Occam's Mirror

Because sometimes the most obvious answer is a distorted reflection of truth.

Friday, 5 March 2010

The Night Creeper

The Night Creeper; or Those Unlit Halls I Once did Walk
The creature lingers deathlike in these unlit halls, denied the world outside with its ever changing gouts of vibrant colour, brilliant sunlight. Cold, and faintly fishlike, its eyes film over in the twighlight embrace of the setting sun and a change bestirs it. First hints of life, a rustling in its parchment skin, a scent of decay as it leaks out softness and lubrication, becoming supple and taut and then a twitching finger, long and thin and talon-capped.
Its movements are sudden. With moth-like grace it flits into a grand chamber, redolent with the empty echoes of whimsy conversation. It breathes in – great whooping breaths- its expressionless face now contorted into gleeful grimace as it sucks down a soup of barely cooled emotions.
The beast is not yet sated. Given strength by pride and envy, succoured by unrequited love and brutal lust it stalks down corridors so repugnant to it in the light of day. Now, in darkness, it may call them home once more.
Tip-tap. Tip-tap. Misshapen nostrils quiver as the creature’s shadow-stained fingers click from door to door, questing eyes peering in at each glass panel. Sudden light. The moon slips, serene, from behind its obscuring quilt of cloud, throwing the image of the beast back at itself. A breathless hope is born within its hollow breast, and for a few brief moments long thin fingers scrabble desperately with the handle, for here is one like it – a night creeper, gaunt and pale in harsh illumination. Then the cloud returns; drawing with it the cold anguish of loneliness. The night creeper sheds no tear, nor does it cry out in frustration or pain. The agony of loss is soon forgotten, replaced, as always, by hunger.
Now through a trophy room it turns, barely pausing to nod in passing recognition of its herd; their names immortalised in wood and brass and gold. It skips up stairs, long pale legs skittering on polished steps, until at last it scents its prey. Then it slows, soft sibilant breath hissing out in hideous counterpoint to the measured clack-clack of bony feet on uncarpeted floor. The creature’s nose guides it to a door, shut fast against would be intruders. To the night creeper this is no guard.
Swiftly now it bends itself double, contorting until its pallid body can slide between the door and the jam, a living hunger rendered down into a viscous mass of roiling matter. It slips through like the sound of decomposing flesh. Once on the other side it stands again, spindle arms held wide in glorious exultation. Here it will find what it desires, needs. Here is logos, nous, the very spirit of learning, education condensed and encrusted upon every surface.
“Class,” it chokes to empty seats, pitted tongue stumbling over familiar words. “You may begin.”

Friday, 12 February 2010

Binary translator

Just found this online. Couldn't help but input "Hello World" as the first experiment. I am the old skool.


Friday, 22 January 2010

The colours beneath the bridge

The colours under the bridge and the underpass changed on a pattern, shifting gently from yellow into green, then blue, into red ( which for a moment showed a hint of purple) past into orange and returning to yellow at the beginning and end of the sequence. The sequence, which was slow enough to be almost unnoticeable, created a strange doubling effect with the river, especially on nights when the river was placid and still. The bridge, illuminated as it was, reflected by the flat plane of dark water beneath it became a tunnel, an opening, a multicoloured radiant doorway.
The man who huddled in the underpass, shivering against the cold breeze, was there for the door. He’d been waiting for an hour or so, trying to stay warm until midnight, regulating his breathing so that the light would be red as he inhaled, blue as he exhaled, the theory being that the red would warm him, the blue cool. His eyes were swimming with tears and mucus flowed freely and uninterrupted from his nose. He wore nothing but a hospital gown and a large Aran sweater that was uncomfortably large and scratched at his arms and neck. His legs seemed almost too thin to support him and his bare feet bled from a multitude of small cuts and punctures.
The voice came from out of the dark, flat and nasal with a hint of the Cardiff accent, a curious elongation of vowels, a flattened O sound, and an unpleasant sharpness that stabbed at the man’s ears. He shook himself and blinked in the green light, then brushed the tears from his eyes and tried to stand. The effort was too much for him and his abortive attempt earned him a place sprawled on the cold paving slabs, chest heaving with exertion. There were soft footsteps, and then a pair of bare feet, tanned to an almost gold complexion, moved into his eye line.
“Joseph. You look tired my son.” The owner of the voice crouched next the pitiful figure of Joseph and gently smoothed down his rumpled hair with a sympathetic moan. He was hairless himself, his skin tanned and exposed to the elements, although he seemed not to notice the bitter chill in the air. “Why did you call me here tonight?”
Joseph rolled himself over, his brimming eyes casting around wildly, searching for the golden man.
“I need to get out of here. You said you had a way. A way out? Right?”
The golden man’s eyes narrowed and a sneer curled his lips.
“You sound like a dog Joseph. A whipped dog. After all I’ve shown you, you want to leave now? “He made a disappointed clucking sound with his tongue. “Why? What has scared you so much that you run with your tail between your legs?”
“She knows. She has seen me, and spoken to me. She says that I will die if I stay here.”
The golden man straightened up and nodded sharply. His eyes were cold and the colour of well cut topaz.
“There is a path my son, out over the river, that angles towards the bridge. You will need to jump from the path towards the door, and pray that your faith is strong enough to carry you across to that other place. You haven’t long.”
Joseph nodded frantically and began to crawl towards the river as the golden man walked away, his naked body pulsing with colour as the lights beneath the bridge began to change more rapidly. Then the lights slowed again, and the golden man was gone.
Joseph sank like a stone.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


