GF #027 – Le Loyon

Kerry hadn’t slept for over 72 hours. Not since the Le Loyon project massacred the entire staff of Miruku-Tek’s Einsiedeln base. She was on the run from a test robot gone bad.

She felt like she was standing on a razor-thin blade being slowly cleaved in two. Her worn body fluctuated between heightened awareness and dreamlike hallucinations. She couldn’t trust herself anymore. She couldn’t trust Nate Meier either. They were the only survivors left from a former R&D team of thirty-three scientist and over a hundred in other personnel.

Faces of colleagues would sporadically flash and flicker in Kerry’s mind. A synapse would stutter, but whatever normal human emotions she was supposed to feel didn’t trigger. It was like she was drained clean of the essential chemicals that made feelings.

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GF #026 – My Dead Girlfriend

Dead autumn leaves crackled underneath old hiking boots. Crickets chirruped the song of long black nights. The smell of pine filled his lungs with a sense of eternal loneliness.

Jack stepped into the small clearing, his Martin acoustic strapped to his back. His warm breath fogged briefly before the wisp dissipated. He stared at the black sky glittering with diamonds and drowned in it.

A tingling sensation washed over him. This is the place, he was certain of it. I will see Lily again tonight. I will call to her and she will appear.

He sat down on a stump, swung his guitar across his shoulder into his lap, and began to fingerpick a sixty-seven chord song he’d been playing since he was seven. He remembered Pop Pop’s rough hands over his on the fretboard. We’ll start with a simple E-minor chord, his husky smokey voice whispered. You put your pointing finger here, and your middle one here. That’s right.

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GF #025 – Fox & Rabbit

The first time Fox laid eyes on Rabbit, she stared back at him, hard, gnashing nicotine gum, indifferent to Fox’s presence. Either that, or she was daring Fox to seduce her.

Fox had met hundreds of women like Rabbit. Hardbitten Daddy’s Girls playing a man’s game as tough, resilient cops, lawyers and stockbrokers. They were ruthless and they repressed as much estrogen and feelings as humanely possible, packed deep and dense inside some unknown recess of their womb.

They got things done and done right. You want them on your field team. Fox trusted them most of the time.

But not Rabbit. Fox felt, no, knew Rabbit was different. Something about her. Or maybe it was just Fox. He didn’t know for sure. When he was around her, his people radar went all janky. It was like she wanted to be vulnerable, but only in brief stolen moments of privacy with Fox. Like she planned them.

Fuck me, Fox thought. This isn’t healthy.

He had tuned Racoon out for the last five minutes, missing crucial live intel. Stuff that probably would keep him and everyone else on this mission, including Rabbit, alive.

His earpiece cackled. “There. Rabbit’s twelve-o’-clock,” Racoon announced. “In a cape with the redhead in the white sequinned dress draped over him. That’s our mark. Petropoulos.”

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GF #024 – Diffraction

Jaden Wong put pressure on his left foot, lifted the right side of his body up and found the next glass-blind up on the 27th story of Agbar Torre’s west face. He held steady, breathed out loudly, turned slightly and drunk in the vast sea of Barcelona’s salmon tile, red brick and white walls.

The spectacular view sent tremors down Jaden’s spine. Such beauty and magnificence and wonder. Why did I wait so long to travel outside the States?

He thought about Jacqueline Ling, the ex-fiancée he left behind in San Francisco. They had met at Berkeley, lost their virginity to each other, been together and with no one else until a year ago, when Jaden started free-soloing skyscrapers around the world.

Jaden’s heart beat steadily, surely, slowly. He tried to shake off memories of their last week together. Jacqueline’s angry face, seething with indignant betrayal. Jaden imagined his own useless gaping mouth as he tried to explain what he couldn’t.

Life was funny, he thought. One moment you’re settling down with the sweetest girl on the planet talking about becoming old Chinese grandparents handing out red pocket money, and the next moment, you’re hanging on for dear life off Spain’s twelfth tallest building.

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GF #023 – Old Finds Bight

When Pete Dixon first arrived at the newly built Carson Williams Villa, he found the 33-bedroom Spanish Colonial unsettling.

It was monstrous in its beauty.

Thick navy blue walls accented by blinding white moulding and pilasters. Two precise rows of wrought iron balustrades, each one guarding a pair of rich mahogany French doors.

These balconies, like twenty half-lidded eyes, stared out into Old Finds Bight, as if luring wandering lost yachtsmen to their deaths.

To the inaugural residents, Carson Williams Villa was paradise. A lonely place at the edge of the world where you could slip into a life of simple, quiet charm filled with bourbon, idleness and guilt-free trysts.

Carson Williams represented the ideal endgame for millionaires, reclusive authors and eccentric geniuses, free of the friction of daily life. A well protected vacuum where men and women of exceeding creative intelligence could finally work in peace. It was isolated, hidden and far away. You would need to drive a good hour or two if you needed anything. God forbid groceries. Or an emergency.

