Barin, stood outside the gate, his face illuminated by the gleam of moonlight filtering through the deadwood canopy. Ringlets of midnight black flow cascaded around his ghoul like features, grotesque shadows dancing across an olive-skinned canvas. He would have to hurry.
Morning approached, the arbitrary beginning of each new cycle. The shadows that betrayed him were subdued by the light of day, reflecting only a pretty façade. The cauldron churning within concealed behind a perfect jawline, witty charm, and a penchant for expensive wine. Sometimes the hunt was too easy, they were drawn to him like moths to the flame, lambs to the slaughter, or whatever overused cliché you can think of.
He was an aficionado for the macabre as witnessed in his gruesome acts. This was the part he liked the least. He felt a sense of trepidation as the gate creaked open. It was insubstantial when compared to the innate drive that had pushed him to feed. An emptiness filled him as he searched the rows of tombstones for the familiar glow of candlelight that marked fresh dug graves.
He set her lifeless remains down and pulled a souvenir from around her neck. His instinct and heart in constant conflict, like opposite ends of a battery, one providing energy and the other extracting every drop. Still, he loved every one of his victims.
It didn’t matter if this tinpot dictatorship trampled on the rights of its citizens or those sharing a border. He was the President’s guest, and as such smiled while flippant comments about war crimes and human rights violations flew around the table.
Back home, blame for the Ambassador’s cozy relationship fell squarely on the Prime Minister. Like a good civil servant, he tendered his resignation to conceal the government’s secret support for the regime.
Terryl felt ill, a gnawing in his stomach that had started in the hours following his return from Orion Prime’s surface.
The mission was uneventful, a ride through the red tide mist to the Orion-Beta mine site where the landing party deployed new communications boosters and completed routine software updates on the mining bots.
No one else from the team was reporting anomalies but several days later Terryl sat in sickbay awaiting his fourth assessment; his previous scans had come back normal, but he was certain something was eating away at his insides.
Unrelenting darkness pressed down above the northern city trapped beneath the rubble of an intercontinental war it never asked for. Its only downfall is being landlocked between a wicked aggressor on the eastern front and indifference amongst the free and democratic societies to the west. The democratically elected government had aligned with the Western powers during the peaceful years following the Planetary Armistice of 2740.
The Eastern airforce was engaging in a campaign to carpet the rural grain and sheep farms with clusters of bombs precisely spaced to ensure maximum destruction of the arable countryside. Facing certain starvation, anger grew as it became clear that their allies had abandoned them. Sure, the West was providing stockpiles of old and neglected weaponry to shore up the National Resistance but compared to the weapons of modern warfare they were playing in the technological dark ages.
Following the loyalist insurrection, many Minos separatists were forced to toil long unforgiving hours serving Earth’s greed-driven interests.
My clan survived the initial onslaught, fleeing to the shelter of the catacombs deep below the settlement. I miss the warmth of the Minoan suns but the long-forgotten passages have proved the perfect refuge for ostracized colonists.
The therapeutic properties of the moon’s super-heated core providing us with everything we need while planning our triumphant return to the surface.
Ally looked confused sifting through the course catalog. “How in the name of God do I pick a future right here and now?”
Her Grandfather chimed in, “Think of your future as a blank canvas. It may start with some timid strokes but if you are deliberately thoughtful in making your choices and you let your heart lead you to the things that are important an image will begin to take shape. There may be obstacles to overcome and course corrections to be made along the way but as long as you remain true to yourself those early strokes will begin to bristle with confidence; the watercolours replaced with a more permanent layer. By the time you get to my age, your story will be filled with many chapters and the masterpiece you will be remembered for will have taken shape; it will be your portrait immortal.”
Firtlin’ about in her seat she rolled her eyes at him and replied, “Always with the life advice Grandpa, thanks I just need to decide between the Arts or Sciences.”
With the criminal actions of Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation, the world is less safe today. Democracy, freedom and the stability of Europe are threatened by the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The world must respond harshly and without waiver in condemning the despicable act of war initiated by a tyrant and bully. This may seem abstract and distant to many in the West, do not be lulled into a false sense of security. Russian aggression and our responses are being watched by China and other threats to human rights, freedom of speech and the very core values of free and democratic societies. Now is the time for the international community to show these despots that our resolve is strong. Stand strong for Ukraine, Europe and for freedom everywhere.
Vladimir the Terrible, Has he gone insane? At the word of a madman Tovarishchi Putin Ukraine.
Across the border At lighting pace, With an F. U. to the world, “I Putin your face!”
To the West I implore You’d best not forpass. zanimat’sya svoim delom or I’m Putin nukes up your ass.
For his reckless actions, International sanctions he’ll face, But with Beijing behind him He won’t be Putin his place
No time to be insouciant, We must stand up as one, Thumb our noses at tyrants And with Putin be done.
For this act of war, He deserves a beat down, or a dose of Novichok For to be Putin the ground.
tovarishchi (товарищи) – Russian for “comrades” zanimat’sya svoim delom (заниматься своим делом) – Russian for “mind your business”