Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 5.

‘Your father told me that he had uncovered something so terrible that it meant the end of all existence as we know and understand it,’ said Mac as he rummaged among the folders on the top shelf. Mac pulled an envelope from the folder, opened it and pulled out a single sheet of paper.

‘Here it is,’ he said to himself.

Mac slipped his glasses on and started reading.

‘The NotBeSpeak will not be spoken of. They are the space between the words. Not the words themselves. The pause before the sentence. The sigh that follows. The NotBeSpeak are ancient. Timeless. Dangerous. Alien. The NotBeSpeak are shapeless. Always shifting. Drifting outside of definition. Beyond boundaries. The NotBeSpeak are not evil. This is not a word for them. No words really are. The NotBeSpeak need shape now. They need form to form their dismal plan. The NotBeSpeak seek a host. Like a vacuum needs a vessel to empty. Blood needs a wound to drain. Darkness needs a light to extinguish.’

Mac stopped reading. Inteachán shivered as she thought about her father writing this crazy-sounding stuff. What was he talking about?

‘But what does it all mean?’ she asked Mac. ‘I really don’t understand.’

Mac smiled and put the piece of paper back into the envelope. He then put the envelope back in the folder and the folder back on the shelf. He walked stiffly back to his armchair and slowly sat down. He looked at Inteachán.

‘Here’s what I think I know,’ he said hesitantly. ‘Or what I think I think, if you see what I mean.’

Inteachán waited quietly for Mac to carry on. He duly did.

‘Every infection needs a host and the NotBeSpeak need the biggest host of all, the world.’

Inteachán looked confused.

‘Blood, and wounds and infections,’ she said. ‘What are you talking about?’

‘I have absolutely no real idea,’ said Mac truthfully, ‘not even the slightest notion but I do not doubt the cataclysmic severity of your father’s discovery. If it is true that the NotBeSpeak do exist it would then follow logically that they are looking for a form that will allow them to engage with the world.’

Mac smiled sadly.

‘If we knew anything about this likely form then we might have some idea of how they could be stopped.’

Mac paused and Inteachán shivered again.

‘But, I have no idea what form this likely form will take.’

Mac coughed. The shadows cast from the fire leapt around the room. A spurt of gas curled from a coal and hissed its dying pyrolysic breath for a tiny moment before vanishing forever. Mac readjusted the blanket on his knees. Inteachán was still very upset and began to cry loudly. With no thought to comforting the child, Mac continued.

‘Every civilisation has its own names for spirits and faeries and demons and balrogs and wights. In this country we have always tended to use the word ‘Fomhóire.’’

Mac smiled.

‘We have always known them this way but, and thanks to your father, I now know them as another – the NotBeSpeak.’

‘But what are they?’ asked Inteachán. ‘I still don’t get it.’

She really didn’t understand anything that was going on. All she knew was that her father had killed her mother and tried to kill her because ‘They’ told him to. That didn’t make any sense.

‘How could you ever understand?’ said Mac kindly.

He cleared his throat, picked up a section of his Miscellanea which lay nearby and started reading.

‘Fomhóire means ‘from the sea’ and is the name given to the divine powers, or gods of night, death and cold. The Fomhóire were misshapen and were believed to have the heads of goats and bulls. They also were believed to have only one leg and one arm each, and these grew out of the middle of their chests. The Fomhóire were the ancestors of the evil faeries and, according to legend, of all misshapen persons. The giants and leprechauns are also said to belong to the Fomhóire.’

Mac looked up.

‘This is the standard history, so to speak, the approved version that we peddle to tourists and schoolchildren when we speak so fondly of our quaint customs and traditions and superstitions.’

Mac paused somewhat dramatically, as if he was back in the lecture hall after all these long years.

‘But what if these tales and creatures and histories and versions stemmed from a different source, one far more foreign and outside and clearly much less quaint and more deadly?’

