FLASH FICTION INDEX 1 - May 2007-Nov. 2011

Writing challenges, flash fiction, interesting anecdotes, amusements, and general miscellanea.

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Post October 15, 2011, 02:38:17 PM

Little Superhero Challenge

The Incredible Shrinking Mad

J. Davidson Hero

It sounds clichéd now, but Mike got his ability to shrink in a laboratory accident. How it worked has always been and, I guess, always will be a mystery. Even his clothes would shrink. But probably the strangest part was the trigger. To start shrinking Mike had to get mad, and the madder he got the smaller he could get.

After the accident Mike was recruited into an invisible government agency called Intellico. For better or worse, Mike insisted that his research partner little Laciann Lacu join him. I'm sure they didn't really need another low level researcher, but since I was the only one who knew Mike's secret, they were happy to have me where they could watch me.

At first Mike could only shrink a few inches, which was impressive when it happened in front of you, but really not all that useful. He had to concentrate hard to make it happen too, visualizing things that made him angry. But Mike was a very even-keeled guy, and anger didn't come easily.

Back then superhero chic was all the rage, and the higher-ups at Intellico decided the world was primed for the real deal. Mike had a bona fide super power, but Intellico's Advanced Marketing had other plans for him. They decided instead he'd make the perfect sidekick for their perfect hero, Vega-Man.

By now everyone's heard of Vega-Man. He's the stereotypical superman, an alien from somewhere near Vega, super-powered by our sun, tall, and handsome. It's as if he flew right off the comic book page, right? And he has a smile that will charm anyone. I know the first time I saw him I felt a little weak in the knees. But that feeling faded as I learned the truth. When Vega-Man landed on Earth he was nothing but green goo stuck to the rough surface of a meteorite. Someone touched the goo and a few weeks later the goo started to look a lot like a human male covered with green body paint. But despite appearances Vega-Man was much more plant than animal, his powers coming from a kind of photosynthesis. And while he had intelligence that was humanlike, he had none of the socialization.

Intellico spent millions trying to prep Vega-Man for the outside world with little success. At least until one of his moronic handlers gave him a stack of comics and pointed out the similarities. Vega-Man latched onto the idea and the world's first real superhero was born. But he needed someone to keep him moving in the right direction. The Big Green Bean had a tendency to get sidetracked, sometimes by something as simple as his own reflection.

It became Mike's job to keep Veggie on task, and Mike's role as a sidekick was the perfect cover. Mike actually grew to like Vega-Man, though their relationship was probably on par with a seal trainer and his favorite flippered performer. But at their official debut Mike was dealt an underhanded blow. Advanced Marketing decided to forego Mike's suggestion for a codename, "Shrinking-Man" and settled instead on the belittling name "Shrinky." When Mike protested they said the packaging for the action figure was already done. From that point on Mike was able to shrink down to just under three feet.

I was put in charge of a support team, and helped out Mike wherever I could. Then the inevitable happened. The boys were saving some hostages and somehow I ended up in the fray. The media asked who I was. Then Advanced Marketing got the idea that I should play Vega-Man's girlfriend. I know now it was a terrible, terrible mistake, but at the time it seemed so exciting. Mike thought it was a bad idea, and argued that I was selling out. I told him it was small of him to think so. I had just wanted to be standing beside him, instead of lurking in the shadows. And so I was transformed by a plastic surgeon from nerd-girl into Laci Lake, Vega-Man's modelesque girlfriend, occupation "unspecified." I was unveiled at a news conference and as I stood clutching the muscular arm of a seven foot stalk of celery, fake breasts and collagened lips photo-ready, I wondered where Mike was. The same day he had learned to shrink to just three inches tall for the first time.

Everyone knows the girlfriend of the superhero is the natural prey of the supervillain. And that's where this was destined to end. We were sent to deal with international hitman, Nicholas Al Guzman Kumar. It was a trap. Kumar figured eliminating Vega-Man would do wonders for his reputation, and he knew more about Vega-Man than he should. When confronted Kumar simply told Veggie that he had discovered his "kryptonite," something he dubbed the Vega-Ray. Mike and I knew there was no such thing, it was only a black-light. But Kumar's suggestion was enough.

There we were, Vega-Man trapped in the "Vega-Ray," me stretched between the floor and an industrial hoist, and Mike held at gunpoint. Kumar held the gun in one hand, and the yellow control box for the hoist in the other.

"First I kill woman, then stupid sidekick," he said.

"Mike, do something!" I screamed.

"Vega-Man, save her," Mike yelled. "You're the superhero. There's nothing holding you back!"

But Veggie just lolled, a victim of his own reality.

"Please save her," Mike pleaded.

Then Mike glared at Kumar gritting his teeth with fierce determination.

"Shrink, I squash you like insignificant bug." Kumar spat.

A growl came from Mike as he lunged and tackled Kumar. The gun went off.

When they found the bullet, it was tinged with blood, but it was the size of a pinhead. Mike and the villain were never found. Mike had mustered enough pent-up rage to shrink them both completely away before my eyes. It's ironic, you know. I wonder if Mike had known how I really felt about him, would he have still had the anger to save me.

The End
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Post October 15, 2011, 02:39:35 PM

Little Superhero Challenge

A Dry Cough

Sergio Palumbo

Everybody knew it was only a matter of time before the tough policy of the seemingly everlasting Chinese government went on the brink of falling to pieces. The continuous demonstrations, the strikes everywhere, the discontent rose everywhere across the country. The governmental party had tried to calm down the population by giving them a sort of wellness, a new economy, modern skyscrapers, some riches and a western-style way of life within the main towns, but in the end that hadn’t turned out to be enough. The citizens needed more: guaranteed rights, better wages, the opportunity to choose, in a few words they strongly desired freedom!And so the leaders had decided there was no other way to maintain power and keep on ruling over 2 billions Chinese inhabitants. The military high-ranking officers knew well what they had to do, their secret labs had been working on it for years, just in case of some days like those, and finally they decided to release the preparation and let it spread everywhere: a specific gene-transmitter, working as a gene-modifier, which was able to turn the common citizen into a respectful and compliant one, incapable of arising in search of freedom against his own government.

The gene transmitter had been inoculated for the first time by means of bottles of water, the ones distributed everywhere via a national company. Then it had become residing inside the body of everyone who was drinking it, reaching and modifying the genes accordingly…

The order conveyed at the time of that first test was simple: respect the decisions your government made, as broadcasted through the media everyday. And it had proved successful, indeed.No more strikes spreading from town to town as soon as the main TV channels announced that those actions were illegal, having to be stopped immediately.

With the passing of the years, such a kind of gene-transmitters had been perfectioned: now there were inside every inhabitant’s gene pool several hidden commands ordering to buy that product, sleep at a given hour in order to preserve energy, walk that way, respect the traffic lights, all the road signs and so on.

So far the gene modifications were so many that the citizen’s genes could look like a stamp already pierced by millions of pins( that is, special instructions given ).

In that moment the slender, black-haired Wang Jia was just riding a bicycle along Hubing, one of the main roads of Xiamen, past Haicang Bridge. There were thousands of such means of transport just looking alike his, as that was the model approved by the government and sold via the only appointed national company. As a consequence of one of the many gene-transmitters-modifiers conyeyed inside the bodies of the common people, no one made a wish anymore for a car from abroad or disliked a governmental bicycle,of course, you would have never bought that under normal circumstances, but nobody had his free will today.

There had been many tries America’s and Europe’s governments had made in order to subvert such a compulsory way of life by creating some anti-gene trasmitters to be conveyed in some ways into China from abroad, but the national military labs had been able to stop them every single time simply by developing and spreading within homeland some new, stronger gene-transmitters capable of undoing the preparations many countries had invented worldwide to destroy such an undemocratic way of controlling people.

Going along the road, Wang Jia noticed sideways that alley leading to the building he had been living when still a nine-year old child. A fierce governmental repression had taken place there twenty years before, so no one had been allowed since then to approach it as that was a forbidden area. A peculiar gene-transimitter/modifier had acted so that nobody really would be allowed to go in there. Actually, Wang Jia would have liked so much to simply turn to the left, leaving aside the main road, in order to watch again the now abandoned house where he was born, but the man had that constriction inside that didn’t let him go far away from that designated course, as all the others riding a bicycle along that city route.

So he was very sad inside, but there was nothing else he could do.

Late in the evening, when he went back home leaving the University of Technology the man worked for, more than 80 miles away from downtown --a demanding distance no one would have covered willingly everyday if not cause of another gene modification -- Wang Jia was tired, but had still to give some foods to his poultry in the garden. That same night, whatever the reason, while throwing the feed a restless chiken bit his hand. At first, he didn’t overrate it, then he showed some symptoms along with a temperature and a bad coughing, too.

The man thought of it as an avian flu case, in fact he was sick for some days, but happily recovered in the end.

Going again to work the next day, Wang Jia headed for Hubing road as every good citizen. But as he had a glimpse of the alley where once home was, this time he felt he was not forced anymore to keep away from it. So, incredibly, he changed his course and went in

It was really weird to be able to have finally a look at it, after so long!

Now the man was aware he possessed inside no more such a limitation, unexpectedly his gene-constriction had been changed...was it due to his recent illness?

Maybe the germs still inside him could make the difference, infecting and freeing all the people he would meet during the day! So the man started riding his bicycle again, coughing right and left and proceeding along the way.

“Breath and inspire, people” Wang Jia thought, smiling “Have a breath of freedom!”

The End
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Post October 15, 2011, 02:41:22 PM

Little Superhero Challenge

- Winner -


Lester Curtis

After all the shit we heaped on him, he finally got respect. Ours. Everyone's. A state funeral, no less, with the whole city in attendance. A true hero's homecoming.

And we all thought he was nothing but a bullshitter. Now we're bawling our eyes out, somewhat in embarrassment at ourselves, for the way we treated him, but mostly because he was just so much -- bigger than we were.

Bigger. Hell, I could almost laugh, if I weren't crying so hard.

Hell, the only reason we took him aboard the Fury was that we needed someone small enough to crawl through the air-ducts to clean them, and he could almost do it standing up. Any one of us could pick him up one-handed. Us big, tough humans. Hard-assed warriors, fighting the Pryen.

We found him at the N-51-C fuel depot; nobody knew where he came from or what species he was. He spoke broken English, which surprised us. Sorriest-looking thing you could imagine: filthy, matted fur, nothing but a dirty rag wrapped around him for clothes. He'd been doing fetch-and-patch jobs there in the maintenance tunnels, getting paid with mockery and abuse and leftover food scraps.

He showed up at the boarding tunnel as we were about to break loose, waving his puny little arms and hollering how he wanted to help us fight the Pryen, and what a great warrior he was. Nobody took him seriously, of course. But our maintenance bot got houghed in the last battle, and the captain gave him a tired look and waved him in. He cleaned and repaired stuff we couldn't reach, and we paid him the same as he'd gotten from the depot crew.

We could never let ourselves admit it out loud, but the Pryen were kicking our asses. We were all scared . . . all but him. He laughed at everything. Laughed at our abuse. Even laughed at the Pryen; kept going on about how he knew how to beat 'em. "Gimme chance!" he'd yell, "I show!"

We got tired of hearing it, and one of the crew said, "Cut the shit, would you? You're about as much of a fighter as Gandhi!" Everyone laughed at the derision, and the name stuck. We needed to call him something anyway; nobody could pronounce his real name.

So, it was 'Gandhi' this, and 'Gandhi' that, and his endless, sickening cheeriness, and his endless insistence that the Pryen could be beaten, and that he could do it, as we made for the Han Yu colonies, where the Pryen had made a recent raid, us and three other heavy cruisers. And Gandhi just did, all that we demanded, and bragged and laughed and waved his skinny little arms.

The problem was, we didn't know how to beat the Pryen. They'd pop out of sub-space, huge swarms of small ships with really big guns. We couldn't disable their engines, and their firepower was all out of proportion to their size. They'd pick a single target and all fire in synch, while we tried to pick off individual ships without much success.

We found them, finally, about where we'd expected them to be, and just like that, it was on. The Fury was bringing up the rear in our formation, and we lost contact with the other cruisers in less than a minute, watched our vanguard ship explode. We only got a few shots off before their first volley hit us. Our shields overloaded, but reset, and we were trying to do evasive maneuvers while tracking and shooting. We did take out a few of theirs, but it didn't help much.

