Tag Archives: horror

Kilt – Part IV

“Dammit.”

Kilt peered out into the darkness as the automatic doors opened wide to release him from the bountiful confines of Barner’s Groceries. The moment he stepped forward, the falling rain seemed to intensify, even more with the next step. He paused on third step, that one that would move him from the relative safety of the door’s overhang and into the brewing elements, as a gust of wind forced the rain at him, as if almost a warning.

“Shit.”

He turned his head back to the store just as the automatic doors closed behind him leaving him to stand alone in that moment of decision, back to the store or forward into…whatever this was.

As his brain began to weigh the pros and cons, the rest of his body was working toward the as yet to be realized decision. He shifted all three plastic bags into one hand, then grabbed the collar of his jacket with the other and pulled it over his head. Surely, he didn’t look as ridiculous as he felt. One deep breath later, he lunged into the downpour and made a break for the truck.

The wind and rain intensified still, blowing him sideways a bit and drenching him to the bone no more than three steps deep into the parking lot. He could see nothing. He heard only rain. He tried to move instinctively to where he thought the truck was parked and hoped he was right.

Two steps later, his brain sent out a single message, “Keys,” and the hand that held whatever protection he got from the jacket released it and plunged into his pocket. He felt for the fob and pressed what he knew to be the unlock button, squinting through the sheeting water to see a flicker of light from the truck’s tail lights.

There.

A quick course adjustment, three steps and a splash later and he was clawing at the door handle to get inside.

Once he slammed the door shut, he sat for a moment listening to his breath mingle with the sheets of wind driven rain blasting his windshield. He tried to wipe some of the water from his face, but really just pushed it around. Everything was soaked. He could end up sitting here all day, he thought, but he didn’t want to. Whatever he was feeling earlier in the day manifested itself in his head which throbbed now. Better to get home.

He put the key in the ignition and turned the engine over. He loved this truck. The dashboard blower started in earnest, working to remove the building condensation from the inside of the glass while the wipers slapped water away as fast and efficiently as it could…which ended up being not very good. He put the truck in reverse and backed out of his spot slowly. So far so good.

——

From what he could tell the roads were fairly deserted. And why wouldn’t they be? What kind of idiot drives in something like this?

Even on a fairly bad day, the trip to the store takes about 12 minutes, max, but Kilt, ever diligent in his desire to doing something stupid as safely as possible was determined to take his time. The wind began to add small branches, leaves and bits of garbage to the mix of rain it hurled at him, but he pressed on.

As he neared the left onto Crestview, the rain seemed to hiccup just long enough for him clearly see the sign and notice that the street was clear of anything he could run into. The brief reprieve allowed him to stop squinting long enough to realize how hard he was working to see…anything, and, how much his head was pounding.

“Note to self,” he muttered. “Get food before stupid storm hits.”

Taking advantage of the minor pause, he spun the wheel to take the turn. The rain returned the second the car banked around the corner and his visibility once again disappeared.

Typical.

He straightened the wheel, then raised his foot gently to press on the gas. If he had the ability to record the moment and review it over an over again, his story would stay the same. As he pressed the pedal to urge the car ahead, a blood curdling…scream, for lack of a better word, coincided with his movement as if he created it.

The noise tore into his head and in one movement, he slammed his eyes shut, slammed both feet onto his brake pedal and gripped his steering wheel to prevent his head from banging into it. The lurched into a skid that was not likely to occur on a dry street, but there was so much water, every movement was amplified.

Despite what he confirmed just before making the turn, that the street was clear, the sliding truck came to an almost immediate and jolting stop, the force of which drove his chest into his steering wheel, cutting his breath. Mixed with the sound of water and debris washing over him, came the sounds of grinding metal, breaking glass and something else.

“What the…”

Another roar tore through the air, causing him to cover his ears with his hands. His body lurched as he fought for a new fresh breath.

Another car? A tree? His aching brain seemed to spin in his skull. What could he have hit? God, let it not be another person…a kid or something!

The new noise, a soft grating, came up from the newly accordioned hood of his truck. As he gasped holding his chest, he blinked at the new batch of water hitting his face through the newly demolished windshield. Whatever it was, it was alive, and it was huge.

One more deafening roar later, and as if by premonition, he looked out into the storm, lightning flashed and he saw them as clear as anything for the first time…teeth.

Kilt – Part II

“Omahookamobie!”

