Mark Huntley-James was born in Bristol and now lives on a small farm in Cornwall with his partner and a menagerie of cats, poultry and sheep. In getting from B to C, he gained a PhD in Physics, worked in R&D and then financial software, as well as doing the usual mundane things like traditional English clog dance, amateur theatre stage crew, keeping bees, historical re-enactment with the English Civil War Society and writing science-fiction and fantasy.
Your world is ours now. Your water, your air, your land – you should have defended them better. When there is so much to take, then we take. When a foe is so weak, we conquer. After a few more battles I will paralyse your military from within. I will use your own warriors to crush you.
I am Tom. Of the Gathering. Your world is ours.
And so are your pronouns.
Let me rephrase. I was of the Gathering and now I am Tom. Not actually Tom, but within Tom, who is now part of us. The Gathering. Except Tom does not know of us and…
This is confusing. Let me rephrase.
I now control Tom. Lieutenant Colonel Tom of the Elite Fighting Furies. Tom is the middle of us. The safe place. What you individuals call mediocre. Under my guidance, he has risen from lowly foot soldier to a position of rank and respect. Tom is a leader. And he is mine. So I am Tom. Of the Gathering. But mostly of Tom and I. Is I. Am I.
Victory is all that matters. My – our – victory is close. You are mine. All mine.
Look! These new pills make my hairs stand on end and wave at people. Amazing, right? I don’t mind, but it makes my head itch, although nowhere near as badly as the old pills. Look at them go, luv. Medusa man, right? Thousands of tiny snakes wriggling up top. Unless I wash my hair, and then I can’t do a thing with it.
Sorry, luv. Telekinetic joke. I do that when I’m nervous and it helps to break the ice, and I can do that if I put an ice cube on my forehead. Really, I can break ice a few millimetres from my head, which is pretty awesome. It’s enough to get me over my depression, except that’s probably really down to these drugs that make my hair stand on end. They said this telekinetic thing is a rare side effect. I don’t care.
It’s impossible, right? Waving my hair by the power of my mind? Can’t be done. Well, you just reach over and run your fingers through my hair, and perhaps I’ll trim your nails. Or give me a hug, and I’ll make your hair curl …
Sorry, luv. Yes, I know that was really inappropriate. I’ll just have a bottle of milk and a packet of teabags. I’m just so buzzed that I felt up to leaving the flat. Hey, look, I can raise my eyebrows … and then all my hair at the front … yeah, it’s a fringe activity. Sorry. More telekinetic humour. I don’t often meet new people. How much for the milk and tea? Better make it skimmed.