Posts Tagged scraps

[scrap] Mitch.

The first dream was the scariest.  I don’t mean it was a nightmare or anything; it’s just that it was so obviously not my dream, that I worried someone might have gotten into my head somehow.

That was, of course, vanishingly unlikely, but I was, what, twelve?  They told me I wouldn’t have any magic, so I figured it was projected in from outside.

But when I’d woken up, the dream was gone, and nobody seemed to be trying to put anything further in my head.  I lay in bed and listened.

And I started hearing things I’ve never heard before.  From Toby’s bed I heard a rumbling, a rustling, a far-off running train.

It came in his mental voice—I knew it was him.  I knew his telepathy was strong, but… that wasn’t quite right at all.

I listened more.

I heard more.

I got up from bed and headed out into the hall, the wooden floor cold under my tail and paws.

Mařa’s room was across the way; I heard—I heard her mind’s voice crying quietly.

She wouldn’t have been projecting that.

I noticed what my mind was doing unconsciously.

I stopped listening.

It was quiet again.  No broadcasts, then.

I started… listening again.

I started hearing again.

Could it really be happening?  Could I really be getting a knack after all?

I went back to bed.  In the morning, at least, I’d have to test it.

I went back to sleep.

The dreams kept happening.

[scrap] Toby.

My day starts in the basement of the theater.  It’s a little disconcerting, every time, to experience the room from two perspectives—on the one hand, my projection, which I’d come to think of as my usual body, saw the space as large, if a bit crowded; on the other hand, my real body saw it as a small, enclosed space—like sitting in a closet.

The fans ran nonstop, as body heat tended to make the place stifling, otherwise.

I set the bucket I came in with down and tried to imagine what life would be like if I couldn’t project.  The pallor, the weakness, all inescapably mine, because the world outside was the wrong size for me, and I couldn’t live in it.

Instead I was able to escape the body, somewhat—but I still had to take care of it.

It could indeed have been worse.  It could always be worse.

I tried to keep that in mind as I started washing my poor body down.

No, I don’t hate my body.  I am… well, we all have to hide who we are.  But having another body that can’t really take care of itself gets to be a chore.

And I guess, also, that having high standards doesn’t help.  I wouldn’t leave myself to live in slobbery.

So I was down here every morning.  I’d wash my poor body down, because while I did have to take up space, I didn’t have to make it unpleasant for others.

It wasn’t hard work, but I did have a lot of area to cover—it was like washing four or five cars a day.

When I was done I’d always…well, today I lay on my poor body’s chest, stroking softly as much of it as I could reach, because every body needs touch for the sake of touch, or it starts to break down.

My poor body’s hand would cover me sometimes, because sometimes I felt the need to return the favor.

I might have fallen asleep there, my poor body holding me against its chest; I’d certainly lost track of time enough that it seemed too soon before Mitch was poking at my mind.

Toby! Come on, I’m going to be late!

[scrap] Mařa

I keep apologizing because I don’t know where to start.  You get used to feeling awkward when you see every person’s death with them.

You’d think I’d get used to it after a bit, but I never could.

So, forgive me if I have trouble knowing where to begin sometimes.  I’m too busy thinking about how things end.

[scrap] Shotrox.

The first day of Balance was dark this year.  My little house, on the edge of the forest, normally looked out on the lowland, the town and the river, but today it was all fog below and dark clouds above.

Beautiful, of course, the mundane details of earth and sky washed clean by the humid air.  I did worry, though, that the rain might ruin the ceremonies if it came.

Regardless, the ceremonies would happen, good weather or no, so I made sure my feathers were in place and my scales were bright as I robed up and got ready to head out to the standing stones.

[scrap] Isaac.

Previous / First

I had most of the planet to myself.  A million Martians, and land to provision themselves with, take up very little in the way of space, even from their perspective, I imagine.

So I travelled.

There’s not much in the way of food on those endless Martian fields, I know you’re thinking.  I do have a bit of help in that regard—my knack is autotrophy, so as far as I can tell all I need to survive is light and air and water, which are a lot easier to come by than more substantial fare.  They say it might be why I was able to grow so big.

[partim] Shine.

Previous | First

A couple of younger men came out carrying trays crowded with plates of food and arranged them all on Fofaa’s table.

A few moments later, the man who’d first brought me in came back with a plate of crab rangoons.

I brightened up a bit and went to work myself.

[partim] The day of the singularity.

Previous | First

Yeah, this bit will definitely want rewriting…

It took me a bit to get the hang of looking things up on the cell phone, but it wasn’t long before I was reading everything I could about theories of immortality and, as my study took me that way, about the singularity as well.

How far into the future would we have to go? The estimates came back that it probably wouldn’t be very far—not more than a hundred years, and maybe less than fifty. It was surprising but a relief—surely a conservative hundred-year jump would be a lot better than a blind million-year jump into who-knows-what kind of future.

Now at this point I was really only looking. Even though I’d just seen myself a lot older and I didn’t seem to be in any immediate danger, and even though immortality was in the offing, a trip into a technological singularity was still a bit much for me. But I knew it’d have to be done—especially since Ralph had taken a break from the new movies Steve had brought and was looking over my shoulder.

“The singularity, eh? That’s what Steve was talking about, isn’t it?” he asked, reading over my screen. “A super-futuristic future—count me in!”

[scrap] Classifieds.

Start of an idea I’ve had floating around for a while.

Jay stomped into my room, waving the morning paper, and started yelling at me.

“Zed, why didn’t you proofread the ad before you sent it in?” He threw it down on my desk and pointed to it.

Now, I’d helped him out the other day—he’s a bit on the shy side and doesn’t like to go out, but I thought he needed to meet someone, so we put together a personal ad for him. We’d managed to come up with:

GWM, 25, 150#, loves to cook,…

It went on a bit like that, but it really wasn’t very interesting. You see why he’s single.

Anyway, the ad his finger was on was clearly the same ad I’d submitted, only instead giving his weight as 250#.

“Who’d answer an ad like that? I’d be a blimp!”

I was a little pudgier than Jay – kind of close to that number myself – but I didn’t answer that. (He likes to cook – I like to eat.)

“I’m sure someone wouldn’t mind,” I said. “And if you do get a call, you can get them straightened out right away. We’ll send in a correction after lunch—I’ll go by the paper myself.”

Just then the phone rang. Jay picked it up.

“Hello? … Yeah, I posted the ad … No, I’m not a ‘big boy’” – he started getting agitated again – “I weigh 150! … Yeah, I know you can’t print lies in the paper … No, I don’t want to get bigger, perv … Listen, just …” He slammed the receiver down.

I looked at him a bit surprised, which he misinterpreted. “Why did I do that?” he said. “I shouldn’t be picky… with anyone who’d be interested in me despite my weight…”

From the moment he’d hung up, his body had changed. The loose clothes he’d been wearing were filled out to a much more generous form. He didn’t seem to notice the change at all. “Dude, why am I even hanging out in here? I’ve got breakfast to make. Come down and help, would you?”

[scrap] The day of the singularity.

Previous | First

This piece was actually written a long time before the previous two. Thus the continuity doesn’t quite join with what’s already been shown. I’ll need to update the facts—which may steer the conversation differently—but till then, you can have this slightly less canonical dialogue.

I woke up the next morning with Ralph’s arm around me, his body pressed against mine. I stayed still, not wanting to wake him, and thought about what my future self had said.

…I don’t want to lose Ralph. I don’t.

…I don’t want to lose Ralph.

…I don’t.

I rolled over to face him. His eyes were open… he was watching me.

“You’ve been shaking, babe.” he said. “Is something wrong?”

I kissed him. I tried to smile, but he was right—I was shaking. I couldn’t hide it.

“I don’t want to lose you,” I said.

“Why should you be losing me?” he said.

“Unless we die together,” I said, “One of us will have to go first. And you’re the adventurer.”

He laughed. “I’ll give you that,” he said. “But that was true before tonight, too. Why’s it on your mind tonight?”

I hesitated, but not for long. I’m not keeping anything from Ralph. “We weren’t the only ones to come back to tonight.” I told him about the visit from my future self.

“He came alone,” Ralph said. “Was he… like… old?”

“I couldn’t tell, in the dark. Middle-aged, certainly.”

“Did he ask you not to tell me?”


“It’s important. Did he tell you not to tell me?” he sat up, excited.

“He did.”

“But you did,” he said. “Things are changing.”

“How do you know?”

“He didn’t come back to inform you, he came… you came back to change it. And if you’re telling yourself not to tell me, but you told me anyway, then we’ve already changed timelines. If you’d remembered yourself telling me, you wouldn’t have told yourself not to tell me.”

“What…” I shook my head. “What if me telling you was the thing I’m coming back to change?”

“You wouldn’t have thought of that.”

“I just did!”

“If that was the important part of the message, you’d be stressing it more,” he said, “Enough that your past self wouldn’t crack at first questioning, like you did. The game’s different now, babe. Don’t worry.” He put his arms around me and held me to him. “Trust me.”

“I’m still afraid,” I said, into his chest.

“Then let’s get that fear behind us,” he said. “We’ve got a better computer now, so how about we hunt down immortality next?”


“It’ll be discovered eventually, right? We’ve got to find it.”

“Ralph, you’re crazy.”

He just grinned at me. “I’m gonna love ya forever, babe, if it’s the last thing I do.”

“Now you’re just being silly,” I said. I pounced him, kissed him hard, and kept him too busy to talk till noon.

[scrap] Silk Rail.

Previous | First

Aside from disappointing the god, I was glad to be free of those classes. I was still allowed to stay at the temple, and from there my real career began.

Of course, I am digressing—I meant to talk about the sabotage.

Indeed, I believed the scale of the vandalism on the rail system was too great to be the work of idle peasants; as I received the message that the bridge over the Coudn had exploded, I knew my suspicions were being confirmed.

I had a fairly clear idea of who would have an interest in sabotaging the rails. There was no discontent among our own people, the people of the Ellad, or of any land in between; all had felt the benefit of the divine transportation. Nor indeed would there be any protest from the Eastern countries; treaties had already been drawn up by all, from Armenie to the country of the Tins, to build the rails, and all saw it to be in their interest.

The only sensible perpetrators would be the nations of the west—Liboue and Iberie, the kingdoms of Karkedon.

While the war between Karkedon and the Ellad has abated and there are no longer any generals in the field, the peace was shallow, and the terms of trade between us and the Ellad precluded any rail construction over northern Liboue to link Karkedon with the developing world.

Clearly they were beginning to chafe under this state of affairs. Why did they have to take it out on my expensive railroads? Why couldn’t they just invade Sikelie again?