Psamurai #12

Demiurge Overkill Pt. 1

“Sophie,” Now Ray said. “When you try to use your power on Yalda, is the problem that you aren’t able to get in?”

“His mind is surprisingly easy to get in,” she replied. “It’s just that there’s nothing there. No fear, no guilt, no remorse, no joy, there isn’t even boredom. Just a constant parade of thoughts.”

“You can see what he’s thinking?”

“No, I’m not a psychic. I go by feel. Conscious thoughts just feel a certain way. Like paperwork. I feel out emotions, then I swim down to their roots in the subconscious. And his subconscious is empty.”

“Empty?”

“There’s nothing there. There’s always something, like a psychic mass that is planted by early trauma or suffering that was never properly taken care of and grows, like a tumor into a beast. These beasts can unconsciously affect your behavior and everybody has a handful. Sometimes they manifest as a replica of a person who might have caused or is strongly connected to a traumatic event or suffering. But for Yalda, there’s nothing and no one…” Sophie paused and stared askance.

“What is it, Sophie?” Now Ray asked.

“Something Simon Vyx said to me before he died.”

“I wouldn’t take advice from Yalda’s prime stooge.”

“Well, he said Yalda is afraid of nothing and no one.”

“That sounds like some stupid shit he says to sound intimidating,” Wolf said, sipping a beer and reading a magazine.

“But, that’s exactly what I found in his subconscious. Nothing, and no one.”

“Sounds like Vyx was right about that,” Cheryl said.

“We’ll have to take another tack,” Now Ray said.

“Wait a second,” Sophie said. “I couldn’t find anything because I wasn’t looking for nothing or no one.”

“You want to try and manifest nothing and no one?”

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Crescent City Creeps 12: Demiurge Overkill – Prologue

Demiurge Overkill

Prologue

 

Sylvia stared into a glowing pool in her garden, watching the images of future and past scurry through her vision. She gazed in a trance as the water spoke to her about things to come. She shuddered and scrambled to her feet, racing about the house throwing drawers and cabinets wide until she found a blue cookie tin. Inside were all manner of seamstress’s implements. She pulled the sheet off her bed and began cutting it into pieces. When she was satisfied with her collection of linen scraps she set about sewing them together into the likeness of a man. A man bearing a crude resemblance to Delareux. She set the cloth figure onto an altar and sat before it. She placed a metal wastebasket on the floor and shredded some newspaper into it and then lit it on fire.

“My deepest apologies, detective,” she whispered. “This is selfish and unfair of me, but I need you to dream your dream, detective, dream. Seek out the High Priestess.”

She placed her finger on the head of the Delareux doll and tipped it into the fire.

Delareux awoke the next day and opened his eyes. He couldn’t decide whether the ceiling he was looking at was familiar or not. It wasn’t the ceiling he went to sleep under. His head was ringing and the light pierced his eyes, rendering him blind to detail. Of what he could ascertain, the ceiling was brown, maybe wooden. Next to his uncomfortable bed was a blue blob.

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Ray #12

XII. The Shape I’m In

Ray soared through the concrete corridors of the city with Cletus and Abby dangling from each arm. A contingent of the media clustered around the events at the museum broke off in pursuit of Ray, like slime mold oozing toward a corn flake. Selkie had transformed herself into a creature that resembled an octopus. She was swinging from building to building leading Ray on a chase through the rooftops. She stopped once finally clinging to the gleaming, glass surface of Vyx Tower. Ray swooped close and hovered.

“Ray,” Selkie cheered, “You can fly now? Not just kind of bob around?”

“How do you know me?” Ray asked.

“Role-playing, Ray? And you brought a cute friend for me? Where did this new adventurous streak come from? And please tell me the old guy is just here to hold the camera.”

Selkie ran up the side of the building and onto the rooftop. Ray flew up to find she had transformed into a female seraph. He set Abby and Cletus down and approached her.

“What are…” Ray was cut short by Selkie’s lips pressed against his, her tongue invading his mouth. He turned his head and stepped back.

“Are we switching?” Selkie asked. “You want me to be the aggressive one now?”

She grabbed his collar and pulled him back to her.

