Went Out Sky

©2023 michael raven

The sky went out last Thursday. No one knew why.

they broke of shadow
tore the whole down
and flew sunward and
widdershin, spinning
dizzy black and eigengrau
over our heads
filling all the empty
places and hew crying

It grew cold as the sun winkled out. I grabbed hands, any hand, it didn’t matter and they grabbed others as we ran, a chain of catastrophe, all arms and legs and shrieksy. That is when the Wolves (what we called them) came, tumbling in with their motorcades and mercury guns, shouting for the loss of their Moonchild, baby.

I ran for the underground rail, arms tugging be backwards as each of the arms and legs body fell to sharp little bees barking out of hot metal, the air like methamphetamine and the faithful singing on their knees. O’ holy holy, they sang but their god had lost the connection and they became puddles crimson at the top of the stair, bodies thrown down as the jagged tearing ripped their flesh to meat.

look around
what can you 
                    see?
cat's in my belfry
and can't see me

And now we drown ourselves in inky black, hoping the lack of light will keep those shades away.

False start

©2023 michael raven

Everything some shade of eigengrau, sometimes with warmth, other times of stone. Buildings too tall scraped the sky and, had the streets had been wider in Old City spaces, or the buildings less imposing, the day would still fail to cast shadows on these broken city streets – for the sun had gone out long ago and it always greysky rained where people once dreamed of emeralds and queens.

But the world had been broken for a spell now, and the green dried up, wasted away. Hearts were shattered on the needle grounds and the queen had tossed her cards away.

Uneven pavement filled with stone weeds and open sores lay before Lucas as he walked home from panhandling in the markets. He stumbled along, world weary and arthritic – making his plodding way through streets abandoned – first by the gentry to the joygangs, then succumbing to the darklands as even their haunts were sapped of life.

At least, he still had his muse, no matter how ineffectual her aura of inspiration might be.


I hate it when there is a whiff of a slight sensation crawling across your forearm like the fragile limbs of a daddy long-legs, a tickling itch to break the mould and… it drains out of you as you try to coax it into reality and it gently falls apart like everything when you touch it. Cue buzzsaw guitars and heartthrobbing drums filled with brown noise and cataracts.

I sat down the taste of something peculiar across my tongue, something between ash and dark chocolate, and thought to conjure up a new beginning. As I said, however, it fell to the dying grounds, probably because I tried to wrap a mould around it (something I was explicitly trying to avoid).

Here you go, the poor unwanted orphan. Perhaps you’ll give it a home?

Old pitch update

©2023 michael raven

In reworking the story I am resurrecting from the grave of 2017 yesterday, I decided to modify the motivations of both a secondary and tertiary character, as I felt the overall motivation for one of the plotlines was weak and needed an overhaul.

I loath the tertiary character now. Before, I felt an element of pity for the man, even though he was by no means a very likable character. But now, he has revealed his darker side and he’s just “icky”. He deserves anything bad that happens to him, however pitiful he ultimately has ended up being. He chose the darker path, knowing it was a darker path and selfishly kept pursuing it. I actually find him disgusting now instead of merely “pathetic”.

The secondary character is no-one to admire, but she’s a victim instead of a heartless, cruel creature. Her motives are a bit more understandable now, even going down to the fact that some of her actions are “just part of her nature”. As I said, though, no one would admire this character. They’re no paragon of virtue. Just someone a reader might find more sympathy for.

It’s been interesting to revisit some of this tale with a new eye. By changing the venue, I have uncovered some elements that should really be rethought, not because the location change made those elements weaker, but that those elements were lacking a bit.

I also recently found some old pulpy cyberpunk that I used as eyecandy when I was in my 20s, republished for Kindle and relatively cheap per book. While I admit that the overall quality is more pulp than anything, rereading some of these stories has really given me an idea about pacing, plot and content for my own project, which is not cyberpunk. I am reminded of some qualities that made these books enjoyable to read and that my own project isn’t ever going to be high literature, so why try to paint it as anything but pulp.

