"The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it."
THE WILD LIVER
by Bryan Kennerley
It was early morning in the local High Street, as it was
everywhere else in the neighbourhood, and the roads were deserted
except for the odd van or truck, speeding around the empty
streets on their way to deliver their loads before the emptiness
was spoiled by the daily rush of traffic, at what passed for a
rush hour in this town whose name, if I told you it,
would probably be forgotten before this tale is through.
The story begins with one truck in particular, not an
exceptionally unusual truck but one whose contents were,
comparitively speaking, slightly less ordinary. The lorry was,
as most are, filthy. The dirt of aeons had apparently gathered
on the sides and tail of it in the days that it had been since
the last cleaning, and primitive life was starting to evolve.
It is doubtful that the truck had any thoughts on the matter,
but if it had then it would probably agree whole-heartedly with
the legend emblazened on its tail gate by some youth's
wandering fingers, "Clean me". The youth in question
obviously had other things on his mind when the opportunity
for wit had glanced its way through his rather tedious life.
The vehicle in question was of the refrigerated variety and
bore a load of various meats for all the butcher's shops in the
area. It is fortunate that the article in question was
unloaded at the first stop, at least for you the reader,
because the whole journey was rather uninteresting and was
otherwise the kind of thing that happens every day in
unremarkable towns all over the country. The axles groaned as
the vehicle mounted the pavement as if to announce the fact
that the driver was well aware that the town was empty, and that
if he had flattened an innocent pedestrian then it was their own
fault for being up so early anyway. That's the kind of driver
he was and as it happened that was precisely why he did it.
The gang of lifters jumped out of the cab, donning their gloves
as they had done so many times before and began the
process of moving so many hundred-weight of meat and
offal in as short a time as possible. This they managed without
any major problems although one of them had somehow managed to
cut his finger whilst carrying a crate of offal. "Strange", he
thought because he was sure that he was wearing his gloves.....
The lorry drove on, leaving the butcher's shop to await the
arrival of the shoppers on which its life, such that it was,
depended. The sun rose, cars came and went and slowly people
that got up at a sensible hour of the day began to drift in and
out of shops. Those that got up at a less sensible hour slowly
staggered in and out more than drifted but in and out they went
nonetheless. At first all seemed well, the occasional pork
rib, chicken breast and even some tongue was purveyed to
customers with appropriate degrees of daring. But then, an oldish
lady, of indistinguishable age somewhere between 70 and 103,
pottered into the shop and asked for some liver.
"Certainly madam," said the butcher, "Is this piece big enough?"
"Yes, that'll be fine" came the wavering reply. The butcher
placed the liver in question onto the scales but when he
announced the price to the old lady she muttered forth, "Oh
dear, the prices have gone up again haven't they?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so luv, there's been some trouble with the
lorry drivers goin' on strike. Apparently a pedestrian was
run over during one of the deliveries - of course the union
didn't agree with sacking the driver, they said it wasn't his
fault. I'll cut a bit off for yer shall I?"
"Yes, if you would," came the innocent reply. The butcher turned
around and selected his favourite knife from the rack behind
him - is was this kind of thing that made being a butcher
worthwhile. It gleamed an unnatural gleam in the light from the
single "Fly-o-zap" lamp on the wall. It was making a strange
buzzing noise that he hadn't heard it make before - he made a
mental note to fix it later. He turned back to the counter but
just as he was about to slice through the meat he was mildly
surprised to find that it leapt off the scales and ran off into
the corner of the store. It wasn't the actual event that threw
him of balance, more the crushing disappointment that he wasn't
going to have to slice through blood red flesh after all. He knew
instantly that it was going to be one of those days.
"I bet it's a Wednesday," he said to himself. As it happened it
was in fact a Tuesday but it is perhaps comforting to know that
when Wednesday did indeed arrive the butcher contracted food
poisoning from one of his own meat pies, and as a result was
closed down by the Health and Safety department.
"Well, how about this piece then luv," he said pointing vaguely
to the vast array of liver which he proudly arranged each
morning so as to maximise the vagueness of his pointing.
The liver wasn't stupid, at least it didn't think it was.
It had just managed to grasp the principle "I think therefore I
am liver" when some great creature had come along with a
pointy sharp thing and it had had the overwhelming feeling
that it did not want to be friends. So here it was on the floor,
covered in a fine layer of dust. It was quite fond of its
colour, kind of greyish but with a definate tint of deep red
throughout its form. It glanced back up at the wall, for
although it had no eyes or other immediately obvious sensory
apparatus, no-one had told it so. The blue light of the fly-
o-zap seemed to beckon it somehow and for a moment it became
entranced by the dull gleam. The liver couldn't help feeling
somehow attached to the object responsible for that dull
buzz and strange sensation that had made its body tingle when it
had been placed onto the scales. It was at this moment that the
butcher grew tired of the incessant buzzing behind him and
thumped the thing on the wall. It flickered for a moment and
then went out. The buzzing had stopped and the butcher was
satisfied that this act of mindless violence had been a job well
OK, what next? The liver wasn't without instinct, after all it
had managed to flee the butcher's knife without too much
difficulty, so it decided to explore. Moving was a little
difficult, lacking in the limb department as livers so often
are nowadays. Its movement couldn't be described as walking as
such, but instead it moved in a kind of strained wriggling,
like a worm but with the added ability to raise itself up
slightly on what it had decided was its hindquarters. It
slowly pushed itself along into the back of the store, leaving a
trail of drying blood behind it.
It was getting pretty confident now and moved with a grace
that only a liver could possess. Outside the liver had its first
experience of sunlight. It vaguely remembered being surrounded
by a dull red glow but that now seemed to be ages ago, almost in
another life. The light beamed down into the alley, down onto the
liver's back and seemed to give new energy and vigour to the
organ. If a liver could dance then that would be a fair
description of what it did as it travelled down that alley,
indeed it would be quite a good description as its movement
closely resembled one of the recent dance trends in one
particularly tacky night club in the area. Of course the liver
did not know this and neither did the people who had started
this dance trend, which is rather a shame really.
Suddenly the liver heard voices coming from just around the
corner. It pricked up two nodules on its front end which had
probably been arteries in its previous existance. The voices
were getting louder which, it reasoned, meant that they must be
getting closer. It decided to play dead.
A gang of 3 or 4 youths careered down the alley making
counting their actual number rather difficult. They had
obviously been drinking and moved somewhat less graciously than
the liver had done. One of them had an extremely dirty finger.
"Hey, wassaden!" offered one.
"Dunno....wasswaden?!" offered another.
"Datodair, i' looks lika, o i dunno. Hey Gav, wassaden!"
"It's a liver isn't it chaps?" replied Gavin, the intelligent
one of the group which doesn't say much for their collective IQ.
"Sa footy innit?" said the first and kicked it at Gavin. If
there's one thing he hated it was a smart-arse. It missed but
Gavin tried to return it and quite a game started up. Well,
quite a short game started up because after a few kicks up the
backside the liver had decided football wasn't its favourite
sport and proceeded to scramble off down the alley as
quickly as its rear haunches could propel it.
"Hey, wessaballgone?!" - the chase was on.
It wasn't a particularly fast chase, the liver kept its lead
ahead of the tailing bunch, more because of their falling over
themselves and the occasional molecule of air than its
outstanding sprinting ability. Unfortunately the liver hadn't
had any experience of finding its way through back alleys and it
didn't take long for it to run into a dead end. One of the
youths who clearly fancied himself as the leader of their clan
"Yer a norty little footy intcha?!" he mumbled in what obviously
passed for his most authoritative voice. The liver was scared.
It most definately did not like being stuck in a corner and
threatened by a mumbling moron. Not many people know how
dangerous a liver can be when threatened and this goes doubly so
for this particular mumbling moron, so it came as a great
surprise when his "little footy" raised itself onto its hind
quarters and leapt into the air towards him.
The pounce was carefully calculated and aimed and hit home
right on the youth's throat where the creature stayed, fixed
more firmly than by any glue, and sucked. A searing, agonizing
pain burnt through the youth's upper chest and neck as the
blood was absorbed through the very pores of his flesh. For the
liver had no teeth to bite through the flesh nor claws to rip
open the veins so all it could do was to suck, more powerful than
any leech. Of course the victim screamed to his 'pals' to
get the footy off him but by the time they had realised that
it wasn't another drunken game, thought for a while, gawped at
Gavin after he had calmly informed them that this was 'jolly odd
behaviour for a liver', and looked with great curiosity at
the strange colour that their 'pal' was turning, it was rather
too late for them to do anything about it. He slumped lifeless
to the floor, his hands still clutching at his throat as a
reminder of his last efforts to remove the thing that had
drained his very life-sap from his body.
Two of the remaining three turned and ran which given the
circumstances seemed to be the best immediate course of
action. The other youth just stood there, open mouthed at the
scene of horror that he had just witnessed. His friend lay
there, his flesh an unnatural shade of pale several tones
lighter even than corpses are usually imagined to be. The liver
was just finishing its meal, draining the last traces of
colour from the empty husk lying on the floor. It was now
several times larger than it had been and had obviously enjoyed
the nourishment it had discovered inside its aggressor. It was
aware of being watched and slowly turned around to face the
remaining stooge. Perhaps it was just his imagination but
before he turned and ran after his friends he could have sworn
that the liver snarled at him.
