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Joshua put down his Grandfather's Diary. The notes had saved him years of study. He moved back from the massive stone doors. Joshua could feel the power from the building. It was seeping through every stone, every inch of air, and even now, it coursed through him. The building remained hidden from the rest of the city for over a thousands years. Joshua's grandfather had told him stories of it many times. He spent his whole life listening to his Grandfather's fairy tales of the Mage's tower. A place of study and power. Inspired by his Grandfather, Joshua too became obsessed with finding the sacred school and discovering the knowledge left behind. Joshua had been planning this for years now. He's been studying his whole life, and eight years ago he found the tower. Now, with his Grandfather's notes, he stands on the threshold of the past and the future. He knew if he got this spell wrong that he would likely be killed where he stood. Joshua took a deep breath, and began to speak. The words flowed. The dead language of the
Mages echoed through the halls. His hands moved through the intricate motions as if commanding some unseen orchestra. Dust blew across the floor.
The giant stone walls began to shake. Light shot out from the edges of the doors, and suddenly…
It must be understood at this juncture that Joshua, for all his sophistry, was completely unaware of the proper workings of Time. One cannot go forward in time, as there simply is nowhere to go, and going backward in time, while dangerous, is ultimately boring as all hell. There are other options, however. Sideways, for instance…
…nothing happened. Joshua lowered his arms. He looked around the room. Same old room, same old house. Same old arms, for that matter. Was it supposed to be like this? He strolled out of the pentagram and fell into an old leather armchair. Something had gone wrong. No, wait. If something had gone wrong, he would be dead right now, or maybe drifting through the Void of Possibility. Something hadn’t gone right. It didn’t matter. He was tired, and in no shape to go back through the ritual. He made to refresh his glass of wine, and noticed the general emptiness of the bottle. Perhaps the spell had caused all his wine to dry up. Joshua grinned wryly.
The night was clear and crisp. The stars in the sky were the same stars he had stared up at for years. The convenience store looked like every other convenience store he’d ever seen. He strolled inside.
He was peering at bottles of wine, not really interested in any of the cheap brands set on display, when a sizable woman came waddling into his lane. As she approached, he graciously scrunched up against the wine rack to let her pass, and she ponderously pushed through, barely seeing him at all. It was what she said, as she passed, that made his eyes widen in surprise.
“Get the fuck out of my way.”
Even more surprising, was how she said it. It was if, to her, this rude comment added up to mean the same as ‘excuse me’, and wasn’t worth putting the slightest bit of malice into. Joshua shook his head in bewilderment and grabbed a bottle.
The exceptionally rude woman was just vacating the counter as he sauntered up with his parcels: A bottle of half-decent wine, a bit of cheese, and some cheap but not unenjoyable smoked sausage. He set them on the checkout counter in front of a pimply, disinterested youth who enquired tiredly: “What the fuck else do you want?”
Joshua’s eyes widened yet again, and he opened his mouth to say ‘How dare you use such language in a public position? I could have your job for that.’ What came out instead was: “You little shit! Do you have any fucking clue how fucking rude it was to bitch like that in a public fucking position? I could have your fucking job! Eeep!”
Had that string of profanity come from him? He realized he was attempting to look at his own mouth and stopped, feeling moronic. Meanwhile, the counterman no longer looked bored. Instead he looked confused and worried. He said: “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“What the fuck am I talking about? What the fuck are YOU talking about? Why the fuck am I talking like this? What the hell is this?” Joshua clamped both hands over his mouth, aware that he had meant to say. ‘What do you mean? What’s going on here? Why am I talking like this? What’s happening?’ Aware that he had said something rather different. He tried not to panic, and instead let his autopilot take over. Just go with the flow, everything will turn out fine in the end. The counterman was backed up against the cigarette case, his eyes wide, frightened. So Joshua said: “Just ring the fucking packages up.”
“Right god-damned away, you piece of shit.”
He sprinted out of the store, bag in hand. Something was very wrong. Something to do with how he thought and how he spoke. He tried again:
“My god-damned fucking name is Joshua Schreber, for fuck’s sake, and I fucking live on the motherfucking corner of 15th street and goddamn King Street, god-damn it!” Yes, something was definitely wrong.
At that moment, the bus pulled up, and he hopped on, careful not to make conversation with the driver. He found an unoccupied seat near the back and sat, letting the babble of many conversations drift over him.
“…so I fuckin’ told that cunt where the piece-of-shit baking soda was for goddamn safety…”
“…is it not fucking said that God has no twat, you asshole? For…”
“…’Fuck you right directly in the asshole, sir’, I fucking said, but…”
“…if the bitch could god-damn well fucking find a motherfucking sitter…”
Suddenly, he understood. “I’ve fucking GOT it!” he shouted, then blushed when the other passengers turned to look at him.
From the Notes of Joshua Schreber, Oct 11:
I’ve fucking found the god-damn problem in the motherfucking spell, but I can’t fucking fix the piece of shit thing to take me the fuck back. The god-damn problem is thus: Some fucking thing about the god-damn world I’ve stumbled into is all fucked-up different. What the fuck IS politeness, any-goddamn-way? Could it be fucking measured, taken the blue fuck from, and added the bloody hell to? The god-rotted world I fucking well came from, people used these pointless motherfucking words in casual god-damned conversation, to put a fucking emphasis on what they said. Would it be bloody possible for that pigfucking progression to extend to these bullshit depths? I can only fucking well say fucking well so, given the fucking evidence at hand. But I can’t get the fuck back, not with words the god-damned way they are here. I’m fucking trapped.
Goddamn it. I mean that.
"Quit this world, quit the next world, quit quitting!" -Sufi proverb.