Legacy

He was dead! My irascible, strong and loyal but sometimes unkind uncle; he had been the last of my living relatives.

I remembered his bushy eyebrows waggling at me while he talked; the sweet smile in his craggy face even while saying the most cutting things.

His death had been quick. I remembered him as being always busy. He had ignored his health especially when it had begun to fail after his last trip abroad until it finally stopped him in his tracks.

The last few words he said before he slipped into a coma stayed with me. They meant nothing to me. I wondered what they had meant to him or if they had been the nonsense words of a sick old man.

***

It was a bright and sunny day for a funeral.

My mood however was sombre from days spent sorting and cleaning my uncle’s house. His final words like a drum beat in my head had accompanied my days as I moved from room to room through the detritus of a lifetime. Those words stayed with me now. They turned over and over in my head as my brain tried to puzzle them out. As if understanding their meaning would give me some measure of peace and comfort.

The attendance at the chapel surprised me. The small room was full. It was obvious to me that I had not known the extent of my uncle’s circle of acquaintances. At the hospital I had been the only visitor or so I thought.

The service was brief. No eulogy was offered. According to his lawyer, my uncle’s wishes had been quite specific.

And still the words rattled around my head.

At the graveside, I had a better chance to look at the people who had come to the funeral. They were all old men. All dressed in beautiful suits with a blue poppy in their lapels.

The coffin was lowered into the ground. One by one the old men removed their blue poppy and dropped it onto the coffin. Then they approached me shaking my hand and offering their condolences.

The last of gentlemen approached me, leaned in to me and handed me a blue poppy and whispered, “Welcome to the BOOB! We are the Brethren Of Old Bastards!”

Absence equals Absinthe

Lifting my first glass of Absinthe to my lips, I inhaled the sweet scent, before I drank.

In her absence there was no longer a reason for my abstinence.

Tag and Release

She waited quietly in the sterile lab already masked and gowned for the work hours ahead. Her thoughts tumbled inside her head, examining snippets from last night’s conversation trying to make sense of what she had been told.

Before her lay her instruments and the packs of splinters, she looked at them sightlessly. Today, soon she would have to decide on which side her loyalties lay.

The noise from the trolleys outside brought her back to the present. They would start entering any minute now. She began to unpack the splinters.

Each splinter was individually contained, as thick as a hair and only a couple of millimetres long. It was her job to pick up each splinter with her instrument, and then introduce it to the right index fingernail of the patient, where it began to wriggle as if it was alive. It would slither from her instrument to begin insinuating itself under the nail. For a second it would be visible under the nail and then it would disappear into the bloodstream.

She had always marvelled at the technology, glowing in her small part in making it accessible to everyone. Had she been indoctrinated during her training? They had said that to her last night.

She did not see the patient, only the right hand. Last night they had said that this was so that she did not baulk at what she was doing.

The door opened, she would have to reach a decision now.

Microfiction by Adriana Marrone.

The Climb

“Let it be!” Rory paused and shouted into the wind as he looked up at Jo clinging to the cliff above him. Rory’s words were taken by the wind; they did not reach Jo’s ears.

Jo had reached the ledge of the cave carved into the cliff face. He could now cling with one arm and his foot holds to the cliff face and use his other arm to draw the long metal hook from behind his back where he had stuck it down his shirt before they had begun the climb.

Rory paused again and yelled towards Jo, “Let it be!” The wind proceeded to take these words away too. Jo finished drawing the long metal hook and stretched it out over his head to poke at something in front of him on the ledge.

Looking up as Jo continued to poke; Rory drew in another breath and continued his climb up. As he climbed he muttered to himself like a mantra, “Let it be, don’t hurt it Jo, let it be”.

They had argued at the bottom of the cliff, not the good natured arguing between the best of friends taking opposing sides for the joy of a good discussion. But like two men opposing each other with their different faiths held like banners before them attempting to brow beat each other into submission.

It had started when they had first sighted the glorious creature flying out over the sea. They had heard of them, seen them on the screen but no-one had ever expected them to come to this part of the world. That sighting had started Jo off onto a path that his best friend Rory could not follow. A path seeking fame and fortune, Rory thought in disbelief at the expense of those wondrous creatures.

As Jo had proceeded to plan, Rory’s dismay had deepened. Nothing he had said to Jo had made any difference. What he intended to do was not illegal, Rory thought but it was unethical. The plan had led them to this climb.

Rory looked up again as the wind brought him the sound of the baby’s cries at the intrusion. He whispered to himself as he continued to climb, “Let it be, don’t hurt it Jo, let it be”.

First Home

It was blue! Not quite what she had envisaged for her first home. In her mind a soothing green overlayed on the blue would make all the difference. With hard work she would make it be the perfect first home! Taking ownership sight unseen meant that not everything could be as she wished and that many changes were required to accommodate her vast family. 

All the preparations to make this journey had been so rushed but it had been worthwhile to get here now as the last stage of her gestation was beginning, the nesting stage. This stage meant that her inner sense of urgency had increased and she would work her family hard to complete the changes required to make this home habitable. 

The information about her new home had been sketchy but it had been sufficient for the reigning Queens to agree to provision a ship. With each ship, a crew was needed and each reigning Queen made the ultimate sacrifice and gave members from their own families to go with the ship. Those members from all the different Queens now constituted her family; they would be the elders that would raise and train the next generation she carried. 

For her there had been no hesitation about whether she wanted this opportunity. Being selected to head the expedition meant leaving home but that was the only way to gain independence from the other established Queens and the freedom to shape a world the way she wanted. 

The journey time had given the disparate members of her family time to adjust to her as their new Queen and time to bond with one another under her guidance. They would work hard together to prepare her first home and their home too! 

