Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Words written on the wind

Another quick writing piece to match a speed pic that Ioan sent me (incidentally, go check at out Ioan's most recent concept for the just-announced F2P MMO World of Mercenaries). I really love the lighting and scale of the pic and I hope I did it justice. Just as I was getting ready to write this story, I saw that Guy Hasson had set up a  "memorable entrance" contest, so consider this my submission.


Words written on the wind
Gelo R. Fleisher

Ahmiz let his eyes flutter shut as a ray of sunlight hit his face. He inhaled deeply and leaned back in the saddle, taut muscles relaxing as a sensation of warmth began to soak through his ruddy flesh.

Behind him, Jena's camel bleated and stamped its feet as it came to a halt. He ignored it, enjoying the feeling of the sun across his skin. The camel bleated again and there was a light tug on his robe. Cracking his eyes open in annoyance, he saw Jena at his side. A fine sheen of dust covered the young girl's features and bald head, putting into contrast her black lips and the scars running across her cheeks and throat. She signed with gloved hands. The sun is up. We have to go.

Ahmiz let out his breath and gazed out over the distant sun. "Soon child, soon. Let me enjoy the sunrise."

Sunlight was crowning over the distant tips of the mountain range, changing the red sandstone into the color of amber, fingers of light spilling out through the valley and stretching out towards them.

She rolled her eyes and pouted. There's too much sand here now, I don't like it anymore.

Ahmiz nodded but didn't move. "There's no hurry, we found what we were looking for." He patted the bulky saddle bag of his camel. "And Oska will still be waiting for you when we get back home."

Jena blushed and looked away, blinking her olive eyes rapidly.

The sunlight had reached the cliffs behind them now, the rocky tips turning bronze in the growing light. Jena was right; there was sand everywhere. He could hear it, falling down the sides of the cliffs, in thin waterfalls, a set of gentle, unending dribbles. The sun continued to move and soon handfuls of the grains were being lit by the sharp morning light, glittering like motes from a dying fire as they tumbled down off the cliffs before fading back to the color of ash as the shrinking shadows covered them again.

The sun continued to stretch and and Ahmiz could see sheets of sand whisking off the tips of the dunes in thin diaphanous sheets, slowly settling over the ruins of the valley. The force projector that had kept the desert at bay was safely in his saddlebag now, the warriors who had defended it lay where he had slain them in the valley below. Now the dust was coming, and there was nothing left but to leave.

Jena's hands moved. Where shall we go now? To the north?

Ahmiz sighed and jabbed his camel with his heels. "Yes girl, now to the north."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Speed Writing for Speed Painting

Hey all, I've slowed down the rate of posting recently as most of my attention is focused on finishing up a larger writing project (hopefully I'll be able to post about it here soon). So it was a pleasant surprise when Ioan dropped by to tell me that we was going to crank out a series of speed paintings this week (all done in under 90 minutes). Here's a set of speedy writings I put together to match them. I hope you all enjoy!


Marshall watched with grim satisfaction as the ULIK pulse drive rose slowly up out of the jagged ruins of the space station, the squat booster wending its way through the torn belly of the storage bay on tiny bursts of pressurized air. The two guidance cables that wound from the control unit to the ULIK floated as well, snaking around him in coils as they rose up into cold space.

With a soft kick, Marshall floated up to join the ULIK, squinting as the shimmering outline of the blue planet to come into view. Hasson and the others didn't know yet that he was still alive, but that was about to change. He pushed the ULIK gently, pointing the tip of the booster down towards the shimmering planet. Marshall didn't really care where on the surface the booster crash-landed, as long as it hit the atmosphere the rocket's fuel cell would go up in a multi-kiloton explosion. He could almost imagine the looks on their faces when the fireball lit up their little preserve. He had twenty more of these things in the storage bay, and aiming could wait for later.

Marshall entered in the ignition code and unhooked the ancient guidance cables. Dropping back down into the chamber below he paused for a second to look up and see a gout of white hot flames erupt out of the ULIK's backside as it hurtled away from the station and into a collission orbit with the planet below.

He smiled. Merry Christmas you bastards.  


Carla eased the safety off the hunter gun as she continued to move across the obsidian black skin of the processing station. Above her, past the jutting solar barriers, she could see the inflamed glow of the star, throwing waves of fire against the blackened hulk. Even sticking as close as she was to the barriers, Carla could almost feel the solar radiation slice through the suit and into her body.

