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Showing posts from August, 2011

Art Pact 3

She was not sure at what point the change had come over him - unlike the rigid, routine-centred personalities of her own family, his natural tendency to variability masked a slow process of change behind more pronounced but temporary swings in his mood. When he was one day raging furiously about a colleague, the next completely sanguine, she found herself unable to gauge whether or not he was truly happy. But perhaps without realising it consciously she came to dread breakfasts - the time of day when he was arguably most himself, free from the turbulent influences of the real world and reacting only to those unknown dreams which he pretended ignorance of. Then her questions would become nervous and tentative, and his answers cold.

The morning of the fourth of September, with a field of grey clouds low in the sky outside, found the kitchen dull and colourless. Two of the three light bulbs on the track had blown, and Clare (too short to reach the sockets even when standing on the island…

Art Pact 2

The robot was waiting for us inside the chamber - a dull grey thing, squat and menacing. As Georgia had warned us, there was a slender red line circling the floor around it, the pilot-light setting for its incinerator beam.

"That's where it will act - if it wants to act," she'd said, circling her finger in the dust around the rock she'd used to represent the behemoth itself. "But don't be fooled into thinking that it can't see you if you don't step into the circle. This"--she drew a larger circle, pivoting her whole arm from her elbow--"is how far it can see you. Depending where they're keeping it, you might not be able to get close enough to see it without it seeing you as well."

It looked as though she'd been right on the ball with that guess. There was a gap of about three meters between the circular concrete walls of the chamber and the deadly red circle. At either side of the chamber were columns that the red line neat…

Art Pact 1

Despite his suspicions, Loughton agreed at the meeting. There were mutterings amongst those who supported his party that he had not so much been persuaded as railroaded into agreement, but since there was no way to prove that anything improper had occurred the matter was only discussed in private. It was brought up briefly by Daniel Rosten, the owner of the northern-most of the village's two general shops, when he gave a talk at the schoolhouse, but even there it was not a safe topic of conversation, and the children listening to his lecture went on the offensive immediately, making "bwawk-bwawk" chicken noises from whichever side of the room he wasn't looking at at the time. The teacher, Miss Harwick (more alert to the ways of her charges) could easily have stepped in to stop them, but she was anti-Loughton herself, and so more than happy to allow the insinuations of cowardice to continue. She sat back, suppressing a smile, and shrugged helplessly to Rosten each tim…