The Electric Owl – Chapter I

The Electric Owl (1982)


Bot Hunter


Do Bots Dream Of Bi-Horned Unicorns?

Electric Owl Red

a Ragle B. Gumm novel


All owls are electric.

To a certain extent.

But what if they weren’t owls?

This was the subject of Aardvark Magnussen’s ground-breaking scientific research. Anything could be genuinely electric, in theory. This, however, had yet to be proven.

Until now.

Aardvark had made an electric owl and this meant that, not only was his experiment successful and he therefore possessed tangible scientific proof but now it was time for the next step.

“Damn this headache.”, he complained.

Perhaps he was overworked, perhaps it was the stress. After all, his horoscope had not been particularly encouraging for this month.

“You will find the key. You will not like what the key will unlock.”, it said.

Petal Pladd was a telepath, her head was literally bigger than most people’s. Her predictions were, unfortunately, never wrong.

A few Martian poppy seed pills should do the trick, he concluded. They’d put him right to sleep and he wouldn’t remember Pladd’s cryptic nonsense in the morning.

After popping five pills, Aardvark sat down, dimmed the lights in his laboratory and fell asleep quickly and quietly.


Dick Richards felt nauseous.

He’d just awoken from a particularly unpleasant dream: he was pregnant with a bi-horned unicorn, he was bleeding inside and out. The blood was white, like milk, and smelt like trees.

He heard a faint sound, was it raining outside?

Looking up, he saw, in the distance, the faint blurred curves of a naked woman surrounded by steam.

His wife Nat was showering.

Ex-wife, he corrected himself.

“Where’s that goddamned Happy Sink?”, he thought. Lighting a death stick blindly, standing up with a wobble. He twisted the tap, set it to “perky” and closed his eyes.

“If you’re confused, hun: it’s the poppies. You took a handful last night. “, Nat said all the way from the shower pod. “We made love again. You should set that thing to “perky” next time. You were drunk.”, she added.

Too early for poppies.

Never mind. She was a quick dresser. She’ll be out in a minute.


Coffee sounded good.

He smiled a little, just thinking about it.

If only coffee was still around…
Dick’s fly-bike was hovering higher and higher, but not fast. He was in no hurry to get to this next job.

Dick was a bot-hunter: he hunted bots, bots that got out of hand somehow. It didn’t help that they looked like anyone else, like flesh and blood human beings. They paid the rent, though, and the imitation-coffee. Three-hundred floor apartments don’t come cheap and neither do those rare artificial beans.

The client was Aardvark Magnussen, some crackpot Swede with way too much money and way too much power, Dick thought smugly. In a way, Dick owed his whole livelihood to Aardvark. After all, the latter did build the first bot and all bots since.

I’ve been cleaning his mess for years. I hate him. But let’s face it: without Magnussen, I’m nothing.

This depressing realisation left Dick beaten.

Why did I choose “perky”? Perky never lasts.

Dick had never been this high-up.

He didn’t even know that a fly-bike could reach the clouds.

So peaceful up there.


The inside of Magnussen’s office was vast and nearly empty save for a single desk and a winged creature perching on top of it, silhouetted by the Sun.

I had never seen an owl, Dick realised.

Those eyes…

He could hear the sound of footsteps heading in his direction but somehow, he just couldn’t look away from the animal.

“Mr Richards.”, said the female voice coming from somewhere on the other side of the room.

“Yeah.”, was Dick’s vague reply.

“We weren’t expecting you here so soon.”

“That a real owl?”

“That depends.”

“On what?”

“On what you mean by ‘real'”.

Dick gives her a puzzled look.

“And ‘owl'”, she adds.

This was a good-looking gal. The classy, sophisticated type. And she was looking at Dick with a mix of disdain and curiosity. Sad thing was: it was probably a bot.

“You’ll have to wait, Mr Magnussen is still… away.”, she instructed Dick bluntly.

“You got a name?”

“Emily. Anything else?”

There was that disdain again.

“No. I’ll just wait.”

Emily leaves the room as Dick sits facing Aardvark’s desk. The owl flies to the other side and lands on the absent inventor’s chair.

Date with an owl, there was a first, Dick thought as he lit up another death stick.

“You can’t smoke in here, Dick.”

Dick takes a quick look around the room: he is alone.

Did I hear something?, he wonders.

“It’s a bad habit and it bothers me.”

That voice again.

Either Dick was losing it or someone was playing an elaborate prank on him. Neither pleased him much.

“Whoever this is: mind your own business.”, Dick said to the room.

“Oh but it is my business.”

Dick now started losing patience.

“What in the…”

“Death sticks aren’t good for you. Believe me.”

Just then, Dick’s attention turned to the only moving being near him: the owl, who ruffled its feathers and turned its head towards him just as the voice spoke. Quietly, Dick extinguishes his cigarette on the desk, watching the owl as he does it.

“Thank you.”, the voice said.

The owl blinked.

It couldn’t be…

“Mr… Magnussen?”, Dick asked.


“What have you done?”

“We mustn’t speak now.”

“You’re…”, a stunned Dick interjects.

“My experiment is not complete, we will speak later.”

“W-word is you’ve made a bot. I’m looking for it.”, Dick persists.

This time, there is no answer.

Dick sits back, looking at the owl in disbelief just as Emily walks into the room. The owl promptly flies over to her and sits casually on her shoulder. Dick stands up, still stupefied and points at the owl.

“That owl!”

“I suppose you’ve figured it out.”

“I knew Magnussen was eccentric but I would have never expected he’d do something like that.”

“It’s all in good fun, Mr Richards.”

Dick takes a second to stare at her in puzzlement.

“In good fun?!”, he asks incredulously.

“The possibilities of bot technology are endless, that’s our motto.”

Dick shakes his head absently, he doesn’t reply.

“Maybe I could take a message?”, Emily suggests politely.

The owl defecates on her, she doesn’t react.


