Hungry Hungry Universe (Art by C0laj)

As a force of turmoil and chaos, The Universe, the canvas for all things in existence to frolic on, is nothing and everything in between. As rumpled fabric, it does not recognize its moments as coming or going. The Universe is. And that should be enough. But as everything and nothing, The Universe decided long ago to seek solace in the experiences of those that suffer because they are forced to be. The brightest experiences are those that are fraught with pain and disappointment. Freaks and the unlucky that lurk inside moist, forgotten folds where life can form. Soft juicy donuts filled with thoughts and feelings. Like berries for The Universe to pluck and devour, thoughts, acts, and history. 

All so delicious.

Maybe it’s by design they are so well hidden within the canvas they play on, but as sometimes happens, one makes itself known. A being in an orange jumpsuit needs help. So the Universe does the opposite and stretches the fabric between realities to give the creature made to hunt an easier path to its would-be prey.

It must be done carefully, so that the membrane doesn’t break, and it works. The Oddity thinks it dreams still, seeing the crumb floating on his back in the vastness of space, lost like all the best crumbs are before they are found. The oddity’s stomach growls at the sight and lunges as if birthed through the miasma that is dark matter. He fights to free himself, and The Universe liberates it of the physics that keeps everything else locked down. 

And then, the fireworks of conflict. 

So much in so short an amount of time.

Oh, the bliss, this conflict, and The Universe revels. But, regardless of which victor’s soiled vinegar of a destructive lifeforce fills its soul, The Universe is forced to sit back, beg for more and more feelings, thought, and experience. More more more. More anything to distract from the ever-expanding snap that will all too soon end in entropy.

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A nameless boy stares into the night sky. The moon, also known to some as Pheobe, glows speculative there and waxes the small world of his tribe into a new hunting season. The last before the snows come. An important one for the small band of sapiens if they are going to survive until the flowers come again.

Now, even at night, the ground lay open as in daylight because the night spirit’s generosity was in full plumage. With the extra light gained, the boy wonders if a hunting party could forage nonstop. Forage and hunt with less incident and accident, less loss. 

Unless the rains come early once again.

Then it would be too late. The clan should try for more, when the days are still warm. Until they can’t, because can comes at a premium.

Tonight is windy with a sting of chill in the air, but the boy, staring out into wilderness, doesn’t complain. He is fine with the weather, as long as it stays dry.

He wouldn’t complain, though, even if it were raining.

He doesn’t have the language to allow him to complain, yet. Death exists as a solvent for complaints. There is nothing but 98 degrees of body friction to look forward to. This was life. It was accepted.

Meat, shredded into edible portions, dried in trees, roots were eaten along with fruit and herbs, immediately. Hunger was a constant pang, dieting for the sake of making the food last, that was the only day to day stress, energy consumed for the sole task of collecting more energy. This was the boy’s life in a nameless place once upon a time ago.

He will be never known. He will forever be Nameless. His place in history, forgotten the moment he becomes burdened with age and can’t keep up, left behind to watch as scavengers pick still breathing flesh.

On this night looking at the moon, feeling invincible, he decides he must do the unthinkable if this year less of them are to die. They need more, more time, food, more everything.

Being nameless in a nameless group, one can only identify the others as the emotions they stir up. The one who shares his bed, Love, a slow-calm-beating of his heart. The boy who he hunts with, Brother, a comfort, a knowledge like he is safe, protected. The man with the black hair streaked with grey, Leader, and a deep angry sorrow swallows all of his happiness when he lays eyes on him.

Leader squats at the opening to the small outcropping of rock that will be the home for a while. Leader is smart. He acts as if he can control the winds and the direction in which to follow food. The nameless boy clenches, and his shoulders coil into piles of muscle. His mind works on the problem of Leader, and because he has no word for the revenge he seeks, decides: this is the only way

He is an unproven killer who must kill tonight.

Nameless does not feel remorse over this decision. 

Many seasons ago, when the nights were longest, he watched the man he knew as father get bludgeoned with a rock over scraps of meat. He knows this is how it works. He also knows that the sounds Leader will make as he realizes his breath isn’t coming easily anymore will be terrible. If he is lucky, Leader will die before the wilds have at him. The nightmare of death attacks his resolve, but Nameless knows his decision is final. There is something to this killing that feeds his soul and puts a purpose behind his existence.

An American Revolution

The sunset and the smoke from the fire mix with the already perfect September warmth and makes the boy of fourteen forget the group’s intention. He finds himself having actual fun. The bottle of moonshine gets passed to him, and this time he takes a nip, noticing none of the men care.

He coughs, and his throat and mouth get ready for vomit, but he begs it back, and green-faced finds his mind turn to why they are really camped out in the Northern Virginian woods and waiting for 4 am to arrive.

The fact turns so hard in his mind that at first, he rejects it, thinking, something has to happen to stop them.

Maybe sensing an ebbing resolve, The General speaks. “Some say there is a revolution in the USA every four years. That the United States elections, act as peaceful coups, where even though our president is elected out, or serves their two terms, they are then escorted off the White House lawn by armed guards and for the rest of their lives are watched by those same armed guards, politically enfeebled and basically a hostage to their legacy, and political affiliation for the rest of their lives. We are just speeding up that process a bit.”

A bit is two years earlier than legally expected.

“Would a mob storm the White House and replace a sitting president with an actual general? We got the goods, boys. We got God on our side!” The redneck-trash hoots after and spits moonshine into the fire through the gap of teeth in his upper jaw.

The fire explodes in response.

In the flaring light, the boy looks over to the general.

An old marine that looks rough enough to cut diamond. He struggles to his feet, grabs the bottle and takes a swig of his own. Coughing after, he tries to say, “I don’t think so. Actual violence here would be a stretch.”

“We did it once,” The Professor responds, condescending the great man, even though everyone knows the general has a Ph.D. in American history and a law degree to match.

“Doubt enough people want to kill their brothers and cousins to do it again. We are a peaceful people who just like being prepared.”

“Is that what this is?” The boy asks, tapping a dirty finger against the titanium haul he sits on top of. Inside, a device that splits a boron atom into two and evaporates matter like it were paper. “Peace and preparedness?”

The old man laughs, his face scrunching and bouncing to show off its lack of elasticity. “Of course, there are always outliers. Moments that our enemies will do their worst. But most people won’t get involved, unless under duress.”

And the boy’s eyes slide off the professor, an uneasy tightness filling his belly.

Bit O’ddity w/ art by c0laj

The NACA Bell X-7 races out of Earth’s atmosphere to the cheers of every human left behind,  “We did it, we reached space!”

The pilot, war vet Bob Capier, thinks he’s died, because how else could a monster? A space squid? A nightmare come to life, be reaching for him from out of the blackness of space. Made of colors that mesmerize, the thing approaches, mouth open for satisfaction.

A thing that stops mattering, after Capier fires a prolonged burst with his afterburners.

Now mostly ash, the thing screams violent tendrils of sound that puncture Capier’s brain. The sound erases his sanity. Soon, he finds it’s himself screaming and simply needs to shut his mouth to stop the sound.

Absent his screaming, an alarm blares. Tapping the fuel gauge he watches the needle sink closer to the E. Houston, doesn’t respond when he radios, and with nothing else to do, he does something stupid on his own. 

Getting a good seal on his space helmet, he pops the space-shuttle hatch and floats free, solely to collect the charred and still slightly emberized tentacle and single giant eyeball floating outside.

Once collected, for science, the tentacle feels squishy in his fist, and the eye looks ridiculously surprised without a skull wrapped around it, but he holds both out to get a better look wondering, briefly, where the beast came from- and then he’s there. The smells of rot and briny water, and piss and burning food hit him all at once. Eyes watering, he notes massive pillars of iron reaching for red ashy-clouds above a ramshackle cityscape. Nearby, 12 mules pull a huge iron engine on a two-wheel cart while a man with bouncing muscles and pincers for hands whips the animals as they struggle off a dock filled with oily black-galleys. 

Many “people” meander about. It’s a port town, he decides, watching a few of them pop in and out of existence.

“Welcome to Dylath-Leen, do you have anything to declare?” The frog-shaped being confronts him from out of nowhere. He wears a turban and silk robes, both of many clashing colors and tied in bizarre and impossible ways. 

Capier decides he does have something to declare and continues the scream he stopped moments before.

Le-Lorna and Her Never-Ending Revenge


The whole feeking world is racist, even the clan, even the shaman. That wrinkled goat-scrotum refused to think a half-orc girl could save anything, let alone everyone. But with every painful barefoot step, that is exactly what she plans on doing, save everyone. Except that miserable bag of stink and bones, she decides, stepping over a sharp rock. The shaman will rue the day she said the world would be better off if she just found a cave somewhere and laid down for owlbear snacktime.

