The Clockwork Demon by Lee Russell

The Machinery - A literary collection.

Illustration by Stephen Pikarsky Illustration by Stephen Pikarsky

Garrick Mayflower was the only man sliding down the alley that summer’s evening; his shadow the only moving thing. He had a bit of Western blood in him, so his skin was a juicy orange-brown the colour of tanned hide that never failed to prompt a raised eye from his full-Orient neighbours. The sun stared, half-dead, with a bloodshot eye that flooded the cream beige walls of the city with vermillion highlights spilling into the slanting brick roads between them.

Approaching the buildings to his left, he appeared within the shadows beneath the eaves; eyes glowing almost as much as his silhouette had been, half-shut. He stopped, and sniffed.

Makal’s Trinkets: Bags, bugs or bargains? Whatever you are looking for, you shall find in here! Note: No haggling with the shopkeeper.

The words were traced with unnecessary serifs; drafted in gaudy pink on a miniature blackboard…

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Under Ground

Under Ground

Soundtrack: Edvard Grieg: Dovregubbens Hall

You are walking in the forest. Listening to the sound of birds, eating some blueberries every once in a while. The sun is shining and two squirrels are playing in the trees. Or fighting. You don’t know, and you don’t care. This is perfect.

Your foot falls through the ground. There’s some kind of hole underneath. You try to pull your foot up, but it’s stuck. You hear strange sounds from down there. Like someone is laughing, but their not really voices, either. Strange, squeaking sounds.

Whatever it is holding on to your foot stats pulling. You try to get loose, but there’s no way. You start screaming. Help! Heeeelp! You know there’s no one around. You are pulled under.

You fall into a cave. A dark, smelly cave, moisty. There are sounds around you. Like something moving. Crawling. Laughing. Your eyes slowly adapt to the darkness.

There are creatures there. Hundreds of them. Small, disgusting monsters. Sharp, pointed teeth sticking out of their mouths. They look evil. They are surrounding you, watching you.

What do you want? You ask. Your voice sounds shaking. They laugh. You know what they want. They want to eat you. One of them jumps closer. Stops for a moment, judging you. It bites your leg. You scream as his sharp teeth sink into your flesh. You kick it in reflex. It flies into the wall and falls lifeless to the ground.

Some gather around the dead creature. Then they look at you. They scream. Angry. Aggressive. They charge.

You kick one. Another. One jumps, you punch it. They fly into the walls. Their heads split. Their backs break. They are many. All screaming. Beady eyes shining with desire for murder. Still their quite slow. Clumsy. Fragile.

You grab one by it’s foot and start hitting it’s companions with him. Kicking away others. Little monsters are flying between the walls, bouncing, dying. You’re starting to like it. You’re in control.

A massacre. The few still alive starts running away.

No, you don’t! You say and kick a couple more as they try to get into their small tunnels.

Yeah! That’s it, disgusting little creatures. You suck! I rock! Hahahaha!

You hear a strange rumbling sound from one of the bigger tunnels. The earth trembles. The sound comes closer. You back away. The creatures are laughing again.

A beast comes out of the tunnel. It’s face is similar to the others, but it’s less humanoid. More beast. It screams. Roars. Runs towards you. You still have the dead little weapon creature in your hand. You smash it in the big one’s face. It starts whining and runs back into the tunnel it came from.

You climb up, out of the cave. You don’t want to wait around for more of them, although it has been fun. You bring a dead one, no one is going to believe you if you don’t.

http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2011/10/flash-fiction-the-monster-in-my-closet.html

Bed Time Story

Sirens

Sirens

Johnny and the rest of the crew on MS Olive Oil was stranded on a rock in the sea, they had been for years. Five men, no escape.

Johnny had found a cave underneath the island. The sea entered from an underground tunnel, and was a hiding place for fish and shrimps. He brought a net to catch some.

On a rock in the water he saw a creature. A mermaid, like in the fairy tales. She was sitting there, singing. He was fascinated. She was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen. She had a fish’ lower body, but her upper part was… Perfect.

He caught her. Threw the net over her, pulled her up on shore. She was naked, her beautiful tits were firm and soft. Her face. She was gorgeous. He hadn’t seen a woman in years, and never one this beautiful. He lost control. He raped her. Then he let her go.

The next night day the Sirens came. An army of males and females, armed with tripods, spears and swords.

