Just Maybe

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Monday Meme – The Numbers

 

Alina dragged herself into the bathroom, deeply thankful for a double-wide shower stall, big enough to accommodate her burgeoning belly. She heard Joran return to the bedroom walking softly and felt him enter the shower behind her. He supported her carefully while she soaped and rinsed.
“Won’t be long now…”
She turned and kissed his cheek.
“Thank you.”

Joran helped her out of the shower and dried her tenderly on a big fluffy towel.

When she was dressed in a loose flowing gown with her hair properly imprisoned in a silken net, she took both his hands in hers.
“Has your father returned?”
“Aye. But he had no luck.”
With her last hope gone, Alina heard her own cry of agony as if from afar. She held her husband’s eyes with her own, aware that the misery in his expression was mirrored in her face.

She dropped his hands and placed her own palms on her stomach.
“There are two lives in here Joran. We only have a licence for one.”
She thought his face was the bleakest thing she had ever seen.
“I know. And how do you think I feel?”
“I don’t think I can begin to understand. Will you have to kill one of us?”
“Yes love. I can only leave the delivery room with one extra life. The Numbers prohibit any more. My family has only lost one member since the last child was born a decade ago.”
“Then you must kill me.”
He fell to his knees and buried his face in her white gown.
“That has already been suggested to me. I will not rip out my heart.”
“Then will you rip out mine? I have grown two lives here inside me. I cannot allow one to die.”

Joran stood up and they clung together like children. Caught in the toils of intractable law and unable to see a way out, all they could do was hold on and perhaps pray.

By the time of the family meal they had collected themselves enough to behave with propriety, and they even managed to ignore the spuriously sympathetic looks cast their way by those family members who had lost out to them in the childbirth lottery.

It was a long day, and the heat and humidity of the air in the place of the women all but brought Alina to her knees. But she had sufficient pride not to give in, and she was sitting tall and straight when Joran and his Grandfather entered the room.

They came straight to her side. Joran’s eyes were bright with unshed tears, but he smiled at her through them. Grandfather spoke directly to her.
“The Numbers have changed. Both your children may now be welcomed. Old Grace went to the God today. By her own hand. This was her gift to you.”
Alina thought she might faint, but managed to hold firm.
Joran took her hand.
“We will call our daughter Grace…”

© jane jago 2017

 

 

 

The tweedles

Tweedleeast and Tweedlewest
resolved to go to war
For Tweedlewest said Tweedleeast
had really gone too far
And as they spoke, the silverbacks
hid ‘neath the bed and shook
For Tweedleast said Tweedlewest
would soon be brought to book
Tweedlewest and Tweedleeast
did huff and puff and shout
And women in suburbia
cried who will help us out
The Slavic eagle heard their cries
his wingspan blocked the light
Which frightened both our heroes so
they clean forgot to fight

© jane jago 2017

Sunday Serial – III

Jane Jago’s latest hard-hitting novel, serialised for you to enjoy! If you missed the start you can catch up here.

The brawny chested jumpsuit guy had taken quite a lot of shotgun pellets in his shoulder and upper arm.

“The shot needs to come out. Local?”

“Can you try without?”

“I can. Yell if it hurts too much.”

“Oh. I will.”

Sam picked up a pair of sterile tweezers and made short work of removing the lead balls.

“Antiseptic now. This will hurt, but it’ll be fast.”

“Okay.”

Sam poured a whole bottle of antiseptic over the area and grinned at his patient’s inventive cursing.

“Only two places needing stitching. Again I have to ask if you want a local?”

“No thanks. But can I ask where you got so familiar with gunshot wounds?”

“You can,” Sam set the first stitch quickly and his patient barely moved. “Thailand. Working for Medicins sans Frontiers. We looked after kids who had been rescued from the sex traders, and quite often the rescuers got shot.”

He set two more stitches.

“Right. Done. Field dressing?” One appeared in his hand and he applied it with careful thoroughness.

“Thanks mate. That feels good.”

