Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The North is Endless

This is something much more likely to see the light of day than "Now." It's a found account story, partly inspired by a spellcheck slip, "the north is endless," and partly by creating wanting to create a polar-opposite of At the Mountains of Madness. This is part one. You probably won't get other bits.

Preliminary note

The following is a transcript of a recording discovered in [Redacted] University Audio Library. The recording was made using a 1980s-standard Dictaphone.

Day One

Voice: Boarded the plane... waiting to take off... this is the audio log of Staff Sargeant Crane of the 821st Air Base Group, Thule, Greenland. I am... [inaudible] I'm recording an entry... It's a lovely day, April 23rd... 10:10am and the sun is shining... I'm accompanied by Airman Danforth... [inaudible] Sorry! Senior Airman Danforth...


Danforth: Hi.

Crane: Only temporarily demoted, He will be our pilot. Co-pilot is Airman Dyer… Who is not speaking… also Flight Engineer Rasmussen of the Danish Royal Airforce...

Rasmussen: Hello.

Crane: And Doctor Ross, accompanying us from the National Weather Service... 

Ross: That's me.

Crane:  I am Commanding Officer of the Search and Rescue team leading an expedition from the Thule base to locate and if needs be contain a reported anomaly several hundred miles into the interior of the mainland, the details of which are still being established but the essentials are 1) intermittent but frequent radio signals of unknown origins accompanied by 2) less frequent bursts of radiation, visible in the night sky from 23:19 hours yesterday as flashes on the horizon. Prior to this expedition two satellite passes were unable to locate and engage the source of the anomaly, detailed briefing is to follow. We are proceeding in a Cessna light aircraft with 20 days of food and supplies and around 200 hours of fuel. I do not anticipate being on the ice-field for that long.


Crane: We are approximately ten minutes into our flight. Thule Base is receding... Up in front is the ice-field. There is about three and a half hours of daylight left... This is... This is a truly vast country... The far north... You can only really appreciate how... endless it seems... the sense of it from the air... Broken only by occasional hills… Every time I see the uplands... All is well. We will begin triangulating the signal shortly.


Crane: It’s now approximately fifty-five minutes after take-off and we are making great progress. We are currently receiving the anomalous radio signals loud... if not clear. You might be able to [a mixture of static, tonal sounds and voices] How soon did we begin receiving?

Ross: Almost immediately. The signal has been more or less consistent.

Crane: What about the radiation?

Ross: Nothing much really, it's all, uh... oh, there's a spike.

Crane: Is it dangerous?

Ross: It's hard to tell at this range. We are still several hundred miles away, bearing east-northeast. 


Ross: Here, listen...

Metallic grinding and animal sounds, akin to roaring.


Crane: End of day one, almost. 18:25pm. We have made camp; about to report to base... The, uh, location of the anomaly has been narrowed down to a twenty mile radius. We expect to... It's odd that the intercept planes were not able to locate... whatever this is. I suppose it will all come out in the briefing... This is not our usual mission… I'm looking at the eastern horizon. There are flashes in the long twilight, maybe one every few minutes... They're not regular. They come in several colours. We have seen white, red, green and indigo. Wind is gusting considerably, short blasts from the uplands. It is unclear whether this is connected to the emissions… Rasmussen is here.

Rasmussen: Lucas.

Crane: What?

Rasmussen: Please, call me Lucas.

Crane: Ok, um, so, Lucas, why’re you here?

Rasmussen: I volunteered.

Crane: But, [inaudible] motive-wise…?

Rasmussen: I’m sorry I don’t…?

Crane: What prompted [inaudible due to wind] volunteer?

Rasmussen: Curiosity, I guess; that and the pay. I work at the base [inaudible] civilian engineer. If all goes well…

Prolonged gusts of wind hit. Mostly inaudible except for occasional fragments, e.g. ‘get inside’ or ‘secure the tents.’