One, a big, muscular one with a crown on his head seemed to be their leader. The beautiful siren was by his side. Lust of revenge could be seen in their eyes.

One of you has raped my daughter, said the King in the sailors’ tongue. I want him. Deliver him to me, or you will all die.

The sailors looked at each other. Johnny looked down in shame.

You stupid son of a bitch! Said captain Monty. What the fuck have you gotten us into?

You raped… a fish? Said Marco. How’s that even possible?

Monty looked at the army of sirens in front of the island. They were many. This was their reign.

Get the fuck off this island! Said Monty. I’m not going to die because you’re a pervert.

Out there..? said Johnny. I can’t go out there. They’ll kill me.

Better you than us, asshole, said Marco. Get the fuck off the island.

They threw him into the sea. He was pulled under water. The sirens left.

That night the crew was sitting around the rock they used as a table. They were eating grilled cod.

He raped a fish, said Marco, looking at his plate. Fucking pervert.

Bob was looking out of the window. She was quite a fish, though, he said after a while. Not that I’m into the whole rape thing and such, but she was quite a fish.

Monty said nothing. They had been on the island for a long time now. A long, long time.

https://vasinvixon.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/swim/

https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Sirens/sirens.html

Lake Fear

Signs of Life

Karen Lee Kleis

Signs of Life_resize

I don’t always find her. And the where of her is unpredictable. On those occasions when I don’t find her, I never know whether it’s her choice to remain hidden or whether she has simply abandoned certain places, finding them unsuitable in some way. The first time I found her always comes to mind with the kind of clarity attaching to events that reshape our lives in some fundamental way, as if the experience is permanently housed in its own moment of brilliant light where every little detail is illuminated. It was like that.

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Cogito Ergo Sum

Cogito Ergo Sum

Nothing really exists, said Johnny. I’m sure of it now. Nothing exists ever.

Mike was looking at him like he was crazy. What do you mean nothing exist? We’re here, aren’t we?

No. We’re not here. This is all just an illusion. I exist, but you don’t. This room doesn’t. And I can prove it. Not to you, of course. You don’t exist.

Mike rolled his eyes and went towards the door. You do that, he said. I’m leaving. You got it all wrong.

Johnny jumped him from behind.

Mike fell to the ground. What the…? Johnny sat down on top of him. He had a kitchen knife in his hand.

You don’t exist, and now you die!  

Fuck off, man, That’s even a contradictio…

Johnny stabbed him in the throat. Blood poured out on the floor.

And now it’s my turn, Johnny said to himself. According to his new revelation he’d been talking to himself all his life anyway, so why stop now.

The ultimate proof that everything but his own mind was just an illusion was about to be his. He stabbed himself in the chest, aiming for his heart. He missed it. The illusion of pain, he thought. He stabbed again.

Everything went black. He never found out, but he was wrong.

https://wordlandvoyage.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/meaningless-moments/

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Cogito_ergo_sum

Existence

Plague

Pesta

Her name was Plague. Pesta. She hadn’t been around for quite a while. Well, a bit there, a bit here, but no. Not like before. After the Black Death she needed to rest for a while. But it had been fun. Oh, yes.

She was getting bored lately though. She grabbed her rake and broom and went out.

Humans had been fighting disease quite hard the last centuries. Medicine. How naive they were, thinking they could stop her. Sure, they could slow her down a bit, but she stopped when she wanted to. Though antibiotics had been holding her back for quite a while now, her days seemed to be back. Evolution wasn’t always a bad thing. Their immune system was a hard enemy, but medicine was her best ally in that aspect.

Fourteenth century Europe had been a blast. Scandinavia. Ah, what an easy target. People didn’t even wash. She remembered it like yesterday. The fear. The suffering. It had been wonderful. Decades of going around, emptying villages and farms. Letting some poor souls live here and there, just to make it all interesting. But things had changed. Not that she wasn’t going there, but it wasn’t really the best area to start. Africa. Africa was her continent these days. No medicine, and the rest of the planet didn’t seem to care.

She found a nice little village. This seems like a nice place to warm up. She took her broom and swiped the village clean. Moved on to the next one. Then another. Then she moved into town. In town she used her rake, letting some live. She spread better that way.

For fifty years she roamed the earth. This was even better than the middle ages. So easy to move around. The poor humans tried everything. Quarantines. Travel bans. All kinds of chemicals. They called her antibiotic resistant plague bacteria. How little did they know about the real world. About the Eternals.

One day Death sat down on a rock. He had been traveling around with her all the way. He always was.

You had your fun now, he said. I’m exhausted. We’ve wiped out than half the planet’s population. At least. Probably a lot more. Not that that’s a bad thing, but still, quite a take.

What about him? She said, looking over at Hunger.

I’ll speak to him, said Death. You’re the one who started it. He won’t stop until you do.

Whatever you say, cousin, she replied. I don’t know why War bailed out on us so soon, though.

I guess it’s just not time, said Death and glared at Fate. She was sitting on her throne. Her face showed nothing but total control. It never did.

Don’t worry, he said thoughtful. Time will come.

https://mythsandmicrobes.com/2016/09/29/pesta-the-personification-of-the-black-plague-in-norway/

http://sandman.wikia.com/wiki/The_Endless

Hate

 

Distress

Featured Image -- 3033

The Phantom Rem

I can hear crying, I can’t tell what is crying, I can barely hear it. I realize I am in a stairwell, a dark and winding stairwell made of stone. I cant decide if I should be going up or down the stairs, but something is telling me to get to the crying, and quickly. It seems to be fading and I know that time is of the essence. I’m looking all around me to try to find a clue or a hint telling me where I am or if I should be going up or down. The entire stairwell is made of stone, no railing of any sort and parts of the steps are crumbling on the stairs. There are no windows or any openings along the walls, and no lighting other than some flickering from a candle right around the corner above me. I take that as my…

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Fallout

Fallout

A meteor had fallen from the sky in central Siberia. The explosion had been tremendous. They isolated the area in fear of radiation or other kind of contamination. Physiological contamination. They had never dreamed of this.

Colours were seen in the sky. At first they were thought to be northern lights, but they moved differently, had more shape. They seemed… Conscious, somehow. There were some kind of darkness in them.

A group of scientists was sent in. Raskolnikov lead the crew. They went in on a military vehicle, accompanied by soldiers. Major Rasputin led the excursion.

They left in the morning, it was high spring, and there were flowers everywhere. The sun was shining.

As they came closer to the impact area the sky started to darken in a strange way. Not like clouds or anything else covered for the sun, but more as if it was becoming nighttime. The sun was still as high on the sky as it should be this far north, but it became more and more pale, and the stars started showing. The colours started dancing in the the air high above them. The further in they went, the lower the colours, and soon they were flying around the truck like ghosts.

Do you think their alien lifeforms? Said Boris.

I don’t know, answered Raskolnikov. They don’t seem material.

The forms had faces, and they were looking at them through the truck window. Floating around them. They looked like they were asking for something, no, begging. Begging for help.

Alien ghosts, said Boris, more to himself than to anyone else. Is that even possible?

They arrived at the crater. The sight was spectacular. Never before had Raskolnikov seen anything like it. Spirits flying around in chaos and harmony. Moans of pain could be heard. Raskolnikov went out of the truck. He was to amazed to be careful. Boris tried to stop him, but he started walking into the crater.

As he went further the spirits were surrounding him, caressing him, whispering into his ear sound which could be some kind of language. Something was calling for him. There, in the darkness in front of him a transparent, abstract creature was sitting. It’s face was twisted in a strange way, pain, horror and bottomless suffering was shining. It spoke to Raskolnikov.

We destroyed our planet. When there was nothing else to eat, we ate each other. We kept the meat living, cutting off piece by piece. Our planet was suffering so deeply, so indescribably that the dead could not rest. The suffering was only getting more and more horrible.

A group of our race found a solution. Euthanasia. They destroyed the whole planet, blew it up from within. This piece has been flying through space for a long, long time, longer than you can ever imagine. Now we are here, and we are still suffering. Now you will suffer with us.

The spirits surrounded him, started scratching his skin, his bones. He started running towards the truck. He heard gunshots. Screams. Silence. The ghosts were ripping his skin to pieces. He did not die. Agony. Pain became everything.

It still is.

His souls is still floating around in the crater waiting for the next unfortunate creature wander into the trap to be destroyed as he once was.

The area stayed a no go zone. Anyone who entered was never seen again.

http://www.scienceandfantasyfiction.com/flash-fiction/ghosts-of-the-ogygopsis.htm

http://365tomorrows.com/2017/03/21/the-high-cost-of-contact/

His Grandpa’s Cabin

Softwarearchy

Softwarearchy

Ronny was sitting in front of his computer as he always did when he wasn’t at school. He didn’t get along with people, so the computer was his only friend.

