Me Took (Extract 1)

Shot through the head he trembled like a spastic limb, cut loose from the control of his master, another corpse that finally realised it was dead. The personality shifted into the maggot in his eyeball and left him like it were leaving an apple. Exodus meant finding some other corpse to occupy — never exactly the Promised Land but it was as close as a zombie ever got to being Christ-like or Lazarus if that was too lofty an ambition.

Fahrenheit was a killer of things supernatural. Some might have thought this would make him a really interesting guy to be around but he was one of the worst conversationalists in the history of human speech. Words seemed to fall from his mouth in a jumble no matter how much effort he put into organising them semantically and syntactically beforehand. Killing things was about all he was really good for — he was as much a machine as the gun he was firing.

Since the plague had leapt up from the avian species it had dominated for almost ten years previous, decimating all the wildfowl and domestic birds, earning it the name Headless Chicken, the number of zombies seemed to have grown exponentially. It was strange to think that someone had worked out a way to tap into the brain frequencies of the recently undead and actually become a zombie lord. Still, it was no stranger than the fact that there were actually zombies.

Mandrake Eldritch was pretty close to death himself by all accounts — he was looking to the resurrection of the zombies as holding the key to his own intricate problem with mortality. He had been raiding scientific institutes that were researching anything from particle physics to stem-cells, to DNA sequences. To put it plainly Eldritch was clutching at straws.

At least there was one good thing about the kind of egotistical criminal maniacs of the type that Eldritch was — you didn’t have to go looking for the bastards because they craved the spotlight. Eldritch constantly sought to set himself up on centre stage in the world’s affairs and controlling the zombie horde seemed a perfect away to do that. Whereas before he had been just a decrepit old man now he was someone important. Fahrenheit would be happy to put an end to the miserable old fucker’s life.

One zombie did not a mission make. It was boring when there weren’t more of the critters to despatch and some of that boredom originated in the fact that it meant he had to do the thing solo. If there was a whole nest of the buggers then they would send Corday out with him. Corday was funny — a real stand-up. sure, when he had first discovered that he was being partnered by a woman he wasn’t happy, but the misogynist had been beaten out of him by being saved by this woman on more than one occasion where his inattention to detail had got him stuck in some serious shit. He radioed in his success and made his way over to the ATV. He poked his index finger in the lock and it scanned him and allowed entrance. He set it on autopilot and moved into the back to go and have a piss — his appointment with the undead had been moved forward by the inconsiderate grave haunter and he had been caught short.

It was a twenty minute drive, ten minutes to get through security, and fifteen minutes to pass through the decontamination process. When all that rigmarole had been gone through, Fahrenheit made his way to the briefing room for a hastily scheduled meeting.

‘Hey, John, how goes it?’
‘Fine, Fahrenheit,’ he paused ‘well, actually, pretty shitty. Eldritch sent his army tearing through a cancer research facility — not one single person left alive.’
‘What was he after?’
‘That’s what this meeting’s about.’
‘Oh, ok.’

Fahrenheit spotted Corday across the room — she held up a polystyrene cup which he supposed to contain his preferred blend of latte with some cheap whiskey swirling through it. He pushed his way through the group that had assembled; all the techs with their electronic notepads and such. He sat down next to her and inhaled sharply, disguising the act as being the result of the brisk walk over to the seat. She knew he liked her scent — that was why she wore it, because she knew it drove him wild and that amused her. She gave him his coffee.

The screen behind Commander Bruce clicked on and images of the facility that had just been attacked began to spool in an endless barrage of gore. Not one of them blinked, so inured had they become to this kind of shit since Eldritch had appeared. Fahrenheit swallowed his coffee in careless gulps. Corday watched him. They both listened to Bruce.

‘It appears that Eldritch was after some viral technology which has been developed that corrects the programming of damaged cells — he believes that he might be able to re-program his body so that he doesn’t get any older. He thinks he has found the elixir of youth. What he has stolen may represent a cure for cancer — needless to say we must get it back. Fahrenheit and Corday are to be in charge of this mission and they will have as much back-up as they require — at the moment we don’t know what that will be, so as soon as you are called on you must drop what you are doing and respond.’
Fahrenheit turned to Corday: ‘looks like our plans for the weekend have changed.’
‘What plans?’
‘For dinner.’
‘Oh, so you thought I was being serious? Silly boy. Anyway, let’s go get the briefing notes.’
‘Waste of bloody time — it’ll be the same shit we always have to do: go kill some zombies and rescue the object.’
‘Yes, but …’
‘What, I need to swot up on cancer cells?’
‘Bollocks. You get my copy; I’m going for a drink.’

Sample And Hold (1st extract)

His poet’s tongue flicked at her nipple playfully and she moaned. She was not the most attractive woman who had been at the bar but according to his Geiger counter she was the least irradiated. He wanted to fuck someone where it wasn’t the equivalent of sticking your cock in a reactor and asking the gods of this fucked up world to bless you with cancer.

He was moving around the small villages in this area stealing samples of blood wherever he could, working on a vaccine to cure a plague that was, at the moment, contained. He was a member of the skeleton crew that claimed the title CDC. Centre for disease control? What a fucking joke. The whole world was sick and they were just some kind of notional balm to stop the dying from storming the city and demanding justice from the healthy fucks who had sanctioned the wars knowing that they would remain untouched in their lead-lined bunkers.

He was healthy because his job was considered important, but the way he was going he wasn’t going to pass the medicals for much longer. He was smoking Hiroshima 45s and the occasional hydroponic weed from the great lakes cannabis factory. He took masking drugs and system purge drugs that caused irreparable cell damage but which kept him his job. The stem cell nano factory at the base of his spine was having a hard job keeping up to him. Did he want to die? Sure, who didn’t?
if you were alive in this day and age where half of the planet had been left scarred by nuclear war and you didn’t want to end it all you had to be either masochistic or retarded or both; he was none of those.

She was exhausted after he had pounded her into the mattress and fell almost immediately into a deep sleep — not a good sign as far as he was concerned. She probably had something terminal. He reached over and pressed the remote control button on his brief case that would send out the mechsquito swarm to collect the blood. He was almost done in this locale and then he could go off and start collecting samples elsewhere.

He wanted to do things and she didn’t look like she was going anywhere soon so he would have to work round her; he’d have to ignore her. That wasn’t hard for him. He barely thought of the people out here as being human — why? Because their mortality rate cancelled out there presence faster than you could do anything to help them. Still, they might hold the key to saving the remainder of the human race.

There was a pandemic brewing and, with radiation weakened systems, who would survive? There were a lot less people alive and kicking for a disease to take on these days. There was very little support infrastructure and what officials there were passed laws designed purely to keep themselves alive. Public service was a dead notion — they held office because they wanted office space and the protection that officialdom offered them and that was that. The CDC stood between them and the hordes — this was how they saw it. If you were capable of stopping a disease or curing something the masses revered you and the elite saw you as useful — you had it good on all counts.

The pandemic? They called it rape and it boiled in the blood and bodily fluids of the sex organs and only there. Why? They weren’t sure yet. Why were some spared? well, if you ignored the stupid biblical prophecies that were being bandied about by the nutjobs who still believed in a god despite all the contrary evidence, it seemed there was some unique DNA sequence that was capable of switching off the cells in the viral version and the bacteriological one. He’d analysed countless samples thus far and they hadn’t been to isolate the exact sequence. Even if they did manage to narrow that down they weren’t sure why it occurred in some people and not others. They also needed to know with what kind of frequency it occurred.

empire cyst

random patterns
are for gods and slatterns
the dance of atoms
is a repeating fractal
and none has cracked all
the codes tumbling slowly
through orbits about our heads
those superstrings are strange threads
stitched into tapestries that tatter
when we try to reconcile energy and matter

that teleological argument attracts
but every theory eventually cracks
as the flaw becomes apparent in the testing
trying to identify the states in which we’re resting
like immovable objects awaiting some catalyst
some supercollider spark of genius erupting
you’re looking in one direction and all else is missed
do you wonder about the universe you’re corrupting?
the universe will passively resist
the inquiries of a scientist
like the self-blinded man of faith
he spends his life chasing a wraith