You Are L.

 You Are L. (2012)

You Are L Poster

a Malcolm M. Milon short story

icon-saturn

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.

icon-saturn

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, LeonardWindell.com, 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.”

icon-saturn

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.

icon-saturn

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…

icon-saturn

More from Malcolm M. Milon soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

Edelweiss Space Magic

Edelweiss Space Magic (1963)

Edelweiss

by Simon Simmons

icon-saturn

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.

Danger!

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.

icon-saturn

More from Simon Simmons soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

Over Thair

Over Thair (1979)

Over Thair

an Abraham M. Moon short story

icon-saturn

They came for hair.

I know that now.

There are things that, here on Earth, we take for granted. Things which, in a world unlike our own, can translate as treasure.

Three days ago, when the Moon invaded, we were unaware and unprepared.

The idea of life on the Moon had been long dismissed as “silly” and “too far to check again” and our attention soon turned to Mars. Little did we know that a race of mostly liquid entities lived and thrived deep beneath the Moon’s hard structure. Despite our many studies, we remained blind to these beings’ existence and the Moon’s inner secrets.

Had we known three days ago that 80% of the Moon’s core was, in fact, covered in hair, perhaps disaster could have been aborted.

The Moon People, much like us with water, had been digging for hair for Millennia. It was their gold, their home, their food.

Their all.

When the Moon inexplicably stopped growing its own hair, desperation soon settled in and the Moon People began to panic. With their imminent destruction in the cards, they had no choice but to dig up to the surface, where they had avoided to venture to because it was cold and had a weird smell, to seek answers.

There, they found a flag.

A flag they did not understand.

Nonetheless, they concluded that the nearest planet was probably to blame so they set out on a voyage which could, and should have meant certain death.

The Moon People were a brave Moon people.

But they lacked hair and we had it.

Their interplanetary floating took centuries. To compare with the Earth’s timeline, suffice it to say that Christopher Columbus discovered America the Thursday prior to their departure.

Now, the year was 1999 and here they were: weak and hungry for hair.

icon-saturn

The long, uneventful and immensely slow trip had starved them and driven them to madness. Returning home with hair was no longer their mission.

Their new mission:

HAIR.

And lots of it.

Like mere liquid, hair-hungry zombies, they soon roamed the Earth in search of hair. Rendering anyone they encountered smooth all over. For head hair was not the only type of hair they were after. They wanted it all.

Cattle died of shock, cats of cold…

Chaos.

On the second day, the military intervened but no amounts of advanced weaponry could stop them. Bullets and big bullets just passed right through. Giant sucking devices and giant drying devices were brought in as alternatives but the Moon People had become too powerful. Somehow the hair they had consumed had made them undriable and too strong to be sucked by anything.

The third day was critical.

Earth was balding, fast, and it looked like nothing could ever stop those lunar devils. Then, an ageing Swedish physicist and aspiring boot collector by the name of Lukas Jarlsson designed a rocket which would be filled to the brim with hair and piloted by unwitting automatons (also filled with hair). Once inside, the Moon People would be trapped there and sent back to their cold, lifeless, hairless home. The spacecraft would then auto-destruct and the Moon (and its people) would be no more.

The plan was set in motion the very next half hour.

After a particularly tense build-up, the rocket finally launched with the Moon People inside. They had been lured inside thanks to Jarlsson’s last minute idea to pave all the roads of Stockholm with hair all the way to the rocket’s Moon People-shaped entrance. Many sacrificed their lives and their hair for this cause.

The Swedish people would never forget that day.

As the Moon People left our atmosphere, we Earthmen and Earthwomen looked on proudly, happy to once again be safe.

The Moon did not explode as planned, that was unexpected.

We all assumed the Moon People died of natural causes or perhaps simple gluttony during the voyage back.

We were free again: that’s all we needed to know.

But Lukas Jarlsson had not been seen since the launch. Could he have been left inside the rocket accidentally? What would happen to him? Would they use him to grow hair for them forever? Would they devour him?

It did not matter, his life was a small price to pay for our hair.

