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The Mere Tide

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Old 05-16-2017, 09:24 AM
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A week later upon road windswept and plumb of rumor and weathers unseasonable. Road pricked with splinters where had gone wagonwheel and the shod. Scuffed under hoof and nicked by claw. Its snowmelt filled potholes floating tiny icebergs on their filthy tides. Across it to the north low hills, a braided channel land. A gulch atimes dry, atimes running a thin stream of tawny water. Empty hamlets in places where none aught ever have settled and enviable localities also desolate. In these places were no sign of war nor disease and Dachni supposed the neuter vacancy bruit of forces as yet unseen. Neither this unusual and she was welcome to walk in the solitude of its wake and yet upon the basin near Sarsay she was come upon an itinerant of that land.

Cautelous scion of precincts remoter than these bespoken badlands and prone to the dissemination of heretica and whom to say where these regions be that propagate aberrations. Dachni watched his brated ambulance. He wore a free flowing black toga and tubes were running out the opening of his robe into his brain and his mangled hands trembled about his sky turned face as if he were the overloaded conduit of portents terrifying and obscene. Behind him he left a dark trail like an ooze and he muttered grimly. He seemed not to see the child and as he approached she stepped aside to let him pass. He hobbled a few yards more on his twissled limbs and succumbed to his knees.

Fliehen! Fliehen! Der Abgrund ist offen. Sie überschwemmen aus der Erde. Sie brachten ihnen, den aienee. Die Welt wird im Blut ertrinken. Folge ihm nicht. Er ruft sie von der Erde, die er ihnen hinschickt.


Intermit to these mad ravings. The madman kneeled round and looked at her. Dachni smiled uneasily. A dark nebula was spreading from him and when she looked he gripped his raiment and tore it open. Inside hung dozens of blood packets. The drip chambers full and draining down the tubes into the earth or else into his every vein, his catheterized scalp and his infused testes.

Ok, said Dachni backing away. Ok. So is goodbyes. Byesbyebyes.

The madman groaned.

She pointed behind him where the dark encroached and he swung round as if fearing abominations hailed from elsewhere other than the sunless barathrum out which he'd ejected to claim his soul. Träger des Kreuzes. He swung round again, his knees sliding in the blood mire, and put forward his hands in a ward as if towards some lunar malignancy instantiate. As if that fabled leviathan so hunted cross the liquid circumference had by emaciation and horror been distilled into a starved malevolence twisted and scourged or else some stigmatic diablo spawned out the corrupted ciphering of a system wholly alien to the natural order of things.

They held no commerce further the child and this venipunctured prophet and she eloigned of him towards evening and there far removed listened to the surf sough of their shadows in their tides of the sun at fail, the sun at rise and occlusion contemplating the pilot and her intersection into her apophatic journeys.

It rained. Soft rain like cold fire in the wind. The child slogged through mud made mobile. A constant lapping at her ankles. That with misstep in channel floated her gently to a sink out which she labored. Another hour and she was bivouacked between two cypresses rooted in the bank of a ravine. From the cabin she had a book of matches and a jelly jar of gasoline siphoned out the hatchback by judiciousness saved for the abatement of just such weathers. She gathered kindling and in the hollow of the cypress arranged it carefully for the dryness there but when she uncapped the jar and tilted it what poured forth was a grimy sludge. She adjusted the lamp to better see. Mud. She tore a match from the book and struck it. A brief flare she put to. A blue nebula bubbled out of the slime and died. Her countenance fell. Teeth grit and fists clapping against her ears. She held the lamp to the jar to see the sandy brown solution within. She shook her body side to side and then she poured the whole thing over the kindling and ripped the matches from their book and lit them and set their ends to the kindling. A stillborn light sprung up and miscarried off the sticks. She shut her eyes and bit the heel of her hand.

Thass not fair. Isnt too much. It isnt too much to ask.

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Old 05-16-2017, 08:14 PM
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I'm done waiting for you to fuck up. Looks like you're not going to.

Now... to get you to write faster😆
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:09 AM
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I dont think I can write faster than I do. In fact I should like to write slower. Its not contractual work after all and Im not waged by the hour. I used to attend writers groups, still attend one but we imbibe and talk about anything but writing. Often I try to come up with the vilest song titles I can. As a bonus out styles are so disparate we hate everything each other writes.

But when I went to other writing groups I found the preemptive and final defense put forward against critique was some permutation of: Well I wrote this in ten minutes. I doubt anyone ever bought that. I certainly didnt. But allowed the lie out of necessity for when someone else would need employ it. But reconsidering this I think there were more than a few cases when the author was telling truth. That for ten minutes the muse had possessed them and that what flowed out was sufficient. It never is. The muse is a filthy whore whom will couple with a hog. Those too having dreams. People oft acknowledge that writing is toilsome but speaking and believing and understanding are distinct ontological categories.

At these masses during the homily when the author watched the faces of his readership I watched the author. What I invariably saw was arrogance crumbling. The idea that the rules apply to all save me. That I was in the end not special. Its not hard to read this in the face. The transformation is unmistakable. The slouch of the shoulders, the guardedness, the sudden epidemic of tics. Our digital predilection for instantaneous response is a plague. Instant validation arrives with the specter of instant condemnation. I dont think one is more destructive than the other. The former inflates the ego to preposterous dimensions, the latter squashes it. It seems inevitable that this would infect every aspect of life. From books to relationship to cooking. People not being good at statistics. It seems a perverse indictment of the educational system that folk play the lottery but fear sharks. Likewise the hope that the first thing one puts to pad is ready to publish without work.
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Old 05-22-2017, 02:00 AM
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In the dawn they were not yet noise. An aural shadow, an irritation in the little snow let down by a sky of iron cast uniformity. Something as yet uncast. A subtle undercurrent that with the ceaseless rotary motion of the spheres burgeoned into an indistinct mass transmitting across the plain its mass. Fine grains were unsettled from their places. Branches shook. The first to be parceled out of that growing clangor were engines. Then lowing. The sounds of animals. An inharmonious conglomerate of human voices. A pandemonious sennet that with a lift of fog became in a rusty cloak of dust Americans driving a motley herd of chattel across the wintering plains. Thousands. Perhaps ten thousand. More man than beast but cattle aplenty and mules and other stock and no proper sorting save a few osmotic pockets favored by the species. Columns of long tracked twelve tons trundled along the flanks and pale horsemen darting between them mending the darker chained trunk of the herd and others of their disposition swaggering afoot like hominidic cats regarding all with a casual dire.

Dachni in her cypress eyrie shrunk. Procession evoked out of the ages by curse return to the ages. Go by go by. Peletons of driverless tractors lumbered accessorial harrowers forks scrapers cutters rakes raised as if in salute. One leading a train of the unruly, their yoke chain hooked to a rotary tiller to deter uprisings. They slowed to cross the bridge upriver and the footmen fanned out. To point and call and come her way. She drew up her knees. No hurry imbued them nor concern and they stopped on the far side of the ravine and helloed her.

Hidy, she said.


Dachni uncovered her face and lifted her chin above her knees. Hidy.

Are you American?

Issint et.

When are you gonna be?

When comes to armyin. Isnt that their say? Ye army an ye get creditals.

Thats what they say, said the man.

Come down.

The man who called was a clone of Corrigan. Tall and rough looking, unraveled of the same genetic code, this issue tattooed and through the brass bullring he wore in his nose hung a curtain of leather strips in which teeth were spliced.

Kinder wanted ta keep ear a bit, she said.


Said wanted ta keep loned whiles.

I know you. Come down.

Never seed ye afore.

Corrigan spat. His impatience settled upon the nearest man and this man moved towards the shore.

Dachni stood. She looked at the ground and hugged the trunk and climbed down and gathered her things from the hollow and studied the ravine for a place to cross and upon stones painted with the shells of turtles crossed. They walked back to the drive. A radio was clipped to Corrigan's shirt and he pushed to talk. Stop her, he said.

Over, said Dachni.

He looked down at her.

Post to say over.

On the road the manacled shuffling was rising to a blaring permutation of din. The drivers laughing, waving their hats as those in victory. Some on foot hewing the herd with sheer pride and others who soldered their breaches with whips, some electric whips that crackled like thunder in the hand, moving among the dark tide as if through a tamed sea. The trucks slurred off road spraying clump ways of mud. Packmules were arrested by their longears and unloaded. Troubadours danced by in motley and mock pomp juggling their coxcombs to enliven the morbid courtesans failing to keep their dresses unstained. Paladins of the Scottish Rite in gothic power armor planted their reliquary within dueling distance of the blistered acolytes of Hectavasad who by their evangelizing had emptied the mankind of old with all his dusty tomes into his mortar and grounded them to dust with his mighty pestle and sucking out the breath of life set them new upon the face of this fresh hell, the times indeed changing. Came vinters. Came victuallers. Meat wagons where swarms of carnivorous wasps darted angrily out their paper nests between the spokes. Husbandmen and tillers and the hackers of wood, the porters of water, and paleontologists transporting enormous skeletons like the drastic issue of Kottos or Briareus. Herdsmen shepherding flocks, erecting paddocks, corrals. Swans rose and snapped back at the end of their tethers, the wings slapping each other down in their search for current, the uppermost veering as if ensnared in the lines of a gyre and colliding with another before crashing down again. Two tanks shed their cloaks like rain and charged forward, their barrels Boaz and Jachin wanding over the columns as if ensorcelling them and drummers aboard beating their numbers upon the hatches and now composer and ensemble trumpeting to the delight of fickle demimondes cuckolding a quartet who hats in hands endured their scorn and the labors of an army of shoeshiners who migrated boot to shoe to blucher in hope of coin like ants and elsewhere carpenters and elsewhere blacksmiths upshopped for queues already forming and a barber throwing down his chair sat a customer whose locks he had been shearing walking. Feed was spread for cattle and chattel and burnt offerings were made upon portable altars and alterchrists were crucified and posted outboard to bay the vengeful wroth of the insatiable spirit of god. Servants dashed to every to, every fro and by their efforts mazes of metals rose draped in canvas, huge ratty tents, one having as frame the bones of dinosaurs and whales, the ribbed spine set between the massive knobs of vestigial femurs capped by a furrowed brow with skulls rung round and the whole of it armatured in human skins all rising amidst rising masts unfurling their black gallants like a carnival metastasizing in a waste.

In the belly of that ossified chimera Dachni and Corrigan sat on stools around a space heater watching the mayhem outside.

Corrigan swung up a tobacco pouch and clenched it in his teeth and rolled two cigarettes and lit them. His proffer she took. Sweet smoke to breathe.

Can ye spare that book?

He could.

She ripped out a match and scraped her thumb over the head but it didnt ignite. She tried again and again and then she raked it against the coarse strip in a fright of fire that trembled down the stick towards her nails. Blackened them. When she looked up Corrigan was holding out a necklace of painted teeth.

Its yours.

Never lost sech a thing.

Corrigan watched her tiredly. He took another draw on his cigarette and draped the necklace on her knee. Dachni didnt touch it. She looked outside at a passing upholsterer hugging pillows. A naked spearman clutching his jeans. A computer technician. Beyond them all the blacks.

Iss is stock drive, she said.

Corrigan exhaled through his nostrils a blue smoke that seeped through the leather chords like a mist and the muscles in his neck strained and the smoke was sucked away.

You look like you were fed through a meat grinder.
Her gaze dropped to the asphalt. Cracked and rough feeling bumpmap. Theys no easies. She smoked and shook her head. Nevered seen ye afore.

Never said you had. I said Id seen you.

Oh. Was it now? By the river?


Corrigan took a last drag on his cigarette and rubbed the stub of it out on his bootheel and rolled another.

Do you have a map?

Sorted of.

Lets see it.

She rummaged through her rucksack and got out the map. He leaned across the space between them and took it and produced a second map of his own and hooked a wire between them.

Whatre doin?

Installing a program.

Ye mean like a Temple?

He didnt say. He navigated the options on the screen and then he just stared at it until it chimed whereupon he disconnected the maps and handed hers back.


She spread the map in her lap. Floating over an empty spanse forty miles southwest of Uralsk near a lake was an icon. Different colored lines announced the routes most favorable to reaching the destination and they were none more than a week away.

What is this? she whispered.

She touched the icon and the map zoomed in on a structure in all that emptiness. A church. The necklace slipped from her knee and she stared at it where it had pooled before her bootsole.

Now what? she said.

Stay here the night.

Is morning.

Were camped.

Can ye make a fire?

I can do that.

Can ye do it now?

He could. Gravel fire of gentle hypnosis. Warm on the hands. Channeling down their scars as if they were veins for warmth. The hours passed calm and slack. The noise outside subdued but for a wind that shrieked snow across the plain and rippled the walls of their shelter like water. Others entered and arrayed themselves around the fire. Someone grounded coffee beans with a jasper doorknob. He poured them into a strainer and took up a kettle and flowed the water through them. An older man lit cinnamon incense. Dachni drowsing wrapped in a cashmere blanket like a bride. Someone was recounting his adventures in the cold jungle wonderland of Argentina. He told them how revolutionaries had fished his eye out with a j-hook. How he watched in the unpreserving shade it prune in his palm.

