© 2019 – Alan Zaugg
© 2019 – Alan Zaugg
In a dimly lit rundown room of a motel, out in the middle of nowhere, a man sat and contemplated his next move. Cigarette smoke, mingled with the aroma of musk, hung in the air. A golden brown acoustic guitar was leaning on a stand in the corner by the bed. Papers laid scattered across a round table in the opposite corner, beneath a bourbon colored light fixture.
Stacks of money sat on the nightstand next to a grimy overflowing ashtray and a bottle of half-empty whisky. A demon skull overlaid on a red X, decorated the label of the bottle. Mangy maroon drapes were drawn to allow the near full moon to shed her light into the room.
Silver streaked black hair slicked back over his oblong head, with a few strands dangled over the right side of his wide forehead. Scars decorated his greasy, hollow cheekbones, while a deep cleft split down his chin. Stubble spread like a rash across his face and down his neck. His electric blue eyes told a forlorn tale of a tragic life gone wrong, while shaded bags under his eyes whispered tales of sleepless nights.
He sat on the bed propped up on both hands, with his elbows locked. His gangly right leg crossed over his left knee and his head cocked back on his shoulders. He was looking at the ceiling or some unseen presence.
A little black leather-bound book laid on the bed next to him. Its pages wore coffee stains, cigarette burns, and were yellow and faded from use.
He perched forward, grabbed and scanned the book for a brief moment before tossing it to the pillow. The clock read 4 a.m. He let out an exasperated sigh, sauntered over to the table, grabbed a handful of papers and tossed them in the air.
It had been far too long. Time grew stale over the weeks since he last had visitors. He went to the other corner, grabbed his guitar and began strumming a few chords. The somber tune fell dead on muted walls. He went outside, propped a chair against the wall and played to the predawn sky.
A warm southern breeze whistled through the vacant courtyard. He heard voices echo through the desert canyons to the southeast. The ghostly chatter sparked his mood. Perhaps today he’ll entertain some passersby.
He cracked a cold smile across his stony face as he picked a haunting tune on his guitar. Today may yet be prosperous… Do you want to read the rest? The full version is available on my Patreon.
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© Alan “Jedi” Zaugg 2018
Many thoughts sift through my mind
I write them for another time
Perhaps I’ll use them up just now
Or put them into verse somehow
I struggle to express myself
The words just end up on a shelf
A clutter deep and beautiful
Striving to be exceptional
Darkness retreats into a void
As morning comes with cold embrace
The sun, his solemn light employed
Yet still no warmth found in that place
Cold and barren, the air doth bite
A dirty mist creeps o’er the land
The frigid wind curls, full of spite
Frosty breath, chapped lips and cracked hands
January mists, cold white veils
Mock the sun and his forlorn light
The cold rebuke of frost prevails
Subtle displays of strength and might
Like wispy trails of death they drift
Harsh whispers on low hollow sighs
O’er barren fields and roads they shift
Neath heaven’s distant watchful eye
//<Two Serulian lean on each other and laugh.
They’ve just enjoyed a night out and are heading home.
They are inebriated and disoriented, tripping and stumbling down the street.
One looks up. “Hello? Who’s there?”
Horror fills their faces…
They fall to the ground dead, a perfect hole in their chest cavities.
A robotic hand retracts from view, but not before the camera feed captures it.
…Moments later, the same robotic claw-like hand is seen stealing carbon and graphene from a research lab. An alarm sounds, the feed goes dead.>//
Adventure lies beneath the surface of a barren inhospitable planet. A large city, protected by a dome, burrows hundreds of levels deep toward the planet core. Sentient beings from all over the galaxy come to partake in the ambiance and beauty of the city beneath the dome.
Little do they know the possibilities, both good and bad, that await them…
The year is 2219. Adrina Netchal is a five year veteran detective on the city’s massive police force. She and her partner Connor Bryt are tasked with investigating a double homicide and theft in the Sanctum District. As they begin to uncover details, additional murders begin to appear and they find themselves caught in a mysterious web of lies and deceit, a massive cover-up never before known. What’s more, the evidence isn’t adding up. There are no fingerprints, no weapons, and very few eye witnesses willing to come forward. However, all the murders and thefts point back to one peculiar place.
BZ-629, or BAZ, is the lead service bot for the city’s main corridor of servers. He dreams, if robots can dream, of a higher purpose and freer life. He desires nothing more than to escape the server life. His programming is monotonous and requires the same mundane work every day. His update hub longs for something more – upgrades, new programming and freedom, especially freedom. Boredom is his very mundane existence.
He’s been watching Adrina for some time. She sparks a tickle behind his photo-receptors and in his core processor unlike anything he’s ever felt. She’s… how do the humans say it? Beautiful. She’s beautiful. But alas, he’s a bot and not organic like she is. His exoskeleton parts comprise of rivets and bolts, with his naked exoskeleton parts revealing clusters of wires and gadgets. Unless that changes, he knows he’ll never get to experience the human intimacy and feelings he longs for.
RCP-TKL0000, or Receptikal, is a program whose primary function is file deletion and archival management. However, curiosity invades his programming and he comes alive in more ways than one. Armed with intel and an organic body he seeks to fulfill more than his primary function. He’s seen how organic beings waste their precious time and seeks retribution for their lack of vision and apathy towards existence. His desires to jump his programming and live undetected among the humans takes him down dark paths with destructive consequences.
Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for much more!
© Alan “Jedi” Zaugg 2018
Evening dons her icy crown
Adornment for her frosty gown
Choosing her favorite jewelry
To accent her modest beauty
Tinkling golds and sparkling whites
Dance and glint with brilliant light
The Mountains wait in white tuxedos
Snow cascades down through the meadows
The sun spills pink across their faces
Sweet champagne on high places
Marshmallow clouds blushing pink
Giggling with glee, I think
The Sun lays down to sleep
No more his watch this day to keep
Evening dances with delight
While colors fade into the night
The snow glistens in soft moonlight
While stars shine forth in fading light
The blushing clouds fade into blues
Purples, grays and darker hues
Nightfall comes on quietly
As Evening dances blissfully
Spectacular, lovely is she
Of soft and perfect beauty be
The grand ball at an end you see
Pronounced complete by royal decree
Good night my darling Evening
Sweet dreams as you lay sleeping
Until next time we pass this way
We bid adieu for another day
© Alan “Jedi” Zaugg 2018
***The following is an excerpt from a new story I’m working on as part of NaNoWriMo***
In a faraway place and time, dusk falls upon a lonely land. The last fleeting rays of dull sunlight disappear behind the distant horizon as a somber gray hush falls over the barren forlorn landscape.
A lone city rests upon a grand precipice overlooking the valley. The city is abandoned and lonesome. Structures that once represented skyscrapers and buildings of all shapes and sizes, now crumble and fall into piles of rubble. A grand, majestic cathedral sits at the center of the city. The edifice stands untouched by the desolation that left the remainder of the city in shambles.
A tall figure, dressed in a light robe, climbs the cobblestone steps of the cathedral with cautious confidence. Dark, ominous clouds drape the evening sky with a thick, black mantle of uncertainty and an eerie apprehension filled the air. The icy cold breeze stung his cheeks and whipped his robe swirling around him. Fallen leaves whirl around furiously as wind gusts blow across the steps. He pulls his hood closer about to disguise himself.
In the courtyard to his right, a murder of crows mocks the evening air from barren trees, whose branches resemble bony rigid hands and claws reaching for something to hold on to. Hundreds more quarrel amongst themselves in the graveyard adjacent to the courtyard.
To his left lay the remains of a once beautiful rose garden bordering cracked cobblestone paths. Black thorns and vines twist across the ground and spill over broken retaining walls and concrete benches. A desolate wasteland stretches from there northward, for miles. The cathedral stands in terrifying majesty as the only edifice that remains standing in a ghost-like village of crumbled and decaying ruins.
The garden nestles between the church and an abandoned building that appears ready to crumble to the ground.
Four red oak trees line the walkway, parallel to the front face of the edifice, at the bottom of the steps. Unlike any of the other trees in the surrounding courtyard and town, these four still bear leaves of fiery red and orange. They dance in the breeze like flames licking the air. The trees stand in contrast to the gray somber scene around them.
He continues his ascent towards the cathedral’s large, dark-stained, oak door. Two massive gargoyles flank the porch way leading to the door. They stand erect as guardians to the cathedral and the darkness what lay within. The figures resemble demon wolves or – werewolves with massive wings folded across their large backs. A soft green iridescent glow radiates from their eyes and a mist-like essence swirls around their ferocious beings. A steady, demonic growl resonates from deep within their stone embodiments as a warning to any visitors to stay away. They appear alive and ready to pounce on trespassers.
A large raven glides down from its perch atop one of the buttresses above and lights upon the stranger’s shoulder. It peers sharply at him with a deep midnight gaze, twisting its head from side to side. It lets out a loud screech, announcing its presence and then snaps its beak in satisfaction. Upon hearing this sound, the murders of crows in the courtyard cackle their joyous response.
The stranger reaches from within his robe and produces a few morsels, which he offers to his new companion. The raven chatters its appreciation and ruffles its feathers as it nestles on his shoulder. A few more crows fly up from the courtyard and land on the steps in front to meet him. They squawk in furious disarray as he approaches the door of the Gothic edifice. His newfound companion squawks a command and the crows scatter and fly high. Circling the cathedrals towering spires, they find new homes on the flying buttresses and gargoyles above.
He pushes the door open and enters. With every step, a growing anxiety rests upon him. He stands in a vestibule extending to three pillars directly in front of him. A long narrow nave stretches beyond the pillars, flanked, on either side by aisles. The aisles, barely visible, hide beneath the shadows of nightfall. A large confessional stands near the front of the left aisle, shrouded in the shadows. A beautifully painted, ribbed vault spans above and cascades down until it meets six stained glass windows that filter the dim dusk light into the center of the nave, illuminating rows of pews in a dull dusty light.
A musty smell hangs over the vastness of the room. It reeks of death warmed over. The dark, oak floors bulged as if ready to release the ancient demonic souls trapped in the crypt below. With each step, the floor creaks and moans hellish tunes of violence and death.
“Come in my son. Come in.” A strident voice breaks the uneasy silence.
© Alan “Jedi” Zaugg 2018