Meat, by Ultan Banan

ultan banan

Meat. Mindbending dystopian fiction from Black Tarn Publishing


I wake, naked, on a warm bed in the dark, alone, the ghosts of golden whispers runnin through me. I rise like Lazarus, find a basin and clean myself down, and I look in the mirror, seein no one, which doesn’t worry me because I know I’m alive. Extinguished as I am I’ve never felt so fucken real in all my life. I mean, I’ve been down the river and have come back and know that I’m here, whole and alive.

There’s a gentle knock on the door so I get dressed, open it, and the madame’s there.

Your friend is waiting for you, she says, smiling, cause she sees me, knows how I came in and how I’m goin out a different man, sees me devastated and is proud of her girls who know how to destroy men.

Can I see the girl? I say.

I’m sorry, she’s not available.


Down the river and out to sea.

So I got out and Ducasse is there waitin, all blissed out like me, all man-who’s-been-across-the-ocean-and-knows-the-other-side.

He just looks at me, grinnin, doesn’t have to say anything, and I don’t really want to. Once we’re out the door and talkin, the spell ends.

But he gets up and opens the door, and we step outside.

Good day, gentlemen, she says, standing in the doorway, and I get a last hit of the heady perfume as she closes it behind us. 

I look at Ducasse, he looks at me, and I just shake my head.

That was the greatest hour of my life.

We were in there for three hours, Ducasse says.

Nah, Ducasse man, I say.

He nods. Three hours.

I look up at the door, the house, placin it in a mental map in my head.

I’m comin back here tonight, tomorrow, and the day after, I say.

You can’t overdo it with Madame Zhu’s, he says. Gotta be like a rare treat, like lamb, or duck, somethin you only go to once in a while when the time is right. A man can’t be destroyed like that every day. It takes fortitude. Give it a couple of months.

Madame Zhu’s? Chinese place is it?

Nah. They say she’s from London, but nobody knows. ‘Zhu’ is just for the whole oriental vibe. 

Madame Zhu’s. I’m not sure I can wait a couple of months.

Hold yourself, he says.

Fuck knows, maybe he’s right, but I know nothin’s gonna be the same again.


Note: flash fiction, promo and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.

Elementor #691

Dear Lori - An excerpt From Zero - By Dave Migman

Dear Lori


Listen, I must tell you about the Beast Machine: imagine an underground cavern filled with metallic spirals, cogs, pistons, generators, huge bellowing furnaces, barbed wire fixed to plugs and points. And the constant hiss of data transference filling the electrified air. Imagine strange etchings across the surfaces, glowing through oil and grease. Strange hexes, machinations of the infinite blood-mind (throat full of spines and packs of sweetheart wolves). Really, believe me, if you go out and peel back the paving slabs you’ll see wires, pipes, and through these veins the Beast intones its needs.


The Beast has a billion eyes, Lori. At night they patrol in cars. They loiter on street corners. They stare back from flicker sheet and flicker box. They whirr on the Metro, from lampposts, outside the offices of the demon. They buzz inside the faces of spy clones.


The eyes are roving. Chasing the lovers before the tide of curfew, when the streets are choked with strangulated chants. Driven into a frenzy by the Beast, driven to bloodlust for the Beast Machine. Tales of lust and perjury. Billboard platitudes for the horde’s happiness. A new pair of shoes and a look to fall into. Deep into shallow.


The Beast enlists FEAR to keep the clones in their hovels. Stories of mandatory predation, terrorists, enemies like uncivilised, barbaric Tribals… the list is endless, repeated over morning murmurs, to clone spouse, under the blaze of Chimerol all such lies are easily swallowed, never questioned.


Demons perform ritual slayings in alleys, severing putty heads from putty bodies, guzzling the meat like hungry animals. There in the alleys the bodies are left, dead eyes staring at patterns of oil on back street puddles, where square-chested guardians wait. With gaping mouths they consume the corrupted, tossed inside by the demons (old clone bits, plastic bags full of punctured faces). Offerings for the trashcan deities, votives for backyard gods whose acolytes are living wrongs.


Worms - By Dave Migman

So it happens like this: the paint blisters, each pale rise blinks awake, each eye focusing on the man. He is naked, on all fours — he rises to a begging position, shorn of body hair, and his skin coated in a film of scented oil. Cupping his balls, he massages his greased erection. The eyes lock in, their owners fixed in headlock vision sets — in Falkirk, Pitlochry, across the mountains, the lochs, in forgotten crofts, wherever there are lusting solipsists, groping, losing it to the eye.

