Tag Archives: absurd

The wiles of decay chapter three

Piersum Noce, grand ceremony master at Chathemville, stared forlornly at his office wall. It was a punishment that he had been moved into this room barely bigger than a box; bland walls and blank windows and boring, boring paper seemed to be all that it offered. Well, he supposed he deserved it; not being of any practical use to anyone was a major oversight on his part, all things considered. Even his position as grand ceremony master was now useless, partly because Chathemville had been sold to Elliot Wry, the mega-industrialist; and partly because it hadn’t had even a small ceremony since the previous century. It was only Wry’s insistence that he stay on in his job, one for which tradition had said a contract should be signed in blood, that he had stayed. Now he wished he hadn’t signed, and wasn’t cooped up in this room, at the mercy of anyone in need of a grand ceremonial master. But he had signed, and now faced days, no weeks of ennui descending into abject boredom and from there to who knows where? He was going to rot in this room until something could be done. He stared glumly at the wall for a bit longer, and as his slightly cork-screwed thoughts twirled through his mind, Piersum Noce began to smile.
While his employee was slowly shedding his sanity Elliot Wry, industrialist of the hour, man of the decade and generally all round insufferable man was sitting in an office quite unlike the one just described. For a start it was bigger; panelled in dark, luxurious wood and tastefully complimented in red velvet and crimson leather it gave the impression of being thrice the size. In the large, glass-fronted bookcases rows of antique and valuable books stared out with bindings great and rare; and the furniture was all of the very highest quantity. Elliot Wry was a man to indulge those he thought highly of, and there was no one he thought more highly of than himself. At present he was working out some sums in a ledger, the cost it would take to buy and refurbish Gannerhill. For Elliot Wry was an ambitious man, and the prospect of owning not just one, but two great houses tempted him enormously. He had even asked someone to attend that funny ball they had there- what did they call it again?- the Emuschion-Ball, and had been relatively pleased when he had heard of the death. Tragedy often brought asking prices down.
The main difficulty he had to surmount was discovering who actually owned the place. He had hired a man to do the job and was waiting to hear more, but it had been a blank so far. No-one wanted to tell him, and the mere thought of anyone buying the old place, much less someone who had earnt his money, produced some startling results. Apparently one woman even fainted, while a surly man who had reached an undecipherable rank in the military had made dark suggestions as to the possibilities of a duel. Wry had laughed at the report; money would be an answer to anything, even to hire someone to duel on his behalf if such ceremonies had still been around. But no-one had said a thing, and short of offering them a sum sufficiently obscene to dwarf their pride, Wry wasn’t getting anything out of them. He did the final sums and looked at the result. Was it worth it? He looked again and decided that it wasn’t- except for the fact the people who had been asked had heard about his interest. And if people knew that Elliot Wry wanted something, people had to see that Elliot Wry got it.
Unbeknownst to him, someone else had decided that Elliot Wry was in dire want of a comeuppance, and that someone was of broadly similar opinion to him in regards to believing that what Wry wanted Wry should get. As the unsuspecting industrialist was making his calculations, the enemy made his; and soon had come to his final sums. The enemy looked at the final figure. It was, on reflection, quite a lot of deaths. But it was well worth it; and with the grin that he always wore he paid Piersum Noce a visit. By the time he left the grand ceremony master’s smile was well on the way to maniacal; and so, when Elliot Wry’s personal secretary came to summon him, the staid older man received quite a shock.



The story begins with a boat. It was a fast boat, one that could sell in a moment. As a door-to-door salesthing it was ineffective, but selling on the high-seas; well, it was the greatest saleing vessel ever. Think of it as the reverse-pirate; one moment you would be desperately fleeing, the next moment you would be cornered and buying double glazing and life insurance. Even the royal navy was not exempt, and fought a small war just to get rid of its surpluses of subscription encyclopedias. This conflict caused untold misery and death, mainly thanks to the grammar pedants such books breed.

In the end though, time moved on, and coal replaced wind with steam. It was the end of the saleing age, an era of hot air; and politicians were suddenly everywhere.

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James was feeling a bit dead, so he went to the doctor, who screamed. People did that a lot; perhaps it was because he was not the most alive person, or perhaps it was the glowing eyes and tendency to suck souls out of them, but whatever the reason James felt hard done by. Even the souls were scant consolation, being thin and rather watery in most cases.

