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He left the office in a stupor and for the first time he noticed the bar across the road. He wasn’t a drinking man but what the hell! He wasn’t in any rush to go home and break the news to his wife. Outside , the bar appeared unobtrusive , neglected , perhaps even a little run down. Certainly nothing out of the ordinary. But once inside, Harry thought he’d entered a whole new world. The bar was sparse and dimly lit, a thick haze of cigarette smoke hung in the air. It took a while for his eyes to adjust to the darkness; when they did he saw that he wasn’t alone. In fact there were a number of people there.
In one corner a group of leather clad men drank in stony silence, to his right a heavily tattooed woman was in deep discussion with a bare foot man in tribal robes and there was a group of women dresses head to toe in black at one end of the bar, the red neon light above them reflecting off their stiff spiky hair. Harry felt as though he was witness to some exclusive alien society. He was just about to turn tail and run, when a huge , bald man with body piercing and black leather jeans , blocked his exit. His options brutally restricted, Harry turned towards the bar.
He spotted an empty stool and sat down ordering a double shot of scotch straight up. The amber liquid burned down the back of his throat, as he contemplated his current dilemma. Here he was , Harold Parker, 46 years old, Married; 2 children and a dog; ex-senior executive. The alcoholic malaise was beginning to settle over him and he ordered another drink.
An hour later he was feeling quite numb, somewhat indifferent to his surroundings . Then he noticed the stunning woman at the end of the bar. She was totally unlike any other woman Harry had ever seen. Long black hair fell across her shoulders and framed her porcelain pale face, her flawless skin set off piercing green eyes and vermilion lips.
He felt uncontrollably drawn to the woman, desire swelled in his body. At this moment , as if reading his thoughts , she turned to meet his gaze. Her green eyes seemed to cut through him , seeing into his very soul, leaving him exposed and vulnerable. She lifted the glass of red wine she was drinking and sipped from it allowing two crimson drops to escape her lips and trickle over her chin. She rose to leave, still holding his gaze; she crossed the room , indicating him to follow her. Harry found himself following her out of the bar, unable to resist the seemingly magnetic hold she had over him.
Outside night was falling, Harry followed his mystery lady into a nearby alley, where she turned to face him. A strange mist seemed to gather about her and her eye’s became two incandescent flames against her luminous skin . As he drew nearer to her , her lips parted slightly to reveal two elongated fangs.
Harry succumbed willingly to her embrace, secure in the knowledge that he had found a new vocation…..
Author: Lady Nemesis
Author: Michael McGennan
Posted: June 25, 1998
There's nothing in me that feels any different - I am the me I've always been. I hadn't even noticed until I looked at my watch what I reckoned then was half an hour, maybe forty minutes max since I'd last looked at it. But it wasn't "half an hour, forty minutes max" later. It was before. Before. And that was twenty minutes… ago.
So I don't know when it started. I know when I started to notice, and that's a different thing. But as soon as I started to notice I realized that it must have been going on for some time, some time, because there had been a strange, I don't know, wrongness, about the day. I thought it might have been a change in the weather, an incoming storm, the air, something electric in the atmosphere making it heavier than it was yesterday, that was all. I'm not particularly sensitive to these sort of things. I can be halfway down the street before I decide an umbrella is definitely a good idea, not go back for it, and be soaked through before the day's a quarter done.
I don't listen, I suppose you could say, to the world around me. If I've got ancient antennae, as some people claim for themselves, you know, reckon that they've retained in the midst of this reprehensible hi-tech world of ours something of the rainforest, the wide desert, the primeval grasslands, then I've tuned them out. All I get is static when I try to listen in on the natural world, put myself in the way of organic, unfiltered experience.
I'm not denying it, I reckon all human experience is valid, valuable. Anything that someone else has been through and can communicate clearly to the rest of us, well, it's all pertinent stuff. You never know, it may come in useful at some stage. I don't mock gurus, pillory prophets, take the piss out of New Agers, I figure they're all on the same track as the rest of us - we all want to be there when what we each want to know is made clear. Whatever it is.
So you won't find me lining up to denigrate someone just because what they're saying is so far out of left field they haven't even seen the perimeter fence to jump into the field yet. Let them have their say, I say, and away they go. And if I'm not interested in listening, which most times I'm not, then, away I go.
But there's no escaping the passing of time. It just does, no matter what anyone has to say. Even if you don't pay it any attention, even if you go out of your way to ignore it, turn your back, shut your eyes, it just keeps rolling along. Like that great big old river to the sea. But what happens when you taste salt in your clear glass of fresh water taken from the river's source way, way inland from the ocean? When the river's flowing backwards, forcing everything stale and viscid in it that used to wash out back to where it all began, silting up the pure and the untainted with everything that isn't?
Humans being what we are, what we've put behind us we like to stay there. If it won't, if it starts flowing back in, not like a memory, all that 'know better next time' stuff, if the old times actually come back, as they were, barbed and stripping all over again, memory is useless then, it can't guide you through, it can't point out to avoid what's happening - the returned thing's happening regardless. Just like last time. Exactly like last time. Because it is last time.
3:19. Time's escaping me, my hourglass is running skywards, the base clearing of grains of sand floating up to form an inverse cone attached to the flat top of the clear-glass cup above, above the pinched waist, above its twin-cup below. It is all mirroring, it is all reverse flow, and I could place my finger against the counter-clockwise spinning second hand of my electric wall-clock, but it would slice right through. The pressure is inexorable, and razoring. I have blood on my fingertip to prove it.
I don't feel so different, apart from the hollowness in my gut, the fear that could just as easily have come from my car sliding across a slick roadway towards oncoming traffic, or sitting in my office waiting for quarterly figures without the slightest idea of what they will say, either for themselves, or about me. It's that helplessness we all feel when what we take for daily control over our lives is revealed for what it is - unchallenged luck, that's held good up until now, accidental as anything else, including its own turning against us.
But time has always flowed forwards - the minutes and hours piled up, they didn't shed away. Whatever else might be happening, you could lock it down to something, you could place it in context, against other things that were happening, maybe just before, moments after, simultaneously, but happening in the same way, happening to be recalled afterwards when there was nothing more urgent to be done, for at least, whatever it was, it was 'done', it was over - what came next you did relating to that - 'doing' grew out of 'done'.
Now, now sweeping back into then, I have no position to take, no leg to stand on that is not pulled out from under me by the backwards thrust of what's happening around me. Focused on me. 3:12. Why did I notice it when I did? Is there something specific that I'm being dragged back to? It's been an awfully ordinary day until this. I've, OK, felt a little bit off-color, that's true, but I've been attending to the day's tasks, things have gone pretty much the way I planned them to. The day's 'in-tray' has been emptying out, the 'out-tray' filling, I was ready to mark today down as a good one, that I could start thinking about the night ahead.
Just goes to show, I guess, you can't get too cocky about any of this, that everything you take for granted might be nothing but a series of accidental coincidences, that the entire universe as we know it, the physics, the astronomy, science of every stripe, the metaphysics, might have come together, legitimately observed, recorded, tabulated, taught, gospelled, all in the time it takes the universe to sneeze, so everything we've taken as the norm was really happening in a period of abnormality, the way you could flatten a heavyweight boxer in his mid-sneeze, when he was most weakened by the shock starting in and passing through his body.
What if that's us, everything in our Earthly comprehension nothing but a huge, internally consistent mistake, a misapprehension based on utterly legitimate data, completely true misunderstandings that bolster and rationalize each other, but are only all of those things against the grain, and a greater, bigger, mirroringly opposite structure, true normality, is about to be restored?
Your answer will be redundant the moment you utter it, of course, which will be, for your ongoing information, 3:07. Redundant because all of our intelligence, all of our insights, all of our everything, is truly false. If my sneeze theory is true, that is.
If it isn't, if my own immediate experience here and now is mine alone, and no-one else in the world is undergoing it, then this is my psycho-pathology alone, which opens up the box of madness. Against every standard of lucidity, I'm waving my own flag scrawled with symbols that add up to lunacy. Who'll be the judge of that?