She adjusts the old wood-ax slung over her left shoulder. Nothing can stop destiny, not even absurdity, she thinks, not even meanness.

She seeks to save the clan, to show the clan she is better than them, even though they don’t want her, by finding answers among the very people that shunned and assisted in the murder of her mother.


As she moves closer to the first mountain village, called Dharma and Hope, she thinks of the taphouse and its warm common-room, a place that has told her no before.

“Whoredaughter, leave!”

This reminds her, she should add the place to her list of things to do while she’s out.

She walks and works out a plan.

Save the clan

Kill the shaman

Save the world

And maybe while in town she’ll visit dear old dad and thank him for blessing her conception by driving mom crazy. He abandoned them to the wilds of clan life. He made her mother do the horrible, unforgivable thing she did, and sell her to the shaman for some spice.

And as a constant stream of steps match the circular thoughts in her brain, she arrives at the gray wind warped door of the taphouse. Beyond, she hears the revelry of drunken fun. It hurts her heart because she knows she will never, ever, have fun like this. Fun makes her sad and angry, and she hates hearing it had. Life is serious. Life is chores, and brooding, and hate.

“They think you are ugly.”


“Well, they do. Yet, they thought I was ugly also, and here you are. It seems a fair list you have. What’s twenty more humans in the grand scheme of things?”

Being the dead don’t speak to the sane, the half-orc agrees and amends her list and basks in her dead mother’s opinion, “I am proud of you, girl. Now go kick some ass!”

“Thanks, mom, I love you.”

“I love you too, sweety.”

And the half-orc kicks in the door. It splinters into shrapnel, nailing many of the drunks with painful wooden shards.

With a war scream, she removes arms and legs and heads with her rough-honed ax. Even with a notched and dull blade, blood flows as she moves towards the bar. She more chases down victims than fights, “but beggars can’t be choosers now can they,” mom asks rhetorically.

But, as she pegs the last standing man, one trying very hard to escape out a broken window, in the back with her thrown ax, she agrees, “Mom, you’re right, a dead human is always better than a living one.”





art by c0laj
art by c0laj

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Spored w/ art by c0laj

The Dreamlands are indeed bleak, but it’s home, and the shroom does its best to make things nice. In this particular part, hollow blue rocks glow, and the dripdropdrip of constant moisture abounds. The little shroom loves it and is happy to call it theirs. 

But both of them don’t appreciate its nuance at the moment.

The creature returns from another hunt and curls in upon itself, upsetting millions of glowing spores. Thought of as their children, the little shroom can sense the oddity’s frustration as the yeast settles down over its skin and links their thoughts together.

The depression comes from eating the soul of a slave indentured to dive for sponge. 

Boring, and the little shroom agrees.

Glowing in spores, the oddity of light and color sighs and mimes with its tentacles a form of matter the devoured soul called fire as it makes the rest of itself into the person encountered beyond the Moonlight Sea. Slouched, as if burdened by its lowly function, and using the flap of skin in the being’s mouth, the oddity mocks, “Er, der, I go get sponge.”

The shroom does its best to soothe the ancient being, next time, darling, next time you’ll find a soul worthy to eat, I just know it.

But the oddity acts as if it doubts the little shroom and flies away to sulk under a glowing pink ledge, instantly asleep. The shroom knows soul-devouring is exhausting work, and determined to help does, prodding a dream into place about a town named London and a person called Queen.


art by c0laj
art by c0laj

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Drag of Colors w/ art by: c0laj


The voice annoys. 


Darren Astonowski ignores the persistence, and a blaring apoxia alarm, because he desires nothing but to go back to sleep, and does for a single moment longer.

You really should be awake for this.

For what? He questions the voice from his perfect-blissful-sleep. 

Seriously, take a look. You’ll never see anything like this again. Promise.

He attempts to roll over, but of course, he can’t, wrapped up in the many protective layers of an EVA suit as he is. Instead, the effort jolts him out of a stationary position, and he begins a lazy roll through space. The roll orientates him into an ‘up’ position, as if helped. He opens his eyes and stares into infinity.

Told you. 

The starfield, heaven, is cold, and there, and forever. Impossible. It stares back, dreadful, juxtaposed on the tiny blip that looks like his shuttle.

So far away, huh? 

Then fear wraps itself around him. It squeezes. Colorful is this moment, colorful like the tentacles dragging him into deep space, colorful like being lost and helpless. It is a simple emotion, yet he is trapped by it.

Are you trapped?

He turns his wrist and studies his heads-up-display. The boosters show full power, so with a chuckle at being scared, because astronauts don’t get scared, he hits the button, and they fire.

Ha, he screams at the ether separating him from death. 

Ha, he screams when the ether won’t let go. 

Instead, a deep pulling by the tentacles holds him. Well, that and terror. Terror at death. Terror at the thing that won’t let him go. The engines spark in frustration and die, adding another alarm to the din inside his helmet.

Evil laughter also fills his head. 

No fool, not that, this! 

Turned over, an act his system does not like, causing it to spit even more alarms about g-force and friction and the inevitable destruction of the instrument inside known as human. He is unworried about the pain and possibility of system failure, for as he orientates ‘up’ again, a spectrum of colors, like light blasted through a prism, fills his display. The giant tentacled monster opens a fang-lined siphon, and with a slurp of pain, Darren Astonowski’s dying is done.


art by c0laj
art by c0laj

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An Oddity w/ art by: c0laj

He drips with yummy-juicy-soul and the thing from space, the oddity, the spot of nasty and weird- can’t control itself. It squelches into the tiniest of crevices and slurps the first tendrils of consciousness it finds.

For the man, the oddity assumes, the process is complete and utter agony. So much so the poor creature’s throat breaks trying to describe it, all in the same pitch, loud and shrill. But alas, all too soon the explorer’s misery is over.

That’s what makes it ecstatic, that it ends.

Some creatures last longer than others, but none ever escape. It’s almost orgasmic when they try though.

So licking what passes as lips, the oddity waits, knowing soon others of this one’s kind will come. Each filled with yummy-juicy-souls, fit only to devour.

art by c0laj
art by c0laj

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Leaving New York

“I have to be here because my wife freaking would rather die than go anywhere else?” I push Florida.

She pushes me out of the apartment, tells me, “go. Don’t need your fucking ass here anyway.”

“What about my stuff?”

“It’ll be outside. Love ya, Bye!”

The door locks, but I have my keys. Can I have my phone? I whisper. But I don’t go in because I really don’t want to see the scorn on her face, the hurt, and betrayal. If she opens the door, I will see that I have lost every little bit of respect she ever had for me. Can I love someone who wants to abuse themselves in a city built to make life hurt? Antihuman, I screamed at one point. And it’s true, New York fucking sucks. It’s a walking city with piss-filled water-bottles exploding in the summertime. Dog-owners who let their dogs shit and piss anywhere they please. Hear of curbing? Know what it is? Care to Google? Old people, who smell like piss and abilitied with clairvoyance to be precisely where you are heading, like a sudden sand bar to progress, on the sidewalk. How, for the love of God, how? Every fucking donut comes from an East River warehouse. The rats. The heroin addicts. Who the fuck does heroin! It got heated, and it was probably for the best that she screamed back, “it’s penis envy,” and threw cold coffee at me.

Dripping still, that one act ended the whole thing.

“I’m fucking going, I yell through the door.

And Obviously I am free to do so. Thankfully, I see the hall-light go out in the peephole instead of another confrontation.

Fuck it.

I turn and decide on a long walk instead of forcing one, knowing Florida would have been to good for us anyway.


Hell is, knowing that things end because that’s what they do. They end and change and become something different. It is both the curse and a blessing of existence.

It’s after his last death that things switched from normal to this, surrounded by a nothing, a purple nothing that felt like static or white noise on his body. It takes an eon or two to realize that he is nothing also and that he does not have a body and that it is more habit then necessary to call himself a he.

What am I then? He wonders, as things that he experienced in his existence spin through his mind.

One such memory settles, and he is a blade of grass living on the very uppermost portion of Mount Everest that can support such things. His life exists for less than a day. He sprouted and grew and was ripped from the soil, thrown into the air by a sharp gust of wind. He soared high on the wind for hundreds of miles to land in the seemingly waiting maw of a holy cow standing in a field somewhere deep inside India.

But knew greater pointlessness when he was a boy from Brooklyn who died in a soft bed surrounded by people he loved.

Another time he was a rock slowly melting into a stream of lava.

And now?

He was, but that proved never to be enough, so he settles deeper into the purple static searching. He searches for something that could represent meaning. A meaning worth existing in for all time.