Friday, 9 December 2016

The Hand of Glory

The night had fallen heavily upon the city. The sea fret had rolled up from the bay, reducing the light of the stars and confining the spill of lanterns. The air was cold and thick with it, deadening the sound of the tramping feet of the city’s nightwatch.

Emerging from the cloying darkness, the hooded figure slipped from shadow to shadow. He had chosen this night well. His grin was broad if there had been any to see it showing his teeth white against the burnt cork that blackened his face. Soon he would leave the sanctuary of the darkened slum quarter streets for the wider avenues of the villa district. An alley rat such as he would be fair game to any sentry or bodyguard who happened to espy him. He reached his hand into the folds of his cloak, to check he had the tools of his trade; dagger, crowbar, flints and… his hand felt the cold hand in its claw like posture, the fingers forming a cage into which he would fix the candle.

Hearing footsteps to the left he merged once more into the shadows, willing his breathe to be quiet. He couldn’t afford any mistakes, he had planned this venture for so long and it had cost him, in more ways than money. But it was an investment, he thought, a path to future wealth. He had been warned, it had said so in the Grimoire, the ancient text that outlined each stage.


The guard at the gallows had commanded a heavy payment of coin to look the other way as he purloined the felon’s hand from the swinging gibbet. Luckily the crowd that had gathered to watch the murderer’s demise had dispersed. Judging by the insults shouted at the condemned, and lack of mourners, the hanged man had not been a popular figure. He looked up and saw dead man’s face, its eyes betraying the horror of their last moments.

Working quickly, he had sawed through the wrist with his dagger, the blood already congealed and lazily dripping, although he had expired only an hour or so before. He had sung the words to the corpse, as he had worked “From one to another, brother to brother. Hand to hand, a Light in darkness grasped”. The hand would require draining as the blood had gathered from the arm. He quickly wrapped the grim trophy in rags to absorb the blood and slipped it into his bag, sheathing his dagger and concealing it under his cloak. Working quickly, he tied bandages about the stump over which he tied the letter cap, as if the hanged man had long been an amputee. He chanced a glance up at the hanged man’s face. Did he see the ghost of a smile? A glint in the eyes? He blinked and the eyes of the hanged man were as lifeless as before.

He was about to turn away and slip into anonymity but was stopped short when he felt the tip of the guard’s spear tickle his ribs. He looked up in alarm at the grinning soldier.

“Not so fast there, my fine fellow,“ the guard said, the spear point a hair’s breadth from breaking skin. “What would a man such as you be wanting such a thing for? For no good, I’d warrant.”
“That bastard owed me, he stole from me. I swore that I’d cut off his thieving hand. I’m going to feed it to the dogs.”

The sentry’s eyes narrowed, although his stance relaxed a little, he smiled. “Revenge is it? I can relate to that, but what of the bloody mess you’ve made? I have to clean that up before…”

The glint of a proffered gold coin caused the sentry to stop his speech. He snatched it from the man’s hand and tested it in his teeth. It obviously met his approval and he grunted, lowered his spear and signalled for the man to make himself scarce. Which he did, disappearing into the crowds that milled around the city’s market stalls, but only enough to be out of sight. He waited around the periphery of the gallows square, watching as the sentry washed the flagstones with water and covered the area with old straw. In all honesty the observer would have left it at that, if the sentry had not threatened him for more money. Thus it was that he followed the sentry when he was relieved, to the barracks and then followed him to the tavern. Next morning the sentry was found drowned in the river. Witnesses attested that he had drunk heavily that night and had left the tavern worse for wear. That his pockets were empty of coin was proof of it, although no one saw him fall in the river. 

Some money was recouped that night and if questions were asked about a handless corpse, well no face could be fitted to the culprit, although a line had been crossed; a thief had become a murderer. A price had to be paid.


The figure staggered into view. It was someone in a hurry, swaying slightly with drink as the sentry once had. The hidden observer read the signs, here was a man eager to get home, attempting stealth as badly as only a drunk can, to avoid the night watch and possible arrest. He was well-to-do from the cut of his clothes, no ale for this one but fine wines. No doubt he would still have coin on him. On any other night such an easy target, already half insensible with drink, would be too tempting to miss, despite the rapier that the man carried. But he had bigger and better targets than robbing a drunk; once more his hand strayed to the trophy he carried.


He had wrapped the hand in a shroud, squeezed it and drained it before burying the hand outside the city at a crossroads in an earthenware jar filled with salt, peppers , pigeon grass and saltpetre. Two weeks later, under the light of an August moon he dug up the jar and took it home. He waited until the eastern sky coloured with the coming dawn and as the first rays broke the horizon to herald the summer’s day he smashed the jar, releasing the grim contents as he sang, “From dark to light, from earth to air. A helping hand dug from sand let rich men yield their share.” The hand was pale and shrivelled, its wrist turning black. He worked the stiffened joints and knuckles and tied the fingers with twine so that the hand made a cupping gesture. In the window of his room, as the dog days sun shone strong and hot, he hung the hand to dry and mummify.


