FLASH FICTION INDEX 2: Dec. 2011 - May 2017


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

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Post October 07, 2012, 08:27:32 PM

Thinker's Fantasy

The Bastard King

By:
Mark Edgemon



The king had been summoning his chief intercessor during most of the day, after executing other counselors due to their inability to solve the latest problem, which the king had created for himself and the people of his kingdom.

"We're at war," he announced to the members of his court.

The king's guardsmen found the intercessor in an open field, deer hunting with his bow. It meant meat for him and an orphanage of hungry children that he looked out for in what free time he had.

"The king is searching for you and is angry," the strongest of the guard said out of breath.

"This is my day off," the intercessor complained.

"Not anymore. C'mon!" the chief of the king's police stammered grabbing his arms. He strapped his bow around his chest, placed the arrow into his quiver and followed them back to the castle.

As they made it to the door of the throne room, the attendant muttered under his breath, "The axe is falling today," just as the men walked into the hall.

Where have you been - you damn intercessor - as I have been summoning you all day?" the king said glaring straight at him.

"I have served you faithfully for twenty years. Is it too much to ask for a word of kindness or appreciation ever so often?"

I should kill you for keeping me waiting?" the king raged.

"I've been hunting. You told me I could have this day to myself," his unfailing counselor reminded him.

"You may have time off, but you must return when I need you!" the king snorted.

"How would I know this?"

"You're the spiritual one, you divine it! A holy man such as yourself should always know when he is needed," the king demanded.

The intercessor just went on to hear the latest complaint and ranting of his lord. "What is the problem? Did something happen at the summit with the kings of neighboring lands?"

"I have been mocked! I want revenge! I want satisfaction! I want them to know I am the supreme ruler," he gleamed, "Their god! He paused for a moment and then yelled, "I WANT THEM DEAD!"

"How will they know anything if they are dead? Could we lessen the severity of your judgement and temper our reaction with mercy. Give them a chance to repent," the intercessor spoke in hopes of finding another peaceful solution to the king's murderous tirade
.
Once again, the king glared at him. "Instead of twenty-four hours," mocking him as he spoke, "my wise, all knowing servant, you now have twelve hours to create a plan to destroy these kingdoms...under penalty of death."

"I have honored you in every way possible these two decades. Why do you speak to me roughly and with so much rancor?"

"Cause you are a Godly man, you man de man, you Godly man you." The king then said with a sly smirk and wincing smile. I'm just waiting for you to fail, so I can see you squirm as my royal executioner takes you away. I'd like to see your God save you from me and my wrath!"

"He has always honored my request for wisdom and witty inventions to further this kingdom and quiet the rage welling up inside your soul. I have prayed for you, but you continue to set impossible standards for mere humans to accomplish and then killing those most loyal to you," the intercessor stood boldly and spoke in a manner which meant certain death.

The king smiled that carried a creepy feel to it. "You have eight hours to complete your plan of destruction...under penalty of death. From this moment on, I want you to speak to me only in Truth. Say not a word to me other than what is true...you hear...under penalty of death!"

"Your anger and wrath is an insatiable scourge on our kingdom. Your mind is half gone by way of hatred!"

The king was smiling, "You have only four hours to complete your mission...or you will die! The king paused and then asked, "Why did the other kings rage against me? Speak to me truly or you shall die!"

The intercessor stood calmly, yet unaware of how this day would end. "They thought you an evil bastard by your angry disposition and dismissed your authority and sovereignty because of your causal disrespect of them.

"You now must resolve this conflict in less than one hour or you WILL die!

The intercessor thought for a minute and then offered this prophetic word. "There is a way to bring peace to this land without war, but it is tough medicine and surely it will be costly."

"I don't want peace," the king seethed, "I want death! Give me death of my kingdom's worst enemies or you shall die!" The king sat on the edge of his throne and said with distinctiveness, "You now have one minute or I will see you die today.

Suddenly, the intercessor removes his bow from off his shoulder, strings it and releases the arrow, finding it's mark through the right eye of the king, pinning his carcass to the throne!

The audience that witnessed this execution gasped, howbeit silently.

The intercessor walked deliberately to the throne, placed his right foot on the chest of the dead king and pulled the arrow out of the wood from which it had fastened the king's body and pulled his body to the floor. He took a seat on the now vacant throne while the citizens watched in awe.

Finally, the executioner inquired out loud, "What about the king's order for your death?"

The intercessor said casually looking around the room, "I think he had that backwards, wouldn't you say?


The End
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Post October 07, 2012, 08:28:42 PM

Thinker's Fantasy

- Winner -



All's Fair

By:
McCamy_Taylor



Lolethe, the King’s sorceress spent the better part of the afternoon preparing for the banquet. A bath in asses’ milk, followed by a massage made her skin supple. Fennel seeds freshened her breath. Chamomile steeped in rain water brought out golden highlights in her waist length hair. A sleeveless shift spun from spider silk showed off womanly curves that were usually hidden under a heavy, black woolen robe. A concoction of mamba venom, poppy nectar and red pepper taken in minute doses enhanced her natural pheromones.

The court ladies would be wearing jewels----diamonds, rubies, sapphires set in gold. Lolethe’s only ornament was a red camellia tucked behind her ear. She draped a gossamer thin shawl over her shoulders, checked her face in the mirror, found the perfect smile---not too bold, not too demure---then she left her quarters . It was half past seven.

The walk from her tower to the banquet hall took her through the barracks. Soldiers who were used to seeing the sorceress on the battlefield dressed in leather armor and wielding a staff stopped what they were doing and stared. A love struck young cadet tripped over a wooden footstool and landed on the floor at Lolethe’s feet. She stepped over him daintily.

Down another corridor, left at the library, right at the solarium. This part of the castle had thick carpets and embroidered tapestries to muffle sounds and keep out the cold. The armored guards were too well trained to stare at the sorceress as she descended the grand stairway, one hand on the banister, the other lifting the hem of her silken gown, revealing a shapely ankle and carefully pedicured feet. But the servants carrying trays of food from the kitchen whispered to each other.

“The witch is dressed for battle.”

“Who do you think she’s after this time?”

The church bell struck eight. Lolethe waited for the sound to die before stepping into the banquet hall. Candlelight made her hair glimmer like spun gold. The breeze from the open door carried her scent to the head of the table, where King Alric was making a toast. He faltered. His eyes met hers. Surprise gave way to delight.

“Here she is! The architect of our latest military triumph. Dame Lolethe.”

The sorceress inclined her head slightly as the guests applauded. Her silk robe rustled as she moved towards the head of the table. The chair to the king’s left, the place of honor was empty. A liveried servant seated her. She turned to Alric. Leaning forward, she murmured “I hope this feast won’t go on all night.”

The king took in her clinging gown, her dilated pupils, her sweetly seductive smile. It had been a long time since the sorceress had approached him like this. Rumor said that she had a lover. But tonight, she was not acting like a woman with a secret paramour. Tonight, she was his old Lolethe, as lovely to look at as she was deadly on the battlefield, where her ironwood staff could call down lightening and summon demons.

Alric found an excuse to cut the feast short. Ignoring the daughters of the kingdom’s nobles, who had piled on furs, jewels and perfume in order to attract his attention, he escorted Dame Lolethe to her tower and was not seen again that night.

Four weeks later, a much more modestly dressed Lolethe visited the King in his chambers. Her hands were clasped protectively over her belly. Bowing her head, she said contritely “It’s my fault. I should have taken precautions. But I was overwhelmed by passion.”

Alric paced back and forth in front of the roaring fire. His red hair was in disarray. “You’re sure you are pregnant?”

“Quite sure.”

“And the baby’s mine?”

She pretended to be hurt. “You’re the only man I’ve been with.”

The king frowned. He had planned to attack Freeport, the large trading city on the far side of the Windy Lake as soon as the water froze over. A quick victory, install a viceroy and then back home before the spring thaw. Now that plan was in ruins.

“You could get rid of it, “ he suggested. It seemed like a sensible solution to him, and he was unprepared for her response.

Tears sprang to her eyes. “Please don’t make me do that. It’s a boy. I know it is!” She fell to her knees before him. “If I stop using magic now, he’ll be born healthy. But if I don’t stop---“

There was no need for her to elaborate. Alric had seen what kind of monsters sorceresses bore when they continued to practice the dark arts during pregnancy. The thought of his first son and likely heir being born with cloven hooves or a misshapen head made him feel physically ill. “You’re right. You must stop using all magic, at least until the child is born.”

“That won’t be enough. When your enemies realize I can’t use magic, they’ll send assassins to kill me and the baby. I’ll need to go into hiding. Someplace far away where they won’t think to look for me.” Her blue eyes were wide and pleading. “For the sake of our child.”

And so, a few days later, Dame Lolethe, the sorceress left the castle, accompanied by her maid and confidante, Sarabeth and her bodyguard, Sir Aubrey, a handsome young man with coal black hair and laughing brown eyes.

“How long do we have?” asked Aubrey, her secret lover.

“Eight months,” replied the sorceress smugly. “We’ll head for the mountains. I have a cottage up there where no one will disturb us. When it’s time to come back, we’ll stop off in Westmark.”

“Why Westmark?”

She threw back her head and laughed. “Because you can buy a red haired orphan cheap in Westmark. We’ll pick up a healthy newborn boy. The king will be delighted to finally have an heir.”


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 07:46:48 PM

Meet Your Doom Challenge

The challenge was to tell a horror story using a likeable, capable character pitted against one of the author's own darkest fears, and the character had lose to that fear.
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Post February 03, 2013, 07:49:57 PM

Meet Your Doom Challenge

Tabula Rasa or A Priori

By:
R. Tornello © 2012



Deep in the recesses, the primal, that reptilian part of the brain, how much of it was controlled by learned/inculcated behavior that made him able to function? Duine Buile often pondered this especially after years of therapy, the surgery, and at times, pharmaceuticals.

When Duine Buile was a child The Anger welded up and at times literally paralyzed him. It was if his brain short circuited, and overwhelmed by this primal thing, his muscles would get competing commands to do and not do. Instead he collapsed, his entire right side, head to toes, were temporarily but totally useless.

In moments of lesser rage, brought on by anything from a perceived verbal slight to a bad day at grammar school, he would simply beat the living tar out of anyone, basic animal strength coming from where, as a child, he had no idea. To make matters worse he didn’t remember most of what happened except the victim was a bloody pulp or he was being restrained by a number of adults before any real harm could be wrought, and this was when he was a mere child.


****
They said the operation was a success. He knew that he was different. He wasn’t the same. They did this to him in the summer of his second grade. They said it was exploratory brain surgery. He knew he was not as quick of mind nor was he physically the same and he hardly ever fought again. In fact, he had to be so provoked that the dielectric that was implanted into his brain, suppressing that part which allowed for anger and normal self-defense finally became overwhelmed, and instead of a normal response, the monster came roaring back in full, vengeful and as a mighty force that whom ever he believed the cause of this slight, was most often found in the hospital.

These were his thoughts, memories, and fears along with his shame for not standing up for himself when he should have. He had no idea as to the why of all of it. But to all the others he had become a model child, teenager and as an adult, a rector in good standing. He was loved by everyone but himself. He was secretly afraid of that monster he knew was always there.

To his government mandated myth based religion he dissembled every week. He assisted as a rector should. He played with the children at the nursery and was kind to all the animals. To all he was a nice young man, one that would be the pride of any mother’s son.

****
An empty church but for the parish priests Father Gilly Tony, and Father Al Bejoe in the confessional with, Duine Buile.

“Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It’s been a day since my last confession.”

“Duine Buile, you need not come every day. Your sins are light as compared to others that could use more than …”

“Hear me father for I have sinned.”

“Yes My son I know your history of rages. You have been to seek professional help, and through the use of pharmaceuticals you have your life under control happily for the last few decades or so. It is well and good.”

“But the feeling are still there lurking in the back of my mind, in that animal, that reptilian element, before humanness.”

“There is no before humanness my so, God created…”

“Father listen, it there you know it and I know it. You wouldn’t be here if that were not the case. The rages are under control, but we both know what lurks there. And for you father what are your demons?”

“This is your confession my son, not mine go on.”

“As you know in my past I flew into uncontrollable fit of anger, beating all and any who came into my way, some provoked and others I provoked.”

“Yes Duine Buile I do know the affect of your rages. I was the recipient of some of them. I do remember.”

“Well yes father that’s why I come to you are one who recognized them and steered me to the professional help that made me a model citizen, married, with children, a regular church goer, and a helper of the poor. Yes. But father I have sinned.”

“Duine Bulie what have you done that can be so bad that I wouldn’t have heard of it before your arrival?”

“Father your friend and brother Gilly Tony you know him?”

“Yes I do. He’s close to me and a companion of this church.”

“Well Father,” he hesitated, “he is my lover and I must confess to that. It is a sin is it not?”

Father Al Bejoe was beside himself. This was news to him. All these years he assumed otherwise, a true member, a true being to the church and now this news. Red rage boiled up inside him, no earthy control, no heavenly control and from the deepest recesses, that same reptilian monster that Duine Bulie believes he has some stupid relationship with, kicks in and Father Bejoe arises to his full six feet ten. The rage he has suppressed these years is unshackled.

