The metronomic clack-clack-clacking of It’s monstrous nails impatiently counted off the seconds.

It stood, huge and black, it’s calcified head elongated and deformed with age. It’s fingers clack-clack-clacking out time as it passed.

With a groan of bones being ground against bone, It’s head dropped to one side.

It listened.

The black Munch “Scream” holes it had for eyes had long since ceased to take in light. But what did it need to see for?

***

He stood, mug of tea in one hand, plate of food in the other, and the phone nestled between his ear and his shoulder.

He scanned his flat. There was washing up in the sink; clothes to be washed in an overflowing basket.

“Nah, not so busy. What do you need?”

He listened. “Uh huh. Ok. But just two minutes, right? Because there is some stuff I was hoping to get done.”

He listened some more. “Cool. Let me log in and I’ll see you there.”

He waited for the other side to disconnect and let is phone fall onto the sofa, before setting his food down and firing up his machine.

***

It shook and forced air from its body in excited hisses. It’s finger nails clack-clack-clacked constantly as it rubbed its swollen, calloused fingers together.

The Clacking stopped. It’s hands poised, held still over a time stream.

Waiting now.

Waiting…

***

“Ok – just two minutes.”

***

– before stabbing into it – bursting the seams, slicing ragged wounds in the ordered flow. Time bled out as It’s nails slashed and hacked onwards, ever onwards, ripping hours from the line. Deftly It scooped them up, wiping them on Its cape.

And all the while, it whined and hissed and shook, flecks of spittle forming at the rictus frozon on its face.

Once It had finished, the figure turned in on itself, becoming a plane, twisted, becoming a point, and winked out.

Where it once stood, a timeline flapped, Time hemorrhaging from the multiple lacerations that had been inflicted on it.

***

“Shit – is that the time? What the fuck have I been doing all night?”

***

Home sang with the sound of sand blowing. It scrapped the remains of It’s attack from its cape and flicked the stolen hours into those that already littered the landscape. It pondered syphoning off the free flowing time from the last attack but shook It’s head, the grinding bone again.

It preferred the idea of it bleeding away.

Just audible above the constant hiss, and the regular clack-clack-clacking of its nails was a keening. The Figure stepped into the building it was coming from.

Inside, strapped to a rack, was a man. He was stretched to breaking point. There were signs of tearing and fraying at his edges – multiple slashes were visible on his face and body. There was a point he had been rounded, more jovial but that was long ago.

Long ago experientially. Time meant nothing for The Figure. Meant nothing where they were.

Not that that comforted Free Time.

He drew a ragged breath. “What ever you’re planning. It won’t work. People will miss me.”

The Figure regarded It’s captive.

Pondered.

Then limped towards the him, dragging It’s mass as it did.

“Keep away. Don’t come near me!”

It pushed Its face close. Deep within the empty eye sockets, a light grew. It extended a finger on each hand, scraping over wounds at Free Time’s temples that hadn’t even begun to heal.

“Please. Not again.” He sobbed.

The Figure shook and hissed, spraying his captive with spit.

Then slammed the nails in.

***

Free Time’s screams were drowned out as he watched the scene presented in his captor’s eye sockets.

Major Goals was looking over a map pinned to a table. On the other side was Private Dreams.

Goals was speaking. “We’ve got the first wave set up. They’re ready to roll out. We’ll hit them where they least expect it. But it’s not a frontal attack. Oh no. It’s an insertion. We’ll just paste some shock troops in.”

Dreams just nodded. The captive could see this was going over his head.

“Dreams, I need you to find me someone. He’s in here somewhere. Name’s Zarkophski. He was always great at this kind of thing. And the weirder the shit going down, the better he likes it. This is right up his alley.”

***

The Figure yanked its nails out. Free Time was visibly more haggard. Time had been sliced from him, and now tripped from It’s fingers.

The Thief of Time raised itself to its full height, the fossilized structure protesting against the excess of movement, threw it’s head back and let loose a moan. It shook violently, the nails clack-clack-clacking as this limbs jerked, spastically.

Everything was going as planned.

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Good Grief.

Look at this, it’s the middle of the month and now there’s news.

So – what to say?

Well, first off – sorry about the whole One Story a Day, Every Day thing. As you can see from the hurried excuse sent on my birthday, things are a little hectic here. I’m going to start sectioning off time to do some writing and I’m going to aim for 2 or 3 stories a week, until things quieten down.

So – if there was ever a time you wanted to submit something, now would be the time to do it.

Actually – there’s a lot of news this month so let’s start with…

The Archive: Is now work again. I tweaked a way of referencing pages and the whole thing went down.