I quit that year. Chartered a ferry to Charleston much of it as there is and hiked from 26 to 40 and ended up in Knoxville. The queerest thing I ever saw were these mannequins all along Gay. I camped in the collapse of a department store and those things were staring at me. There were square dancers in the parking lot and a tagger had painted silhouettes in the spaces that moved and I swear it was them that cast the dancers.

Lively times, said the old man.

Course I nearly died there too. Cause in the morning those sure werent mannequins. Was a fishermen saved me by the sole of my shoes.

Whyd ye come back?

Back where?

To drivin.

To workin for Bethel?

Ifn its him does drive.

I have to think about that.

The room brightened. They all looked. A kyphotic pantryman gray of beard and bent of bone hobbled in with six poorly clad menials. What they brought was a suckled pig roasted round by blutworst and mashed potatoes drenched in gravy and biscuits and loaves of sourdough buttered and dashed with garlic. There was sauteed trout served on beds of pilaf and lobster and cutlets and corn and apples and tangerines and wines from Moldova and beers from Germany. Last of all a roasted pig dressed in a dirndl, fitted with a blond wig and spectacles.

Dachni watched the men gravitate towards the banquet with her knees drawn and her thumbs flat against her lips. All these stuffs never seen before. Never rumored before. Corrigan beckoned.

Even you, he said.

No hyena eating here. But what first? A lobster tail might contain treasures. She chewed on the tail but it didnt taste good.

The one eyed man took the lobster from her and pulled it in two and gave it back to her.

Thats roe, he said.

Dachni looked at the discolored goo towards which he pointed. She lapped it up and it was delicious. Next he cracked open the tail. Wrinkled white meat the color of snow. She hadnt thought she'd need be taught how to eat. He dipped the meat in a saucer of lemon juice then in clarified butter and gave it to her. She ate it and then she was hording the lobsters upon her plate and then in guilt redistributing them to all. Outside a boy was staring through the entrance and when he saw her notice he went away.

Did ye ever have your say?

I always have my say.

Ons how ye were for back here.

That. Well. I managed to get home. I lived in Washington State. I should have waited for a boat to Texas or Cali but I couldnt. I couldnt. I was done. When I got home I saw my parents but we really couldnt talk and they didnt know want to know where Id been. Id been gone three years. I lived in a suburbs outside Seattle. I got work in a kitchen. But the truth is all that time Id been moving West Id been watching the sun every night going down and. It looked like the apocalypse. Theres not a lot of government anywhere. I couldnt talk to anyone. I wanted to talk to people but I couldnt. I sat in bars a lot. I met a girl I went to school with but she was married. I was pretty jealous of that. I can say that now. I couldnt say it then. When I heard Bethel was in port I signed back up. I didnt feel comfortable around people. I didnt feel comfortable alone. After work I sat at home. I drank a lot. Everyone was getting married or getting pregnant and then getting married.

Where yall goin?


She nibbled at the cutlet. Ta sell them niggers.

Corrigan shook his head. No. Theyve been bought. This is a shipment.

Thass a whole lot to bought? All of em?

Most of them.

Theys machines was murkin ta buy people. Theys pertied far ways walkwise but said cause lookin.

Corrigan wiped his mouth and wiped his fingers on his shirt. Show me where?

Dachni got out her map. Its by the bridge at the next big river. She fingerdrew the letters in the dirt before the fire. Thass whats blue by the river inva map an its at its bridge.

Ok, said Corrigan.

Hey they has flyboats maybe ee can borrow em. Itchel git ye round faster.

Were good with what we have.

Dachni pulled the skin off a trout and mulled it idly. What kinda work would they need em for? Them slavies.

Corrigan tore off a piece of bread and dunked it in a cup of olive oil. Not labor.

She shook her head and the skin flapped about like a dog tongue. Whab den?

Im delivering this to the Pross Institute for Biological Studies. So you tell me.

Dachni made a strange bobbing shrugging motion and then slurped down the skin. Wouldnt know to tell.

They wont be used for labor.

Are you all Americans?


Are yall fightin?

Theres no war.

But theres gonna be.

Yes but I wont be fighting it.

Hows no?

Ill have errands.

She looked at her friend. An you?

He brushed back his hair. No. No. Im lonely. Not suicidal.

At the conclusion of the feast Dachni kicking round asked were any slaves for sale and Corrigan picking his teeth with a jag said he had said there were.

But gratis is yours.

Hows that?


Dachni threw her arms in the air and twirled with a laugh. Wells bugs on you!
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Old 05-28-2017, 01:21 PM
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They turned out to survey that groaning mass huddled on the asphalt. A sable sea to be picked through and frowned at.
Has ye got no lilns? Or knows. Any whites?

He did. A rangy waif thief bright blond among kin. Dachni squatted and poked her in the shoulder and the waif withered under her touch.

Whatns yer name?

The waif said not neither the father in whose arms she was encompassed.

She poked the side of her nose. Сенің атың кім?

Did you just talk Kazakh to her? said Corrigan.

Whats wrong talkin as that?

Theyre Swedes.


So then they speak Swedish.

Hrmm. She prodded the waif further and rose. Reckon its no too big matter. Thissel do. But needs to find a name so Persla.

Corrigan ordered the extrication of the waif and when the hand of the guard touched to her that hand was grabbed and a fist curved out and stretched him flat. An oak tree of a paterfamilias rose to receive a charge of guards. He caught a billy club in its descent and dragged its wielder down. Another slapstick thwarted him and his brow folded over his eye. He swung and the guard he held went down. His sons now too were engaged and one of them fell clutching a knee and the other was biting the arm choking him. His father lurched over them and the arm went slack. Then the father dropped. He twitched on the ground and the son threw himself at the man who had tasered him and was electrocuted himself and then the father was up again and he took the man with the taser and crumpled him to his knees with the flat of his hands as if he were a doll. And then he was down again by a slapstick smartly. The waif cried beside her bleeding mother and Dachni came and collected her and looked at the scene.

Hell was that.

What do you think? said Corrigan.

Hasnt knowed. What is it?

Theyre family.

Dachni's face gave a strange twitch. She considered the waif anew. Sobbing blindly. Cheek swelling for a wayward blow. She looked at her kin who were still not quite subdued.

Well, she said. Well. Mebee it aint tove right ta say em bye.

She released the waif and she dashed into her father's arms. She looked at Corrigan.

You said them isnt gonna used for work. Can ye let them off? How much would it be for them?

They didnt cost me anything. I didnt even know we had them.

Howd ye get them then?

Corrigan regarded his recovering guards. Who got these guys?


Corrigan spoke into his radio. Slatchel.


I have Swedes. Where did I get them?

I didnt get any Swedes.

Do you know who did?


He regarded the Swedes where they had regrouped to put up a new defense.

Theyre not billed for anyone. Does anyone here speak Swedish?

None did. He snapped his fingers for the attentions of the family and gestured that they aught quickly disappear of his sight. They looked about uncertainly and he hissed at them and they stood and began to extricate themselves from the herd.

They aint got nothin of an outfit, said Dachni.

But they have their freedom.

Shoot. Hold on.

She dug in her pockets for her coinpurse and upended it into a pocket of the father as he passed.

Sorry for ye to get all busted up over that.

The father made the slightest nod of wary gratitude and then hurried his family out. He kept looking back as if this windfall emancipation might suddenly be reneged but it was not and soon they were small in the country.

Shitty shit, said Dachni.

That sizes it, said Corrigan.

Maybe grab a buddy else. Pay this one.

You dont have to pay.


Its fine.

Dachni twirled afore to face him with hands clasped behind her and a little bow. Hey yer purtied nice.

Dont thank me.

Yer thanked anywoobs.

They moved on. In their search for whites they found Russians she said might do. Slavs of rancorous demeanor and a few phossy jawed expats. Two sisters. High cheekboned brunettes.

Theyre kinder tall. Maybe tads younger?

He had one so. A stripling of about seven years.

Ye hasnt a red hairded one does ye?

Corrigan looked at her with a kind of disbelief. He said he didnt believe it.

Nah redded heads isnt secret. Seen two afore.

You want to nail one of these girls.


You want to slip it to them.


You wanna fuck one of these girls.

Scarlet turned the child and gaze to be anywhere but on him. Nobe! she blurted. Thass the...no no. Thass grosser an ell an note.

Corrigan tucked his fingertips into his backpockets and surveyed his cargo. Whatever you say. I can scrounge up a red head somewhere.

Esnt no need to be of red head or girl or boy or anythin or nothin twas jess an ask.

Its your decision.

Just take that goddamn one.

He followed the careless jamming of her finger to a black boy sitting in his rags. Take whoever you want, he said.

She stalked off with a wave of the hand. Thatns fine.

He shrugged grinning. Alright.

The guards sallied forth again and they wrenched the boy to his feet and the mother of him fell howling upon her face and the father moaned and beat his head with his fists while the niggers other watched with a haughty impassiveness.

Retiring to the tent they found it further furnished with sleeping mats made up. The remains of the feast had been boxed. She yawned hugely.


Dont go to bed yet, theres more.

Dachni broke out into a circling run that saw her compass the room twice ere a front roll that sat her upright. Ok.

Youre a weird one, said Corrigan.


Among the new furnishings was a baggage trunk and Corrigan opened it and took out a fur jacket.

Try this on, he said hand it to her.

She took the jacket and held it out to study the workmanship. It was fashioned out of a liver roan wolf pelt. Rich the longhairs and slick the short. She unbuttoned the front and slid her arms into the sleeves and threw on the hood that was its head and looked down. The jacket was bigger than her by twice but there were buttons for the cuffs to be pinned back and likewise the hem that brushed about her feet. There was a fullsize mirror by the trunk and she looked at herself in a bewildered awe.

Whered this come from?

Corrigan didnt say.

She wiped the new beads of sweat from her frontlet. Boy ye could get hot in hell in this.

He lifted out other things. A pair of infantry combat boots with fox fur lining along the wells and leather cavalry gloves with silk inlinings and gold studded belts and silk shirts and undershirts of tailorship that would put a king to envy. Until Dachni ran forward with arms straight out and slapped at his hands to keep from the production of other articles.

She covered her face and shook her body from the waist up side to side. No. No. Nonono. Ye caint. No. No.

Corrigan closed the trunk and sat on it.

She clapped her hands to her forehead and looked at the clothes. Dont dont dont.

Corrigan was rolling another cigarette. Youll figure it out.
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Old 05-28-2017, 03:42 PM
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Yer thanked anywoobs—LOL
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Old 05-29-2017, 04:13 AM
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She'd quit that if she could.
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:11 AM
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It took her all day. Circling the clothes where she had laid them out and dressing and undressing and redressing and undressing again and going out to peek through the tent flaps at them and going back inside to dress once more and tromp about. She gathered the blankets off the unused mats and constructed a bouffanted den out which she peered at the fire.

She woke in the open air, the tent gone, and the column coughing along the road like some amalgamate caterpillar of metal and woe creeping towards the just risen sun. Corrigan waited nearby holding the reins of a grade. Tied to its pommel was the slave by means of a leather strap and collar, his hands ziptied behind his back. Dachni crawled forth of her den and folded the blankets and rolled the mat and walked over but Corrigan gestured towards the bedding with a throw of his chin.
Why did you leave those?

Aint they yours?

What do you think.


She went back for the bedding and dropped them before the grade. Her head came to just its belly.

Big horse.


The saddle was fitted with a two step stirrup to aid her mounting. She mounted and Corrigan stuffed the bedding into the saddlebags.

Where are you going to go? said Corrigan.

Plan of grad.

Youre not going to go to the church?

The what?

Never mind. Mind that map the church is marked. Think about going there.

Shall do.

She roweled her horse into a walk and turned it around. You never said your name, she said.

Thankey for everythin.

Dont. I was paid.

Dachni looked wounded. Was happy gettin all this. Wasnt they no haps in givin it?

Corrigan spat a coffee stained phlegm on the road. It swirled on the asphalt. He studied it a moment and then rubbing it out with the toe of his boot restored the gritty black of the asphalt. I guess Im happy youre happy.

An its good to know yer...

She dismounted suddenly and walked up and punched him in the thigh. Yer of hugs, she said and hugged him.
Corrigan surveyed the procession. Id recommend you discount your beliefs on people. They dont override.

Dachni nodded into his leg. Could be. But theys enough wrong everair an maybe thistle help it keep.

The black gifted her was a tall lanky carp hunter's son prized off the Euphrates and in her deception would be butchered a few days hence and it would be the head of a different black she would present to impress the army recruiters shortly thereafter to be met with. He walked behind the horse in his leather neck yoke and tried his master in various topics but Dachni talked to the horse.

Tissa bad iggage. Thisis workin pretted well. He dont know though. He were bein a perverted. Dont rent pays on that. Never would doesnt even know sexin is. Kiddins aint for that so he prolly is a thing of hisself an sayin on what other folk do cause a his. Says other people are what hes doin. Thats...thats...project. Hes project. But hes ok. Aughtin be more like him. More of. Less him that dont go cusin people a doin wrong. Yer worried. Aint no big worried cause nevered done nothin like that. He wouldnt know. Howd he know? Bigger worry is theys moren niggers an nobuddy knewed where them Sweets came of so what ifn theyre thiefin people out of the country? Maybe shouldnt a said nothin on Temple. But no...theys scared armed so prolly hell be ok but what on Holfie? Theyre beat to nothin. Maybe. Isnt maybe. Might be maybe. No. No. Whatwhatwhat. What ifn shes there? Shoot her. An run. Wont work. Shes the meaner shot. What. What? But he hasta know to not. Its. Itll be ok. No it wont. Dachni. What? Reck your bet all this ta come from? It aint of her. Dachni. Why dont ye shut up.

Who are you talking to?

Dachni halted and took out her map and studied it. She was four days from the hostel. She rubbed her pinkie over it. She sat the grade and surveyed the horizon. Then she turned north and roweled the animal.

My names...

Gives a fuck on your name.

She rode on. The boy watered at the creeks side by side with the horse and he slept shivering on the ground.

On the fourth afternoon the hostel came into view. Incontinent boat of incense. Of noise. Drunks drunk stumbled down the ramp. A whistling washer removed stains from the bulkhead with a power hose. The blood draining out the rents in the fuselage. She stabled horse and nigger and went up to the cockpit and stoned the door. It opened.

Get up here, said Anzel.

The rope ladder and she ascended with its end buttoned to her jacket. He transferred her from the cockpit to a stool and poured drinks and set them out.

Im supposed to call, he said.

Call Corrie.


Hes drivin them niggers round. Hes gone Moss Inneweute for studies.

Uh huh.

Hes a Bethel work.

He works for Bethel?

Maybe said that. Aye. A nigger driver fer Bethelled.

I can get hold of him.

Call him an tell folks is Kazakhs an people an he caint slave em.

You came back to tell me that?

Dachni was leaning over the bar staring with wide eyed intensity into his toady weariness. Course did! she cried with flailing arms. Notta monster! Call! Why wont ye call?
Right now?

Aye now aye now now now. Hasta call an hurried. Hes a slaver an maybe hes gonna slave folk dont need ta be. Remember Holnifa? Shes home an might think shes sallable. Sheyd fetch best price. Not her mas cause shes a terrwickedle whore.

Anzel palmed his face. Good god.

Fuck god. Get on call.

Ill do it but we need to talk first.

Ons what? She seized his shirt and shook him.
Calllaaaalaallalll. Call an plenty promise ta talk.

Anzel blew a long sigh into the last gray remnants of his hair and placed a heavy army upon his side of the bar and searched out his phone and punched the numbers with enormous goiter thumbs. The call went through and on the third harpsichordic note was answered.

Hello. I need to speak with...I dont know. I need to get in touch with a driver.

Dachni mounted on the bar leaning over the distension of his gut. Say not to. Hey say not to.

Anzel held up a finger for quiet. She leaned closer but the voice on the other end was a static unintelligible.

Hey! Ye aint talkin to nobuddy.

He turned his seat and backed away. No the crazies are multiplying.


Bethel's drivers. Hes on the road to Almaty. You can pass on a message for me? Good.

Say him not to hurt Holfie.

Tell him not to pirate the country. Especially a little Kazakh girl. Her names Holnifa. Or anyone related to her. Thank you. I know.

Then he hung up. He tossed the phone behind him and a machine arm caught it with a magnetic plate. There. Shes safe. Now we need to talk.

Dachni sat back on the bar and crossed her arms. Dont wanna talk.

Wasnt that the deal?

She covered her head with her jacket and mumbled into the fur. What on?

The dagestai.

Dont wanta talk on her.

He wants to talk to you.

Fuck her. Tell her eat shit an die. Was she here?

She stopped by.



Dachni looked into her drink.

I think shes doing alright, said Anzel.

She drank. Thass too bad.

Why dont you stay here for the night. Ill ring her to come back.

Dachni slid off the stool. Not stayin. Dont say was here. Making for the door she perchance glanced into the tumid corridor to discover it raining blood. The wares covered for outdoor weathers. She edged towards the threshold and looked up and saw meat pasted to the rafters. The washer was still at his work, still whistling, dislodging chunks of flesh.

Anzel ran a thumb through a fold in his neck. She wanted to know who had seen you. Those vors had. Best I can do is give you a few hours head start and misremember exactly which way you went.

Dachni backed away into the stool and turned and climbed onto it and sat on her knees fixed him with a stare her fearful tenor could not impart emotion.

Wait on sayin. Couple days. Needs think of it. Ok? So say wait an be back. Ye hear? Say her wait three days.

Ill...do that. Dont get me in trouble.

Ifn ye can pent that mess out there ye can keep that son of a bitch gone.

Lets hope so.

Two days later she cut the black loose and gave him the map.

Get on.

Im free?

But the fledgling apostate was already riding the miles to a stream hidden in a wood where to circle the articles she would lay on the bank. To be skinned in her provision or a whore materially purchased, her affections for barter. Or a trap. For knowing trapping done by setting out that which was desired and invested with hope every thread wherewithal she was wroth over this low esteeming. Or forgiveness. Inanimate interlocutors. She searched the clothes. Searching the inner breast pocket of the jacket she found a second seam, hand sewn. She opened it with her knife. Inside she found a piece of cloth. The runes dyed upon it she could not read but beneath them was Phyryii, red star of Ntzinieyii's enkindling. Misnomered moon. Banded and oceaned and crowned with a lantern and wearing a belt of ferric slag. Nor the last sigil she would she see for two days later assumed her slave's track found its conclusion in a meat web in the desert. A reckless mess of flesh strung betwixt saxaul rampicks. Signal to this mid aught given over to livid and noisome horror. Whereunder maggots writhed in a massive stain in the sand. Where small birds had been ensnared in the vortex and where buzzards with slavering plumage moved upon the bridge of spine spine like weavers mending the wicked strands of heimarine with their pendant organs by their arteries strung and cleaning the bones that gave prop to this flaccid nidus. Some of tendons strung so taut she could pluck them like the strings of a guitar or cello. Spread wide upon the web was a spider but it was no spider as she had ever seen. It was naked of hairs and pale and it had eight arms and to every arm a hand that gripped the web and it was twice her own size. She thought at first it the work of surgery and that no life lay in the thing but as she approached it reared like fangs its two human heads, one of a man and one of a woman, and rubbed them ear to ear as if in warning. And yet the buzzards gave defiant maraud to this creature's heinous seat and Dachni spying flint and stave of magnesium and though its following heads split in twain to reveal each a fanged maw stepped forth to claim her prize.

Aint nobuddy scared of ye.

Fresh digging disturbed the sands round about and what she disinterred was a lantern biering a nigger head eyeless and without mandible. Deep in the darkness of those terrible flues there seemed a malign intelligence coiled with blacker tidings yet.
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:28 PM
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If you end up posting the whole novel here I'll still send you the $20 for a hard copy.

Love this girl.
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:18 PM
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Ha well hold on to your money. This is about ten months work of a five year project so theres a lonnnnnng way to go. The finished novel will be nothing like what we see here. One of the things I did when I wrote TFA is I spent weeks on each scene for nine years so when it came time to edit all I ever did was rephrase things or take them out. There was very little in the way of additional material.

I forget who it was who wrote that in novels the future changes the past because the author has the benefit of seeing the entire continuum of the novel. I didn't do that in TFA but its something Id like to do in MT. The major change editing wise being a switch from strict streamlining of the text to adding to or modifying earlier sections to create a harmony with what came after.

I don't see TFA as a harmonious novel so much as a patterned wake of errors which is very much in keeping with the personality of the pilot, nothing if not an aimless protagonist. The foreshadowing was often done blind. A detail thrown here and there and if it connected with something later on well then great if not just as well. But that would fail with Dachni which is something of an admission that my editing is styled on the primary focus of the novel whosoever that might be. Ive always found the pilot's digressions to be infuriatingly apathetic in their passivity. For all her strength and intellect she is hopelessly impotent while for all of Dachni's weakness and stupidity and blindness she is the most alive marionette of the work.

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Old 06-12-2017, 02:37 AM
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Last update for a little while. I spent almost a month writing one scene so the buffer isn't as much as I'd like it. Typically like to have forty or so pages between whats here and the total and I wont have a whole lot of time to add to it as Ill be ferried in the Black Sea for the couple days and making my way through Georgia and Azerbaijan.

She stood the ground smoking the cigarette she had poorly rolled. It mayent mean much either way. She never liked no niggers. Ye could make it mean.

But the pilot would protest that while the truth may lie beyond articulation it nevertheless in all its polluted rampage twas extent. And forget not. For while a hanging may be saddled with a thousand ancillary consequences each with their own host of meanings it means most of all that someone has died. And yet in her darker moments she would say whom could say death had meaning at all? Or who lend death primacy in the ordering of affairs.

Dachni studied the curious raptor tracks and found a set that much outstripped the others in its dimensions and she spat and rubbed them out and rode on following the prints of a man, the next day a ninth nigger travailing across the land in his wound sanity. Another youth who hailed her a mile off and whom she rode past and whom fell in behind her.

He spoke madly but it was much the same to her until espying a shard of granite need reconsider the heretic's heart and stricken by the blistered shade of it need a like to compare it to. She turned her horse and drawing her mosin shot her tow. He crumpled and she dismounted with her knife and pushing away his weak fending opened him and reached in feeling through his working to that palpitating stone. It spasmed in her fist and when torn out spurted blindly as if it would course the air. She held the hearts side by side but it was not that shade. She thumbed the ventricles, plugged them in turn. When she was done she confiscated the head and with it mounted and rode on.

West then far into country and from people. To towns she would not enter but for the outskirts. To dash into bars to buy whiskey with a mask on.

One day to enter a street where in uniform a woman stood on a street corner. And all caution. This female a sergeant surveyed the street for the listless and meandering suddenly confronted with a calamitous mishap of child bearing down upon her holding aloft rifle and head.

Oh shit.

Dachni reached the sidewalk by miracle unscathed and cursed upon by the halted traffic. She danced round the sergeant who backed and backed.

Look look its head an can shot up aldy an goes took an Alessa work of could citizen look look look! Hey its true really is was in the desert an said hey an this here nigger come ta try an rob of horse an stuck him a yaonet an tooked his heart thisis is head. Crossed everwhere benned the world an in the mounties an up an down an tubed an thowed an saw floods an locusts an rain fire I the desert wayyyyy sly ompta heathen home an foughted rusks an broke a train an caught a king! Look! Look! Its the head turned out an has favor of Yandvilai so ettl brin ye wricked luck in any kinder fight haps rings rings an woo! Sightly goes moon an hard breaks it down to sun.

The sergeant had backed herself to the wall of the recruiting center. The door opened and a corporal no more than looked out then was set upon.

Hidy hi! Which one are you?


He slammed shut the door and then opened it cautiously and looked to the sergeant. What?

I have no idea, said the sergeant.

Dachni was still jumping about and the sergeant stilled her with a hand.

Whats going on?

List! Aint ye for list?


Dachni hunched over and burst upward. Lissssstin!

This is a recruitment office.

Aye! Aye!

I...wait. Are you trying to enlist?

Aye! Its rain fire.

The sergeant looked at the corporal but Dachni dropped the head and snatched at her blouse.

Listen! Listen!

The sergeant took the hand and put it from her. Hold on, she said. Hold on.


Hold on. Whats your name?

Essa. Ess. Less. Alessa. Gillespie. Alessa Gillespie.

Ok. Calm down. Calm. Calm. Calm.

Dachni slouched in impatient exasperation.


First things first, said the sergeant. Is that your horse?

Dachni looked into the street. The horse was meandering nervously in the lanes while the traffic swerved around it and the drivers shouted and blared their horns.

Thats horse. Its not.

Get that out of the street.

Dachni dashed for the horse flinging as she did the head down the sidewalk where it rolled spraying blood against the storefronts. She picked up the trailing reins and led the horse to the sidewalk and looked for a place to tie and did so to the door of a furniture store. The manager would have protested but then he saw her scapulars of teeth and ears and he thought better of it.

The NCOs were conferring when she ran back. Hey hey hey.

They looked at her.

Can you tell me where that head came from? said the sergeant.

Offa nigger.

How did you get it?

Fightin. He hadda big ol knife an he tried ta rob the horse but run up to his charge an slid an stucked him in the belly then shot him off blaw! An tooked his head.

Ok, said the corporal. He looked down the street at the head. You cant leave that lying around. Get it and come inside.


She skipped down the sidewalk and got the head and dashed back. They held the door open for her and she went in. In the lobby a dozen recruits watched. They sat their seats and watched this diminutive homunculus track shapes of blood in the carpet. The sergeant pointed at an empty chair.

Sit there. Stay still.

Dachni plopped down and beamed at the staring faces. Outside the corporal was securing the grade to a bike rack in front of the office.

Wheres yall froms?

The recruits looked at her. She looked at them each in turn for answers slow in forthcoming.

The grad.

The same.






Where are you from? said a boy from Pelican.

Mounties. By Perm.

Are you Russian?

Dachni spat. Shet no.

The corporal came in. Dont spit on the carpet.

Dachni clasped her hands to her headtop. Sarry.

Dont say sorry just do it.


He rubbed the spit out with the toe of his boot. He leveled a finger at the recruits. You all are responsible for this hot mess until Im back.



Aye sir.

He gave a last doubtful look at the child and then went out of the lobby down a hall.

Whatre you doing here?

She looked at the Roseville recruit. He was young but big. His hands big and clean.

