untitled no.1

I am driving with my mother somewhere in the south or the mid-atlantic.
Not really the south or the mid-atlantic, somewhere that bears an energetic resemblance to the aforementioned but is unique in its particularities.
Quite unique, I will find.
In the back seat is a blanket covering a BB gun and a giant cap rifle, food, and various other nonessentials.
We go down the somewhat traffic ridden road and I know there are police almost everywhere, but still my mother fails to correct some sort of vague illegality that is sufficient to get us pulled over. I am disappointed.

Blue and red lights.

Crap.

We roll the windows down. A cop dressed in olive drab walks up to the back window and instantly pulls the blanket off the guns and gives me a severe look.
He knew! I am amazed.
“Why do you need these?” he accuses, handling the BB gun roughly and with an almost utter lack of gun safety.
“That’s a BB gun and the other is a cap rifle, they’re not very dangerous,” I clarify.
He eventually seems to arrive at the conclusion of what they are. I have the feeling I did not even need to tell him.
“We could have taken real guns but I thought that would be a bad idea. I’m sorry. Please.”
I am nearly on the verge of crying. I do not desire to go to jail or pay a large fine for something as typically trivial as this. My pleading is followed by silence for a few seconds.
The cop rolls the situation over in his head and seems to deduce that we are not particularly dangerous people.
“It’s not a big deal; I’ll let you off this time.” he says casually. He replaces the guns over the blanket.
“But do you know what’s up there on that hill?”
An air of mystery descends. On our right side is a large, dark hill covered with thick forest and grassy cattail marshlands leading up to it, as may be seen in parts of Pennsylvania. There is no path leading up to it and it seems exceptionally isolated from the rest of the world.
“No, I have no idea,” say I.
“I can show you,” he says, mystery thick behind his voice.
My mother is not at all interested in coming. She stays behind.
I do not know what pulls me towards the wild but it is an irresistible force and whatever is out there seems much more fascinating than the highway, and more dangerous.
We start off. The policeman begins to descend the ten foot slope directly beside the road and I follow him. He makes his own trail amongst the knee-high grasses that undulate for two-hundred feet until the more severe section of the slope upwards. After traveling increasingly far from the safety of the highway, we approach the trees and walk through them, in the midst of the dark and subconsciously-attuned woods native to this part of the country. The noises of broken sticks and crushing leaves sound.
However, I feel some sort of break in the solidity of the forest. I see light through the other side of the vegetation. The policeman smiles.
We break through the forest to a concrete ramp guarded by a chainlink fence. There is a hole in the fence that we step through. To the direct right of the slope is a large brick apartment building with faded yellow window casings on its myriad windows.
The building is clearly not being used.
I feel very apprehensive at the bizarre and monolithic feeling caused by such an object in the middle of the woods, but curiosity propels my feet nevertheless.
After mounting the incline, we turn to the right side and see another building that was being hid behind the first as we were on the ramp, and to the right of that one is yet another smaller version of the same, so that the three combine to make a U shape which we would have been on the left side of a minute ago.
We make it to the middle of these structures. They look at least seventy years old. There are stairwells down to possible entrances underground but we worry not with them.
Suddenly the policeman takes a pistol out of his holster and starts shooting at the wall and windows. 
“What are you doing?” I ask, startled. The gun seems inexplicably quieter than a real one. His aim is very specific. I am not used to policemen breaking the law.
“Look in those windows.” he says. I feel a dirge bell ring.
I can see clearly inside each of these windows. As I walk, in awe, down the side of the apartment building, I see room after room of people, motionless, going about their lives or simply sitting and staring out at whatever is in front of their windows. Young people, old men, all sorts of different inhabitants.
They are all stuck there, silent, but look as if they could suddenly move if something in the atmosphere shifted. It is so nearly like they are still alive.
“There was an accident here,” saith the policeman gravely, “A bad accident. Something happened nearby and everyone in these apartment complexes was frozen in time where they stand. It happened decades ago.”
The gravity of this dawns on me and I feel a strong sense of melancholy. It reminds me of a similar event somewhere else in the world.
“Here, take this rock lobber,” he says, out of the blue, handing me an underpowered or modified pistol. “Shoot some of them.”
I don’t know what comes over me, or if I am simply afraid to not obey, but I fire at a few of these ephemeral personages and small holes seem to appear in them where the slow rocklike projectile hits them. It is like a bizarre target gallery.
I give the gun back, wondering if I should feel guilty or contented with ending their ceaseless vigil. I cannot tell if I killed them or not, but nothing about them essentially seemed to change after being shot. 
Either way, the policeman’s habit of coming out here and regularly using this hideous place as a target gallery makes me feel nervous.
“I am going to leave,” say I.
“You should go up that path to the new civilization,” he advises. I nod. East of the apartments, further into the wilderness, lay a concrete path with a gate partially blocking it. I pass through the old gate and continue along. Rocks litter the way.
The policeman leaves and goes back to his car.
After putting some much-needed distance between me and those awful apartment buildings, I find myself curious as to what is ahead. I walk another five hundred feet.
My curiosity is satisfied as I see, far away, a small village built on top of a huge slab of concrete. A minute later I am there.
The terrain is generally somewhat flat, and the town is hemmed in by forested wilderness. The town is on the top of a hill, though, so the highest parts of the trees barely manage to rise above the settlement.
There are people here!
I find some young teen boy, somewhat overweight, and we walk along the main corridor of the town, talking about it. He seems so bored that we become friends quickly, as I am the only new thing to happen at the town in quite a while.
I ask him how the town was founded. He explains that some of the original residents from the apartment buildings managed to make it over here to start a new civilization. Now there are at least forty people in the area. I wonder how anyone could have escaped the accident.
The buildings around here are but small, blackened plank structures, but they give off a comforting if archaic energy compared to the brutalist Eastern European ambience of the last ones. I see some work being done in the area, dirt and gravel being moved, and there are several bobcats and excavators going about, doing their jobs.
Due to its remoteness, this settlement does not feel boring in the manner of some locations, but it does feel difficult to actually do much nonetheless.
We get off the beaten path and explore a fairly large cabin surrounded by woods. It has brown shingles and a single medium-sized window.
I walk up to it and peer in the window. There are many pots and pans, primitive darkwood furnishings, a few old books, and an icebox in it. But something is sitting in the chair close to the window I am looking into, on the right. A man-sized insect, a cricket or spider, or some unholy combination of man with the aforementioned. Its giant brown hairy legs splay out of myriad directions.
The thing is sitting there motionless.
“Let’s get out of here,” I say, very nervous.
“Oh yeah,” replies the boy. “Those are dangerous, we should go.”
We head, surprisingly slowly, back up the path separating us from the mainland of the town. My new friend and I mess around with gravel piles, look at construction equipment, perhaps go in a small cabin or two, and try generally to pass the time in any way we can. Sometimes we can see many people in the town and other times it looks nearly abandoned, but no reason is ever made clear as to the volatility of its rugged inhabitants.
After a while it becomes difficult to play around any more, and I do not want to retrace my steps and go back to the highway either. I feel that chapter of the adventure is over with and I am spooked still by those frozen structures.
Night is beginning to fall. It is not blurring the colors of the landscape or turning everything to black, but the carefreeness of the start of my voyage, if there ever was any, has faded away.
We are bored and feel the irresistible urge to explore more, dangerous as it may be.
Past the section with the bugman house is another turnoff into the woods, which has evidently been traveled before. We walk down the path, which heads downwards off the plateau of the town.
We come to a section where the grassy path ends and is replaced by a large square mass of concrete, fifty by fifty feet, with different rectangular shapes layered on top of it. It nearly seems like a children’s playground except for the vague eeriness and mystery surrounding its purpose.
We use it, however, for its supposed purpose and climb about on it, finding it a respite from the last events.
Then I hear something a ways behind us. Fear is in my friend’s eyes. I turn around and see, on the path coming from the town, another one of those horrid creatures. It lurches towards of with many light-brown hairy hairy arms and I don’t know how many legs.
We try to hide behind a concrete rectangle, but I hear it coming around the side and run to another shape before it sees me.
It is even more terrifying up close. I lose my friend at some point, and although I can deduce that he was not killed, I am never quite sure where he goes. My best guess is into the dark surrounding woods.
I play cat and mouse with the thing through different shapes until I eventually end up and the far end of the slab form the town. The pathway continues on further past that.
It sees me and has me cornered so that my best choice is to continue down the path.
I run.
Quickly the woods and trees go by me, for I am at top speed and jumping over logs and turning corners with an emergencial exhilaration I have rarely felt hitherto.
But it is yet behind me, and I find with horror that it is a tiny bit faster than me and is gaining ground at a tortuously slow rate. I need something to save me and at the next turn something does. An oak tree stands in the middle of the path so I barely brush by it and then put it between me and the thing as I continue running.
It smashes into the tree and falls. I look at it for a moment.
It is not dead but needs to make it off the ground before it can continue its pursuit.
I wonder what terrible accident could have caused such an abomination. The one at the apartment buildings or some sinister de-evolution from the surviving town? Or were they always in the surrounding woods?
At any rate, I continue as fast as I can and note the path’s curvature to the right. Perhaps it will eventually make a semicircle and join up with the rest of the town.
But yet again the thing is gaining on me and I run, filled with terror that I will trip up at some point and make a mistake. I am lucky, but it is only ten feet behind me.
I dodge under a branch and go around an S-bend, and see the path raise up. Five seconds later I am nearly on the level of the town again.
The creature is overrun and I make it, panting and happy to be safe again, onto the foundation of the town. The thing, evidently, is fearful of the area, for I never see it again.
And there is my friend, far away, on the top of a mound of dirt.
Finally, we are reunited, and I hope that my trials are over.

