Stories Published by 'bradley_stoke'

Crystal Passion Ch. 14

Crystal Passion comes back from the dead.

Both Crystal's and Judy's parents preferred that their daughters be buried rather than cremated so the final moments of the funeral weren't of two coffins sliding inside a furnace and being incinerated. Instead a procession of hearses snaked out of the funeral home and wound through the roads and avenues of Rock Hill to Crystal's final resting place at the Forest Hills Cemetery. I was a mess of...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 13

The tragic death of Crystal Passion.

There's a lot I simply can't remember that happened in the following few days we were stranded in Rock Hill. My attention was almost entirely focused on my overwhelming sense of grief. I was completely disconnected from the many events swirling around me. I guess I was hoping that Crystal might still be alive and would magically appear from somewhere. And when it was established that Crystal had...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 12

Crystal Passion's second gig in Rock Hill is a disaster.

Polly Tarantella hadn't always been the great custodian of Crystal Passion's legacy nor always the music's greatest champion. In fact, I first heard of her when Olivia—one of the few original band-members I still keep in touch with—e-mailed me a link to a Rock Music website I'd never have discovered otherwise in which Polly Tarantella lambasted Crystal Passion with a vehemence that was bizarre...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 11

Crystal Passion rock the Carolinas.

Nobody should approach me if they want a fair, balanced and informed opinion of Rock Hill, South Carolina. Most of what I discovered about the city was well after the Crystal Passion tour and what we saw was probably unrepresentative and, to be honest, not especially attractive. It was a town very much in the shadow of the somewhat larger city of Charlotte, 25 miles away and mostly only glimpsed...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 10

Crystal Passion are busted in West Virginia.

I guess it should be obvious to just about everyone simply by having a look at an atlas, but it came as something of a surprise to me, to realise how big America actually is, and we were only travelling from North to South down the Eastern United States. Almost every single one of America's states is bigger than England, and some are bigger than France or Germany, but when you travel across Europe...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 09

Crystal Passion's second gig at the Women's Music Festival.

If you were touring America these days and you wanted to contact your manager or, indeed, anyone back in the UK, all you need to do is switch on a laptop or tablet or smart phone and use Skype. And if not Skype exactly, you'd use Viber or exchange e-mails or instant messages. But in the early 1990s, the internet was very slow and ridiculously expensive and most people weren't online anyway. So,...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 08

Crystal Passion play at a Feminist Music Festival.

"Wherever it is we'll be tomorrow, it won't be Kansas," Crystal announced when she'd returned from the hotel foyer after what was originally intended to be a routine phone call to Kai about the tour itinerary. "And it most certainly won't be Kansas City." "No need for ruby slippers then," said Thelma. "So, if we're not going to Kansas, where are we going?" Andrea asked. "Weren't we...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 07

Crystal Passion tour Detroit.

Chapter Seven "Detroit!" Jacquie exclaimed as she looked up from the tour itinerary she'd been reading. "That's where our next gig's gonna be. I've always wanted to go there." "Home of the MC5 and Iggy Pop," remarked Judy Dildo. "And much more importantly," I said. "The home of Techno." "It'll be good to see Juan Atkins or Derrick May on the decks," said Jane. "I...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 06

Veronica Wilson entertains Crystal and Pebbles at her home.

"We've been invited to her home!" an excited Andrea announced after she and Crystal emerged from the hotel lobby's public phone booth. "Whose home?" I wondered, not really having paid much attention. I was sitting splayed across one of the Crown Hotel's most threadbare red velour sofas. We were now on the latest stop of our trans-American tour and in the city of Providence, the capital...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 05

Simon helps Crystal Passion out in Boston.

"Where is everyone?" I asked when after an exasperating journey on Philadelphia's public transport system I'd finally got back to the hotel and found Crystal sitting in the hotel lobby with only Jenny Alpha and our luggage for company. Crystal pretended to look around the hotel lobby at the scuffed velour chairs and the sticky linoleum floor. "They're not here, that's for sure," she said...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 04

Crystal Passion play Philadelphia.