Dick Richards is standing outside a noodle stand in the rain, chewing on a chow fun enchilada looking morose. He opens the newspaper to find several advertisements relating to space travel, promoting inter-planetary migration.

“The very idea…”, Dick thought, “Fleeing like cowards when we’ve got a perfectly good planet right here.”

Dick always believed in fixing one’s own world before contemplating another. He chews down some of that soy sauce and cheese and dumps the newspaper on the counter. He feels a slight tap on his shoulder.

“Vous have a rendez-vous, old bugger.”

Dick recognises the voice: it was Jacques Smith, another bot hunter. Dick could never stand the guy, or understand him with his confusing French Cockney accent.

Still, the man technically outranked him.

“I’m eating.”, Dick threw in a deadpan tone, before turning back towards the counter.

Jacques this time places his hand on Dick’s shoulder.

“Drole, sonny Jim. Le Commissaire wants you, innit?”

“The Commissionner?”

Jacques slyly grabs Dick’s chopsticks and proceeds to eat one of his jalapenos.


Dick makes a face.


Look out for Chapter II soon.

Only on

Daughters Of Uranus

Daughters Of Uranus (1974)

Daughters Of Uranus

a Gustav Belland short story


Uranus was fertile.

And so they were born.

Out of Uranus, our fate was sealed and there was nothing we could have done to prevent it.

The search for extraterrestrial life had reached its peak in the early 3000’s when scientists invented a teleporting device powerful enough to project human beings onto other planets. By recreating the Big Bang in a contained environment, Man discovered the source of life: the first cell, which scientists called “The Seed”. It is this Seed which paved the way for the creation of the Explorium, a gate capable of allowing a person to travel to distant lands without the need for a spacecraft.

Some planets proved problematic: Mercury was hot, Mars was boring, the Moon wasn’t a planet.

Dr Fredrick Thomson led the expedition to Uranus, assembling a team of capable astronauts and explorers with the common goal of unlocking the mysteries of the ice planet once and for all. Among them was Sharon Lang, an expert on Uranus, playboy astro-physicist John Tucker and decorated space traveller Rick Kirkstrom.

The team would enter Uranus and bring back samples.

Who knew that such a simple mission could go so wrong?


It was a Sunday morning, Dr Thomson had assembled the departing trio in his office for a final meeting before sending them through the Explorium.

“Thank you for coming.”, he said in a welcoming tone, “I’m sure you all can’t wait to get going!”

“I went to the bathroom, so I’m happy now!”, John replied confidently.

After an awkward silence, Dr Thomson continued.

“This mission should be straight-forward but nothing is straight-forward with science. I wanted you all to keep that in mind, when you’re out there. While we have been fortunate enough to learn a lot about other worlds, we have never penetrated Uranus and there is very little we know about it.”

“You expecting some nasty surprises up there?”, Rick asked before Sharon also showed concern.

“Is there a problem we should know about?”

Dr Thomson smiled.

“There is nothing to be worried about. I simply urge you, all of you, to stay focused on the mission at hand. Distraction is dangerous, in space.”

Rick and Sharon share a slightly puzzled look as John picks his nose.

Shortly after the ominous meeting, the team were standing next to the Explorium in their full space gear facing the leader of the United States who, in the spirit of an impromtu photo op, had agreed to wish the crew well on their adventure.

“Have a beautiful time up there, folks. And I mean that, I really do. I got a lot of astronaut friends, a LOT of astronaut friends, believe me. I know astronauts. Nobody knows astronauts better than me. You guys are great. Have a great time up there. I mean that.”, was President Frump Jr.’s obligatory speech.

Everyone shook hands, pictures were taken and Dr Thomson stepped forward.

“This is it: you are about to be the first people to step inside Uranus. Make us proud and be careful.”, he said.

After a countdown, the Explorium was turned on and the crew was soon walking through the pink, jelly-like portal.

If only they had known…

Sharon was the first to walk on Uranus, the others soon followed.

“It’s cold over here, what the fuck?”, John said.

“John, do you realise that those are now the first words ever spoken in Uranus?”, Sharon responded with a cold stare.

“What’s your problem?”

Sharon shakes her head and keeps walking.

Around the explorers, nothing but ice, wind and fog. White hills and mountains on the horizon and, in front of them, a blank canvas. The sky was electric blue with a slight greenish shade.

“We have reached Uranus, over.”, Sharon spoke into her receiver.

The response was a broken buzzing, no discernible word.

“God damn it.”, she complained.

“What’s wrong?”, Rick asked.

“Audio’s out. I can’t hear a thing from back home.”

“Maybe they’re busy and shit.”, John remarked.

Ignoring John’s last comment, Sharon and Rick keep on walking through the slippery, violently cold environment. Eventually, they come to a large puddle. A thick brown liquid is oozing out of a circular cracked hole.

“Let’s take a sample and get the hell out of here.”, Sharon decided, “I don’t like this one bit.”

Sharon hands John a small vile.

“We need some of that mud: go get it.”

“Why me? I’m an astro-physhism!”, John complained.

“Your father’s an astro-physicist, you’re a rich kid with shit for brains. Now go get the mud before I tell everyone you shit your pants yesterday in the cafeteria.”

“Yes ma’am.”, a beaten John replied, picking up the vile.

As John approaches the puddle, Rick starts filming the surroundings with a small camera and Sharon gets on one knee to examine the frozen ground. Suddenly, she sees something move under the ice.

Startled, she stands back up.


“What is it?”

“I… saw something.”

Sharon then tries to contact Earth again.

“Come in Houston, come in Houston. This is Sharon Lang. I have encountered a life form. We are coming back now, over.”

She turns back to Rick.

“We gotta go.”

“What about John?”

“Oh right…”

She turns to the puddle but John is nowhere to be seen.

“John…?”, she whispers.

Without warning, the ice breaks underneath her and she crashes through the ground screaming. Rick starts to run towards her.

