#MidweekMusings 1×05 : Fire

Flora paid for the drinks, then left the bar. She spoke with the grass, dirt, flowers, trees. “Where has Pahana gone?” A trail of white only Flora could see formed along the ground. She followed it.

Pahana stood before the remains of his house. Fauna felt the heartbreak in his veins, the aching of his heart, the tears of his soul. “Pahana?”

He turned as he wiped away his tears. “Flora?”

Flora’s fingers touched his cheek, his tears. “Show me where they rest, please.”

Pahana led Flora to a mass gravesite at the edge of town. A dozen fresh graves were there, unmarked. He stopped before three of the graves. “My daughter. My son. My wife.” He slowly sank to his knees. He didn’t cry. Flora knew he’d run out of tears in that place. All he could do was kneel before the graves, and pray someday he could feel anything other than empty.

She placed a hand on his shoulder, “Thank you.” She spoke with the ground, the grass, the trees, the flowers. Pahana watched as green grass sprouted around the graves. At the head of each, a rose-bush grew. Deep red for his wife, peach for his daughter, yellow for his son.

Pahana stood. “Thank you.”

Flora smiled, touched his cheek once more. “Tell me, my friend, are there still angels here?”

He nodded.

“Tell me where they are.”

He took her hand, and guided her through the town, to the home of the mayor. “They took over everything.”

She smiled, touched his cheek once more, “Go someplace safe. Tell everyone you can to hide someplace safe.”

“What are you going to do?”

Flora said nothing. Pahana looked at her, into her eyes. He saw fire. Burning, white-hot fire.

“Be safe, Flora. Please.” Pahana left, running from house to house, telling people the fairy Flora was here to save them from the angels. “Get somewhere safe!”

Flora called on the wild magic. She knew it was the machines of her world, of Cylinders. The ubiquitous machines flowing in the blood of everyone, in the air, the water, the trees. She still called it the wild magic. She couldn’t begin to understand the machines, their sciences, their technology. But she could understand wild magic. Especially her wild magic.

Vines grew, came alive, gathered around her. A vine crossed the ground to the door of the house. It grew between the door, and frame, unlocked the door. The door swung open, silently. Flora entered the house, the vines surrounded her, protected her.

She moved room to room, searching for the angels. They’d gathered the beds of the house, the chairs, the tables, in one room. They slept there, draped across everything. They had no guards. They were angels. No one would attack them.

Flora spoke to the wild magic. The vines spread rapidly through the room, twisting around each angel, binding hands, feet and wings. No angle was free. The vines trapped them all. She spoke to the wild magic again.

The vines erupted in flames.

The angels burned.

Flora watched them die. “For Pahana. For his family.” She walked among the dead angels. “For my sister.”

She walked from the home, still surrounded by vines. Outside, the vines spread until the house was no longer visible. She heard the sound of wooden beams splintering. The vines crushed the house, consumed it, turned it, and everything in it, back to dirt.

The fire in her eyes never wavered, never faded. “The angels want a war.” She spread her wings, “Then they shall have a war.” Her wings tore into the air as she took flight. She used the wild magic to guide her as she headed toward her mother’s side.

It was time to stop the angels.

Time to stop the madness.

“There must be no more families like Pahana’s.”

639 words
@LurchMunster


For week 1×05 of #MidweekMusings, another flash fiction adventure hosted by #FlashMobWrites (Ruth Long and Cara Michaels). Please, go read all the stories for this week’s prompt.

#FlashMobWrites 1×12 : Breathe You In My Dreams

Merlin flexed his wings as he soared through the black sky, a black dragon on a black sky. He knew he was nearly invisible. Beneath him was the Kingdom of the Fairies, ruled by Queen Eyela, and King Stephan.

The kingdom was under siege, surrounded by Angels. Angels bent on destroying wild magic. Bent on destroying the fairies, and their magic, the dragons, and their magic. Bent on ridding the world of magic. Magic that brought wars, and death.

The fairies, though skilled fliers, and well-trained warriors, were no physical match for the Angels. The Angels were faster and stronger. They could fly higher, turn tighter. Angels were masters of the skies. And masters of war.