 

 

 

 

The Battle between Flea People and Mosquito People

The Flea People had always lived in relative peace, jumping about from their job to their house and back again, and then jumping wherever else they desired to go. Valuing space and privacy, they lived far from each other but in a jump or two could go visiting with their neighbors. They always had many friends. But north of their kingdom lay the desolate swamps of the Mosquito Men, vicious flying pests who spent much of their time managing blood banks, running emergency blood drives, and invading other nations in order to steal their alizarin, ferrine nectar.
Of course, the Flea People had always known they would be targeted at some point.
It was only a matter of when.

Corporal James Fixen gave his commanding officer a tour of the facility which was producing their most secret weapon.
“It’s completely classified– we’ve had psychologists, engineers, electricians, and inventors working on this thing for months. It will be the most powerful mosquito-destroying device in history. And it’s finally near completion.”
“It is impressive, all right,” replied the commander, in awe of the machine, a hundred-foot-tall glasslike rod surrounded by a sturdy metal grate with holes large enough for mosquito people to fit through. It had a few large sacks of aromatic materiel hanging at various points from the grate. He had the feeling it would be awesome when turned on.
“But do you know that it will be ready in time? I have heard bad news from the North,” said the officer somberly.
“I am not sure,” the other man was forced to admit.

A hundred miles northwards, in the diminutive town of Fleafersson, the villagers slept in damp, musty beds, windows open to the humid sanguine air. One of them, Carl, stirred in the midst of a bad dream.
“Something feels wrong,” he thought to himself, hearing a very low-pitched droning off in the distance. “But it doesn’t really sound like mosquitoes…”
The town was only twenty miles from the beginning of mosquito territory, and in it, small outgrowths of swamp fought aggressively to usurp the drier land.
Carl noticed the sound getting louder and nearly overhead.
He was afraid. Carl blinked in nervous anticipation.
A noise like a glugging of a fifty five gallon bucket sounded and the flea man watched as a veritable sea of water fell from a titanic mosquitoan airship above. The water danced slowly, beautifully, swirling into every curve and crevice possible on its way down, then it crashed with reckless force onto the flea houses and destroyed the pristine dryness of the landscape, flooding it almost instantaneously.
Carl saw the aqueous substance invade his house quickly, climbing up foot by foot until it was at his neck. He escaped out of his bedroom window and swum vigorously until he had conquered the depth of the water, his head emerging soaking from it as an idol of his bravery.
“But what about my wife…” he thought, as she had been sound asleep the whole time. A few tense moments later, she emerged from the house as well, waterlogged but alive.
Luckily for that little family, it is nearly impossible to drown a flea.

The flea army deployed a large guard to the northern border after the unsuccessful mosquito water attack.
But the enemy was not finished yet. They had a secret weapon of their own, and it was already primed for use.

A small division of guards waited in the grimy northern trenches. Their job was to observe the no-man’s-land between the two territories.
Mike shot the breeze with his friend most of the time but now he suddenly was silent. There was a noise, more vibratory and sharp then the sound of the previous attack. Mike froze, and forced himself to use all of his will to muster a cry for help.
“Anti-air! I hear planes!” he shouted. One by one, his comrades noticed and the gunners jumped into their two powerful flea cannons. They at last found the opposing assault force, no less than five large bombers.
“This is serious business!” someone yelled. Mike grabbed his gun and fired several times but the mosquito planes had so much agility they were nearly impossible to hit. They came closer and closer, but did not fire upon the fleas or drop any ordinance.
“Wait!” yelled Mike. “They’re not trying to attack us at all!” He ran towards the commander. “They’re coming for another city! If they were going to bomb us, they would have dropped them already!”
Nobody listened to the lone guard, however, as they were all too busy panicking and firing.
Before long, an anti-air gunner dialed in the sights properly and sunk one of the mosquito bombers. Greasy black smoke poured out of it as it sank slowly towards the ground, crippled. The gunner had not intended for it to be landing right on top of them.
The disabled ship fell closer and closer to the ground with screaming velocity.
“Run!” yelled Mike. He leaped two hundred yards out of the way, to safety, but some of the other soldiers were too barricaded-in or too afraid to move. The once monolithic plane shattered into bits upon contact with the ground and its payload exploded outwards in a gargantuan chemical bubble.
All the flea men hit by the chemical “medicine” were killed instantly. Mike and a handful of others looked on in horror and realized that they were the only survivors.