There – now that’s out the way. Content. For the next while I’ll be tinkering with the stories on here. They’ll be as often as possible – two to three a week – but there’s going to be some running themes and some recurring characters.

The stories will continue to be self contained, so there’s no need to worry about not being able to leap in at any time. The themes will be:

The War on Real Life. What was merely a way of saying “Sorry. There’s been a lack of stories” has taken on a life of its own. There’s a lot of material ready for this, including Refugee Stories – stories written in the style of a young child, a wounded soldier etc.

Litranatuics: I recently moaned that I wanted a Vurt. I wanted a world where things could happen that were necessarily strange and…and…wait..that’s what I based the whole thing on. Hacking Reality. So, there’s a world of Litranaut material on its way too.

Erotic Outlaws: A couple of years back I made some notes for a web-comic. It was based on a couple who spread excitement into an otherwise gray world, and on the group that has been assigned to catch them. The notes incubated (read – were forgotten about and now have resurfaced) and the stories will be edited for text only.

The Usual: And on top of this there’s also the usual run of odd, off the wall, touching, strange stories that will grace these pages.

***

 

I’ve been reading a book on games as narrative: First Person. New Media as Story, Performance and Game and it’s companion . The first one is a little dated, but it’s got some amazing ideas. One of the things is that storytelling in new media shouldn’t look like storytelling in current media.

Which got me thinking.

I’m going to toy with the idea of some more experimental storytelling – hypertext, voice, treasure hunt games, semacodes etc.

Now – I’m not sure how that’s going to fit in with the RSS readers, so there’ll be an imprint for that. If/when that kicks off, I’ll yell about it here.

***

And in General News: I Has Ginger. My netvibes page can be found here. It’s not so pretty, as yet, but it’s a start.

And finally, an artist friend of mine has his portfolio up. He is amazing. He’s worked on a bunch of movies and I’m also collaborating with him on something. You can find his work here, and he’ll be going into the links ASAP.

 

So – that’s your lot. On with the stories.

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The Broadcast finally came.”…casti…on…genc…cies….we are….ting…emer….freq”Ears strained as fingers turned dials with the dexterity of a professional safe cracker.Truth be told, autotune did most, if not all, of the work but the image was far too good to pass up.Private Dreams voice came through crystal clear.”We are broadcasting on emergency frequencies. Repeat. We are broadcasting on emergency frequencies. We are under heavy attack, Many wounded. We are using this channel to evacuate refugees. Please, open you browsers, readers and feeds to accept the wounded and fleeing. We will have more information as it comes. Thank you for your patience and kindness.”

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The Command Center looked like a bomb had hit it. Dust covered everything; papers were strewn over every surface; wires stuck out where the paper was missing. Plates, with half eaten meals, stacked on a table.

Major Goals was written into scene in front of a pile of clothes dumped in a corner.

He looked at the mess. “Jesus, you want to tell me what happened here, soldier?”


The troop he addressed snapped to attention. “Sir. Yes, Sir.”


“At ease, soldier,” the Major smiled, kindly. “It looks like you’ve been through the wringer.”


The young man slumped. “It was a massacre, sir. We’d all seen the signs – a couple of hours lost here and there, an evening unaccounted for but no different from any of the other border spats.” He swallowed. “We just weren’t prepared for the ferocity of the assault when it came.”


Goals nodded. “Casualties?”


“Many, sir…” The young soldier stopped. “We….we lost Free Time, sir.”


The Major blanched, his hand finding an edge of a table to steady himself. “Free time?” His voice was strained. “We..we came up together. I can’t believe he’s gone.”


“I’m sorry, sir.”


Goals was angry. The emotion spilling into his words. “Who did this, Private? Where did they come from?”


“It…it came from out of nowhere, si-”


“Nowhere? Those bastards!”


“…Sir?” Not the response the young Private has expected.


“Every attack I have ever faced was initiated by them, every one, came out of Nowhere.” The Major pulled straightened up, a new resolve found. “Well, no more, soldier. No more. Today, we take the attack to them.”


The soldier was completely confused, so just nodded. “Yes….sir.”


“What’s your name, soldier?”


“Dreams, sir. Private Dreams.”


“Dreams, hmm? You remind me of me when I was coming up.” The Major looked at the disaster area, thought about the loss of his friend.


“Dreams Send the broadcast. We have an attack to plan.”

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The keyboard sat, untouched and forlorn; notes at the side half edited.

The requisite tea, long cold, now housed a new form of life. Well, new, at least, to the cup.

No feeds pinged. No sites updated. Just a small note:

This Service has been interrupted by an incursion from Real Life. All efforts are being made to repel the invaders. Please stand by for am emergency broadcast.

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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.