Tag Archives: scraps

Snippet of an Idea

This one’s from a colleague at work – “I send my books out into the universe”.

On space-ships. Through portals. On the colony transporters carrying thousands of sleeping passengers. On the cargo freighters picking up minerals from the asteroid belts and ice from the far-out moons before beginning their run back. On the orbiting stations above alien planets, circling above long-dead surfaces. On tiny skimmers flitting across the planet’s surface, darting there and back again.

The paper has been well-thumbed – maybe enough that you now have to wear gloves, or use a tool to turn the pages, so that you don’t wear the print off for someone else. There’s a box, or a shelf, or an alcove on every vessel; crammed with the crew’s choices, their precious sheets. There’s always someone amongst the team who knows how to repair a binding, or can coax the printer to spit out new pages to paste between the worn plastic covers. They are treasured, patched and repaired, bound and bandaged, to be read and worn down again and again.

They read in their bunks. In the long hours between asteroids. In the silence of the stars. In the howling storms of alien worlds, the bright sunshine of the galaxies, the darkness of space. On new worlds, deep under the crust or in new settlements on the hills, high above the surface or somewhere on the endless ice-plains. They read between customers at the dive-bars on the docking-station, before starting the day fishing on the narrow seas, after crossing unimaginable distances and back again.

No matter where they travel, stories go with them, and the scraps of paper and plastic are a better dimension to other worlds than any they can imagine in their own.

Writing update: June

I’ve mostly been editing for the past few weeks, but have managed to do a bit of writing…

“Drop the girl, get out of the mess you’re tangled in, and get us our information.” He gave me a thin smile and waved a hand at the door. “That is all.”

I had my hand on the door handle when the additional sentence that I’d been expecting slid out, smooth and barbed.

“We are watching you.”

I slammed the door after me.

~~~~~

It usually hurts when you find out that someone’s been lying to you, or cheating you, or stealing. It’s worse when they’re dead, and you can’t scream at them.

Luckily, if they’re a zombie, they can hear you just fine, and screams are normal around zombies. Something to do with the whole ‘living dead’ thing. People can be so judgmental.

So, say hello to Zombies R Us! That’s my service. I deal with anyone who’s got a grudge, and…give them a target. For a fee.

After all, it’s not like the zombie cares any more.

~~~~~

“I tried to get onto the project!” The man was probably drunk, Zack thought. Or at least had supped a few gulps of something potent. “I tried to get information!”

“It doesn’t look like you tried very hard,” Zack said, tired of the man already. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have been sent here.”

“They don’t trust me!”

“Well, of course they don’t.” Zack managed to not roll his eyes. “You haven’t exactly been a fount of information, have you? Most of the things you were telling us during the war were wrong.”

“That wasn’t my fault.”

“Of course not.” Zack took another sip of his drink, almost enjoying how frustrated the man was getting. He was definitely near the end of his use. “By the way, I saw your daughter before I left. She’s nearly fully grown, you know. Quite a woman.”

It took the man a moment to realise what was being implied, and Zack saw his fists clench. But as he’d expected, the man was too much of a coward to cause a scene. “What did you do to her?” he whined.

“Nothing she didn’t enjoy.” He leaned forward, dropping his faint smile. “But don’t forget that Jirlaen can do worse. She’s well cared for at the moment, but that doesn’t have to be the case.”

~~~~~

“Luk, how do you tell if someone’s a vampire?”

“Usually, wait until they try to drink your blood.” He spotted her expression and rolled his eyes. “It was a joke. Joking!”

~~~~~

Old writing: Moon Story

My first attempt at sci-fi from about 2006! I might go back to this someday, or see how it goes into something else…I did like the story, but it never got fully fleshed out. I’d be interested to see how it does morph if I pick it up again.