Far from the dangerous backwater hinterland of the northern territories was the capital of the kingdom. Leer, Most Honorable King of Fleas, sat on his brown throne and discussed public transportation with several members of his advisory board.
Suddenly, news came in of a skirmish on the northern border.
“Send reinforcements to the area,” replied the King.
“But they are coming further south. It’s not us that need reinforcing– it’s you.”
“Pah! We’re sufficiently reinforced. I told you once and I shall not tell you again, I am sending you help. Now be satisfied with it.”
The officer on the other side of the radio grunted from dissatisfaction but stayed silent to preserve his job. The King resumed his colorless conversation about various transport-related practicalities, number of collisions per year, (1375) amount of jumps required to travel five miles (the average distance to get to work, 126) and the state of air transportation. (very poor)
King Leer looked out the Royal Window and saw four giant mosquito bombers headed towards the city.
“Tell the army to man the cannons!” he commanded. King Leer knew it was already too late, though. At most they would only down half the planes before they emptied their payloads on the city. He was correct, and even worse, the planes that did get shot down did their share of damage as well.
Gigantic gravity-powered projectiles fell smoothly towards the ground in an increasingly-steeper logarithm curve. Upon contact with the ground, they deployed huge clouds of toxic smoke which overtook the streets instantly and suffocated thousands upon thousands of flea people.
“Lock down the palace!” cried the King. An assistant pressed all the emergency buttons and the windows and grates closed just as the shockwave of chems reached the grounds.
“Just in time,” whispered the King, relieved but still terrified.
A minute later, the final bomber was shot down, but the fleas had payed a terrible price; a tenth of their national population had been decimated in three short minutes.

Riding off their previous momentum, the mosquitoes buzzed towards the town of Fleafersson in myriad numbers.
The local guards and police had set up a few mechanical defense mechanisms in order to try to stem the tide, but they were obliterated by the mosquitoes’ giant superiority complex, a huge rolling machine which fired cannons and lasers and several other indescribable weapons in unfailing succession. The fleas were slowly overwhelmed, and Mike and his wife looked in at the carnage from the edge of the woods. Their enemies were breaking into houses and finding people on the street in order to stick them through with their terrible bloodsucking probisci.
The screaming was awful, and pale bloodless flea bodies littered the street.
“We have to go,” intoned Carl, and the two fleas fleed as quickly as possible, just in time to avoid becoming two more victims of the slaughter.

Wave after wave of flying terrors invaded the land, crushing the border outposts and pouring down further into the riper, less guarded cities of the central province of the kingdom.
King Leer sat pensively on his throne, and there was a knock at the palace door. They let in a very strange-looking flea, who demanded to speak directly with the king. He was escorted over forthwith.
“Who are you?” demanded King Leer.
“I am a messenger of the Most Gallant and Brave Mosquitoes, and I have come to negotiate terms of surrender, for we have already taken over nearly half of your kingdom.”
The creature handed King Leer a piece of two hundred pound weight cream paper engraved with elaborate script. The King read it over, to the dismay of his advisors.
“I do not agree with these terms, and I must speak to my advisors.”
“I am not allowed to give you much time to make you mind up. I need a decision in two hours,” replied the pesky messenger.
“I will tell you by the close of the deadline,” replied King Leer. “Now go.” He shooed him off. The King and his panel argued over what to do, whether to surrender with high benefits or fight to the bitter end or compromise. They received news shortly of yet another city being overrun and sacked by the bloodsuckers. King Leer rubbed his aching head and sighed.

