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Dybbuk

The Dybbuk a demon that takes possession of a recently deceased body came into this world, not through the magic of a shaman or any machination of the supernatural. The ancient monster was summoned by engineers, adherents to the faith of technological progress. It was in state of the art laboratories where the dark art of possession was mastered and by people who openly disdained esoteric cultural relics from the infancy of civilization. It was through the machinations of technology that this malicious supernatural force materialized as a nanomachine no larger than a flea. It was no aberration but a creature composed of rare earth metals and silicone.
The same malignant shadow growing out from the pit of the human spirit that facilitated the creation of the Dybbuk also ignited the desire to use it and see its effects. Folly begot folly, and the Dybbuk intended for a little-known intelligence officer found its way into a host that gave it the power to unleash apocalyptic consequences.

Pretty Pretty Pariwinkle

By necessity, war was forced to evolve around mankind's natural aversion to murder. Men were put in metallic cocoons were machines could obscure the massacre through its preferred lenses. Eventually, the mechanical monstrosities took on the form of a toy. The joystick was used to deploy refined instruments of destruction against what were just colorless outlines on a black and white display.
In the early stages of this next phase in war’s evolution, they still needed the grunts. People to wallow and die in the garbage heaps of human misery created by people who couldn’t even stand to look at their horrific handiwork. Techno warfare made a tempting promise to mitigate and maybe one day also eliminate the long-term consequences of systematically molding millions of people into killers.
James Pittman was a corporal in the Marines. The Warmachine absorbed him at a time when there was an intersectional moment that would determine humanity’s place in war’s processes. His company was dep…
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I got my copy of the Retrospective zine from Palm Sized Press! It features one of my stories as well pieces from close to a dozen other authors all in a booklet the size of a cd cover! Remember those things?

Vultures

The flashlight’s beam rested on the white painted wall. Juan gripped wooden hammer of the sledgehammer. The visor on his gas mask impaired his peripheral vision, so he turned to make sure he was clear to swing. The hammer smashed through the wall, and a plume of dust dispersed through the air. Juan struck several more blows until the hole had turned into a man-sized gash. The flashlight illuminated the rift revealing a hub of piping and wires.
“Hey Juan we need your help down here man!” the radio crackled
Places die in much the same way as the people who compose them. Growth stalls and begins to give way to decline then all that’s left is to wait for the physical remains to erode into dust under the pressure of times ceaseless and steady current.
The place was a town called villa park a place that at its peak supported between thirty-five and forty thousand inhabitants, but Villa Park’s death hadn’t been a gradual process outlined recognizable milestones it had occurred suddenly and u…

Thanatos

“Don’t look directly at the light!”
This was the repeated warning the soldiers were given before they were loaded up onto flatbeds and driven to a remote patch of desert. There were sandbag covered holes waiting for them. The troopers obediently crouched in their shallow ditches in the sand and waited.
They had heard stories about how the flash melted eyeballs and the heat seared the flesh. They saw pictures of shadows imprinted on stone by atomic obscura. The featureless black human outlines were all that remained of the people touched by the light.
The desert air was dry but pleasantly mild, and the mood among the men was one of cautious optimism. Some seemed entirely at ease even excited about what they were about to witness while others quietly sat and stared sand.
Thier heads trained upwards as they watched the trail of white smoke streaking across the unblemished blue sky. The order came and the soldiers squatted in the foxholes. They collectively held their breath and waited fo…

There Are No Closets In Foxholes

Private Stuart Breyers had joined the marine corps during peacetime. The plan was to use his two-year hitch as a transition period into becoming an independent young man. Not six weeks after his 19th birthday the boy’s limited term of existence had been significantly curtailed. He had no more years to look forward to only mere moments.
He walked in a single file line with his comrades under the darting eyes of their Japanese captors. His fingers were laced behind his head, and he didn’t dare move his hands to shield his eyes from the blinding tropical sun or the salty sting of his sweat. Breyers had spent his life in the vast cornfields of Middle America where the grey skies of winter lingered for months on end. The Pacific sun turned his flesh a pulsing red. The Japanese fleet loomed ominously in the still crystal blue waters. The massive steel barrels of their guns had returned to their resting position. Occasionally a grenade blast in the thick jungle rattled the birds out of the t…

By The Numbers

"As more and more people come to terms with just how tenuous all of this is the faster and faster, it will all break down.  Paradoxically informing people of the danger of our position will not produce a solution instead we will see a self-fulfilling prophecy come pass where people, trying to fortify their personal positions to weather the chaos will be in actually precipitating and compounding the destruction."
Dr. Werthers V. Lepizid

Ashes to Ashes

Shelly Stone’s life had come to an end some time ago there were still some residuals of her corporeal existence scattered around a pocket of isolated ruins, remnants of a civilization that was in the early stages of its terminus during Shelly’s life. In those days Shelly had been an author of modest acclaim. Her relative obscurity never bothered her though. Of course, she craved the praise and notoriety all artists desire, but she took solace in the fact her providence had been the written word. The pages her voice were printed on would long outlast her, and in that way she had contributed something to the collective cultural wealth of society and species at large and it was this knowledge that was her final comforting thought.
The forgotten place Shelly spent the latter half of her life was withered by time and neglect. The abandoned structure that had been her home was a gutted corpse made of brick. The empty window frames faced the world like a hollowed skull with a quiet emptiness…

Playing War

The damp foxhole eight-year-old Peter was crouched in had been punched into the dirt road by a solitary shell, possibly misfired from a gun of monstrous proportions. It was a grey early spring morning. The snow had turned into a cold rain, but Peter was not perturbed by the icy water seeping into his tattered shoes or the face numbing blasts of wind. He kept his eyes fixed on the edge of the forest sporadically pulling the trigger of an imaginary machine gun to cut down wave after wave of snarling Russians as they emerged from between the trees.
“Na na na na na,” the boy chattered to simulate the sound of machine gun fire.
“Reload!” He shouted before pulling the invisible bolt back to resume firing.
“Na na na na!”
“How’s the defense of our village going soldier?”
Peter looked over his shoulder and saw two soldiers with rifles slung over their shoulders. Each of them clenched a burning cigarette between their lips. Their gray uniforms were baggy, and they kept having to lift up the bri…

Idle Time

At the age of sixteen, Justin didn’t have the emotional capacity for anything eschatological. As an organism he was in the growth phase of life that was going to culminate into a physical and mental prime. The end was so far out of sight for Justin that to him the concept of dying was so abstract he considered it to be more of a possibility than an inevitable conclusion.
Armageddon was a term with a definition he knew in the academic sense, but in practice, the destruction of civilization was not a set o circumstances his developing mind could adapt to much less comprehend. Even as he lay in bed playing a game that immersed him in the charred remains of a city infested with bandits and irradiated monsters the far bleaker reality that existed above the layers of rock and steel. The global typhoon of fire immolating the word was the last light on earth and once it burned out all that would be left was the cold dark shroud of nuclear winter.
Besides the move to the underground quarter…

Long Live The Emperor!

The old man paced back and forth, the time it took to cover the eight feet between the faded white walls was extended by his shuffling pace. He ran his bony fingers through his wire-thin white hair and mumbled into the stale air of the sparsely furnished room.
“Block the sea lanes and deploy an airborne force behind their defensive line!” he ordered his phantom military chiefs. “I want air strikes covering the landings,” he added decisively.
The whithered geriatric issuing orders to an empty room was a decaying relic that had the misfortune of outliving his purpose. His dissolving mind kept him living in a world of memories a waking life closer to a dream than reality.  He spent his dwindling existence conversing with ghosts and fighting battles long since won and lost. Empires devoured Emperors, but he had outlived the intrigued and vanquished his foes, and now when it was most apparent he couldn't understand what a misfortune that may have been. The end of his reign was anticlim…

Informed

Commerce, education, and most importantly the creation, distribution, and consumption of information previously human endeavors had been usurped by the alternate universe that is the sum of every digital device that keeps its human users connected to the rapidly encroaching reality of an omnipresent network that bound the world in its fiber optic web. The world once a place far too large and complex for any single human to understand could be condensed and reshaped into something for rapid electronic consumption. Information drowned out reality. Inevitably the masters of the information industry engineered a final break between the physical world and the world of information, and that’s when Crystal Ball was born.
“It’s an AI program designed to generate news twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.” Adam explained to the little camera lens embedded on his laptop.”With a click of the mouse, the 33-year-old programmer turned whistle blowing rouge took it upon himself to sacrifice his…

One Step Ahead

Cassius was on his hands and knees frantically crawling through the long grass as it gently swayed in the late summer breeze. His horse was standing on the side of the stone road indifferently grazing while his rider muttered and cursed. Cassius was a messenger who had been charged with delivering the most valuable trophy in the whole of the empire. Failure would mean death.  Of course not before some unimaginably cruel torture that could only be devised by the sort of minds suited to wield imperial power.
He looked at the empty bag with its lose rope that was meant to hold it shut limply hanging to the side. He threw it on the ground in frustration and stomped it into the dirt. He couldn’t understand how the knot had even come undone. It had to be the work of sadistic gods who of all the people in the world seemed to take a particular delight in tormenting him. This final bit of mischief was their grand finale, and surely they’d be chuckling as they watched his head roll along the m…

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If you like my work, please consider making a donation. I one day hope to have enough to hire some artists to work with and adapt some of these pieces into graphic novels. In the meantime, though most of the money will probably go towards pot and coffee.


Crimson Dust

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The distant world with its surface of crimson dust was like a blood-stained ornament hanging in the heavens that attracts with a magnetic force the violent impulses woven into the superficial artifice of the reasonable human being. That macabre association perhaps just as much as reasonable proximity was what compelled the mightiest civilization to seek a new home in the bosom of their celestial god of war.
Justin was just eight years old, but from the time his developing brain was able to understand language, it was filled with fantastical tales about the great utopia their ancestors built among the stars. Despite the naivety of his age he never had any reason to doubt the ability of his forebears to accomplish such a feat. He grew up in the ruins of a world they had abandoned because it was no longer good enough, and the civilization they had discarded was far beyond anything Justin’s people could being to comprehend let alone hope to ever match in any regard. In just a few hours J…

Murky Water

The three-story house of paper and wood with its multiple slanted pitched roofs, square windows, and sliding doors was built in the traditional Japanese style. Despite the delicacy of the structure it had somehow survived the storm of fire the conquering army had rained down on the rest of the country. Ornamental paper lanterns were strung up along the front of the building, and a bulky gas-powered generator kept the interior so brightly lit the electric yellow glow cast distorted human silhouettes on the paper doors. It was a bastion of decadence and debauchery that stood out in stark contrast to the charred landscape where limbless beggars quietly held up empty wooden bowls, and emaciated war orphans scavaged any sustenance they could from the growing piles of refuse choking the streets.   Dejected masses of disbanded imperial soldiers with no army and no home drank themselves to death regretting having missed their only opportunity for an honorable death. The balmy summer air was t…

Lemniscate

The convoy of 18 wheelers racing along the road were nestled between armored humvees. Painted across the black metallic doors in bold font colored a steel blue was the name Hawkwood. Gunners stood half emerged from their steel-plated watching ahead with vigilant eyes tightly gripped the handles of their mounted .50 cals. UAVs hovered silently overhead stalking the ground below for any pray that might scurry into its panoramic field of vision. They drove west towards the receding night sky. The red and orange hues of dawn reflected brightly in rear view mirror.  The lonely two-lane road was surrounded by dense forests. Every now and again they passed a boarded-up building. Usually, a gas station or a rest stop derelict buildings that had been abandoned long ago. Token reminders of a sprawling, interconnected civilization that had been carved and dismembered.
LT Col Levinson formerly of the marines was the commanding officer of the convoy. He spent his extensive military career on the r…