Two days
I’m afraid. Can’t really put a finger on why. The book is nearly fully translated and the dreams are more vivid. I’ve been working solidly for over a week now. Ate again today. Sandwiches, two, brown bread and peanut butter. All I can keep down. Lots of carbs to keep me awake. The mixture is nearly ready. I sweat a lot at night. Prefer not to sleep.

Fourteen days
Was approached today by the most singular of fellows, a peculiar chap whose hygiene was easily as dubious as his questionable sense of fashion. He and I remonstrated for a time upon the subjects of ancient philosophy, the decline of the classical literature and the rise of the new science. Then, to both my wonder, and if I am truly honest, delight, he brought forth a tome most archaic in its nature. Upon questioning the texts significance, I was informed that it is written in the “tongue of angels”, and that I would be paid most handsomely for its translation. I agreed, and have returned to study the book.

Nine days
Found a book today. Usual trolling through bookshops turned up interesting find. Large, unjacketed. Smells very old and seems to be written entirely pictographically. None Egyptian origin. Some pictograms suggest Hermetic origins. Fell asleep after writing today’s entry. Dreams were disturbing and vivid. Several pictograms seem to have triggered a subconscious response. Bears further study.

Ten days
The text is truly amazing. The script uses neither Greek nor Roman characters, instead relying upon the interpretation of a variety of strange pictorial images, similar to those of great antiquity being uncovered as we speak in the interior of Egypt. However, the symbols in the text seem formed by a significantly more advanced culture, almost certainly linked to these quiet isles. Repetition of several motifs can be seen, as I will lay out below. Figure a. shows the sun, moon and a third heavenly body forming a perfect triangle as seen from the earth. Figure b. shows a man being scalped, in the manner of the American savage, with water overflowing his skull. Several smaller figures catch the water in strange vessels and drink. Figure c. shows the same man as in fig. b with rainbows emanating from the palms of his hands.

Three days
I woke up at around three this morning, terrified and in the shower. I don’t remember getting in the shower, but I presume I hadn’t been there long, because whatever power my subconscious mind has, it obviously doesn’t have the ability to pull the cord that turns on the hot water. The mixture is bubbling away on the stove as I write this, which I’m doing in the kitchen because the entire flat is freezing cold. I should talk to the landlord about the damp. I dreamt last night again, a new feature to the usual sequence. In this dream I was down in the dark, looking out into a valley, where I could see dinosaurs. It was beautiful, but terrifying at the same time. I haven’t liked dinosaurs since Jurassic Park came out, not with that spitting one. But then I was walking away from the valley and into something straight out of some weird post-industrial nightmare. Then I met a man with no mouth who gave me the last piece of the puzzle – a word that I won’t write down, purely for academic safety. I asked him what he wanted from me in return but he just touched his forehead to my own, like Ellen used to do. I almost miss her. Once this is done with, I’ll take her out somewhere nice. It’s written down now, so I have to do it.

