Sunday 19 June 2011

Doctor Storm

Doctor Storm, white boy with dreads, ran across the rain-swept rooftops. There was an idea loose in the City of Minds and he was hot on its trail.

The City’s overseer, the Angel of Nothing, sat in his Tower of Inspiration. He had been Doctor Storm’s partner once, but now he controlled what had once been free; he commanded the beat that had once been wild, that the two of them had once danced to, together. Nothing happened in the City without the Angel knowing.

Twists of smoke like malnourished waifs slunk through the corridors and stairs of the tower; they saw to The Angel’s every need, his warmth, his comfort, his hunger and desire. The Angel’s servants were ideas, bound to physical form. When they were used up and faded and forgotten, the Angel took them to their resting place, where they would serve in one last way, and the Tower grew just a little.

In the highest room of the Tower there was a table. The table was incongruous in this place of pure thought; it was old, wooden, scratched and stained. It was physical. Many years ago he and Doctor Storm had sat across from each other at this very table. They had discussed the future, they had discussed the past, they had discussed things that might exist, things that could exist, and things that never should. There were still two chairs, though one had been empty for so many years.

The Angel of Nothing was shuffling the tattered Black Tarot deck.

He and Doctor Storm had imagined the Black Tarot, they had researched its science, its magic and mechanics, they created it in all but form. The theory by itself had been enough to show them the cracks between perception and creation; the doorway beyond reality. And that was when they had stepped outside of the real world and come here, to the City.

The Black Tarot was a stacked deck. Where a normal tarot could show hints and shades of what was to come, what the Black Tarot showed actually determined the future. Normal tarot sifted through options and pathways, choices; the Black Tarot solidified all the possible futures into one. With practice and dexterity the dealer could determine the spread, and so dictate the future.

The Angel of Nothing had practiced. The Angel of Nothing was a master. The future was his.

The inhabitants of the City, once so full of vibrancy and revelation, had been shackled. In the real world their counterparts found themselves uninspired and suddenly, unaccountably dull.

Doctor Storm was determined to change all that. He had put his fate in the hands of chaos, in the one thing the Black Tarot had no control over, he let the weather determine his path. Weather was capricious and mercurial, its vast momentum too great for the Black Tarot to affect, and so he became invisible, untouchable.

The City spoke to Doctor Storm, it warned him and kept him hidden; it revealed its hidden tracks to him. And now there was a new idea loose on the streets, new thought, new possibility. The Doctor was determined to find it and bind it to the cause. One day there would be an idea that could bring the Angel down, one day there would be revolution, and on that day freedom of thought would reign again.

The rooftops were slick with rainwater but the Doctor’s footing was sure and the winds howled around him as he ran. He leapt across an alley and lightning thrashed the air, striking the library spire; the air shook with magnificent thunder. He turned towards the library, his heading now revealed.

In his peripheral vision the Doctor saw several shapes leave the Tower of Inspiration. He knew what they were, steel traps with wings of water-proof paper. On the paper were scrawled ideas, of flight and tracking and relentlessness. He had encountered their cunning before.

Doctor Storm’s grin was dark and feral. The hunt was on.


  1. Intriguing characters and world you've created here. At first I thought anyone with the power to rig the Black Tarot would be unstoppable, but then we learn that Doctor Storm still has a chance to be unpredictable. It seems like a hard, fraught route.

  2. Thanks, Aidan. It really isn't an easy road ahead for Doctor Storm...

  3. Hi there John -- liked this world and its weirdness. Intriguing characters and interesting rules. Although complete in itself, I'd be intrigued to see where this story went next.

    Very good.


  4. Oh, excellent thought, using the weather to keep rigid Fate at bay! Doctor Storm indeed! This is what I hope is a great start to a longer piece.

  5. Thanks, Stephen, FAR. =)

    It was only intended to be a one-shot... that said, most of what I write, I write because it excites me in some way, so I usually want to return to just about every flash I write. Who knows, Doctor Storm may return one day...

  6. A very intricate and thought-provoking piece of writing. For some reason I kept getting flashes from the film "Dark City" whilst reading it.

  7. The world and characters are so complex and interesting they pull you right in.

  8. Thanks, Steve. I love Dark City, it hadn't occurred to me, but I can see the similarities, and it would definitely sit amongst my (many) inspirations.

    Thank you, Lara. =)

  9. Some super grand ideas here. Love the thought of new ideas loose on the streets. Every revolution's precursor, surely

  10. Thanks, Mazzz, and well put. =)