Ace of Swords

Standard

“I know what I’m doing.” Said John, but he mumbled so quietly that the other kids couldn’t hear him. School had ended, hours ago, and they’d gone straight to the arcade, as they did every Friday. It was John’s turn on ACE – he said he’d played it before. His dad, who was so-recently-divorced, had a cabinet in his apartment. John played instead of sleeping, and instead of speaking to his father.

“You’re a liar, John.” Riley stuck his fat face through the arms of the others and his rubbery jowls flapped like penguin wings. “Arcade only got ACE this morning. You’ve never played it. Liar.”

John missed the words. He’d shut them off the last time his ability was questioned, and now the plasma jet fighters filled his vision. There was no edge of the screen, there was nothing beyond the frame – the lights were the world, and the humming fluorescence of missiles and engines surrounded him, as far as he knew. Just like it did when he ignored his father’s attempts to impress him, the cockroaches, the cardboard boxes. There was only ACE. The lights reached to caress his eyes long after his friends had left.

Continue reading

The Empress

Standard

The Empress

Julie had been pregnant. Each month passed slower than the last as her belly grew – steps that seemed to get steeper as she climbed – both the difficulty of her life, and the flight of steps to her paediatrician’s office. They still hadn’t installed a ramp. Dozens complained weekly, but nothing was done.

The first nine months were the easy part, it was the months afterwards that were hard.

“Overdue pregnancies are common, Mrs. Anderson,” the doctor explained. “There have been a – a few cases – that have progressed further than yours, with perfectly healthy children.”

The child was still growing inside of her, and she became inflated with more amniotic fluids to compensate, but now she couldn’t walk. Her mother lent her a rusty old wheelchair, and when Julie sat in it, her belly sagged to her knees. Another week, and the wheel shattered. She was in the high street when it happened, pushed around by a friend, and she collapsed into a mass of twisted metal wailing. Disgust filled the heads of those she’d expected to laugh. Eighteen months.

It sucked her dry in ten years. No foetus, nor child, was found in her husk.

The Fool

Standard

The Fool

Peter would have done anything to impress his friends, even if “friends” was a very loose term – it was barely mutual. They moved and shook as a tight social world, while Peter just sort of orbited around them. Yapping nervous little jokes. Every now and again, when the suns lined up just right for them to acknowledge him, the boys would agree to ask Peter to do something for them. Continue reading

Selfpost – Activity and Tarot

Standard

!!! ACTIVITY UPDATE !!!

Stealing ideas from the fantastic Neil Gaiman, The Far Pastures will soon update semi-regularly with flash stories based on the many many themes of tarot cards. Fate is coming in less than 1,000 words at a time. Beware, beware.

Also, excuse the constant design changes that happen pretty much every time I post, I’m still not happy with the layout and I’m WordPress-illiterate. Hopefully the trial and error will pay off eventually and I’ll stop on something I like.

-Ben

Personal Hell

Standard

When I woke up, I was in Hell.
The actual Christian Hell,
Fire and Brimstone and all.
But that was just the waiting room.
The magazines were all on fire.
Tartarus Weekly
Smouldered on the coffee table.
The Devil came over.
“My, my.” He said.
“You’ve done some really awful things.”
He adjusted his Goat-horn rimmed glasses
And looked down and his clipboard,
“We have something
Very special for
You.”

When I woke up, I was in Hell.
It was exactly the same as life
With no mouth and a cause to scream
With eyes sewn shut and a cause to cry
With no mouth and a need to explain.
I must have done some really awful things.