Six days
Nightmares last night featured several pictograms. Am reaching basic understanding of the books text. Prof. Elgin worried by my “apparent lack of interest in academic studies.” Idiot. Powerful archetypal imagery in play throughout text. Told Ellen to leave earlier. Distracting me from work. Believe I have stumbled across a major find. First line reads “[with]Proper preparation/ ritual, boundarie[s] / gateway[s] [are] softer than first seen.” Bracketed words surmisation. Sleep unwelcome. Coffee and pro plus needed.

Eight days
Dear God, I have it. This tongue of angels is no more than a simple cipher based upon an analytical and instinctual interpretation of each page of pictograms as a whole. This can then be translated, although I hesitate to use such an inelegant term for the artistic process behind the system, into the modern English. The first page, as I can tell it, reads thusly. “The door, once opened may not be securely fastened. I the book, I presume am the guardian, entrusted until the heavens are forgotten, to secure within my frame the venom of knowledge that it may never be forgotten to rise once more in the summer of Man.” I shudder to think of the blasphemous content of this ancient tome, that such ominous words should preclude it. My dreams swim with terrible iconography.

Four days
Yesterday spent preparing ritual elements detailed in main body of text. Have not eaten since day before yesterday. Nightmares now v. bad. Ellen hasn’t returned. Smoking lots. Book may be two texts. First useless – almost untranslatable. Second references ritual preparation for classic “spirit walk”. Interesting in several ways. Patterns and sounds. Drugs. Chanting. Usual elements. Other elements strange. Muscle tensing. Bodily components in mixture. Have decided to attempt replication. Possible dissertation subject. Screw Elgin. Threatening to kick me from course. Screw him.

Final Day
The man has returned for his book. He awaits me downstairs as I write, a terrible dilemma hanging above me like Damocles’ ever present sword. The text is complete, an interpretation into English of the most horrendous rituals and methodologies. With it, a man might open the door to God, but there are those things that Man, poor frail and mortal Man were never meant to look upon. Can I damn a soul to that eternal hell? Can I consign to the fire a work so powerful that to read it allows us closer union with our creator. My pistols lie upon the writing desk at which I stand. One for the poor unfortunate below, the other for the poor unfortunate whose words you peruse. My secret I shall carry to the grave. Away, I can write no more. Adieu.

Minus One Day
Awoke. All is light and beauty. Air is pure. Breath is a form of truest art. I have seen what is and is not. And it is…glorious.

Snake Tale

Part One: Girl / Dreams
Once upon a time there was a young girl who dreamed about snakes. Not that she liked snakes very much, you understand. It was just that her sleeping moments were filled with the rustle of cold scales shimmering pearlescently in the golden light of subterranean fires. She used to draw them in her waking, and they were not nightmares but, as she explained to her parents, looker-afterers.
But once upon a time is a subjective concept, and so, over the years the young girl became a young woman with a job, and a flat full of things she never needed to buy, a memory full of things she wished she’d never done and an imagination full of things she wished she had. Worst of all, in the fullness of time her dreams were swept away into the dull banality of everynight sleep, and cold reptilian eyes no longer watched over her in the darkness of the night.
Part two: Kate / Mirror
“You are a strong and self confident young woman.” Kate told her reflection, even though she knew it didn’t believe a word of it.
Her reflection stared back at her from behind the soap flecked glass; her hair pulled back too tight, eyes too big and skin too pale under inexpertly applied makeup.
---liar--- it said.
Kate washed her hands in painfully hot water and plastered a smile to her face without looking herself in the eye,
---fake--- said her reflection. ---not really real really---
then walked into the summer heat of the inner city bar.
“So, uh, as I was like, saying…” began one of Kate’s colleagues, gazing vacantly from underneath heavy mascara. Kate caught her reflection’s eye, twisted and warped by the curvature of a wine glass. It mouthed a word ---idiot---and stuck out its tongue. Tasting the air, thought Kate.
“K? You alright hun?” Her boss. Kate started guiltily, caught with her tongue out. She smiled guiltily and shrugged. Just being the weird kid, her shrug said. Don’t worry about the things I do. Her boss grinned and stared at her tits. All he ever did.
Part Three: Kate / King
Hours slid by on a slick of dry white and deafening boredom. Slowly the volume of the driving bass grew to beyond the volume of conversation and people began to drift onto the dance floor. Kate stayed put.
---nothing to shake--- her reflection muttered snidely. Kate ignored it. She had felt a prickle on the back of her neck, like ice sliding down her back. There was a man sat in the corner of the club, watching her. She looked away. Tugged nervously on her ponytail. Breathed deeply for a moment, and then slowly twisted in her seat to look again. The man was gone. Kate sagged in her seat as her reflection crowed with laughter.
“Um…excuse me.” The voice was low, cultured and undeniably male. It cut through the noise of the club like a
---snake bite---
hot knife through butter. “Would it be dreadfully rude of me to ask if I could buy you a drink?”
Kate looked up into dark eyes set within a pale face, partially obscured by a shock of tousled hair. And a smile. It cut the man’s face in half , a slash of pure radiant humour in an otherwise normal visage. Kate felt her stomach flip.
---talk to him you dozy bitch--- her reflection was shouting. She barely even heard it.
“Ahh…yes.” No. Shit. The blush started at her neckline a crept up towards her cheeks. “I mean, yes I’d love a drink.”
“Oh thank god for that. Usually people just say yes, and I have to walk away before I insult them. He shrugged self-depreciatingly and thrust his hand out.
“Name’s Rex. What’s yours?” Kate took his hand and looked at it. It was smooth and pale like his face, nails bitten short. His veins stood out like a roadmap.
“Kate.” She had to shout over the music. It was worth it to see him smile again.
The drank White Russians and stood outside to smoke and talk. Found things in common. Swapped numbers. Smoked again. He even persuaded her to dance, while her workmates looked on in barely disguised shock.
Then, when the night drew to a slow close they kissed for a long time and walked away in opposite directions.
Kate danced up the street, head fogged with alcohol and excitement. She never heard the footsteps behind her. Felt the world grow cloudy as her mouth and nose filled with cotton and chemical. Her knees buckled and her eyes locked shut. Then, nothing more.

