Friday, 25 November 2011

No malice

There is no malice in their actions, I have to believe that.

The pain was almost unbearable when they took the samples, when they cut, when they removed tissue, when they opened, when they probed, when they bored.

I have to believe that their thirst for knowledge is benign, that my pain is given to provide answers that will benefit mankind, that will help them to help mankind.

There has to be a reason for them being here, for me being here, for my suffering.

They use no anaesthetics, no numbing agent, no painkiller. Maybe pain is a concept as alien to them as I am.

Maybe their anaesthetics would harm me, or maybe they look upon me as a lower life form that doesn't merit compassion or consideration.

Yet still, I have to believe that there is no malice in their actions... I have to believe that.

The alternative is unthinkable.

©2011 Stephen. J. Green.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Archie and the horse

The cart creaked and groaned as it trundled along the rutted track. The horse, a large black and white, skittered nervously, held in check on a tight rein. Aboard the cart Archie Lees, his wife, and their two small children jolted uncomfortably amongst the paltry pile of their possessions.

From the crest of the nearby hill a large band of heavily armed brigands watched the horse and cart approach the city gates. The same gates that had kept them separated from the spoils they had hungered after for so long.

As Archie pulled the horse to a standstill at the massive steel gates a small grille slid aside to reveal a pair of sharp eyes.

“What business do you have here?”

“We used to have a farm over in the valley.” Replied Archie. “The brigands stole just about everything we had, then burnt it to the ground. I brought my family here hoping to find sanctuary, and hopefully employment.”

“What skills do you have that the city can use?”

“I have a strong back, and a willing mind, I will be of use to someone.”

The grille slid shut with a loud clunk, and with the sound of powered pistons the massive gates cycled slowly sideways to reveal several soldiers armed with swords and crossbows.

“Bring your cart in here.”

Archie climbed down, grabbed the horse's bridle, and led it into the area between the inner and outer gates.

Two soldiers searched Archie, his family, and the cart for weapons whilst the others watched alertly. When nothing of danger was discovered the mood relaxed slightly.

The horse tossed its head nervously.

“Your horse seems a bit skittish, I hope he ain't going to run amok through the streets.”

“Don't worry, he'll be calm soon enough. He's a good horse, got real fire in his belly he has. Archie rubbed the muzzle. “It's okay Troy, be still, be still.”

The truth of the horse's unease was probably due to stomach ache. He hadn't wanted what was offered to him for breakfast today, he'd had to be force fed a special meal for the day ahead.

The soldier threw a lever, and the massive steel gates cycled closed behind the cart. As another soldier reached for the lever to cycle the inner gates Archie pressed the stud hidden in Troy's bridle.

Deep inside the horse's belly there was a minute blue spark as the contact was made.

The horse and cart, Archie, his wife and family, several soldiers, and both the inner and outer gates all disappeared in a white hot ball of vapour.

At the top of the hill the brigand leader vowed silently to himself that today's sacrifice would never be forgotten. Archie had given everything he owned for the cause. Having his family on the cart was the only way to give credibility to his story, and to gain them passage through the gate.

He raised his lance... The signal to attack.

A motley selection of powered vehicles built from parts scavenged from the contaminated land raced down the hill towards the city. On board, the brigands whooped their war cries. The weak soldiers and the soft inhabitants would soon be overrun. Archie's sacrifice had given them the city.

* * * * *

The gates have long since been replaced. Over the years the brigands and the captured inhabitants gradually integrated, until there was just a city again, just like before.

* * * * *

A group of five year old children attending their first day at school were gathered around a statue in the centre of the main square. The impressive marble sculpture of a horse and cart and four occupants, stood atop a plinth that bore the legend...


As soon as they were old enough to understand, every child in the city was told the legendary story of Archie Lees and Troy the horse.

* * * * *

From the crest of the nearby hill, a large band of heavily armed brigands stared down at the city, at its high unclimbable walls and massive steel gates. They watched, and waited, and plotted.

©2011 Stephen. J. Green.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Food for thought

When the cell door slammed open the human captives scrabbled in panic. Clawing over one another, fighting to get as far away from the door as possible, trying to avoid being the chosen one. The two aliens separated Simpson from the tangle of thrashing limbs and bodies, they threw him face down on the floor, grabbed a leg each, and dragged him out of the cell, slamming the door shut behind them.

Back inside the cell, the men and women cowered, whimpering, terrified. None of them knew what became of the chosen ones, only that they never returned.

Simpson struggled and screamed as he was dragged along a series of corridors. His face, hands and arms losing shreds of skin as he was scraped along the coarse metal floor. Fingernails splitting and cracking as he fought for purchase. His teeth chipping and breaking during the descent of a steep stairwell.