“Sharon!”, he yells.

Noticing the cracks on the ice, Rick stops running and takes a few steps back. He stands there for a while, silently, not knowing what to do. The only sound is now Rick’s heavy breathing and the wind around him.

“Sharon…”, Rick says under his breath, with a lump in his throat.

The ground starts to shake.

The puddle bubbles.

“My god…”

Brown liquid promptly shoots out of the puddle like a geyser. Rick watches, in shock, as the mud falls back down turning a lot of the ground and the astronaut himself brown.

“Come in Houston… come in Houston…”, he mutters into his microphone, terrified.

Once again, faint static is the response.

Out of the puddle a sphere slowly pushes through: it stays floating in mid-air above the hole for a moment before flying towards Rick.

Rick starts to run back towards the portal and the brown sphere follows unhurriedly. Rick runs faster and faster, slipping and sliding on the ice.

“Come in Houston! Request assistance right now! I am being pursued by a… an unknown life form!”, he speaks into his mic in a panicked tone, out of breath.

Nearing the portal, Rick eventually slips and falls on his front, cracking his helmet a little in the process. The sphere quietly picks up pace. Noticing this, Rick stand with great difficulty and starts to run again. He soon realises the sphere is about to catch up to him and he runs faster than ever before, dropping his camera to allow himself more room.

He finally leaps into the portal and lands back safely on Earth.

On the laboratory side of the portal, Dr Thomson leaves his seat and runs up to Rick.

“Oh no…”, he says to himself, concerned.

A few other men run to Rick and help him sit up, Dr Thomson tries to see who is inside the suit as the helmet is cracked and covered in frost.

“Who is this? John? Is that you?”, he said, “Where are the others?”

Not getting an answer, he signals to one of the men to remove the helmet. The obstruction is quickly disposed of and a hyperventilating, pale Rick is revealed: his hair has turned white.

“Rick! It’s me: Dr Thomson. You’re home! You’re back! It’s alright now.”

An oxygen mask is placed over Rick’s mouth.

“He’s trying to say something…”, Dr Thomson remarks.

Rick, who is breathing a little better after a few seconds, pushes the mask away and gets nearer to Dr Thomson.

“Shut… it… down!”, he struggles to say.

A cloud of horror lands over Dr Thomson’s face: he stands up.

“Shut down the portal! Now!”, he yells.

But it was too late: the sphere suddenly pushes through the Explorium and, in a few seconds, it is on Earth, floating above a group of scared, confused technicians and scientists.

“What do we do, doc?”, an assistant asks, frightened.

“I don’t know…”, Dr Thomson replies.

A sound booms out of the jiggling sphere, everyone covers their ears.

Rick finally stands up, holding the oxygen mask to his face, inhaling.

The sphere bursts.

The brown liquid splashes over the people, the walls, the floors, the ceiling as a thick smoke and a foul stench fills the entire room. Those who didn’t pass out are either coughing or holding a handkerchief to their mouths.

Two glowing silhouettes appear in the middle of the room.

The smoke finally clears to reveal two young bald women, fully naked. Everyone looks up, without saying a word. The women scan the room quietly, intensely.

You could hear a pin drop, at this point.

Without warning, one of the women speaks in a strange accent.

“We are Uranus.”

There’s a beat.

The other woman opens her mouth: countless brown bubbles fly out.

The bubbles stick themselves onto the bodies of everyone in the room, turning every individual into a large brown sphere.

Rick picks up his helmet and quickly walks up to the main control panel.

“What are you doing?”, Dr Thomson asks with desperation in his eyes.

“I’m ending this.”

Rick activates the Explorium before slamming the control panel with his helmet over and over again. Dr Thomson attempts to stop him.

“You fool! You’ll kill us all!”

“We’re already dead, doc. Look around!”

The control panel short circuits and the Explorium partly bursts out of the magnetic field holding it together: it is now a vortex sucking everyone into it. Rick and Dr Thomson grab onto the edge of the control panel as the people around them, some of them brown bubbles, start flying into the pink, fleshy spiral. The two women struggle to remain standing and they are soon sucked in also along with all their loose bubbles.

“I can’t hold on for much longer, Rick!”, Dr Thomson yells out.

Rick tries to move along the control panel in order to reach the wiring going up to the generator. With his right hand, he goes to pull one of the wires but his other hand slips. Luckily, he manages to hold onto the wiring, which he starts to dismantle.

“Help… me!”

Dr Thomson loses his grip and starts to fly into the portal just as Rick successfully turns off the power. The Explorium and its vortex disappear. Rick falls to the ground and turns around: he sees only the bottom half of Dr Thomson’s body wiggling around in a bloody mess.

Rick takes a deep breath, stands up and leaves the empty room.

He walks around the corridors of the building aimlessly, as if in a dream. He looks around the rooms and finds no-one, had they been sucked in as well?

Wanting to get some air, maybe smoke a well deserved cigarette, Rick exits the building. He is surprised to find completely lifeless surroundings, with nobody in sight. Cars have their doors open but no drivers or passengers.

Rick feels a cold wind blowing.

And then…

A snowflake.


More from Gustav Belland soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

You Are L.

 You Are L. (2012)

You Are L Poster

a Malcolm M. Milon short story


I’ll never forget the look on that man’s face, the first time I met him.

If you can call someone coming up to you wide-eyed and star-struck meeting someone.

He was a stranger and yet he seemed to know me, like a fan recognizes a popular actor or singer. Now, I’m not talking about a shrieking, Beatlemania type of fandom. I’m talking about that quiet, awkward, shy, slightly frightening respect that neither the fan nor the star truly understands.

I just couldn’t pinpoint what I could have possibly done to warrant such fame.

By any standards, my life had been an average, dull, bordering on mediocre one. Married once, divorced, no children, working in a cubicle, speaking to clients on the phone day in, day out. No ambition, frankly no interest in taking any unnecessary chances.


