Flash Fiction & Vignettes

Flash Fiction & Vignettes

Posted on Dec 22nd, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
Thomas Wiloch


Decide which one you are, I said, motioning to the objects on the table.
He looked them over and pointed to a glass bell.
This one? I asked.
He nodded.
I picked up the glass bell and rang it gently. The ring brought tears to his eyes.
Very good, I told him. Very good, indeed. You made a good choice.
I dropped the bell on the concrete floor where it shattered.
Now, I asked, motioning to the remaining objects on the table, now which one are you?  

Jorge Luis Borges


In my childhood I was a fervent worshiper of the tiger-not the jaguar, that spotted “tiger” that inhabits the floating islands of water hyacinths along the Parana and the tangled wilderness of the Amazon, but the true tiger, the striped Asian breed that can be faced only by men of war, in a castle atop an elephant. I would stand for hours on end before one of the cages at the zoo; I would rank vast encyclopedias and natural history books by the splendor of their tigers. (I still remember those pictures, I who cannot recall without error a woman’s brow or smile.) My childhood outgrown, the tigers and my passion for them faded, but they are still in my dreams. In that underground sea or chaos, they still endure. As I sleep I am drawn into some dream or other, and suddenly I realize that it’s a dream. At those moments, I often think: This is a dream, a pure diversion of my will, and since I have unlimited power, I am going to bring forth a tiger.

Oh, incompetence! My dreams never seen to engender the creature I so hunger for. The tiger does appear, but it is all dried up, or it’s flimsy-looking, or it has impure vagaries of shape or an unacceptable size, or it’s altogether too ephemeral, or it looks more like a dog or bird than like a tiger.

Franz Kafka

The Trees

For we are like tree trunks in the snow. In appearance they lie sleekly and a little push should be enough to set them rolling. No, it can’t be done, for they are firmly wedded to the ground. But see, even that is only appearance.

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Milk by Barry Yourgrau

Milk by Barry Yourgrau

Posted on Dec 14th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade

by Barry Yourgrau
On a bet a man climbs inside a cow. Once there he decides to stay. The cow’s interior is warm and soft, although very dark. But the man’s eyes get by with the driblets of light that do manage to seep in. Food is no problem: there’s milk and more milk. ‘Fresher than diary fresh,’ the man wisecracks to himself, chuckling, as he pulls off his socks. No need for clothes, after all, so why bother keeping them on? He bundles them up and stuffs them down the appropriate cavity, thinking slyly of how they’ll end up.
Then he lies back and dozes. The movements of the cow, now that’s she quieted down, are lulling. The man’s friends are still out there, beside themselves: every once in a while they band their hoarse voices into a collective shriek of protest – protest from the world of sanity and reality. But their cries grow hoarser and feebler, and then disappear altogether into the milky stomach mucus with which the man loads up his ears. Slowly, with contented grace of a baby, he falls into a deep sleep.
Outside the sun creeps away and the moon climbs up over the pasture. The cow wanders slowly, still cautious in her gait, chewing cud. Finally she sinks with heavy care onto the grass, well away from the rest of the herd. Her large, sensitive eyes brim with concern as she tries to fathom her new fate and responsibility.

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Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 10 hours later

Nicole said

Well, I just had to look this guy up, what a story. He looks like a real original – have you read many of his books?

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 13 hours later

Marmalade said

I’ve only read one book of his which this story comes from. I’ve had that book for years, and I keep intending to buy more of his books. He is a favorite author of mine and a favorite author of my friend. The stories that I’ve read of his are short, but they work perfectly. They capture the feeling of a dream like no other author I know of. And I love the playful imagination.

I offered up this story because it relates to my thinking about all that I enjoy. So this goes along with all those tragic romance videos. This was probably the first story I read by Yourgrau and its what made me immediately appreciate his writing.

