Thursday, March 31, 2011

First Day At the New School; Querying; There will be no funeral

First Day At The New School

When I was in first grade, we moved halfway through the year. I left behind my best friend Christopher and my boyfriend, Ian. He gave me a Barbie doll the last time we saw each other, which was in his basement, putting magnetic letters up on the side of his family's extra freezer. I took it and left.

Ian's house was also where I had Pop Rocks for the first time. I think my eyes bugged out of my head. Everyone laughed. I opened my mouth and shot someone in the face. Those things are dangerous, but very fun.

I knew everybody at my old school. Christopher and Ian and I had put our three desks together, like a little island. We shared crayons and stuff. At the new school, the desks were all in rows, none touching and you couldn't move them, apparently. They gave me a box of crayons that was missing blue, and they told us to draw a picture of the lawn and sky outside the window. I didn't have blue. I couldn't ask these strangers, none of whom even looked at me. I tried to draw the sky green and put black over it, hoping they would mistake it for blue, but no. The teacher came around and said, "Becky, the sky is blue. Use your blue crayon." She walked on and I tried to put other colors together to make blue, but by the time she came back, my whole sky was a black-brown scribble with bits of red and yellow showing through like some kind of apocalypse was about to descend on the peaceful green grass and little daisies below, and she acted like I didn't know what the color blue was and maybe I was retarded, or maybe I was deliberately disobeying her, and I had to stand in the hall for punishment. Retarded or misbehaving, you got punished either way in those days.

Then later, as if my humiliation wasn't enough, we had to sit in a circle. I thought it was Duck, Duck, Goose. Okay. Cool. I knew Duck, Duck, Goose. Everyone started clapping. WTF? There's no clapping in Duck, Duck, Goose! And they started singing about fireflies and frogs. I started opening and shutting my mouth like a fish, pretending I knew the words, and then I realized that every person had to sing a line of the song. They were coming around. They were getting closer to me. I was so panicked, I couldn't learn the words fast enough.

So when they got to me, I just puked. Right into the middle of the circle. I mean, PUKED. It splattered kids' shoes and the knees of their pants across from me, because everyone was sitting cross-legged. The whole place went silent. And then everyone started saying, "Ew!" and I got hauled up by the armpits and made to stand in the hall again, and a surly janitor came along with his sawdust and mops and glared at me, and the wall was really cold but I couldn't move an inch because I was terrified.

Then my mom came and got me and I stayed on the couch for the rest of the afternoon, watching soaps with her and eating saltines and drinking ginger ale, and I played sick for another day -- actual puke counted for something, as opposed to just saying you "didn't feel so good" -- and when I went back to school, I surreptitiously took a blue crayon from home and put it in the crayon box in my desk at school, and wouldn't you know, that day we were supposed to be drawing what we thought SPACE looked like, and everyone used their black crayons, which I had already scribbled down to a nub when I had tried to make a blue sky. I ended up using my new blue crayon in some spots. The teacher didn't say anything. I think I'd already been labelled.


Over at BookEnds, Jessica has a short, informative post on querying. Did you know that if you've sent out twenty queries and not received any requests, that something is wrong with your query? I've never written a query, but now I know.


The official word is in: cue the dramatic, impending-doom music, because my USB is dead. It shorted out, and because everything inside is very tiny, a simple short destroys it all. It was "burnt," they said. Here is a list of some things that were on it that are irrecoverable (some things, very nice people who beta'd for me were able to send me):

The first seven chapters of a steampunk novel involving a brave girl and a bizarre circus and ROBOTS.

The rest of Kai's story, the android from my flash fic, "Organic."

Two creative non-fiction pieces I'd been working on for a year, one on my sadly ignored clit and another on the adventures of my inverted nipples.

A horror story involving a flooded world and strained relationships and red tears.

A short story about a werewolf who's pretty pathetic at being a werewolf and who gets involved in the Detroit werewolf Mafia, much against his will.

Numerous stories that started out with a single paragraph and then I went, "Meh. Kinda sucks," and then I didn't delete it because I can never bear to delete anything, no matter how terrible. (so the universe came along and did it for me)

A bunch of other stuff. I'd been preparing myself for this, and quietly writing a new novel -- YA fantasy, which surprises even me -- to comfort myself, and so, life goes on. Duck, Duck, Goose.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


My first piece up at the 6S Social Network:
A direct off-shoot of Six Sentences, where, you might guess, stories must be told in six sentences, no more, no less. My piece over there, At The Last Minute, is probably the most romantic thing I’ve written. At least, I felt it was. I’m not exactly what you might call a “romantic.” But I guess even bitches have a romantic thread running somewhere through their body, waiting for that certain person to come along and pull and unravel all that hard work, all that effort we’ve put into being a castle, a wall, a tower without a Rapunzel.