I first met the man at my local café. It was a Thursday morning. I pop by there daily before heading off to work so this was just a day like any other.

He was sitting close to the entrance. I walked in, ordered the usual, a double espresso and a cereal bar, when he stood up, as if under some sort of spell, and slowly walked up to me. I tried to ignore him. I guess I just thought he was heading towards the counter, ready to order something.

Then I heard my name. ‘Leo?’ he said.

When I confirmed his suspicion, his eyes lit up and I perceived a slight smile form on one of the corners of his mouth.

‘Do I know you?’ I asked.

I didn’t know him. I knew that. This was just my way of breaking an uncomfortable silence. His reply sent a chill down my spine.

‘No. But I know you. Probably better than you know yourself.’

Whatever that meant, it did not sound promising. It was the kind of thing that a stalker or a hitman would say. My natural reaction was to get out of there as quickly as possible. I mumbled some nonsense about being late, grabbed my coffee and headed for the door. But the man had anticipated this, and stopped me in my tracks.

He grabbed my arm, just above my right elbow and held it firmly. When I turned to him, ready to struggle my way out of his grasp verbally and physically, the look in his eyes had switched to a troublingly stern, serious stare.

‘If you leave, I won’t be able to help you.’ is what he said to me then.

The urgency in his tone of voice, which sounded genuine, coupled with that worried look of his, I must admit, piqued my interest somewhat.

What did he mean? Was I in trouble? Why would I be in trouble? Who could be behind this?

All these questions swam through my head and, in all honesty, I was curious to find out what this strange individual knew or what he thought he knew.

‘What do you mean?’ I inquired meekly. ‘Sit down. Let’s talk.’ was his simple reply.

Still hesitating, I obliged him and sat down. There was another awkward silence and then he spoke.

‘This is going to sound strange, I’m well aware of that. Just… hear me out, please. This isn’t a joke.’

After an uncertain nod, I finally asked: ‘What’s this about?’
Because, why not be direct at this point?

‘Your name is Leonard Windell, you live about 25 minutes away, Chinatown, Yan Tin Apartments, number 30, third floor. You have a pet fish and, despite what you tell people, it does have a name: Bob. You have an ex-wife, you haven’t seen her in years but still dream about her from time to time, nightmares mostly. You come here every day, same time.’

‘You’ve been following me?’

‘I didn’t have to. I’ve seen what you’ve seen. There is a site, your site,, where everything you do, everything you are is recorded and put on display. I am bringing this to your attention because I think you need to know, because I would want to know. Unless, of course, this is all your doing, somehow.’

What was all this? This was a prank. It had to be. Probably someone’s idea of payback for whatever I may have done to him or her. Or part of some twisted radio show, designed to humiliate complete strangers. Basically, joke or not, I wasn’t laughing.

‘You’ve been listening at my door, speaking to my friends, to people who know me. I am not impressed or amused. Whoever you are, leave me alone or I will report you and you can be sure that I’ll press charges.’

I promptly stood up and walked out the door. Ignoring the man’s desperate pleas to believe him and to let him show me the proof of this so-called site. Behind me, I could hear the door of the café slam open: he was following me. As infuriated as I was, I decided to handle things as calmly as I possibly could. Not saying a word, I stopped walking, took out my mobile phone and dialled for the police. In front of me, I could see the man holding his smartphone up like it was some kind of meaningful trophy. Glancing at it, I saw nothing more than the street’s reflection on the phone.

Except… it wasn’t a reflection.

What I could see on the phone was the man holding up that very same phone. I was seeing what I was seeing on that screen. Which meant that, either someone had placed a small camera at the centre of my glasses’ frames or there was something really wrong here. I tried taking off my glasses but this made no difference. Not knowing what to do, I told the man to leave me alone, to stop what he was doing, and I ran all the way back to the office.

There, the plan in my mind was to forget about the whole thing and get back to saner, more mundane occupations. But what if that man was to walk in right now and make a scene in front of all my co-workers? It was impossible to focus knowing that, at any moment, this could all come back to haunt me.

Maybe I should go online and take a look at that website, the URL’s easy enough to remember. Unless that’s what they want me to do and I’m being tricked into something.

My phone vibrates: it’s a text.

I pick up my mobile and take a look, the text reads: “Do it. It’s not a trick. Alan.”


The man had not introduced himself to me officially back at the café but I knew it was him. How he got this number and how he knew what I was just thinking a second ago, that I was a little more confused about.

Typing in the site address was the most stressful thing I’d done up to this point. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was a huge mistake and would cause every computer here at the office to implode somehow. My ring finger finally pushed down on the ENTER key and, to my surprise, the Millennium bug I was expecting did not happen.

The home page I was facing looked mostly bare: a black background with links to the left of the screen, the site title at the top and nothing in the middle. These links got my attention pretty quickly. The first one under “Home” was “About Me”, under it was “Contact”, under that was “Blog”, then “Pics”, then “Videos”, and finally “Quotes”. Oddly, looking at the site, I felt somewhat appeased. This was not a professional-looking page and nothing on it seemed too Earth shattering, nothing a healthy lawsuit couldn’t cure. This was clearly the work of an obsessive amateur, nothing more.

Clicking on the “About Me” link unfortunately confirmed that this site was, indeed, about me personally. Here was a full biography complete with my birth date, which school I went to, my first real job, my ex-wife’s name and all I’d achieved up to this point, which really wasn’t that much at all. Anyone could have pieced all this together so I wasn’t much intimidated. Besides, this seemed more and more like the work of a disgruntled friend, or ex-friend, rather.

The “Contact” page explained the text. My mobile number, along with my landline and every single one of my contact details were on here. This was certainly one

thorough stalker with a lot of time on his hands. Clicking on “Blog”, however, brought back an uneasiness I had pushed away, I thought, for good. Here was a constantly updated account of what I can only describe as my thoughts. These short posts seemed to date back to even before the Internet. Scrolling down, I found a blog post from 1980 which read:

“Went out to a new Lebanese restaurant today. Food was nice. Service was slow. Didn’t leave a tip. I don’t like leaving tips. Don’t know why people still leave tips.”

