Excerpt: The Clockworm

Just so you know I’m not bluffing, I’ll be posting excerpts from various works-in-progress in the next few days. Feel free to comment, but remember, these are unfinished and out of context.

Some segments from The Clockworm


“Are you really a machine?”

“Of course,” said the Regnim. “I operate.”

“But that doesn’t make you a machine. I operate too.”

The Regnim was silent.

“Were you built?”

“I was made.”

“Riddles. Evidence of simplicity in your programming. Inability to answer difficult questions.”

“You admit they are difficult questions, but refuse to accept difficult answers. Evidence of simplicity in your programming.”

Alex knew the Regnim was right.

“So you’re not just a machine.”

“What living notions inhabit the phrase “just a machine?” Implications by the handful! Let’s look at them in detail, shall we? Just: only, merely, simply. Simplicity, limitedness, inability. Parameters of potential, range of impact – negligible. Machine: less than human, less than entity. Object, not subject. More false, less alive. Consuming, not producing. Being directed, not intending. State of doing, not of being. Action without introspection. Deserving of less ethical responsibility. Other.


That night, he dreamed of the Regnim. It stretched off in all directions, and when he tried to move forward, it blocked his way. It laughed, and the sound echoed through his bones, vibrated him into dust, shrieked with overtones through the endlessness of time. It screamed need, and lust, and hunger. It screamed until nothing could be heard, until only the great worm remained.


“So there’s no structure, no leadership?”

“There’s no group, so to speak, just a central thrust composed of isolated, individual actions. Ramjack is that which its members accomplish, but it is not a whole. It is a way of drilling through the walls of this world. Like the hammer, it is only a tool once it is picked up. Until then, it is nothing, an inert and functionless artifact.”

“But where does the thrust come from? How does it find us?”

“It slips into your mind, whole, a perfect truth. This has always been the manner of transmission.”

“Where does it come from?”

“Does it matter? Some call it god; some simply outline it by noting what it is not. To me, it is not divine; to me, it is more than that. I choose to call it truth. Truth needs no regalia.”


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