“I want you…” Ray started.

“That’s all I needed to hear.”

“…to tell me who you are and what you’re doing here.”

Selkie frowned.

“I’m authorized by Parthi Security to apprehend any being with malicious intent.”

“I like the idea of bondage, in theory. It never works for me in practice.”

Ray groaned and looked around, rubbing his forehead. He saw Cletus pretending he was somewhere else and Abby holding a ball of fire in her hand, with her brow furrowed.

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The Joneses #11

XI.

Here Comes That Sinking Feeling

“What’s taking so long back there?” Wolf hollered out of the flight cabin door.

“Sorry I can’t run out and pick up parts that haven’t been invented yet,” Holly replied, “If you looked up ‘jury rig’ in any textbook this would be the cautionary example. I’m also going to be repurposing all unessential power. That includes your stereo.”

“No fair.”

“I need it to able get a signal strong enough to overcome the gravitational influence of dust. Otherwise, we wait for them to bridge in, get on the roof, and wave flashlights.”

“Even if we do contact Ray,” Luna said, “How long is it going to take to convince him?”

“I assumed it would be 600 years easier,” Wolf replied, “I don’t know, we met his past self, shouldn’t he remember that? Holly, wouldn’t he remember that?”

“Beats me, dad.”

“You’re supposed to know shit. That’s why we feed you.”

“Time travel has never been done before.”

“If Ray time traveled from 600 years ago, doesn’t that mean time travel has been done before.”

“Dad,” Holly barked, “I’m trying to repair a long-range communications device that operates on the principle of quantum entanglement with parts I got from a 21st-century Radio Shack. Could you please, let me think?”

“I’m just saying you had 600 years to catch up on this, 900 really, if add our…”

“Mom, do something,” Holly called.

“Wolf, you’re bored. Find something to do,” Luna called back from the lounge.

Wolf stared out the window into black, empty space. He began nodding his head in shallow downbeats. His hands joined in, drumming out irregular rhythms on the console. He hummed and the hum became a disjointed scat, which gave way to, “Are you almost done?”

“Constant requests for status updates won’t make this go any faster,” Holly put her tools down and mumbled, “It’s done.”

“You estimated you’d have it done in an hour. You got it done in 47 mins. The whole time I was requesting status updates. Cause. Effect.”

“I’ll cause your effect,” Holly said under her breath.

“What?”

“Nothing. I sent the message.”

The console bleeped and the computer hummed, “Incoming transmission from Parthus.”

“Connect,” Wolf said.

A holographic image of Ray’s head appeared above the console.

“Hey, Ray whaddya say?” Wolf said, “You wouldn’t happen to remember me, would you? Maybe 600 years ago?”

“Identify yourself,” Ray replied.

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Psamurai #11

The Past Sure Is Tense

Wolf stood behind the bar and filled two shot glasses with a luminescent golden liquid. Ray stood watching, arms folded and smirking. Ray recognized this appetizer as a Parthi liquor known as Ichor, fermented from the glowing blossoms of the Idrasil tree that only grew in his home prefecture. Unlike the depressant effects of liquor, Ichor had a lifting effect, like strong wine without the crash. It was usually enjoyed for its energizing effects before dancing, sport, copulating, or creating art; incidentally, all activities that the Seraphim of Parthus use a single word for. Ray shuddered to think what it would do to a human body, but here was a human before him who seemed content to demonstrate.

Wolf placed the bottle on the table and turned it so the label faced Ray. The label came from a legendary distillery that had been closed for centuries, but whose product was still in demand to those who could pay the rising costs for the ever-dwindling supply. The distillery was run by Ray’s late father who was mortally wounded in  battle against the Draconians. This Ichor died with him. Ray kept a sizable stash and would give bottles to close friends.

“Nice touch,” Ray said. “Where did you get that?”

“You,” Wolf replied.

“When?”

“300 years from now,” Wolf lifted his shot.

“You know what this will do to human physiology?”

“I’m not exactly human.”

“What else are you?”

“Seraphim.”

“Humans and Seraphim are sexually incompatible.”

“It’s not because my mama had a-hankerin’ for a taste of paradise. I was born human.”

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