shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
I took suggestions under consideration. This is a work in progress. Enjoy...

(Still untitled)

My Daddy was a magus. That's what Momma told me, at least. I never got to meet him, so I have to take her word on the whole thing. She met him at a psychic festival, years ago, had a fling, and then whoopsy. There I was, nine months later. She said it was all foretold, and she knew he'd knock her up as soon as she laid eyes upon him. She has the sight and all. It's what let her know I'd be a late bloomer. )
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
(I recently rediscovered a bunch of stuff I'd written about six years ago. Here's the origin story for one of my Vampire Dark Ages characters. If you like this, check out Children of Elisabet for more.)

I was born on April 1, 1162 in the Transylvanian town of Kronstadt, deep in the Carpathian Mountains. The third of six children, I was put to work as a goose herd as soon as I could walk and wield a stick. Both of my parents were employed as servants at the Keep of the Teutonic Knights. At the age of seventeen, I married a wheelwright by the name of Nicolae. He was older than me by a decade or more, and he said he loved me. Although I didn't love him in return, he treated me well enough.

When the plague came to Kronstadt, Nicolae died first. )
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Riza of Antinome slipped her foot behind that of the Lancastian soldier, pressed with her knee, then shoved the off-balance man hard into the wall. He sucked air in a noisy bray, the wind knocked right out of him. She laughed when she saw the next soldier rush toward her and easily tossed him over her shoulder and slammed him into the floor. She stood back, cackled, cracked her knuckles, then dived back into her fracas. She'd been stuck on board the Lancastian cruiser for too long behaving herself. It was time to let loose. With glee, she plucked the first soldier off the table where he'd collapsed mouth agape and swung him like a mallet into the second one. Both men made funny noises, now.

The soldiers at this bar felt secure with their reputations as ill-tempered thugs. Other patrons gave them deference. The bullies weren't used to resistance. They were too skilled with cruelty to expect anything from their opponents but pleas for mercy, and mercy wasn't really their forte. Riza knew of their reputation, of course. It was what brought her to this bar in particular. She wanted to stretch her legs--work out those kinks.

And so she waded into another man's fight. At the centre of the circle of sneering soldiers was a small, unarmed foreigner whose only crime was to wander into the wrong pub for a beer. He was a Marrup, from the looks of his peculiar dress. Riza didn't give half a toss about this man. She was just itching for an excuse.

The Marrup held his hands out in a placating gesture to the soldiers and screamed as one slashed at him with a knife. Riza grabbed the soldier's wrist and spun him around, smashing his face into the corner of the bar. The knife spun away, tip stabbing into the floor, hilt shuddering to stillness, and the foreigner plucked up his sarong and skittered out of reach of the soldiers.

Riza had always been an adrenaline junkie, as long as she could remember. When she was a little girl in Antinome, she'd often snuck off to go spelunking in perilous glacial crevasses much to her father's chagrin and her mother's secret pride. It had made her strong and quick on her feet. Her love of adventure was a blessing since a life of ease and comfort did not appeal to her at all. Her musculature was most impressive, with immense, sinewy thighs and a massive lat spread. She looked nothing like an average woman, and stood almost a full head taller than the average man. She was most certainly not an average anything. There could be no surprise that she should become a master of the martial arts, and a magnet for mayhem. Riza loved her life.

Five soldiers faced her now, angered that the foreigner had gotten away. She had ruined their fun. They would make her pay, or so they thought. The Antinomian slid Lifedrinker from its scabbard and took a low stance, ready for the onslaught. Her lips slid back, her nostrils flared, and her throat erupted into a terrifying battle cry. The patrons of the bar stood paralyzed, staring at the woman who dared challenge the Lancastian soldiers.

Two soldiers leapt at her with murder in their eyes, blades thrusting. Riza parried and dipped, piercing one man's throat on Lifedrinker, then smashing its hilt hard against the other man's temple.

Riza held Lifedrinker high over her head, and blood spattered down on her face. "My sword hungers for more," she growled.

The last three soldiers charged, swords swinging. Riza sidestepped, teeth gleaming with her battle rictus. From the shadows, someone hit her shoulder with a chair, and she was thrown off balance for a moment.

Taking advantage of the situation, one of the soldiers slashed downward with his sword, etching a long thin red line down Riza's right arm. Ignoring the deep scratch, Riza moved around the soldier, drawing him away from his cohorts. The remaining bar patrons fled as the two squared off, razor-sharp blades dancing through the air. Riza's war face turned into a pleased grin when she realized her opponent was a worthy one. But she wouldn't still be alive today if she hadn't already mastered every attack, feint, and riposte used on Gliese. Slowly, incrementally, the soldier was forced backward, until with a quick twist and a thrust, the Lancastian's military career was permanently ended.

With a jerk, Riza freed Lifedrinker and turned to face the last two soldiers. But instead of two, there was now only one, and he lie in a crumpled heap upon the floor where the Marrup was rhythmically bashing him about the head with a whiskey bottle, shouting with each hit. "Take that," he howled, "And that, and that!" He breathed heavily with exhaustion and righteous indignation.

Looking up, he noticed Riza and clambered to his feet taking a reverent bow. "My life is yours. Only tell me what to do, and I shall do it."

The Antinomian laughed, wiping Lifedrinker on the bludgeoned soldier. "You'd better run for the hills and pray that the gods protect you."

"Maybe we should both make for the hills," said the Marrup. "One of those soldiers got away, and I don't doubt he'll soon be back with a lot more."

Riza nodded to the Marrup, sheathed her sword, and breezed out into the Gliesean night. She sprinted down the street, pacing her breath with ease. She paused after turning the first corner, peeking back around the closed shop and down the street. Although she doubted reinforcements had arrived yet, she wasn't prepared to bet on it. But as she stopped to look, the little Marrup, sarong held high to give his legs freedom, darted around the corner and ran smack dab into her. Growling, she grabbed him by the collar and lifted him until they were eye level to one another.

"I'm through with you," she said. "Go your own way."

"I mustn't," said the Marrup. "By the laws of my people, my life belongs to you for a year and one day. Since you have saved my life, I am yours and may not leave your side."

Riza cursed and gave the Marrup a shake. "And I suppose that's why you threw a chair at me."

"My aim has never been good," cried the man half in terror and the other half remorse. "I apologize with all sincerity. I was trying to hit one of those soldiers in the head." He drooped in self-reproach.

Riza laughed and let the man go. "Maybe you do belong to me now, and maybe you don't," she said. "We'll sort that out later. In the meantime, do you know this part of the city?"

The Marrup straightened his collar. "Like the back of my hand," he said.

"Then get us out of here," said Riza.

"This way, lady," said the Marrup, and he whisked off into the shadows.

(to be continued...)
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
(I'm going to see what happens when I completely rewrite every sentence in a book I've never read, doing it on the fly.

The book I've chosen is an old pulp fiction sci-fi book called The Sword of Lankor, by Howard L. Cory.)

..................

Prologue

The Sun Ball was the size of a fat lady's ass and it hovered several centimetres over the parking lot of the Church of Kaga, the ubiquitous two-headed God of War of the planet Gliese. An hour ago, the Ball had first appeared in orbit and had spent this time descending steadily from the sky.

When the Ball showed up, people didn't know what to think. Though the faithful were in abundance, so were the nonbelievers. Rumours of the Ball's arrival quickly spread, first, from the Church itself, to the palace, shopping centres, schoolyards, and the tourist traps. Atheists and pious alike streamed to the Church parking lot. The rotund Labak, manager of a religious book and figurine megastore, who had already made a very comfortable living huckstering spirituality to the masses, hurried his way there with all due haste. If he got the drop on the other retailers, he could secure the lucrative rights on Sun Ball statuary. He could see his coffers swelling if he could just be the first to license the exact measurements and colouration of the actual Sun Ball. He sent a courier to the head of House Malor, renowned for their goldsmithing. Labak didn't doubt for a moment that the Cardinal would grant the Seal of Kaga to his Balls, especially if he promised a sizeable percentage of the profits to the Church. After all, he'd done just that with the ceremonial medallions, official Church of Kaga holy items, complete with the Malor hallmark, of course.

Labak wasn't the only one whose day had suddenly been made brighter by the arrival of the Sun Ball. Taxon, a tiny sliver of a man with a bushy beard and a wispy comb-over from the neighbouring Marrup'ska, was a Holy Speaker. If he got there in time, he'd make a fortune interpreting, with appropriately obfuscated prophetic language, the true meaning of the Arrival. While in transit, he muttered a variety of True Meanings under his breath, mentally weighing the effect of each upon his bankbook.

