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.

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”

Blood [a fragment]

© 2006-2022

Another one of those discovered tales from my various storage media, much of which had been mostly forgotten.

I vaguely recall writing this one — I have a reoccurring obsession with writing something in the genre of a New Weird Western, well before I was aware of such a genre. My own forays are more inspired by my interest in spaghetti westerns, a “goth” band with name variations that all hint at Nephilim/Nefilim, the Wild, Wild West television series, a touch of the gunslinger stories, and the serious belief that there is not enough good westerns mixed with horror, fantasy, speculative fiction, or a mixture of all of the above.

I’ve shared a few stories (mostly incomplete) here, on this site, written in those veins. This is no further towards completion than the others, but I thought I’d share this fragment all the same. Light edits for posting this iteration, but mostly intact and as found.

Enjoy!


"Blood – I've walked the high wire
I had to walk real high to see today
Dust – fade without a name
When I finish my war, I'll fade the scene”



~ Fields of the Nephilim

Sometimes… Sometimes, it seemed as if there was nothing but dust in the world, no matter which direction he looked. The world was nothing but a shifting ball of dust these days but he could remember when it wasn’t so.

He had been a child back then, eons ago. The world had once been green and blue and damned beautiful. But not anymore. This world was nothing but dust. Blood… and dust.

Continue reading “Blood [a fragment]”

Delirium

© 2006-2022 Michael Raven

As warned (promised?) I’ll occasionally post a few fragments of writing I recently discovered on various USB drives and portable hard drives. Most of them I don’t recall having written, in all likelihood because I was deep into my cups at the time. The quality of these is mixed, but my policy has always been to share my writing with all the warts showing.

Below is a fragment of unfinished fiction I wrote in 2006 (lightly edited in this iteration). I believe I intended to try and capture a facet of Jack the Ripper, or someone very much like him, in this piece. This was one of the first “forgotten pieces” I have reviewed that was of acceptable quality (although I recognize it could stand a rewrite). Enjoy!


There is a fine, razor’s edge, between your world and mine.

I revel in the knowledge of unknowing and you suffer in the silence you get when you raise your hands up to your gods and ask, “Why me?”

The difference, you see, is that I have given up on the illusion of reality and you keep trying to create a reality. While you try to bend nature and those around you towards your view, your relativity, your world, your false illusory “reality” – I am floating slipstream between the folds, hollows and turbulence; I see what is real and I hail her name, Discordia, Eris, daughter to the Night, Strife.

Continue reading “Delirium”

Burning gods

©2022 Michael Raven

The Drifter added another god to the roadside bonefire blazing under the dying desert sun. He even feigned reverence until the sky grew red laced with seared violet because that is the kind of thing one does during such events.

It was necessary, however bittersweet.

As gloaming seized the sky in earnest, he turned on a well-worn boot heel and stepped up into the lonesome road of broken asphalt, walking to a rhythm without a source, but one always with him.

He nodded in welcome to the rising pregnant moon casting pale shadows across the growing night. He was not alone, as a lone coyote offered her own welcome to the pale goddess of the night skies.

Fall-outs

©2022 Michael Raven

He felt the telltale electric charge ionize the air of an incoming walk-in before he heard or saw anyone. Or fall-out, he supposed, because they always fell some distance, higher or lower when they came and out, well because they were leaving what they knew instead of coming home.

The hairs on his arms danced in place, twitching to the beat of arrector pili reaching out for the other side, or the charge in the air. He ignored it, the feeling had become more frustration than excitement in his time in this place as surrender settled in. The others were coming, not going and there was no leaving, no homecoming, for the likes of him as far as he could tell. So he set to drifting on, like he always did in this twilight place.

Continue reading “Fall-outs”

Tree hollow

©2022 Michael Raven

A body won’t have noticed the hollow in the tree, had they just walked by, ambling as most folks do through forests, sticking to established forest trails. No. It wasn’t something that would have drawn attention at all, and that suited Stuart just fine. It was his secret hollow, a door to other places and times, something not given to being understood, especially by the old men and women.

If you were out of school, Stuart reckoned, you earned classification as “old man” or “old women”. Most people, he reckoned, and just by observation alone, were old well before that point, someplace and when around the age of thirteen by his estimation, but his judgments and proclamations trended to wide margins of forgiveness.

Stuart was quite content with the arrangement, being just shy of eleven himself and figuring he still had a good thirty years or more before he got old. He’d made a promise to himself, he did.

And so, every afternoon he sat in that hidden tree hollow with Bernard, the small red fox who lived nearby, and Hopping Joe, the crow who seemed to live everyplace and nowhere and they listened to the secret lives of the many people walking by. Bernard and Stuart asked many questions; Hopping Joe, well he seemed to have answers for it all. Meanwhile Lucas “Fuzzy Rat”, the local squirrel would shake his head in the branches overhead and make chirping noises in disgust at Joe’s answers. Stuart thought most of it was cow-pies, but Bernard accepted what Joe said, and that seemed to be enough. Every once in a while, Hopping Joe would tire of Lucas’ chirps and chase him off, but Fuzzy Rat never stayed away too long.

