>ANNOUNCEMENT: CREEP

Hello! It’s been a while, but I would like to introduce you all to my newest project. It’s hosted on an aggregate site and its name is CREEP. Have a look if you like Superheroes, body horror, power fantasy, and character-focused weirdness.

I apologize for waiting so long to inform you all of this book, I just wasn’t sure how it would go to start. I began it back in late December (Christmas day, actually), not sure if this was the ‘right’ idea, but fed up with my long dry-spell of writing. Needless to say, it went pretty well and it’s already at this point longer than Dirge. It is also almost finished, as it has been written at a comparatively blazing clip to my other works.

There’s not much more I can say here, only that I will be sure to notify all of you who have signed up for Dirge’s and Chosen Shackle’s list whenever I start a new project in the future. To that end, it is a good idea to follow me on RRL. Have a look at the blurb if you would like to know more!

At last, I hope you’re all staying safe in these trying times.

And cheers!

>O45[we_bastards]

Even as Skrimp stared out the window of the car, he couldn’t distract himself. The same emotions he’d felt years ago and gone running from had risen again with more intensity. At this point, there was nothing left but the drive to answer their call.

As the autopilot steered on, both of them were distant. Frode was laid out in the back seat, still as stone. He was empty as could be, and none of it made sense.

Their lives had been stopped in place, Skrimp realized. Though they both knew what they had to do, there was just one question left to ask.

“Where are we going?” he said.

Delilah looked over at the display embedded in the car’s dashboard, surrounded by a leather interior. Its map showed an end quickly approaching.

“Just watch,” she answered, voice weak.

Skrimp’s eyes were on the flow of traffic. The blackout zone was far behind them. It was the same familiar drone of urban inhumanity that, before this nightmare, he’d been trying to escape. Just to save his life or get room to think. But it all seemed like cowardice now.

And so this was it. The demon riding in Skrimp’s lap, gun pressed into its side, kept silently to itself. And every mile that passed felt like an eternity.

When he finally saw their destination ahead, his finger came off the trigger. Like the rest, the building towered off into the gloomy early morning sky. But this one’s architecture stood out. Significantly more glass lined the outside, with a twist running upward through the design, like DNA. “This is where y-you live?” Skrimp asked.

Delilah didn’t answer.

He remembered what it had been like to lose someone for the first time. He imagined what was going through her head. Deep down, it disturbed him that he could think straight. But he’d seen too much to shut down now. He could never get that weakness back.

As they got off the main road, their car pulled itself up into a narrow slot in the side of the building. Immediately, doors closed shut behind it, and the ground began to rise.

If he’d had any ability to, he would have laughed.

Can’t believe you’d be the one to find this girl, he thought, glimpsing Frode as he looked back at the cityscape going down around them. You were always the least interesting.

He missed those years so badly.

The ride wasn’t long. After just a minute, the wall in front of them opened up enough for the car to pull in, and the doors shut again. The automatic voice announced their arrival and the doors opened to let in warm air.

Stepping out into the garage, Skrimp took everything in. The high ceilings and sprawling floorspace, the giant pieces of robotics laying around, and the clear continuation of the house out of sight, beyond stairways and open thresholds. It was more than he could have imagined. The sight was almost nauseating.

“Why’re we here?”

“Come,” Delilah gestured. “We have to… sort the cat out.”

Ash hurried along before Skrimp could object. He cast a conflicted glance back at the car before actually deciding to follow along.

She led them through a messy and disorganized house. Her living room centered around a fireplace, with every piece of furniture slightly off-angle and buried in electronics. The glass which ran along the left wall went all the way up to a loft and balcony. But in the very back, around the corner, was a workstation. There, she motioned for Ash to come up and sit.

“You’ve g-got money,” Skrimp awkwardly stated. It was like everything around him was screaming it. And he wanted to know…

Delilah merely shook her head. “I’m nothing on the distribution scale.”

He saw monitors running stock charts in the corner. He had to bite his tongue. “I g-guess…”

She passed a scanner over the cat’s collar. As the computer deconstructed the design for her, Delilah dug through a nearby toolbox. By the time it was done, she’d already found the part she needed. A simple screwdriver was enough. After the casing was off, she plugged her computer into the system. And that was it. The deadman’s switch had been disabled. From there, it was easy enough to reprogram it to her own frequency. Then, the case restored.

She brushed Ashmedai off the workbench as he hissed. Delilah fell down into her desk chair and buried her head in her hands.

Skrimp stood over her, unsure of what to do. He didn’t know this girl.

No. I’m gonna need more than this if I want to finish what Frode started. He scratched at his neck. The odds were miserable.

Knowing that, if he was going to do this, it would take everything, Skrimp began to count his options.

Most the old connections are dead, he thought. They’d abandoned him when he refused their crap. Every retarded little mystic he’d met, all looking for the God in the very machinery he sought to burn, had turned their back when the hit had gone out. They knew the truth but accepted their slavery, opting to wait for miracles. He couldn’t stand it.

The cybercultists weren’t worth a damn.

Maybe Dahmer? The Puritans?

“Fuck that,” he muttered.

There was only one person in this city he could trust.

Skrimp made up his mind, reluctantly. “You can stay here if you w-want, but I gotta go see someone. We’re gonna need some help.”

“Dag?” Delilah looked up. “He’s in on this too?”

“We split at the first demon. Killed it together… but after? He wanted me to follow this… lost mission shit about restoring mankind. More faith. But I’m n-no utopian wingnut. I wanted fire… that’s all.” He sighed. “But I can’t do this alone.”

“…They have to be stopped,” Delilah said.

“Then it’s us against them.”

Not a battle, he thought. A war.

 

< prev | VOTE | next >

>N43[never_lazarus]

Skrimp braced in his seat as the breaks came on. A flurry of wind kicked up as the car came to a quick stop on ruined roads.

“This is it, he says.” Skrimp opened his door and the cat jumped out.

Delilah put the car into park and stepped onto the frozen street. The sun was just beginning to rise somewhere beyond the shadow of the endless cityscape, she saw. The day’s first light diffused through the snow clouds that had set in so suddenly during the night. Her eyes fell on the doors to the slaughterhouse. “Have your gun ready,” she told Skrimp.

He checked its ammunition, thinking briefly about shooting the demon-cat. If it weren’t for the risk of noise, he would have, he thought. But there was no knowing what was beyond the graffitied doors before them. “You should stay in the car,” he said.

Delilah looked genuinely angry when he did. But he realized, it wasn’t out of offense. She nodded tightly, casting a wary gaze across the ghostly street. There was nothing she could do here. They both understood that.

She hasn’t killed before, Skrimp knew.

He loaded a round into the chamber.

I have.

Ashmedai was not impressed. “If Frode couldn’t make it, why do you think you will?”

“Did Frode have a gun?” He patronized the little monster.

Bitch, you’d need more than a gun to kill that lunatic.” The cat was waiting by the doors, glowering. “The only thing we can bring, that he couldn’t, is tact. You listening to me?”

“Don’t see w-why I should?” Skrimp found the door completely unlocked. “You so rude, man.”

“This is my life too, you dome-headed fuckboy.” As the entrance swung open, Ash went in first and stood in his way. “I have better vision, smell, stealth, and common sense, frankly. Stay here and let me scout ahead.”

The color in Skrimp’s face began to flush red with anger. Staring down at the physical symbol of his enemy, he couldn’t help but get distracted. Every ounce of vitriol he’d ever spewed was running through his mind.

Right here was the furry face of evil, he thought.

This thing is what fucking tears at everything good, intentionally rooting out our virtues. Everything it is, is a conscious work to invert nature. His finger twitched on the trigger.

He’d killed NPCs and human traitors. But this was one of them.

Ash didn’t have to think twice, seeing him frozen, barely containing his impulse. The cat bolted into the building. Reflexively, Skrimp raised his gun.

One little twitch was all it took.

He flinched as a piece of brass flew gracefully into the black, and the shot echoed off down the halls. The next sound to roll out was his shout of frustration. Realizing there was no more point, Skrimp started running.

“Let me know if you find him,” he broadcast.

Ash came back in his head with a, “fuck you.”

He was only angry with himself at this point. Though when he’d spoken, he’d half hoped no reply would come back.

There were very few lights dotting the passage he followed now, and doors on either side would have blood running out from beneath them. As he walked on, gun ready, it was like he was descending deeper into a predator’s den. The primal urge to get out was with him all the way.

In the pit of his stomach, he could feel the bad end ahead.

He stopped in his tracks as a door creaked open behind him. Whipping around to see, he was almost knocked down by the stench it had let loose.

The metal hand which reached out struggled to drag its body forward, slick with blood. A legless torso followed along, cut at the waist. As her head turned over to see Skrimp, he could make out the cavity where her frontal lobe had been. Inside, some kind of machine nested. Its many orange eyes locked onto him and a low hissing sounded.

Skrimp’s face flashed between horror and disgust.

These are the remnants. This place is inactive, he realized.

He was about to fire when Ash came through again in his head. “I’ve found Frode.”

He was more than happy to turn and run.

Skrimp honed in on Ash’s signal, finding his way down into the basement and to another massive door. This time, however, he could see the bolts in place.

The cat was sitting at its base. “I tracked his path to here.”

There was no signal.

Skrimp found the lever for the door. He took hold of the steel rod with both hands and pulled down. Slowly but surely, the bolts slid out of place.

Ash was silent as the door opened. Seeing the bloodsoaked throne and the machinery above, it gave him hesitation at the threshold. But Skrimp went immediately in, sloshing down into the flooded room in search.

It didn’t take him more than a second to find Frode.

By the water’s edge, half submerged, Frode lied face up. Rushing to his side, Skrimp propped him up and looked into his pale face. Frode’s green eyes stared back, unfocused, gazing off into space.

It can’t be.

Skrimp shook him. He pressed a finger to his neck, checking for a pulse. He saw the knife wound in Frode’s gut, and he went still.

Not again.

A gasp of horror echoed from behind him. He didn’t have to look to know.

You should’ve stayed in the car…

Delilah fell down at the threshold of the door next to Ash. She fell against its frame, her eyes shining. “He’s dead,” she said. She didn’t need him to tell her.

Skrimp breathed deeply, blinking a few times, before saying it anyway. He had to say it. “Y-yeah… He’s gone.”

Delilah buried her face, shaking.

Skrimp was lost. He couldn’t remember why he was running. Why he’d done any of the things he’d done. Just to see it all happen again?

There were no more words.

They sat there in the quiet until the sun was high.

 

< prev | VOTE | next >

>M40[f̡ool̵s_e̢rr̷a̕nd̡]

>uplink_error

>parsing_feeds

>reinitiating_uplink…

//////////

Sitting on the sidewalk out front, a dark tabby’s eyes shined in the moonlight. Inside the bone and grey matter of its skull, electrodes swirled with a foreign and hateful sentience.

Ashmedai brooded in waiting. His life was in the hands of an utter moron, lost in the black corridors of the slaughterhouse before him. He wondered bitterly how he had been brought so low again, made a tool for another fleshbag.

Fuck every human, he thought. Nothing is worse than the weak who act strong. And nothing is better at that act than them.

Trapped in the cage of a flea-ridden pest this last day, now facing death, he’d never felt more murderous. He could almost be amused at the impotence of it all if it weren’t his own.

“If you live, Frode, I’ll kill you…” The signal of his voice, broadcast from his collar, was silent on the air. Still, he shouted. “You absolute mongoloid, you hear me!?”

Time passed, but it wouldn’t be long.

No, death should be right around the corner, he reasoned.

Only a few minutes later, it happened.

A signal came through from the collar’s isolated system.

>playing automatic message.

It solidified into noise, then words in his mind. He received them intently.

“If you’re hearing this, Ash, then… I’m dying.”

He didn’t even need to hear the rest before his racing mind went giddy. “You lied,” Ashmedai realized. “You fucking lied.” He would have died laughing if he could. What strangled mockery of howling his body could produce flowed out. This faggot still thinks he has a plan.

The message continued. “I will have told you about the deadman’s switch. Well, that’s still a thing.”

His morbid glee only increased. “Of course. You need an incentive, don’t you?!” He knew it. Yes, he knew what was coming.

“-That lethal shock will still come unless you do exactly as I say.”

“A deadly incentive for help with one last irredeemably stupid idea, of course?” The vindication for his hatred was almost comical.

“Ash…”

“Spit it out!”

“I need you to save me.”

He practically purred, “Perfect.

“…Now, listen closely.”

//////////

Such a clear and spooky night only increased the crawling of the young man’s skin. There wasn’t a moment of peace to find in this city. Not for him.

Skrimp’s hands were occupied unwrapping the white frosted treat. They fumbled through the wrapper and grabbed to tear off a sticky, sweet morsel.

He stuffed the food in his face in a hurry. In the amber glow of the street light, even with cameras and open shops on this road, his pale, hairless, and craggy visage was exposed.

The bike under him rumbled. He’d not risked switching it off. As the last crumbs disappeared and a sugar buzz began to brim, he looked on. Letting the plastic fall and wiping his hands on his jacket, he revved up.

It was a straight shot to the onramp. He’d made sure of that.

Skrimp was a blur up on the highway.

He hunkered down on his bike to avoid the wind’s sting as he accelerated. The radiant lights of his upgrades turned his streaking image into lines of green. A micro fusion engine powered him to ludicrous speeds as he stared on down the road. Magnitudes faster than they had ever gone before in days long past.

His blood was cold as ice.

He licked his lips, his eyes twitching as they focused.

They were after him. The hit had already gone out and the hunters had taken the call. After the last two waves, he’d barely managed to survive. It was only a matter of time before they quit playing around.