I’d put Yourgrau in a similar category as Kafka. Kafka is darker and more profound. However, despite their sometimes light playfulness, Yourgrau’s stories can have quite the emotional impact.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

I see what you mean about him being like Kafka but much more playful and light… and why you would enjoy him so much 🙂

Sling Blade meets Naked Lunch

“He’s just a boy. Mmm hmm….”
“What in the hell you doin’ with that gun? ”
“I don’t rightly know. I just kinda woke up a-holding it.”
“What the fuck you think he’s doin’ with that gun?”
“Some people call it a gun.  I call it a fire stick.  I aim it’s about time to do our William Tell Routine.”
“Hmm… I shouldn’t done that, he was just a boy, poor little feller.”
 – – – 

 “Now, repeat after me: A dimwitted southerner is the best all-round cover an agent ever had.”
“I’ve heard it said that a-way.  Hmmm, biscuits and bug powder.”
“Say, mister.  Could you rub some of that mustard on my lips?”
“Hmm… funny.  Not funny ha ha.  Funny queer.  Reckon I’ll have to get used to looking at homo-erotic bugs.”
“Guess you will.”
“Reckon I’ll have to get used to them looking at me too.”
“Better go get your things.’
“Ain’t got nothing but that pillowcase.”
“What’s in the pillowcase?”
“Hmm… reckon it’s the remains of my last writing machine.”
“Better go get it.”
“All right, then.”
 – – –

“They say you murdered your momma. Is that true?”
“Hmm… reckon it wadn’t an accident.  Hmm mmm.”
“If you had it to do over again, would you do it the same way?”
“I reckon I would.”
“I’ve been killing my own mother slowly over a period of years.”
“Well, not intentionally. I mean, on the level of conscious intention, it’s insane, monstrous.”
“Reckon I hear’d ya say it.  Hmmm…”
“Not consciously. This is all happening telepathically, non-consciously.”
“Whad’ya mean?”
“If you look carefully at my lips, you’ll realize that I’m actually saying something else.”
“I like the way you talk.”
 – – –
“What is the purpose of your visit?”
“I aim to kill you.”
How do I know you are really a killer?
“Well, I have a slingblade.  Hmm.  Some people call it a slingblade.  I call it a head chopper.”
“That’s not good enough.  Show me.”
*whack* *whack*
“Am I dead yet?”
“Almost.  Hmm mmm.”
 – – –

“Welcome… to the mental institute.”
“Hmm… mental institute.”

Christian Soul Harvest

In my tireless studies and observations, I’ve discovered a covert plot by Christians to take over the world.  I realize that some would say that it’s not very covert and I would merely counter that the Christians are simply being sneaky by hiding in plain sight their evil plans.  Yes, Christians want to “convert” by any means necessary the last of the free people of the world, but that isn’t all they want.  The Christians want our souls, every last one of them.

I became aware of this nefarious scheme when studying the arcane intricacies of Christian theology and other brainwashing techniques.  Specifically, I was studying the secret connections between Christians and their alien masters… indeed, these alien masters are the very same angelic archons that have been abducting and anally-probing innocent people for centuries now.  It all became apparent when Constantine came to power.  Like many others, he was a human-alien hybrid.  Ever since Jesus ascended (or was it an abduction?) from Earth, the Greys have been working with the Reptilians in their manipulations of human genetics.  They’re attempting to create soulless organisms that they can use as a slave race to mine gold.  We humans (or rather our animal biology) actually descended from slaves, but these slaves upon coming to Earth gained the souls that become trapped in their body forms.  These souls are even more precious than gold and so the aliens have been devising ways of harvesting these souls, our souls.

So, they used Constantine to gain control of political power Christianity and enforce upon it the alien agenda.  The most important action was undermining the belief in reincarnation.  People of many faiths around the world have believed that souls came back with each new generation, but if souls were able to simply take up new bodies the aliens wouldn’t be able to harvest them.  Christian theology was perfect for their evil plans and so it was through Christianity that alien agenda would be implemented.  Of course, Christian theology was perfect because they had been influencing humans for many centuries.  First, they made the Jews the “chosen” people and by means of monotheism they were able to submit beneath their power these unruly tribal people.  The problem was that the human souls kept rebelling.  The Gnostics nobly fought back against the Archonic powers, but a few carefully placed hybrid heresiologists took care of the Gnostic problem.  It was easy for them to fully take over Christianity after that.

The ending of the belief in reincarnation was the lynch-pin.  Once a person became converted, their soul was trapped and couldn’t escape into another body.  As Christians died, they collected these souls in their mother-ship and not in heaven as the brainwashed Christians had been told.  This arrangement worked well, but these alien overlords were greedy for even more souls.  They could only increase their soul harvest by increasing the number of Christians being born.  In concert with the ending of reincarnation for Christians, the aliens had the Church officials enforce dogmas that would promote the birth rate.  The aliens for certain were pro-life… if being a slave to these ruthless masters could be considered “life”.  As more Christians were born, the souls had to come from somewhere and in fact they came from still free Pagan cultures.  The Pagans could still reincarnate, but using deception the aliens were able to entrap the returning Pagan souls in Christian bodies.  It was the perfect scheme.  By the time the Pagan souls realized what happened, it was too late.  These Pagan ensouled children were properly brainwashed and all of the escape routes were sealed.  Having lived freely for thousands of lifetimes, these poor souls would never know freedom again.

This is only the first phase of their creating soulless slaves.  The various Pagan people also were giving birth to children and the world population was increasing, but the number of souls being reborn was decreasing.  What this meant was that an ever larger number of Pagan children were being born without souls.  This has been going on for so many centuries now that few souls are left.  The last of us have tried to remain hidden, but the power of the aliens has become almost complete.  Their agents are in control of all of the world’s governments and they have even now infiltrated the last refuges of the Pagan religions.  Most of us free souls have decided to be born into atheist families as it’s the only way we can ensure our own protection.  But the aliens won’t be satisfied until they’ve entrapped every last one of us.  I don’t know how much longer we can hold out.

War of the Krishnamurtis: A Tale of Magic and Horror

It’s The Oprah Winfrey Show.  The camera focuses in.  Oprah’s head bobs back and forth.  If you look closely, it almost seems there are cords rising above Oprah’s oddly slumped form, but maybe it’s just a trick of the light.  She smiles at the crowd, a toothy smile that seems stiff and unchanging.  The crowd applauds.  The camera pans out.  In the background, some of the crowd can be seen.   Their heads also bob back and forth, but there is one head that stands out for it doesn’t move at all.  This person has a sickly yellow tint to his skin.  Is it just the bright lighting?  And is that a Nazi uniform he is wearing?

This is all happening on the t.v. screen in a couple’s bedroom.  The husband sits quietly on his side of the bed.  He thinks to himself that he’d like to have sex before going to sleep, but his wife is busy on her side of the bed.  She is working on some needlework or something stupid like that.  And she won’t let him watch anything else even though she has this episode recorded.  Their child is in the room next to theirs quietly asleep or so they think.  Unheard against the noise of Oprah and her crowd, the window in the child’s room slides open.  Moments later, the window slides shut again.  Whatever it is that is now in the child’s bed is most definitely not the child.

This must be the work of J.K. Rowling. 

But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.  Let me explain how this all came about.

Certain Christians had noted the subliminal messages that had been appearing regularly in the Harry Potter books, but no one believed them.  Although these wary Christians were correct that a covert plan was in place, they were wrong about it’s purposes.  Just because Rowling wrote about witches and wizards, didn’t mean she was doing the devil’s work.  In fact, she was working for a disembodied spirit which was neither a demon nor any other minion of the devil.  At first, Rowling merely noticed odd thoughts and images appearing in her mind, but slowly she recognized that a voice was speaking to her.  She listened to the voice and she came to know that it was the voice of Jiddu Krishnamurti.  He explained everything to her and she understood what she had to do.