Captain Carpat Rom of Her Majesty's Twenty-Third Regiment also viewed the Sun Ball with joy. How auspicious that it had arrived on his twenty-fourth birthday! He made sure to appear at the parking lot in full dress uniform, his moustache waxed to needle-sharp points. He marched smartly up to the parking lot, snapped his heels, and presented arms to the Sun Ball. This was as much to impress the masses as it was to give honour to the Battle Deity. He was very handsome in his brilliant gold jacket with navy piping. His medals gleamed almost as bright as the Sun Ball itself. He went to lay his sword upon the Sun Ball itself, but something stopped the sword from touching it. Perhaps it was a force field? Perhaps it was the sudden realization of impropriety? In any case, Captain Carpat Rom's moustache began to twitch in a rodent-like fashion, and then the dashing young man transformed into a dashing young corpse.

Shelby, a seasoned thief had been casing the parking lot and contemplating the best route of escape once she'd nabbed the Sun Ball, decided at this moment to rob a jewellery store, or anything else at all, really, instead.

Koal, a bishop of Kaga, stepped out of the Church and chewed his lip for a moment. Deep in thought, he walked up to the Ball and looked at it and the dead officer. After a moment, he clapped his hands and his attendants appeared by his side. "Have that removed," he said, pointing to the corpse. He paid no attention to them as they carried the handsome body away. For several minutes, he stared at the Ball, stately and solemn in his crimson scapular. Then he exhaled slowly, as though he'd been holding his breath all that time, and vanished back into the Church.

When the bishop sighed, the crowd murmured. A leggy boy, his voice not yet changed, whispered to his mother. "Maybe it's a sign from Kaga?" She tried to shush him, but it was too late. The thing that he had said had rippled outward spreading through the crowd, and within the next forty-eight hours, through the rest of the entire nation.

Slug Storm

Aug. 25th, 2014 04:35 pm
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Slipping along the stem, feet moving like buttered skis, and only through luck and perseverance do I not fall. Green waves above me, prickles and stems and chew holes letting sunlight heap upon me. My journey is slow, inexorable, but not devoid of backtracking. Slimy exudate follows in my wake. Petrichor and chlorophyl pull me forward.

I slide to the left, and heave my body back on course. Lift my head. Lift my middle. Lift my back. Move. This is the sequence I must repeat.

Something moves toward me, faster than the speed of thought. Huge globules of water murk the sunlight, dash toward me, splash off the greenery, and cascade around me as I huddle-climb the slippery slope. I'm so close. I can almost taste it.

More water. A fierce gust of air buffets the stem and the movement is violent. I can't dodge this. I can only continue my way in the meagre lee of the meal I approach.
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
There's a gash in my leg, and I don't mean a cut. I'm talking pussy, here. It's not a porn star gash, with its neat, tidy labia. I'm talking a big ol' floopy cunt, with curly hairs and a bit of a dribble. From the looks of it, I'd say it's given birth a few times. It was there when I woke up this morning. No, I don't know how it got there, but I'm trying to find a way to deal with it.

I know you want to see, but there's no way I'm going to show you. You're not my doctor. Not my lover. Would you want to show just anyone your bits? Ok, maybe you would, but as for me, I'm not that much of an exhibitionist, even if I've been known to wear my shorts too short. No more of that, now. My new vag is up near the top of my calf, so there's no hiding it in the summertime unless I cover up.

Yes, I still have my old pussy, thank you very much. And yes, it's in the right place. And... Oh, dear lord. I just realized it might start bleeding. What the fuck am I supposed to do with a leg period? I guess I could use a tampon. There's no way I want to strap a pad there. And if I'm stuck with this thing and it's a working model, I sure hope it's synchronized. I don't want to have two sets of monthlies.

I remember seeing articles about mice with human ears on their backs, and a Russian guy with a dick attached to his forearm, but these things were there by design and not by chance. How the hell does a vulva end up growing out of my leg? Was I abducted by aliens? Is it proof of a god? Does magic exist? Will Professor X invite me to his school for mutants?

Oh god. I need to keep away from Aunt Fran's frisky dog. That thing always humps legs. Oh god....
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
Back when a few bees still buzzed from flower to flower and we still had good things to eat, a woman was walking home just before twilight. Though it was midsummer, it was cold enough that she could see her breath as she hurried along, and it was only by chance she noticed a bee lying on the sidewalk. She paused to look at it. It was on its side, and she wasn't sure if it was dead or not until she noticed a slight movement of wing, and another of leg.

She knelt down and scooped it up, placing it on a lush bed of Kleenex. She carried it home in her hand, one hand atop to give it some warmth. When she got home, she set it on the table and mixed a bit of sugar and water and offered the bee a droplet. Warmed but still weak, the bee crept forward and supped upon the sugary elixir. Soon, it was rejuvenated enough to crawl around at normal speed. The woman turned out the light and went to bed.

In the morning, she brought the bee outside and set it on a flower. It crawled inside, covered itself with a dusting of pollen, and flew off.

She thought no more of it until the next day when her garden was abuzz with bees, a sight she hadn't seen in years. Every day after that, as long as the flowers bloomed in her yard, bees populated every blossom, and yellow- and black-striped fuzzy bodies busied themselves in the breeze.

Her home became a marvel as the bee population continued to decline in the world. Though bees had become a rarity, the air around her house was a droning cloud, and people would gather and gaze in amazement. The one time a burglar attempted to steal from her home, he was stung until he ran away. But the bees never stung the woman, though they swarmed about her, and sometimes even on her, for she enjoyed their company and sang to them daily.

One spring day, when she was very old, the woman died. On that day, no bees buzzed in her garden. They all stood still on flower and tree and wall and roof, and the bombination disappeared as they mourned.

Yes, they mourned. Three days later, when the woman was buried, the bees swarmed the cemetery and built a hive upon her gravestone. It became the last known hive in the world, and through this miracle, the woman became known as the saint of bees.

[Night Bee I - by Robert Spellman]

(Image is Night Bee I by Robert Spellman: Night Bees)

The Venge

Oct. 6th, 2013 06:09 pm
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
The grass grows bright and lush right up to the edge of the River Venge, and willows dip their branch tips, testing the waters. If left unattended, livestock will drink from the river, but no shepherd will permit it. The River Venge is misleading. It loops back and forth on itself like intestines, and the surface is smooth but for a faint ripple at the centre. Although waterfowl make their homes in the nearby ponds and tributaries, none alight on the surface of the river.

The River Venge is narrow. If you get a good, running start, you can jump right across. But if you don't get a good, running start, that's where your troubles end. No one who has ever fallen in has gotten out.

No one.

They use it for executions. Always have. Bind the criminals and give them a little push. There's nary a splash. The water just sucks them right down, all greedy-like. The bodies don't ever come bobbing back up. Nothing bobs back up. If you throw a piece of wood in, that misleading little ripple gulps it down, just like a starving dog with a gobbet of meat.

They say not to go upstream too far, either. The Venge slides its way from a thick black-green tangle of forest a few miles away. Strange folk live in the forest: cannibals, raiders, and mixers of strange poisons. They blacken their teeth and file them to points. Their skin and garb is mottled the black-green of the trees they live in, and the river is sacred to them.

Long, long ago, a sylphlike girl crept out from the forest and slunk her way along the riverside through willows and reeds until she came to a farm. No one knows why she left the forest. Perhaps she wanted to prove herself to her people. Maybe she wanted to steal a baby. Perhaps she was just curious.

In any case, she came to that farm and didn't leave. A family lived there, and the eldest son caught her fancy. Though forest people had never before been seen by daylight, she ventured out to the farmhouse one morning, palms held out, outspread, in a gesture of peace and supplication. But the children cowered at her strange appearance, and she was driven off the farmstead, disappearing into the undergrowth with an eerie, feline grace. Several times she attempted to befriend the family, sometimes making an offering of a deer or a brace of birds. Each time, she was driven off, and the gifts she offered were thrown into the River Venge. They may have been poisoned, after all.

Yet still she remained, though she no longer approached the farmstead. She only watched from afar. One night, the farm was beset upon by wicked men. The house was set afire, livestock driven off, money and jewellery stolen. From the cover of darkness, the girl raised her bow and fired off tiny, poison-tipped arrows. Though she killed two, and the others dragged them off in fear, she was too late, too late! The family lie dead or dying around the yard. She ran to the bleeding, battered young man and held him in her arms. His blood painted her mottled skin, staining her arms, her face, her lips. Though he was weak, he would live.

When the villagers came to investigate the cries and the orange column of smoke, they saw the bloodied girl with the young man. The farmers had told them of her, and how she had skulked in the shadows around the farm. They pulled her off him, and he did not stop them. They bound her wrists behind her back and placed a noose around her neck. She cried out to the young man, but he would not meet her eyes. He would not speak up for her. And so the villagers threw the rope over the branch of a big tree, and they hung her until she was dead.

Her body was thrown into the River Venge.

And for the first and only time, something came back out of the river.
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
So I'm working at the Monkey's Paw on Wednesday night as usual, just putting away a few books and stuff, and it's almost closing time, and in walks this old guy. Not to judge or anything, but he really doesn't look like the sort of guy who just wanders into an occult shop. He's wearing a suit that looks about as old as him, and probably has a higher polyester count than a Malaysian sweat shop. He's kinda balding, his tie has a bit of ketchup on it, and he walks in with a look of resigned determination: you know, the same sort of look you might have when you go to the dental hygienist. )
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
(Character sketch for a Hunter game....)

So I knew I was special from an early age, right? Yeah, I know everyone thinks there special, except maybe those flinching ones who hide in the corners at school hugging their bookbags to their chests, but I knew I was. I mean, Ma and Pa always told me I was special, but that’s like their job, right? I know it sounds cheesy as hell, but it came to me in a dream. I’m a bit of an oracle, when it comes to dreams, so when I dreamed about the Great Eye on top of ye olde pyramid, and how that eye scanned all around like the freaking Eye of Sauron until it lit on ME, well, yeah, of course I knew I’d been singled out. By what exactly, I wasn’t sure, but there’s a reason the unknown is called the occult. I was singled out for life as an occultist. )
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
I wrote a play today, in 7.5 hours.

This is the first draft. My brain hurts.

Read more... )
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
I just thought about this short story I wrote back in 1994 and thought I should bring it back to view. It seems relevant to what I'll be doing tomorrow (I plan on writing a play on Pope Innocent VIII!).

Enjoy! (Oh yeah. It's a nasty little story with violence and such, so be warned.)

Matthew stares. Fascination. Repugnance. She flips chestnut hair over, around. Brushes bottom of her shoulder-blades. Sequinned bra glitters under strobe lights, Matthew's pulse quickens. )
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
Dracula is a work of science fiction, and since blood is a central motif, blood transfusions are a key technology. The history and science of blood transfusions have correlations and influences in the novel. The first recorded attempt evokes vampirism. In the 1492 attempt to save comatose Pope Innocent VIII, he was fed the blood of three boys. Both the Pope and the boys died. The first successful human-to-human blood transfusion took place during Bram Stoker's childhood (1).

Coming from an experimental medical family, Stoker was aware of cutting-edge surgical technology. It is believed he conferred with his brothers for his research (2): Dr. George Stoker was a medical innovator and inventor (3), and Sir Thornley Stoker was the chair of anatomy at the School of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and a vivisection inspector (4). Both were familiar with transfusion technology.

Although “the blood is the life” (5, Chapter 11), it is also the death. Today, transfusions are considered a relatively safe procedure, but before the discovery of blood typing (6), it was a terrible gamble and performed only when all other measures had failed (6). Mixing incompatible blood can result in a fatal reaction where the blood clumps in the recipient (7). Therefore, the use of transfusions in Dracula enhances the suspense and horror.

In 1873, Sir Thomas Smith performed the first successful transfusion of defibrinated (declotted) blood (8). This subsequently became a favoured safeguard, and is referenced and dismissed when Van Helsing says, “we need not defribinate” (5, Chapter 10). In this way, he experiments with an already experimental science.

In the words of Van Helsing, “We have on our side power of combination—a power denied to the vampire kind; we have resources of science” (5, Chapter 18). The use of blood technology makes Dracula speculative science fiction.

Works Cited )

Hollow Hill

Nov. 8th, 2011 10:38 pm
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
Lady Burwhynne Mildenhalle was still a young woman when her much older husband, Lord Osfrid was carried off by ague. Cynebeah was yet a babe in arms. Lord Osfrid's younger brother, Sighard, had no problems marrying Osfrid's widow (she was proven fertile, after all) and claiming the modest estates, but he had no use for young Cynebeah.

Sighard was prone to sudden fits of rage and pique, and Cynebeah learned at a young age to keep well out of his way. She spent the bulk of her time sequestered either in her father's meagre library, in the chapel, or in the servant's quarters. Her mother even fed her in the servants' quarters, rather than risk offending her hot-blooded husband by having her take her meals with them. By the time Cynebeah was in her early teens, Burwhynne had welped ten more children: eight daughters and two boys. Of these, only two daughters had survived, leaving the irascible Sighard without a suitable heir.

When Cynebeah was fifteen years old, Burwhynne made the mistake of approaching her husband about providing a dowry so she may be married off. Sighard flew into a terrible rage. Cynebeah heard it from the chapel where she was offering her morning prayers. Screams echoed down the halls, and Cynebeah rushed to the main hall and peeked through the huge double doors. Sighard was holding her mother by the hair with one hand and backhanding her with the other.

Something made Sighard stop. Perhaps Cynebeah had sucked in air a little too loudly. Maybe she'd gasped. But whatever it was, Sighard let go of Burwhynne and looked across the room to Cynebeah.

"As long as I draw breath, you shall receive no dowry. If you wish to take a husband, the Devil take you. Or the Christos himself. It is no care of mine. Pack your things and leave, and do not darken my doorstep again."

Obedient to her step-father's wishes, Cynebeah picked out a couple of books from her father's library, wrapped them carefully in oilskin, and filled a pouch with black bread, a couple of wizened apples, and a parcel of suet from the kitchen. She pinned on a wimple and wrapped a wool blanket about herself and set off in the dead of night toward the cloisters in the coastal town of Uley.

Although she was upset, Cynebeah was no fool, and she kept to the shadows as she walked. There were worriesome tales of bandits and highwaymen. It was early spring. The ground squelched beneath her feet, but mercifully the sky was clear and the full moon cast plenty of light. Cynebeah was not sure how the man approached her without her noticing, but suddenly, there he was in front of her.

He was a short, squat man, wrapped up in blankets and tatters. His feet and hands were bundled in rags.

"Alms for the poor," he said. His voice was as wet as the muck she stood upon.

Although startled, she did not jump back. "I have no coin," she said, "but I would give you some bread if you are hungry."

He bowed his head in thanks, and Cynebeah opened her pouch, and broke off a piece of bread, smeared the lump of suet across it, and went to hand it to the man. But the man was nowhere to be seen.

Cynebeah shivered and looked around. No one was at the crossroads but her and the moon, far overhead. Cynebeah turned around slowly, but there was no sign of anyone else. A tiny bit of rag puffed past her on a gust of wind. It came from the direction of a stone marker by the intersection. Cynebeah walked to the stone and placed the bread and one apple atop it, crossed herself, then continued onward to the nunnery in Uley. She was careful not to look back.

Well before dawn, Cynebeah arrived at the cloisters and rapped upon the large wooden doors. A nun came to the door and stared at her impassively. Cynebeah explained who she was, and why she was there. The nun grunted and shook her head. "If men on earth require a dowry in order to take a bride, how do you expect the Christos to take you as a bride when you have nought to offer? You must be able to pay for your own upkeep and contribute to the glory of the Lamb."

The nun closed the door, and Cynebeah stared at the great wooden boards and the tall stone walls and felt foolish and afraid.

She murmured, "If the Christos will not have me, then mayhap I must go to the Devil."

She turned around to return to the Crossroads, and the man was right there, face hidden by blankets and swaths of rags. "Have no fear, Sister Cynebeah, for though you are awash with original sin, and though you have been tainted by she who ate of the fruit and listened to the Serpent--even you shall drink the blood of the Lamb, and even you shall know eternal life. Come with me and you shall receive your sacrament."

The man led her to a large barrow a ways off from the town, then began pushing aside some dead bushes on the ancient burial mound, revealing a little tunnel. He gestured to the hole. Cynebeah gathered up her courage and began creeping in. He came in after her, pulling the bushes after him, closing up the hole. It was terribly dark. She could smell humus and soil and a clean sort of decay. The tunnel was worn smooth and she crawled along until it the walls fell away and she was standing on a great stone floor, feeling around in vain with her hands.

She felt the brush of rags, saw the faint glow of a coal, and then a tallow candle sluggishly alit.

She couldn't tell how large the room was, but it was filled with a strange assortment of unlikely items: crucifixes, scrolls, sheela na gigs, books, daggers, goblets, and even a couple of rats which didn't even bother skittering away at the man's approach.

The man walked over to a table, his back to her. He dipped his head and began unwrapping his hands. She couldn't see what he did next. The tallow for the candle was not good, and the flame guttered badly. Cynebeah was sure she did not see a bottle or a pot or a wineskin, but the goblet he held was full. She could see the light reflecting off the liquid.

He began to intone the Holy Mass.

Cynebeah knelt before him.

"... bene dixit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite, et bibite ex eo omnes."

With the words of consecration, he raised the chalice to the level of his eyes, looking upward. The rats sat quietly.

"Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis mei, novi et aeterni testamenti: mysterium fidei: qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum."

He held the goblet out to Cynebeah, and she let it touch her lips.

He continued with a wet whisper. "Haec quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis."

She sipped from the chalice. It did not taste like any wine she had ever drunk before. It was rich and foul, but he kept the goblet tipping, and she began gulping despite herself. It wasn't foul at all. It was knowledge and power. It was eating from the tree of knowledge. It was eating from the tree of life. It was drinking the blood of the Lord. And she grasped the goblet in her hands and gulped down every last bit, reaching inside, and licking it so that not a single drop was wasted.

And the room, which she'd thought so quiet, was filled with noises. The drip of moisture, the squeaks of more rats, her own heartbeat racing harder than it had when she'd run to find her mother being beaten.

And it was brighter than she'd thought. She could see the man's face more clearly, now. He was grinning at her, and he had two long, sharp teeth sticking down across his bottom lip like darning needles. Instead of a nose, he had a gaping hole, and his eyes were sunken and glittering in the candle light.

"You shall work with me, Sister Cynebeah, and when you have proven your worth, you shall become a bride."

And so began her instruction. She was taught how to follow, listen, and report. She filled books with knowledge, and recorded the words of the man, Marcus Valerius Sabinus. Years later, after finding and following a woman with a red dress and reporting back to him, Sabinus embraced her and gave her the gift of eternal life.

Now she was a bride.
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
I stood on the holy hill, and I moistened my lip with my tongue, staring up into the cave. Is it time? No. Soon.

Is it time yet? No, soon.

And then I heard the susurration of sudden inhalation, saw the excitement come cascading down the queue of women like a crest breaking along the surf, and I knew. It was time.

The men came bursting from the cave, clad in nought but blood as on the day they were born from their blessed mothers. Their lips were smeared with the milk of the holy she-wolf, and they cried out, but not as babes. Their shouts were virile and stirred my heart and my loins. I leaned forward for a better view. We all did. Besmeared with blood, erupting from the sheath of the earth, and blessed by the gods, the young men, the finest in all the land, tore down the hill, arms raising and falling in vicious rhythm. My heartbeat caught up with their rapid footfall. My breast thudded as though it might burst. "Pick me, oh pick me," I prayed.

I saw unblooded virgins battling with matrons, pulling hair, clawing flesh. Some collapsed in tears or in swoons. I could not tell which. Could not care, no, not so long as I was chosen. I heard screams of rage and despair, saw fists clutching at the men, but their feet never slowed. Their arms swung methodically, their blows falling where the Fates deemed it best. Oh gods, let their blows fall upon me.

And then he was before me, his nostrils flared with exertion, his eyes bloodshot and stupefied with drink. The hairy februa in his hand was still slick with blood. Was it dog or was it goat? It did not matter. He was raising it. Raising it to me. Tendons bulged on his neck. Oh, this one was as mighty as Europa's bull, and surely as fertile. I burst from the fray of women. He pushed at me with his free hand but I yanked at the arm that tried to propel me back. I braced my legs and clung to him, dragged off my feet but never letting go. Those behind me clawed at my flesh. But I did not care. His arm was raising. His arm was falling, and I was splattered with a spray and the strap stung me not once, not twice, but three times.

He tore himself from my grasp and continued down the hill. I lay on the path and the screams melted away. Though violence surged around me, I was at peace.

The Fish

Jan. 31st, 2011 09:49 pm
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
(This is an attempt at turning one of my short stories into iambic pentameter.)

I ease myself from under woolen warmth
And whisper Olaff's name. I sit on edge
Of wooden bed. I slow my breath and heart,
Then stand and walk o'er to the door. And though
'tis summer still, I see frost all along
The bolt. And frost doth drip and melt beneath
My hand. I lift the bolt and open the door.
I look outside and naught is changed. The chirp
of tail-end summer's cricket song rings loud
In my own straining ears. I close the door
And go to blazing stove. Not by my hand
Was this fire lit. If not by me then who?
I tap my cheek with finger slim, then reach
And take the fish from where they hang. Sic, I
Accept thine gift, dear Olaff. Gyfu. Sic.

At any other time the food would pass
My lips uncooked. And yet the fire doth broke
No argument. I take a frying pan
And set it on the stove. I pause, my breath
Inhaled, place fish inside, exhale, and wait.
In time, I hear the fish begin to spit and fry
And to my awe, they smell quite toothsome, good.
In my own memory, I have not cooked
A food that smelled anything but befouled.

I pull my dagger from my belt and slide
it 'neath my meal. 'Tis stuck to pan. With firm
Resolve I force the knife between, and then
I work the blade from side to side until
The fish tears free and leaves its skin and half
Its flesh behind. I frown then flip it o'er.
The stink which wafts from pan to nose is not
a pleasing one. Acrid black smoke taints air.

I lift the pan and walk across the room.
The table holds my awful feast. I poke
And frown at smoldered flesh still raw inside.
'Tis base, unfit for beast or man, but I
Shan't waste this gift, not I. So dagger digs
Through charred and bleeding meat and I do eat.
Though moons have passed since I last cooked, I pray
Yet many more shall pass ere I avail
Myself of mine own cook'ry vile again.

And Olaff knows I cannot cook, not e'en
To save my life. He maketh sport of me.
Moons past, I chose to share with him a meal.
His eyes were blinded with my kerchief black,
And I led him through mud and darkness 'til
He came to rest with me at hidden home,
Inside embrace of swamp and trees, my tent
Among the secrets of the Shadow Wood.
And there I offered him hot soup and tea.
My lip doth twitch, a smile doth crease my face.
I shake my head and grin despite myself.

The soup was good, thou t'were not made by me
But Chalaonar. The tea was my doing.
I had but one lone pot for food and tea.
And when we'd supped upon the soup I rinsed
The pot with water collected from rain
I added soap shavings to wash it out
And rinsed again before I put the pot
Atop the flame once more to boil for tea.
The tea was rare, brought home from Antioch
By Chalaonar. The finest tea for miles.

But tea most fine doth taste most foul imbued
With flakes of soap. Alas, but I had failed
To rinse it all away. Through honey mask
Came tallow taste of lye and scummy film.
Yet Olaff drank without a pause, no doubt
He feared I'd poisoned him. But brave he was
And showed no dread and drained his cup outright.

I stand aright from off my chair and take
it all away. I tip the pan and slough
The bones into the fire, then scrape
It clean (no soap, this time) and laugh it off.

Busy!

Jan. 23rd, 2011 08:41 pm
shanmonster: (Default)
I've been busy.

I went to London last week to help out while my sister had her baby in the wee hours of Thursday morning. I am now the aunt of Alexandria Raine. She's fat and healthy, and here she is having her first bath:

[Alexandria Raine]

On Friday, after an eleventh-hour arrival by [livejournal.com profile] knightky, we zoomed off to Cliterature arriving at the tail end of the first act. My reading of Daisy Chain went over very well, I'd say, with most of the audience laughing hysterically, and a few others being grossed right the hell out at my colourful descriptions of man sex.

I'm good at grossing people out. I almost made Kyle puke this morning, just with a few choice sentences. I didn't know that was possible. He has an iron constitution!

I read a pile of poems out loud, and we watched very diverse shows this weekend:
  • 2012 Supernova
  • Varsity Blues
  • Walking Dead
  • The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

I'm looking forward to more.

While I wait for the laundry to finish up, I'm contemplating what to do next. I've been thinking about stopping the progression of the story I'm working on to go back and write the beginning. A lot of crucial information is missing, such as history and character development. As it stands, the reader is plunged into the middle of a developed world in medias res. While I like that technique, there are just far too many missing factors that really need to be fleshed out. Time to work on them, I think.

Then again, I kind of want to do something nonproductive, like play a video game. I haven't done that in a long time. Maybe it's time to dust off my Katamari game.

Apropos to nothing, coriander smells amazing.

I may not have any performances lined up, at the moment, but I do have a lot of dance ahead of me. This week, I'm attending On the Move in Toronto. Next week, I'm taking a Caribbean belly dance fusion class with Cassandra Fox. After that, I have another workshop with Dave St. Pierre (contains nudity), will be checking out the Can-Asian Dance Festival, and will be training with Ziya Azazi, Jocelyne Montpetit, and Denise Fujiwara. I'm really looking forward to it.

Link dump? Sure.

Ancient Transylvanians Rich in Gold, Treasure Shows: Most of the gold jewellery found weighs over two pounds a piece.

Sevants in Heaven, Kings in Hell: A good collection of statuary, most of it funerary art.

Octopus Table: Oh wow. This needs to be my dining room table.

15 Incredibly Beautiful Birds: Gorgeous.

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