Following an auto-correct glitch one day, I was suddenly faced with the prospect of a new sub-genre: ‘sic-fi‘ (you see what happened, yes?). Anyway, I thought to myself that ‘sic-fi’ — or ‘sick–fi‘ — may make for interesting writing and decided to try my hand at a little sic-fi flash fiction.
WARNING: THIS DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN AND IS AN INDULGENCE INTO GORE, FILTH AND DEPRAVITY (WITH A LITTLE SCI-FI THROWN IN TOO) IF YOU’RE SQUEEMISH OR EASILY OFFENDED, IT’S PROBABLY BEST IF YOU GO AND READ ONE OF MY POSTS ON SELF-PUBLISHING INSTEAD…
Captain Daniels, commander of the starship Barbarian, looked around this other vessel in concern and disquiet.
The grisly sight laid before him was dreadful enough, but even more troubling was that he couldn’t recall exactly how he came to be stood on the deck of this ship in the first place. He vaguely remembered the excited shout from his forward lookout when they discovered her sitting two-points off the port bow, but that was pretty much it. His memory then fuddled and distorted.
It certainly wasn’t the first time this had happened, and — worryingly — these spells seemed to be growing in length and intensity. But, while Daniels was keenly aware he wasn’t over this episode quite yet, right now he had other concerns.
He shrugged off his own malaise and turned his attention back to this mess of a starship on which he found himself.
She was a passenger vessel, much bigger than his own, but just like his ship she was triple-masted and built for speed. Unlike Barbarian, however, she was unarmed — which made her easy prey for the abundance of pirates who plied their dastardly trade across these spacelanes.
He guessed these poor souls must have become separated from a convoy, effectively sealing their doom.
And it was a doom spectacularly laid out for all to see.
Standing at the ship’s helm on the quarterdeck, Captain Daniels’s eyes took in the entire scene. Thanks to the bubble-like, transparent Hauptman skins that modern solar-sailing starships employed, this ship’s deck was ‘open’ to space. Therefore the maindeck, foredeck, waists, masts and yardarms all collated to form a view that was utterly arresting…
Tied to the mainmast were three men with their bellies sliced open, guts spewing over the deck, and all seemingly strangled with their torn-out entrails. At their feet rested a small pile of bloody male appendages adorned with a dead hand clasping an unfired pistol. Just forward of this grisly sculpture lay a stinking pile of what could only be described as a person turned inside-out and left on the deck to ooze; guts and internal organs falling in all directions.
Spilled intestines had the nasty habit of creating a pungent, rich, and distinctive smell, so Captain Daniels covered his nose with a handkerchief.
He looked up at the passenger ship’s rigging and solar sails. They were scorched and torn from the touch of numerous neutron spikes — no doubt fired by the cannon of this poor vessel’s assailant. Even more striking, however, were the still dripping limbs and organs scattered amongst the shrouds like some gruesome Christmas tree. So thick was this mass of dangling body parts, that were one to stand beneath them, he would most surely be drenched in a rain of blood and excretion as they drained themselves of bodily fluids.
Away into space, scattered and drifting all around the ship were the child passengers of this vessel. They’d evidently been thrown overboard, past the protective Hauptman skin and out into the void. The majority resembled frozen foetuses, curled up into little balls in a futile effort to protect themselves from the utter cold and lethal embrace of the vacuum.
Now, they simply floated there, suspended for all to see like some sick, twisted baby’s mobile.
With a mental shudder, and feeling his mind drifting back to reality some more, Barbarian’s captain glanced down to realise he was standing with one foot in a sticky pool of blood. The other was crunched slap-bang into the ruptured chest cavity of this passenger vessel’s former captain, who lay crumpled just forward of the ship’s wheel, missing the lower section of his body. Heaven knows where the man’s legs had got to; presumably they were torn from under him by the direct hit of an incoming neutron spike. Still, as Daniels carefully removed his foot with a squelch and gurgle, his deceased counterpart’s half-a-body seemed to cling on with a surprising amount of defiance for a dead man.
It was quite obvious what had happened here.
This ship had been seized by pirates hell-bent on making an impact and marking their hunting ground. And what an impact it would have. The dangers of resisting pirates were well known to merchant captains — but this one had apparently not taken heed. And he’d paid the price. Along with his passengers and crew.
Captain Daniels became nauseous. And, as always following these blackouts, the nausea then turned nasty, his head span and he spewed his lunch all over the deck, mixing vomit with the copious amounts of blood already there.
Whilst bending over to empty the contents of his belly, the captain noticed with amusement how the two thick fluids made a swirling pattern reminiscent of an ancient Jackson Pollock painting.
But he felt much better after that.
And it was then that the missing memories finally began to return — as they usually did — and it was then that Daniels began ruminating on this blasted curse of his.
God, this dual personality disorder was such a pain in the arse. It was almost as if his consciousness were attempting to come to grips with what he did for a living, perhaps in some futile effort to make him feel guilty about his profession by imprinting the brain of someone with a conscience upon his own.
It didn’t work though. It just ended up stupefying his memory and making him feel like shit.
Besides; this wasn’t work. It was art...
…and he was tremendously pleased with today’s result.
Shaking off the final tendrils of fogginess and checking over his victim one last time — now with a more critical eye — Daniels ensured his crew had done a satisfactory job of decorating. He then made to descend into the hold and check on the plunder they’d bagged, but female screams of pain and protest emanating from his own ship drew his attention and summoned him like the sirens of legend back to Barbarian.
Here he found six women and one young lad laid before him, all stripped naked, bent over and tied to a pole. Next to them was another member of the passenger ship’s crew, still alive, but also naked. This sorry-looking fellow was trussed up like a chicken and currently being smothered with oil, salt and spices by his ship’s cook.
“Ah good,” thought Captain Daniels, now completely lucid and gazing at the captured women and marinated sailor, “a little savagery, brutality and non-consensual entertainment, followed by dinner. Delicious.”
He commanded Barbarian to cast-off from the ransacked vessel and ordered his ship’s stove to be lit.
I have to admit: I don’t know if this would be my genre of choice, but it was fun (and a little naughty) to write, nonetheless.
In the next post, I shall be discussing wine.
Thanks for reading.