Perhaps he learned something about the world from Joe, in spite of his disagreeable sounds.

Endless, the hall

©2022 Michael Raven

He walked down the halls, finger dragging the dust from divider panels and three-quarter height trim, the lawnscaped green flowing out to infinity before and behind and cheap brass plated rails leading the leftside way, oak veneer solidcore doors with window slit wire mesh peepholes accessorizing, except where privacy was desired. Those did not let in or out the secrets behind closed door and were clouded or absent to hold secrets bursting at bay.

He hummed, occasionally tip tapping out some poly-rhythm, the time of which only known to him, but the count quite accurate and on as his fingers gathered the dust greyscale on the friction ridges making up his identity, should anyone care to match it up to another mark left on the plated rail.

No one did.

No forensic teams looked to put him away, put him behind bars, as he strode without apparent purpose. At that, however, a witness would have been wrong.

He had purpose behind walking these endless halls with endless walls and countless doors, each and every locked against trespass, but oh! how they tempted him with lurid promises as he passed. Inured, he felt no succubus temptation in the vague shadows and play of light any more. He remained… disinterested.

Trip tapping, humming tuneless, he succumbed to his mission instead. And — lost in his reverie that had gone on for so very long and he stepped one foot, then another ahead — he didn’t notice an end to his hallway journey and nearly walked into the bare, unadorned wall in his path.

Puzzling, he pondered, unhummed and of bestilled tappity tap. His eyes awoke with a start and a smile and he rummaged his rumpled frock pockets made of velveteen crushed until he plundered from them a stick of char, black as ebon night and drew upon the blank before him.

With fingers darkened soot, this he carved:

Shaky-handed door on the empty blockage, devoid of anything but white. Then, he pushed at the crooked center, gave a shove, a push, a thrust and, with great groaning at injustices untold, his drawing gave way to more nearly endless paths, this time carpeted red, with doors rightwise and rail left.

Click-clucking his tongue, he stepped through and sullied his other hand with dust of grey from the other rail, humming a humming kind of jaunty tune.

Squish

©2019-2022 michael raven

“Oh, please,” she sighed, breathing heavily from the effort of running madblind before she faceplanted in the palm of hand filthy with whatever gives an aptrgangr their ‘blood’. The mess it left on her face mattered only slightly. Considering the swarm’s collective vital fluids had splashed out and covered them both in gore when the rune-carved statue had flattened the undead, what was a little bit more on her cheek?

“Please do not tell me you MacGyvered a trap out of these ancient relics. I mean — what if they were valuable?”

Ben turned to her with a scowl. “What the hell, Frances? These ‘valuable’ relics of your wouldn’t have been much value to either of us if those undead bastards had caught up and given us both a bit of a munch, now would they?”

He stood up, wiping the muck from his shirt.

“You can thank me, by the way, for pulling you off to the side instead of letting you trip the trap. A little gratitude… would it kill ya?”


Another one of those 2019 flash fiction bits. Word of the Day, OED was “MacGyver”. File under grimdark with a pinch of black humor. Minor edits for clarity.

When stars are stars

©2019-2022 michael raven

“If you value both of your eyes,” said the old hag with her cataract-cloud gaze. “I would not seek the wisdom of ash, oak and thorn. I would go back to your woman, give her a lusty life with children and laughter. The path you seek to walk leads only to despair, for that is all the gift this kind of knowledge brings.”

She sat there, one gnarled and wrinkled hand folded into the other, waiting.

He rapped the head of his staff on the table in a sudden pique of rage, causing the soil cast in intricate patterns of geomancy to dance on its surface.

“Damn your caution, spell-singer,” his voice rough with the fatigue of months traveling here. “I’ll give both eyes if this gives my people the means to battle the Rime.”

He caught his breath, tamed the fire within.

“I beg forgiveness. Please, now tell me how to find those answers I seek.”

She shook her head. So young. So arrogant. So stupid.

“You must die afore you get your answers, boy. And an eye you shall surrender. Pray it is all that you lose.”

She leaned over to the map he carried that was wrong in every manner but the most essential and poked a boney finger, skin translucent with age, at the place where his answers would lie. Or the door to where he’d find his answers. She thought to mention his journey has just begun, but the door was already slamming behind his receding footsteps up the path away from her hut without a word of thanks or by-your-leave. Impatient bastard. She hoped they took both eyes for his having risked speaking it into being.


Another flash fiction from 2019, this one based on the prompt: geomancy. Minor edits. More in vein of high fantasy, but I’d probably go the grimdark route if I took it any further.