January 29, 2005

To Survive in Ghosttown

To survive in Ghosttown, it helps to be immortal. If you are not immortal, if you have flesh and bones that can be rent and broken, then it is best not to enter Ghosttown at all. If you must, if you absolutely must enter Ghosttown, do so only with a trustworthy guide. Since there are no trustworthy guides, it remains best not to enter Ghosttown at all. There are guides, of course, but these are men courting death or, perhaps, men for whom death is an event already past. The motives of the dead are ever ineffable and to seek their aid is as lunatic a proposition as to seek their lair. As for the mortal guides, what terrible bargains must these men and women (and there are indeed some women who have chosen this profession) have made to enable them to survive the denizens of Ghosttown. It is not a gentle place and those who would lead you through it already bear many of its scars. No, there are no trustworthy guides.

January 25, 2005

Just Another Day At The Beach

The Kraken took Joe on a Thursday afternoon. Then it took the picnic basket including all of the chicken and the dinner rolls. It did not get the cookies because Joe had already eaten those. Then again, since it did get Joe after all, it could probably be said to have gotten the cookies, too. Sally was buying fries across the road at the time and so she was spared, as was the bean salad which had already been removed from the picnic basket and which sat a few feet away. It's possible the Kraken did not notice the bean salad, but being a creature mostly vegetable itself, it's more likely it simply did not want it.

Sally, of course, knew immediately what had happened when she returned. She took her fries and her bean salad and considered herself lucky that she had an extra set of Joe's car keys in her purse. She cried for a few days, but ultimately came to agree with her coworkers that this was just the sort of risk one took when going to the beach.

She stopped crying just in time. One more night, and Joe might have heard her. Then he would have come back, and that would have been worse.

January 17, 2005


The old man sagged when he was not moving, like a jacket on a bent hangar. When he was moving he looked more like a marionette whose strings are not quite the right length. He shuffled a little to and fro, although never straying beyond either end of the park bench. After six paces, back and forth, from one end of the bench to the other, he would slowly sink to a seat and look at his watch. Then he would get back up, move over a few feet, and sit back down again. There he would stay, with his hands clasped and his elbows on his knees for several minutes before starting the whole process over again. Occasionally he would take off his hat, run his hand through absent hair, and then put the hat back on. The whole time, pacing or sitting, he kept looking towards 3rd street, when he was not looking at his watch.

January 13, 2005


There is but one City and its name is Ur. There is but one city and its name is Polis. There is but one City and its name is Glee. And its name is Abydos. And its name is Pan. And its name is Berullis, Tirre, Belle Marra, Rome, London, Tokyo, Paris, and New York. Even Dis. There is but one City and its name is unknown. All others are but a reflection, a pale imitation of an imitation. The City is Truth and all others are reflections seen through water seen through fog. What happens to the City happens to all cities reflected, rippled, and obscured though it may be. There is but one City that is all cities, and tonight it is burning.

January 04, 2005

The summer sun drifted lazily through the clouds. Unseen katydids chittered loudly, making the only sound until a breeze began to rise. Soft at first, the susurration of grass against grass barely outdid the katydids. It grew until the tall stalks began to rustle like waves. Green mixed with green in cascading ripples. For a moment, there was relief from the afternoon heat and then the wind was past. It left behind a lingering scent of mountain springs and then that, too, vanished and heat settled gently onto the plains once more.

January 02, 2005

The Wizard's Desk

The wizard’s lab was a dark place, windowless, shut off from all distractions that might disrupt the work done there. Candles formed into strange shapes, and made out of stranger materials, provided the only light. There were no cobwebs, but looking around the room gave one the distinct, and slightly disturbing impression, that there should be. However, with the exception of the dust crawling into the corners as shadows crawled out, the lab itself was remarkably clean, if cluttered. It often took visitors, the few there ever were, some time to notice how clean the lab actually was.
The first impression of the lab was of darkness. The second impression of the lab was of clutter. Various tools of the wizards trade appeared to be strewn about the room haphazardly, spell components, ancient tomes, parchment, quills made from the feathers of birds most considered legend, ink made from materials that no legends had ever been told about. The middle of the room was empty, but around the edges bookshelves lined up facing inwards with an imposing gaze. Each shelf was a combination of books old enough that should have crumbled to dust long ago, flasks of many and varied colors, and various other artifacts that the mind can imagine, plus many that it probably cannot (nor should it). This impression of clutter however, soon gave itself up as false to the more clever observers.
Those with the eye to notice found that the room was actually in a chaotic order. What appeared disordered was in fact a fantastically complex order of the strictest sort. No beaker was out of place, no book haphazardly left without intent. The space was an arrangement of seemingly random associations that, inspected closely made little sense but which, much like the pattern of life upon which it was based, when taken as a whole became a completely new and beautiful thing.
There were few however to appreciate this. Few because there were few who desired to see the wizard’s lab and there were fewer still who he would allow to do so. Few also because most men have neither the patience nor the comprehension to understand such a concept, but throughout history there have been a small number of noteworthy men with the facilities to appreciate the importance of such patterns. The wizard, of course, was one of them, but we shall not meet him just yet. I have explained his lab to you that you may know it when we come upon it later in this story, as we shall, when time is more hurried and events transpiring that will not leave me breath to show you the room as you need to see it. The wizard himself we shall meet at a more appropriate time. There are others I would have you meet first.