through the den window and rock his world in a way that made Lois sick and made Pritchard want to get to know Mrs. Killian a helluva lot more.

With much effort, involving a frantic car chase, a brush with fat, chaw-chewing Southern cops, another couple of looks at the Killian Method for World Rocking and getting Lois blitzed on cheap tequila, Pritchard got them both back to their time/home and took an extra two days to convince Lois her pot dealer was dealing from the bottom, not the top.

Redecorating the time capsule into a home entertainment center with a rad game system and enough speakers to drown out Spinal Tap, Pritchard gathered the fake 8-track player and the über-nerdy fake lightsaber and tucked them into a hidden panel at the base of the new 72-inch plasma screen he bought for himself from the beaucoup royalties he made on his only patented invention: a cell phone accessory that found your wallet, purse, briefcase, keys, car and nearest coffee shop for you.

But every once in a while, Pritchard would carefully dismantle the home entertainment system, and use the time capsule, anti-grav and the now-real lightsaber he invented for fun to hit the Cretaceous creatures like a meteor strike, or leave the anti-grav and Sith weapon home and just drop in on Mrs. Killian...for old times' sake.


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Gil C. Schmidt has been a regular submitter to Yesteryear Fiction since the early days when it was a daily magazine. His story "Interesting Times" is also featured in his book "Thirty More Stories."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10/20/11

Pastoral #2210
By John Ogden


The simple beauty of a pastoral life,
rising with the first rays of day
to a cruise through rolling hills
still running some archaic, previous version of grass.
How simple, how beautiful, the way unmodified life
sprouts from the unenriched earth here,
the way the air still hangs heavy with the earthy scents
of cedar, hay, ancient petrochem,
and oh! How oft--
see the bucks as they thrash rutting racks
against the dawn-golden glow
of guard-fields that line the mag-ways.
See the way that light keeps death at bay,
keeps stags with does,
autosedans with autosedans
life with gentle life.


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John Ogden was conceived of a government form and a passing mailbox. He lives somewhere out in the woods of a rural land more akin to the fantasy realms of literature than real life, and his favorite dirt bikes will always be the broken ones.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10/13/11

Beloved Concubine
By Jerry Barrow


The Divine Astarte was one of the last of her ancient race, and the ruler of many worlds, times and planes of reality.  Her folk had seeded many worlds with life, and fostered many civilizations.  She sometimes took mortal men as lovers, and gave birth to demigods.  Such a one was Orion, Prince Imperial.
Imperial Annals, XI, p. 2212.
***
 
Divine Mother, I have restored the Province of the Mountains to order.  I will return with a new concubine, if it does thou please.  So Ordered,  Orion, Prince Imperial.
 
***
“Orion, My Prince, this is the Temple of Solon, the Marshall my father.  The holy sisters offer libations each day in his honor,”  said the Viceroy, Olymphia.  “He joined his fathers when I was a child.”
“Your city does well to honor your father, high lady,”  I replied.
Olymphia, was a woman of middle years, and ruler of the City of Tripolis.   We had visited the Palace of the Viceroy, the Acropolis, and the major temples of the city this morn.  The city had fallen on hard times, and all was in disorder and decay.

We entered the temple, passing through a colonnade.  The temple was filled by the music of a flute.  A dancer in a blue tunic swirled before an altar of obsidian. 
“The woman is a priestess.  She dances to honor the gods,”  explained the viceroy.
We returned to the Palace at dusk, where I was shown the rooms of my suite.
“My Prince, I hope that you find your rooms worthy.  If you desire, I or my three daughters, will minister to you this night.  If it is pleasing, we shall all remain,”  said Olymphia, bowing.  “The elder girl, Cassandra, is a virgin untouched.”
The three girls of the high lady stood at her side, waiting to learn my desires. 
“All of you may remain,”  I replied.  “Come, we shall bathe before food is served.”
I followed the Viceroy and her daughters to the hall of fountains, where we disrobed and entered one of the pools.  The high lady was well favored, although plump, with hair turning white.  As we splashed if the pool, she moved close to me, kissing my neck.
“You are most fair, My Lord,”  the dowager said.  “You are very unlike our own dark folk.”
I cupped one of her pendulous breasts in my hand, bending to kiss it.
The elder daughter, Cassandra, kissed my neck.  She was very dark, like her mother, her hair with tightly curled.
“Do you like the dark women of the province?  We are filled with fire, unlike the pale women of other lands.”  Olymphia said.  “Here, sit upon the edge of the pool.  You are very strong, young sir!”
***
After food had been brought to us, we retired to a sleeping platform.  I was very tired, and was allowed to sleep by the women, after a time.
Later that night, I awoke, and decided to go to the fountain to refresh myself.  I left the noble women on the sleeping platform, noting that the eldest daughter was not with the others. 
I went first to the veranda outside the sleeping chamber, and gazed up at the sky, strewn with stars. The sky was emblazoned with massive rings, a sight of great beauty.
While I gazed upward, I felt a hand touch my shoulder.  I turned to see the Divine Astarte, standing at my side.  I bowed, and took her hand.
“My dear son, I have followed you cross time and space to this province.  I must warn you that your life is in danger.  Be on guard!”  said the Queen Mother.
“I shall sleep with my dagger close at hand, Divine Lady,”  I replied.
The goddess embraced me, and then was gone in an instant.  I was greatly troubled in mind, but determined to secure the province and to extirpate any plots, as I had promised.
I entered the hall of fountains, and there I found the eldest daughter of the high lady.  The woman was of remarkable beauty, tall and athletic.  “Cassandra, you are also awake,”  I said, splashing water onto my face.
“My Prince, these are troubled times.  The cities of the province send not tribute, and are restive.  I wish to depart these shores, and I desire now to petition you.  Let me follow you back to the Imperial Capital.  I will be your concubine, if you will so permit,”  answered the woman.
“You are a woman of beauty, and I will gladly take you back with me,”  I said, pulling her towards me.  The lady did me embrace, but then fell to her knees.   She pulled a dagger from her robes, and held it out to me.
“My lord, I do give you this dagger.    The Master at Arms of the province does plot against your life.  If I killed you, he promised to proclaim me Queen Regnant,”  Cassandra confessed.
“The knave shall be immured in the prison keep, as he deserves.  I shall show him this dagger on the morn, when he is brought before me.  Now, do come to my arms,”  I said to the woman.
Thus was joined to me the woman who was to be my beloved concubine, Cassandra.  She returned with me to the Imperial Capital after the cities of the province had been brought into compliance with the decrees of the Divine Astarte, my mother.  We have often returned to her native province, and I have favored it with new villas and shrines. 
Our son, Atalion, now rules the province, in justice and wisdom.  If all is found by you to be fit and proper, this dispatch shall be entered into the Imperial Annals.  So, ordered, Orion, Prince Imperial.


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Jerome Brooke was born in Evansville, Indiana. He now lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He has written City of the Mirage (Amazon) and many other books.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

10/6/11

1000 Years
By Kira Fahrenheit


I stand here, on the edge, and stare down into the ruins of all that was humanity. The sun dips in the sky, casts thickening shadows through the broken spires, runs like water through the dust of shattered, ageless dreams. A breeze feathers through my hair, cold and full of the whispers, the smell of ancient ghosts.

Some say the end came in fire and some in ice, but I know that it was neither which crumbled the great cities of eons past. Like a greedy maggot, humanity became corpulent, outgrew itself, and was crushed under its own weight.

There is less to work with now, less to go around. Much less. The sins of our fathers prowl the seas, insatiable, pushed on endlessly by the hand of one who lords with a skeletal hand from on high, one who the masses still sing about and revere as God. For those with power, belief is a tool, a divider and a hammer by which those who see light in our dismal future are set aside and doubly crucified.

I close my eyes. Green within green within green. Mark of the hated, the progressive, the wanderer. I will not languish in sin. I will not worship at the feet of false gods, false idols. The failures of the past are my workshop, the textbook from which I will learn to fly as the ancestors did. I will usher in the light and cast out the stagnant darkness which waxes sick and fat in the towers of belief. I will build upon the strongest of what has crumbled and carve my own temple to the elements and to the sky.


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Kira lives in the desert with her father and her brother. She loves fixing things, making things, and going for long walks with her cousin. She also loves airplanes, the bigger the better!


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