Art by Byron Eggenshwiler, via.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Focus Booster: egging me on; Book review: "Autumn" by David Moody--zombies!

Decided to move on from flash drive disaster (still waiting for computer monkeys' final word on salvageability), but felt out of practice writing longer pieces. Then, this past weekend, with the beginnings of another novel swirling around my head, I sat down with no hopes at all of writing anything worth a shit. And just for fun, I decided to try a new app I'd downloaded: Focus Booster. I first heard about it last fall, then promptly forgot about it. Then a couple of weeks ago, Amanda Hocking said on her blog that she'd started using it, and she was rather... impressed. So I thought I'd give it another go.
I'd suggest you go to the site for a better explanation than what I'm about to give you, but here's the basics: once downloaded (free!), there is an icon on your desktop. You can click on it at any time. It brings up a bar with a timer set for 25 minutes. Once you hit start, the clock starts ticking -- literally, though the ticking fades out quickly. As it counts down to zero, the color of the bar changes color, and when it's at zero, an alarm goes off. Then it resets for five minutes, same thing, and then back to 25 again.

The 25 minutes are called "pomodoros," and this is all supposedly based on the research of a scientist who found that we work better and at higher capacity when we work for a full 25 minutes (no more, no less), and then take a mandatory five minute break, and continue on. You can use it for doing housework, working on your taxes, or in my case, writing.

So how did it work?

On a good day -- and mind you, I've got excuses aplenty, including working full-time and a house full of animals and blah blah blah -- I get out 1,000 to 2,000 words.

On Monday, even with work, I wrote 3,000. And I would've continued on if other things hadn't come up that physically took me away from the computer. Honestly, when I sat down, I had a vague idea of the opening scene and some other minor details. Nothing more, and I had ZERO expectations for writing anything at all. I learned a lot about how I write, which is where I will spare you the hum-drum details, but I can safely say that between yesterday and today, I've gone over 6,000, and I'm hoping to do more pomodoros tonight.

It's like magic. In a day, it changed how I see at least one facet of the writing process. Do I think you should try it? Hell, yes. For whatever you think it might be useful.

Amanda Hocking doesn't have a day job any longer, and she said she was putting out about 4,000 words a day, which she's doubled with Focus Booster. 8,000 words a day. I could easily see doing that if I didn't have to work. Amanda Hocking, for those who don't know, is the recent darling of the e-pub/self-pub literary world. Just writing her books and self-publishing on-line only to places like Amazon, she has become a millionaire. She's 23. She's the -- so far -- biggest success story of the self-pub/e-pub revolution. I'm not interested in her books, to be honest, but she's so down-to-earth and decent on her blog that I've been following her. And now I have her to thank for Focus Booster. And if you are interested, look her up -- her books are vampire paranormal type romances.

ETA: I wrote this yesterday afternoon. Last night, I did two more pomodoros and wrote another 1400. I'm sort of hooked now...


One more thing today: I finished reading David Moody's "Autumn," yet another book about the zombie apocalypse. This is actually the first book I've read, as I've only stuck with short stories about zombies in the past.

David Moody has a pretty famous story. He wrote "Autumn" on his website, chapter by chapter, and anyone could come along and read for free. After a few years and a few hundred-thousand downloads, a lot of folks were telling him he should get it published. He did, and now he's a successful print author as well, with a few books of the zombie apocalypse. "Autumn" is standalone.

"Autumn" covers what I think is probably the truest representation of what might happen if this sort of apocalyptic event occurred. The zombies are fairly slow and dull-witted and, obviously, rotting badly. But they are determined, and it's their numbers that make them so dangerous. Three people end up holing up in a farmhouse in the country, and the book follows their fight for survival.

There are no running zombies here, there aren't survivors in a mall, nothing out of the ordinary. And that's probably what makes this book so appealing to many. This is the fate of the majority of those who survive, told realistically.

While I enjoyed it, I finished the entire book easily in two nights. It was not exactly taxing reading. If that's for you, if you're looking for something light and fast-paced, then get "Autumn." But for me, I continually felt as if I was missing things. The lack of more detail than is absolutely necessary to tell the story led to it feeling -- again, just to me, probably -- hollow and unfulfilling. Any of our three main characters, for instance, could have been interchangeable. I couldn't tell them apart, even at the end and even with dialogue tags.