As soon as she entered her small, neat room, Tanine knew that there was someone else there. Was it just her thoughts? Was she being silly, just because she had just been…no! But the presence was there, she knew – it was almost tangible to the senses. She shut the door firmly and looked around, but there was no one to be seen. It was her imagination! But no, it wasn’t…the slender girl licked her lips nervously and spoke, feeling a little silly at speaking to empty air.

“Who…who are you?”

Butterfly.

They had answered? As the shock faded, the girl quickly assessed the voice. It seemed to be in her head, not heard, but still there. It was a light tone, neither masculine nor feminine, but with the slight stilted accent that spoke of computers. But the accent could be stimulated. What did they want with her?

“What are you?”

I am a computer programme, similar to the IHEG system. My access code is Butterfly.

A computer. Tanine sat down on the bed and activated the screen to her personal monitor. She shook her head slightly, dismissing the jumble of thoughts and emotions and concentrating on the task at hand.

“What do you want with me?” she asked softly as she ran a search on the name. Oddly, she was not afraid of the silent presence – she knew that it would not stop her; that it was strangely friendly towards her. How did she know that? she wondered.

It is more what do you want with me. You found me.

That brought reality crashing back down to the girl as the computer brought up no results for the search. Several days earlier, she had found a locked system while searching for something for school on the network. It had been pure accident that she had happened across the gateway, and she was fairly certain that no one had come across it before. But she had no password for it and hurriedly retreated before security was triggered. So was the thing now talking to her whatever was behind that locked gate?

Yes. I am Butterfly, created by Aleut Hume. I am a purely personal system, but I have access to most of the network. More than your systems have, at any rate.

The voice seemed to be laughing. Had this system been given more human characteristics than the normal ones? How…what was it? Questions revolved round Tanine’s head. And…it had answered her thoughts. The thought sent an icy shiver down her back. It could hear her thoughts?

Maybe I had better explain. Aleut created me as a companion, but also as a protector. Butterfly said. I know everything that goes on in this base, and a lot of what goes on in the others. I was given an almost human character. Go back to the gateway you found three days ago.

The girl did as she was told, remembering the pathways with ease. Her memory tricks were one of the few things she was proud of at school, but she chose not to let on about it – it would attract too much attention. She went quickly through the network, accompanied by silence from the computer-person. And then there was the gateway, a blank screen with the simple word across it:

PASSWORD

I told you what it was. Butterfly reminded her softly.

Password…access code. Butterfly.

Tanine typed it in. Nothing happened.

You have to speak it as well as type. Put your hands on the access plates so I can get your prints as well, and your datachip. the mental voice instructed.

The girl spoke the password softly, and touched the screen. She suddenly felt a deep wave of fear sweep over her, but if faded as fast as it had come, leaving her nervous and puzzled.

ACCESS GIVEN

As soon as the words on the screen came up, the blackness dissolved into a whirl of colour. Then, on the screen, came the hazy figure of a person. It resolved into a human, a slender woman wearing a subtly coloured cape of all colours, an old-fashioned style from another century, times ago. The hood covered her face, leaving darkness beneath it, hiding the features. She seemed to be looking directly at Tanine. She seemed almost…real.

Old writing: The Towers

I think everyone raised on fantasy goes through a stage of writing person-with-magical-powers and weird-eye-colours and magic-keys…this was part of mine. The other part morphed into GreenSky, and luckily got a bit less cliché as it went. I’ve still got some affection for this world, but I think I prefer Toru to Oak!

This was the girl I loved, the girl I would give my soul to if she asked me. I did not know if she loved me or not, and I was too scared to ask. I was afraid that she would turn me down, turn me away. But the reality that I saw in her eyes terrified me. I understood for the first time why she was blind, and what had happened to her. I did not know how it had happened, or why, but I knew what it meant. For her eyes were silver, like my father’s, like the Lady’s – the silver of the balance, of the power. She was one of the keys. And the only power she could be key to was the Circle. The girl I loved was one of the most powerful sorceresses that had ever lived, even though she did not know it – and I doubted that anyone else did. But what I saw in her eyes was the reflection of eternity. And that terrified me.

“I’m a key?” Mari said in terrified incomprehension as Oak finished explaining, his voice dull and lifeless. “But I don’t have any power…how can I be?”

“Mari, stop that.” Sienna told her sharply. “Oak, are you sure?”

“My father’s eyes are that colour, the Lady’s are as well…when my father dies and I take over his duty, my eyes will become silver.” Oak told her dully, but the shock was beginning to fade. “It is the colour of the power. I have never heard of anyone else with silver eyes – there have been no others but those who care for the Towers.”

Ruel had not spoken, and Oak began to guess what lay behind his silence. If he had looked after Mari since she had gone blind, surely he had seen her eyes? Did he know what had caused her blindness? Ruel, realising his line of thought, shook his head.

“I knew your eyes were silver, but didn’t understand what it meant.” he said quietly to them. “But you have to admit that the silver is striking and unusual…it attracted far too much attention and far to many wary glances. They were beginning to think of you as strange, Mari, and with those eyes…that was why I suggested you cover them, and took you away from your home and family.”

Mari nodded, accepting the explanation with an oddly calm air. Had she already known? Oak didn’t know. There was far too much about this strange girl that he didn’t know – there was a lot of mystery about all of them.

Old writing: Into the Woods

Anthro-fiction before it got popular! This would have been about 2004-2005, and turned into a slightly X-Men story that meandered out before I really got anywhere. As you may be guessing, plots weren’t my strong point!

James sped along the path, dodging trees and bushes. The path seemed to be vanishing, and he was having to jump grass and branches. His lungs felt as if they were going to burst, and his legs were giving out. He dodged a tree and fell flat on his face as his foot caught a root. Pushing himself up, he tried to get up but found his legs had given out. But someone was chasing him…he had to keep going. He pushed himself up again, using the last of his strength, and staggered onwards.

Something hit his back and he fell face-down into the forest floor. Raising his head, panic and pain from running shooting through his stomach in agonising jerks, he saw something human-like crouching in front of him, watching curiously. Human-like…his stomach froze…but not quite human. Humans didn’t have tails, or ears…but this thing was wearing a jerkin and rough trousers, and wore a dagger…what was it? He tried to push himself up but his arms wouldn’t support him. It would kill him…he didn’t want to die!

“Are you alive?” the creature said, cocking its head to regard the boy sprawled in the leaves. It was the same voice that had been pursuing him, but somehow seemed a lot friendlier coming from this creature, rather than a hidden shadow, threatening and vague. It was a very human voice, warm, cocky and pedantic, a voice that was slightly at odds with the creature itself.

James was still staring as he pushed himself up, realising that they were standing in a patch of shining moonlight. The creature gave a half-smile and reached out a hand to steady him as the boy wavered slightly. As the hand grasped his arm hard, James felt the leathery skin and faint prick of nails…his stomach went cold again as he realised that he couldn’t run, not now. The rough skin of the hand had a fine covering of reddish hair on the back. James’s eyes travelled up the arm to the leather jerkin, and then to the head. Raggedly cropped hair framed a delicate, elfin face and green-brown eyes that sparkled in frank curiosity. Fox-like ears poked out of the reddish hair, and the human ears seemed to be missing. James found that he was staring as frankly as the creature was staring at him, the fear gone from both of them.

“You’re full human.” it said finally. “What are you doing this far into the forest?”

“I got lost…” James said hoarsely, suddenly fearful again.

“Aw, nothing to be scared of. I don’t eat humans. They’re too big.” the creature said, a mischievous smile flitting across the slim-boned face. “What’s your name, human boy?”

“James.”

“Very boring.” The creature wrinkled its pert nose. “I’m Treen. You’d better come with me. And don’t try and run anymore – there are worse things than me around. You won’t get far.”