TCFW

Exquisite Corpse #2

Here is a little warning before you are plunged into the story below:

  1. These flash fictions are developed during our They Come From Within workshops and their many permutations.
  2. They are a hive mind effort, developed and written by a number of individuals in tandem – not all of our writers are mind readers so sometimes the stories come out a little Frankenstein but are no worse for being a little disjointed.
  3. We will be uploading these stories one at a time,  once a week during November-December 2017 – to fill in the gap that our hiatus has inadvertently created in your life. After December updates will be more or less in synch with our workshops.

Now to the story –


 

Days in the greendomes were good, nights even better. With the lights low, to replicate the solar rythms of a sun nobody remembered, you couldn’t see Yellowstone billowing around in its new home in the sky. Just weak LEDs along the walkways, the white of the apple blossoms glowing sweetly as J went along pollenating by hand, bit by bit, one by one, one to the other – doing the work of animals, because this was what happened when people only saved themselves.

The first whispers of the spawncall tickled the back of J’s mind, a distraction in the first days building to a babble that teased their thoughts apart. Work became difficult, distracted, and J found themselves spending unthinking hours standing in the dome’s vestibule, staring at the doors and waiting for the blinking red lights to flick to constant green. Once the doors opened then the hot, organic pressure building in their body would be released. J shuddered at the thought.

As ever, the signal came at a painfully inopportune moment; this time, when J was hunched over the centrifuge, eyes focused on the tiny gauge. The work was sensitive and vital, but there was no question of continuing once the light glowed fertile green. J shut down the equipment, their shaking hands fumbling over the sharp-edged switches. Out in the corridor, a thrumming echo of feet started to swell.

J was compelled, by a force that outweighed their reason and one that overpowered even their most basic instinct, to join the growing shoal of humans slowly gathering outside the greendomes. First, however, they were to equip themselves in gear that protected their fragile lungs and eyes. The air outside was nippy but the shoal was safe and retained much of the tepid heat of the greendomes as it progressed, at an unrelenting pace, towards a pulsating, lilac light in the distance. Eventually, J saw the familiar pyramid outline of the Temple with its smooth surfaces perpetually covered in ash and airborne debris.

Hunger pangs of every kind pinged in each of them, identical by design and irresistible. J could feel it stacking, accelerating and synchronizing through the shoal – their steps falling in ripples through the ash and blasts on the ground – leaving a pattern of waves that’d only last a minute in the world outside.

It’ll only last a minute, J told themselves.

To the moment, the airlock door was whipping open and shut, admitting them in uniform waves to the Temple. To home, technically. Though as the door zipped shut behind J, the only feeling was of stepping into a trap.

Saliva flooded J’s mouth, turning quickly to drool as sane, rational thought decayed into pure, unthinking action. The warm, humid air of the Temple crackled with a static that made clothing confining, stifling. Strips of rent fabric, partially recognizable as shirts or trousers, lined the hallway that led to the Spawnpit. J barely realized that their own clothes had fallen away, lost at whatever point their hurried walk had turned to a frenzied run.

Down the hall, through an archway, hardly aware of the jostling masses. Then weightlessness and falling and a euphoric loss of self that went beyond pain, beyond death.

Until the impact, where they and countless others were momentarily swallowed by the elastic, slightly slippery membrane of the pit. Silence pervaded. There was a brief moment of confusion, as always, where bodies struggled to render themselves apart in order to fall back together, fitted, like pieces of a massive jigsaw puzzle.

A grip was taken. Limb slid along limb. J yielded to their place in the knot, and let their gaze drift to the pyramid’s apex, where the lights dimmed for comfort, as they were programmed to. The less that could be seen, the better. In slick increments, the process advanced. Step by step, like the pollination of the apples. Because this – this – was what happened in order for people to save themselves.

 

660 words

Written by many, typed by Eris Young

25/11/2017 at Woodland Creatures, Leith
Hell Panel from “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch

TCFW

Exquisite Corpse #1

Here is a little warning before you are plunged into the story below:

  1. These flash fictions are developed during our They Come From Within workshops and their many permutations.
  2. They are a hive mind effort, developed and written by a number of individuals in tandem – not all of our writers are mind readers so sometimes the stories come out a little Frankenstein but are no worse for being a little disjointed.
  3. We will be uploading these stories one at a time,  once a week during November-December 2017 – to fill in the gap that our hiatus has inadvertently created in your life. After December updates will be more or less in synch with our workshops.

Now to the story –


 

I wanted to vomit, I’ll admit it. I’d never hit someone before and I didn’t react well, seeing the blood. His wife was still crouched behind the kitchen table, the remnants of the broken plate at her feet. Their neighbours stood, heads poked into the doorway, nosy, grimly satisfied to have caught them in the act: a pair of Violents.

I’d been on many house calls, but the De-escalation Methods had always been sufficient. You’d identify the violently charged currents and apply the Mental Balm, diffusing the waves of animosity into Reconciliation. But there had been no time – he had obviously slipped into an Ancient State, and the plates were raining down on her – a controlled punch had been required.

But it did work, didn’t it? All the vids say that these situations follow a pattern, a downward spiral. He should fight back, continue until one of us is dead, surely? But he just sat there, looking at the mess he’d made.

The supervisor wouldn’t take well to this news. Four witnesses, including the neighbours. I hadn’t listened too closely during basic training; what was the penalty for first violence? Was I now classified as a violent? I felt a cold hand grasp my stomach. My bruised knuckles had punched a hole through the base tenet of our society.

‘No, no,’ I told myself, ‘You’ve got a license, you’re allowed.’ It made my skin crawl, though, so messy. I could see why people used to do it before the Ban. The waves and scented candles, compared to the power, the feeling of the baton connecting with someone’s skull, they were nothing.

The man was sitting, legs splayed, panting. His eyes were directed downwards, at the floor, but a smile was creeping over his face. He flicked his eyes up to meet mine, ‘Feels good, doesn’t it? You new-agers, you deny any rush, you shroud it with official terms and anaesthetised justifications…’ he struggled to his feet, ‘but you’re no different to me. You have a rage for me,’ he looked down at his cowering wife, ‘just as I have a rage for her.’ He spat.

I hit him again.

 

360 words

Written by many, typed by Eris Young

25/11/2017 at Woodland Creatures, Leith
Hell Panel from “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch

 

 

Projects

Project Uno “F, M or Other: Quarrels with the Gender Binary”

How does gender shape our destiny, our identity? What are the ways in which gender interacts and intersects with our other identities? How can we break the barriers imposed on us by binary gender roles? What happens when we transgress?

UPDT 15/03/17 with regards to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s recent comments on trans women’s womanhood.Tweet 15:03:17

Those are the few questions we would like the submissions to our first collective crowdfunded project to touch upon. The topic is vast. There is a lot to discuss. In truth it feels like chipping away at an iceberg with a tooth pick. But we are here to stay and we will continue chipping away. Treat it like a pool of ideas. Fish out the one that is closest to your heart and run with it. At the end of it all there will be a book worthy of note!

The subject of gender is difficult to narrow down without excluding entire groups of people. Instead, we want to present the phenomenon of gender as a whole by exploring a variety of individual stories. (Pioneers such as Ursula K Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice spring to mind). We want you, the writer, to negotiate with this subject as you see fit – through your own experience, through a magical realm or through the structure of language itself.


We are looking for:

  1. Short stories, flash fiction, essays, poetry and comics that explore gender and transgress the gender binary, taking into account the intersectional influence of other identities on our perceptions and lived experiences of gender.
  2. Up to three submissions per person. Preferably in different categories.
  3. Up to 4,500-5,000 words on short stories and essays (however, in some circumstances we will consider longer pieces, no longer than 10,000 words, each work will be accessed individually). Up to 6 pages for comics.
  4. Short stories and essays should be submitted in Word format. Comics should be black and white (or grayscale) and be submitted as a PDF.
  5. Submissions should be in English.
  6. Submissions should be separate files from author bios. Labelled: Project Uno: Category /Word, Line or Page Count / Title / Submission #number) For example: “Project_Uno_Comics_FivePages_BestComicEver_Submission1.
  7. Bios should be one page long, attached to the same email, and should include: author’s name or pseudonym, age, gender (as you identify), country of residence (so that we know how international our scope is), a brief writing CV, any social media links, contact email if different from submissions email and anything else you would like us to know.
  8. Has this piece been previously published? Let us know where and when. Please bear in mind that if you have published your work with another publication they may hold temporary rights (6 months or more) or exclusive rights to your work. Ideally, before submitting it to us, you should have checked with them first if you are free to publish it elsewhere.
  9. You must own the copyright to the work, you will retain it on publication.
  10. REMUNERATION: see F.A.Q
  11. QUESTIONS? Drop us an email or reach out on Twitter for the fastest response.

We insist, for the sake of unbiased selection, that you keep your author info and submission separate.


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We can’t wait to read all the goodness!

Deadline | July 30th 00:00 2017

Email your submissions to: knighterrantpress@outlook.com

Alternatively,  you can submit your work through Green Submissions here.


F.A.Q

Sensitive information:

We are aware that some content that will be submitted to us may contain sensitive and/or explicit information. Therefore, we insist that you be 16 or over.

Before sharing your submission with other contributing publishing folk we will always ask for your explicit approval. We will never release the personal information you have shared with us to a third party or to another contributor without your explicit written permission and any information we do have will be handled sensitively and stored securely.

How will this be funded?

This will be a crowdfunded project. In 2017 crowdfunding has already proven to be a successful way of funding publishing projects and securing a readership (have a look at Unbound and 404Ink – both crowdfunded publishers).

We are looking to gather great writing from all around the globe and crowdfunding has proven to be the most democratic way to fund such a project and reach a wider audience that is willing to read and support it. This is crucial for independent start-ups like ourselves.

Once we are happy with the collection of submissions we have gathered we will launch the crowdfunding campaign. This will be organised ahead of time and contributors will be informed about every step of the process. Whilst the crowdfunder runs, we will bring the collection into shape – ready for printing.

What else?

We are adamant that our authors and contributors get fair remuneration for their work – none of that ‘exposure’ slave driving from us. Unfortunately, as an independent start-up, we currently have little to no disposable income to make an upfront payment. This is why we rely on a crowdfunding campaign. Not only will it help us gauge our audience but it will help us pay our contributors fairly. At this moment it is difficult to estimate the size of the crowdfunding goal – it will wholly depend on the number and type of contributions (printing, author’s, production, design and editorial costs). We are gathering estimates and will have a better idea once submissions begin coming in.

Rates

Ultimately rates will vary depending on the word count of the selected pieces and how much editorial work they will require.

We operate on the basis of respond on request – email us with the details and we will let you know.

We are also hoping to set up a kind of bonus scheme, if you will, if the campaign does well and goes above the expected funding –  anything that’s raised above the campaign goal will be split by percentage between contributors (some funding, according to the stretch goals, will also be set aside for future projects by KEP).

We are hoping that this will work well for encouraging people (especially the contributors) to advertise the campaign.

Bear in mind that if campaigns don’t work out, no-one gets paid. Authors retain rights to their work.