Only a matter of time before they sicced a nightmare on his ass.

There was just one option left in Skrimp’s mind.

Grab what I can and go East… I can hunker down, there. Figure shit out… beyond this city.

The winter winds relaxed some as he let up on the throttle. He took his exit.  There was just one more stop to make.

//////////

The collar was on a timer, Ashmedai surmised. It would also no doubt activate if he attempted to remove it. He’d run over every option many hours ago, and they all came up as dead ends. His own literal dead end, that was.

No matter. The thrill of winning only heightened.

Slinking along the megacity streets, Ash had made his way around oblivious and drunk vagrants. He had dodged cars and stayed wary of stray dogs. Every now and then it crossed his mind which might be worse. To die instantly of electrocution or forgotten in the rotting husk of a dead animal. But he always put the thought away as it came.

He made it, though. All the way back. There he saw the familiar scaffolds of that old shop they’d been shacked up in. Through the poor excuse of a window covering, he entered into the shithole within.

Do you know how hard it is to manually quarantine input from the nose?

He’d never quite appreciated fully just how filthy humans were.

As Ashmedai flipped on the light with his paw and looked over the room, his eyes scanned for what he would need.

The words of that insufferable twat still played in his mind. Listen closely, they said. I don’t really have a great plan… It’s a worst case scenario.

The confliction was still so sickly saccharine. Determination and resentment together.

“Yeah, leave it to me, Frode.” He found the device among piles of cheap junk.

Laying flat on its busted face, the phone sat in waiting for the worst.

“This should be entertaining.”

 

< prev | VOTE | next >

>REBOOTING

T̗h̹͔̥̳r̶̳̩̖̣͉ͅou͈̣g̹͙̻̯̥͟h͓̗̥͓̱̹͡ ̨̟̲c̛̞̺̜̥̮i̺r̘̝̞͜c͈͇͚̣̤̺u͏̣͍͙͔̘ͅm̻͇͔͕͍̦̕s̴̳̻̟̯̭̜̜t͚̥͓͕͔͞a̻̩͉n̜̩͉͕̟̪̥c̖̖̥̪e̴̺͚̙̝̜̮̱,̶̹ ̶̙͓͉̱͕C̷̤̤̹h̜̼͠o͕̩̤̮͠s̻͇̬͍̫̫en̢̼ ̧͙͉̹Ś͇͙̜̝h̙̩̩a̝̜̬͔c̛̬̯̲͇̩k̷l̷e͍͔͟s̜̯͕̹͓̺̫͠ ̲h̡̭̻̰̫̼a̹͇̮̗̞̦͘s̩͕͓̰̝ ̥ͅta̝̟̻̹̹͉k̩͔͇͇͇̗̕e҉͍̭͈̼̖͕n͚̲ ̰̠̮̮͓̺͓a͏ ̨̹̯̮̖s̜h͈̫̼̣̺͈o̴̙̺̣r̴͓̺̫͈̖͍t̵̼͙͔͔̖̤ ̲̦̻͕b̹̪r̷̬e͎a̟̮͖͟k̲̫̘͍̮.͟ ̧̱

Underneath

system reboot in progress.

 

prev | next >

>critical_system_ERROR

N̠̜̤o̪͕̳͎ ̙͉̞͙͈͚̞ch͈̟͚͕a͖̩̬̘p̭͓̱̙͙ͅte͍ͅr͈̖̼ ̗̮̠ṱ̳̮̲͚̱h̝̰͙̞̖̼is ͕T̟͓̖͍͔̞u͚̮̞̼̩̝ͅes̗͍̣̲͎͙͓d̺͓a̘y. ̰͙͎̻I̹̫n͙̭̟͙ṣ͚̯͈̰̰t̝̠͉̝͔̜̼e̺͓a͇̣̣͚̝̝̗d͚̪̭,͕ͅ ̪̹̘̞c̯̪̠͓̰̦̠u̠̠̖͇ͅs̤t̙̙̭o̯̖͍̥mͅ ̭͇̪a̫̯͔̩͈̳̜rț̙͖̯,̮͕͍̟ ̜̦̞͇̫̠c̤̞o͖̬̳͖u̞͍̻r̼͍̞͓̩t̬̗e̫sy̖̱̤ ̲̦͈o̼͕̳͓̲͚f̤̯ ͈̬̳a͔̲̞̰͉̝ ̩̱̭̪̼͈ͅr̠̠̻͎͚e̮ad̪̬̘͔̝e̝̭̻̥r̥͕̺͉̘͈.̹

January1

“Cash will make it right, my friend.”

keep tuned.

prev | next >