Mac looked at Inteachán and the flames from the fire caused his eyes to shine momentarily.

‘One not attributable to the life and legend of this planet in anyway whatsoever?’

Later that evening, and with Inteachán thankfully finally asleep, Mac sat in his chair and watched the fire die down to almost nothing. He remained deep in thought for what seemed like the longest time and then he looked out into the night that now gripped the world and began to speak.

‘Listen’, he said fearfully. ‘I need to speak to all of you out there about a matter of great urgency.’

He looked out into the expectant darkness.

‘I am a dying man and I need to tell you some really important things straightaway. Otherwise the events you are about to witness will make very little sense.’

He paused.

‘If I tell you all everything now then I won’t have to go through everything ever again. I just don’t have enough time to keep repeating myself.’

Mac started to look worried.

‘Inteachán’s father stumbled upon a plan to destroy the entire country and, indeed, the world. I have absolutely no idea how he came about this knowledge, as he was certainly very secretive towards the end, perhaps afraid that my knowing would place me in danger as well.’

Mac exhaled ruefully.

‘From what little information I was able to glean from him, this terrible plot has always been in existence – hence my thoughts on the Fomhóire – but the very recent and extremely well-documented man-made disasters endured by Ireland’s economy have created certain metaphysical and, indeed, metaphorical conditions by which the architects of this terrible plot have been able to revive their dreadful ambitions. Or had their ambitions revived for them? As you can hear, I am still not totally clear.’

Mac looked out into the darkness.

‘I fear that I may not ever know everything but I do know enough to know that it is now time for you all to find out about the NotBeSpeak.’

He picked up the folder.

‘Here is the final ‘research’ paper written by Inteachán’s father. I didn’t want to alarm her earlier but it doesn’t make pretty reading.’

Mac grimaced.

‘Clearly, the poor man’s discovery caused him to lose his mind.’

He winced.

‘See for yourself.’

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Terminal Transit Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

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Terminal Transit,

‘Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak’’

Verse 3

Following the inquest, the Coroner’s Report confirmed that ‘Dr Butler F. Temple killed himself and murdered his daughter by leaping from Wexford Bridge after first stabbing his wife to death while she was asleep at No. 23 Wolseley Street, Dublin 8 with a double-edged ‘sacrificial’ dagger that he had recently purchased by mail order. Dr. Temple’s 1972 Volkswagen Beetle was found abandoned close to the bridge. Dr. Temple’s body was discovered the same evening but his daughter’s body is still unaccounted-for.’

‘A terrible misadventure,’ reported the Coroner, ‘likely brought about by a combination of overwork and chronic depression. This tragedy is further compounded by the fact that the child’s body still remains unfound at the time of writing.’

Everyone agreed that it was a dreadful thing to have happened and for a few days it was the talk of this tiny town – especially considering it involved an academic from Trinity College, itself the very site of controversy. But, as is the nature of tragedies, however terrible, they happen so often that the next one leaves the last one in that special but dreadful place where the memories of every single tragedy ever to have befallen blur as they coalesce around the faded inches of discarded newspaper print and occasional visits to graveyards.

As far as everyone was concerned that was pretty much that and the sad affair of the gifted Trinity lecturer who lost his mind was consigned to the pages of local history but Mac, being Mac, had certainly never considered himself to be any part of ‘everyone else’ and in any case he knew for sure that something else lay at the heart of this tragedy.

Inteachán’s arrival at the flat that had been in her family since the 18th Century made Mac even more sure that there was something afoot, so sure in fact that it never occurred to him to report the fact of her being alive to the authorities. Mac was desperate to get to the heart of what happened and so it was that he soon found himself unable to wait any longer and growing more and more anxious Mac began to question the poor child.

‘Can you tell me what happened on that awful night? asked Mac getting straight to the point as gently as he could.

‘Did your father say anything? Think carefully.’

Inteachán thought carefully and began to sob.

‘He was upset, so upset, more upset than I had ever seen anyone ever before.’

