“Introducing Tormentor”

(The estimated reading time for this is 4 minutes)

© 2015 by William Meikle.  All Rights Reserved.

In Tormentor there’s a lot of fish, some drums, some beer, a lot of whisky, dancing, some good weather, some bad weather, weird noises in the night and some Spaniards—among other things. Things like rhythm, and booze.This novella has been a long time in the making. The basic idea came to me way back in 1991, but it took me a long, long time before I felt that my writing was up to the needs of the story. Then, last year, it all finally came together.You see, I have a theory about how the world works—no, bear with me, this isn’t a pseudo-science rant. Well, maybe it is—but it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while, and it has turned up in a lot of my stories of recent years.We are creatures of rhythm and vibration. Not just us either, and not just the animal and plant kingdoms, but the whole of the universe.

An earlier paragraph from another book sort of sums up the first part of my philosophy nicely.

“Life is an opportunity to create meaning by our actions and how we manage our way through the short part of infinity we’re given to operate in. And once our life is finished, our atoms go back to forming other interesting configurations with those of other people, animals, plants and anything else that happens to be around, as we all roll along in one big, happy, ever dancing, universe.”

It’s the dance that’s the thing, and our attempts to learn the steps and keep time with our partners is how we fumble through life.

Everything has a natural rhythm. The earth spins once a day, goes around the sun once a year. The moon goes round the earth every 28 days. Your heart beats in a rhythm particular only to you. Everything has its drumbeat and everything contributes to the dance. You’ve just got to know when to lead and when to follow.

And sometimes, if you let go and let the rhythm do its thing, magic happens, and the rhythm gets into you and through you and off you go, careening along with no other thought than the dance, and the sheer overwhelming joy of it.

I know, I know… old hippie bullshit, right?

But what if you could see the rhythms, feel the beat?

Here’s a wee experiment.

Make a pendulum, I use a pocket watch on a chain, but a stone on the end of a bit of string will work just as well.

Let it hang straight down, not moving.

Put your hand below the pendulum. Palm up.

The pendulum should start to move. First from side to side then slowly start to spin in a circle that widens until it rotates slowly above your hand.

Take your hand away and the pendulum will stop moving.

Go away and try—I’ll wait till you get back.


Hold it over a beer or a coffee. It should swing in a much wider circle this time.

Everything has a beat. Even beer.

You might have heard of this—it’s often called dowsing. But if I understand it correctly, a dowsing rod responds to electromagnetic fields. This is more of a mechanism for accessing innate rhythms. Your unconscious makes slight adjustments to your muscles in response to the rhythms, and these are amplified and turned into rotational movement by spin vectors being produced in your fingertips. The same as dowsing, but different, if you get my meaning?

It will also answer questions. Your unconscious knows a lot more than it tells you, but you can fool it and get an answer using the pendulum.

Test it. Just let it hang and ask a question you know the answer to, it will respond with either a yes or no, true or false, depending on whether it turns clockwise or counterclockwise. Depending on the direction, you now have a way of asking other questions.

Yes, I know, more hippie bullshit. But what if I’m right? Go on, try it. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

All I know is that it works for me. And again, I know, it doesn’t prove anything.

But it is indicative of something. To quote the Bard, this is wondrous strange. It gives me a small, almost impossibly small, hope that there is more to life than just blood and flesh, that there might just be a point beyond staying alive as long as possible. There might even be dancing.

And, to return to my point, in Tormentor, the rhythms are dormant, waiting to be wakened, and when they do make themselves known, they are not recognized for what they are.

The dancers take their time, finding the steps slowly, tentatively.

But in the end, we all dance together.

© 2015 – 2016, DarkFuse & individual contributors. All rights reserved.

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William Meikle is a Scottish writer now living in Canada. He has fifteen novels published in the genre press and over 250 short story credits in thirteen countries. His work appears in many professional anthologies and his ebook The Invasion has been as high as #2 in the Kindle SF charts. He lives in a remote corner of Newfoundland with icebergs, whales and bald eagles for company. In the winters he gets warm vicariously through the lives of others in cyberspace .


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