Friday, May 13, 2011


I love to watch the lake at night. I love to feel the resonance of the wind as it howls across the water surface. I love listening to the sounds of the cabin creaking and twisting as the gusting force pushes against the aging timber. Hearing the air whistling ghostly melodies through the cracks in the floorboards and filled the cabin with an inescapable, haunting chill. I watch the willows writhe and contort in the midnight gale, lashing the brackish water with their tendrilous branches. The lake tears violently at boats moored to the pier, as if trying to wrench them from their safehold and drag them down into the crushing darkness. Past the pier, the reflection of the gibbous moon rippled softly, with an eerie serenity, its celestial glow providing little light to the surroundings, but casting a clear, luminous echo upon the pulsing black surface.

I pulled my robe closer around me and started clenching and relaxing my fists. My fingers feel numb. I stretched them out in front of the small lantern. I can feel the dull warmth of the light as the muscles started to expand and shake off the icy chill. My research has become staggered as I delve deeper. Information has become scarce and the biting cold is taking its toll on my addled mind.

Glancing at my reflection in the window reveals to me the physical effects of my studious exile. The soft glow from the candle highlights my skeletal features, giving an inhuman depth to the sunken flesh and jutting bone edges. It had been a long 6 months, but I was stuck. I had pored over countless tomes of knowledge, siphoning the unfathomable truths from the glaring falsehoods. The depth that believers will descend in the quest of such knowledge confounds me. Searching for existence of Elder Gods or creatures from beyond, though futile, is an unexpectedly common condition. Religion, at its core, is merely seeking understanding and reasoning for our existence. It is one of the most primal of thought processes, but the influence of the masses dictates the socially acceptable response.

I flicked through pages of a particularly worn book. It was filled with scrawled images and hand written notes, no more articulate than the wandering blather of a village drunkard. As I shut the novel, I noticed a dark figure standing at the pier. I do not know how long they had been there. The wind whipped the tattered robes around their body. They figure was facing the lake, whether watching or waiting, I could not tell. I blew out the candle, instantly plunging the inside of the cabin into darkness. I stood to the side of window while I watched the man, ensuring my body remained hidden in the shadows. The water beat relentlessly against the pier columns, temporarily shrouding the figure in an aqueous mist. He started to walk down the pier. The waves seemed to crash in a rhythmic, almost methodical pace. He continued till he reached the end of the dock. The wind howled furiously, I felt the cabin pressure shift as the sudden increase in ferocity threatened to break it from its foundations. The air whistled louder through the floorboards, each different gap gave a new hollow, ghostly tone as if it was lending its voice to a malevolent, spectral choir. I kept my eyes focused on the man, my heart raced. The waves were higher and more powerful. Each spray of water seemed to envelop him completely, then wash away, leaving him unscathed.

The sound of wood splintering and metal shrieking snapped me out of my trance and the violent outburst was quickly replaced by the overwhelming, dreadful howling of the wind screamed through the empty frame. I rushed to the front and found the door snapped and flailing on its last hinge. I grabbed the pieces and started to pull them back towards me. I stole a glance toward the pier. The moonlight had left. I could hear the waves crashing and the pier twisting in agony as it strained to retain its structure against the violent onslaught.

I wedged the door closed, bracing the shattered pieces with fireplace pokers as best I could. I rushed back to the window. The waves had started to die down. The intensity of the wind began to lessen. The man was gone, swept away in the maelstrom. Fool. As the wind died, the water calmed. The willows gently stroked the glassy obsidian surface, the slight midnight breeze whistled through the floorboards. The moon’s luminous glow reflected in the lake’s centre. The night fell into a peaceful slumber.

The next morning I woke to the unfamiliar sight of boats patrolling the lake edges. Upon speaking to the somewhat skittish villagers, I learned the man was a Mr Prathroe, the local butcher. Though I did not admit to seeing the event, it was clear I was not the only one aware of his peculiar actions. He was a family man, and left behind his wife and 2 daughters. He was a happy man, one with no real reason or purpose to partake in such a seemingly deliberate sacrifice. Though the lake was a small body of water, by sundown, Prathroe’s body had not been recovered.

However uncommon the circumstances of his disappearance may be, the villagers does not seem to be perturbed, or even bothered by such an aberrant event. Tonight I will return to my studies, though my mind will surely to wander in an attempt to seek meaning from this curious experience.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Fox and the Pigeon

Steve chose his pigeon. He bumped past the man, taking his wallet at the point of impact. He raised his hand over his shoulder in apology and continued to walk. He heard his victim's footsteps stop, then break into a run. Steve sighed and shifted his weight to push hard off his right foot. His shoe slipped on the damp cobblestone, sending his body flying forward. He hadn't fallen. Pigeon was holding him upright by the neck of his jacket.

