Camelon, The Dramatist

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Featured Story The Book of Vanishing Tales
The muses are gone. They sacrificed themselves to save Sandrella from cataclysm, and all that is left of them are drained, stone husks, and a ring of dust orbiting the world. Your wife was one of them.
But with them went all the dreams and the permanence of stories. And now, forty years later, it seems memory is next.
Though an old storyteller with little to your name, you must undertake a long journey to the Grove of the Muses, hoping to rekindle the flames that once burned inside you, before you can't remember them at all.

Recent Posts

Corona Tag! on 3/20/2020 2:08:40 PM

The pizza twist was amusing, but the whole tellemere aside sort of ruined it for me. Maybe back in the 90s it was thought the discovery of 800 base pairs on human chromosone 2 showed signs of "fusion" and was a serious support for evolution, but that got thrown out the window in 2002 when 614,000 base pairs surrounding the site were sequenced and found no other similarities with ape chromosomes  2A or 2B. Furthermore, when the 800 base pairs were sequenced (vs. looked at for banding patterns under light microscopy) less than half of the base pairs were even matches. Not only did this really undermine the whole theory that two ape chromosomes had somehow fused and passed on to man, but we now know that this section of chromosome 2 isn't a functionless pseudogene at all but part of one of three transcription factor binding sites on gene DDX11L2, which is in turn part of a number of genes that produce regulatory long non-coding RNAs. And that the specific section of 800 base pairs once used to support the theory of 'fusion' are actually read backwards, not forwards, which completely undoes any ghost of similarity scientists once saw in them.

So, highly functional, not a support of fusion from ape chromosomes, and a lot more useful from a design standpoint than 90's scientists could imagine.

Corona Tag! on 3/19/2020 9:10:36 PM

Yah, the implication is that there is a real sickness (either artificially caused or just exploited,) but it isn't necessarily as bad as what's being claimed, and the "deaths" aren't necessarily directly from the disease itself vs. people being killed with the disease. Everyone is prepping for a zombie apocalypse in their own way, but there might not even be a real zombie apocalypse.

Originally I planned to put in the whole scene with Georgia and the others where they actually examine Bill and figure a lot of things out, but it was making the piece a bit too long to post in the forum, and it didn't really fit with the main character's perspective. His whole thing is he *wants* the zombie apocalypse (I mean who doesn't secretly want to go kill some zombies now and then...) So while he thinks his sister is in denial that there is one going on, he is the one in denial that it might be something else.

Remember The Real Plague on 3/19/2020 9:03:42 PM

Now that I'm out of the corona quarantine thread I can comment on this craziness.

Snowflake identifies as "non gender-binary," since that's the hip thing to do now days if you don't fit an easy "victim" class, but wears skintight clothes to show her curves and hugs her brother more like a lover than a sibling. And of course, she wears blue and her brother wears pink. So hip and edgy!

And Screen-time hilariously has "infinite screentime" as he is permanently connected to the internet, and this is supposed to be treated as a positive. I wonder if he will face weaknesses like misinformation, internet lagging, viruses, or the crushing weight of reality.

I did find one somewhat clever thing in the mess which is the twins viewing their powers as a "post-ironic meditation on using violence to combat bullying." I did laugh at that. But it makes sense, how else are woke people beyond such things as punishing villains or using violence going to excuse their super-violence?

I can imagine the only people buying this will be the ones wanting to support it specifically because it's "woke." But I don't imagine the far left has ever been the core-demographic of comic sales.

Corona Tag! on 3/19/2020 8:40:33 PM


Corona Tag! on 3/19/2020 8:28:00 PM

They Promised Us an Apocalypse

“Shut it off, Clem,” I snapped. “You’ve been watching the tube for five hours straight, now.”

“But they update on the hour, just a few minutes more…”

“That’s what you said two hours ago.” I walked over, tapping the power button and letting the television screen pop to black. Not in time to keep the image it displayed from burning into my brain, however – an abstract map of the world, mostly countries in red or yellow, each with numbers in the thousands overlaid. And the largest number of all: 341,284. Almost 350,000 confirmed deaths, another 30,000 since yesterday.

“Turn it back, Matt, turn it back!” My best friend’s wife screeched, coming at me and clawing towards the screen.

I fended Clementine off with an arm. “We’re supposed to be prepping, not melting our brains before the zombies even get us. Aren’t you supposed to be taking inventory of the pantry? Bill and I risked a lot getting that last load of groceries.”

“But I need to know…” She scratched at the screen and sobbed.

“They never really give the latest, though, do they?”  Georgia spoke up from the corner of the room. I hadn’t even noticed her – but then, my sister was the quiet sort. Almost invisible. Probably why she kept a shock of hair dyed hot pink, just so she wouldn’t completely fade into the background. Right now, she was curled up in the comfy old armchair, a relic of our grandfather’s, and surrounded by papers and pens and actual files. “Haven’t you noticed – “ she gestured to the top of the pile, where she’d covered a page in red, “the death count changes, but the images don’t. The videos don’t. You’d think they’d have something new by now…”

“Who has time to take videos when they’re busy being chased by zombies?” Clementine huffed, finally managing to stretch past me and hit the power. I just hit it again in return.

“People video everything, especially those cell phone addicts in the cities.” Georgia tapped at her papers. She hated reading things online, “too artificial, it’ll rot your brain,” she’d say, so she would print whatever she wanted. By the sketchy lines and faded toner I could tell she must have been up printing half the night.

“But look,” she pointed as Clem got the power back on, and an announcer came on with the on-the-hour update. “It’s going to be the same thing it always is. A brief summary of the origins of the Zombid-28 virus, with a picture of a vampire bat, followed by a picture of a food cart at the World cup selling lamb skewers. Then a brief video of a crowd of people where several start frothing at the mouth all at once and collapse, the video of the crazy man biting that poor toddler, and several close ups of people with wild eyes or blood dribbling from their mouths. A list of symptoms to watch for. A reminder of travel and gathering restrictions.” She counted a finger for each item on the list, the t.v. following with the predicted piece for each in sequence.

“That doesn’t mean anything.” I said slowly, inwardly kicking myself for not having realized the same thing. “They probably use the same summary to save money and time.”

“But that’s just it, it isn’t only the summaries.” Georgia got up, stretched, and began to pace. “They have six, maybe seven images they cycle through. Three videos. And a handful of blurry mob shots that could be anything. But that’s it for Zombid-28 itself. That’s the only proof people are turning into zombies, at all. The rest is just video of the military coming into a new city, or breathless accounts of zombie encounters from people still alive.”

“That’s not nothing!” Clem gnashed her teeth. “Look, he’s announcing now, over three hundred dead in our state, just from today.”

“I didn’t say it was nothing.” Georgia’s voice dropped. “But it’s almost a guarantee that most those confirmed deaths were in Broomfield.”

“Why Broomfield?” I asked, just as the announcer brought up the predicted map of the city-county, followed by an announcement that Broomfield had become the latest outbreak center. “Wait, how?”

“It’s not difficult if you cross-reference the data and look for patterns.” She sighed, “They announced yesterday that Broomfield would be the third city to receive the vaccine. The military was scheduled to arrive there this morning.”

“That’s…an interesting coincidence.” I furrowed my brow. I wasn’t quite sure I was following her, but I gathered the implication was supposed to be ominous.

“More than coincidence, at this point. Really.” She sighed again. “It’s – something bad, just maybe not what we’ve been led to believe.”

“Well, conspiracy theories aside, we need to finish prepping. Between the six of us we have enough manpower and resources now to bunker down for a year, if need be, and fend off any zombie attacks.” I patted the gun at my hip. “But there’s still a lot to do. Starkville will probably be one of the last places hit, out in the middle of nowhere as we are, but zombies don’t work on our schedule.”

“If they are zombies at all.” Georgia was beginning to sulk.

“What other creatures turn rapid and try to eat human flesh?” I forced a laugh. “But where’s my girl Sally hiding? I thought she’d want to help me with the traps.”

“I’ll help you, I’m done here for now,” Georgia said. “Sally’s up in my room streaming some romance drama. She said she can’t die without knowing who Lee chooses, or something like that. A real keeper.”

“At least she doesn’t spend the end of the world looking for government conspiracies.” I retorted, but I didn’t have the heart to rebuke her seriously. Before the Zombid-28 panic had set in, I’d been planning to break up with Sally. She’d seemed like a wholesome, active girl at first, into outdoorsy stuff, but had pretty much done nothing but watch t.v. or do her nails since we’d started dating.

“Whatever.” Georgia shoved me as she passed by through the doorway. “Are we going to set some traps, or not?”