Merlin knew something the Angels didn’t. The magic didn’t exist. It was technology, a gift from the children of the human race. The intelligent machines.

Merlin was a dragon. Genetically, he was a modified human, created by the machines. He could use the machines, they did his bidding. On his world, the world named Cylinders, the machines were everywhere. In the air, the dirt, the water, the food. They flowed in his blood.

He waited for the darkest part of night. When the moon sank beneath the horizon, and only the stars were left. When that time came, he would deal with the Angels.

“Are you ready, machines?”

“We have always been ready.”

He almost laughed. “I breathe you in. I breathe you out. I imagine what I want. And you give it to me.”

“You know how the technology works. You know how we work.

“And yet, you do nothing to stop the Angels.” Merlin knew the machines would not interfere. They would only act when he, and others with magic wished them to act. They would on do what those with magic wished them to do.

And the magic wasn’t really magic. It was communication with the machines. The ability to talk directly to them, in their language. “You know what I will do when the time comes.”

“Yes.”

When it was time, Merlin tucked his wings close to his body. He plunged from the sky, sword like claws fully extended. He sliced into the Angels outside the kingdom’s walls. He placed himself between the angels and the walls, then called on the machines. He hovered in the air. As he pushed his wings forward, toward the angels, the machines did as he asked. His wings spawned the wind. The wind grew into a storm. It howled. It blew everything in its path away.

The Angels were helpless before the storm, blown to the ground, blown into the trees, into the sky. Their wings broken, shattered, useless in the wind.

Merlin settled to the ground. He screamed, the wound of metal sheets being torn in half. He knew Mystica heard. He knew, soon the war with the Angels would be over. And he wondered if any of the Angels would survive.

490 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×12, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in for #FlashMobWrites 1×12. You might find something you like. But if you don’t try, how will you ever know?

Rose

Rose knew she could have asked Sword for protection in his kingdom under the ocean. It was a place the Angels couldn’t reach. Rose also knew she didn’t need protection from the Angels, the needed protection from her.

It had taken time for her to understand the world she lived in. The world called Cylinders. The world of humanity’s children, the machines. Nanotechnology, they called it. Microscopic machines, in the air, the water, the dirt, the trees, the flowers.

They were in her too. Thousands of them. Millions. Maybe trillions. She had no way to know. They’d created her. They’d created all the fairies on Cylinders. The dragons and Angels too. One dragon knew how the machines worked. Merlin. The 20,000 year old Black Magic master. He’d taught Mystica, the White Witch, and her daughters, the Wild Magic fairies, of the machines. The machines had done the rest, showing them the story of their world.

During the war with the invading human empire, Rose learned the extent her ability to talk with the machines, to interact with them. Her “magic”, which wasn’t really magic but an ability to talk with the machines, and work with them, let her manipulate the sky, the dirt, the water. She knew how to use the machines to move matter. To make it do what she wanted it to do. The machines used their technology to bring her actions to life.

Rose rested in her favorite rose garden. She’d started growing it when she was a child, when Mystica first adopted her, and gave her a home. She’d asked the wolves where a good place for a rose garden was. They’d brought her to this place, filled with wild roses. She’d loved. It was her place of peace. Where her soul, her heart, could rest. After Fauna’s death in the war, her garden had been where she’d healed her broken heart.

Today, the Angels would come. The Angels had declared war against Wild Magic. They were immune to magic, “As should be.” But Rose knew the truth. They were not immune to the machines. “I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to kill.” She asked the roses if there was another way to deal with the Angels. A way of stopping them without killing them.

The roses knew what to do. That meant the machines knew what to do.

Rose waited.

The Angels arrived in the hour before sunset. They flew above the trees, their feathered wings nearly silent. They held swords, shields, bows and arrows. Rose sat among the roses, and waited as the Angels surrounded her garden. Then, she waited as one Angel spoke, “The time has come to purge the world of magic!” The Angel drew an arrow, aimed at Rose.

Rose stood. “Do as you would, Angels.”

Dozens of arrows flew, directly at Rose. Roses from the garden intercepted them, as if they’d come to life. The Roses protected Rose. No arrow got through them. Seeing the failure of the arrows, the Angels drew their swords, and flew at Rose. The ground of her garden opened up, and swallowed her. The angels attacked the ground, cutting roses down, hacking them to bits.