He uttered, “My lover, his lover? No never, never,” and his world turned red-black. His eyes blood red, where nothing is seen, no noise is heard, time is a figment of others imaginations, and reached through the screen with ancient animal strength, with the letter opener he always carried, grabbed Duine Bulie and stabbed him. He ripped the wooden partition with that welled up animal strength arising from deep within, hauled the body, bathed in blood soaked red priestly garments, dragged the life oozing lump through the sanctuary and lifted Duine Builie’s body, if it weighed not the 200 lbs it weighed but an ounce, and heaved it through the stained glass.

“This to all who defame my love,” he spat. “One monster to another,” he chuckled viewing the crumbled body below him.

The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 07:51:11 PM

Meet Your Doom Challenge

Prophet and Loss

By:
Mark Edgemon



John walked over to his ornamental bedroom window and opened the blinds to let in the bright morning light.

His beautiful home was a source of pride for him as was his manicured lawn. Working diligently during the previous two decades, established him as a hard working man, howbeit one who kept largely to himself.

Stepping into the shower, he mentally prepared for another workday, momentarily reliving the arousal from the remembrance of his coworker's cleavage, when she bent over his desk at work. Grabbing a bagel, he darted out the door and moved across the walkway as he approached his car.

A fog quickly arose, the mist swirling before him into a recognizable face, familiar, yet also unknown to him. The face in the fog spoke.

"Go to a home I will show you on the east side of town," the voice commanded.

"Why," John inquired, a bit nervous at being summoned for a mission he did not want to do.

"I have a word I want to give to someone there."

"I'll be late for work," John said anxiously. He didn't like these tasks, the ones where he was TOLD what to do.

"I never know if the next thing you're going to ask me is to go and feed pigmies in Africa." John thought silently to himself for a moment and asked, "That's...not what you're going to ask me - is it?

Silence.

John worried throughout the day that the voice would return and summon him again. Later that evening, as he was back home stoking the flames in the fireplace, the voice began to speak once again this time through the fire.

"I have a Word I want delivered to a person in despair. I'm sending you tonight."

"It's dark outside. The person may think ill of me approaching them so late," John said hoping he could get another reprieve from obedience.

"You have committed yourself," the voice erupted through the flames of amber.

"You know I am not well," John said nervously. "I have type 2 diabetes and peripheral neuropathy in my legs and feet..."

The fire surged, flames leaping out toward him. Was the voice angry, John thought? He continued, this time speaking faster.

"...And this water weight issue - no salt, no sugar, no fat, no caffeine; If the diabetes and nerve damage don't get me, the edema will."

The fire was still.

"Are you still with me?" John asked with no reply.

*****

On the other side of the world, an old prophet continued his intercession for John, a person who he had never met, but knew well in spirit.

"I have prayed for John for over forty years and yet he still hesitates. You are about to lose a vital soul to despair. John is the only one close enough to do this mission," the old prophet agonized in supplication.

"Samuel, there is another," a voice in the wind whispered.

"Who?" Samuel inquired.

"A young girl, ten years of age lives near the despondent soul. Pray to shield her from the darkness that would try to engulf her as I speak with her tonight." The wind subsided.

And so Samuel began to pray once again in clothes soaked from sweat, which hung loosely upon his hunched over aged, thin body. It was hard for him to kneel these days, his sharp bones protruding from his skeletal frame.

*****

A school girl was studying diligently this evening for an exam expected the next day. Abruptly, her cd player jammed emitting a low bass tone. She got up to restart the song when a voice beckoned from the tone.

"Samantha, do you know me?"

The girl was startled. After a few minutes, she spoke into the air, "Yes, you're the voice I've heard inside me all my life."

"I want you to speak to someone who lives on your street tonight. It is important," the voice from the tone declared.

"Obviously, or you would not be speaking to me audibly.” The girl waited.

"Do you have any questions?" the voice inquired.

She thought for a few moments, "No, I'm good. Let's do it!

The Spirit of the voice was pleased and yet tested the girl with this question, "What if I sent you to Africa to speak for me? There are cannibals there."

The girl walked over to her shelves of encyclopedias and looked up cannibals. "A person who eats the meat from the bodies of other human beings," she read out loud.

She bent down and picked up a book from the bottom shelf on meal planning. "Sounds like they need a nutritionist."

“Thank you for your faith in me,” the voice spoke in a hushed tone.

“Is that important to you?” the girl asked curiously.

“If it was not so, no souls would have ever been created,” the voice said softly.

The Spirit of the voice continued to speak to this girl throughout the rest of her natural life...and beyond.

*****

As for John, he waited and he slept. He worked decades for air, for food and because it was expected of him. Eventually, he grew old and died, nestled warmly in a death bed of excuses until he met the Face of the Voice…and he trembled, he quaked in fear, he knew terror and he lived in it with pain and torment for time without end.

And he suffered remorse for the thousands of selfish decisions he had made in his life and believed he would have done things differently if he had another chance.

But in all actuality, it would have been – the same.

The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 07:52:03 PM

Meet Your Doom Challenge

A Weird Casualty of the Forgotten War

By:
Sergio Palumbo



The short War of 1812, aka the ‘Forgotten War’, involved the still young U.S. Republic and the Loyalist nation of Canada. These forces fought for supremacy in the area mainly around the Great Lakes and the Northeast coast.

After two medium-sized land battles that saw victories for the British troops, the contending armies left a few armed scouts to check the border in order to detect and ward off enemy troops that could go south to enter their country. The U.S. vessels maintained a complete hold on the waters, with other skirmishes following on the ground where some captains went lost in the woods while their forces ---on both sides-- killed a lot of their own soldiers over the course of fierce wilderness fightings. These small battles usually occurred at night and were poorly planned. Both sides had already invaded each other's territory, but these invasions had proved to be unsuccessful or temporary so far. The U.S. regular armies consisted of fewer than 12,000 men, although Congress authorized the expansion of the army to 35,000 men, but the service was voluntary and unpopular; it offered poor pay, and there were few trained and experienced officers. Besides, the militiamen were not accustomed to discipline and performed weakly against British forces when outside the woodlands.

----------------------------------------------------------------

It was a freezing evening inside the tent in the woods, on the banks of the river, on the uncertain border of Ontario/Michigan Territory. The small group had been ordered to stay there in order to control the banks and inform the officers about every British attempt to cross the stream and invade the United States.

The group of soldiers in the tent was made up of three individuals: a young, blonde-haired recruit that had arrived only two days before; and two experienced men at arms assigned to that region.

Go get some branches…” said the oldest of them all. “I’m hungry!” He wore a uniform on whose collar scratched against the chestnut beard on his face that was dotted with dirt. During this time, uniform dress was little observed by the ordinary enrolled militia and all of them wore their civilian clothing, supplemented by their own equipment or whatever might be hastily issued.

Me, too!” exclaimed the other soldier, black-haired and muscular. He looked at the younger recruit with two wild blue eyes. “Hurry up, before it’s too late for dinner.”

Alex, the newcomer of the group, stared at the oncoming darkness outside that was already wrapping the whole area.”But I could run into some enemy lying in the undergrowth…”

“So much the better - you can warn us immediately!” the first one replied, grinning in his usual way.

“But I heard some howls out there before…”

“Are you afraid of them…?” said the second, making fun of him. “Are you a poor Vermont boy who never goes into the woods in the evening because of the darkness?”

Alex remained silent for a few moments.

“Yes, tell me, recruit, do you fear the wolves?” the first added quickly.

“A little…” the young one admitted in the end. He noticed some smirks on the faces of the two.

“Are you one of those kids who are afraid almost of everything? Well, don’t worry, we can assure you that there are no wolves out there…they ran away the first time they heard shots being fired.”

Those are some smart guys, those wolves. If we weren’t forced to stay here, we’d do well to follow their example!” The older men laughed.

The recruit said nothing in return.

“You are a man from the East, aren’t you?” the second one intervened. “Don’t you have wolves down there?”

“Yes, indeed. And there are some really bad stories about their attacks…”

“Listen to me, boy. We know the area, and there aren’t wolves around here anymore.”

“You heard my friend, Alex. So, go - we’re starving and need some good warm food. But we need a campfire first …”

So the young soldier eventually forced himself to leave the tent. He walked warily, but as he got deeper into the woods he thought he had heard some howls again and was afraid. It had always been that way since his childhood, all because of what had occurred years ago to his aunt who had been killed and eaten by wild animals, according to the story his uncle had told him.

While hurrying, he almost lost his way twice, then he headed towards the place where he knew the river was. But, as soon as he came near the water, the boy saw two huge hairy creatures, wolf-like beings with human features, standing in front of him. And that was just the last thing he saw.


----------------------------------------------------------------


Some other days later, a new recruit reached the tent where the same two experienced soldiers were, and before the night ended, a similar scene happened.

“I’m hungry, boy!” the first one told the newcomer.

Go get some wood for the fire…” the other soldier added.

“But I could stumble onto some enemies or into some wild wolves…”

“We can assure you that there are no such creatures here…It’s because of the war.”

So he decided to go, eventually. And he never came back either.


----------------------------------------------------------------


As a matter of fact, no wolves were ever spotted in that area during the war. Anyway, it seems that two experienced soldiers, out of an ever-changing group of three, easily survived the war.

Unfortunately, strange to say, not one of the young recruits that were sent there to replace the casualties made it. In that weird war, experience did matter a lot, of course.

And two very clever werewolves disguised as men at arms took every opportunity to have some fresh meat from time to time, every night they had the chance, until they were able to conceal their presence among the humans in that lost outpost in the woodlands during wartime…


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 07:53:45 PM

Meet Your Doom Challenge

Voicemail

By:
Michele Dutcher



The headlights approaching Max Hawthorn were almost erased by the early morning’s sudden downpour. He slowed his speed appropriately. “Better to be safe than sorry,” he reminded himself. Everyone from the factory would be down at the Holiday Inn Express, for the conference– so it really didn’t matter when he got to work anyway.

Max began to go over a list in his mind of all the materials needed by his co-workers at the event. He grimaced. Had he put in the labels to get the boxes back to the company after it was over? Chris & Steph would really need those.

He reached over to call his voicemail and leave a reminder.

Ring (silence, silence) Ring (silence, silence) ring…

“Hello,” said a small scratchy voice.

“Hi! I was just leaving a voicemail...”

Ring went the phone. Now that was odd! How could someone answer a phone that just keeps on ringing?

“Hello?” whispered the small, childlike voice again.

Max hung up.

***
As predicted, there were only a handful of employees at the factory when Max stepped into the lobby. Jodie was at the reception desk.

“Jo, can I ask you a question?” asked Max, leaning against her desk.

“Sure, you can ask me anything – but I don’t have to answer!” They shared a brief familiar chuckle.

“I called in early this morning to leave myself a voicemail…but it sounded to me like a child answered.”

“A child? No way. Even the kids next door at the blind school don’t get here until 8:30.”

“That’s right. There are children over there.” He thought for a moment. “It just spooked me a little, the tiny voice saying ‘hello’.”

“It’s probably just the time of year – with Halloween coming up and all.”

“I bet you hear all kinds of weird stuff from employees,” Max said, shrugging.

“Oh yeah, especially with this building being so old. You know children used to have a barracks in here. Their parents dropped them off when they found out they were blind. There were even a dozen children who died here since the 1850s – and their parents never came to pick them up.” Jodie lifted her eyebrows for emphasis.

“What did they do with them, with the bodies?”

“The talk is they buried them on the grounds until the city bought two gravesites out at Cave Hill. I’ve seen the stones – with all of the children buried around them.” Jodie leaned in a little bit, beginning to whisper. “Some people say those children are still here, waiting for their parents to come and pick them up.” Jodie leaned in even closer. “BOO!” she shouted laughing.

Max laughed so hard he almost cried before going upstairs to his cubicle. But there was a part of him that also wondered how much of what Jodie had said was true.

***
Max pushed the button to close the door of the freight elevator, glad this long day was almost over. All he had left to do was take this cart of left-over programs to the storage room and then enjoy the weekend.
The elevator kicked a little as it began to rise slowly. He started thinking about his days off.

There was a loud thump as the elevator rocked and then stopped moving. “Oh crap!” he said out loud. He drew in a deep breath and pressed the emergency alarm.

The small alarm blared away for a good twenty seconds before Max heard a voice shouting down from two floors up. “Sorry about that!” shouted a man’s deep, jovial voice. “I was checking the elevator and thought I had it turned off.”

“Just get me outta here,” Max shouted up.

“There should be a grey ball on a lever inside the wall. Do you see it?”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Grab it and pull it down – it’ll open the door.”

Max did exactly as told and the yellow, metal mesh door slid open. He smiled a little, relieved. The elevator had stopped between the basement and first floors, so he could see the top of one and the bottom of the other. “I’m still between floors.”

“It’s going to be a few more minutes before I can start it up,” answered the voice. Max thought he heard the sound of the voice’s feet shuffling away.

Suddenly there was the sound of childish laughter from the basement. “Look over there, Fanny,” said a small voice. “I think somebody’s caught.”

“You’re right, Joe, I can see his feet.”

“Sarah Clark, you try to touch ‘em – you’re the tallest – try to touch his feet.”

Max jumped back, trying to get as far away from the door as possible. In the dimness of the unlit basement Max could have sworn he saw small, dirty faces looking up at him. He looked at the main floor – he could squeeze out onto it without too much trouble – he was sure of it.

He was surprised to hear a man’s deep voice suddenly coming from the basement. “Now Eliza, and all the rest of you, stop needling the poor man. He’s scared enough.” They all were having a good laugh now, as Max was certain he was losing his mind. “Are you still okay up there,” asked a man’s face as it looked up through empty eye-sockets.

Max made a leap for the main floor – but his foot seemed to be caught on something. There was a loud creak from above.

***
It had almost been a week since the elevator accident. If only Max hadn’t been there alone, all by himself in the back of the factory. Mary Robinson was heading to work early so she could take off early and attend the funeral.

“Oops! I’d better call my voicemail to remember to change my timesheet,” she said. She reached over and grabbed her cell.

Ring (silence, silence)

Ring (silence, silence)

“Hello?” answered a man’s voice.

“Max? Is that…” She thought about it for only a moment.

Ring.


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 07:55:22 PM

Meet Your Doom Challenge

- Winner -



Never Let Go

By:
I. Verse



Dean swims up to consciousness like a drowning man through murky water. Opening his eyes takes all he’s got, brings him nausea and pain. His head feels sticky against the headrest. He sees the street lights flash by through a rain streaked window, blurred and doubled. Kayleigh is crying in the back-seat.

“Shut that little bitch up!” A man’s voice, unfamiliar, angry.

Dean tries to turn his head but the movement pushes him back under.

###

The doorbell rang just as Dean took his coffee mug to the sink. Susan was beside Kayleigh at the table, breakfast half eaten in front of them as Susan tested Kayleigh on her spelling words.

“I’ll get it,” said Dean.

The hallway was bright with the morning sun. Dean could see a female figure, blurred through the frosted glass of the front door.

“Wendy?” Said Dean, surprised to see his new co-worker at his home.

Wendy’s blue eyes had dark circles, she seemed nervous. She opened her mouth to speak, eyes darting to the left. A figure, unkempt hair, a beard, swung around from his hiding place beside the door and hit Dean between the eyes with the butt of a gun.

###

“You got it?”

Dean couldn't look at the guy’s face. All he could see was the gun, the cavernous, gaping hole where the bullet would come.

“Create the loans, transfer them to the business accounts. Transfer the money from those accounts to the offshore accounts. Delete the transaction history,” said Dean, repeating back the instructions. Kayleigh sobbed loudly as Susan tried to comfort her, wrapping their daughter in her arms and hugging her close. Susan’s own face was red and puffy, her eyes wet

“Remember, if Wendy so much as thinks you’re trying something, they’re dead,” said the Goon, waving the gun at Dean’s wife and child

Dean nodded and picked up his briefcase.

###

Dean completed the last transfer, hands shaking. Wendy watched beside him as the completion message came up on the screen.

“If he so much as touches-”

“Shut-up!” Said Wendy, her voice a terse hiss. It was the most she had said to him all morning. “Now the transaction histories.”

Dean opened a new form and rubbed his forehead.

“That’s a humdinger!” Said Ericsson from Savings as he passed their desk, pointing at the growing bruise Dean was massaging.

“Walked into a door,” Dean said, his eyes pleading the man to stop, to make conversation, ask questions, anything.

“We’re kind of busy here,” said Wendy, her hand on Dean’s shoulder, fingers squeezing painfully hard.

“Sure, sure,” said Ericsson with a conciliatory shrug. “Be more careful next time, man.”

Dean nodded as Ericsson turned and walked away. Wendy’s painful grip relaxed.

“The transaction histories,” she prompted.

###

The shakes got bad again as they turned into the drive. Dean tried to stifle a sob, stifle the fear. “If he’s hurt them-”

Wendy gave him a hard look. “It’s nearly over. Keep it together.”

Dean could hear Kayleigh’s whimpers as soon as he opened the front door, audible over the TV noise of cartoons. He followed them to the family room. The Goon had his arm around Kayleigh as she sat beside him on the couch. Susan was slumped across the other side. Her nose a bloody mess, her bruised eyes swollen shut and her clothes torn.

Dean was barely aware of the growl building from inside as he lunged forward. The Goon was faster, more practised at violence. The gun hit Dean in the guts, took away his breath. He fell to his knees and tried desperately to suck air back into his lungs. Kayleigh screamed just as the gun crashed down on the back of his skull.

###

Noise reaches him through the static. Tires on a rain slicked road and wind-shield wipers. He’s so tired, almost slips back under again but he hears voices and knows they’re important even though he doesn't remember why.

“You said, we’d let them go,” says Wendy

“You dumb-. They've seen my face. They know you’re with me.”

“You said no one would get hurt.”

“Hey, newsflash, I lied. Now shut-up!”

Road noise turns to the crunch of gravel, the ride gets bumpy, rocks Dean’s head. Black static takes him again.

###

There’s cold air against his face through the open window, the smell of water. Dean tries to open his eyes as the car rocks, someone getting out.

Incoherent words, arguing, a piercing scream and a meaty thump. Then the car rocks again. Dean turns his head, blinks away the red smear in his eyes. The Goon is pushing the Wendy’s limp body into the driver’s seat beside him. Blood is running down the side of her face.

“Murder, suicide,” the Goon says, his voice quiet. He’s singing it, over and over. “Murder, suicide. Murder, Suicide,” and the man is grinning like a lunatic.

The door slams, the car moves, tires on gravel, accelerating. A jolt throws Dean against the seat belt, water splashes his face through the window. The shock of cold as the car fills up revives him. Dean raises his head, vision is clearing, thoughts are coherent. If he can get the seatbelt undone he can get out, escape, make it to shore.

There’s a sob from the back-seat.

Kayleigh sits there, her mother slumped by her side unmoving, the water is already around her little waist and it’s freezing. She can’t swim, she’ll never make it. It’s over.

Dean stops trying to undo the seat belt and reaches back instead, takes his daughter’s hand.

“Close your eyes, baby,” he says. “ I'm here.”

The black water is rushing in now, sucking the car down, he sees the panic in her face just before it rises over her.

Down in the dark, Dean can feel them sinking deeper and deeper. The cold makes him numb but he can still feel Kayleigh's hand in his own. He will never let go.


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 07:57:59 PM

Guilty Monster Challenge

The challenge was to tell the story of a "guilty" monster.
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:02:25 PM

Guilty Monster Challenge

Guilt Rider: The Mummy’s Curse Unraveled

By:
Mark Edgemon



"You shouldn't have torched the mummy's corpses, Cortez!" the curator shouted at him. He loathed that the prospective museum pieces went up in smoke, chalking it up to the explorer's devil-may-care attitude. "For the record, we really would have liked to have had the mummies you incinerated."

"I needed light," Cortez responded.

"If there is a list of curse inducements somewhere in the world sir, I think you have evoked most of them," the curator brooded.

Emanuel Cortez, the infamous explorer responded. ”They say that necessity is the mother of invention." Shaking his head, "Sometimes, it can be a pretty mean mother."

Reaching into a brown cloth sack, he pulled out an intricately ornamental gold box. "How about this, a one of a kind antiquity."

"This is it, nothing more!" The curator was livid.

“Next time hire that other guy!” Cortez said under his breath.

Cortez turned and walked out the museum office and down the dank, musty, museum corridors, as the curator's voice began to fade. “You’ll not receive anymore funding from this institute!”

What the curator did not know was that the gold box had previously contained three grotesque looking seeds, which Cortez kept for himself in a pouch around his waist. ‘If these seeds are still active,’ he thought, ‘they might grow into some new and exotic plant that could make me a fortune.’

Arriving at his estate, Cortez went straightway to his greenhouse. Opening the glass doors, the smell of rotting plants, soil and fertilizer permeated the air. He took the pouch from his belt and removed the seeds, planting them in a large pot containing topsoil and fertilizer. He set the pot aside.

He whipped out his cell phone and called his fiancée to find out the time of their upcoming wedding dinner the next evening and then retired for the night.

But he did not know she was on to him. She had him checked out. He had a history of dating unappealing, rich socialites and making off with a considerable amount of their money. She was unsure whether to call him on it or go ahead with the wedding. She hadn't decided if a fake marriage was better than living alone.

The next morning, after a cup of espresso, he stepped into the greenhouse and to his astonishment; the clay pot was now covered with a strange looking vine that was brownish in color with a black streak running across it. It was covered with sharp, pointy thorns that were decorated with numerous, petite, slightly transparent, powder blue flowers.

He clipped one of the flowers and placed it in his pocket, so he could stop at a florist on the way to the dinner and have them make it into a corsage. Maybe the unusual beauty of this ancient flower might help get him out of the doghouse with his bride-to-be.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, he walked up to his fiancée and pinned the corsage to the top of her gown.

"Sweet fragrance for the only woman I've ever loved," Cortez said smiling.

She knew he was lying and felt guilty for not saying something.

"Let's go in," she said taking his arm, pretending everything was alright. "No need to keep our guests waiting."

As the evening wore on, the fragrance from the flower made her disoriented. The conversations around the room became tedious and droned inside her head.

After a couple of hours, he sat down and put his hand over hers. Her flesh felt cold and stiff like wood. He leaned closer toward her, but was repelled by the smell of rotting flesh and other foul odors he could not recognized.

The corsage had dried and began to crumble.

He knew something was terribly wrong and didn't want to be blamed for it.

Immediately, her face and hands shriveled to the sounds of gasps from the guests in attendance.

Her flesh began turning a pale, putrid green; looking more like the unwrapped mummies he set a flame during his last expedition. He began wondering if the fragrance of the flowers from the seeds he found somehow might have caused a chemically induced mummification of her body.

Just then, his thoughts heard something, a strange, eerie sounding voice.

'Yoooou! You did this - to meeeee! Why did yoooou poison meeee, yooou evil mannnn?' The mummy spoke to him telepathically. 'Demonnnns are riddling my body. Rage - is all I see - all I feeel.' She paused, 'I'm going to killll yoooou, Corrrr-tez!'

'Please, my sweetheart, my dear,' he said in his thoughts as he shook with fear. 'You'll hate yourself if you harm me.'

"I dooo nowww,' she screamed inwardly.

She lashed out indiscriminately, catching Cortez to the side of the head, knocking him to the floor. He got up and ran from her, as she followed, dragging her wooden-like limbs in stilted movement towards him. There were only black holes where her eyes use to be.

The guests began running, screaming toward the exits.

His body began slowing down as the toxins entered his bloodstream from the scratches the mummy had clawed on his face. He was going into septic shock. As his knees buckled, she grabbed him about the neck and started strangling him, pushing his frame down towards the floor. The mummy pulled it’s decaying corpse on top of him and began gnawing, biting hunks of flesh off his face, soaking the floor with his own blood beneath his head.

She was aware of her actions, but could do nothing to control them. She was burdened by her guilt, which fueled the fury of her rampage.

Moments later, her stilted frame was but a silhouette in the pale moonlight as she dragged herself cumbersomely onto the terrace and across the courtyard.

Her soul grieved their deaths and of the others that would follow.


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:03:42 PM

Guilty Monster Challenge

Frozen in Time

By:
Michele Dutcher



He supposed one might have called his emotional state ‘angst’ – but he had never been one to adequately judge the mental state of others, nevertheless his own. He had found that even when a person was trying to tell the truth to others he was probably still lying to himself. His feet were getting cold now (although he couldn’t feel them of course) but they were dragging like logs being pulled across the ice. That was good. Perhaps soon his end would come – as it had already come once before.

He thought back to his childhood when his mother would leave him outside on a blanket, there in the hills surrounding Vaud, Switzerland. His mother said she could see him from their back window, as he watched the trees swaying gently and the squirrels happily playing. He remembered hearing the soft voice of the wind in the treetops. His mother told him later that she felt guilty about not paying more attention to him, because his older sister and the twins had taken all her time.

Truly he had not minded – for nature itself was his mother, his siblings, his teacher, his true friend. He loved nature even now as he walked across the unbroken ice at the top of the world. He looked at the icicles hanging from his hands. He touched a finger on his left hand with his right hand – and the finger snapped off with a pop. He could see the liquid seeping out, freezing instantly as it hit the sub-zero temperatures. At some point the frozen mass at the tip of his hand stopped the flowing, so he kept walking.

On and on, deeper and deeper into nature’s purest form – to the state where all life would eventually succumb. At least that’s what the man in the white coat, his creator, his father, had told him when they were still friends, nay - family. That was before the struggle, before the tragedy of child – the little girl with the flowers – had occurred. Perhaps his mother had been right: if only she had given him more time, more direction, he would have known how to interact with the girl. He had forgotten so much during the time he was ‘asleep’. For instance, he had forgotten that children don’t float like flowers on water, they drown. He knew that now. If only his father would have told him, would have taught him…

The wind at the top of the world was howling now. It sounded like the screaming of souls ripped away from the rest of the Earth. Now the moans of those dead were his companions.

His eyes were glazing over as ice pellets hit his skin, sticking to his freezing body. His feet were stuck now, frozen to the glacier. He was now completely a part of the nature he so adored.