“Yah, yah.” I followed through the kitchen, then took the lead to the back porch. The last member of our merry band was busy typing complex knots. “Hey Dustin,” I called to him, but it was a few moments before he looked up.

“Hey,” he finally responded, then went back to his work.

“I’d forgotten,” I tried to rouse him again, “you’re dad owns a boat, right? You’re probably used to sailing.”

“Not very.” He didn’t say much else, so I gave up and moved back to my own pile. Dustin had never been the forthcoming sort. It was my sister who had insisted on inviting the geek.

“Good noose knot.” Georgia was hovering over his shoulder, now. “Did you get the stuff I asked for?”

“Yep.” Dustin gestured over to a large black garbage bag, which Georgia scampered over to.

I watched out of the corner of my eye, unused to seeing her so excited. What had she decided to waste the group’s money on? It seemed pretty random – some sort of pliable sheeting, lots of zip-ties, duct-tape. “What sort of trap are you planning?” I finally asked.

“Not really a trap,” she replied, “more of a restraint. You’ll see. Or you won’t. Depends.”

“Cryptic, as always.” I returned to my own work, digging a hole near the perimeter of the yard near a break in the bushes. It was in the path of a likely breach point, and so was a good location for a stake-pit trap. Before I could finish it, however, Clem came running outside.

“The vice-president is dead!” She hollered between breaths, “and half of congress! Emergency order – we see anyone turn, we shoot on sight!”

“What are you going on about?” I asked. “Who’s dead?”

“Vice President Kennedy! Apparently, he turned during a speech – could have been contagfious for days – then tried to bite the Speaker of the House. The president’s been whisked away, but all of D.C. is in an uproar right now. Breaches everywhere.”

“Did they show it?” Georgia asked.

“The V.P.’s body under a sheet,” Clementine shuddered, “And the tanks rolling up Virginia Avenue with the soldiers to pass out vaccines and deal with the menace.”

“No clear shots of the zombies?”

“No, do we need to see that? Just the symptom list and the emergency order allowing us to shoot to defend ourselves if a zombie comes toward us.”

“Seems a bit premature for that…” Georgia cautioned.

I shook my head. “What do you think we’ve been prepping for, if not a zombie apocalypse?”

“They’re calling it the Zompocalypse now,” Sally said from behind me.

“Welcome to the world of the living,” I muttered. “Your guy pick his girl yet?”

“Oh yes, Victoria of course, I knew he would –“ Sally gushed for a few minutes about the proposal and wedding and cliché’ last minute secret reveals, which we all tuned out as background noise. “…And then Trulia promised she would always love him, but that she was called to raise orphans in Liberia -”

“I hear the car,” I interrupted. “Probably Bill, he should be back with the last of the supplies by now.” I wasted no time in rushing off to the front yard, leaving Sally to pounce upon Clementine with the rest of the details.

“Hey Matt,” Bill waved as he got out of the car. “Didn’t get all we wanted – apparently toilet paper is a scarce commodity worth more than gold right now. Maybe Sally has some extra stashed at her place we can bring over, otherwise we’ll make do with what we have stockpiled so far. Got more canned goods, scored a few guns and some ammunition from Phil, got more rope –“ he proceeded to detail his haul as I helped him open the trunk and unload.

“Working too hard?” I asked, as his forehead looked a little sweaty.

“Just a hot day.”

“It’s barely sixty.”

“It was a long drive. I’m tired – “ Bill collapsed against the side of the car, sputtering, foam tipping over his lips. “No, damn it!” he coughed. “Matt – what’ll I do? I can’t get it. I won’t be a –“ his words were lost as he struggled to catch his breath.

“Bill – “ my hand moved to my gun.  I took a step back. Another. I’d need space to aim if things went south.

“Maaaattttt!” He staggered up, unsteady on his feet. His eyes were half rolled back, his head tilted to the side. It was as if three versions of him were superimposed over each other in my mind: one the happy, buff football quarterback he’d been back in highschool who’d insisted coach give me a shot; another the leaner, steadier man who’d married my crush I’d introduced him to; and the last a wild, crazed zombie who might turn any moment and demand I offer him my brains. “Maaattt, help me….”

I raised the gun and cocked it. “Don’t move Bill.”

“Matt, what the – noooo, I just don’t feel –“ he vomited on the ground, and I jumped back, accidentally letting a shot off that took out a tire.

