Google+ Alternative Chat

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Ashes





I realise I've been quite quiet here, and actually that's due a change now, because I'm in the process not only of updating all the websites, but writing a wish-fulfilment piece that's actually becoming something of a labour of love. Interspersed in all of this is the realisation that I'm fundamentally altering in outlook, and the Community I am working in is heading for some fairly important changes. It is therefore inevitable that there will be division and conflict. Once upon a time, that scared me. I know people who don't know how I can be as I am and stand up to the shit that is flung by some, and I'd like to share a secret with you. I know all my abusers. Anonymity on the Internet really is the most ridiculous of falsehoods, because however much you'd like to think you can do stuff and nobody will know? Unless you are REMARKABLY clever?

Nothing is ever that random.

Go on, fight away.

The people who I come into conflict with fall into several distinct camps: you either have a slapfest, make up and move on, you conduct a civil conversation and agree to differ, or you decide I'm Satan and attempt to eradicate my existence from your reality. Whichever camp you choose to represent? I'm really not that fussed. No, really, I'm not. If you call me a friend one day and then vanish the next? There's issues there I don't know about and you're not telling me and that's fine too. I don't dictate other people's versions of reality, but they often seem more than keen to influence mine. This is not the same as telling someone to shut the fuck up because they're being a dick either. There is a measure of reaction to events that other people judge as either 'acceptable' or 'not' and if you're working on such extremes of colour, if it is simply black or white to you? Trust me, you're in for a shock. Because however right you feel you are, or however wrong your friends might paint someone else to be? Unless you actually speak to them and ask? You'll never know the real truth. The Internet thrives on supposition and fancy for good reason, because DRAMA IS SRS BNS. You're not anybody on the Internet unless you've had a Stalker, or been threatened, or have some story of how that guy tried to diss your friend and then they started texting you in the middle of the night and...

STOP.



The reason why I get drama is because I told people I won't do what they asked, or I did/thought/wrote something they didn't like. That means that they think I'm a bad person, that I'm wrong, and that I'm clearly dangerous. None of this is true, unless you ask me to so anything before my first cup of morning tea or hand me a complicated set of instructions on three hours sleep. Mostly, I have brought it all upon myself. Nobody else is to blame here but me, but because social media allows radical free-thinkers like me a platform without censorship or restriction? I must be stopped, my influence has to be curtailed and your 10.30 Angry Mob will be delivered shortly. I wouldn't mind so much if this were just the Internet having a moment, but it's happening out in the Meat Space too, and that's the even bigger concern. Maybe it doesn't matter anyway, because I'd give humanity a generation tops on current performance, and there'll be a planet-wide Apocalypse of a scale nobody ever really anticipated. That's the problem with thinking: nothing's off the table.

Enjoy your salad days while you can, peasants.




Chaos frightens people, politicians, and governments. You can't legislate chaos, it's just not having any of it. That's why change is managed and controlled, if you believe the tin foil hat brigade. It's the means by which we are all subjugated and controlled by unfeeling, rich bastards. However, it's also the fundamental stuff of the Universe, and in it's larger forms is fucking unstoppable. So good luck trying to control the World, because there's a better than average chance it won't care and just go its own way, as has always been the case. You can build into equations the notion of control, of course, but if you fail to factor in the unpredictable or unexpected, you're in for a surprise. Did you see what I did there? Good, because I'm not changing the schedule any time soon, and if you find this kind of stuff frustrating, it might be a plan to just go somewhere else.

This is how this works. That's all there is to it.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

In the Heat of the Moment


... and your point? ^^

I'd like to think you're smarter than you seem to be letting on, Internet. I'd hoped that you'd understand some basic rules about social interaction by now, but you don't seem to grasp anything. The Rules in Here are not the same as they are out in the Real World, but only for certain things. Mostly, if you play Social Media Roulette and stick all your chips on red and then it comes up black? You lost. Telling me that I'm an idiot is pointless, I know I am, because nobody is 100% correct ever. However, there are basic truths here. Intractable, unavoidably obvious truths.

Take your victories where you can.

1. Actions have Consequences.

If you act like a twat in public, people will call you out. If you do shit things, others will be aggrieved. Sometimes, your sex and sexual preference will be part of the problem, and how you deal with this becomes a measure of what you are. If you choose to stand in the spotlight? Be ready to face the consequences, because you did something to put you there. The measure of true heroic individuals is how they deal with their time as heroes, after all, both good and bad.

WAKE UP NOW.

2. Expect Constant Resistance.

Life is hard, and you have to work at it 24/7. When alone, learn to actually BE alone. Be careful what you share, and hold yourself back. Do not be afraid of the fact that nobody is talking and find comfort in your own confidence. Mostly, if you're going to be a selfish, entitled prick(tease) of either flavour? Be ready to have people lining up to take you to task. It's the new internet esport that anybody can play.

NO. STOP IT.

