[Casting Call] This Man

A book from the library at Dilmun.
CC BY-ND 2.0

As the time draws closer to the next great Reckoning, more and more people across the world wake with vivid memories of long, involved conversations with a man whom they instinctively think of as “This Man.” Who he is and what they spoke about remains unclear to those who dream of him. They only remember his lack of a name and the urgency with which he spoke.

This Man’s tale, say those who know it, began long ago and in another country, in Hod, the dream kingdom of Morpheus. Then and there, he served Rex Oneiros in his White Tower in the city of Dilmun. He rose in influence and estimation, coming closer to family and confidante to Morpheus than the dream lord allowed ever before. One day, however, something happened; This Man committed some terrible sin in the eyes of his liege. No two tellers of the story agree on how or what. The eighty-seventh oracle at Delphi said he betrayed Morpheus for the love of a garden nymph. The carvings of Machu Picchu relate how This Man loaned a forbidden book from the library of unwritten works. Or maybe he told Morpheus what he really thought, as Mad Hetty insists.

Continue reading

[Casting Call] The Ghost Writer

Flashback! I originally conceived and wrote this back in the winter of 2008, posting it to UniFans.org. I decided to relocate it here for the sake of completeness. Jenny was written with C.J. Carella’s WitchCraft, published by Eden Studios, in mind, but her story is vague enough to fit into most urban fantasy or horror settings.

The Ghost Writer

Every Tuesday night for the last two months, Jenny Torres has sat down at her kitchen table at exactly 6:59 PM. When the clock strikes seven, her hand grabs a pen from the coffee mug full of them and starts writing in a fresh composition book. The curious thing is Jenny has no idea what she’s going to write. Something else controls her hand and it won’t let go until midnight.

It began when Jenny got in a car wreck. Driving home from her waitressing job late one night, Jenny’s car was T-boned by a drunk driver. The driver got a broken arm and two points on his license. Jenny got a coma. So the doctors were amazed when she woke up three days later. All Jenny could recall was leaving work, and then some vague impressions of a gray land, where people blew around like leaves on the wind, and the sense of having just had a very long conversation.
Continue reading

[Casting Call] The Wizard of Boston Common

Flashback! The Wizard of Boston Common was originally posted to the newsgroup alt.games.whitewolf — now a howling waste, as is most of Usenet since the advent of cheap forum hosting — in the summer of 2004. It was my first attempt at writing and sharing any RPG-related material, I think. It shows, natch. To make things even better, at the time I had never run Mage: The Ascension. I repost it here for completeness’ sake.

The Wizard of Boston Common

James Cadwell is an uncertain man. He’s also very popular with the children who frequent Boston Common.

One afternoon a week, James tapes an episode of Doctor Wisebottom’s Science Lesson, a ten minute bumper program that airs on WGBH, the local PBS affiliate. He leads his audience — five to eight year olds, drawing off the audience built up by Zoom — through a fairly elementary experiment, always one easily replicated in the kitchen. It’s not unlike other science programs geared towards children, but James does his best to inject some of the basics of Etherite thinking into his dialogue, particularly the concept that the things people do not believe exist may still yet. His lesson on the coelacanth is a case in point.

James would never admit it out loud, but sometimes, when he tapes an episode, he secretly hopes the experiment will go wildly right. He’s not sure what he means when he thinks this.

Saturdays, when it’s warm out, James goes down to the Common. Dressed the part of the dapper stage magician, he enthralls the enthrallable (a group which seems to growing smaller as time passes, James notes sadly) with sleight of hand and mentalist feats. Then, he enthralls them even further by teaching them how to perform the illusion for others, showing that anything is ultimately explicable, and appreciated all the more for it. James is actually unsure about the former, but he’s decided to err on the side of optimism.

Neither of his audiences have made the link between Doctor Wisebottom and the Wizard of Boston Common, thanks largely to the bushy white eyebrows, wig, and old man voice that James dons to play the good doctor. He feels silly, but enjoys both roles all the same. He enjoys the balancing act between deceptor and illuminator, never staying on one side or the other for long.

The rest of the week, James spends either at his job as an assistant librarian at Boston College, or pursuing some project or other in his own time. Lately, the topic of choice has been consciousness, whether it depends on inhabiting a body, and whether consciousness is fundamentally unalterable. Can we become other people? James wonders.