The pieces of roses that fell to the swords moved on their own, severed limbs connected themselves, becoming whole, with no scars. Petals and blooms magically pulled themselves back together, returning to their full beauty.

“The magic of the machines, of nanotechnology, and quantum mechanics.” Rose knew how the roses healed. She knew the machines put the back together. It wasn’t magic at all. It was technology so advanced it appeared as magic.

She remained safe, in the ground, protected from the Angels. She waited for them to stop fighting. It took a while, but eventually the Angels realized they were accomplishing nothing. After a time, they gave up and left. “We’ll try again, on another day, witch!”

When they were gone, the ground moved as it returned Rose to the surface.

“I know they will be back. Today was only the first day of this. Sooner, or later, I will have no choice. Sooner or later, I will have to fight back.”

She listened to the roses, “It is the way humans are.”

Rose wondered if her people, the human race, the makers of the machines, would ever learn, or if humans would always kill each other, in their senseless wars. As she wondered, she sat among the roses of her garden.

Rose cried.

She didn’t want to fight. “It’s like all we understand is violence and destruction.”

The roses surrounded her, “It’s why we came to Cylinders. To help our parents change.”

She smiled. “To help us break free of the cycle we’ve lived in for thousands of centuries.”

“Sleep now, friend. We will keep you safe.”

Rose laid on the ground, The ground shifted, became soft as any bed, grew a pillow beneath her head. The roses rearranged their limbs, formed a blanket to cover her.

“Sleep now, friend. We will keep you safe.”


It’s April 21st, the 17th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 17th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter R. Tomorrow brings the letter S. I have no idea what I’ll write for that.

#RaceTheDate 12 : Outnumbered

“It’s time.” Sword knew the invaders outnumbered him, 1000 to 1. 1000 soldiers on each invading starship.

He’d fought them when they attacked a village. One fairy against an army. They knew he was there and gradually overwhelmed him, wore him down. Only the White Witch has saved him.

This time he’d take the fight to them. Keep it in a confined space. Inside their starship. He flexed his hands, and called forth his swords, feeling the density wave in the air, extending from his fingertips as the machines turned the air into invisible swords, capable of slicing through rock, wood and metal.

They wanted a war. He’d give them one. They’d learn what it meant to invade Cylinders.

He flexed his wings, and moved silently, flying between the trees, staying hidden. When he reached the starship, he accelerated, extending his arms, calling on the machines. He sliced through the open ground to the starship in before anyone realized he had arrived. His swords sliced into the side of the ship, carving an entrance through which he entered.

Inside the ship, his swords sliced through everything and everyone in his path. On the rare occasions an invader managed to shoot at him, Sword folded his arm, and deflected the shot with the shield the machines formed for him.

He worked through the ship. Room after room. Floor after floor. When he left the starship, nothing alive remained inside. He withdrew the way he’d arrived, flying through the trees. The invaders outside the ship didn’t follow him.

The battle over, he flexed his wings and rose above the trees, into the moonlight sky, where he roared the roar of a warrior born. A warning to the heavens.

If you come here. You will face me.

And you will die.

294 words
@LurchMunster


A little story I wrote for Cara Michaels‘s Race The Date flash fiction challenge. Hope you enjoy it. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge this week. I find it amazing the stories people can create in 300 words or less.

The Next Big Thing : Cylinders

I have been nominated to take part in The Next Big Thing, by The Last Krystolos (Lisa Shambrook). The Next Big Thing asks ten questions about a current Work In Progress, and I answer them as best I can. As Lisa did, I’ll use my NaNoWriMo 2012 story as the basis for the answers to the questions.

Q1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?

Other than “Not finalized at this point”, I have a working title. Cylinders.

Q2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea came from a lot of ideas, spread over 11 years. It started with an idea I shared with a friend back in 2002, or 2003. Of machines that took over the galaxy, and gradually caused the extinction of the human race. The machines realized they’d lost something when the humans were gone. Some intuition. Some emotion. They couldn’t define it. So they couldn’t recreate it. So, the recreated humans.

That though led to so many others. At one point, the humans themselves turned into machines, through genetic manipulation, breeding humans for specific purposes. The ideas kept flowing, especially in the past 2 years.

After NaNoWriMo 2011, it occurred to me to try something different with the concept of the machines. Battlestar Galictica always refers to the Cylons as the children of the human race. And I had this world filled with humans, fairies, dragons and magic, and this idea for machines that were intelligent, and had grown their technological abilities far beyond what we have today.

That whole idea collided with the divisions I see happening within our society now. The multiplicity of religions, sexual preferences, personal beliefs, and ways of life, and how divisive these differences have become.

Q3.  What genre does your book fall under?

I’d call it Science Fiction/Fantasy. I’m trying to remember what several others have called it. Something like Gothic Science Fiction, as I recall.

Q4.  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Well… They’d be voices for the characters. This would have to make use of CGI. A lot. As for what voices I’d like for the main characters? This is gonna take a while. I’ve never thought about it at all… So this is very tentative… (as in, I had to write something…)

Mystica – Famke Janssen
Merlin – Alan Rickman
Scream – James Marsden
Sword – Chris Hemsworth
Rose – Amy Adams
Dream – Kirsten Dunst
Musica – Mandy Moore
Sunshine – Scarlett Johansson
Chrissy – Kristen Bell
Lilly – Zoe Saldana
Flora – Jennifer Lawrence
Fauna – Rose McGowan
Miss Hooters – Catherine Zeta-Jones
The Machines – James Earle Jones

This one took me a while… And I can change it all around, and use lots of other names…

Q5.  What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

The story of the world of Cylinders, where humans and their children, the machines, merge together, and fairies, dragons, and magic come to life.

Q6.  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

More than likely, self-published. I’m planning to ask several people some questions about that. My doctor also thinks I should self-publish. So, I’ll have to look into that. Of course, now, I haven’t got any plan to publish. Somehow, I think that will be changing in the coming weeks and months.

Q7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

28 days. 1 November 2012 through 28 November 2012. At that point, it was just a process of pulling the story out of my head where it had grown for over a year.

Q8.  What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

I don’t read much, you know. I mean. I don’t read a lot of fiction. I think I’ve read for books this past year. And two of those were collections of short works of fiction. I don’t count reading technology texts. Nor do I count reading science texts. Or the tons of news, science and technology I read all the time from the Internet.

I can safely say it does not compare to any of those. As for other works of fiction it compares to. I like to think of it as me recreating such works as Battlestar Galictica, Star Gate (all 3 series), and Babylon 5. I also think of it as an anti-Terminator, or anti-Matrix type of work.

Q9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Oddly enough, NaNoWriMo 2011. That’s where I wrote the first chapter in this epic I find myself in the middle of.

Q10.  What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest?

I took something Arthur C Clarke wrote (Any sufficiently advanced technology will appear as magic), and went with it.

That brings me to the end of the questions. Now, I am supposed to nominate five others for The Next Big Thing. This is my list of those five others. Tried to pick five I haven’t already seen listed on this. Hope any of them can respond. (:

Robin Sturgeon Abess
Miranda Boers
Sarah Aisling
Susi Holliday
Rebecca Grace Allen

Have fun. I did.

Mark.

Fairies : Scream Waits

Scream was silent. He glided down from the sky, to the trees. Landing silently. Gracefully. He was much smaller than he’d once been. And far more deadly. With more speed than he’d ever had in his younger days. With a dragon fire that was hotter, and more accurate than it had ever been. He was a full-grown dragon. Second only to Merlin in all of dragon-kind.

Fiver other dragons were with him. Each dragon landed in the trees surrounding the village. A village of humans. Innocent humans. Humans that lead simple, honest lives. Caring for their neighbors. Helping each other when help was needed. Caring for their sick. Raising their young. Teaching them all they knew about the world.

They didn’t know. The people of the village didn’t know about the machines of the world called Cylinders. Didn’t know the machines protected them. Kept them safe. Didn’t know the machines had been on Cylinders for more than 25,000 years. Didn’t know the machines had created the fairies, the elves, the dragons. Didn’t know about the quantum mechanics the machines used to perform magic tasks. No. The humans only knew that there was magic in their world.

