Plugs

On the south edge of the city, the river splits into two around an island. Now, in the time when the city was smaller and that island a far-off piece of rock, a group of terrible demons lived there. Manlike in visage, they possessed none of the goodness of heart and lived selfish, sordid, drunken lives.

A ship wrecked on the smaller rocks near that island, casting the sailors ashore. There, despite the city less than a day away, they fell prey to the demons’ power and adopted their lifestyle.

The city-guardian Chinrezik saw this and saddened.

Taking on the form of a giant horse, like the legendary Horse-King, he flew to the island on a foggy morning when the demons slept and said to the sailors, “Your wives and husbands are waiting with your children, fearing the worst. Climb onto my vast back and I will return you to them.”

The sailors all looked at one another, reluctant to leave this pleasurable new life – but, one by one, began to agree that their families were more important. Though some thought sadly of a return to life’s difficulties after their many days on the island, they followed the others’ – and Chinrezik’s – sentiments.

“When I leap from this island into the sky,” said the giant horse-Chinrezik, “the demons will sense your departure and call for you in the most tempting way. Fix your gaze forward and you will be safe.”

“We understand,” said the former Captain.

So the sailors climbed on the vast back and Chinrezik leapt into the sky and it was as he had said: the demons awoke and began calling, reminding the sailors of the many selfish joys the island held.

To Chinrezik’s dismay, several sailors longed for this life of constant selfishness more than their families and proper lives. As each looked at the island, he or she fell from the vast back. By the time they reached a safe distance, only the Captain and three of her crew remained.

Chinrezik extolled the virtue of these people, and he adjured them to console the lost sailors’ families and teach them similar values.

We’re changing things up a bit this week, giving you updates on cabalists you haven’t seen here in a while mixed with some microfiction pieces that are even more micro than our usual fiction. To read today’s update, just click “previous story” further down this page.

Gods and Superior Angelic Agents presiding over worlds running Humanity 3.5 should apply Quickfix 1902773 to resolve a newly discovered issue that  may cause hyperperception and pandimensionality, leading in some cases to transcendence and accidental Godhead; please see details in attached Miracle.

I broke a panel of glass in the front door and let myself in. Ziggi, on lookout duty in the cab, studiously ignored my break and enter.

I crept along the long hallway to the kitchen. A door in the pantry floor was open. I guess when you’ve got a glamour around your house and you live in Ascot you think you’re bulletproof.

The stairway leading down was brightly lit. At the bottom: a large room, walls painted white. In the back corner, a round vat with a screw-down lid and pipes running into and out of it like a still. Behind that ran rows and rows of wine racks, stretching back into the shadows. The basement was much larger than the house above.

In the middle of it all a cold metal table, with Lizzie lying on it and next to the table stood a woman.
She looked like an Ascot matron. Maybe in her sixties, but her true age was concealed by a combination of cosmetics, a little glamour and a lot of Botox. She was short, a little thick around the waist, wearing an impeccable pale blue dress and elegant ash-blonde hair. Her knuckle-duster rings were probably worth more than my house.

‘Verity?’

I nodded.

She smiled. ‘You’re the reason she’s here, you know. I followed your scent – my, what a vintage you would have made when you were young! What wouldn’t I have done to take the tears from you? The wine tastes so much sweeter when it’s born of sorrow.’

‘You’re not eating them?’

‘No. If you take their tears you can’t use the meat. It’s too dry, tough. Really, it’s either wine or veal.’ She smiled.

‘Lizzie,’ I said. She didn’t stir. ‘Lizzie!’

‘She can’t hear you, dear. It’s a little sleeping spell until they go in the press. You don’t want panic; that sours things; but fear brings out the tears.’

‘Wake her,’ I said. ‘Wake her up and give her to me and we walk out of here. I tell no one about you.’

‘I knew your father – wonderful butcher. But rash, sloppy in his hunting.’

‘Bela Tepes knows I’m here,’ I lied. ‘You mess with me, you mess with him. You mess with him, you mess with the Weyrd Council.’

‘Two of my best customers are on the board, lovie,’ she said confidentially.

Alex Dally MacFarlane



















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