Drifter [fragment]

© 2002-2022 Michael Raven

Below is a snippet from a very cringy story I wrote in serialized style starting back around 2002. Above is an upscaled and modernized version of the cover that I had designed when I still had illusions that I would publish this tripe. Mind you, this is one of the best sections in the some-200 pages I wrote and, while I can see some salvageable elements, it is still pretty awful in my estimation. It is a tale full of not very clever stuff that I thought was clever at the time and includes one thing I have grown to detest as I get older: an evil overlord.

Drifter has a problem — he turns people to ash quite unintentionally when he touches them, he has a wafer-thin evil overlord pursuing him, and can walk through walls. Evil overlord wants to use him to stop a young lady who can keep the apocalypse from occurring — which the evil overlord would find annoying.

In this scene, Evil Overlord sends his minions, Glum and Treacle, to make sure Drifter picks the right side in the global affair.

It’s all very silly.

I am publishing this solely because Tara Caribou dared me to post something awful I had written. As I warned her, I have very little shame. Some light edits are involved. I have a modicum of pride, even if I have no shame. You can throw blunt objects at her if you read the following. I am innocent.

You may want to skip this post.

The scene setup is that Drifter is being woken from a dream of the beach with his lost love. She was complaining about the birds breaking clam shells on the rocks as the tapping begins.


Tap tap tap tappity tap.


Continue reading “Drifter [fragment]”

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.


"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]”


© 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”

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.


© 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.

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.

Taking demons.

©2021 Michael Raven

The following was originally posted 9 Nov 2019 on social media and showed up in my “memories” feed this morning. Any edits made are for only the most egregious of errors, which might (honestly) be the whole of the piece.

“Every night is the longest night of my life,” she said over the coffee I’d ordered for her. She hadn’t touched the coffee yet but just hovered over it, breathing in its aroma. Her voice was weary, tinged with fatigue and, maybe, just maybe, a little apathy.

“I sleep, but only as much as I absolutely need,” she continued. “But mostly, I lie awake all night.”

I was about to say something, she added without looking up from her coffee but exquisitely timed. “Night is where my demons dwell.”

As far as first dates went, this was going in the direction of the two-stars-thanks-lose-my-profile-cos-I’m-gonna-block-you box. But it was early yet. Maybe my date was just nervous, I told myself.

“Demons?” I mean, what do you say after someone says something like that?

“Demon demons,” she said, looking up for the first time since I’d placed the spider-cracked porcelain mug in front of her. Her eyes were like dark pools of water, an abyss of cold emptiness.

“There are demons, you know. We just like to pretend otherwise. And I’m just fated to have to deal with them nightly. You have demons yourself, or you wouldn’t be here.”

She waited for me to confirm her assertion and shrugged when I did nothing of the sort.

“My guess is you can ignore them,” she added, looking back down at the mug. “I can’t.”

That was it. I’d left my last girlfriend because of her mental issues that she’d refused to take her medication for. I didn’t need this in my life, this gal was obviously cut from the same crushed velvet tapestry. Maybe, I told myself, I should take mom up on that nice daughter her coworker was willing to set me up with as a favor.

It’s best to avoid prolonging the inevitable.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “Not to be mean, but I can already tell this date is not going to work. I don’t want to waste your time or mine.”

She shrugged and finally sipped the coffee.

“I didn’t come here to see if we could date but to take some of your demons. You could thank me later, but you won’t find me. The demons do that to torment me. You will forget my name, you forget most of this evening. That’s okay. I’ve gotten used to it.”

I’d had enough and was about to get up. My companion put a hand on my shoulder and stood up before I could do so. I could feel her cold flesh through my shirt.

“Stay,” she said. “It’s better that way. Less confusing when it fades.”

The strange woman turned to the glass door and let in the Seattle autumn wet and chill to disappear around the edge of the window.

Aside from me, there was only the barista in the cafe after she’d left. I looked up, “Man, I dodged that bullet. I’ve had some weird blind dates, but that one was off her rocker.”