Gonna list. They say list an ye get to be American.

I think you have to be American first.

Noo. No no no that aint true they said ye could list an
then ye can. Ye aint got ta be already.

Another recruit watched quietly. A somber youth of twenty. Its ok. Im from the country too.

Whatre you doin here?

He jangled his keys in his pocket. Waiting on dinner.

Does they feed ye too?


And drink ye too?

I guess.

Hows it sounding gethered?

I dont know.

Laurence said that this is the great pivot.


Voice on the radio.

It is that. How did he say it? We in this generation...are part of the great pivot from chaos to order or something.

No out of the great disorder.

He called us the first unmauled generation in three centuries.

That isnt going to last. If what everyone is saying is true.

Shit, said a city son. I wish theyd get on with it.

The corporal came back to the lobby. Dont worry, he said. Were already on, the with is coming.

Amen to that. Im ready. Its going to be hard but there isnt a damn thing in life easy worth doing.

Shit. Patly grew up on the leather tough edge of the jagged edge of a rusty town. Its going to take more than a head to scare him. Thats the truth. Where did you get that head anyway?

Dachni looked at the boy from Aster. Head?

Yeah, he said pointing at the head in her lap.

Oh. Founded it.

You just found somebody's head in the desert?

Everthings in the desert.

The Aster recruit looked away with his chin in hand. Yeah.

Dachni watched him. She watched the others and she had in that watching a dread intuition that there was not one soul in that office who would not be dead in two years. And silent prophetess would that thou couldst have spoken for each would perish and every man and woman who in this place signed their name to the line. The Aster recruit paralyzed at Gomel would be fed alive into a grinder to become nutrients for the clones, them of the grad obliterated by artillery and the rest in their way even that demure son of the country who knowing better but hoping more would be bayoneted in a ditch under an apple tree.

I have the video, said a recruit named Charles.

Play it.

Come here.

They gathered round. Charles coughed into his elbowpit. Would do again when inhaling vesicants. Excuse me. On the tablet a man stood behind a podium in a stadium. Charles pressed play and he shifted into motion.

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Old 06-17-2017, 03:57 AM
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I know someone else who did what you're doing, bluewpc, with excellent results.

His was just a simple little thing. Yours is epic. I don't know how I've missed it up to this point (I was gone for a while) but I will have to go back and read it from the beginning.

And I humbly give up my crown as king of the legible run-on sentence.
Mr. Ed said I should use his signature, since he's not anymore. In honor of his good friend Nok, here it is: "As far as smoking a cigar," she said, "I'd not know where to start or how to start." "It's simple," said I, "You light one end and chew on the other and hope to meet in the middle."
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Old 06-18-2017, 01:26 AM
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@prodigal thanks for the kind words but in truth I couldn't write my way out of a wet grandsire's diaper XD If you want to get some grounding for the book you could read the first novel:


Its looooong but that's because I'm not smart enough to condense things. I could hear Hemingway's chortles tremoring the ground beneath my chair for years...

Also If you want to read that's spiritual predecessor you can read this (its something like 250 pages and its rough but hey its free and you get to point and laugh like look at this shitty amateur thinking he can write ):


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Old 06-29-2017, 10:47 AM
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Mr. Tamhall, Governor Arrington, President Orrin. Thank you for being here and thank you for the time and expense of hosting me. Thank you to the institutions which made it possible for me to speak on this occasion. Thank you also to Chairman Pelson for the contribution of this venue. To those listening whether here or abroad, whether in urbanity or country or domed within the outer colonies of space, whether you are a member of the future generations whom we here seek to serve, you have my gratitude for your time, which always has been a precious commodity though perhaps today more than ever.

We stand today on the 23rd of February in the sixth year of the sixth century of the second millennium at the great pivot of the years, the great fulcrum between disorder and order, between chaos and stability, between a brighter dawn or an age darker yet than that which has gone before. Today human poverty has been reduced by an order of magnitude unimaginable even forty years ago though nowhere near what was achieved in antiquity and yet our ability to destroy ourselves has paradoxically maintained its furious degree of if changed at all has only increased.

Today marks the succession of the first unmauled generation, a generation that has unlike any other in recent history escaped the wake of our ancestors who for their mistakes cursed their sires for far beyond the fourth generation. Man being a harsher judge than god. Perhaps we refrain from casting blame though blame may be laid for we are not substantially different, nor do we resent our forefathers for we too have made mistakes our children must suffer for. Failures of fortitude, failures of communication, failures of courage. We ask understanding from the youth and forgiveness that they too must take up the hard mantle and shoulder on. But shoulder not alone. This older generation would shoulder this burden alone I believe to be the general feeling but we cannot. Every man, every woman, to prevent every child must answer the call to defend the ideals of this country, young as it is, ideals, not ideologies, for we must remember that it was the rigid mind that scourged the greater part of mankind, ideals we have not always lived up to, ideals betimes we have betrayed, and if this is call is a call to arms it is also an entreaty for forgiveness for the wrongs that we have done that have led to this moment of intractability and for the wrongs we will do to lead us out of it. Ernest Hemingway wrote “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.” In this we may all soon become criminals, but we should hope not to become recidivists nor unrepentant. For my part to the youth of this new era you have my most heartfelt apologies. But also you have my most heartfelt hopes. I will not pretend that the future shall be any easier than the years that have gone before, in fact we predict they shall be markedly worse. Again I and I am sure the guardians of this age ask forgiveness for the state of the world and this terrible impasse, that we could not improve it beyond what has been done.

Nevertheless the world turns and we in it are the heirs to its turning. Whatever tomorrow brings we wish it bring not war but war we shall if called upon to do so. But also shall we make peace if peace there can be. For even in this dark hour we pray it not yet the twelfth and even if so we shall endeavor to rewind it back another hour and find a route to peace.

The wheels of this earth have ground some four and a half billion years and they will turn perhaps another four and a half before the sun expands. Thus we find ourselves at the meridian of the world but we may perhaps be at the end of human life on this world at only a scant three hundred thousand. For all our failing of which there have been many we hope that we amend them through our labors against the common enemies of man to which all mankind is susceptible, whether man or woman, young or old, protestant or Catholic, black or white, Russian or American. We here in this country young, and usurping its namesake from an older institution are as guilty as any of being human and being full of human frailty but we also have human strength and human ingenuity which if utilized to its utmost may see us through this darker storm which if we survive without compromising our humanity will bring a brighter dawn.

Our forebearers inherited a world far from their choosing and yet abandoning not their responsibilities softened a world more brutal than ours and if we likewise assume the same responsibility may make a kinder world for tomorrow. This shall not be an easy task and if it is darker before dawn it is because the smoke will blot out even the stars. This too I lament. But lament without despair. For I know as do many here assembled and listening that though the wheel is in the ditch of the ages our shoulders are against the wheel.

To those against whom we are opposed and who oppose us I invite them into dialogue, with respect on both sides, not from positions of fear or suspicion but with mutual openness. But there is no openness without vulnerability and no vulnerability without trust and no trust without faith. In that spirit we welcome a drawing down of arms for though this peace has not been well it has yet been peace and peace we should prefer. To those who feel neutrality the safer option you have my empathy. However I ask is it work the risk to remain uncommitted against the bulk of tyranny, hedging that greater powers will if not defeat than at least match it, is it better to oppose tyranny in its ascendance or at its apex? Remember that nothing in life not least of all life is guaranteed. To those domestically who question whether taking the pledge, whether choosing to commit to this vision of a better world may be in vain, I say nothing is done in vain that serves for the betterment of all people, though they succeed, though they fail, and yet the prospect of the dissolution of all that we hold dear is too much to bear and the hope for a better future too much to resist.

Aster put the tablet away and eyed his comrades assuredly. Were gonna make a difference lads.

Ten minutes later the police arrived. A pair of officers who knocked on the glass of the door with their billyclubs and pointed at Dachni and beckoned her out. She exchanged glances with the recruits and then she parted of them.

Outside on the sidewalk one of the officers pointed at the head. Where did you get that head?

Dachni held up the head. Desert.

Did you shoot that man?

Aye. He were probbed hunnerd yards off an hit em with a heart shop. He harlied time to see nor shit.

Didnt you tell Sergeant Lowe that he tried to rob you?


How could he do it from a hundred yards off?

Dachni's face made a worried twitch. She set the head on the sidewalk. Well. Wasnt maybe that far off. He were close enough. He had a knife an it aint as ifn ye has no tentions is good runnin.

He was running at you.

Caint rob a folk runnin away. Look it were jess ta make it sound somethin better for em thass all. Know aint big. An aint smart. An aint pretty. So theres ye knows...hasta be somethin ta trade.

Wheres the body?

Desert. She waved her arm vaguely to the east. Its reckon somethin days away.

The officer looked at his partner.

I dont want to, said the partner. Im not going to.

Alright miss why dont you come with us.

Caint go with ye cause needs is list.

You cant enlist.

Who the fuck says you?


Fuck you.

Listen youre too young to enlist in the army.

Thass esent your say.

It is my say.

He reached for the child and the child ran back. She threw open the recruitment center door and ran through the lobby to the hall and down it. The sergeant's voice was coming through a door and she threw that door open.

The sergeant rose from behind her desk, the recruit chaired before it turned.

What the hell is going on?

Is to list!

The officers stumbled through the doorway and dodged back from the thrown chair. It dented the jamb. The sergeant grabbed Dachni by the shoulder and pulled her back. The officers kicked the chair from out the doorway and entered.

Whats going on?

Im taking her to the precinct.

Is she under arrest?

No shes an orphan.

Dachni stomped her foot. Not true. Not matter is gonna list.

The sergeant came from around the desk and righted the chair. I can take this from here, she said.

The officers glanced at another. We cant have that running around alone. Criminal or not its a health hazard. I mean look at it. Tell me that isnt what comes before cholera.

Ill sort this out.

She looked at Dachni. Wait out in the lobby until I call you.

But needs to list.

The sergeant turned to the recruit she was interviewing. Wait outside for a moment. Then to the officers. Both of you out.

The officers, the recruit, left. The sergeant shut the door and relieved Dachni of the nagant and leaned it against a bookcase and gestured for her to sit. Dachni sat on the floor.

In a chair.

She got up and sat in the chair. The armrests came almost to her shoulders and not least because her deepened hunch. The sergeant resumed her own seat and put her elbows on the desk and clasped her hands levered them down.

You cant enlist in the army.

Dachni nearly leapt from her chair but the sergeant continued.

Im going to be frank with you. The army is a formal organization with standards that you flatly dont meet. Youre too young, too short, you dont meet the weight requirements. Your speech impediment is disqualifying, your illiteracy is disqualifying, and while Im not a psychologist I think Im looking at a walking pathology.

Dachni looked at her boots. Is seventeen.

Look I understand you traveled far to be her but there are rules on things are done.

Thass it? Thass all. Not even a why?

I told you why. I can say it again. Too small, too light, too dumb, too psychotic, too inarticulate.

Dachni was wringing her hands over another. Desent hafta be so mean of it.

You wanted the answer there it is.

Well now what?

Dont ask me Im not a social worker.

Dachni was tearing up. She wiped her nose. Hows...hows get citizenned?

I dont know apply for it.


I dont know. You might already be American. Where are you from?


Do you have a passport?

Dachni retrieved her passport and put it on the table.

The sergeant needent examine it. Youre Russian, she said.
Nooo. Thass fake. Look inside.

It looks real to me. And if its fake why do you have it?
Dachni didnt say.

The sergeant stuck two fingers through the pages and spread it on the table. It looks good to me. So. Time to go.

No waiting. I have

Well what to do?

I dont know. Go back over the border. Join the MSV. Theyll take anybody.

Dachni left out. Shuffling downcast past the sympathy of recruits. The officers waiting outside with her horse took her to the precinct. A small building with white walls. They sat her on a bench by the cells.

Wanna go.

Where would you go?

Whys it your business.

Youre a minor. We cant just let you go.

But they didnt watch her either. At their lunch break she left out and mounted her horse. She was next at a diner and in that diner she stared blankly at an omelet she needed help to order. It vented its steam over the long sable spill of night. The waitress bused the tables. She was staring at the cold fold of eggs and then she was staring at the plastic veneer of the table. The lights shut off. Someone said something to her and she got out of her booth and went out.
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Old 07-08-2017, 07:36 PM
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Searching for her map at the edge of town she remembered suddenly that she had given it away. She tried placing herself in the world but all she managed was to know she was lost. She shut her eyes. She was going to cry and she didnt want to. Her eyelids grew inflamed. A car had sawed into the street. Its headlights slicing away the muted pigments of night. It drove past and at the intersection its stop lights flared like eyes of the demonic that slurred away as the car turned onto the main street and pulled away. She took out the passport and felt the paged face with her fingers as though she would read it as read the blind but this face too was in no language she knew and she let it fall from her fingers and rode on.

Listless now under crescent waxing, gibbous wane. Major maria and gray coast of crisium apart of lacus and sister mares who save thee first and ever edging the void would patron the passion of the wrath. She drank and drank and covered herself not from the cold but from the sun and the shadow engendering curtain of her corpus' shambling occluding the last of the divine in this lowest of the trichomatic hierarchy of the insane blind and maimed shored upon this cellar hell of sarkia. Wisdom thou hast bound the light but not taken down the screen and shall come a day when light cannot abolish dark for even now evil knows itself and purposes has.

