Mysterious fane on the banks of the Sea of Ohkotsk

Mysterious fane on the banks of the Sea of Ohkotsk

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The War Overhead

They dismissed it when I warned them the first shots would be fired.

But then the Galactics fired the first shots - bombarding the rebels' lunar installation from their kinetic weapon platforms in Jovian orbit.  Even then, they tried to explain it away - tried to make the naive public think it was just business as usual.

Then came the firefight high in the Van Allen belt, with dozens of ships ripped into nothing more than ionized particles as the Galactics extracted vengeance for the rebels' sins.

Even now, the public are in the dark, completely unaware of what is happening high overhead, lied to and tricked into believing the fallout is simply a natural phenomenon.  But the world's governments are trembling.


Because the rebels' sin was sharing their knowledge with us - how else do you think we advanced so quickly over the last few decades?

But now the Galactics are here, and who knows what they will do to us once the rebels have been dealt with...


Friday, 21 February 2014

The Wicker Man

They had always said his skin was like parchment, and that he creaked like rattan when he moved.

But when the accident happened, none of them were prepared for what they saw.


Thursday, 20 February 2014

They mostly come out at night. Mostly.

She wept with relief when they found her, hidden behind the closet door in a hole-in-the-wall apartment.

It was six years ago when it started in a lonely, boring town in Alaska.

Just a group of kids playing with a ouija board.  Then pendulums.  Then seances and channelling.

And then she found The Book: an old, leather-bound tome that had fallen down behind the stacks at the library so many years ago.  The pages were dark with the scrawl of half a dozen hands and twice as many languages. Yellowed slips of paper jutted at every angle, covered with comments and notes, strange diagrams.  Sometimes so arcane they almost seemed written in code.

Poring over the pages, using musty 50-year-old dictionaries and the internet to find meaning in the pages was dorky, maybe, and a little weird.  But to bored teens in a small town who had already shocked parents and peers with goth styles and vampire personas it was the best. Puzzle. Ever.  

When at last they started to make progress in their translation, they tried one of the rites they deciphered, thinking of it as just another LARP.

But it worked, and the thrill of discovery made them want to try more.

Again and again they tried: first flashes of light, then a mysterious moaning voice. Then action at a distance. And boils to plague that girl.

And then they did it.

They wanted revenge. 

He'd touched her, threatened her.  Made her do things. He was a bad person.  But The Book told them there was a way he could be punished. A summoning.

They tried it, and the thing that came plagued their nightmares for days afterwards.

But it worked, as horrible as the punishment was to watch.  And there were others who had scores to settle.  Other knives to grind.

So they did it again.  And again.

But what they didn't know was that the things they had woken, the things that came when they called and seemed to do their bidding were old.  

They were hungry things that had dwelt in the sunless steppes of the arctic since before humans had come to this land. They were the dark things that even the Elders had feared.

They were wendigo, and now that they were awake they were hungry.

And they didn't really care about the sins of their prey.

They just. Wanted. More.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Diamond Edda

Imagine an alternate history in which the first European settlers of Iceland and Greenland were Vikings.

Standard fare, sure, but how about this:

At first these Vikings went about things in typically Viking fashion, complete with Althings, expeditions to Vinland, and grand tales of daring do by warriors set on feasting in Valhalla with the gods.

In their expeditions across the Arctic, through Hudson’s Bay and beyond in search of furs, ivory and trinkets traded up from the South (Aztec gold, perhaps? Lapis lazuli amulets? Strings of gem-like shells?) they ultimately begin exploring the west coast of the continent – eventually coming into contact with the Chinese colonies there.

And so, rather than converting to Christianity these New World Vikings converted to Buddhism.

True to the transcendental traditions of their own Wiccan, these alter-Vikings adopted an esoteric approach to Buddhism, something like Shingon or Tangmi/Mizong – with their practice founded on the idea of Odin as their own boddhisatva, and ultimately developing a tradition of warrior mystics who seek enlightenment through development of their bodies in the fighting arts and various ascetic techniques and mortifications. 

In the end, the religious text "The Diamond Edda" would be the foundation of this tradition, and berserk a manifestation of transcendental Zen as the masters of this tradition release attachment to the self and thought and immerse themselves in the moment of battle.

Sun darkened, half-clothed warriors - shaggy in the fashion of the Indian ascetics - would necessarily wander the frozen steppes of the Arctic circle, the crunch of their fur-wrapped feet on the snow nearly drowned by the rhythmic "jingle...jingle...jingle..." as their belled staves strike the ground.

Naturally, their robes would be blood red, their furs white.

And the infidel would weep with terror in the night.