I knew I had a bunch of stories started but never finished, but I didn’t know it was that bad. Worse, that’s not everything. There’s at least one story I started about werewolves living in my town house community, only I can’t find it for some reason.
Anyway, there’s obviously a bunch of things that I can be working on… and some of them aren’t horror! I’ve been writing a bunch of horror lately. Might be time for a change.
PS: There’s at least two novels in there, by the way. I’ll let you guess which ones.
…I dunno. Maybe it’ll work. Traditions have to start sometime, right? Also note that it wouldn’t count in my readers’ case here, since you’ve undoubtedly all bought at least one of my books at this point. So give me some names! If I’m gonna create this traditional on the fly, the least I can do is honor it.
Fighting through the Not-Covid Plague! Now my oldest kid has it! Yay!
So today I got to see the inside of the Sentinel Dump for the first time. This primitive phone I was given ‘rang’ for the first time, and that was fun; I almost completely missed it. Fortunately, I figured it all out quickly enough to take the ‘call.’ It was Osborn, and he wanted me to know that I could just go to the Dump at any time I liked. My morning was free, so I went.
You know, you read in books just how primitive the 20th century was, but you don’t really think of what that means in real life. I was expecting some piles of trash and maybe a shack or two, but the Sentinel Dump is huge. Which makes sense, because it was getting so much trash from everywhere. What I didn’t expect was how loud it was. Osborn’s put up soundfences in various spots, and you can see why once you’re past them. Everywhere I turned, there was another hulking mass of ancient industrial equipment (and I mean ancient. Like, pre-electronic, sometimes), wheezing and growling and whining everywhere. And they’d move on their bases, rattling and shuddering, like they were just about to fly into pieces the moment you looked at them.
I don’t know what they were doing. Taking large bits of junk and breaking them into smaller ones, mostly. People would dart between the machines, dumping pieces out of baskets and putting them into hoppers, heedless of the oils and ichors that might get smeared on their clothes and faces. And the smells! The air tasted of metallic grease and slime, and I took with eagerness the face mask offered to me by a Dump employee here to show me the site. She was eager to help (they all were), but I left as soon as I possibly could, and breathed a real sigh of relief when I came away from that place, and could breathe cleaner air. Which tells you a lot about how filthy and nerve-wracking the Sentinel Dump is.
“The USOld wasn’t like we get told now, you know.” Zealia told me that fact with slightly horrified glee. Or maybe slightly gleeful horror, like it was some sort of whispered folk tale. “They weren’t always the good guys. They did dark things.”
“Well, sure,” I replied, wishing I could eat in this library. These books were pretty fragile. “Slavery, Old Devil Wilson, the True Gaians. We learned about all of that in school.”
“Sure, but I don’t mean those things. I mean secret things.” Zealia tapped one book on the table. “Like the stories in that one. It’s a bunch of transcripts about some operations the USOld did two hundred years ago against a bunch of cults.”
I thought about “Cults, two hundred years ago… oh. The Reds?”
“No! That’s what I thought, too, but this is even earlier. Before World War II. They were local cults, not taking orders from the Great Provider or anything –”
Right about then I snorted. “I hope not! Come on, you know they made that guy up for the teracts.”
Zealia waggled her hand. “Sort of yeah, sort of no. The Great Provider really existed, but he probably didn’t sleep in a pool of blood. But that’s not important! Forget him! This is about why we have the Sentinel Dump.”
I started back up on the second leg of my survey this morning. It actually took shorter than I expected, but only because I hadn’t really understood just how big the Sentinel Dump is. Maybe I should have taken the ‘garbage dump for half of New England’ thing more seriously.
You can’t see much of the dump from the road, but you can smell it from a mile off. It’s not an intense reek, but it’s powerful. The aroma gets past any kind of mask or filter, and moves right into your nose. As to how it smells? I can’t describe it, just break it down to individual scents. Lots of chemicals, a bunch of decay, things that were on fire that shouldn’t have been — I haven’t smelled anything like this since my pre-college Service. We were dismantling a pre-Reform refugee work facility, and it was one of the ones where they tossed anybody who died into a chemical pool in the basement… well. It’s not something you expect to encounter while doing your year, is all I’m saying.
Anyway, from what I can see of the dump, it’s got at least one hill that looks perfect for the towers. It’s big and it’s bare, and I’d like to have a third reason for symmetry’s sake, but I don’t need more than ‘big’ and ‘bare.’ That it’s also ‘foreboding’ isn’t really relevant in this case. It’s a century’s old garbage dump. It’s going to be foreboding.
Yeah. Cosmic horror shouldn’t be this dull. And yet, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be, is there? That’s the entire point of an indifferent cosmos that doesn’t care in the slightest about how you feel about things; sometimes you’re not even allowed the dignity of having bad things inexorably happen to you.
This one is sort of meta. Jill Bearup’s Just Stab Me Now is about a romance novelist who is dealing with a main character that is being far more obstreperous than normal, or perhaps physically possible in a normal universe. I don’t actually know; I haven’t read it yet. I’m recommending it because a lot of genre writers who I wouldn’t expect to recommend a romance novel are recommending this one, and I take note of that kind of crossover appeal.
Also, I’m a bit of a sentimentalist. Don’t tell anybody, okay?
I got the weekly data squirt from Outside, and when it comes to my actual job nothing’s changed. I still have a week to finish things up, and we’re all ahead of the timeline, so that’s not going to be a problem for me. I’m not going to lie ( mean, I can’t lie here, right? It’s still a felony); I was worried I’d have to switch paths again, only this time at the last minute. Finding out we’re good made me feel good.
That state lasted, right up to the moment where I saw the time-sensitive message from Memetic Health. They’ve flagged my journal records, asking for clarification on my dream reports. Apparently my numbers are high enough to be a potential concern. Accordingly, they’ll need to know what self-therapy and palliative care techniques I’ve been using, and whether I’ve found a primary information therapist yet to keep an eye on my status. I’m still cleared to work, but I need to let them know if any larger problems show up regarding my difficult dreaming.
Considering that I don’t remember reporting any difficult dreaming, I’d say that one definitely has.