vox clamantis in deserto

Bookies get to work ---Betting on the Favorite, a wood engraving drawn by W. L. Sheppard (from a sketch by W. B. Myers) and published in Harper's Weekly, October 1870.
On the day of her birth, Cassandra was given godly gifts by Apollo and other supernatural beings (SB’s), who abounded in those parts of the multiverse in those peculiar days.

Among Cassandra’s gifts was that of a big brain with an unusually large number of neurons and an extra brain-lobe that made an ugly bulge at the side of her head. Sparkling within that lobe was a neural net enabling the power of true prophecy when activated.

One of the gifts was from the shapeshifting trickster god, Loki. It was just a cheap and nasty red plastic rattle he had stolen on his way to the baby shower, and slipped into Cassandra’s cot when the other gods weren’t looking.

[Loki had sunk a barrel of aquavit the previous night before going to bed. Six months later he had woken up the next morning norsing a shockingly bad hangover. Against all the odds, he had remembered he had forgotten to procure a gift for Cassandra. Which was fine by him: he lived to steal.]

For unknown reasons baby Cassandra took strong exception to the rattle and knocked it out of her cot with a wave of her pudgy arm (which was extraordinarily strong for one so young).

Mean old Loki took offence at her rejection of his gift and went berserk (in a relatively restrained way). Grinning with evil delight, he whispered a terrible curse upon the soft-fontanelled head of the extra-lobed Cassandra.

She may have been given the gift of true prophecy, Loki thought to himself, but this curse ensures that no-one will ever believe her predictions. No-one. Ever.

What happened next was predictable.

Who would stand to lose the most if the power of true prophecy were let loose in the world? Bookmakers of course; bookies for short. They wouldn’t be able to make a decent living if the future could be accurately predicted.

There’s no time or space to tell you how the bookies came to know about Cassandra and her gift of true prophecy. What I can tell you is that after many meetings and countless phone call over twenty years of dilly-dallying, shilly-shallying, umming and ahh-ing and pro-ing and conning, the bookies hired a professional huntsperson and a professional hitperson to locate and kill Cassandra.

Why hire two professionals to do a job that one amateur could do on their own? That remains a mystery to this day.

The huntsperson located Cassandra on her way to her local betting shop, Lassbroke, bundled her up into a gassed-up desert patrol vehicle (DPV), and sped away, heading for the hills. In the back seat of the DPV was the hitperson.

Up the hills they drove, then down into the valley beyond, into the desert wilderness known as the Great Dry, beyond which was nothing but the deserted shores of an undiscovered ocean (on that planet, which wasn’t Earth).

In the blazingly fierce heat-heart of the Great Dry, the hitperson tossed Cassandra out of the DPV, and the two professionals headed back to the City, leaving Cassandra to die upon the burning sands.

Not unsurprisingly, Cassandra was quite upset at this turn of events. And scared, And thirsty. And hungry. But there was nary a locust nor a crumb of wild honey within a thousand miles. So what did she do?

Well, first she sobbed a little, then she whimpered a bit, then she whined a while. Then, as the hopelessness of her position dawned upon her, she began to cry — a lot — long and loudly.

But no-one heard her sobbing. No-one heard her whimpering or her whining. No-one heard her vox clamantis in deserto.

Eventually, she picked herself up and started walking. She tried to keep her spirits up by reassuring herself that she was going to make it, that a search party would find her, that rescue was on its way, that in just a couple more hours the helicopter would be hovering overhead,

Sweat-glazed, thirst-crazed, heat-hazed and desert-dazed, she wandered the Great Dry for three days, muttering hopeful, optimistic prognostications to herself. But due to Loki’s curse she just couldn’t bring herself to believe herself. Not one iota was the quota of her credibility, even in her own eyes!

On the morning of the fourth day ...

...continues in
NIGHTMERRIES: the Lighter Side of Darkness

out now at Amazon. This so-called "book" will chew you up, spit you out, and leave you twitching and frothing on the carpet. More than 60 dark and feculent fictions (read ‘em and weep) copiously illustrated by over 20 grotesque images you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley.


eBooks by Cosmic Rapture:

NIGHTMERRIES: THE LIGHTER SIDE OF DARKNESS This so-called "book" will chew you up, spit you out, and leave you twitching and frothing on the carpet. More than 60 dark and feculent fictions (read ‘em and weep) copiously illustrated by over 20 grotesque images you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley.

AWAREWOLF & OTHER CRHYMES AGAINST HUMANITY (Vot could be Verse?) We all hate poetry, right? But we might make an exception for this sick and twisted stuff. This devil's banquet of adults-only offal features more than 50 satanic sonnets, vitriolic verses and odious odes.

MANIC MEMES & OTHER MINDSPACE INVADERS A disturbing repository of quotably quirky quotes, sayings, proverbs, maxims, ponderances, adages and aphorisms. This menagerie holds no fewer than 184 memes from eight meme-species perfectly adapted to their respective environments.

FIENDS & FREAKS Adults-only Tales of Serpents, Dragons, Devils, Lobsters, Anguished Spirits, Gods, Anti-gods and Other Horse-thieves You Wouldn't Want to Meet in a Dark Kosmos: 4th Edition

HAGS TO HAGGIS Whiskey-soaked Tails of War-nags, Witches, Manticores and Escapegoats, Debottlenecking and Desilofication, Illustrated