Quarry.

©2019-2021 Michael Raven

The beast extended a suckered and barbed proboscis towards the fallen leaves and other detritus scattered on the forest floor, snuffled and snorted. Little light made it this close to the ground in the woods, which had grown to towering heights, each tree trying to reach ever higher than it’s neighbor to touch the dim glow of a dying sun, which cast a ruddy red spots on light on the ground when it managed to filter downwards through the broad violet leaves.

The burbling sound halted without warning and the beast lifted the appendage skyward, a gentle sniffing of the air currents. With a daemon-touched howl, it ran riot in search of its quarry, its great hulk brushing heedlessly against the trunks of the trees, which groaned in protest over the abuse.

Agatha was now glad she’d laid the false trail; her pistol would do nothing more than irritate the beast if she’d used it and it’d be better if she saved the charge for her own brain pan if, and when, it started dining on her.


Published on social media on this date in 2019. Lightly edited and reposted on 28 June 2021. 182 words.

Songs from tomorrow.

©2021 Michael Raven

They stood in silence. Waiting. Listening.

The sun flickered through the water depths, leaving their bodies awash in twilight song. Beyond blue skies, the stars called to them, singing. They learned the star songs, painted in cascade colors — the blues and the reds, the greens and purples, the myriad hues. And songs sung black, too.

The Keepers, they knew themselves to be. For the songs were fading from this place, giving way to the dark places, places that consumed even black. The Keepers, concerned, prayed for portals to they could go home, go home and sing the songs anew. But they also knew… for they had been told by descendants calling back beyond the bonds of time — they knew it might not come to pass in this place. Although — in some it had. How else would those who came after sing the songs back to them?

They stood in silence. Waiting. Listening.


152 words

Floof.

It woke something when the words were said, this was certain. It woke something that had slumbered for a very long time. That something raised its shaggy, hairy head, full of nocturn and shadow singing in the mists, opened first one eye, then the next, and yawned loudly.

The children watched it move and shake itself awake, jaundiced eyes blinking at the starlight as if blinded by razor sharp sparkles and knives. It yawned again, sonorous and deep, and all but Gertie stepped back with no small amount of fear.

Gertie, for her part, spread her arms wide and hugged the hairy thing in that dank hollow place. “Floof!” she exclaimed and, when the thing patted her gently on the head, the other children gathered closer, reaching for their own chance at affection.

Art by Tomislav Jagnjic; as found on ArtStation. “let me guess, u got lost again? bro these are not the maps, they’re potion recipes”.

133 words

Edge.

©2021 Michael Raven

The stars fell like snow all around her as she walked out into moor, wolves crying for the moon filling the empty spaces as the ruddy flames licked the sky. She held out hands and let the dying stardust fill them, pouring like sand through her fingers.

“What have they done?” she wondered aloud, but she knew the answer as soon as the query was spoken. They’d felled The Tree, of course. The end of the cycle, then; the end of all cycles in this maha-kalpa, anyway. Eventually there would be another Dreaming, but she would know nothing of it.

[a story in 100 words]

Visitation in the wood.

©2021 Michael Raven

Woad paint my face, streaks of blue, becoming ocean waves

Kohl paint my eyes, to the shadows for what they are.

Tapping the thin bones rhythm to the heartbeat earth, the mother of the clan; tapping out the rhythm of skies under the waves, we look westward with fire in our eyes. Darted with mud arrows, she stood beside me, a feast of snared rabbit finger entwined. “Eat,” she said and her cheek tasted of mud as I kissed it. The tapping of bones would linger well into the night, as the wood took up the song in the wind and coming storm — branched their own bones finger snapping in the growing breeze. Rattle, they cry, rattle the night growing strong.

I dressed while fire-build she, so sharp my knife; so strip the flesh from fur to be scraped clean. Spit and sear, fat spatter flames, the sky streak-filled with light.

“They are coming?” The words hinted at question, but it was nothing, only ritual. When I didn’t respond she grunted, knowing the answer. “They come,” she added with greasy fingers, by way of affirmation.

The wait was nothing, we still licked fat-burned callouses as they came.

“We are here,” they said.

“You are here,” I said in reply.

They sat amongst the fresh bones and feasted on the pile she and I had made. Then, they sat back, patting their bone-filled stone-speared stomachs, belched and then stood. And then they sang.

The song —

The song —


This is an experimental piece from my efforts over and the private site. It’s a continuation of my pieces that explore unconventional sentence structure (see We, Wendigo), which is related to, but separate from, my exploration with various portmanteau-likes (more word-mashups than true portmanteau) and standard portmanteaus. My reasons are largely centered around trying to create something different than the standard writing out there, mostly because I’d like to see more experimentation with language myself — these kinds of experiments, along with archaic language resurrection, use of symbolic imagery, and reimagining the structure of language away from the subject/object paradigm we are beholden to. I don’t know how successful I have been, or will be… but it is fun, so I continue to play and hope that I hit on something really cool in the future.

Buttons.

©2021 Michael Raven

"Buttons for eyes, buttons for eyes," she sang joyfully as she set to sewing large, black buttons into place. She loved this little chore, although she often wished the children wouldn't make such a fuss and scream so loudly as she sewed the disks onto their little cherub faces.

File under horror.

Touch.

©2021 Michael Raven

Of course no one else could see the tree coming alive at his touch, but it mattered not to him. He was past the point of needing to prove these things to those who couldn’t see what was right in front of them. The tree lowered a branch to Jonah and he took it like a parent would clasp the hand of a child, and the two of them walked deeper into the forest so that the young ash could be with the other trees Jonah had touched since he’d discovered this gift last summer.

Klockwerk City; nochy.

©2021 Michael Raven

Me and me droogs stopped by the milkbar for a bit of moloko plus, our shlapas brushed and canes polished, looking real horrorshow. We’d not agreed on activity past that. Kipper was partial to a bit o’ shop-crasting, but Wayne was more keen on catching some sinny. Me, I was for watching devotchkas — not that any would be out on account of vecks like us, shaikas intent on making mischief all nochy.


An experiment. Not necessarily successful, but I was wanting to play around with Nadsat for the shits and giggles of it all. I think I might have to pick up A Clockwork Orange on ebook and re-read it. Not entirely different from the movie, but it leaves you with a different sense of Alex.

Dream #5.

©2021 Michael Raven

The greywater swirled with filth and detritus like a scummy cyclone as it flowed down the hole in under the floorboards. “What a waste of time,” I murmured. “That was mostly useless claptrap.”

“No,” she replied. “You missed something.”

“I didn’t miss anything…,” I started, the insistence in my words draining as I saw what she was talking about: a page ripped from a book, covered in feces. I grimaced, fished it out of the dregs left behind while trying not to get too much shit on me in the process, and read the following wor–