Kilt jerked awake as he pulled away from a giant mouth dripping with long strands of gooey saliva and filled with long, razor-sharp knives hanging down like fangs that stood above him, poised to snap his head clean off. The movement stirred the slumbering pain in his arm, or what was left of it. And it was only after his darting eyes confirmed that he was out of danger, that he allowed himself to drop his sweaty head slowly back to his pillow.

A slight, soft tap worked its way through the door of his hospital room, not so much a request for an entrance, but rather a polite announcement that the door was opening.

“Yes?” he said.

The door swung wide even before he responded to allow the nurse access. “Good morning, Misteeer…,” she said, searching for the right name and never looking up from her chart. “…Kilt,” she said, almost surprised. “Mr. Kilt. Hello. Good morning. I’m glad you’re awake. How are you feeling?”

The dull throb that seemed to come from the place where his left hand should have been generated new, and probably less than appropriate responses to the question of how he was feeling. Like a man who will be really good at swimming in circles and so on.

“Fine,” was all that worked it’s way to the surface. “O.k. Where am I?”

“You don’t remember?” the nurse asked, looking at him for the first time.

“I’m not sure.”

“Well, I don’t blame you, what with the storm and the amount of blood you lost and all,” she said quickly bringing up her chart and flipping back the first pages. “It says here, you were admitted after falling unconscious to the floor in the emergency room. It says,” she held the s as she flipped a couple more pages, “substantial blood loss due to…,” The nurse slowly leveled the chart to look at him closely. Her glance moved evenly from Kilt’s face to his left shoulder and then to the well bandaged stump of his left arm, cut pretty much at the elbow.

“…dog bite,” she finished bringing her gaze back to his. “Dog bite?”

Kilt lay there breaking a sweat in the heat of her stare. ‘I guess so,” he muttered.

“If you say so Mister Kilt,” she started, breaking the cold surveying look and getting about her tasks. “But if you ask me, that had to be one hell of a dog. Unless, of course, you have always been shy one arm and he just caught the tip,” she paused. “Not to be indelicate to your situation.”

Kilt looked down at his arm and raised it up a bit, despite the staunch objections from the rest of his cells that were working to begin the repair work of his injury. “No, I can assure you that a bit over 24 hours ago, old lefty here was happy as a clam in jam and ready to do whatever needed getting done.”

The nurse, Amanda Pike according to her name tag, checked the bandage, then quickly and efficiently took his temperature and his blood pressure – from his right arm – as unobtrusively as possible.

“Well, Mister Kilt, I can only imagine what kind of animal you were dealing with and what you might have done to him to make him want to bite your forearm and hand clean off.”

“Wait,” he said with a smirk. “What I did? Look, I’m all good with animals. Really. I’m like freaking Doctor Doolittle when it comes to animals. But this, this was…” His voice trailed off before he let himself slip, before he heard him say the words, because then it would make it real. Right now he was happy with dog bite. Hell, even a big dog bite. He had lost a lot of blood. It could have all been a delusion, a big, giant silly manifestation of something that couldn’t be.

“Yeah?” nurse Pike asked. “Are you saying it wasn’t a dog? Because that’s what I suspect. Your arm there, the doctor said it looked it came clean off. What dog can do that? And if it was a dog, you need to tell somebody. Because you can’t have something like that roaming around out there.”

Kilt swallowed hard. He could barely bring himself to muster the thought, much less utter the word. He stared down at the very real injury, throbbing in pain on his left side. Jesus. He slowly shook his head, pressed his lips together to prevent anything from slipping out and drew a deep breath to try and calm the pounding he felt now both in his chest and in what was left of his arm.

Amanda stood next to him, waiting for his response, but as he drew his breath in, she realized this was the end of the conversation…for now. She wasn’t clear on why she had such a yearning to know what really happened out there. Storms always brought in the crazies, and last night’s storm was a doozie.

Instinctively, she reached down to pull up his sheet and blanket and smooth the ends over the edges of the bed. “Don’t worry Mister Kilt. You are safe here. Doctor Blakewood did a great job of fixing you up. Your job now is to get some rest and to start feeling better.” She flipped through the pages of his chart again. “It looks like you are due for another round of pain medication. I’ll be right back.” She turned and let herself out.

Kilt continued to stare down at the stark white bandages. The throbbing pain continued to keep time with his heart, a bit slower now than a moment before, now that the conversation had ended. What kind of dog indeed. He closed his eyes, trying to remember, but not as hard as his expression might allow someone to think. The rain. The lightning. The thunder.