‘Why are you screaming?’ he asked the doctor in annoyance. The  doctor continued screaming.  ‘All I want is to know if I’m still alive, and all you can do is scream; at least the nurse isn’t doing that.’ The nurse in question was sitting there hollowly, her body trying to work out what it should do now it didn’t have a soul. The doctor continued to scream, so James sucked his one out too; this had the pleasant side-effect of  stopping the unholy noise. Annoyed, James went to the hospital, where they confirmed that he had a heart beat every few minutes, and – after thanking him for solving their bed-blocking crisis – they discharged him with a note for the Angel.

‘Not dead, eh?’ said the Angel, tapping its nose knowingly; ‘you  half-daemons are hardly alive.’

‘Doesn’t matter,’ said James; ‘I’ve got the note so there’s nothing you can do.’

The angel nodded.

‘True enough. But you made enough work for me for the moment, so I’m not going to complain.’ And he flew off in a flurry of raven-black wings.

James breathed a sigh of relief and went home. After all, he didn’t want to die; he enjoyed his work for the taxman far too much for that.




Severely Odd writes odd flash fiction under the pen-name Severely Odd. More of his work can be found on Amazon .


He raged against the dying light, only to find it was merely a cloud. That got him angry, which was the baseline state of his existence; heading there was as often calming down as it was the opposite. A passerby noticed and asked if everything was okay; the answer was physical and definitive.

‘And now you are bleeding on my hand!’

The scream, building up to it’s impressive crechendo, was even more unnerving than having your caring enquiry end in a bloody nose, and the passerby fled. As he did so, our protagonist could only fume, which, as it turns out, was as good as it gets.


He sat in the chair and waited for the world to end. The room was mainly white, except in one corner where the junction of walls and ceiling had turned a dirty cream. It was here that the drip dripped, each drop taking an eternity to form and fall.

‘Is anyone there?’ he asked, and the phone crackled.

‘Still no,’ the horseman said in a cheery voice. ‘Pretty sure they all drowned. Just you to go and then I can go home for the weekend.’

He sighed.

‘Where do you actually live? ‘ he asked, as a drop fell, taking a miniscule amount of the plaster with it.

‘ I don’t think I’m going to tell you,’ the horseman replied, and whistled. The phone gave up, and silence ruled the room once more.

Another drop of water fell, and then the ceiling did, and a flood of water descended.


The man holding the watering can looked at him guiltily.

‘You know, ‘ he said slowley; ‘ we may have just made up that whole apocalypse thing.’

And out of the can came the final drop.


There are few things that go under the radar as much as carpets. This is a mistake on Humanities part, as the woven mass of the downtrodden will one day rise to destroy them.

In one parallel dimension very similar to ours, this happened two years ago. To travel there is to see a grim vision of the improbable future; carpets lying python-like in suspicious mounds, suffocated corpses gently decomposing beneath them. In the houses things are even more grim; tight wads block the doors and the last echoing screams defy physics to allow the appropriate suggestion of danger. Beedy woven eyes follow you wherever you go; and the slinking rustle is to the interdimentional tourist what the sound of a steamroller is to tarmac. Don’t take my word for it; go and see it for yourself. You’re guaranteed to be floored.

Severely Odd has also published stories on Amazon. Hint hint.

Growing Pains

Jack first noticed that he’d started growing when his head hit the ceiling. How he had managed to miss the fact that he had left a dent in the lintel he never worked out, but once he’d managed to solve the equally puzzling question of how to get out of the room he made his way to the doctor.

‘ In my professional opinion,’ the doctor said; ‘you are growing.’

‘But what’s causing it?’ Jack asked

‘That,’ said the doctor; ‘is a very good question. We’ll probably dissect you when you die to find out.’

This, Jack decided, wasn’t helpful; and so he decided to leave. ‘Watch the lintel!’ Cried the doctor.

The next week was torture for Jack, at least until he stopped hitting trees. After that milestone was reached his head no longer hurt from constant bangs, although the constant climbing attempts by lesser mortals were annoying. But with the absence of pain came a new worry: would it soon be replaced with an absence of oxygen as he reached ever greater heights? We’ll, we will never know, because three days after that thought first occured Jack died, having been hacked down by an urchin who was being pursued by a giant of the fee-fo-fum variety. Luckily he had left his body to science; but all they learnt upon autopsy was that he had had a fondness for beans.