Tag Archives: InMon

The Elevator Club

“Welcome to the Elevator Club.”

As greetings go, it wasn’t all that ominous. I mean, I’ve heard worse; “I’ve been looking for you”, or, “We need to talk” are pretty terrifying ways to start a conversation. But the Elevator Club was different. It was almost funny, a group of men in well-pressed, well-fitted suits that you could tell were expensive, just by looking at them, standing together in the elevator.

They just carried on their conversations, which was also weird – people usually fall silent when someone walks into a lift, but the hubbub of the Elevator Club just kept murmuring, mingling into the sound of the elevator’s motors.

It didn’t stop – the elevator that is.

Level 27 flicked passed, the light behind the number still illuminated. I turned around, and the man who spoke to me just shrugged.

“I was level 14,” he said, waving his hand toward the doors.

The fluorescent lights overhead just hummed, beating down on us with oppressive, ultraviolent light.

“But when you got in I felt the urge to leave just disappear.” His blue tie seemed to glow.

At level 47 one of the men twitched, he was older, and seemed distinguished, stepped forward, his hand extended.

He stopped, and the elevator began to descend, counting its way back down through the floors.

“I don’t know how long they’ve been here,” he said to me, indicating the men pressed against him.

“They won’t talk to us late-comers,” Blue-tie said to me.

The older man studiously ignored him, examining his fingertips.

“You should feel special,” he said. His voice cracked as he whispered.

“How long have you been here?” I asked him.

He echoed me, his face twisted into a sneer.

I can’t remember. It can’t have been long.

“Level 27,” the elevator said.

I didn’t want to get off.

The light behind the numbers flickered, on-off, on-off, on.

The elevator kept going down.

 

 


 

The Elevator Club was written for this week’s BeKindRewrite prompts:

The Elevator Club

and

Ultraviolent Light

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Claws Red, Fangs Snapping

Terry Whidborne's latest sketch

Terry Whidborne’s latest sketch

She drew her cloak tighter around the ragged edges of her breath, trying to disguise the rapid rise-and-fall of her chest. She pulled her face-mask closed, to hide her lolling tongue and to cover the sound of her panting. To conceal the spatters of blood and the tracing lines of intestines on her skin-suit.

 

Voices rose up  behind her, shrill and panicked, reaching a crescendo as she turned the corner.

 

She had to convince herself to slow down, to control her footsteps. The wet cobblestones shone, and seemed to guide her along her path. She caught her breath, crouching down against a rough-scaled wall – she left a patch of crimson on the stone as she moved. Her tongue arrowed out from between razor-sharp teeth, picking loose scraps of gristle and fat, tasting the flavour of him on her lips. She smiled, a withering smile, and was disappointed that she had no-one to direct it toward. No matter. She let her mind replay the gory scene from which she had so recently fled, and the smile returned.

 

She saw the signal, the twin spirals in the sky, clouds-where-there-should-be-no-clouds.

 

Claws red, fangs snapping. 

 

The memory was not quite as delicious as the act.

 

The spirals, the disguise, the soon-to-be-dead.

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Mythos

She was born, in the fire before the world. She woke, to flames. Her voice broke the silence.

It was good.

And her song called forth her shadow from the inferno, sleepwalking, sleepwaking, and his fingers stretched long, and from their embrace was born this world.

They fell to battle, and he fell to the bare stone.

His blood became the oceans, and his bones cracked and became the steppe-ring mountains, and his breath became our life.

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The City Needs Us

Kent Bonham

Don’t smile.

The priestess’ words echo through me, as my footsteps echo, bouncing from the stone cobbles, from the stone walls, from hidden, stony faces.

Keep walking.

There is no-one to smile at. No door stands open.

All were slammed shut, they may not look at us.

There is nothing else to do but walk.

The city despises us.

The city needs us.

Red robes define me, define my sisters.

We shuffle, a crimson tide, leaving apartments as islands.

We shuffle, scratching libations and curses into the stonework, pasting blood-red mortar into the cracks – each morning the messages are erased.

Each night marked by snuffling, grunting.

The city needs us.

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The Koi Swam

The koi swam, casting concentric-ringed ripples against the pond’s otherwise tranquil surface. Diamond-sharp points of light reflected from the peaks of those miniature waves. She had a job to do here.

The waves were dazzling, blinding. Brilliant.

The grumble of the city died, curdled, before crossing the stone walls that bound this artificial tranquility.

She remembered the outside, and the water trembled, the koi were agitated, swimming disruptive circles above the stones.

Again she focused on the waves, and on the trailing branches of bonsai trees sweeping the lake.

There was no escape from this brilliant superstition.

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The Unicorn

The Rabid Unicorn - Minna Sundberg

The Rabid Unicorn – Minna Sundberg

It spreads.

From one to another, at the breeding grounds,

leaving only

the wreckage of majesty

and the hunger

of the beast.

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Choices, Choices

Copyright – Rich Voza

Shit. The meadow, again. 

The doorways loom.

Choices, choices.

The smell of smoke, of burning, of charring. The ebony handle, hot to the touch.

Not the Red Door. Not again.

A heavy weight tugs me toward the White Door, its gravity overwhelming. The White Door threatens, imposes.

Promises the empty brilliance of light.

The Blue Door loiters. The sound of the sea roars behind the rotting, barnacle-encrusted lumber.

Not again. My fists ache from pounding the hard dirt, just to smell the earth again.

Afflicting new wounds on my skin, I scratch and tear at myself, just to have control over my actions, even if only for a moment.

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Duck, Duck, Goose

Duck…

Duck…

Duck…

Duck…

GOOSE!

She leapt away from him, as the desperation flashed across his eyes.

To make it fair the computer had decided, at random.

Around the tight ring, he dove.

His fingers scraped her thigh.

She stumbled. Didn’t fall.

The computer was right.

There was a fun way to decide.

They jeered as Thomas walked toward the airlock.

“Bye-bye.”

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Sci-Ku (Science Fiction Haiku) #2

FANUC 6-axis welding robots. Image by: Phasmatisnox

 

It took a lot of

slow trial and error, but we kept

all the robots loyal.

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Transmission

No one knows what this is, do you?

Troy Alexander – Rainforest Expeditions Lodges

The central mast was finally completed. The guy-wires whipped and flexed in the wind, and the fence sung beneath its hurricane touch. He studied his masterpiece, checked the tension of the gossamer strands.

The miniaturization ray had worked. Too well…although the reverse procedure hadn’t.

He began broadcasting along his miniature antenna, strands stolen from spider’s webs, sticky to the touch. Now to escape from this primeval, monsters’ paradise.

” …. . .-.. .–. .-.-.- / …. . .-.. .–. .-.-.- / — .. -. .. .- – ..- .-. .. –.. .- – .. — -. / .-. .- -.– / – . … – / … ..- -.-. -.-. . … … ..-. ..- .-.. / -….- / -.-. …. . -.-. -.- / — .- -.- / – .-. . . .-.-.- “

 

Written for BeKindRewrite’s prompt this week: Escape from Paradise. And because I saw this photo online, and apparently no-one knows what built it or what it’s for. If you know, you should click the photo and let them know!  Oh, and yes, that’s actual Morse Code. Go HERE (or click the message itself) for a translation…

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Wandering Eye

He fell with a certain sideways grace. Thud

Slow, black blood congealing.

The gun, black, hot. Heavy.

I sat. Waiting.

I dropped the gun.

The weight stayed.

“Police, drop the weapon!”

“It’s down.”

That’d teach that bastard, with his wandering eye,

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Softly Into the Gloaming

 Terry Whidborne: Sunday Sketch 53

Terry Whidborne: Sunday Sketch 53

We all have confessions to make, secret deceits, hidden sins. They weigh heavily, like red welts raised on our disfigured souls.

I have my own confession to make, one that I intended to carry beyond my funeral and down into the brimstone, but there are times when a story needs telling.

There are times when a story needs telling, and the truth staggers free, like a drunkard emerging unscathed from a bar-fight, or like a bright red balloon flying through the inked-black clouds and brown-grey-green haze, high above the smokestacks.

I’m a monster-hunter, me. It’s what I do, or what I pretend to, at least. There’s not as much difference between those two things as most’d have you believe.

Shut up and listen, boy. You might just learn something from this.

#

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An Unwelcome Guest

Sunday Sketch 48 - Terry Whidborne

Sunday Sketch 48 – Terry Whidborne

He took a slow, ponderous step, and the earth churned and rose around the impact crater of his bootprint, coiling like smoke in that heavy, treacle-thick atmosphere. The swirling blackness engulfed him. Left him surrounded, alone with the sound of his laboured breath and the jackhammer beat of his heart.

He moved forward into the murk, and an umbilical cord stretched behind, his breathing tube twisting and pray-to-the-gods not kinking behind him as he explored this vast, confined world. A brown, chemical sky panned out overhead as he strode forward, and brief phosphorescences winked staccato messages in the gloaming. The River bucked and buffeted his every footstep, as though it despised his incursion into its realm, as though it sought to keep him from the fairy-light dancing of his quarry – Turnket’s Squid, and their never-before-witnessed mating rituals.

There, ahead in the gloom!

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Day to Day

Mask from approx. 7000 BCE

 

Adjust the mask, it’s slipping off

 

like paint peeling, flaking down.

 

Adjust the mask, it’s slipping.

 

They’ll know you’re not like them.

 

 

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Once-saints, now madmen

The Temptation of St. Anthony by Martin Schöngauer c. 1480-90

They came, in the darkness, through the darkness – they were the darkness. Hexes and sigils, carved runes on my door-jamb. I knew they were coming for me, knew they were hunting.

 

They bound me with curses, stole away in the night with my grimoire – but around my wrist I wear a bracelet of iron. I write on the walls, one-handed messages about the coming of angels, the coming of gods, about monsters you’ve never heard of. Prophets are bound, and those once-saints now madmen.