But such opportunities could not be passed up he decided. Silently he emerged from the shadows behind the staggering man. In mere moments the garrotte was around the neck, the knotted leather cutting deep into the exposed flesh and crushing the windpipe. Hands moved uselessly to try to hook under the cord. More pressure was applied. The victim’s mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water. The eyes bulged from the cheeks that turned deathly blue. The struggling ceased and the dead weight was hauled into the fog-clad shadows. Pockets were deftly rifled, rings were prised from fingers. The rapier and its fine scabbard and sword sash of fine leather was taken and slipped over the head and shoulder of the assassin. There was no time to dispose of the corpse, so it was hidden as best as haste allowed. He would be long gone by the time it was discovered after dawn. He slipped away to the grand house he had targeted.

A life taken, and so quickly. He would price his haul from the dead man later. The basketed hilt of the rapier felt ornate and expensive, such a weapon would command a good price, although he always fancied himself as a swordsman. Other alley rats, armed with daggers, would think twice when confronted by him, as the steel rasped thirstily from its scabbard. Better it would be his rather than being left with the corpse; much good it afforded him in the end. He grinned to himself.

Corpses, he had grown accustomed to such things, which reminded him; soon he would affix the candle and light it in its foul holder.


The candle; even thinking about its source almost made him retch, but the Grimoire had been unrelenting in the requirements. So it was that while the hand had been curing he embarked on the next stage. By night he went with horse and cart to the burial pit outside of the city.

He saw the recent excavations and set about it with a spade. Recently turned, he was able to make good progress and found the shroud cloaked corpse. The smell was strong and heavy in his nostrils. No other hanged men had been laid to rest in this unconsecrated ground that he knew of, but he had to be sure. He cut the shroud open with his dagger and the stench of a summer’s corpse almost overcame him. With an effort he carried on and lifted his lantern to look closer. There was the leather cap he had affixed to the stump. A morbid curiosity gripped him and he shone the lantern at the dead man’s face. The skin was drawn tight across the face, revealing the grinning maw of teeth between which the tongue protruded. The sightless eyes bulged too pushed put by the gases of putrefaction. The flesh was marbled as every vein and capillary showed beneath the green tinged skin. Appalled he threw the folds of the shroud over the face of the corpse and lifting the torso at the waist he tied a rope around it but as he set the body back down the shroud fell from the face. The head seemed to turn and look at him accusingly and from that decaying throat foul gas rushed out, “Woe.” it seemed to say.

The man jumped back against the wall of the grave and bit the back of his hand in fear, expecting the corpse to rise up from death, but no other words escaped that grinning maw. Dead it was and the soul it once held remained in hell.

With senses regained the man climbed from the pit of horror and hauled the corpse up out from its resting place. He placed it over the back of the cart and, after refilling the grave with its dirt, trundled up into the wooded hills to the old charcoal burners hollow.

There far from prying eyes he rendered the fat from the decaying flesh and cut off locks of the man’s shaggy hair, twining it into a wick. He mixed the fat with died horse manure and sang as he shaped it around the wick, “With locks of hair do I mix, an ever burning candle’s wick, to light my way unseen by all, upon which deepest sleep shall fall.”

The candle made, he threw the remains of the body on the fire. The skull hissed and steamed as it burned. Yet still the sightless eyes followed the man’s movement as they boiled, the mouth fell open as if in laughter, mocking him as he dug a hole to inter whatever remains survived. Come the morning light he would smash that grinning skull to dust. A heavy price was being paid, he felt it, and he knew it. The Grimoire hadn’t lied.

He checked up and down the road, listening for footfalls but there were none. He hurried across it and in the cloying darkness he felt along the garden wall of the house he sought. He felt for the ivy that he knew was there and he hauled himself up and over to land on the grass behind. The house loomed ahead through the fog. Turning his back to it he crouched down, hiding behind his cloak. He took out the terrible candle holder and placed the candle on the nail he had hammered through the mummified claw. With shaking hand he took his flint and struck it by the ghastly wick. Softly he spoke the words. “Hand of glory take the flame, hide the bearer from all blame, a light to guide, a light to see. Whilst cloaked in shadows all about me.”

The candle spluttered and the flame took, burning strong and steady with an eerie green tinged light. He held it high and it cast light around him. “Oh hand of glory cast thy light, lead us to our spoils this night.”

The light seemed to focus illuminating the ground before him; he followed the path it made. It led past the windows of the house. He cast a glance at them as he passed but the glass was black. He waved the candle in front of him, but no reflection was shown. He smiled as the path of green light brought him to the door. He held the candle before him and faced the barrier. He recited the spell he had learned.

Open lock, to the dead man’s knock. Fly bolt and bar and band. Nor move, nor swerve, joint, muscle or nerve. At the spell of the dead man’s hand. Sleep, all who sleep. Wake all who wake. But be as the dead for the dead man’s sake.”