Riding up a shallow ravine she entered a clearing where was a cèilidh disbanding. Men smartly dressed, men of means. Eight of them. They were saddling their horses.

Dachni's drew her mosin and stood it on her thigh. Their gray plump and bespectacled captain was already mounted and he rode his horse before hers and it raised its head and snorted and Dachni reined it around.

Good morning little one.


And to where are you bound this fine morning?

Upways. To a church.

Are you a nun little one?


He looked at her horse Tis an excellent...

Dachni leveled the nagant but the brute snuck up behind her swung his club and she dropped out of the saddle.

She woke bedded in the cold slouch of tree shade bateared by two fans of blood. A mazy sky of boughs drifted above that blinking collapsed together. She dragged a scarred hand limply across the vast vicious cicatrix crosshatch of her stitchless discolored flesh to a headside pain. Through the cleamed hair paint but no ear. She peeled away the scab strands. A wicked hole flush with her skull. And no ear other. She covered her eyes. She searched for her ears again but they were not there. She rolled painfully onto her stomach and pushed herself up and atwixt her thin ragged thighs saw blood dripping out the savage gape. She pushed her knees up under and tried standing but the pain was like a thorn demon incubating in her womb. A scissor pain that stole away her breath. She cupped her face in her hands and bit her fingers and managed to rise. In a shuffling limp she moved down to the ravine and with great difficulty squatted by the water and hooked out her holes sperm viscid and fisheye gray with a finger and after a while she lay down and cried.
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:40 AM
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I don't know if you notice but you're getting cleaner and more sharp with your prose. This scene is vivid and terrible and wonderful all in one breath.

It's a pleasure to read your work.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:51 PM
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Hey thanks for the kind words. I'll be away for a while. Ive discovered something I am good at writing violence but kinder bad at compassion

So the difficulty I'm presented with for the next three hundred pages is that the novel ceases to be a road novel very soon. TFA was a road novel and MT was up to this point and the great thing about that is is that you just get to keep moving on and you always have a new flow of characters but when youre stuck in one place or in a few places novels typically become more interiorly focused but since Dachni is one of the least reflective folks Ive ever written I'm going to have to figure out what to dooooooooooo

I never actually made it to Kazakhstan this trip out but next year next year...

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Old 10-19-2017, 10:08 AM
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Well howdy there ladies and gents long time no sees. Sorry about the extended absence I was worried that the writing quality wasn't up to snuff as well dreading that my progress was glacial. As it would happen setting my page dimensions to 9x11 meant that the 168 pages I had was really more like 324. Soooooooo. Fortunately my hiatus was time well spent working out this new more localized pacing that I mentioned in the above post. It still needs work and I will probably be hammering out the proper balance between action and the more domestic aspects of this section but in truth I'm really enjoying that part. I wouldn't say I'm proficient in it but I am having fun and that's always a good indicator.

Edit: Oh I also keep up this website here where updates to MT and other things can be found: https://tangetialmenagerie.wordpress.com/

I think going forward my plan is to post fifty to sixty pages over the length of some months (what would correspond to something like a chapter), an update a week , take a break for a month, and then resume updates. So without further ado heres to you (N and B)

Monstrous came the raping rain and the vampire powers low hanging by the hangle puked ragnarok and wretched the complexion of the heavens. Potency of the inverted isangelous rescripting the valse of thunder and tree fall and the raked weeds' gnashing and there is a whirlwind gathers birds and slakes its gullet with the white elflocked shrives.

Swaddled in this display of the charnelverse she is treading in a tear of skins cleaved slick and rotten to her like some hideous molted miscarriage. Where she goes there is no shelter not least in her sick black hibernaculum.

Walking through a waste of agrostis she is come upon open air. Swallowed into the grave. She cracks a brittle labyrinthine bone cradle and it is a foxhole she has fallen into and this waste where the plemena had effected a stand against aerial drones that had annihilated them from two miles off. She composed a pyre out of the defenders. Fetching them out the wall burst trenches and foxholes like some banausic bonepicker in a lag of rotary motions. Their equipment had been looted but under a pelvis she discovered an ampule containing an effervescent elding ghost blue. She stowed it by the pyre and reaped the winter weeds, the hibernate flowers, two hours worth, and piled them on the pyre until the denuding of the bones seemed reversed. Shrieks of lightning barred the horizon. She had neither gunstone nor magnesium out which to strike fire and so she emptied out the elding and tried to strike spark out a shinbone with a tooth but more fell then lead in limbs is despair and the instruments slipped from her worn fingers. In the distance the whirlwind loomed and she could see the silhouettes of a herd stampede up the prairie chaos within and what voice spoke out was the screams of horse. And now fall the stones of heaven. Leaven the margent of her bed and fly the unharming fire through her toes and spiral up her shanks and a corset be and trellis her in vagrant tresses spilt across her bosom and do a dance pon her shoulders and with ethereal finesse whisk away her tears and down scars channel warmth and care not even to abate the rains.

She went on through fields of combed weeds gnashed back and across muddy metamorphosis of country roads littered with the gale stripped branches of a pinetum.

At a creek she rested upon a stump and had not long when voices sounded from upstream. Child pitch and child tenor. She didnt turn. Not when they neared nor when they exclaimed her.

A troop that rushed up and clamored her a thousand questions. She slumped to the ground. Someone ran for help. Someone else took her hand.

Youre going to be ok, the someone said.

A man came. He gathered her in his arms and bore her across the waters and across a branchblown bridge and up a path into his town and to his house. A woman awaited him. The frantic shoeslap of the children followed after. He took her to a bedroom and laid her upon the mattress. A postered police badge stared down from the ceiling.

What happened to her?

The man turned to face the clog of children in the doorway. All of you out, he said.

We found her.


All but one left. A girl in a full length cream trench coat and matching panama hat.


Emily held out her arms, one hand clutching her cherry red tie. This is my room.

The man looked back to Dachni. What happened to you? Was there anyone else with you? Where are you from?

Dachni stared at the bossment of the shield. The bow of MPD a perch for an eagle whats wingspread formed the border.
All silver.

Whats wrong with her?

I think shes catatonic.

Dachni looked past him. The walls were wainscoted. Quartered at her level and a mirror. Police memorabilia was everywhere. Mementos. Trophies for marksmanship. Framed letters. Photographs of this junior detective posing with the officers of the town.

The woman was in the room now. God what is wrong with its eyes?

Shes catatonic, said Emily.

Did you call Holiday?

You didnt fix the phone yet.

Go next door.

Ill get Mr. Trarper, said Emily turning and dashing round the woman.

The doctor was unavailable but his apprentice was. Young man. He put a stethoscope to Dachni's breast and looked at his watch.

170/190, he said. 174 BPM.

Jesus Christ.

No the literature says thats normal.

So shes ok?

Are you kidding?

Between the visit of the doctor and the custodian of the law the woman fitted Dachni into jeans and a sunflower dress. No one saw her lack of ears. When Trarper came he knelt and pulled the dress down a little. He had a scratchpad on which he'd written relevant inquiries as he had a forgetful nature. Dachni heard the questions as if they were of another world. As if there were no words for the things of which she had been witness.

The apprentice poised earnestly with her own pen ready to record any utterances. Trarper looked over his shoulder at her.

Has she said anything at all?

She clicked her pen twice and twirled it between fingers. Nope. I asked everything you did and she hasnt said a word. I dont think she can speak. Can shine bloods speak?

Its bez dushi, said the woman.

Trarper removed his cap and flapped it twice and put it on again. Ive been told they could. Maybe. I dont know. I dont know if we can do anything with this. He snapped his fingers over her eyes. Shes completely out of it. If she cant talk then well never know.

Is there anyway we can help?

Yes actually, Trarper said rising to his feet. Keep her overnight. Otherwise I have to cell her. Maybe they arent so vagrant as a gypsie but theres no telling how long this might take to sort out. Fact is I doubt it can be sorted.

We cant keep her here, said the woman. Theyre dangerous.

Trarper braced a hand against a hip. Thats. Its hard to say. Ive seen them hired to good labor. Theyre not lunatics. Which makes everything Ive heard come out of the frontier even worse.

What did you hear?

Theyre fucking homicidal.


Bad word alert!

Trarper smiled uneasily. Sorry ma'am.

The woman turned worriedly to her man. I dont like it. Who knows whatll happen if it wakes up.

The man rubbed his beard.

Your choice Mikhail, said Trarper.

We can manage her, said Emily. Ill keep watch.

Mikhail looked at Trarper. You dont have any space downtown?

Packed. That brawl filled us up. I guess I could let Marshall and Mills out but then I dont think theyd learn their lesson. Its either that or put ten men in a closet or add her to the mix and I dont think anyone would like that except the ones who would.


Traper shoved a hand into a pocket and got out a pair of cuffs. If the answers yes I can lend you these.

Mikhail looked at the dangling cuffs shaking his head slightly. Then he clapped his hands halfheartedly. No. I think we can manage. Fifty pounds of coma is exactly that.

The woman stepped forward and took the cuffs.

Might be fifty pounds of murder.


Mikhail rubbed his wife's back. No. Its alright. Because even fifty pounds of murder is exactly that. Fifty pounds.

Trarper flipped his notebook shut and put it away. Ill ring Harter tonight. See if anyone else has seen her before or maybe at least if banditry has been reported but with that storm I doubt anything is working. Ill let you know tomorrow.

Do you think well find the people who did this? said Emily.

There might not actually be anyone who did this. She might just have been caught out in the storm.

As beat up as she is?

Trarper shrugged. It might be. In any case even if someone did beat her up I dont think we'd find them.

Why not?

Well theyre probably long gone. And even if we did find them. Well. Maybe she was a thief. Or maybe. Even if she wasnt its not exactly a crime. I mean yeah its a kid and its wrong but these things are outside the law. And killing her aint contrary to the law.

They left Dachni to rest but a few hours later when they returned to invite her to dine she hadnt so much as winked for in that solitary interim she had undergone an epiphany adjacent the concept of suicide. The man got her out of bed and conducted her out of the room with her puppet legs dragging senselessly under her.

Supper was pilece belo. An onion and cabbage salad and fries and rye bread. Her utensils were wrapped in a napkin and balanced on the rim of her plate. She stared at them and she could not see the friendly visages smiling for for the uplift of her spirit. Emily proclaimed the bestness of the meal but Dachni was staring at the knife.

Did you have a name?


Im just asking.

They dont have names.

Blunt knife shallow salamander toothed. The girl leaned into her view.

Im going to be a detective when I grow up. What did you want to be? I passed the academy exam last year and the detective exam last month. I got a certificate for both and a picture with the police chief. Ive got letters and formals to boot.

I think it wants to be left alone, said the woman.

Do you want to see my badge?

I dont-

But Emily had already sprung from her chair and was
running for her room.

Try to eat something, said Mikhail.

They dont speak, said the woman.

He placed a heavy hand on Dachni's shoulder and that
shoulder sagged until the hand slipped off.

Sorry. Вы русский?

Emily slid back into her chair. She had a picture. This is me and Chief Aires. The man of whom she spoke was a bald rotundity of belt loose law and slothful oculus. Sun shades pushed up on his forehead. The badge next. A junior detective badge advised a precursor to the soon enough real article to be acquired. A blind double headed eagle bossed into the shield, banner in its talons, Horus eyes socketed at extreme of its extended wingspan. And the letter. Good papyrus mayhaps affirming all the girl had told.

Emily she doesnt understand.

Mikhail forked fries into his jaws and chewed and took a drink of water to help them down. He looked at his wife.

Wash your hands, she said.


You touched it.

Dachni wiped her eyes with her wrists.

Oh I think shes crying. Dont be sad.

What otherwise to be? Her gaze drifted across chicken, off
plate, across a gossamer tablecloth of diagrammatic embroidery of galleons and mans of wars to an arm of sparse blond down, bony elbow toeing the shield. Nouvea iteration of chivalry in nickelplate, in adversum malum. Eternal adversary of natural evils. Emily requested the salt and when it was passed she craned the shaker over the stiff folds of cabbage in a liberal dosing and flagged her daint arm to restore the shaker to the side of pepper in a restoration of the yin yang of the seasonings. Dachni shoved the butter knife into her arm pit. Emily screamed. The mother. She snatched the letter and the badge and dropped to the floor and scrambled through the kicking legs and burst out in a flare of tablecloth and clatter of cutlery and charged the door. The frame bulged outward in a loud crunch. She threw the knife at Mikhail and threw herself again into the door and fell out into the street.

A colder rain slanted down now. A gravid coal blue overcast. Dachni sprinted upstreet, her unshod soles sliding viciously over the granular macadam where puddles twinned lamp lights spinning round their stringed axis. Mikhail burst out the doorway beseeching the storm for an apothecary, Emily limp in his arms. Windows heretofore blinded slitted to reveal tintype ghosts alarmed at a sprite fleet Ptolomean tearing bandylegged through the street. She hurdled a fence into a backyard and leapt back again and lunged at pug polycreased mug of a pitbull bulging the waterbloated picket and dug her thumbs beneath the fat wrinkled eyelids. The pitbull whimpered and twisted, its saggy jowls throwing strings of slobber but it had lodged itself in the gap and when Dachni let go it howled against the sudden abruption of sight. Someone slid open the glass patio door of the house and yelled for her to quit harassing his dog and she ran on. Farther back from whence she had fled voices were gathering alarmed and speculative, their flashlights parceling out the darkness in whiplash illumination.

She scrabbled clear of the meager urbanity and turned towards the creek. Entering the bracken her foot stubbed a root and she tumbled down to a path paralleling the chopping waters. A recreational path favored by hikers and the domesticated and that in an hour's painful travail let out next a lake where docks undulated upon a chopping tide. A thin board where some landlocked bohemian surfed the disturbances. Who waved. She turned to receive the charge of what wheeling pursuants bore down but there were none and when she swung round again the surfer was gone.

She went on and there was violence yet more in the inclemency of the storm. She took a second path winding through a thready anorexia of birches to a road where beyond and alone in the blanket whiting of the heaven strife a cathedral granite and goth loomed like an apostolic horror house. Dachni sallied across the road and lambasted upon its asylum gates blows you would not have heard, that she did not hear herself. She jumped to grab the stolid pig iron bob of the doorknocker and hauled in vain against the portal. After several essays she gave it up and circled round the cathedral past the ribbed flank buttresses with their elongate gargoyles spewing gutter water and past a garth wall with painted tapestries of medieval battle, the placid combat wherein squires seemed fond of their braining. And past a cemetery where stacks of tombstones like playing cards awaited dealing. In the musty confines of the groundskeeper's shed she might have sheltered but didnt. Among garden tools was a barrel therein an axe and armed with thus returned to the gate and split the oak along its banded grain. Were that it was some enemy. The lodging of the axe was of a high tenored prate of splintering not unlike the thunder. In ten minutes of mechanical assault she mutilated the wood and now she hacked sparks out of the furniture mindless enough that she failed to perceive through the rents a gliding occlusion. The gate creaked away of its mangled double and the axfall shoved it back and then it shot open. Its corner struck the prominence of her ankle and that ankle folded and she went down.

Last edited by bluewpc; 10-19-2017 at 10:12 AM..
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Old 10-21-2017, 03:42 PM
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Wow. Wow.Wow. I think I'm dying. Jesus. Harold. Christ.

Some of the most powerful sentences I've ever read. the scene a few pages back with Temple is simply masterful. Quick, eloquent, and somehow your odd style adds an air of mystique you can't find anywhere else.

The last paragraph of your first post in this thread is simply genius. Absolute Genius. Gave me literal chills.

The world is so expansive, almost reminiscent on Stephen King's Dark Tower saga. But i noticed some inconsistencies/plot holes?

-I seriously doubt Hemingway will be remembered six hundred years from now. Great writer, but not that great I think.

-I also seriously doubt that any country even remotely similar in name to america will exist 600 years from now (but this one is iffy, take this one with lots of salt and some chili)

-Who would use a Mosin Nagant, and how would they still work? if This is truly in 2600, then no new Nagants would have been made for almost 700 years. But maybe they started making bolt action rifles again? Even though such technology would be almost barbaric in that time period?

You gave the date in Charles' video, and I was amazed. 26XX? really?

You paint vivid scenes. Even the archaic language blends into a tirade of pictures, words, sounds. It's simply amazing.

that said, some of the scenes need work. I frequently found myself skipping things, even though I shouldn't. You haven't formatted it well, so dialogue is the only thing that breaks things up. Those huge walls of text need broken up. It's intimidating.

I believe the issue with not getting published may have been the lack of apostrophes? Were I a publisher, I wouldn't bat my eyelids at someone who couldn't understand basic grammar.
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Old 10-21-2017, 04:54 PM
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Not that you don't understand basic grammar, just saying that a polished version would look better to a publisher.
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Old 10-21-2017, 05:04 PM
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Hey Lockette its very kind of you to say and thank you for the compliment. And its no worries. I know I have a minimalist approach to grammar. I dislike commas and I dont want apostrophes except to show possession. I guess I dont see the necessity of signaling a contraction. I mean we all know what it is so why clutter the page? At this point I guess its just my style and if I can allow myself a brief indulgence in vanity I might point out old ee cummings and say well sometimes these things just get accepted.

I think i can answer some of your questions and for the first of them Ill go for the nagant.

Ive owned an 1891/30 for about 11 years now and I have done numerous horrible things to this rifle. So much so that for a lengthy period I was looking through my blinds to see if the FBI were pulling up. Even now at the sound of sirens I still catch a case of the old horrilpilate. This thing will never die and it is truly the most unbiodesposable weapon ever invented. Now if it was stored properly I imagine it would last several millennia.

I visited the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi this last June or July and I was walking through the exhibits (they have a very fascinating Soviet Occupation Exhibit replete with a train car used to transport political prisoners) and they had a number of weapons ranging back to the paleolithic era to the 60s and all the weapons curated were in rather decent condition. There was one scimitar of the 15th century which even still had a little of a sheen to it. And I give this long winded story in a roundabout way of saying no we dont know where Dachni's rifle came from but we do know that there are more than a few means of preserving weapons for centuries and even millennia.

As for Hemingway this is an interesting philosophical question. I dont think that the knowledge that exists now will ever be forgotten barring destruction of the planet at the tectonic level. And the reason of this isnt just the nuclear proof bunkers in which most countries preserve their most revered and sacred cultural artifacts but also everything's redundant proliferation. How many people have Scorpio on a hard drive? How many people have say Hotline Miami or Crime and Punishment? Besides from physical copies theres an infinite well of production for each product that can be digitalized. So I dont think that even in the conditions that are depicted in MT history will be forgotten. I mean if history really was to be forgotten then the time would have been say the fall of the Roman empire and even that didnt really damage our overall knowledge of history. It left some gaps sure but even then there was such a wealth.

As for the formatting, not trying to cop out but that is something of a sacrifice made for posting it online and specifically on writersbeat. Theres no way to shorten the margins and so the eye keeps getting lost on the long lines for that I apologize. I do keep a blog and I use red font to bring it out against a black background to try and provide some eye relief but thats about the extent of it.

For the rest of your questions Id not answer them because those are answered in the previous novel Things Fall Apart. That took ten years to write and MT will take that long so formatting should be done at some point in this decade. This is mostly believe it or not first draft. Ill probably remove the date from the video. in TFA I embedded the date in the stars so if you had an almanac that went that far ahead you could figure out the exact date.

Edit and in a case of shameless self promotion you can find TFA here: https://www.amazon.com/Things-Fall-A...l+apart+vargas

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Old 10-21-2017, 11:49 PM
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Welcome back Eric. Good to see you posting. I was thinking maybe you got killed on the steppe somewhere. Would have been a shame. Poetic, but a shame nonetheless.😀

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Old 10-22-2017, 01:21 PM
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Ha yeah ye aint that lucky and I reckon neither am I

I never did make it to Kazakhstan. Far as I got was Armenia. Wonderful place, very modern. I really was surprised I never thought of that country as civilized but learn something new everyday. Ill be leaving out this next time in about six or seven months and then I will be going direct to Kazakhstan.
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Old 10-25-2017, 06:43 PM
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So as I write this Im beginning to realize that the scope of the novel is going to necessitate a tome probably twice the length of the first novel (and that at a dropped down font). Theres practical production related limitations to this but I would be interested in how many people enjoy reading lengthier novels. I actually have ideas for a host of shorter books in the 200 page range. After MT or maybe in the middle of it Id like to take up work on the story of a young Vietnamese heiress to a poorly performing Chinese food restaurant. It would open with the grand opening of a Hibachi restaurant across the street wherein our intrepid heroine is insulting the owners. Wearing her grandfather's NVA badge on her hip she tells them to go banzai a fatboy. This would be a much more comedic work.

Towering over her was the pilot. Lithe apostate of the mephistophelian conclusion. Who in her stopaed vastity seemed collared by all the tragic martyrs of the archivolt like a choir of the ecclesiastical attic. Dachni reared howling and swung the ax one handed. The pilot knelt catching the haft twixt two talons and scrabbled her from the polished crepidoma and spirited her from the rain through a portico, past its font and sterin candles impaled through the waist on prickets like sweating grubs and down a long pewless nave with solomnic pillars relieving the scourgers of pale immanuel and where acrylic renderings of the bellwether watched with the twelve and the traitor from their ikons on the walls and past an altar where hung an enormous slutlamp, a dark hellish lyric of a flame twisting in the bier like a spirit, tandem to a cross hung from a hoop at its base and through a door on the altar's dexter flank into a hall and from thence a toilet.

The pilot threw a switch and a warm morgue orange glow suffused the washroom. A tiled floor graded towards the drain in its center and a showerhead overhung it. The pilot flipped a shortlegged wash stool upright and set Dachni upon it and no more had she done so then did the child lance her with with blade of a straight razor. It slipped straight up the pilot's face and stuck fast into one of her tendrils. The pilot leaned back and angled her head and the child looking at her with her face all covered blood seemed to recognize her and no more had she done than she kicked her in the shins. An ugly pain bellowed up her thigh as though it were being stobbed by a piton and what she saw when her eyes could finally drift down seemed not her foot but a mauve club.

The pilot tore a strip off her limbus and tied her foot in place. Wait her, she said running out and from the hall admonished her. Dont move!

Dachni fell onto her back in a paralytic shock and after a moment she rolled onto her belly and crawled towards the door on her elbows, her hands shaking, her wounded foot raised with the strip drooping sadly like the flag of some vanquished nation. There was a distant crash, two crashes and then a scratching on stones. The pilot appeared footfirst, foot cocked outward to grip the narrow mortar joints of the wall and lunged to seize the hingeside frame of the door and swiveled inside like a toy at once smooth and swift. She carried a hardcase and she slid it past the child who pushed herself up on her maciated arms in time for the pilot to peel her from the floor.

Geyshla, she said. Geyshla.

But Dachni would entertain no peace. She squirmed and bit and and swung and Anaya collected her wrists in a smooth intercept whereupon she sank her teeth into her forearm and tore her head side to side. The pilot watched her tugging weaken and then there was a moment when their eyes met that she might have forfeited-for many would forgive if first allowed to revenge-but something in the unhurt melancholia enraged her the more and she tore and tore until cold ebony sickles traced her throat caressingly and a sweet voice spoke to her.

Its ok.

In half the span of half the wince of her heart she let go, struggling against an embrace and gagging protests through a blackblood drool. She was told everything would be alright but the speaker of that platitude failed to believe and the pilot herself asked why she had said it and she knew not why only a second for her soothful pawing of the child's face strayed over the vacant seat of the pinna, recognizing immediately her droitrual obligation to revenge, that there was no path so secure as what even a king could not be wrenched from and that the presence or absence of even the least most thing had power yet to post men to destines far of their choosing and that to decline was tantamount to attainder, the fate being in the nature. What more to say of her story here? This being the great stall of her progress.

The pilot lifted her into her lap and against her fending bunched her hair and turned her head towards the light. To see a slight infection on the left, a pus dripping mount on the right. Anaya stretched across the room and lifted a towel from the wall hanger and dried her. Then she clawed near the hardcase and unlatched it and threw it open. Among the full surgical ward of aienee implements she lifted out a bottle of mescal and put it in her hands.

Filth was caught in the glass. A chicory twig twisted up from the malformed vortex of the throat wherefrom wafted a perfume suggestive of portents and illusions.

Tis a dampener of hurt. Nature in its unbridled explorations did indeed plumb depths of sensation not to be visited. These creations endowed and separate knows too well, too well. The pilot brushed her hair. I dont have an anesthesiologist on call. Drink or do this sober.

Dachni would have endured more hurt more to hate but she was never able to hurt so much as she would have liked to hate. She drank. It was the first her stomach had roomed in almost a week and a dizzy vertigo befell her instantly. It brewed a landlash in her gut full of hail and vapor lightning in her lungs. While she caught her breath the pilot laid out the instruments necessary of the present operation. A rune bossed bottle, an electric scalpel, antiseptic wipes and swabs. She lifted her hair and Dachni fended mewling.

I know. I know.

The pilot disinfected the wound with the wipes and Dachni squirmed and punched but the pilot dislocated her own pelvis, such things aienee can do, so that the child was sitting on the shank of her thigh and she crossed her other leg over her so that she was steadied in a vice. A hairthin cold settled against the sidemont of her skull and a whining sting raced across it. Thick pus ribboned out the incision's wake. Atrocious noxias. She howled and the howls echoed like a howl from the depths. The pilot stuck the scalpel in her fangs and rimmed the hole with two foreknuckles in an equal application of pressure that blurted out a yellowcake slime. Dachni clasped to her torso then and bawled. The pilot turned her head to let the pus drain and wiped it up where it had streamed down her neck and kept milking the wound until it oozed a watery dilution tinctured with blood. Then she curetted the wound, debriding the brimstone incrust, the rimpled malpais of scab and the contaminants of loam and leaf debris favorable to virus, arable to disease. When she down there showed a bitter aperture channeling viler news to her brains. She tripped out the cyst then and delivered it with forceps. Then she took up the bottle. It had a proboscis she dipped into the pus. It hummed a moment and a purple light flicked on and she sprayed a cloud of nanomachines into her ear canal that it would target the bacteria identified. The second ear received the same treatment and when she was done she muffed the wounds in sterile gauze. All the while Dachni quaked against her. Her tremulant breathing coming raggedly in starts while the cyst of this puslette oozed in its own swaddle like an abortion in amniotic filth.

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Old 10-31-2017, 02:07 PM
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@flea glad you like it

Twenty minutes later set to a table glaring at the livid movements of Anaya. Her leg throbbing. Hands so palsied as to suggest the advanced stages of neuropathy. Between them was a pauper feast. Country steak with a hairless toupee of congealed gravy. Rice glutinized into a lump and apple slices brown in the flesh. She wore now a green sweater that was as a dress on her and under it a gray jute onesie.

On the floor was the shattered glass of a glass of water and the glass before her now was a second glass of whiskey. The first swam in her and the distortions in her vision seemed shaped by its swirls. All her vengeful had sobbing had burned down to a smoldering coal of numbness. She looked at everything save these her gifts. There were striations in the table's laminate. A fluvial imitation. Anabranches of pseudobark that had they not been fabricated would have blossomed towards the sky, into ears. Trees in winter great mirrors. Like halves of these candelabras on the table set, the flames on the wicks white, their light lapping at a nativity on the wall. Aienee now in attendance, bringing their own bitter wisdom, their druidess gifts.

The pilot leaned back against the counter.

Youll not kill me starved.

A fire burned in a woodstove. Smokeless pit wherein a dance might be descried. A joyous waltz all damned invited.
Dachni picked up a fork and dragged its tines to the edge of the plate and let it fall again. The crystal ringing filled the silence.
Anaya grabbed a chair and sulked to her, pulling the chair up alongside her and sat. Her arm slid down her side and pulled her close. That preamptu jointure tensed her high hackled like a cat and she squealed and squirmed away. As if at risk of being subsumed like the weaker of two siamese cannibals. Anaya chopped a chunk of the steak and forked it up.

You have to eat.

Dachni stared at the table. The food pushed against the gate of her lips but they wouldnt open. The pilot took her jaw and lowered it and thrust the meat through and raked the tines against her teethbacks to dislodge it. Dachni's mouth lowered more and the meat capsized over her lips. The pilot caught it and put it back in and covered her mouth.
Come on.

The chunk sat cold on her tongue. After a while it warmed. The gravy slowly liquefying and spreading towards her gums. The hand fell away and she drooled and Anaya downcast whispered: You can still hate me in the morning.

Dachni's head sank to her breast and the meat slopped out and then she fell forward. Would have into her plate but the pilot caught her.

Ashkigo lixao, grytafal beshkata nohkon iskaii iskigo, said the pilot propping her back up. Thrones and principalities what misfortune hath wrought thee out of my remembering? Eat. You have to eat.

Dachni stared blankly at her inanimate half. Her mouth opened and food was put in and her jaws worked for her and she swallowed. Two cold lips touched lightly her temples. She ate and it was a long silent hour.

When her plate was clean the pilot cleared the table, sinking the dishes and running the faucet, the water fanning over saucer and plate. She bagged the untouched apple slices and put them in the fridge.

A fork jutted from Dachni's fist. Her head kept drooping and when she raised it again the pilot would be in a new place and once she raised it to find her fist empty and another time to find she was bedded, her foot propped on a pillow and Anaya stroking her forehead.

Maybe she said something. Words delivered from far away. She tried sitting up but there was not even the strength in her to want to try.

Riakis vae vae sagli ophos. Ciasii.

She did. And woke in the unwinking darkness. A heavy weight draped over her. Mint breath cooling a wetness on her cheeks. Something over her heart. The weight lifted of her. Water was poured. Ice clinking in a glass.

Sit up.

She didnt move.

Anaya sat her up and put the glass in her hand.

Go on.

She sat. The rim found her lips and tilted up and the water filled her mouth. The water was cold.

Stop this.

The pilot squeezed her throat and she drank a little and coughed up the rest. Her head began to ache and she grimaced against the pain.

Did you forget how to drink water?

The occlusion of the dark took the glass from her and refilled it and put it back in her hands and she drank again and her head hurt again.

It is not in the hours of right commerce when the heart is wont to confess regrets and trespasses. The quotidian obsession with abolishing night has bereaved us of our communion with the blind which is our right and half are natural habitat. For blindness is the common condition best perceived through lack of light hence it may well be that the felon in his midnight escapades and incarcerations is priven secrets denied the righteous.

Anaya turned on the light. Dachni's face was run all down with tears and Anaya turned the light off again and tucked her back into bed and went out.

Cold wombed her in the sleep that followed. A rudimentary awareness tenuously limned as perhaps squid possess in the egg clutch. A brief gestalt presence before the horror disseminates into the abyss. In this unvectored matrix a feeling of compression as the downwash of a bird. A voice spoke. Hardly more than a murmur or from far away. All at once that porous cognizance contracted into a locus of aesthesia extreme. A singularity of sensation that fragmented into a thousand clarities of pain and yet no architecture wherein they could manifest. As though each agony were noumenal. The voice came louder. Coordinates in this plane of chaos decayed of their erratic wanderings into an aggregate, mud as became as rock and rock as became as bone of a pedocidal curse unto the revolt of meatless phalanges out a yolk of mud and followed ulnar, followed scapulae like a knife, clavicle swinging hingeless, grangrel ribs grimacing, a hollow skull rearing sidelong in a wordless howl and fixed to a writhen spine, all dissected incomplete, the stones still with terrible velocity spalding the dread skeleton even as it was made. It stood in a sooty globular pour of rain slanted in a windless valley and the sludge at its feet sleeched up the bladed shins and became as muscle and sinew and the horror clawed at this terrible bemeating but it was tide like all tides and now eyes bubbled in the sockets and she gouged them, the opal jelly tearing down her maxilla, enameling her teeth, assuming into the creep of her fleshing-for the pilot would say that sure as thou art to die thou art to be born-and mud seeped between her joints and became as cartilage and her eyes blossomed again and the muscle slithered out of her ribs and fused into a tongue and she strangled the chords of her voice that let her cry and that ground that had vomited her surged through her and she unthreaded these veins so that they hung by the bolt flaccid in her halfmade hands like the spew of a loom.

Out of this revelation into incontinence. A puerile river spreading over her thighs. No urethral stricture but that bridge between will and lower function was severed nor could her pain be mitigated. A heady admixture of excretions reeked the room. Her pillow sweat drenched. She threw off the blankets and eased her good foot to the floor. When she touched down the other the pain would have wept a leper. It was a long time before she recovered. When the pain had subsided she undid the bandaging. Her foot was unlike a foot and the lateral malleus resembled the ball of a shillelagh. She had long been reconciled to the absolute indifference of bodies but it was this unrelenting mutility she could not purpose. For allowing injury inevitable or even necessary yet not these loathsome dungeons with their unlimited capacity for misery and affliction.

On the nightstand was a copper lidded mug. In its bottom was a festive light and when she thumbed up its lid its switched on and shaded the vinyak a neon blue. She gulped it in two goes and the heat diffused through her being. Numbing the pain. When she searched the room she found a cherry staff leaned against the door. Polished and with a cleat installed to its base. She rewrapped her foot and hopped to the crutch and fitted it under arm and went out.

In dim corridors now shouldering against the cops of crusaders enroute to Constantinople. Knights and pages wending through the dusk winey vistas of Venice. Now past the sturdy boats of sagdge yaphilii readying to drag an armada of waterspouts whirling on seas sloshing upon the pestilential seat in the void out which the aienee did spring.

In the nave there were voices. Echoes that in their accented traceworks diagrammed the architecture of the throat. She hobbled past the altar to a column in view of the gate and peeking out beheld the pilot conversing eye to eye with a stranger giant on horseback. The threshold divided them and though their statures were at ease when the pilot offered the hospitality of her house the stranger must politely refuse. Dachni crawled to the next column. A more expansive invitation resounded through the cloister. The pilot's arms were thrown wide. The stranger was young, she could see that now, and his shoulders broad as a lintel. No one she recognized. He held up the wide spread of his hands but the pilot in Belfast brogue offered a third time and before he could decline took charge the bight and lead the horse inside and confronted with this insistence he consented and the pilot affably yet rimmed with the sadist's hue said: Ah lad yahve made the beggest mahstake of yarn jung life.
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Old 10-31-2017, 05:12 PM
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Second update for the day. When I first started writing I had a bit of an interest in world building (see here) but I found that paying too much attention to them detracts from the narrative. If people wanted to read a technical manual theyd do that, fiction is for stories not ogling tech specs. But there is an undeniable appeal to that and so I decided to develop the armies of the various belligerents in the war in MT. This wont make it into the book but I would like to include a pamphlet or an independent addendum with the information here included. Ill be updating this concurrently with the main narrative.

Russian Federation

Armored Suits

G-92 Infantry Combat Suit 'скандалист'

Eighth generation combat suit. Equipped with a reflective coating and quarter inch armor graded to withinstand rounds up to 7x43mm at 300m. Customizable camoflauge must be set at facility prior to operations by approved mechanic. Full NBC capability. Internal radio.

Designer- Alexsander Dobrovolsky
Height- Can accommodate individuals between 5'5"-6'3"
Weight (stripped)- 173lbs
Weight (Standard Loadout) 421lbs
Unit Cost- 98.000 RU
Battery Life- 192 hours
Service Life- 61320 hours


G-92A Heavy weapons variant Incorporates wrist mounted
G-92BK Command Variant Includes additional communications equipmend. Includes HUD.
G-92V Recon Variant with additional masking materials, thermal reduction, and reduced radar crossection. Includes the HY8 'Ноги' battery pack.
G-92F EC Variant. Includes ECM/ECCM suite
G-92-2 Upgraded version incorporating better kinetic resistance and internal cooling.

G-107 Infantry Combat Suit 'валун'

Ninth generation infantry combat suit. Incorporates an orthogonal plate design to reduce RCS. Battery pack now encased in a hardened strip running down the posterior of the suit interchangeable in the field with an internal backup that can provide up to two hours of usage. Full NBC capability.

Designer- Yakov Gagolev
Height- Can accommodate individuals between 5'7"-6'3"
Weight (Stripped)- 215lbs
Weight (Standard Loadout)- 523lbs
Unity Cost- 128.000 RU
Battery Life- 194 hours
Service Life- 60280 hours


G-107v2 Incorporates a a raised neck guard.
G-107AJ Backmounts the коротышка (60mm mortar) with autofeeder and internal munitions storage.
G-107OB Decontamination variant 'дезинфицирующий'
G-107K Command variant

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Old 11-04-2017, 01:02 PM
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Soo, do you recall ever hearing about the Fallout video games? I think the armor listed above may be based partly on that, but I can't be totally sure.

Just google "Fallout power armor" if you aren't familiar. quite similar to what I imagined.
I am Siegmeyer of Catarina, and you shall feel my wrarh!
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Old 11-04-2017, 05:41 PM
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Haha ah that saddens me cause I hated the tin bucket retro futuristic aesthetics of Fallout same as I cant stand steampunk but alas Im a philistine.

I remember watching the paladin guy from 4 hulking around in his giant casement of armor and I kept thinking how impractical that is. I mean if you look at armor designs of today they favor compactness and angles and the reason they do is because a smaller target is harder to hit and sloped armor provides both thicker armor and a chance to deflect. That was one of the things that made the T-34 so revolutionary. A large target is an easy target. In every way its disadvantageous. One time in Minnesota on the shore of a lake I listened to a conversation almost a mile off the night was that quiet. These lumbering things you see in most films are totally impractical. For one taking cover is almost an impossibility and the idea that articulate armor can soak up damage is a myth propagated by video games. Secondly it removes all element of surprise, all ability to conceal oneself which is of the utmost importance in war. Nowadays he who sees first typically acquires the kill because most weapons these days are of such lethality that the kill chain Find-Fix-Track-Target-Engage-Assess is near instantaneous. Hence I believe any combat suit would be designed to conform as much as possible to the human profile.

In MT and Im sure whatever future lies ahead there will be weapons purposed towards targeting armor and weapons that will just by virtue of potency be able to take down a suit. The whole point is to prolong the lifespan in battle not to create an invincible solider. Most science fiction readers point to Heinlein for the first powered armor but in truth armor goes so much farther back and everyone knows this. You have the full gothic plates, you have bone pauldrons and headresses and helmets of every description. So keeping the perpetual race between armor and armament in mind I cant conceive of a future where there wouldnt be an ICS. Even now theres dozens of working prototypes, exoskeletons mostly but still these are the first steps toward a fully encased infantry unit. I dont think these types of suits will be ubiquitous but certainly I wouldnt doubt their prevalence in a modernized army.

@edit and my niece is here so I must go socialize

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Old 11-05-2017, 07:27 PM
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An hour later they entrained upon the road east and thereon some miles advanced an aienee transport broke the cloud cover in a heavy rolling hum not unlike a brash symphony of whales. It had hard angles, a prow for ramming. Its landed in a nearby potato field and the spires installed in its keel retracted into the belly of the ship and the downwash shunted up a bowl of dust and snow all around it. The bay doors folded inward and a ramp extended to allow the egress of a detachment of those stranded extraterrestrials yet of their of their own terraneous obloids spinning senselessly in the void. Uniformed each as befit their class, the shosti in loose sleeved tunics, the hem strings tied through the belt loops of fur trousers, the shalki the same with the additions of familial heraldry. They were all unshod. The bony talons clutching up like dead spiders before spreading forward to grip the soil.