 

They came through, and now more are coming.

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Krislan’s Fine Meats

Sunday Sketch 38 by Terry Whidborne

The iron taste of old blood muddied the air, mingling with the almost-homely smell of honey-soaked tobacco and the sharp-acid bite of cleanliness, of bleach, of hospital sanitation standards. Charnel houses. You get used to the smell. The heavy metal door framed a golden window behind me as I walked deeper into the vast, surgical-white expanse, ignoring thick, yellowing plastic curtains, ignoring the hanging corpses, ignoring the heavy resemblance. Hacked at, slashed at; red-purple-black wounds marked the torsos as they still trembled, hung on cruel iron hooks.

Stay calm, stay focused.

They’re trying to intimidate you.

The door hissed closed on its pneumatic railing, my golden window sliding shut, leaving only the gas-lamps above the brilliant white floors. Vicious and saw-toothed, the tools of their trade hung on the walls, the stone-edges sharpened into a savage bite. They remove the limbs for curing, the internal organs sold as sweet-meats and dog food. I pictured the smoking house by the river, the billowing storm clouds pouring up, into the sky. Tradition is important to their people. The meat is dispatched of painlessly; the blood-letting doesn’t begin until after death. I pictured the bright flame-red banners of Krislan’s Traditional Meats above the cobblestones, the gilt-edged road sign. Anguin Street, the centre of the city. I saw the skulls of exotic beasts polished and set,  overlooking the tumble-down walls of the city’s former gaol: the Island. The Island is surrounded by the crawling blue of the river – the prison is imprisoned by the river, and the river itself is caged by the stone-wall embankments climbing from deep below the floating refuse of the city squatted above it.

I saw the hanging meat.

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The Queen of the Wild Hunt

Sketch 37 – Terry Whidborne

He took another heavy drag on his cigarette, feeling the warm tentacles of smoke flood his lungs – the rain hammered down, tapping out a frantic morse code against the umbrella he held gingerly over his head. The night thickened as he exhaled, blue-grey ghosts escaping his lungs, coiling, serpentine. The city loomed around him, a vast cathedral. Red-brick walls, shrouded as they leant inward, drunken above the alley.

Rumbling echoes growled, bouncing between the tenements.

He was surrounded.

He ignored her as she crept nearer – he was trained from birth to ignore their kind, to ignore the seed of truth told in fairy tales.

To ignore the monsters lurking in the darkness.

The glowing cherry flared again in the darkness.

He sent the cigarette arcing through the night, a fleeting firefly, hissing into the pond that grew, creeping closer into his garden.

The possums laughed, husky and terrifying in their brutal suddenness, laughing from the eaves, laughing at the night.

Lightning cracked the clouds, brilliant, blinding.

She stood beside him, her obsidian blade drawn.

The Queen of the Wild Hunt took her bounty.

 

Written for Sketch 37 by Terry Whidborne – I just find this image so captivating…I’ve got at least two more stories for this sketch! 

I also used one of this week’s BeKindRewrite prompts Trained From Birth.

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Goodbye, Estelle

Vampir – Ernst Stöhr, 1899

“We need to talk,” she whispered, inches from my ear. Scared the shit out of me.

“This is probably not a good time, Estelle.”

“No time is the right time with you. We need to talk. About you. About us.”

I sighed, exasperated.

It was not a good time.

I stood, moving away from his neck, his life draining from him slowly, slowly.

What a waste.

His blood tasted sweet against my lips, as I turned to her, saw the shock written across her face in bold strokes.

He wrinkled, dried out and drained. visibly aging in seconds – I gave my time to him, what little of it was left.

And took his, without sharing, without inviting her.

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What I said to the doorman

Here is a list of things I said to the doorman:

C’mon, man, it’s getting late.

Just pretend you didn’t see.

Ok. Ok. I get it.

Forget this shit-hole, I’m leaving.

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Pirates!

Blackbeard’s Last Fight – Howard Pyle, 1894

There was the sound of muffled cursing, crude and revealing, breaking through the heavy night. The sound of muffled cursing, quickly followed by the gentle, crunching thud of meat, muscle and bone slammed into more meat, muscle and bone.

There was a hiss, a sharp intake of breath. The Captain, making it known that she was unimpressed, counting the seconds between the element of surprise and the measurements of failure. Silence was what was called for. They should have known better.

There was the hidden echo of meat, muscle and bone collapsing, the chattering clatter of a table and chairs. A second, cracking thud of leather and iron, of boots against a shattering jaw. The vicious, savage kiss of steel, carved across a windpipe – straining, struggling, yielding.

The gargle was answered by the whispered shriek of a sword drawn slowly, threateningly, from its scabbard. The shadowy, primitive retort of a pistol, smothered by the snapping, cracking canvas overhead, the patter of blood against oak, and the fighting began in earnest.

The great bell clanged out, its brass voice the call of the gods of war.

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