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The Kid (2019) – review

Hey there,

I didn’t really want to review this because it was just sort of meh but I thought I needed to let people know that I didn’t die haha. Just been busy with work and trying to find a new job and stay sane.

I watched this movie for a couple of reasons, I liked Dane Dehann despite the shitty spiderman movies and Valerian being bleh. I really liked him in Chronicle and Place beyond the pines, those are amazing movies that really grabbed me and in the case of Place beyond the pines, really moved me.

So when I see his name I think it could be ok and then I saw Chris Pratt’s Ethan Hawke’s name in a western together and I get horrible magnificent seven flashback and full body shudders. If you haven’t seen the magnificent seven remake, keep it that way, you’re not missing anything.

That discouraged me a little but then I found out this movie had an R rating which peaked my interest again, thinking this would be a balls to the wall actionfest.

Turns out I was wrong about all these things.

Because at it’s heart this is a movie about absolutely nothing.

I don’t know why this movie was made, I don’t think even the people that made it know why it was made. It just exists.

The movie starts with this abusive father beating his wife to death and his kid kills him and they run away from their even more abusive uncle played by Chris Pratt and somehow run into Billy the kid for no reason.

I thought it started kind of slow but there was some gore so I figured the movie was just building up to the action like Open Range. If you haven’t seen Open Range, it’s this really slow movie that climaxes in this awesome gun fight for like the whole third act, really great Kevin Costner movie. In fact there aren’t many Kevin Costner movies I don’t like, yes even waterworld and the Postman. I actually liked Waterworld more than mad max, heresy right. I just think overall there are more bad max movies than good and the good ones aren’t that good.

See this movie is so shitty and boring I’d rather talk about mad max.

Ok so they meet billy the kid for reasons and then a bunch of talking and nothing happens until he eventually escapes with the help of this kid because his sister gets kidnapped by the evil uncle who steps in and out of the movie when it’s convenient for the script. I always hate that, I hate when a villain just steps in and out when it’s convenient and I always sight robocop as a movie that did it right. In robocop the main villain almost has his own arc, he has his own scenes just to establish him and you follow him almost as much as robocop, the same for robocop 2 actually, now that I think about it and the villains were really relateable. That was a good sequel, SEE, see this movie is so boring and uneventful I’m talking about robocop now.

Ok so his sister gets kidnapped and I guess the story is about coming clean, or his arc is about admitting he killed his father but no one really cares about that. So the kid wants to free billy to go after his sister, which would’ve been a cool story line, I mean I want to see that movie. Where a kid saves billy the kid and then billy the kid does some bad ass stuff and saves the girl and has like a redemption arc. Does that happen? No he escapes and then just dies in a really underwhelming way and then Ethan Hawke sort of becomes the main character I guess, although this movie doesn’t really have a main character. It sort of goes between billy, the actual kid and ethan hawke, but none are really that likeable or interesting. It’s like having three bowls of underwhelming luke warm porridge to pick from.

Then after billy dies, which me and my brother thought was a joke, and there would be like a tarantino-esque history bending, but no he’s just out of the movie. Then the kid confesses and entrusts ethan hawke to save his sister and he does, the end.

And is the gun fight at the end epic? No it lasts like three second and it’s really underwhelming and boring.

All that happens is Chris Pratt gets his third and final scene in the movie, he just reappears for the purpose of dying and establishing he’s really mean because he let someone rape his niece. I mean he didn’t rape her, that would be weird. And then you have this cringe scene like five minutes later when she shoots her rapist in the dick and we’re supposed to be like ‘”Yeah you go girl!” maybe not that obnoxious. But there was no emotional resonance because this all happened in like the space of ten minutes.

It’s like a movie that takes ages to do nothing then crams all it’s emotional plot into like ten minutes and we’re supposed to feel anything for these characters, why? The only emotion I felt while watching this was boredom and I don’t even think that’s emotion. I sat down expecting a blood soaked semi historical western and got absolutely nothing.

This movie is a big nothing burger, it’s not about anything, it stands for nothing it’s just nothing.

Westerns in the past, movies in general in the past had morals, they had messages, they told stories and parables, they were about something, they didn’t just exist to swallow an hour or two out of your life.

It just goes back to this feeling I have that people just don’t know how to make movies anymore and it’s sad that the only movie I’ve seen recently that feels like an actual movie is about a talking yellow electric rat voiced by Ryan Reynolds.

 

Gage Epilogue ‘Effigy’

Hey hey,

Here goes that experimental nano story I did that kind of didn’t work out how I expected, maybe I should stop trying to write novels in 30 days haha. Eh but I had fun doing it, it was different enough to hold my attention and be fun and for me to actually finish it despite not making the time limit because of work and that I forgot about nano until a few days in haha.

My one fan who read this said he hated the ending because they all die and no, no they don’t this is just satire on how the news lies and it’s all bullshit, kind of the main theme of the story, of course their press will say whatever they want, paint whatever narrative fits them. There are planned sequels but I don’t know when that will come. I need to do a sequel to Diana before I can even think about one for Gage or anything else. The next Diana book is just too juicy to pass up.

Not much been going on as of late, oh yeah it was my birthday haha. Funny seeing all those people I barely know on facebook sending me happy birthday messages and not being able to respond because I’m banned, I guess they’ll think I’m an asshole, eh they’ll probably forget in a year.

Still reading that new Parker book and I haven’t got that far into it but it seems like a return to form; slow plotting methodical story about a heist. Lots of interesting new characters and some old.

I did watch probably the greatest horror movie I’ve seen maybe in a decade last night and I’ll probably do a review of that just to align my thoughts. Because it’s one of those movies that you really need time to unpack. I should watch it again really.

Anywho I’ll leave you with this little epilogue and try to do some real work, going over the editing for Diana. Really hoping to make a jump on that soon.

See you…

 

Further news of this event are not in our record but one news clipping from the New york daily reported as follows;

GRUESOME MASSACRE A TOWN GONE MAD!

CABIN FEVER REACHES PEAK AS SPECIESIST GROUP DESTROYS TOWN AND GOVERNMENT FORCES HAVE TO RESPOND.

Sept 14th

Reports received earlier this week indicate a speciesist riot broke out in a small border town in Arkansas called Tupelo.

Earlier terrorist and anti-government activity has been reported in the area. It seems the gang activity had culminated around the town resulting in chaos and death. Even reports of rape, sodomy and cannibalism as well as predation of children.

The leader of the group one Phineas Gage who has been assumed killed in the resulting bombarbment of the town. Was reported as being a religious fanatic. He followed an outdated and archaic religion that still clings on in parts further away from civilisation. Reports lead us to believe that he was a sexual pervert. Taking many of the townsfolks young daughters and even sons to bed, some as young as eight or nine years old. He was also known to practice polygamy and human sacrifice.

Subsequently a rally will be held. Where upon the dreaded terrorist killed in the event will be burnt in effigy. So as to send a beacon to anyone that would emulate such a repugnant act of defiance. We will burn this traitor to democracy into out memories so as never to forget the aliens killed that day. Our heart goes out to the Cylon and their families who have suffered and who continue to suffer. At the hands of despicable speciesists that continue to persist in our society today.

In a more sombre note a brave attempt by a noble military unit of Lug troops was brutally thwarted by the gang. Who cooked and ate these noble American heroes. Subsequently we believe sodomizing them before and after sacrificing them to their evil god. These brave souls who died protecting their country will never be forgotten. Their noble sacrifice will remain long after their deaths and live on in the heart of the people who carry their memory.

They fought valiantly and will be remembered posthumously in a candle lit vigil in time square late this afternoon. All members of the unit will be posthumously promoted to General 1st class.

Unfortunately their bodies could not be recovered for burial as they were most likely eaten with their remains fed to animals. The resultant bombardment from the Spartan two orbital lazer left very little of the town remaining.

The government issued a statement later that day decreeing that ‘Hate would never win. And all those with hate in their hearts were on the wrong side of history’. A move that has been criticized by many heads of state as drastic and heavy handed. Nevertheless it was met with favourable support from the public after a poll was taken. With a whopping 90% in favour of vaporouzing the small border town and only 9% no and 1% undecided.

Gage Chapter 12 ‘Passover’

Hello hello again,

Greetings on this fine tuesday coming from my shack in the middle of murky nowhere to bring you more weird stories and general musings on life (or the lack thereof).

Been getting on with some decent writing and a lot of slacking off, still trying to get back into the swing of things with the 2k a day word count, not quite managing it but saying that the stuff I’ve been putting out imo isn’t too bad. It’s taking shape, it’s getting there.
Is it as good as the start, I don’t but I’m reaching the tipping point now, the story is peaking and I like the way it’s shaping up.

And tbh I’m looking forward to doing something more silly and fun again, so as soon as I’m done here gonna get straight back into 3 ring for the next instalment of that and then maybe start thinking about a sequel to Diana after dark if the time is ready for that. Been wanting to write that one for a while.

But the moon and the stars have to be aligned for that, it has to be perfect and if you’ve read the book you’d know that is pretty topical haha.

Not that I don’t love writing serious stuff and intense stuff, it’s just a little draining being in that head space constantly, you have no idea how worked up I have to get to write stuff like this. It’s like I meditate but not to get calm and serene but to get the complete opposite. I get so worked up it’s like I’m trying to rip the keys out of my laptop haha.

It just takes up a lot of energy to run that hot, I’m literally trying to make myself feel like I’m in battle flinging a battleaxe into someone’s face haha.

Talking about battleaxes in the faces I haven’t been reading or listening to the witcher much, I just don’t care enough to follow the story honestly, the characters are boring and unlikable and I feel like I was cheated out of the witcher series I should’ve have gotten. I keep lamenting to my polish buddy at work that if the series had been like the first story it would have been perfect. If Sapkowksi had kept it a tight almost pulpy action packed terse tense fantasy thriller it would have been my favourite fantasy series hands down.

But it just gets lost in the weeds with this generic crap and shitty characters I just lost interest. I mean most of the books are just about Ciri and completely unrelated stuff honestly. For a series about a monster slayer it just uses his monster slaying as like a character trait, it’s not what the story is about at all and plays no part in the narrative whatsoever.

Geralt being a witcher is just something he likes to tell people like he’s on a speed date but he never actually does any ‘witching’. It’s just astounding that CD projekt red can get it so right with the games but the creator of the character can get it so wrong. It’s weird because it’s usually the opposite for adaptations like it’s the total reverse with Dexter. Sure they hired a great actor to play Dexter but they completely fluffed the story and the character after season one. If the show had followed the books religiously it would have been amazing.

But it’s equally amazing that CD projekt red (jesus I sound like I’m doing marketing for these guys haha) could turn a cool shorty story (which could be a rip off of elric, I need to read elric) and turn it into one of the biggest game franchises in history.

I also finished that Parker book it was taking me ages to get through and yeah it kinda goes nowhere like I thought it might. They kill the only interesting villain off halfway through and replace him with an old guy on a golf cart who doesn’t do anything except shout at people. And the whole book is about Parker trying to escape this amusement park while getting besieged by this criminal organisation and spoilers yeah at the end he escapes and then goes home and makes himself a sandwich. That’s literally the end, I’m not making that up. The last line is him eating the sandwich and then thinking about getting the money he left there.

He doesn’t even get the money, or even try for it there’s no tension at all. He just escapes and thats it, no epic show down because the person he would have had the showdown with he already killed, he was literally the first guy he killed, it was pathetic. I mean why the fuck couldn’t you just have killed off the guys buddy and continued the story with the interesting villain instead?

That tiny change would have changed the entire plot and made it ten times more interesting and it would have been so easy to do. You just have the other guy walk into the hall of mirrors. Why would this smart villain be the first to walk into a trap like that? It made no sense and basically destroyed all the tension in the book.

I complained that the last book was kind of small and uninteresting and the heist was a little boring because everything went right. But that still had tension and interesting characters and a more dynamic story, it had legs. This book is just lazy and hacky honestly.

But still this is like I dunno the 14th book in the series and it’s the first real stinker, so that’s amazing. I’ve been burning through these books and loving each one more than the last. I just hope the next one returns to form a little.
Oh and I’m really excited because I just found out that someone turned all Stark’s books into graphic novels so that’ll give me a reason to read them all again which is great. I can’t wait for that.

I didn’t think the book was shit, I think if it had a few tweaks it would have been decent. Just have that interesting villain you spent all that time building up live til the end and have this awesome battle of wits of which I expected. And maybe have a little more set up to the actual job and the park itself. Just to give the story a little more breathing room and not be this claustrophobic almost like stage play set in one room.

Yeah so that’s my rant for the day probably be back for a poem tomorrow, I don’t know yet, been feeling a little up and down about that. I definitely have material let’s leave it at that.

Oh that reminds me I finally got to the part of the story where my bardic poem is used in Cur, so that’s cool. It is kind of a pivotal point in the story and the lore, the celtic mythology. Bards are held in high regard in that culture, their power to influence people is quite literally seen as a form of powerful magic and curses.

Anyway gotta go and do some proof reading as usual, finished the Diana pitch chapters but I’m gonna start working on the whole book soon enough. But I will put out another Cur chapter soon enough.

See you…

They came for us at night.

Me and my friends watched from our rooftops as they snaked through the back alleys. That bookish one with the moustache behind them fiddling with a tiny pencil and paper trying to write in some kind of journal.

They crept quickly and quietly to the centre of town. The town was so quiet you could hear the sand moving in their boots. A ghost town silently watching as they worked their way closer to the saloon they hoped Gage was sleeping in.

I could see on the hill where they set up camp, those weird pods were still there closed up and not moving, just sitting there like warts on a frogs ass.

