Athame cut, slice the veils, peel back the ribbons and rags. Step right through, this place, this display of atrocity.
Graceful, lithe and lean the shadow moves. He looks from one side to the next, scanning, taking it all in, memorizing. He beckons, and the others, they follow.
One brushes the travelsoot from leathers, a duster, then flourishes the wide-brim and taps that free of the road as well.
“It seems we have found our destination,” says he and Shadow nods, affirming it has complied with the contract, though sorrowful it still remained shackled, pleading.
Fingersnaps and wavehands and the bindings disappear. Dusterman tosses silver towards the shade, smiling now as it melts into the twilight place ‘tween the walls.
“Question is,” says the womanwraith, “is what out destination is.” She strides, equine, into the town square, empty but of memories and dust.
“Oh Charlotte,” chides Billyboy, his hamfist meat slapping together, determined, a walking earthquake thunder. “Our destination is wherever Mordred marks the map.”
Dusterman Mordred handraises for silence and his companions quell questions unasked. “One arrives,” he tells his companions. “Speaknot and let me parley.”
“Of course, of course,” they reply in unison, being the twins they may be.
Notlong they waited, only but few ticks on the sun’s arc in the shadows of ramshackle rowhouses. Then came the preacherman, flesh dropping from bones as he shambled through. The radsick thick with him, not long to live.
“Move on, move on,” said he. “Poor people are we. Of the Manchrist the Sapper. No gold, no women no more, no food but what feed us.”
Mordred smiled his wickedgrin. Peasysqueezy.
“Not want softyellow metal, nor quim, nor feast. We trade in those,” though not that it would last one sun after their passing, not that he would tell. “We’ll give these things, radmed too. Trade plenty. But one thing we deal in.”
Wearyeyes preacher brightened. “We are wanting food. What seeks you?”
Eyes now downcast. “That is too much.”
“Can you consume it?”
Mordred turned askance at Charlotte bullwhip draw, lightning cracks, and Billyboy thunderclapping fist to meathand, then back at dead walking preacher.
“You choose: bliss for what left, or watch our blissout and you pain while you die. Either way, argentcrux ours. Patient, we can be. Which?”
Preacherman heavysighs, reaching into yellowrot surplice draws out the silver-chained argentcrux, shakinghands offers to Mordred.
“Put that way, we trade.”
Mordred smiles. Payment secured, with enough daylight to conjuretrap a shadow to the next map destination before gloaming.
What did I just read?
The above is an improvised bit of flash fiction I wrote with minimal editing and a focus on trying to play around with language outside of what is considered normal usage.
I’m not trying to be artsy — in fact I might be disappointed if someone thought the above was artsy. But, what I am trying to do is what I hinted at a few weeks ago — trying to work with familiar English and construct a different sense out of it. The example I had mentioned before was in the horror genre (I said something along the lines that perhaps we need to reconstruct or deconstruct language to bring real fear back into horror via the lack of familiarity). While this is not horror (nor do I current consider it particularly excellent in it’s current early-draft state), I think that language deconstruction and manipulation might be a possible path forward to the creation of new and exciting things that break the genres we are so familiar with and didn’t limit myself to horror to play around.
So — if you see a bunch of mashup words, that is just me horsing around, trying to find a voice in this experiment.
As far as the story is concerned, I’m targeting some kind of slipstream post-nuke. Far enough in the future to see language evolution/devolution, perhaps new weird shit coming into play (I am enamored with weird fiction that asks for the suspension of the normal understanding of our natural world).
Where is Mordred and his gang heading? Good question. But they need silver for payment to the things that help them travel through tau-space. Or whatever it is. Maybe it’s just magic. Mordred, as an alchemyst would know and understand, I surely don’t. Maybe you need to find yourself a shade and find out.