I Killed Cthulhu’s Cousin in the Library with a Nerf N-Strike Barricade

I’m writing this dream down in the hopes that I will have more dreams like it, and fewer of the parental issues ones (I have lots of them). I actually had it a couple days ago, but I’ve been keeping as much of it in long-term memory as possible.

There were the warnings. First, a chill running down your spine; then, flashes of fluorescence and swiveling colors on the flanks of fish in the local pet store where Crimney was observing poisonous tree frogs.

We didn’t know what the warnings meant at first until the waters of the nearby lake churned and one of Cthulhu’s cousins emerged, rivers streaming down its tentacles, and its scaly skin a terrible grey-green that made you think of the squirming things you found beneath moist rocks. The stink was that of a fish-market gone to rot, maybe hundreds of them all at once.

The library was the only place it made sense to flee to. And so we did, with a tank of fish in tow, their colors rippling less the farther we got from Cthulhu’s cousin.

I had been trained by a wise old woman in the arts of Nerf gun handling, and had two large rifles made of real metal, along with a couple of Mavericks cast from steel. Nerf material is deadly to aquatic species; Nerf darts turn into orange arrowheads, video-game like, when they strike.

She was at the library, and had little advice for me, except to remember that, since they were only semi-automatic, to use the rifle as a blunt instrument when necessary.

The library basement housed Fantasy Flight Games components, so that we could learn, from black-and-white prototype cards for Call of Cthulhu, what was coming down the street. I picked up one, and I remember it turned into a full-color glossy of fish changing their colors.

Upstairs, Cthulhu’s cousin had opened the door to the second story, enormous four-pointed pupil backed against yellow right up against the door.

I fired the first shots and emptied out the rifle. Their sharp tips dug into squalid flesh.

The monster recoiled in pain, but only briefly, before it lashed out towards the door again.

So I beat it with the rifle several times, then fell back behind a low bookcase. I forget what Crimney was doing. Probably something to do with rituals, or playing a card game that had come to life, but I was focused on doing some damage. It’s hard to concentrate on anything else when a monster is thrashing outside your window.

I kept firing, and reloaded only with difficulty, thanking the stars that I had multiple loaded weapons, and two of which could deal melee damage.

Eventually, whether through the gathering of elder signs or the barrage of Nerf darts, the monster cried out, thrashed one last time, and disappeared in blinding white light.

Relieved, we hugged one another, and headed out to enjoy the day.

Unfortunately, another one emerged from the lake. But we knew how to deal with it.

And so we did.

I put this dream down to too much Elder Sign: Omens.

It’s sunny and nice out, and I think I’ll go have lunch, then come back to sleep, and repeat for dinner. Unfortunately my Maverick (not made of steel) is at the office, being hopefully moved to my new quarters.

The Saddest Superhero is a Turnip

Okay, this story will never be published anywhere.

This spun up out of a prompt for Cat Rambo’s flash fiction workshop (one of many); she said something about needing to paste the prompt into the chat window because otherwise people might mishear something as “turnip” for some reason….

And I was doomed, because my mind is super-associative at times.

Um, what has this piece given to me… well, the amusement of my fellow classmates, which I always count as a plus. As well as a feeling for what it feels like to play with first-person omniscient, and a little humor.

Anyways, if this doesn’t convince you I’m insane when it comes to timed writings, I don’t know what will.

Barkley is the saddest superhero. Because he is not a man, not a spider, not even a dog. He is, instead, an intelligent turnip.

Why is he a superhero, you say? Don’t turnips just kind of sit there and grow, and sometimes end up as food on the plate that you shove aside in favor of the doublebonein pork chop?

That’s just the thing. Barkley is a special turnip, just as Superdog was a special dog. One day the radiation of a miniature gamma ray in space (which human scientists have not discovered, because they think too big when it comes to space) turned him sentient.

And what Barkley realized (apart from that he had no name, and he suddenly wanted one; but I’m calling him Barkley, because you cannot understand turnip names) was that his entire crop was a sitting target.

He realized this when a deer invaded the farmer’s field and started munching down on one of his siblings, fellow turnip—the one right next to him in fact! One sown from the same seed bag, which is a special kind of connection, like how we humans connect to people who share our birthdays.

But what could he do about it? Why, those teeth were coming for him, too! Munching and gnawing, messily dropping bits—horrible horrible bits—of turnip all around him.

What could Barkley do?

Barkley, having been irradiated with super powers from space, exploded from the ground and bonked that deer one on the nose, so powerful that he killed the deer, toppling it over.

The farmer discovered this montage the next day, and threw Barkley on the rubbish compost heap.

That is why Barkley is so sad.

Fiction: I’d Rather Be in Love

Originally lost, now found again.

The goddess of love has no heart. I was her sister; I should know.

