Friendship 4 – Earth – Paris 1932

“We don’t talk about politics or current affairs.”

“Surely you joke,” said Marcel.

“No never.”

“Then what do you talk about?”

“Oh, his past, the Boer War and his times in India and the Sudan. Soldiering. We have mutual interests.”

“Really, such as?”

“History, painting, whisky.”

“Amazing, and you know him because?” 

“Well actually I have known him since I was a child. My benefactor Lord Alphonso Stiletto, was an old friend. He took me with him to visit him just after the turn of the century, at his home in London. It was part of my training. He was also good friends with Napoleon.”

“Zoot alors,” gasped the Frenchman, and you met him too?”

“Certainly.”

Marcel was staring at his friend in wonder, amazed by these revelations. 

“But what of the danger?”

“Of changing history?”

“Mais oui!”

In the future we call it the Butterfly Effect after a famous short story. A man goes back to the time of the dinosaurs. When he returns to his own time the politic has changed, and he has a dead butterfly on the sole of his shoe.”

“But this is more than treading on the insect.”

“Yes, there are dangers. There are multiple parallel existences. I always choose one almost exactly like my own, but separate. Even then I am very careful.

“But you are an assassin, no? That is more like treading on an elephant.”

“That is why my training was so difficult. My own Master performed a hit that took out the future leaders of the Corp, but she never discussed the full ramifications with me.”

“And your old weapon’s Master, the one with no eyes.”

“‘Schripp, yes, I believe you have cooked many fine dinners when he has been a guest.”

“Has he not spent many years in the old West in America? Is that not also an elephant?

“In ‘Schripp’s case he didn’t need a parallel world. Believe it or not, the Earth that ‘Schripp grew up on was blown up by a pan dimensional psychopath.”

“Enough, enough,” cried Marcel, “I cannot cope with this madness. He refilled his glass with Pernod and water, watching the swirls of white as the liquids mixed. With sudden panic he looked up at his friend and employer. “But, we travel always through the time, are my family my family?”

“Of course,” Billy said smoothly, “this is your true universe, it is I who am the interloper.”

“How do you manage to keep it all together?”

“Many years of training, but then it was always easy for me. It is what I am best at. In many ways it is what I was born for.”

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2019



Checker Board

She looked at the square tiles on the wall and the checker board pattern on the floor and they made her smile.

It had all started ironically in a wood late at night. That was when they had met. They were there, right there, at the beginning. 

She had been a student at film school. She had loved the movies, and growing up as a child had spent her private hours making shorts, putting on shows for her family, sending off her work to competitions and festivals, looking for a lucky break.

She had been able to choose a film school, and she had picked the best.

It was her friend Lisa who had seen the note on the student notice board. It was a common thing. There was always someone in the school with a project, looking for actors, technicians or just extras for a crowd.

This was a bunch of radicals shooting a horror flick in the woods. It was held to be ground breaking, the whole thing shot on hand held cams. Lots of jerky motion and raw realism.

That’s where she had met Peter. He wasn’t even in the movies. He was just a friend of a friend, drafted in to run around the woods at night, getting gored up, having a crack.

They had met over a cup of tea in polystyrene cups. Huddled together in the back of an old van, Billy the director, had borrowed for the night. It had been Love at first sight. 

That was twenty years ago. It had been twenty years of blissful marriage. She had gone on to be a successful filmmaker. Arty low budget films that drew respect in the industry and won prizes at small film festivals. They often got included at Sundance and even Cannes back in ’09.

Peter went on to develop a very successful Architects practice and she always thought they were the perfect couple.

It was ironic, because that film shot in the woods had gone on to be a worldwide hit. It created a whole genre of grainy films shot on hand held cams. 

Being an eminent if low key film-maker, she often was on judging committees for festivals. She watched a lot of movies, some of them inspired, occasionally dreadful, but mostly entertaining enough. After all it couldn’t be any better than this. Not only did she do what she loved, making films, she got paid for watching them too. Life doesn’t get any better.

She had her own private cinema in the basement of the house. She spent a lot of time down here watching the films they sent her. She loved the old days when she wound the spools of film into her projector, but now it was all digital.

She settled down with a lovely bottle of dry white wine, and pressed play.

This was the third film she had seen this week that used that slightly shaky handheld technique. She found it rather passé. It was not a technique she ever used, but she always felt a slight frisson of excitement when she thought back to that film in the woods long ago. It certainly hadn’t hurt her career to be associated with a revolutionary block buster.