I remember that night. I didn’t even own a computer then! The last, most recent post eerily read:

“Checking out the site. Feeling confused and a little freaked out. Maybe I should call the police.”

Maybe I should call the police.
I had to leave this page. I had to click on anything else.

“Pics” was next and hardly made me feel any better about anything. There was a huge list of sections, which included standard stuff like “Photographs Taken”, but also the likes of “Photographs Almost Taken” and “Photographs I Wish I’d Taken”. Other sections were more general: “People I Know”, “People I Met”, “People I Love”, “People I Hate”. Literally everything I’d seen since birth had been documented. Even my most intimate moments, even people I’d seen naked, no matter how fleetingly, from celebrities on TV to myself.

I started to feel nauseous at this point, no doubt this was, by now, updated on my “blog”.

I checked: it was.


Reluctantly, I clicked on “Videos” and, again, found a whole range of sections. This time, it looked like every single moment of my life had been recorded, all from my point of view. Pretty much everything I’d ever experienced seemed to be on here. The video footage was raw and unedited, the quality of the image occasionally decreasing, even changing altogether for older videos. Some of those looked like they were shot on an old VHS camcorder or even black and white film in the case of clips dating back to the 1950’s.

The “Quotes” section, much like the “Blog” section, was a collection of updating text. This time, everything I’d ever said seemed to be on here from my first words to my conversation with Alan and a random ‘Hello’ to one of my colleagues on the way to the office just now.

‘Boo’, I said out loud, testing the site.
Sure enough, the word “boo” appeared on the screen seconds later.

This was more than just a website, it was obvious. What it was I did not know and I couldn’t even start guessing. A project of this magnitude would have to involve generations of people not to mention a small camera and sound recorder implanted into my skull from birth.

I couldn’t work until all this had been resolved somehow. I had to do something. There had to be a way into the site.

Scrolling down the home page, I finally find a “Sign In” link. The site asks me for a name and password. I type in my name, the password I use for my emails and it lets me in. I click on a link called “Account” and, finally, I get the option to “Delete My Account”.

I click on the link. Everything goes dark…


More from Malcolm M. Milon soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

The Small Man Chronicles: There Be Dragons

The Small Man Chronicles: There Be Dragons (1938)

Small Man Chronicles

a J.R. Dallas novel

(extract from Chapter XVIII)

published one year after J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, or There And Back Again


The Smalluns had made it to Asragarn.

And Mandrarg was near.

The giant owls of Forellem had not brought them all the way, for they had other, more interesting things to do like do other things and such.

Thall, the tallest of the Smalluns, knew there was only one way to proceed: through the dark woods of Klorsharum and passed the rivers of Gooloore. The journey was perilous but this was his quest, their quest, and he wasn’t about to give up now.

“Young Small Man, you have served us well thusfar”, Thall said to Polio, “We Smalluns need you but this is not your fight. If you wish to return to your meaningless existence, with your round doors and your cheese, you may do so. We will not think less of you.”

“I’ll be honest, Thall, I don’t like you people and I care not for your long and tedious quest”, replied the Small Man, “But I will help you. Because Old Man Hat is very powerful and he will no doubt vaporise me or put a sinister curse on my soul should I refuse.”

Old Man Hat, who was standing behind Thall, giving Polio a stern stare and making throat-cutting gestures at him, said nothing.

“Very well”, Thall said with a smile, “On we go! Your courage will not go unrewarded, young Small Man.”

Thall ruffles Polio’s hair and walks on as everyone follows.

“I’m 78!”, yelled a vastly ignored Polio.

The dark woods of Klorsharum were dark.

So dark in fact that one could only walk through them with the help of a lit torch, or two. Luckily, Old Man Hat possessed many abilities, one of which was to generate strange white light from his staff. This was certainly helpful. But they were many and Polio’s tiny feet could not quite keep up with the rest of the group. It was only a matter of time before he would lose them completely, despite his many vocal complaints.

And lose them, he did.

Polio was now walking in total darkness. He became more and more aware of the bizarre sounds which emanated from those treacherous woods.

“I hate Smalluns…”, he thought.

What could he do but keep walking and hope that someone would eventually come back for him or that he would somehow catch up? Then again, what if some forest creature was to attack him and feast on him long before that?

This thought unnerved Polio and he started shaking.

That’s when he remembered: the bracelet.

Of course! The bracelet from the monkey mines of Blerrendor! It had proved itself most useful and displayed incredible powers earlier in the quest, surely it could come in handy in this desperate instant. All he had to do was wear it and think of what he wanted, then the bracelet would no doubt provide him with that!

But why wish for something as trivial as a mere boost? Why not wish for The Smalluns’ Pointy Mountain back? Or the death of the beast Mandrarg? Then that darn quest would be over! Hell, why not just wish for a short trip back home?

It sure was tempting…

Then again, perhaps there were more creative things he could do with this bracelet. Old Man Hat could swallow that rusty staff of his, impale himself from orifice to orifice with it. Thall and all the Smalluns in the land could all be tied together into one big ball by their veins and nerve-endings, with only their raw muscle tissue keeping them warm at night. Mandrarg could be summoned and I could sit back and watch as he devoured each of them, limb by limb, eyeball by eyeball, before my very eyes as a female Fairyun lets me lick those pointy ears of hers.

“Young Polio!”, a loud voice came from the darkness.

Polio looked up, as if brutally awoken from a delicious dream. Above him, stood a stern-looking Old Man Hat, who was puffing on his fern pipe anxiously.

“What is the meaning of this stalling?”, he said, “Explain yourself!”

Halfway between anger and shame, Polio was seriously considering wearing that bracelet. In fact, he was so close to wearing it, it was almost passed his wrist.