Part four: Kate / Bridge
“Until I woke up here”. I watch the man with two mouths. It’s not too hard to deal with for us. Me and my reflection, or course. I’ve been here for hours now, sat on a cushion on the floor, listening to strange musical chimes and stranger stories. Here is a stone room, every surface elaborately carved. My reflection has been in this place for years. She still stares at me with bitter contempt. The man with two mouths - the keeper, he calls himself – looks at me with a parent look. Like I’m a favourite child with a bellyache. A mixture of sympathy and resignation.
“You said you would send her back!” My reflection is acting up. She doesn’t want me to be here. I’m less of a weakling in the flesh. One side of her face is red from where I hit her. I have wanted to hit her for so damn long. But she is right. The keeper said, in his strange harmonic voice, that he would send me home. I have never felt so tempted to click my heels.
“ Yes.” The keeper nodded, and pointed towards a door that I’m sure wasn’t there before.
“Outside…” my reflection breathes. There is wonder in her voice.
“Find the bridge. Find the book. Go home.” Then the keeper goes. Just like that. He leaves me standing with my reflection staring daggers at me. We go outside, and I drop to my knees.
It’s a city. Stretching for miles and miles. I can’t see the end of it. And it’s made of bridges. Small rope-built ones spiral over and under like a thousand spiderwebs. Metal ones, glass ones, some made from rainbows and cloud, others from the same stone as the room I was in only moments ago ( to which the door, I notice, has disappeared).
I stare up at my reflection. She is still lost, watching the bridges. Slowly she looks down at me.
“Which bridge?” We both say it at the same time. It sounds a lot like the keeper.
It takes us what feels like days to find the bridge. We walk, and climb and slide until one of us feels a tug in one direction, that strange prickling feeling on the back of the neck. Then we start to go that way. Sometimes we sleep. The second time we do so my reflection curls up against my back. She is warm and welcome.
Eventually we start to see a pattern. The largest bridges emanate from a central point. We aim towards it. The final bridge we cross is cool to the touch and muscular, organic and strangely cobbled. I still have no clue what is happening, but my reflection has stopped bitching at me.
There is a lectern on the bridge. A book on the lectern. I open it to the first page.
Once upon a time there was a young girl who dreamed about snakes. Not that she liked snakes very much, you understand. It was just that her sleeping moments were filled with the rustle of cold scales shimmering pearlescently in the golden light of –
I stop reading. I know this now.
- subterranean fires. She used to draw them in her waking, and they were not nightmares but, as she explained to her parents, looker-afterers.
But once upon a time is a subjective concept, and so, over the years the young girl became a young woman with a job, and a flat full of things she never needed to buy, a memory full of things she wished she’d never done and an imagination full of things she wished she had. Worst of all, in the fullness of time her dreams were swept away into the dull banality of everynight sleep, and cold reptilian eyes no longer watched over her in the darkness of the night.
I could cry. My reflection is gone. Then I am.
Part five: Kate / Ophites
Kate opened her eyes in the darkness. She was sat in an armchair, red fabric and exotic scents.
Rex sat opposite her, his slash of a mouth serious and drawn.
“I’m sorry. I needed you to know.” He grimaced and looked at the carpet. Kate looked too. It was green.
Then she looked up and smiled at him, her eyes shining. “I know,” she said, standing up and stepping out of her skin, “I know.”