Their second volley blipped the shields again and took out our main gun turrets, and we were down to smaller guns, and the missiles, which we'd held in reserve for bigger targets. We started launching them anyway, into the thickest part of the swarm, hoping to hit something.

The shields didn't come back up that time, which meant we were down to the ablative armor on the hull. It was only good for two hits, and then we'd be junk.

The next volley hit, and everything went to hell. That's the trouble with ablative armor: it's a layer of explosive, meant to fragment incoming fire before it could breach the hull. The effect, for us, was like having your head inside a big bell when someone rang it, only worse. Everything loose went flying, main power went out, every alarm we had went off, and the crew all got thrown out of their seats. The ventilation quit, and the red emergency lights were matched by fires and acrid smoke.

I wound up halfway under an inert crewman. I looked around, but didn't see anyone else moving. I heard some faint groans through the ringing in my ears.

And there was Gandhi. He climbed up and stood on the seat of the nearest weapons board and looked at the screen display, yelled, "Pryen stupid! That oldest trick in the book!" And, with that, he put the targeting crosshairs on the emptiest piece of space in sight, and fired our very last missile into the middle of nowhere.

Another volley hit; the ablative armor went off again -- and Gandhi went flying against a bulkhead.

What we found, when we were able to get up again, was the Pryen fleet, inert and drifting, and the ruins of a mothership, which apparently ran the whole fleet on beamed power. It had been cloaked, unshielded, right in the middle of that empty space in the field of battle. We got our comm up enough to tell Base what to do. The word went out, and the Pryen are in retreat.

We also found Gandhi, with a document on him, which gave the location of his homeworld. So, we brought him home, and here we are. A little man, from a little world, finally getting the honor he deserved.

He was bigger than all of us.

The End
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Post October 15, 2011, 02:43:09 PM

Speed-Writing Challenge

The challenge was to write a flash story inspired by the theme of "Dark Matter" in two hours or less.
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Post October 15, 2011, 02:44:27 PM

Speed-Writing Challenge

Space Trash

Richard Tornello © 2011

Garbage collectors, the bottom of the heap in terms of jobs. Everybody needs them, and no one respect them until something goes wrong or they go on strike. Their ships may look clean from afar but they are stinky, ratty, hulks. Their ships are rank and stink to hell.
Ten orbits out, the sensors tell, their odor, that stench, oh that smell, toxic waste, in space-time hell. But they fulfill a need, relieving us of our waste in as far as we know here on the planet, some uncharted place.

Most are paid by the load, they’re not on the clock, so they keep the pulse jets throbbing @ the docks. The cost for wasted fuel is offset by the amount to restart and prepare for flight.

As I mentioned the ships are for the most part pretty ratty. The airlocks barely hold, the maintenance is frequently let go until the pull from gravity from where ever they are tilts the gauges to the red danger line, and the ships can’t lift.

For many the position is a comedown. The pilots were once proud owners of bright and shiny craft, high end ships, and fast. Now, they are foul, abused, and trashed. No one plans for this career. It’s designed for careless captains that have histories and can’t fly true, or those in arrears with payments due.

Say the cook to the crews many a time, “The galley’s broken, no grub to fill, so yer empty stomachs gotta fly on pills. But who can eat when the stench hangs thick on the airlock doors, their tattered uniforms, and in their pores.

Convicts seeking a reprieve gladly from their confinement will leave and, volunteer for a one year tour. And, if they make it one full year, then sentences lifted, to home and cheer. They are the only ones that seek this job. It reminds me of stories where convicts were offered freedom if they made it through a mine field. And in so doing, making it that is, showed a clear safe path for troops to follow. The safety factor here was about the same, zero to little or none. The ships disappeared into the blackness.

This all changed when a new black dark fleet, so nice and neat, flying in formation arrived at the scene one day. The ships were clean, no radiation leaking from the engine thruster bays. These ships are quick and lightening fast. The stink of old was something past.

It was a new boss is in this space, with rules and facilities all in place. He had a contract written up. “Take the contract or fly no more. The New Black Fleet’s golden garbage galore. Learn our way and methodology, we’re dumping our loads with such profitability.”

But too many ships too wrecked to join. And purchase a new one? Most captains were short of coin. That was remedied with new and special legislation. You all know money buys the next election. They actually legislated that the cost and expenses could be pushed forward putting the burden, the weight of debt on future generations.

“Debt to generations future was the rallying cry, and congresses were paid off buy and buy
“No more worries, just sign here sir.
Live a life, pay through time, sir.
And what you can’t your progeny will find, sir
upon their life,
will work your job, sir.”

(And whispering in no ones ear)
“To the generations, chains that hob, sir”

These were the new rules. The rules were tight with laws that bind. Just don’t screw up
or you’re off line was the threat to anyone who wanted to unionize.

These new garbage professionals were flying high and flying proud. Their money speaks volumes, and they needed not be loud. They take no guff, they’re hard and mean,
in uniforms so bright, so clean.

But its not play. There are no stops for joy, no stops for breaks. Crews are doubled; one shift is constant and awake. “Dump your loads, about the face, back for more,” is the order of the day. And internally the clean ships race each other for best of breed.

Flying high and flying fast, the new boss’s concept from self made test. He put his ship and himself to best first. What he did one day quite by accident and miscalculation, he flew to the sun’s corona, a chance, a bet, and burned the bow shock’s stench and left.
The ship turned black, but no more stink. He had a concept and made it stick.

A sun burnt, slide-off, for his boat and no more skunky ships a-floated.

So now there is no more scorn, no derision. Pilots want to join this business division.

All the planets, they have to pay. The garbage has to go away. There just isn’t another way. It’s a high called living for all who were in the past, in the depth of despair, derision, debt and just the darkest of the population. Even their children were once scorned.

Darkness black ship where is thy sting, not any longer with the shekels cling!

The End
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Post October 15, 2011, 02:46:19 PM

Speed-Writing Challenge

Time Abides


April 19 2018:
James Carrilon had one chance to save his distress call to the ages. He hid it in Dark Matter. This was the stuff that took Phyicists years to decipher, and since long term disclosure had no particular time table, James felt fine with it.

He lived other parts of his oppressed life, then passed on.


Earthdate 2034 Month3 Day 23:2300

During routine examinations of planetarty masses, we have encountered a new mass which is too regular to be naturally formed. Efforts at deciphering the artificially enhanced dark matter configuration are underway. Stand by.


Mars Date 18:4:35

After some key researched us from Earth-Prime, we were able to apply a Parallax factor that they missed, and decoded what is apparently a 28 year old distress call, plus or minus Mars Year Conversions.

The message reads:

"To whomever receives this: Check the Ratios of China to the USA, in all applicable metrics. If more than 11 of 17 metrics equal a greater than 60% supremacy then assume that the USA is in dire peril. First assumption is that the threat is not Nuclear. Instead look toward Economic Measures. Good luck. Aryeon out.


Mars Date 35:9:2

Progress is proceeding well towards establishling Chinese Colonies on Mars. Americans prove to be most capable workers.


Earth Date 2038 Month 7 Day 4

Log: Earth Social Sciences Engineeer

My GrandPappey once told me that July 4 was supposed to be a Holiday, a day that the Americans picked to celebrate their establishment poltically from the English. We don't observe that any more. It is just another workday. Our Chinese economic overseers give us seven days off per year, so that is it. When faced with that ruthless choice, workers stopped wasting the days on Valentines, Easter, and July 4th. It is like those days went to the Dark Matter of efficiency.


Mars Date 46:11:1

CEO Council Notes

We had a hard year last year. Crops fell 12% with the bad weather, and we lost 10,000 lives or so. However, Shipments from Earth-Prime rose 6%, so we escaped the ravages of famine, barely. Barely. We need a strategy in place this year because we pulled out our last grace cards.


Earth Date 2040 Year of the Monkey

Memo: PlaneCorp CFO:
Months have been abolished. All progress is Yearly now because of excessive corruption on Quartely Reports. Monthly reports are still given to internal auditors. American Supremacy is on the decline. We had a period that we could fake it for about 20 years from 2015-2035, and then it all went downhill. Basically, too many short sighted fatcats ran off with the national budgets, and when the pieces spilled out there was nothing left. We are economically subservient to the other countries now. Germany left the EU to remain strong without the dragging influence of 6 mismanaged countries, and partnered with China in an unusual Sin-Germanic alliance. I am just a CFO, I don't know what that means 5 years out.

Prime Minister Blankiero, Brazil, AD 2057

All of this is quite easy now.

The Chinese did all the hard work, or shall we say, the easy work, by copying American Intellectual Property. Through the key signal decoded from the Dark Matter of the Cultural Prophet, we were ready for the Chinese expansion. However, absolutely everybody neglected us, so that a team of 2400 spies were able to copy and return with all significant intellectual developments worth having up until the year 2050. We will catalog those fresh recent years in due time.

With the Prophet's Warning, we laid out cultural universities subsidized by the government to catch up on a 20 year lag of innovation. We will have a new Saturn Base by 2065.


Prime Minister Blankiero, Brazil.

The End
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Post October 15, 2011, 02:47:52 PM

Speed-Writing Challenge

The Light Bringers

Michele Dutcher

“So what in Darwin's name went wrong?” Arezou Campbell looked around the room at the almost frozen faces staring back at her. “Ideas anyone? - Thoughts? - babbling metaphors?”

The small man in the back, farthest away from her angry glare shrugged his shoulders before diving in. “There are just too many variables to even give an theory. The ship was deep into unexplored territory , the neutrino-converter had been vamped-up to allow access to the unexplored region, the lidar had been re-opted for clearer diagnostics. Separately, all these factors had a proven history, but thrown in all together, the combination itself could have proved fatal.”

Beb shot to his feet, banging his fist on the table. “Don't even go there, Sadgewick – the whole 'thrown together' inference, as if we just threw them out into the Leo Constellation without any forethought or planning.”

“I told you it was a bad idea,” the short man shot back, rising to his feet, looking at the taller man eye-to-eye.

Arezou's tone immediately became that of a counselor. “Gentlemen, gentlemen. Let's back it down a ratchet or two.” The two men sat down, giving a look towards each other briefly to be sure the other was responding appropriately. “I apologize for my acquisitive tone, I'm just at the end of my rope.” The CEO looked around the table and the 23 people gathered there.

“We're right there with you,” said Beb, a hulk of a man, whose calm demeanor was in abject conflict with his overwhelming harsh looks.

The CEO of Armastaw Industries took a deep breath. “I've been told that we'll be able to view the ship's final minutes momentarily.” Everyone sat back as though relaxing for the first time during the day-long ordeal since the loss of the starship. “Rachel, when can we expect that data?”

Almost as if by magic, a meter-tall holograph appeared over the center of the table. It was a picture of the inside of the ship. All the crew members were going about there normal tasks, checking panels and cracking jokes. It was as peaceful a scene as any of them could have imagined. It was too peaceful – perhaps. Maybe if someone had been more on guard...

“How far is this before the end?” asked Arezou to the computer running the holograph.

“36 seconds, 35...”

“Thank you, Jofer,” said Arezou, returning her eyes to the scene.

Suddenly the demeanor of the crew changed. “There's something out there, sir! - or not out there.”

“What is it, helmsman?” demanded the captain.

“It's an absence of material. It's absorbing the light from the Lidar instead of allowing it to bounce back. That's why we weren't receiving any information about its...”

“How large is it?” asked the captain, closing the gap between his console and the helmsman.

“It's amazing! It's as large as a planet – sir. Right here, in the middle of ...”
Everything was gone.

Beb leaned forward towards were the virtual ship had been. “Did you see that? The ship exploded instead of imploded.”

“Are you sure?” asked Sadgewick.

“Play the last 3 seconds back at 10% speed,” instructed the CEO.

They all watched in horror as the center of the globe of virtual light began to expand, allowing the men to be pulled apart before the ship's hull lost integrity and was torn apart.

Beb was more steady now. “This was no accident – this was sabotage.”

Arezou was thinking out loud now. It's as if that black shadow sucked up the ship, tearing it in all directions.”

Suddenly the holograph flickered on, revealing a face whose contours could only be seen by it's negative form. “We have followed the path of this message back into your world,” it proclaimed. “We apologize for any loss of life.”

All were silent now, no one spoke, no one breathed.

“Hello. Why did you kill our crewmen?” whispered Arezou to the dark form.

“We are a lifeform living here, in the absence of light and life. Time with us moves 1000 times slower than you can envision – and the light bringer was killing us, as one after another of us absorbed as much light as we could and then desentagrated of over exposure. Hundreds of us dissolved, and we had to fight back. Once again, we are sorry for your loss of life. We are death itself – but we had no choice.”

The CEO was beginning to understand now, amazed at discovering a new lifeform. “How can you be death?”

“Before your galaxy was formed, the tip of our galaxy collided with another one. Our people tried to escape away from the carnage, but all of those left in the stellar system were killed by the effects of the gravitational pull of the stars passing through the edge of our galaxy.”

“How terrible for you!” said Beb.

“It was even worse than that. All of the souls from our stellar system were pulled from our dead planet – out here, into the void. We are the dead now – floating here between the stars.”

“We are happy to meet you,” said the CEO finally. “May we talk with you further?”

“It matters not to us,” was the reply. “As we are the dead – the left behind.”

Sadgewick was excited now. “We have the ability to harvest mind-waves and save them in digital form. Perhaps we could allow you to live in a new reality – a virtual one – a virtual universe.”
The voice was silent for a moment. “We will talk again with you, bringers of life, bringers of light.”

And both cultures breathed easy for a moment, smiling at their discovery of each other.

The End
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Post October 15, 2011, 02:49:06 PM

Speed-Writing Challenge

- Winner -

The Consequences of Space Travel…

Sergio Palumbo

"How might it have happened? "Brett, the young fair-haired technician asked his captain, while looking at the monitors on the main deck of the starship.

"The explanation resides in the laws of faster-than-light space travel itself…" Klew, a tall man, two weird orange eyes, half-human and half-Lrt ( a species living on a system 1,000 light-years away from Earth ), scratching at his green beard while staring at the big dark object showed on the main screen, being only 1 billion space miles outside.

"It has already started attracting our vessel, captain…"the tone in Agb’s voice, the female hairless all-Lrt attendant, was worried" We can’t resist for too long…"

"I know, I’m just thinking of it…"

Klew was aware of what was occurring, but he had never thought it could have happened just today.

The principles of physics were well known, actually. Since the ancient days when humanity had discovered that the lightspeed limit was breakable thanks to high-tech accelerators which could spin the particles faster than light, this way creating the base for almost unlimited travel across space, the scientists had discovered that such find wasn’t without consequences…

Every time you spin something faster-than-light, something else comes with it, that is: dark matter.

As this has stayed undetected for long cause of the old-fashioned machinery that was available at the time the first experiments took place on Earth-- but it still exists-- every single movement of some object through space, travelling at faster-than-light speed, makes so that some dark particles move along with it. You could call that a sort of dark dead-weight.

And the farthest away you spin something and the bigger that becomes, as every single particle is associated to a dark equivalent one… so, you let some matter more travel other than the thing ( a starship, a space-station, etc.) you want to move elsewhere across the planets. And such a dark matter multiplies itself as long as the faster-than-light space travel continues…

Their mission was probably the one meant to go farthest than ever, to reach the uttermost point within the galaxy that no Human, Lrt, Ulj or any other alien species within the Interplanetary Confederation had ever gone to so far, and then the unexpected result had been even greater than any other time before.

Already over the course of some other missions which had gone very far away from Earth there had been some strange observations: dark objects outside the vessel, unknown and with a high density, completely black in color and sphere-sized. Most of them were small, but the farthest the starship went and the bigger they appeared in a way…They were a nuisance easily negligible, commonly, but this time things were different…

As their space travel was meant to explore the farthest recesses of their galaxy and they had gone to the most distant place ever reached by any other known vessel so far, the dark thing that had appeared, coming out from nothing as their starship had completed the quantum-translation in space had resulted to be bigger than any other similar object seen before.

And that enormous black sphere out there, four times the size of the most massive known star, was just attracting their vessel now by means of such an enormous gravity that their planetary engines ( that is the ones used for ordinary travel when not in faster-than-light mode…) were unable to escape from it.

Their end was near, as the crew aboard had already noticed…all of them were going to die cause of the terrible collision soon.
But there was a chance, maybe.

Klew turned and addressed all the four crew members on the main deck.

"Captain speaking" the man said, a reassuring voice" We are going to hit the big black body generated cause of our recent space travel… "It can’t be helped as our planetary engines are not powerful enough to escape its attraction…"
There was a long pause afterwards.

"But we have got a way to make it, that is spinning our starship again via our faster-than-light propulsion. This will allow us escape from this place, but in order to do so we will be translated to another farther point in space and then the problem will occur again, likely bigger than this one…"

"So what could we do, Sir?" the technician interrupted him.

"Travelling at faster-than-light speed, spinning us to the extreme recesses of space, being always on travel, because if we only stop our course we’ll be trapped again next to such a danger outside…the one we could never escape from, at that time…"

There was another pause then.

"Are you with me?" the captain asked.

"What else could we do, Sir" Brett replied along with all the deck crew "At least, HomeCentral on Earth will be able to find a way to save us, to try a solution that will put all this to an end…"

The captain smiled. ”Postponing forever the inevitable”.Maybe it was so, but they were going to be travelling for a very long time without a single stop before that would happen, going even to the end of space, for sure…

The End
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Post November 06, 2011, 02:37:11 PM

Murder Should be Personal

The challenge was to write the tale of a human struggling to perform the perfect murder.
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Post November 06, 2011, 02:37:54 PM



George T. Philibin

It was a clear and sunny summer morn the day we took Sport to the vets, a day that will remain with me until death. Sport, my chocolate-lab and buddy since birth.

He died later that day-----poisoned, a poison that inhibited his breathing, the Vet said. I cried, Dad and Mon and my older sister Karen also cried, and the height of my sorrow must have reached the Angles, and I’m sure their eyes were wet as they looked down upon my family and me.

When you’re eleven childhood is slowly giving away to teenage years, and you’ve already learned that some people are not---nice. No, the bully, the girl who hates you for no reason, the teacher that frowns when you approach her desk, a kid who was you friend last year now has a different personality---- yes, many things are just starting to hit home in ways that only a person leaving childhood begins to see.

I knew who killed Sport and so did my family. It was old Mr. Whalhaim.

He constantly complained about Sport. Oh yeah, if Sport barked he called the police and said that that dog of ours kept him awake. Sport never barked at night except occasionally at a strange noise.

“You aren’t-a-getting another dog, are ya?” Mr. Whalhaim said one day. His beady eyes and carrot nose looked up at Dad as they stood in the back alley.

“How do you know anything’s wrong with Sport,” My Dad said.

“Duhhhh----I don’t-- hear him barking anymore,” Mr. Whalhaim said.

“If I ever catch you--near my family---I’ll fucking kill you----understand!”

Is that a threat?” Mr. Whalhaim said. "I outa sue you!” Dad started walking back into our yard, then turned and said, “Just remember my words!”

Whalhaim’s scowl held a smirk---and his beady-little eyes told all as he chuckled softly while he shuffled himself back to his walkway.

“Stay away from him,” Dad said, “and don’t play out in the alley anymore ---- if I could just get some evidence.”

The image of sport taking spasms that day never left me. And as I grew older the image became clearer with more detail... as time passed. I planned Whalhain’s murder each day afterwards. And enjoyed it!

I joined the army and served in Afghanistan after graduating from high school, and when I returned home the only thing that bubbled out of my mind was the day Sport was murdered! Nothing else bothered me. Many plans for Mr. Whalhain’s murder were now archived in my mind.

I bought a new Ford F-150 pickup, and was out in the garage looking it over, adjusting mirrors, reading the owner’s manual and passing my time by being alone.

We had a severe-winter-storm warning for that evening. It hadn’t started yet, but one could tell something was in the air. Plus, the streetlights were out and some of the homes down the street had no lights.

I glanced outside and noticed a light-snow starting to fall. But the thing that grabbed my attention was beady-eyed Mr. Whalhaim. He had his garage door open and was going to back out his car. Probably going to get some groceries before the snow started getting heavy.

I shut off the lights in our garage and watched him. Sweat formed on my forehead, my heart started pounding and everything became black before my eyes, except the snow. I could sense Sport and saw him as clear as a mirrored reflection of myself on a bright and sunny day. Hair on the back of my neck, I could feel now, and my lips started to quiver.

All these years I thought and planned on Sport’s revenge, yet it was just plain serendipity that sealed Whalhaim’s fate.

I can’t remember going over to his garage, but I do remember getting in and closing the overhead door.

He wasn’t in his car yet, and the garage door banging closed startled him.

I bent low behind the car and backed around to the rear passenger side. He suspected little.

He came back to open the overhead door again. He must have thought that a gust of wind closed it.

I backed-up some more, then as he rounded the car I reached up and pulled the light string. All went dark in the garage.

He swore and started to bend over to pull up the door. That’s when I raced to the back of the car and got him in a strangle hold. His frail body was no match for my military-trained muscles. He finally passed out but I didn’t kill him.

I started his car; then I got out and looked through the garage door windows.

The snow and wind were really picking up now, as I waited in his garage. The exhaust fumes started choking me, so I figured he would never make it out alive. But still I held his breath with my hand again until he squirmed, then took my hand away. He was breathing on his own yet, but I knew that the carbon monoxide from his car would do him in!

I took a chance and pulled the light cord. The light came on. I didn’t want anyone to think something was funny about this.

I looked out, nobody around, so I slipped out the side-door, reset the bolt so that it would lock when closed, and scurried across the alley and back home. With the snow now very heavy and the wind blowing it almost sideways, I was sure that nobody had seen me!

Two days later I read about Mr. Whalhaim in the paper. It was ruled an accident. And I love how they say he ripped off his tie and buttons from his shirt, for the detectives surmised that he was struggling for his breath but he was too weak to make it out of the garage! He just gagged and gagged and gagged--until death!

The End
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Post November 06, 2011, 02:38:47 PM

Murder Should be Personal

A Ruse By Any Other Name

Mark Edgemon

""Stairway to Murder" looks like another best seller Mr. Cornwell, but I see that the New York Reviewer crapped on it like they did your previous novels," the guy at the magazine stand remarked. "People put a lot of stock in those things."

"Yeah, I know. How much for a copy?" I said wanting to get away from there with as little embarrassment as possible.

"For you, no charge! But I got to tell you Arthur, trust me, you really don't want to read what HE said about you this month.”

He was right. I wanted to read the latest bad review from this piss ant critic about as much as I’d wanted to give myself an enema with an oversized garden hose.

"Damn it to hell! That son of a... What right does he have to lambaste my runaway best seller?” I said to myself. “Sales will probably go into the toilet!”

I shook my head, "I would kill that miserably pipsqueak if I could only figure out how to do it without getting caught," I thought to myself ironically being an author of murder mysteries. His latest review would likely tie a lead balloon to my current sales and send me earlier than expected back to my keyboard, if my publisher didn't decide to drop me altogether.

“Maybe I could arrange a traffic accident and push him into…hmm”, I pondered to myself considering the possibilities.

I looked up in time to notice that I was standing in front of the Farnsworth Publishing building, a fourteen story, marble monstrosity, which put out the New York Reviewer, a miserable entertainment rag better used for packing material or lining animal cages.

I think it's about time I had a meeting with their chief critic, a Mr. Samuel J. Pettifogger.

“Maybe I could drop something heavy on him from the top floor of a building,” I thought to myself. “But how would I get him on the street and get away without being noticed?”

I took the elevator to the fourteenth floor and waited for him in the hall outside his office where remodeling was underway. The outside building widow had been removed, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the building. Plastic sheets were temporarily duct taped over the opening.

As I waited, I continued with my mind fighting. “Hmm, If could figure out a way to electrocute him when he reached for his…no…I don’t know what I’m thinking. I’ve got nothing!”

Just then, the door opened and a beady-eyed little squirt walked out, wearing a bowtie as one might expect and dark rimmed glasses as if he stepped out of a forties B movie.

"Hello Mr. Pettifogger, my name is..."

"Yes, yes," he said with impatient disgust while reading something as he walked into the hall. "I know who you are. You’re here about my review?"

"How did you...?" he cut me off again.

"It's taken you this long to get up the nerve to meet me face to face?"

As I stood there, trying to find words through the rage that was building inside me, I decided to put my best face on and be diplomatic. Then later, I could sue the hell out of the little bastard, if he said or did anything amiss.

"I don't have all damn day, what do you want?" he stated with insistence.

"I just wanted to know what you have against me," stating my purpose as succinctly as possible.

"You inexperienced hack! It's nothing personal, I just call it the way I see it and the way I see it is, your writing is nothing more than tiresome dribble," he responded sporting a slight smirk.

"I see, you enjoy taking writers a part, because you have no real talent yourself. Your mama taught you gooood," I said, getting off a cutting remark. "You may not realize, I have a degree in writing from…”

“Your tech isn't the problem,” he said interrupting me with growing impatience. “Your plot development is!

"My plots have always been highly developed and well thought through," I said defending my work.

"They’re too developed, that's your problem!” he said grimacing. “You’re a victim of your own perceived genius. It’s the same tedious, over elaborate planning with all of your stories. They’re excruciatingly painful to read and never plausible," he stated desiring to cut the author down.

"Okay, how would you do it?" I asked getting angrier by the minute.

"I'm in a hurry, so try to follow me Einstein.

Most murders are done on impulse, pure and simple with very little planning. Someone gets mad and then they get even and that's pretty much it! Any of this getting through…the simpler the murder, the more believable it is!"

"Really, you mean like this!" I laughed as I shoved him with significant force.

As planned, he slid on the putty behind where I had positioned him, lost his balance and fell backwards into the plastic sheeting and through the hole where the window had once been. I watched him as he plummeted downward, hitting one of the flagpoles jutting out from the side of the building, before landing on a parking meter by the sidewalk, causing him to burst open like a ripe watermelon.

God only knows if there was still time left on the meter.

“Not bad for an over elaborate planner,” I muttered to myself as I headed toward the elevators.

As I contemplated what had just happened, I realized that he was right. You get mad and THEN you get even. It took a little nothing like Mr. Pettifogger to help me understand something so basic to the human experience.

I pondered quietly to myself, “Thank God for critics!”

The End
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Post November 06, 2011, 02:39:39 PM

Murder Should be Personal

Autumn Leaves

Michele Dutcher

The middle-age man looked at the autumn trees with disgust. The leaves, the dead leaves that still clung to the branches – those were what made him sick to his stomach. The last rays of the Sun were filtering through the membranes of the leaves and Spenser could just make out their empty veins – veins that were once filled with chlorophyll, once filled with life.

If he could, he would have pulled out his lasergun and set the decaying forest on fire, but he had better things to do on his schedule. Important things.

The leaves reminded him of the old man Spenser had seen him in town a few weeks ago. His skin was almost transparent and the veins on his face and neck had popped out when Spenser had asked him for directions. It was as if Old Man Burton was too busy dying to talk to Spenser. It turned out that Old Man Burton was too busy to talk to anybody. He lived all by himself, except for a few animals, on a farm way back in the woods where he felt safe and was sure no one would ever find him.

Spenser wondered if the old man would finally want to talk with him in those seconds just before he took him down. He wondered if he would beg for his life or just fall silent.

In some backwater shore of Spenser’s memory, the old man looked like the grandfather who had tried to beat him into submission as a teenager. Perhaps, someday, he would talk with a counselor about what happened with his grandfather, maybe, someday.

Spenser watched from a gully as a light went on in the farmhouse. It was a warm, yellowish glow – probably clicked on by an automatic switch meant to stave off the dangers of the encroaching darkness. He raised his head a little higher and could just make out the dark form of the old man’s body pulling itself from room to room. He was already dead, Spenser reasoned – old and dead like the brown leaves in the woods. When he killed him, it would be as if Spenser was shaking a tree, allowing a leaf to finally fall to the ground and rot.

He crept around the side of the farmhouse, past the well that had been boarded up for a century, past the torn couch that someone had left outside years ago. He heard a sniffing in an outbuilding as if something had rolled over in its sleep. Soon all of this, even the animal in the barn, would be his. He would take over the farm and lay low for awhile, maybe a few months even. The city had grown too hot for him since the robberies – too many eyes and ears and whispering mouths. There was no one here in the woods – except Old Man Burton.
Spenser slowly opened the screen door. He had expected it to squeak, but it was well oiled. He began to sneak across the floor, step by step by step.

Suddenly the old man was in front of him, standing with an astonished look on his face. He had believed he was safe, he had thought that the world couldn’t touch him here, but here was a stranger in his kitchen with hatred on his face. The veins on his skinny little head popped out and Spenser grabbed a knife by the sink, plunging it towards Burton’s chest. He felt the resistance of his old skin as the blade tore through it. He reveled in the way the meat of his lungs gave way under the butcher knife. This was personal, this was joyous, and so he stabbed again and again until he could taste Burton’s blood in his mouth.

Finally, he put the body inside a blanket and started pulling it towards the door, but something was wrong. The blood tasted funny, metallic.
Then it was all wrong, with the scene around him melting away. Two men in uniform appeared and leveled laserguns at his head.

“You got him, Jones?” shouted one.

“Yeah, he’s eliminated,” said the other as a beam of light tore through the middle of Spenser’s skull, leaving a tiny, perfect, cauterized hole.
The guards walked over to the body of the dead clone. One kicked the corpse, but it didn’t move.

“I’m getting sick of this job,” said Jones. “These clones look so human; it’s weird to just shoot them. It’s the way their eyes look at you. It’s as if they’re really human, you know.”

“It’s the only way to know for sure if they’d do it again: download a copy of an inmate’s mindstate into a clone, set the scene – and watch to see if the inmate would kill again. It’s tried and true.”

“You’re right, I know you’re right. It’s just creepy, that’s all. And these clones seem to be getting better and better at almost getting away with murder. I figure that someday one of them is bound to escape.”

“Don’t even think about that. If one of these freaks escaped from us, there would be hell to pay. ”

“True. Well, I’ll make a report to base.”

A man in a white coat answered the phone inside the sterile, white-walled facility. “Got it,” said the attendant. “Understood.” He took a few steps and approached a psychiatrist. “Parole denied. Spenser failed again.”

The doctor made a note on his clipboard and nodded. “We’ll keep working with him. He’s been here for three years; maybe someday he’ll pass the test.” He stepped into a meeting room where a group of patients were talking about their day.

One of the patients was an inmate named Spenser who would now be in counseling for at least another eighteen months. Doctor Burton glanced over at the middle-aged man who seemed to be staring at the veins on the shrink’s forehead.

The End
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Post November 06, 2011, 02:40:28 PM

Murder Should be Personal

Aiming Too High...

Sergio Palumbo

Augustus was looking at Frt Sev (Central Square) in the middle of Lehthwen town, the Gwi homeworld’s capital.From his observation point nobody could notice him as the man was disguised as an humble immigrant alien cleaner used to wash the many glittering windows of one of the hexagonal buildings the Gwi had adorned their translucent urban setting with.Hundreds of skyscrapers made up of some bellite-like, tabular orange crystal structures -- the construction companies used here as a rule -- developing and aggregating automatically on the building yard within only a few months in order to reach some unbelievable heights by means of a futuristic nanotechnology just similar to wizardry before human eyes.Such a technique was the Gwi species’ best kept secret the Earthmen hadn’t been able yet to put their hands on, no matter the fabulous contracts the proud aliens had been offered so far…

This species was really proud, too, of its Flying Train System which allowed people to move very fast from the farthest regions to capital downtown within minutes only. Using the aerodynamic wing-in-ground effect, the Flying Trains were able to proceed at 610 miles per hours. Each vehicle, with a length of 579 feet and seating capacity for 790 passengers ( as the bipedal, squirrel-like Gwi were smaller in size than humans like Augustus and occupied less space in comparison), was astoundingly conceived.It was a symbol of the values the Gwi expressed about modern technology, so the Flying Trains were highly appreciated from the population and most photographed from the tourists, whatever country or world they came from.

This was the reason why the young human bomber had chosen it as his best target.From his position Augustus watched everything,waiting for the right moment.

There was a strange competion, started some months ago among them.Many unusual “artists” like him were vying for achieving something to be remembered across the galaxy, to obtain the best “work of art” in a lifetime. The rivalry had begun just by chance, when Augustus had heard of that murder of 1,000 people on board the Nbther-t-rt Space Station in Sector 54467 caused by what had been discovered to be only a machinery--the size of a spacecommmunicator –- activated as soon as a starboat arrived at the designated robo-berth inside the hangar bay.All the crewmembers and everyone else aboard had been killed.

What a brainwave,an impressive fulfilment!

Then, there was another unknown guy, on a mining asteroid facility in the Steel Orbiting Field in Sector 55678-- property of the Hl-Hl species-- who had entirely destroyed five out of five mines all at once,1,500 dead overall, no surviving worker left on the sites.

Augustus knew he had to do something wider, better and showier and with no lifeform left alive, of course.At least, 2,000 causualties…

That was a weird, elitist art form only a few could really appreciate, besides you have to overcome several difficulties in order to study adequately the place of action, not to be seen from the local authorities and to figure out all the predictable occurrencies which could hamper your end.So, it was hard to have such a thing properly done,that was why such a work of art was so exacting, certainly.

The bomber had chosen the main station of the Flight Trains System which converged exactly in the middle of the capital, in the crowded Frt Sev.His purpose was killing every single passenger aboard arriving at 10:00, leaving no wounded around.And wiping out all the passers- by within the boundaries of the square, too.No one more, no one less.

As soon as the last Flight Train out of three( he was waiting for) arrived on time and people began getting off, the man left aside the fictitious duties he was doing and meddled with the controls to activate the powerful bombs placed at every corner in order to ensure the result expected.

But, when the countdown started and his black, charcoal fire eyes-- matching his dark long hair-- were already looking forward to taste the event, the man saw something that really hurted him.

An uexpected Sudden Sale, one of those which happened at times in Lehthwen, with some tracked camions coming to downtown to sell their fresh, old- fashioned dairy products from the countryside, creating some “outdoor markets" where people usually crowded at once in search of the best offers.A tradition followed by every good-natured Gwi.

“Damn!” Augustus thought.The passengers were running out of the bombs’ range too early, walking to the sudden market at a faster pace than he had supposed when his plan was conceived! This way he knew he would fail…And there was no time left to stop the countdown now!

So he decided to act immediately.It took only a minute to him to get off the structure he was working on, touching the street level by means of the Gwi made side emergency lift.The detector would have soon noticed he had left his workplace, but at that time it would have been of no importance.He had to kill all the people coming out of the Flight Trains at the designated time.Or no one at all!Keeping up his reputation was too important...

As he arrived near the square, he began crying out, attracting the attention and inciting everyone to leave the place because a bomb was going to explode.Immediately many and many had a conniption, spreading in every direction, this way emptying the main station, too.

As the time of the explosion was drawing near, Augustus thought that all that was really funny, as this way he would have looked like a saver, but he was not…

Better to loose everything that reaching a thing done by half- measures, which might be of derision among the other competitors.

After all, isn’t Art itself a kind of illness?

The End
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Post November 06, 2011, 02:41:25 PM

Murder Should be Personal

Little Deborah Dinwitty Dyslexic Ditz

Richard Tornello © 2011

The land of gabled homes, in a town of renown, from which Roger Williams had fled, had a history of death, misogamy, burnings and dread. And therein lived little Deborah Dinwitty, a dyslexic ditz. She was not without reason and certainly had wits, but got her forwards backwards, her ups became downs, her brain hurt, then her tongue twisted.

As an animal caretaker, they were her friends. To them, Debbie’s ailment needed no amends. To them she would talk and with and tell stories too. They taught her their languages, few humans knew. Her ailment was not an impediment.

Her boss, the vet, noticed her skills and overruled the manager and kept her on. Still, the mistakes she made were lettered wrong, and at best were usually bass ackwards,
mistakes professionals would consider dangerous. But her animal skills were second to none, at times suggesting the correct procedure, without the DVM training.