3. Stop Trying to Start Drama.

Maybe, just maybe, you don't need to post that response. Perhaps you realise that the person talking isn't asking for an instant response. Is it possible that this isn't just a worldwide chat channel? Sure, it is for some, but not 24/7. Often people need to shout into the void and not get an answer. In time they'll learn that this is what happened before social media. Until they do? Learn to practice silence and consideration. Don't fuel the fire.

Today is the day when I learn not to make it worse. Today is the day when I stop Tweeting and start writing. This is when I learn to stop contributing to the problem, and become a solution.

This is a Good Day.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Fix You


Johari Window.PNG

By w:User:Simon Shek -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Johari_Window.PNG,
Public Domain,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4565679


How you see yourself is not how others do. This has become increasingly apparent in the time I utilise social media: how you 'market' yourself to the World and in turn how that is interpreted is often a point of some considerable contention. In psychology, the Johari Window above is used to help people better understand their relationship with the world around them: presented with a list of 55 adjectives, individuals are asked to describe themselves using them as are others, and these are then inserted in the appropriate points in the grid. This then forms a more cohesive picture of how the individual views themselves, but crucially how they are seen away from their own perception.

Labelling's a dangerous tool, and must be used with a great deal of care.


How I'd see myself if I was a car. Not 100% accurate.

The problem with perception is that it is entirely subjective, when all is said and done. However objective you'd like to think you are, or try to be, it never works 100% of the time. Take my obsession with Aston Martin, for starters: I blame 007 for this, completely and utterly, and I'll go back to the DB5 as an iconic view of how the world decides that lumps of metal are sexy. At the weekend, for instance, I was described as an Aston Martin Vantage. As you probably don't know, they look like this:


I... I can't ^^

This car is clearly a classic, but it's not me. I'd like to think I'm not as angular, and perhaps less stuck in a particular age. I appreciate a compliment however, and that's what this was, but if I had my way I'd become less rough edges and more cohesion, and there in a nutshell is the problem with how other people choose to label you. Do you take offence because you don't agree, or will you consider the place from which the original compliment comes? How do you live in the modern world when there is so much to consider around you? Is it no wonder therefore that many choose just to not listen to begin with?

Curating your life is all well and good up to the point when you understand that at any given point you could have a problem with everybody.


GOOD JOB BOI. 

The longer you spend with people, the more you find out about them, and often this is more of a revelation than many grasp.  People let their guard down and reveal stuff about themselves when they think they're only talking to a single person on social media, quite clearly unaware that potentially the entire World is reading. This happens with increasing frequency if the 'relationship' has been going on for some time, and the person forgets where they are, and it does happen even to the most cautious of individuals. I know this because I watch it, and suddenly you'll get a 'oh RIGHT' second of connection when it becomes clear that you're being given new (and often vital) information about why someone is the way they are. The choice then is how you use this, and mostly what ought to happen is that it allows you to understand. You can decide if this person meshes with you. It might give you the incentive to strike up a conversation. However, more often or not it becomes the stick to beat them with, or a reason to make a snarky subtweet.

Mostly, its just simpler to take the piss out of someone who's different.


Yeah RIGHT.

Ironically, it is often the people who garner the most abuse from others who end up as the experts at throwing it back. You would think the individuals with the issues would have a measure of sympathy for anyone else, but often they become highly efficient self-reflecting mirrors, just throwing back everything that is directed at them, in a desperate attempt to deflect the truth. I know this from all too much personal experience, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the Internet, before anyone wants to come along and decide this entire Blog post is somehow my way of attacking an individual who's pissed me off. Sometimes, the truth is absolutely the last thing you want or need to hear, but it remains the only sure-fire way to set you free. That's the gist of John 8:32, for what it's worth, not a movie reference or some stupid internet quote. It's a piece of text that could have survived for thousands of years. One of the oldest recalled pieces of human wisdom, written down and passed through hundreds, thousands of generations. Not much has changed in that regard, when all's said and done.

Ultimately you cannot change how you are made, but you can sure as fuck alter the way you listen.




What all of this navel contemplating comes down to is simple: it isn't just the Internet's fault you got angry. You're as much to blame for that as they are, and you can continue to cut people out of the equation for as long as you like. However, there comes a point where you're going to wake up and be alone, and when that happens maybe them you may realise that actually, perhaps it wasn't just them. Listening is becoming a lost art, and those of us who know on any given day that even the positive people will fuck us right off need to understand there is only so much that you can pin on others. Mostly, you have to go back to the whole 'balance' thing and understand that actually? Give and take is how the best relationships work. Mostly, don't press 'Tweet' unless you're REALLY sure you're ready for the consequences.

Everybody has shit days, even the perfect people. Never forget this.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Fuck You


I've waited a LONG TIME to use Cee Lo Green's song title.

It's a wonderful time to be alive.



There has never been more freedom of expression in the World as there is right now. You can pretty much get away with anything on a daily basis and people do. People will look back on this era with fondness, before the Internet is policed and regulated to within an inch of its life. This is the Wild West, a glorious period where nobody knew what to do, there were no real laws and pretty much everything got made up on the spot. You will wish the world had stayed like this, I think, with the benefit of predictive hindsight. It is the understanding that, however bad you think things are in your head, they are never as terrible as they could be. This is a fact too many people conveniently overlook in their attempts to manipulate their personal gravity. However badly you want the world to rotate around you, the laws of Physics aren't going to play. You might think you're dictating terms, but you're so totally not.