He pushed at the door and it swung open, in he walked the light guiding him, showing the fine, polished  mosaic floor.  He passed the ticking clock that stood tall against the wall. He caught his breath when it chimed thrice. He held his breath but all was still, the charm of the Hand of Glory held. Three o’clock, dawn would be a rumour in the sky in two hours and he would need to be away by then. The light guided him to the stairs which he stealthily crept up, wincing at every creak that the wood gave out. On the landing he saw the guard, sat outside his lady’s chamber. The man was sat bolt upright but he didn’t turn to see him. The guard’s eyes were open and yet were unseeing, his sword lay across his knees.

The thief drew the rapier he carried, it felt exquisitely balanced. He bowed mockingly at the guard, as a dueling gentleman would and then slowly pointed the blade at the man’s stomach, he pushed, feeling the flesh yield to its sharp point as the blade bit deep, all the time he watched the guard’s face. It remained expressionless although he saw a tear well in an eye and slowly meander down the man’s cheek. He withdrew the blade, clicked his heels together holding the hilt up to his face he saluted him before returning the blade to the scabbard. He stood before the door of the chamber and opened the door.

He entered the lady’s room.  Candles burned showing the rich red and gold wallpaper and the dressing table that glinted with the gems and precious metals of her jewelry. The eerie green light led him to it. He grabbed the necklaces and rings. Rich he would be rich, no more the alley rat life for him. With a fine sword, fine clothes and wealth, a gentleman he would be. Wealth would buy him ease and respect. He smiled at the hand of glory, damn the price, it was worth it! As he grabbed an ornate necklace of pearls, that rattled as he stuffed them in his satchel, he heard a sigh behind him from the lady’s bed. She was a renowned beauty it was said, he could risk a look.

He held his light above him and advanced on her. Her skin was as exquisite porcelain. Her hair lay on the pillow in tumbling curls, he reached out and wound it around his fingers, she had rose bud lips. He was tempted to steal a kiss from them, but…

He looked down at her elegant long neck. He released her hair his fingertips brushing her smooth neck. Her renown was well founded. With the trappings of wealth he would have a wife such as this. Now what was he? Scum, mere scum, that’s what she would call him. This woman wouldn’t even cast a glance in his direction, oblivious to the grinding poverty her wealth made her immune to. His hand clasped around her neck and squeezed. Downstairs the clock struck five times.

Five o’clock? What was he doing? He withdrew his hand. He hadn’t meant to kill her, but there she lay, with no breathe of life. What had he become? He had enough loot, he had to flee, dawn would be close. He hurried out of the chamber, his satchel caught on the hilt of the enchanted sentry’s sword, it fell on the landing floor with a clatter. He heard the sentry gasp. He wasn’t dead, he had only wounded him! No time, no time, he must flee! He ran down the stairs to the open door. Already there was a ghost of light towards the east. He sprinted across the lawn. The candle still burned, only milk would extinguish it according to the Grimoire. He scrabbled up the wall laden with treasure, keeping hold of the hand of glory. He was atop the wall and risked a look behind. Staggering out of the house, a hand grasped to his wounded side he saw the sentry.

“Alarm! Alarm! Thieves and murder! My lady has been murdered!”

He saw light burst to life in the house as once sleeping servants and retainers were released from their enchanted sleep. He jumped off the wall and cried out in pain as his leg was cut by a sharp stone in the wall. He dropped the hand of glory as he felt his wounded leg crumple beneath him on the cobbled road. He heard a tinkling sound as some rings escaped from his satchel to bounce on the cobbles.  Down the road he heard a clamour and the running and clatter of the nights watch answering the alarm and raising a hue and cry, through the fog he saw the glow of torches. He stood up with an effort and reached down to his leg, feeling the blood that ran. He must go.  What of his lost treasure? Ignore a few rings; he still had necklaces and money in his haul. The Hand would afford him enchanted cover if he stayed in the shadows. But where was it?  He saw the green glow of the candle.  The index finger of the hand pointed at him, as if in accusation. He snatched up the hand and limped across the street just as the nightwatch appeared.

“Sir, look there’s loot on the road,” one voice called. “And blood sir, look a trail of blood,” said another.

With a curse the thief hurried as best he could down into the alley, the glow of torches behind him following his spoor. He turned a corner blindly. He only saw the young woman carrying the two buckets on the yoke when it was too late. He crashed into her.  She screamed as they both fell to the floor.

“You fool! You’ve spilled my milk! What can I sell now?“  she yelled at him in anger.

She could see him? How could she see him? He saw the hand of glory and the extinguished candle, the wisp of smoke curling into the morning air. He tried to stand only to be knocked to the floor by the butt of a musket. He looked up in horror as the night watch trained their guns on him.
“Got you, thief! Murderer! You’ll hang for this night’s work.”

He saw the hand on the ground beside him, its finger pointing at him, accusing.


The hang man had done his job. The city was well rid of the infamous practitioner of the dark arts who had robbed and murdered one terrible night. The crowds had hurled insults and curses at the murderer of Lady Greythorn and pelted him with rotten fruit. They had cheered as he was hauled up into the air to his death, his soul consigned to hell. The entertainment over, the crowds had melted away; a hooded figure sidled up to the guard who watched over the gibbet.