They went on. Even before midday their ranks were augmented by blood cultists. Who kept with them a fodder of swine for the carnivorous ponies they were aback. In their stinking rags and headgear of cattle or goat skulls and rags of dried human skin and wearing spiked harnesses of iron on which were strung the scalps of their enemies and profaned relics of the church they appeared eaters of the dead as they were and the grim carreta their acolytes drew had in a casket the gorged misshape of a high priest of Hectavasad. His rotting bulk regularly stuffed with new organs and his exterior strapped with new skins.

And still their numbers swelled. Men persuadable by money-for that was how they had been diverted-and the furor behind their eyes belied the hostility of the mood. Roosters crowed late morning.

The road was as a ruler tabbed by mileage signs that counted down to Uralsk. Agriculture abounded, Schrieffer or Calico brands of winter wheat the indigenous tended to. Nomads domesticated with rainbow paper. As the company passed they ceased their work to watch and many removed their ushankas or boriks as they would in respect of a procession or funeral.

Or they rode country where chernobyl prevailed. Country set aside for graze. They watered at lakes. No need to stave ice for the lakes steamed. Tourists from the grad vacated the surf and the young girls were put away in tents on the beach or the log cabins that overlooked the beach with its bikinied pilgrims. They requisitioned what meat was cooking upon the grills and whatever coin was dolled out for it was acceptable.

Two days from Uralsk they left the road and behind them on a sign the flapping skin of the stranger boy and his musculature to pupate in the chrysalis of his gutted mount.

Concerts of wind did orchestrate the Batys, a quiet harmony of flora and leather and metal, that most minimalist obbligato of an army's journey. Men have meet the earth the foot and there is something of their solemn tattoo that stirs the heart.
The town of Basali would not spare them lodging and when they camped without outriders were posted to see that they did not stray into their jurisdiction. That night they were joined by a number of aboriginals and as they arrived the aienee closed ranks around the child where she sat folded facedown at the waist in a hassock. Beyond the fire's edge the horses glutted on the living swine and their screams silenced the night about.

Last of all and early in the morning Blake Muldoon arrived with his addled mercenaries and while they ate their breakfasts under the eggmoon Dan Bowen, middleaged partisan who had served five years in the army at his father's behest, cut about his equanimous comrades where they drank their coffee.

What makes them do it? he said. I dont wanna do it. What is it? No one wants it. Do you want it?

Jeffrey Mason scraped the ash out the floor of his cob pipe and shook his head.

I dont either. I dont think anyone even thinks they want it. But we cant stop. Why cant we stop? Theres something in us. I dont know what it is. Im not resigned to it. You show me a petition Ill sign it. Ill get others to sign it. Ill lobby it. Ill talk Ill go on TV. Ill pen an essay something. I aint resigned to it. No one is. Everyones workin their asses off to keep it from happenin and its still rolling on. Like were all pushing it as hard as we can. What is it? What is it that makes us do it? Do we really want it under the knowing we dont want it and under the thinking we do want it do we really want it? I cant imagine anyone wanting this. How insane would you have to be to want this? Theres something wrong. Or theres something in the air. I think the world is poisoned. Theres got to be something wrong. Something in the water maybe. Maybe makes people crazy. They dont look crazy. They dont act crazy its the thing its the thing thats crazy. Everything that leads up to it is sane and rational and theres no craziness to it but the thing itself is crazy. I dont know what to do. I dont know how to stop it. I dont think it can be stopped. Im not going to leave. I know that. And I know no one else will either. Everyones gonna show up not wanting to be there and gonna go through with to the bitter end things they with all their hearts dont wanna do. And then when its done theyre gonna do it all over again and then the ones who have done it and say it should never be done again are gonna be the ones who run it just like the ones who came before them. And everyones gonna say we shouldnt do it its the last thing we should do and theyre gonna march right up to the door and knock knowing the doors gonna get answered. Why do it? I dont understand why we do it.

When they rode out at late morning the pilot was at the head of that long column and behind her was the child riding limp in the saddle like a marionette. The mosin-nagant scabbered along the flank of her bay. The few rounds she possessed jangled in a leather bandoleer. Surrounding her were a parcel of aienee who rode in the same reprobatic silence as their dagestai whose unwavering gaze fixed to some distant point of compass like a doomed general and she did not stir but to warn off the aboriginals who would from time to time try to corral the child out of their ranks. The sun that monitored their ride was like a hollow sphere of ice that yet in the evening seemed to boil off the horizon.

On the third night there was a blizzard and the balefires roared and twistered like drunken jinn. Muldoon set out with his lieutenants towards blooms in the west and radioed shortly after midnight that a Governor Quint had found his terms for room and board agreeable and that the company could be received immediately.

They broke camp and rode the five miles into town. The horses snuffling, their legs lifting hugely out of the snow. At the edge of town a few servants greeted them and attempted to direct them to a stables but the pilot would have them to the governor's hall where they then did go.

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Old 11-12-2017, 06:41 AM
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The governor was in. You could see him backlit and framed in a dining hall window like a priest holding a vigil. When he saw their approach he raised a hand and walked out of the frame and a minute later the porch light turned on and the front door opened and he stepped out. He was slightly drunk. The pilot rode up the porch steps and circled him twice and then demanded under threat of a razing the brigand Aedan O'Cuinn and all his associates.

The governor retreated before the horse. Well what the hell duh ya want with him?

Thats my business.

You dont have to tell. I can tell that.

Then why did you ask?

I cant turn him over unless I have some proof of nefarriety.

The pilot leaned towards him. Either you bring him to me or Ill go find him.

The governor rubbed his arms. He looked out at the company where they sat their horses. He couldnt see them in their entirety so enshadowed they were but visible shapes seemed harbor to a malignancy restrained by threads.

Hal lord, he muttered. Hah lord.

In the end runners were sent house to house and the offenders summoned but when the pilot saw that only the heads of the houses were arriving she ordered that all the occupants aught be turned out.

Nahd nahd thats naht what ya wanta do or youda done us all in from the beginning.

She drew a dragoon revolver and placed the muzzle to his brow.

Aye plug an old codge whos plumbing dont flow on command and holds the affections of half the county. Take the men responsible. Aye mundify the soiled souls an you might even get a thanks outta some for a favor. You take more than whats right an theyll hate ya proper even if you are inda right. Dont hurt no clean souls laddie.

The pilot cocked the pistol. Trot them out.

The governor was resting his forehead against the barrel and he turned to a runner. Go fetch the wives. Get the ables. But thats it.

The runner glanced to see if the pilot might amend these instructions but she didnt and he took off.

Over the next twenty minutes older men appeared. Women with wedding bands. They were made to give their names and then to stand against a wall and they huddled and shivered and the governor went down the line explaining the situation. He stopped at an elderly man.

Look at this old twig, he said. What would he be guilty of?

The pilot spat. She didnt answer.

He patted the old man on the back. Go on home, youre fine.

Muldoon called out to him. You might want to get the fuck on yourself.

The governor smiled nervously and moved down the line. He explained how an old suffered disease of the liver.

Were a good breed but with the susceptibility to enjoying a good drink maybe a little too much.

He took her out of the line as if this were sufficient and walked her to the road and with a slow exaggerated heft of his arms imparted her a momentum that could plod her home. The next a young woman and he removed the ring from her finger and threw it in the snow.

They got two married weeks ago an set ta divorce this Friday. The best man twisted his ankle and couldnt show, the father of the groom passed out in the aisle and the father of the bride had to be removed for for disorder in the heavenly court and half the congregation objected but shes a little deaf and was madly drunk too.

He pulled her out and went on to a younger son, as he called him, whom he had employed to mow his six summers. He shoved him him and his younger brother out of the line and almost yelled for them to run.

By the time he started back up the line the runners reported their job complete and there were thirty souls against the wall and Dachni was brought up. Still slumped in the saddle. A man was holding a light to each face and asking for her her consideration.

Say who, said the pilot.

Dachni wouldnt raise her head. The pilot lifted it by the hair but she didnt say anything and when she let go her head drooped back down again. She turned to Muldoon.

All of them then.

The governor stepped forth.

The bald one comes again, guffawed a man.

Hold on hold on, said Quint. She didnt say anybody. You there miss you have to say the names who.

I have the names.

Well then take them.


Can they not get last words? An them first words?

They can scream.

He turned to address the line. Who here hasnt writ out a will yet? He swung back. Give them a minute to tell a will. It dont need to be in no legalese. They dont even have to write it down just say it. Ill remember. Recall is a gift of mine.

Jesus Christ, said a mercenary rolling his sleeves.

How about a last rite? For some itll be a first rite.

How about you get the fuck out of the way, said another.

He turned to the runner. Quick McCabe run get the priest.

Were not waiting for a priest, said the pilot.

Run get him anyways, they might not be done by the time he gets here.

And the priest would arrive in the midst of the carnage and the governor beset him to give rites unto the dying orgy of gore where amongst the company sloughed with their instruments. The torsos limbless or gutted or flayed, skinless forms flopping in the snow like wounded seals, the muscles starkly red and smoking and the blood splattered butchers industrious in their live dressing of the condemned as those employed in slaughterhouses who graduate right quick from indifferent mien to barbarism. Houses on the street were being actively barricaded. Horses were feeding on the living and two set upon the same woman and they tugged her from either end until she ripped two in a deluge of blood.

The governor left the priest in his stunned paralysis and circled round the livid rim of this massacre to the pilot where she stood supervising.

I hope youre proud, he said.

Tired, said the pilot not looking at him. Those beds are ready aye?

Midday next the company imbursed divided into its constituent parts, the aboriginals hazed off like wolves and the cultists pulling their gutcart chanting their crackbrained homilies. The pilot called a transport and saw Blake Muldoon out while she waited for it to arrive.

At the edge of town he spat and observed dryly: Shes not worth it. The pilot didnt demur and they parted ways, him south to another contract, her to invert her journey to the cathedral. The transport arrived just as the bell in the governor's hall tolled three o'clock and her retinue boarded and flew off and then she and the child rode out of town. Riding past the burnt and smoking lurry of man and hoof and saddlegear all in carbonized emaciation still with a few green flames licking out of the leather and them shutting up the households with their passing, the hauteur pilot like an aristocratic avatar of dread, the child slouched so low it looked as though the breath of life had vacated her, and the doors did not open again until the two were distant of the town, out from under the coal black umbego into the sight of a frigid sun.

They stopped at a ford overgrown with cottonwoods the wind was in. Hotels for gabbing dotterel, their wing flashing out to allow the pick of beaks between the feathers. In the east night was drawing down and the horizon was a vibrancy of death pastels.

Such were the thorns of fever in the child's heart that the pilot had pitched half the camp before she even knew they had stopped. She studied the camp. It was blurry. The fur leanto and the quilts laid out under it and the pilot dredging cottonwood out of the river. She wiped her eyes with the heels of her palms and when she looked again the pilot was at her side and she was being lifted out of the saddle. Dachni fought her tooth to claw and the pilot bit her in the nape and she froze like a cat and she carried her to a quilt laid out before the fire and sat her there. She got her rucksack and untied two blankets from its sides and flapped them out over the fire until they were hot and then she draped them over the child's shoulders.

Dachni cowered under the good cashmere.

Its alright, said Anaya. Youre alright.

She sat down beside her and got a skillet from the ruck and slapped venison steaks in it and seasoned them and put the skillet in the fire. Gol'joq, she said. Thats what we call it. Theres a new cuisine arising out of the mixture of terrestrial fauna and our seasonings. Theres a chitinous thing lives on Garshii and it purifies its bladder with a secretion thats best kinned to butter. Youll like it. Its very popular.

But when it was done Dachni wouldnt touch it. The dark green plastic plate balanced on the snow. White commas snapped in arcs out of the fire and the sap whistled in the hollows. The last light exhaled out of the east and then they were in darkness.

The pilot smiled and pulled the quilt a little higher up on her shoulders. I meant to ask how you are but then I look at you.

Dachni drew up her legs and hugged them and stared into the fire.

I want to talk to you and I want you to talk to me. Were not strangers. You can trust Ill go my way but Id want to know your way too, to know if they are concomitant. Where wouldst thou go?

Dachni shook her head. She picked at the scab under the bandages and a yellow serum leaked out. Jess go.

It was barely a whisper. The pilot's ears quivered to catch it.

She began to cry.

Anaya enveloped the child in her arms. Listen. Come home with me. I wont bother you and you can come and go as you like. You can even pay if you want. I dont see why you I dont care for you. You have to believe at least that.

Tuddint. Not leaveabell.

You think every I say is a lie.


But those men are dead. That is not a lie.

Dachni looked out over the arms that held her at the shivering cottonwoods. Their fats roots shining blackly. She shaved the tears from her face and wiped them on her pants.

Come on. Lets go to sleep.

They lay under the leanto in their heated quilts and Dachni trying to stay awake slept and woke still in the darkness. The pilot was breathing evenly. She rose and put her purse by the fire and collected her rifle and went on.

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