Voice: Unknown flying object was spotted 22:55 hours, altitude approximately 2,000 metres, bearing east-northeast a controlled arc at an estimated speed of 440mph. Command Control attempted to contact the object but was unsuccessful. The object disappeared after seventeen seconds. At 23:10 Command Control began receiving a radio signal on standard USAF distress frequency. Signal was largely unclear but some variety of English. No American or Allied craft is known to be lost. Russians currently deny any involvement. Unable to pinpoint location via satellite pass. Intermittent radiation bursts began at 23:19, high-energy, electromagnetic radiation, largely directed upwards. Bursts continue to be detected. Please repeat: over.

Crane repeats message.

Crane: [Whispering – wind noises in background] Early morning now, let’s see, 3.19am. Gusts of wind have been intermittent but frequent. Thank goodness for the snow-wall we built. It’s difficult to get much sleep though the others seem to be… Keep trying. The sound has an unusual quality, akin to howling.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Now - another excerpt

I'm going to have to try again to get my politics/crime/urban fantasy ideas wrapped into a full story. I've tried twice. The last time failed mostly because the lead character was undeveloped. I need a proper story arc but I'm slowly getting towards a decent lead, Detective Yara Lightfoot, see below. I picture her as a charming cynic, actually a nihilist with a hidden idealism that makes her an unusual police officer. This side should come to the fore as the story develops. Maybe I'll work on her and the character will provide the plot. Meanwhile, I've definitely got plans for Little Frank.

DCI Yara Lightfoot strode into her office. "What have you got for me?" she asked. "What crazy crap has the world dropped for us today?"

"Let's see" said Little Frank, who had been waiting for her, ready, at his desk. He brought up some cases on his computer. "We've got a dead cult leader..." he peered at the screen, "Martin Ranfurly-Smythe, funny name, an actor in real life apparently."

DCI Lightfoot smiled at this. She sat in her chair at her desk, leaned back and listened. "And...?"

"He led the First Order of Odobena" said Little Frank.

"What's that...?"

"Walrus worshipers" said Little Frank.


"You can worship anything you like" he added. 

DCI Lightfoot wasn't impressed it seemed. She fetched a box out from under her desk, eventually asking "what did he die of? It must be suspicious, violent, something like that..."

"Broken neck" said Little Frank, "fractured skull, a few ribs... They found him like that in Old St Pancras churchyard."

"What was he doing there?"

"Well" said Little Frank, "according to this, word has it, Lord Hufflepuff and his followers were trying to revive the walrus that was buried there."

"Buried there...?"

"Yeah, some time in the 1820s" said Little Frank, "though it was dug up in 2003."

"OK" said Yara, cautiously. She started nibbling on a doughnut. 

"But, anyway, despite this obvious difficulty, according to SAMCS sources they succeeded."


"And the walrus killed Wotshisface..."

"A bit ungrateful" DCI Lightfoot grinned. "Doughnut...?" she offered.

"No thanks" said Little Frank. "Anyway, the walrus is now at large, somewhere in London."

"Or someone's got an angry magic walrus" added DCI Lightfoot. "Interesting, but until we find this magic walrus it sounds more like a cult-squad job and what would we charge anyone with?" Little Frank shrugged. "What else is there?" Lightfoot asked. "What about the parakeet situation?"

"All quiet on that front" said Little Frank. He looked a little crestfallen. "The gangs are sticking to the postcodes, respecting the truce." There was a pause, guilty sounding silence then Little Frank added, "there is one other thing."


"The shooting" said Little Frank, "the university shooting..."

"Why...?" DCI Lightfoot seemed shocked. She sat forward in her chair.

"The Regulars have been in touch already" said Little Frank. "They're preparing to hand it over as we speak. The thing is..."


"The police on the scene got the footage back, the CCTV footage and... well. The shooter wasn't carrying anything. Eyewitnesses said he had an assault rifle but the footage disagrees. Then a man came in..."

"A man...?"

"A man, unarmed, halfway through the massacre. He goes up to the killer, says something to him and the killer shoots himself... with nothing and the guy just... leaves..."

"He shoots himself...?"

"With nothing" Little Frank confirmed, "just his empty hands."

DCI Lightfoot sat back again, finished her doughnut, and after a moment's silence, exclaimed, "brilliant! Let's do it!"

Friday, 11 November 2016

Acceptance speech

[To camera] Sorry to keep you complicated, thank you. Very, very complicated. Biggly.


Very Hilary campaign period hard family very her debt owe about call major I've worked.

Leery applause

[To audience] Sincerely, I very mean that.

Confused applause

Biggly. [To camera] All time Republicans across this division grab her. The beauty of me is grab her. I bind America with my long, documented fingers. Grab her with my Republicans. Bind my time.  Just words. I get this together.

Renewed applause - some barking - fingers fall off

[To self] I be me time. [To journalist] You're going to know what plans 'till we figure out what's going on. [To camera] A president citizen will land.

An interruption

Land pledge the guy! [Imitates journalist] Don't worry, I'll pay the legal fees. Yuge. This is important to me.

Applause and wings opening

[To camera] I'm reaching out to you for your pussy so I can pay the legal fees. Work together you we can reaching and country.

Another interruption

Knock the Muslim out of them. Grab them by the wall! I'll pay the coat. Keep his wall! Knock the crap out of them.

Applause and crap getting knocked

[To camera] Biggly. Yuge. Beautiful. Ours was not ein campaign but das movement of ein volk das vaterland for ze glory of ze yuge!


Bomb the grab out of them. It's a movement of all Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve biggly. It's going to beautiful.

It's hideous

[To opponent] Grab her by the Mexicans. Our task dream. In all projects Mexico build a dream wall. I've American nation nation nation yuge. [To rally] Let it be to us a symbol of eternal struggle. Grab her by the fingers. [To Berlin] We see in  flag the victorious sign of fingers and the purity of our blood. We want this flag to be a documented symbol of pussy salvation, a sign that faith in these great China possessions is alive in our people. [To moderator] They're just words. Crooked words. Will well potential salvation will be and forgotten so realize gotten to going to be beautiful. Russia Putin China drugs. Biggly. 

Lights go out

[To camera] Be her know opportunity potential tax dream fullest or or gotten to be or forgotten tremendous men bomb the grab out of them every potential a gotten realize. Tremendous thing of forgotten. Every her men grab her to going to well country a going potential.

Tentacles extend

I fairly do not have ground. I see circles. Grab the bomb out of them. Phone Putin.

Mouth opens - jaw detaches - bats escape

Gghght gughshchump.

Tongue extrudes - lens dampens with green vapour


Swallows TV camera - renewed applause

Friday, 4 November 2016

"Now..." an excerpt

It was over in... minutes. The only reason I know was I looked at the clock at the back of the hall at the beginning and at the end. It's stuck in my mind: 10.33 at the start.

The lecture was started, under way. I was awake, but I could see a few were dropping off. It had been a large one the night before. Other people I know, friends skipped class. They were lucky.

The door at the back clacked shut, closed, a few of us turned to look; that's when I got that glimpse of the clock, at the back of the room. It was Jimmy who was late. The lecturer, Mr Hendrick stopped, he stopped speaking, I think. We all knew Jimmy. He was top of the group. It was a bit of a surprise to see him late, but still. He said something like:

Don't mind me.”

And Mr Hendrick got back on with the class. It was all fine. Thinking about it now I can remember hearing this clicking and clacking behind my head, which was Jimmy... setting up. I, uh... I, like, didn't give it a thought though, why would you? Like, seconds later I saw Mr Hendrick stop. He looked up and said:


And then there was these two zaps, real quick. First his chest, then his head blew open. It seemed to be happening in slow motion. It wasn't real, it was... astonishing. I'll never forget it.

I turned in this slow arc. I could see Jimmy with this gun, this huge gun in his hands and an incredible, inflamed look on his face. Then he just started letting off rounds, everywhere. I crouched down as low as I could. I don't know how any of it missed me. There were bits of wood and metal and glass flying everywhere.

After a few seconds there was a pause. I could see Jimmy through a gap in one of the seats. There was a few dozen people in the room, across different rows. Jimmy started looking along the rows, methodically, for survivors. He found one woman, zap, dead, he finished her off. There was not much screaming or crying, I remember, I don't know why. It was very strange.

