Mr Burke

Mr Burke

published here

The tiger folded his paws, cuffs slipping, showing monograms on his golden cufflinks.

Peterson shuddered. The bureau was huge, bigger than his house.

It made the boss look even more elegant and sophisticated, then before.

The white marble-topped table was impressive, the tiger enthroning the big black leather chair looked like a king holding court.

“Peterson. Do you think, this impresses me?” The tiger snorted and laid his ears back. His golden eyes pierced the weasel sitting in front of his desk. “Do you think this is ENOUGH?” The growl in his voice made the glass of the windows tremble.

And he sat on a wooden chair in front of a man, who could snap him in two, probably only with the power in his left pinky… His tail twitched nervously, licking his lips didn’t help. Peterson tried to hide in his hide, as he felt his boss’ eyes burning into his skull.

“…No? Sir.” The weasel trembled too, eyeing the door. “Sir? May I suggest Chef Michael prepares you an early lunch?” Peterson tried to save himself from his boss’ rage. He knew he fucked up, and the numbers were more than awful. But that didn’t mean, that he had to die for them. Hopefully… The tiger popped all claws on his left paw, and tapped the marble tabletop impatiently. He leaned back in his office chair.

“This will not suffice, Peterson. I’m disappointed with your performance.” The claws pierced the paper stack Peterson just brought with him. With a careless gesture he swept the stack to the floor. “Pick that up, Peterson.” The weasel swallowed audible.”You know what? Leave it. You reek like a dead dog. Have you been rolling in dead dog?”

“Uh, uh… nyes?” Peterson hurried to get to the door, and to close it as fast as he could from the outside.  The tiger smiled an amused smile and punched a button on his intercom. “Sally, darling, please do come in, and brighten up my day.”

“Yes, Mr. Burke.” The female voice chirped through the line.

The tiger got up and out of his navy blue blazer. The snow-white shirt was fitting him perfectly. He loosed the golden silk tie and unbuttoned his collar. His right ear twitched. Sharp clacking sounds were approaching the door. “Ah, Sally! Please come in, come in.” He opened the door for her. Sally had both hands busy with holding and over-sized bath brush, a pillow filled with catnip, and a box full of alive mice.

Mr Burke hugged her and lifted her from the ground. Sally thrashed a bit, then gave up, when hearing Mr. Burke’s purring. “Sir? Mr Burke? You know that it isn’t professional, to have your toys brought to you, if you are upset,” she asked in his shoulder.

“Mhm,” he purred.

“The CEO of a company worth multimillion dollars in arms business, is supposed to be awe-inspiring, terrifying and mighty impressive.” She lessoned him. “Shall I have Chef Michael prepare lunch?” He shook his head and let her very gently touch the ground.

“Ready?” She wiggled the pillow a bit before she threw it into the furthest corner of the bureau.

image: Kuoni

The Lunatic And The Moon

The Lunatic And The Moon
I submerge in the silvery flood
of the dark whisper in my blood
past’s poison floats to the surface
full in shape, the moon rises too
midst the sclera of midnight blue –
“Observing, my dear! Observing
your fate and redemption…”
All those tiny human things
I wished to lose, not to suffer,
not to hunger, nor to feel pain.
I´d give you my love, my hate,
my body, my pain, my thoughts,
my everything, just to be free.
-Free from my humanity.
She quietly observes, maybe pondering.
The enormous eye rests on a rooftop,
blinks eventually. Once… Twice…
“As you wish, my love.”
Night’s cold I don’t feel anymore
Power surges through my bones
Rises like water over volcanic stones.
Wounds on my skin all healed,
my soul’s grim just a bad dream.
Only hunger keeps me company.
I lick my muzzle starvingly,
scratch my ear, with a paw-
But my scream’s just a howl…*

tiger, burning… (1)

tiger, burning…  (1)
Part 2 - Tea with Jade and Tiger 
Part 3 - Monkey on the Road


San Chou is a dangerous place. It is the domain of the infamous Band of the Black Viper.

Everybody in and  around Li Jiang knows that… Bad news, even if only rumors, spread like bush fire over cities and the countryside. And the shadow of the Black Viper has reached the high officers in the  cities around the Cold Mountain. It’s enough to get the governor Zhang Dee Yang upset.

The Black Viper is the fabric his nightmares are made of.

Continue reading “tiger, burning… (1)”

the problem with magic

There is no such thing as magic. Not anymore… Real magic is extinct.

I haven’t seen any since… Huh, I can’t remember since when. Funny. I haven’t seen any real magic in an amazingly long time- at least one thousand years, or more. Come to think of it, it’s nearly two thousand years.

I remember Alexandria. Wait, no that’s not right. The last time I recall sensing magic was in the Middle Ages. I didn’t suspect that it’d be the last time I see someone cast a spell. It isn’t been a good, nor a very successful one, more of a petty attempt to hide money.  The man, some filthy carney, speaks the words sloppily, as if not knowing what they meant.

I was disgusted by his attempt- such poorly woven multiplying spell grafted upon a basic privacy charm. I think he tried to equally multiply and to hide his money,  but it backfired on him. Badly. That’s what happens, if you pour fresh pigeon blood over Mandragora roots and mermaid scales, before allowing the full moon to shine upon the ingredients. A spell is like a plant, you can’t just put one on top of the other, you have to wait, so they can grow together. Magic is a living thing, having its own will and its own needs. I’ve always thought Romanies had good instincts for the cycles of nature, and for magic. Obviously not this one…

The spell made his silhouette look like a huge burning shadow. That was before leaving his circus caravan and being mauled to death by two horrified wolf dogs . The man had some hilarious last words: “Not dying, abracadabra.”

If I had known, that this was the last magic user, I would have done something about that spell going wrong.

Then for a time I’ve been following some promising individuals around, alchemists, illusionists and also some scary looking old women. Despite the public opinion, they had not an ounce magic on them. I tried children next. Nothing. You cannot imagine how boring things get, without magic. My last straw were the black cats. Cats always have something peculiar about them, but nothing magical, to my disappointment.

I thought about meddling with the tides of magic, crossing the paths of darkness and light. What I got out of the equation was: war. Don’t get me wrong, I got nothing against some human tears, blood, and despair, but it’s only a cheap substitute. Nothing tastes like magic. Nothing else is able to satisfy my appetite. I have tried everything else.

everyone needs good staff

a chuck wending prompt (X), 5-sentence-story / 100 words

music inspired: Burn my shadow away, by UNCLE (war stories)

Entropy was a bitch, but only because I wasn’t a morning person.

Temperature fell below zero in a blink, my breath formed little vapor clouds.

My shadow bloated and blurred the room, stretching to the corners, fanning out and coaxing my thoughts into reality.

A blood colored velvet Chesterfield dropped to the ground with a thud, and a hot cup of tea wobbled into existence right in front of my left hand.

Really tired of these morons, working for me, nothing but a waste of space and energy… Being the devil, doesn’t make my job easier…



a chuck wending prompt (link); a 5-sentence-story (max 100 words)

A big, unusual looking white wolf stood on top of the hill, the forest in its back, stretched its hind paws and yawned.

Maybe its sky-colored eyes, or its gold dipped tail, or its huge glistening fangs  made it look so exceptional…

Just before sunrise, the horizon started glowing and writing flashed to rush across the sky, as it always did.

The wolf read it out: “Thank you for choosing Strix Planetary Maintenance Systems.”

“Crap, time to upgrade,” the wolf rolled its eyes.


tiger, burning

-a chuck wending friday flash fiction challenge (1000 words)- here

San Chou was a dangerous place. Everyone in Li Jiang knew that. The news of brutal robbery and gruesome rape and murder reached us. Governor Zhang Dee Yang was more than worried. He seemed so distant, I feared he’d fall ill. Even his wife was concerned enough to call for a doctor. After the doctor went, I visited him and we drank tea in the garden.

All together the band of San Chou seemed to be only gossip, but the governor took it seriously. “A good governor is like a  good general, Bolin. Just like a good father, his soldiers trust and obey him, because they love him, not because they fear him. They would never betray or disgrace their general’s name,” he said to me, with the saddest smile. He seemed so fragile, I never seen him so worn out. After all, he was more than my high official, he was a father to me. “The good governor can rely on his subjects, as they equally rely on him. But I can’t rely on the officials in that village. Who knows what they are up to. They must be corrupt. Maybe they supply the band with secret information.”

“Possibly…”I nodded slowly, “but how could one verify?”

“Bolin, that band is like a snake. It finds its way into every crack of the wall… Surprise it! Pull it’s fangs, so it can’t bite. No bite, no venom. Take it’s head, and the body dies slowly.” The governor was right. To restore order in San Chou, it was necessary to free the village from the criminals. The most effective way was to do it from the inside. One capable man could do it. Zhang Dee Yang looked at me with a curious expression, pulled a grimace, which made me laugh. “Bolin! You look so serious, my boy. Take care, your face could get stuck in that expression!” He laughed a warm laugh, one that I missed.

I made up my mind. Zhang Dee Yang saved me, when I was a baby boy, he took me in, nurtured my body and mind. I was more than grateful, that’s why I volunteered for this task. He wasn’t happy, but needed someone to trust in San Chou. That day, the governor sent for a man and a woman. They appeared like shadows from a side of the garden.

I didn’t needed to go alone. And all three of us had better chances to succeed. The way they moved, how they stood and sat, I suspected they were fighters. Really good ones. “This is Fang Hua Xing, beautiful and deadly, her virtue is the dancing of the blades. This is the famous Jinhai Wei Fu, master of the lance. And this is my oldest son, Bolin.” The governor introduced everyone. How did he know such people?

We exchanged courtesies, drank tea and discussed the matter extensively. Fueled by the excitement of my first mission, and the two fighters, I couldn’t sleep a wink. We decided to approach the village from three different directions. In disguise, we would behave like strangers to each other. No one should suspect any trace of links between each other. Especially the connection to the governor of Li Jiang, my father should stay secret, to prevent further disturbances. Our true identities were to remain concealed, so we chose new names too. I went with Monkey, Fang Hua Xing called herself Jade, and Jinhai Wei Fu was Tiger. We all had our specialties, as Jade was a master with swords, Tiger with the lance, my abilities were not so spectacular, I admit. After years of studying, I mastered acupuncture and was sent for training into the monastery of Mt. Songshan.

I reached San Chou on foot, five days after we parted at the governor’s house. Dressed as a wandering astronomer, nobody took noticed of me and I had no trouble reaching the village. In the first hostel I asked after martial arts schools. San Chou had three. That was a start. “If you look for trouble, search for the troublemakers.” My master used to say, and martial arts scholars had a clear stroke of trouble on them. I thought of myself, and my training. The monks were firm, not allowing anger, fear or joy. I thought of the hunger and the many hours of work in the house of Zhang Dee Yang. Master was right, troubled souls had an affinity to martial arts. They were attracted, like moths to the fire.

I paid a boy three wen to show me around. One coin for each school. I gave him another, for food. I heard nothing of Jade and Tiger, so I started my observations and made notes. Each school had one active teacher, and one older master. The number of scholars were variable. Southern Fist had eleven boys, Wing Chun had fifteen and Northern Legs had seven. I tried to remember each of the scholars. It was most likely that the criminals had some training. I had to ask the masters for drop-outs without attracting too much attention. After that, I checked the administration, from the outside it looked fine. Then I caught a glimpse of Tiger. He leaned at the garden wall of a house nearby, in a beam of sunlight and threw me a disgusted look. Where was Jade? What was she doing?

I had a brilliant idea. I went to the entrance of the administration and knocked at the door. A soldier let me in and I demanded to see the high official. Truth was a tool, as much as betrayal could be.

I was shown into a small dark room, with one chair and one table. A thin man came in, walking on a cane, with grey hair and mustache, clothes richly embroiled. As he sat down he nodded and smiled a rapid flash of teeth. Only as he indicated with his hand, I started speaking: “My Lord. I am a wandering scholar, an astronomer. I’m here to warn you. A man I noticed on the other side of the street is spying out the administration.” The man showed no reaction. “I know him from my hostel, where I made a horoscope for him. A very dangerous and brutal man.” He indicated me to stop, stood up and left the room. Surely, to check my claims.

Four soldiers barged in, with drawn swords all pointing at me. The man came back in, with a most satisfied smile. “So we caught you, Monkey. Call miss Jade in, so she can verify. You’ll see that our prisons are as comfortable, as the ones in Li Jiang.”

-to be continued -