ambition, short fiction, war, women




The train sat, a dying king over a ruined kingdom, scarred with a million journeys and covered in a mosaic of graffiti, each one the manifestation of a singular intention.

Mostly to be seen, but other intentions were captured there.

Now, look at this one. Looks like it was done for practice, but if you see the lines here and how they converge into those curlicues, you’re actually looking at something far more interesting.

No, don’t touch it. Trust me.

There are roughly sixty-three thousand homeless people in New York. A chunk of them are families, which always makes me call bullshit on the idea that people choose to be there. There are those who see it as an opportunity, their own self-interest merging with the pretense of indignity and finding a mutual benefit.

It isn’t hiding out on a tropical island, or a bunch of papers with your face but not your name. It is however, one of the most effective ways for someone to disappear and remain that way.

So, this my padawan, is the work of Veronica Imogen Cathcart. She had eighty million dollars in offshore trusts but chose to live on the streets. She framed it in the context of a ritual sacrifice when Odin hung upside down from the tree to gain hidden wisdom. It was mostly for the shock value though when some testosterone flushed asshole tried to intimidate her and she would give him a verbose tongue lashing or deliver a curse in fluent Enochian that would send him straight to the psych ward. She owned a lot of the streets she slept on.

Now, this one next to it is interesting.

It is a ward designed to counteract the effects of Vic’s strike. That is reflected in the interlocking colours used. Someone had studied the impact of astrology, which the consensus determines as bullshit, but there’s power in it, so they made this at roughly four am on March 31st. Aries. So it’s designed to push back against whatever’s sent against it.

Now let’s go back to Vic’s work?

Yeah, Vic. Not in Victoria, but in her initials. Veronica Imogen Cathcart.

So look at it again, defined by what opposes it. It is not a collection of lines and curlicues; it is a statement of will. Intention focused into a single point and then driven.


Straight into someone’s heart.

Now the ram here is the work of Pyotr Davidovitch. It wasn’t his real name, anymore than Vic’s was. You never reveal your true name to anyone you’re unsure of. It’s like giving your heart over to someone who is careless with it. Or cruel.

Yeah, six months now. Why do you ask?

Ah, smart ass here. Excellent, means I won’t have to explain the dry stuff.

Now duels like this and it was a duel, conducted with the dry familiarity of ritual have to be carried out in secret. You know how people like that English kid with the glasses and the scar, expelli-something? Yeah, now those people, if it was explained to them that there was an entire school of physics with real world, tangible applications, they would be screaming in the streets.

Stake burning.


You’re with me so far? Now, that lends us all a kind of power. Power is not money in the bank or property, or influence. It is the ability to move, to make decisions without considering their impact. It is about the ability to impose your will however you see fit.

Add that to the things that we already know how to do.

Now see why some people choose to live off the grid entirely?

Ugh, no. I like Netflix and a good wireless connection. I like restaurants and shoes without holes in them too much to pursue that path. I do pretty well with what I have.

Pyotr and Vic were too much alike to see how they were reflected in one another. When siblings fight, normally it’s sort of pathetic.

It’s sad, really. They really did bring out the worst in one another.

So, you’re thinking, it was over money?

No. It was about a book. Of all things, a fucking book.

It was translated from the Sumerian tablets by an entire monastery in Bruges. Once it was complete, two things happened to it.

One it was bound and covered with the skin of the last monk to translate it. It was sent to the patron who commissioned it after it had been cured and tanned to the consistency of leather.

Once word had been received, then every single person in the monastery committed suicide.

Now, who wouldn’t want a book like that, huh? Dangerous equals powerful.

Pyotr got word of its arrival in the US first, started bidding for it with his share of the family money. Vic got wind of it, initially concerned at what her accountant told her.

Yeah, I know. Imagine the amount of air freshener she had to use afterwards. Probably put another hole in the ozone layer.

Then she started to bid for the book herself. They had words. Not a conversation because these words were vandals at play in the physical world. Their arguments broke windows and set off car alarms eight blocks away.

Nothing was resolved and both of them continued to bid for the book.

Then Vic sent an elemental to steal it. Pyotr banished it and took the book for himself.

He would have said it was his plan.

Which was when Vic challenged him to a duel. WIth the prize being the book.

The loser, well you figure it out.

It went on for five years. Some people think it might have contributed to the financial meltdown, all that back and forth fucking with bystanders on a psychic level. Prescriptions of anti-depressants went up twenty percent and the crime rate soared in any area that their work featured.

So, these are marks of a personal, bitter war between two people who shared blood with one another.

Now, it’s inside that we see the final outcome.

Yeah, no matter what they use, the smell never really goes away.

That stain there, looks like an oversized Rorschach blot?


That might look like someone spilt a quart of crude on the floor there, but if I told you that said stain was worth eighty million dollars, you would nod and agree, yes?


They met here, having grown frustrated with the perfect interdependence of their magic and their antipathy towards one another. They would have had tattoos made, I think, judging by the force of the respective blows.

Sad, isn’t it?

The book? It’s not that exciting. Would probably make a good movie if you got the right director. Guillermo Del Toro or Nicholas Winding Refn.

Now, let’s take photographs and bounce.

Photographs? Yes, because we are going to use these for our own purposes.

It’s an election soon.

(Thank you for reading this far. Please like and comment)




One thought on “Tag

  1. Pingback: Weekend Omnibus | MB Blissett

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