Autumn Air

The short man was stood by the ambulance bay again, smoking a cigarette like every breath was screaming “fuck you” at the damp, grey autumn sky. His hair stuck up at all angles ‘cos of him scrubbing at it every few seconds. Suck it in, blast it out. Fuck you, world.
He looked at me after a little while.
“Fag?” he said. I shook my head.
“I really shouldn’t.” Nodded towards outpatients with a grimace.
He laughed, but turned it into a cough halfway through. Proper horrible bastard cough, the kind you see shuddering through a man’s T-shirt like its full of bugs. My mum coughs like that, sometimes.
“Seen you here before.” He said. I nodded, even though it wasn’t really a question. He grinned at that, spat his fag on the floor and lit up another one.
“Cancer” he said, poking his thumb towards his chest. “Right down to the fucken bone. Should’ve started these years ago.” He moaned out a little cloud of smoke and smoothed his hair back, like he’d just been screwing. I winced a bit.
“I’d best go see my mum” I said; started walking off. Then he put his hand on my arm. It was warm and felt a bit like touching a walnut shell. Hard but smooth, even where it’s wrinkly.
“Cancer,” he said, right in close to my ear, “if it don’t get your lungs it’ll get your bones, and if it can’t get your bones it’ll have your balls off.” I felt his breath on my ear like a moth fluttering round my head. “Right down to the fucken bone.” He muttered. “To the bone!” I pulled him off me and shoved him hard.
“Fuck off man.” I tried to keep the horror out of voice, but my throat closed around the last word and I squeaked like a teenager. Then I ran, and only the short man’s cough came after me, full of bugs and rot and the smell of autumn.

Wild Roses

Dear Rose,
For many years, I have been looking, without knowing it, for you and those like you. I ache for your scent, the texture of your deep red skin. Thoughts of thorns torment my dreams and flickering at the corner of my waking eye, your vibrant colour flashes. You have inspired a thousand poets, brought down kingdoms, seared the souls of lovers and had your petals scattered in the air by those whose hearts are glad to beat.
I have never known you, Rose. You slip out of my grasp each time I come close. Often I crash through bramble thickets thinking that I see your perfect beauty, only to discover yet another empty crisp bag, forgotten faded red and wrinkled by the ravages of time. Can time have meaning for you, reborn each spring to bloom then die? It does not matter, for if you fear to die then come to me in fear and rest you head, if not then come with glorious laughter in your heart and stay with me eternal, until I go to ground and you bow your head beside my place of rest.
I beg you come, inspire, respire, breathe your life into me, as I will breathe into you. Take me away and sing in my heart.
Yours forever

Dear Author,
I have tried, God knows I’ve tried. To each and every ‘Man (not men alone you understand but your entire race) I have been fair and shown myself in desperate hope that one day you understand. I can do no more than this. Each poet is so inspired not in my name, but in their own. My beauty is diminished by the page, for while a rose is but a word, a word is not the Rose. No kingdoms have I killed, no lovers saved.
But I have watched. You clamour for me yet you will not work. Your hands are petrified by soil and so you seek a false economy, a rose in nothing but the name, no earthy smell, no thorns, no drops of honest moisture on the leaves. Where are your sonnets to the worm, that miracle? Would your amour not accept the tender gift of half a bag of soil, a flint? And why must you make me frail? Love’s not frail, and nor am I, nor weak, defenceless, apt to die in frost. A rose is hard, protected, unafraid. We grow from stony ground and still we reach great heights
Damn you and damn your inspiration. If you love, then love, if you must fight then fight. But leave me be.