“This one owed me. How much for you to look the other way, while I take a memento from this hanged man?”

Monday, 31 October 2016

As easy as Pi?


They’ve been with me all my life, there at the back of my mind, like dreams that become real. Dreams? Did I say dreams? More like nightmares. You may ridicule me if you wish, call me deluded, it doesn’t matter, I don’t care. I know what I know. You can listen, perhaps take stock, make plans to live your lives to the utmost. You haven’t that long, none of us have, but what you do in this life reverberates across time and space. Fill as many waking moments with things that truly matter. I’m not some new age guru, but I know things that I maybe wish I didn’t…

In the darkest recesses of my mind I remember their first visit when I was a child. Of all those long distant memories it is the one most clear. It was in the first house that I remember living in so I must have been perhaps three or four years old. My parents always kept the landing light on, even when they retired for the night. It was always there reassuring me through the darkest hours. My elder siblings were in rooms further down the hall, but on my side of the house. I remember the layout; my brother’s room next to me and then my sister’s. Opposite, across the hall from us was our parent’s room. I liked my room it was on the corner of the house; I could look out from my window and see the harbour and the wide sea beyond. Back then, over forty years ago now, there were foghorns sounding out, I used to love their mournful wailing. Now I think their voices would be telling of savage rocks and treacherous cliffs, but at the time I found them strangely reassuring, perhaps because of that first time that they came. If ever they stopped…

I can remember it, I was having trouble sleeping but I was listening to the foghorns as I usually did and thinking of the fishing smacks tethered at the quayside and whether the fishermen would brave the seas as the fog rolled in. The horn sounded again but stopped suddenly, mid wail, as the landing light stuttered and went out. All was unnervingly still as if smothered, the moment frozen. My eyes adjusted to the gloom and I saw the spindly figures, as dark as shadows, enter from the hall. I thought their movement comical and went to giggle at my strange visitors but a strange pulsing sound took hold over me. My laughter turned to childhood terror as I realised I could not move as if an invisible force pinned me down. I tried to call out to my parents but no sound came out. The figures stood over me, these strange beings, their eyes huge and so dark. Dark, emotionless and soulless. I felt myself being lifted but knew no more as unconsciousness stole mercifully upon me.

As the dawn broke I woke from the nightmare, the hall light was on as ever, the distant foghorns wailed in the far distance. My voice returned and my mother rushed in. Her touch and kisses assured me, “It was just a bad dream.” Who was I to question her?

We moved from the coast and lived in a new estate on the edge of town. Occasionally I would dream of that night. The spindly men would enter my room and I would always wake with a start, fearful, yet thankful, that the dream had ended. The dream never progressed, that was until I entered puberty and the dreams became more frequent.

I awoke feeling the pressure holding me down onto my bed. I tried to move but was paralysed. There was dreadful pulsing sound that I realised I had heard before. On the periphery of my vision I saw them again, the spindly beings, but they weren’t shadows as my childhood memory described them; these were grey and pallid, their eyes too big for their hairless heads. Their mouths were small and their nose was mere slits. They were humanoid but thoroughly inhuman. A voice inside my head, that was not my own, urged me to be calm. I felt my body being lifted into a warm light and I was somewhere else. No longer in my room, although I couldn’t move my head and barely move my eyes side to side. One of inhuman creatures stood over me it held a device in my face, there was a flash of light and I awoke from the dream, back in my room, more tired than when I went to bed.

And so it was every year from then on but it could never be predicted. They tracked me, I was sure of it. I could be at home, away on holiday in a tent or staying at a friend’s house. Whenever I felt the constricting pressure and heard the infernal throbbing sound I knew I was being visited and each time the light that flashed in my eyes would rob me of memory beyond the initial events, that was until I learned a technique and it was easy as pie, or Pi, as I should really say.

Pi is a magical number. We know it as 3.14.perhaps 3.14159265, yet it goes on and on, up to 1 million digits, perhaps more – maybe 5 trillion. Out of boredom, perhaps a latent nerdiness, I endeavoured to memorise as many as I could. I gained nothing from it, certainly not an enhanced understanding of maths, that was until I discovered it let me hide my consciousness. It’s almost a meditation to me I can see the numbers as I recite them in my mind and use it as a way to hide inside myself and relax.

So it was that I awoke once more, feeling weak, with a vague memory of the throbbing sound and the paralysis. I felt the rising panic that accompanies the morning after these dreams. I began reciting Pi, but far from finding comfort I saw flashes of memory and the further I went into the number chain the more joined up became the recollections, perhaps I should have stopped sooner…

Woken suddenly from sleep, I was encased in an invisible force. I was in a panic, subconsciously I knew what was about to happen. My ears filled with an unpleasant pulsing sound and paralysed I sensed the presence of them. Around 4 feet tall they stood, humanoid, devoid of clothes and seemingly genderless. Their skin was grey, their heads were larger, out of proportion to the rest of their bipedal form. But those large eyes, soulless, emotionless, as black and unforgiving as a shark’s.

A voice, an old voice, one that wasn’t my own urged me to be calm. I felt myself lift, accompanied by these odd beings, as we pass through the ceiling and roof, in a beam which pulsed in time with the hateful sound. Once more I am urged to be calm. We travel up to where the light emanates from, into the ship that hums as if at an accelerated frequency. The light inside is strange making all seem monochromatic. I am on a table, the creatures are around me I attempt to speak, but cannot, I try to move to, tense myself but my body is lifeless. Tubes worm from me, as if I’m being drained. Once more I am urged by one to be calm by one whose eyes hold mine in their lidless stare. How can I be calm? Who are you? What are they doing, why do you keep doing this to me?

“Very well,” the one tells me, in tones that you would use to calm a frightened dog. It’s mouth is as still as mine as it talks to me telepathically. “I will tell you. You won’t remember this anyway. We are gifting you life, although you do not know it. What you know as reality is a facade, it hides the greater truth, as does your history, for if you look hard enough that to which humanity clings to is false, an agreed upon story.”

Gifting you life? How can that be? What do you aliens take from me?

“Aliens? Yes that is what you are programmed to think, yet we are humans far from the future. We are mere servants of ancient aliens, the gods that shaped the earth and our evolution. We have long served them and were gifted their DNA after the great harvest. Throughout our lower form we had selectively bred, keeping bloodlines pure so we could follow their technological path. We evolved yet at the end we are faced with extinction so we travel back in time, to when humanity was its most numerous, to choose certain individuals with which we have no genetic link to help restore us. You are such an individual, through us you live in the far future; an essence of you, at least. All is vibration and energy, we use a mixture of synthetic and organic technology to traverse the stars and dimensions of the multiverse to come back and see our primitive beginnings. I‘ve told you this each time and you will ask me again at our next meeting.”

This cant be true…

“You need your primitive ignorance, to feed the gods. You act surprised yet it shames us to think we are partly descended from you savages, so easily manipulated by our forebears into hate and war. I will take your memories of this and you can grub in the dirt as you ever do.”

Wait, you said something about a great harvest?

“Yes, do you think the gods are altruistic. Cattle you are to them… and us. Stay ignorant.”
It held up the device to my eyes. Deep inside my mind I recited 3.1415926535897932384626433...

The great harvest? Vibration and energy? If the words of the great Serbian-American scientist Nikola Tesla are true then “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” It all things are energy we have to change the way we are. Change our energy from hate and fear to higher things. If we are in a multiverse we can change; there is a multitude of possibilities. We can deny these creatures their future and build a greater one for ourselves. But we must be quick, the great harvest is coming. I will see if I can find out more, but we must all do this I can feel the pressure on me once more, can feel the rising panic as the paralysing sound throbs and pulses over me. I must stay focused.


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Are we conscious of matter? A conversation.

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration - Nikolai Tesla

“Different states of vibration take us to altering levels of consciousness and therefore to differing perceptions of reality. Therefore everything around us had a degree of consciousness.”
“What, even bugs? What about rocks and plants?”
“Everything. The insects have an altered sense or reality, you know this already. They see the world through a pixelated ultra-violet spectrum. The colours that we see flowers possess look utterly different to bees and butterflies. It’s been proven that plants communicate with one another, that trees require a symbiotic relationship with fungus in the soil, that plants under infestation with insects will issue an alarm to other plants an attempt to make themselves unpalatable to pests. As for rocks, how is it that I can crumble graphite in my fingers and yet, chemically, it’s the same material as diamond?”
“But insects don’t exist in a parallel reality, they live in ours.”
“True, which is why stick insects have evolved their camouflage, why moths appear as leaves or bark and yet they still view the world in an alien way to us. To survive in a world haunted by animals and birds with a visual spectrum such as ours they have evolved these techniques. Don’t forget as a life-form, they have successfully been in this world far longer than us. ”
“Visual spectrum?”
“Yes. We know that light, like sound, travels in waves.  The frequency of these waves dictates what is visible, hence you get the long slow waves of radiowaves through to the rapidly repeating gamma rays. Our visible spectrum of red through to violet is a narrow band in this wavelength between infrared and ultraviolet, yet all these colours are contained within white light.”
The Electromagnetic spectrum - pintrest

“Radiowaves? So sound and light are the same thing?”
“No, although they both travel as waves, they are different. Light can travel in a vacuum but sound cannot. Sound is merely an excitement of atoms, it needs a medium through which to travel. Light, on the other hand, is composed of photons - the elementary particle of electromagnetic radiation – therefore, unlike sound, light has the duality of being a particle and a wave.”
“So what’s beyond radio waves and gamma waves?”
“Well that’s the question, isn’t it? It could be that there are lower frequencies that our instruments can’t quantify and maybe higher frequencies than gamma waves… although the energy required to produce such an electromagnetic burst would be literally astronomical. However we live in a hypothetical multiverse, so why not?”
“A multiverse?”

