“Every Night”

“H-hello,” he muttered, under his breath. Salivation dripped from his lip corners. “I’m h-here for the job application.”

“Hokey dokey,” the innkeeper said. Hands twitched rhythmically before his blood-stained apron. “Sign here, welcome to my inn. It’s called Meat Palace.”

“You serve a lot of meat h-here?” the applicant whispered beneath spit-stained whiskers. “I like to eat meat.”

The innkeeper nodded, kicked back a chair, and begged the man have a seat. “Won’t you tell me about yourself? I do like to hear of people. You know, on the outside.”

“The outside? What do you mean?”

“Well, I haven’t left the Meat Palace in twenty some years.” The innkeeper leaned forward, grinned, and twisted the point of a knife into the wooden table. “I don’t like to leave.”

“Why not? It’s actually quite nice in most places. H-hector’s square is cool place. There’s a statue and a fountain.”

The innkeeper slid his chair back and frowned. He stood and coughed into his bloody, meaty fist. The fist slammed on the table and a shout of, “WANT TO EAT SOME DINNER?!” rang out.

“I like dinner.”

“You’ll have to fetch things for me. Feed my horses, and those of my guests. Your room and board are of course covered by me, and you’ll receive ten silvers a month.”

“Okay.”

The innkeeper sat down and gradually thought over his plans. “The basement will have to be cleaned.” His eyes became dark and bored holes into the rotted wooden table. “Every night.” The blade slipped off its tip and split a line. “Every night.”

The Forest

They sat by the edge of the forest, smoking their cigarettes and thinking about the wind that whispered. The sun had set, the moon had risen, and two red dots were the only marks that an outside observer may have seen. The grass rustled with each passing breath of air.

“You hear it?”

“Yeah.”

“It says it’s time. The forest is waiting for us. Too long and it’ll be another two years before we can try again.”

“I know. Ready?”

“You need to take this seriously.”

Die with the wind and the rustles of the moon the shaking of the earth. Twist and burn and turn and go around again and in out back when the wind dies. 

I do.”

“Let’s go.”

Moss covered the stone temple in the forest. Vines stretched vast distances, yawning in their weight. A green light cast a strange glow upon the forest, from whence the pair came.

“I don’t believe it! It’s the temple! It’s actually here!”

“I see it.”

“Can you understand what this means? All the power, anything we want, here! It’s here! ALL OF IT!”

“Power. Yeah.”

Orb is the ring the death that stretches the limb the tree falls on the ground. Ever after its leaves dwindle and smoke and binding pain brings the dim light glowing orb. 

“GIVE IT TO ME! ALL OF IT! ALL OF THE ULTIMATE POWER!”

The mind of this one ripped open and exploded into the universe. Its essence mingled with the stars and the dust between, causing a gravitational shift that extended the Earth’s year by exactly two days and ninety six minutes. All remember the mind.

“Dude.”

The Waterfall

The water fell two hundred feet before striking the surface of the lake below. A man stood on top of the cliff, next to the river, and laughed. His line dangled from his fishing rod, and the form of the great Shimbaru swam at the foot of the waterfall.

“You can’t resist my bait!” The old man said, hair whisking wildly with the wind. “It is your fate!” For he had found the seventh crystal of the Lost Princess Xanthia. “See how long you can wait!”

Shimbaru stared the old man down. The crystal flashed all the colors of the world in a single moment of time. His eyes could not resist its power, and his belly grew larger with each passing second.

“Eat it! Eat it!” The wind scoured the man’s voice, so that Shimbaru only barely heard this taunt.

The mind of the fish lay elsewhere, on the crystal and the power it contained. The power to dominate men and subdue entire worlds. It was only one bite away. Surely he could snap the line and escape the old man’s hook.

“That’s it!” The man set the hook and reeled the fish in, larger than any other one that he had ever seen in his long life. “Yes!”

Shimbaru shuttered and sputtered for water. The crystal needed water to activate and achieve its full potential. His gills slowly stopped moving.

“I’m gonna have dinner for weeks!” The old man said. Just as he was netting Shimbaru, the fish gave one last flop, and dashed into the water. The man followed, unable to let go of the rod in time.

“Now is the time of my victory!” Shimbaru shouted upon landing in the water and feeding on the old man’s corpse. “Victory! VICTORY!”

A Fairy

“For the last time, get off the table!”

“Sorry, daddy,” Odin said, sliding back into his chair. The fairy hovered above him, a green light with wings that zipped this way and that way. He held out his hand for the fairy to land, but it only laughed and flew in some other direction. If only he could reach a little higher, then surely the creature would come to trust him.

“I’m not going to tell you again, get off the table.”

“Okay, daddy.” Odin tried again to reach the fairy, but failed. It went into the ceiling and disappeared.

I still don’t know….

The father went to the island council, where all of the elders met each season to decide where they should grow which crops, or in what waters the largest fish might be caught, or who may attain the right to marry in that year. The father begged the council, “Please, do not let my child die. We know that the great Domingo will soon arrive. Surely, he will pass us without harm, so long as we do not hook him. There is no wrath he can have against us, for he cannot leave the sea. Let me work thrice as hard, and produce as such, so that our little son may live.”

“Ah,” the eldest of the council said. He spoke in a slow and old voice. “When I was a young man, I gave up my child without argument. For I knew then, as I know now, that it is for the good of the island. Fear not, for you will have a home of your choosing, and fields of your own liking, if only you lose a son.”

The father looked at the ground, and then looked at the council. “We may sit and praise the grape Domingo, but really we are harming our own selves. To become dependent on another for your own source of well-being is to sacrifice your soul. For what may we possibly learn, if we only wait for another to arrive and provide so that we may have it easy?”

“Leave now, you blasphemous fool,” the eldest of the council said. The others joined in chorus, “Leave now. Leave now. Leave now.” They jeered and pointed with spindly fingers.

The father bowed his head and left. He went home and gathered his fishing gear, his rod and his hooks and his weights and his lures. He picked up his little son and carried him out of his crib. He walked to the ocean and sat in the sand.

Soon, the sun had set and the stars had shone and the sun had risen for the new day.

“Today,” the father said, “I will catch the great Domingo.”

Ye Gods

Once upon a time…

There was a King and a Queen. They loved each other greatly. They ruled the galaxy, listening even to the asteroids, who have no soul nor thought, such was their attention to their subjects. The Kingdom was regaled as the fairest and most just of all, and many denizens of the multiverse arrived there to spend out their days in comfort.

Together, the King and Queen had many children. As the parents were immortal, so were they. After millions, or billions, or even trillions of years, the children populated the galaxy. These offspring were forgetful, however, as all children are of their parents.

They left in different directions, each to claim the tips of the spiral arms. Of the millions, or billions, or trillions of children, only eight were foremost amongst them.

One was named Hero. She was a fine woman, capable of simultaneous wrath and grace. She claimed the north arm of the galaxy. When her people cried out, she rose to free them of their agony, no matter the personal cost. She laid herself prostrate before her kingdom, and sacrificed her soul for its betterment.

The second was Vileness, an evil man who saw himself in all things. He claimed that his parentage was of his own doing, and declared that all those who refused to worship him were blasphemers and false prophets. He used his people as most denizens of the galaxy might use dirt. He considered them worthless, save that they served some miniscule purpose in his heart. He took the northeastern spiral arm, and the many dim stars there were evidence of his tyranny.

The third was Haste. He hurried to the eastern arm of the galaxy. He rushed before the cries of his people, providing for them their thoughts from which desire sprung. He gave before there was need, and thus his people knew plenty and were sloth-like. They became dead things for lack of care. Haste lives there alone, and his mind run circles around his actions.

The fourth child had no gender, and its name was Forgotten. It rested for many long years before it claimed the southeastern arm of the galaxy. It sat and despaired, for it knew in its heart that it was alone. Its people grew in power and strength over millions of years, and became their own masters. They spread to other galaxies and universes and were immortal in their own right.

The fifth child, who claimed the southern arm of the galaxy, was a daughter. Her name was Beauty and it molded her appearance. So great was her allure that stars were born and shined bright for a billion years longer than they should have, just for the chance that one of their rays might come to rest on her naked breasts. Her people looked upon her and starved, slavered, and desired, though she bade them to work and care for themselves. Although she was soon alone, she was never lonely, looking in her mirror and beholding her own form.

The sixth was called Victory, and won for herself the southwestern arm of the galaxy. She was always a maiden, yet had at her door her pick of any of the bachelors of the universe. Each aeon, she opened her fortress, and her people begged and prayed for her to join them. Finally, after resisting their cries for endless generations, she bestowed upon them a great sword that destroyed planets and dimmed suns. The people, seeing their advantage, brought down her fortress walls and took her as their captive.

The seventh child was Art, and he only took lovers from among the men of the western arm of the galaxy. He interpreted his people’s hearts with passion. Rather than hear their prayers, he felt their emotions. When there was anger, he brought calm. Where he saw love, he created hate. His kingdom was chaos always, and lost were the people who lived there.

But the eighth child was the most powerful of all, for he was Death, and he ruled the northwestern arm of the galaxy. All was empty there, devoid of the life that once flourished in its warm embrace. His essence spread across the remainder of the galaxy, though he was deaf, dumb, and blind. His thoughts were a contagion on all things, and could not be stopped but for the will of his parents, whom none have seen nor heard, and whose subjects are silent in the Kingdom.

For who can think that they may overpower their own creations? None but the gods shall survive within their own mind, and none but Man may exist outside it.

1st Draft GAIA’S DREAM query letter (book was originally titled Corporate Holdings)

Here it is! Please let me know what you think. Any critiques/suggestions are welcome!

________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Agent,

Hundreds of thousands of years from now, most of Earth is a wasteland. Its last beacon of civilization is Friendship City: a place where the rich rule from the highest levels of the super-structures, and where the poor struggle for survival in the basements. Society there has been stable for centuries, but one man is out to destroy it.

My science fiction novel, GAIA’S DREAM, is complete at 90,000 words, and tells the tale of Mary Gold. She is a veteran in the arena, where corporations hire gladiators to compete for the right to lease retail spaces from the Rulers of the Sphere. She is also the object of unrequited love from a loser fan of hers who makes a hobby out of stalking her. When the military hires her to hunt down the most dangerous person in Friendship City, the last thing she expects is that the suspect is Gat Jones, her stalker.

The military aren’t the only ones after Mary Gold. Colt Wild, the leader of the rebel group Gaia’s Dream, approaches her with a different offer: deceive the military and provide him with whatever information she gleans from them. Mary must decide where her loyalty stands. She knows the Rulers are unjust in their treatment of their subjects, and that the rebels, despite their violent methods, want a better life for those who live in the basements. Will she stand with Friendship City, Gaia’s Dream, or on her own two feet?

The ensuing adventure takes Mary and her squad of gladiators outside Friendship City, where few have ventured before and still fewer have survived. Slave traders, genetically manipulated bandits, and the wilderness of untouched nature take their turns in obstructing the team from completing their mission. The biggest challenge of all comes when they learn that Gat Jones uses shadows as a weapon, and erases his victims from existence itself.