Friday, 25 December 2009

The City of Chaos and the Pillar of Skulls

The first serious homosexual novel set in the Warhammer 40k universe.

The moment was strange. There was no reality in the bar; there was no longer solidity; all things merged, one into another. Time had stopped.

Jim sat alone in a booth, listening to the music which came out of a red plastic box, lighted within. Some of the music he remembered from having heard it in other places. But the words he could no longer understand. He could recall only vague associations as he got drunk, listening to music.

His glass of whiskey and water and ice had slopped over and the top of the table was interesting now: islands and rivers and occasional lakes made the top of the table a continent. With one finger he traced designs on the wooden table. He made a circle out of a lake; he formed two rivers from the circle; he flooded and destroyed an island, creating a sea. There were so many things that could be done with whiskey and water on a table.

The jukebox stopped playing.

A man in black power-armour entered the bar and ordered a drink; Jim eyed him through the haze of an afternoon’s boozing. He was not unattractive: rugged facial features, a few picturesque scars. His head was completely shaved and there was a tattoo across the back of it: a skull, grinning maniacally in death. Jim smiled to himself and took another sip of whiskey.

The next thing he knew, the stranger was standing over him. Time had rushed forward.

“Care for some company?” the stranger asked.

Jim stared at him for a few seconds, trying to remember the correct response. Eventually he just shrugged and the stranger took a seat.

“The name’s Delorean,” said the stranger, “Captain Delorean Firebreath, if you want to be formal.”

“Jim,” said Jim.

The two of them shook hands.

“So, you look like you’ve been here a while,” said Delorean. “Anything going on?”

Jim cast a theatrical glance around the bar. “Nothing to report, captain. If you’re looking for action, maybe you should try the Underhive.”

Firebreath grunted. “Oh, I’ve been to the Underhive; nothing there but Scavvies and rats. Not the kind of action I’m interested in, frankly.” He caught Jim’s gaze and held it for a moment, then leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms behind his head. He stretched his legs out beneath the table and they brushed against Jim’s.

“Getting comfortable?” asked Jim.

“Oh, I don’t mind leaving. If you can think of a better place to go.”

Jim thought for a moment, or tried to think. There was too much alcohol in his blood; the best he could do was to give the illusion of thoughtfulness. He finished his whiskey and stood. “Actually, I have an appointment downtown. If you’re headed that way then maybe we can share a cab.”

Delorean smiled. “As a matter of fact, I am.”

No comments: