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The State of the World

Old Greg walked along the dusty path and kicked a stone out of his way with an old tattered boot. Damn that hurt he thought as he cussed softly to himself. Grumpy Greg people called him, sometimes Old Grumpy Greg , and with good reason. First, his name was Greg, sort of obvious really. Second, he was old, he wasn't quite sure how old, but he had more years on him than some dogs had fleas.

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Closing Circles

'...little grey cells...'

'What?' Veronica said her attention brought sharply back into focus by these words. 'What did you say?'

'I was saying,' explained the merchant pointing to his assorted collection of socks. 'How popular these socks are. Those little grey ones sells the best. Of course they are also the cheapest.'

'Oh,' Veronica responded somewhat disappointed. 'Yes, people always need socks.'

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Some Bedtime Reading

Fingers tapped against the cup as some narrowed eyes stared out the open window across to the library building. The yellow glow of a lantern's light flickered across the glass of one of the windows. She was in there in still, reading those books. What was she looking for? Why was she here? What had they called her? Ah yes... he closed the window as he muttered the name to himself shutting the cold in but letting the name escape upon the breeze.

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'Shh!' hushed the woman scowling at Veronica from across the room.

'Sorry,' Veronica whispered back.

Veronica and Blake were in the Repository examining the huge collection of books there. The place where they were gathered. copied and moved. But not it seemed all of them and certainly so far not the one Krieg wanted the ending of, the one about the murder on the train.

Veronica tried to read the mysterious title of one of the books on the shelf in front of her. 'Car-mah-sue-trah,' she tried to say. 'No! Not cars, I want trains! And murder!'

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The Rough Ride to Repository

The road is a dangerous place. There had been White Crow, bandits, Judges, and that thing on the road. Scientific curiosity has limits. Too hairy. Too many legs.

'I can see a sign ahead,' Veronica said into her radio.

'What does it say?' came Blake's voice over the radio. He had been guiding Veronica towards the meeting point, so he could then take her to the Repository.

Veronica narrowed her eyes trying to bring the rapidly approaching sign into focus while she steered the bike along the road. 'It says....er...says....oh sh-'

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The Sweetest Word Is Also The Most Bitter

As she approached the Northfields-Kaibab region, she almost drove past the building leaving it behind but something made Veronica turn the bike around and return to it. Stopping the bike in front of it, she got off and looked at the house. It stood alone, small, single level, the wood it was made from white like bones bleached in the sun, a sign of decay. A door hung off one hinge and banged softly in the wind as if inviting any foolish passer by to come in.

There was some blood on the door frame. Veronica pulled out a pistol.

'Hello! Anyone there?' she called out.

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The Drawing of Words

'The work is grand. I totally dig it.'

Veronica, while riding through the streets of New Flagstaff on her bike, chuckled to herself remembering how Mammal was talking back at the junkyard. He had read another book and was trying something out called 'Street Lingo'.

'Somebody nicked the papers I had in store for ya... sis.'

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Veronica wandered into the building containing the cells and walked up to the man who was studying something intently behind the official looking desk.

'I would like to see Mammal please,' Veronica said. 'You are holding him in one of your cells.'

The man's eyes briefly shifted upwards and then returned to the papers he was examining.

'Gone,' he said.

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Fracture - Turning the Page - Part 2/2

Continues directly from Part 1

A crowd was gathering around them. The Chota with the large hands released the tight grip on Veronica's hair and pushed her to the ground. She fell and on her knees and hands stared down at the dust on the ground angry at herself for being so careless for getting into Fracture and then getting caught.

'I found her creeping about,' the Chota said. 'Creeping about like some sort of....creeper.' He strength far outweighed his vocabulary.

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Fracture - Turning the Page - Part 1/2

Veronica scooped some mud in her hand and with great reluctance smeared some of it on herself. If she was going to try and look like a Chota then she should at least smell like one as well. With the torn pants and ragged top, she hoped she looked somewhat Chota. Thinking further she took her hand and messed up her hair. Did Chota use combs? She was not so sure.

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The Apple Ripens

'Volt? Isn't it?'

'Yes. Yes, it is' Veronica replied.

'Hm...yes...I thought so, I remember you around here before,' replied the scientist. 'Always thought you, Volt, had potential to be something one day, I mean not to my level, but something. Still do in fact. Yes..one day maybe.'

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The Lion, the Worm and the Apple

After inserting a piece of paper to hold the page, Veronica closed the book and took a deep breath.

Breathes in....

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A Campfire Clone Story

The man ran down the path leading to the quarry occasionally looking over his shoulder with terrified eyes. There was nobody there but he knew it would not be too far behind him. He continued running down the path, the rock faces on either side increasing in height as he ran, the path twisting left then right. Suddenly he took a turn and was faced with a solid wall of fallen rock. He beat his hands on the rocks. Trapped. There was no way out other than back the way he had come, but would it be there waiting for him or had it given up the chase?

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Room for Thought

A room is just a room, you can be inside it or you can be outside it. But close the door, put a lock on that door, a lock to which you have no key and the room becomes a prison to some, a mystery to others. Such was Brown's room in Spider Hill, but now the door was open and it was no longer a mystery.

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Life is not a Box of Cookies

'And you say she hasn't eaten any of these cookies?' the chemist asked staring at Veronica over thin rimmed spectacles.

'No,' Veronica replied. 'I have not given them to her, I brought them to you here in Chemtown after they were passed to me.'

'Good,' responded the chemist. 'Very good. Because they are indeed poisoned. Yes, if she had eaten six or maybe just five, yes that may be enough, then given a little time, then..er... what's her name...'