Now, after the years of subliminally influencing the world’s children, she had stolen Santa’s sleigh (it’s a long story… Santa is splayed on the bed with his arms and legs tied to the posts.  “You said you loved me.”  Rowling momentarily turns towards him before walking out the door.  “Yes, I do love you.  Everyone loves Santa.  But I don’t love you like that.”)  She felt bad about stealing Santa’s sleigh, but it was necessary.  She also needed his magical toy sack.  She had dumped out all of the toys and it took her awhile to gather up Santa’s little helpers and stuff them in.  The elves were fast, but they’re mindless little creatures.  With Harry Potter’s help she was able to round up a few thousand of them.  Before setting out on her magical sleigh ride, she had Harry flash the secret signal.  A large lightning bolt appeared in the sky.  Children across the world awoke and silently slipped to their windows opening them.  With Santa’s magic sleigh, it took no time at all.  She gathered up all of the children and in each of their places she put an elf.  Meanwhile, Harry put a spell on the parents so they would think the elves were their children, but it probably wasn’t necessary as Muggles are rather oblivious to anything outside the normal. 

Few know that it’s Jiddu Krishnamurti who was the inspiration for the character Dumbledore, but it’s not so surprising once you realize how Dumbledore is truly the most powerful wizard.  Jiddu was as a child prepared for the role of world teacher by the Theosophists in India.  He later on declined to fulfill this mission.  However, he came to realize that he couldn’t avoid his fate forever.  Even in death, his fate had to be fulfilled.  And so his soul stuck in limbo was unable to ascend.  He had waited in that state for many years until he sensed a disturbance in the force.  He used his Jedi skills to sense the cause and what he sensed was the dark side.  But who was behind it?  Was it a Sith or was it Sauron or was it something even darker?  He wondered if it was possible that his old nemesis had returned.  But how could U.G. Krishnamurti be back in the world.  During his life U.G. had been known as the anti-Krishnamurti, but now was he returning as the anti-Christ?  This could not bode well for the world.  If he had returned, it was a great sorcerer who conjured such a feat.  Who else could it be but Aleister Crowley, “The Beast” himself?  Who ever it might be, he was hiding his powers well for Jiddu couldn’t sense anything clearly.  He only knew that he must discover what nefarious scheme was unfolding.  But he was stuck in limbo.  How would he warn the world?  That was when he began through great effort to implant ideas into an unemployed mother.  She would be the vessel for his plan.  She would write children’s stories.

Jiddu’s intuition was correct.  It was Crowley behind it all and Crowley indeed had resurrected the anti-Krishnamurti.  Crowley was still angry about Jiddu having been prepared for the role of World Teacher.  Everyone knew that Crowley had true power, but at the time Jiddu was just some snotty little kid.  Jiddu was a joke and then he dismisses it all as if it meant nothing.  Crowley would have his vengeance and the world would know his greatness.  Crowley too had waited for years in the shadows of limbo, but unlike Jiddu he did so by his own choice.  He was waiting for his opportunity and now the time had arrived.  A fiction writer by the name of Thomas Ligotti had a mind darkened from years of despair.  It was easy for Crowley to nudge Ligotti’s natural tendencies towards even darker thoughts.  Crowley slowly took form in Ligotti’s mind.  At first, he was only a shadow, a darkness at the edge of the writer’s awareness.  Crowley didn’t want to be noticed for it would be easier to accomplish  his evil deeds if he remained a whisper barely heard.  He gently led the writer’s mind to the works of U.G. Krishnamurti.  The seed was planted.  In the body of Ligotti, he would bring back the soul of the anti-Krishnamurti.  A small press writer such as this would make for the perfect tool.  No one would even notice the subtle changes in his personality.  No one would put up a great fuss when he stopped writing his dark tales.  The mind of Ligotti was needed for greater visions.

Yes, Crowley’s visions were great and resurrecting the anti-Krishnamurti was just the beginning.  Ligotti was mostly unknown in the world, but the Beast would make him quite the successful organism.  It took only a small effort to get Oprah to interview Cormac McCarthy, but it would take a more powerful intervention to get Ligotti on the show.  Before that could be accomplished he had to awaken his army of Nazi zombies.  Their corpses were entombed in a U-boat on the ocean floor.  It was actually much more difficult to manipulate the flesh of the dead than the flesh of the living, but ultimately a body was a body, just a meat puppet waiting for its strings to be pulled.  He released his army of Nazi zombies from their tomb and he marched them across the ocean to the shore of America.  Once upon dry land, his army wreaked havoc.  They killed everyone in their path and those who hadn’t been entirely ripped apart themselves became zombies.  But no one noticed and there were no news flashes, no military response.  People once bitten by a zombie continue on as they were before… mowing their lawns, walking their dogs, going to work.  In fact, they become superior organisms without the disease that is the mind. 