“Well?”, pressed the old man.

“I… “, the Small Man struggled.

“Speak, damn you!”

“I… couldn’t reach. I’m too small.”, Polio said finally.

“Too small? No creature is too small that it can’t run or hold on to a taller, and therefore superior, being’s leg in order to follow a pack during a most important journey.”

Polio resisted the bracelet’s power and slipped it back in his coat pocket, without Old Man Hat noticing.

“May I… hang on to your leg?”, Polio asked.

“Not on your life, peasant!”

Old Man Hat walked on, leaving Polio to follow on foot, cursing his name under his breath.

“I could have skinned you…”, Polio muttered.

“What was that?”

“N… nothing. Just talking to myself.”

“And they say I’m high…”, Old Man Hat concluded.

Polio had soon rejoined the group when Thall sensed something was amiss.

“What is there, Thall? What do you sense?”, said Yarlaan, one of the hairiest of the Smalluns present.


Just then, a pack of rabid klargens, foaming at the mouth and emitting terrifying shrieks, burst out of the forest and start surrounding Polio, Old Man Hat and the Smalluns. Once again, Polio starts to consider his bracelet. Slowly and discreetly, he removes it from his pocket and leads it to his wrist as the klargens get closer and closer.

“This is it…”, Polio thought, “First I get rid of the klargens, then the old man’s getting melted in the fiery pits of Warglor. Beard first.”

And, just as Polio was about to finally wear the bracelet, spears came flying from nowhere, impaling every single klargen right there and then. Polio couldn’t understand what had happened. Had the bracelet worked already? That was impossible, he hadn’t pulled it passed his wrist yet.

Out of the darkness, light finally appeared revealing the Smalluns’ saviours: a group of armed Fairyun men on their typically white, blonde and blue-eyed horses.

“Fairyuns…”, Old Man Hat said to himself.

Polio puts the bracelet back in his coat pocket.

“Smalluns, are you all well?”, said the whitest of all the Fairyuns.

“We’re fine.”, replied Thall, reluctantly.

“How did you find us?”, Old Man Hat asked.

“We sensed you would all wander here, and the dark woods of Klorsharum are not known for being the safest of places.”

“We do not need your charity or your company.”, Thall retorted.

Old Man Hat gives Thall a piercing look of disappointment and intervenes:

“What Thall means to say is: we do not mean to be a burden.”

“Your quest is a perilous one, we only wish to offer our assistance should you ever need it.”

Thall emits an audible grunt.

“Thank you, Melomas, you are most kind.”

“We will lead you out of the dark woods. After that, if you wish to proceed without our help, we shall not get in your way.”

And so Melomas and the Fairyuns led the way and we were soon out of the woods. But there were more obstacles yet to come.

The Smalluns had reached the rivers of Gooloore, night had turned to day and the Fairyuns had said their goodbyes for they knew that not all these Smalluns would make it back.

“Blasted river, how will we ever get across?”, Old Man Hat asked himself.

“What about the owls? Call the owls.”, suggested Polio.


“Why not?”

“The owls are not ours to summon.”

“But we summoned them earlier.”

“That was different.”


“That was a cliff, this is a river.”

“I don’t understand. Don’t you have a spell? Can’t you dry the river?”

“No. We’ll have to go around.”

“That’ll take ages! We’ll never get there!”

“Do you have a better suggestion, foolish Small Man?”

“I could use the…”


“The… wood to build a bridge. We could all do that.”

Overhearing the conversation, Thall stepped in:

“We are not lumberjacks, young Small Man! We are warriors and Smallun warriors do not build bridges!”


Old Man Hat hits Polio across the face with his staff. Polio reaches into his coat pocket.

“We’re going around.”, Old Man Hat finally said to everyone, “Follow me.”

As the group marched on behind Old Man Hat, Polio could only sit there and manage his anger internally. But this time, by extending this quest even more senselessly, the old man had gone too far. Polio finally takes out his bracelet and, without hesitation, wears it.

“Take me to Mandrarg, deep inside the Pointy Mountain.”

In a flash, Polio was there.

Removing the bracelet, Polio looked around to find that he was ankles-deep in a sea of riches. Gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, it was a sparkling paradise and Polio had never seen anything like it.

Unfortunately, where there are riches, there be dragons.

The ground started to shake beneath Polio’s feet. Or so he thought, for it wasn’t the ground that was lifting him, it was Mandrarg. The bracelet had landed Polio right on his head. Losing his balance, Polio fell back, dropping the bracelet in the process. What was he going to do?

As he started searching through all the coins and gems around him for the bracelet, he heard Mandrarg’s booming, cavernous voice and it was easily the most frightening sound he’d ever heard in his entire life.

“Who dares enter my mountain?”

“N-no-one, I assure you.”, replied Polio nervously, still searching for the bracelet.

“I was wondering when you Smalluns would disturb my slumber.”

“I-I’m no Smallun, I’m a Small Man, from the Parkypark Lands in the West.”

“Small Man? I’ve never seen a Small Man.”

“Trust me, I’m no Smallun. In fact, I hate Smalluns. So you see… we have something in common, you and I.”

“You think me a fool, Small Man?”

Mandrarg’s voice was much more aggressive now.

“N-no, of course not! Your… excellency.”, replied the Small Man sheepishly.

“You may not be a Smallun but you are one of them nonetheless. You are aiding them in some way.”

“That’s not true! Y-you’re mistaken, oh great Mandrarg!”


Mandrarg’s breath reeked of smoke and it felt like fire could burst out of his vast nostrils at any second. The beast approached its scaly, toothy mouth closer and closer to the Small Man, ready to eat him when Polio finally found his bracelet.

“Take me back! Take me back to the Smalluns!”

And, just like that, he was back with the Smalluns, trailing behind as usual. Old Man Hat turns around to find a shaking Polio, lying in the dirt.

“Young Small Man! Hurry up! This is no picnic!”