Scream’s heart ached. For he knew the humans would learn. Soon enough. They would learn everything. When the invaders arrived. And the war touched their lives. That’s why Scream was there. Outside that village. To fight the invaders.

Merlin had let everyone know when the invaders had arrived. Landing in their space ships. Bringing their weapons with them. Intent on extending their empire to another world. In the belief they were bringing order to the chaos of the galaxy.

The machines of Cylinders could have simply wiped the invaders out. Erased them from existence. But they didn’t work that way. Instead, they left fighting the invaders to the people of Cylinders. The dragons. The fairies. The elves.

Scream and his dragon friends took up their positions. And waited. The invaders would arrive. In the dark of the night. In the hours before the dawn. When the people of the village were asleep. That’s when Scream and his brothers would engage them. And destroy every one of them. They would protect the village. They would protect their world. The invaders would soon learn that Cylinders was not what it seemed.

And the people of the village would be safe. But forever changed. And that caused Scream’s heart to ache. Scream found fire burning in his soul. Ignited by the knowledge that the village would be forever changed. The world would be forever changed. It’s innocence lost.

For that, Scream would fight the invaders to his dying breath.

Fairies : A Dragon’s Memory

Merlin waited. Until the sun had set. Until the fairies had all gone to bed. Until Mystica herself had gone to bed. Then he waited until he was certain everyone was asleep. Except for Whisper. That owl was as old as Merlin. And like Merlin, Whisper never slept.

Whisper flew to the edge of the lake. And waited, on the ground, next to the water. There was no moon at all. Only stars. Merlin flicked his wings just a few times. And as if by magic, simply popped out of the shadows of the trees. He landed next to Whisper. Whisper was his sanity. His oldest friend. The one that had brought him back from the nightmare he once was.

Whisper did what he always did. He whispered. “Why have you come here tonight?”

Merlin looked at the waters of the lake. “To remember.” His voice was almost silent. As he looked at the lake, Merlin spoke once more. “Machines. Don’t let me forget.” The he called on his black magic.

Merlin was ancient. Well over 10,000 years old. The most powerful black mage in the history of the world. A world he knew the name of. A world named Cylinders. A world where the children of the humans had come. And put in place a plan to save their parents. Their creators. And in doing so, the machines had become ubiquitous . They were in the air. The water. The ground. The trees. They were in the food. The animals. The machines were in everything.

Merlin knew the machines were in him. In his blood. In his bones. His muscles. His brain. He knew he was genetically a human. His genetics being modified by the machines. Yes, he was born of dragons. But the dragons were created by the machines. Just like the fairies. Just like the elves. Just like the other magical creatures of this world. The ones that Mystica had yet to meet. Like the mermaids, the hobbits, the dwarfs, the giants. So many different types of beings.

 All descendants of the humans. All genetically modified humans. Brought into existence by the machines.

There wasn’t really anything as magic. Magic didn’t really exist. Except on Cylinders. And then, only because of the machines. It looked like magic. It acted like magic. It was magic. Except it wasn’t. It was humans, in the form of fairies, dragons, and all the rest. Talking with the machines. Interacting with the machines.

Upon the surface of the lake, black as night, appeared even darker shapes. As the machines responded to Merlin’s wishes. And played back his memories. From 10,000 years before. When he’d first learned of them. First learned of the history of Cylinders. Of the machines, and how they had created everything on this world.

Merlin had gone insane. He’d been consumed by rage. And decided to used the powers the machines had granted him to change everything. To destroy the machine’s plans. He’d decided to start by destroying the fairies. But he couldn’t be obvious about why. He had to be subtle. So the machines would think he was acting against the fairies for valid reasons.

That’s when the fairies had thrown one of their own into the wilderness. She’d been born with a beautiful name. Orchid. She was a beautiful fairy. But, she’d been given wild magic by the machines. Wild, untamed magic. The kind of magic the dragons had learned to live with. There were many wild magic dragons. But Merlin learned, wild magic was not tolerated among the fairies. Or the humans.

