At all costs

©2019-2022 michael raven

Doctor Lamb watched the multitude of lights, sliding bars of color, numbers in red flashing like myriad blinking blind eyes belonging to Sauron and sighed.

“She’s dying, isn’t she?” asked Lamb’s assistant, Gary.

The doctor nodded, weary to the bone.

“I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this,” he said. “But I suppose we need to act now or risk losing the mother. There’s still a chance she can carry on, but only if we pull the trigger and act immediately.”

“Does anyone with higher authority know? Shouldn’t we get authorization before acting?”

Lamb shook his head. “They’d just delay the inevitable with their arguments. It would take too long to see reason and we don’t have time for their bureaucracy. By the time they that it is the only reasonable course of action, it could very well be too late.”

Without waiting for Gary’s counterargument, Lamb keyed in a command line into the computer console that only he knew. Milliseconds after the the enter key was pressed on the keyboard, the caches he’d hidden around the globe released their contents into the air, nanobots attuned exclusively to homo sapiens. They miniscule bots were designed to enter a person and disrupt key protein strands within the brain and nervous system. Importantly: no one but Gary knew of their existence.

Six months later, the bots would self-destruct and free Gaia from the bondage of humankind for the first time in aeons.

Another, slightly modified flash fiction piece from 2019 using the OED word of the day: Gaia. File under: grimdark post-humanist.

Ensuring silence

©2019-2022 michael raven

“The rope’r too tight, they be cuttin’ off me circulatin’.”

The man in the Guy Fawkes mask ignored Gareth and, indeed, tugged a but harder to ensure the knots were well and tight. There would be no Houdini tricks under Guy’s watch.

“I tell ye, lad, ’twastn’t I who done got ye discover’d. Was tha’ wytch, Rose who gone done ye.”

Guy stopped tying the ropes connect to the cinderblock resting on the edge of the cliff overlooking crashing midnight blue waves on an angry ocean below and stood there, reflecting.

A gloved hand raise the chin of the mask and pushed it over long, black hair.

“You nasty liar,” said Rose, the Guy Fawkes mask resting crooked on the top of her head. “Any reluctance I might have had with what I’m about to do evaporated with that last part, Gareth. You never knew when to just shut the fuck up, you bastard.”

“Don’ do it, Rosy, Imma sorry for that. Canna blame a guy fer wantin’ to save hi’ hide, right?”

She smiled.

“To hell wit’ you, Gareth Butterfield. I hope they don’t spare you no flames on account of your lyin’ ways.”

She shoved the cinderblock closer to the edge with the flat of her black boots.

“Well, I sithee down in ol’ Lucifer’s house then, y’bitch.”

She gave the block another shove and it tumbled over the edge. Gareth followed not a full moment behind. To his credit, he kept his mouth shut for once and didn’t scream as he tumbled into the waters below. Rose was almost impressed.

Rose looked over the edge and watched as icy waves erased the splash Gareth had left behind. She lowered her mask. More important tasks were at hand than dealing with a stool and a fraud.

Another bit of flash fiction from 2019, posted on social media. Some minor edits for the purposes of clarity. Prompt was the word of the day from OED, “sithee”. Meant to be a bit of grimdark with a bit of steam taking place in some nonexistent era.

NaNoWriMo Practice | Like Blood on Snow

I’m starting to get the mental gears greased for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and decided to try to write improvised stories of varying length and likely questionable quality as part of the process on a daily basis for the days remaining until NaNoWriMo starts in earnest. The inspiration for each piece will come from scrolling through my Home page on Pinterest until I find a picture I feel (for whatever reason) to be inspirational as my prompt. The length may vary, but each piece will have a target length of at least 1700 words, as that is near the minimum required on a daily basis to complete the NaNoWriMo challenge. Only minimal edits are done with the results below and the work is the effort of a single writing session.

I always welcome people who want to be “buddies” on the NaNo site. My user name is Michael_Raven, if you want to link accounts.

[Length: 1729 words]

Trigger Warning: Graphic Violence, Fictionalized Suggestions of Sexual Assault

“We should have waited for the others, Van,” Lars said under his breath, afraid of drawing attention to the two men following the trail of footprints in the deepening snow. The white flurries fell hard, big fluffs of cotton that swirled in the eddies of wind created by the old growth trees. Miraculously, the they still had the light of the moon to see by, a pregnant, pockmarked mistress hovering just over the horizon where the clouds full of snow had seemed disinterested in venturing. “They had warned us before we’d left that these were no ordinary witches.”

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Practice | Like Blood on Snow”


Dervish is a piece I'm working on as of a few nights ago. I decided it needed a little planning to find out just how workable the pantster exploration would be as an actual story. I'm doing some world-building right now to make sure I don't create any major pitfalls for myself -- more often than not, I discover that I have too many conflicts or need to do months of research to make the story feasible as a not-horrible read for someone else, so this may not go anywhere, but I'm liking how it is shaping up so far.

Below is the first draft of the pitch (to myself, more than anyone else).

Dervish is a story in which Salem, a Shadowlands dervish, finds herself stranded in the Shadowlands while she had been guiding an aspiring merchant from one land, Kanaa, to another land at the opposite side of the blasted waste, Praja. The amateur merchant’s poor understanding of risk killed him and the rest of his team, leaving Salem as the only survivor of the expedition.

Continue reading “Dervish”