They had strange weaponry and stalked the alleys ways watching every corner as they went. Feeling the eyes on them, slits of boarded windows following them as they passed holding their breath.

They must have felt us watching, the big one with the beard looked up at us but we ducked too quickly for him to see. They hurried along passing us off as curious birds.

He was waiting for them.

Just standing so tall, alone in the centre of main street, a cold wind blowing. His shotgun hanging loose at his side.

The men fanned out in formation and surrounded Gage in a semi circle in front of the saloon.

The man with the moustache shouted and tried to push past the men.

“Ryan, we have to take him alive.” He shouted as he approached the man with the white hair.

The man at the front said nothing, he just spun around and hit the pudgy moustache guy in the guts dropping him flat to his knees. Then he turned back to Gage and shrugged his shoulders.

The man on his knees tried to get up as the other men attempted to keep him down.

“If you kill him and others hear about it, he’ll become a martyr”

The man with the white hair, he must have been the leader turned to each of his men and he pointed, first at the woman. He said “Are you gonna tell anyone about this?”

She shook her head.

Then to the large man with the beard “You?”

“Not a soul.”

Then to the mexican.

“De nada”

“You?” He said to the younger man.

“No sir” he grinned.

“Well that’s everyone.” He said looking at the man with the mustache and quickly shooting him in the head with his strange alien weapon. There was just a quick flash of light and a strange noise and the man’s head was gone and his body became dead weight in the arms of the men carrying. Stained as they were with a light dusting of pink mist.

Disgusted, they threw his body down like a sack of potatoes in the dry loose top soil.

Gage watched the dust settle around it as it stopped being a person and just became scenery.

Ryan stopped and looked Gage up and down and scoffed. “We travelled all this way for this” He sniffed and spat on the dirt next to the mustache man’s body and said “I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting to do that.” He smirked and put his e-cigar in his mouth and sucked on it looking at Gage. “I know you” He said.

Gage tossed his gun out in front of him on the ground. It landed with a heavy thudding noise.

Ryan let out a laugh and said “Well that was easy.”

Gage didn’t move or say a word, his one eye burning staring through Ryan who tried too hard to hide a boiling fear in his gut. Destiny staring him right in the face, looking at the bare pit where his soul was supposed to reside.

Gage took his duster off of his shoulders revealing a mountain of man in a stained grey longsleeved under shirt that was once white. Ripped and torn and bitten and stretched with the sinewy muscles underneath forged through nothing but hard work and sweat and toil. The work horse bitten and turned sour and vicious and lame biting back at the hand of his master and running madly and wild and free to it’s own doom.

He took his suspenders off his shoulders and clenched his fists.

Ryan scoffed again “Oh so you wanna do it the old fashioned way.” He took another suck on his e-cigar and put it back in his pocket. He took his gun out of it’s holster and lifted it over his shoulder at which point the younger guy with the shaved head took it off of him.

He was wearing some kind of weird skeleton suit over his body that went over his arms and legs and connected at the hips. Under it he was just wearing a fitted shirt and a pair of pants.

Ryan didn’t take a stance he just smiled with his cocky smile and said “Well what are you waiting for?”

He let out a mocking breathy laughter and said “Ok, I guess I’ll be the one to lead”

He moved so fast I thought I was dreaming at first. I’d never seen a human move like that, it was like he was there one minute and then there was just dust and dirt and he was barrelling at Gage. He didn’t throw a punch he just launched himself right into him like a cannonball and swept him off his feet with enough force to kill a horse.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. He couldn’t have been more than six foot nothing this guy but one minute he was standing there the next he was on top of Gage. He toppled the gigantic man in two seconds flat, felled him like a great oak tree in a single strike.

Check out the rest of the chapter on inkitt.

Passover

Gage chapter 11 ‘Heel on the shovel

Good morrow fine folks,

You know I actually got up and started writing this morning haha. Forgetting it’s a blogging day. See I cycle between the two to try and keep them both in regularity, so I do tues/wed/thur blogging and then the other four days writing. Because before I would just write everyday and I would sort of get burnt out and depressed because I felt insular, I felt like it was all for nothing because no one was reading it. But then blogging and spamming and promoting made me feel hollow because I wasn’t creating.

So I thought this system would balance the two, nice regular creation with sometime to check my head space and see if anyone was picking up what I was putting down to mixed reviews haha.

But it was a happy accident because the last few days I’ve felt like I’m getting back in the swing of things, the first two days weren’t so good, second two were stellar. I think a lot due to the heat abating haha. Also part of me wasn’t feeling that part of the story, not that it was bad it was just a lull from the pulse pounding action haha. Now I’m safely back in that and feeling good. I was feeling like it was getting away from me a bit now I feel like I have a handle on it again. It’s coming into shape a little better, I don’t feel like it’s perfect or I’m putting enough world building in.
One thing I actually like about the witcher series is it has a lot of nice ‘fluff’ like stuff that’s irrelevant to the story but adds just a little something. But obviously in my estimation the whole series so far is nothing but fluff.

And not it’s time for another rant about the witcher, I just got done listening to the audiobook for time of contempt and I don’t if I just wasn’t interested enough to hold my attention. Because I listen to audiobooks all the time and do other stuff and I can still be fully absorbed and never miss anything but I feel like it was just a convoluted mess. As apposed to the other books where nothing happens that’s all this book is, a bunch of stuff happening. It’s not really a story.

The story can be summed up as an evil mage sides with the baddies and then they take over and everyone fights. That’s the plot, just add in a metric tonne of pointless dialogue and some mediocre fights in this one actually. And the book just sort of ends after a cringey lesbian sex scene between a fourteen year old girl and an elf.

I know what this author looks like, he’s a fat old polish guy and just imagining him writing this scene makes my skin crawl haha. It was bad, this elf girl like saves her from being raped by a boy only to rape her ‘nicely’???
It was disturbing to say the least, is it as disturbing as child gang bangs in the sewer a la Stephen King? Not really but I’m not in a hurry to read it again.

Short and sweet that rant, I kind of feel obligated to listen to the other books just so I can moan about them now so I might have to subject myself to that. I mean it’s good just for the writing style, I really think as a writer you should read everyday in some way. I usually listen to those books in breaks and then read before bed and when I get up. Almost finished the Parker novels, I’m not getting the stories crossed with the witcher because both their stories are very simple.

A little behind today so I’m gonna do some proofreading and hopefully get another damn chapter of Cur out because I’m running out of shit to post haha.

See you…

I figured Gage wouldn’t travel too far if he was with that old man and all, I mean where could he go? There wasn’t anything for miles, it was just open untamed country. He couldn’t go back to McCrory. If he didn’t just die of thirst or hunger and get covered over by the sand or get carried away by carrion. He would have stopped at this brothel and someone would remember him, how could they forget such a face?

We left the old man barely alive but he was certainly breathing when went on our way. There was no use in killing him I gathered, if he didn’t indeed die of his injuries he was of no great threat to our operation. I wondered as we left him in that state if it would have been more humane to just end his suffering.

The thought troubled me all the way to the brothel. The sun was just coming down by the time we got there but there wasn’t a single lamp lit in the building which seemed unusual.

The edifice was cold and dark but we could hear an odd rummaging sound. And see a little light bobbing in the darkness like an angler fish’s light in the deep darkness. We approached with caution and I called out like a fool before thinking.

“Hello, is anyone there?”

Ryan and the others shushed me angrily as they got off their vehicles and got low and still in the twilight and I saw the spark of a knife leaving it’s sheathe.

There was a long pause, a moment of unbearable silence. The rummaging noise stopped and the lamplight went out and I swallowed standing in the open. Just like in front of the barn awaiting another flash and a roll of thunder but instead I heard a small stuttering voice.

“HHh-hello? Who’s there?”

“Erm, I’m just looking for some service – A place to sleep and some food perhaps”

There was another deathly silence where nothing moved.

“O-ok” The man’s voice said as the lamp came back on. A few moments later a portly middle aged man wearing a smock came out to greet us in the dusk. “Hh-how you are ya?” The man asked.

“Erm we’re just looking for a place to bed down.”

“Ww-we? There’s more of you?”

Ryan and the others rose out of the falling darkness and stood in front of the porch at my back.

“I see” The man said as he moved the lamp around trying to get a good look at the strangers. “Well I hope you like beans, s’all I could find.” He said.

We sat around a table in the dimly lit brothel over meagre plates of luke warm beans not talking a great deal. I looked over in disgust watching Stein sop up bean juice with stale bread, not so much at the sight of it, but the sound. The slurping sopping suckling noise as he bit into the wet bread.

The man who greeted us came over with his lantern and said “How are you folks finding it?”

A few grunts were sent back in answer.

“Fine I said, I was wondering if you mind if I asked you a few questions?”

“Questions?”

“Yes, I was wondering how you came upon this place, how long have you owned it?”

“Oh I don’t own it” The man said shaking the loose skin on his neck. “I stumbled on it just like you did, the place was empty when I got here so I thought there was no harm in camping out here til I move on.”

“I see” I paused feeling a bit of unease creep in but I went on. “Do you know what happened to the people who ran it?”

“I have no idea mister. I used to run the bank over in town until the other day now I’m a wanderer now, trying to find a way out of the valley and this god forsaken nightmare.”

“You said something about a bank?

“You haven’t heard about it? The whole town is going up in smoke!” He sputtered.

“You’re the first person we’ve talked to”

“You mean” He stopped and put his hand on his head and looked shocked and then swallowed. “I was the only one that got out.” He said in a horrifying realisation.

“What in god’s name are you talking about man?”

He swallowed and he said almost like he was reading from an old folk tale. “A great evil has come to Tupelo, the devil himself has come to town with a red right hand and driven the people from their homes. Swept up in a murderous rage. They chased down all the sane people and killed them and maybe more got away but I ran.” He swallowed, his throat sounded dry and sore. “But I looked back and I saw him, the man with the scarred face, he looked at me and I felt the evil in his heart and I knew the end was upon us.”

“The end?”

Read the rest of the chapter here.

Heel on the shovel

Gage Chapter 9 ‘Wanted Man’

Ok so I’ve spent all morning procrastinating and drinking coffee trying to be alive so I’m just gonna get in complain about the witcher and then get out haha.
Nah but yeah, just been writing and proofreading, I put up the second chapter of Cur, it’s turning out pretty well. I promised myself I would go over each chapter as a rewrite not a soft proof read because I found myself sort of burning through them when writing. So I wanted to go back and give them all of my attention and I added quite a bit. I’m not sure how up to it today I am, because I’ve been trying to get up earlier and sleep less and I feel fried, hence procrastinating haha.
So maybe I’ll do it later or limit myself to one chapter a week. It doesn’t really matter that much how I fast I get them out, all that matters is they’re the best they can possibly be.
Ok now time to praise Parker and shit on the witcher. I said I would get back into reading Richard Stark Parker novels because they were more fast paced and tense and then I literally start the most boring formulaic one yet haha. Nah its great, it just has sort of a slow start because the weirdly they start in the job well thats not the weird, the weird part is the robbery goes without a hitch. But of course the hitches come later haha. 
I just think the robbery went a little too long and was a little uneventful but otherwise it was fine, it’s back to form now and it’s solid as fuck, I love it. Tense, interesting, mysterious, cool characters and story, action.
Now compare it to the witcher, I read the first short of sword of destiny and it’s literally about Geralt NOT fighting a dragon. I was like ‘ok’, how is that a story ‘there’s a dragon over there, should you fight it? Y tho *leaves*. Oh dude you really subverted my expectations by having the monster slayer not fight the monster, that’s really edgy and interesting, oh wait no it isn’t.
I do like how this book is basically going deeper into Geralt and Yens relationship but what I don’t like is it’s still garbage haha. Yen is still a complete dumpster fire, the only positive thing I can say about her is she makes every character seem better by comparison. 
I hated Dandelion in the game and at the start of the books but the moment Yen spat on him he’s been elevated to knighthood in my eyes haha. There isn’t a single character in these books that likes her except Ciri and even that’s begrudgingly haha.
I mean I can’t tell if the author intends for the reader to hate her or not but she literally has no likeable attributes, she’s arrogant, self-absorbed, mean spirited, catty, quick to anger and she smells funny haha.
I was actually starting to think the author might want us to hate her because the second story is sort of hinting that Geralt actually has no feelings at all, like he’s just a meat robot created to kill monsters. And the only reason he loves her is because she’s the only woman that could love a monster like him because he literally used a wish from a genie to force her to love him.
But at the same time, I’m pretty sure Triss and Shani probably love him without magic but he thinks Yen is the safest bet because of Genie magic. So I really don’t know what he’s going for it’s just unpleasant to read any scene with her in. Its well written of course but it’s also like reading a really well worded phone book. It’s good but nothing really happens. I honestly think the ‘still a better lovestory than twilight’ meme doesn’t apply to this. Edward Cullen is infinitely more likeable than Yennefer. They have absolutely no chemistry, they barely even seem to like eachother.
Again this is just my jealous saltiness because I wish I could write as well as this but also I think more stuff happens in a chapter of one of my books than a whole witcher book. I’m not even kidding in terms of Blood of elves that books is just 350 pages of talking. I was telling this guy who is about half way through it that it doesn’t get any better and I could feel his heart breaking over facebook haha.
Oh yeah, I’m back on facebook again, for how long? Who knows, I’m bound to get banned again soon enough haha.

Anyway that’s enough ranting, I need to do some spamming or else lying with my eyes closed and not moving ergh.

See you…

*Note to the reader, the following is a concurrent entry from the diary of Dram Johansson section chief of the Chicago office of Xen Chiao global railways initative in the years following.

New York Feb 9th 1849

My how fortunes change, only a year or two ago I was busting rocks in the hot California sun. Blasting away and baking to death like some sort of lizard. And now I’m in this nice heat regulated office in the centre of the most metropolitan city in all of the world. The cental hub for trade on the entire earth and I have my own office.

It’s still rather small but it has my name on the front of the door and that’s all that matters. I look at the picture of Catharine on my desk and I think back on that horrible incident those years ago that drove her into such fits. I feel regret too on what happened, feeling that I could have done more and now I wonder what has become of my friend, sure he is dead or would wish to be.

I remember that day too for the loveliness of Catherine and for what felt like a fated meeting as she is now my wife. I took her as such and it was not without a great coaxing on my part. After Phineas’ accident and when he wouldn’t see her, she was distraught and I did my best to comfort her. I wrote her many the letter informing her also of her husbands firing and then his disappearance. And when I was promoted to work in the city I offered her a place with me there where I could provide for her and Gage’s daughter Eleanor.

I can’t say if this would anger Phineas or not, I have done my best to keep Catherine and his child in the finest of situations, they want for nothing. It almost feels like I’m writing a letter to him, begging for his forgiveness or his acceptance. Because deep down I know I was selfish, I wanted her and I took her because I could and now I wrap it in charity and hope and goodness when it was selfish. But I hope he would understand and if not for me they would most likely be in the poor house or forced to work some demeaning job as washer women both.

They’re as happy as I could imagine and she never speaks of him nor our daughter. Who was too young even to remember that I am not her real father and I love her as if she were my own flesh and blood. I would never let go of the happy short years we’ve spent together as a family. With my continued hard work and perservance perhaps I could even move up to work in the capital. And take them with me to have a life neither could dream of before.

You should see Eleanor now, what a beauty she’s growing into, just like her mother, precocious and smart, she’ll make a fine woman one day.

Read the rest on inkitt.

https://www.inkitt.com/stories/scifi/200344/chapters/9

Gage Chapter 6 ‘Leaders of Men’

Ok so I just went ahead and made a spot for 3 Ring on my inkitt page, gave it a little cover and a blurb and all that good stuff so you can go ahead and check that out and give it a little read and review and a little kissy and a cuddle if you’d kindly follow this link good karma will come to you in the form of hot topic gift baskets filled with cancer cells harvested from infected rhesus monkeys. So go do that.

The Man with the Laughing Sword.

So what’s new? Well I finished the witcher book and thought it was ok, although the ending was a little creepy and the story is just sort of thrown together, it has no cohesion, there isn’t really a beginning middle or end, it’s just loosely connected stories and then it details how Yennifer and Geralt met and fall in loves, spoilers he fucking wishing on a Genie to force her to be in love with him haha. I’m not even kidding. This was sort of talked about in the Witcher 3 but I didn’t really put a lot of thought into it because I hadn’t read the books at that point but it puts a lot of stuff from the games in context and just adds this little creep factor to the whole thing.

And I totally get the whole ‘Team Triss vs Team Yen’ thing now because although I haven’t read the other books yet I’m guessing Triss actually loves Geralt and isn’t brainwashed by a fucking magic lamp and probably also wasn’t an ugly hunchback who used magic to be beautiful, at least I think that’s what she was.

I really thought reading the books would make me like Yen and Triss more but Yen is pretty much a thot and an asshole from the moment you meet her until they fall in love and it’s not much different in the game. I got to the bit where he wishes she falls in love with him and I was like ‘y tho?’. He literally just met her and she was in another man’s bed and she was nothing but rude and conniving and literally mind controls him to do her dirty work potentially putting his life at risk but this somehow endears him to her.
I didn’t get that, specifically considering he literally murdered a woman in the first part of the book for attempting to do the same thing after fucking her.
It just didn’t make any sense and honestly I didn’t give a shit in the games when both Triss and Yen snubbed me for fucking around with them both. I didn’t care but having read this I’m gonna be in camp Triss until she annoys me in the later books haha. The main thing that put me off of her in the game is just her annoying accent.
Don’t you just fucking hate it in fantasy games where there’s that character that just has this grating overt american accent in a game set in some mythical universe. It just completely breaks immersion for me to hear people talk like that. I become so aware I’m watching a game cutscene or a tv show or whatever.
Everyone in fantasy should have english accents or some variant on that like irish or scottish or welsh, something like that. Geralt is an exception because his voice is just dank the way it is boi.
Geralt’s is more subtle, Triss sounds like a new yorker ordering a bagel. Just annoys me.
Honestly I wouldn’t have begrudged a game like Kingdom come being all in Czech with english subtitles, not that that game needed to be more immersive but that extra level of passion of the christ immersion could be cool and I might see on my next playthrough if I can set that up.

I will definitely be reading the next book though because the action and the writing is perfect inspiration for my fantasy book I’m planning and 3 ring and I enjoyed it despite the fact it didn’t make much sense.

Anyway can’t stay long, could waffle on indefinitely, I need to do more proofreading for 3 ring so I must dash.

See you…

~

He couldn’t say how long he waited or if he even slept like that. Days could have passed, weeks of waiting. Waiting for what? A sign? God to reach a hand down? A white winged horse? Maybe he was waiting to die.

Gage couldn’t say until he saw it and he eventually did. It came up as a dot on the horizon getting ever close until it took the shape of a group of men. As they got closer to the whorehouse they waved at Gage seeing him sitting on the stoop in his rocking chair. He just nodded and watched them come. There were about five of them on horseback leading a sixth on a rope.

Eventually they stopped their horses in front of the stoop and he could get a good look at them with the gun still on his lap

They were relatively young but looked capable and had a wry innocence about them as if they were all farm boys fresh from the tit.

Gage offered them a greeting and they returned it cordially and smiled although he could tell they held a heavy countenance.

“Good evening mister.” One of the young lads said as he approached with a wary smile on his face. He squinted with the sun in his eyes, lighting up boyish freckles on a ruddy irish face. “You wouldn’t happen to know the way into town would ya?” The boy asked earnestly like a child would. But he was tall for a boy and wore a man’s duster and stood as one and was broad with a light strawberry blonde hair and stubble on his chin. Loose springy hair on his head.

Gage shook his head.

“Oh that’s too bad” The young lad said sighing and stopping to look around. “Ya see, we was transporting a head’a cattle up from Bronson when this gang of escaped- err – you know. Them Kafta folk.” He sucked his teeth reluctant even to talk about it sighing heavily as if he were more disappointed than mad, as if it were his fault somehow. ”Well they robbed us sir, kilt one of us, lad by the name of O’Hare just cut him down like a beast.” He swallowed remembering it. “Butchered him like a hog for slaughter.” His eyes got narrow as he realised that he was probably closer to the truth than he realised. Lugs weren’t too choosey about the source of their food, we were different animals to them entirely of course. “They took as much cattle as they could and the rest stampeded off a cliff.” He spat on the ground. “But you see they left this one behind.” He gestured over to the tied up lugger, a smaller scrawny one. The runt of the litter certainly but no less dangerous. It was dressed as something like a plainsman or a farmer in a light coloured smock that was torn and dirty on bare feet. Although his kind rarely wore shoes and usually had no need of them as their feet were ususally clawed and toughened like the feet of a dog or cat. “One of the little ones and well sir, we’re planning on taking him into town to face justice there”. He paused and cleared his throat “We thought if we couldn’t get the cattle back we could at least see this done and go home with our heads held high.” The young lad smacked his lips and said “Who knows, he might even have a bounty on his head”.

“Why bother?” Gage scoffed. There was something Gage respected even in his mockery. Something only in men and only then of a certain kind, a sense of duty, even misplaced, a sense of making things right that only existed in men. Despite how bastardised this sense of honor was by a system that had learned to manipulate and putrefy it. He could still respect that but not in abstract. There was no duty to ideals or concepts or company only in blood and the soil it fell on, only that mattered. For the ideas could be soiled and stolen and changed ever so slightly as to flip them entirely.

The ideals could be and more than likely were based on lies. The concepts half baked drivel formed from the minds of men never to spill blood except with a pen. But the blood and the soil had been there much longer and would remain on when all the high minded ideals were dust and buried in rubble.

“Sir?”

“I have a rope here”

“Erm, well” The young lad dithered earnestly. “Wouldn’t it be better just to take him into town Sir?”

Gage knew that taking him into town was a waste of time, they’d take one look at the little beast and start blaming everyone but him. To the state the luggers were a class of retarded children incapable of being responsible for their own actions. And any violence they commited was the act of a mislead minor. And any violence enacted upon them was the act of a savage monster to be scourned and derided and spat upon in the streets. The state would bring down some Cyclon lawyer or magistrate to blame men for making him work, oppressing him somehow. There had to be some way his actions weren’t a product of his own nature as nature was something the Cyclon abhorred in all forms. The idea to them of creatures having a nature was almost like a challenge to them, something to be tested and broken and moulded and changed.

The human officials would just ring their hands and differ to someone else too afraid to even make comment on it. They’d think about their little wives and children and their mistresses before saying anything that could put that in danger. A danger that was very real. Such controversies erupting from the most benale of mistakes or misteps or resistance. Just some loose tongued person taking for granted that they’d grown accustomed to living in a ‘free’ country. And could say whatever they liked were of course layed low. As all free men would be in turn until they were all gone. It was only that the land was so big and the list so long that they could grow to doubt that they would be next although not next as they were waiting in a queue.

They’d say it wasn’t the lugs own beast nature but it was the speciesism and bigotry men had shown the lug. This forced him to become the wild animal he was always meant to be. It couldn’t possibly be the other way around. No that would make sense, but that’s what the cyclone did. They made up down, left right and it worked, if it didn’t it confused people long enough that it didn’t matter if they realised they’d been had, it was already done. They’d been so skilled at it they’d completely flipped the moral teachings we had had only twenty years prior. Without our even noticing it as it had been done so gradually and enacted so henpeckingly.

We didn’t ask for these beasts in our land and we could’ve built our tracks without them and been better for it. It was the Cyclon that brought them here from some different world, or maybe they made them who knows. It was them that wanted them here because they were cheap and dumb and easily controlled. And if ever something went wrong it would never be them caught in the jaws of the monster. It’d always be some human dolt who would get the axe and if he was unlucky enough to live, the hammer would come down if he ever spoke up. He’d be called every name in the book, the names that stick and he’d never work again.

There was a pause as the wind blew and the rocking chair creaked.

“Hey wait a minute” Another lad from behind said. “We can’t just kill him without a trial, that’s speciesist.” The boy looked older than the rest and had dark curly hair with freckles on his cheeks and dark beady eyes. “We gotta take him to town.” the kid protested. Something told Gage it was this kid’s idea to take him to town in the first place. Overriding the natural recourse which would have been to bash the beasts head in with a rock on the spot. The Cyclon loved rules, they loved codes and dictums because they were always for everyone else to follow but them.

There was another silence and blowing wind and they knew what justice called for and since they couldn’t do it right now the one beast would have to do.

Gage looked at the sorry thing, it was younger but given a year or two and it would be just as deadly as the others. It had an arrogant look about it. It knew it was beaten and looked sorry but it was sorry it had been caught, not sorry about any crime it had done. The luggers never could feel sorry for crimes against humans because in their minds they were justified. They were owed whatever they stole for some past grievance told to them by the Cyclon. Every killing of a human was a revenge for some long gone gripe that may or not have happened. The Cyclon would have them believe that humans and Cyclon were one and the same and it was men that had enslaved them. There was no subtlety nor a mind capable of distinguishing it in a lug.

“If you even think of hurting this fella I’ll run into town myself and tell them everything” The nasally voiced kid with the curly mop of hair said. “He has rights, they’re thinking feeling people just like us, they’re our equals and we have to treat them that way or-“. He got off his horse to get around to the front so they could see his hand wringing and gesticulation like he was making some address to public office. Taking a few steps onto the porch and talking down to them like some cutpurse evangelist. “It goes against the very nature of this countries founding to kill this free man without a trial, we’re a nation of immigrants bound by our principles.”

The other boys made faces like they were swallowing some harsh uneccessary medicine, a lie forced down with teaspoons of sugar and grit. Their faces contorting as this little rat told them that this monster was their equal. When every sense told them that it was a monster that didn’t belong on this earth. A mix of shame and revulsion at the thought of swallowing this lie and someday even believing it themselves. And forcing it down the throats of others made them sick.

Gage snorted.

The boys looked at him with astonishment. The little rat boy had said all the magic words that made normal men cringe and prostrate themselves. To make the strong bow and scrape, make even their own fathers become humble and small and itinerant but not Gage. To Gage they were just words.

The little rat boy squinted angrily almost in tears and said “I’ll report you all and you’ll be the ones that hang!” He snuffled and continued pointing at them in turn before waving his arrogant little hand in Gage’s face as he sat in his rocking chair. Then turning around to address the boys once again as he could feel some movement amongst them “My father-“

Gage had heard enough and interrupted his feeble chatter with a blast from his shotgun into the boys side knocking him headlong into the dirt. He fell like the devil himself yanked the little snots chain. Hitting so hard he broke apart like a child’s doll wrapped in meat into squishy flabby pieces.

The gun smoked under his blanket as the boys shook with fear but only for a moment. Because people only feared what they didn’t understand, and this made some sense to them instantly and the gun was only a surprise. They’d probably never even seen one this close before. There was a time when farm boys like this would be steeped in guns right out of the womb. They’d have been bouncing a shotgun on their knee while their father bounced them on his. But years of gun confiscations had left them little more than babes in the woods. Victims waiting to be robbed and murdered by monsters that roamed free, bound by no such laws. It was lucky they’d only lost one and hadn’t been raped for their troubles.

But there was some spark of boyish wonder in them looking at the gun and what it had wrought, a terrible wonder.

Gage stood throwing the blanket off his lap and said “I’ll get the rope.”

There was a little grumbling from the boy who had spoken to him first. He later introduced himself as ‘Jameson’ his partners were ’O’Shaunnesy, McDonald and Clarke the dead one’s name was Miller.

Gage instructed them to scoop up what was left of Miller and they dug another shallow grave. Not too far from the mass grave he just dug and laid his bones down there to be dug up by the coyotes and gnawed on.

It was getting later and there was some light protest. Worrying as they were about sanctions from the state. Gage assured them as he held the large bible that smelled vaguely of piss. That there was no greater sanctions than in this book if they allowed the thing to live.

There was some sense in that, although they swallowed with fear all the same. Knowing what he said was truth that spoke to their ancient past conflicting with the ‘truth’ of their modern age. It was a practice these country boys were slow to get used to and that’s why Gage knew he could use them. The age they lived in devoted itself to indoctrinating it’s young into thinking the thoughts in their heads weren’t their own property. And their natural reactions of disgust at the world around them was a result of their bigotry and small mindedness. And they had best to train themselves to be more tolerant of an alien race raping their planet. They were taught to suppress their instinctual reactions. Encouraged instead that they should instead try to befriend the monsters. If only they treated these creatures with love and kindness maybe then they’d decide not to rape and murder and see them as a source of food. To just keep putting your head in the mouth of the alligator hoping this was the time it would see sense and not bite. Failing in every sense that there was no sense to be had and in fact biting was its very nature, a sense of it’s own.

But instead of destroying the alligator or living in separation from it. Humans were forced to share a bed with it by people that would likely never even be in the same area code as the real throng. Sure the Cyclon had them as bodyguards but they made sure to pick the best most plyable subjects. Putting them through the most rigorous of screening and genetic manipulation. Further inhibiting them from turning against their masters with surgical implants in the brain.

They would never see the consequences of their actions and would never even care. For the life of one of their kind was considered worth a thousand of ours but they would never say that although we all knew it, deep down. No to the masses we were all brothers, all equals. Living together in perfect harmony towards a better future and this was the great lie that was repeated often.

The boys off their horses were all tall to average height. Strapping lads raised on beef and cows milk. Not like those scrawny city folk who were barely up to a cows eye and ate nothing but vegetables and bread from Europa.

They were strong lads raised for work, probably moving hay bales from an early age. Grown hardy and earnest from years of getting up early to milk cows and feed chickens.

Now seeking some kind of adventure or travel had taken to moving the cattle their parents had raised. The next generation of farmers and cattle folk that would keep the country crawling along on its belly. It had puzzled Gage to think how a snivelling brat like Miller had snuck into their group.

“His pa owns the bank, he’s the one got a lean on our farm, wanted us to bring him along to toughen him up, I don’t know what to tell him”. Jameson sighed as he looked at the poultry sum of dirt and rocks that made up Miller’s grave.

Gage breathed heavy with the bible clasped in both hands at his waist. He watched as O’Shaugnesy and Clarke put the noose around the young lug’s neck as he was seated on the back of Jameson’s horse. They tied the rope off on a branch and Gage opened the bible and started to read from it.

*Editors note, this part seems unlikely and inaccurate as all reports of the man known as Phineas Gage state that he was in fact illiterate. A common state of affairs for men of his time. The ability to read and write was not something commonly attained by workmen of his station and reserved mostly for the elites of the city. The aliens of which used a completely alien alphabet no human was allowed to learn.

He read a passage about justice and fairness and carrying a sword and they all listened with an earnest wonderment. As they’d most likely never heard anything like it in their whole lives nor would they be able to read and write. Their heads dipped as if they were at a funeral. The beast just howled like a kicked dog without any decorum or respect for the words at all. Just a baying disgusting cloying and begging and pleading for life when it so easily took it from others. Something in it knew it could try to appeal to us, to the mercy it had abused it’s entire life. The trusting good nature of man that had allowed these alien forces to usurp them.

Even the concept of the good neighbour in the book he held was twisted and used to promote their agenda of tolerating the intolerable. Taking in those that would eventually destroy us. As if the book Gage held sewed the seeds of extinction for it’s own people in it’s pages. As if man were not meant to live at all but to be used and thrown away.

It continued to howl over the words. It so desperately wanted to continue living but had no idea why further than the animal need to continue to exist and propagate its dna. What could this thing do if it were allowed to live but eat and consume? Could it write a sonnet or paint a painting or create a house. Gage could do none of those things either but the potential was there, this thing could not even dream of that like a wolf could not be a pig.

It’s existence was momentary, a link of moment to moment pleasures punctuated by the pain of others. It couldn’t see other things anymore that it could conceptualise of it’s own existence. It just was. No reason to wonder why. It didn’t have the pressure put on it to act a certain way as men did, or to aspire to anything greater than being a beast. Although in the media the few specimens that were of note to be more than most of the lot were lauded and held up as an example to the mean. As if this one well behaved dog was an apt representation of the mass of rabid wolves that made up their ranks. We were supposed to ignore the murders and the rapes that had become all too common in this border towns and even in the major cities. Although funnily enough they were always one sided as for most humans it was impossible tell the Kafta women from the men. No one had ever heard of a man raping one of their women or even trying. If it had happened though it would have been all over the news and you’d have probably heard of it all the way in Europa. They’d probably be making plays about it over there, operas and poems, expressing their deep sadness and empathy for the poor monster.

“No kill” It sputtered gutterily. “Please, no kill”.

The young men looked at eachother and felt some twinge of regret and revulsion.

The sun was setting and it cast amber streaks along the sky, it was a warm afternoon with a cool quiet breeze.

The boys froze and couldn’t say anything, “Amen” Gage said as he clapped the bible shut. He slapped the horse on it’s hind quarters and it started to kick and try to take off. With a yank it didn’t move and for a moment they were all puzzled as to why it didn’t drop it’s rider and let him dangle with a crack and quick pop as they’d hoped. Ending the poor creatures suffering as quickly and as humanely as possible. The same sadly couldn’t be said for the boy O’Hare. They mentioned he lay dying with his guts hanging open in the dust as they ate and bit at him while he still lived. The screams of which they would never forget.

They’d only managed to get away because the beasts were much more interested in the cattle than they were the men. Attacking O’Hare just because he yelled at them.

At once Gage knew the problem, the vile thing was holding with his feet to the stirrups. Got them loops around his clawed toes keeping the horse in place with the strength of his legs. The will to continue existing had conjured up some monstrous feet of strength.

But as Gage got closer he saw the truth of it under lamplight. The monster had buried it toe claws into side of the horse and it was bleeding horribly but unable to move. Pinned and being slowly disembowelled by the sharp claws of the lug on top.

Gage spat with rage and took out his shotgun again and painted the tree with the innards of the beast, the barrel smoking angrily.

The thing didn’t even have the decency to die like a man, instead choosing to be cut down like a beast taking the life of an innocent animal with it. Gage was disgusted in himself in even considering involving the bible and giving the thing an actual service. It was just a savage animal and needed to be put down as one and not thought of further.

The boys were in a state of shock, especially Jameson as he undoubtledly had a connection with that horse, he probably raised it himself from a fowl. Tears formed at the tender lads cheeks and his mouth quivered with rage and sadness but lacking any real direction. A deep anguished sigh came out of his mouth and nothing more, he didn’t know what to do about it.

The lug was cut in half at the waist and swung against the tree with the force of the blast, it’s top half and it’s arms swinging loosely.

“Cut that thing down” Gage spat.

The boys gathered themselves and did as they were told, Clark and O’Shaunnesy cut it down as Jameson patted the maine of his horse which he had named ‘Molly’.

As he mourned Molly the others dropped what was rest of the lug on the ground and then they went about constructing a fire as Gage instructed. They gathered up pieces of the broken furniture and they constructed a pire to burn the body of the lug and the horse.

The boys stood around it looking sullenly into the flames for a while. Gage sat in his rocking chair waiting for the flame to die.

Something had changed in the boys but they didn’t really know what. Only that the world they came from wouldn’t have them back after this and they wouldn’t want it to.

Gage Chapter 5 ‘One Piece at a Time’

Good day vaguely humanoid masses of goodly folk who read these words.

Just taking it easy today, pushed the boat out last night on chest day and I feel great but dead, I am the swole grateful dead. But I had a pretty decent week all things considered, mainly shitty, a shitty month so far, my love life is in the toilet still banned on facebook and my ‘extended family’ is in fucking shambles but I guess things can only get better from here, I hope. 

I was at my day job just feeling sorry for myself doing a job that should be the exclusive purview of seventeen year olds and feeling like I chose the wrong path. I should have listened to my uncle and done an economics degree and been some kind of wallstreet asshole blowing all my money up my nose and shit haha. Not that I’d do that, I am the ultimate solid citizen haha.
I dunno, I found myself recently having more days like that and it really bummed me out but then you have a day like yesterday and it kind of reminds you why you do what you do and reassures you that one day, things will be better and just to have faith in the mean time I guess. I’m not really religious but I think about whether there is a god and whether there is a plan for me and I really hope there is in both cases.

Anyway so I’m kinda in one of these slumps again, pretty standard for me when I finish something I’m passionate about like Gage and Diana, I just try to occupy my mind until lightning strikes again and the longer it gets the more I get worried that it won’t ever strike again.

But I’ve been reading the first witcher book recently and although there isn’t much story, it’s more like an anthology, it’s well written and I love the style, the action is frenetic and not over descriptive and for a translation from polish it’s really stylized and immersive. I was reading it for research because I wanted to do my own dark gritty almost noir fantasy in my style, something like the Kurgan from highlander meets Solomon Kane or Conan. So I thought the Witcher would be a good read to get the juices flowing on that.

BUT instead of thinking about this fantasy novel idea (which I did a bit, it’s still going on in the background) I couldn’t help thinking about 3 ring samurai again. Yeah that’s the comic I did about the fucking clown samurai named Pookie haha (Which incidentally you can still read on right here on tapastic).

Admittedly I wish I could take credit for the weirdness of the concept but someone in my comic days just came up to me and said “Diesel punk clown samurais go!” and I just went away and created an elaborate world and mythos and we turned it into a script. Then a lot of bullshit happened and when Trump got elected I had a spat with the artist who was heavily liberal and I was evolving into a trumpkin trollololmon and it just went up in smoke but at the time it was also lingering in development hell because the artist was this boomer who needed medical weed to deal with chronic pain and he couldn’t get it anymore so he couldn’t find the impetus to draw anymore, so it kind of just fell apart and it was the push I needed to dump comics for good and go into prose.

And now I’m doing prose, I couldn’t help thinking about what this would look like if I just had the freedom that afforded me and also not having an overbearing boomer telling me what the character I wrote should do/be and fucking boomerposting all over it haha.

I was kind of hesitant at first because when I sit down to write something like Diana After Dark, I’m thinking this could have mass market appeal, this could actually go over well and make money and make a name for me, it could make me. It’s not a dumb zombie book about green haired chicks and weebs with katanas that I write for the sake of irony and inside jokes with myself. Its not only fun to write a book and a character like Diana, it could really have a big impact, it can be taken seriously. But then I can’t steer away from stuff like Green Sunday and Gage and this, stuff I know, only a niche audience if anyone is going to  enjoy them but after a day like yesterday I can’t help but waste my time on projects like that because they’re so fun and they remind me why I do this.

I actually enjoy this, I’m not just doing this for cash, I’m doing this for the feeling you get when you’re writing something and even though you have it all planned out as you’re writing it, you’re still not sure how it’s going to go and it’s like this intense feeling where you feel like you’re reading a book no one else has ever read and it’s unfolding in real time right before your eyes.

It’s really an indescribable feeling.

Anyway, I’ve ranted long enough and my journey to getting swole has robbed me of doing anything really productive today so I was gonna try and proofread the first chapter of the 3 ring but I might do it tomorrow and keep you hanging to the edge of your seat for it on the thursday.

I think I’ll leave it there and remember anyone who hasn’t signed up to my mailing list you missed your free copy of The one that came back and Ladies close your eyes but do not be down in the dumps because I’ll be sending it out again the first tuesday of next month, so sign up to my mailing list today to get your mits on those professionally and very expensively edited free ebooks.

Also you know the drill as far as inkitt is concerned haha.

See you…

One piece at a time

~

The small gun barely moved in his great mit as he fired at the bottles sitting on rotting bales of hay in the barn.

He fired until he could hear the clicking of the pin against the spent cartridge. Gage looked down range to see that all five of the bottles were untouched and only the inside of the barn had been injured in a wide dispersal.

“Damn son, if you weren’t inside the barn I reckon you would’ve missed that too” He chuckled.

He took the gun away from Gage and emptied out the spent cartridges into his hand. He stowed them in his pocket reloading the gun and then taking a look down the sights and then at Gage’s eye.

“Don’t get much depth perception from that one eye do ya boy?” He sighed and looked at the revolver and said “Other eye probably doesn’t work so good neither”. He sighed again and sucked his gum before shooting one of the bottles looking out of the corner of his eye.

The old man sucked his gums again and said “I think we can work something out.” The old man turned went over to one of the empty horse stalls and drummed his fingers on the fence. “Why don’t you get yourself some more coffee and try and get some rest. I’ll see if I can change the odds a little” He said smiling.

Gage breathed out frustrated but nodded and found his way out of the barn and slumped into the farmhouse sitting in one of the chairs. He supped cold coffee staring at nothing for what seemed like an hour maybe two. The ragged mad thoughts came screaming back as each second that dragged more of the booze sweated out of his system.

Then there was a whistling sound which didn’t come through at first over the sound of the wind outside. Something of a dust storm had kicked up and it had mostly swallowed the horizon. But then over the whooping wind he heard a cracking sound like rolling thunder. He walked out into it, his huge hand over his one good eye as he made his way back to the barn.