What you want in life is for people to give a fuck WITHOUT you trying.



I'm very lucky, and yet it is human nature to fixate on the things you cannot have. That friend you want to hang out with that you don't live near, the item you'd love to afford but is always out of your budget, the problem that just won't go away however hard you try. I've begun to realise that the idea of 'harmony' is based around these things not mattering a fuck to begin with. The real trick to attaining peace and tranquillity does not involve a diet plan, an exercise regime or indeed anything else that can be created. All those books that say it starts with you are spot on, of course, but because the path to enlightenment is different for everybody, which bit of you that actually involves is up for some debate.

Mine came with a revelation last week over That Video Game.


Look. RARE SPAWN.

This is the Time Lost Proto Drake. It is probably the hardest mob to obtain in game because it is a world spawn, camped incessantly and particularly hard to track, IMO. I was in a 5 Man Instance during the week when someone was riding it about, clearly hoping that people would notice him and make some comment. When nobody did, I was naughty and did a bad thing. I suggested someone play properly.


ME: Stop cocking about on your mount and actually play, please.
THEM: But don't you know what this is?
ME: It's a mount.
THEM: No, it's a Time Lost Proto Drake.
ME: I have no idea what that is, but it's brown, nasty and as ugly as fuck and you should be doing damage.


Look at me, wilfully ignoring the clear power of the rare drop. You see, when you understand the power a particular object has over some people, you can remove all of its relevance by failing to accept it as important. That's how you can fuck with people's heads if you are an evil super-baddie, or rise above it if you're the good guy. Mostly, that's how all the rubbish stuff in your life can be left to one side, because when you can identify the power that thing/person/even has over you and rationalise it, the power doesn't exist to wield over you any more. This may be playground psychology to some of you, but for me in the week it was an epiphany of major proportions.

So, now I can genuinely not give a fuck about stuff and actually make some progress.


It makes people happy.

The thing is with this Drake is that people see it in different ways. For most its just what it is, a bunch of pixels, but for others there's a psychological resonance in the attainment. You don't belittle that significance for them, because that's bad and wrong too. You just accept that for you, this situation has no control over you, and that's absolutely fine, and with the acceptance of this in the week an awful lot of stuff has quite literally just fallen into place. That's why I'm here writing the blog post for starters. Because right now? I have no gravity at all, I am floating free and beautifully unhindered in a space entirely of my own creation, and it is glorious.

I know this won't last forever either, and so I fully intend to make the most of the position while I can. Of course I still give many fucks about a vast number of things, but only I get to know what they are, and if you're lucky I'll consider sharing them with you.

For everybody else? Time to go looking for your own epiphanies.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

In These Shoes

When you followed me on Social media, what were you *actually* expecting?

24 hour dance party?

It's a serious question, and one I'm going to start asking people now whenever they turn up looking as if they're after a bit of a slapfest. I mean, realistically, what do you expect me to do? If you copy something into my feed thinking its cool or funny, and its actually deeply offensive, am I supposed to just laugh, smile and ignore you? If you moan about an issue without actually thinking through the logic behind it, do you expect me to just accept your summation is correct? You'd love me to stop being politically correct when you won't treat me as an equal and insist I remain a woman so that the labelling's intact? I'm sorry, but if you follow me, there's an implicit acceptance that the places we intersect will be subject to joint jurisdiction.

If you don't want to talk about stuff that upsets you, what the fuck are you doing here to begin with?

Not all dictatorships are the same.

Because inevitably, ultimately, conflict happens. In shock news, people don't go out of their way to create it, often it occurs when Person A decides to be funny, cool or clever in their own mind and it ends up that actually, that joke's not funny with an audience. Oddly, this is why comics try stuff out before they go on tour. It's why stand up is actually one of the hardest things to pull off successfully over generations, because what one old person find hilarious a young person is likely to consider offensive. Ultimately, your indignation isn't worth the effort, especially in a virtual space. I can get as angry as I like but nothing changes, no worlds are altered or outlooks trashed. It's just the Internet.

Except increasingly people use this as an excuse that's becoming quite dangerous to wield.


BECAUSE WE ARE CORRECT IN THIS SPACE.

Sometimes, the best way to win an argument is not to start it. But that doesn't give people an opportunity to seem cool or clever, or to have as a story to wheel out to friends or family. Once upon a time, it was all about how your house first got a TV, or a telephone. Now it's 'that time I defeated a troll on the Internet' and the badge of honour can be worn both ways. Kids don't fight playground battles any more, they're no-scoping in CS or being the most follows on Instagram. The future is being moved from actual to virtual and this is a very, VERY dangerous precedent to set. Not simply because reality matters far more at every step of the equation, but significantly if your virtual spaces don't fall under the same rules as the meat spaces? People can groom or radicalise, and that goes for anyone at any age. In shock news, governments and lawmakers, lots of very angry and dangerous people are using the Internet, and many of them could be more of a risk than any number of teenagers.

Mostly I think people have to accept that if you come to the Internet, you're accepting 'drama' as part of the package. Because this is a place absolutely chock full of conflict, just like the real world.


Dramaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

So, make your choice, people. I challenge stuff pretty much daily. I post a FUCK of a lot. I'm not changing that, and if you find it hard to cope with then its probably best for everybody you leave, mostly because I see this as my way of becoming a better person. As of right now, I'm pretty confident that's working rather well.

Don't be surprised at how other people live their lives, because they're simply not you.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Sayers :: The Hidden Assassin




Welcome to The Sayers, my current serialised drama/WIP. It is rated NSFW with scenes of both an adult and explicit nature. For a full list of published parts, please click here.


Previous chapter is here.
Next chapter is here.



==

The Hidden Assassin.



It is a beautiful morning to be working outside.

Alexa adjusts the wide-brimmed gardening hat, deflecting early-morning sun off her neck as the row of carrots by her knees is thinned, weaker shoots discarded with quiet precision. She'd intended to begin chores in the small greenhouse at the back of the cottage but this was no time to be inside, too glorious a morning to be stuck under glass.

Besides, she needs to be outside to watch the man they've sent to kill her.

April has slid almost effortlessly into May, sparse architecture of the cottage garden busting suddenly into bloom, everything requiring attention simultaneously. Alexa revels in the business of organisation, it was always her particular skill before, and proudly maintains a strong grip on flowerbeds plus modest allotment behind the whitewashed greenhouse. Both are demanding attention this bright and breezy morning, but that is not why she has ventured out so soon after breakfast. This open spot is perfect, feigned ignorance of the would-be assassin’s position under the guise of domestic simplicity.

He is both arrogant and sloppy in this task: Greengrass spied his approach from the kitchen window, glimpse of antique sniper blowpipe as it reflected the sun's early rays. She may have been retired for five summers but a lifetime of careful study and tuition should never be underestimated. Skills like these travelled with her until she returned to the Earth. Knowing the inevitable had arrived, she spent far longer than usual over toast and preserve, black bitter tea with fresh milk from her neighbours' modest herd. It is still too early for fresh honey, and the sharpness of the caffeine stimulant has made her keen, consciously edgy.

If they have finally sent someone to eliminate her, this deception is at an end.

In a heartbeat half a decade of apparent calm is forgotten: gasped moment of damning comprehension as a life left behind rose silently to consume. Past and present are no longer two distinct places: this hard-fought second chance, like her soul before, has fractured without warning. She ran, believing escape was possible: there is no way to avoid what was left behind.

Alexa lives in too much history simply to be allowed to forget.

Her stalker is waiting, anticipating the perfect opportunity: single dart to render incapacity, before moving in to kill with something far less subtle. Her understanding of every possible motivation he has been taught meant her whole being now waits with seeming innocence: the truth is anything but. In the cramped single bedroom after breakfast her trunk was unearthed, assassin's tools located: neatly labelled and stored vials of poisons and anaesthetic stacked alphabetically. It had been at least a year since the formulas were replaced, real chance many had lost their potency.

Alexa deferred to poisons whenever possible, but with those sub-optimal, there needed to be a backup. A hatred of pistols had been legendary, almost costing lives in the dark days before her escape. Her lover returns to an edgy mind, two hand-crafted automatic weapons pushed desperately into unwilling hands the night before she fled. His whispered gasp, forced to promise they would be used if deception was threatened, brings everything to a point of connection: this is arousal, multiple thoughts of what must soon be performed. The memories smooth process, prepare the body: taste of intimacy flares fresh in an adrenaline stimulated mouth. Preparation is bitter: almonds and ale, earthy tobacco; salt and sweat from palm to face, lips on skin.

Hilltop would tell me I'm already over-thinking, and be right. Time to force the issue.

These carrots will never be eaten, she notes with a tinge of sadness, leaning back to admire the work. This spot is perfect: far too many obstacles to ever afford clear line of sight. She frustrates her attacker, forcing him to move closer, pushed to take the opportunist shot rather than calculating. Once he renders her incapable, only then will the truth be revealed, and so the amateur must be lured to this spot, where tables can be easily turned.

Closing brown eyes, Alexa looks within herself, making this garden real and glorious via imagination; her genetic ability exploited with increasing instinct since childhood. This why the Assassin's Guild sought her out to recruit, an innate cognition, first used to make parents provide whatever she wanted. Her skills ensured teachers never asked the difficult questions, a weapon to sway village boys' attention away from undoubtedly prettier girls.

Direction's potential should never be underestimated.

The next time she stands it will happen. He is less than twenty yards behind, crouched in the bushes that provide a windbreak for the herb garden. The man desperately wants to piss, need fuelling his desire to make the first shot count. Bladder pressure keeps him keen, drinking too much wine last night: not as sharp as a good assassin must be. Alexa subconsciously senses the unsteadiness, heaviness behind tired eyelids, an unspoken understanding that he could well screw up the shot without even requiring distraction. He possesses no Direction either: this mind is lazy, lethargic. All he wants is to be done and relieve himself.