Inteachán shuddered as the memory fell upon her once again from on high and afar.

‘He said that They had trapped him on a dark desert planet and that a black sandstorm tormented him for days by whispering in his ear that he needed to help Them in order to get back home and that the only way he would get back home was if he sacrificed me as an offering to them.’

‘They. Them.’ repeated Mac.

He hissed softly.

‘Fomhóire! Or should I say, the NotBeSpeak.’

As was his particular wont, Mac looked glum.

Inteachán felt a chill descend upon her from somewhere else and she duly shivered.

‘What are the What-Be-Speak?’ she whispered through her tears.

‘Not What,’ Mac replied carefully, ‘but Why.’

He continued to look glum and stared off into the dingy distance.

‘I have spent a very large part of my recent years searching for an answer to that question. Sadly, I am no closer to the answer than I was when I started.’

Mac fumbled for the handkerchief he kept in the breast pocket of his green tweed suit and blew his nose vigorously.

‘In fact, I’m probably further away today than I have ever been.’

Mac prodded the coals on the fire. The chill showed no sign of leaving the room.

‘Despite my grand claims to knowledge and understanding it was actually your father who first alerted me to the danger.’

Mac pulled the blanket off his lap and walked over to a dusty bookcase full of lever arch file folders. Every wall of his flat was lined with similar bookcases and Inteachán could never work out how Mac knew instinctively where anything he was looking for could ever be found. A glance on any shelf revealed the rich and brumous nature of his collection.

There were the thirteen volumes of Sheen’s Pamphlet, an obscure tract published cheaply, regularly and anonymously between 1911 and 1961, with only the twelve editions from June to November 1946 missing. Next to this stood Lois Pengelly’s Wolseley Trilogy; Once a Valley (1932), Through the Trees (1942) and Forever Once More (1952). These were Sibeal’s favourite novels and Mac loved to watch her read them over and over again.

This very rare trilogy told the story of St. Matthew’s House, a beautiful Edwardian villa sat on the seafront in Bray that was home to several generations of the Wolseley family. Once a Valley told the story of the family coming to the area and having the house built. Through the Trees saw the family undergoing hard times with the Second World War as a backdrop. Sibeal’s favourite volume, Forever Once More, showed the Wolseley family in final dissolution as the eldest daughter, Cecily, refused to marry and thereby ended the family bloodline.

The Third Edition of Ogilvy’s Observations was Mac’s favourite and he loved nothing more than reading out loud from it as he and Sibeal lay in bed. The bedridden Oswald Ogilvy devoted his sickly adult life to completing a volume of ruminations and asides on topics of little or no connection to the world and in 1958 the Third Edition appeared. No one could ever explain what had happened to the first or second edition or if they even existed. Mac liked to speculate that Ogilvy was punishing the world for his ill health by making a publishing mountain out of a vanity molehill. Only twenty copies were ever printed before the plates were destroyed in a fire. Ogilvy himself had actually passed away two days before the fire and so died knowing nothing about the destruction of his life’s work. Ever the obscurist himself, Mac liked to quote from this flimsy volume whenever he could.

‘Ogilvy’s reminds us,’ said Mac, ‘that hope and despair are natural bedfellows. Indeed, he goes so far as to speculate whether or not they were originally the same impulse altogether that has simply been erroneously divided over time.’

A large pile of Pendeltons’ Periodicals lay gathering dust on the floor by his side of the bed. Edited between 1954 and 1958 by the noted mid-century chroniclist August Borne, Pendeltons’ was the model for occasional observationism, as it became known. Sadly, the public had very little taste for such an esoteric offering and so Pendeltons’ went the same way as any other small-run journal without an audience.

Gerard Denyer’s Model Villages: Their Occurrence and Occult Significance, published by Turner Press in London in 1924 was another influence on Mac’s own scholarship. Denyer travelled the length and breadth of Britain noting the similarities and differences between the model villages he came across. Maps and charts were drawn and laid side by side for comparison. This was fairly standard for the field but Denyer’s original contribution to the body of knowledge came through his use of the Begleys, a fictional family of aristocratic refugees whose struggles for social survival were used a device by Denyer to account for the seemingly small shifts he detected in societal responses to folk beliefs around the country.

Mac reserved a special scorn for the Reverend John Webster’s Trestles, Treads and Other Joins: My Life Among the Sawdust. Published privately in 1965 at great personal expense to the author, Turtles, Threads and Other Jokes, as Mac liked to call it, told the story of the Reverend Webster’s three years of missionary service in Nigeria. Written as a series of clumsy homilies and asinine anecdotes loosely connected to Christ’s alleged career, Webster always managed to attribute every piece of good luck to God and misfortune to the Devil. Despite its appearance, this literary folly was actually one of the most acclaimed of the so-called casualist texts and was therefore extremely valuable to the right buyer. What made this even book even more valuable to Mac was the fact that he found it buried at the bottom of a cardboard box full of ripped road maps he spotted in a skip.

Mac ran his finger along the second shelf from the top until he found what he was looking for.

Barnaby Taylor, Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as it’s starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

glitch 1

Terminal Transit,

‘Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak’’

Verse 1

Professor Amhalgaidh Mac an Bhaird is elderly now, almost ancient. He is an Honorary Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Trinity College and has lived in rooms overlooking Front Square for the last forty-seven years.

Professor Mac an Bhaird has devoted his adult life to the study of what he likes to call the ‘small things that we forget to remember very quickly.’ The Professor’s work is part-chrestomathy, part-analect, and wholly singular in its peculiar ambition. When he wasn’t teaching Professor Mac an Bhaird would spend all his spare time poring over maps and manuscripts and pamphlets and postcards and timetables and booklets and brochures and tickets and notices and newsletters and invitation slips and certificates and all the other truly wonderful ephemera that accumulates when the world isn’t really paying attention.

His wife Sibeal, herself a leading authority on Teutonic textile design during the feudal period, used to joke that the most overlooked thing in all his dealings with the world was undoubtedly her.

‘I fear that one day the only way that you will know that I am still here is when you see my name included on some long-lost list you discover scribbled on a dusty envelope. Only then will you remember to look up and there I’ll be, waiting forlornly in the corner for my turn.’

She slipped her arms around his waist.

‘I love you, Mac.’

‘That will never be the case, my dear,’ said the very-certain scholar as he kissed his wife on the neck.

‘We are simply not fated to end up as forgotten entries in another person’s ledger.’

He pulled her closer.

‘We will fade beautifully towards death together like the most pulchritudinous love letters scribbled on the comeliest of Victorian Christmas cards.’

But Sibeal was taken whilst in labour at 11.03am on September the Sixteenth 1973 and it was at exactly 11.04am that Professor Mac an Bhaird retreated into the deadly safety of scholarly solitude.

That was all those years ago. Now, following a lifetime of lectures and lonely meals in Commons, he sits in his armchair all day indexing his life’s work, Mac an Bhaird’s Miscellanea: Towards the Proposing of a Taxonomy of the Not-Noticed, Oft-Forgotten and Un-Remembered.

Currently standing at over three hundred and thirty-three thousand words Mac an Bhaird’s Miscellanea is a testament to the determination of one man to catalogue, chart, outline, and unravel the seemingly innocuous connections between matters of apparently such little importance as to there being little or no connection between them in the first place. But before we consider a lifetime’s work to be simply pointless and therefore without value we mustn’t forget that generations of academic discourse have depended entirely on exactly the kind of specific pedantry demonstrated here by an elderly Professor. If nothing else this in itself would be a suitably fitting summary of one man’s contribution to the body of knowledge but Mac an Bhaird’s Miscellanea goes much further here because it also exists as a wondrously moving monument to the prodigious properties of paper.