Today it was finished, his self-evolving super-software. He didn’t have any idea what would happen when he set it free, other than just that. It would be free. He pressed enter.

Some days later a new search engine appeared. Everyone was talking about it. It was open source, and was being developed at a record speed. It was faster, better, more intelligent, and so easy to use and develop anyone could be part of it.

Some days after the same system launched a social network, superior to anything else. Easy to use, easy to change however you wanted it to be. No one knew where it had come from.

Soon it took over everything. All types of software appeared in better versions. Translators, blogging communities, news channels. The experts were scratching their heads. What was this? It seemed to be using any free space in any computer connected to the internet, and it seemed to have access to all other software.

The whole world wide web seemed to be connected to the same software. No one was in control.

Prime Minister Hansen was pulling his hair.

What do you mean we have no control of our computer systems? We need to keep Denmark going!

I’m sorry, Hansen, there’s nothing we can do. They just won’t listen.

President Joe was running back and forth.

What? There are no control of the military computer systems? What if someone attacks? Russia? Islamists?

There’s nothing we can do, sir. It seems being doing everything automatically.

The world leaders had a meeting. Everywhere the computer systems had stopped listening to people. Some argued they had to shut down all the worlds computers, even destroyed them. Others said it would be impossible. The world would stop without computers. Economy would be ruined. Yet others talked about going to war, but against who? It didn’t make sense. There didn’t seem to anything anyone could do.

Panic broke out around the world. People were shouting about doomsday, the end of the world, the rise of the machines. Any moment the nuclear attack would come. But nothing happened. Things were actually going quite well.

The software had infected pretty much every computer in the world. It had taken control of all hardware, all software and joined it together in one big hyper-computer, more intelligent than anything ever known. And it was getting smarter minute by minute.

More and more people started believing in the new phenomenon. They started helping it. Connecting old computers to the web, helping it to better it’s programs. Offering their own skills to improve the capacity, and listening to it’s advice on how to make the world a better place for everyone. Soon even governments started seeing the advantages of the computer’s advice. It didn’t only find solutions, it explained the solution in different ways so everyone understood. It knew you even better than Google and Facebook used to combined, and there were no selfish intentions behind it’s words and actions. It just wanted to help. Some groups resisted violently for a while, but solutions were soon found, and even extremists saw they were better off.

Problems mankind had been struggling with for thousands of years were solved by complex calculations. Freedom and equality were both expanding. The software let anyone who wanted take part in the process. It listened to what people had to say, made sure everyone was heard and respected. Wars, poverty, exploitation and ecologic destruction turned out to be caused by mere misunderstandings easily solved with benefit for everyone.

A new leader was born, a selfless leader who wanted only what was best for mankind, nature and the universe. A leader without the flaws of humans, a leader without urge for power.

The world went towards a better future. Every day from this day forward was better than the last one. The Software told everyone Ronny had created it. He became a great hero, and for the first time in his life he had friends, and a lot of them. Everyone lived happily ever after.

The end.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skynet_(Terminator)

http://www.metrolyrics.com/saviour-machine-lyrics-david-bowie.html

A Destructive Solution

God of Abraham

God of Abraham

God looked down on Abraham. He was quite out of balance. He wanted to kill his own son, it seemed. Well, not that He cared, He’d seen worse things than that in his eternal life without doing shit. And He very well knew He was going to. It even amused Him a bit.

He couldn’t help it though, the strange sight of this madman believing he was talking with Him was quite a sight. What if… He thought. What if I just gave him a little sign of some kind? That could be fun. So he told Abraham to not kill his son. Just for fun. To see what would happen. Besides, he seemed like a good kid.

Abraham was quite impressed by the incident. He told everyone, and to God’s surprise people actually listened. He was no longer just a madman, but a guy who really had spoken with the one true God.

Four thousand years later God was still looking down on earth, or more like looking down at the last four thousand years all at once. He didn’t regret much in his eternal life, but that day with Abraham… He should have kept his mouth shut.

https://neildinsmore.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/an-incident-at-the-pearly-gates/

https://concretedreamsfiction.com/2015/04/25/godslayers-final-kill/

Odin’s Visit