**** "You did get married to Mark," said Marianne probingly. "That doesn't mean I gave up anything," said Crystal in reply. "And well you know that, Mum." "I must say yours is a marriage like no other," said Marianne with a sigh. "Giuseppe and me, we thought we were open-minded and free-thinking, but you and Mark...Well!" "What more did this sadhu say, Crystal?" I probed...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 03

Crystal Passion performs solo at a Rock gig.

However much I admired Crystal's song-writing skills when I was playing in her band, I didn't really dwell much on the meaning of her lyrics. Certainly not with the intense attention to detail as Polly Tarantella. She quotes from Crystal Passion's lyrics as if it was poetry and uncovered depths of meaning in them that had never occurred to me. I suppose it's natural to think you might glean...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 02

The Crystal Passion band go to a wild Rock sex party.

In her best-selling biography, Polly Tarantella makes clear that she ranks the most significant days of Crystal Passion's life as those from when she arrived at JFK airport until her fateful last day on American soil. It's probably not surprising that an American writer asserts that Crystal's few weeks in America should be her most important. Although Polly interviewed me for the book and we...

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Crystal Passion Ch. 01

Crystal Passion and her band tour America in the 1990s

Chapter One How well did I ever really know Crystal Passion? I ask that because everyone says that no one knew her better than me. And that's just not true. It's obvious why so many people believe I know more about her than the dozen or so others who were with her on that last fateful tour. I'm the one who renowned American rock critic Polly Tarantella has...

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Under One Sun

Heather and Fern are two sisters on a summer pilgrimage.

It was with a mix of emotions but primarily envy that Heather watched her sister stride ahead of her across the windswept open moor while chatting animatedly with the boy they'd met only the day before. Heather acknowledged that Fern was much the better looking of the two sisters—not just because she ascertained this herself but from the repeated observation that, given the choice, any boy in...

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Thoroughly Modern Emancipation

Lisa is a slave in an alternative modern United States.

This was a day in which Lisa was truly privileged. It wasn't often she was permitted, let alone invited, to watch television with her mistress, but on this day Madam Colette granted Lisa the privilege of kneeling in front of the screen—naked as always, except for her slave-collar, as clothes were such an unnecessary luxury—while her mistress searched for the relevant news channel. When she...

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Facebook Friend

Jane long anticipated meeting Charlie, her Facebook Friend

Jane was sure she knew Charlie and that she knew him well. After all, she and he had been friends on Facebook for several months now. Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg's ingenuity and generosity, they'd been able to chat and discourse for hours on end without once having actually met one another. And tonight was the evening when, at long last, Jane would actually meet Charlie in the flesh. Jane was...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 22

The Final Chapter.

Intrepid - 3756 C.E. Paul held Beatrice to his chest. Well, not all of her of course: just the head and shoulders. The rest of her was scattered in fragments across the living room, now so evidently the dismembered remains of an android rather than a human. It wasn't blood but a strangely viscous black liquid that seeped out of her mouth, from the stumps of her arms and from a torso that...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 21

Vashti battles with Beatrice to the death.

Intrepid - 3756 C.E. Vashti stumbled through the open lawns of the penultimate level where Beatrice had so recently been imprisoned. She reasoned that the android perhaps had an idea of what was happening. How was it possible for a nanobot community to be compromised in such a strange and unprecedented manner? There was nothing in Vashti's vast repository of data and experience that...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 20

Beatrice escapes and seeks her revenge on Vashti.

Intrepid - 3756 C.E. Although Captain Kerensky thought otherwise, the one person on the Intrepid who more than any other was a mere spectator since the Intrepid entered the Anomaly was Beatrice. And she was also imprisoned within an invisible force field where she was unable to communicate with either human or robot. Beatrice witnessed the same Apparitions as everyone else, but they...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 18

Captain Kerensky encounters her officers.