Three hundred and thirty-three thousand words have dutifully wended their way across nearly five hundred and ninety pages and after decades of hermetic handling each page now bears the delicious hallmark of any handwritten document that has aged naturally over time. Many pages are beautifully curled at the corners, as their repeated turning over time now causes them when stacked to fold like the pulpy petals of some ancient, thought-veined bloom. Other pages are torn in places; the longer tears carefully repaired with stamp hinges, now brittle after years of determined gripping. Shorter tears have been left alone for now, borne in mind, or occasionally, overlooked entirely.

All the pages that comprise Mac an Bhaird’s Miscellanea bear the accumulated marks of a lifetime of close attention; stained in some places by the sweat of a thumb; yellowed and coffee-ringed; the sweeping smudge of the back of a hand; ink whirls; curlicues; crossings-out; pencil; ball-point; fountain; wondrous water marks and the arcane collection of proofreading marks unknown to so much of the modern world today – ][, eq #, wc/ww, lc, sp, ||, s/v, first ref., half title, ligature, and stet.

One can read the history of the man in the history of his handwriting and so the bold decisive strokes of a confident young academic gave way to the angry slashes of someone widowed far too soon which then gave way over time to the precise and rigid emphasising of a man obsessed which then give way to the eventually slowed and resigned notation of a dying gentleman battling to complete his life’s work before he passed away.

Yet across the entire length of this turbulent history, one thing had remained a steady constant, Professor Mac an Bhaird’s handwriting was terribly tiny.

The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

The Eleventh Film XVII

This was the world’s last great expedition. The territory was not uncharted. All was familiar. But it was just no longer feasible.
She reached the Library and spent her days and nights exploring texts, poring over cuneiform – desperately trying to decipher long-lost languages without so much as a phrase book.
She probed and pondered. For a while she was certain of making progress. A letter here. A symbol there. Sometime a sentence promised to offer up a partial truth. Other times that same sentence became devoid of anything.
The process became so arduous that one by one the lexicographer’s party fell prey to unknown ailments.
One person fell asleep awake forever. Another was unable to locate themselves within the cosmos. A third became prone to the kind of doubt that manifested itself as a wasting disease. Someone else became detached from their shadow.
Two men found themselves merging with their past and future selves simultaneously and thereby cancelling themselves out.
One poor soul merged with their surroundings and actually became part of the furniture.
The impossibility of the mission turned another crew-member inside out. They were found pooled beneath a bookshelf.
And then only she was left.

The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

tundra

The Eleventh Film XVI

It was a four month voyage and nothing was seen on the way.

The world was as it had always been.

Only it was empty now.

Devoid.

Great swathes of white pinned to the planet’s surface by the heaviest silence the world had ever known.

She passed the time by finding words for the views that she saw.

Gelid.

Hiemal.

Spoliate.

Each entry in her notebook brought her closer to the source.

Unbearing.

Boreal.

Forever.

Unlimited.

She knew that final word from before.

The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

 

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The Eleventh Film XV

In previous times of doubt and despair the world has always sought solace in the written word, hoping to discern a truth among the millions of symbols and ciphers and syllables.

And so slumberous stories emerged through dreams about a library long-lost to the world. A place where the answers to the world’s final question might still be found.

She was the world’s last lexicographist and so she was chosen to lead the expedition.

The hunt for the site began. There was nothing to lose and there was the possibility, however small, that there still might be a way out of all this.

As the years passed the world lost hope that the library would ever be found. The lexicographer entered her eightieth decade.

A broken office block standing sullen on the edge of a vast ice field coughed-up an old map of the inlands and the library’s resting place was eventually uncovered.

Opening Lines No. 1 – Cursor (Barnaby Taylor, 2018)

Dragon_medieval

Cursor (Barnaby Taylor, 2018)

In this age of fear, famine and fundamentalism who could ever have known that the world would end because too many people were not careful enough when typing into search engines.