It was quite pleased with how things had turned out. Not only
had it fought off its attackers but it had also had a
pumping hearty meal. It felt quite strange now, partly because
it was unaccustomed to its new, bloated size but also because the
source of its food had been slightly more than a little drunk.
The liver wobbled off into a storage shed it had found to digest
its meal and, unbeknown to it at the time, become the first
liver to discover what the word 'hangover' meant.
Several hours passed before the liver became aware of its
surroundings once more. A figure was moving around inside the
shed with it. It backed further into the shadows so it could
observe the figure unseen.
The tramp shuffled around, looking for a clear spot in which
to spend the night. Having found what passed for a clear
patch he crouched down into a sitting position and took yet
another swig of whatever was contained in the brown paper bag
he held in his left hand. He thought he heard movement in the
opposite corner of the shed but he had got used to rats in this
neighbourhood and anyway, he had learnt that they didn't
think much of his particular flavour. Unfortunately he hadn't
learnt that livers hadn't got such delicate palates. The sound of
breaking glass rang out as the bag fell to the floor.
Early the next morning the refuse collectors began their daily
rounds. They were used to unusual trash of all sorts but
they were not prepared for the discovery of a blood-drained
corpse lying amongst the piles of rotting vegetable matter,
empty food packets and assorted dregs so it wasn't long
before the area was sealed off by the police. Various
indeciperable messages were shouted to the general public through
mega-phones which obviously conveyed a sub-conscious message
telling everybody to gather together in groups and murmur a
lot because this is the only noticeable effect that they seemed
to have. It wasn't long before the tramp's paled body was also
removed from that alley, covered by a regulation police corpse-
covering blanket of course.
There was a reporter around the place somewhere but everybody
ignored him and so will I. The police officers didn't seem too
sure about what exactly they were supposed to be doing so most
of their time was spent pretending to talk into their walkie-
talkies, pacing around authoritatively and look worried as they
had been taught to do in their training, and of course repeatedly
shout to the crowd to stay back and to move along as there
was nothing to see. Apart from the dozens of police, the
ambulance (just in case), the official police 'Keep Clear' signs
and barriers and the liver which had grown to the size of a small
to medium sized dog and crawled under the chief
superintendant's car, this wasn't too far from the truth. Of
course nobody saw the liver, at least nobody saw the liver and
thought it important enough to say anything about.
This was one seriously hungover liver. Whilst people are said to
have had a skin full when they are drunk, it would be an
understatement to say that this organ had had a liver full.
Both its victims had been intoxicated at the time it had taken
a dislike to them and now it decided it had taken even more of a
dislike to them. At least it was quiet where it was now, no
people marching around over its head, poking and prodding
amongst its makeshift bed for clues as to what had happened the
night before this morning after. All it wanted was to be left
alone. Some chance.
To say that the police were bemused would be the biggest
understatement since someone said that Atilla the Hun had a
personality problem. The first rumour to go around was that
the victims had been attacked by some wild dogs but when it
was pointed out that the skin had not been broken the theory had
changed to them being attacked by wild dogs that had lost all
their teeth and so had gummed the unfortunates to death.
Funnily enough, a headline to this effect appeared on the front
page of only one newspaper. The coroner recognised the markings
on the bodies as resembling those left by a leech but when asked
how big leeches grew in this area of town he merely gesticulated
as vaguely as possible. Surprisingly enough, 'Wanted' posters
of a 15 inch leech did not go up in too much of a hurry. It
is doubtful that they would have helped much recognitively
anyway because by now the liver had grown to almost 2 foot in
Later that day, when most of the police had left and the
Chief Super was left loitering around looking bemused at the
total lack of clues the team had collected for him from
various angles, the liver was recovering from its sufferings.
Feeling a little peckish it raised its head and immediately
lowered it again when it came into sudden contact with the
hard metal of the car. Naturally, it tried to eat it. Some
strange tasting fluid came out of the car but the liver felt it
was lacking something.
When the Chief tried to start his car, the same thought
crossed his mind too. He knew nothing about cars but like most
people was not willing to let on about this so he got out of the
car, raised the bonnet, shook his head and let forth several
tuts, tsks and various unhappy noises. He had seen mechanics do
this whenever he had had the car serviced so he thought he
must look pretty darn knowledgeable to anyone watching.