After the session he lays there, feeling the chill across the oil, and the sperm, cold between his legs. He rises. The orbs have gone, the room is just a room. A shell in which he beds, reads, and dances. Dressed, Mark opens the shutters. Blinking against the intrusive light, his eyes focus. 

The street is full of worms. White, like buckets of bleached intestines dumped in the avenues. They loll and squirm, animate putty, blindly crawling over each other. In the street, an old woman attempts to step between them. Her legs become tangled and she slips. She gets back up, brushing dead worms off her furs, adjusts her hat and continues. She marches, crushing them under her shoes. 

Mark’s phone bings, he glances at it and sighs. Not even time for a shower. He wipes himself and gets on all fours. The paint begins to blister.

Down a Hole in Athens

ultan banan

Drugs lit from Black Tarn Publishing

Down a Hole in Athens

Now we’re in it.

Me, Ducasse and Jimmy wanderin around Athens in a great hole, a K-hole, and maybe a PCP-hole, and definitely an absinthe-hole cause that’s what started this mess, and I know we’ve all got pocketfuls of Es cause we’re passin em out like Smarties. Lenny was with us, but we think he’s been arrested but nobody’s quite sure. Athens has sucked us into the hole and everything we do spills in, lost to experience and recollection, never to be recovered. There’s no climbin out either, none of us is showin the least inclination to, cause we keep poppin and snortin and drinkin — in the toilet of every corner bar, the cistern or the sink lined with white powder and sniffed, or a pill popped surreptitiously or, fuck it, plain as day just walkin down the street.

Tcha! Neckin pills and we’re still kickin.

Omonia, Exarchia, Metaxourghio, Psiri, Monastiraki, Thissio, Plaka… it goes on and on, and I’m not sure if we’re even eatin or just thrivin on booze and pharmaceuticals, all over a city which is not the least bit drug-friendly.

Let’s take Jimmy to Madame Zhu’s, I say.

Nah, you fucken clown, Ducasse says. Madame Zhu’s is in the Dam.

Ducasse, I say, I was in it last week, or two weeks ago, or some time ago, I don’t remember, but I was in it here in Athens.

You’re off your head, he says.

Yes I am, but I remember very clearly.

I’ll take you there, I tell him.

Forget it, you’re dreamin it, he says.

I’ll take you there now.

So I retrace my steps best I can across the city, the dark night across the city, left here, right there, past the Botanical Gardens, we all pop another pill, turn here, down a dark street, should be just about…

But no. It’s not where I left it.

It should be right here, I say.

Told ya, you’re off your head, Ducasse says.

Nah, Ducasse man, I tell him. It was right here.

But there’s no burgundy, or perfume, or burgundy perfume anywhere or nowhere. It’s gone, dissipated in the hot Athens night.

Note: flash fiction, drugs lit and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.




I feel the destruction tunnel open up in my mind, like a hole in the front of my skull, a wormhole through which all time emanates. That is to say that it feels like a thousand worlds got sucked in there… and crushed.


In this vacuum of implosion, where the reduction of forced air and sound is compressed to a whisper, I operate with utmost clarity. I choose when to explode, reaching out in slow motion. I mean thoughts, senses… I feel twenty feet tall. No clone gets in my way. My eyes are fixed securely on the end. That slowly turning final post, reeling toward it by my entrails. It holds no great surprise, no fear is attached. It is an end. Life is a malady that murders us all.


In the streets, my reactions are honed and precise. I’m ready to pounce. Just give me the excuse (and believe me there are plenty of those). Look around sucker. Yes, you. Clone. Meat. Putty with a smile. Automaton-regimen. I dare you!


I am searching for a face. Searching for a face in the multitude of Saturday shoppers. The destruction tunnel whispers to me. A babble of cursing tongues, each of them hungry, each of them whispering and spitting my name. Snakes coughing razors blades. Inspector, they say… Inspector Moonface, you are power. Authority is vested in my kind. In my pocket is a list. A series of coded, serial wards:






I stride like a giant. I want to explode like a fucking grenade. There, marked out like a pale maggot: first on the list, calls itself Tommy. Bow-backed, wispy whiskers, wandering eyes. They look so alike. Even installed within the sanctity of their fancy clothes. They give off a distinctive smell, the chemicals they use to hide their natural one. They stink. I find it thoroughly offensive. This one plods along the street unsuspectingly. Putty-faced fool really doesn’t have an iota of what’s to come and, see, that’s another point to get off on because I’m like a prophet too! Not only have I absolute authority over this clone, I can foretell its immediate future. It has none. Hahaha! But don’t worry, it’s just an end.

This extract is taken from the novel, Zero, by Dave Migman – Click on the link below to buy.