He entered the barn slowly, the smell of gunpowder in the air. The old man stood looking at a giant hole in the barn the whistling wind was coming through. He turned as he heard Gage shut the barn door.

“I guess you weren’t born in a barn afterall.” He chuckled. He paused and thought a minute before putting his hands on his hips and pushing his bottom lip out. “I got something for ya” He said smiling.

He turned and nodded at a bale with a lambskin tarp over it, atop the tarp sat a sawn off shotgun. Gage went over to it and picked it up.

“Justice herself couldn’t miss with that thing, or god be my witness” The old man laughed.

Gage took it in his large hand, it was a good weight. The old man noticed him shaking it for the weight and said “Even if you miss you could just hit’em with it”.

Then he noticed the etchings along the barrel and how abrubtly they stopped at the choke with crude tools marks. The stock had been roughly sawn away and sanded down, it was the same gun that was hanging on the wall of the storm cellar.

Gage looked down at it and breathed heavily and said “Why?”

“Why what?”

“I aint done nothing for for you”

“Not yet, could be you’re the one we’ve been waiting for and we didn’t even know we’d been waiting.” The old man smiled and said “Come on try it out, it might just back up and blow your damn hand off, ruin that pretty face a’yours”. He laughed.

It was a couple of months before Gage was ready to move on. His head clear, his mind focused, his body taught and strong like a drum like it was those years ago when he swung iron on the rail road. Doubts cleared from his mind he rode west on a horse the Carpenter provided.

What he intended to do he wasn’t quite sure of yet. Like some kind of apostle or prophet he was sure it would occur to him as if it would ride out of the clouds to greet him.

It was getting dark, and when it gets dark in the desert it gets cold. He could stand the cold but something on the horizon caught his eye. He’d been riding all day and the only place for miles was this odd two story ramshackle what looked like a coach house. But it turned out to be some kind of brothel built out in the middle of nowhere. Maybe it was put there by a mining company for the workers or could have been a ways out from an actual town put out of sight from the decent folk.

Either way Gage wasn’t gonna pass it by.

He was sure the place would be occupied with all sorts of riff raff being so far out here. He wasn’t ready to be picked up by some Cyclon agent who might find a handcannon on him. Things could turn really bad really quick.

So he took the gun the old man had given him, oiled it and wrapped it in a canvas sack and buried under a tree about a half a mile out from the whorehouse. So if it turned bad he could just ride out and get it. Marking the tree with a knife so it wouldn’t get lost in all this nothingness.

He rode in slow as the sun came down over the ridge, laying down behind the mountain range. The sound of crickets and birds whipping up into a frenzy as he hitched his horse.

His heavy footfalls on the rickety porch stopping the tinny piano music inside for a moment before he entered. He ducked under the door frame and pushed the saloon doors open and the smell of the place hit him first. It smelled like filth, like it covered the walls. Unwashed woman wafting around never seeing water between countless uncaring drunken customers. Rat faced sneering men that smelled like blood.

The whorehouse itself was a simple wooden construction with a wide fore area with a piano on the right surrounded by tables and chairs. Where various scraggly ner-do-wells sat drinking with their shoulders around their ears.

“Looking for some company de-ar god” A woman’s voice said as he turned his face to look at her. She was old by any standard must have been late forties but gussied up to look half that with a face painted white like an eggshell. Her rotund belly bursting the seems of an off white colour corset. Her speckled and spotty sunburnt breasts popped up like flabby rising dough propping up her chin.

“No” He answered.

He stepped over a slightly raised mantle that felt as if it were a stage and made his way towards the bar.

Above the smell the place seemed like a good start. The tubeloscope played in the background reporting on some kind of explosion that happened near the capital. Some terrorist group claiming responsibility for it. The news woman, some kind of alien half breed of her own was walking around asking people leading questions. Like ‘what kind of monsters could have done this?’ The dirty people sitting and drinking didn’t look shocked. In fact some were smiling, some even laughed or were in silent support of the action.

He had heard on the tubeloscope that there was a rebellion somewhere. Some band of revolutionairies carrying out bombings and raids on convoys of Cyclon good. They were branded terrorists and scorned as the worst of the worst to be as despised as those that had killed and subjugated alien kind in the past. Those evil men who had tried to wipe them out as they would say ‘just for being different’.

There seemed to be an air of disdain for the current system and a general attitude of undirected animosity to it.

This gave Gage some hope that he might in the right place and he sat down at the bar and tapped the bar tender on the shoulder.

The bar tender swung around aggrieved at being disturbed from whatever it was he was doing behind the bar. But he stopped before saying something he’d regret seeing Gage’s face. A dirty faced young girl stood up and wiped her mouth. Gage looked at the girl who couldn’t have been older than fourteen barefoot and almost naked and then glared at the bartender.

“Wha dya want?” The fat sweaty man asked.

Gage said nothing, he looked above the bar and saw a large copy of the bible sitting on a shelf.

The bartender turned to look at it and scoffed, “Oh yeah that’s for the whores to piss on”.

He couldn’t rightly understand it at that point but for some reason that angered him greatly. He grabbed the bartender by his sweaty dirty shirt and pulled him close to his face. Not sure if he could even think of the words that would surmise his feelings of pure hatred towards the repulsive character.

But even if he had thought of something he was stopped in his tracks by a clicking noise. The feeble prodding of the barrel of a six shooter behind his good ear.

“Now I’d drop him if you don’t want to get even uglier.”

Gage turned to see the old whore who spoke to him when he enterned. He dropped the bar tender hard against the bar, knocking about a half a dozen bottles of liquor on the floor.

The women held the gun on him with her two hands as she looked around the bar at the other patrons and smiled nervously. “Get him” She squealed.

Before he could do anything the entire bar descended down on him. A chair was smashed over his back and a bottle over his head and he was kicked and rolled and hit with anything they could get their hands on. The whores too beat him with rods from the fire and even the teen girl from the behind the bar was biting at his legs as she pulled his boots off.

The attack was so fast and savage and by surprise there was no way he could have stopped it. And if he had had his gun they would have no doubt taken it and used it on him. But as it stood he was dumped a quarter mile out and left to die of dehydration and his injuries.

He lay there face down in the dirt awoken by the sqwarking of a buzzard deciding whether to peck at his good eye.

It didn’t hurt, nothing hurt anymore, only his pride was injured. His boots took, his coat, his money and whatever else he had on him. He was stripped down to his undershirt and left to rot and get picked at by the coyotes and the vultures. He felt nothing but the soft tight feeling of the broken and the mending and a stiffening of his muscles.

It made more sense to him now, these weren’t the revolutionaries he was looking for, just general criminals. A putrid scum that only laughed at the misfortunes of the state powers as far as they enjoyed any such misfortunes of others. They only opposed the system as far as it got in the way of their of own, degeneracy that exceeded that of what the state itself was willing to promote.

They were common criminals and had no right to live on this earth he thought as he staggered to his feet. His one good eye almost closed up with swelling as he tried to find his way to that tree and the justice he would bring, buried at it’s feet.

He found it within an hour of searching and trudged his way back to bar in the wee hours of the morning. Following the vile scent of the inhuman garbage that had left him to the carrion to be picked apart like some bloated pig.

He pushed through the door and was greeted with a silence and dull humming and the sound of snoring. The bar looked frozen, like a den of sleeping hogs, the drunks who had taken joy in beating and robbing him the night before were passed out on the bar. The whores passed out drunk in the booths along the side.

Gage could have easily killed them all in their sleep with his bare hands. But he wanted them to know the face of the man that would send them to the devil one at a time.

Pulling up a chair near the entrance he waited for the first to stir. The bartender appeared behind the bar like some kind of vole or rat sensing danger. Poking his greasy bald head over the bar as if he were sleeping on the floor. He rubbed his eyes like a child and thought he saw Gage and grabbed a drunk at the bar and tried to rouse him.

“Hey, wake up, is that- It’s him!” He squealed like a stuck pig and the drunk reached for an iron feebly slow and was cut down by the blast of Gage’s gun. The shot; hot and hard, hitting the back of the bar, splintering it and bursting open the bottles of liquor and lighting it on fire. The liquid flame exploding and splashing on the bartender who shreaked like a washer woman. He waddled falling over the bar and jumping out of the window partially on fire.

A pistol coughed at him hitting the doorframe and then once in his arm but it wasn’t powerful enough to move him. He swung around to where the noise was and emptied a barrel of his shotgun into the stairs. Cutting the old whore from the night prior in half just under her corset. The top half of her popping out of it and rolling down the stairs while her legs remained, the gun tumbling down and breaking open.

The bar was awake now, skittering like cockroaches under the eye of the sun, stinking rats fleeing a sinking ship. They piled over eachother to get away into the desert. Which was fortunate since anyone with the balls to draw a weapon and fight had to clamber over the cowards who tried to flee to pop a shot off. A foot to the groin or a hand in their face not helping their aim any as people literally climbed over them to escape.

Gage fired his last shot into the crowd tearing a wide hole in it and leaving men and some women writhing around in their own putrid entrails.

He emptied the spent shells onto the wood floor putting the shells in his mouth as he slowly reloaded. Occasionally some dishevelled miscreant would pop out from behind a table to fire a poorly aimed shot at the furniture. Only to duck down behind it again if they didn’t just fire blindly over the top.

He slid the final shell into the gun as he felt a tapping on his back as if someone were insistently prodding him on the shoulder.

Swung around to see a dirty young lad with a whispy mustache standing with a 22 pistol smoking in his hands. Gage snapped his gun shut and picked him up by the jaw and slammed the hard wood handle of his gun into the kids face. The first blow loosening all the teeth in the front of his head, the next shattering his jaw entirely. The next knocking his nose in and the next shattering his orbital cavity. After that there wasn’t much left to break and he threw his lifeless body over the tops of the overturned tables the cowards were using for cover. He heard a womanly shriek.

He fired into the crowd of overturned tables and turned them into kindling almost instantly. As if they were made of leaves and a strong gust blew them away. Men that weren’t killed by the shot were caught by shrapnel. Men shrieked with thick table splinters gouged into their eyes and throats and hands. Any that weren’t dead and maimed ran to escape the sound of the dying men’s screams.

Gage trod over the desolation barefoot, glass and splinters sticking into his huge hard feet but he couldn’t feel any of it. He walked over their corpses stamping out those still gasping and gargling for life. He saw the young girl from before lying on her back a big piece of table sticking out of her throat and her eyes glassy staring up at the ceiling. He spat on the floor in disgust and walked over to the stairs.

Stepping over the corpse of the old whore he made his way up to the second floor, kicking her legs off the side of the stairs.

The second floor was just a balcony overlooking the bar and a series of doors leading to bedrooms for the whores to ply their trade.

Coming to the first door his heavy footfalls gave him away and a burst of two succinct revolver shots bust through the door. Cutting Gage along one of his arms but not deep enough to knock it out. He fired back splintering the door and sending a bald man flying out of his boots with a hole the size of a donkey’s head in his chest.

A blonde whore was prone behind the bed with a long schofield revolver in her clasped hands. Her arms laying across the bed. She looked at Gage filling up the doorway covered in blood the righteous hogleg hanging heavy at his side. She hesitated and threw her gun down on the bed and it slid down and hit the floor.

Gage said nothing before firing the last barrel at her. Tearing up the bed with a burst of feathers and blood as her head split in two and plastered against the backwall.

He stood for a moment as the gun smoked before putting three more shells from his pocket in his mouth. Breaking the gun open again and letting the spent cartridges hit the floor,

Another whore with raven hair and green eyes sprang at him from the adjacent room with a pair of taylors scissors and stabbed Gage in his raised arm. He grabbed a fistful of her hair with his free hand and slammed her head into the side of the door with a cracking squelching noise. Her knees buckling instantly and he tossed her body off the balcony with a crash of glass and wood.

He finished loading the gun and snapped it shut again and fired into the room she came out of. Knocking her customer right out of the window with a thunderous clap and a tinkling of glass.

He kicked the door down of the last room and fired both barrels without even looking. Making it nearly impossible to distinguish what remained in the room. Just a paste of blood and feathers and bone.

When the whore house was still he went outside lead by a pathetic mewling noise. Following the sound it lead him to the bartender face down in the dirt smoke rising off of him as he whined quietly with as he breathed in dust.

Gage put his foot on the back of his greasy bald head and pressed it into the mud until the mewling stopped and he heard a cracking snapping sound.

When it was done he sat on the porch in a rocking chair looking out on the horizon with the gun on his lap. After about an hour of sitting there and thinking about what he was gonna do. Maybe just burn the whole thing down and moving on. But he thought better of it and decided to start moving bodies.

He assembled all the corpses and the largest pieces near the entrance. Then finding a shovel in the back he started digging a big hole behind the building.

He spent an hour or two digging a mass grave a few feet deep. Without the pain in his muscles he found he could work much harder and longer and it didn’t seem to bother him. The only thing he felt by the end of it was his thirst. When he’d finished burying the bodies and the parts he went into the bar and dumped out all the liquor and took a drink of water from a nearby well. Then he collected up all the guns and ammo that were left lying on the floor. All in all he got six or seven pistols, ranging in size from tiny derringer meant for hiding up ladies skirts and long army schofields. There was a rifle in the back hidden behind some barrels of beer and a short double barrelled shotguns as well as a set of brass knuckles and a bowie knife. The quality of the guns was fairly low as the legality issue had made choosers into beggers. They couldn’t even steal anything that mightn’t not explode black powder back into their faces.

After that he started to tidy the place up. Getting rid of the broken furniture and mopping up the blood and picking up the brains and bones and other parts he missed. Throwing out all the soiled burnt and ripped bedding.