The vet marveled at her skills and said, “You have a job for life, if you choose to stay.” He said scratching his head one day, with a quizzical look upon his face, “I read about someone like you, way in the past. I can’t recall at all.” He let it pass.

Debbie lived close to her Mom, not that the relations were ever toasty or warm. Statistics claim most people stay a few miles from home. Deborah was no different, and didn’t like to roam.

Her peers from school remained in town too. And casual meetings brought on a frown.
All her life she was tattered and torn by the winds of ill speech, and earlier on, no parental care to protect her was borne. Abused all her life, it’s a wonder she stayed. Any others would have up and disappeared, run away.

She had plans. Yes Debbie did so. A ditz, maybe yes, maybe so, (but be careful what you say to Deborah Dinwitty). And one day, oh happy day, she started to put them in play. The boy who had raped her, (it was the whole team) he would be the first of her game he was going to pay. He was their captain, he made the thing start, with a, “hold her down, spread her. Let’s fuck the little tart.”

She never said a thing. Who would believe a girl from the wrong side of town. Would good boys do those things?

He’d be the first to get what was coming. His puppy, Poncho, a cutie, was in for a checkup and brushing. Abusing her gifts and position of trust, “Here you go poncho”, she said to the puppy. She mixed up a batch a potion she bought, from the witch named Haza-el that she met one dark rainy night. The witch understood her life and her shame. Her own family’s past had been put to the flame, and offered to assist those who were historically were to blame.

“It might take some years to, get to them all dearie. But if you have patience, we’ll make sure they fall.” Deborah accepted the offer right quick. A kiss and a hug was all Haza-el required. Debbie was light and full of desire.

So back to that puppy so young and so cute. With venom she filled it in a manner astute. The potion was designed especially for his master’s DNA, designer cancer. The venom became part of the puppy’s saliva. And when he licked his master the potion would enter, which first made him sick, no doctor could figure. And then, he recovered, or so he did figure.

But each time again the dog licked his dear master, another disease or another disaster.
The shakes and some blindness, then followed by sexual dysfunction. This was not fun. His wife thought he got a disease from another girl. It mimicked all those things sexual she had read, AIDS cancer and all thing of dread. And so she fled, from her house and out from her bed. He died slowly, alone as parts failed, lungs with mucus filled, hanging on to live, just barely lingering on, as then another infection was sent, like strands of a rope, upon which one dangles from a cliff, eaten by a mouse, one by one.

Deborah followed his history. Since he was a celebrity in her local home town, his fate and his story were carried in papers. She laughed and she thanked the witch for her favors. He died most alone, ugly, and ridden with sores and fever wracked. The dog, it was gassed. It went mad and bit him.

To the others she did slightly the same, while altering potions to fit the pet and assailant’s name. Then one-by-one delivered them all to the mortuary as guest. One-by-one they, disfigured from pain, and were all put to rest. Their pets were destroyed, helpless little victims. They were tools to be used, and discarded when spent.

Even though the mystery solution all pointed to Deborah, and as fate would have it, she never got caught, ‘Cause, who would have thought Deborah Dinwitty, the dyslexic ditz, ever had the brains to do something like this. She was given a pass.

Witch Haza-el, in her home, in the town from where Roger Williams fled, now smiling instead, and for the first time, was not wearing a frown. She was pleased as can be. It may have taken years, no centuries, but the families of her historical shame, were exactly the same that caused Deborah’s pain. They were now suffering, or dead. And she watched in her ball, with great joy of it all, as their blood, so red, ran down the death house’s drain.

“Sure the animals, bi and quad, had to go; stupid beasts all”, and she said so. “With plans best laid, those tools and that fool, I used them quite well, I used them all so.
“My family and friends avenged!”

The End
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Post November 06, 2011, 02:42:54 PM

Murder Should be Personal

- Winner -

Fuller Foreclosure


Louisa was uncomfortable about the gun. The revolver was buried deep in her bag on the passenger seat next to her. She felt contaminated by its presence but she was going to need it later, to kill Howard.

She pulled in to the farmyard in a cloud of dust that whipped around the car. Louisa opened the door and stepped into the dry summer heat that instantly made her blouse stick to her skin under her jacket. There was no one in sight but the heavy rumble of machinery was loud in the air.

“Hello?” She called.

No one answered. Louisa headed towards the noise. On the far side of the barn she found the source; a tractor at idle, the side of the engine cover open and a man, naked to the waist, bent over it.

“Hello?” She shouted and got his attention. He reached in the cab and shut it down.

“You the caretaker?” She asked, her voice loud in the silence.

“Yep. I’m Jed.” He squinted at her, eyeing her. Jed’s face was sun burned, his scalp too under a buzz-cut. “Who’re you?”

“Louisa Hollenbeck. I’m from the bank.” She got a business card from her bag, flinching as her fingers brushed the gun, and handed the card to him. “They told you I was coming, to do the inventory?”

“Yep.” He held the card by it’s edges, glancing from the card to her and back. He was young, fit and trim, his muscles well defined. He looked kind of sexy, all grubby and streaked with sweat. Louisa’s mind slid from that thought as she remembered the gun, and her fatal appointment planned with Howard for after she finished there at the farm.

“Let’s start with the house,” she said.


Inside, it was cool but felt musty. The sight of dried blood on the family room wall, sprayed out in a dark fan behind the armchair, caught her by surprise, made her gag.

“Jesus, didn’t anyone clean it up?” Louisa said, her hand to her mouth in disgust.

“Sheriff said someone would come by. They ain’t come yet.”

“And upstairs?”

“It’s bad. ‘specially the boys’ room”

Louisa made it out onto the porch before she vomited.

“It’s not my fault,” she told herself between convulsions.

Another farm, another foreclosure, she’d done dozens. Times were hard. If she was a little overzealous, a little too keen, so what? The bank was a business not a charity. And Howard, dear, darling Howard, with his taste for a fast buck and a dirty property deal, had made it well worth her while. That is, until the Fuller farm foreclosure.

Jack Fuller, had been a bad farmer, a bad husband, a bad father, just a bad bet in general. When he got the foreclosure papers, that clear, blue Tuesday morning, over a week back, he’d decided it was time to cash-out. Jack took his shotgun, went upstairs and shot his twin nine year old sons in their beds. He shot his wife, Nancy, twice, as she came running down the hall at the sound of her boys’ screaming. Then he went downstairs, sat in his favourite chair, and blew his own brains all over the wall.

Now Howard was getting edgy. He’d squeal like a pig if anyone so much as looked funny at him. He’d hang her out to dry to save his own skin if he got the chance. Louisa just had to shut him up first.

“You okay?”

Louisa became aware of legs in dusty boots and dirty jeans on the porch next to her, Jed was standing over her. She looked up at him, he didn’t seem to care that she’d thrown-up all over the steps. He didn’t seem to care at all.

“Let’s do the barn instead,” she said.


The barn smelled of dry straw and oil. Machinery loomed in the shadows. Louisa ticked uncertainly at boxes on her clipboard while Jed followed her, a dark hulking mass at her shoulder. They came out the side door, to the tractor that Jed had been working on.

“What’s wrong with it?” Louisa asked, checking it against her list.

“Nothin’. Just needed an oil change and service.”

“We don’t pay you for that.”

“I promised my sister I’d do it. Her husband weren’t no good at that kind of thing. He weren’t no good at all.”

“Your sister?” Even as she said it, she knew. She reached into her bag, groping for the gun. Jed’s fist hit her in the jaw like a hammer, knocked her down like a sack of wet sand.


Pain brought her back. Pain and the deep, throbbing rumble of the tractor’s engine that she felt through the dirt beneath her, as well as heard. She cried aloud and tried to sit up, but dizziness and nausea forced her back down. Her legs were pinned, they were in agony. She raised her head to see them, they were jammed under the blade tips of a plough, their flesh pierced and bleeding. More blades hung above her body as the angle of the plough loomed over her from the back of the tractor. Jed stood by the back of it, his hand on the lever that would hydraulically push the blades into the ground.

“I knew it was you,” he said, loud so she could here over the engine noise. “I recognised your name from the foreclosure papers.”

“It wasn’t my fault,” Louisa cried, “It was just business.”

“Just business! We ain’t nothin’ but dollars and cents to you people. “

Jed dropped the lever, the pitch of engine noise increased, the plough lowered. It wasn’t fast, it took handful of seconds. Louisa did a lot of screaming. They turned to choked-off gurgles before she died.


He answered his cell-phone on the second ring. “Is it done?” He asked.

“Yep.” Jed was as taciturn as ever.

Howard cut the call without saying goodbye and smiled grimly.

The End
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Post December 18, 2011, 06:49:40 PM

Space Opera

The challenge was to write a Space Opera tale of a hero's success and an off-world love interest
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Post December 18, 2011, 06:52:17 PM

Space Opera


Richard Tornello


Dramatis Personae:
Warrior 1 from one galaxy, Candy
Warrior 2 from another galaxy, Ed
Total populations of both Galaxies, Chorus



Viewed up from the ground of the deserted combat arena, is deep, dark, infinite, star speckled space. A far distant star blinks, fades, and becomes an all consuming supernova.

NARRATOR (golf tournament announcer hushed voice):

“We’re on a barren, dimly lit planet, where the combat between the champions of two galaxies takes place. Two intergalactic spacecraft are parked at the end of the combatant field. The lights from the craft illuminate the field. Visual and sound monitors are placed on, above and at ground level so all can witness the gore.

We’re in the final stages of the combat. The heroine from one galaxy, a huge bipedal female, known as Candy, has her laser sword placed on the main vein of her opponent’s neck. It’s a four legged creature with a human torso named Ed. Candy is straddling Ed and threatens to cut the vein in his neck and thereby win. Her galaxy will now claim the mineral rights to a solar system of their choice. She will be the new heroine.

New contestants from these two galaxies will be chosen to do the same, next year. Those who rise to the top of the combatant contests are well rewarded for the rest of their lives. They will be anointed by THE GODS. It has been done for millennia. They also receive lucrative commercial endorsements


The two combatants loom larger than life, their action projected on a massive screen within a darkened amphitheater. The observing Gods are shadows. Their deeply besotted voices can plainly be heard:

God #1 “Hey, that satyr, and that girl, haven’t we seen these two before?”

God #2, “No that was two whatchyamacallits going at it tooth-to-tooth, hic. This is a human type against a satyr type or some such beastie.”

God#1. “I’m tired of all his. What’s it been, 3 or 4 millennia now that we’ve had these idiots killing each other for our enjoyment? I say screw it, let’s end the games, and be gone.”

God#2. “And do what for entertainment then? We’re eternal. Boredom comes quickly. They’re easy to manipulate. It’s so much fun.”

God #1, “Not sure, but to hell with this, and them. I’m done. They’re on their own. Let’s go find a goddess or two to make a few new worlds.”

God #2 “Right. THEY’RE on their own.



The combat scene:

Ed’s sword is on the ground, smoking from a blast of Candy’s laser.

“Hey Ed, said Candy, “you get the feeling that all this is stupid and a waste of life?” The blade is still on the vein and her finger is on the trigger just in case it’s not a clean kill.

“Yeah, but we’ve always done it. Our people are counting on us,” retorted Ed. He has no bad feelings, this is a job. Someone has to win and someone has to loose. That’s life, and death. He never gave it deep thought.

Candy responds. She pulls the sword away from the satyr’s neck, “Well maybe we can stop this idiocy, and work together.” She is beginning to enjoy riding Ed. She’s not sure she wants to take his life.

Ed of course wanted to live. He looks back as his assailant and thinks, she’s’ right pretty for a biped. He said, “Listen, if we stop, will the others stop too?”

Candy holds her sword straight up away from Ed. She sheathes it and said, “I don’t know. There is only one way to find out.” And she declares for all to hear and witness, “I will not take your life.”

Ed said, “I appreciate that. Let’s declare this stupid combat over and leave.”

The Chorus speaks as one:

“Meanwhile we, both galaxies, are in a panic. We have all their hopes and economies invested in these games Ordained by the Gods.
We have been abandoned.
And now two combatants have decided to just end it, stop and be friends? That’s insane.”
“As the idea spreads thought the two galaxies the concept of peace catches on. The populations like it. We collectively declare, ‘screw the GODS we don’t need them to dictate to us. We have free will.”

The Combatant Field:

The two combatants who have been at hoof-to-toe combat have grown very fond of each other. Candy looks at Ed and said, “You want to get away from here. I know a planet that will give as a home. I bet we can even become popular on their media. I’m sure of it. They have good grog too.”

Ed looks at her like she’s nuts. “Right…a seven foot female warrior, and a talking man-horse; what are you going to call it, ‘Candy and Her Talking Satyr’?”

Candy said, “Not sure but that’s a good idea. Come on, remember, before we started combat, I told you about that solar system I found in a backwater section of our galaxy, the one I found some time ago?”

Ed said, “The one WE were going to take if I won. The planet where they all kill each other for nothing?”

“That’s the place. We’ll fit right in.”

Ed said, “I’m with you. Flying’s better than dying.”

Candy gave him a hug and a kiss. She said. “All this fighting made me appreciate and respect you. Your weapon?”

I can get used to this, he though, smiling, and he pinched her butt. “Nah,” he said, pointing to the still smoking weapon. “I have more on the ship.”

They took Ed’s ship. It fit him. They lift off, engaging the C++ drive.


They fly off. The light of a supernova in some other galaxy far, far away illuminates the ship just before it jumps.

The End
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Post December 18, 2011, 06:53:08 PM

Space Opera

Captain Speer and the Hinjee Menace

Lester Curtis

"Gentlemen," the major said, " -- and ladies . . . as I'm sure you've heard, the Hinjee are in control of Neptune and are now gathering their forces for an attack on our bases around Saturn. They've made it clear they intend to completely annihilate the human race.

"Our strategists and intelligence experts have determined that if they can be stopped before they get to Jupiter, they'll abandon their objective and retreat from our solar system.

"What this means is that the wormfaces will be putting everything they have into this next engagement, and we have to do the same.

"You of the 501st Squadron will spearhead the attack, joined by the 55th, the 72nd, and the 112th, out of Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto, respectively, and we'll be engaging the Hinges at their first target, Dione, where we've learned they plan to establish a base. Comment, Hickson?"

"Sir, can this be done? Our fighters are no match for theirs . . . "

"We're being re-equipped. Professor Argent will explain. Professor -- "

"Thank you, Major." Paul Argent stepped to the front, bushy eyebrows and mustache peppered with gray, but very sharp-eyed. His daughter, Julie, smiled at me from a few seats across, and I had to smile back. Red hair, green eyes, and a figure that would make the Venus de Milo jealous, even in her flight-suit. We hadn't announced our engagement yet, but everyone was expecting it. We'd both been trying to squelch the rumor that we'd been rehearsing for our honeymoon.

The professor cleared his throat, and we returned our attention to him. "The rumors that we have captured a Hinjee fighter are true, and we've studied it in secrecy. This -- " he clicked on the display screen, " -- is our reply; official designation F-37, but I like to call it the Angry Bird."

The room erupted in soft whistles and wordless exclamations. It had grace and beauty uncharacteristic of most fighting craft -- but the landing gear --

"Sir, are those feet for real?"

"Indeed. Articulated, and controlled by stirrups -- in fact, they're the only foot-controlled part of the craft." They modeled the feet of a bird of prey, talons and all.

In the back, Wild Bill said, "God, I'm gettin' a stiffie . . . "

The professor grinned. "Just wait 'till you fly it. You'll have to learn a new control interface, but it's faster and more maneuverable than the Hinjee craft, and more intuitive. The shielding is quite robust. Armament is a pair of rail-guns on the fuselage. You'll learn the rest soon. Major -- "

The major nodded and faced us. "Now listen up -- simulators are ready and waiting, but we meet the Hinjee in two weeks, so this'll be intense. Captain -- "

I stood and turned to face the room. "Squadron!"

They all shot to their feet, "Sir!"

"Who are we?"

"We're the Five-Oh-One!"

"And what do we do?"

"We get it done!"

"Fall out!"

They double-timed out, and I began to follow, but Professor Argent stopped me. "Jack -- "

"Sir -- uh, Paul -- ?"

"You'll -- bring Julie back safe, won't you . . . ?"

"I will."


"Move, move, move!" I shouted, running with the rest of the squadron. I was about to climb into my Bird when Julie grabbed my sleeve; I turned and she gave me a good-luck kiss. I didn't want to stop, but then she whispered in my ear and dashed without waiting for my reaction. "Oh my god . . . " I had to shake myself.

Out and away, we formed up with the other squadrons. The Hinges weren't ready for the Angry Birds, but they weren't giving up, either. I was distracted, covering Julie and constantly adjusting to the glare of Dione, and of Saturn beyond it, when a Hinjee fighter got in among us --

-- and hit Julie's Bird. I saw it rock, her right wing blasted, her falling, and then, the wormface did a victory roll. I roared and went after him, fired a burst, and my ROUNDS REMAINING indicator hit zero. I kept following him anyway.

Control's voice in my 'phones: "Jack! Jack, get back to base, you're guns are dry!"

"Julie's hit!" I yelled, "I'm going after her -- "

"We'll send a rescue, now get back -- "

"Not yet -- !"

"Jack, that's an order -- "

"Sorry, Control, I didn't hear that -- " I killed the comm. "And I've got a squeaky Hinge to grease, too . . . "

I overtook the Hinjee, matched speed inches above his cockpit; saw his surprised look in my landing-gear camera just as I stomped down into the stirrups. The titanium talons crashed through his canopy and I pulled away, letting him fall. "That's for Julie!"

I spotted Julie's Bird headed for Dione's cratered surface, switched the comm back on. "Julie!"

"Jack -- I don't have much control . . . "

"Can you land?"

"Yes . . . "

"I'm right next to you -- get ready to bail the instant you stop . . . "


The major glowered across his desk at me. "Dammit, Speer, you disobeyed a direct order . . . would you like to explain to me why you shouldn't be in the brig awaiting court-martial?"

I stared at the wall. "Sir, you can't do that . . . sir . . . "

"And just why the hell not?!"

"Sir, I -- need to get married -- sir -- "

"You -- what?!"

"I need to get married, sir . . . to Lieutenant Argent . . . "

The major blinked and huffed out his breath. "Son of a . . . " He opened his desk drawer and passed me a flat black box. "Then I guess I'll just have to give you this instead. Wear it at your wedding."

It was a Medal of Valor.

The End
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Post December 18, 2011, 06:54:06 PM

Space Opera

Preparing to Jump

Davidson Hero



The guttural croaking of Rin's name echoed in the corridor. One voice was coming from the ship's galley; the other was coming from the ship's hold. The barking grated on the Prince, and the Helodermanoids knew it.

The one from the hold came out with another box for Rin to take to the galley. The alien croaked the Prince's name once more, and then let his wide, black-scaled mouth gape so that his purple tongue could lick the air. The lizardlings were hardly threatening. They were barely four feet tall and wore only loincloths and tool belts with the clanging wrenches of ship mechanics. But their beady black eyes held no warm-bloodedness and Rin couldn't help but feel lower on the food chain in their presence.

"Get prepared to jump." Captain S'alla's voice came from the far end of the corridor. Rin spun around awkwardly, almost losing his balance while holding the heavy box of supplies. The captain stood in the doorway, her gray skin still wet from a shower, wearing only a robe that was casually tied at her waist. Rin immediately blushed and averted his eyes, as any civilized man of his world would.

"What must I do to prepare?" he stuttered. He looked for one of the Helodermanoids to hand the box off to and finally decided to just set it down.

"Stow your clothes and gear in a locker in the crew quarters. Then take a shower if you expect to share a gel-bed with me. The lizardlings can finish here."

"Is there, uh… must we… is it safe to share a gel-bed during a jump?" Rin stole a glance at her and thought he saw the hint of a smile on the captain's harsh face.

"This isn't a cruise ship. There are only two jump beds on board. You can either bunk with me… or the lizardlings." She walked forward and letting the belt of her robe fall to her sides, she pressed her body against his.

"Captain S'alla! Please. I paid for you to transport me across Zealot space and I thought…"

"You gave me what you claim is some jewelry of the Royal House of Keth that I will no doubt have a very… hard time… fencing." She was now close enough to whisper in his ear. "I can assure you that the jump will be much more pleasurable in my bed."

Despite being of a different species, with a wide head and eyes set very far apart and framed by bony protrusions, she had the typical humanoid symmetry that gave her an exotic, if alien, beauty. And, like most humanoid offshoots, Rin suspected from what he could now see that she probably had compatible female parts. But the purpose of his quest immediately came to mind, his betrothed, Artora of House Q'ardent. The thought of that innocent girl suffering because of his family's political intrigues, kidnapped and whisked across known space, fired his rage, and bolstered his weakening resolve against the captain's advances. Only ingrained civility kept his royal wrath in check.

"Really Captain, this is… unacceptable. I am a Prince of Keth."

The captain backed away, but her eyes smoldered. "Have you noticed the transparent tubes that line the hull of this ship?" She asked.

"The ones containing a sparkling gas?" Rin asked.

"That 'sparkling gas' is our navigator… a native of the Challek Nebula. Zealot ships use teams of mutants or advanced AIs to safely jump. Our navigator does it all by instinct. And his services don't come cheap. Prior to a jump I have to spend a couple of hours… interfacing… with that noxious cloud. He's currently preoccupied with the biological mechanisms behind humanoid pain and pleasure. Let's just say that the experience leaves me… unfulfilled. But we do what we must, hmm? So get ready to jump, and prepare to earn your berth, or I'll leave you floating in space with the trash." She marched off.

"This is unacceptable, my Prince." The voice in Rin's ear had a condescending metallic ring.

"Servant," Rin whispered. "This is not the time." He headed to the crew quarters and began undressing.

"But master, you would sully yourself with such servitude? You are a Prince of Keth. If you but wish, I could release a cloud of nanites and the captain would be…"

"No, servant. You must remain a secret if you are to help me. Besides, who would pilot the ship?"

"Master, I vaguely remember, a long time ago…"

"Be silent now, so I can think." Rin did not attempt to hide his annoyance and then realized he was speaking too loudly. He looked to the simple silver ring on his finger, his father's ring, one of six held by the rulers of the Houses of Keth, each containing a powerful AI. Rin had learned from an early age that the servant of the ring could be very helpful, whispering the answers to the tutors' questions in Rin's ear. The rings had a fabled history, but one thing Rin was sure of; none of the rings had ever been off of Keth, until now. The nanites in his ear were silent. In her way the captain was right. If he was going to save Artora he was going to have to be prepared to do whatever was necessary. He removed the ring and then placed it in the pocket of his shirt, before closing the locker door.

The captain looked pleased when he entered her cabin. Everything was aglow with the soft blue light of the gel-bed. S'alla was already half submerged.

"Come, my prince, we have some time before we've accelerated to the speed of jump." Rin stepped forward.

Back in the crew quarters the two Helodermanoids squatted on the floor and rifled through the pilfered contents of Rin's locker. One held its clawed hand up to the cabin light and looked through a silver circle with its beady black eye. Then it croaked to its brother.


The End
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Post December 18, 2011, 06:55:18 PM

Space Opera

Europan Rendezvous

Michele Dutcher

Rodger Smith
May 24, 1938 Boston Massachusetts

To: Bantum Books Submissions
c/o Sherry Crumpton, editor

Dear Ms. Crumpton, I hope this letter finds you doing well. Enclosed please find a series of pages written by my friend Arthur Trent, who disappeared so mysteriously over two years ago. I have taken the liberty of arranging the pages to begin with his meeting of Lajoona – because he seems to decided to leave only this manuscript with me, while living what’s left of his life with her. I will allow you make your own decision about its validity, although I believe it to be true. It begins:

Dear Rodger, I know I’ve told you the basics of how I came to be here, deep within the domed cities of the oceans of Europa, but I’ve recently become enmeshed in the battles between the royal families. Some of clans claim to have descended from ancient kingdoms on the planet of Mars, before that planet lost its atmosphere. I keep hearing about the ‘proof’ they have - some vestiges of Martian technology supposedly. I do have in my procession a jeweled sword believed to be Martian in origin, it is supposed to be unbreakable in the grasp of a man of royal birth.

Even more valuable than this artifact, however, are the amazing women who populate this ice encrusted water world. One in particular, a princess named Lajoona, is the most beautiful woman I have ever cast eyes upon. The only reason I met her, actually, was because the Sawenese king had captured her during a raid, and Lajoona’s father offered a vast reward to whatever bloke brought her back. Of course that fearless bloke turned out to be me, after a grueling fight against the evil King Knopes.

You should have seen how inviting she looked, draped in jewels and nothing else, lounging across my co-pilot’s seat as we flew through the tunnels towards her kingdom. I told her that I wanted to take her there and then.

“Are you like those barbarians, then?” she asked me in that deep, husky voice that later controlled so many of my dreams. “Are you like those who would force me into a fate worse than death? You are not only carrying me back to my father, but to my betrothed as well.”

“I apologize then, for my insolence. Having just recently been brought here from Earth, I’m not familiar with who is mated to whom,” I told her. I shifted my eyes towards her for only a moment before she shouted “Watch Out!”

Fortunately we were able to stop immediately – avoiding collision with a 2nd Krebitan hovercraft that was bringing us news.

As the pilot of the 2nd craft boarded my vessel, I couldn’t help but notice the way her golden chainmail uniform glistened against her green skin, allowing almost complete vision of her shapely form. “Princess Lajoona,” she said with a slight bow, “I fear the kingdom has been overwhelmed with a death-ray positioned by a madman named Drew Lueken from Earth.” She looked at me with a near scorn, as I was also an Earthling.

“I’ve heard of this Drew Lueken – and his death ray,” I confessed.

Lajoona looked at me, full in the face for the first time. “Since you’ve heard of him and know what he’s capable of, can you help us oust him, Arthur Trent?”

“I can only promise to do my best. At least we’ll have the element of surprise on our side…and I’m acquainted with his idiosyncrasies, while he knows nothing about me.”

Fifteen minutes later our vessels were deep inside the domed city, having penetrated the royal secret tunnel. Within the castle itself we found twenty young beauties chained to Drew Lueken’s ray machine. He stood upon some scaffolding, above a sea of onlookers, raising his fists to the clear dome which formed the life-giving shield against the near freezing seas outside.

“I will have princess Lajoona as my bride, or I will level my gun at each of these girls, one at a time. If, by the time I finish, the royal maiden is not here, I will rupture the dome and flood this city you care so much about. My starship waits there, so I care not!” He then let out a dark, cruel, mocking laugh that rang like death throughout the entire assembly.

The king stepped forward. “Please don’t do this to these girls and my daughter. Princess Lajoona is engaged to another...”

“I have killed him already, he begged for his life like a sissy girl, the same way you are begging now. You sicken me! Are there no real men on this god-forsaken planet? Come forth!” He held up a sword daring those men around the stage to challenge him.

I jumped onto the platform within feet of the fiend. “I will take up that challenge Drew Lueken,” I shouted while leaping towards him, two swords swinging - one in each hand. One sword swiped his face, while the other dove straight into his black, evil heart. He staggered back a few steps, his blonde hair darkening with thick blood, before falling backwards off the stage.

All of those around me cheered and began to free the young maidens from their chains. Throughout all the cities of the domes, there was a celebration of freedom – racing like an earthquake through the domes and tunnels.

Suddenly she was there before me, standing on the raised platform - lovely Lajoona. “I suppose my fiancé is dead, so let me take you up on your earlier offer.” She looked up into my hungry eyes as our lips met for the first time.

Ms. Crumpton, you can see what I mean – there are more stories in this manuscript. I found this on my doorstep, only a few nights ago. I wish you would consider it for publication. Thank you most kindly, once again, for your time, your Humble Servant, Roger Smith.

The End
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Post December 18, 2011, 06:56:23 PM

Space Opera


Sergio Palumbo

Afternoons on Thlerek homeworld were always dreary and gray.From his own experience of the capital of this alien planet, Fagan had learned it was better staying at home than strolling at that time as every day an upsetting haze unfailingly came and enveloped the whole built- up area.

As the appointed human Ambassador, the 50 years old, blonde- haired Earthman considered that today such an unhappy scenery outside just reflected his sad mood and the overall situation here.

The Thlerek’s planetary system wasn’t too far from Klij’s system.The two were inhabited by distinct species, whose relationships were in trouble now.Actually the people of Klij weren’t so different from the Thlerek, many historical researches had found several evidences revealing that in the ancient past both were related in some ways, maybe they had had a common ancestor species or one of the two homeplanets had been the first one and the other system only a group of colonies created afterwards, but there were some serious discussions among the opposite factions about this matter, obviously.

Lately, the debate had become even much harder, along with some disputed territorial claims of a portion of space comprising three asteroid belts which looked very important in terms of outcomes like mining deposits and sources of energy.A space war was going to happen, many experts predicted, and that was a terrible occurrence for both alien worlds’s life.And for Earth’s interests in the area, too, given the fact that such natural resources were very valuable for his homeplanet’s interplanetary trade and cause of their strategic point almost placed between the two systems.

After all the recent exchange of affronts,implied threats of using force and so on, the space armies of the two species had been put on state of alert and Fagan expected they might even been mobilized soon to fight a terrible battle, which could result in the loss of millions, along with the damage of the planets’ surface and their natural environments.Such a war could even endanger the precious asteroid belts or even destroy them, something that Earth had necessarily to prevent, somehow.

Suddenly, someone rang the buzzer.On the holomonitors a known face appeared: Hrek, the first son of the planet ruler, and young Prince of the Reigning House, along with two corpulent Thlerek bodyguards.

Fagan let him in,as the man had become acquainted with that alien long ago after their first meeting during the formal garden party at the time of his diplomatic accreditation here, ten years ago.He reputed the Prince a clever Thlerek, many times he had had long chats with him about politics and life, as that sort of things proved very good for Earth’s interests, of course.

As soon as the Prince entered his old English country-style sitting room, the man noticed his guest’s sulk.

-War is near, Ambassador- the alien told him-I’m terribly worried for my people-

-My fears were true, unfortunately…- Fagan replied, reclining heavily on his easy chair-Your people are better equipped and technologically supllied, anyway-

-But the loss will be great on both sides…-

- I know you have always been wishing peace. May I offer you a drink?-

The Prince nodded.Then the two sipped a tasty Irish liquor.

-If I may ask you a question…- the Earthman added, considering something he had been thinking of over the last weeks, while having a glance at an old paper book with a leather cover on his shelf, a thing he had always brought along everywhere (outpost,planet,etc.) he had been assigned to previously,maybe to give himself airs.The title was: Personal Relationships across Cultures, by Robin Goodwin – Doesn’t one of your most revered religious precepts state “Never kill any of your relatives, by birth or in-laws” ?-


-What about a marriage?I mean, the Klij Reigning House has got a very beautiful Princess, in general female Klij are very pretty indeed, more than the female kind on your planet…-

-By marrying a Klij Princess I could prevent the war from taking place…-the Prince outlined.

-…because your people would never kill your wife’s people and the Klij Reigning House, as your new relatives in-laws, it would be against your religion!So both populations would be safe…-

-I like Klij girls’s gray skin…and I’ve seen some holo footages of the Princess before,I could easily fall in love with such a beautiful woman!-

-The Klij likely would be glad to accept such a marriage of interest, like this they could find the way not to get stuck into a dangerous fighting in space with a few hopes of victory only cause of some territorial arguments…-

-Wonderful!What could I do?-

-Just let your old human ambassador take care of everything…- the man smiled.


Only one month after,during a formal garden party in the Royal Palace, the two newlyweds were walking along happily.

While looking at the loving couple, Fagan considered that Klij women looked really very beautiful in person, apart that blemish, a slobbery peduncle under their mouth.On the other hand,the Thlerek skin was a bit disgusting, given those bony protuberances on the arms, and their height was the same than a small dwarf’s…maybe the two species had been only one in the past, but then they had differentiated greatly…

The things you do to prevent a war!

Love wins everything, when it is around,at times also when it isn’t enough, too…

The Earthman reminded himself of the passage of that old book by Goodwin, saying that “Throughout the world, marriage can be divided along a continuum ranging from those societies where marriage is totally arranged to those where individuals have complete freedom in mate choice…”.This was a case included in the first option,certainly.

All that was for a greater good.Earth’s good, too, of course…

The End
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Post December 18, 2011, 06:57:40 PM

Space Opera

When Worlds Collide

George T. Philibin

Nebula’s face grew softly with a hue that only another Cartunison would understand. She faced Captain Eric Arabin of the USS Victorian ----in geostationary orbit around Earth. Its armaments faces Velensia, a rogue planet that will collide with Earth. She places her finger over Eric shoulder which pulls her hand over until it rests near his neck so softly that Captain Arabin doesn’t feel it for a moment or two. She reassures him that Planet Velensia will be finished evacuating within a few moments

“Our DNA match. Remember, it was my ancestors that seeded your planet,” Nebula said. Her soft-green skin pulsed with a radiance never seen on Earth females. And her tall-lean body with shapely feminine muscles maneuvered itself closer to Captain Arabin.

Eyes from a tall-blonde-haired communications officer flashed, and invisible daggers shot out hitting Nebula, or so anybody would have thought if they had witnessed the blonde’s expression. An oriental female officer with jet-black hair and a rock-solid-athletic build also stopped for an instance, and like the blonde, invisible arrows and samurai swords and battle-axes slashed at Nebula’s body, or so anybody would have thought if witnessing that officer’s expression.

Nebula looked at both female officers one at a time and smiled at each in turn, and she raised up her left eyebrow as her fingers dug more into Captain Arabin’s shoulder. Her smile caused other female eyes to flash, and as more flashed, Nebula’s smile deepened!

More male officers seemed to enter the bridge than normal, and their eyes always stayed on Nebula until they had to look away in order to not trip over a chair or bump into another on the bridge. But they always returned afterwards to Nebula.

“I hate that bitch!” the communications officer Pamela Monet said.

“My, my, my----do I detect a tad of Jealousy among--some junior officers here?” First Lieutenant Eric Kampton said. Other female eyes fell upon Eric as he walked away with a grin more chiseled onto his face than formed by muscular contraction. And as he walked, his eyes were locked onto Nebula like a tracking-laser that had just found its target! He stopped at his duty station and touched his display screen, and almost instantly he announced: “Evacuation completed,”

“Right on time,” Nebula said. “The last transport must be nearing the edge of the atmosphere by now. I know the commander, but he is no Arabin.” Nebula’s fingers started playing with Captain Arabin’s collar but he was concentrating to much to feel anything.

“Fire all Destructors,” Captain Arabin ordered. Each destructor carried more explosives that both the United State and the Soviet Union ever had on stock. And all twenty-missiles left the Victorian in sequence, and the ship slightly wobbled like an old earth-submarine that had just launched it torpedoes.

Captain Arabin looked up at Nebula, and with eyes that rolled from command to eyes that became soft and gentle with sparkles dancing off each one intermittently, said: “Now we wait.”

“We wait for nothing!!” Nuyet Tram, the oriental officer shouted.

All eyes locked onto Nuyet Tram, some stood up, other grasped, while two slipped out an exit.

She held an antique double-barreled shotgun at Nebula and Captain Arabin, and looked as if she knew how to use it.

“It was so easy sneaking this past the security screener. I just put it into plasma-replacement parts and---what-do-you-know? In it came!

“Now move away from Captain Arabin you alien-bitch!” Nuyet ordered.

“Well, well...the truth comes out. After all these months we know now who sabotaged the Corigan and I was on it! You would have murdered 200 passengers just to kill me,” Nebula said. She moved away from Captain Arabin but didn’t take her now icy-crystallized eyes off Nuyet, nor did Nuyet take her eyes off Nebula.

“Saving your race? Is that what everybody thinks? They do, you know. But I know the truth: Cartunison females are dominating all Earth males, and reducing them into whimps. I’ve seen it everywhere! Your plan is so obvious: Conquer Earth by making all men puppets .”

“Destructors entering Cartunison’s atmosphere,” a metallic sounding voice boomed forth.

“Nuyet--you’re a good officer--and I always thought of you as I would a daughter...really I love you as I would a daughter, you...” Captain Arabin started to say.

