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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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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Psamurai #10

The Shape I’m in

“I need to go to Earth,” shapeshifter Wolf said.

“Now?” Holly sighed and put her tools down. “I guess I could use a break. Why do you need to go to Earth?”

“I figured we could all use a bite. The food out of the processor is awful.”

“Yeah, it’s a little buggy. I haven’t had a chance to adjust it.”

“So it’s settled then. To Earth for…ah sandwiches or something.”

“Sandwiches? We’re going to Earth to pick up sandwiches?”

“Or…uh…bovine flesh?”

“Wow, that psilocybin is hitting you pretty hard.”

“Psilocybin?”

“Psamurai’s tincture,” Holly shook her head and frowned.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. The samurai’s tincture.”

“It must be pretty powerful stuff to catch out Wolfram Jones like that.”

“Very. Powerful, yeah,” he bobbed his head.

Holly regarded Wolf for moment then began scribbling a note on paper.

“What are you doing?”

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Psamurai #9

Bootstraps

Sophie, Hunter and Ian were standing in the middle of the street, blocking traffic. But so was Dr. Merv Spector, a clinical psychologist, and several abandoned cars. Also, all the ghosts milling about screaming at everything.

“Put the spooky gun down, Dr. Specter,” Sophie said. “Nobody else needs to be turned into a ghost.”

“Call me,” Dr. Spector lurched around to face Sophie, “Doctor Spector.”

“Isn’t that what I said?”

“You spelled it wrong.”

“Is it still homicide if the victim turns directly into a ghost?” Hunter accidentally said aloud.

“Well, I mean, they’re still dead, right?” Sophie replied.

“I imagine it would be prosecuted like one,” Ian added.

“Would there be extra charges for causing a public haunting?” Hunter asked.

“I don’t think the justice system is prepared for this,” Sophie said in a mock lament, shaking her head.

“Hey, what did I miss?” Cheryl called running toward them. “I just got your message. Who’s this asshole?” she said into her coffee.

“Dr. Spector,” said Sophie.

“Doctor Specter,” he shouted.

“That’s what I said.”

“Doctor Specter?” Cheryl looked askance.

“Thank you, ma’am,” Doctor Specter called to Cheryl.

“What’s his thing?”

“He’s got a gun that turns people into ghosts,” Sophie reported.

“So he has a gun?” Cheryl looked at Sophie, nonplussed. “Hunter can do maniac-with-a-gun in his pajamas. He does all the time. I was having a really nice chat. Her name was Maggie.”

“No, like no-shit ghosts,” Hunter said pointing to the withered, translucent wraiths that roamed the strip mall parking lot that.

“Dammit,” Cheryl sighed. “Brand new Starbucks and it’s already haunted.”

Cheryl trotted to one of the ghosts, waving her hands in its face. “Are they dangerous?”

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Psamurai #8

psamurailogo

 

Late to the party? Catch up here.

 

Pressure

 

Professor Falstaff stood at the microphone, as if it was just recently invented. His dress did nothing to dispel the old school magician vibe. His comely assistant, Tracy Sullivan, led the proceedings. He pinched the mic a few times, like he was tenderizing it. After he was done he leaned like the mic was going to poison him. Most of the audience presumed the tenderizing was an attempt to remove the mic from the stand.

“Good evening,” he said in a vague Eastern European accent, doing further damage to the possibility of him not being a magician. “Tonight, we are here to learn about teamwork. Let me tell you something about teamwork. There is no ‘I’ in team.” He punctuated each word with his index finger, bobbing up and down like he was taking his first drum lesson.

“There’s no we either, asshole,” Cheryl whispered, arms and legs crossed on a folding plastic chair. Hundreds of such chairs were arrayed in rows and columns, filling the ballroom. The chairs were then filled with smiling, staring faces locking their attention on Falstaff. Cheryl twiddled her phone.

“Shh,” Sophie snickered.

“He said that like he made it up.”

“Shh,” Sophie said trending toward a laugh, then leaned forward clasping her hands over her head and convulsed.

“Don’t tell me to shush when you’re having library giggles.”

“Shh,” came a chorus from the rows behind them.

Cheryl waved them off. Sophie, red faced and grimacing, gave the best penitent hand gesture she could perform under the conditions.

“And now I’d like to introduce my assistant, Tracy Sullivan, who will be available after this presentation for free massage, reiki, acupuncture and all those things your demographic loves.”

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