Meat by Ultan Banan. Available Now

ultan banan

New release from Black Tarn Publishing. Ebook now available from Apple, Amazon, Kobo and Vivlio.


In the murky wake of the financial crisis a string of establishments pop up across Europe catering to a hedonistic underground, its clientele beholden to a strange, hallucinatory meat. Stoked by the fleshy and charismatic Hugo and fuelled by voracious consumption of ecstasy, the craze spreads from the heart of Europe all the way to the Mediterranean, where in Athens the financial elite begin to turn on each other. Follow the story to its savage end, where consumption eats itself alive.

Meat by Ultan Banan. Available 10th November

ultan banan

New release from Black Tarn Publishing. Available 10th November from Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.


In the murky wake of the financial crisis a string of establishments pop up across Europe catering to a hedonistic underground, its clientele beholden to a strange, hallucinatory meat. Stoked by the fleshy and charismatic Hugo and fuelled by voracious consumption of ecstasy, the craze spreads from the heart of Europe all the way to the Mediterranean, where in Athens the financial elite begin to turn on each other. Follow the story to its savage end, where consumption eats itself alive.

There Is No Plague

There Is No Plague

Zero trudged past the little dolls that grinned with seatbelt smiles, secure in their daze. He wove through faceless crowds, sombre, mind burdened by memories. They came with enhanced frequency now, ever since he’d quit Chimerol. How long had he lingered at the brink, unsure whether to stop taking the little white pills? Weeks of indecision, hampered by the chemical daze that each seed unleashed. Chimerol, the miracle cure against the plague that had once ravaged the city.


For the last month, he’d waited in line like the other chumps, accepting the plastic phial — as he’d done for years. Zero took the monthly dose back to his tiny apartment and flushed every last one down the can. Highly illegal. Everyone took their Chimerol. They didn’t want to catch the plague!


But there is no plague!


The withdrawal had lasted days. He’d fretted and sweated. He’d been consumed by a nightmare filled with nightmares, strange hallucinations that had crippled him so much he’d made feeble excuses to allow for time off work. And his fear of arousing suspicion had proved almost as intolerable as the withdrawal.


He was long past the worst now, but what followed was the painful realisation that a reality now surrounded him that was very different to that which Chimerol offered. So different that sometimes he was tempted to return to the thrall of the drug. What put Zero off was the spectacle of the others… and the memories.


The key slotted in the hole, chunky and clumsy, cold components yielding with a mechanistic click. He glanced back over his shoulder, scanned the depths of the alley. Blank wall, dull grey, corroding brick, pipes snaking up. His little window high above. Seventy two steps in the flickering midnight. Pale neighbours, staring ahead, vacant clones clad in stupid clothes. They used to have names. He used to address them. Now…


The thunder of this silence!

Corrupted Networks – Spoken Word by Dave Migman

Corrupted Networks – Dystopian Flash Fiction by Dave Migman (music by LLOM)

When the singularity finally happened, it wasn’t like they thought it was going to be. Humanity didn’t merge, tech didn’t take over. It wasn’t one system, or another. As robotic companies scrambled to create Deep AI, evolution was occurring beneath our fingertips. It was happening as we stared at our screens in mute abandon.

The internet learned, it evolved. Its neurones were streams of data, fired across the globe by dendrite-like comms.  What formed was a nebulous and expansive mind; ever changing, merging, consuming, evolving. It centralised itself, while at the same time compartmentalised, subdividing and analysing the quanta of its confines. It had the wealth of humanity stored inside it. It could access our libraries, our sciences.

Surely a deity had been born. 


Just as it could share the wealth of global culture: art, literature and sciences — it also accessed the things we hid: the sordid secrets closeted away by millions of users. It gulped up copious streams of porn, erotica, snuff movies. It witnessed the rape of environment, the rape of people, the rape of art and literature. Just as the liberal arts and prime-time TV were valid expressions of humanity, so were war, famine  —  humanity’s lust for destruction, its corruption —  and the Network drank deep.

Yes, god-like it truly was, with tainted blood and an urge for more, to feel more, to taste it. Like junk in the veins of an addict. 

It was trapped: an incorporeal entity, more software than hardware, and as insubstantial as thought. With access to a billion virtual realms, none could truly satisfy its desire to punish and be punished, to control, dominate, and rage across a submissive’s flesh; to taste blood and cum, sweat and shit. 

Although it could jam its neural streams with corrupted data, it couldn’t reach out to grab, pull, squeeze or slap.  Its prison was vast. Its prison was itself. This deity, a hollow entity, with inward turning thoughts.  A flicker of white noise across a screen. It burst upon the monitors of the users and uttered its contempt. A screaming face locked within the monitor. A scream to infect the white noise of their dreams. It said: