This Is The Post That Goes Ping

Submitted by C B Wright on

... it lets you know that your author is still alive.

It's been a while since I've, uh... communicated? Other than posting to Twitter, which has become sort of a reflexive habit operating almost purely on muscle memory at this point. So I thought it would be a good idea to mention that I am still here.

Hi. I'm still here.

A Trumpet Sounds: Part Five

Submitted by C B Wright on
Robert Thorpe's Office

David is out of shape.

This isn’t a new condition—he’s been out of shape ever since his first concussion—but it’s never been quite this bad. His time on the island took more out of him than he wants to admit.

His sides are burning before he gets anywhere close to the main complex, but he doesn’t dare stop. He can feel the magic getting stronger, an invisible noose slowly tightening, and he knows that they don’t have much time to prepare. He ignores the pain, ignores the knives stabbing at his lungs every time he draws breath, ignores the agony in his ribs and sides, and forces his legs to move. He’s running as fast as he can, not bothering to stop for apologies or explanations.

A Trumpet Sounds: Part Four

Submitted by C B Wright on
Thorpe Island Pier

David Bernard sits at the end of the pier, conjuring orbs of darkness as he watches the ocean roll by.

Robert Thorpe’s artificial island is an impressive feat of engineering—in some places it’s indistinguishable from the real thing—but here, at the end of the pier, something is different. He’s not sure if his new connection to Artigenian’s power has altered his senses, or if his knowledge the island is fake is convincing him to doubt what he sees, but he’s half-convinced he can feel a point just a few feet from the pier where the island falls away, and ocean depths begin.

No, it’s not his imagination: he can feel it. In his minds eye he can feel the cold of the ocean drawing him down. If he closes his eyes he can almost see it—a dark, murky green, the only light coming from the sun filtering through the surface, steadily dimming until it’s little more than the barest hint of suffuse luminescence. Finally all light disappears, and his perception of the water changes: no longer shades of light and dark, but shades of motion and stillness, currents and the ripples of things swimming through, all the while the water growing ever colder…

“What’s that?”

A Trumpet Sounds: Part Three

Submitted by C B Wright on
Haruspex Analytics

The walls and floor of the long rectangular room are granite. The ceiling is covered in baroque plaster tiles. It is fancy, but empty: no furniture, nothing hanging from the walls. The only door leading into the room is plain, almost shabby. It’s a simple, solid wood door, painted a neutral gray color that is slightly lighter than the granite.

Few Haruspex Analytics employees know this room exists. Fewer still have been inside.

Lights embedded between the baroque tiles flicker to life, filling the room with soft light. The plain gray door opens, and a man steps into the room. He’s tall, older but still vigorous, with sharp blue eyes and silver hair that falls to his shoulders. He’s expensively dressed, in a dark gray three-piece suit and a matching silk tie. In his hand is a long plastic tube, the kind used to carry rolled-up posters, blueprints, or pieces of art.

The Chairman walks to the center of the room, stops, kneels. He opens one end of the tube and pulls out a rolled-up piece of paper. He sets the tube aside, and spreads the paper out on the floor. It’s a large map of the Atlantic Ocean.

A Trumpet Sounds: Part Two

Submitted by C B Wright on
Haruspex Analytics Situation Room

“Article Thirteen.”

Phyllis Tanner stands in front of Jason, arms folded, her face completely, utterly blank. Simon Yin sits in front of his laptop set up at the long table running down the middle of the Situation Room, and Michelle Lawrence stands, fidgeting nervously by the door. Neither of them look at Jason or Phyllis. Simon pretends to be working, his eyes locked on his laptop screen without actually seeing anything. Michelle plays with the drawstring on her sweatshirt, pulling first one end and then the other down as far as it will go before the other end disappears entirely.

Jason sighs, and forces himself to meet her gaze. She looks uncomfortably like the other board members when they have their game faces on—no trace of emotion, not a single tell to be seen. Her eyes are hard and calculating as she scrutinizes him in return.

“I’m sorry, Phyllis. I don’t know the specifics. But an entire fifth of the company is gone, and Billy was caught up in it.”

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