“Okay. The stitches are self dissolving so you shouldn’t need any more professional care. Keep it dry for a week, and you’ll be fine.”

The jumpsuits’ boss leaned over and spoke softly to Sam.

“They never intended giving the kid back alive, did they?”

“Probably not. The way they ill-treated him certainly makes it seem that way.”

“But he’ll be OK now?”

“Yes. Both physically and mentally. But I’m fucking relieved we got to him when we did. They hadn’t started really putting the frighteners on him, so he’s upset but not damaged.”

“You a trick-cyclist then?”

“No but my Dad was, and I’ve seen a lot of abused kids.”

“Is there anything else we can do for the kid now?”

“Not unless you can produce some hot food.”

“Soup?”

“Yeah. But how?”

“We’ve got a small stock of self heating pouches of food for emergencies. He’s welcome. The chicken soup is even palatable. And we’ve got bowls and spoons.”

“Great. But can we let him sleep for a few minutes first?”

“Can do. Warm soup after we have taken off?”

“Yes. Good.”

Sam turned his head.

“You holding, Rod?”

“Just about. I can keep a lid on the anger for Billy’s sake. But it ain’t easy.”

“No. It’s not. And I wouldn’t ask you to do it if he didn’t need you to be a calm, safe presence. Is he sleeping peacefully now?”

“Yes.”

“Good. If he starts to twitch or show signs of distress talk to him calmingly. Tell him he’s safe and he’s with you.”

“Right. Can do.”

The helicopter door opened to admit the boomer boys and the rest of the jumpsuit men. One of the boomer boys was cradling his left arm and looked to be in some pain. Sam raised his brows.

“I think it’s broke. Got caught in a fecking booby trap. But now we need to take off PDQ. We ain’t got more than fifteen minutes before the whole thing goes up. We lost five while the boys dug me out.”

As he was speaking, the engine note of the chopper changed and they left the ground. Everyone got headphones, even the sleeping William, and conversation became a lot easier.

“We have to take a detour” the boss explained. “Firstly to put those hills between us and the castle when she blows, but also to come into Scottish air space from the North Sea. We’ve got a couple flight plans filed, and that one brings us in from an oil platform. We were never here.”

“No indeed,” the boomer boys agreed. “Not within a hundred miles.”

Sam laughed harshly.

“What about the survivors who saw you?”

“What survivors?”

“Ah. Good. Bastards.”

Rod reached over and patted him.

“Goes against the grain doc. Or does it?”

“Not with what they were doing to that little man. Now I’ve a broken wrist to look at. Somebody help him out of his shirt. Gently. Cut the sleeve.”

Willing hands obeyed and Sam eyed the misshapen limb.

“Don’t need an X-ray. That is most definitely bust. Both bones. And before you get all butch on me I’m going to have to give you a walloping great shot of local just to relax your muscles enough for me to put the bones in their proper place.”

“Can ye?” the injured man asked.

“If he can’t, nobody can,” Rod asserted. “As well as being my mate, the bugger is an orthopaedic surgeon what the nurses reckon is a genius.”

“Shut up you big tosser” Sam said mildly and shoved a needle full of something into the upper part of the injured arm. He took an appliance out of one of the packs, and waited about five minutes before poking the wrist experimentally. The man didn’t seem to notice.

“Okay. Lay him down on the floor and hold his head and feet. This will be quick but he may still feel it enough to struggle.”

He leaned over and gave a pull and a twist to the arm.

“Hold this still,” he barked and the boss obeyed while he wrapped what looked like a blue plastic bag around the arm, then he set a compressor going and inflated the splint around the arm.

“You’ll do for now. Sit him up and watch him for nausea. Sometimes that much painkiller can make people sick. If somebody calls ahead for the kit, I’ll do a proper plaster when we get to Glasgow. Tell whoever, that I want glass fibre bandages, not plaster of Paris.”

As he stood and stretched, he found himself the recipient of an unexpected round of applause.

“You’re a useful bloke to have around. I could have done the usual first aid, but I’d never have dared manipulate the bones.”

“No. Neither should I have. But I’m a cocky sod. And I’m good.” Then he stopped grinning. “As soon as we’re sure the castle has gone off bang, we should call this wee man’s mum and dad, so they know he’s safe.”

As if on cue, a brawny arm passed Sam a bowl of soup and a spoon.

“I ain’t made it too hot, have I?”

Sam tested the temperature.

“No that’s perfect. Somebody switch on his headphones. Let’s see if he’ll wake up and eat.”

Rod kissed the head that lay against his chest.

“Supper sleepyhead,” he said gently.

William stirred and opened his eyes.

“Uncle Rod. You really here?”

“I am. And so is Doctor Sam, who has some soup for you. It’s nice and warm.”

William turned a shy smile to Sam.

“You stopped me feeling sick. And you never hurt me. Thank you.”

Sam smiled at him.

“You are entirely welcome. You wanna try some of this soup?”

The little lad opened his mouth like a baby bird, and Sam fed him a spoonful of warm soup, then another. He ate the lot, then snuggled against Rod and dropped back to sleep.

“He seems awful sleepy.”

“Stress. Still drugs in his system. The relief of being safe. Sleepy is normal. I’d worry if he wasn’t.”

“Oh. I see.”

The pilot’s voice came through everyone’s headphones. “We’re going to land now, briefly. Until the bangs stop. Then we can piss off at top speed.”

Jane Jago

You are old

You are old and that can’t be much fun
You should sit home and live like a nun
But you’ve pierced both your nipples
And you rode a Speed Triple
Round the Nurburgring clocking a ton

© jane jago 2017

Weekend Wind Down – Beyond The Horizon by C H Clepitt.

Walker checked his watch.  It was new.  A company just on the edge of Smoke, called Claymore and Tims, (which always made him think of a weedy little man trying to wield a huge sword), had just started developing this ‘wrist watches’.  They were smaller than pocket watches, and he always worried that he would push the tiny winder too far and break the spring. As such, he leaned towards underwinding, and his watch subsequently lost time.  Now, he was wondering just how late Judge Thompson was.  He kissed his teeth and leaned back in his chair.

“The judge will be with you shortly,” Jenkins, the judge’s clerk poked his tiny spherical head out from the office.  His thick spectacles engulfed his face, the lenses reflecting the room and giving the youth an almost mechanical look.

Walker held his watch to his ear to check that it was still ticking.

“Oh! You’ve one of the new wrist ones! How do you find it?” Jenkins asked eagerly.

“Small,” Walker said frankly. “And damned if I don’t always check my pocket first, every time!”

“Jenkins!” The voice of the judge boomed from the office behind them. “Stop your chit chat and send Walker in! You’re worse than my wife for gossip, boy!”

Jenkins’ cheeks flushed and he opened the door fully. “The judge will see you now, Sir.”

Walker nodded, rose gathering his papers and headed in.

“That will be all, Jenkins,” Judge Thompson dismissed the terrified youth. “So, Walker, how is it you always end up with the no win cases, eh? Damned bad luck, or are you cursed?” He laughed, leaned back in his chair and opened the walnut box on his desk, producing a thick cigar.  As he lit it and inhaled; a heady scent of cigar smoke filled the room.  Taking his cue from the judge, Walker took his cigarette case from his pocket and lit one.  He took a seat without waiting to be offered and looked at the judge for a moment, studying his countenance, his self satisfied grin that was permanently emblazoned on his face. The look of a man who knew he’d been born to privilege, and was going to exploit it.

“I volunteered,” Walker said calmly, blowing smoke across the office.

“Why the hell did you do that, man?” Thompson asked incredulously. “That woman is going straight to the noose! Amazed she escaped it before, killed her husband, apparently.”

“Because everyone deserves representation,” Walker maintained a calm exterior, but the grip on his cigarette tightened. “And I have a witness that says he was in there mutilating girls. It could have been self defense.”

“Witness! What witness?” Judge Thompson sneered. “Some whore? Who will believe her? Sir Thomas was a member of my golf club, for gods’ sake!”

“Then, are you sure you are the correct person to be trying the case, Judge?” Walker asked carefully.

“Don’t give me that bull, man!” Thompson snapped, waving his cigar ash over the desk in a flurry. “I can try a case based on the facts, it’s just that the facts scream guilty.”

Walker gritted his teeth and studied the judge.

“Anyway,” he continued. “Doesn’t exactly scream innocent to run away, does it?”

“Run away?” Walker repeated.

“Yes!” Thompson laughed. “That’s why I called you here, sorry, chap! Yes, your client has fled, with some boy. Last seen lurking at the train station. If she doesn’t report for court tomorrow, I’ll have no choice but to pass an automatic guilty verdict.”

“No choice?” Walker repeated. “Of course, that would wrap things up quickly.”

“No odds to me, man,” Thompson snorted. “Just thought I’d give you a chance to bring her in peacefully.”

“Right, yes, thank you.” Walker stood up. The long strip of ash that had been burning down his cigarette dropped onto his shoe. He shook it under the desk and left the butt in the judge’s ashtray. “I’ll see what I can do.” He left the office.

He knew this woman stood no chance in Judge Thompson’s court. He had already decided on her guilt.  The victim was most likely the slasher that the police had been half heartedly hunting for the last two years, but he was a member of the right golf club, so who cares? Walker strode towards the station. He knew the judge would have a man on him, and if he didn’t at least try to be seen to be seeking out his client, there would be consequences. Professional. He was already unpopular due to the anti-establishment cases he took pro-bono. The system was broken, and this was the only way he knew to fix it.

It was dusk now, and as he left the dimly lit streets of Smoke for the station he lit another cigarette. The smoke was barely visible in the dusk, but the orange tip glowed brightly. Smoking calmed his nerves.  The station was deserted.

“Right, that’ll do, mate,” he turned to the judge’s man, who had been rather conspicuously tailing him. “Either walk next to me and have a chat, or go home, the creeping about in shadows is… well…”

The man was holding a walking cane, with a silver horse’s head as a handle. He raised it. “The judge wants you to let this one go,” he said as he brought it down hard.

Walker raised his arm to block the blow, and swore and the cane struck it.  The man swung again, but Walker rushed him, tackling him to the floor. The cane struck the ground as the two men tussled. Walker struck several blows, he had boxed at university, and although he was out of shape, he still knew how to land a punch. As they scrambled to their feet, Walker was on his toes, fists raised.

“Come on then, mate, let’s see how brave you are without your cane!”

“I’ll have you for assault!” The man responded. “They have just been waiting for an excuse to put you down.”

“Better make it worth it, then!” Walker responded with a series of blows to the face and torso.  The man reeled and turned, stumbling across the tracks to the other side, Walker in hot pursuit. He scrambled towards the scrubland on the other side and suddenly disappeared. “What the…” Walker looked around. There was nothing. He frowned. His face felt sore and a bruise on his cheek was starting to rise. Taking his cigarette case from his pocket he placed another between his lips and struck a match. The light of the flame revealed something shimmering in the dusk. He moved the match over it, studying the iridescent colours. He dropped it with a curse as it burnt down to his fingertips, only to see it disappear inside the portal. He struck a second match and picked up a rock, watching it disappear within the shiny prism of light.

“Well, I’ll be…” he said to himself, finally lighting his cigarette and rising from his crouching position. “The won’t find you there, will they?” he smiled to himself and patted his pocket before remembering and checking his wrist. The face of his watch was cracked. Time had stopped. Beyond the horizon he could see the streetlights of Smoke glowing. It was his city, and it was broken, but it could be fixed.  He walked slowly across the railway tracks and picked up the fallen cane. Like a javelin thrower he launched it at the area of the scrub where its owner had disappeared. It too vanished. Taking his cigarette from his mouth, he tapped the ash onto the ground. That was an interesting evening

You can find more to read by C H Clepitt here.

