[Destiny] Chapter 18: Reflex Shivers

~~~

Everyone knew that Copenhagen was dangerous if the only film you’d ever seen was Pusher, and even more dangerous if you swerved away from the tourist areas cos there were no drug deals next to the little mermaid statue and no killings outside those colourful houses by the harbour, ever.

Sila and Joanna [trailing fifty metres behind him] were not couched in the tourist area anymore, they were walking into a live version of the picture Sila had pulled from the internet, the playground on hard concrete with the youth centre in the background.

It didn’t look that much different from the online version, except for a few needles and burger wrappers, and neither Sila nor Joanna flinched at the needles cos both had read the recent story about Hackney, how activists had placed fake used needles in the streets to get more attention for the area, how artists and pseudo artists had put more fake used needles down next to the first batch to make it seem like they were living in a slum, how locals had added even more fake used needles to get rid of the artists, and how the drug addicts had placed used needles down cos they didn’t know where they were or what they were doing, so

needles could have any story, it didn’t have to mean drugs or danger, in fact, because there was a youth centre nearby, it probably meant the owners were trying to get more funding though

‘…that guy does look pretty dodgy,’ said Sila, who had noticed Joanna stalking him, waited for her to catch up and was now pointing at a pale white guy in a Juventus jacket standing next to the slide, staring a yard to the right of them.

‘I have my blade,’ said Joanna, patting her jacket pocket,’ if we need it.’

‘He might just be tired.’

‘Like Giovanni Ribisi.’

‘Yeah.’ Sila scanned the building and saw what he thought might be the entrance, then cough-laughed when the Ribisi reference got through. ‘I’m going inside.’

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 17: A Book You Can’t Read

~~~

On the surface that generics perceived, Copenhagen had surprisingly few cabinets, but sometimes cabinets had the habit of blindsiding you with cosmological paws, and that’s what happened in a bookshop off Prinsessegade where Sila was reading a 60’s French comic that seemed ostensibly to be about a sex demon sailing on a cruise of the damned, but was really about mid-century French petit-bourgeoise acting like pieces of criminal shit.

‘Have you read this before?’ he asked Joanna, who was hovering nearby, a German book hanging loose in hand.

‘No.’

Sila showed her the cover to make sure, but she shook her head and said, ‘the name’s weird, and I don’t speak French, but, actually, that naked woman next to the boat funnel does look a little like a comic I saw in Ljubljana once.’

‘A French comic?’

‘I think it was the day before I met you, a few days before you came out of the cabinet in my room.’

‘Jezus…’

‘Don’t know where you were before that. You haven’t told me yet.’

‘I thought we’d moved past this.’

‘Maybe you don’t remember. Maybe your brain isn’t very strong. What do you mean? I am moving past it, I’m moving forward, here, in Denmark.’

‘I’m buying this comic.’

‘You’re the one who won’t move past anything.’

‘… … … …’

Sila took the comic to the counter, but there was no one serving so he poked his head into the back room and that’s when he saw the cabinet, all green, standing completely alone in the corner.

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 16: In The Rusted Arms Of Sci-Fi

~~~

Near the zine store was a park with a bench.

They bought some Czech cereal bars and sat down and watched the pigeons for a while. After eating half of her bar, Joanna started breaking off little pieces to give to the birds. Sila told her not to, they might not be able to digest it, but she ignored him. Irritated, he switched tack and talked about how to prevent arguments for the next two days.

First idea, don’t talk at all, but that was unrealistic as they were sharing a room.

Second idea, only talk about the city. That was more plausible, though also depressing.

Third and final idea, talk about anything except Ljubljana and don’t get so wound up, both of them. After that, after two days were up

he could go his separate way

she could go hers

and they’d never have to see each other ever again.

Joanna wasn’t convinced, saying, ‘despite everything, we make a good team, and your cabinet mission is really growing on me. It’s something I think I can adapt to.’

‘Bullshit, you just wanna get me back on that hill.’

Joanna broke off another piece of her bar, threw it at a bored-looking bird and said, ‘not true.’

‘Sure…’

‘Not true at all.’

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 15: Not That Cold

~~~

There was nothing left for him in Cesky Krumlov beyond Romulan trickery, so Sila checked out early the next morning, early being 10am as he hadn’t got to sleep until five.

The bus station wasn’t far, just up the hill and along a hidden path. Getting there in twenty minutes, he checked the schedule pinned up on one side of the car park, or the bus park as there were no cars. The bus wasn’t due until half eleven so he went inside the building opposite and sat in the waiting area, sat there for one minute only as every single person was smoking and he didn’t wanna inhale any more of that shit.

On the way back out, he dumped his own pack of cigarettes, still half full, in the bin and walked over to the bench next to the bus schedule. He still had forty five minutes to sit and wait and hope she wouldn’t turn up on the bench next to him, so he pulled out his Slovene-Romanian dictionary and did the section on literature.

The study lasted about ten minutes as it was no good when there were no Romanians around to practice with. Or there were but he couldn’t recognise them.

He put the book away and stared at the other buses and the end of the hidden path, continuing the hope that the Chinese ninja wouldn’t appear at the top of it.

It was a promising hope right up until two minutes before the bus was due to depart, when she walked out from the end of the hidden path and, despite Sila asking the driver to put his foot on the pedal and go, she made it onto the bus

mostly cos Sila was shouting in English and the driver only spoke Czech.

