Entries Tagged 'Horror' ↓

Time Zones and the Witching Hour.

This entry is part 24 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

Today we’ve got a couple of sources for our myth — one old and one new. One from last month, with old friend PlaidPhantom, who asks:

Here’s one, since I’m on vacation right now: what’s the deal with time zones?

The other is from back in 2007, when Super Prattle Droid asked:

How do time zones relate to the witching hour? If someone performs a dark rite in, say, a county which doesn’t do daylight savings time, but the state as a whole does recognize daylight savings time, and the area of the town he/she’s in is claimed by two states, one in the Central time zone and one in Mountain, when is “midnight” according to the Forces of Darkness?

Well, I won’t get into what makes up a force of darkness or not — that’s a very different story — but these two questions together remind me of a story that once I heard… it’s a sad one — for us, in particular, and by ‘us’ I mean human beings. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

One warning — this isn’t the shortest of these stories. But then, that seems appropriate, don’t you think?

People speak of the Witching Hour. It is an old concept — part of deep rooted fears and prejudices around ‘witches.’ By witches, of course, we mean anything from practioners of old arts to the old women who understood the uses of roots and herbs to any woman who dared to want to read or smoke or speak when not spoken to. Needless to say, this had nothing to do with ‘witches,’ either in the proper sense or in the pejorative diabolist sense. Needless to say, there has never been a ‘witching hour.’

There was a henostic’s hour, mind. Four of them, actually — one for the two daily solstices at noon and midnight, when the world was as full and devoid of light as it got, respectively, and one for the two daily equinoxes at dawn and twilight, when light and darkness were in balance. That’s really what they’re thinking of. You probably haven’t heard of the henostic’s hour, but then history isn’t what it used to be.

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From the Vault: Langue

Another fragment. Another incomplete story. Distinctive this time because A) I have absolutely no recollection of writing it (though it’s clearly something I wrote) and B) I have absolutely no idea where I was going with it. But it seems interesting to me.

In a way, it’s more stock than a lot of what I’ve written, particularly for fantasy. At the same time, there’s more of a horror dimension than a lot of my fantasy work.

It’s also distinctive because it’s one of the few stories to involve Fort Baxter, a fictional Maine town along the Canadian border, meant to be my home town of Fort Kent with serial numbers filed sort of off and a fresh coat of paint over it.

I think I probably wrote this while I was finishing up college. I was really into the idea of language critical theory/linguistic critical theory/the sign-significator-significated trichotomy for a while then. I’m a little surprised this isn’t more pretentious than it is as a result.

Apropos of nothing, the lead is named Karin MacDougal.  In 1997, a Karen McDougal became a somewhat more-famous-than-usual Playboy Playmate and then Playmate of the Year. From the tone of this piece, I believe it was written at least four and possibly more years before 1997, so despite the name, this is not an homage to a hot chick.

Also apropos of nothing, I used to make homemade hot cocoa like is described in here.

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A Judgment of History

For those tired of In Nomine fan fiction, I offer up this Nobilis fan fiction, for this our Random Thursday.

Nobilis is one of the primary influences on my Mythology series, though it is (generally) a darker take on it. Humanity mixes with the divine, assuming Estates and powers, and entering into a very genteel warfare between different ‘familias’ of nobility among the demigods.

This is as typical a Nobilis story as I can think of. And I think it stands on its own. If not… um… well, please accept my hope that you win the lottery.

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Death is a Moving Target

Not too long ago, David Malki !, Ryan North and Matthew Bennardo put out a call of submissions for a new high concept short story collection called Machine of Death. The concept was simple. A machine had been invented that would give a simple, albeit mysterious, answer to the question “how am I going to die?” It was based on an entry in Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics.

I was fascinated, because I had always enjoyed the classic Heinlein short story “Life Line.” Which was based on the invention of a machine that would tell you exactly when you would die. And was the first short story Heinlein ever published.

So I lept into writing a story to submit for the collection. And after forty-five hundred words it was ready.

The problem was, I had written an updating of “Life Line,” operating from an entirely different principle. See, “Life Line” had detailed the reaction of the world — most exactly the insurance industry — into this discovery of the moment of death. And that fascinated me. Besides, I didn’t think there were enough dark fantasy/sf stories about actuaries.

Which meant my high concept wasn’t the high concept. I had a story about a machine that would predict the moment of death, barring lifestyle change or misadventure.

So I wrote another story to submit. And then, right as it was ready for submission (and had been read by several people with advice), I hit the same dry period that the rest of my writing and online contact hit, and so it never went to them. Ah well, I’ll include it here sometime.

In the meantime, please enjoy “Death is a Moving Target.”

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Antonio: The Calabite’s Song

It’s storytelling day! And this is a bit different for it — this is an In Nomine piece — a bit of fan fiction. And who’s to say I can’t post some fan fiction now and again? It’s long — novella length, around twelve thousand words. Normally, I’d break it into more than one part for this venue, but I think it works better in its full form.

I actually think this is a pretty good story. Good enough that I’m sad it has absolutely no prospects for sale, since it’s fan fiction and it’s very vested in the In Nomine intellectual property. It’s also something I wrote as kind of a culmination on the work I did on In Nomine Superiors 4: Rogues to Riches. I wrote an extended writeup of Alaemon, the Demon Prince of Secrets.

This is a story of one Alaemon’s demons. A calabite — one of the demons of destruction, who can destroy with a glance (though the universe — or Symphony — would take notice). Paranoia is a part of daily life in Alaemon’s Conspiracy.

Most everything else should be self explanatory. If not, ask a question in comments and I’ll try to answer it.

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Gossamer Reflections: Whisperdance

It’s Storytelling day, and so here’s a story for you, the kids at home. It’s the first of my short Gossamer Reflections stories.

The laws of Gossamer Commons are universal ones, and they’re harsh. Here’s a brief story on that theme. Continue reading →