Forget it sister, she told herself, after this is done you'll have more than enough money to pay for cancer treatment.

In front of her, past the tips of the grinder array, she could see the cool, glowing blue of the intersep arrays beaming threads of data into the folds of hyperspace. Jamming herself up tight against the solar barriers, Carla raised the gun up to her visor, sighting in the pale blue dots, and fired.  

Ahura brought the hoverbike to a stop on the waterfront next to the hovering husk of the Beetle. Taking his helmet off, Ahura took in a deep breath, enjoying the sensation as the salty air flowed into his lungs. The dark blue waters lapped around his boots, the edges of the waves lit in a foamy silver by the low-hanging binary star. To his right, the smooth curves of the Beetle hung wordlessly, lit by the same opalescent glow.

Closing his eyes, Ahura slipped out of his human avatar, each of its five senses fading away one by one as his ephemeral white form phased out and over to the waiting Beetle.

Ahura stretched as he felt himself merge into the Beetle, the servos and memory cores come to life as his essence poured into this new shell. Ahura turned his still wakening scanner banks over to his human avatar, standing immobile next to the hoverbike. He wished he'd be able to take it with him after this wall all over.

Ahura's essence continued to stretch and flex into the Beetle, reactors humming back to life as Ahura slowly pushed off from the waterfront, moving back up towards space. The humans had responded and now it was time to see what the rest of his people were going to do about it.


Meacham drummed his fingers idly on the flightboard as the small gauge on the fuel readout inched slowly upwards. Looking out past segmented planes of cockpit glass, he took in what looked like an absolutely beautiful summers day, with a pale blue sky peaking out from behind strands of rolling clouds.

The view was deceptive of course; the clouds were laced with a hydrochloric acid that was even now slowly eating away at the hull of his shuttle. Nobody stopped off on Krianos if they could avoid it, and nobody stayed longer than they had to. All the equipment hooked up to his ship was covered in a thick layer of rubberized plastic, even the refueling bot stomping about outside was wrapped in the stuff.

Nasty place, Meacham thought as he flicked his gaze back to the fuel gauge.

Frank rocked back on the balls of his feet, the tips of his bare toes sticking out over the black abyss of the elevator shaft. A noose of braided plastic lay wrapped around his neck, his hands tightly bound behind his back.

From behind him, Frank heard the clacking of high heels, and tasted the lavendar scent of Jasmine’s perfume wafting into his nostrils. “I’m sorry Frank, I really am.” Frank almost felt that the tinge of regret in her voice might be real, but he bit his tongue, saying nothing. He continued doing what he had done through the whole process of being trussed up for execution. Rolling his shoulders, listening to their quiet popping as he flexed against his bonds.

With a sigh Jasmine stepped back and a large hand grabbed his shoulder, shoving hard and toppling him into the shaft. The wind whipped past him as he hurtled downwards, the cord around his neck hissing as it unwound.

Not even bothering to think, Frank jerked his arms downwards, almost wrenching them out of their sockets as he pulled them up under his legs and up in front of his chest. He clawed at the unspooling cord, wrapping it around his forearms as it reached the end of its length. The rope snapped tight, cutting into his arms before unwinding and jerking him back upwards in a macabre bounce. He gurgled, feeling the noose tighten around his throat as he grabbed onto the rope with all his strength. He bounced once more before coming to a stop, swinging slowly in the inky blackness of elevator shaft.

Gulping in a ragged breath, he rolled his head up to see Jasmine’s silhouette peering down into the dark pit, it stayed for a second and turned away. Did she know he was still alive? Frank hung there, the rope wrapped around his hands and elbows, swaying slowly in the dead air of the shaft. The subtle creaks and groans of the rope were his only companion as he waited for his attempted killers to leave him for dead.

Tenzig settled into a cross-legged position and looked out over the monastery courtyard. The warmth of the summer day lay heavy in the air, but pale shadows cast by the pagoda held the heat at bay, gracing his skin with a soft gentleness. The small, round leaves of the carefully trimmed trees shimmered as the sunlight played against them, dancing furtively in the breeze.