This film was shot from the perspective of an, as yet, unknown character. She recognised the location. A famous metro station in Paris with art on the walls. She had been there many times with Peter. At one time they had even had an apartment in that district of Paris.

Nothing much was happening, a few drunks on a bench on the opposite platform were raucously singing an old French ballad, popular ten years ago. Then that rumble and rush of air that preceded the arrival of a train.

The camera waited for the train to stop and the doors to open. She realised this take was just being shot on the fly. The camera took the audience onto a normal looking subway train and turned right. A punk with a scarlet quiff and a tartan jacket, sat vacantly in the first seat, lost in whatever music he was listening to, but as the camera focused a few rows back, her heart seemed to miss a beat in her chest, and her numb fingers let go of her wine glass, which unnoticed spilled its expensive contents on her carefully chosen fabrics.

In a daze she wandered up to the kitchen. She looked at the shining rack of Sabatier knives. Not quite right. She remembered that time in the woods. She remembered the feel of the hammer. Her hand seemed to reach for the meat tenderiser of its own volition.

Like a wraith she made her way up the thickly carpeted stairs. Numb to everything all she could see was Peter and Lisa side by side in the metro carriage. Lisa had aged well. Still a beautiful woman, her silken lips whispered silently into Peter’s ear.

Pushing open the bedroom door, she silently entered the room.  Peter, always so perfect. She stood by the bed watching the rise and fall of his chest, his handsome face.

Tightly holding the handle of the tenderiser behind her back she brushed her fingers lovingly on his cheek, whispering, “Peter, darling.”

She watched his eyes open sleepily, smiling with love as he focused on her face.

She didn’t even cry out as she brought the checker board pattern down onto his forehead with all her might. That was what she remembered. The regular squares embedded in his forehead. 

By the time they had found her the tenderiser had done its work, the beautiful patterns obliterated. Still she appreciated the images. Focusing back on the tiles of her new home, she was looking forward to creating the juxtaposition of squares when she came to film it.

Copyright © Jhedron Luckspar 2019

Image by Jazella from Pixabay



The Lift

Polly was late for work. Everything had been going wrong. She had slept through her alarm this morning. How could that happen. She felt grimy, because in all the rush she hadn’t hadn’t time to shower. She had laddered her tights, snagged on something on the tube. She had had to stand the whole way from Holborn.

Now she was waiting for the lift at her office building on Canary Wharf. A magnificent building that rose into the sky, floor upon floor, as it dominated this part of the London horizon. She was involved in the bizarrest of conversations.

“Believe me lady, you don’t want to catch this lift.”

“Yes. I do.”

“No Ma’am,” replied the smaller, compactor of the two, “not now, not this lift.”

“But this is my lift, I work here.”

“Not this lift Ma’am, try later, or that one over there.”

Polly wanted to scream, but she was still holding it together.

“Listen to me. This is my lift. I catch it everyday. I am very late. I am catching this lift.”

“Can’t let you do that Ma’am.”

“And stop calling me Ma’am. Are you Americans?” she asked exasperatedly.

“No Ma’am, we are adventurers.”

Polly paused for thought. They were two of the weirdest guys she had seen in a long time. It wasn’t the brightly coloured hair and beards or the alchemical symbols tattooed on their faces. It was their costumes. Like two guys from a SWAT team, but tie dyed instead of camouflage. Perhaps that was their camouflage. Both men carried large holdalls.

“Gentlemen, I am catching this lift.”

“Okay Ma’am,” replied the smaller, who now accepted that the persistent woman was going to share their ride. He had introduced himself as Walter. “And this is André,” he indicated his larger companion.

“Like the giant?”

“Yes, like the giant.”

“Weird,” she muttered to herself, “who are these nutters?”

“Not nutters Ma’am,” said André, in a voice that was decidedly silken for a man of his stature, adventurers.”

“Adventurers with supersonic hearing?” she muttered again embarrassedly.

“Yes Ma’am, it comes in handy.”

“On adventures?”

“Yes Ma’am, on adventures.”

Polly was saved from any more of this whack job conversation by the ding of the bell. The lift doors whispered open.

Standing either side of the door, the two mismatched, but identically dressed men bowed their heads and held out an arm, inviting her to enter first. With a few unexpected butterflies in her stomach, Polly stepped into the lift.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar ©2017/18

The Bubble

The bubble slowly rose to the surface carrying all the hopes and aspirations of a planet. It was the first.

