The view from the train window did not appeal to Tara. Grim, grey rocks sandwiched between a grey sea and sky. Squat stone sheds, warehouses and factories lined the far side of the harbour. Behind them, faded red huts or shacks that looked as though they could barely hold up to a stiff breeze lined the walls of the canyon – the fjord, she reminded herself. And above it all was the smell of fish and salt.
As the train slowed to a halt next to the main station building, her impressions of the town did not improve any further. The exposed wooden platform had long since lost any colour to the elements, and the faded white paint of the station looked like somebody had simply given up on maintaining it. About two thirds of the station windows had been shuttered, and the rest were too grimy to be fit for purpose.
She wrinkled her nose when she climbed down from the carriage as the smell of fish grew even more potent. Behind her, Seema remarked that it smelled like somebody had been painting with fish guts. But there was no time to comment on this, for the wind pierced their clothes as they left the shelter of the train and walked the five metres to the station doors. She could have sworn that a haphazard pile of crates creaked ominously as she passed it.
Work has been sapping my will to do anything after hours due to the intense frustration of getting SNMP to just bloody work. SNMP stands for “Simple Network Management Protocol”, and it seems to be used for things like managing embedded systems or sending alerts when something goes wrong. The problem is that it’s based on top of UDP (User Datagram Protocol), which unlike TCP (Transmission Control Protocol, or what most applications like browsers or email clients are ultimately built upon), doesn’t attempt to be reliable. This means that, depending on the protocol version and what alert/notification type you send, there might not be any sign that it went wrong!
“Fresh fruit pies! Fruit pies, fresh from the oven!”
“Try this cheese and taste-”
“Tinland Station! All passengers-”
“Readallaboutit! Archmage’s Council deadlocked-”
“-looking to travel to the Sydfjords-”
“Sausage rolls, three for a taler! Grab ‘em while they’re hot!”
“-should embark from Platform Three!”
“This way, Tara. Platform Three, please,” Rose called, threading her way past a gaggle of vendors while effortlessly waving for a porter to handle their luggage. Tara followed, starting to feel slightly overwhelmed at the cacophony of noise and choking vapours that permeated the station.
This is the potential first chapter in a new fantasy/Western series I’m planning. I’ve had something like this kicking around my skull for a while, and I need to work on something different. Is this worth continuing?
The green tiles that lined the bottom half of the room’s walls smelled of coal tar. So did the plain whiter upper walls, the bed that stood against the far wall, the night-stand and the stool in front of it. Everything smelled of it, even the girl who who lay curled up on the bed, bandaged hands tucked between her auburn-covered head and the striped pillow.
A sudden knock at the door caused her pale blue eyes to jerk from an unseen point through the wall tiles and turn to her left as her head started upright. She hurriedly sat up, feeling her mouth dry up as the door swung open and a nurse stepped through.
“Tara?” The black-haired, grey-eyed woman who followed the nurse inside wore a scarlet robe that bore an embroidered white patch on either chest. One displayed a flask of green liquid with fumes pouring from the top; the other showed a hand gripping a staff that appeared to be topped with a glowing ball.
Diarmuid morosely looked up from the lukewarm sink that held two stained metal plates, and narrowed his eyes as he beheld the stocky younger boy with the fangs and green patches of skin next to the draining board. “What is it, Grady?”
“Me name’s Tomás. Nurse said you could use a hand.”
“I could. And mine’s Diarmuid. Not Red, or Red-Eyes, or freak…” he trailed off with an irritable sigh. Grady briefly exposed more of his fangs as his mouth silently worked, before he picked up a tea-towel and began to wipe the plate that lay on the draining board. For a few minutes, neither spoke as Diarmuid focussed on scrubbing the plates and tried to ignore the sidelong glances the other boy gave him. Eventually, he couldn’t take it any more.
“Go on…you want to say something, just get it out.”
As of the time of writing, one of the images in my site header is a humanoid snake trying to look adorable. That’s part of a St Patrick’s Day comic I have planned. Here’s three of the five panels, without any text: