Havok Publishing

Michael Teasdale

The Sentry

Frank lowered the binoculars as dusk began to settle, washing the desert skyline with its somber orange hue. In the valley below, the portal swirled; a bright cerulean whirlpool sparkling against the dying embers of daylight.
He rubbed his eyes as footsteps approached from the crest of the ridge.
“Woo boy! This climb

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What the Willow-Warbler Saw

The cold, moonless night found a solitary willow-warbler perched on a rocky outcrop of the mountain, gazing up at the vast silver shape that hung in the sky.
What a strange looking creature, sang the bird, I wonder what it wants.

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The Good Boy

When Rosco opened his eyes for the first time and saw the old man smiling back at him, all operational parameters pointed to one thing: it was going to be a happy life.
His performance diodes peaked under the kindly gaze and the feedback-response loop set his chain-link tail thumping uncontrollably against

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The Hardest Words

The clock struck nine and the dog winked out of existence.
George watched, openmouthed, from the breakfast table, the scent of bacon tickling his nostrils. Behind him, Mary hummed to herself over the crackle of the frying pan. He looked around slowly, measuring his movements.
“Mary?”
She turned. Her hazel eyes sparkled with life,

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The Engineers

The rising twin suns peeked over shining blue mountains, casting their gaze on Woźniak’s hulking frame as he dipped his paintbrush into the can.
inside the cabin, a crackling record started playing and a centuries-old ghost sang about trees of green and the beauty of red roses.
Woźniak watched small droplets

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The Bodies in Question

The scorching heat retreated as the wall of flame fizzled into nothingness. Irrick looked across the ruined campfire at the soot-stained face blinking back at him.
Wonderful! he thought. Those eyebrows aren’t going to grow back in a hurry.
“Gah! Why wizard’s fire magic so strong?” bellowed Krull “Now Krull’s supper ruined!”

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The Loophole

The synaptic probe slides into my brain, battering down the doors to my treasured memories. There is no time to prepare for the pain. Instead, I focus on the memory of a kindly old face.
Would my creator be proud of me?
“Are you smiling, RS-47? Such emotional mimicry will not hold sway here.”

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The Man in the Purple Waistcoat

The clock ticked as Doctor K made a few perfunctory marks on her clipboard, then studied the hollow-eyed patient. “The man in the purple waistcoat… have you seen him again since the accident?”
The patient’s face spasmed at the mention. He shook his head with the short, sharp ferocity of a dog shaking

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It Was Their Forest First

Had I recognized the emerald droplets for what they were, perhaps I wouldn’t have followed them.

You’d woken me, earlier than usual. Restless, kicking, and hungry for both of us. I’d grazed on a bowl of muesli as I sipped my mint tea, watching the dust bunnies dance in the bright January

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Red Shift

The captain brought the rubber stamp down on the document and frowned at the blood-red imprint.

“This makes grim reading,” he sighed. His stare burrowed into the chief inspector’s face. “You found no evidence of survivors?”

From across the desk, he watched Holzfäller fold her hands across her lap.

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An Honest Profession

When the sandstorm dissipated, it left behind only a scattered coating of golden grains on the threadbare furniture.
And a man.
Olive skinned and dressed in a smartly-tailored suit, he carried a worn leather briefcase. His shoes, which, given the circumstances, Susan had expected to turn up at the toes, were instead brightly

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…All Is Bright

A glowing array of dashboard lights illuminated the cockpit. Halpin summoned the viewscreen, swinging the decaying majesty of the dying star into sharp focus. Withered and blue, it shuddered in its death-throes, belching red rings of cosmic flame into the inky void.

“Hello at last.”

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