Mo’ Stories

gateway

verðandi wiped a giant leaf away & gasped as she saw the pewter lake, sparkling under the dawnrise. that meant she wasn’t far.

& indeed, before she thought ’bout it mo’ she saw rise from the distance the metal frame o’ the firegate.

by the time she neared it she craned her neck up to see it tower several times her size. she took a deep breath as her hand hung out hesitantly, & then grasped its bars, feeling the lingering morning raindrops on its frigid hard steel.

& then she said, firegate, tell me: ¿how can we bring back the ladders that hold up our supply o’ goods & how can we make the rivers run again?.

& the firegate answered

Prompt:

lake, recommendation, gate

money talks

Image by J. J. W. Mezun. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

meanwhile, while chicken medium was able to acutely predict the falling o’ the ladders & the drying o’ the rivers, he could not explain why it happened beyond abrupt itches in his stomach or chills in the air, nor how to re-erect & refill them & the most accredited lucrelogists would spend years picking @ their sauerkraut salads & squabbling o’er the causes thru archaic pictographic languages that few outside their shrouded caves could decipher.

with a dour expression, niĉjo ismat lead the discussion: the inevitable conclusion is 1 none want to admit, for it is too dreadful to acknowledge, but is the truth as hard & cold as coal: half with starve & the population will shrivel in equilibrium with the rivers till they are below what the capacity o’ what we have left will hold.

with disgust, bertie nanda retorted, this is but sufferfetishing. ¿why are we pretending we do not know the solution to this problem? we do not need to wait for mystical forces to rebuild our ladders & refill our rivers — we cannot, in fact, for they will not do so. ¿are we not capable o’ building ladders & filling rivers? ¿have we not, in fact, created much grander things? if we can send people into the nether galaxies, rebuilding better ladders is but cakebakery.

o, but you have it backward, bertie, interjected ranya lore: it is, in fact, precisely the great mysterious forces beyond that are our only hope & it has been our hubris & ignorance of our reliance on these forces that has laid this curse upon us.

then 1 o’ the most respected, yasemin thalia, stood up & declared, ¡i tell you that this is no crisis @ all, but, in fact, a great boon, if we only renounce that great mistake that was basing our existence on imperative programming, where that root o’ all evil & suffering, time, holds us tyrant, but realize that this tyrant time is but a foolish delusion & that the great droughts that we seem to see before us are repaid twice o’er by the greater floods, which we would have access to already if we were to finally abandon our pitiful time & charge onward into the infinite future!.

while some rubbed their chins in fascination, many others scoffed & waved a wing, an attitude that was not ameliorated by the haughty tone madame thalia took, & the colony would soon sever into those who lasered their focus on the correctness o’ thalia’s theory, — tho, the other side would note, ne’er on how one could put such a theory into practice — while the other half continued cycling thru their stale theories like seasons.

Prompt:

river, efficiency, salad

¡see you ladder!

nobody believed chicken medium when he warned that the ladders o’ currency would fall & that the rivers o’ money would dry up, but now that people were seeing it right before their eyes, people believed it.

well, most people believed it: some still harbored suspicions that the ladders that had seemed to have fallen were fakes staged to contrive chaos & weaken & control the populace & that either the true invisible ladders still held sturdy or that the ladders ne’er held up the great exchange express, but that it held itself up by itself, impervious to gravity, & that the rivers that had seemed to have dried up were but charades, & that the true rivers were still lurking underground, that the true ladders dug down into the sturdy earth, not up toward the tempestuous sky, hidden by the mysterious extraterrestrial forces who truly ran the operation. boats full o’ money was spent on highly-publicized — both by true believers & amused tourists — excavations, tho none o’ these secret rivers or ladders had been found. & yet, according to most visible influencers, each failed excavation was but the key to a new clue that brought us closer to unlocking these mysteries.

Prompt:

reaction, revenue, ladder

heart attack

frig radka stopped when she started feeling a tingling in her teeth. she knew what that meant: she sniffed & smelled the soggy scent o’ precipitation. her eyes had widened. ¿was it that time o’ the year already?

she searched round the city & jogged to the nearest eave, only letting herself stop to catch her breath when she was sure she was fully concealed. her heavy beating heart only stirred panic e’en mo’. she felt round her count & head, wondering if anything had gotten her.

she watched with wary eyes the arrows begin drilling down. with a grim frown she saw citizens in the vicinity get struck & then get glazed-eyed & gets sweaty & get shaky & turn to each other, complete strangers, & creep toward each other & then finally begin wrapping their appendages round each other & attaching their maws together while frig gripped the cracks ’tween the bricks.