At the appointed time, the flea/mosquito messenger arrived for his second visit.
“Have you made up your mind?” he inquired.
“Yes,” replied the King. “We will accept surrender with heavy beneficial provisions. If you do not agree with these terms, we will keep fighting until we cannot fight any more.”
“And what are these terms?” asked the messenger, irritated. The King and his panel explained them all, and was countered by opposing propositions. Slowly, they worked through the details and ended up with a tolerable document.
The messenger slid the paper to the King and handed him a pen.
One last time, he read over the words, and the started pangs in his heart. But reluctantly, he began to bring pen to paper.
Then a man recognizable as the research-and-development corporal appeared at the front door and ran in an urgent rush towards the King. He stopped signing.
“King Leer, sir! We have completed the project!” he said, smiling.
“I do not believe it!” The King stopped the pen instantly.
“Yes, it is ready for deployment right now. Who is this fellow here?” he asked, meaning the strangely-dressed messenger.
“He need not be here. He is a vassal of the Mosquitoes.”
The corporal’s jaw dropped. Knowing he had no other choice, not about to wait around for the others, he pulled out his pistol and fired three times at the messenger, who tried to jump away but was executed promptly upon landing by the palace guards. The King tore up the surrender document.
“Give ’em hell,” he ordered, grimacing.

The gigantic secret weapon was rolled out by a thousand fleas onto the largest public park in the capital. It was difficult finding a 480-volt plug to conduct the power, but with the help of creative thinking and a dozen extension cords, the corporal was able to pull the power lever. The machine turned on in a beautiful hazy purple light. A frenetic electrical pulsation began. Already, nearby mosquitoes found themselves attracted to the machine.
“So what exactly does it DO?” asked the King, who could see the faraway device from his throne room.
“I’m not sure,” replied an advisor.
Then the King observed a wispy little mosquito moving closer and closer to the device as though it was on autopilot. when he finally hit it
CRACK!
he was electrocuted and fell hopelessly to the ground, dead and shriveled up by the grievous shock. The bait pouches were working perfectly; before long every enemy in a ten mile radius was on their way to certain destruction. The King smiled widely and joy welled up inside him every time he heard the telltale clamorous sizzling.

An infantry counter offensive was created and the rest of the enemies were pushed back and eliminated a day later.
The fleas had won, and the Kingdom was free, due to the all-powerful bug zapper.

And far to the north, Carl and his partner observed, from the wilderness, every occupying mosquito be pulled by some invisible stimuli or order towards the south.
Knowing it was now safe, they entered their town, which was a ruin from all the fighting and maiming that had occurred so recently. Bob, Jane, Tristan, Larry, Peter, Paul, Rob, and Wendy were all dead, laying there in lifeless piles. And those were just the ones Carl could quickly identify.
There were just as many crushed, limb-filled mosquito corpses.
Carl shuddered.
“All this so they could feed their kids,” he said wistfully.
There was a moment of silence.
“That is the cost of war,” replied his wife.

 

The Gamer

Azure James

 
In the depths of a dark video game cafe, sharp sapphire light illuminated the recesses of towered hard disks and shelves of computer accessories, and the gamers Kim and Joel sat two chairs away from each other. But they were better known by their game names, pocketmaster1345 and xxxxxKIMPTxxxxx. They were in the midst of practicing for another competitive tournament at some point in the future. There were many other players in the room who did not have the sophisticated and cool atmosphere of true gaming veterans, and Kim and Joel looked down on them as casuals.
It was eight at night.
“Headshot!” Kim said into his microphone, and Joel heard him through his headset. Joel jumped around a building corner, dove to the ground, and noscoped three enemies in a row. Dead bodies piled on the ground. Joel got up and ran into cover, throwing two grenades incredibly far into some random location in enemy territory. He saw Kim out of the corner of his eye enter the building to the right of him, about to go in deep and cut around the enemy’s flank.
Kim and Joel communicated much better than most Insane Warbattles VI players, and used myriad strategies to help them in their pursuit of gaming infamy.
They had been in countless tournaments together, and though Joel entertained some thoughts of getting married and having a life outside of gaming, Kim lived for it and almost never did anything else.
But they were indisputably both extremely skilled.
Joel’s armament was usually a SCAR with extended barrel and green 2x magnification sight and a USP extended mag for backup. His comrade used a bolt-action sniper rifle and dual M9 pistols. But on occasion, as a joke, Joel would pull out his difficult-to-use middle finger cannon that he had got as a prize for prestiging eleven times. That was a long time ago.