Our beautiful hair.

icon-saturn

More from Abraham M. Moon soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

Phalloids

“Phalloids” (1971)

Phalloids

an L.L.L. Burlap short story

icon-saturn

The Phalloids had spoken.

But could they have been wrong?

After all, they had been mistaken before, hadn’t they?

Hadn’t they… ?

They hadn’t.

Father had given his life for The Phalloids all those years ago, he fought bravely against the forces of The Mindreading Elite, telepath warriors, a sect of unbelievers. The Phalloids couldn’t be wrong, lives were lost and that couldn’t have been in vain.

“You are the destroyer of The Phalloids. Phalloids are we.”, The Phalloids had said.

How could this be?

Without The Phalloids, our proud city of Phalloidia wouldn’t even have a name!

Or Phalloids!

The very thought gives me chills.

Without them, how would we know of the future? How do you live without knowing what comes next?

Besides, we rely on Phalluid for literally everything. No Phalluid, that creamy, seemingly endless white nectar The Phalloids bless us with every morning, would mean nothing to water the crops, nothing to drink, nothing to wash ourselves with, nothing to make our water taste better.

Chaos.

I can’t let this happen. I won’t.

I will destroy The Phalloids after all.

They were right…

icon-saturn

Look out for more L.L.L. Burlap short stories ONLY on WeTheMindThinkers.

The Mountains Upside Down – Chapter III

“The Mountains Upside Down” (1863)

a Gilles Vorace novel

Image

Extract from Chapter III:

“Downwards And Upwards”

Image

We had finally begun our climb down to the top of the mountain.

Dr Niemendorf had been right all along: the mountains upside down did exist!

Hektor Wiendelstein’s journal was not a fake nor was it a collection of demented ramblings which was certainly good news for the expedition. What lies at the peak of an upside down mountain, deep underground?

We were about to find out.

-“Dr Niemendorf”, I inquired, “What of the air down there?”

-“Young nephew, use your mind! Typically, a mountain peaks at the purest and lightest of its air. Therefore, since our journey already begins at the top, we should find a vast pocket of fresh oxygen right at the foot of the mountain. The freshest, most delightful air you could ever breathe. After that, it’ll all be downhill from there.”

-“Surely you mean ‘uphill’.”

-“Hush those mindless queries and corrections.”

-“But doctor”, our Finnish lumberjack friend Raskkattan started, “We five, we not enough. Maybe more people is better, no? Danger!”

-“Balderdash! A group of five abled bodies with working limbs and capable, functioning brains is more than enough to secure a safe and productive expedition.”

-“But we drop!”

-“Drop? Absurd! If my calculations are correct, and they are, once we have slid our way through to the mountain’s base, reverse gravity should kick-in just in time to guarantee a smooth upside down walk all the way to the top!”

-“But…”

-“‘But-but-but’, be quiet man! Keep your concerns to yourself and leave the science to those of us who are indeed qualified to discuss such intricate matters. Me, for example. Now carry this pig.”

Raskkattan should have known better than to argue with Uncle Niemendorf. He was as stubborn as an owl and, more often than not (by that, of course, I mean always), he was completely, surprisingly right. My uncle handed the bulky Scandinavian the pig and, after wrapping a long piece of rope around a nearby tree, started his descent.

Raskkattan followed, his porcine disciple firmly tied to his chest, like a real boy. Olaf was next, the weak-minded child was scared out of his wits, contesting throughout: “Why did he have to come?”, “Why couldn’t he go home instead?”, nonsense of the sort. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be part of such a ground-breaking discovery? I tied up the boy promptly, from neck to toe, filling his mouth with cranberries to keep him quiet, and lowered him down with the others.

The ungrateful tick.

It was to be Lady Seitenstreifen’s turn when she turned to me, her stunning figure in that all-too complimenting dress of hers, hardly suited to an adventure such as this one might I add, heaving towards me, like a bag of cherries, and asked:

-“Do they have napkins down there?”

Not knowing what she meant and for fear of sounding foolish, I immediately agreed with her. Puzzled, she nonetheless smiled and followed the rest of the group down the crack. Good thing I remembered to tie her rope to the tree in time, she had forgotten and a lesser gentleman could have lost himself in that magical smile of hers.

She truly was a special breed.

Image

The climb down was torturous.

Impatient, Uncle Niemendorf intermittently yelled instructions back at us. The pig, no doubt deeply disturbed by the events, squealed uncontrollably, Raskkattan muttered what could only be Finnish profanities on and off, young Olaf crying hot, bitter, childish tear the entire time, Lady Seitenstreifen complaining about the absence of a working powder room (poor, sweet Lady Seitenstreifen, I could bury my head in her) and me, unsure about where this unsympathetic road would lead me.

Respect? Fame? Fortune? Death?

Time would tell.

-“My uncle, how much farther down until we reach the mountain?”

-“According to Hektor Wiendelstein’s journal, we should be approaching the base of the mountain somewhere between now and later.”

-“Later as in after some time has passed?”, interrupted Lady Seitenstreifen, with a voice so soft and cushiony I felt instantly wombed by its motherly comfort.

-“Precisely”, simply replied my uncle.

This was going to be one long climb.

-“You have water?”, Raskkattan asked the doctor with a thick Helsinki accent, so thick it must have weighed at least a couple of inches.

-“‘Vwahtier’? I suppose you mean ‘water’? Fool, you imagine I would undertake such a monumental undertaking without packing enough water for us all?”

-“No, but it’s good you have.”

-“I don’t ‘have’ it now, of course. I had to drop some weight on the way down in order to perform my leader duties to the best of my abilities so what I couldn’t drink, I discarded. But not to worry, as long as I am hydrated, the group should enjoy a safe journey with me, its leader, in top physical form. Besides, the water will no doubt be waiting for us down the mountain thanks to good old, trusty reverse gravity.”

-“Surely you mean ‘up’ the mountain, Uncle Niemendorf!”, I playfully jested.

-“I loathe the very fabric of your being and, furthermore, your face.”, was his, I felt, somewhat harsh, reply.

A sudden move by Dr Niemendorf sent all of us swinging and sent Olaf face-first into the rocky walls which surrounded us, cracking his skull on a sharp piece of granite. He died on impact. The blood pouring out of his little head angered my uncle but provided Raskkattan’s pet pig with enough fluids to keep it alive and squeal-less for some time.

The circle of life.

-“I tire, lets set up camp here!”, Lady Seitenstreifen suggested as Olaf’s motionless corpse hung puppet-like right below her small, delicate feet.

Suddenly, and without warning, the rope snapped and we started our long tumble down this mysterious, upside down abyss.

Image

More extracts from Gilles Vorace‘s “The Mountains Upside Down” will come soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

Norman L. Brisbane – Found Artwork

A piece of art from legendary science fiction writer Norman L. Brisbane, author of such titles as “Beware Their Killing Hooves” and “To Be A Blurgen”, was recovered this week.

The piece appears to be a rough drawn representation of the “Observatorium”, a location mentioned in his final short story “The Red Moons Of NeOrion”. The drawing was made on a scrap piece of paper and found in the inside pocket of the coat he wore when he died. It hadn’t been found until now because the pockets were sawn shut with beard hair, Brisbane’s evidently, and in order to preserve the authenticity of the item, no-one had dared tearing the pockets open.

Thankfully, a moth infestation in the New Jersey Science Fiction Museum opened up a hole big enough from the inside that the mangled piece of paper could be safely extracted.

Here is the powerful image it depicted:

(click on it to enlarge)

The structure conceived by Mr Brisbane looks every bit as imposing as it was described in the story. The vein-like detailing over the entirety of the pole suggesting the metal mentioned, “Expanseon”, had taken over it like a vine eating its way to the top of a tree. The dome looking very much grafted onto the pole almost organically.

The lack of detail on the surrounding “schlouds” would suggest Mr Brisbane was more enamored with the shaft at the center of the piece.

This truly is a major discovery for the world of sci-fi and one hopes that more artworks will be recovered from the legendary writer in time.