His head twitched with each refreshed vision.

The large, angry eyes. And yes…the teeth.

His eyes shot open and he stared again at the door to his room. No, not a dog. No dogs allowed in this nightmare. But how could he say…

“…dinosaur.”

 

 

Boys – Part XIII

The beast stepped forward and leaned in on Taddy, forcing him to inch back further into Gunther, pushing him enough that it caused the other boy to moan. It’s skin was red and taught like Carlo Farinni’s The Burned Man from 1967, but this…creature was much bigger.

He moved his face close enough to the boy that Taddy could smell the foulness of its breath; a mixture of sour fish, bad milk, garbage and earth. And still, it was the eyes, that caused the boy the greatest amount of discomfort. Deep black and gleaming, yet hollow as if looking into a well where there was no way to tell where the bottom started, if there was one.

“Your friend is useless to me,” the beast said. “He lacks a certain…quality that I require for what I have in mind. He reached his hand forward and placed it on the boy’s head. “I need someone, with courage, someone with strength, someone with…spunk.”

The last word sprayed from the beast’s mouth and into his face causing him to flinch and making his stomach turn, even worse than the time Cody Trentwell spit on him just because he could. The hand on his head sent a trickle of energy through his body, making his skin tingle and his fingers flinch.

“I need someone, who is… ,” the beast continued as he searched and probed. “…healthy. And…you…will…do…nicely!”

The beast moved faster than Taddy could imagine. Before he knew what was going on, his head was clamped between two giant hands. The initial trickle of energy jumped to a sizable pulse that forced him to quiver and jerk. He bit down hard and his eyes rolled up into his head as the energy surge grew and grew.

Once again, the beast felt the energy exchange of the transformation rage through his entire being, albeit slower than before. He never had to initiate the transformation twice in such a short period of time before. And he was already diminished by the ones who came before. If this didn’t work, it would be eons before he would have the strength and the fortitude to try again.

Despite being slower, this new vessel was already proving to be superior, absorbing his energy like a rag soaking up blood.

Taddy twitched and jumped as the heat filled him. The sensation of burning from the inside out was too much. He wanted to scream. He needed to scream but the hands that held his head covered him almost so completely the he could barely move, but less scream. And still, the energy seemed to transform him. The beast before him seemed to diminish in some way. He felt as if he were almost growing…gaining strength against what was before him.

“Sooooon,” the voice of the beast purred, but not like he was speaking. Taddy felt the voice in his own head. His hands clenched as he tried to fight back from inside. A new pain sprung up from his back.

“AAAAAAAAAARRRRGH!”

The beast recoiled, as the flow of energy dropped. Taddy felt the grip on him loosen. Another sharp pain shot into his back. And yet another shot into his thigh and again into his back.

“You can’t have him!” a voice cried, part howl, part shriek. “You can’t have him! He’s broken! He’s BROKEN!”

The beast’s hands released Taddy as he fell backward along the ridge of hole in the backyard.

Taddy dropped to the ground and  onto his stomach. Shaking, Gunther slowly pulled the kitchen knife from Taddy’s back. The blood mixed with the rain that started to creep back into the beast once commanded.

Gunther sobbed as he let the knife fall to the ground. “He’s broken. He’s broken. He’s broken.”

The beast lay on the ground, breathing heavily, yet still clawing at the dirt reaching for the boys. Taddy was right. He was smaller. He looked frail and grey and old. He fought for inches with determination and rage. If he could not transform, then he would certainly take these two to where they would suffer…immeasurably.

Taddy rolled over in great pain to where Gunther sat. “C’mon,” he said grabbing onto his friend. “We gotta go.”

The two helped each other up wincing and groaning, but making progress.

The beast continued to scratch and claw.

Taddy tried to lead Gunther away, but with a renewed burst of energy, Gunther broke free and stood watching the beast.

With what was left of his energy, the beast lunged to grab the defiant boy, but fell short.

Gunther kicked out hard and caught the beast in the head, forcing him to tumble back into the hole from which he emerged.

The ground shook, forcing the boys to steady each other again. The orange-yellow light diminished as the crack sealed leaving little more than a puff of smoke to show it ever existed. And that was soon washed away by a fresh torrent of wind and rain.

