Tag Archives: visual fiction

Upside down

Upside down reservoir - watermarked

If you ever feel displaced,

like you are upside down in a world that has everything together,

just think:

maybe it’s the world that’s upside down.


Act Natural – Visual Fiction

I haven’t done a Visual Fiction story in a while, but it’s a flash fiction story based on a picture of my own. I took this one in Bundang, Korea.

Act NaturalAct Natural

“Look, I don’t usually ask you for a favor, but you got to help me out. Can you take the blame for this one?”

“Take the blame? It’s bigger than me. No one is going to believe I did that.”

“They’re going to bust me, I know it. I can’t go back in that corral again.”

“Well, then pick it up.”

“I have hooves, I can’t pick up anything. Can you?”

“It looks pretty heavy for me.”

“Oh crap, here they come. Just act natural.”


Much Ado About Kudzu – Visual Fiction

Kudzu.

The Scourge of the South and an emerald-green kraken that spreads its leafy tentacles out to overwhelm everything.

It is unstoppable.

Much Ado about Kudzu

*         *         *

“I think I have a way to stop it,” Dr. Freddie Combs said. He was sitting with a group of scientists at the Kudzu Fight Council. It was, somewhat ironically, located in Alaska. The feeling was that kudzu was so dangerous it was best for the Council to employ scientists who were deathly afraid of it. There was no chance of them sympathizing with the enemy that way.

“What’s your idea?” the Director asked.

“Special giant rats,” Dr. Combs said. “All they eat is kudzu. We set them loose in Kentucky and Virginia and soon all the kudzu will be gone.”

“Giant rats? Are you crazy? No one wants giant rats running around. And how do you know they only eat kudzu?”

“That’s all they’ve eaten in our lab tests.”

“What else have you offered them?”

“Nothing, but—”

“Next!” the Director said.

Much Ado about Kudzu

“I saw we just give the affected area up for lost,” another scientist said. “Let’s build a wall around the area, let the people inside deal with it.”

“Kudzu grows over walls.”

“Well, maybe we could put the giant rats on top of the wall . . .”

Another scientist stood up. “I’ve developed a new strain of kudzu that bursts into flames in hot sunlight. We just need to cross-breed it with the kudzu and the problem will solve itself.”

“These are all terrible ideas,” the Director said. “Do any of you have a half-decent idea?”

Much Ado about Kudzu

“I have one that is fool-proof,” a tall, dark scientist named Dr. Brawn said. He had a crazy look in his eye, which in scientific circles is referred at “that Nobel look”. The rest of the room hushed.

“Super kudzu,” Dr. Brawn said. “It is twice as strong as normal kudzu and as smart a brilliant dog, or perhaps a slightly dim 5-year-old. It is also fiercely territorial, so it will easily wipe out the normal kudzu for us.”

“But then what do we do with all this super kudzu?” the Director asked. “The problem will be worse than before.”

“No, because it is be intelligent,” Dr. Brawn said. “We can negotiate with it, then send it to go fight our enemies. We can turn it into an ally.”

“Does . . . it grow as fast as normal kudzu?” the Director asked in a shocked voice.

“Three times faster. However, it does have a critical weakness. It is vulnerable to bullets. One shot will kill 100’ of super kudzu.”

“That is a good feature,” the Director admitted. “Fine, we’ll try it. I can’t think of anything better at least.

“Excellent,” Dr. Brawn said. He patted the place on his chest where his Nobel Prize would soon hang. “This can’t fail. Trust me.”

Much Ado about Kudzu

*         *         *

Four months later, the continental United States was abandoned. Mexico was considering building a huge fence to keep out the super kudzu scourge. Canada had nothing but its cold weather and even that wasn’t an effective barrier anymore, thank you very much global warming. People tried to shoot at the rampaging super kudzu, but after it began to mimic a whimpering puppy, they found they just didn’t have the heart.

Finally, all the survivors who could afford it gathered in a huge underground bunker on the island of Newfoundland and waited, hoping that the kudzu would die out or simply go away. They waited for years. Their phone and Internet went out because no one wanted to go outside to maintain them.

After three years, the debate began: to go outside or not. Some argued that the super kudzu must have killed itself off by now. In any case, it couldn’t have made it over the water to the island. Some questioned why they were in a bunker at all, but more pessimistic individuals shushed them, reminding them of how quickly North America had fallen.

“It’s probably crossed the Atlantic Ocean by now,” some said.

One boy, though, had had enough. “I’m going outside,” he said. He ran for the hatch and began to spin the wheel to open it.

Outside the sun shone brightly and a single tendril of kudzu crept slowly up the stonework towards the soon-to-be-opened hatch . . .

Much Ado About Kudzu

(You can find more information about kudzu here)


Is Water Chess Nuts? – Visual Fiction

taken in Jeonju, South Korea

taken in Jeonju, South Korea

Is Water Chess Nuts?

Two men sat on the bench in the park, a controller between them that changed the water jets streaming out of the stone chess board.

“Knight to E4. Check.”

“E4? How is that check?”

“Your king is on F6.”

“No, that’s your piece, and it’s a rook.”

“But the rook is only supposed to be 1.6 meters high, not 1.9 meters high like the king.”

“That is only 1.6 meters. And see? It’s a straight stream like all the black pieces. The white pieces are more of a misty stream.”

“It looks misty from here.”

“It’s not. See only those three pieces aren’t misty: your king, your rook and that knight.”

“I have more than three pieces. Don’t I?”

“No, I captured the rest. Don’t you remember?”

“Are you positive?”

“Are you calling me a liar?”

At that moment, a group of squealing kids ran onto the chessboard and jumped into the jets of water. In an instant, the game was over and the men’s friendship was saved.


The Jinn of Sevilla – Visual Fiction

taken in Sevilla, Spain

taken in Sevilla, Spain

It seems that after all these years, I have become a Spaniard, and a Sevillano at that. I have fallen in love with this city of luxuriant plazas and opulent cool groves—so similar and yet so different from my faraway home of burning sands and frigid nights of crystal-dusted skies.

I first came across the strait with Tariq ibn Ziyad, landing on the rocks that still bear his name. I was in the sparks that flew from his horse’s hooves and the light that flashed along the blade of his sword. I was the fire burning in his heart that spurred him and his followers on to victory.

I was with Jabir ibn Aflah as he planned and built the Giralda where I now live and look down on the city that I have adopted over centuries of residence. It has grown slowly but I always stay the same.

There are no other jinn here. Sometimes I think about returning to those hot, dusty expanses of my youth, far over water and sand and lands that have become strange to me. The moods come but then pass. Here, in my Sevilla, I carry on an austere companionship with the people. At sunset, when I come out to bid farewell to the Great Lady for another day, the people see my fire gleaming on the edges of the shield of Faith at the top of the tower.

“¡Mira!” they cry. “The spirit of the Giralda is shining.” That is what I have become: the spirit of the Giralda. And even when the tower is finally laid low, I will not abandon this city.


The Lure of Dark Gully – Visual Fiction

 

Dark Gully

The Lure of Dark Gully

Stay away from Dark Gully, when the wind is rising in banshee shrieks and tearing at rocks and trees like a vengeful demon of the night.

Stay away when you hear the small coaxing voice come through the maelstrom, telling you to come closer; telling you there is shelter from the storm in the narrow knife-slash in the cliff face.

Flee when you see the faint glow dancing on the tips of the waves, moving slowly to the shore to rest on the storm-slick rocks.

Flee when the tiny glowing balls of mesmerizing ether begin to coalesce into a form that rises out of the surf and takes a step onto the shore.

Despair when the figure holds out its hand and you take a staggering step towards it, all warnings and common sense blown away by the gale.

Despair as your foot steps into the stinging, foam-flecked wave and you are led, unresisting, out to the place where waves pound and rocks break and life is sucked away like a match tossed into the dark abyss of space.

So when the wind rises in the east; when the waves begin their tramping march up the rocks of the beach; when the sky darkens in an ominous light, stay away.


The Modern Troll – Visual Fiction

I took this picture on a rafting trip I did last Friday. It was a perfect day for it. I’ll have to share more pictures later.

taken in Bongdong, Korea

taken in Bongdong, Korea

Call me a traditionalist. Others of my kind have moved on to more modern types of employment: collection agents, airport security screeners, marketing executives. Some have made a name for themselves commenting on Youtube videos. Not me though. I’m stuck here under this bridge, trying to make an honest living scaring people into giving me tolls.

They never stop nowadays though, roaring past in their cars and trucks at a million miles an hour. My first day on the job, I jumped out and tried to scare one into stopping.

It was a tractor trailer. I was in the hospital for a month. Thank God for the restorative properties of pixie dust.

I still try to keep up appearances. Every now and then I can get some pocket money from a kid on a bike, but even they have credit cards more often than not and I don’t mess around with plastic.

It’s just getting harder, you know?


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