Time had passed, but the players scarcely noticed. They were now the only people there except the absentminded store clerk, as it was three in the morning. Joel tried to recollect when they had first entered the cafe– it was perhaps a day or a day and a half ago? They played on.
“Stay behind that door, and I’ll cover the other exit,” said Kim, his voice sounding weaker than usual. They hadn’t been communicating as much lately.
An enemy went through the door and was in the process of spinning around and shooting at Joel when he took two slugs to the chest and collapsed.
They had won. Patriotic music played and the soldier with the most kills was displayed.
Now there was a loading time between battles, and they were going to be on the Soviet side. Joel took a swig of Mtn Dew, which used to be Mountain Dew, when they had first picked up their controllers.
Memories of some of their earlier tournaments suddenly flooded Joel’s mind, all the fun they’d had and how difficult it all was. How exciting it had been to prepare, and the thought that all of their enemies had spent just as much time getting ready as them!
Joel worried a little that Kim wasn’t eating much. He never ate a lot and often lost a lot of weight before a competition.
Joel’s character’s head exploded and he fell to the ground. He was getting way too distracted. The young man promised to himself to focus more from then on. Suddenly, Kim’s voice came on again.
“I’m getting tired, maybe we should close this up at the end of this battle.”
Kim was always subtle and a little bit submissive. He sounded exhausted.
“I don’t think so,” replied Joel, “I’m three quarters to level 176 and I should get there before the weekend. What do you think?”
“I’m not sure…”
“Come on,” replied Joel, brushing it off.
“Ok,” said his friend.
They continued on, playing on top of ships, on the roofs of tall buildings, and even in the inside of submarines where stray bullets caused flooding. Their battle orders and general chatter had slowed down and completely stopped a while ago. Joel was skilled enough that he could still play very well, however.
It was eight in the morning and a small but increasing amount of light poured in from the alien outside world. It took Joel’s attention away from what he was doing for a few moments. He actually enjoyed looking from a hole in the curtains at the orange sunlight. He detected a bad odor, surprisingly it was even worse than the typical stink of the place, and wondered where it had come from. After looking around the source was still not evident. But Kim seemed pretty still.
Joel was getting very close to level 176. His heart rate increased and every headshot and triple grenade kill moved the experience bar ever closer to that lofty goal.
Across the room, the store worker played around on his phone and ignored everyone as usual.
The gamer noticed that while he was starting to get tired, and no matter how much Mtn Dew he drank, there was not much he could do about it. His reactions were slowing down and his killstreak had went from 2.64 to the despicable ratio of 1.32! It was terrible.
But Kim, somehow, had not just stayed at the same level of mastery, but actually gotten slightly better and moved around with even more grace as he hopped fences and ran through dusty Middle Eastern towns. Joel was sure, one time, that one of the animations he went through did not even exist at all.
And all this without them even talking.
He didn’t mind, as his throat was sore anyways. At the end of the battle the experience bar was so close to its goal that Joel could not even believe he had not leveled-up yet.
The next round took place on a huge jumbo jet, and if enough windows were broken it would suck players out of the plane, so sometimes players used that effect as a strategy to win. Kim did three times better than Joel, but finally, after shooting some dude’s feet six times in a row, twenty five more experience points were added to the bar and the golden letters
CONGRATULATIONS: LEVEL 127 REACHED!
appeared. Joel gave out an audible shout. The store worker actually noticed him and stared condescendingly for a moment. It was ten in the morning now. The smell was getting horrible, and Joel thought it was about time to go home and take a shower, so he turned the game off and slowly re-acclimated to the real world. After pressing the computer power button and brushing the chip dust off his chair, the young man took a step towards his friend to remind him that they were finished. Not noticing it, he still had his wireless headset on.
Joel touched his friend on the shoulder. It was cold. He shook Kim, but the latter did not resist the movement at all. His face was much paler than usual and he smelled much worse than usual.
He was dead. And he had been dead for a long time.
And then Joel had the horrible thought– how was he still playing?
A low, creaky voice suddenly appeared on Joel’s headset. His heart nearly stopped.
“Hello,” it growled, “Shall we play another round?”

Letters from Irina 10

Dear Friend:
A war has started close by to here I have been watching on the news and seen some of it firsthand.
The footage needs no comments. It is a human rights violation playground.
One of the documentary men said “We have  to show it all and much leftovers about how people live on water, what they think about, what is happening in them.”
The vast majority of this city is gangs.
There were preparations for half a year.
The insurgents were practicing throwing people and technology in order to skip people on concrete and when they figured out how to do that, they attacked.
A very stupid unknown gunman fired upon a helicopter  pad 3 kilometers from a boutique. An atheist was wounded.
In  another attack, riot police were ambushed and the gunmen killed more than ten including the dog person Oleg Rumizhak.
They interviewed a Russian general who said:
“I am pleased with my unit. But not only do they not discuss the order but they do not violate the
instructions either.”
We have had one victory at least. Our forces captured militants in a picturesque valley but
young lieutenant commanded a direct fire and shot them all against his permission.
‘Tis fine with me.
I still managed to write a poem:
I heard you and your Golden Opera
well some things speak for themselves
deepening is completed.
Like all your relationships.

I am going to leave the city tomorrow.
We will see if I can manage another letter.
Wish me luck.
Love,
Irina

Letters from Irina 9

Dear Friend:
My life has been crazy in Russia.
I was driving my Lada car and I saw two men way ahead of me walking under a traffic light,
then a bomb blew up under them and they went flying.
Damned terrorists!
This oblast I live in has such bad roads that people have pothole competitions daily to see
whose car will break first. I tried a few times but never won. Didn’t break my car either at least.
News from work– Glaz’s AI is demanding for the release of more robots, but nothing has even been promised to the machines.
Russia is a terrible place.
It’s not easy to believe in completely general empty promises.
I was at a party and Boris was there and drank so much rum that he said out of the blue
“Tomorrow– spaceship.”
Champagne would not say such things.
JSC has exhausted himself. I think he will probably die soon.
How horrific.
Love,
Irina

Letters from Irina 8

Letters from Irina 8, The Curse:

Hello guy.

It’s nice you’ve been alone for more than a week.
Because of the recent USD accidents, America thinks the Russians are tinkering with their currency. Funny little story.
I have bad news.
JSC hurt his left knee in a battle with the police and someone gave him a food gift but Jeff, (what an evil person) cast a curse on him!!
Don’t panic if you don’t understand and you think it’s normal that he got this curse for the lower knee. And don’t worry about mistakes when after at least 10 more times reading you understand more.
At least it’s not lung cancer. But this is very important. Write me soon and pray for him to improve very quickly.
 
I guess a few other things are going on as well. Anatoly Glaz is studying a lot and writing a book called “how to get economical cybernetics”. He reads three texts everyday 33-34 times to research for it.
I finally made a statement to Tia, and said “Wow, your car is nice.”
Also, I found a website which give people $4 for free.
Got some strange news from my family. I did not know my sister was going to clubs, but it’s been verified. I do not know. It’s not reason enough to impose a rule, I guess…

Here’s today’s poem:

French philosophers play sports so there is no fear
why not engage in water time?

and why are you trying to pretend that you want
Almost a third of the Internet?

—–
I guess that’s all. I’m worried about JSC though.

I can’t believe you said to me,
“I love her like glue tanachi hang.”
Thank you!
Love you too,
Irina🙂

 

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Letters From Irina 7

Letters From Irina 7, AI/JSC troubles

Dear Friend:
Please tell me a little bit about the main character where you’re from.
No, I do not remember Man Dimon.
Things have not been going so well…
Cyprus and Malta have hit the brakes because their group factories have been
failing to stimulate the economy. I wouldn’t be surprised if they
fall apart before long.
On August 14 the new cop shot some random guy and threatened the safety of area residents. When fighting broke out, JSC ran away from home and got
a leg injury. He was helped by experienced comrades though. 😦

My work has been going okay.
Sacha is rolling Arcadia cartridges. I am not sure what he plans to do with them.
One of our PPP projects, my main job right now, is pretty crazy:
We study to find used grenades from Soviet times. It removes many inconvenient victims.
We need helpers this time, only two though.
My boss Mr. Dollars reduced my salary. Removing pay is uncomfortable. 😦

Do you remember that AI which escaped and killed some of
my co-workers? Chernenko Yushchenko was thought of as the product design officer
for it, so he may take some of the blame.
We keep a large room full of files of all our unsuccessful projects.
Machine set fire to several of these failure cases. 27 out of 72.
Let’s let the hackers set in motion a plan to remotely disable it!

My poem today is pretty short:

I know that we shall smoke.
I cannot be denied.
This is a demonic realm in which to smoke a pipe.

When inside this bread
i find myself in the soup.

—–
What do you think?
Get back to me whenever you feel like it.
And even if nothing major is new, I am not worried.
I want to change people. You gotta have dreams.
Let’s allocate vessels for drinking!
Love you,
Irina

p.s– Here is so intense, incidentally, body massage!

 

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Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 6

Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 6, Relationship Problems:

Hello dear friend.

For 3 days in row my boyfriend has found money on the street!
10 rubles are laying on the road and cash flow occurs.

You were inquiring about the details of the company I work for.
According to their philosophy, the purpose of their products is to attract attention.
They do lots of other things as well. But in spite of ballet class, we create coverage for all.
9/10 units with no casualties.
The other one… well that’s classified.
Again, Anatoly Glaz created another rogue technology. This program prevents you from making money.
Good thing I haven’t been affected by it yet.
I remember when he said:
“I am pleased to say the quality of these theoretical and logical blanks is supreme.
Analytical percentage crest practices logical framework of the founder of the pit.”
Intense.
The other co-workers have been doing alright.
Boris, allegedly he’s so stupid he drank more than $50 worth of vodka.
Varis Street said I need more exercise. I just know that doing some sports in two hours is
expressive but not genuinely interesting enough. I feel like a fool anyway.

My poetry sure is getting interesting. Here’s one:

I know how to live and now I’m saved.
I never in my life did not win at life in general.
Balance with balanced and achieve inner harmony.
Meditation yes that is really fighting for beginners
But why not try a good practice?
You do not know the practice described in this book.
Let’s see what happens next.

the beat pots created a full sense of distrust
Iranian woman resigns information
to the terrorist.

today I present to you my mechanics, politicans, yes.
their soft tires.
But then I remembered I am not to be a grandmother.

What do you think?
I knew what I was doing when I first met JSC, at least I thought I did, but
big things are not meant to attract a man with this low a level of income.
You know what I mean?
And it makes me think–
The masculine, is it too much?
Ladies will grow large and lose a little in the belly at least to pick them up.
I was no exception.
But now I am getting sick of JSC.
This ne’er do well, he himself pulled power, and indeed he is
not on the right path. I know that he was destined for failure.
What are the strengths of this man?

But your life is different.
Therefore look to the future. And in your mind, indeed become almost transparent.
Look at this unforgettable trip– may the legacy of this correspondence stay with you forever.
Remember, I love you, and there is nothing you can do about it.
Irina.

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Adventures in Mistranslation: Letters from Irina 5

Adventures in Mistranslation: Letters from Irina 5, Repression

Hello friend. This may be the last time we trade words.

JSC told me that he thinks I want to do more than just communicate with you.
I have a little lacking though.
Yes, I’m a thirty year old; official status.
I should say so.
I will try to speak to the removal of the desire to do.
Regrettably, I haven’t had time to put up the area sign you sent me.
I’ve been quite sad lately.
First I wanted to tell you that another trend plane full of prostitutes landed
slowly today.
And at church, priests swore that time does not stand.
I have been thinking lately: in some countries there is no coast!
Thing are going insane.

This is a good one: a man who is an expert at walking his dogs.
Watch out if you’re an expert at anything because soon they will all be dogs.

I read that the Spetsnaz raided a Chinese compound lately. The entire archive
of the Chinese contained many films and lots of rubles. I have been to China, but I was always there for two days only. Their business spirit is strong. The Chinese stated that I have often said in Kiev that “8 classes of people are good-natured, if not our class.”
They are full of crap. How do they know what happens in Kiev anyways?
On TV, there was a show about someone hiding for a long time with a leg
fracture and a desire to do things.
It was the third real film about such a subject. It was horrible, but I forgive
TV the project and let the box go because I understand a lot of why these things are made.
We are making a movie called The Red Army Is Interesting.
I assume that there is a traitor in it.
We need Lobov in a scene, but why even look for him? Have you seen him?
It has a hockey competition as well. The team will be determined
by the Russian Federation. It is made of office people.

Russia wanted to have more population due to the large growth rate in North
Korea. We can always create thousands. But Russians always blame their homeland for everything until stability arrives.
I have moved again now. We’re not in Hawaii anymore. But we prefer this house to such equally familiar houses in Moscow.
By the way, when I looked out the window at signs for barbecue rubs and Big
Macs, I remembered  that The old Italian project company group honored many comments about food during their business meetings.
Did you ever take on sex then quietly took this D?

When your life is as bad as mine, you begin to live mentally in all the other countries of the world.
Things are going to suck soon. It will not just be bad in my life, it will be
my thoughts too!
Anyways, this is the one thing I’ve learned:
Life is the most terrible thing, whether here or there or whether you give a bingo!

I look at you now. Why do we love what fools have?
Sincerely yours,
Irina

p.s: and why would you cry over the author’s handwriting?

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Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 4

Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 4, A Tragedy:

Hello friend.

John, I really think I believe in mysticism and all that jazz. Life is very
mystical.
Actually why I believe in mysticism is because in the tenth grade I studied
medical statistics. Early in the morning on Friday 13th, I was in a hurry
to a biology class. I was running and stopped to recall something.
Then I looked out the window.
It was like a tank.
There were very few people on the street outside.
Genghis vessel.
They died.
It could not but rejoice at the destruction.
And I stood and waited.

I am sorry to tell you that. It has put a small lock on my life.
Try to understand what I have to say, that is sufficiently precise and
clear:
Genghis Khan is not dead. He kills yet.

Sad news, I know.
But I hope you’re enjoying the gigantic bag of choco-pies I sent you!
Love,
Irina

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