– THE END –

Boys – Part XII

The energy exchange of the transformation raged through his entire being and into the small human body. It was delicious. Already he could feel the a new sense of life as he forced his essence into the vessel.

Then, like a fast speeding car being tossed into reverse, he hitched. The energy flow crackled and popped in his head. His breath caught he gasped for more air.

The little body before him, began to seize. The legs shook and quivered up into the midsection causing a tremor up into his hands where he held the head firmly down to the altar. The connection allowed him to search, something he should have done before he started the transference, but he right sense fell victim to his eagerness, his growing weariness and the prospect of rejuvenation so close.

Through the connection, he saw concussion, broken bones, bleeding…injuries substantial enough that the transformation would only exacerbate the problems and make the new vessel a very short -term option, if now viable at all.

“AAAARGH!” He screamed, pulling his hands from the boy’s head and stumbling backwards. “He’s broken!”

Dizzy and gasping at breath, his eyes landed on the Calligar. “HE’S BROKEN!”

He reached out toward the beast from the depths, the one who secured the vessel to begin with and who stood by to protect them both and ensure the transformation was completed. His arm shook as it flexed with power that rippled down to his clenching fist and he released it at the creature who exploded into flame and ash, once mighty and powerful, now pushed back down into the earth by pounding droplets of rain.

He stumbled again with a rage so thick and complete that he saw little else but more fire. He swung an arm backward knocking the altar askew and sending the once to be great host to the ground and back into the mud.

Broken. Human. Filth!

He reached down for the boy with the intent of tearing him into oh, so many parts and pieces. The boy struggled to move, propping himself up onto his elbows in a lackluster effort to crawl away to safety.

He reached down to exact the punishment for being broken when a scream came from the darkness.

In a full-out sprint, Taddy screamed from the moment he pushed away from the side of the house to the moment he leapt at the creature. It was all his brain would allow. It was everything he needed to express.

With the kitchen knife held tight in both hands held high above his head, he jumped and swung the knife down in one fluid motion, catching the red flesh of the beast and sinking the blade deep and to the hilt.

The beast raised his arm and howled as much from shock and surprise as from pain. What is this? And, how dare he?

Breathing hard Taddy, held on to the knife handle for dear life. There was no plan. At least nothing beyond getting Gunther and getting him to safety…whatever that meant.

He felt himself being lifted from the ground and brought to dangle in front of the beast’s eyes.

“What is this?”

“Let him go,” Taddy yelled, strong even though he realized he has started to cry. “Let him go! Leave him alone!”

The beast shook his arm once, then twice before the boy fell free and scurried across the ground to where his friend lay in the mud. He reached over with his hand and plucked the knife from his forearm. He turned it before him to assess the weapon this new boy had come to fight with and found it woefully underwhelming.

“This boy,” the beast said, his voice dark and filled with gravel. “He is your…’friend?'”

Taddy nodded aggressively, while backing closer to Gunther who was still trying to crawl away.

“And you wish to…’save’ him?”

Taddy nodded again, stirring his courage and wiping at his nose with his arm.

“With…this?” The beast flicked the knife at the boy, who scuttled away to avoid being hit as it landed in the dirt at his feet.

The boy looked down at knife. The blade glowed with reflection of the orange light still beaming up from the hole in the earth. It looked so very small. So much smaller than he ever imagined. Slowly he traced his vision up from the knife and into the eyes of the new beast. His heart beat filled his chest as if it too were trying to escape. Slowly the air slipped out of his lungs. His shoulders dropped as his hands clenched into the grass.

Shit.

 

Boys – Part XI

The nauseating sound of tearing sod, breaking rock and dripping mud rose up from the center of the backyard.
Beams of bright ogange-yellow light shot from the crack in the earth.

The rumble in the ground made it difficult for Taddy to stand. Using the house for balance, he forced himself up, but held close to the side as if standing on a cliff. As the crack expanded, more light reached into the darkness. It was a little easier to see,a s if his bad movie form before had been colorized. It was also, he gathered, easier to be seen. The minotaur thing stood at near attention behind the make-shift table where Gunther lay barely moving.

With his hands and back pressed against the siding, Taddy could feel the shaking in the ground slow, then fade, then stop. The falling rain, accented by a burst of wind were the only sounds now and that settled in for the moment as the new standard in calm.

He rose slowly, up from the crack in the earth and into the sweet air of the surface leaving the earthen stench of sweat and decay behind him. He breathed in slowly and deliberately, savoring not only this moment, but relishing the promise of what was to come.