The polished steel pipe is finally loaded, dart positioned and ready to fly: almost imperceptible hiss from the tiny canister of gas indicating a primed barrel. Three places he should aim: neck, arm, ankle. Neck is the prime target at this angle for abrus precatorius, and unless the Guild has changed  poison suppliers that's what he'll use to disable before delivering a bullet to the back of the head. Alexa slows breathing, making sure the sheer netting wrapped around her throat is in place with the briefest of movements.

A smarter man would have looked closer before taking the shot. But not only are you stupid, you're sloppy too, and it’s going to be your undoing.

Time slows as she opens her eyes and stands: there is the pop, brief movement of netting, confirming an impact. One, two three. Alexa counts, then collapses on cue. It has been a long time since there's been a need to play dead but it makes no matter: crumpled lifelessly to the ground she remains motionless, careful to fall so that the dart has no chance of making any contact with flesh. A scratch would still be enough to incapacitate. She remains prone, waiting for her assassin to respond, knowing that the moment deception is revealed there is only one chance to retaliate. The seconds are counted, keeping alert: it's ninety hand-blades for the poison to work through the system to ensure paralysis.

Thirty are counted before he responds, shifting from behind the trained rhododendrons in a swift movement of foliage. She listens to urination, palpable relief followed by determination, before he finally comes up the garden and into her field of vision. Falling with eyes open affords an unimpeded view: regulation Guild uniform, impossibly young and somehow vacant, dispossessed. He could be in his twenties: as Alexa has aged it becomes harder to judge with accuracy. The pistol in his hand removes any thought of failure, ready to kill before he informs her of his patron. No scroll will be read over the body, sealing the mind's fate. Screw the procedure, and fuck her.

This boy possesses no honour. You deserve to die.

Alexa's conscience falters, painful past hastily reminding present of why she ran. I cannot kill any more: sensations of regret and guilt too much of a burden to bear without self-destruction. Panic floods her chest, ache of morality never successfully grasped. If you do not kill, you will die. This is the mantra of the assassin's life.

Routine and repetition temper instantaneous response, the killer's reflex: this is not about what is right. You must survive to ensure those who come to take your life are repaid in kind.

Show him your superiority.

Anger flares, brilliance white hot, flooding mind and body. Beautiful pain matched only by terrible, inescapable arousal. You are what you have always been. Embrace the moment where both fuse: make pleasure become pain.

Now.

The tiny poison-coated blade strapped to palm digs deep into the flesh of the boy’s ankle and he doesn't even have time to respond, crumpling helplessly to the dirt. The manihot esculenta remains potent: hunter twitching uncontrollably and with a sudden howl of anger on the fringes of the allotment. Alexa takes her time getting up, removing netting from neck before plucking out the dart. The workmanship is shoddy, feathers hastily tied around the tiny hollow tube of curved ivory.

She throws the amateur's work away in disgust.

The boy, for that is all he really is, watches with what Alexa knows only too well is terror. He is already dead. No assassin would ever leave quarry alive to tell the tale, no escape once poisoned. What happens now is a measure of how well she has been taught: the end should be quick, painless and professional. This time however, there are unanswered questions, and Alexa needs to make sure this fool really is powerless, to show error of his ways before dispatch. Standing over the quietly convulsing form, placing foot on each arm before squatting over his body there is an unmistakable ache of sympathy.

You live and breathe as I do, yet your life is at an end. How will I remember your final moments?

Then there is an inescapable smell of shit: the boy has soiled himself in an attempt to reclaim control. You are taught dignity as an assassin. Never consciously degrade yourself, even at the end. Ignoring the odour she reaches inside his jacket to locate what is hidden there: parchment is far heavier than she expects, this scroll rolled unusually tight. The Guild of Assassins does not come to punish her transgression: instead this is the Mark of the Third Eye, Seal of the High Sayers staring back, both unblinking and unerring.

This is unexpected indeed.

She had anticipated her own people contrived the end, smothered in some pointless pretext. What has she done to upset the Holy Sisters, that they would send this amateur to dispatch her? Only then is the patch on the boy's uniform apparent, black embroidery on black cotton. The banner of Marcus Maximus, with two crossed blowguns: symbol of a dangerous development that fills an already nervous mind with fear.

This fool works for the Junta. They have stolen your craft and now pass it off as their own.

'Please. Please don't kill me.'

His entire body pleads, tears streaming down a face of pure terror. Alexa wonders whether he'd ever though about the life, spent any time considering existences destroyed. She remembers every single person killed, names learnt by heart. Once a year, on the anniversary of her departure from the Royal Assassins of Tamesa, she sits and writes out every one, before taking the scarlet scroll to burn. This is the ritual to alleviate guilt, a reminder that each body is both lost and won. His name must be added to her list.

'Tell me who you are.'

'My honour is not yours to burn.'