Crowley thought it might be tricky placing one of the Nazi zombies onto the Oprah show, but it turned out her whole audience was basically already zombified.  He had his Nazi zombie infiltrator sneak into her dressing room and lie in wait.  Once bitten, she of course continued on as before, but there were certain differences that an intelligent observer might notice if they accidentally turned on her show while flipping through the channels.  For one, she lost all of her excess weight and actually kept it off.  She found her hunger for empty calories was gone and now there was just an emptiness inside her, an emptiness that couldn’t be filled… she was the emptiness and the emptiness was a shadow, a darkness.  Shortly after this, all of Ligotti’s books appeared in her mailbox.  They were just horror stories which everyone knows are the lowest of the low, but somehow they spoke to her.  Ligotti’s stories, you might say, got under her skin.  The next time she saw Dr. Phil, after biting him, she introduced him to the work of Ligotti.  The disease of his own mind having been replaced with the shadow, the darkness, he too found these horror stories strangely alluring.  Also, Phil’s counseling became even more effective as he dispensed with words and simply started biting those seeking his help.

In this way, a new phase in Oprah’s career began.  Her show took on new life.  And Crowley’s scheme was now in full force.  Would Jiddu Krishnamurti be able to stop him?  One would think an army of children, even if led by Harry Potter himself, would be no match for an army of Nazi zombies and the minions of the Oprah show… but it’s easy to forget how vicious little children can be.  The Nazi zombie army was decimated easily.  However, Oprah’s followers were larger in number and many of them escaped.  Afterwards, Rowling returned the children to their houses and returned the elves to Santa.  As parents watched Oprah, their sweet little children snuck up behind them and slit their throats.  Unfortunately, many of Oprah’s followers were pathetic losers who lived alone and so had no children.  The war would have to continue for many years to come.  Meanwhile, Oprah would be able to help many more people to become successful organisms.  Some of the children fearing what would become of them when they grew up decided drastic measures were in order.  The children made their way to small towns all over the Midwest.  Meeting secretly in cornfields, they formed their new religion.  They became called the Children of the Corn.  Other children who were less fond of corn managed to escape into Never Never Land where it is said that they have continued their fight but now they battle with pirates… it’s unkown if these are zombie pirates or just the regular kind.

Even these many years later, quite a few people still wonder what became of Ligotti.  During the great war, he had faced Harry Potter in battle.  It’s true that Ligotti was no great sorcerer, but he was possessed by the soul of the anti-Krishnamurti which wasn’t something to be easily defeated.  Witnesses claim that all they saw were great flashes of light and then Harry Potter was standing alone.  Some say they saw the form of Dumbledore moments before this, but others say he is merely a fictional character from a story.  Whatever may be the case, when it all ended, Harry Potter stood by himself with his famous wand in hand.  Some believe that Ligotti merely retreated to some secret lair where he may or may not be writing new fiction stories as we speak.  Others claim that he simply dissipated his form and merged into the shadow, the darkness that Oprah is now always preaching about.  However, it’s small satisfaction for Ligotti’s loyal fans to have his words live on in the voice of Oprah.  They wait… their only hope being that one day their dark lord will return.  But Harry Potter waits as well training a new generation of wizards in the cornfields of Iowa.  Others look even further into the future and they wait for a great prophet who will be born of a virgin in these very lands of Iowa.  They say his name will be James T. Skywalker and that the force will be strong with him.  They say he will lead us all to the stars.  The fans of Ligotti, however, say that there is no escape, that the darkness, the shadow will follow us even into the vacuum of outerspace.

