Month: January 2015

January = Delays

January is the toughest month of the year for me. The last few years it’s brought a new financial picture (in a good way) as well as (inevitably it seems) unexpected expenses. I mention this because financial changes have disrupted the publishing schedule for my next indie short. It will probably be toward the end February before I get cover art purchased and the copy edited.

I’m still looking forward to the project. It’s a horror piece that blends Lovecraft, math and finance in (what I hope) is a frightening and unexpected way. At the very least it was a blast to write.

In other news, my serialization of The Bazaar on this blog is just about wrapping up. It’s an exciting place to be. Not least because I will be putting an ebook version of this novella together over the coming year.

I hope to put more indie work out there in 2015, as well as get short pieces published in markets with a bit more visibility. I’ve already got ideas for a couple shorts kicking around in my head, and am eager to get them down on paper.

Or rather, hard drive.

Advertisements

The Bazaar: Chapter 40

Faisal’s Nightmare

Faisal didn’t immediately perceive the missile impact. He couldn’t feel it and he couldn’t immediately see it, either, what with the FLIR camera being mounted on the underside of the fuselage. He understood the impact first as a loss of control, then as the unified series of the drone’s sensors and control mechanisms flying apart. All the warning indicators seemed to trip at once. It was as if one moment he was sitting in a dark room and the next someone flipped a switch to reveal it had been strung with blood red light bulbs that all came on at once.

The FLIR image spun wildly. Chunks of drone fell away toward the ground. The FLIR pitched up and Faisal found himself looking skyward while at the same time knowing he was hurtling down, down toward the ground as if he were falling in a dream. Flames blossomed at the edges of the screen, glowing white hot in monochrome.

Fuck fuck fuck he thought and was about to disengage from the drone’s hardware when he caught sight of something familiar in the flames lapping at the FLIR. They weren’t just flames.

Faces.

Warped faces with deep black pits for eyes that twisted with the flames. Warped, bearded faces like the faces Faisal stared up at all those years ago when they were flogging him in the street in Gaza. Then, as now, nothing to be found in those black eyes but inflexible, implacable purpose, al-hamdu’lillah.

Faisal screamed the way he screamed when he was falling in a dream and he suspected (no – knew) it was all a dream but was scared shitless anyway because wasn’t there something to the notion that if you died in a dream you died for real? A long, silent scream that set the microchips rattling around inside his head.

And meanwhile those twisting, black-eyed faces multiplied, crowded closer and merged till Faisal was staring into total darkness, screaming.

The Bazaar: Chapter 39

Grand Finale

Fulton heard a tremendous commotion rise up somewhere behind the vehicle. Another missile, probably. He twisted to look out the SUV’s shattered rear window. All he could see was nondescript corrugated metal. That and smoke. There seemed to be smoke everywhere.

Extraction successful!

A moment later he got Penetration Complete!, which meant his chip had established a direct connection to the drone, and by association whoever or whatever had taken up residence inside. Fulton queued up the Malware Insertion app and loaded Reese’s AI. As soon as the Locked and Loaded! indicator winked on he pulled the virtual trigger.

The Bazaar: Chapter 38

Dance of Death

Emily watched the drone enter a ninety-degree dive, looking for all the world like an over-sized lawn dart.

She had never seen one maneuver so violently.

The missile changed direction to compensate, entering a steep dive of its own.

Emily had an intuitive understanding of this dance of death. The pilot guessed the missile would pull lead as it guided to the target. By pointing himself toward the deck at high speed he planned to drive it into the ground. If the Skorpion pulled a lot of lead (that is to say, aimed itself way out in front of its target to intercept) this would have been a perfectly reasonable strategy. Unfortunately for the pilot, the Skorpion had been designed to pull less lead than earlier generation missiles, so as to achieve higher kill probabilities in exactly these kinds of situations.

It caught the drone halfway down the fuselage. Didn’t explode immediately. For a fraction of a moment it appeared to Emily the missile might actually bounce off, then plummet to earth inert and harmless.

Which would have been just her goddamn luck.

But in the next instant a fireball engulfed the drone’s midsection.

The craft snapped in half. The two pieces fell, spiraling around one another as if performing a mating ritual in reverse where the end wasn’t sex but fiery death. The spiral accelerated, the diameter of the revolutions shrank until finally the wreckage slammed into the slum, sending enormous plumes of dirt and debris hurtling skyward.

The Bazaar: Chapter 37

Evasive Action

Faisal saw the Lady Merc.

He saw the flash, the smoke trailing out behind it.

Fucking Strela. Growing up around Russian military hardware Strela became Faisal’s generic term for all man-portable air defense systems. He didn’t have the speed to outrun the missile or get above it so he pitched his hurtling consciousness down at a steep angle, subjecting the drone to more negative Gs than any human pilot could hope to withstand without his brain exploding.

Faisal aimed straight for the ground and waited as the slum rose to meet him.