Wednesday, 25 April 2012


by John Xero

Billy believed in fairies.

Not just your garden-variety, hand-sized, dainty flutter mites, clinging to the old ways. Billy believed in them all. The impassioned evangelists, decrying modern modes. The concrete kissing, urban-bred outcasts. The rainbow-chasing freefolk, dancing on the wind.

He believed in them and he told people about them, and he got bullied. He got beaten and left to bleed away into the dirt. He nearly died, that day. But the fairies believed in Billy. They put aside their differences and they brought him back.

Billy knows now, what he must do. The bullies will believe, as they bleed.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

303: Angelic, Retribution, Guardian.

by John Xero

You may have seen me mention Lily Childs' Friday Prediction here before. Through her the ancient black tome speaks three words which must be incorporated in a story of less than one hundred. It's a great challenge, a wonderful little community and many of my 101s have germinated there. Sadly the Prediction will be closing in a few weeks, I urge you to hop on over and give it a go while you still can.

This week, three 101s that were all born from the same three words.


“I will scratch out your eyes and curdle your blood,” the cherub screeched from its gravestone perch, clenching a chubby, broken-nailed fist.

The thing looked like a podgy child about two years old, but for the disdainful snarl of its lips, its bloodshot eyes, and its wings, with feathers fading from black to white as if soot-stained.

Unimpressed, John Harley locked eyes with it, “War’s over Anaeus. Give it up.”

The cherub stretched its wings wide in threat, “I will gut you.”

“I don’t think so.”

Harley pulled the trigger.

Roaring buckshot ripped through Anaeus, shredding flesh and feather alike.



The plague first presented as a raised rash from spine to shoulders that itched irresistibly. The few survivors were called Cherubim for their angry, red wings of ripped, scarred skin.

Without thinking, Ellen scratched her back. She flinched as a scab tore beneath her fingernails. She felt the fresh, wet blood well up.

The only survivors were all carriers. As the death toll rose, Humanity’s compassion curdled; the Cherubim were locked away.

Ellen waited for the blood to congeal, another feather to her wings. Then she dressed and strolled calmly into London’s Safezone, a serene angel of vengeance and death.



Orlov hung over London in a web of tubes that pumped curdled fluids through his transmuted body.

“Sp(ai)der mechs at Marble Arch,” the interface whispered in his mind.

He saw scuttling machines clambering over the broken buildings and cracked tarmac of Oxford Street. He heard the New Baker Street Irregulars panicking.

Orlov remembered being human.

“Launch cherub bombers,” he commanded.

London span into twenty Londons as his consciousness fragmented between the bombers. The Orlov/ Cherubs swept down from the clouds and unleashed a hailstorm of micro-explosives that ripped through the sp(ai)der mechs. The Irregulars cheered.

“Thank you,” the interface whispered.

(The three words were: cherub, curdle and rip)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


by John Xero

“What’s the time, Mr Wolf?”

So goes the invocation. Children chant it, their innocent tongues taunting with wicked words. What is the time? How long I have been imprisoned below, barely alive, while they play?

A scraped knee, a snagged shin, a scratch... Tiny, sweet offerings of blood, just enough to keep me aware but sluggish, delirious.

Then last night, a full moon, and a murder. Delicious panic and pain and pooling blood, a whole life seeping deep down, nourishing me, revitalising me, reviving me.

Now I wait. And soon, the children will return. Soon, it will be dinner time.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


by John Xero

London sprawls across the horizon, taunting us with its rude, bustling health, drawing us in with coy insinuations, with promises of revenge. The journey has not been easy but we are finally home.

Whatever the scientists shot us full of is rotting our insides away. I can feel it in spikes and jabs of bright pain, in a growing, pervasive ache. We are the walking dead, but we refuse to lie down, our symphony is not done yet.

We were built to win, and we won. We were trained to fight, and we have brought the war home with us.