The Boy carried his wooden sword proudly. He had walked many miles away from the area of the devastation. The cities lay in ruins. All vestiges of technology were gone. Hulking wrecks that were once mighty, now collosus collections of smashed steel and concrete. Roaming gangs like packs of rats swarmed the land devouring stragglers and lone travellers and yet still the Boy walked proud.

Corpses, mostly human, scattered the land, filling the air with that sweet smell of putrefaction and occasionally the Boy gagged with the stench of it, but still he carried on.

They stood blocking the road. Five men, faces burnt by radiation. Clothes blackened by filth and flame. What weapons they carried were simple but effective. The boy saw a hammer, some form of club or bat, chains, a rake, even the broken remains of a metal chair.

The threat was more a growl than language but the Boy understood. His sword was smooth, curved and carved from white oak from another land. It shone in the evening light from it’s lovingly polished wood.

It’s first kiss was against the temple of the leader. There was a loud crack as the bone shattered but the Boy was in flight now. Spinning away from the falling body he brought the blade down in a cut on a shoulder, the wooden sword breaking rather than cutting the collar bone. A deflection inwards caught the line of the jaw and another dropped.

A roar behind him, caused him to pivot on the loose ground. A large wrench smashing down at his head. Moving subtly the Boy drifted like a wisp of smoke as the metal club crushed the empty air. Two small cuts of his blade almost like magic broke the descending arm at wrist and elbow and the wrench crashed down harmlessly hitting the ground almost simultaneously as the edge of the Boy’s sword ‘cut’ through the throat, crushing the thorax with it’s polished wooden edge.

A detached part of the Boy’s consciousness remembered his Master and the moment he had presenting him with this beautiful blade that had become a part of him. A symbiotic partner that together weaved a life of love, motion and magic.

“Remember my Son, it is a sword. Whether finest folded steel or gift of the forest the man and the blade become one.

The Boy continued on his journey. Behind him the scavengers remained, broken and quiet, and somewhere the bubble arrived at a surface, where it crossed into the emptiness and so, again, it began.

 

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2017

Original artwork by Faramond Frie

Beano Grigio

Beano Grigio was a confidence trickster. He didn’t really know what he was doing here, because Beano Grigio moved on the edges of the underworld.

He knew enough about his host to know that he was one of the good guys. When he had received the invitation to dinner he had thought it was a joke. There wasn’t a great deal known about Lord Stiletto in the general ‘Verse, but there were all kinds of myths and legends about his fabled tech star, Sunshine, on the edge of the Horse Head Nebula, his incredible team of genius scientists and engineers, and of course his dinner parties. In truth there was virtually nothing known about Lord Stiletto, but in the dark fringes of the ‘Verse where Beano comfortably moved, there were plenty of rumours.

Beano was dying to use the bathroom. That was another one of those rumours. It was said that it was never the same one twice. It was said that when one entered, the room was selected from thousands. It could be an exact replica of a Roman bathroom, replete with senators communally sharing the other pots, a spotless iridium creation from some Nebulan designer, or the famous ceramic urinals from the lavatory of a public house in the centre of Liverpool.

Beano Grigio may be an interesting and questionable character, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t cultured. Still he was bursting. The reason for his reticence was that rumour said that the bathrooms weren’t fascimiles, but the real thing, and worse, anyone rude enough to disturb the harmony of Stiletto’s table, or unwise enough to try to turn the occasion to their advantage, would find themselves exiting their bathroom, and discovering they were in a cafe or a diner somewhere in the middle of nowhere, on the farside of some forgotten planetary system.

Lord Stiletto was observing his guest with interest. Beano needn’t have worried. The only guests at his table were very close friends or in Beano’s case those that were going to be. For Lord Stiletto was a Master of the space time continuum, and Beano Grigio had a very interesting future.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2017

To Read Beano Grigio you can buy the eBook from Amazon. For a link to your nearest Amazon go to my book page.

LINK TO BOOK PAGE

The Adventures Of Miss Ann Thrope

The sound of the explosion was deafening. A head that reminded her of red jelly appeared for a brief second, then vanished into scarlet mist. Miss Ann Thrope gently squeezed her trigger and another Mercenary evaporated. She never really understood the technical function of the futuristic weapons her friend from the future provided, just that they worked.

Whipping around with a lightning speed that belied her appearance, she casually erased three more. That’s how she saw this space pistol, or ray gun as she told it to her grandchildren at their bedtime stories, like an erasure, rubbing out a smudge on her beautiful pencil drawings.

Racing ahead at breakneck speed she dived low under the incoming fire, and into a roll as her Eraser led before her, sending a volley of precision shots into the concealed hard-bitten Mercenaries trying to pin her down with their targeted bursts.

Silently Miss Thrope edged her way down the dimly lit metallic corridor. In this future age, in a distant galaxy, security was controlled by the Station, which was almost sentient. In this distant future every surface, space, temperature gradient, any physical parameter was controlled and monitored by the Station.

The only possible way to be covert was with the use of very special counter technology; physical hacking. She walked down the corridor with complete confidence of, in essence, being an invisible, undetectable, physical virus.

That was her first mistake.

The creature that sank its huge claws into her shoulder pulled her backwards. Also sentient, it paused just a little too long before sinking its scything jaws into its victim.

Having dropped her blaster, Miss Thrope was surviving purely on instinct. The long-bladed stiletto from her wrist sheath appeared in her hand, and she thrust it behind her, through the soft flesh below the monster’s jaw, aiming for its tongue. With a roar of pain, the great leviathan reared back, opening up her shoulder wound, and nearly tearing her other arm out of its socket.

The smell of rotting flesh from the creature’s open maw nearly overpowered her. Its teeth were as long as her arm, and its slitted yellow eyes radiated venom. Ignoring the terrible pain in both shoulders she took an incendiary grenade from her harness, then activated it with her neural net. Her friend’s grenades were very sophisticated. She picked `bang,’ on a scale from one to ten, of two. With the beast’s next roar, she casually threw it down its throat.

Should have picked one, she thought as she limped down the metal passageway, completely deafened, and covered in ribbons of stinking flesh.

.
Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2016 2018
.
To enjoy THE ADVENTURES OF MISS ANN THROPE you can buy it via my book page
.

The Uppsala Contract

It was the most unusual contract she had taken. The girl in Uppsala, obsessed with a serial killer.

Miss Thrope waited in the London fog. The smell was disgusting. Menthol rub inside her nostrils, an old trick, didn’t seem to help at all. She heard the wheels on the cobbles long before the carriage arrived. She held back, in the shadows. Not long ago she had left Uppsala, wearing a beautiful Victorian dress, much admired by her twenty first century friends for its authenticity. She hadn’t admitted she had just bought it a few hours ago in nineteenth century Harvey Nichols & Co.

The gentleman in the top hat watched the carriage leave and turned towards his club, to be confronted by a beautiful lady with sparkling eyes. Usually an admirer of young women, he was taken by her flawless complexion, and yet, dancing lines at the corner of her eyes.

“Enchanting,” he said, as he bowed.

His heart suddenly started hammering. It was so loud, he thought, they’d hear it in the club.

The lady’s delicate manicured hand was holding a scalpel, that reason told him, was in his jacket pocket.

She stepped towards him, as if in embrace, and speaking in a strange accent, English but not of his experience, she murmured, “I hear they call you Jack,” and sighed inwardly as she ruined yet another wonderful dress.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar ©2017 2018

.

To enjoy THE ADVENTURES OF MISS ANN THROPE you can buy it via my book page
.

The Student

It was part of her therapy.

Aiasdotter had suffered both psychological and physical torture at the hands of The Hyrm, and although she had been “healed” by Stiletto’s medical technicians, there was still the pain.

Aiasdotter had been given into the care of ‘Schripp, and his first act had been both training aid, and bonding technique. He had taken away her vision.

It was only temporary, a blockage of the functioning of the occipital cortex, and she knew that when she earned it, she would get her sight back.

The crack of the shinai against the men, the grill mask of her Kendo armour, made her head rattle, although in truth it was only a light tap with the bamboo sword.

“Feel,” ‘Schripp encouraged for the hundredth time.

Again, she waited. It wasn’t like being in the dark; there was no light, no vision. All her other senses had become incredibly acute. She could smell ‘Schripp’s sweat in the confines of the room and hear the slow beating of his heart, but the physical senses were not fast enough for what she was trying to do. She had to feel the attack.

Time and again ‘Schripp had told her, “You must feel the intent. Do not think.”

They had spent months disciplining her mind, that she might learn to lose her thoughts.

There was no noise, no movement, just her own action. The shinai in her hands moved with lightning speed, to be held vertical by her left ear to block the cut, and the crack of the clashing bamboo was deafening.

Her feeling of triumph was short lived as a fraction of a second later the right side of her men was lightly struck, and that patient voice spoke right beside her.

“And again.”

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2014 2018
.
For a FREE eBook of Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
.
.

The Assassination

Henrik, a nice young man at heart, had been told to up the ante. The order to assassinate Lord Stiletto had come directly from The Rabbit and had put Henrik under a great deal of stress and confusion.