Steve spun around, throwing his left arm over the man's extended arm. Using his momentum, he swung his right arm into the ribs of his captor. He felt a satisfying crunch as his punch hit home. The man's body twisted in pain. Still controlling Pigeon’s left arm, Steve threw another punch at his exposed side. Pigeon roared in pain as his ribs fractured. Steve sneered as he shoved the man away.

Pigeon’s breathing came in short, pained bursts. Steve snickered. He stood just outside arm’s reach of his victim, bouncing on the balls of his feet. Steve threw a punch to his Pigeon’s rib. The man threw his arms out to cover the injury. Grinning, Steve jabbed to Pigeon’s unprotected face. He bounced again. He threw another body punch, only to sting his victim again. Pigeon’s eyes started to tear up as the throbbing sensation in his face increased. Steve faked again, Pigeon threw a half-hearted block. He feigned a jab, causing Pigeon to quickly lift both arms to block. Steve hissed a laugh. He swung his right hand in a vicious hooking punch to the man’s unguarded ribs. Steve took delight in Pigeon’s agonised scream as he doubled over in pain.

Steve stretched his arms high. He heard Pigeon snort air from his nose. Steve saw a dark blur speeding towards him as Pigeon's backhand strike slammed into his jaw. He felt his head twist sharply, his body went numb. His vision blurred as he staggered backward. Pigeon stood up straight and started walking towards him. Steve desperately fought the urge to close his eyes. Through his distorted perception he could see the outline of Pigeon getting closer. A blinding light flashed in Steve’s eyes. It faded, only to be replaced by a crimson haze. The red tinged alley slowly twisted and warped around him. He fell to the ground, unable to maintain equilibrium.

Steve felt himself being pulled to his feet, his body limp and lifeless. He felt the air rush past him. Pain stabbed through his mind as the back of his skull cracked against the wall. His body slumped to the ground, leaving a slick blood trail down the brickwork. Pigeon lifted his front leg, curling back his boot to expose the heel.

He drove his boot into Steve's face, crushing his skull against the wall behind him.

Pigeon wiped his boots on the dead man's pants.

Pigeon looked around. He picked up his wallet and left the alley.

Fight 1

Leija shifted her weight in an attempt to get more comfortable. The campfire crackled on the ground below. She had positioned the bedroll a reasonable distance from the fire. She heard a familiar noise. A footstep, dragging through the dirt. This could be it.

Leija closed her eyes to remove the fire's dull glow affecting her sight. She opened them and scanned the surrounding bushes. A dark figure was moving in the bushes, keeping low. Leija reached for the throwing axe in her belt. The intruder had entered the clearing. Inexperienced mercenary. Scavenged leather armour and a crude, notched blade. He moved closer to the bed. Leija drew her arm back, ready to throw. The mercenary paused.

'He's noticed...', Leija thought. She lowered her arm, waiting for the mercenary's next movement. He looked back over his shoulder and raised his hand. Leija looked to the bushes. A second figure stood upright, acknowledging the signal. Leija smiled.


The mercenary lifted his sword and pointed the blade down at the the blanket. Leija took aim at the second mercenary and threw the hatchet. As soon as the axe had left her hand, Leija dropped from the tree, drawing a small curved knife. The first mercenary plunged his blade down into his target. His partner screamed. The mercenary stopped.


Leija moved quickly and quietly, getting behind her victim.

She crouched and sliced across the back of his right knee. The man cried out as his leg buckled forward. Leija smirked as she sidestepped the collapsing man. She slid her blade across his neck, then rammed it up, underneath his jaw as he fell. She moved quickly out of the light. The mercenary's eyes grew wide in shock, his mouth filling with blood as he tried to scream. Farren bellowed and crashed into the clearing, the hatchet still lodged in his left shoulder.

'Kritz!! What the fuck is happening?' Leija moved quickly behind him, she pulled a thin, straight knife from her belt. Kritz gurgled weakly.

'Where is she!?'

Kritz pointed. Farren turned around. Leija smiled and kissed the air. He wrenched the hatchet from his limp, left arm and charged forward, swinging wildly. Leija moved towards his left side, forcing him to attack clumsily across his own body. She thrust her heel into the inside of his left knee, snapping the joint. He crumbled.

Leija crouched, so they were face to face. She winked at him. Farren spat and raised the hatchet again. Leija grabbed his wrist with one hand and placed the other on top of his arm. She looked back to his face. He had closed his eyes tight. She waited. He slowly opened his eyes, confused. Leija sat, still smiling. He exhaled, relieved, then looked up at his arm. Leija slid her hand down his arm, using it as a guide. She slammed her knife into the side of his neck. Farren twitched. Leija pulled the knife forward, in a savage, tearing motion, cutting his throat. He dropped forward.

Leija stood up and walked back to the bedroll. She pulled Kritz' sword from the bed, the blade dripping onto the ground. She pulled back the blanket and checked her supplies. The water skin had been pierced. Leija sighed and sat down, facing the fire.