Yes, I’ve rebuilding the whole shebang from the bottom up. I’m keeping most of the thematic elements, but I have better vision than I previously had. Let’s see if I can wrangle it into something good to read.

lay down

©2023 michael raven

The pain wears thin on these elastic nerves threatening to sunder. Twitch twitch twist go the muscles and writhing begins. Of this, there is no escape, even in dream.

Unrelenting. That’s the crux. Into the crush, the deep end with deep ones and tangles of myself drowning, quashing, quenching the will. Succumb to the succubus of high wire acts strung within, connected to marionette strings — dance for me, it says.

Will you lay down flowers for me?

Serendipity

©2023 michael raven

Interesting stumble-on:

While doing minor research into viability and premise of the pitch I made yesterday, I encountered a period photo of a house. The address listed as the location felt terribly familiar, so I went ahead and plugged it into Google Streetview to see if I was right about that sense of familiarity.

Sure enough: Different house, but the same street address as the place my grandmother lived at in Seattle.

How strange.

I “walked” around her neighborhood and was filled with nostalgia for the short time I lived with her before I found my own place back in the middle 90s.

Hate what the current owners have done with the house — it looks like crap now. But it was never likely to stand the test of time in that neighborhood, which suffers the same malady as any poor neighborhood in any big city suffers: Despair.

That said, I think I might be able to turn that pitch into something. I have a number of outlines for tales that could fit into the concept, both from the time period I originally started outlining the original pitch (2015-2016) and from other little projects I’ve sketched out.

We’ll have to see.

A pitch to the aether 04jan23

©2023 michael raven

Genre: weird pulp w/elements of gaslamp, dieselpunk and/or teslapunk with a hint of grimdark

Proposed: a series of short stories with an over-arcing cross-story plot related to a secret society of occultists who are seeking to quell incursions of cryptids. Nemesis organization has opposite goal, seeing these invasions as a chance to make radical change needed to “save the world from itself”.

Location/Milieu: as above, circa late-19th century alternate Americas; NW Coast and surrounding areas (from San Francisco to Juneau to Bozeman). Streets and skid row to neo-aristocracy (e.g., emergent lumber barons).


I feel a bout of infodumping (probably TMI) itching in me noggin as I ponder which of my many fiction threads to pursue. This is modified from a concept I developed in 2015 or 2016, originally planned for an Old World analogue, but I think works as well either in the Pacific NW or Great Lakes area (although my internal leanings are more towards the NW). One pitfall might be is that I could easily get too clever for my own good and end up campy or disastrous with my plot lines. One positive is embracing the concept of short-fiction with a narrative arc over the novel format — embracing that approach allows for more flexibility and compartmentation of the overall story elements. It may allow me to pull in related ideas from other stories I’ve started or plotted, as each story can be a different facet of the world, as long as it is internally consistent.

Moving forward, I may just toss out the occasional pitch on the off-chance it triggers something for me, or for someone else. No overthinking — just a blood spatter of an idea tossed onto the wall to see if it sticks.

Half-penny

©2022 Michael Raven

It all ended somewhere between a grunt and a chuckle.

Her first inclination was that she had been stung by an angry wasp as she lurked in the high rafters of the stable, watching for him, meaning to thwart any escape he might try to make. Malcolm, as always, would take point in the operation to capture or provide justice at the end of a barrel for MacLeod, for “crimes against humanity”. Logan, as always, was Malcolm’s backup for those times when their bounty, as always, would try to run until they could run no more. It was her sacred duty to provide the backstop to such attempts and she had been damned good at it.

Until now, it seemed.

Continue reading “Half-penny”

Brainstorming 26 dec 2022

©2022 Michael Raven

I have an urge to create tonight, but not the wherewithal to see it translated into something someone could read (or listen to, or see). It’s one of those “this close” kinds of evenings, one of those close kindred spirits to having something “on the tip of your tongue”. And I can’t make it into something, so I might try vomiting up ideas to see if it triggers something for tomorrow, when I will hopefully be better rested (side note: I was inexplicably “awake” like I’d had a bucket of coffee prior to going to bed last night).

Continue reading “Brainstorming 26 dec 2022”