Intrepid - 3756 C.E. Anger. Frustration. Humiliation. These were just a few of the emotions Nadezhda was feeling as she reviewed her helpless situation. Her command of the space ship Intrepid had been stolen from her by an alien. She was confined to a villa on the outermost level. She was unable to communicate with anyone other than Beatrice: the android who was both her captor and lover. And...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 17

Sheila Nkomo escapes detention.

Intrepid - 3756 C.E. The Intrepid's computer system had been tampered with. Sheila Nkomo knew this for sure. She could use most of the system, but she had no access at all to any part of it that could tell her what was happening on the space ship. Ever since Captain Kerensky and the military officers had arrested and detained her in the villa, she had been as much blind as she was...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 16

Vashti explores the other space ships inside the Anomaly.

There were few such attractions to the male Vashti who was engaged in the full scale warfare that had broken out on the space ship represented by a wholly homosexual masculine Solar System. At least Vashti was well versed in the practice and execution of war, though the viciousness of the conflict between the different but almost identical factions of a society based on philosophical...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 15

The Intrepid overlaps the Intrepido and Paul meets Paolo.

"He wants to go through the door," she said. "What did you say to him?" "Well, that by doing so he would enter another completely different space ship," said Beatrice. "He also wants to go with the soldiers he's gathered together." "Is that OK?" Paul asked anxiously. "I'm not sure I want armed and uniformed men in my villa." "I don't believe we've been offered much choice."...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 13

Emmanuel meets Isaac and an Angel from above.

The debate soon became more heated as the majority that wanted to pray for forgiveness and to contemplate the beauty of the Lord God's creation was refusing to take orders. "In the eyes of the Lord, we are all equal," said one soldier. "It is said of the Revelation: _Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 11

The Intrepid takes a leap into the unknown.

"I have absolute faith in the wisdom of Captain Kerensky, Dr. Chang and Professor Penrose," said Beatrice. "I'm sure it will be fine." The actual passage into the Anomaly was indeed very uneventful. From Paul's perspective in the bedroom of his villa surrounded by holographic screens and accompanied by Beatrice there was absolutely nothing to mark the fact that the Intrepid was no longer...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 08

Paolo Mauritz travels on the Space Ship Intrepido.

Intrepido - 217 P.R. Paolo Mauritz carefully examined the calendar. Although it was very nearly the 218th anniversary of the Glorious Revolution, no celebrations were being prepared on the Space Ship Intrepido. Nor were they on the other interplanetary battleships in the space fleet speeding onwards in diminished numbers towards the Anomaly. This was one year Post Revolution whose anniversary...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 03

Sheila and Petal discuss events in the Space Ship Intrepid.

As a woman outnumbered by men in the Intrepid's senior staff, Second Officer Sheila Nkomo made a special effort to befriend her fellow female officers. She wasn't in a position to get to know Captain Kerensky particularly well. This was partly a consequence of relative rank, but also because her captain was a lesbian. It wasn't that Sheila held any prejudices against homosexuals, but she did feel...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 02

Vashti appears in the Sahara Desert.

The Sahara Desert - 3723 C.E. The hazy spectre of a camel caravan could be glimpsed far in the distance through the haze that shimmered in the intense heat. The sparse vegetation on the gravel and sand was scrubby and succulent. There were few places on Earth as remote as this. And that, of course, was what attracted Vikram, Rao, Sandhya and Dorothy to this region of the planet. It...

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Into the Unknowable Ch. 01

Chapter one of the third volume of "The Anomaly Trilogy".

The Anomaly - 3755 C.E. What could be seen looked very much like a lion. It was a lion, however, whose tail was alive in a way a lion's tail should never be. Instead of gathering in a tassel, the tail ended with the head and body of a snake that hissed and curled around itself. It was a lion moreover that had the head of a goat arising absurdly from the middle of its back beyond the mane...

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