By Dave Ludford
Brannigan lay back on his bunk and
Brannigan lies back on his bunk and will
Brannigan once lay back on his bunk and staring at the ceiling
And thought, thinking:
There may be delays
There are delays
There were delays
There may be delays
Between then, now and the future, whenever that was. The MX2 android had confused…is confusing…or will confuse, at some point in the future, every tense and perception of time we will become familiar with. It had gone, or may well go, completely berserk. Or maybe it will become sane and I will once become was mad, he thinks. He may well look across at the digital time display on the wall of his room which once tells the time at whichever point you were, are, or wished to ever be. The MX2 had shown, or will show, ideas above its station, and progresses to become an interferer with time instead of a menial robot which will carry out menial domestic serving tasks. Perhaps it will show frustration and anger when its work has been criticized, or had been criticized, or would be commented on in a negative way at some point in the past. Brannigan will become unsure, but knew for certain that the MX2 was unstable, or would become so.
It will upset the guests arriving for the Meridian Conference that will, if it hasn’t already, re-drawn the boundaries of Xarac 9 (or Earth 6 as it will become colloquially known.) But perhaps the planet with so many Earth-like qualities hasn’t been discovered yet, and may well never be.
Damn it, Brannigan may well think, I’m here now, so it must have been discovered. And how will MX2 upset the delegates? It has developed a belief that it will be created to perform more than mere domestic drudgery. Serving meals may well be, at some point in the future, beyond it. Only time will tell. It has rebelled and may well interfere with our former perceptions of time.
Brannigan feels tired, and closing his eyes he once fell asleep, exhausted.
- - -
Dave Ludford is a short story writer and poet from Nuneaton, England. His short fiction has appeared in Fever Dreams and Schlock! magazines and is upcoming in Sirens Call.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
The Real Dream World
By David K Scholes
The T Rex kept coming. I couldn’t get away from it. No matter how good a hiding spot I used it would always find me out. Just like an old childhood dream. Except this T Rex was genetically engineered. Bigger, faster, and most unnervingly much more intelligent.
I was sleeping with my late model dream controller on and should have been able to take control of the dream. Especially when I approached wakefulness or a lighter moment in my sleep cycle. It was then that I would wreak vengeance on my dream tormentors. Whomever or whatever they might be. It always felt good. Yet now I couldn’t do that.
For a moment it seemed as though I was awake. In the familiar surroundings of my study but then I was yanked back into the dream. Had I only dreamed that I had woken up, I wondered.
The dream changed and I found myself in darkness in the confined crawling space of a narrow seemingly endless tunnel. There was not even a hint of light coming from either end of it. There was a foul smelling thick fluid in the tunnel and creatures slithering and sliding all over me. They felt vaguely reptilo-insectoid with hints of something else I couldn’t even imagine. In the dream I was starting to have some trouble breathing.
The next dream rescued me, albeit temporarily.
I found myself inside an Earth made Patton mark 9 battle droid on a bleak windswept unquestionably alien landscape. In battle with an overwhelming force of superior Vlorg integrated battle droids. My droid was already badly damaged and the Vlorg were getting ready to prise me out of my droid. Back in my days as a star trooper I’d heard stories of what the Vlorg did to the unfortunate occupants of vanquished enemy battle droids. I hoped for the start of a new dream.
The dreams went on endlessly. Though the terror level varied the general trend was definitely upwards. I wondered about my physical body. As to whether it could withstand the strain. As to whether I might suffer a heart attack.
Why couldn’t I just wake up? Or just take control of the dreams?
It began to seem like all eternity since the dreams had started. Since I had last been awake. I began to wonder if I actually would ever wake up again. If this was the way it was going to be from here on. An eternal succession of dreams.
Some part of me sensed that couldn’t be. I couldn’t see how either my physical body or my mind could continue to withstand the escalating fear.
If I died then the dreams would stop wouldn’t they? And grant me oblivion.
The last time that I had very briefly “dreamt” that I was awake my body had been sitting very still, very immobile, in my study. Presumably asleep. .
How much time had elapsed since I started the dreaming? I wondered indeed, did time mean anything at all now.
Somewhere, somewhen in the dream cycle I knew with certainty there would be no waking up. At least not to the world I had known. I just knew that was gone now. The short dreams where I thought I had briefly woken up had long since ceased.
As the dreams became ever more bizarre and ever more distorted there was nothing left in them to remind me of home. In the end nothing even vaguely Earthly about them.
For a time I recognised in distorted form things I had encountered as a star trooper and later when I was an alien hunter. Yet eventually the bizarreness of my dreams went far beyond these experiences. Where had all these bizarrely cruel dreams come from? Not my mind surely? Something had to be feeding me new material. I was not capable of dreaming such things.
Yet just when I thought I couldn’t possibly withstand another dream escalation some force deep within me kept me going. As if my mind, my very soul, was hardening to the escalations.
Eventually, thankfully, the dreams reached a plateau of terror. Then after that they became more solid. I became more solid. Then they no longer varied. I continued to be in the same dream indefinitely.
An environment so utterly alien that it would once have simply and instantly crushed my mind. Those I now fought for and alongside were beyond humanity's worst nightmares. Yet for all of their alienness I sensed a goodness in them. That what I was now doing was right and just. Concepts that still applied. Even here.
Eventually I realised that this indefinite dream was no longer a dream. What was happening to me now was very real indeed.
Somehow the succession of bizarre escalating dreams had represented a transitioning for me, moulding my mind, hardening it for the otherwise inconceivably terrible and brutal existence that lay ahead.
This new plane of existence was now my world.
My new life after my death.
- - -
The author has written over 150 speculative fiction short stories many of which appear in his seven published collections of short stories. He has also published two science fiction novellas (all on Amazon). He has been a regular contributor to the Antipodean SF and Beam Me Up Pod cast sci-fi sites. He has also been published on Farther Stars Than These, 365 Tomorrows, Bewildering Stories, the WiFiles and the former Golden Visions magazine. He is currently working on a new collection of science fiction short stories.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
The Eye of the Beholder
By John C Adams
Cameron MacIntosh looked across the crowded bar at the blonde woman holding court to a group of enraptured men. She met his gaze and the corners of her red mouth twitched into a smile. Cameron gestured to Eddie, the barman, to refill his shot glass. As he did so, Eddie followed Cameron’s line of gaze. He rolled his eyes.
“Mutton dressed as lamb.”
Cameron looked at the woman more closely. He saw lines begin to spread across her face. Her foundation was caked on but, in the heat of the bar, it was beginning to crack. Her whole face turned into a mesh of lines crawling across her skin. Cameron stared at her body. Instead of toned muscle, he began to see scrawny, wrinkled flesh that hung off her bones. He focused on her face again. It was now desiccated with age.
Cameron shuddered and turned back to the bar. A man in his thirties jumped onto the bar stool next to Cameron and gestured for the barman. He lit a cigarette and looked the blonde woman up and down, his pupils dilating.
Cameron whispered the same advice that Eddie had just shared with him. The man looked the woman over, an expression of disgust forming on his round, good-natured face.
“See what you mean. Didn’t spot it at first. Thanks for the heads-up, buddy.”
Cameron clapped the man on the back and waved Eddie back over. The barman poured them each a shot and slid the glasses across the counter.
A brunette walked up to the bar, her high-heels clacking on the tiled floor. Her floor-length red dress had a slit up the side almost to the hip. Cameron smiled at her and raised his glass. She smiled back, clambering onto the bar stool beside him.
The woman dimpled. She was adorable. As Cameron looked at her, her cheekbones became more pronounced and her nose shrunk slightly. Not much. Just enough to look like a top-flight plastic surgeon had taken a pass at it. She stroked Cameron’s upper arm.
“Bet you work out.”
Cameron felt his biceps tingle. His shirt began to feel tighter. His abs felt harder, too. He ran his fingers over his torso, across a six-pack he hadn’t had to go anywhere near the gym to achieve.
Cameron cocked his head towards the door and grinned boyishly. Lauren blushed but she nodded and got up. Cameron rested his hand in the small of her back as he guided her towards the door. They were halfway across the bar when Eddie called out, “You might not get much joy! This one just can’t hold his liquor!”
Cameron stumbled. He grabbed onto Lauren’s arm to stay upright. She took his elbow and guided him to a table. He slumped into the chair and bent over. The sharp, noxious smell of vomit was rising in his throat. His legs felt weak and his head was spinning.
“Tell me I never touch alcohol.”
Lauren frowned. She backed away.
“Do it! C’mon, you know how it works. Just Eddie having a laugh. Believe I’m tee-total and it’ll be all systems go back at your place, I promise.”
Lauren pulled on her coat and strode out. Cameron followed, but by the time he’d stumbled outside she was gone. As he drew in the cool night air he felt his head begin to clear again.
A cute red head came along the street. Cameron opened the door for her.
“Aren’t you sweet?”
Cameron’s heart flipped over.
“I think I might just be,” he murmured.
- - -
John C Adams’ debut novel ‘Souls for the Master’ is out now from Sinister Saints Press. She is a Submissions Reader for the Aeon Award and Albedo One. She has had fiction published in The Horror Zine, Devolution Z magazine, Schlock! Webzine and Honeysuckle magazine.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
By Brendan McBreen
and our pollutions
fail to kill us
and the Earth we cling to
to the dust
stars are made of
just cold heat
from a dying sun
a final embrace
the small hopes
into endless oceans
on the universe
we were here
will be lost
among gathered dust
until they burn away
across the sky
of some distant planet
born eons after
a creature there
an odd relic
and say to it’s fellows
cannot be made
flickers of dissent
will be laughed out of the room
into cool night air
where it will tilt
it’s sensory protuberance up
to better hear
we are not
- - -
I love poetry, I love science and science fiction in all of it's speculative and fantasy and just plain weird forms. I grew up watching old monster and sci-fi movies from the 1950's and 1960's and reading Ray Bradbury, so my primary influences are pretty old school. I also write haiku, 575 smartass haiku and the traditional kind, I do collage art and I'm a Gemini.
(if you want, you can see some of the collages on my blog under the category :Various Hallucinations)
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