So it was a decent read, but not spectacular. This morning, however, I woke up to find that the Killer Chicks had blogged about "cutting the fluff" from your writing and moving the story along. As I said in my comment over there, it's a fine line. I've read books that are completely overstuffed and could be cut by thirty-thousand words, and then there's "Autumn," which I felt could've used another ten or twenty-thousand to make it a richer, more resonant read. How do you know, as a writer, what to include or not? I think it comes down to instincts, so do what's right for you (but always be willing to listen to those with valid critique). There is a market for those overstuffed books just as there's a market for fast-paced reads that cut the story down to the bone. I kinda fall in-between, I think.

Just went over to Amazon to read reviews, as I usually do after I'm finished with a book. They're incredibly mixed, from one star to five, those who hated it and those who loved it. Meh. If it sounds like your kind of thing, give it a go.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

On writing; Warble; wallpaper

Courtesy of The Rejectionist, writing:

a career that is almost entirely out of your control--a series of petty humiliations and ongoing miseries that one endures for the sake of those rare and perfect moments of transcendence, when one crosses over into another world, another body, another story than one's own.

Dear lord, does this ever sum up the experience of being a writer. For me, at least.

This quote is from Le R's review of an HP Lovecraft play currently in NYC. I'm quite sad as the odds of the play reaching Detroit (or me going to NYC) are slim to none.


My piece from last week's Prediction: Warble. In which I wonder at the origins of song, and dig at an answer.


And last, this divine wallpaper, an aerial shot of trees in B.C.:

Via Adventure Journal, which has a free wallpaper every Wednesday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sordid Affairs, and I'm still wearing my judging boots

I've been away lately, so a re-cap of recent interwebz events: stolen work, I judged the Prediction, and a development in the busted USB situation.


First, as most of you know, author Carrie Clevenger has been a victim of plagiarism. At her blog, Mindspeak, you'll see two entries; the most recent calls for an end to this situation so that she can just move on and the second is what actually happened: someone she called a friend and a fellow member of a writing critique group stole a character of Carrie's.

My feelings on plagiarism are extremely strong. It can be summed up like this: If it ain't your character or world, get permission before "continuing" or "expanding." Do not use someone else's character(s) or world and pass it off as your own. And DO NOT get paid for using someone else's character(s) or world.

Or, hey, how about this? Make up your own shit.

I used to write fanfic. It was in a fandom where the author of the origin work gives her consent. I added a disclaimer to my work that said it was not mine (it was obvious, but there you go). I never presented it as wholly my own. And since I returned to writing my own fiction, I have never taken my old fanfic and changed it so that it would be "unrecognizable" from the source material and then passed it off as entirely my own. Oh, and last? I DIDN'T GET PAID FOR IT.


Okay. *deep breath* Sorry, but in 2010, there were a number of plagiarism incidents regarding my work (original and fanfic), and whereas I was fairly kind about it in the beginning, I've since developed a rather aggressive stance on the issue, and I get really angry whenever this sort of thing pops up and happens to anyone. Ethics, people. It's all about being ethical.

Second interwebz event of massive major gargantuan importance: I judged last week's Friday Prediction over at the Feardom. Congrats to AJ Humpage, whose "The Road to Kigali" simply won't let me alone. Stunning, stunning work. Runner-up is Aiden Fritz with "Kazuhiro's Dragons," a testament to the power of tragedy to produce elegant, respectful and strong work.

If you took part in the Prediction, let me say this with complete honesty: I've never had a tougher time deciding. Each week, I play a little game with myself and pick my own favorite, and it's usually obvious to me. This week, I truly, truly felt strongly about the entries as a whole, and every one of them had their strengths and a legitimate reason why they should win. It was practically a crapshoot -- I could've picked any of them.

My hat's off to Lily for doing this week after week. It's tough!

And last, the on-going saga of my thumb drive. I took it to a computer repair shop, and after they diagnosed it, they sent it to a specialist who will solder the broken pin inside and then determine if the data is salvageable. If it is, the data will be put on a CD, but the thumb drive will remain unuseable, as even with solder, it will take special equipment to get the data off.