Polio turns to Old Man Hat and gives him a dirty look, followed by a wry smile. As if he’d just got an idea.


Putting the bracelet back on, Polio wished for something unpleasant. Just then, Old Man Hat felt the trousers under his robe get looser. Polio had made him a small man, just not all over.

What a fiendish punishment.

The bracelet had finally taken hold of Polio.

And it would never let go.


More fantasy tales from J.R. Dallas next year.

Only on WeTheMindthinkers.

See Little Earth Map HERE.

The Small Man Chronicles: Little Earth Map

To celebrate the release of J.R. Dallas’ Small Man Chronicles (and, to a lesser extent, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug film), here at WeTheMindthinkers we are very proud to bring to you the almost unknown writer’s test map for the Little Earth which provided the setting for his iconic fantasy saga.

Here is the Little Earth map with Polio the Small Man and the Smalluns’ long journey clearly laid out:

Little EarthAn extract from The Small Man Chronicles: There Be Dragons will be posted on WeTheMindthinkers tomorrow.

Edelweiss Space Magic

Edelweiss Space Magic (1963)


by Simon Simmons


119 years ago, on Planet M, the unthinkable happened.

When young Edelweiss awoke on the first Tuesday of February, she had no idea that this day would change her deeply, forever.

Number 85, her mother-droid, had just finished making grey berry pancakes and had called her down for breakfast.

“Today. Is. Now.”, 85 announced.

Floating out of her silky pebble bed sheets, Edelweiss slowly made her way down the rocky stairs and into the gravel kitchen, her long, flowing white hair glistening softly in the low gravity like a sea nymph coming home for Christmas.

“85: give me syrup.”, she said.

85’s mouth opened, liquid flew out.

“85: stop syrup.”

85’s mouth closed, the syrup stopped.

Just as Edelweiss was about to take her first bite of 85’s pancakes, the Magenta Siren rang. It rang all over the house, all over the city, all over M.

They had returned.

They were the Magicians: strange beings from another world, from the skies, come to Planet M, no doubt, to enslave its people. That was the general belief, anyway. 6 years prior, a Magician ship crash-landed, its crew was lifeless, dead, but judging from the amount of artillery and technologically advanced death machines they had brought with them, their intentions seemed clear: destroy and colonize.

This time, the M-ians were ready.

On Planet M, different sirens meant different things: Cyan meant “GOOD”, Gold meant “HIDE” and Magenta meant “GATHER”. “Gather” called all the M-ians to rally together at a specific point on the planet surface and expunge a foreign, potentially harmful entity together.

The Magenta Siren had never rang.

The last time the Magicians had landed, they weren’t perceived to be a threat at first so Cyan rang. The M-ians hid on the other side of the globe and waited for further instructions. It was only later, when it was deemed safe to inspect the crashed ship that those instruments of death were found.

Edelweiss was almost there.

She was nervous but ready, whatever danger lay ahead, she would tackle it with all the might of a thousand Suns.

When she arrived at the meeting point, she saw nothing except her people and rows upon rows of  father-droids, all aligned around a single vacant point.

Could this have been a false alarm?

Just then, she saw it: the enemy ship.

It was small, shiny and it was landing.

“Activate. Cloaking. Device.”, said the largest and most silver of all the father-droids.

All droids suddenly opened their mouths as transparent beams of transparent light blasted out converging into one single point high up but still far below the Magician ship. The cloaking device was a precautionary measure. As long as there was still a chance that the imminent threat at hand could turn out to be benign, the attack would wait.

Any sign of a weapon of any kind, on the Magicians’ side, would, of course, suggest antagonism and prompt instantaneous retaliation.

“Charge. Eye. Beams.”. the droid leader commanded.

Edelweiss and her M-ian brothers and sisters therefore began charging their eyeballs with pure energy. A simple blow from all these eye beams at the same time would annihilate any foreign object. The cloaking device had made the M-ians and their droids invisible to the Magicians.

Now there was only waiting.

The ship was close, very close, even closer now.

Edelweiss’ eyes were starting to hurt.

It landed.

What felt like an eternity passed by before the doors of the ship shooed open. The first Magician to exit looked nothing like those before him: bulky, white, round.

It was like an oversized child.

Words were heard, in a strange language, but they were too faint for anyone to hear. No sign of a weapon as yet. They were floating but not like the M-ians, their steps were clumsy and pathetic.

Were these Magicians children?

Underdeveloped versions of their predecessors?

Or had their predecessors, in fact, travelled back through time from their own future?

After all, the original ship had looked much more advanced than this one which, come to think of it, certainly had a much more primitive, fragile structure to it.


The Magicians were holding something, it looked sharp.

The head droid raised his arm, readying us to release our beams should his arm come down in a single clunk.

But something seemed out of place.

These Magicians could barely walk, how could they possibly harm us with a weapon this visibly flimsy and inferior?

The item in question was soon planted onto the surface: it was a small pole with some sort of fabric attached to it.

Was it a bomb, a peace offering or some sort of random decoration?

This kind of odd behaviour continued until they finally picked up some rocks, returned to their ship and eventually disappeared into the skies near-silently.

The M-ians were signalled to stop charging their eye beams. Edelweiss closed her eyes and the intense pain she was feeling began to subside. When she opened them again, everyone had gathered around and over the object left by the Magicians.

It appeared to display stars.

Stripes and stars.

Whatever this meant, one thing was sure: they came twice and they would come again.

And when they do: we’ll be ready for them.


More from Simon Simmons soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

Dead Air

Dead Air (2003)

Dead Air

by Matt Kowalski

the incredible true story that inspired the motion picture “Gravity”



I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

I mean, I “get” it: it’s far.

But it’s not like you can eat it or take it to the movies.

Before going up there, even I had that misguided “isn’t space grand?” attitude. I guess you never know what’s waiting for you behind the curtain unless you actually are the curtain, or something to that effect. I don’t know why I kept going back up there, maybe I just really like that diarrhoea-style space food, maybe Earth just doesn’t do it for me.