He swayed and rattled, blood dribbling over his chin. He stretched out his hands, grasping for something, but it was unclear if he could even see me any more. The visions of the old Bills were fading, and all I could see was red.

“I’m sorry Bill.” I swallowed. “I have to do this, you know. We decided ourselves – we’ll never let the zombies take Starkville. No matter the sacrifice.”

“Noooo….” He moaned, taking a step forward.

I swallowed and aimed.

A kick sent me reeling, and the gun fired into the ground.

“Are you an idiot?” Georgia seethed at me, tackling me and pushing me into the mud as if we were kids again. She stayed sitting there as Dustin darted behind Bill and zip-tied the guys hands together. As Bill swayed, Dustin fitted him with some sort of cone – as if Bill was an injured dog.

“Get him contained.” Georgia snapped. “Use the mudroom for now, we’ll see about commandeering a building later.”

“What are you thinking?” I hollered, spitting dirt. “He could infect everyone. We can’t take the chance. We have to kill him and alert the authorities.”

“We have to take the chance.” Georgia responded. “Subdue. Contain. Observe. It’s the best approach, unless we want to see our state half wiped out.”

“You seriously need more data at this point?”

“I think we all need more data before we go around blasting our friends.” She lifted me by the ear and dragged me after the others to the mudroom. Bill was sitting, moaning, on a bench, his arms tied behind him.

“Look at him.” She ordered. “Do you seriously see a zombie?”

“Well, I don’t expect him to be literally shouting for brains…” I sighed, looking him over. He did look pretty unwell.

“So hungry…” Bill complained.

“See, see? What’s this sympathy for a zombie? I’m going to get another gun.” I muttered.

“Just wait.” Georgia pleaded. “I’m not saying you can’t kill him, if that ends up being the only way – just, that, there may be another way. We don’t have all the facts, like what Zombid-28 really does. How it’s really transmitted. Whether it’s even deadly if left alone.”

“How much time do you need?”

“That depends on Bill.” Georgia knelt before him. “How are you feeling?”

“Hungry. Sore. Huge headache,” he winced. “I can barely think.”

“Dustin will get you some food. We can’t take the cone off you, yet.”


“You play with your pet zombie. I’m going to finish the traps.” I stalked out of the room. Clem was already back in front of the T.V., wringing her hands over the latest on-the-hour update. It wasn’t quite a repeat this time, since it now included a shot of the White House and the bodies being put into ambulances – but otherwise, it was similar to the last. I found myself predicting the images just as Georgia had, then forced myself to pull away. So what if they kept showing the same zombies over and over? Didn’t change the reality.

Reality, yah. I went and grabbed a beer from the fridge. I’d give Georgia a few more hours to process things. She’d come to terms with the zombie apocalypse eventually – right now she was just in denial. It might take her more time to embrace that things were changing, and that we might have to use deadly force – even kill our friends. Heck, I might have to kill her, or her me, before this is over.

But for now, I could give her a last day of calm, let her fantasize about the ray of hope she keeps looking for in her piles of paper.

Killing Bill can wait until she falls asleep.

Corona Tag! on 3/16/2020 7:31:12 PM

" was bathed in a sickly blue glow the color of drowned mens' tongues."

This metaphor is fantastically disturbing.

Have some Epics !! on 3/15/2020 1:17:52 PM

Intrigue, scheming, betrayal, epic battles, even demon excorcism! A lot of interesting stuff. It did tend to read more like a long and complicated plot summary in many places though - this would be cool as a longer novel or series where it has a bit more space to develop and breath.


Chopped S02E02: The Rise of the Revenge of the on 3/5/2020 7:49:13 PM

This is great, so many moments, and the distinct personality of each of the judges really comes out. I feel like this whole thing is made of situations and words I would have never expected to be put together, and it's amazing. Have you ever played Fallen London or Sunless Sea? This reminds me a little of that sort of eldritch wackiness and comedic horror, but this is way better.

Coronavirus Conspiracy on 3/2/2020 1:19:44 PM

Skipping past the gossip and conspiracy bits, the theory that coronovirus started in the wet market is a lot weaker now given the 14 day incubation period and some other factors. It's more likely the wet market was a stop along the way vs. the original outbreak ground zero, which still isn't conclusively known.

Should I drop out of school? on 3/1/2020 3:14:05 PM

Can you take college classes on the side in the evening? It only takes a few to skip a grade. Talk to the highschool counselor and he/she might have ideas.