The Thinking Quill

Mes chers lecteurs qui ecrit,

It is one, the ever exquisite Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV…  world-renowned author of the classic ‘Fatswhistle and Buchtooth’ and patient writer of these handcrafted ‘Thinking Quill’ bon mots with which I seek to educate, inform and inflame the imaginative juices of my adoring followers. Fret not, mes estudas, that you may never be as talented, or beauteous as your teacher. Follow in the footsteps of one’s infinite wisdom and even your poor weakling Muse shall be uplifted of the wings of a Moonbeam

How to Start Writing a Book – Lesson 7. The Write Beginning

It is a truth that cannot be overemphasised that the first sentence of a book is the bait with which to put hooks into the soft underbelly of your putative reader and claw him into the world you have been so painstakingly crafting. Choose your words with care, craft and calculation, my children. For each and every book can only have one first sentence…

For myself, I find the creation of the first words in any work as full of pain as that delicate beauty who is my own Mama found giving birth to me.

“Moony,” she often says, “if I’d known how much squirting your oversized cranium out of my fanny would hurt, I’d have been a fucking sight more proactive with the hot baths and the gin.”

But one digresses. First lines.

Let your hooking of the reader be as sharp as the tongue of an ungrateful child, as cutting as the condemnation of a disappointed mother, as innocent as the first kiss of a virgin mouth, as knowing as the compère in Cabaret, and as gnomically engrossing as the dragons of literature who overfly your work. Take as your inspiration the works of she whose rose-coloured prose makes beat faster the heart of your beloved tutor. Use your very first sentence to introduce the proud beauty in whose trials and tribulations you intend your devoted reader to invest time, love, worry, and, of course, the pecuniary outlay necessary to purchase your elegant work.

Make your sentence long and include all the information you can. Do not be fooled by those who counsel brevity. They are the basest dogs of conventionality, the creeping rats of mediocrity, and the unsound practitioners of a black art that seeks to sap you of your creative juices.

No my children, in the symphony that is literary exposition at its finest let us begin with a crescendo. Let the conductor bring down his baton on a crashing chord of instrumental noise that will reverberate within your reader’s head forever. Begin With A Bang.

In conclusion, there is one more point to consider. And that one is moot to our whole lesson. Let us ponder momentarily those unfortunates whose books are remembered for their first lines and very little else – as in Mister Orwell’s oddly distorted historical drama, and Miss Austen’s rather anodyne love story. To them I can only say one thing. You begun well; shame about the rest of your book.

And there it is mes enfants, the secrets for a perfect beginning.

Until next. Ecrit Bon…

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

Join The Adoring Fans of Moonbeam Farquahar Metheringham IV

The Quantum Soul: Soul Mates

'Soul Mates' by Victor Aquista one of the sixteen amazing short stories in the Scifi Roundtable's new anthology The Quantum Soul.

First step required that the chamber be cooled. Mike watched as the temperature within the box chilled to 7 0 Celsius. The cricket had slowed and now remained still except for a twitch of antennae. A puff of ether gas erupted as Mike injected the anesthetic. He included this step in the protocol for humane reasons. It probably didn’t influence whether or not the insect suffered, but as experiments advanced to lizards, chicks, mice…all the way up to dogs and cats, he would feel guilty if they needlessly felt pain. The ether likely minimized any animal suffering.

While writings from the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Hindus, and Chinese all
demonstrated a basic understanding of life energy, Mike realized it was only a qualitative understanding. In 1907, the French philosopher Henri Bergson published his essay, The Elan Vital and Self-Evolution. Bergson’s exploration and philosophical analysis still informed much of Mike’s understanding. That same year, and Mike hardly thought this a coincidence, Dr. Duncan MacDougal published, The Soul: Hypothesis Concerning Soul Substance Together with Experimental Evidence of the Existence of Such Substance. MacDougal remained convinced that the soul had physical mass and he measured the difference in body weight pre and immediately post-mortem. His conclusion: the average weight of the human soul calculated to 21 grams.