The fairies had renamed Orchid. Calling her Black Orchid. After the most poison of the plants on Cylinders. They called her this because when she was upset, when she was disturbed, when she cried, Black Orchids bloomed in the fairy kingdom. And those orchids resulted in the deaths of other fairies.

The fairies of the kingdom had taken Orchid, beautiful as she was, gifted with an amazing wild magic that could have done so much good, if the fairies had only known how to teach her, work with her, help her learn to control that magic. The fairies had bound her. Blindfolded her. And hauled her out to the foothills of the mountains. Where they’d abandoned her. Left her to die. Where she would either starve to death, slowly, fall to her death, painfully and horribly, or be consumed by predators. Wolves, bears, or something like them.

In all honesty, what happened to Orchid, how Orchid was so brutally left to die, had enraged Merlin. While it had been the excuse he was looking for, he didn’t have to pretend to wish to destroy the fairies. To him, the fairies intolerance of Orchid, and her wild magic was inexcusable. And he saw no reason not to destroy them.

The fairies, at that time, lived in the norther forest. With a kingdom centered around the lake. And cities, villages, and towns scattered through the forest.

In 10 years, Merlin had changed all that. He’d used his black magic. His gifts from the machines. To relentlessly attack the fairies. He’d murdered thousands of them. Driven them from the forest, southward. To the foothills. But he didn’t let up. He kept assaulting them. Driving them through the foothills. Through the gray mountains. Then through the mountains to the gray hills. Then from the hills to the great plain, and it’s scattered forests.

20 years after he’d started his assault, the fairies were all but destroyed. There were less than 100 of them left. Only two remaining fairies of royal blood. Merlin had reached the end of his quest. In just a couple of days, the fairies would be gone. And the plans of the machines to protect the humans, and keep them alive, would have been given an enormous setback.  And Cylinders would be freed from the machines, and their influence.

That’s when Whisper had first spoken to Merlin. Tiny Whisper. Landing on Merlin’s head. Whispering in Merlin’s ear. “What if you could teach them? Would you kill them all for the mistake of a few? What if you are killing those like Orchid?” Whisper only asked questions. And Merlin could feel the machines in Whisper. Could feel the wild magic they provided to Whisper.

“Why do you strike at the machines? They only wish to keep their creator’s alive? So that they won’t be alone in this universe?”

That night, when Merlin had struck against the fairies once again, he’d attacked the last of the royals. He’d destroyed the guards that protected them. He’d sliced them to shreds. He’d burned them with black fire. He’d cut the prince in half. And then he’d torn the heart from the princess.

And that’s when he heard a baby cry. A tiny newborn baby. The last of he royal fairies. She cried. An innocent infant. Newborn. And Merlin stopped. That night was the last night Merlin had struck at the fairies.

He’d carefully picked up the newborn. He’d been so very careful to not injure her. He’d flown to the next group of fairies. There were so very few fairies left. He’d landed. And he’d waited. Placing the newborn so very gently on the ground. He’d stood there. Until a single fairy had come forward, out of hiding. That single fairy stood there. Looking at Merlin. Certain she would die.

Merlin had nodded his head. Flexed his mighty wings. And flown away.

It would be over 10,000 years before anyone heard from him again.

That was the night Merlin had spared the life of Eyela. The fairy princess. He’d silently watched the few fairies as they’d re-grouped. As Eyela had grown up. Becoming their princess. As they’d formed a new kingdom. He’d silently helped them. Protecting them when they couldn’t protect themselves. He told the machines what had happened. What he’d done. Told them he wanted to help. That he finally understood. And wanted to correct his mistake.

With his help, the machines put together a plan. And Merlin did his part. He stayed hidden. He worked to rebuild the fairies in the southern plains. And to help them learn to work with their children the machines had given the gift of wild magic.

Merlin remembered it all. It was so long ago, but the memories hadn’t faded. He remembered every detail. Every battle. Every last fairy he’d destroyed. And he stood there. At the lake. Watching the memories play out. Black on black.

Dragon’s never cry. But humans do. And Merlin was, after all, a genetic human. Merlin cried. And asked once more if the universe, and life itself, could forgive him for what he’d done. And the innocent people he’d destroyed. In an effort to strike against machines that only wanted to keep their parents, their creator’s alive.

On a world call Cylinders.