He stares, fear still bright in pale blue eyes, defiance to the end. If he knows the ways, perhaps there is worth in this body after all. Paralysis confirmed, Alexa takes feet off arms and goes to squat next to him, close to face, to be sure every word is clearly heard.

'You know you're not getting up, about to die in a pile of your own excrement. If you wish to be remembered, that someone will one day recall your glories and achievements, you would do well to tell me who you are. If you give me this freely, I will mark you as Assassin. If I must reach within to take it? You will be forever a Coward.'

'I… I am not afraid. I will be strong to the end.'

'You know I can bend your mind with a breath. You have no means to resist. This is your final choice.'

The boy is a bully, drunk on power and misguided self-belief. She sees the thought before he can hide it, understands he considered penetration as she lay prone. He would have fucked my paralysed body and then killed me. This is no assassin, he is both monster and fool, yet I will not treat him as he would me. I am a true wielder of  weapons he chooses so flagrantly to disrespect.

The thought of redemption finally touches a body near death, no need to use Direction for extraction.

'Th...omas. Thomas, of the Water and the Boats. Please, tell me you will mark me as Assassin.'

She will allow him to believe there is honour in a body clearly rotten, albeit briefly. Retrieving the unused dart, it will provide an apposite end to this life, and mean that by day's end she must be prepared to leave her home. If the Sisters need her dead, then her lover's life may also be in danger, and so she must head north, back to the Capitol. But first, this boy's weapon will mark his own demise.

A poison, straight to both their hearts.

'You were given an impossible task, Thomas Riverman. Those that sent you here knew you would fail, and that your life would be forfeit. Rest assured, I will discover the truth behind their intentions. I will also remember you for what you are: rapist, murderer and animal. The Earth will swallow your remains without a whisper. May you burn for eternity and beyond.'

Alexa pushes the dart into the boy's chest, watching as eyes widen then flatten. The heart paralysed, brain frozen. The count is ten hand-blades, and his life is over.

It has been five years since a kill yet the act still sickens her. She is careful to not soil the body further and goes to throw up breakfast over the row of neatly-thinned carrots instead.

Everything worked for since she escaped has been reduced to nothing.


==

Previous chapter is here.
Next chapter is here.


Sunday, 21 February 2016

Danse Macabre

This GIF is very clever.

Sometimes, I get that you people are just doing shit for attention.

When you follow enough people and actually read what they say, undoubtedly you get two sides of the same story. Some understand this only too well, doing their best not to tell the same version of events to everyone, so that there's means and ways to keep everybody on their side. What this inevitably means is that when people get together and talk? There's often revelations, and inevitable exposure of 'events' that actually weren't nearly as big a deal as was originally advertised. What makes the difference is how the people themselves see as being significant, which inevitably is a long way from the actual reality that is presented.

When you're a distance from the epicentre, things are never as bad as they appear.


PREACH IT BETTY.

You don't get to dictate to people what matters to them, not at any point in the equation. Just because you share a space with others does not allow you to impose rules based on who appears to be in charge, or perhaps who possesses the larger following. Mostly, nobody is the boss of you, and anyone acting as if they have the right to run you out of town? Yeah, that's gonna work. If you'd like to create drama out of virtually nothing, it is really damn easy to do so as well, and that's why maybe, just possibly, the default for most people shouldn't be to go in fighting. But if you're the kind of person who's had to defend yourself constantly in the real world, you will automatically assume that there's going to be some aggro whenever people get to understand that your world view and theirs will not intersect. I get this, but I've also begun to grasp that how you approach a situation is nearly as important as how things then pan out. So, this might be bleedin' obvious to some of you, but I think it bears repeating.

If you want to create drama, that's exactly what you'll end up doing.


STOP IT.

Needless to say, if a doofus like me can see right through what you're doing, other people will too. If someone thousands of miles away hears complaining about stuff and then is informed from a third party that all of this wasn't nearly as dramatic as it was made it out to be? People on social media are going to lose respect for you. So if one day if people just stop following? Maybe look to your own actions as a possible reason. More importantly, if someone deliberately removes themselves from a source of drama, and others then try and drag them back into it? Don't expect ANYONE to be happy about it.

Mostly, it might be time to stop trying to make the Universe revolve around you.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Your Cheating Heart

OH JUST STOP THAT. 

Look, you and I really should have a talk about your needs.

It is not impossible to be a grown up on social media. It is actually quite simple for you to live with other people's faults and failings, if you care enough about them to begin with. To the people reading this who'll still erroneously assume I'm about to give them a hard time? GO AWAY. I have something better to talk about today.

I suggest that if you want to keep friends in the Digital Age, there is one simple tip for doing so.

Remember you are an actual human being.




That means treating EVERYBODY the same way until it becomes apparent they're going to garrotte you with the light fitting. It requires you to admit that you are not some perfect super being from whom all wisdom spouts. It allows you to make mistakes, and you will, and if that happens and the person matters you don't just toss off some half-arsed apology and move on, you actually mean it. Mostly, it means that the passive aggressive crap that I've often been accused of spouting when someone else decides to give me a fucking hard time for being what I am, is unacceptable BOTH WAYS. I shouldn't go to the medias and start poking people when they leave without warning, but when I do there's always a reason. Ironically, most of the time I can tell you why they left. In the end, if you join up and don't grasp what a stream of gut and knee jerk reaction I spout on any given day? More fool you. The bigger issues remain intact: I don't suffer fools. If you publicly attack me, don't expect me to just take it. Most significantly of all if you start pouring scorn on genuine enthusiasm, however misguided you might think the argument is?

The trapdoor's just waiting over there.


Going down.

I think sometimes there are those I interact with who don't think I notice their actions, but you'll be surprised at what an anally retentive bitch I can be. That comes with the territory, and having a long memory means that you may happily think that something's forgotten, but it really isn't. If you consistently attempt to push me into situations where you hope I'll react? Well, sometimes I just won't either, and that's because I know what you're up to and no, I'm not playing. The reason why I'm writing this now is simple: I don't care. Those particular haters who play the game I love? Nope. You don't get to win any more. That's it. I'm done with you.


There are no more fucks to clumsily misplace.

I'm not giving you the fight you so desperately want. I will not argue a contrary position any more. Unless you can be constructive and civil, this doesn't even get to kick off. You're on your own in the dressing rooms and I'm already taking the train home. It's null and void, you get a walkover and it is so done that you can use the remains as charcoal. You won't bait me, you're not going to encourage me, and if you keep up with the psychology crap any more I'll just laugh in your face.

Oh, and did I tell you how much I don't care?


THERE YOU GO.

I know you won't fuck off, because that's how stupid works on the Internet. If I were Stephen Fry I'd leave. But I'm not, so you can just get in the fucking sea. Off you go.

/bye

Monday, 15 February 2016

Tomorrow Never Dies

And you're done. 

I still have to review SPECTRE, but its fair to say that I don't think Daniel Craig's coming back for another go at 007. Frankly, I don't blame him: this has taken a decade of his life, and the journey has, at times, been fairly tortuous for everyone concerned. Nobody liked the guy when he arrived, and having not only made Bond acceptable in the 21st century but actually likeable again, he's now become a victim of his own hype. The problem with the 24th episode in the franchise is that it had to go back to the worst part of its roots, under some mistaken belief that actually, the supervillain/criminal organisation 'trope' would still be relevant in a world full of cyber-terrorism and religious zealotry. The problem for Eon and Sony, quite apart from the stupid amount of money they threw at SPECTRE, is that they ended up being a parody of a parody of themselves. There's moments when you watch the interplay between Waltz and Craig and you realise it could just as easily be Mike Myers talking to himself. Then things just get a bit strange, and you want it to stop.


Oh, behave.

This morning, unsurprisingly as Craig comes up for his 48th birthday, the rumour mill has started up over his 'successor' with the Independent suggesting that TV is a better draw for a man who's made so much cash from the Bond franchise he could probably choose never to work again. There are a number of factors to consider in the next Bond 'movie': it's the 25th, and that's going to mean summat big. 24 wasn't nearly as successful as had been hoped, which is going to set people's minds to thinking that maybe they need to reboot regardless. However, now SPECTRE is back, the whole Bond 'world' is different, and quite possibly dangerously out of touch with the trend in action/spy/thrillers for realism against a backdrop of constant peril. That's not Eon's biggest problem by a long way, however. Fleming's ideals of a guy who treats women like dirt and does whatever the fuck he wants without consequence are all well and good, but its the white male tradition that causes the most issues with an increasing proportion of the movie-going population. Bond remains the last bastion untouched by diversity: Austin Powers' inane sexism and misogyny, still acceptable after over five decades. Craig has hinted he thinks it's extremely unlikely that will change, and I have to agree with him, because as a woman I was never who the films were selling to. In fact, anyone who's not white and male is pretty much out of luck, quite possibly for many years to come.


They'll ask him, and if he has any sense he'll say no.

So, if I were Tom Hiddleston, I'd turn down the offer when Eon present it, because I'd not want to be associated with a franchise that sells Britain as a place where diversity doesn't exist. I don't care how good you look and how many people you get to sleep with without consequence, Bond's legacy is a bald-faced lie. Fast cars and guns and pretty eye candy is rubbish, and considering how this franchise has reacted to change over the decades, it's become quite sad to see that the way Eon decided to deal with evolution was to just pretend it hasn't happened. Instead the franchise became a homage to an age not that many people would ever actually want to go back to. This is the reality of 'modern' Britain, that a Bond author can happily turn around and declare a black actor unsuitable for the task of 007 because he's 'too street' for the role. It's depressing and it actually cheapens Craig's achievement, which was to actually give Bond a soul. He'd never really had one in all that time, except for that brief period in OHMSS and between Goldeneye 'til Tomorrow Never Dies. All the rest of those years it was a lie, actors flirting with the concept of a man who actually wasn't worth knowing or saving a lot of the time. He was a hero, yes, but he was never really a decent human being. Daniel Craig's Bond did at least show an evolution, understanding of what had happened to make the agent as brittle and fractured as he was. In the end, I don't blame him for leaving with both the car and the girl because if it had been me? I'd have taken both too.


Still my #1 Choice. By a mile.

So, how do we go forward? Well, I've discussed with several people that maybe the path is to stick Bond back in the 60's and play it that way, because if you do so then you can just ignore all the modern issues and maybe eventually they'll go away. There is the option to make Bond black, or a woman, or possibly both (don't get me started at how criminally underused Moneypenny was in SPECTRE.) I'd argue everybody will need recasting in the supporting roles if they start again, and maybe if that happens then you can give people an opportunity to rethink the dynamics. Mostly I'd love to see something more than 'supervillain threatens world' because honestly, I think for everyone's benefit it might be an idea if we left that alone for a while now. The thing is, if Bond reboot *again* it is really, REALLY hard to see where it goes. Mostly, if I was in Eon's production offices right now, I'd be worrying how this all goes down. Because there is no easy answer to how you move this franchise forward without some kind of change, and if they do it wrong, Bond 25 could end up being the last of the series.

For what it's worth? I'd take it to TV. I'd reboot from scratch, do a deal with the BBC, and make it into a Spooks-style alternate universe where SPECTRE's been in charge of super-villainry for the best part of 40 years. Sell it worldwide, give Craig a starring role as the old 007 handing over to a newer, younger counterpart.

If you could make her somewhere in the early 40's? So much the better.

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Last Worthless Evening

Don't take that attitude with me, young man. 

There's a blog post for my personal site coming up on Twitter's continued attempts to curb 'noise' on their platform, and how it's no different in reality than spam filters and nuisance phone callers. That's not why I'm here this morning, however: I wrote a post on the other site yesterday on how compromise is an inevitable part of any process, and it sent me off in various differing directions. One of them concerns writing itself, and how sometimes what you envision with a piece is not what you'll end up producing. There is a phenomenal amount of compromise in working for somebody else, for starters, and that's probably the reason why I prefer to work alone whenever possible. However, without that compromise, often there is no real progress.

I do work now for a number of different organisations and the editing process for each is different. One has a strong bias to using the Internet's own search robots, another has more of a focus towards transparent explanation of editing processes, and so on. Mostly it's all down to the people wielding the scalpels at the other end and not me. I just provide the ideas: how that is subsequently transmitted to its final destination can often vary wildly from place to place.The same is undoubtedly true with game design, when I think about it: there's an initial 'concept' and then comes the business of taking that and inserting it into an existing structure. So, what I envisage at the start of a piece could have subtly altered by the time it makes it to 'live', and it often does. I try not to get upset about this, and accept that both criticism and alteration becomes an often essential part of the journey.

There is a lot that can be learned by grasping the counsel of others.


You say that NOW... ^^
The problem that a lot of writers seem to have when their own work's on the table is taking criticism. You just have to look at Twitter as a short form to understand just how complicated and explosive a contrary opinion can be on probably a minute by minute basis. In fact, if you consider what happened when the company itself announced a change that many people had been happily using for months? The End of All Things will probably cause less trauma when it happens, mostly because nobody will be left to be critical of its execution. Half the problem is the way in which things happen, and then the 'who should we actually blame' game begins and frankly, it's just horrible to watch. I felt totally sorry for the totally innocent Twitter developer who got pulled into the argument last weekend: yes, he may have written the code, but he's not the one directing Twitter's financial management. Saying 'well if it's going to be destructive, you shouldn't do what you're asked' isn't exactly an alternative either. Yes, this could work in some situations, but honestly? If you want to blame someone, go find the people in charge. They listened last weekend, and now everybody has an opt out. Crucially however, that change has still gone live. You didn't stop it.

However, sometimes you can affect change via protest.

From sky.com

Liverpool fans were capable of reversing a decision by American owners to increase ticket prices, a climb down which will undoubtedly have ramifications across the Premier League. The very visual and damning way in which 10,000 people left didn't really help the team either: a 2-0 win became a 2-2 draw, and you have proof that sometimes grand gestures make the point. However, if people keep paying money to purchase stuff, and don't vote with their feet, how does anyone know there is a problem. It was a point I made today in a couple of places too: complaining that too much money is spent on in game purchases isn't the company's problem, its yours. The company offers the product, you choose to buy it, and saying it should be cheaper doesn't really work when they've already got you to part with your cash for a physical copy of the game, often months before it goes live. If enough individuals genuinely said 'fuck this, we're not coughing up' you can absolutely bet that would affect the marketplace. Thats why contentious games often travel the Kickstarter/crowd-funding route these days, just to check there really is a market to begin with.

Eventually, large corporations get the message. Cadbury's Creme Eggs, for instance, is a great example of how one organisation grasped that taste matters more than simply selling a product. It isn't just about doing the same old thing over and over, if people actually complain correctly. The problem is with video games, no two people have the same particular issue, and that means that a mass walkout's only likely if everybody can agree on an issue.

If you don't like what a company is doing? You need to learn to complain about it better.