Here I am, watching a clock rotate its hands backwards, reversing, turning back time, paying it too much attention, perhaps. Giving it too much authority, allowing it too vast an influence upon me and my thinking, not questioning deeply enough just what exactly, with atomic chronographic precision, is happening here?
Is it happening there, where you are, reading my words? This matter has come to your attention after mine. Does your clock read 3:03 as mine displays 3:04, reversing also, the minute's delay allowed for my speed of recording my discoveries, getting them down onto the page, before your eyes? Or does yours show 3:05, if say, we allow that consistent delay of at least sixty seconds, either way, backwards, forwards, between what I see and record for you to see? What does your clock say, after we've allowed for 'delivery time', either way?
I am certain of only one thing, now. It is now. Bugger the clock. Now is immediate. Now is happening, whatever order through time it is taking to be in my personal past, individual recollection… now is in my face. If I choose, I can fill it with anything I choose. Words. Or silence.
Still there? See? I have that much control, tiny as it is. I can stand back, further from the clock. Is that the answer? Our physics professors, Einstein, Hawking, the job-lot of them, maintain that if one traveled at the speed of light, away from the Earth, upon returning after a subjective period of say, three years, a much longer period of time would have passed for Earth's stay-at-home inhabitants - we would meet our left-as-infants children as the parents, grandparents perhaps, of other infant children.
What then, in this obverse world, if I race light-speed away from this contrary clock? Is that how I can beat this, beat reversing time at it's own game, by suspending it, travelling so far so fast that I will return precisely, if I time it, at the moment when I left?
I may not have stopped reverse drift, but I won't have lost any time, I'll have achieved an active, hyperactive sort of stasis. Hell of an effort maybe, but I'll have shown I'm not here to be toyed with.
Isn't that what all human endeavor is about, to display that we are greater than circumstance, that we are the manipulators, that we make things turn out the way we want them to? 2:59. Yeah, I can keep talking, or I can get cracking. Nice meeting you. Whatever you make of this, I wish you well, I wish you the best, but it's every individual for themselves now - you'll have to make your own decision how to deal with things. See, I can't hang around anymore, I can't offer any more advice, theorize further. It isn't on. I have to start off. I don't have any more time to...
Author: Natalie Levin
Posted: June 29, 1998
Taking what wasn’t his like he owned me. And now I don’t want to give no more to nobody else. And the blame screams. What’s worse is that I believe them. I listen, hard, make sure it’s imprinted into my mind. So when I try to remember, all I do is forget. On purpose, maybe. Trying to run away. But it’s far too late, what’s done is done, and I can’t take it back.
I wanted to once. Dreamed of it too. Something I could give but it was never to him. Something I wanted but it ain’t a want anymore. Wishin’, tryin’, flying away with my head in the clouds. It’s gotten worse since the sea of lies got thicker. Since it swallowed me whole. What did it want in the first place? What did he? ‘Cause I would have said no and he knows it, maybe. It wasn’t his. Was it mine? Might as well have robbed me of my life. He almost did. Can’t believe he did it before, after maybe too. But stole the pearl I held with me for something he saw was good.
Not fair, never was, when she saw me lying on the ground. Not fair when it was she that had to keep the bruising down. Muttering under her breath, she tried hard to keep calm. She knew, all along who it was. Didn’t cry. My face was dry. Just like I wanted it. She said I was strong but I said I was stupid. Shouldn’t live with the knowing that what I treasured more than her was taken and she was all that was left. Sang to me, even while I slept and brushed my hair in the morning. She left, angry, probably ready to kill. I’m sure she did. Because someone stole her pearl too and she needed to get back at whoever it was.
Just a party. Life’s just a party. Can’t forget it. Don’t want to even when you try. You never succeed. Who really cared? It was mine. He took it all.
Posted: July 14, 1998
After the wars ended, the flooding began. With the ice caps rapidly melting, the oceans flooded the coasts at astronomical rates. Mild flooding at first, but after a few weeks it increased. Within a month, the ocean had risen over two hundred feet. Much of the still smoking world was now under water. The scattered bands of survivors futilely sought refuge on higher ground. No one knew what to do. Humanity was hanging in the balance, and everyone was dumbfounded. They had little time for elaborate plans, they were too busy searching for scraps to eat and the slightest drop of water to quench their undying thirst. The shock was too great for them, the once all-powerful human race, reduced to pitiful bands of scavengers. Unfortunately for them, this wasn't the time for remorse and platitudes, it was a time for action.
A year passed in such a manner. With the pathetic remnants of mankind crawling around to survive. Man slowly adjusted to its new niche on Earth. However, like the dinosaurs, man adjusted too slowly. During that year, over two billion people drowned as the oceans finally rose over the summits of the Rocky, Ural, Appalachian, and Alp mountain ranges. The entire human race now numbered less than one hundred thousand men, woman, and children. It was crowded on the highest peaks of the Andes and Himalayan mountain ranges, and was becoming more crowded by the day as the water still rose. The people had now, for the most part, accepted the reality of the situation; they were going to die...
Nothing could be done to save man. However, something was being done so that man was never forgotten. On one of the higher Himalayan peaks was an old Chinese rocket launching base. It still had two operational rockets. The surviving world leaders decided to launch the rockets into the vastness of space, hoping that something would someday find them. The rockets would contain the entire recorded history of the human race, up until the last day. Every surviving scrap of information was used to make the "memoirs of man" as complete as possible. It was difficult for the few survivors to fully accept. Everything that their race had been was on those rockets. Nothing else of man's would remain. A few thousand years of history inside a small metal case at the tip of a nuclear missile. Ironic indeed, that the instrument that had butchered mankind, was now going to immortalize it.
The rockets were made ready and placed at the summit of Mount Everest (a name appropriate for man's final moments on Earth) Everest was now the only dry peak remaining, and it was the last refuge of one-hundred weak souls. It was calculated that only an hour remained. People gathered together and prayed. Prayed for themselves, and their deceased friends and family whom they would be joining shortly. People were calm for the most part, patiently waiting for the end. It was decided that the rockets should be immediately launched, to clear the summit for the remaining people. Two men placed one last item into the rocket and sealed it shut, the last words of man. The rockets were now ready. The people stood back and watched as the rockets ignited and shot into the sky. They were visible for a few moments and then they were gone from sight. The water was now within ten feet of the summit and the crowding was terrible, as the water rose, people fell into it. Within twenty minutes of!
the rockets' departures the summit became totally submerged. As the water rose some people screamed, others prayed, some huddled close to loved ones for a last goodbye, some floated there with a blank expression of insanity on their face. It is unnecessary to elaborate on their ultimate fate. Needless to say, within a day the human race was no more. No more than two small containers on top of two missiles. No more than some papers, books, pictures, and disks. No longer anything. Nothing but a memory...
Author: Ahmed Seif El Nasr
Posted: July 16, 1998
I frequently tried to find an answer to that question. Whenever he sees me, he tries to vex me by speaking in an impolite way and I usually did my best to avoid him. His name was MR. ALLAN. He was my neighbor; his flat was next to mine. He was a fat man who seemed to eat and drink a good deal more than was enough to keep him in health. He was short and he had a brown wondering eyes and a worried face.
An unusual idea strokes my mind one-day when I was thinking about that person. "I must know the reason of his hatred to me," I said to myself. So, I decided to invite him to dine with me thinking that it would be a good chance to solve all our problems. Although I knew that inviting him to dinner would cost me a lot!
The following day, as I was going to work I met him coming out of his house. "Good morning, MR.ALLAN," I said.
"Good morning sir, how are you, it is really a long time since I had seen you last," was his answer.
I can't deny that I was amazed at such behavior but, however, I said, "I will be happy if you accept my invitation to dinner tonight."
"It is a pleasure, sir," he said.
When I returned back from work I started preparing the dinner but all that time I was thinking about nothing but that person. I couldn't have explained his sudden change of attitude towards me. Time passed and yet he hadn't come, so I went to his flat to see the reason for his delay, but there was no answer when I knocked at his filthy door. Going back to my house, I sat down in an armchair to get some rest, as I was very tired.