Chilled carbon dioxide filled the container next. This food preservation technology, borrowed from cold storage of fruit—how else do you think you can have a crisp apple off-season—served a dual purpose. The odorless, colorless CO 2 suffocated the animal within the box, while the temperature and lack of oxygen within diminished cellular degradation. While Mike observed the cricket through the view panel on top of the chamber, his eyes remained focused on the pair of gauges measuring élan vital. One measured the force within the container, the other calibrated the life energy within the adjacent collector.

MacDougal had the right idea in so far as measuring the soul, just another name for this life energy. But it wasn’t physical mass, it was energetic and not electromagnetism. Whatever the energetic “substance” happened to be, Mike still could not say for sure. In his mind, he imagined it as quanta of consciousness. The theoretical physics and mathematical formulae explaining this life force led straight to quantum mechanics. Mike had a decent IQ, but the theoretical basis didn’t matter to him. Measurement. That was the key.

The two gauges measured identical changes, the box down by a fraction, the accumulator up by the same fraction. Although Mike had no electrodes or way to monitor whether or not the cricket was truly dead, he felt certain the insect within had passed and its spark of life energy no longer animated its insect body. He reversed the polarity, vented the CO 2 and began to raise the
temperature. Heart racing, Mike saw the gauges flip back to their previous baselines. The cricket twitched a couple of times then resumed exploration of the chamber. Success!

“Honey, I think it worked.” He crawled into bed next to Julie. Her boss asked that she put in extra hours as the firm had taken on a big case. It seemed the paralegals bore the brunt of that extra work.

“That’s nice, sweetheart.” Her sleepy voice told him a love-making all-nighter would have to wait. “When do you get the Nobel prize?”

As his wife’s gentle snores lapped his consciousness like waves upon a glorious beach, Mike lay wide awake beside her. Abruptly, he shot up and went down to the basement. As the light flipped on, the cricket ran to the corner of the terrarium where he had moved it. It’s still alive!

The Quantum Soul is available now and you can find more books by Dr. Victor Acquista on Amazon.

A Bite of… Victor Acquista

1. What is the best part of being involved in The Quantum Soul anthology?

Great question! First off, I would like to thank you for interviewing me on your blog and for giving me the opportunity to tell your readers a little about myself and my work. Many writers are a solitary lot. Having a group of colleagues to discuss common interests, offer help, guidance, feedback, etc. represents one of the many great benefits of participating in the Knights of the Sci Fi Roundtable. The core group and greater collective community provide a wonderful forum to share, learn, and contribute. The Roundtable fellowship helps to counteract some of the isolation that many writers often contend with. Having the opportunity to not only submit to the inaugural anthology, but to be selected and represented as one of the featured authors is an honor. Furthermore, the topic binding this group of stories—The Quantum Soul, represents an area I am particularly interested in. This is fertile ground where elements of science and metaphysics intersect. Finally, I get to work with outstanding folks such as yourself, Captain Ducky, and Sir Eric (to name just a few)—a fun, quirky, and thoroughly delightful group of sci-fi/fantasy junkies and talented miscreants individuals.

2. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Yes, this seems to be a question that percolates throughout the sci-fi universe. Short answer is both, but for different reasons. In some respects, I think the question sets up a false dichotomy. I view Star Wars primarily as a film series. I have not read the many books that develop the Star Wars universe. I find the films appealing in how classic myths, themes, and archetypes are developed. I love the notion of “The Force” and the need for balance between light and dark, good and evil. The hero’s journey, redemption, destiny—these classic elements are all present in the films in such a wonderful and entertaining way. Compare these films to the Star Trek films and there really is no comparison.
Collectively, the Star Trek films, in my opinion, have been marginal at best. Although, I did really enjoy The Wrath of Khan. The Star Trek TV series and the various spin offs such as Next Gen, Deep Space 9, etc. are a very different entertainment medium, especially when it comes to exploring and developing social themes. There are so many more episodes available for writers and producers to develop characters, themes, interactions, enemies (Klingons, Borg, Sulibon, etc.). Gene Rodenberry, the creative force behind the original show, specifically wanted to call attention to social issues of the time.
In total, I don’t think Star Wars can hold a candle to the exploration of these issues we’ve seen developed through the Star Trek franchise. While Rodenberry was groundbreaking in the sense of using the series to raise social consciousness, George Lucas was groundbreaking in a different way. What LucasFilms and Industrial Light and Magic achieved amounted to something revolutionary. We get to enjoy the creative efforts of both of these revolutionaries.

3. If you were to write under a pen name, what would it be?

In general, I prefer writing under my own name. At least, that is where I feel most comfortable. If I author a piece of original work it is a reflection of some aspect of myself. To use a pen name suggests to me that I don’t want readers to truly know that I am the author. However, I am currently writing a satire and plan to publish it under a pseudonym, a sobriquet, a nom de plume. Pen name sounds too banal to me. The work is so outlandish that I can’t even take myself seriously and will instead attribute the work to a devious alter ego, Tungyn Cheque. That name, of course is just an expression of yours truly.

Dr. Victor Acquista has become a successful international author and speaker following careers as a primary-care physician and medical executive. His non-fiction and his workshops focus on personal growth and transformation, especially as pertains to health and wellness, more can be fond about that on this website. His fiction includes social messaging intended to get the reader engaged in thought provoking themes. Dr. Acquista has a longstanding interest in consciousness studies, is a student of Integral Theory, and strives to do his part to make our planet a wee bit better. He lives with his wife in Florida. He is a member of the Authors Guild, Writers Co-op, and is a Knight of the Sci-Fi Roundtable. You can catch up with him on his website, on Twitter and on Facebook.

The Quantum Soul: Wondrous Strange

From 'Wondrous Strange' by E.M. Swift-Hook a story from the Scifi Roundtable's The Quantum Soul anthology which is out today!

Something was amiss with the resonance here. Not just this Work, but through all the Symmetry. A memory bubbled within [^], recalling the content of the last harmonization one had shared with [=].

>>we are becoming infected by Entropy, my bond{0ne}<< insisted [=], with a welded mix of sadness and anger. >>as an Explorer I see it more than you Weavers. I experience the tiers and return to Symmetry and each return confirms again my perception. the greed of the 0nes to encompass and draw in ever more of energy into the Symmetry is having the opposite effect. each new fissure in the tiers, supposed to bring in more energy, is opening us to parasitic reflux. I have perceived it, I have recorded it, but the Influencers will not receive my concepts<<

Swirls of antipathy and frustration curled between them. In empathy, [^] harmonized and soothed, but one’s own equilibrium was not easy to maintain. If what [=] perceived was as it seemed, then all 0nes stood in danger of ultimate dispersal – of becoming eventual victims of Entropy.

>>why don’t they consider your findings? I can’t understand what they think they gain by ignoring them<<

>>they don’t ignore them [^]. they observe the entirety of infinity as if it were the Symmetry and hold that therefore, where we dwell, the equilibration of any energy excess will harmonize back into that Symmetry. they forget Infinity is symmetrical only through the process of equilibrium. so when excess causes instability, balance is restored through that process. but our Influencers do not face up to that. they prefer to give the mark of truth to those who hold we can obtain sufficient energy to replace the losses<<

Aghast.

>>how can we draw sufficient for stability from other entropic tiers? surely all we do by opening ever further Nexūs, is to allow more Entropy to inveigle us<<

>>wisdom from you my bond{0ne}, but not from other 0nes and certainly not from the Influencers<<

They shared a concurrence of harmony and [^] experienced the perceptions that had caused [=] such concern. It was not even slightly reassuring.

>>the very best we can do is avoid opening any more points of entropic access. those we have wrought might be resealed by using what energy we have gleaned from the tiers through the ways exploited by 0nes from The First Budding. if we do so, we are inevitably diminished, our Symmetry less glorious and far-reaching, but at least we are spared from Entropy<<

'Wondrous Strange' is a Fortune's Fools origins story - for Durban Chola. Read the whole story in The Quantum Soul anthology which is out today!

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