Night Skier (finale)

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Ghosts Broke Down my Door

The soup wasn’t doing the trick. Diamond stared down into the paper cup of swirled orange tomato broth. There was some kind of tiny pasta in it, but they’d all sunk to the bottom. It was still steaming, so she played with it, chasing the end of the trail with the tip of her nose, but she couldn’t feel any warmth there.

Half of it was inside her, but she was still the coldest she’d ever been in her twenty-six years of life. She’d only been in the game of playing Dr. Pox Morbisha for a year, and they’d already run out of ideas for her gimmick. This time they’d just dropped her into a tiny black bikini. Continue reading

Night Skier (part three)

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Sharks of the Murder Dimension

They couldn’t think of anything to say for a while. Watermelon Peak was doing all the talking. It was red in the face all over the wall, all over the side of the building, all over the other sides too by the sounds the slump had made. They had to call it a slump; it certainly wasn’t an avalanche.

Why didn’t it break the glass?” Toni asked, shocked along with Diamond and Percy that she was the first one to speak. Continue reading

Night Skier (part two)

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Open Season on Man

Micah really only needed one other person to help him attach the chair to the lift, but he knew Charlie well enough to know he could never amount to one whole unit of helpfulness. He was the kid who always veered off the trail on his sled. Threw his bowling ball into the next lane. Got the wrong order at a restaurant and ate it without a word of acknowledgment or complaint.

He’d seen the boy, at several different ages, wander in from the trails with various bloody scrapes and contusions, a smile on his face, no idea how it happened but certain that it didn’t even hurt, not one little bit. Continue reading

Night Skier (part one)

Watermelon Peak is a unique ski resort, and fun for the whole family!  The algae in the powder dyes the whole mountain a lovely pink, and we even have an exhibit for the movie studio that used to take advantage of this unique color for many of its special effects!

Only the resort is closed for the weekend.  One group makes the trip anyway, to relive their glory days of movie making, leaving crimson trails in the disturbed snow.  Behind them comes another figure, clad in black, with sharpened skis mounted on his back.  His glory days are ahead of him.

nightskierupload

by

Blaine Arcade

 

 

The Night it Snowed Blood

The single runway at the Dutcheny private airfield and hangar would never again be as smooth as it was that night. Filled with cracks, it was never that smooth to begin with, but the weeds were determined to make it so much worse. Stubborn grasses allied with the sorts of plants that don’t look prickly until you grab one and realize fine translucent hairs have embedded in your skin. Every Colorado summer they devoured the sun drawn to the rock, clawing their way up through the cracks, continuing their vendetta against civilization so they could return it to the peaceful meadow it had once been. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Funeral March to Gothic Rock (finale)

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Under the Hood

The Drymouth Desert was deceptively small. A person on foot would claim it an endless sea of inhospitable madness, where sand dunes atop red clay occasionally lurched forward to eat tumbletrees, which were the only available prey. It would be the last claim that person would make before their voice was baked out of them and they were heat-blasted into a strip of anxious and peeved leather.

The issue was the lack of perspective, much like Silver and Roman needing to seek higher ground in the bear trap to get the lay of the land. The dunes were too high for a person on foot to see over, so natural odds-confounding forces got them turned around, had them walking in circles until their final quarter circle. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Funeral March to Gothic Rock (part four)

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Bill at the Door

It was still Halloween morning and he was already bored of darts. Bill knew his people were letting him win. Even the ones who wouldn’t normally were coddling him that day. Halloween was when the Billity family got scared, always expecting someone possessed by a ghostly mask to come to the door and seek bloody revenge.

Some of his relatives had even been offended when no such specters came calling, thinking they must not have sent the message properly if those wronged had still managed to find rest. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Funeral March to Gothic Rock (part three)

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Popette at the Door

Ra-da-dang-dong. Ra-da-dang-dong. It was a surprisingly cheerful doorbell, not at all like the welcome she remembered. Of course, that was more than a lifetime ago. That said, the exterior of the Billity Catholicish School for Girls hadn’t changed all that much. The giant stable nearby, nearly three times the size of the house, was a new addition, but the school itself was still that drab green and white monolith under its four cardinal direction willows.

Now as I’ve said, Poppy and Suzette were in an odd state, with the latter being largely in control, but operating within the template of the mischievous child. They couldn’t converse with each other, talk over what was a good idea and what was bad. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Funeral March to Gothic Rock (part two)

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Catalogues of Women

Thank you all for coming out this afternoon, I know it’s hotter than the devil’s bedpan out here. Leave it to a South Reap October to turn pumpkins into prunes; that’s what my father always used to say.” There was some light laughter, less than he expected, but he chalked it up to the fatiguing heat.

There was at least some shade thanks to the garden trees behind the town hall, where Mountainblood always held its press conferences. Journalists for local rags, both clean and oily, were clustered under the crab apples, fanning themselves with hats because their cards were busy recording the event. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Funeral March to Gothic Rock (part one)

(This is the second in a trilogy.  If you wish to go back to the beginning, here you go.)

Past the facts lies a realm where your guess has to be good enough: probable space!  Its places and peoples have their own odds, from 2to1 on down, getting less substantial all the way.  All the planets there are the ones merely theorized here, from tiny Vulcan, to Counter-Earth, to Phaeton, and beyond.

Long Odd Silver and Roman Koch are prisoners, stolen from the newest world in probable space and brought to the Counter-Earth called Antichthon.  Buried deep in a desert prison, going mad, they must find a way to join forces with one of the locals: a crazy fellow by the name of Linus ‘Likely’ Hood.  Linus is eager to break his brother out of that very same prison, and ride off together on the backs of stolen mechanical bulls!

Halloween is fast approaching, and the ghosts are getting restless.  All will come to a head when the hollowing holiday arrives and the impossible becomes dreaded inevitability.

Planet in Theory

Funeral March to Gothic Rock

by

Blaine Arcade

Banjo Says Tariff

The song playing on the radio was quaint the first few times. After that it was the height of irritation, even in that gravity-free place where height was relative. The only instrument was the banjo, and it only had one thing to say: sit tight or loosen the purse strings. These weren’t lyrics, that would’ve added a human voice to the endless plink and plonk of the four strings, which to many of the crew sounded like a hand with a missing finger going about its life clumsily and blissfully unaware.

No, the tune was a reminder that they weren’t in charge, and that the people who were in charge weren’t budging, not even an inch in that place where inches couldn’t matter less, unless their demands were met. There was a tariff, and they had to pay up if they wanted to enter Antichthon’s atmosphere with their perishable cargo. Continue reading

Pantry Castle Salamander (finale)

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(reading time: 42 minutes)

Peanut Sprouts

The daylight came as it always had, despite Wilmot not feeling ready for it. When the towels had lost all their heat they were merely damp; he threw them off like wet leaves. There was much activity just outside of his room, but none of it was panicked, just the excitement one would expect for the finale of the Chairman’s Banquet.

His stomach churned and made a sound. He thanked the culinary gods for leaving his needs and desires intact. Whatever madness plagued his mind would have to be held back until after the competition; then he was free to go exactly as insane as he pleased.

First they had to crown a winner, and Wilmot Barclay had to record it. When he emerged he left as much of the previous night as he could wrapped up in the heavy towels and put a smile on his face. He was one of the first ones to his seat. Continue reading