Journeying, Talking

In the future, months go by in an hour. Here, the sun goes down in 9.
We are waiting for something, but we aren’t sure what.

In Greensboro, we are drinking coffee that tastes like fruit. A modernization of a thing Westerners like us used to shun. Now, we drink.Cheers to our progress. Cheers to ourselves.

In the middle of nowhere, we are sitting and thinking.
In the fading darkness, we are dreaming and hoping.
In the end, we will be leaving.

A star in a lantern is slowly fading, fading, fading.When the sun returns, it will have blown out.
When Spring sets in, it will be a black hole.
We will look into it and see gravity condense around us.
A single singularity we will be, going out into the world.

Single-minded and together.

There is this story I am telling.
There is this picture you are painting.
This is this song we are trying, trying, trying to keep singing.

Is this the end of the world?
When was it not?

Happy sunrise, 2013.
You are a shock to those who had hoped for escape.
To some, you are the best new thing.
To us, you are just the next thing.

One more day is one more year in this story we are walking through.
Will you walk with us?
The deer and the crows and the jays and the cardinals are.

The hawk is fallen, but returned to the world.
All is well.
Earthens are growing cold, old, stale, removed.
Distanced from the sky, distanced from the heart.
The spirit is haunting itself in this night.
Oh bem ikedo.

Tomorrow, we grow strong.Tomorrow, we go wrong.
Tomorrow, we come home.

Tomorrow, on and on.

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Puppet Game

Unaware. They broke into a tidy window. A tidy store-front. A facade that broke into sharpened knives. Blades they picked through. No weapons to be found and no time left.

A cloud in the sky spoke down to them and they stepped through the facade. The daybreak was coming. The break of the glass had come. The light hadn’t come on inside. The clock was not illuminated. There were not the things they had hoped to find.

There were three of them. They had always been compatriots. They had never been truly friends.

Until this moment.

As if the breaking of glass had broken something in each of them. In Flint, it broke the ability to keep on. Was this facade worth the while? Absolutely not. Time to see the truth, friends. In Gaff, it broke the ability to hold it together. What was the point? Whose strings were these the other two danced on? And for whose benefit? Someone once had told Gaff, it was to be for the good of everything.

That had been a lie – just like this mission. In Tell, it only broke the sword itself. Too long spent deciding one way or another. Now, someone else had chosen and Tell was being wielded like a deadly weapon. For these friends, it would not end well.

The sirens sounded. A blast of tear gas filled the air. Tell knew to expect this. Gaff suspected. Flint had no idea it was coming, planned, all worked out. And so, this is how it went down.

Flight. Awry of the mission handed down. Off of the path they had taken to get there. The three tried to skirt around the sides of the building: two one way and Tell the other. They fell into different lines of travel. The sky lost Tell as the sirens blared louder underground. Gaff and Flint found only stairs and tightly knit fences, keeping their prying fingers away.

Tell paused and looked back. Had they meant to stick together?

Doesn’t matter – they all think independent, in unison. Tell is down the way and around the corner and safe in their first hiding place. No one is coming looking. No real reason to hide – but for the pretense. The sky is coming to collect you, Tell. This is the truth and unavoidable. But, better not to be seen. Right?

In the net, Flint and Gaff are pressed together like real friends – one right up against the other, too close, uncomfortable, awkward. They’ve been here before, but that was in another lifetime and before they had been discovered, uncovered, revealed. Now, these friends were only kicking against one another. In the darkness of this terror, it is – to everyone’s surprise – Flint who calls out.

“We’re gonna make it,” but don’t use the name because it’ll give you away.

Flint knows this. Gaff, too.

“You dumbass. We’re dead.”

“It wasn’t Tell, was it?”

“Who else?”

And suddenly, the two know it’s true.

“Fuck this, I’m going to make it,” and Flint checks. There isn’t what there could be. There isn’t the dip in the wall for a foothold that could have saved them. There isn’t a long pole to lean against the fence and swing over with. There is a box. There is old trash, uncollected and scattered. There is a fire escape that is slowly being obscured with a painful haze. Gaff kicks through the plastic paneling.

“Well, if ‘fuck this’ let’s fuck this, you shit!”

Flint and Gaff put their hands together into the wiring and tear away until there is something to step into, step over with, step out with.

The sky is really blaring now, multiplying in tonality. If by “fuck this” either of them meant each other – now would be the prize moment. The tiniest little trip up and one of them would satisfy the finders. Gaff has a single pace ahead, could trip Flint up at any second. If the crafts get any closer, you’re out of the picture, friend. Sorry to say it, but that’s as far as our loyalties lie. You had to know this when we began? By the way, where the hell
is Tell?

And back around that corner, in a damp broken corner of a fucked up old building is Tell, crouching, coughing, waiting. The cough is the tell, the sign, the signal. It should bring the crafts down. It should bring the crafts this way. Is this a form of saving your friends, Tell? Can you tell if it is? Or, will you, when confronted with the belly machine crack?

Everybody cracks.

Cracks in the asphalt. Cracks in the walls around here. There are cracks in Flint’s face and Gaff is losing any hope of holding it together. How are they supposed to make things happen when it ever goes to shit?

Tell crunches over and kicks a stool. The finders are spread out on the floor above, glass crunching underfoot. The stool clatters and makes a racket. Tell coughs again loud. The footsteps above call out to find each other and find the source of noise.

It’s a matter of seconds before they come, rushing down the stairs overhead. Railguns and stunners all drawn, like this isn’t one of their own. Oh, but it’s not. A blinding flash and Tell has a hole in the head before you could take an extra breath. Didn’t they tell you? You don’t get out of this alive. You only give us what we want. You should know. This is how the line always goes.

For Flint and Gaff, it still goes a little bit differently. Gaff is slamming arm through cracked glass to try and break free. This is the best plan there is, to date. Flint is scattering the bits of explosives they do have. Jam up the sky – that’s all these do. If we can get out of this cracked glass and drop on our feet, we can run and not be seen. Under cover there under the street. The darkness is waiting for us. Moment of truth or just pure insanity here.

Gaff looks at Flint and gets this gut reaction: shit, glad I didn’t push you back.

Flint smashes through. They fall clumsily and stagger into a galloping walk. The darkness seeps through every crack here. They know where they can run now: deeper.

Moments pass and the noise behind them gets lost behind their own heartbeats and rushed steps. Gaff notices the rhythm is off for two of them and wishes there was some way to check Flint’s feet without stopping or needing light. They don’t cease the awkward tattoo, regardless.

A few more steps and there’s this wail like something in the tight, dark tunnel dying. A screech, a flash of red light, and all silent. Flint and Gaff both smash into one another – nothing like that last time, in a big death mash up here. Terrified of everything, even the walls. The sky, the world, death is coming. Right?

Their eyes lock but it’s so dark you can’t see a thing. A spray of hot across Gaff’s face and a silent shudder, thumping, tumbling to the ground. Gaff gets half a second to think before the wire slices right through the neck. It’s so sharp you hardly feel a thing. Like butter through your spine and then you’re brain shu-

A laugh from the sky above. Three little pawns in this game. One of them paid off, one of them tipped off, one of them stupid enough to go along for the ride. All of them trapped like cats. The only one who wins tonight is the People in their richly adorned costumes, their sealed helmets, their armored vehicles. The district itself is to blame for harboring such threats, such anomolies to the proper way of life. If only one of them had chosen correctly – to step out, to run, to hide. But, in these little games, no one ever does.

Pay for my betrayal and I’ll steal your goods all the same?

I don’t think so little revolution.

Flash fiction by Ori & Rei, timed 3 minutes per round.

Supernova

Pyro could be found one of two places. In the mechanics head office or in the mess hall. Unlike other committee members, Pyro still felt some kind of need to venture into the mess hall. Everyone else thought of it like it’s namesake – a mess. Pyro, though, was different. Everyone said this. Pyro had something else, something strange, something alluring. As if being a committee member had not infected Pyro like it had infected the others. Infected? No, achieved equilibrium within.

Committee members were the top of the top. They were the holders and crafters of the keys of industry. They were the golden idols of the past and the shining beacons of the future. They were stars in a constant state of supernova. No Committee member ever became a black hole.

The Committee held the responsibility for, at this point: thirteen bases, three medical facilities, and a newly opened research laboratory; one of the thirteen being Pyro’s residence for the last five years. A promising spot, it offered the company plenty in the way of future endeavors and current income, owing to it’s close relative proximity to the main three resources currently being pursued.

If you asked Pyro what these three were, you’d get an answer similar to any official company business one felt compelled to ask Pyro.

“That’s officially not your business,” with a smirking little half grin.