The barista looked at me, bewildered.

“Who? There’s only you and me, man.”

“But the woman who was just here…?”

“You came here by yourself, brother. Hey… Are you okay?”

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

For Ever More [old masters]

This is the Mission cover I warned about yesterday evening. Potentially explicit for those folks offended by lyrics that mention sexual acts. It is a very slow piece and requires patience to listen to to get to the final buildup (at about 4.00 minute mark) if you hate slow songs. Auditory artifacts in song are due to poor cassette storage.

I won’t rehash the wedding this was done for in this post, refer to Bits and bobs for that. But I will foist a short story about the song on you all the same. That’s the kind of guy I am.

This recording wasn’t strictly Mike and I back in 1992. My bride (and now ex-wife) knew a guy from the old days, someone we’ll call “Axe” (“to protect the innocent”), who happened to be into music and recording engineering as well. So much so that, unless I was told a pack of lies (which is not as far-fetched now as it seemed at the time), Axe was a recording engineer for Paisley Park (Prince’s studio). Not necessarily for the man himself, but for other recording acts. As a wedding gift, he donated his talents to engineer and produce this song.

Continue reading “For Ever More [old masters]”

When the Love Runs Out [old masters]

Sorry about the aural overload today. I’m digging into the archives for other reasons and realizing that some of this is in only one place without backups. I’ll start saving it elsewhere and spare you the additional overload, but I stumbled on this and thought it was interesting in terms of quaintness.

First, this was recorded back in 1992 or 1993 as an all-nighter impromptu music writing session. Mike, former lead singer/drummer for the goth band I was in back in 1987-1989 came over with a top of the line Korg (at the time) synth/sequencer one evening without warning. I had planned to just hang, maybe watch a movie, throw in the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis — but I hadn’t planned on writing music. As the former bass player for our previous act, he had me tap out some bass line on the keyboard with the clicker to give me tempo to show me how we could sequence it and stack the bars. Then, he added drums, following a similar routine.

Continue reading “When the Love Runs Out [old masters]”

Triptych [old masters]

triptych ~ quandry::umbrage::ascension is another tune from the same period as the last piece. Also sequenced using Sony Acid, it used more of the bundled loops and less found sounds than what I shared from earlier, but I still did my slicing/dicing/modification bit with the loops to try and make them my own, including pitch changes and effects. The inspiration came from Delerium during the Spheres era (space music inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, with samples of HAL in a few songs) and by Synæsthesia’s Desideratum album. I treat them as separate bands, but the two are just different projects by Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber, who also went by about eight other monikers over the years (Front Line Assembly being another).

I was way into these kinds of ambient artists at the time.

As you can probably tell by the name of the song, it is a three-part piece — a three-panel song. For each section, I attempted to use at least a few melodies and instruments from the others to give it a sense of continuity.

  • Quandry is intentionally, airy and disjointed, meant to elicit confusion. What am I seeing? Why does something seem off? Why do I feel outside of events?
  • Umbrage is meant to exhibit anger at the discovery of betrayal. The things seen in Quandry were not imagined, and there is a reactionary rage. If I were to redo this, I think I’d add the sound of smashing bottles as percussive elements. In fact, I think I tried that, but I couldn’t find any satisfactory samples to use.
  • Ascension is overcoming the anger and confusion, acceptance of things as they are, rising above, moving on. Vocals are modified bundled loops, again: sliced, modified, reorganized, and blended to get what I hoped was a personalized sound.

It was loosely inspired by the divorce of my first marriage (ten years earlier). But I was also at the beginnings of my worst peak with alcoholism, so it is hard to recall the exact motives. Essentially, was putting away a six-pack of strong ale a night, at least (that would be a “sober night”). And that wasn’t even close to how much I drank at my peak. Yeah… details are a bit fuzzy.

Another one of those “whole five CDs sold”. Probably with good reason, although I didn’t do much to promote the CD.

Remember CDs?