He wasn’t a killer, he knew that in his heart, and basically, he had quite liked Gregory and Stiletto when he had met them in the now vapourised Sweden, that vanished reality of his planet Earth. He realised that he owed his life to The Rabbit, but knew deep inside that he wasn’t a murderer.

Lord Stiletto had been out driving in the Oxfordshire countryside in his favourite Bugatti. It was an original car from 1939, one he had picked up from the Milan home of Ettore Bugatti himself, just as the Second World War was kicking off. He had driven it down to Sicily where he had shipped it over to Malta, and there stored it in a cave on the small adjacent island of Gozo.

Now he was racing along the road to Lechlade, wind buffeting his bowler, goggles firmly in place.

Henrik had gone for an indirect method of murder. His choice, spiked metal sheets nailed into the tarmac surface of the Lechlade road. Almost immediately behind the caltrops he had parked a traction engine, recently stolen from the neighbouring village’s steam fair. He felt a nascent thrill in perverting Stiletto’s love of the arcane and ancient.

Stiletto came around the corner in third gear doing eighty-five miles per hour, and saw the traction engine stationary in his path. Taking his foot off the gas that powered the super turbocharged engine, he slammed it on the brake, and the Bugatti skidded sideways down the narrow Cotswold roadway. When he hit the caltrops, the tyres exploded on the sharp metal spikes, and as it left the ground, the beautiful old car began to roll, and accelerated towards the waiting engine.

Henrik had been having second thoughts about his murderous course. Several days before the date with Stiletto, he had taken the opportunity to send a message to Gregory. Stiletto took some persuading to sacrifice his beautiful sports car, but with Haydrift Eaglebeard as a passenger, and some nifty hand jive, at the moment of impact, the two friends were travelling through an alternate dimension. The classic sports car, almost a national treasure, exploded in a ball of fire as it slammed into the huge steel roller in front of the traction engine, which had been artfully placed in the Bugatti’s path.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2015 2018

.

.
For a FREE eBook of Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
.
.

The Tram

Eight Earth weeks earlier…

The image was burnt onto Gregory’s retinas. The pink manic eyes of The Rabbit in the window of the Belgian tram.

Stiletto had taken a wrong turn, in more than one sense of the word. Now his old Bugatti was screaming in reverse between medieval buildings as the looming city tram pursuing them gained on the startled friends.

The day had begun much better. They had been in Ghent, to attend the Science Fiction Convention. Gregory, Stiletto and Lady Bane had arrived in good time and made their presence in the great hall. Comic artist legend, Ian Gibson, a well-respected Master of the genre, and well represented in Lord Stiletto’s fabled library, was unexpectedly at the adjacent table. Stiletto was delighted to meet this unsuspecting mentor, and was fortunate to spend time talking to him and learning from the old Master. Was this why he miscalculated the shenanigans of The Rabbit? Like an avalanche that starts with a single pebble, the origin of Karma is often lost in the mists of events.

Rubber tyres burned and howled as Stiletto accelerated the car in reverse, horn blaring to clear the Saturday evening crowds. Once over a small bridge he applied his handbrake, and the car squealed in a tight arc almost about its own axis and shot backwards in a straight line down a narrow side street.

Stuck on its tracks, the tram hammered past. “It was the Girl with the Red Hair,” commented Lady Bane. A part of Gregory’s mind had noticed her, driving the tram at the fleeing car, but most of his horizon had been filled with the piercing pink eyes of The Rabbit.

Gregory was reasonably sure that vampires didn’t exist, at least in the daytime, so he was quite surprised to meet a Steampunk one. Back at the convention, he and Sarah were manning the table whilst Stiletto was off wandering the halls. A beautiful lady in full role play, had been talking to Gregory and had his full attention. It was the teeth he found so fascinating, they looked completely genuine. She claimed she had paid thousands for the dental work.

Lady Bane had seen some sights in her life. Stiletto coming through the door in his shirt sleeves and waistcoat, but still wearing his bowler hat and goggles, threw the broken, bloody chair leg into the waste paper basket.

“Goddamn vampires,” he spoke calmly as he took his empty pipe from his pocket and nonchalantly put it between his teeth.

“What, not the one talking to Gregory?” she asked in amusement.

“The very same. The genuine article. He actually invited her in, to his room.” He chuckled, taking his pipe out to speak more clearly, “Besotted, quite besotted!”

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2015 2018

.

.
For a FREE eBook of Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
.
.