Prompt:

tooth, love, atmosphere

chemical leak

the stranger had developed for herself a daily routine: e’ery morn so early ’twas still dark — specially now in the winter — she would jog up the street from her humble apartment, zigzagging up the same path o’ street corners, & stopping @ the corner o’ 24th & chestoberry st. to put a 500 in the news stand to pull out a copy o’ the enlightenment, the official state paper. then she would catch her breath & breathe in the crisp air o’ the freshly budding cherryblossoms as spring began to hatch & stroll down to her usual cafe to sit with her daily peanut butter mocha & read the story on page 3.

but as she did so that february day, she almost dropped her coffee & almost choked on it as it began to run down her throat. she looked mo’ closely @ the words before her & saw the magic word: “agathokakological”. there was no question: there was no other reason why she — she knew ’twas her friend, the editor @ the enlightenment — would use the word. she felt her flesh drown in sweat, only to become aware that she was in public & was possibly being watched & calmed herself & forced herself to read the letters going down the left column & there stood out to her the words she sought: “cumin bohrium velium”.

she stood & began to rush for the door, only to think better o’ it & slow her pace. this time after she went out the door, she didn’t go back the path whence she came back to her humble apartment, but headed for the decrepit mall where there now dwelled in the darkest corners the underground, where the stranger’s comrades were waiting breathlessly to learn the ingredients the government used to make their electroneutralizing bomb to suck up all electrical currents within a 100-km radius. as the stranger strolled down this new trail, whistling to herself, she thought wryly, looks like they’re finally going to see some o’ that competition they claim they love so much….

Prompt:

stranger, news, recipe

cetacean stranding

after a long week’s work @ the filing factory, liborio karl treated himself to a stroll thru citric beach on this surprisingly warm february weekend afternoon, only to be distracted when he saw a familiar figure wandering the tides, bent o’er, brows low, eyes surveying the sea-soaked sand like a wolf in the wilderness desperate for sustenance. liborio ran after him.

¡jokin! ¿is that you?.

jokin withburga looked up @ his ol’ friend liborio without pleasure. he stuffed his hands into his o’ersized jacket like the bitter expression o’ a schoolkid caught saying something naughty.

o, jokin, don’t tell me…, liborio began.

jokin forced himself to look liborio in the eyes & said as a challenge, ¿tell you what?.

with a nervous laugh, liborio said, you’re not still looking for that — ¿what was it? ¿the bottled city?.

with a sneer & a shrug, jokin said, you could call it that if you want, just as one might call coats arm houses. it’s easy to make something sound absurd with one’s choice o’ words.

but, jokin, the logistics o’ such a small city….

¿& what ’bout the logistics o’ an ant farm? correct me if i’m wrong, my ol’ friend, but last time i met you you were not a scientist; but please lecture me on the complex biology that would make a small city impossible.

liborio attempted a weak smile @ the wind, which he felt was becoming harsher & colder. seeing that there was no convincing his ol’ friend, who, if anything, seemed to have become e’en mo’ feverish in his conviction, he offered a fig leaf & requested o’ him, trying to sound as genuine as he could, that if he were to find this bottled city that liborio would be the 1st to show it.

jokin straightened his coat & said coldly, you can be sure that i will.

& with that jokin walked on. as liborio watched his ol’ friend stooping o’er the seashells in his well-shined black shoes now scattered with sand with a hardened frown, liborio, perhaps trying to will a glass o’ bitter wine half full, that there were worse ways to spend one’s time on this earth.

Prompt:

city, ambition, message

you’ve arrived @ panic station

cold sweat began to dribble down blažena’s forehead. all around the city people strolled or sat on a bench & read their infopapers, hearts beating serenely & eyelids low in peace.

this was the problem: if one dug deep down into the subterranean bowels o’ the factory one would see that the panic plasma reactor was running low on the snapping panic, the hair-raising fear, the hypertension-sending stress, & the boiling anxiety that powered their whole operation. if it ran out, e’erything would shut down: the hospitals that kept people healthy, the the transporters that got people where they need to be, the funscreens that kept people forgetting ’bout their fleeting existences.

& there blažena stood, heart in rapid palpitations & skin becoming mo’ & mo’ piscine, with no idea how she could find mo’ panic to refill their desperately short stores @ a time like this.

Prompt:

situation, warning, unit

move to the music

a whistle blew & a gruff voice barked, ¡get in your lines!. that voice was the coach, cleft.

the notes suddenly looked up, their ponytails bobbing, & then they all scrambled toward the field, feeling the cold wintry frost still clinging to the turf on this early dim dawn. then they stopped & stood in zigzagging formations & looked @ the coach expectantly. the cleft walked up to the field themselves with a wand held ’bove its head.

all right, I want you to start moving, 1, 2… 1, 2….

& so the notes began doing just that, marching down the field, 1 step after the other in sync, keeping their zigzag formation & staying within their lines, melodic tones rising from the ground with each step.

Prompt:

song, organization, physics

yearly departed

Image by J. J. W. Mezun. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

the gray, cold rain fit in just as well with this ceremony as with the january in which it appeared. there the family — 2044 whose rose-painted cheeks stood out gainst the wintry white surroundings; 2075 with listless eyelids o’ boredom, & ol’ shivering 2024 — stood round the tombstone o’ 2023, 2044 trying to break up the savage quiet any way it could by bringing up whate’er positive things it could say ’bout 2023 & trying to forget their less savory parts, while the others said nothing.

Prompt:

funeral, family, year

stormclouds

storms were brewing from eir ears as e lay in bed, tossing in eir sea o’ sheets, as cold as the arctic chill in this january night.

but the storms turned to soft clouds & e suddenly felt its campfire-melted marshmallow hand touch eir shoulder & responded not with words but with soft caresses all ’long eir back, sucking out the red tension till e drifted off to the cloudy depths emself.

& that is how the clouds got em.

Prompt:

response, tension, concept