The Multiverse -

“Yes, whereby many different realities occupy the same space-time.  I see that you’re confused, but look; the big bang was a quantum event, yes? Well we can still discern gravitational waves from this event, in particular the inflation effect that occured soon after. There are unseen forces  that affect the universe in which we reside. The universe is expanding, yet what moves in to occupy the space between galaxies? We see nothing and yet this nothing must be something in order to push them apart.”
“This is all pseudoscience, mere philosophy.”
“On a quantum level observation yields only chaos; sub particles, for instance, have to rotate multiple times until the same face reveals itself to us. How is such a thing possible? We see the universe in terms of an orrery; where all is as clockwork and predictable. But we live in a goldilocks universe - everthing is just right. Not only do we live on a planet that lies in the habitable zone around our sun whereby liquid water can exist. Or that we have a moon that keeps our planet's tectonics active, that coincidentally has the same size/distance ratio from said sun, enabling us to view the wonder of a solar eclipse. Neither that our solar system has gas giants sucking up the majority of comets and space debris that would otherwise bombard us… But we just so happen to exist in a universe whereby matter itself can exist. Therefore surely it stands to reason that other universes must be out there. Some theorise that there must be at least nine types of parallel universes, but it could be an inconceivable number. The deeper we delve the more philosophical it all becomes, it is at the very edge of our scientific understanding.”
“I think I can get my head around that, but what were you saying about vibrations?”
“In this universe everything is energy. Light is energy, we know sound is energy. I twist a rubber band and my movement creates energy, which is stored in the rubber band’s elasticity.”
“You mentioned rocks before, they don’t have energy.”
“Yes they do, on an atomic level they are in motion. It’s merely that with our limited perception we don’t see it. Most of what we call rock is in actual fact empty space. Its solid form is the result of the energy from its chemical bonds. But if I apply energy using a hammer I can break off pieces; that’s me applying greater energy than the chemical bonds.”
“Hang on that implies that this material world isn’t really matter at all?”
“Exactly. It’s really energy.”
“But what of consciousness?”
“Have you ever heard of the double slit experiment?”
“Is that whereby you can discern if something is a particle or a wave?”
“Yes that’s the one. If I set up a screen and fire marbles through a single slit, the marbles will hit the screen and make a shape corresponding to the slit. If I put two slits in from of the screen I’ll get two corresponding bands forming on the screen. However if I fire light at the slits, particles which we know travels in waveform, where both waves meet after exiting the slits you get interference patterns. So the screen will show multiple slit shapes, separated by area where no light strikes the screen at all.”
“Yes, I think I’ve seen such images, fascinating stuff. But that doesn’t prove consciousness.”

Two slit experiment -

“No… but if we go to the quantum level and fire electrons at the single slit we get one band shape but two slits form the same multiple interference patterns. The electrons – actual matter, was behaving as a wave.”
“Maybe they were merely bouncing off each other and making the interference pattern that way?”
“Well the next logical step to check this is to fire individual electrons at the slits.”
“Yes and thereby making two slit patterns on the screen.”
“You’d think… and yet after an hour or so off firing individual electrons at the slits the same banded interference pattern is observed on the screen. Which means the single electron is fired at the slits and becomes a wave of potentials, splitting and going through both slits and therefore interfering with itself and hitting the screen making that banded pattern. Mathematically this is mind- blowing; the single electron goes through both slits or none, through one or the other simultaneously.”
“Did they check this, observe which slit the electron passes through?”
“This is where it gets strange. Equipment was set up to observe the slits to see which one the electrons, fired singularly, went through. It was observed that the electron only went through one at a time, not both. The screen revealed that only two slit patterns were made.”
“Hang on, so the electron was behaving like a particle, not a wave? How did it make the interference pattern before?”
“It was the very act of measuring that did this. If left alone there is a wave of potentials from the electron, but under observation this wave of potentials collapses… as if the electron was aware that it was being observed.”
“But that begs the question of the nature of matter, is it made of particles or waves… and if the electron knows  that its being observed that implies a degree of…”
“Consciousness! Exactly!”

The Thinker - Rodin -

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Prayer to Woden - October 14th

Woden, hear me.
God of battles, furious.
Beyond the light of holy rood cast, we remember you.
Over the whale road you led us here.
Blessed our fathers with this sod to gain.
I stand before you, a lesser man than my ancestors.
Not for me the sword arm, bloodied in foreign lands.
I have been house-bound, to fair wife and sweet earth.
Children we have grown and crops we have sown.
Nurtured land and home.
Now behind linden shield I stand, with ashen spear in my hand.
With others called from farm and cot.
Oaths and duty not forgot.
May you watch over us, from the high world ash. Your ravens caw.
Flesh will be yielded to beak and claw.
They come, a bastard’s army of despoilers under papal flag.
To rob, kill and burn.
Beneath his banners unfurled, our king he calls.
“Ut! Ut! Ut!” we take up the chant.
Woden, forget us not.
Know that we stood against the storm of arrows, sword and lance.
Let children remember.
If death and defeat steals all. A foreign boot strides our halls.
We stood here, huscarl, thegn and ceorl.
If I am denied Christ’s heaven or your famed benches of gold.
May my ghost remain, a curse. A fierce wind blowing cold.
Across this ridge until sea swallows earth.
Woden, hear me.
Lord of battles, lend me your frenzy.
That I may stand with my fathers, that they may find me worthy.

Monday, 16 May 2016


Hwaet! No doubt you have heard of the Proud Ones?
Heard of their bright fame and stirring deeds?
These sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.
Battle boastful, proud of their lineage.
Their kings, gold bejewelled, leaders of warriors.
Their queens, beautiful, clear eyed, in silken elegance.
To their glory they wrought gems and trinkets of gold.
Smithed swords like dragons teeth, named and old.
Jutes and Scyldings. Wulfings and Geats.
Sagas sung and tales told across the green seas.
That abyssal salty whale road.
Atop its waves their wooden horses ploughed.
But hasten, away from their mortal cares, the world of man.
Before their coming there was always this land.
Harken, can you hear the soft sounds of the night?
The reed beds rustle, tussock stems rattled by sea breeze light?
Salt laden, brine tinged from the waves beyond the marsh
Above the darkened land a field of distant stars.
Before the proud ones, for years uncounted, we dwelt in these lands alone.
Changelings, trollkin, dark dreams made flesh and bone.
Not finely wrought we, but crudely hewn.
Diabolical. Elemental. Flesh grown from stone.

Monsters, shadowstalkers, a dark legend to recite
To gather wayward children as darkness conquers light.
They were always too numerous, and like the wolf pack and bear.
We yielded, retreated, to find us new lairs.
Yet on the wild edge of the realms of men
There we still haunted moor, mountain and fen.
Grendel they named me, ancient fears they had
My dam they cursed as a foul Sea hag.
Forgetful over centuries. Unsated, they intruded once more.
And on the headland, Lord Hrothgar, embarked to build a great hall.
A king of the Scyldings with his young queen Wealhtheow
She the bearer of the King’s mead cup fashioned of gold
Bidding bondsmen to sup, that great deeds be regaled.
But they knew these wilds were ours
Fell moors, fog ragged, salt marsh sour.
Under the sun, that accursed candle, men toil in their work.
Below we hear the hammering carried down through the rock.
Under moon I, the night stalker, emerged from the marsh
Leaving footprints of slime, a trail where I passed.
Tall it stood, the long hall, with carvings of intricate craft.
Above its door, great antlers displayed; Heorot the Hart
Picture by Enthing - deviantArt

Reaching toward the oaken barrier, my claw lightly drawn,
Inside I smelt blood, rich, sweet and warm.
I oozed a cold fear through the dark night air.
As frost spreads, dark dreads, fears laid bare.
Stirring in nightmare ridden sleep, the proud ones, behind their walls of wood
Clutching talismans, recalling fell tales of childhood.
My presence felt, seeds of doubt planted.
As dawn approaches, the demon departed.
But these fears melt with the Suns’ arcing soar.
As did my prints; dispelled with the frosts’ thaw.
My night haunting forgotten as King Hrothgar in glory came.
To open his Heorot hall with a feast of great fame
From his realm and beyond came thanes and bondsmen
With retinue, shield maidens and elegant women.
Wise with age or in youthful vigour flushing.
Warriors of renown bent the knee, oaths of loyalty are given.
Hrothgar, battle famed, wealthy with tribute and spoil, all enemies cast down.
Law maker, ring giver astride the high seat, gold adorning his crown.
Queen Wealtheow, in beauty radiant, her hands clasping the great mead cup
Wrought of gold, she proffers it, from which each to sup.
The fiery drink, the King’s Thanes drink of it deep
In praise of their Liege Lord, their loyalty his to keep.
And so with roasting meats and hearths burning high.
Through the rafters, spark bejewelled smoke swirls into the sky.
Voices are raised in arrogant boasts of enemies bested.
Shouts came in answer, insult or grudging acceptance.
Hrothgar smiled at his warriors bragging, recalling courageous feats.
As each contested, to the winner, first knife set to roasting meat.
A battle of wits, courage drawn with words.
A parry and thrust without shield or swords.
A winner declared he is cheered to the rafters.
Soon all descended into drunken laughter.
Laughing warriors eat and drink and make play for wenches
Voices joined in ribald songs along the benches.
Ale and mead, a heady river flows.
While the sun sinks and the moon rises in a silver glow.
Our sleep is disturbed by the Proud Ones revelry.
My thoughts are consumed, yielded to jealousy.
Intruders, interlopers; that they should hold sway
Over lands that were ours from the dawn of all days
Loving, feasting, their lives blaze bright enriched
While we lurk in the shadows and under trip-trap bridge.
Claiming morsels from their grazing herds.
Or eggs and chicks from cliff nesting birds.
Thieves! Land wasters. Whole forests fallen to their axes.
All that’s left is a sour-land of ashes.
No more. No more, will I bear
To harken to their joyous feasting above our lair.
So thus resolved, blood thirsty, violent of hand
I go forth. Man flesh sought, to tear, to rend.
From shadowed cave through salt watered marsh and rattled reeds
My dam a fog bank magic she weaves.
She raises from the distant sea, around the headland a cloak for me.
I approach in shadows ,clad in mist, my mouth in drooling ecstasy.
I hear voices in lovers’ whispers, hoarse in passion
Rutting, outside the hall, unaware in wild abandon.
My hunger is relentless, their flesh, young and love sweetened
They yield their lives. Their terror silenced by my taloned hand.
Behind the wooden walls, murmured conversation.
Songs sung, riddles posed, a saga oration.
My appetite grown as I approach the antlered door.
Reaching my hand, the wood scored by my claw.
I push and the door yields to open, unlocked in their arrogance.
How proud! So assured! So certain in their dominance.
But now here is a nightmare, dark dreams cast in flesh.
Now the dark, they will learn to fear afresh.
I enter the hall a shadow of dread.
Eyes lifted from meat and cup they turn their heads.
I am death, I crush first one. A madness of screaming.
Tear apart another, his lover left keening.
Wits gathered now, a warrior, loved by Hrothgar, grabs sword from wall.
Advancing, arm raised, he attacks, his voice a loud warriors’ call.
But his sword bites me not. My hide enchanted, turns the blade.
Notched, sword repelled, his arm deadened, my talons reach out and he is slain.
I lick my gore thick fingers, iron rich and madness inducing.
Mind lost, a feeding frenzy fallen. Blood lusting.
A nightmare made real. A fear elemental.
A demon of old days. The troll called Grendel.
Hrothgar called his warriors, mead smitten and drowsy.
Armed for war they advanced, but not so proudly
Wading through the shambles of Hrothgar’s champion.
Spear was turned, their blades parried by dark talons.
One, but short time before, boasted did he; for his right to cut meat with knife.
His bravery unquestioned, he now sought my life.
Diving underneath my arms, he strove to disembowel, my innards to spew.
Battle cry turned to howl to quiet. Tearing his head from shoulders, I slew.
Around me a midden-heap that once were men
Coin-wise Hrothgar; miserly with his warrior’s lives, called them back to him.
They gathered around their lord. No more the proud and boastful.
Mere prey now, fearful, powerless and mortal.
My foot found the champion’s head; I lifted it by its hair
I laughed. Its neck in bloody shreds, eyes locked forever in dread stare.
That he, veteran of deathly combat. Proud and assured of victory
Then death came, swift and sudden. Did the fear of oblivion have he?
Hrothgar looks at me in hate and terror as I clasp the bloody token.
He weeps in horror as I eat it, back teeth crushing, grinding.
I gather limbs, torsos, trophies of meat.
Tonight my dam will partake of Hrothgar’s feast.
Weeping, they watch me, as I gather the tribute they must now pay.
The Proud Ones trouble me no more, keen to see me away.
Then burdened, out into the dark, behind a chorus of weeping and curses.
Proud Hrothgar, king here in name only; this hall a bloody purchase.
They look in terror beyond their door, as dark fog smothers spluttering torchlight.
I am dread. I am Grendel. The death-that-stalks-by-night.
We wandered freely my dam and I; the hall now empty and barred.
Hrothgar, now cursed, withdrew. This land and night were ours.
Long nights all was peace, the quiet of the night once more.
The reed beds rustle, the salt heavy crash, of breaking wave on shore.
Then, picking teeth with gnawed leg bone, I felt a tremor through the headlands’ stone.
Heard a muffled cheer, a drunk’s mead addled song.
In darkest anger I knew we were no longer alone.
Intruders! Interlopers! Hrothgar returned?
Such arrogance, that he should dare, Heorot shall be nought but a cairn.
I will slay and eat, slate my thirst on their blood, like ale.
Sated on their flesh, drunk on their red ichor; Hrothgar’s skull shall be my grail.
Wrapped in a cloak of rancorous shadows, from dark cave lair
Across briny marsh, while tongue and harp give voice through nocturnal air.
Approaching the hall, words plucked from verse, great deeds relayed.
Slaying tusked sea beasts, to one name given praise.
Hrothgar’s new champion then? It matters not.
At the antlered doorway I am come to Heorot.
Inside the door is barred. They seek to deny me?
Timbers split, splinter and yield; as mere straws against my fury.

Grendel by Brian Froud

I burst forth; in expectation a shield wall is formed around me, by warriors clad in mail.
Was I lured? I lash out, at the buckler. Breaking shield, hurling man against wall.
Another seized, I bite in half, blood drunk, a yearning to feast on man-flesh.
A sword sings its song of steel, rings, rebounds off me uselessly; I change wielder to corpse.
The Proud Ones draw back, their trap has failed, yet my hunger grows.
Yet through their ranks proudly the new champion strode.
Casting aside sword, helm and Byrnie; he seeks weapon less combat? I laugh.
The others chant his name, this one they call Beowulf