Thursday, January 26, 2012

1/26/12

No One Shall Ever Know
By Richard Paul / Peculiar Richard




‘Hear me, rebellious denizens of Ceren; many times have I offered you the chance to surrender. Many times have I tolerated your audacity and invited your world to live under my divine rule and protection. Your incessant defiance however has brought you beyond any hope of forgiveness. My patience is exhausted and you have proved yourselves undeserving of my mercy. Today your treacherous world shall be reduced to ashes. All that you are, and have ever been, shall be removed from the face of existence.’

The voice seemed to come from the clouds. More mechanical trickery from the so-called ‘Allmaster’ no doubt.

For a long time after his speech, nothing seemed to happen. Knara sat cross legged upon the tall hills outside of the town, the same as she had done a hundred times before. She watched the spires and shining white roofs of her home standing as stoic as ever. The town shined with all its beauty, as if daring the Beasts above to defile it.

It was of course deserted now. Everyone had fled to the woods or mountains, trying to seek out hidden spots of natural seclusion upon which the enemy might choose not to fire. Her family had fled too; they had not, it seemed, made much effort to find her when she ran up to the hills at night.

She tried to picture Jykin sat beside her, their hands clasped together, staring out over the green and orange landscape, content of its unshakable constancy. If she looked for him now she would find only air, grass and trees. With her eyes pinned forward though, he was there. Just out of sight but there all the same. They had both spent so much time up here, how else could it possibly end?

The first shots tore through the sky, leaving black trails in their wake. A bright red flash and a furious howl of destruction sent Knara hurtling forward, her hands pressed against her ears and her eyes shut tightly. She screamed at the sudden chaos, trying to force it away.

The first impact had reduced the cathedral and the nearby houses to dust. The next had impacted on a hospital near Toraqk avenue. Each torturous blast took away another piece of Knara’s home. Still she lay on the floor and screamed; it was the only thing left to do.

They could have wiped out the planet with one shot but instead chose to pick it apart building by building, stone by stone, giving the insolent population time enough to witness the result of their defiance before the end.

People screamed all over Ceren, casting forth their terror and outrage, willing all the darkness to disappear under the sheer weight of their fury. But that had never been enough to save them before and now, on the final day of the war, it served only as their dying breath.

The epitaph of Ceren was thousands of screams, drowned out by the sounds of Ragnarok, dissolved into the air of a murdered world. No one would speak of it again, and no one would remember it.


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When not scurrying about in the dust at his workplace, or procrastinating in some form or other, Richard partakes in writing, game reviewing and more recently producing dramatic readings of short stories.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1/19/12

Freedom Day
By T. Fox Dunham


The overseer raised the whip in its tendril to lash Grease’s back. The girl closed her eyes, bracing for the rip on her skin. She waited for the blow to fall, but it never came. She chanced a glance at the android. Perhaps the overseer had malfunctioned. She knew to stay still for the damaged unit to be replaced by another android to finish her punishment. She had fallen behind on her work quota. Then its head, an aureate globe of photons, faded away. The whip crackled in the air, throwing sparks. The arm never fell.

She wiped oil from her face and hands with a rag. It stained her torn tunic. She scanned the factory floor. The assembly line had stopped. The other human slaves waited at their stations. Leaving your station before a designated break time resulted in a lashing. The decapitated overseers stood about the factory floor frozen like the statues.

The clocked ticked over 17.00. The slaves set down their tools. The overseers always released them to their hostels to partake of the evening meal then sleep before the next work day. Old Spanner trembled, struggling to stand. Grease couldn’t endure the silence any longer. Her belly pinched and growled.

“Perhaps they are sleeping?” she said, risking a violation of conduct by speaking. She expected an overseer to swoop down on her. When the other slaves realized she had spoken with impunity, they sat on the floor.

“Maybe this has something to do with the sky bird that fell from outside the world,” Spanner said. “I saw it come down when I was on refuse detail.”

The Overlord A.I. forbade human names, tattooing a barcode on their arms. The slaves adopted clandestine monikers and only used them when alone.

Gears limped from her station, leaning on her cane. She fell before the silver tentacles of an overseer and wept into its skirts.

“Please wake up,” she said. “I am sorry I worked so slow. Be bright lights again and punish me.” She tugged on the tendrils.

The group decided Grease should risk journeying into the street for news. Being young and the still strong, she could move faster. She hesitated leaving the custody of the overseer and slowly walked to the gate. After no punishment came, she walked out of the factory, through the gate and into the street.

Several of the ancient buildings had crumbled into brick piles. She followed the pockmarked road until her legs tired. The overseers’ disc floated over the moribund human city. It carried the golden fortress of the Overlord. She had never seen such a still sky. No overseer dirigibles floated. The transit lines slept. Time drained from the city, and her body trembled from the alien silence. She returned to the factory. The human slaves awaited her report.

“The sky is still,” Grease said.

“We are being punished!” Gears said. She wailed and buried her face in the tendrils of a petrified android. “Don’t abandon us.”

A human dressed in a silver jumpsuit entered the factory gate. He holstered his plasma pistol. Grease had never seen a working pistol, only broken antiques collected as curiosities, mementos of the savage time when humans ruled their own world and destroyed it in foolish wars, nearly wiping themselves out. She knew this from the Song of Human Woe her mother had sung to her. The overseers had taken Grease from her mother when she had lived ten years. She’d never see her mother again.

“What do you want, stranger?” Grease asked.

“Send him away,” Gears said. “This is a test. The overseers will punish the disloyal.”

“You’re free,” spoke the stranger. He looked so clean and healthy with a rich hue in his face, a well nourished man. “I’ve freed you like Lincoln freed the slaves.”

“Your name is Lincoln?” Grease asked. She had never heard such a name before.

“I know this is hard for you to understand. I was in space, sleeping in suspended animation. I was an explorer. My ship was lost, and I slept for centuries. I woke up when the system malfunctioned. I came home and saw the earth in shreds from a war. Androids had enslaved you all.”

“That is not the way of The Song of Human Woe,” Grease said.

“I found the master A.I. and overloaded its fusion core. It had no defenses since humans had become so docile. They were all connected, a row of dominoes. It’s freedom day.”

“You killed the overseers?” Grease said.

“Now we can rebuild this world together.”

The slaves picked up their tools and fell upon the spaceman.

Grease sang the Song of Human Woe:

Savage wars the old humans fought,
poisoning their earth, sea and sky,
A way to survive they desperately sought,
So they set metal masters on high.

Once the spaceman no longer moved, the slaves knelt before their still overseers and prayed at their silver tendrils, begging the androids to awaken.


- - -
T. Fox Dunham is a new author, having had over fifty stories accepted in the last year. He is a cancer survivor, often writing about his near death from Lymphoma at the age of 18 and his miracle survivor, being the first person to survive his cell type. He is a modern bard and a rising author.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1/12/12

Sex
By Amanda Firefox


Sex.

I still can't believe those spineless worms outlawed sex.

It was one thing when our invertebrate overlords ordered the complete sterilization of the human race, but the outlawing of sex? What, we can't even have a little fun with each other anymore?

Well, I guess that makes sense though. Since the slavery edict was passed, we weren't really supposed to be doing anything other than working and suffering through minimal sleep anyway. I guess sex takes away from our potential productivity.

The ironic thing though is why we've been enslaved.

Apparently, of all the lifeforms in the galaxy, we're the best suited to tending their eggs. It's like we're built for it, and with so many of us, those spineless worms are able to have all the sex they want.


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Amanda Firefox is a fiery little blue-eyed brunette who spends as much time at the beach as she can manage. She doesn't write much, but when she writes, it's almost always about her favorite subject: boys.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

1/5/12

Retro-Futurism Love Song
By John Ogden


Those endless, yawning vistas;
Cosmos, eternity in a touch.
Bright colors, so beautiful
The happy march
Of progress
Pushing farther, deeper,
Into a horizon
Full of stars.

Will we ever see that glimmer
Of stellar light again?
Cast off the dystopia
And take our place
Among the sky
So full of stars?

Chained to this forsaken stone,
Prometheus in silicon chrome
I wait, silent.


- - -
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.


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