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Two Sides of the Same Question

There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.
Ayn Rand

Catching the coin he flipped it onto the back of his other hand and examined it. Seemingly satisfied with the outcome he leaned back against the rough brick of the New Flagstaff Rider's office and gazed back towards the pond. She was still there, sitting on that bench, still looking at the pond.

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Anomaly removed. Attempting normalisation. Warning anomaly detected. Graham unit initialisation failed. Identity Error. Identity Error. Attempting correction.

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A Town Called Allegory

The town of Allegory was a desolate place. Veronica was surprised she had not come across it before. She stopped her bike and walked past the slanted sign displaying the town name into what she assumed was once the town square. The buildings around it were empty, devoid of life, beginning to decay on the path to ruin. Movement on the ground caught her attention and she bent her knees to take a closer look. A small creature was hoping about, it looked at her with bulging eyes and made a strange sound. 'Feeerrrppp! Feeerrrppp!'

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Chance of Survival

Chance of Survival: Calculating - Please Wait...

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Over Cooked and Under Prepared

It was hard work. Veronica was cleaning the oven after another dinner disaster. Dressed in yellow industrial gloves it was still hard work indeed. No matter how much she scrubbed it just did not seem to get any cleaner. She just did not understand, she would always follow the recipes, do exactly what was in the instructions, but the result was never how people told her it would be. She glanced up at the spongy mess near the sink, Gina's cake. It almost seemed alive at time, she was sure she had seen it move, for a cake it was kind of... well...sort of... well...

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The Movement of Stationery

The paper stationery business was good and with people writing archives, diaries and letters, Veronica's business was increasing where others had folded. She had tried making shirts for a local merchant whose costume was as outrageous as his personality but the quality was not great, it did not pay as well and and they were awkward to make despite trying to build a machine to help sew which she had tested by attempting repair of Gina's pants. That did not go well. One day Gina would ask just where those pants went, but not today and hopefully not tomorrow.

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Grenade Expectations

Oblivious to his presence behind a mound the Techs continued taking their readings from their scientific devices placed around their camp. Remaining hidden and with grenade in hand, a grubby man named Frok watched them carefully.

Suddenly the grenade fell from Frok's hand, landed on his foot and started rolling away. Mumbling obscenities he rushed after the grenade and retrieved it before returning to his observations wincing slightly at the pain in his foot.

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Short Goodbyes

Veronica and Shorty sat on the steps of the Black Beer Bar under the night sky, both with a can of grape soda in their hands.

'So you were in Oilville to sell things, Veronica said. 'Things you had recently acquired.'

'Yes,' replied Shorty smiling. 'Very good, very good at acquiring things.'

'But how were you going to get back?'

'Oh with trader,' he replied. 'I wash vehicle, they take me.'

'But you were originally from Indiana?'

'Yes, Indiana, town called Jones.'

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No Time for Patients - Part 3/3

'Faster lady! Faster!' Shorty cried holding on firmly to Veronica in front of him on the bike, his over sized doctor gown fluttering wildly behind him.

'I'm going as fast as I can!' Veronica responded before concentrating on trying to catch up with Reavy's car ahead on the road as they sped away from Oilville. Behind them bikes, ATVs and cars were starting pursuit of them. Ahead of them Reavy drove at full speed along the road, the back car door hang open, the end of the makeshift stretcher holding Allie sticking out.

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No Time for Patients - Part 2/3


Hiding within an empty storage container in Oilville, Veronica and Shorty each dressed themselves in a doctor gown, some of the items stolen on request of Veronica by the boy she knew as Shorty. His gown looked ridiculously large on him but it would have to do. Veronica looked over at the stretcher, something they had quickly made by joining some wood planks together and putting a cloth on them. Rough but they did not have time to be perfect, and this plan she thought was far from perfect.

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No Time for Patients - Part 1/3

'Hey lady! Hey purple hair lady!'

Veronica turned round to find a short boy with East Asian features wearing a blue and white baseball cap with a bag over his shoulder running towards her.

'You lady! Stop! Purple hair!' he shouted with a Chinese accent.

'Me?' she asked him as ran up to her and started catching his breath.

'Yes, you purple hair. You are clone yes?'

'Er...yes...why?' Veronica asked suspiciously.

'I've been looking everywhere for you lady. Hats! Too many hats!'

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Heads or Tails?


The thumb flips it up into the air. It spins, the light shimmering off it, it rises, it falls. A hand catches it and slaps it onto the back of the other hand. The hand is lifted slowly and it is examined. Repeat. Again and again and again.

Veronica sat at a table on the Oilville bar rooftop area gripping a can of soda tightly and frowning with irritation at the man on a nearby table who was constantly flipping a metallic disk into the air and catching it, examining it each time it fell.

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A Reflection Riven

'Sorry you can't see her right now,' the woman at the Oilville Medical building told Veronica with a smile barely hiding her contempt. 'She's...sleeping...yes sleeping.'

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Circles within Circles


 The finger runs along the grain of the wood of the table top on the rooftop area of Oilville's bar, following the path of time, of story, of history. Reaching a knot in the wood Veronica traces the whorls within. Circles within circles within circles.

Did I push Brown too far? Did my words cause her to snap like that? Valkyrie. It was a call for clones to take arms, to rise up and take revenge on those who would abuse, those who would use... her?...us?...me?

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Said the Spider to the Fly - Part 2/2

Veronica stood anxiously by the cave entrance wondering if Spinne was going to turn up. She certainly did not feel comfortable with the idea of being led through these tunnels by him, especially after what she had seen in his shack. Sam Spinne was odd to say the least. He had told her to meet him here at dusk and he would take her into the complex below and show her where the switches were. She was about to give up waiting when she heard a noise.


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by Dr. Radut