Mongo Fiction | Not the Neighborly Sort

What of the new neighbor? He’s an odd sort, just moved in from offshore, someplace northeast, and without a word from him since moving here, though I hear talk of what goes on in his home. It’s all rumor, but none of it is pretty.

He never speaks, just sort of mumbles and glowers at people, a nasty sort, even known to kick the neighborhood cats when he can as they show up for feeding. 

He got a nastygram and a visit from the local animal shelter, and from law enforcement on allegations of animal cruelty more than once. Cats have been known to disappear after wandering too close to his place. I suspected at first that he poisons them.

I don’t think much of the people who he actually bothers to let inside his run-down little eyesore of a house, either, one seriously in need of remodeling. 

What goes on in there? One time, I heard something howl and shriek from inside below. Good lord, if he has a dog, or maybe some kind of wild animal caged up in there, that could be where the missing cats go! Maybe it’s worse than just poisoning them. Maybe he feeds whatever’s in there the strays that come too close!

Fortunately, our beasts are indoors only, and he seems to avoid my place, so the neighborhood strays have learned to gravitate here as a sort of safe place for feeding and general cat-gatherings.

But exactly what the hell does he keep holed up in his basement? Something tells me I don’t want to find out.

Where’s Blatherskit and Beelzebub at this hour? They’re late for the early morning feeding . . . . Damn cats.

Mongo Fiction | The Great Mistake

The pain faded, as the drug took effect, knitting his lacerations and what was left of his limbs together, and strengthening his resolve to keep going. 

He had almost considered suicide because of the pain, but this seemed like the better option now, all things considered. Anyway, it’s hard to kill yourself when your limbs have been blown off. That was off the table for now.

The alien stood over him holding the now-empty drug ampule, and its seven-fingered hands hovered over him, preparing to finish the surgery with another dose of nano-drug, the tiny molecular machines would restore him fully in an hour or less.

Yes, he would be restored to full health and functionality, limbs regrown, but there was a problem of his being brought to trial and convicted — of grand theft, for the attempt to purloin the Mind of Ravaad, the holiest relic of the Wuuldraphi empire.

Within the hour, he was brought out of his cell, and escorted to the court. He was only now beginning to think that taking this job was the dumbest thing he’d ever done. It also counted up there with the most painful — something about the means used to guard the relic . . . .

What kind of a hard-case, or lunatic, protects a sacred object with close-proximity explosives?

Lyapunov’s Children | Traveller’s Luck

So, this is it, he thought. His vessel came nearer the event horizon of the supermassive black hole, larger than the orbit of Earth, so large the tidal forces were minimal. But this close the time dilation was enormous, the universe past the accretion disk seeming to speed up as subjective time slowed down. 

It was almost there. 

Transition. 

He saw the universe flash almost blindingly bright, then fade out, darkened, just before crossing the threshold. Now, it was too late. 

The universe behind him had died, and he was nearing the singularity, or was he? It looked strange, like a spinning white tunnel. This was wrong. This was against all expectation. This was against all sanity. He was still alive, not crushed into a dimensionless speck with his ship, and still the tunnel kept going. 

The radiation count was just below the limit of his ship’s shielding, and climbing quickly. Terrific, he thought. He would survive one thing only to be killed by another. Not so fast. He found himself spat out from the tunnel with a sudden lurch, the blinding horizon of a white hole behind him. 

Things looked even stranger in his new surroundings; oddly colored luminaries in the distance, complex, shaped like fractal structures, curving, spiralling, and twisting in ways impossible for a galaxy in his own region of space. But he was a taikonaut, and the unexpected was his domain in the dangerous job of space travel. 

Coolly, he smiled, and directed the flightpath of his ship to the nearest orbital bodies. He would make use of his predicament in this new realm, this, what seemed to be a new universe in itself, not just a new region of his own. 

Maybe he would find a way back, maybe not. Survival was the key here. He would find whatever might pass for a habitable world here, and at least attempt to survive, successful or not.

MetaCognitions | Writing Technique

I’ve been thinking about the writing process, such as that can be as this blog’s resident entity from beyond space-time….

Is it some alien elder thing seeping from deep within the vowels of the earth, issuing forth with dire murmurations laden with hideous consonants and a doomed attempt to impose some order on the whole horrid outcome with punctuation?

It’s actually quite ordinary, with nothing from outside the curves and angles of space-time involved at all. Even a shoggoth could manage it — or my cats.

I use a variety of tools, from brainstorming, storyboarding, and at least half a dozen more as I experiment to initially generate ideas. I either put material down as electronic files or write it down old school, with pen and pad, as I often keep that handy in case something interesting pops up, and I have to capture it before it dissipates. Some ideas show up only once.

Once I have a basic draft, I let it sit for a time, simmer a bit, as I slowly add to it. The process is surprisingly controllable, though tends to work best during extended periods of strategically alternating mental focus and unfocus.

Once I have enough to work with, I open the draft, add any final material, and edit the crap out of it. I go through at least three full rounds of edits on the entire piece, and then proofread it twice, once from beginning to end, and then from end to beginning, reading it aloud to myself or under my breath, and rewriting the piece as I go each time.

When I’m doing that, I pretend I’m the narrator of an audiobook and read with as natural a vocal pace as I can manage. I tend to find the majority of errors during the proofreading process, catching mistakes my eyes alone often miss.

Once I’m done, I work on the layout and format of the piece, finish that, and ready it for publishing.

And that’s about it. The whole affair is nothing special, but it works, and works well enough that it makes the job of keeping up the lab in the Sooper Sekret Volcano Lair™ easy for the eldritch servitors, even when having the death rays and world destruction machine upgraded.

Life as a Lovecraftian horror sometimes has its perks. 😉

Tf. Tk. Tts.

Mongo Fiction | The Bug Sisters on Halloween

The three witches stirred their cauldron as they looked into the swirling brew for patterns of the future. These were unusual witches, for they had three pairs of limbs, coming from a species of sapient beetles, and flew on chitinous wings rather than broomsticks. Wings made for a smoother flight. “Well, sisters, what have we here?” One said, her antennae twirling as she tossed in silly things like tongue of weevil and claw of scorpion. “It looks like the Witch Finder General is at it again!” “Matt Hopkins? That loser? Didn’t he learn from the last time not mess with us? After all, we turned him into an axolotl!” “Yeah,” said another witch, “we sure showed him! Never did recover from that. Something about him still having gills after he got better!”

Another image revealed itself, of a young human girl plucking petals from a flower, tears streaming from reddening eyes as she cried about the day’s events at school. She had been rudely rejected by a boy she thought loved her. The three witches narrowed their beady compound eyes as one said, “Why don’t we help her out, do something to cheer her up? I know! We can turn that obnoxious boy into a monkey!” “Nah! That’ll never do. Too reflective of his true nature. All it would do is give him the urge to fling his business and purloin bananas!” “Wait! Let’s turn him into a sand flea!” “A capital idea! That way, the girl can get her revenge by stepping on him! I’ve got the perfect potion formula for that: let’s see, wing of orchid bee, hair of spider, nectar of pitcher plant, and chelae of lobster! Here, let me throw in a little powdered chrysalis of Io moth!”

The witches cackled in buzzing insect voices as they mixed the potion, sure that this would be a fun Halloween night, for themselves, and for the little girl with the broken heart.

Mongo Fiction | Something Best Served Cold

Demons.

Other demons, that is.

Phleg never liked them. Not after the time they framed him on charges of possession. But then, as a demon without an alibi, what else would be his most likely reason for leaving the nether regions?

He had sworn revenge, well, unofficially — not by genuine oath. That would have required he seek out a minor demon of vengeance, and the reams of paperwork to fill out would take far too long.

So Phleg nursed his resentment. He made his plans. And he sought to gain his revenge by becoming the new Spirit of Vengeance after he rubbed out the old.

It didn’t help that he had a cohort of imps tracking his every physical move, so he spoke to no one, associated with none, and made his plans in secret.

After all, a conspiracy of one can never blow its own cover.

So, he sat in the tavern, looking over the customers, in the form of a raven among the rafters. He spied a young journeyman wizard below, just out of his apprenticeship and ready to be fleeced by an enterprising spirit of evil like himself.

Phleg fluttered down to the table, looking the wizard in the eye, and crooned, “You look like a bright young sir, and I’ve got just the thing you need, this!” He dropped a gleaming ruby out of his beak. The wizard picked it up and examined it. Magic? Oh, it reeked of it! But once touched, it had its effect, and the suggestion took hold. Perfect!

Another piece had been maneuvered on the metaphorical board, and Phleg’s plan to not only get vengeance, but to be vengeance, advanced one step further.

He chuckled inside.

Your move, Thogratass!

Mongo Fiction | The Last Dance, Part 5

Author’s note: This was so far the hardest and most fun to write chapter in this story. Part of that was the need to avoid cultural appropriation in the portrayal of a real world society, however far into the future it is projected. The other part was a desire for accuracy and fairness. I hope that in this chapter, I’ve succeeded in portraying even a fictionalized South Indian culture accurately and respectfully. So here is part 5 of the serial. Enjoy. ~ Troythulu

Than’yhidre and Meenakshi were fully attired for the day’s outing, both in stylish dress to avoid disapproving looks from the locals, with Meenakshi’s putavai, or South Indian sari, traditionally Tamil in cut and color, and Than’yhidre in a Moktuula-Yogg tabard and dual shoulder-wrap commonly worn by upper-class Kai’Siri women. Were it not for her dress and lavender-dyed braided hair, Than’yhidre would be hard to tell from a local woman. Kai’Siri were exempted from local laws banning muscle-powered weapons, but concealed weapons were not permitted, so Than’yhidre wore her Miduuk-Yokku nanoblade openly, peace-bound in a sheath, but ready to be released and used at a moment’s notice in her expert hands.

Meenakshi spoke momentarily in her guide’s voice.

“Chennai was rebuilt almost from scratch as part of the planetary reconstruction from pre-Shutter records and biological samples of plant and animal life found in vaults on Mars, by the best scholars, scientists, and engineers the emperor could find. The bombardment of India by a wandering Broogh swarmfleet in BIY-259 had caused vast devastation to the subcontinent. Cities were leveled, mountains flattened, forests razed, and tens of crores in the region died in the first salvo. The Broogh were defeated with the coming of a rival swarmfleet that the pre-imperial governments of the Solar System joined forces with. The Broogh you saw yesterday are descendants of that same allied swarmfleet. It’s been five centuries hence, and only within the last eighty years was reconstruction completed. My family line are among the survivors who rebuilt Tamil Nadu and Kerala districts. My great, great grandparents led the reconstruction and repair of surviving temples and other ancient buildings.”

She then lowered her voice and switched to a more conversational tone,“Not to pry, Than’y but how did you discover your Tellusine origins? How were you able to so early in life? I know very little about Kai’Siri other than the fine soldiers who serve duty in our military divisions, and some women tourists I’ve spoken with.”

“Well,” Than’yhidre began,“My adoptive family admitted it after much insistent badgering from me on the day they sent me to the Academy to train. But it began with my dietary problems. I can’t easily consume many of the common food staples of Sirug, as those sometimes caused allergic reactions . . . alien animal proteins and vegetable products. The Kai’Siri are very much adapted to the foods their ancestors learned to survive on. My first reaction to local food led to a brief visit to the hospital, which after treatment led to genetic tests, and since then they were careful to give me only foods from Terra. But I was a good child to them, and they were wealthy enough to afford the cost. I grew up increasingly alienated from others after being bullied by other children for eating “Erturi-food,” but that only made me more angry and combative, which led to my wanting to get training as a Null-dancer. I loved watching them perform, and wanted the glamour and glitz of the very best ones. Plus, I had a knack for dance. I practiced almost constantly. I loved my adoptive family, well, most of them, but was only too happy to go. And so were they. They gave me full access to my medical records on the day I entered the Academy.”

The two women turned as the reached their destination, the first stop on Than’yhidre’s visit.“This temple is one of those that survived the Broogh bombardment almost untouched. For some reason, it wasn’t a priority target. It’s one of the oldest temples in this locality, said to be several thousand years old if you believe the local lore.”

Meenakshi did a mock stern and serious face as she said, “Do you remember the protocols for entering?”

Than’yhidre smiled, counting on her fingers,“Let’s see, washing before visit: check. Dressing appropriately: check. Buying some strange but yummy-looking Terran fruits to offer the deities: check. Leaving handheld electronics at the hotel: check. No animal skins in clothing: check. Easy-to-remove footwear to leave outside: check. Oh, yes…” She looked down, following Meenakshi’s gaze, at the Miduuk-Yokku nanoblade in its sheath by her side, embarrassed that she’d almost forgotten, as she detached it and sheepishly handed the weapon to an attendant, “…and no weapons! And for what goes on inside, that was easy to access from the local Net nodes and go over scores of times in my head!”

“Good girl!” Meenakshi said, suddenly dropping the mock serious face, “So, get ready for your first real taste of one of the oldest cultures of Terra.”

The two women, footgear now in cubbies alongside the temple entrance, strode inside together. One might almost think them sisters . . . .

To be continued.