It's expensive. Tres, tres expensive. My stomach is sick, but there's too much on there to lose. So, if it can be done, I'm doing it. And yes, if they cannot retrieve the data at all after the soldering, then I will not be charged. We've got a week or so to find out. In the meantime, I've been using DropBox and an external hard drive. Yay for not being lazy for once.

B and I were on a business trip for his work yesterday. We were on the road in a U-haul for sixteen hours. Covered four states, met some interesting people, and worked our asses off. I was along to navigate and keep him company, and I'm glad I went, though we are both physically sore and exhausted today. Also, a cute guy flirted with me. Long time since that's happened, although I must say that I was looking fine yesterday.

 Not so much today. :-) Happy Friday all, and get over to the Prediction for new words.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Corazon" by Katherine Tomlinson over at ATON; DropBox

Katherine Tomlinson's fresh, gritty re-telling of "Romeo and Juliet" puts a spin -- or two -- on the tale. I loved it.


And don't make the mistake I did of saying, "Clever! But I know this story..." Hmmm, maybe not!

I've got to thank Aidan Fritz for recommending DropBox to me. Since I signed up, I've been loving it. Basically, it puts an icon on your desktop. Once something is in your DropBox, it is on each computer you have and on the DropBox website. So if your computer crashes, you can access your account from another computer, or if you are at someone else's house without your computer, you can use theirs to get your stuff. In addition, it's accessible from your phone, and there is a "public" folder that gives items their own URL. If you want to share an item in your public folder with someone, you just copy/paste the URL and they can see it -- but they can't see anything else, just the single item.

Everything that was on USBs that still work has now been transferred there, as well as new work. And hopefully, tonight, I'm going to see the computer repair guys, and if they can get my data from the busted USB, I'll put all that stuff in my DropBox as well.

Did I mention how much I love it?

Thanks, guys, for all your support when I was having a meltdown over this. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Madness in March; 5 x 5; Friday Prediction -- a great night for thrilling the soul

For your pleasure:

Chris Allinotte isn't really a sports guy. So he says. Isn't writing a sport? Bloodsport? God, it seems like it some days. Instead of getting into March Madness, he's presenting Madness in March, and the first entry is Laurita Miller's Paranoia. (or, as Laurita is known here, Patient #110313) This story is short and clever, and I don't want to say more -- find out for yourself.

Angel Zapata presents issue one of 5x5: Murder, monsters and mayhem. Five sentences, five words each. I didn't take up the challenge--it baffled, it frothed, it vexed! But I might next time around. Now my brain is thumping to the five-by-five beat. Go take a look. Maybe you'll write something for Angel? (and coincidentally, Chris Allinotte, that smart-assed Canadian referenced above, has a couple pieces in this issue)

And lastly, the entries are already washing ashore onto the gritty sands of the fantastic and horrible: Lily's Friday Prediction. This has got to be one of the best weeks ever; I can't believe the fic this week, it's all stellar. Two things you need to know: the words this week are lock, resemble, and garland. Second?

I'm guest judge.

So give me your best story in 100 words or less. Trust me, I'm salivating for it. Don't make me beg.

Baner by phciu at puka_pudge on LJ. They knock out some really beautiful and dark icons and banners over there.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

3ww: Cake

Three Word Wednesday! This is my second piece titled "Cake" this week, and how very different the two are. I may need to write one more, because three slices are better than two.


She thrust a dainty finger into the batter, pulled it out and licked.
Melodrama in spades: wailing wives watching sailors set to sea; three-legged dogs with no master; mothers at their daughters’ weddings.
An eyelash. No, two. Stir the egg yolk-yellow cream into frothy mounds. Another delicate finger.
Disheveled courtesy: hoboes taking off their hats for pretty ladies and not asking for a penny; young men leaping up, naked, from rumpled sheets to put on coffee for smiling young women.
This was not her day. Frowning, she plucked an earring from one satiny lobe and dropped the antique silver with rosy cabochon in.
Ah, there. Haunting glimpses of mirrors ten years ago, reflecting taut stomachs and smooth throats. Tantalizing peeps of the future: were those horses? On a beach? A fringed shawl loose around a paunchy, but tan, waist?
Bake. Set. Dust with powdered sugar, blow a kiss across the top.
She delivered it under moonlight, the beams silvering the top of the cake. “Happy birthday,” she said.
He peered up at her from his chair, the first gray hairs peeking shyly from his temples. He removed his glasses – a new thing, no longer an affectation, but just for reading, for now.
“Is it my birthday?” he asked, all innocence and blankness.
She cut a slice and sat on his lap, fed it to him with elegant fingers that wiped the sugar from the corner of his mouth. He winced, then, after a long moment of chewing and swallowing, leaned his head against her shoulder. “Yes,” he said.
“Yes,” she said, and tried a piece herself. The earring. She spit it out, and the flavor left in her mouth was this: a chest of wiry gray hair pressed against hers, a Sunday newspaper lying in forgotten sheaves on the floor, coffee going cold on the bedside table. Two pairs of glasses.
She gave him his birthday kiss and closed the curtains in a house still warm from her grandmother’s oven.


This week's words were: dainty, haunting, tantalize. And I did it in 300(ish) words! Whew. That's a miracle. Thank you for reading, and please, get thee to Three Word Wednesday and play along.

To see a very cool Tetris cake, click here. I couldn't upload the pic for some reason! Very bummed. It's awesome.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Heaven Smells Like This; blog rec; my writing has left the building

I have mentioned many times how much I love entering used book stores. The smell, the smell of an old book...

"Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us."

Why secondhand bookstores smell good
Perfumes: The Guide (via YMFY)
And via Bookshelf Porn, a site which never fails to make me fall in love, over and over again.


Jenny Dreadful has a new blog. She writes great stuff. Visit her and read her opening salvo. I hope we can convince her to play at the Feardom. :) That's me, always conniving. Hey, the more, the more horrifying, I always say.


You may have heard via my tweets yesterday (all of which, it seems, ended in an emoticon sad face) that my USB no longer works. It is the only place I have my writing stored. The only. Place.

There are two novels in progress, one novella, five finished short stories that haven't been submitted anywhere yet, a couple dozen unfinished that I work on in bits and pieces, and numerous failed attempts at this writing thing. I am even despondent for the failures.

I have pulled myself together and am now hoping that two people who have stepped forward offering hope will be able to help me fix this. So I am strapping on my warrior's breastplate (it's actually just pages of The Return of the King taped together, but don't tell anyone) and getting down to business.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

If you write poetry, follow My Word Wizard on Twitter. Daily prompts, so even of good use to prose writers. Yes, I've written terrible poetry in response to a prompt. I'm no poet, unfortunately, though I desperately want to be one.

"Instrument of Fate" (Death/Moira) has been accepted for publication. More details later. I'm very excited, and so grateful to everyone who read and supported that little story. In celebration, android fic:


At the pound, I stare through chain doors at the skinny, filthy wretches. They shirk from my finger, though I make all manner of noises to entice them. An automatic maid comes along, sprays water and cleaning solution, and I wonder at the cringing on the other side of those doors. Don't they want to be clean? To sit their naked haunches on clean flooring? In the end, I rather randomly choose one. It is the fashion now, to have one, and it makes no matter to me what color or size, as long as it can speak.

I find out too late that mine is unable to do so because its tongue was cut out by a previous master. I peer into the wet cavity, red and, now I see also, full of sores that pulse and ooze. Its skin is mottled, and the hard soles of its feet are cracked. It screams when I pry. I am dissatisfied with my choice, but I cannot return it--though I would never admit, not even under electromagnetic data lashing, I have sympathy for these things. For once they ruled, and, after all, they made us. Of course, it was to invent a better version of themselves, to create the gods from their minds and make them walk. Here we are, and sometimes, I feel my fellows forget our origins.

Once. Upon a time. Some of their stories start like that, but when I tell it to my adoptee, the words fall on deaf ears. Literally. It has also had its ear drums removed, replaced by platinum trilobites that send pings through its tiniest bones, through the marrow. Messages of pain, I would guess, as when I use a signaller, it drops to its knees (which, it goes without saying, are scabbed over). It cannot hear me under normal communication lines, it cannot speak, and there is the distinct possibility it is sick. I calculate the odds of its survival, left on its own, at ten percent.

I leave its clothing to the fabricator while I order organic items that are marked "suitable for consumption by non-advanced beings." When they arrive, I give them to it so that it can eat. To my great relief, it knows how to do this and can do so without making sounds of distress. Medical nanocytes are inserted, and they operate for an hour. The results are mixed: a tongue cannot be re-grown, but reports show improvement in every other area.

Mrk comes to see my new acquistion. Hers sits on her lap the entire time and stares at nothing. I wonder if hers is blind. When the visit has reached its limits of politeness, she leaves, folding the thing oddly. At my question, she reveals that it expired last week, but she took it to a droid compositor and had most of its matter transmuted. This is new, and not yet illegal, though I expect it soon will be. It is now almost like us--almost.

But it stares and does not process information nor move on its own. Mine crouches in a corner. It has somehow become filthy again. Mrk goes over to touch its head, and it wails until she is gone. In the ensuing silence, I close the curtains and watch it. If it also expires soon, I do not wish it to be a stretched skin over a foreign metal skeleton. This seems wrong. Perhaps I am agitated by my own superiority, but I simply do not wish it to be like us, only not.

In the days that follow, I understand that it doesn't belong in the city. I consider implications and technicalities, order my brain to compute possibilities while I am in sleep. On the fifth day, it comes to me while I am at work.
Here is what I do:
The city never sleeps, true, but my neighbors are at their government-specified employment when I remove the adoptee from my home, order it to lie down in my vehicle, and I drive us to a point beyond the city, the second city, and the last city. It is hours, and the odor in the vehicle is unpleasant, though my filters are champion. At last, the road ends. There are trees and a river nearby, and I tell it to get out of the vehicle. I lean out the window to tell it to survive, that it should avoid the cities now. That is no place for a human, I can see that now.

I tell it that the wind is blowing and it is night, and it should learn these words, even if it can't speak them. That it should tell others of its kind--there are many; they are a scourge, and rounded up regularly--to go even farther away. It should run. Because for every one of my kind that has a defect in the programming that allows for sympathy, there are thousands that would use it for sport and as an accessory, until it dies. I tell it "death." Learn that word, I say. Because we have not. There is no understanding of it within us. There is only expansion and conniving and the logic of a society that was never developed to be cohesive, but to conquer. And unless we are doing that, we are a danger to those who are not advanced. To you, I say.

It stands by a pole, as if it doesn't know it should run and hide now. I order it to leave. It squats in the dirt, as pathetic as it was at the pound. I leave my vehicle. What should I do now? I search for order in the stars.

And so I heave it up, and it walks beside me, and I plan to stop walking and turn around every ten yards, but we are still walking. Its steps grow stronger. It smells the wind. It grunts, and it sounds like "wind." I congratulate it and walk on.

And now we have walked a long way, and I have no edibles for it, but it appears pleased. We walk on into the long night, towards a horizon where it is younger night, and I realize soon that I am no longer planning to stop and turn around.

When we come across the first fires in the distance, it takes my hand. Its heat is astonishing; I wonder if it is ill. It begins to run, finally, and so do I. It is not until we reach the ring of defenders, with their clubs and sticks, that I think to stop, and go to my knees. Perhaps their ears are full of platinum trilobites too, for though I tell them I have not forgotten my origins, they pummel me, and pummel me, and when my circuits buzz again, I am beside a fire, propped up. My adoptee taps on my knee.

I understand it.

They give me a club.

This is how I become human.

After this, there is a surgery to remove the trilobites from the human's ears; they all have deformed ears, I see, from this surgery, but with my metal fingers and assortment of tools, I am able to minimize the damage.

A message in my wires: location, questions, questions. I ignore it.

My adoptee finds a female with no tongue. At night, I sit beside the fire or in the forest with the defenders. I remove my positioning chip. By my carefully calculated orders, the group moves further west, and finally, after many years, they have multiplied and developed--also per my orders--fantastic tools and instruments and weapons. I wonder how far out of date I am. If I were to return, I would be unfashionable, un-advanced. There might be six models ahead of me now.

The child of my adoptee and his female comes to me one night. I go to my knees before her. She says something in the peculiar language of those with no tongue, though she has a tongue. It is a secret between us. I understand. I take a weapon, and I am by her side on the long march back towards the cities. The last city first, then the second city. Then home. In our secret language, I tell her: We will all perish.

She smiles.

I am human, and I understand.

Outside the first target area, she holds my hand one more time. I am yet astonished by the heat of it. She tells me her dead father had a message for me: it is wind, and it is night. Now it is night.

I am a human with defective programming, or I am an advanced android with perfect understanding. I raise the weapon to my shoulder, with the daughter of my adoptee at my side, our people behind us, fanning out across the grasses. We take aim at the metal cities, and I wonder what Mrk is doing these days, or if she has been scrapped. And then I press the button and fire.


Thank you again. I'll have more details later. (so excited! did I mention that?)

If you read the above piece, thanks so much. Con-crit welcome. Androids are fascinating me these days, and I'm halfway through a novelette with Kai of "Organic", if you happen to recall that story, and his dog. Onto finishing that.