Contributors, Interviews, Projects

Meet the Humans: Gray Crosbie

As part of our campaign we will be introducing you to our contributors – the fabulous, creative and talented people we’ve recruited for this project.


Gray Crosbie is a queer writer and performer who often writes in the boundary between flash-fiction and poetry. Their writing has been published in journals such as Firewords Quarterly, Northwords Now and Litro. In their free time, they enjoy travelling, drag shows, and too many vegan donuts.DSC05135b

www.mcrosbie.com

[Knight Errant Press] Is gender identity a theme that comes up a lot in your writing? If not, what pushed you to explore it this time around?

[Gray]: I write about gender quite often. I think how we’ve thought of gender up until recently, particularly in terms of it being a strict binary system, is changing, which makes it an interesting topic to document and explore.

[KEP] Was there a particular book, short story, poem or event in your life that inspired you to write your own?

[G]: I tend to find inspiration in day-to-day life, in the things that go wrong, overheard conversations, daydreams etc.

[KEP] What’s the most famous book you haven’t read?/play you haven’t seen?/album you haven’t listened to?/film and TV series you haven’t watched?

[G]: Oliver Twist. The Sound of Music. Game of Thrones.

[KEP] Tea or coffee?

[G]: Nettle tea.

[KEP] Early morning or late into the night?

[G]: The place where the two meet.

[KEP] Digital or analogue?

[G]: Digital watches, analogue music.


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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