She put her luggage on the rack, sat down on the seat behind him, ignored the guy next to her asking if she was Korean, waited out ten minutes then leaned in and said,

‘Where next?’

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 14: Everywhere But Ljubljana

~~~

For people with occult missions, the peak of mourning was well known to last only four days, so, despite the vague what the fuck am I doing aura floating about, Sila still managed to pick up the map and plot the next cabinet ambush, which turned out to be back in Salzburg, only two hours away by train, two and a half by bus.

‘Ljubljana is four and a half,’ said Joanna, leaning forward from the seat behind, the Austrian Demonology book in her right hand.

‘How the-…’

‘Maybe five.’

‘I thought I lost you in the station.’

‘It’s not too late. We could change tickets and be there by mid-afternoon.’

‘We?’

‘Early evening at the latest. Yes, we.’

‘I’m not going back to Ljubljana.’

‘We could be at the castle by six.’

‘No.’

‘It’s not that far.’ She took out the vial then the blade and mimed a slicing action on her arm. ‘Not that far at all.’

‘No.’

‘Just a drop.’

‘I’m going back to Salzburg then on to Czech land. After that…ne vem. I don’t know.’

‘Those places are okay, but Ljubljana is better.’

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 13: A Close-Knit Pair

~~~

Hoped to god it was cheap plastic

but that was forlorn

as soon as I saw the glint on the edge of the blade

then a second glint

and a third

as the pendulum cut through the air above me, dropping an inch with each swing.

‘The rope?’ I asked

tilting my neck as far left as it would go without snapping

but Kurzsan shushed me

and continued with his recital.

‘…the wound seventeen degrees to the arch of Saturn, count to nine in the old tongue, insert the blade and call out, ‘I know of Oizys, their follies’.’

I tried to catch Kurzsan’s eye

but the only thing looking back was that fucking book

The Hocken Manual

as the pendulum kept slicing down an inch

and down an inch

and down an inch

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 12: Yellow-Eyed Devil

~~~

Grabbed the remote

flicked off Blake’s 7 and said

‘no more space shit’

and when I moved to grab it back

Amir morphed into purple mist, his legs, his arms, held the remote out on one of his tendrils

of bizarro smoke and

taunted me with what I was missing

Servalan dies in this one

Servalan dies in this one

which he couldn’t possibly know cos he’d never watched it properly

but somehow he did know

and each time I thought I’d outflanked him

he swirled to a different part of the bedroom, brushing an inch away from my dick as he swirled, but never close enough to affect anything

cos he’d got what he wanted and now

it was taunting time

without shame

and all I could do was stand there and

~~~

A giant remote in a bathrobe watched as Sila opened his eyes and looked around Veronika’s room.

Then he blinked and it turned into one of the bed posts.

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 11: A Jar With No Label

~~~

Waiting in a suspiciously white room

with a gun

the Chinese trickster looked away from the shattering glass as

I burst in

axe ready

but when I chopped at her arm

nothing happened

the axe was blunt

outright plastic.

No choice then but to sit down

brood a bit

reflect on axe origins, chopping technique etc.

‘Do you want a coffee?’ she asked, ambushing my lap.

‘Go away.’

‘What’s on the other side of the window?’

‘Leave.’

She seized the axe and placed the edge against my neck, saying even plastic had its moments, and when I looked down at the floor, the shards of broken glass were not

~~~

The next day ran in a similar vein to the last.

Afternoon rising.

No humans in or outside the castle.

Eerie mist hovering over the nearby mountains.

Food from the microwave.

Squinting at the Hocken Manual.

Squinting at other manuals.

Kurzsan on the brink of a handjob then turning blank, giving no explanation or apology, and wandering off somewhere just fast enough that when Sila followed he was already gone.

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 10: Kurzsan Is The Warmest Count

~~~

Actually in the fireplace

book in claw

not saying a thing, just reading, and all I could do was sit there in a slumped state, blood leaking out of my neck from its slash wound, waiting to see if it could be bothered to drink me at some point

and the flames

didn’t affect it in any way

not even a slight flinch of discomfort

which was fine, really, as fire wasn’t the key to this, the thing in my jacket pocket was, if I could muster up the energy to lift my hand up and

a blue laser shot into the room

the cave

missing the creature, the Krsnik, by a metre and a half, then expanding, thickening into a bar of light that wasn’t blue anymore, it was

colourless

not yellow

but something to illuminate the décor and show more of

~~~

Sila woke up looking at the floor.

Most of his body was still on the bed, but everything above his chest was hanging off the side, as if he’d already tried and failed to get up and this was the compromise.

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 9: A Historical Monster

~~~

The room that Count Kurtain [or Kurzsan, as Sila realised when they passed a block of text on the wall referencing the name] led him to did, as advertised, have a lit fire, though it seemed unlikely that the warmth of its flames would reach any of the walls.

The sheer size of the place; if Sila had counted out the time it took from the door to the fireplace, he was sure it would’ve been at least half a minute.

But he’d been distracted, mainly by the deep purple cloak of his host, the bottom part of it caught on the top of his left boot.

Kurzsan neither noticed nor cared as he sat down on the rug by the poker and stared into the flames.

Due to the lack of chairs, Sila did the same.

To some people, this may have been something meaningful, but to Sila it was vacant, the flames being far too alive, flickering erratically, tracing the madcap ley lines of his own mind instead of giving something steady to anchor onto.

A black square.

Uranus from a distance.

Green hospital walls.

The Garden of Earthly Delights.

That’s what he liked to peer into.

Continue reading