Once I had her body hung from a hook next to my throne, after stripping every last sham of meaning from her shallow life of fine clothes and not a care in the world apart from a dance and a night with a pretty boy. They came begging me to release her, for once paying attention to the sister who truly mattered, the one of death and owls and night.

I let her go, the little wench. So many years ago, now celebrated in story as the arrival of spring.

One day, the paths of the dead lay silent.

I walked past the seven gates of Irkalla, where the guardians stood still, waiting upon no soul.

Finally, I stood at the threshold of the first gate, looking out into the domain of the living. I watched for the movement of reeds and water, listened for the sound of birds, smelled for the scent of growth and life; none were forthcoming. The air was grey, and above me I could not sense my brother Sun, nor my father Moon.

For the first time in my existence, I was afraid. It does not come easy to a force of darkness, and blind fear robbed my mind of all sense. I stepped onto the land of the living, a forbidden act for the queen of death—

—and survived.

I had always cursed my twin for her freedom in crossing between the lands of the dead and the living, as if it were no more than crossing a brook, as if on touching foot to the opposing side her existence would not be obliterated. She should have known better than to trespass after watching my condemnation to the shadows.

Had my sentence been lifted? I took another step, and brown dust drifted across my feet.

No. I was free because Irkalla had no further purpose as the endpoint of the living.

Yet where were the gods? Where was my mother, the great lady? Where was my brother, the Thunder? I called out to each and every one of them, repeatedly, and received no answer.

There was nothing left of them.

In the emptiness of the world, for the first time, I wanted to hear the bells on her feet, her coy voice teasing me that I would never be loved.

Echo Bazaar: Journal for June 26, 1889

It is late that I begin my expanded journal. It’s time I poured my heart into some outside container, that I may retain levity within my own breast to accomplish my Heart’s Desire. Dire times, these are, I am sorry to say.

As my ship rocks back and forth, perhaps lost forever in the Unterzee, I have secluded myself for the time being in the captain’s cabin. Cramped it may be, but somehow I cannot quite stand the sight of the gang of ruffians I affectionately call my crew. Their eyes haunt me, and I wonder if I have led us all astray into lingering death with the meager stores this tramp of a steamer holds. I swear that next time, when I’m again in Fallen London proper, I shall invest (though long it may take) in a pleasure yacht for the comfort of my crew. They have earned some comfort, though it’s through my unearthly charisma that I’ve been able to hold things together.

My constant companion, a celebrated artist’s model whom I love dearly, has been keeping an eye out for any possible mutineers. My quite magnanimous nature, she says in our quiet moments in the cabin, may one day be the death of me. This is depressing to contemplate, though I’ve been known to be ruthless in seeking persuasive means to solving problems. She forgives my indiscretion in the past, particularly at the Dowager Empress’s Court… or, at least, I am given to believe this is so.

How I miss the comforts of my premises at the Bazaar (I shall never be too dry nor too warm again)! How I dream about setting my feet before the fire at the Parthenaeum, listening in on whispered secrets (a Gentleperson of Some Importance such as myself gathers quite a wealth of information on these little opportunities)! Never again shall I take these comforts for granted. Why, when I return, I may immerse myself in obtaining a library. A gentleperson as myself does have standards to keep.

I will note now, for future reference when I may look back upon these times and laugh ironically, the safest way to sail the Unterzee thus far: take opportunities when the sea is calm to move forwards. Learn which situations will lead towards land without being troubled by… the uncertainties of sailing forth across these dark waters. And never, at least until you are well within reach of land, pretend to know how to prowl these depths. Indeed, I wonder if in the future it may be possible that I gain knowledge with enough sailings such that I may forge my own way reliably, without waiting for guidance from Her Majesty’s fleet or for waters so calm that I can see the reflection of the cavey crags reflected below.

She is returning; I hear her footsteps, watchful as I am. You know, I once set out to become a detective, but discovered that I much prefer the social life. Considering my predilection, I wonder if I’ve made the right choice… but there is comfort to be had quite soon now.

Fiction: 15-and-4

From groom dance to moon dance, © Memotions, Creative Commons Attribution License

I once thought S1526 the most beautiful designation bestowed upon any one of the student body. She was of the oldest class in existence, that rank so battle-wearied that only a few members yet remained alive.

I remember her now, standing in the moonlit courtyard, the long, blackened fingers of one hand jerking and creeping delicately, like the legs of a frightened spider, across her naked shoulder. It was newly manufactured, a sybrium-hybrid metal replacement for the one she had lost just before returning from Austria. By itself, it was a hideous chunk of armor and cybernetic wiring; on her, the new shoulder was evidence of the tearing passions of the God-at-war, a perfect ruin pursing against smooth flesh.

Behind the corner of a building, I steadied myself. This was a difficult time for her, readjusting to the silence of the Northern Keepaway after a year spent on the front of the 8th Continental War.

She was already turning her head in my direction.

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