Now as to why she went up there… that’s a whole other mystery altogether.

Medical doctors with daughter issues have no business being in zero gravity settings. I learned that the hard way.

I always knew she was trouble, the minute I saw her. She had that look. You know that unconfident, sweaty, eyes-darting-left-and-right type of look? “How she passed the psychological evaluation I’ll never know…”, I thought. It seems silly now but how could I have known?

Sure, NASA isn’t exactly known for its overall incompetence but, every so often, mistakes slip through the cracks, even in the most professional and together of places. It happens. I should have known better but her making it up there, I suppose, wasn’t completely unfeasible.

I was assigned to supervising repairs on Explorer, she was working on the Hubble when mission control warned us about debris hitting us and that’s when I saw it. A look in her eyes I’d never seen before. Her edgy desperation had suddenly opened up the door to something much more knowing, much darker. Without hurry, there she remained, seemingly continuing repairs as debris started hitting us but really doing their bidding.

Before getting “accidentally” knocked off out of danger and into the dark chasm of space, I saw her neatly place a metallic item on the skin of the shuttle. It was like some kind of spinning cylinder with blue blinking lights shining all around it. Something not from our world. This is when I finally understood that what was happening to us was no accident.

Luckily, I had my thruster pack handy: stupid thing saved my life.

She killed Shariff.

He was one of our key engineers, the man had a family and a positive (read: naive) outlook on life. He was a good man and she killed his face, just like that. That device she planted on Explorer before floating away was clearly emitting some kind of magnetic field leading the debris to the shuttle. Shariff was almost at the airlock when part of that satellite hit him.

Can’t believe we were pinning this debacle on the Russians.

I’m Russian!

So there I was, at a somewhat safe distance from the disaster. Shuttle’s down, she’s floating far out. I had two options: find a way out and get back to Earth or get to her and find out why she did what she did. THEN get back to Earth.

I decided to get the bitch.


Seeing as she was probably programmed or hypnotised to do these things, I would find her, find out the truth, her plan, and deal with her accordingly.

When I found her, she was hysterical: breathing loudly and wasting oxygen. Her real, cowardly self had resurfaced and I had to calm her down in order to reach deep and find what else was lurking inside her psyche. There wasn’t much time to get the both of us over to another structure.

She told me about her dead daughter.

Ruined the vibe.

Can’t listen to good music in space, these days.

Anyway, we just about made it when the debris came back, knocking me away unexpectedly. That bitch had once again called the debris towards us: she must have been onto me. She knew I suspected her.

That’s when I got the idea: fake my own death and bring her down another way.

She was holding my hand, pretending to save me. I let go.

What she didn’t know was that my thruster pack still had plenty of fuel. I would make my way to a nearby Chinese satellite, where she would no doubt be heading, and set a trap for her.

It took some time but I finally made it. The people there were good people. They were on their way back to Earth when I warned them of a possible impending attack on our world by an unknown force. I flipped the oxygen switch down without them noticing, waited for them to get dizzy and, eventually, they believed me. We devised a plan: they would take the first escape pod down and warn the authorities, warn NASA, and I would hide and come back down with her.

Soon after the Chinese astronauts had left, she finally made it and, luckily, didn’t notice me hiding under the pod. I saw her sneak in, try to communicate with an Earth base and that’s when it happened.

She started barking.

Like a dog.

Well, seemingly like a dog but it was much stranger than that. Much more disturbing and high-pitched. She turned off her oxygen completely and closed her eyes. Suddenly, she re-opened them and I saw like a mist pass over her blank gaze. Over the pod, something crazy happened.

Space dogs.

Yes, I saw three dogs with spinning blue collars, floating in bubbles and communicating with her from the outside. What they were transmitting sounded like co-ordinates. They were planning an attack! I knew it!

I wasn’t insane!

The space dogs barked, she barked back, I listened.

After a couple of minutes, they floated away. That’s when I realised that my thruster pack was running completely out of fuel. I had to make it inside the pod, somehow. Luckily, she was still unconscious so, if I acted fast, I could open the pod, sneak inside, hide and make sure she didn’t see me when she woke up. Which is what I did. I was afraid for a moment when she blindly opened her eyes but, thinking fast, I pretended to be a ghost, knocked her out and hid inside the pod, right at the back.

She woke up and turned the oxygen back on. Thank God for that.

As if overwhelmed by a new sense of lust for life, she followed the procedures to get back to Earth and so we did. We almost burned-up on re-entry and I almost drowned when we landed but I had taken off my space suit as soon as we did so sneaking out underwater after her was easy. I even pushed a frog towards her in order to send her in a different direction.

Dogs respond to frogs.

Popping up over the water to breathe every so often, I eventually saw her stand and walk away.

Just then, the authorities arrived: the Chinese astronauts had followed my instructions! She was instantly apprehended, given a strong sedative and taken back to NASA headquarters. I, of course, followed.

What they found was staggering.

Testing revealed a small but significant bone-shaped substance inside her brain. It was carefully removed and analysed. Apparently, the substance contained a highly concentrated dose of nuclear energy. The space dogs’ plan, then, would have been to turn us all into skeletons, invade the Earth and feast on our bones. They led her into space in order to psychically impregnate her head with this powerful weapon as, from their far distance, they could only hypnotise her.

This explained everything!

The barking, the sudden change of emotions, the hysterical mood swings, the incompetence, it all makes sense now!

Unfortunately for her, by removing the substance, which had reached deep parts of her brain, she was left with a limited amount of capabilities. Essentially all she could do from now on was get on all fours, bark and eat doggy treats. To this day, she still resides at our NASA kennel. She’s happier than ever and I go feed her biscuits once a week.

Poor Dr Stone.

It’s like something out of a bad movie or something…


More sci-fi “true stories” soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.