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

(back to part one)

(reading time: 1 hour, 17 minutes)

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)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 1 hour, 7 minutes)

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 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.

(reading time: 1 hour, 15 minutes) (reading time for entire novel: 6 hours, 5 minutes)

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

Rather Spartan

In this thriller/horror short story the Snake War Museum is just one of many, an opportunity for Claire to confront history.  It’s just her, the collection, and the audio guide… at least until she hears her own name in the headphones…

(reading time: 34 minutes)

Rather Spartan

by

Blaine Arcade

If a museum does its job well, its physical location in the world is inconsequential. The best place for the George Washington museum might be his birthplace, Westmoreland County, Virginia, but the best museum would be the one that had his actual shoes, his actual buttons, his actual tools, his actual quills and inks, wherever they were, even if the collection was accidentally shipped to, say, Ulverstone, Tasmania. Continue reading

Snakewaist: Wild Rideshare (Part One)

Author’s Note: This is the last in a trilogy of novellas about fairies living in the modern day, piloting magical transforming machines, shaped like animals or limbs, that allow them to act on the human scale. 

These stories follow the same characters as their magics come into conflict with modern problems like CEO politicians, cryptocurrency, and self-driving cars.  If you’re interested I recommend starting with the first one: Snakewaist.  The second can be found here: Snakewaist: Demon of Gougecoin.  I hope you enjoy them.

(reading time: 1 hour, 29 minutes) (reading time for entire novella: 2 hours, 30 minutes)

by

Blaine Arcade

There’s an Opening

So that was how we defeated the deadly demon of Gougecoin! And with that I guess it’s time to wrap up this post. For the fairies who skipped right to the end to see what we wanted, here’s the notes for the test: Chaxium and Ladyspiller Beezgalore are the feisty frontier pilots of the ferrier Snakewaist! We’re on the roam, helping fairies far and wide with any threats out of the ordinary. Continue reading

Chat-your-own-Adventure #31: The Worming Llewynn Line

Author’s Note: This story was written live on stream with the audience voting to determine the path of the story.  The underlined phrases in the choice of three were the winning pathways.  Stop by twitch.tv/blainearcade if you’d ever like to participate in our interactive fiction.

Death Hammer                                   Justice Spear                            Majesty Mace

There were more than five hundred graves to sort through, and any one of them might have been the resting place of the death hammer of the hideous commander Baross Varnivore. He might not have always been an evil man, there were tales that his violent behavior and strange last name didn’t come along until he picked up the habit of eating varnish in his adolescence. The facts were that, when he died, he left a collapsing empire that had dominated two continents. Continue reading

Twitch Stream Story: The Grave in her Dreams

Prompt: In a world where every mind inhabits two bodies, one during the day and other during the night, we follow a young girl as she tries to deal with the death of her other self.

She couldn’t see; it was too dark. That was never supposed to happen. Things only ever got dim, only ever got orange or purple as the sun set. The sun always went down but she never saw the moment it vanished. That was the moment of transition. That was the time when she put away her day eyes and broke out her night ones, like peoples of old switching spectacles. Continue reading

Twitch Stream Story: The Cook in his Cabin

Prompt: A man in a cabin is about to receive a visitor, but he is somehow transformed into the cabin just before the visitor’s arrival.

Absolutely nothing was ready yet and Christopher’s guest drew closer every moment. His pace was slow, but stopping would be the absolute worst thing he could do, as there would likely be no starting again. Christopher just needed to work harder. The smell drew his visitor in; there were a few things he could do to spice it up some more. Continue reading

Chat-your-own-Adventure #15: The Hog does Birthdays

Author’s Note: This story was written live on stream with the audience bidding tokens (earned while watching) to determine the path of the story.  The underlined phrases in the choice of three were the winning pathways.  Stop by twitch.tv/blainearcade if you’d ever like to participate in our interactive fiction.

Seedy POV                          Spoiled Rotten POV                               Sky Writer POV

It was the autumn. My sixteenth birthday approached rapidly on the horizon. As the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in all of the town of Tinstar, my party was to be quite the event. Not only would it certainly get written up in the local paper’s society and culture section, but my birthday, as it did every year, fell upon the night prior to Halloween. Continue reading

Twitch Stream Story: Impermanence

Prompt: A man walks up to a shop girl and hands her a slip of waxed paper.  It has the word ‘impermanence’ written on it.

The shop would close soon, evidenced most notably not by the switched-off lights, the calm music, or the closed sign itself, but by Buttercup’s yawning. She was a champion at it by now, after three years working the register at her mother’s shop. She could yawn like a hippo, loud enough to drive the last lingering scent-hounds out of the store.

The reason for calling them scent-hounds, as well as the excuse for her yawning, was in the nature of the shop itself. They sold candles. Oils. Incense. Extracts. Dried things in bundles from every continent that could grow sprigs or branches. They had all the positive smells in the world, but about seventy-three percent of them were relaxing. Every shift was a battle against fatigue, especially with the humming of the folk music in the background all day. Continue reading