From the deck of her ship she surveyed the start of the drone descent to the blue planet. The first task was to rid the planet of the dominant pest overrunning it. Once that task was done, they could move in and begin the greening.

 

May 2016 – Quick meeting roundup

Welcome.

We had a visitor this month, welcome Kasia Radzka. We hope you had a good time and we look forward to seeing you at future Scifantor meetings.

Grelfie…coming

June Event…

Author event at Wellington Point on Saturday 4th June. More info to come…

Some of the discussions on Sunday in brief…

To map or not to map… is adding a map to go with your story worthwhile. The general consensus was yes, especially for Fantasy. And highly recommended if the place names in your story are strange and the story includes travelling.

Twitter or not to twitter…is it worthwhile being on this social medium as part of your author artillery.

What is a ‘cold opening’ although we started by calling it a ‘cold start’ which is something different. Check out the wiki meanings for Cold Open and Cold Start for IT and Cold Start for military.

Inspiration and where if comes from: Kim talked about getting her inspiration for her comic script/novel from all the cons that she has attended where people tended to fall into two groups, those that read comics and those that read books. Writing for the comic genre can be tricky, currently it is not fashionable to put in sound effects. Authors even comic script authors should show not tell.

Getting funding: Becky mentioned AMP’s Tomorrow Fund. This is a private company that is offering grants from $10,000 to $100,000 in any field from art to technology. The site is really worth a look even if unfortunately the closing date for 2016 is 18th May. A site worth remembering.

What have the Scifantorites been up to…

Kaisa has a third book is about to be published. If you want to catch up with Book 1 and 2; Lethal Instincts and Lethal Disposal. Lethal Aftershock is the new book being published next week

Becky has been busy technical writing for work. We really enjoyed your micro fiction ‘RenovHate’ this month.

Brad has been fixing typos in his published work; looking forward to your micro fiction next month.

Brett handed out hard copies of ‘Hunted’ to our newer members. He has finished 80% of Book 1 of the Miondor Series.

Catherine has had a busy month working, studying (literature and composition) and mothering.

Cherie looking forward to your micro fiction next month.

David has been busy at work but using his creativity to reduce his homicidal stress levels. He has had some very exciting ideas that will be great novellas. The script ‘Elephant Grey’ did not get much of a look in this month but things might pick up next month.

Kim attended the Fortitude Valley Markets last week along with some other authors. Unfortunately the venue was not a great one with very little opportunity to engage with readers. Onto good news, Kim has one more chapter to go on her comic script/novel to complete her proof of concept. Kim has put out the first 2 chapters for feedback.

Janis has been writing digital books for the Mudgeeraba Lighthorse Museum. Some of these have been published on iBooks. Currently Janis is working on another story using postcards and journals from a World War 1 veteran.

What have the Scifantorites been reading, watching…

Books

Becky recommends The Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky as a really interesting read.

Brett is really enjoying The Rook by Daniel O’Malley and has an early recommendation even though he is only part way through.

This month’s Micro Fiction theme was ‘Renovations’

Micro fiction can be viewed by clicking here.

Next month’s Micro Fiction theme is ‘Heart’

Next month’s meeting…

Date:                    Sunday 19th June

Time:                    9:30am to 11:30am (9am if you would like to join us for breakfast)

Venue:                 Royal Pines Golf Course – Tee’s Clubhouse

Where:                Ross St, Benowa. Follow the signs for ‘Golf and Tennis’ to find the café.

See you there!

The Feast

Nee Ra looked out over the encampment, at the brightly burning bonfires. The flames lit up the night dancing merrily against the moon light. From her position, on the hill above the encampment, the screams below danced around her like the flames from the bonfires.

At each of those bonfires, the people that had sided against her were being put to death by her army. In the morning, the encampment would be populated only by her people. Rebellion quelled, the long march back to the city would begin and the reclamation of the land now under her rule.

A Queen would rule bringing peace and prosperity or so the prophecy foretold. Certainly the prophecy did not say how this queen would achieve the task.

Nee Ra could scarce believe that only two weeks had passed since she had arrived in the encampment. She came at the summons of the youngest brother to the King. Her family had always made much of their distant connection to the royal family. The arrival of the summons had sent the senior members of her family into a series of frenzied arguments behind closed door. When the shouting had died down, her father had called her into the room to tell her that she would be delivering the reply to the summons. That in itself was unusual. She had thought at the time that her father or one of her uncles would have gone, even one of her elder brothers. When she was told that she had been selected to go to represent them all, she had quailed under their stipulations and warnings on how she was to behave.

The journey to the encampment had only taken a matter of days. The herald had not spoken to her at all in that time even though he had been solicitous of her. Yet with each day her sense of something wrong grew. Her thoughts had been in turmoil until an inner voice had whispered a question. Nee Ra had replied automatically. The voice had been so pleased with itself when she responded.

Without the voice she would have perished on her first day in the encampment. It steered her through the initial meeting with the King’s youngest brother. Looking back, that first meeting when she had out manoeuvred the Prince had been the turning point. From that moment her presence had been sought and then required by the generals, her sage advice sought before each battle. With each battle won, the loyalty of the Prince’s army had grown until it was her army.

The Prince’s attempt on her life had been ham fisted in his rage at seeing all his dreams crumple before him. It had failed and he was held with other prisoners taken during the final battle won that day.

Tonight, she would feast on the flesh of the members of the royal family. It was tradition to feast on your enemies. The bonfires burned brightly cooking the enemy. The choicest cuts from the bodies of her enemies would be presented for her to eat. First on the menu was the King’s youngest brother then each member of the royal family in order of rank.

The feasting would last as long as there were enemies to be killed and eaten.