He closed his eyes. For a moment the world was replaced with an afterimage of sensations. The whispering of the wind, the scraping of leaves dancing across the courtyard, the babbling of the river flowing, the chirping of a solitary bird. One by one these faded away, replaced by nothingness, the peace of Nirvana.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Anomis and Noai

Hey all,

I hope everyone had a good holiday season and new year! This flash fiction is another in my Ioan Dumitrescu series. Special treat is that I'm pretty sure that Ioan hasn't posted this one on his portfolio yet, so anyone reading this gets a sneak preview. After my last story, Ioan insisted that I not make my next one a "guy walking somewhere while thinking" piece, which admittedly does seems to crop up a lot in my writing. But then he goes and paints this...

I mean come on! Maybe next time Ioan :-).

Anomis and Noai
Gelo R. Fleisher

Noai could hear the chill wind whistling a lonely song high above him, but as he crunched along the cold ground, the air was stilled against his bundled face. Snow-encrusted purple cliffs rose up on either side of him, their walls the color of battered amethyst splattered with sky-blue paint. He was silently grateful for their protection; the only hint of the gales tearing through the clefts and ridges around him were a series of low eddies clinging to the ground and lazily waving thin strands of snow into the air. The temperature was still bitingly cold, turning the small patches of skin that stuck out between his goggles and unkempt beard into a cherry red.


She had told him he was crazy to come here, that she wasn’t going to wait for him if he left. He hadn’t cared.

Far above of the crest of the rocky ravine hung the spires of the Chirlin pagoda, same as they had every day that Noai spent trudging through the rocks and glaciers of this frigid world. Even farther above, the pale sky was starting to darken imperceptibly; the crisp clean sunlight that had guided him up past the base camp losing its edge. Noai willed himself forward, his leaden feet crunching loudly on the icy dirt.

He still remembered the first time he had seen her; the combination of her raven hair and white teeth had entranced him. She had told him later it was his eyes that had convinced her to give him a chance.

For a moment the smell of her hair filled Noai’s nostrils, the scent of her shampoo blocking out the icy chill of the mountains. She’d been his second lover, he had been her fifth. She hated breaking up and, under the stars of a warmer sun, she had sworn to him that they were going to stay together forever.

He looked up through the impassive walls of the ravine, trying to catch a glimpse of the sun. It was up there somewhere, past the tips of the cliffs, but it was lost behind whisps of pale snow, hissing off the mountains above in perpetual streams. The glare coming off the snow was still bright enough to make his eyes ache. He closed them and looked away.

The other five lovers had made Anomis paranoid, and the fights had begun almost immediately. She’d yell at him if he was late; was he running around behind her back? He’d yell at her whenever she would lie to keep him happy.

A flash of furious anger shot through him, banishing her scent from his mind, and he jammed the walking stick into the frozen ground. The lying still infuriated him, even here as he trudged alone through the ice. Every single one of those lies had been over trifles; he couldn’t remember a single one, but that didn’t matter. A lie was a lie, and he could not suffer a liar. Of all the things he needed in a relationship, trust was the most important, and he couldn’t stand that she kept it from him.

And so he’d yell at her to stop and she’d lash out when he’d hurt her enough. She didn’t care what she said when he got her in that state, as long as it stung. Frustrated tears welled in his eyes, pooling at the bottom of his goggles. Eventually it had stung too much, the needles to his pride.

The walls were narrowing, their purple heights coming together to wreathe the ravine in shadows and blocking out even the spires of the monastery. The sound of the wind echoed hoarsely through the narrow, gray space, crawling down through the walls and around him in gently hissing gusts.

He wanted to see her again, to hold her close one more time, to feel her body against his. But it was her who made the mistakes and he couldn’t forgive that. Some part of him knew it was like throwing away a diamond because it was flecked with dirt. In some manner, he knew it. But he couldn’t face her; it was still too raw.

For a moment he saw her standing there in front of him at the end of the ravine, her raven hair flowing in the icy breeze. He knew it was an illusion, but the thought quickened his heart, and his steps. The illusion lasted only for a second. The object at the end of the road came into clear view. It was just a pile of rocks, with wish papers and flags stuck into the crevices by earlier pilgrims lurching in the growing breeze. Above it lay the beginning of the thousand stone steps that led up to the monastery, their worn faces covered in uneven clumps of snow. The monks had said the truly repentant were to climb these on their knees.

He laid his walking stick gently across the pile of rocks. Noai’s body creaked as it knelt. He hoped that Anomis could understand why he had come here, and if not her then at least maybe God. He felt the cold, unyielding surface of the stone step through his pants and prayed that his hands and knees could give the penance that his lips still could not.