Eventually he tired of this game and it was at this point that
he noticed a pool of redness slowing growing out from
underneath his car. He was sure that petrol wasn't red so he
hazarded a careful look and saw a reddish brown blob filling most
of the space under the car and moving gently, as if breathing.
Now he was sure that it wasn't there when he had parked
because he was sure that he'd have noticed driving over such a
thing. In no time the area was a hive of activity again but this
time one or two of the cops were armed.
They waited, and looked at the car as if expecting whatever was
underneath it to do something. One thing was for sure and
that was that if it was a toothless wild dog then it was almost
certainly skinless as well judging by the color of....well, 'it'.
The liver awoke from its post-hangover doze to realise that
there were a lot of eyes looking at him. This didn't worry it
too much, but what did worry it was that the eyes were attached
to men holding metallic objects which gave it the same feeling of
extreme danger as the knife had done the day before.
The Chief was getting a little bored with just sitting around
waiting for something to happen. Heck, that was his car
in there and he hadn't even finished paying for it yet. He
barked an order for someone to go and prod the thing with a
stick or something stick-shaped. After the regulation wise-crack
had passed through the ranks, a sticks-person was nominated and
dispatched by a shove in the direction of the car.
The liver felt something prodding its rear end. At first it
tried to ignore it but after a couple more pokes, it decided it
was rather painful and tried to think of something to do about
it. It gathered its bulk together and started to move forwards,
away from the source of the discomfort.
"What is that thing?!" called policeman number one.
"Beats me," called policeman number two.
"My car!" called the Chief.
The car was now travelling along the road, its wheels raised
several inches off the ground. The liver was tiring already
with the great load on his back so, much to the Chief's
disappointement it gave a sharp muscular push and sent the car
flying across the street, landing on its roof.
It turned to face the shouts that were now aimed
straight at it and discovered that wasn't all that was now
aimed straight at it. It cautiously looked around for a way out
of this newest predicament. It seemed that it was surrounded but
those on its left seemed rather ill at ease. With a grace that
defied its current size and shape, it pounced without warning in
that direction and wiped out 2 officers in one go. There was no
time to feed properly, but it had enough time to kill since
its power had grown along with its size. The bodies were hardly
recognisable as human. Shots rang out. The liver was hit once
and then again, and again. It reared up in pain, blood gushing
from the wounds torn in its flesh and painting the street with
gore. Energized by the pain it bounded into the alley once more.
The armed police advanced slowly after it but it was dark in
the alley now that the sun had passed over behind the buildings
on the west side. They could no longer see their prey.
Flashlights were brought out and a slow search of the alley
began but there was no sign of the liver anywhere. At least,
no-one reported seeing it but several did, for an instant at
least. The liver had learnt that its pursuers did not look
up, and quickly took to searching the dark corners of the
alley so it wasn't too difficult to make a quick kill by hiding
above the line of sight.
But slowly the liver was moving further and further down the
alley and it soon ran out of places to hide. The line of guns
kept what was thought to be a safe distance away from the
organ although no-one had actually recognised that this is what
it was. The flashlights spotted it, crouched as compactly as its
new bulk would allow it, in the same corner it had been trapped
before. It was a pathetic sight indeed and the order to
kill was delayed while the onlookers tried to ascertain what
exactly it was they were facing. The guns lowered their aim but
were immediately instructed to point back at the 'thing' for
The liver was more scared than it had ever been in its all-
too-short life. It was bleeding heavily, albeit not its own
blood. It was heavily wounded by the shots that had been fired
and was trapped in a corner once more, hardly an ideal position
for a liver who just wanted to see the world. It heaved its bulk
forward to stretch out its torn body. Every movement sent a
searing pain through its entire form but the sensation of
danger seemed to fade. A feeling of intense anger welled up
inside it as it turned once more to face the aggressors before
it. It shifted its weight slowly back onto its rear haunches once
more - the pain seemed to be fading now and a numb, warm
sensation seemed to be spreading. Without any warning, the liver
let forth on a last desperate bid to escape those who refused
to leave it alone. It leapt towards the brightly lit line of
people several yards before it. Shots rang out. The liver was
forced backwards by the impact of the bullets but it was
beyond pain now. As it hit the ground it bounded forward
once more, digging deep into its remaining energy, but as
shots rang out once more the liver fell in a motionless heap
inches from the feet of the marksmen.
Only theories were ever proposed as to what the creature was,
although many of those who studied the remains had remarked on
the uncanny resemblance to an internal organ of some kind,
vastly enlarged, although this was obviously impossible. The
actuality of what it had been had died along with it since no-
one could find any evidence that what was left had ever been
alive. The liver was no more, it had ceased to be.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.