Eventually they entered a large room, the floor of which sloped gently down to a gaping square hole. The creatures ripped the clothing from his body, unmindful of breaking a few bones in the process, then unceremoniously threw Simpson into the hole. His smashed and bleeding nose had just enough time to register the sickly smell of rotting flesh before he landed on the spinning blades below.

Simpson continued his journey, now in the shape of thick strings of viscous mincemeat he dripped onto a second set of finer, sharper blades, then through a series of crushers, pulpers and rollers, along a conveyor where a liquid bio-electron accelerator was added, and finally through a multi-bladed blender. Simpson ended his journey as a smooth pink liquid at the bottom of a huge vat.

Several minutes later the bio-accelerator activated, and the electrons twitched into life. Minute blue sparks of electricity began to arc across surface of the pink slush, multiplying rapidly until the vat shimmered with light.

Fine wires carried the power from the vat, through the ship, and up to the bridge, where Simpson's two former escorts now stood, awaiting their commander's attention. The commander stood before a gigantic brain contained within a plastiglass dome, off to either side the walls were a mass of blank screens.

The commander watched impatiently. Eventually a small shudder ran through the brain's exterior, causing it to shiver like a shaken jelly. The screens began to flicker, and one by one lit up and started scrolling streams of data. A barely perceptible vibration ran through the ship as the massive Plasmin engines fired into life.

The commander turned to face the two crewmen, a look of deep displeasure on his face.

“If we are ever left drifting, powerless and defenceless again because you two morons forgot to feed the computer, I will personally throw both of you down the chute myself. Got it? At the end of your shift get yourselves suited and booted, for the next six weeks your leisure time will be replaced by hull scrubbing punishment. Now get out of my sight”

©2011 Stephen. J. Green.

Friday, 4 November 2011

A beer for Joe

Me an' Joe've been neighbours for over fifty years now. We watched each others families grow an' leave home to start their own. Through the years we spent some good amount of time enjoyin' each other's company, yup, we sure did. We helped each other through the grievin' when our good ladies passed on. I can't remember a time when we weren't there for each other. I guess it would be right to say we loved each other in a way.

Up until the argument, that is.

We ain't spoke a word to each other in nigh on seven years now, I can't even remember what the argument was over no more.

And here we are, two stupid stubborn old fools ignorin' each other over the fence.

Today I was gonna change all that.

Joe was sittin' on his stoop rockin' in his chair when I called from the gate.

“Joe?... D'ya mind if I come in?”


Well, at least it was a start, I got an answer. I walked the length of the path and settled my old bones into the rocker next to his.

“How ya doin?” I asked him, hopin' to melt the ice a little further.

He just carried on rockin', starin' straight ahead, his mouth a straight line. Just lettin' me know he wasn't gonna be no pushover. I had made the first move, it was up to me to apologise.

“I brung some beers.” I said. “Would ya like one?”


I pulled a bottle from the pack, twisted the cap off and took a slug.

“Hmmm, that hit the spot.” I wiped the froth from my mouth in an exaggerated movement. “Good beer, are ya sure ya don't want one?”


“Beautiful day.” I ventured.

“Look Sam, if ya came roun' here to apologise, then say your piece.”

“Now look here....” I nearly rose like a baited trout, all fired up an' ready to shout my indignation, but managed to catch myself as I remembered what I came for.

“I didn't come to offer no apology, but ya can have one anyways... Joe, I truly am sorry for whatever it was that I done, or said. And I truly am sorry for all the years when we weren't friends no more.”

“Apology accepted. I guess I'll be havin' that beer now.”

I passed Joe a bottle over, he took it, his hand shakin' a little as he twisted the cap. Joe took a long slug then mopped the sweat from his brow with his shirt cuff.

“Yup, sure is a beautiful day.” He said. “If ya didn't come to apologise, an' don't get me wrong, I'm glad that ya did, what did bring ya roun' here?”

“I came to say goodbye.”

The words hung in the air, like dust after a shell-burst.

Joe rocked in his chair a while.

“Ya goin' somewhere?”

“I guess ya could say that, I have the C.”

Joe continued starin' straight ahead, still rockin'. When he finally spoke his voice didn't sound quite as strong.

“How long?”

“Hard to say exactly, maybe a few weeks, but more likely a few days.”

Joe took another long pull from his bottle, then wiped the sweat from his brow again. He tried, he really did try not to let me see as he caught the tear from the corner of his eye along the way.

Continued in:- A beer for Joe (Part 2)

©2011 Stephen. J. Green.