But suddenly, I heard a loud knock at the door that seemed to shake my heart. "Am I dreaming?" I asked myself, but when I heard the knock again, I went quickly to see the comer. The floor felt like ice on my bare feet. When I opened the door, I was attacked by three men whom I didn't know. They looked fierce. The black glasses they were wearing prevented me from having a careful look at their face. One of them, their leader I think, was a tall strong heavy man in a dirty green coat, gave me a nasty look and said, " where is the money?" "What on earth do you mean?" I asked.
"The money which was given to you by MR. ALLAN," he said. At that moment I was able to understand why MR. ALLAN had treated me in a good way for the first time in my life. He had taken or perhaps stolen some money from these people and told them that the money is with me, but I couldn't expect him to do more than that to me. "I swear to God that I have no idea about the money you want from me," I told him in a rather trembling voice.
"If you don't give us the money now you would be killed at once," he threatened me.
Then I heard the bell door ringing. "What a horrible dream," I said to myself. When I opened the door MR.ALLAN stepped in looking pleased with himself. "I am awfully sorry, sir, for my delay, but I really had some important work which I had to finish before coming," he apologized.
"Don't worry, MR.ALLAN, you are always welcomed at anytime," I said. Then I smiled at my own foolishness and said to myself, "Don't apologize, on the contrary, I must thank you for coming at the right moment otherwise I would have been…"
Author: Ahmed Seif El Nasr
Posted: July 17, 1998
I was just entering my house after spending the whole day in a non-stop working, having a backache. But what made me forget about being tired was the idea of having a good night sleeping! . Because " The unexpected that always happens." what I wanted was like a very nice dream that can never be reality.
The trouble began just as I opened the door of my house and stepped in, it was very dark as if was going into a cave so I went to switch the light on but my legs slipped suddenly and I fell down. " What a stupid person you are, can't you walk properly." I blamed my self. I was going directly to my room when I heard the doorbell rings. "Oh! What a bad luck, it must be him." I quickly went to open the door thinking that it was my friend TOM. He was a friend of mine who always comes at very strange time, whenever he comes, his visit would be unsuitable, and that is why I thought him to be at the door.
When I opened the door, there was nobody, so I happily closed the door and went back to my room to find that the door of the room had disappeared, " It seems that I am going to spend a silly night.' I said " I must be dreaming.' I said and opened my eyes widely to make sure that I was not asleep .I didn't know what was going on but I was puzzled how can the door be disappeared, where had it been taken. Then I heard a noise that was coming from the direction of the bathroom. ' Is there someone having a bath in there, and he is even happy to the extent that he is singing."I shouted very loudly " That must be nonsense." I was amazed I didn't know what was going on, is they're somebody in the house, which was he and what did he want from me.
I went to the bathroom and opened the door but at that time the light in the whole flat went off. I am not going to deny what I had felt by that time, of course above from loosing interest in sleeping! I was afraid. I went to stand by the window in order to protect my self by the light of the sun but to my bad luck, it was just beginning to grow dusk.
The doorbell rang again, " What am I supposed to do." I said, but I decided to give my self enough courage to go and open it.
Before reaching the door I heard the voice of TOM saying " Aren't you going to open the door?" On opening the door he looked at me with an expression of surprise and said " Are you asleep, why are sitting in the dark." I know that " The constant visitor is never welcomed." although TOM always used to come at times when I never even to see any one's face, I was happy when I saw him! " No, I just feel like sitting by the window enjoying the moon's light." I said. I didn't want tell him the truth because I was afraid to sit alone by myself alone and around myself that was going on. He looked at the moon, which looked like a disk of copper and said " Alright, I have to go now, I only wanted to tell you goodnight."
He said and left without giving me the opportunity to ask him to spend the night with me, as if he had understood what was happening.
As soon as he had left I went back to stand by the window and said " Why are you so afraid, even if there are ghosts in the house, they will not harm you, the will not have enough courage to hurt you.' so I stood up and directed my legs towards the door- less room and stayed over my bed till the morning waiting for my unknown fate, and deciding to change forever my way of thinking about ghosts.