This happened a few times. It was so quiet and methodical and slow. A couple of people bolted. They must have been trying to get to the front door. Jimmy cut them down. Calm. They didn't stand a chance. One guy used the distraction. He leapt up and tried to wrest Jimmy's gun away, grab it, take it away. He almost managed it too. Guthrie, yes, that was his name. I knew him a bit, see. They sort of wrestled. Then Guthrie got shot in the chest. He fell like a doll.

I figured we were all dead. I sort of thought it without thinking, if you know what I mean…? Unless... I saw... I was down the front of the room. There was a fire exit not far from the lecturn. I tried creeping toward it, the exit, while this all was going on. I got to the point where I had to make a run for it because there was a gap, the last five or so metres and I almost got to the door when I felt this pop, this bursting sensation in my right knee and just collapsed. It was like my legs had disappeared.

I was on my front. I couldn't get up but I could see Jimmy approaching out the corner of my eye. I don't know how I felt. It was all so strange, so slow. My heart was going, blood pounding. My head, I couldn't think. I had no thoughts anymore. Then there was this click. I closed my eyes... But then I heard this voice. It was a man's voice, coming from the back of the room. He said:

That'll do Jimmy.”

I couldn't see. I felt like I was going to black out. Then Jimmy said, “I understand.”

Then there was another zap. I was still alive, but when I turned round Johnny was dead: 10.36 at the end. Then the pain hit and I blacked out.

[note: the picture is from here.]

Wednesday, 2 November 2016


The BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Golemetry is a practical, work-related course. You learn by completing projects and assignments that are based on briefs that reflect Alchemical Industry today.
The course will introduce you to core Golem-making skills such as drawing, chi-scape channeling, astral projection and living sculpture. It also provides a good base to go on to a more advanced qualification such as the Level 3 Occult Design course. The Level 3 course is equivalent to 3 A Levels and is a springboard to University or further study. You could end up working within the Alchemical Industries as anything from a Golem Designer to a Bio-Building Architect.
In order to enhance your experience you can also expect to take various Golem-related trips and speak to industry professionals, either through visiting Artist Studios, listening to guest speakers or as part of our mentor scheme: Learning the Way of Clay. This initiative provides the opportunity to be mentored for a year by current Occult Arts professionals. As a celebration on graduation you will also be given the opportunity to showcase your work in the college on site gallery space or combat arena.
The course is 1 academic year long and is worth 60 credits delivered over 360 guided learning hours. The Level 2 Edexcel BTEC Diploma in Golemetry is a qualification that consists of 6 mandatory units plus optional units in any of the following areas:
History of Witchcraft
Charmed Fashion and Defensive Symbology
Fiona O'Weatherwax
Fiona studied Occult Art at The Rochdale College of Art and was awarded a BA in Golem Design from the University of Rutland. She spent 10 years as a Props Master in the UK and USA working with a host of international theatre companies including The Royal Shakespeare Company and San Francisco Mannequin Opera, before focussing solely on designing for film. She is preparing to research the use of electronic technologies within Golem Design for a Masters at the IoE.
Bryan Parson-Parsons Jnr
Parson studied painting at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Lower Education (BA) and School of Prognostic Art London (MA). Bryan's art practice has changed to encompass collaborative work, video reanimation and robot performance. He is currently carrying out research at the Institute of Education, investigating art practice as a basis of mapping the collective unconscious.
Foteini Jones
Foteini studied and taught Non-Visible Photography in a vocational training institute in Greece before arriving in the UK where she continued her studies in Wood Reanimation (BA), gained a teacher's qualification (PGCE) and completed research on Golem Design in Education (MA). Foteini now uses digital technologies in her work, producing salvage animation, chi-mapping and 5D video projects. She is currently working on a free-lance basis as an editor and chi-gardener alongside teaching.

Microfiction ahoy!

FWIW, my ten-word story They Were Hard To Please, featured in Dimeshow Review. OK, it is pretty good.