Story A Day, Day 6 – Counter Matrix

Header image by Kimmo Palosaari.

The wall of sound almost knocks you back as you enter from the coatroom; an assault on as many senses as possible, a no holds barred light show, an adrenaline-fuelled train with no brakes, a relentless beat that shatters the earth, an atmosphere that smells of everything and nothing. You take a millisecond to adjust your senses to this place and take everything; in this millisecond, every single person you look at is in motion, ranging from gesturing to elaborate styles of dance.

The ceiling is several storeys above your head. There is one floor up some stairs ahead to the side, just as populated. The club space is vast – you can barely see the bar at the far side through the sea of people between you and the wall. Dotted around there are circles of people watching dance-offs in the centre. It feels like it will never end, that it will survive the end of the world.

It begins to feel wrong. Like it shouldn’t last forever, as if everybody should be sitting down, having the last drink of the night, or moving on to the next place, yet nobody is showing any signs of fatigue. You know for a fact that this has been going nonstop since you walked past 8 hours ago. Continue reading

Story A Day, Day 5 – Betrayal

Cropped header image by Mikko J. Putkonen under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

The first part of the plan was simple; get into the construction site, put Devon out of action by any means possible, and get out of there as quickly as possible. We’d been told that we’d be given further instructions after completing part one; Chris’ girlfriend made up the other half of the operation, though had no support. It didn’t seem like much considering the fact that we were trying to take down a massive money-laundering operation, but it was our best shot.

We were already at a disadvantage, given that the night before he’d sent someone to put up an illegal fireworks display at the site, drawing unnecessary attention from the authorities. No doubt they’d be prowling the area looking for the man he’d sent. We could see him from the east-facing window of this fourth-floor flat. He was looking straight at us the whole time he set up the fireworks, not even breaking focus when lighting each one. I couldn’t see it with my own eyes, but I knew he was smirking. Continue reading

Story A Day, Day 4 – Restart

Cropped header image by Aronkloth under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

“It was a beautiful area. It’s a shame we have to reset it.”

The three of them sat around the banks overlooking a lake, green grass below, forest all around, and blue sky above; they appeared as two young ordinary-looking women and a young ordinary-looking man, all dressed in plain clothes.

One of the women spoke, in response to one of the other women sitting opposite her. “You don’t have to be so dramatic about it, Magus. There’s a good chance we’ll get another lake here anyway. And it’s not like there’ll be better in the next restart of this area, right?”

A groan came from the other two of them, and one put his hands to his face and fell backwards onto his back.

“That’s what you said about what used to be the Fiji Islands!” he said from behind his hands, still lying down in mock exasperation. Continue reading

Story A Day, Day 2 – The Passage of Time

Cropped header image by Richard Webb under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

It was deep summer, August 1983. I was in my twenties then; the most important years of my life had gone by, but I wasn’t done just yet.

I didn’t know what I wanted back then. Without work, education or anyone to hold me back I was free to go wherever I wanted. I’d walk through the forest for miles, I’d follow a river until I got bored, I’d keep heading forward until it got dark.  Continue reading

Story A Day, Day 1 – The Tree at the End of the World

Cropped header image by Liese Coulter, CSIRO under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

Beneath a lone apple tree at the edge of a cliff knelt an ordinary-looking man, with ordinary windswept brown hair and ordinary attire, taking care of the flowers in its shade, appearing almost motionless to any distant onlooker.

“They won’t believe in you forever.”

He stood up and turned to face the speaker; a woman dressed in flowing white clothes and long red hair. Unfazed, he stared back with no change in expression, standing his ground.

“I did what I had to do to save them. You can look like a deity all you want, but I’m the one down here helping my people.” He said calmly, his relaxed facial expression still holding.

Continue reading

Decay

Header image by Evelyn Simak under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

He looked down over the edge into the fortress’ abyss, and saw a tangle of granite stairs, bridges and arches blanketed in ivy, crumbled in places and collapsed in others. He looked up and saw the same thing plus a faintly visible ceiling with holes in it, nothing but a white sky on the other side. He couldn’t help but fixate on a lone balcony on the inside, halfway between his location and the top of the fortress stairways. He could barely see the room through the arch, but he could see a canvas covering something propped up against a dusty-looking bookcase. He stared and stared until his expedition partner passed him on the bridge, strolling towards the arch leading outside.

“Come on”, she said, “We’ll check out that room when we climb the stairs. Quit staring.” Continue reading

Damages

We were crossing the road on the way to the supermarket when it happened. That’s it. No “uneventful” days with the constant foreboding feeling something was going to happen, no warning signs that were quickly dismissed, nothing.

I asked my dad if we had any bread back at home.

No response. I asked mum.

No response. Callum.

Nothing, but if something was going on, he’d probably be in on it. What had I done in the last minute that would make them stop talking to me? They were talking to me normally a minute ago and I doubt they’d pull anything this cruel on me. Well, probably not. Continue reading