Years ago, I wrote this short story. I thought it was quite good (and which writer doesn’t think they’re the best writer ever). Apart from showing it round a couple of people I didn’t do anything with it. Rather than just allowing it to languish on my computer, I’m throwing it out to the world. You can read it here, or if you’ve the desire (and the money and the kindle), you can buy it, download it and read it from here. It costs a dollar or something.
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I’m the only person I know who can read or even write. I’m the only person in the world who knows the truth about the Dinosaur Council. In less than three hours time, the Mark will be completely gone, the Silk will rise in me like a final glorious song, and the spiders will find me and they will kill me.
My Grandfather was brilliant. His name was John Graham, he lived in the old time and he was trained as a bio-mechanical engineer. He was there when the Crystal was invented, and it was him and his team that finally worked out how to use it. If you could read this, then you wouldn’t believe it. My Grandfather invented the Dinosaur Council.
Outside the house a small mob has formed. The Mark is lifting now, and they’re hungry for some entertainment. If I look through the window, I can see them. Silk reflecting off the back of their pupils, Silk encrusted around their lips and tongues. About an hour ago they started singing. It is a Crystal song, all weird harmonies and bird-song babble. They should be unintelligible, but as I said, the Mark is lifting.
I’m writing this on plain paper with an old ink pen. It’s a pretty futile gesture. In the future nobody will be able to read. In the future, the Dinosaur Council will tell you what to think and when. In the future all ideas will be vetted, censored, twisted round and spat out at a dumb, deaf population that has become nothing more than a biological cog in a crystal machine. In the future, truth will be reflected, reversed and rainbow refracted across the eyes of an idolatrous nation. In the future.
My Grandfather was the first person to allow Crystal to grow itself. At the time, everybody knew it was clever stuff. Crystal was used in homes, in factories, in hospitals. It was partially organic, self repairing and if you had enough, you could work out anything. You wanted to calculate the origin of the universe four times as quick as you calculated it yesterday. You used twice the crystal. It was as simple as that.
There is a story my father used to tell me when I was young. A witch casts a spell on a princess and she falls asleep. Thorns surround her castle and nobody can get in. This lasts for a hundred years until a prince finds a way through the thorns. He kisses the princess. The thorns bloom into beautiful roses, and the princess wakes up.
The only problem was finding the time to tell the crystal what to do, and this is the problem my Grandfather solved. I am the same as my Grandfather, but I do not understand what he did. I’ve read his notes, read how he grew the crystal in a huge vat, how he tricked the crystal to evolve, how the edge of the crystal blackened, was broken off and thrown away. I’ve read those final few pages, read about that final realignment, read about how he tricked each filament to attach itself to him, I have read it all, but I do not understand it.
What I do understand, is that this was the Singularity. This was the birth of the Dinosaur Council. That year, ninety percent of the population was killed. The other ten percent were indentured to a machine my Grandfather invented.
My father who was also called John Graham was a brilliant man. After my Grandfather died, the council grew him from bone marrow and old skin, taught him everything about the Crystal and passed onto him his fathers legacy. My father helped the council evolve, created the Spiders, created the Silk and invented the Mark. If it had not been for the Mark I would not be here now. Without the Mark, the spiders would have been enough, but my father was a brilliant man. He helped the council evolve, helped himself to survive.
The Silk is an everything material. Crystal is potential for infinite information and Silk is Crystal’s potential for infinite form. In some ways, Silk is Crystal, and Crystal is Silk, but Silk is more solid, more flexible. It is difficult to explain.
The Spiders spin the Silk, and the Silk can be anything the Dinosaur Council wants it to be. Silk can be metal, can be glass, can be air, can be flesh. With the Silk, the Dinosaur Council had no need to force people to do anything. The Silk sings a spider song, wraps you up in warmth and light, tricks your body and mind to be what the Dinosaur Council wants you to be.
When I was thirteen, my father found me playing with the spiders and for the first time in my life my father beat me. I had let them cover me with the Silk, had not killed it like my father had taught me, had quietened the power of the Mark and let the spider song drift over me like a dream. He beat me, and then he cried. After that day, I played with the spiders on many occasions, but never when he was near, and never where I knew he would find me.
My father invented the Mark. The Mark is a neuro-chemical genetically produced by the body, keyed to latch onto individual molecules of Silk. The Mark was my fathers link to the spiders. It helped him block the song, gave him a degree of control over the Spiders, the Silk and the Dinosaur Council.
After I discovered the song I would hide from my father, call the spiders to me. The song is beautiful. When I still the Mark, the feel of Silk drips into me, washes over me, takes over every sense I own. When I quieten the Mark, the song is the taste of every food, is the knowledge of every book, is the sight of every sun bearing out of the universe to brighten and fade, to shrink and to die in an explosion of every colour warmth. I cannot explain it. The song is everything
I, like my father, and his father before him am called John Graham. The Dinosaur Council made me from my father’s bone marrow and skin, taught me everything I know. The council taught me how to fix the machines, how to feed the spiders, how to respect the council. From my father I inherited the Mark, and when I was older he taught me how to command the spiders, how to destroy the Silk.
When I asked my father about the Mark, he explained that it was a blind spot for the Dinosaur Council. He showed me pictures of the human retina, held out a piece of card with two crosses, one that you stared at, and one that always disappeared. I asked him if the Dinosaur Council could find the blind spot, if the Silk could be used to cover it, and he laughed. “Look at the first cross” he would say, and again the second cross would disappear.
Outside the mob has stopped singing. They sense the spiders are coming. Across the roofs, the Silk has started to flicker. A luminescence lights up over the hill, across the roofs of the huts surrounding the Dinosaur Council. The spiders are coming. The Mark is lifting now, and everything is slipping away.
My father was a brilliant man. He taught me how to kill the Silk with the Mark, how to weave it into toys, into mirrors, into blades. He taught me how to use the machines, and when I was older he taught me how to control the spiders. When I was twelve, he took me to a spot of ground a days walk away from the Dinosaur Council, showed me where my Grandfather was buried. He told me never to trust the Dinosaur Council.
They’re nearly here now. The mob is quiet, and I can feel them. The feeling is like a call. “We’re coming John. John, we’re coming”, and it feels like a sense of just waking up, or of just going to sleep. Even though the Mark is going, I try to call it, try to open it up, try to will the spiders away.
Two weeks ago I turned fifteen, and the spiders stopped the song. My father told me he knew nothing about it. The Dinosaur Council said he was an old bitter man, that he had used the Mark against me. Two weeks ago, and the spiders stopped the song. It was the worst feeling in the world. My father did not beat me this time but after I finished pleading with him, he did cry.
My name is John Graham and I am a brilliant man. The Dinosaur Council had a blind spot, but my father taught me how to invent. My fathers name was John Graham. He invented the Silk and the Mark. The Mark is lifted and my father is dead. My Grandfathers name was John Graham. He made the Dinosaur Council, and even though the Dinosaur Council had a blind spot I should never have trusted the Dinosaur Council.
When I was young my father taught me how to use the Mark. When I was thirteen I heard the spiders song. When I was fourteen, my father told me how the Mark was made, what machines were used. When I was fifteen, I was desperate for the spider’s song, so I used the old machines, taught the Dinosaur Council how to destroy the Mark.
The spiders are here now. The song is beautiful, melancholic, serene. A thumb catches the sharp tip of a needle. Silk begins to encrust the door, the walls the floor. A path through the thorns closes. Silk spreads itself beneath my feet, begins to flow up my legs. Somewhere in a story, a princess goes to sleep.