At the time he couldn’t say why he did it, it was more ritualistic. Feeling as though cleaning the place up, the necessity for it would be made clear when he’d finished. Or somehow the act itself was like cleaning up an especially filthy corner of the earth and this would signal the start of a great cleansing. A small part of a greater design taking shape and growing one piece at a time.

He felt some slight clawing regret at killing his own people because that’s not what he’d set out to do. All that dirty work that seemed pointless had given him time to reflect on it and as he thought of those twisted ugly dirty faces he knew. That the horrible truth of it was that the decay was too far along. The moral and social and cultural decay of his own people had been had been ingrained in them long ago. By a people that sort their disorder to form their own from the chaos.

They had indulged these vices and even promoted them telling people of the one life they had to lead. Encouraging them to lead it only for the selfish asquistion of the basest pleasures of drink and women and violence.

And the majority had done so. As the spiritual and moral values they had founded this country on had given way to material wealth and physical pleasure. Turning men into nothing more than greedy eating machines whose only purpose was to buy bigger mouths.

He’d initially thought he might excise the cancer of his society surgically. But now he knew that even those not associated with the system were just as vile. And where he might have used a scalpel before when what he really needed was a hammer and shovel to knock it loose and dig it out. Pull it out by the root and he’d have to pile the corpses of his own kind higher than his eye before he could save his world.

A million faces like his would have to be smashed before they’d be free, before his kind would seek their own freedom. Talking never worked, the Cyclon were the masters of talking and nothing changed when it was left to a vote. the Cyclon loved voting everything. His people needed to be shaken forcibly from their dream, they’d fight and cling to their chains before being free.

Free.

The word seemed like a joke to Gage. Looking at this place he saw what people did with their freedom. He didn’t want to free his people, not from morality, not from god. Just from the Cyclon. It was their freedom that lead them to this. Man was not meant to be free, not from himself and not from God.

The beasts were free and man was not meant to be a beast.

It was his place to find good men and lead them against those that would die to protect corruption and decay. A system that would stifle their good and promote their worst degenerate tendencies would have to taken a part piece by piece. By the most righteous men unfaltering in their tasks. Driven by a firey passion and slaked with an icy determination they would drive their thumbs into the skull of the system and leave it blind.

When it was all done to the best of his ability, cleaner and brighter and lighter. That dank smell of human vice gone he felt he could breathe. It was a clean open room now waiting to be filled with what he couldn’t say but it was a step in the right direction. The sun was coming down so Gage took up a blanket with a scotch hatched pattern and sat on the rocking chair on the porch. He sat with the blanket over him the gun in his lap underneath it and with a lamp at his side and waited.

Gage Chapter 4 ‘The Man Who Couldn’t Cry’

Before anyone says anything, yes I’ve just been watching battlestar gallactica and I know Cyclon is dangerously close to Ceylon, but I don’t care haha. 

I might change it but, I dunno. I do like that show though, been watching while I lift and it’s a lot better than I expected it to be. I like to watch sci-fi shows to add a little meat to my elite dangerous head back story you know and I love the claustrophobic feel of the ships and the humming spaceship asmr noise. Can’t get enough of that.

Ok so hi, how y’all doing. Been busy this week unfortunately with my actual day job and not so much writing but I have a big day of spamming and blogging and proofreading the editing on The One That Came Back today I’ll hopefully have that done for circulation in my mailing list the first tuesday of next month. So the wait is finally over haha.

Writing wise I went back into the rut after I finished Gage, erm, trying to write that Lovecraft story but ironically it’s turning out to be sort of formless and unameably horrible haha.
But I’ve been reading the witcher novels (well the first one) and I was hoping to get inspiration for some hard fantasy novels I’ve always wanted to do but it’s weird because the more I read the more I think about that stupid clown samurai comic I wrote and how much effort I put into the villains and anime backstories haha.

It’s kind of annoying because I’m trying to get inspiration for fantasy and my mind is drawn to diesel punk clowns. That comic sort of went nowhere not because I ran out of ideas but because artists are fickle potheads who need constant babying and reassurance to tie their own shoes. So I had scripts and ideas up the ass but that wasn’t enough to get the ball rolling on the other end so ultimately it went nowhere.

I had been thinking of turning it into a novel lamenting the lack of fun visuals but I think with the right tone akin to the witcher books it could work. I’m reading the first book which is sort of a loose connection of short stories and I really like the style. It’s just perfectly descriptive but also leaves a lot to the imagination so it builds up characters but not to a point that it’s too much.

I dunno I just try to piece this fantasy together in my head and it goes nowhere because I don’t have a decent villain or villains yet. It’s not gone it’s just benched, it needs to go in the oven longer and I can’t really choose when the anvil of inspiration sparks, I just have to go where it tells me to go. 

So I’m gonna sleep on it a little more and read more witcher and write more lovecraft until my path becomes clearer.

That’s about all.

See you…

As always you can check out the rest of this story and more on my inkitt page.

Gage

It was sometime after that in the hours past midnight that Gage would stumble home to his lodgings. Which was little more than the floor of a store closet in a rundown church which had been long abandoned and burnt out.

*Note to the reader; at the time of writing the religion of men in the western world was Christianity. A religion celebrating a man who sacrificed his life to end all sacrifices. But at this late time in the Cyclon occupation it had fallen into a state of stagnant degradation. The alien media branding it as Speciesist or partial and depicting it in their tubescope programs as inherently morally corrupt. Lacking any sense whatsoever and thus it had become wholey unfashionable for those to practice it and instead were encouraged to ‘enjoy their lives to the fullest’. Which usually meant indulging in debauchery such as excessive drinking, sex and gambling of which the Cyclon made a profit off of all. This lead to a great and unyielding erosion of morality and virtue in man, creating a confict between the spiritual and bodily existence culminating in what we in present time call the ‘wild west’. Any remnant of Christianity in the more affluent suburbs was horribly bastardised. Usually changed to fit modern social norms and practices and used to disseminate any morality the system wanted for the people at the time.

He stumbled home barely able to walk as he carried all his ill gotten winnings now in his gut in the form of high proof liquor. Pickling his senses his limbs large and dull and rounded without points as he attempted to carry himself. He’d spent a little longer than he wanted as it had started to rain by the time the game had finished and he was running out of money for drink. But the rain hadn’t subsisted and when the landlord eventually tossed him out with the help of a lug that worked with him. Otherwise even in his current state Gage wouldn’t have been so agreeable.

So now he trudged home in the dead of night with only the moon as a source of light and rain pouring down turning the streets into a soupy cold mess of black tar mud and horseshit. He pulled his collar up and trudged through it. His feet sticking in the sucking wet muck as he weaved drunkenly in the middle of main street. Heading out of town to the church on the hill where a warm pile of vestments waited for him to curl up on and pass out upon.

He’d only traversed about ten twenty feet from the saloon in his drunken stupor before he heard a loud cowboy whistle. The whistle drew his attention to the otherside of the street and a darkened alley. He could hear the whineying of a horse but couldn’t see it for the shadow of the buildings.

Then there was a high pitched whispering he could hear as if it was all around his head but he couldn’t understand it. The noise penetrating his drunken stupor only for a moment before it went silent again. It filled him with a strange familiar feeling like someone was scratching at the inside of his skull but it was different this time.

Gage stopped cold, frozen like a rabbit starring into the night and the shadow cast by the livery building where he heard the first noise. Some time past as the rain pelted down and then something hit the moonlight. Something metallic glinting and then a squelching tromping sound came from behind. Something hard and big hit him and sent him reeling gasping for air into the thick mud. A viciously strong gargoyle claw pinned his head in the thick wet mud and he took it in as the thing pressed down on him. The mud in his mouth and the dirty water in his lungs.

He was held there, unable to move, the booze in his system making his limbs heavy and useless and his senses dull and pointless. All he could do was try and hold his head up and not swallow his tongue. There was no noise but the sound of the rain and the slight squelching noises drawing closer.

And then they stopped and a high pitched voice said.

“Hold his head up”

The clawed hand grabbed fistfuls of his hair and yanked his head up so it could be rained on, his body still pressed flat against the mud. His face was covered in mud and the metal frames of his prosthetic were bent and it hung off his face like the mask it was.

“What do we have here?” The voice said.

“Face” Gage sputtered feebly.

“Well let’s get a look at you” The cold voice said as he bent down letting out a curious little laugh. He lifted the prosthetic off and stood back up remarking on it. “Very interesting” He looked down at Gage and then dropped the mask in the mud. “My god, that face”. He bent down again squatting with his hands on his knees.

Gage’s head lolled forward.

“Keep his head up!”

“Sah” The thing on top of him said. As it reached it’s rough clawed hand under Gage’s head to keep it in place.

“Well you are ugly aren’t you and you’re terrible card player” He tutted “Quite a brazen little cheat”. The cowboy with the pristine hat bent forward trying to get in Gage’s field of vision and said “Do you remember me?” He waited and got no response and sighed.

Gage could barely keep his eyes open, he gurgled mud and babbled incoherently to himself. “I’m gonna have to teach you a lesson.” The man from the saloon took out a device from his coat he recognised, it was a Cyclon control rod. “Now we’re going to try this again, it didn’t seem to work the first time. Must be something to do with that booze turning your brain into horseshit, speaking of horse shit”. He chuckled as he turned it on and held it to his throat and said in a buzzing tone “I want you to eat mud until I tell you to stop”.

Nothing happened.

“Well let go of his head you idiot!” The man from the saloon said as he kicked angrily at the thing holding Gage in place.

The beast yelped almost like a dog and let Gage’s head slump forward into the mud.

“There you go” The man said as he squatted next to Gage’s head. “How does that taste?”

Gage with great difficulty lifted his grotesque head out of the mud with a sucking squelching noise “Well, how does it taste?” The man asked again.

Gage opened his one good eye and glared at the man before spitting mud in his face. Splattering his nice clean cowboy hat.

The man hissed angrily as he looked at his nice clean white shirt ruined by the mood and blood and spit of a human.

“Hold him!” He ordered.

The thing on top tensing and gripping him, his claws biting into Gage’s flesh through his clothes.

“Why isn’t this damn thing working all of a sudden” He sneered glaring down at Gage who looked at him with a righteous air of defiance. “Rip his arms and legs off, slowly.” The man said without any inflection whatsoever.

“Sah” The beast grunted.

Then thunder, a righteous hammer of god striking steel and cleaning away the filth of this world with a great wind, a mighty anger.

The beast was tossed aside by the blast of the thunder and lay twisting in the mud, it’s entrails splayed out and rained on.

The man in the cowboy hat spun around reaching for his gun, a cute little six shooter with an ivory handle and silver inlays. He aimed all around as he had no idea where the shot came from, there was just the sound of the thunder and the strike from the dark.

He fumbled for his control rod and tried to put it to his throat and command the night and god himself to heel but god couldn’t hear him from all the way up there. There was another shot, nicked his arm and the control rod fell into mud and was gone for good.

Then another shot and it put him on his knees and he let out an inhuman screeching noise. Then the waterworks and the begging, he pleaded with the wind and the rain and storm clouds themselves to save him. Have mercy on him and be like brothers once again but they couldn’t hear him and a final shot cut him in half like ripe fruit.

And then there was silence, nothing but the metronome of the rain beating down on their corpses. His brand new cowboy hat sinking into the muck.

Gage lay on his side gasping for air and coughing up dirt. The sound of spurs and clomping muddy feet drew closer and then the neighing of a horse as he started to lose consciousness.

He awoke again not knowing how much time had passed, only that he was drier and warmer and not covered in shit. He opened one eye and could see a fire roaring in a real fire place, the crackling embers setting his mind at ease as he stared into them.

“They like to do that sometimes”

Gage groaned as he moved quickly to find the voice. The pain in his ribs apparent now. The strain in his neck made moving his head feel like there was dirt and silt between all the joints in his neck grinding against the bone.

He crumbled on to the bed, which was made of furs and wood and smelled like wet dog. He groaned again after a pause letting the words trickle through his brain and he said in response “Do what?”

“Rough it with the locals-“ The man’s voice was rough and deep and he spoke slowly and powerfully like he was making some kind of speech. “Cyclon dignitaries, mostly their kids, it’s like a vacation for them. Wearing a disguise pretending to be one of us, walk on the wild side, live on the other side of the fence, know what I mean?” He chuckled. “This one was a real mean bastard”.

Gage just lay there looking at the light from the fire dancing on the wood beams of the ceiling. By the looks of it he was in some kind of big cabin on the outskirts of town. He couldn’t of travelled too far since it was still dark outside.

The man let out a breathy laugh and said “Dead now. Maybe he was writing a book or something. Some of them like to watch us, report back, just to gauge our response to things. Some try to influence us, organise human groups, make it seem like they just sprung out of nowhere.”

Gage tilted his head to find the source of the voice, it was a tall grey man, thin and gristled. He stood shirtless with his back to Gage, he couldn’t make out his features, just that he had shoulder length grey white hair. He spoke not looking at Gage, staring off at the mantle. By his side resting against the fire place there was what looked like a makeshift long rifle with some kind of scope attached. The fire glinting off it’s barrel.

“Sometimes they even make anti-alien groups to create fake crimes against aliens they can use to pass new laws. They’ve been running both sides of the game. When you control your own opposition no one can stand in your way.”

The tall grey man turned and said smiling. “But with a face like that, I reckon you already know all about it.” The man was older in his late fifties maybe but he was long and lean and weatherbeaten.

Gage snarled, too weak to say anything cutting in return.

“I don’t mean no offence by it partner, just making conversation.” He was gristled old coot with big thick white mustache and rough white stubble on his chin. “I don’t get a lot of visitors out here-

Especially not ones that got a face that looks like a cayotes leftovers.” He laughed.