If you persisted, Pyro would invariably get a very conspiratorial look and lean in, quite on purpose. “If you come to my office, we’ll have a talk.” Always, a talk or a conversation or luncheon.

This would never come to fruition. If asked, Pyro denied everything. If pursued, Pyro avoided everyone.

And so, it was in the way of things that the change happened. The moment of supernova going black hole. The moment when Pyro, for the first time, could neither avoid nor deny, nor escape. It came in the form of a package sent directly to Pyro’s personal residence – sender unlisted.

Eyes narrowed and fingers gently lifted the package. It wasn’t a usual event to have anything delivered at all, let alone something larger than scrap of paper with a quickly printed note. Pyro carefully felt the weight of it, judging before jumping in. The package seemed remarkably lighter than it appeared. Unsettling.

A white hot moment of real decision here. How many of these do you get, Pyro? Burning, tingling in your fingers? A fire raging in your head. Could it be? Is it possible? No way. Time to see.

And before another second can pass, Pyro is inside with the package held straight out like it might explode. Well, in all honesty, it might. After all, this could be an attack, you fool. But, oh no. Pyro knows better than this. It’s not against, but for you. All for you. Time to let the supernova blow.

The wrapping is remarkably easy to break into. A tiny line of coding that withholds your fingers from the edge where the paper’s wrapped. You break that with the tiniest tear and in your in. But, you had better know to look for the code. Pyro – of all Committee members – remembers the days of revolt, remembers the fire that burned in the hearts of people, knows.

Fires had raged in the walks in those days. Fires had consumed whole sectors, had ravaged fields, torn down bridges made of steel somehow, broke the confidence of those governments. Those times had won something and lost something. There had been successes and failures every moment. Every action had encapsulated both until everyone had thought there could be no true end, only death and ruin for all, especially the innocent sidelines. Pyro remembered how many people claimed to have been on the sidelines, to be truly neutral.

For the record, Pyro had been truly indifferent back then. Ten years old – by Earth terms, which is an idiotic gauge, but still the one we use – and completely taken care of. As the fires raged, Pyro simmered in the warmth and indulgence of the good life. A tepid existence once the senses are dulled by overindulgence – but that comes so much later that you hardly suspect it of yourself. Yes, of course, you see it in your masters, in those above you, in – if you are odd and rich enough to be born of woman – your parental figure heads.

Pyro was one of those. Strangely born in blood. It was a rarity when the company paid to have the clean, artificial insemination process taken care of by lower wage personnel. But then, if you weren’t such a fan of the freak shop – you could keep your genetics under your own control.

These days things had somehow calmed down, though not in some hearts. To most eyes, the fires had raged until they seemed to fall away of their own tiring spirits. A dreadful smoky pallor had come over the cities then, where there were cities.

The modern world was made of districts and stars. Companies owned it all, of course. The controllers of resources. It had always been this way. Pyro had no reason to suspect otherwise. And so, there was no great response to it. Nothing to do except accept it. Nothing to holler or light fires over. Either you were on top or you were underneath. It appeared so self explanatory.

Yes, yes. Of course. Then, why are we holding this package here and not taking it to security? The reasons are limitless. It might be personal. A personal threat. It might be the real revolutionaries – in which case, this is a grand bet worth risking. What would be the price on each of their heads? Monumental. Pyro could quit the Committee, recede from the system entirely, not have to think about it ever again. A few dead and a life worth living.

Pyro carefully unfolded each layer, watching for more coding: the first few were obvious to these seasoned eyes, though doubtless many missed what had been plainly marked on the address box. This package had slipped right through all the security checks and scanners because of those mere charcoal lines. Pyro still could be amazed at the resourcefulness apparent in this tiny group, somehow still holding on to this old spark. An ember left buried under leaves, staying barely alive, tiny wisps of smoke curling around the new companies’ doors, something mostly unnoticed. Pyro had noticed, always knew, it felt like. But that couldn’t have been true?

It was time, wasn’t it? Pyro thought and carefully split the tape of the box. As if there had been a section buried somewhere inside the brain that had somehow gotten devoted to this idea. As if somewhere along the line, Pyro had figured something like this was going to happen. A glint from inside the box sparkled and made Pyro almost jump back, in spite of steeled nerves and a ready temper. Laughing, Pyro reached in and pulled it out.

The statue stifled the laugh in a second. A dull bronze color and awkward posed figure. Walking? Shuffling? Pyro set it down standing up on the desktop. It had no clear facial features. It had no clear motivation. It had no clear anything.

Pyro looked into the box again and pulled out a tucked up handwritten note.
“From your friends in Organics, thanks for all your work and effort on our part.”

Unrecognizable signatures and a stamp.
Pyro looked over the box again. Codes? No, tiny decorations. Fancy trimming. Posh additions to a senseless appreciation.

Pyro looked up from the package out into the empty space ahead. The structure had crumbled. The careful balance between mass and gravity had failed. What was that about black holes?

Time falls apart in them?

Flash fiction by Rei & Ori, timed 3 minutes per round.

Every day, a little more.

Almost any move we make begins to feel this weight, this growing insanity. We might be soon to out-grow ourselves.

We go to the free donation drop-off sight today. You know, the place you put all this shit you don’t want and some second-hand place sells it for money, claiming no profit? On the box is posted this sign:
Boxes are being watched for theft.

Wait, theft? What exactly could I be stealing? From the place that claims to not be making profit?From the person who willfully gave it away for free? From the person who is going to pay for it later?

There is a pretty obvious problem here. I wouldn’t this shit “stolen” if someone asked me to take it away. I wouldn’t be remotely angry if someone offered to drop it by the donation center, then decided they wanted to keep it instead. So, why exactly do I give a shit if you take it from some random box?

Oh right, I don’t. So, it follows logically to me that I need not put my things in that theft-free box, then. You can just take it. Enjoy. I don’t need it.

A cold night and city visit

Two bicycles equal four wheels and freedom to those who’ve had their social dreams clipped, burned, scarred, and the ashes dispersed into the night air. Can we deny that these, too, are machines?

Oh neh. Because the horses pastured down the street from our country, outlier, lonely lives stand lonely and cold in the foggy field. One is lying down. It may be dead. Perhaps, it feels the same encroaching, saturating uselessness we do.

Do the horses in the field play box ball when they come to the end of their limits? Do they run in circles around the fences that keep them barred from one another?

Neh. They stand solitary and damp, side by side, watching us as we pass.
Until yesterday, I passed alone. Calling out – life to life. I, too, am alive and stilled. Silenced underneath the pressure of the world at hand. Can you hear me as I pass?

Your large black eyes full of the sorrow of our neglect say “ja”, but perhaps it is only my insanity, my unbearable burden I am hearing calling out to me. You never ran alongside me as I passed. Only once, and that was a mistake – spooked by my ability to move. The latter was a crow’s call you heeded. Told you to fear, and so it was. Startled, you watched me go.

Tomorrow, we will ride into the sunrise and the sunset and the afternoon. Tomorrow, we will feel life in our veins again. Tomorrow, together, we call to you.

Can you hear the unity, the harmonies in our joint voices?
Perhaps, still, neh.

Today, we pass from those tall grasses and lying lives to the stone and cold and remote social obligations of our old roots. Oh how the tall buildings and the imposing powers remind me. The roots of this rotting tree still run deep. Deeper than the underground sewage ways that inevitably pass below our feet.

We sit together in cafe after cafe, getting all mechakucha on caffeine – a drug we’ve been trying to avoid, skirt around, come to terms with. Drug dealers, us both. These roots had started there, but now they feel distant – far off. Suffering of decay.

You think you recognize everyone you see.
I think I don’t know any of these.Are we so different, you and me?
Are we horses in two fields, standing side by side – but divided.

Hardly. The lines around my eyes echo your’s. And my handle bars rise higher, but your body’s just an inch above. This clever manipulation of the changes and challenges between us make us look like two, divided. While inside, we are the same. All around.

I have a hard time connecting with anything that isn’t resistance here. Perhaps, the stones have no voice to me. Or, perhaps, they are the only ones calling out.

I’d rather pass my time with the stones and the horses lying still than with my kin around a table where no-one talks. Or, we all talk nonsense in a different language.

You say hello, have a nice day.
I say, thanks for everything.
We both look away. Go our ways. Never touch.

I’m beginning to think I might spark a fire here.
Perhaps it will burn the whole of it down.

Perhaps, we will raise something better in its stead.

At any rate, this place is where my history lies – though I don’t know the curves of its streets, the same lines of its body. It is my lover’s shadow like a ghost passing through me.

And in the time I’ve been away, I’ve become so hollow you might pass the wind right through me.

A perfect spirit for the ciclakumei to grab hold of.
To possess.
To correct.