The Many Rooms of Time (fiction by Ben Steele)

He had inherited this old house from a side of the family he didn’t even know existed. Apparently, his name had been at the end of a long list of heirs. It was fortunate for he needed a place to stay. His landlord, prior landlord that is, had recently evicted him. He had taken in a stray cat and cats were prohibited… it said so in the lease. So, he arrived at this house, just himself and the cat. The cat promptly disappeared, surely exploring as cats like to do. He decided he should also explore as it was a very large house.

He went from the foyer to a side room to a dining room to a kitchen, every room with doors leading to other rooms and in every room clocks: cuckoo clocks, massive grandfather clocks, simple wall clocks, and even a few hourglasses mostly in the kitchen. He finally came to a room that had display cases of wrist watches, pocket watches, and unusual devices that he thought might be timers. Looking at these time pieces, he realized all of them were stopped. He now wandered upstairs and it was beginning to dawn on him that none of them worked. There was a loose pattern to the times they were stopped at as if each room was not only stale with settled dust but also with settled time.

He now stood in what must have once been a bedroom. A table with a mirror, where he imagined a woman might have sat to comb her hair, had become cluttered with small clocks of the sort found in souvenier shops. These clocks were held by small figurines or enclosed in globes, and they were all set a little before five as if they waited to be called down for dinner.

Walking on, he noticed that each room was captured in its particular moment. When he made his way to the attic, even the clocks in boxes were stuck in their shared crevice of time. He kept mental notes of these times hoping he might discover an order to it all, but he couldn’t grasp why a room with clocks set almost in unison at quarter after 9 pm was next to a room with clocks set at times dispersed over the hours of late morning. After a while, he began to notice something or rather a lack of something. No clock or time piece in any room was set between the hours of 2 and 3 in the am.

Continuing to wander, he ended up in a wing of the third floor. He came to the last room he had yet to enter which was at the back of the house. The door was part way open and it creaked as he stepped inside. This room was furnished with just a bed and a bedstand, but more importantly there were no clocks. He was so struck by this oddity that he didn’t initially notice the cat curled upon the bedcover. The contented feline purred and squinted up at him.

He suddenly realized how tired he was. The time had slipped by and it was now quite late. Sitting down at the edge of the bed, he tugged his shoes off placing them upon the floor and he unstrapped his wrist watch laying it upon the bed stand. He lay back, the bed felt so comforting. The purring of the cat fell in sync with his own breathing. In a half-dream state, these sounds slowly merged into the clicking of gears and the whirring of springs. As he further settled into the soft mattress, it felt as if the whole house shifted ever so slightly… but he was so deeply asleep within a moment of time that he didn’t even hear the clang of chimes and other distant clamoring noise.

Mother’s Voice (fiction by Ben Steele)

I’m standing in a kitchen, but it isn’t familiar.  I’m on the phone talking to my mother, but she isn’t my mother… she is all mothers, a piecemeal recollection of primal longings for mother.  Her voice is, at first, the voice of a mother from a tv show… now, shifting, the voice of the mother of a childhood friend.

I’m so focused on this voice that I’m barely aware of the kitchen, but I sense there are children nearby, my children.  I too am a mother.

The cord to the phone lengthens as I feel myself moving (stepping?) backwards across the kitchen floor.  In the periphery of my vision, I see flickers of movement.  I worry about the children getting tangled in the phone line.

Then, as if stepping back onto stairs that aren’t there, I’m falling.  It must be the basement I’m falling into… oh yes, there is the door to the kitchen, a framing of light.  I clutch the phone tightly, the cord still connecting me to the light above.

“Mother, are you there?”  I hear her breathing, her heartbeat.  I grip the phone against my cheek as if it were my mother’s breast.  I can now see where I am.  I’m falling down a hole, the walls almost within reach.  Faces appear in the walls, strange faces melting into one another.  They luminesce like dying lightbulbs, but when they smile and giggle I know they are my children.  I still clutch the phone and the line still stretches upwards.  I know the cord will only stretch so far before breaking.  Should I let go?