Gage swung at him with one of his huge booze softened fists and tumbled off the bed like a giant dumb baby. Lashing out angrily coming out of the other end of his mean drunk.

“Woah there partner” The stranger laughed.

Gage rolled onto his back and looked up at the ceiling again and said “Whiskey”

The stranger laughed and picked Gage up with ease and dropped him back on the bed. “I think you’ve had enough son, sleep it off and we’ll talk some.”

Gage fell asleep again and awoke some time later when the sun was up. The light through the shutters burned his one good eye and filled his head with a painful crackling.

He pulled himself off the bed and tried to stand, he got up on his two feet using a rough bedpost and got his head to stop spinning long enough to look about him. He was in the same room as before, but alone and the fire was out, the gun was gone. The room was a single room cabin that was quite large. A bed covered in furs and a few chairs, all the furniture looked rough and unfinished. And there was a crude cooking pot over the dead fire where a few embers still cracked.

Gage stood there for a moment trying to stop the room and spinning just staring at a single point in the room and then at the mantelpiece. There was a single photo of a young girl in a crude wooden frame whittled by hand.

The door creaked open and the tall Grey man came taking off his hat and coat hanging it on a rack next to the door, resting his rifle next down next to the door. Gage eyed it and then back at the grey man.

The Grey man smiled and curtly said “What does a big fella like you need fer a gun?” He laughed and lifted up a pair of dead rabbits and said. “Thought you might feel a little better if I got some breakfast in you.”

“Where’d you get that?”

“The gun?-“ The old man smirked and said “I made it.” He took Gage by the arm and sat him down on one of the crude chairs covered in fur. “Now you just wait right here and I’ll whip us up something and we can get to waggin our chins like a couple’a school marms” He chuckled.

It didn’t take him very long to skin and gut the rabbits and although he wasn’t a great cook after eating Gage did feel a lot better. But even after they’d finished he kept his eye on the rifle near the door.

“I hid some after that thing happened up north, I knew they’d come take’em away sooner or later. Its funny, all those in town, said they’d die before they gave up their guns. They were some of the first to hand them in willingly, fucking cowards. Clinging to their flags, and their constitutions, following along mindlesslike. Not knowing this aint their country, not no more”

He got up and went back to the pot where he was brewing some coffee and poured two tin cups full and brought them over and handed one to Gage who drank it gladly.

“I used to make things, outta wood and sometimes metal, folks around here just call me the Carpenter.”

“Gage”

“Pleased to meet you.” He laughed.

“You made that alien brat pretty mad pretty damn quick, must have a knack for it, hell it’s written all over your face” He chuckled.

Gage sneered but continued to listen.

“I say I used to, not much call for it now, not now them got them new-fangled machines spit out a chair like it was a loose tooth from a drunks mouth. Looks like hell and about as comfortable as sitting on a boney mule but it’s cheap and fashionable- whatever that means.”

The old man took a sip of the coffee and made a face, it was good and bitter and never would touch sugar.

“Used to make toys too but much the same. Kids don’t want no old wooden toys if it don’t make noise or lights or steam don’t come out of it. Aint got no kids of my own after my woman run off to become some whore in new york city”

“Call’em ‘actresses’ just gussied up whores you ask me. Put any alien piece in their mouth if’n they set’em up right. Make a fella wanna burn it all down- I don’t go near those goddam talmoscopes, whatever they’re called, goddam garbage.”

“Been alone up here ever since and I wouldn’t have it any other way”.

He inhaled deep and said nothing for a moment, Gage just looked down. Their stories echoed eachothers but there was no certainty that this man knew what Gage knew. Nevertheless a silent bond was forged, an unspoken realisation that something was wrong with this world. Something that was broken that only men of a different age could fix. Men completely outside this new alien world watching with bitter disdain as everything their ancestors had built was torn down and replaced with something unholy and disgusting. Their women whores to alien entertainment, their children slaves to alien industry. Every ideal humans had forged, twisted and manipulated and bastardized beyond all recognition until it was a shadow. Turned inside out and made sick and hollow for the amusement of an uncaring race who saw humans as cattle.

And they didn’t do it with a show of force strong arm fascist take over but by using our own ideals against us. Attaching the chain to our throats one link at a time. They tricked us into voting ourselves into servitude through conditioning and constant subtle manipulation. All the while the humans were the frog in the pot complaining about the heat but never jumping out.

Gage had long listened to the bellyaching of men he worked with about the system of government they lived under. It had become a hobby to complain incessantly about it all with the idea of using the systems own mechanics to change it from the inside. And now as he recalled them he realised that not even they believed that was possible. That even these people he now considered to only be partially conscious knew their struggle to be pointless. For how could a system so inherently corrupt and given over to an alien consciousness ever serve humanity ever again. How could we hope to allow a people who’s mind had been jellied with alien media for this long to vote themselves out of their own slavery when they had been taught to love it? How would they even know the words to declare it? To Gage it was like a chicken in a pot asking for a lower flame or less garlic in the broth.

“Living up here grants a body lots of privacy though, not much to care about for them big wig aliens up north. They raided me one time, took a bunch’a irons but I made do making some of my own. Bullets too, gotta keep it hush though all them folks in town’ll rat me out, go shooting mainly at night or in the early hours. Good fer when it’s thundering out, if’n I don’t get struck by lightning” He laughed.

“I tell ya you need a good iron if’n them freed lugs come around, only reason they listen to is at the end of one of those. Rape and kill anything that get in their way. Without them that control them they’re as bad as wild beasts. Worse, some can even use an iron if you’d believe it, some of’em aint even smart enough to tie their own boots, if’n they wear boots.” He snickered.

*Note from the editor, there was a spreading trend of the kaftas breaking free of their control or having masters who passed away and did not dispatch their beasts or in some cases Kafta’s that killed their masters and roamed free creating savage bandit gangs preying on the human population. All criticism of the use of these beasts and the rampant and disproportionate crimes commited by them, were batted away as speciesist and then ignored.

“I don’t know about you, but I’d sooner shoot one down than look at’em, no beast like that should be here in the land of men, nomatter what no one says. We can carry our own damn steel.”

“But folks don’t wanna believe it, most folks just wanna go along to get along and they’ll take as many licks as they need to. As long as they can keep their bellies full and their hands clean they can live like dogs getting scraps off the table. Not me, I’d rather be out here alone than in all that muck.”

Gage nodded in agreement as he had nothing to add, the old man in the crudest sense had echoed Gage’s own reasoning in some small simulacrum. They were both outcasts to be sure and there was no world for them that existed except one they made themselves.

A silent minute of contemplation passed over the two men and they realised there was no disagreement to be had, a silent pact formed.

The old man chuckled and said “Lemme show you something.”

He took gage around back. Gage getting a look at the place could see it was a small farmhouse with a barn and one out building but nothing seemed to be grown there at all.

“Soils no good here” The old man said “Too dry”.

He lead Gage into the out building which was small ramshackle shed or shack. The old man opened the door and went in first Gage followed shakily as his eyes adjusted to the darkened room. It was cool and smelled of dust and was rammed full of useless looking junk and broken tools. Old bicycle parts, and even what looked like an coal engine from an airship.

“I dug that out of the sand after that crash in 41” It was hydrogen, no helium I think, burnt up like hell fire”. He said sounding somewhat satisfied. “But that aint it”.

He signed and his knees creaked as he moved a heavy calfskin rug off the dirt floor revealing a wood storm door in the ground.

The old man opened it up with a creak and made his way slowly down the wood stairs which bounced with his heavy footfalls. He lit a lamp and poked his head out of the hole beckoning for Gage to come down there with him.

Gage was hesitant at first but had followed through on his assumption that the old man was harmless to him. He descended the steep rotten steps and reached the earthen floor of the storm cellar.

“I used to use this place for keeping fruit cold” The old man said. “Now I use it to keep these hidden” He said gesticulating with the lamp. He waved it around him illuminating a stack of wood stocked long rifles and an assortment of junky looking revolvers. Gun parts on wooden racks built up off the floor and some shelves higher up with ammo of varying calibres.

He took the lamp further and set it down on a small workbench which looked like it had a bullet press on it. Newer looking well kept tools hanging in a specific order in regards to their size and use.

Something on the wall caught in the corner of Gage’s good eye as the light just brushed it for a moment. A colossal hunting shotgun resting on two bent nails dug into the wall. A breakaway action with two triggers, no there were more than two. It struck him He’d never seen a gun like this even in pictures. It was long with three etched barrels and a long ornate looking stock made of mostly wood with some engravings. Also horn and leather closer to the shouldering point.

It was for hunting that was for sure, but not for any dear or rabbit, this was for hunting something much larger.

“You like the elephantman gun huh?” The old man chortled “Pretty special aint it?”

Gage looked at him and then looked back at the gun.

“See I call it the Elephantman gun cos you could shoot right through an elepant to kill the man behind it if you needed to” He laughed. “You wanna try these first” He said as he held up a small break action schofield revolver.

Gage looked at it and said “Sure”

Gage Chapter 3 ‘Colony’

Ok ok, in pretty good spirits today, although in the good spirits where I can’t tell my head from my arse and I really don’t know what to do with myself but it’s something.

I got the first nice little chunk of Diana After Dark, might be sticking with that name after all, I dunno, more sleep needs to be on it. And I’m kind of in a tizzy over what to do now, I’ve started reading the witcher books and I was hoping to be struck by some inspiration lightning and it isn’t even raining yet.

Nevertheless I finished the first go around of a plan for the second Diana book and I was triffling with ‘Delta Gamma Di’ or ‘Delta Gamma Diana’ because it’s all about her going through college and joining a sorority to track down a killer that’s using their front lawn as his own personal stage for displaying some cut on girls on. But now I might go with ‘Dearly beloved Diana’ or something like that.

As I said more sleep is needed on top of that, but how much sleep can a man have when there is work to be done.

Work time which I spent playing kingdom come deliverance as it teases me with a penultimate chapter only to throw a fetch quest at me, a series of boring fetch quests right before a big battle. I mean wtf.

I do love the game though, this just feels like padding, which tbf is understandable because it’s followed by two huge battles in a row and then a stealth sequence which had a mandatory failed state which pissed me off. I made a stealth character and then they give you a stealth sequence where your failure is unavoidable. Just fu game haha.

Nah but it’s all good, it’s still an awesome game, I love it and shall review it but I fear my passion won’t be matched by my hateful reviews, I tend not to want to analyse things I like and feel incapable of not analysing things I hate haha.

So I’ve got a lot to be getting on with, first and foremost I need to start putting a package to try and sell Diana to a literary agent and I need to stop dreaming about writing and get back to actually doing it. I think I might just go back to that lovecraft piece I dropped just to keep sharp until I get hit good and hard by a lightning bolt.

That’s about all.

See you…

~

*For the purposes of this record and continuity a transcript from Dram Johanessen (a close personal friend of Gage in his early life) original diary has been added to the text as a first hand account of events and Fords account has been removed as it was noted to be riddled with contradictions, over-exageration and outright fabrications.

September 13, 1848

Oh god’s it’s horrible, I saw it happen but I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe she’d actually do it. As soon as that tall man walked away and got into his carriage I went to his side sure he was dead, his face, oh god his face. I prayed he was dead, his suffering could no doubt be immense.

But by god he lived, his breath in his chest. His heart beating like a steam engine’s hitting the tracks, his will to live reaching up out of hades to grab at life jealously. With the use of Madame Souchang’s carriage we got him into town as quickly as we could. He reacted to no stimuli the entire hours journey and I was sure he couldn’t hold on much longer.

But there was that steady breathing through the hole in his face. There was very little blood, the hole it seemed was quarterized at the moment of penetration. But who was to tell the extent of the damage it had done to the vital organ inside. He’ll certainly never see again out of his left eye, as far as I can tell it’s completely destroyed, oh god. My stomached kicked everytime I looked under the sheet we put over him.

Madame Souchang was inconsolable, she acted almost like it was her brother that ordered it. She claimed no responsibility and was reticent to speak at all about what transpired. Fearing my own head I pressed no further and thanked her for the use of her for the gracious use of her personal motor carriage.

We got into the town of Porterville proper. Which was at the time was simply two rows of wooden victorian style building facing eachother with a well trod dirt road inbetween them.

The sawbones of the town had a practice next to a large furniture store and a grocery on the otherside. It had big protruding castle like struts with what I could only assume were weathervains attached to them. Which to me reminded of something of those books written by Shelley of the monstrous man that came back to life through arcane scientific practice.

Me and a few other of the men took him down from the motor carriage as easy as we could. The large man we had come to call friend who was once as strong and tall as an oak was layed low and meak and lifeless as we carried him through the thin wooden door of the doctors practice.

The inside of the doctors smelled stale, the wooden floor was stained with splotches of god knows what. The doctor was sat with his back to the door at a small writing desk, we set Gage down on a large wooden inspection table of which he barely fit on with his legs dangling off the edge.

The nurse was hanging off the edge of the desk smiling at us as we came in.

The doctor took one look at him as we took the sheet off and his eyes got very narrow and curious his nurse let out a silent scream holding her mouth open. Covering it with her hands screaming quietly with her eyes and then rushing out of the room bounding clumsily into a cabinet stocked with oddly shaped bottles of medicine. Almost knocking it over as she evacuated the room with a loud sound of stair foot falls and doors slamming.

The doctor was a short squat man with bared hairy fore arms under a grey shirt with rolled up sleeves, all of the hair of which was white and grey. A stern appearance with a pair of circular glasses placed at a peak of a receding hairline. He looked confused and angry at first and said something like; “What you bringing that here for? The morticians the street over! Get!”

After we’d assured him the man was still alive (which took some doing) he told us to lift him up on the table as if to humor us. He must have thought we were mad or stupid and if I were him I wouldn’t believe it either for at the time it looked like a train had run over his head or a horse had stomped it in.

He took out his instruments with a sigh and an aggrieved air of wasted time and started to poke and prod at him and then was seemingly struck by a curious itch. He reached back to get his stethoscope which he was about to warm but then thought better of it and placed it on the man’s chest after ripping his shirt. He took it away and his face turned as white as a sheet and he mumbled something the exact line from Shelley’s story, or so as my memory recreates it.

“He’s alive!”

After he’d got over the initial shock of it he started to lick his lips pointing and motioning hurriedly at a drawer one of the men was next to. A young man by the name of Gotfried.

“Get a bottle!” He instructed.

The young lad reached inside and pulled out a bottle of Kentucky bourbon and brought it over. The doctor wrenched it out of his hands like it was the last drop of water on earth and took a long drink and then slammed it down on the table. After he’d sighed and belched a few times he wiped his brow and went about collecting together knives various saws and articles I couldn’t quite identify as a layman. And he yelled for his nurse who was still in the back vomiting.

Eventually she came out and took one look at his face again and rushed back upstairs.

I looked at all the knives and saws that he collected in a metal dish. He coughed and then looked around for something before letting out an aggrieved sigh and bathing the instruments in a splash of his bourbon.

I asked him what they were for and he said almost with an air of incredulity “Surgery, he needs surgery.”

I was confused, not a man of great learning especially not of the medical variety so I asked again, “surgery for what?” thinking he didn’t need to lose more of himself and then it struck me as he said it.

“Goddamit can’t you see the thing sticking out of his damn head?”

Oh god his head was such a mess it didn’t even cross my mind that the rivet would still be lodged in his skull. It was shot right up under his chin and the spike of it was coming right out of the top of his head through his left side and out the top right out of the front like a horn.

“Oh god” I said.

The surgery took hours, but it felt like days, we sat in the doctors while Gage was worked on without anaesthetic in the surgery in the back room.

We didn’t see any of it but we could hear it, the sawing and the smell of hot bone. The shock of it sent some of the men outside and some who were lodged in town decided to head back and rest leaving just me and Gotfried.

20th September 1848

It was a week before he opened his eye again and I would swear in front of a jury it was not the same man. It was like someone had plucked our Phineas Gage and replaced him with another man entirely. He’d been sleeping, fed only liquid solutions administered to him by the nurse. His face mercifully bandaged. Unmercifully the doctor was unable to remove the rod itself. Fear further damage remove the thing might cause. And the black metal horn tip could be spied sticking out of the bandage.

Besides all that there was something about him that was just not right. The way he spoke, the way he looked at me. I’d never known of him to have a temper or a violent streak but he brought one back with him, from wherever he’d been. He snapped at anyone and everyone and I feared that if he were not unable to move he might do injury to himself and others.

I was almost hesitant to wire his wife in new Hampshire. Would it have been kinder to tell her her husband was dead than introduce her to this misshapen shadow of the man she loved. I wondered about their children, without the money he sent how would she care for them?

The doctor said the changes in mood were the result of his injuries, his brain was damaged. Specifically something about his nerves were severed he’s lost almost all sensation in his body. He can’t feel heat or cold or pain or even touch. The affects to his mood he did not further elaborate on. But it’s as if all his other non-tactile senses are heightened and his mental state is not comparable to the man we all knew.

2nd October 1848

His wife Catherine came up from new Hampshire today although I had told her to leave their children with their grandparents. The shock of seeing their father mangled like that would have been too much for them. But when she arrived Gage wouldn’t see her. He outright refused. I thought about what she would think about his face but not just that. The room he occupied had been fitted with a tubescope to keep him occupied during his long recovery but he’d smashed it almost as soon as it was installed. I’d noticed also all the newspapers I’d brought him he’d shredded. And it seemed like any knowledge of the outside world enraged him enough to put him in fits of unadulterated anger.

3rd October 1848

I put Catharine back on a train this morning, she’s a lovely woman, delicate in features and manner. It is truly saddening to see her go without meeting her goal of seeing her husband, but I honestly didn’t know what to tell her. All I could do was assure her that he would be well enough to work soon and we both hoped that once routine took hold he would return to the old Phineas Gage we once knew.

31st October 1848

After nearly two whole months of convalescence the doctor says Phineas should be well enough to continue his life and more imporantly his work. The doctor even made up for him a remarkable prosthesis to cover his scars so as not to alarm the general public. It was a piece of a light wood and some waxen substance painted and moulded to resemble a part of a mans face. He made it from a picture of Phineas we had supplied to as closely resemble his face as possible. Although minor changes had to be made, he was never a spectacle wearer but now a lensless pair was used as a frame to hook the prosthetic on so that the arms of the glasses would hook around his ears to hold it in place. To cover the horn he was instructed to wear a wide brimmed hat at all times.

The rest of the scars and missing hair could be easily covered in the same manner. It looked a lot better than I expected and from a distance you could be mistaken for thinking it was the man. But up close it gave the illusion up as the one unblinking staring glassy eye seemed to follow you around the room.

I felt for the man I truly did. It must have been even more of a crushing blow that his injuries and the time spent off work had resulted in a demotion and I had taken over his role and would do so for the foreseeable future.

Although this did not seem to anger him as much as effects of his surgery. His lack of tactile senses made it very difficult for him to complete the simple tasks I had set him. Many times he would injure himself and others and not even notice. It became very off putting for the men and resulted in vicious conflicts in which Gage was invariably the bloody victor. It was a horrifying sight, he seemed to have reverted to some earlier state of man, a vicious throw back to an earlier age.

His physical presence was also off putting yes but he also seemed to have strange new idea of life and the ruling government which was very unsettling for the men and struck up tensions between the men and the luggers.

He seemed to have gotten it into his head that there was some grand conspiracy of some sort. And that all the news was manufactured lies concocted to keep humans from rising up or some such nonsense.

15th December 1848

Unfortunately today at the behest of the company I had to let Phineas go.

The doctors had cautioned him about drink but he did not care. The great stress sent him deeper into the bottle and unfortunately I had no choice but to fire him.

It has burdened me with a heavy heart but he had become too much of a liability to keep on.

Nevertheless the company has awarded him a sizeable severance package and an early christmas bonus, although I fear he will only drink that.

I feel responsible for all of this I really do. When I told him he was to be let go he didn’t even seem angry, he almost seemed like he expected it.

A great melancholy grips me as I doubt we’ll ever meet again. I suspect he’ll return to his family in new hampshire and grow old and die a happier man now, I hope for his sake he does.

*Ford’s journal continues from here.

After that Gage fell off the face of the earth, he didn’t feel human, he wanted the earth to swallow him up.

He became a wanderer and a thief and a rogue, a bad gambler and a cheat only making enough money to keep his belly full of whiskey and his head dulled and stupid. Returning to his family would have been a lie for he did not feel like the same man. The old Gage was dead and in it’s place this man shambled on.

Sometime in the start of the new year He found himself in a small mining colony in Arkansas, in a town called Rush. They mined zinc up there, the stuff is used in certain alloys they use to make weapons for the capitol.

Needless to say it was a fairly rowdy town without a conventional form of law enforcement but people ususally kept to themselves. a It wasn’t in any great threat of bandits as zinc wasn’t high on their priorities to rob. And most of the miners money was pissed away on booze or women or just gambled.

Miners are off a disposition that any day there could be a cave in and kill them all, so they live each day as if they could be buried under rock the next.

Something Gage seemed to admire, moreover it made it easy to blend in with the revellers who on a good day couldn’t see further than their own feet. Not enough to notice a stranger with an oddly mask like face and a horn on his head.

Although on this night they were especially jovial as a recent election had taken place. A new president had been appointed, A man named Zachary Taylor, a hero of the Spanish American war. It was amusing to them as he had been somewhat of a colourful character before his presidency. Not only that but he’d riden a rising wave of anti-alien sentiment and people were sure that this would mean things would improve for their kind. To them he was the warrior messiah they had hoped to pull them out of their perdition. Although all alien media at the time had done their best to assure humans that things were better than ever for them and they were exceedingly priviledged. There had been a growing resentment formenting in the humans. As although they could fill their bellies for the most part and they were kept distracted with sportsball and a dull harmonic suggestion given off through their tubescopes. They had on an instinctual level felt control of their destinies slipping out of their hands. Sadly they were right but completely unable to understand how right they actually were. And not being smart enough or awake enough as a group to realise this it fell to petty concerns about their jobs. Replacing humans with luggers or with the coming of the industrial revolution high tech machines who would work for less. Bringing the prices down of all goods but destroying the class of people that could buy them. But it was to mask the feeling that they were no longer at home in their own world. So this election had given them hope for some kind of change and reversal of fortune for them and theirs.

The alien media had cemented this notion in them by elevating Taylor up to the level of a mustache twirling villain. A speciesist who would round up aliens and un-normals and send them to die in quarries. Bringing up the history of their supposed persecution Cyclon had underdone from the humans of the past who were to them barbaric and cruel. But this resentment the media had for him and their attempt silence him made the public clamber for him all the more to know what they were not meant to know.

But Gage could not share their optimism and joviality as to them this was a sign that the system was not corrupt. For how so could it not be a democracy if this man who the system hated could be elected to lead it? Sure that proved to them that the system was indeed impartial and this man could free them of corruption.

Gage who could see and was far more cynical and could understand. This was exactly the kind of move the system would make to assuage the fears of corruption in the populace. That this entire conflict was manufactured by the system itself. The previous eleven presidents They’d had were at least partially or ambiguously human. And each time promised the humans whatever they wanted and when their vote was assured carried on whatever policy the president before him had carried out in an unbroken chain of control.

How could there ever be a true democracy when the freedom of choice was between two alien puppets. The freedom to choose being an illusion created for this very feeling the miners were feeling now, of hope and change and a brighter future. And then within the next couple of years they’d be cursing this new president and blaming him for all the problems the system created. And then before anyone could notice they’d swap him out for someone else and the whole thing would start over again.

One thing that was key to the Cyclon agenda was that humans had a short memory and could be conditioned to forget the past. Dooming them to repeat it, allowing them to be kept in an ideological stasis. Never moving forward and always being just on the cusp of acquiring everything they wanted but never fully being able to realise or bring it into reality.

This election was different only in that it was a false triumph. A move calculated by the Cyclon to make the humans think they had beaten the system entirely by simply engaging in it. Thus deflating the rising tensions between human and aliens by making the radical human element think they’d won. At which point the majority of the useful idiots in that movement would think the fight was over and stop entirely. Leaving the more radical elements without a force behind them which meant they could be disposed of without causing too much of a fuss. The radical voices asking for changed would be exposed and defeated by their own victory. The normal people would happily put their heads back in the sand safe in the knowledge that the future for their children would be sunshine and roses from then on. Purely for their signing their name on a piece of paper.

Gage knew better than that, he knew as all men instinctually knew but had been bred to forget. That no change worth having comes without blood, torrents of blood, rivers of blood. Human and alien alike, mountains of corpses that a king would set his throne atop and then and only then would his people truly be free. Only when the system was entirely torn down and burnt to ashes and every alien and human traitor lay dead would there be hope for a brighter tomorrow. And it was this reluctance to accept this price that found Gage living like Jonah but instead of being in the belly of whale he was trapped at the bottom of a bottle.

He could not hope to see his wife and children again because he was not the same man they knew. And he would not burden them with this new terrible knowledge he had. He would forever cloister himself away in the cave of his consciousness with whatever booze he could get his hands on. For fear of what his realisations could bring about for the world and for himself and his family.

By that time booze had become his only comfort, without it he feared he might go mad. Although another man might blurt out what he had come to realise about the world he lived in, he did not. But was secure in the idea that even if he did, it would be considered the raving conspiracies of a mad drunk with a pickled brain.

Later that night he found himself in a card game with a number of these ruddy faced miners who were or at least reaching the same level of drunkiness as Gage himself. Gage was cheating, badly, but everyone at the table was too drunk and happy to notice or care.

All but one man who silently seethed under a firm cowboy hat that looked new and unused which covered most of his face. He was an odd little man with a slightly tanned aspect but with very deep blue eyes that seemed to behold everything with the most profound disdain and curiosity. Through clasped hands he rested his rounded unstubbled chin.

His manner of dress was strangely costume in it’s appearance. Resembling what a cowboy of the previous age might look like in one of the serial fictions they had in new york that cast cow chasers as these romantic figures. Killing villains and romancing farm girls in between eating lots of beans by the campfire. He wore a long black duster a white shirt with an indio looking pattern and a brown waistcoat below it with a necktie with a steerhead clasp. With his hat pulled down he smoked long black cigarillo’s that must have been imported. Nobody paid him any attention least of all Gage who was a long ways into a raging drunk almost falling over himself to spend his ill gotten winnings on more whiskey.

The man with the piercing blue eyes in the unusually tanned face that made him look like a spaniard eyed Gage vociferously. He stubbed his cigarillo out to chew a wooden toothpick in its place. Never once taking his cruel cold steely gaze off Gage who laughed and cracked up with the other drunkards happy for a fleeting moment in their meaningless existence.

After the man had lost a great deal which didn’t seem to bother him all that much. He got up from his chair and bid everyone at the table goodnight with a tip of his rigid cowboy hat before clasping his hands behind his back in an unnatural gesture and clomping his way out of the saloon.

The room went silent for a moment as they watched him go and then burst into uproarious laughter as they assumed he was out of ear shot on the otherside of the saloon door. Which to anyone but a drunken man made perfect sense.

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