Raven in the Sky

©2023 michael raven

Set a watch in the sky, to cry out when the hills begin to crawl and speak in unfamiliar tongues, when the bears wake.

Intro to “Raven in the Sky” (Oracle of the Morrigan), Morrígan Oran

“Hey Sam.”

Sam turned her gaze from the burning skies that turned the world a crimson color in the daylight and masked the stars come night for the past fortnight or so. No one could agree on the exact amount time that had passed, but agreed in principle the period could roughly be described as two weeks, give or take three days in either direction. Shit in the beginning had been chaotic by all accounts — there was no debate there. And, given the clocks had gone and done struck thirteen, then moments later given to the ghost just like anything with circuitry along with a blinding flash, well… the craziness and lack of proper tools to tell time made it awfully difficult to count the days, let alone the hours since.

Continue reading “Raven in the Sky”

Letter found between walls

©2019-2022 michael raven

“I knowe thy markings makes ye outcaste and beyone pale, me callyd sonn — yet stande ye fast and soothe, afore the wynters come and ye will have those who wyll harme ye fall to foot and beg mercy when they see yr true myte…”

— scrap of parchment found behind a false panel between the walls of an old homestead in a ghost-town, Upstate New York. The remainder of the the document was consumed by vermin. There are no records as to the reasons the town was abandoned.

Another flash fiction bit from 2019, slightly modified. Prompt was the OED Word of the Day: callid. File under New Weird.

Certain sacrifices must be made

©2019-2022 michael raven

“I awakened him from is slumber to bring on a more teleiotic, verdant world! To ameliorate this flawed, fetid cesspit of humankind! To free the Earth and all of her children from the shackles of humanity!”

He continued to rage from the mound of wood built around his emaciated body, dressed in little more than rags and ribbons of cloth, the exposed flesh crossed with angry red marks from jagged rocks thrown by the local guttersnipes. More than a few of the rock-throwers were persons thought to have a better sense of decorum.

“You might eradicate me from this plane, but be forewarned: I have the favor of the Master!” he shouted, voice ragged from raging all night. “Yea, I walk with the Master and He will repay me for my deeds, snatch me from this real and set me to work in the next! Y’AI’NG’NGAH YOG-SOTHOTH H’EE-L’GEB F’AI THRODOG UAAAH!”

Father Murphy sensed the man had spoken enough and nodded to the torchbearer, who started the slow processional to the man tied to the stake, flames from the torch licking the air in anticipation of the imminent feast.

Another flash fiction from 2019 based on an OED word of the day prompt, which I believe was “teleiotic”. More of my experimentation with New Weird, in case the Yog-Sothoth didn’t give it away. The story is almost exactly as it originally appeared elsewhere, with minor word restructuring.


© 2019-2022 michael raven

“Why is is medicine men always seem to live so far away from the villages they serve?”

Harlow was tired of the jungle trying to eat him while he hiked through it, whether it was the bugs, the large cats, snakes or the tiny fish in the river’s waters with teeth far to large to be sensible for any fish to possess.

“Not medicine man,” Alejo replied in his halting pidgin. “Is brujo.”

The translator and guide that the University had recommended was adequate, but hardly fluent in English, much to Harlow’s chagrin. Harlow craved a return to civilization, where he could have real conversations with someone less… subhuman.

“Whatever. Medicine man or whatever you called him — he’s the man who has the formulation I require.”

Alejo nodded briskly. “He has. They all say.”

“Well, let’s hope he’ll trade for it. I’ve waited long enough to explore the realms Alhazred mentions in his damnable book. I’m weary of these false leads.”

“This brujo has, they all say. You dreamwalk when you get back to Santarem, you want.”

Harlow pushed another vine out of his path. “I’ll dreamwalk tonight, back in the village, dammit.”

Alejo stopped and shook his head slowly.

“You dreamwalk in village, they kill you when you leave your body. They no want the dogs to follow you back from dreams. Santarem is better, They not know dreamwalking. Or about dogs.”

Another New Weird flashfiction from 2019 posted elsewhere, with some modifications. Prompt was “brujo” from the OED word of the day. While I admit it has some cringe with respect to pidgin and sterotypes, the usage was intentional, as I was trying to emulate more of a 1920s feel than a 2020s feel. And I tried to moderate it a bit away from the even more cringy elements in stories popular at the time. No offense is intended.


©2019-2022 michael raven

He had barely turned the key when chimeric visions fell in layered veils fell over his sight — a hint, perhaps of what lay beyond that liminal threshold he was about to cross.

A gut wretch, a fellifluous and acid burning of the lower chakras, as the tumbler turned and the scribed door swung away from Llew.

There were second thoughts, but they came far too late to entertain for more than milliseconds. The time had long passed to entertain such thoughts. He crammed those fears into a place deep inside of himself where they could shriek in the void of silence.

The gateway yawned before him, multicoloured and writing, the many angles turning on themselves. Llew did not believe in Heaven but her feared his next step might confirm his suspicions about Hell.

Again, it was too late for such considerations. The door lay open and to walk away now would result in it staying open and something from the other side would eventually notice and come forth. The price for closing the door was passage, so Llew stepped forth, letting the door slam shut behind him as he fell. And fell. And fell.

Another bit of flash fiction from social media back in 2019. I made a few modifications in this edit, but they were minor. Prompt was the OED word of the day: fellifluous. File under New Weird.

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.

Huygens, Shangri-La, Titan / 2256

©2019-2022 michael raven

“The interesting thing…,” he said, holding the leathery pod with his blue nitrile-ensconced fingers. The brown, reptilian flesh reminded Lauren of an overripe avocado. “…is the sheer aggressiveness of the species.”

He turned the pod back and forth under a bright light.

“Occasionally, you get a double-yolker and, unlike other species where survival may be unlikely due to limited resources, the offspring of the snarkling vie with their siblings for resources even before they hatch. A snarkling will attack their egg-mate as soon as their initial hooks form and woe to the slower-developing twin.”

“So, the stronger kills the weaker to ensure it has the best access to resources?” Lauren asked. “That sounds like classic ‘survival of the fittest’ to me.”

“Oh, it’s far worse,” Professor Yang replied. “They kill and consume the less-fortunate twin within the egg.”

“That… that is aggressive,” Lauren admitted.

“What’s really interesting is when a triple-yolker is laid. But that’s an extremely rare event.”

Professor Yang was silent as he considered this.

“Thankfully,” he added before gingerly putting the pod back into storage approaching absolute zero temperatures, hoping he hadn’t pressed his luck with how long the pod had been out.

Another blast from 8 July, 2019, a post on other social media. Also prompted by the OED Word of the Day, this time “yolker”. Minor edits, otherwise mostly intact.