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GF #022 – The Vermillion Mage

Cillian was hunched over in the common room nook, nose deep in the Gnæus Codex again while Vivian and Blarney sat by the bay window, watching the finches and linnets chirruping against the twilight sky.

“He’ll keel over like the Vermillion Mage, that one,” Blarney snickered, glancing over his shoulder at Cillian. “Right at his desk by candlelight, yeah.”

Cillian overheard him and shifted uneasily. His eyes darted for an exit. Being around Blarney made Cillian uncomfortable, never mind the rare times when Blarney gave him unwanted, extra attention. He often wondered why he bothered to study here. There were twenty four other rooms in the mansion. He supposed being around his fellow apprentices, despite never talking to them, nor them to him, gave him strange comfort.

“Oh hush,” Vivian scolded Blarney, then turned to Cillian, “don’t listen to him. It’s all rumours and rabbits, I say. That nasty business with the Vermillion Mage. There’s no official confirmation on the ley network. I checked again this morning.”

Cillian liked Vivian. She wasn’t necessarily kind to him, but she didn’t go out of her way to be mean to him either. For Cillian, that was all he could ask of most people in his life.

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GF #021 – Fey Eyes

Isaac tore off his reading glasses and glared at Evelyn.

“You knew. You knew, and you still did it,” he said, the hot words released in slow lava rage. “Why?”

Evelyn stared at her tiny feet, her hands clasped behind her, her long hair covering up one eye like she was a twelve-year-old girl again.

It wasn’t shame, Isaac could tell. She had no remorse for destroying his life. She wanted to hurt him. But in his physical presence, she reacted the only way she knew how her entire life. Like his darling daughter. His favorite.

She glanced upward for a brief moment, then looked away again.

“Daddy…” was all she could muster after a long silence.

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GF #020 – XI: Gouda – Hippopotamus

Jonathan held the strange scrap of paper before him. He squinted his eyes, hoping the words would magically transform. They did not. What he had just read a moment ago remained.

The entry began:

Harrowing, The (harōiNG, hær oʊ ɪŋ) intrasolar, interpenetrated plane. The subconscious plane, or world of dreams, in Hermeticism, Thesophical, Rosicrucian, Aurobindonian, and early Gnosticism refers to the macrocosmic or universal plane or reality that is made up purely of shared unconsciousness or dreamstuff. This reality constitutes only one gradation of eight in a series of planes of existence. The Harrowing interpenetrates the Physical Realm (not unlike a thin veil draped over reality). Early mystic Basilides (2nd C. AD) believed access possible via self-inflicted…

Here the page was ripped abruptly, its sheared edges denying Jonathan further knowledge. He pondered on it for a spell, a faraway itch tickling in the back of his mind.

Jonathan’s entire winter semester consisted of exactly two obsessions. Anne Campbell and the occult.

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GF #019 – Neðarsjávar Hýði

The Harrowing was not what Jonathan Plover had expected.

He’d been floating, completely enveloped in it, for God knows how many hours. Days even perhaps.

It was made of a viscous, honey-like fluid. When Jonathan first arrived, plopping into its existence and fully submerged in it, he had panicked, thrashing his limbs, eyeing desperately for the surface.

He very quickly held his breath.

Above, below, off to the side, in multiple permutations of all three axes, there didn’t appear to be a singular source of light.

He swam in a direction he believed to be “up”, kicking his legs, sweeping the liquid with his arms. It was especially difficult being fully clothed.

There was a soft, dim periwinkle glow all around, surrounding and following him. It went as far as his eye could see, unknown coruscating motes marking distances farther away.

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GF #018 – Kobayashi

Maru threw his arms down, stiff-straight by his side and psi-blades flared out.

He looked up. Above him, the gargantuan mass of uplifted black soil and tangled rooted underside of Singh’s floating citadel darkened the sky. Squinting, Maru spied the distant seemingly miniscule spires, belfries and parapets peeking over.

Black dots swarmed out and began their descent upon Maru. They were his dead cousins, nephews and tribesmen reanimated as Singh’s perverted Necro infantry.

Gritting his shoulders and biceps, Maru thrust himself upward, skyward towards his dead family, towards Singh, towards vengeance.

“SINNNNNNNNNGGGHHHH!!!” He screamed out in desperate vain, fists above his head like a two-headed arrow. Clouds whipped by him, the rush of wind travelling at the speed of sound deafened him.

Halfway up, Maru collided into Jarku, his ten-year-old nephew, blade first into his midsection slicing the boy apart. Jarku’s eyes bugged out, his mouth agape. It was a brief instant of returned sanity before he died a second time, his corpse forever desecrated and ruined.

Maru felt the impact at a cellular level. Tears welled up inside of him, suffocating him. He shook it off.

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