“You lie! It is her that you want!! Her--- the one from the stars!” Nuyet said.

“Yes, I agree with Nuyet! I’ve seen it for myself on Mars Colony New Castle. All the men became slaves to--to female Cartunisons. They will obey them without hesitation once a female Cartunison webs her spell over them,” Pamela said. She sided with Nuyet.

“Destructors have deflected Cartunison’s path---it will miss Earth now by twenty-million miles,” the metallic voice boomed again. A round of cheers could be hear over the intercom. But on the bridge all remained rigid.”

“That’s great news,” Captain Arabin said. “All Cartunison will be able to return to their planet.

“They will never return,” Nuyet said.

“No they wouldn’t! And why should they? Those alien-bitches are getting what they want----on Earth!” Pamela said.

Side by side now both Nuyet and Pamela glared at Nebula with such an intense stare that the bridge felt hot.

“Do it now!” Pamela said.

As Nuyet started to take aim, Pamela’s left hand sliced through the air and knocked the shotgun down to the floor. And in the back stroke, she elbowed Nuyet’s cheek-bone so hard that all heard the crack of bone. Nuyet fell, and within a second she was subdued by four bridge-members.

“You fools! Don’t you see what they are doing?” Nuyet screamed as she was led out of the bridge for the Brig.

Captain Arabin issued orders as Nebula stood next to him. But a feeling of joy permeated the bridge as the confirmation came in: Cartunison was deflected.

Nebula studied Captain Arabin then said, “I think our races are very similar emotionally, too.”

Captain Arabin nodded.

The End
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Post December 18, 2011, 06:58:50 PM


Oink Me! Pig Men Have Needs...Don't They?

Mark Edgemon

Princess Salvia felt the weight of her mission. The Planet Earths were in turmoil!

Two of the Earth's meta-universes, the planet Earth in grid sector 247 was in conflict with the planet Earth in grid sector 3, each grid representing a ripple in the string theory of quantum gravity, originating from the first historical Earth in grid sector 1. With each new act of evil by the residents of the original Earth, discord was set in motion with chaos ensuing throughout the Earths of other dimensions.

Princess Salvia of the blue humanity of Earth's Upsilon Prime in grid sector 247 has been assigned the mission to heal the rift in Earth's multiverses by reversing the evil deeds of just one human being on the originating planet Earth in grid sector 1. All realities share identical timelines and geography, but the humans of each dimension, have variations of appearance, such as the blue complexion of the people of Upsilon Prime.

Most multiverse inhabitants have long since discovered how to breach each of their parallel worlds by dimensional shifts through the invention of metaquon physics, moving about freely to each reality, in hopes of escaping their own world's decay.

Princess Salvia's mission is to select one individual and reverse his chaotic state to one of Truth, so that the Truth may be plainly seen on the individual's face, in the hopes of resetting the metawave calibration, causing a chain reaction with all other beings of that individual's dimension, thereby lessoning the wave imbalance of the other string dimensions.

The princess was phased outside a bar called, "The Taproom" located on East Main Street, in Louisville, Kentucky.

As she walks into the bar, her stunning beauty fills the room as each male in attendance gazes in amazement. Her blue, silken skin tone does not surprise the local clientele, who has seen everything through the years.

A handsome cad, in a sleazy kind of way stepped up to the plate in hopes of scoring with the beautiful, blue skinned alien, before any other guy had a chance.

"Hey baby, did you take a bath in window cleaner, cause I can see myself in your pants?" the handsome rogue let's rip his warm up pitch.

The princess only looks at him, trying to figure out his meaning and intent.

Not getting a desired reaction he tries again. "Are you some sort of space alien," (he says jokingly, because of her skin tone) cause I can show you by cosmic baaaang theory"! Again, no reaction from the princess.

Not willing to give up. "Baby doll, I'm no Fred Flintstone, but I can make your Bedrock," he says hoping for a smile, a laugh…anything.

She asks, "Do you speak English?"

"Okay, okay, I get it babe. Nooo problem. I can lay off the come-ons. By the way, I want you to know, I'd marry your cat, just so I could get close to your pus...".

"Stop!" the beautiful blue princess ordered. "I am from the multiverse Earth in grid sector 247 and I'm here to reverse your evil ways, so my world won't collide…"

He interrupts her as he smiles and says, "Sure Babe, I get it". Quickly changes the subject attempting to score, "You know I'm a spaceman. My next mission is a trip to Ur-anus!"

It is at this point that Princess Salvia understands it is a battle of wills. She does not want to mate with this man, but she will do anything necessary to save her planet from destruction.

"You got some great legs babe, what time do they open?".

She says insistently, "If you won't believe my words, may I take you…?" He interrupts her in mid sentence.

"Babe, you can take me anywhere, (trying to sound cool) at anytime."

"Please!" she stated urgently.

He tries yet again, "Do you work for the postal service, cause I DO believe I caught you checking out my package!"

"Do you not care that the fate of my planet…?"

"Good thing I have my library card, cause I'm totaling checking you out!" He says with a grin.

With little time to find another human to transform, she ponders, while he continues with the barrage of pathetic bar patter.

"I can see it would be easy for me to go on the skids…all your curves and me with noooo brakes."

Just then, he gets a smile from her, but not for the reason he thinks. He keeps pressing.

"Are you a parking ticket? 'Cause you've got FINE written ALL over you."

Saving his best for last, he unzips his pants and says boldly, "Is it too late for my entry into your flash challenge!"

Just then, she places her hand on his shoulder and with a sudden flash of light, they phase back to her dimension. Before he realizes what has happened, he is paralyzed as the metabolic gene designers carry out each of the princess's orders. She was kind enough to stuff him back into his pants, wondering to herself why the original Earth residents put so much focus on their sex organs, when what really turns a woman on in her dimension…is respect.

Having his wallet as a reference, the pick up artist was phased back to his pad the next morning.

Meanwhile, the princess was summoned before her planet's joint council.

The head of the congressional order inquired, "Did you accomplish your mission, Princess Salvia?"

"I did," she replied, "As intended, the truth is now easily seen upon his visage!"


He woke up the next morning from a crazy dream and went to the bathroom to splash water on his face as usual. He flipped on the light and began rubbing water into his eyes when he became alarmed by what he felt. He jerked up to look into the mirror in horror. His ruggedly handsome face was now…the face of a pig!

The End
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Post December 18, 2011, 07:02:27 PM

Space Opera

- Winner -

Buzz Jordan Saves The Galaxy


“Cortez, report!”

Buzz Jordan, Earthfleet captain, sat slumped in his command chair. The lifeless bodies of crew members littered the bridge. The air was heavy with the smell of fried electronics and burnt flesh. Lieutenant Alejandra Cortez sweapt errant mahogany tresses behind her exquisite ear and worked feverishly at the control console.

“Lieutenant! Report!” Jordan barked.

“They’re dead, Buzz.”

“By Einstein’s tongue, woman! You’re not making any sense.”

“Earthfleet is gone, Mordac’s cyborg Chi-fighters have destroyed all our ships. Weapon systems are offline, our core is going critical and life support is failing.”

“Don’t bore me with clichés, give me something I can use.”

“Hello, anyone there?” The English West-Country accent of BUG-B, the ship’s translator-bot crackled over the intercom.

Jordan stabbed the comm button on his command chair. “BUG-B, where the hell are you?”

“Down in engineering, where you told me to go.”

“Can you get the engines back online?”

“Well, no. I’m a translator-bot. You want the stubby white-blue maintenance-bots for fixing stuff.”

“There must be something you can do!” Alejandra said.

“Alright. I’ll give it a go. Let me just try... Hang on.”

A resounding clang echoed throughout the ship. The helm station in front of Cortez lit up, indicators changing from red to amber to green.

“You’re a genius, BUG-B,” Alejandra said. ”What did you do?”

“Just gave it a good whack.”

“Set a collision course, Lieutenant. Straight for Mordac’s death-cruiser.”

“That’s a little obvious, isn’t it?”

“By Hawking’s Wheelchair, follow my orders, Lieutenant!”


“A collision course with my death-cruiser, a little obvious was it not?” Mordac’s deep baritone mocked Jordan from deep within his dark gimp-mask-like visor.

Jordan, naked to the waist, struggled in vain against his bonds, his rippling, tanned muscles glistened with the sweat of his exertion. He was strapped to the side of a K-OS bomb, suspended over hanger bay doors. Cortez and BUG-B were similarly bound beside him.

“Why was it necessary to strip me and put me in a leather bikini?” Alejandra asked.

“Count yourself lucky, I’m naked.” BUG-B said.

“You’re a bot, you’re always naked.”

“You’ll never get away with this, Mordac!” Buzz shouted, trying to regain control of the wandering dialogue.

“I already have!”

Mordac’s insane laughter filled the hanger as the bay doors slid open beneath the K-OS bomb. Only a semi-permeable force field separated the last remaining Earthfleet crew from the fusion inferno that was the star of the Sado planetary system.

“Don’t worry, the bomb’s force shield will protect you,” Mordac cackled. “You will have time to enjoy the view before it destroys this star and all the planets in its system”

“Father, stop!”

“By Newton’s fig, it’s Ambassador Zoltrixie!” Jordan boggled at the green skinned amazon, barely clad in a tight rubber leotard and ridiculously high heeled thigh boots who had just entered the hanger bay.

“I thought she had been kidnapped by Mordac’s henchmen,” BUG-B said.

“Obviously, she has been a double agent the entire time, leaking Earthfleet’s plans to her father,” Alejandra replied.

“When you’ve quite finished your exposition,” Mordac said. “It’s time for Buzz Jordan to die!”

The sound of a laser pistol’s sharp report split the air.

“Daughter, what have you done?” Mordac clasped a gloved fist to the smoking hole drilled through his torso by Zoltrixie’s laser gun.

“Where did she pull that from?” BUG-B asked. “I mean, that rubber leotard doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. There should‘ve been a bulge.”

“I’m sorry, Daddy!” Zoltrixie said. “I can’t let you murder the father of my unborn child.”

“I’m going to be a grandpa?”

Mordac tumbled forward, his body slipped through the semi-permeable force field and plummeted towards the star below, turning to incandescent plasma as it fell.


“You know, I always thought you were the love interest,” BUG-B said. Lieutenant Cortez and the droid sat together at the back of the immense cathedral as Ambassador Zoltrixie and Captain Buzz Jordan spoke their wedding vows, cementing the Earth-Sado treaty and bringing peace to the war-torn galaxy.

“Goddess, no. I’m a lesbian. Anyway, why have you got that ridiculous English West-Country accent?”

“It’s very fashionable in cybernetics. Besides, all the campy gold translator-bots were out of stock. Not much point being a translator-bot anyway, Everywhere you go, aliens speak perfectly good English.”

“Did anyone tell Buzz that on the planet Sado males out number females by thousands, and that their society has developed into a matriarchy ruled by vicious dominatrices who demand slavish devotion from their huge male harems?” Alejandra asked.


“Plural of dominatrix.”

“No, I don’t think he knows.” BUG-B said.

“Mordac was actually a freedom fighter trying to break their tyrannical rule.”

“A bit late to be telling me now.”

“Did anyone tell Buzz that in the Sado reproduction system, once the embryo is fertilised inside the female, she will then forcibly implant it far into the male’s digestive tract to gestate.?”

“Pretty sure that hasn’t been mentioned.”

Up at the alter, despite his spirited resistance, Buzz was being stripped and bound again. Male slaves bent and tied him across the huge alter stone, legs spread. Behind him, Zoltrixie bared her well-defined, green abdomen, a tentacle pseudo-pod emerged from her navel, slimy with mucus.

“Interesting fact.” Alejandre said. “Women from the planet Sado often visited Earth during the late twentieth century, before we discovered space travel. Some kind of sexual tourism for them. They would kidnap clueless hicks from the American mid-west, have their tentacle way with them and then brain-wipe them.”

Up at the alter, Zoltrixie stepped forward, her pseudo pod probed tentatively between Buzz’s taught buttocks. Buzz’s screams, even through the ball gag, echoed loudly around the cathedral.

“That explains a lot,” BUG-B said.

“Yes, alien abduction, anal probing and tentacle rape hentai. We have a lot to thank them for.”

The End

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