The elements of the moment proved to be a minor distraction and with a wave of his hand, the wind and the rain no longer dare enter his arena of destiny. It still came down of course, all around him and with great determination, but where he stood and where he willed, nary a drop would fall. Not ideal, of course. Even moving the rain took extra energy, but with the next transformation so close, it seemed trivial not make the scene as pleasing as possible.

He looked around slowly to find most was to his liking. The Calligar stood at the ready having prepared the altar, haphazardly it seemed, yet functional to its purpose. He stepped closer. His breath caught for a moment at the sight of the new vessel, young, fresh, some would say innocent to the hard ways of the world, and most certainly, the underworld.

He leaned over the boy, raised a large eager hand and clumsily mopped away the residue of rain from the small face, careful enough not to cut the tender flesh with his razor edged nails. Placing his hands on either side of the boy’s head, he moved them in slowly, nearly engulfing the smaller human skull. And from that first touch, he felt the connection, a direct line created.

He threw his head back, taking in another full, fresh breath and released the push, the flow of his energy and his essence into his new mortal body.

The new pressure on Gunther’s head was like a hammer to the skull, igniting once more the splitting pain and fire, but there was something more. He had no words, but he grew hot, burning from the inside out as if he were being filled with lava. Boiling energy surged into him making it harder to breath or to move and yet when his eyes shot open, Gunther began to scream.

With the new light, Taddy watched the new beast rise up from the hole in the ground as if on a small elevator. He stretched hard, reaching full into the sky much like Taddy had seen his dad do after “watching the game” on a lazy Saturday afternoon. He watched it all unfurl before him, while he stood, pressed against the house, just a casual observer waiting for the next commercial.

In his head, a new mantra rose up to consume what was left of his processing power, “OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD…” He never really heard the words. The words weren’t meant to form a message. It was just habit tied to panic tied to disbelief that set off the whirring engine of noise.

Then he heard the scream.

Gunther’s voice, ripped and ragged with terror and pain cut through all the noise, leaving his mind vacant and white for one hot second. The next message came in clear as a bell, “Go!” Without another thought, he pulled the kitchen knife from his belt and tore off for the altar.

Boys – Part X

Taddy, in a full-out tear, slipped into the muck as he breached the corner of the house. As he went down, the lightning flare revealed the full figure of a beast he had only seen bits and pieces of so far. The flickering light held off the dark and the sheeting rain just long enough for him to see the thing drop Gunther, quite unceremoniously, to the ground. It pulled its head back and let out a roar that mixed with a crack of deafening thunder.

“Dammit.”

Lingering flashes of residual lightning made the scene across the lawn look like something from a grainy and poorly maintained monster movie. Taddy worked to keep the water from his eyes, squinting and wiping the pelting drops from his eyes as he willed himself to see deeper into the cheap looking animation that played out before him. Gunther rolled slowly to his side mere yards away as…that thing stood over him and howled.

The creature, reminded him of the giant minotaur from Stanley Kaldon’s 1956 classic, Labyrinth of the Damned. Big and ugly and likely surrounded by the smell of death.

The Calligar screamed into the dark thunder, calling his master. It’s head whipped to the left and right, its large black eyes searching for the right tools to make the offering. A large pole stood, stuck in the ground just behind him and next to a small table that would serve him well. It’s massive hands reached out and grabbed the pole, immediately pulling and shaking it free from the wet, muddy ground. He raised it over his head and then, holding it like a giant bat is his hands. He raised the pole a bit more before bringing it down fast and hard.

The pole came down so close to Gunther’s head that he could feel the wind it made followed by the earthy stench of the deep ground. He flinched raising both a dizzying fire in his head and a sharp breath catching pain in his chest. Broken rib flashed through his mind, quickly followed by broken ribs, every last one of them of them for all he knew. The monster stepped away and he tried to raise his head.

Without really knowing it Taddy slipped closer to the outside wall of his house and started inching along the foundation line trying to see and trying to stay hidden. If he could get to Gunther while that thing was distracted, they might make it out of this mess. As best as he could tell, Gunther was alive. He was moving a bit and he held onto that. The rain didn’t help but he was certain he could hear the other boy breathing. Well, wheezing anyhow.

The beast had forced the pole deep into the ground, much deeper than when he pulled it out. If Gunther stood up at tat moment it would probably rise up just above his head. The Calligar had stepped back to grab the flat surface which was, Gunther knew, the bulk of Taddy’s family’s backyard picnic table. He spun and raised the table up, setting the flat top of the table down onto the pole. He began lashing the two together with the ropes and wire he pulled off the nearby drying rack. Once he finished, he stepped back throwing another earth-shattering howl into the rainy sky.

The howl forced Taddy to pull into himself, covering his hears and hoping the sound of the rain covered any whimper his fear and surprise may have generated. A line from Souls on Mystery Island spoke to him, “I’d pay cash money on the dot, to get that thing to shut up.”

Underneath him, Gunther could feel the ground tremble ever so slightly beneath him. How sensitive he was, he wondered in the fog of his head. He didn’t know how the ground could be trembling, especially with all the rains coming down, still…he knew. And the very, very soft tremble began to grow, up into a full shake at least until…

The Calligar reached down and seized upon the legs of the little one. He dragged his prize through the dirt and raised him up before slapping him down upon the table contraption, the…altar, he created with the pole and the small table. Gunther landed hard, like the next cartoon fish in a monger’s shop. He whimpered and tried to recoil from the pain, but everything was pain, there no other way to respond.

Taddy noticed the ground shaking now. He pressed his hands against and into the wet grass to make sure. The shaking grew more intense and the sound of the shifting earth began to roar up canceling the voice of the rain. He looked from the ground back to the alter just in time to see the ground just below Gunther spilt open.

Boys – Part IX

Martin J. Gibbons, 57-year-old house painter.

Randall R. Stibbs, 49-year-old insurance agent and financial advisor.

Alison May Baker-Smith, 37-year-old soccer mom, mother of three.

Cody Timpkins, 28-year-old drummer for the up-and-coming rock band, Syzzle.

Andrew Taylor Corliss, 19-year-old trouble maker and doer of nothing whose friends once called Tack.

The list of recently missing, seemingly disconnected persons, grew slowly, almost deliberately. Each plucked from the burden of their every day struggles with the unknowing intent of serving as the vessel that would bring the dark master to the light of day.

Each one failing the task due to the weak and inadequate construction of the human animal.

He raised his hand before him and turned it slowly, deliberately. The once youthful skin of Andrew Taylor Corliss sat uncomfortably taught and bloated like a too small glove pulled over his fingers and palm. The skin, once smooth and dark, was now pale, dry and covered with liver spots and wrinkles.

He slowly clenched his hand into a fist and watched as the remnant flesh gave way to the pressure, popping and tearing and slowly peeling away as the fist flexed tighter and tighter.

He yearned to roam the lands above again to witness his work first hand, to drink in their tears and savor a symphony of screams. Still, for all that comes with unfathomable power, power in and of itself can be…restrictive. Yet, to effectively do his work among them, he must in essence be one of them. And so the process is what the case demands.

Such a frail species.

He loosened the grip and shook the hand away from him, flicking the last residue of young Corliss from him and toward the decaying pile of what was left of those who came before. A diminished skull from one Martin Gibbons, whose empty eyes stared through the pair of broken glasses resting in a cock-eyed fashion across a shriveled nose. He was strong and outdoorsy, but the process of transference puts so much strain on the human form, that the flesh ages at an accelerated rate. Martin Gibbons, at least the shell of Martin Gibbons, proved the least useful of all.

Mr. Stibbs suffered from an as yet to be diagnosed heart condition, substantially reducing his potential usefulness. Pity, he had a certain look that would have served him well, up there.

The woman was interesting, but again, the transference ravaged the mortal system. She just wore out too quickly for his needs.

Corliss showed promise, real promise. Yet perhaps, in his excitement in finally being able to reach the surface, he probably added more stress to his new form than he might have originally intended. At least until he was top side. The reflection of the once, some might say handsome and brooding young man, seemed to shift all too quickly to middle age and then to the more useless aged and decrepit, then to a pile of rot.

Failures all of them, but in each failure a lesson learned, an adjustment made and an extension of the possibilities that lie ahead. There are no real mistakes in this world, only curiosities…experiments. This time, he would go younger still. Perhaps a smaller and more resilient body would make the transference easier both on the vessel, and on him. So many transferences in such a relatively short period of time had a way of ‘running down the batteries’ as they might say on the crust.

He looked at his clenching fists. He had been charging is batteries long enough. It was time to really get some business done.