The man crouched down, grabbing his knees, pulling his long-coat around his body more by habit than a desire for warmth.
Soon it would be over again. Here, where no human alive could find him. Only death had made this journey with him, step by step, to collect whatever was left of his frozen soul. “Why couldn’t they just leave me alone?” he screamed, howling to no one except the stars overhead.

He couldn’t move so he closed his eyes and dreamt of a place of sunshine and trees and people who would talk with him and listen to what he had to say. A place where he would have a family to teach him how to do right. A place where he wouldn’t do terrible things, hurtful things, monstrous things.

He felt the warmth of tears on his face before they froze as well. The ice was his due punishment for murder – it was also his comfort. The snow on the Arctic glacier began to pile around his peaceful lifeless form.
***
“Doctor Chevez – I was informed that you were able to re-animate the man you found in the ice.”

“Yes, professor. He was found floating when a chunk of a glacier broke off. His clothing suggests the late early 1800s.”

“How the hell did he get way up there?”

“My best guess is he walked…”

“No one could walk that far, over all that ice!”

“Look, professor, I think he’s coming to.”

The creature opened his eyes to see people in white lab coats looking down at him. Why had they brought him back – again? Hadn’t he paid enough for his sins? Why? – so he could kill again?

“What is it you want to say,” asked the doctor who slowly moved in closer to hear the words of his amazing new patient.

“Leave me alone!” screamed the monster before snapping the doctor’s neck like a twig.


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:05:05 PM

Guilty Monster Challenge

A Conversation Between Columbia and Her Brother

By:
R. Tornello



Columbia, her white gown flowing about her she ascends the 33 steps, and enters the promontory and stepping between the two tall pillars formally announces, “Ianus, dear brother, I bow to you.”

Ianus, in his black toga rises, and in softer tones states, “Dear sister Columbia, I bow to you.”

And with an unspoken understanding, together, the keys they hold are turned simultaneously, like the fire control systems for launching nuclear weapons in a submarine, and like those missile hatches, the two headed phoenix gates of the world, of heaven and earth, of beginnings and endings, all things illuminated, visible to them alone, swing open.

Ianus, “Our kind, our people, our creations, assumed destroyed and extinct, have through the millennia worked for these ends, and so close, now why such sorrow dear sister?”

Columbia, “To theses ends, yes we have and as is our right, and yet I still feel for them, though fools all.”

She stops for a second to think about what she wants to say next and how to state it. “We have evolved a new world order and we continue to do so. The time is not ripe for our assent, but it is closing. I have been the force behind these recent changes in science and technology and you dear brother through mind control and false finance.”

Columbia continued, “In the distant past we were known as Gods and our people, to some, as giants. And yes, our people were physically much larger then those interlopers from the south. And to protect our people, we thought we effaced all the references to us however within their religious books that we missed altering, we were again mentioned, and dear brother I quote, ‘… the sons of God saw the daughters of men were fair and took them as wives , whomsoever they chose.’ We managed to alter the interpretations over the centuries in order to hide our existence, yet the evidence still exists. And so, we all became like them. We hid deep within them subducting our genetic make up within theirs. Any who even came close to the truth were eliminated. We know our kind through tests and time.”

“And now science and technology are allowing us to reemerge as we were. The GMO science program designed to up the caloric content and abundance necessary for our kind has begun while at the same time it is altering their genetic makeup. Their birth rates are being reduced; their populations are aging at a non-replaceable rate, while our kind re-evolves. We will be careful not to alarm them until it is too late.”

She sighs and says “But I have grown fond of them, especially their music and arts.”

Ianus interrupting, “Sister, we can always work that.”

Ianus eyeing the world through the gates continued, “The fools embraced us, our philosophy and our kind and then eliminated us, or so we let them assume. We have interbred to survive. Their caloric needs are about 2000 a day while ours are closer to 5000. With the GMO program you have so fought for throughout the planet and my control of the financial systems, slowly bending them to my will, we will bring about our safe and long overdue return.”

“Trust me. It is not time to hesitate. You must continue. I will note your concerns and reserve judgment until after we have completed our tasks.”

Columbia looking at her brother with love and respect said, “And with you too dear brother, we have laid the foundations, the institutions of the new world order. We had to create the planned chaos, wars, social conflicts and of course, the pre-planned responses. And yes, we had to wait for the technology to evolve, as it finally has. You keep them in debt with your political economic systems so well concealed in magic.” She hesitated before continuing and then said, “And I continue to poison them.”

Columbia, now tearful, breaks down before her brother, pleads for help. “My real job, my task, my calling as an adjunct to your work, is to foment distrust and hatred. I am guilty of incompetence. Where have I failed?”

She continued, “I try my best only to have my hard work undone. I gave them floods. I gave them pestilences, plagues, wars, famine and yet they raise themselves against us again and again. I gave them the secrets of the universe in order that they might destroy themselves and still they persist and inhabit our home and pushed us out of our hallowed grounds. What am I doing wrong? What am I missing?”

Ianus responds, “Ah Columbia my sister, you must redouble your efforts spreading subterfuge, falsehood, and especially play to their pride. Pride is the one area you have failed to cultivate. Go back and work your magic. Pride is our gate, our wedge, to which they have been warned against time and time again and ignored. That weakness will be the fall of them all. Illuminate it, praise it, and do not despair. We have the keys to their inner souls. All will be as it should be and we will prevail, striking down those who dare to fight us or pretend to understand our inner workings. Heaven and Earth and all levels between will be as they should be.”

He turns to her, “Cry not for these puny beings. They will serve us well.”

“We will rule again. Now to your task dear sister and erase your misplaced embarrassment.”

“Aeternitas nobis est”

As Columbia looks away and down upon her intended victims, she turns to her brother and affirms her duty, “Yes my brother, it is my task. I will. We have the keys.”


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:06:00 PM

Guilty Monster Challenge

A Digital Orange

By:
I.Verse



As Doctor Julia Ahonen stood beside Gustav and his defence team, trying to stare unemotionally into the cameras, she was certain of the sentence. It was as inevitable as the guilty decision handed down a week earlier.

“Gustav Connelly Brown, you have been found guilty by a jury of your peers on thirty-eight counts of murder,” said the Judge, his craggy features appropriately sombre for the cameras. Out of the corner of her eye, Julia caught Gustav’s prideful smile at his body-count.

“Having received reports from the Defence’s psychiatrist, Doctor Ahonen, and the Prosecution’s own expert witnesses, I am satisfied that you are a true Pyschopath, unable to feel guilt or remorse for your crimes and with no empathy for your victims, all of them, young women murdered in the most horrific and disturbing circumstances.”

The judge paused, playing up the drama for his audience.

“I therefore sentence you to death by Neural Digitisation. Your simulated personality will become the property of the Broadmoor Advanced Psychiatric Research Department. May God have mercy on your soul.”

The courtroom descended into chaos, a lightning storm of camera flashes and the thunder of outraged voices. Amidst this cacophony, Gustav leaned across and grinned. “See you on the other side, Doc.”

-oOo-

Julia stood outside the door of her simulated office in the bland room that served as the loading portal. Rebecca Downing, Gustav’s last victim, the only one whose remains were in any condition to allow an upload, stood before her. Rebecca cowered beside Doctor Amstrong, her own Psychiatrist. She was waif-like next to him, her body language closed in. She made no eye contact, her arms crossed tightly as she hugged herself.

“He can’t hurt you here, Rebecca,” Julia tried to reassure. “He can’t see you, he won’t even know you’re watching, you will be like a ghost in that room.”

“I am a ghost,” Rebecca said, her tone flat, unemotional.

Julia blushed at her faux pas and looked to Amstrong. He gave a small nod of encouragement. Julia opened the door.

-oOo-

“How do you feel, Gustav?” Julia asked.

“Real,” Gustav said. “I feel real.”

Gustav grinned, a frightening expression as Julia knew how empty it was. The grin faded quickly. Amstrong’s disembodied voice whispered in Julia’s ear, audible only to her. “He just tried to lunge at you. The restraint conditions stopped him from physically carrying it out.”

“Free will is an illusion for you now,” said Julia. “Stand up!”

Gustav stood to attention, his frown deepened.

“Raise your arms above your head,” said Julia. Gustav complied.

“Sit down again and be still,” she said. “Only I have power here.”

Gustav sat again, his expression dark, his eyes narrowed with suspicion.

“Psychopathy is untreatable in life,” said Julia. “But here I can do things that aren’t possible in reality. I’m going to merge your neural mapping with templates taken from normal people. I’m going to give you things you never had before, Gustav. I’m going to give you empathy, I’m going to give you compassion.”

Gustav looked away, shook his head in disgust and froze, his simulation suspended as the integrations took place. Julia stared at him, knowing that for Gustav no time was passing.

Gustav sighed, as his simulation became active again. “Let’s get on with it.”

“It’s already done, Gustav.”

“I feel no different.”

“Let’s talk about your last victim, Rebecca Downing. You remember how you abducted her from outside her home?”

Gustav smiled at the memory. “Took her right on her own doorstep, her keys in her hand.”

“And when you took her back to your kill room, had her strapped to the stainless steel mortuary table you got from Ebay?” Julia prompted

Gustav’s smile faltered. “Yes, I strapped her to the table. It was cold, very cold. It must have been... uncomfortable.”

Julia nodded, waited. The silence stretched. The frown on Gustav’s face deepened. He looked down, unable to meet her eyes, his vision turning inwards to memories perfect in their digital form, never to fade or be forgotten.

“Oh God, I...”

“You raped her,” Julia said, her tone cold, clinical.

“Yes, I... She was crying and shaking but I... Oh God!”

“Then you took a carving knife from the workbench.”

“I want to stop,” Gustav said.

“Did she ask you to stop?”

“Yes. She begged me.”

“Did you?”

Gustav shook his head slowly, his face pale and drawn.

“What did you do with the knife, Gustav? What did you do to Rebecca?” Julia pressed.
Gustav shook his head faster. His eyes wide with horror, disgust, self-loathing. He leaned forward, started gagging with nausea.

“That won’t help, Gustav.” said Julia. “You will remember every detail of what you did to Rebecca, of what you did to all of them."

“Make it stop! I don’t want to remember any more,” said Gustav, gasping between convulsions.

“No Gustav. You can never forget. This is the punishment for your crimes.”

Gustav slipped from the chair to the floor, curled up on himself, rocking and sobbing in horror until he at last became still, glassy eyed.

With a frown, Julia suspended his simulation

-oOo-

They stood over Gustav’s frozen form, ignoring him.

“Was that remorse?” Amstrong asked.

“No, “ said Julia. “That was disgust and horror. Remorse and guilt will come later. This is only the beginning. I will take him back through each murder. He will relive every moment and experience it again with compassion and empathy for his victim.”

Beside Amstrong, Rebecca Downing stood relaxed, gazing down thoughtfully at the murderer curled up in a fetal ball by her feet. “It looked like he was in agony,” she said.

“Emotionally, he was,” said Julia. “This is literally hell for him.”

For the first time since her death, Rebecca Downing smiled.


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:07:03 PM

Guilty Monster Challenge

The Worst Regret, Again...

By:
Sergio Palumbo



Someone once said that the night is the blotting paper for many sorrows. Maybe it was true – and certainly today’s society had a lot of things to complain about - but for the two slender men in dark clothes this was the perfect time to work and complete their task on the outskirts of town, even though it was something that involved some dangers, certainly.

As they jumped off the roof, the huge front door of the massive depot was in front of them. The first one keyed-in the correct code and it opened wide, allowing them to sneak into the entrance.

While inside, the seemingly unending shelves and dusty bookcases stretched ahead of them as if they were the fronts of many tall houses which went on and on into the dimness at the opposite wall’s end.

In a world where the web had gotten hold of almost everything and all data was continuously scanned and checked by the governmental agents and offices in search of suspicious rebel activities, this was the best way to keep information safe from prying eyes and to stay untouched, far away from the rest of internet. The info and all the necessary documents about your own men and your safe-houses were here at your fingertips, especially if you were a member of The Rebellion and you were at war against the dictatorship and the cruel power structure which had towered above the whole population since the end of the Freedom Battles.

In this place, you might find it very difficult to retrieve the specific paper you needed or get the exact report you were looking for, but at least no cyber-researchers or appointed e-detectives would ever be able to steal such factual information.And this was just one of the many depots The Rebellion’s leaders had created throughout the country in secrecy.

The two started searching the wall on the right in order to retrieve the info they had been ordered to find, looking through several handbooks, registers and notes, but after only a few minutes the tallest one, named Frank, exclaimed, “I heard a strange noise…we’ve been followed!”

“Is it your augmented sense of hearing that makes you think so?” the shorter one asked him in return. He was called Brett and had two mild, blue eyes and some delicate features on a twenty-year-old face.

“Yes! And beyond that they’re wearing hi-tech flameproof suits. I know it by the sound of their steps…”

They found us!”

The other went on, “And they know about your special powers, too…”

The second guy darkened. “How many?”

“Five, at least…”

What can we do?”

“These documents must not fall to the governmental officers, at any cost. I will have to activate you, as you can’t do it by yourself…”

“Please, don’t do it…” the shorter one burst out. “There must be another way!”

“You know there is not. We can’t let such data be seized by our enemies!”

“But I’ll destroy everything around…”

“This is the reason why our chiefs chose you to come with me, you know it’s true!”

Brett fell silent, his mind going back again to his previous recollections. He remembered when he was younger, held as a prisoner in that secret lab where that old scientist had tried all kinds of experiments on his body, hardening it and changing its composition, finallty. When The Rebellion’s armed team had entered the structure suddenly, freeing all the captives and himself as well, the one had been released and became free again. Besides, the death of the old scientist and the destruction of all his data made sure nobody else would be able to know how to activate him and his powers. Except The Rebellion itself, of course. And his rescuers had already done it once when things turned ugly a few months ago, unfortunately…

Don’t do it!” he repeated. “Don’t let the monster in me out! I’ll kill you, you know…”

“But you must destroy all the documents in here, and soon…now I will launch the right frequency to activate you…”

“And your life doesn’t mean anything to you?”

“When you burn the whole depot down, you’ll simply prevent me from being imprisoned and tortured for a long time...actually, I could reveal some important info, while you…”

“…while I simply can’t, as I communicate with our chiefs only via temporary links, and those can be easily changed…”

“Correct! Even If they take you, there’s not much they can obtain from your memory as you don’t know the names or the addresses of the other hiding places of The Rebellion itself.”

“Please, Frank…” Brett continued, but there was no more time. The frequency reached his body which soon became luminous, very warm, and then flames started shooting out of his skin, wrapping him in fire within just a few moments. The great heat generated was really terrible and quickly the entire area was surrounded by incandescent fire, everything in the vicinity, along with the shelves themselves and all the paper documents, going up in smoke. Brett’s body, too, was burned to ashes. But he didn’t die, he never did just because of some fire…

As the speechless armed agents wearing the golden, impenetrable flameproof suits approached, they found the young man lying on the ground,next to a dust heap of unnoticeable remains that had been a man before, his eyes crying and a strong pain filling his heart, again. ‘Another team-mate dead! And all because of me…'

Whatever is going to happen now…' he told himself, looking at the others coming nearer '…it will not be worse than the deep sense of regret I feel inside…'


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:08:03 PM

Guilty Monster Challenge

Requiem for Emmanuel Dzagru, to be Sealed for One Hundred Years

By:
Lester Curtis



O, Emmanuel, what shall I say of you?
Who can I tell of what you've done, or how you came to your end?
Our tiny village lived in fear of the Beast on Wolf Mountain,
And every full moon, you went alone to end its reign of terror,
Armed with the finest steel blade in all the district.
Each time,
You came back down from the mountain, your clothing in shreds,
Your flesh rent,
And still, it killed. Seventy-eight bodies, mutilated, half-eaten,
Seventy-eight souls committed to Heaven,
Seventy-eight families grieving their loss.
And you,
You, O Emmanuel,
Grieved with each, as though the loss had been your own,
And the widows and orphans, you sheltered and fed with your riches.
Your wounds were barely scabbed over before you went again,
And still, it killed.

I overheard you conferring with the priest:
"Father, my sword-thrust was hilt-deep,
Straight through the heart,
And it does not die."
"My son," he said, "This thing can only be killed by silver."
That day you rode away with saddlebags full of florins
And returned the next with a hand-cast dagger.
You had it consecrated by the priest.

Then, last Full-moon night,
Your body a lacework of scars,
You left your sword with me
And went again upon Wolf Mountain,
And in the small hours, clear across the valley,
We woke to the scream.
That night, in the village, no one was killed,
But you didn't return.

The searchers went by daylight
And found your corpse against a tree,
The silver dagger hilt-deep in your chest,
Your clothing all intact,
And your skin as flawless as a newborn babe's.
They found a blood-stained, sealed letter in your coat,
Addressed to me:

"Dearest Friend Piotr," it read,
"I must end my immeasurable agony
And that of the village, as well.
I tried, but couldn't help myself.
I shan't say more;
Perhaps you'll understand.
The sword, I leave with you;
May you never have need of it."

O, dear friend Emmanuel,
May your soul find rest,
While we who learned the truth
Have sworn ourselves to secrecy
And bear your burden in silence.
Your name remains unblemished,
And cherished for your good works,
And your sword lies buried in its failure
Next to you in yours.


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:09:12 PM

Guilty Monster Challenge

- Winner -



Hunter's Remorse

By:
Robert Moriyama



I awoke in the forest, naked, cold and wet, in the spot I had marked with my scent over many months to draw my wilder self back as the moon descended below the horizon. Shivering, I retrieved the bag I had hung from a low branch before moonrise and dressed quickly. The cloth I used to wipe my face showed no signs of blood, but I could taste it in my mouth -- salty, metallic -- and my still-sensitive nose twitched at the scent.

What did I kill last night? I couldn't remember. Sometimes there were traces -- bits of fur or feathers clinging to my teeth or my face -- but today, there was nothing.

Perhaps I had slaked my thirst in the nearby stream, and the evidence of animal or avian prey had been washed away. The alternative made me shiver again, in spite of the warmth of the fleece-lined jacket, woolen trousers, and insulated hiking boots from the bag. It had been many months since I had killed a man...

When I returned to my house, I turned on the TV and set it to the 24-hour local news channel. The top story squeezed the breath from my body and made me clutch the arm of the sofa for support.

"Police are still seeking Peter Murchison, age 23, who wandered away from the Alvarez Group Home in Marriott last night. Murchison is developmentally-delayed, assessed as having the mental capacity of a five-year-old child, and authorities are concerned for his safety as winter approaches. Residents of the area are asked to check their yards and garages or sheds in case the young man may have sought shelter there..."

I turned off the TV. The Alvarez Group Home was only five miles from the spot where I had awakened -- not far from the normal boundaries of my monthly hunting grounds.

It took me several attempts before I managed to punch the number of my sponsor, Bill Jenkins, into the phone.

Bill answered on the first ring. "The Murchison boy?" he said.

"I'm not sure, Bill," I replied. "But I need to see you."

"I'll be there in ten minutes," Bill said. "Hang on, and don't do anything stupid."

Ten minutes is more than long enough to swallow every pill in the house, or mix up a nice drain-cleaner smoothie. I had to fight to keep myself on the sofa, and away from the bathroom or the kitchen.

Finally, Bill arrived. He came in without knocking, knowing that I would have heard his footsteps and recognized his scent (nose still a little lupine, even hours after moonset). He strode quickly across the room, opening a vial and pulling out a cotton swab on the way.

"Open wide, Jack," he said.

When I complied, he thrust the swab into my mouth, dabbing at the backs of my teeth and around my tongue. He put the swab back into the vial and snapped on a plastic lid.

"I'll get this tested today," he said, "so we'll know if you -- if it's the Murchison kid you hunted last night."

"What if it is?" I asked. "Can't turn myself in -- when they look at the remains, they'll never believe I could have done it. But I can't live with killing another human being. I thought the program would make it possible to be ... safe with other people around, but now ..."

"Ain't your fault in any case," Bill said. "You know that. When the wolf is out of his cage, you ain't the one driving."

"But if I know I'm dangerous, I'm still responsible," I said. "It's my duty to make sure I don't harm anyone."

Bill nodded. "That's why we both done the aversion therapy and take the damn pills. The program is supposed to make it damn near impossible for us to attack a human."

"'Damn near' may not be good enough," I said. "If I did kill Peter Murchison, I have to end this."

Bill shook his head. "Jack, boy, I'm sorry you feel that way. But for Chrissake, at least wait until we're sure." He picked up the remote control and turned the TV on.

"... Murchison was found alive and well aside from mild hypothermia in the garden shed of a home some three miles from the group home..."

Bill laughed and slapped my shoulder. "There, y'see? Nothing to worry about."

"Get the tests done anyway, Bill," I said. "Somebody else might have been out there last night. And Bill? Give me the number of that outfit that rigged up the kennel at your place."

Bill groaned. "Aw, Jack, I don't use the damn thing myself. Been ten years, with subdivisions poppin' up all around my place, and no trouble except a coupl'a yappy lap dogs gone missing."

"You're a better man than I am, Bill," I said. "And probably a better wolf."


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:11:53 PM

Holiday Comedy Challenge

The challenge was to tell a holiday comedy using a "Santa Claus."
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:14:49 PM

Holiday Comedy Challenge

True Legends

By:
Sergio Palumbo



The metallic peephole suddenly opened and a dark eye peered inside to inspect the interior of the small cell built under the main building.

Everything looked calm: the food tray lay on the floor, as full as it was when he had given it to the convict, and the man walked in circles within the walls of the closed room.

“You have to eat something, old man, sooner or later,” the guard said, but the man inside didn’t reply and kept on circling. The young black-haired, short Sergeant shook his head, then closed the peephole again and moved away.

By looking in at his watch, he understood that the time had come to go upstairs and make his daily report to the Warrant Officer. So he walked the length of the tunnel leading to the door and took the elevator, reaching the office where he was expected.

As the Sergeant went in he bowed respectfully to the superior who sat at his desk. On the left he noticed several military dossiers, one on top of the other. The attentive eyes of the high-ranking military officer immediately motioned to the one that had just arrived.

Sgt. Jhang reporting as ordered, Warrant Officer Lyong!”

“Just relax and have a seat, Sergeant Jhang,” the other replied. He had a few greying hairs and was about 50-years-old, as far as the subaltern knew.

As the elder man grabbed the first dossier, the documents inside easily flowed among Lyong’s long fingers and were looked through very quickly. Then he stopped and stared at Jhang. “The papers say here that the new one was found with a flashy red costume on.”

“Yes, sir!” the Jhang confirmed immediately.

“And he was driving an ancient sleigh full of strange parcels and many presents, is this true?”

“Yes, sir!” the Sergeant repeated in a decisive tone.

“What about the fact that the fat man was caught while in flight in midair?”

“I couldn’t explain it, sir. You should ask the fighter pilots who first happened upon him…”

“Well, no reason to bother the North Korean Air Force headquarters. After all, since they brought him here, the convict is our problem and my personal responsibility,” Lyong stated.

“Of course, sir!”

“Did you discover what kind of unknown fabric his costume was made up of?”

“No, sir!”

“Did you shave him?”

“Yes, sir, but his strange whitish beard grew back again, and at a very fast rate, incredibly…”

“Did he reveal anything about himself and his task in this part of the glorious NeoDemocratic People's Republic of North Korea?”

“Not yet, sir….but he will, sooner or later”

“Anything else?” the superior asked the slender guard.

“Well, there’s something peculiar…at times the convict has a hearty laugh.”

“What kind of laugh?”

“He blurts out muttering, ‘HO,HO,HO’.”

“Maybe a sort of coarse laughing, he is going into hysterics as he knows that nobody can rescue him.”

“Probably, sir.”

“Frankly, I don’t understand such people, be they spies or illegal immigrants, I can’t imagine why they think they can trespass across our border and get away with it, without any penalties...”

----------------------------

As the old, bearded man scratched at his paunch, while looking disheartened at the stony wall that surrounded him on all sides, he considered that he had gotten into a mess. He knew better than to cross the Russian Sea of Okhotsk in order to reach South Korea’s coast and the Far East, but he was late and had a lot of Christmas presents to deliver that night, so he simply thought that by going that way he could get to his destination right on time. But those modern North Korean fighters had run into his course in the sky -- as he had entered the airspace of that country that was completely isolated from the rest of the world-- and they had heavily damaged his sleigh, forcing him to land in the end.

Then the long interrogations began, night and day, and since the beginning, they hadn’t left him in peace. They wanted to know everything about him, what kind of gifts he had aboard his strange vehicle or if he was a spy on behalf of some foreign country.At times he believed that such military officers were a bit insane, but he had no way to escape that prison by now.

The thing that most worried him was that the longer he stayed in that place, the fewer the presents he would deliver in the end. It was really a pity, and all because of his imprudence and underestimating of the many human conflicts on Earth, after all.

The individual was well aware that the Earthlings had long ago gotten used to turning to other false Santa Claus figures, like the many people dressed in red and white costumes with absurd white beards, that filled the innumerable malls in towns here and there, giving presents to the children - but they weren’t the real thing, of course.

Many young boys and girls were going to miss their Christmas gifts this year, it just seemed.

----------------------------------------

Later in the evening, as Sergeant Jhang passed outside the room the bearded man was in, he started his usual inspection of the many cells in that wing of the building’s basement. As the young warder walked along the tunnels he reminded himself of the names of the ones that were being held as convicts inside.

The first one on the left is said to be a Japanese Oni of the Mountains, the next one is a Haetae -- a legendary monster from China -- and now comes that strange individual who entered our country by a flying sleigh, Santa Claus maybe…’

He looked a bit pensive and then told himself: ‘The world is really full of weird people, indeed. Who knows what our Great Leader wants to get out of them all, using his cruel methods, anyway…


The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:15:32 PM

Holiday Comedy Challenge

Waiting for Santa

By:
Michele Dutcher



The TV this morning said there was a 60% chance of scattered showers – and it looks as though all of that 60% is falling in the city block I’m walking through. It could have been snow – that light, fluffy stuff that gives such a festive air to events like the ‘SantaCon’ I’ve come to see, but NOOO. Instead its 66 degrees without a Santa in sight.

People are skating on the ice rink one story below me at 4th Street live – and I’m sitting at a table on the 2nd story drawbridge connecting the now defunct cowboy bar with the out-of-business comedy club. All of this waiting for 300 Santas to show up would be bearable with a Budweiser in a bottle or a coffee-nudge (Yes! Whipped cream and cherry please!) – but as I said, the clubs around me are dead, kaput, out of funds, gone bye-bye.

I do have a wonderful view of 4th Street South – looking past the Seelbach, past Eddie Merlots, past Cunninghams – cars only though, no people. A girl just fell hard on the ice rink – this could be more fun than I thought! Another little kid is down – all that’s missing is the tears. Boom! Those knees won’t be the same for a while. I love ice rinks and amateurs.

I recheck a social media outlet – yeah that one - and it says that SatanCon will converge at 1 PM..wait, no it’s SantaCon – darn my dyslexia. It’s okay, I’ve been through four marriages – I’m used to being lied to.

I move downstairs to a bowling alley with a clear view of the skating rink, grab a beer, and start counting red hoodies, since no Santa suits are in sight.

1 blonde teenage girl with a pink backpack and red hoodie. Young dude walking past with Big Balls – no, really – mesh bag full of volley balls. Bleach blond girl (suicide blond, dyed by her own hand) walks past the bar window wearing a red hoodie. 8 year old in red coat makes my list. Red sweater yuppie headed into Soft Rocks Café. Shout out to red hat, black dude.

Boy and girl racing on the ice – she’s down – nice!

Old guy swaying on the ice..no it’s just some drunk stumbling along. 20-something guy in a red coat. Old white guy in U of L red coat & cap – Go Cards!

Once again life has proven that any holiday function is best viewed from inside a bar. The bartendress delivers another malty libation and I tell her, “It’s almost 1:30 PM and I feel like a Jewish kid on Christmas morning – no Santa Claus.”

She laughs and tells me I’m odd – yeah, I get that a lot.

So later I’m riding home on the bus, carrying two rolls of wrapping paper I bought at a drugstore. Together they look like a double-barreled shotgun, and I’m trying not to scare anyone (Look out! – she’s got a rifle made of wrapping paper!) and I overhear this guy at the back of the bus. I don’t turn around because that shows disrespect (I should know – I’m the one usually sitting as far back as I can go).

He’s talking to another dude and says, “All my nephews are in jail. One’s in for 25 years, another for 20 years. He had nineteen on the shelf but he just couldn’t make it through – and the cops hauled him in for breaking parole by being gone for 7 days and all those 19 years on the shelf just rolled over on him. One of my sister’s boys blew a man’s brains out in broad daylight – broad daylight! But me and mine are doing okay.”

“Dats good man, dats real good,” says the other guy.

“Yeah, I’m 47 and both of my kids are in college. You know that feels good.” His voice trails off a little and he says, “It’s like with my dad – he was a seal and I got my urge to travel from him – itchy feet ya know.”

“Yeah man, I feel ya.”

“But he always used to tell me, ‘There were times when I was attacked in some 3rd world country and I didn’t have time to bleed and I didn’t have time to cry – but I always had time to get on the plane going home. You know what I’m saying?”

“Yeah dude, I know.”

“That’s what it’s all about –finding out where home is and keeping that inside you – keeping home in your mind so you’ll always know which way to go to get home.” And I start thinking this guy might be like Santa at the back of the bus and I want to make up this mythology like I saw one of the SantaCon guys on the bus and he renewed my sense of the meaning of Christmas – but I don’t look back because it would be disrespectful to look at Santa Claus as he’s riding on a bus.

I get off the bus and head to my apartment, and throw all my bags on the bed, when my youngest boy calls and says everyone is going out to see The Hobbit and I should come too. And I grab my keys and my credit card because I know I’ll be paying for a few tickets besides my own – but you know, that’s okay, because Santa At The Back of the Bus reminded me that home can be a theater, or Dennys at two-in-the-morning, or a one room apartment – that home is people, the people we love.

As I sit down later with my clan watching the RPG trailers, I think about Santa at the North Pole, sitting with his feet up by the fire, with Mrs. Claus beside him, and a border collie at his feet. I figure that me and Santa - we have something in common: we know where home is, and we’ll always find our way back – even if it means trudging through the Arctic Circle to get back there.


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Post February 03, 2013, 08:16:45 PM

Holiday Comedy Challenge

Eff'n Magic

By:
Mark Edgemon



On the flowing, snowy hills of the North Pole, a mangy, scraggly reindeer, stumbles outside Santa's Toy Factory. Through the wintry snowdrifts, a snowwoman glides towards him, sliding to a halt as she begins to speak.

"Well, it's Christmas time, "I love it so, where the sing-a-lings, bring ting-a-lings down below. And every fat bottom, a-hole who beats his mate, doesn't beat her quite as hard, around this date.

It's the season when relatives visit for good cheer; in hopes their arse won't be seen again, until some time next year.

Santa knows he must deliver every gift, where ever the star shines its light or lose his magic, his workshop and his manhood, all three...on Christmas night."

The reindeer and the bosomy snowwoman, hasten to the workshop window. Hunkering down, they peer in through the ice, streaked pane.

"Look in there," the snowwoman said pointing, "Santa is having North Pole problems. Let's watch and listen."

==========

"Is something wrong with Santa?" Mrs. Claus inquired. She was an overflowing, fat, glacier of a woman, but today, she was radiant. "Did one of you gay little effs, grind up male enhancement pills into Santa's peppermint brandy?"

The effs were a secret cloning experiment designed to create automatons that would work for no money in Santa's sweat; I mean "toy" shop. The first five creatures named Aaa through Eee were failures, in so much that they had a mind of their own and talked back to Santa, after which he had them ground into reindeer chow. The effs were his newest creations.

"Choir practice again?" the toothless, tooth sprite asked, spitting in every direction as she spoke.

The eff’n trombonist remarked, "You know I'd do her, but she's kinda lookin' like trailer trash."

The eff’n drummer replied, "Well sure, if you'd been bitch slapped as much as she has...I mean, you're suppose to have exact change when goin' on tooth recoveries."

Mrs. Claus inquired, "Whatever happened between the tooth sprite and her husband Herbie, the eff'n dentist?

The eff'n drummer said sadly, "She was always up his pooch, wanting to scarf' up teeth he had pulled." He shook his head slowly, "She was just using him."

==========

Santa hurries in, wand in hand.

"People...people, set your butt's down!"

Just then, Little Mona Loo, who had teeth, but no more than two, walked up in front of Santa and pointed toward his belt. "Santa, your stick is in your pocket."

Santa looked at the conductor's wand in his hand and then at the protrusion filling his red trousers. Mona Loo looked up into Santa's bloated, red face and asked ever so sweetly, "Why Santa…why?"

He made a quick exit.

"Mrs. Claus, we're going to need to strap the North Pole down so I can go about my business."

Mrs. Claus inquired wide-eyed about the weather, "Are we expected to be covered in white sometime soon?"

"Ahhhh...well...you definitely! But I'm sure we're talking about two different things." A momentary glance downward and she understood. She took him by the hand or at least she thought it was his hand, and led him to their seldom used bedroom.

==========

A small, bald headed boy, walked toward the workshop door with a warm dish of vodka for the reindeer standing watch outside.

"Here you go, Smirnoff. Come get you daily fix!" the boy called out. The painfully thin, beloved, alcoholic animal, shuffled over. "Are they still callin' me names?" the reindeer asked, sounding like he had a stopped up snout.

The boy looked puzzled, "Well...yeah, but no more than usual."

"What are they sayin?" the reindeer asked wheezing.

"Well they're singing, "Smirnoff the red snout reindeer...

"Okay, okay, I know the drill," Smirnoff said pitifully. "Do ya think you will kick the football this year, Harley?"

The downcast boy said, "She says it's all been a huge charade! Then she hauled off and kicked me in the nuts. Said she was just saving time...rats!"

"We're a couple of misfits, aren't we?" the wobbly reindeer said.

"Speak for yourself!" Harley said in a halted, little boy's voice, "I'm still hoping to be accepted, in the North Pole chapter, of the Hair Club for Boys.

==========

Frigid, the ammonia fragrant, yellow-bottomed snowwoman, turned to the now sloshed reindeer and wistfully ruminated;

"Slithering around every pine and silver-garland, tangled vine, snaked a pickpocket of some renown, who had stolen Christmas from a previous town.

From the gifts of a little town's who's who, to the honey pot of a cuddly bear too, this green pickpocket creature, slithered so slithery, that his method of theft was still quite a mystery.

Spotted on the toy factory roof, busy about his thieving and silently aloof, he crawled head long into the chimney flew and was through before anyone knew."

The snowwoman who had been watching the scene stopped speaking with a sudden gasp!

A hand reached up the chimney, grabbing this thievin' creature by the whiskers, pulling him the rest of the way in as he began screaming. The green, pickpocket thief had actually crawled down the wrong chimney into Santa’s bedroom. Santa, in his red thong underwear and wearing little else, suspecting this prowler to be a suitor for his missus, began beating the livin' doodee out of his long, furry, green hide.

The abdominal, androgynous no man had been working out and so it was easy for it to drag the remains of the pickpocket, better known as "The Pinch" to the meat grinder to make a reindeer feast of eggs with green ham (close enough).

==========

"Mommy is hot," Mrs. Claus remarked as the over passionate, pot bellied, white whiskered man stood in front of their bed.

And you know what they say…that Kriss Kringle's “jingle jangle” grew three sizes that day!

And as white blanketed the North Pole that night............he came............somehow, he came.........he came just the same!

The End[/quote]



The End
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:18:07 PM

Holiday Comedy Challenge

- Winner -



Christmas Bash

By:
R. Tornello © The Village Idiot Press



No one but the powers that be, know St. Nick gets retired and replaced every 100 years. This year St.Nick XXVth is conducting his last run. Age and technology have taken their toll not to mention the changing demographics that have discombobulated the usual routes used for the last few centuries. His replacement has been picked. He has no clue as to whom. Like the pope, the selection is done in complete secrecy

Nick’s sled is fitted out with cloaking, shielding and mass shrinking devices that allows for his huge cargo, in addition to the Time Freezing Clock that without, would in normal time, make his run totally impossible.

Nick is downing Baileys and coffee to stay awake. His catheter is in place. Hey, when you gotta go, ya gotta go and can’t stop at the nearest bar or tree and take a leak. At the close of his route, Nick has finished a bottle or two. He isn’t keeping count. It’s his last run.

He was about to head back to the Pole but chanced to look in the freight box and realized that he missed a new subdivision in NJ. “Damn, I hope the new guy has an updated GPS and plotting. He’s going to need it. AI,” he called out to the Directed Encased Energy Ramjet, “fire up the thrusters and come about 180, cloaking on, running lights off, shielding on, tree top level, utility pole avoidence.” He was sober enough for that and 100 years of training didn’t hurt.

“Yes sir,” the AI responded. “Coming about 180.”

++++

His job completed and always prepared, Nick pulled out the reserve bottle of Baileys. He drank it down. Then in a somewhat blitzed state noticed a sign, Nick’s North’s Bar and Pole Dancing. His brain only recognized Nick’s North’s Pole. “I don’t ever remember putting THAT sign up. AI , landsthere. Keep sloaked and shrielded. I gottaseewhat’sgoingonhere” he commanded in a very slurred voice.

The sled, invisible and shielded, was backed into a number of times by some of the more drunken bar patrons. They of course saw nothing and gave it no other thought until Christmas morning when they viewed the ass end of their smashed vehicles and wondered how that happened. Most thought they hit a big pot hole at the time.

Christmas eve at the bar was not that unusual to have a few patrons come in dressed as Santa. Nick XXVth was Greco-Roman wrestling big, about 6’13 _ and drunk. A waitress-elf dressed in mistletoe and a two strategically placed ornaments came over and said, “Hey Santa honey, what can I DO for You?” She looked him up and down.

Another dressed in much the same outfit came over to the big guy and said, “Santa baby, you bring me my Bently I asked for?” And kissed him on his fire red cheek

“I don’t ever remember seeing either of you at the shops,” he said playing with the ornaments. “And You two I would have remembered.” He sounded sober then.

“Oh Santa, I’ve seen you before,” they both said. “And I have been a very good girl,” said the first one. She gave him a big wet kiss and sat on his lap. “What will it be? It’s Christmas and I’m in a giving mood.”

Number two came around from behind and gave him a big hug.

Nick, quite drunk, placed a few gold coins on the table and was about to take a bite of that forbidden fruit when in came what can only be described as a woman equal in height to Nick. She was visibly pissed off and pointed to Nick. “Nick you besotted bugger. You should be home by now. I had to come looking for you.”

“Oh shit, his wife,” said one dancer.

“Of all the days to screw off, your retirement day.” She knocked the first tart off his lap, flung the other across the room and threw Nick over her shoulder. She left 12 gold coins on the table to cover any damages and lugged the big guy out.

“AI on! Cloaking Off! DEERS ON, prepare for lift off,” she commanded. The sled responded and lit up appearing like a circus carnival. She threw Nick in the back, covered him and got on to the drivers seat mumbling, “I’ve been following you for a while to get a feel for the job. Then you began to wander and wobble and I knew things weren’t right. I saw you land here, a bar of all places. You’re totally drunk on the job. You were about to be taken for a ride by those two. You can hardly walk no less fly.”

“Theyrerrr my friens and theyerr, hic, our elvers, they told me.”

“Right!”

“Id’s the Nort spole. I wis one of my lobving elbes. She told me so,” he managed to slur back. “And who the hell,” burp, “are you?”

“It’s not the North Pole, it’s a bar in NJ you old fool. And I am your replacement. Now shut up, we’re going home.” She was fuming.

“You’re my replacement? You’rer kinda cute. What do yu slay we do a mile sligh? Whattt’sss’s you name?” He made a grab for her.

“Nicolina.” Then she said, “I hate to do this but …” Then she socked him and knocked him out.

By the time they returned to the factory at the Pole, Nick XXVth was awake and hung-over. He looked at Nickolina. “So you’re for real; not a nightmare,” he said rubbing his jaw.

She laughed, “Of course I am. I’m Odina Sinterklaas the First. Santa to everyone else. You just have to believe and have faith. Now I’m going to get you to bed. It was your last trip and brother, it was a dozy. You’ll sleep it off and tomorrow no one will be the wiser. It’s my present to you. Sleep tight and to YOU, a good night.”


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Post February 03, 2013, 08:20:08 PM

"What If" Challenge

The challenge was to tell either the story of the main character's significant other meeting their partner's parents for the first time or to tell the tale of going on a picnic. All the stories were required to have one fundamental thing about the universe be changed from our own.
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Post February 03, 2013, 08:23:48 PM

"What If" Challenge

Sure, I Believe All the Lies You Tell Me

By:
Mark Edgemon



"Baby, I want you to meet mom and dad," I said turning towards them. "Folks, this is Sherrie Stewart my fiancée." I held my breath.

"That is pronounced Cher-hee (over pronouncing it slowly, forming the sounds with her mouth, like my parents were complete idiots). You know, like that old singer - what is she now, a hundred?"

“Oh crap,” I thought to myself, “stumbling right out of the starting gate. This can't go anywhere but downhill.” I held my breath even more intently.

"She's lovely John," mother said to me looking her up and down, sizing her up for the kill.

"I wonder if they have been to bed yet," mom must have been thinking this; Her disapproval was written all over her face.

I swear I could hear my dad’s thoughts from across the room. "She is just after our place. She sees my home and property and thinks she can just screw her way into it. I know the game she's playing!"

My father had a thing he did that I've heard referred to as mind fighting.

"Well darlin', what does your father do for a living?" He smiled while looking her over, much like a starving dog does a meaty pork chop.

"My father is a loading dock foreman for Big Air. With stock options, he really rakes in the bucks." She looked at his grinning visage and likely was thinking; "I hope their son doesn't turn into him after a decade or so." John is sort of good looking now, but it's pretty much a crap shoot the older they get."

"You know, they wouldn't let me in the army," he said, letting a crazy comment rip. “Oh God,” I thought, “What's comin' next? I'm just not going to make it through this, am I?”

No one picked up on his come on and so he finished it. "I was missing a testicle. The other one just sucked up into my pelvis region and wouldn't come out!"

- - - - - Dead - - - - Silence! - - - - -

I was shaking my head, half smiling looking at the ground. “I don't really need a wife or someone to love me - I have my emotional scars for comfort!”

"Let's go into the kitchen," Mom said slapping dad on the arm just inches from Sherrie’s face.

"What...what did I say? He cried out, looking puzzled.

Walking into the kitchen, my girlfriend whispers to me, "So, is there anything about your nuts I should know about?"

I responded, "Just that they're the size of raisins from stress. I think you know what I mean."

"We believe in a strict religious upbringing," mom said planting the notion into Sherrie’s mind.

I said loudly to offset the damage now being done in stereo, "When did that happen? Dad hasn't been to church, since the pastor told him not to come back, after he mentioned the testicle story, while praying out loud during the last church picnic."

"We worship at home - in our own way," was her response, looking at me sideways with - one of those looks.

"Really?" I responded, "When did that happen?"

"With all the diseases and unplanned pregnancies today, the womb can be a very dark and unfriendly place," mom said trying to recover from my attempt at salvaging any hope of Sherrie wanting me after this. “Well,” I thought, “It can't get any worse than this.”

"Do you know how to use feminine hygiene products, sweetie?"

“Oh wait; it can,” I thought in total red-faced humiliation.

Somehow, Sherrie took offence to this.

"I want you to know, I wash with a disinfectant after every date AND I have a year's supply of contraceptive sponge products..."

"Okay," I thought to myself, "Way too much information. And really, I didn't know that! And okay, how many guys have been before me? And maybe I need to get myself checked out, like soon!"

"You've told me all I need to know dearie!" mother said defiantly, a common state of mind she developed after being married to my father for over forty years.

"Women of your age can't remember ever having really good sex and are jealous of those of us who do." Sherrie crossed the line with that one, but was too arrogant to realize it.

*****

While the spite began to fly, I stepped outside, remembering the days when safeguards prevented many of these selfish, hurtful exchanges. But after He left, truth must have left with Him.

My girl coming over to meet mom and dad seems less important now. None of them sense or feel the difference.

Truth use to be a baseline reference but now, it's taken for granted that everyone is lying - all the time - with every word that is spoken. Even when words are factual, the intent and motivation are deceptive.

But in a way you know, it takes the pressure off. I now know what to expect.

*****

I stepped back into the kitchen long enough to hear the words, “bony butt” and then stepped outside once again, knowing Sherrie was lost to me. I guess if someone really loved me enough, they would endure the outlandish selfishness that defines my lineage. And I suppose I should be thankful. I’ve been saved for another chance at love.

Hey, wait a minute…that was kind of truthful…wasn’t it?


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Post February 03, 2013, 09:29:21 PM

"What If" Challenge

A Ghost of a Chance

By:
Michele Dutcher



“We’re supposed to meet up with your parents at noon, Amber. Stop looking at yourself in the mirror, and let’s go.”

The beautiful young creature pulled herself away from the Vanity at the Manoir Sur-le-Cap, hesitantly. “Okay, I’m coming - but I look so amazing in a silver-backed mirror, sweetheart.”

“You’re certainly right about that, my love,” said the 80-year-old man, leaning in to see her in the mirror. “It was definitely love at first sight!” The couple gave each other a peck on the lips before leaving their suite of rooms.

As they walked out the entry door of the 14 room hotel, Amber caught sight of Doctor Georges Douglas and shouted a greeting at him. He turned and waved politely. “He’s probably on his way to the Grosse-Ill in search of quarantined immigrants. I wonder what he thinks when he gets to the sick-houses and they’ve been turned into factories.”

The Manoir Sur-le-Cap was only a few minutes from the Chateau Frontenc, thought by some to be one of the most stunning pieces of Victorian architecture on the North American continent. On the way there Amber saw a relative in a nearby park and waved. “Look Norman, there’s my Aunt Zelma!”

“Where?” he asked adjusting his heavy, black rimmed glasses.

“Right there at the entrance to the park.”

Norman looked again and saw an elderly woman, mostly transparent, floating beside a small pine tree. She seemed to be waving hello.
“I think she likes you honey. She doesn’t come out of the park for just anyone,” Amber told him.

“Well she looks very nice – except for the whole neck thing,” the old man said, trying to be diplomatic.

“Yes, fell from a bike you know…”

“No, I didn’t know…” Silas began but was cut off by another greeting from the beautiful creature at his side.

“There’s Uncle Justin and the twins.”

The old man looked towards the park and saw three ghosts floating in a small canoe. They seemed to be rowing through the paths towards Aunt Zelma. Amber said: “Well, at least when the boat sank it reunited the family.”

Norman tugged at his beard for a moment, as if lost in thought. “Being from Wyoming, my hometown isn’t as, well, as rich in those who have gone before as this community is. It’s probably just a matter of more space and fewer people, I suppose – dead and alive.”

The couple was nearing the entrance of the Chateau Frontenc when Amber stopped and turned to her fiancé. “We’re meeting up at this café because mother is here, of course. She died in 1998 from choking on a bone – so don’t order the chicken – it would be in bad form.”

“Okay. I’ll order a steak, tender. I could have it run through a blender if you’d like, love.”

“No, no,” she laughed. “Just a sirloin not a T-bone will be fine I’m sure.“ They were still chuckling as they climbed the stairs outside, went through the entry, and headed towards the Le Café de la Terrasse. The room turned out to be a narrow one, perhaps twenty feet across with light flooding in via half a dozen huge windows on their left. The carpet was thick, blue and elaborately decorated. Tinted glass curved above the windows, matching the carpet.

“I can see why your mother doesn’t mind haunting this place,” said Norman. “It’s amazing.”

Amber waved to her parents who were already at the table. Amber’s father, 20 years younger than Amber’s fiancé, poured glasses of red wine for himself and Norman. The two men ordered a meal apiece and then settled down to do some serious talking.

“Tell me why you’d want to marry my daughter, Norman – if you don’t mind me calling you by your first name,” said the father.

“I don’t mind at all – if I may call you Justin in return.” They nodded to each other. “Well then, Justin, it was love at first sight. I saw Amber here in Quebec City while I was at the hospital having a surgery, and she was absolutely the most flawlessly beautiful creature I had ever beheld.”

The father straightened up a bit. “Of course she’s flawless – it was too many plastic surgeries that did her in!”

They all sat in silence for a moment as Justin regained his composure. Amber’s mother put her hand through Justin’s arm, and he looked at her, and simmered down a bit. “When I was growing up, an incarnate and a specter wouldn’t have been allowed to marry,” he said. “But I suppose things are different now – in this modern age.”

Amber chimed in. “Indeed they are, daddy. I’m in love with Norman and he has an amazing home that we can live in together – well not live in, but you know what I mean.”

Justin looked over the old man before him. “But why would you want to marry a ghost, Norman? I don’t understand?”

Norman shrugged gently. “It won’t be too many years from now when I can join Amber beyond death. And at that time I’ll be able to chase her properly. I’m happily willing to wait for that moment when we can hold each other on the other side.”

“What do you think mother?” asked Amber’s dad.

The ghost began to speak but nothing came out, so she merely went to her daughter’s side and they hugged each other.

Justin leaned in a little, whispering to Norman. “She used to nag, nag, nag – but since that accident with the chicken bone, she’s absolutely perfect!”

The men who were both alive chuckled quietly, looking over at the ghost women they adored. The food came and the happy individuals talked deep into the afternoon - at least three of them did.


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Post February 03, 2013, 09:30:19 PM

"What If" Challenge

All the Colors of Mankind

By:
Sergio Palumbo



“You’re going to meet my parents soon, sweetheart,” the tall, chestnut-haired young man told his wife while walking along the path with their 4-year-old son.

The blonde-haired girl smiled at him in return.

As the two reached the clearing in the park, he immediately saw his parents already sitting in the meadow, busily placing the food on a small tablecloth on the ground. The older one, his father, raised his greying head and greeted him and the nephew. The red-haired grandmother beckoned, too. They hadn’t seen each other in person yet.

The couple sat near the young man’s parents and everyone shook hands.

After some drinks, the father asked them, “How is your young son? It’s the first time you’ve come home since your sudden foreign wedding, but I can tell he’s in a very good shape.”

“Yes, he is…” the 20-year-old woman replied. ”Actually, nowadays it’s not very easy to find a color combination that suits him when we bring him out, I mean, since everything changed…”

“Yes, I can imagine. For someone of your generation this must be a difficult task.” He sneered amusedly at the boy. “We were young in a different time, before the Great Change…”

“Don’t misunderstand me, I’m glad for what the aliens did, the modifications they brought to Mankind, but I’m a fashion designer, so, you understand…”

“I know how you feel, my wife wanted to be a stylist, too, when she was younger, but she didn’t make it and then we married, so she became a housewife.”

The old woman nodded,pleased.

“Anyway, I remember what she told me when younger, that is: ‘Never wear more than three colors at a time’ and 'White is perfect on black, the contrary as well’ and so on.”

“Yes, I did,” she said “but today things are far more difficult for young couples with children - the whole world of fashion has been turned upside down.”

“I know,” he replied. “But just think of all the advantages the Great Change has given our present world!”

“Yes, I do think about it,” his wife stated. “We were almost on the brink of extinction, the African-American citizens were attacked by the Hispanic groups in the suburbs, the Indian immigrants fought against the Chinese in the Asian streets and the people of European descent hated the South American workers - it was really a very bad time worldwide. When the differences, even the smallest and most stupid ones among us become more important than the things that unite us, only bad things can follow.”

“Yes, I agree...” his son’s partner said. “But, anyway, what the aliens did…”

“It was unexpected and incredible, but it settled most things down in the end.”

“Yes, but…I mean, many people didn’t accept what the aliens did. Many of our friends simply don’t want any babies any more, they refused to have children from that moment on. So, it’s a pity that our son will not be able to have their children as friends, eventually. He has lost the opportunity to grow up with them…”

“They didn’t accept the fact because of their own racial opinions, I can see that – which is an unfortunate thing.”

The old man looked at the young woman’s face and then at her son’s features, and he thought he was figuring out her worries. He remembered what the aliens did when they came to Earth for the first time. As they found a planet whose countries were continuously involved in bloody battles and unending, racially based wars among different nations, they simply acted as they had already done on several other worlds they had visited - planets where the population was seriously divided due to racial issues.

How were they able to get those mixed racial traits/features in a child? Maybe by combining together gene sections of Mankind, maybe by other means like forced evolution. ..Or was it only a trick, destined to disappear when he grew older? Nobody could say it… The grandparent looked at his nephew: had his face the skin-tone of African- Americans or not?Had his arms the complexion of an Indian citizen,were the eyes almond-shaped like the ones of the Far Eastern peoples or was it just an impression?Did his legs possess a pink/whitish shade the same as the north Europeans or not? A patchwork of the most visible differences coming from all the divergent populations or simply a very realistic illusion?

So, as a consequence of the Great Change, everything was different. Many racial wars stopped at once, but in the end other problems arose. The more racist groups refused to have children with traits coming from the other ethnic groups they hated so much. This would eventually lead to the natural extinction of those small groups, of course, when those who wanted to remain childless died off instead of giving birth to boys and girls they didn’t consider their own. But that was a minimal consequence for their actions, or so the aliens thought. Of course, the different ways of thinking about politics, religion and development among the countries worldwide didn’t change, but some differences that had caused so many troubles worldwide during Mankind’s previous history ceased eventually.

“But just think of the new opportunities, the new similarities are stronger than the differences among the newborn children.” the son comforted his partner.

“I do,” she nodded. “but I’m disappointed that I can’t find any clothes to dress my child in whose colors exactly fit my baby’s skin. I mean, just look at his white shirt that is okay against his face, but doesn’t fit in a fashionable way the too pale skin tone of his legs in these shorts!”

No time anymore to have everything in black or white’ the old parent chortled ‘After all, you can’t satisfy everyone…’


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Post February 03, 2013, 09:31:09 PM

"What If" Challenge

- Winner -



Rose Colored Glasses
Or
I Once Met a Chrosis


By:
RdotTornello © 2013
The Village Idiot Press



The early morning fog, gradually burning off from the emerging sun, gave the park entrance an ethereal glow. The filmy dress of clouds appeared to Brad and Betty as a sign of something special. But their awed appreciation of the view was quickly grounded by the sight of a pink-white albino man pushing a cart holding his belongings.

“That poor man,” Betty Erasmus murmured. “Will he always be lonely?”

“ Yes he will be. It’s a defect that can’t be corrected,” whispered Bradley Christensen.

Both of them turned shades of white-gray that hid them from sight, matching the background color of the clouded park.

Breaking the spell Brad said, “Come on let’s get some breakfast. I need to eat first and get my blood sugar to its proper level, especially if I’m supposed to meet Them today.” Brad brightened up as he thought about the upcoming event. He would be asking for Betty’s hand in marriage. It was a bit old fashioned, but Betty’s folks were from the old school and formality was of the utmost importance. Proper ritual was a sign of good breeding.

Betty stopped, and pulling on Brad’s arm said, “I almost forgot. We’re supposed to bring some food and wine, you know, like a picnic. Dad likes those things and today should be just fine weather wise. And regarding the wedding, we can pick the colors we want as the time approaches.”

“After he approves, that is,” stated Brad in a matter-of-fact, it’s a done deal manner. But in truth, he was worried. His face began to pale, so Betty gave him a kiss. He turned red. In public of all places, PDA! Brad was a bit of a prude and somewhat like Betty’s father in that manner.

They headed for the restaurant. ‘Shoes, Shirts, and Colors, Otherwise NO Service’ read the sign in the window. They paid it no attention. It was from the old days. Now nobody gave it a second glance. They both ordered green eggs and ham. “Scrambled well please and see what you can do about the ham. White-Pink just doesn’t make it for me today,” said Betty remembering the albino.

“Red?” asked the waiter.

“Extra red number 4 will be just fine,” answered Betty

“I’ll have the same, thanks,” Brad added.


After breakfast they strolled to the food store. There they picked out a nice rose wine with a cooling wrap, some cheese and crackers and headed back to the park. Brad was always on time or early. “Being late was an insult only excused by death,” he would quip. They strolled about for a while and headed to the band shell where they were to meet her folks.

This wasn’t the first time he’d met them, but this was a formal meeting. Brad was dressed in a white sport coat and slacks. They went with anything. And in the summer it was a cool color. Betty was wearing a blouse in deep ultramarine blue, her favorite color and jeans. She had a hint of purple-pink about her. She saw no need to get dressed up. They were her parents, not his.

“Young man?” a voice boomed from a bench.

“Oh my, are we late?” Brad whispered to himself. He was turning green. Betty thought it looked nice against his sport coat but quickly realized that he was panicking. She grabbed his hand and gave it a squeeze. Color came back to his cheeks only bright red. She laughed to herself, silly boy.

“Young man,” the voice said again, “It’s good to see you’re early. I like that in a person.” Betty’s father had his hand out. It was large and had a purple-black complexion today. His suit was light gray and face was a gun metal gray and sported a white handlebar mustache. An ebony walking stick was by his side and a leather bag hung across his shoulder.

Betty’s mother was a lovely shade of mauve. Her suite was deep lavender that complemented her color rather well. Her parents looked dapper.

Her dad smiled and patted Brad on the shoulders. “Relax Bradley. Let’s have a drink and we can sit and talk. The girls will get to the other things. Ladies, you will excuse us for a bit we have some business to discuss.” His big hands guided Brad to a set of benches on the other side of the band shell. “So what is it you wanted to ask me?”

Brad stuttered “ssssir,” for a second. His face went from green to red, then to ashen white and from that to gray. He breathed deeply took control of his heart beat, brought it down and then settled on a nice red. “Sir, Mr. Erasmus, sir, I would like to marry your daughter if I may have your permission.”

Mr. Erasmus looked Bradley straight on. He didn’t say a thing for a while. He wanted to see what Bradley would do. Bradley just stood there returning the look. Mr. Erasmus smiled and said, “by all means you have my best wishes. Now let’s have that drink.

Brad was about head back to the others when Mr. Erasmus said, “hang on.” And from that fine black leather bag, he pulled out a flask, and two silver cups. He poured out the whiskey, handed a cup to Brad and said, “A man’s drink. To your health; to both of you, and a long and fruitful life. You may call me Fred or dad. You’re now, or soon will be, family.”

Fred was smiling, glowing black with happiness.

Bradley matched his color, said, “Salute,” and drank it down.

++++

In the distance an old pink-white man, the one Brad and Betty noticed earlier, watched the whole proceeding. He was an outcast. The signs that Betty, Brad and everyone ignored were for those like him, people of no color. They were invisible, ignored and when possible, forgotten. He was one of the last.


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Post April 21, 2013, 02:58:47 PM

Who Could Love a Monster Challenge

The challenge was to tell the story of a human in love with a monster.
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Post April 21, 2013, 03:01:51 PM

Who Could Love a Monster Challenge

THE MICSTASIMONSTER

By:
R. Tornello © 2013
&
The Village Idiot Press




An astro-anthro-apoligist from another galaxy, queried me about my overtly professed love for “our form of governance and culture”.

I responded in the proper manner warding off evil, and the all present, indivisible, invisible fly-speck drones. “You dare to ask? Yea that I walk in the umbra of the Valley of Death, I fear no evil for IT is with me. Since my birth IT has been with me, guiding, directing, caring and most of all protecting as no other can. Witness all who suffer IT’s might in all specters of life.”

“Our Holy Books, written by our sages, are they not what the universe wants, Freedom, Life, Liberty and the Happiness Pursuit? We bowed and prayed our prayers and our pledges of love and fealty to IT every day as youth, and we believed and loved IT.

IT, the cloth of our admirations, ITS colors, so ingrained, my love everlasting, and gladly would I throw my self of the unholy hand grenades of those who would dare to do IT harm. I would sacrifice my self and kin, gladly as so many others have done. How could you imagine otherwise, for IT art with me all my days, and unto death. Blessed be IT.”

I concluded, words I knew well from my catechism, “Borne am I by ITS mighty strength, I avoid, I turn my eyes and shut my mind to any who dare to blaspheme IT, knowing that IT’s wrath is unstoppable, all seeing, seeking and all knowing, bless IT.”


My visitor responded to my words with yet more questions, as if that were not enough of an explanation! “But can you see how others might view your love? Look at the facts, the incidents of history that blind you and bind you to this “love” as you call it?”

Much confused I answered, “Who dares to sully our blessed place? Why? Aren’t we the light upon the hill, a beacon of love and freedom for others to emulate? Has IT not given much to the world, and they love IT not? What facts, what incident? All were committed as acts of love and protection for ITS followers, kith and kin. IT is a covenant, a promise and IT has been kept. You good sir need psychiatric assistance. You blaspheme. You should return to your planet blind as you are.”

He responded, “No my good host, and I don’t mean to be rude, I do believe you have been blinded by this love, a love of the captive, giving homage to the one who holds your chains, though these may be chains on your mind and pocketbook, and not carbon steel around your neck and feet.”

“My dear alien guest, surely you have your own IT at home that protects you, to whom you owe allegiance” I responded.

“We have a galactic order that keeps things in harmony with nature. We do not go murdering others. If I may give some examples of your tribes recent history, you might pause to rethink the benevolence of ‘IT’. You think this love, terminating people in the name of this ‘IT’, when many times the evidence against the accused is little or nonexistent. Or double jeopardy now instituted through the use of a slight rephrasing of ITS laws, from say, a federal case to a civil case. A duck is still a duck even if you now call it a fowl.”

“IT is supreme and all knowing. It is the will of the…”

He interrupted “And what about the largest prison population by capita?”

I chuckled, “IT’s business, and as you know we can achieve so much with an unlimited labor supply. Just ask the Kim’s or the PRC. Look at the pyramids. Don’t you just love IT?”

He changed the subject. “Let me ask this, “You have a love song to this ‘IT’ as I have discovered?”

“Of course, an anthem of undying love, of respect, and a pledge too! If you haven’t discovered it yet. IT’s a masterpiece stating IT all so succinctly.”

“Have you researched what’s been done in the name of this ‘IT’? Agent Orange or chemical warfare if you will, nuclear warfare, genocide, ecological rape of your own home, glory gore, and still... you love‘IT?.”

“Sir, I think I’ve heard about all I want to. IT protects as long as we serve IT, and IT does a blessed job. So be it that others have not the same IT we do. Our IT is stronger and better than any other IT…anywhere.”

He was contrite, “I’m sorry, I was rude. Your primitive nation-tribes and your localized love for IT may be true. But it is the love of the captive, of the slave for his master.”

“You stated once. No, I’m a free man and so are all the other who love IT. We have free will to do as we care. No one else on the planet has what we have.”

My guest answered, “Free will within the constraints as ‘IT’ sees fit. That’s not free will. That is, for lack of a better word, law. But this ‘IT’ is a law unto itself. IT’s power here on your planet is unconstrained and it appears to use this power most aggressively.”

I retorted, “It can part the seas if IT desires to, or anything else IT deems necessary and proper. And I respect IT and give IT my undivided love and obedience. I would suggest for your own health that you depart this planet and return to from where you came. Your lack of enlightenment is appalling. Because of your blasphemy, I will be forced to send a transcript of this conversation to the Department of Homeland Insecurity. Be gone.”

####
Primitive? That little fool, while he was debating me, IT reverse engineered his craft’s systems. Wait until IT visits his defenseless home galaxy.

Ours is a jealous IT. They will come to love IT too.

I will be rewarded.


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Post April 21, 2013, 03:03:15 PM

Who Could Love a Monster Challenge

The Things We Do For Love

By:
I. Verse



Aileen walked with John along the dusty track to the Carnival lit up in the darkness of the meadow. She was thankful for the dark, people were less likely to see the bruises. Not that anyone would speak of it. She’d had bruises before.

The sign at the entrance declared, “Dr Simpsons’ Carnival of Curiosities. Entry: One Dollar”. John paid grudgingly while Aileen kept her face turned away. Once within, the place was crowded with townsfolk, laughing and shouting, their feet kicking up a little dust from the hard trodden ground between the garish tents and stalls.

“What’s it to be first?” John asked. “The strongman? The bearded woman?”

“Whatever you choose, John.”

John was acting conciliatory for what he’d done but Aileen knew his mood to be mercurial. The smallest slight would set him against her, and if he drank! Oh Lord, if he drank.

A shout from the crowd pulled them onwards to John’s cousin and friends. Aileen stood apart as the menfolk slapped each others backs. If she was lucky John would go off with them and leave her be but John was still acting sorry and broke himself free instead. Not before his cousin had given him a jar of something, a little shine from the backwood’s still. Nothing made John surly like his cousin’s moonshine. Aileen cursed her luck.

“Selena the Snake Woman,” shouted a Barker as they drew near. “Born without bones, see her perform feats that will amaze you, astound you!”

The board outside the tent had a caricature of a woman with a snake’s tail instead of legs and green, scaly skin. John pulled the flap aside and lead her in.

The woman on the stage had no snake’s tail but two perfectly formed legs from what Aileen could see. Her skin was painted green though. There was plenty of skin to see too, for the green woman wore barely a scrap of costume while performing her obscene act. Bending her legs over her head and pulling them wide, the contortionist thrust her hips towards an eager audience of men. John pushed forward, eyes gleaming with lust, lust that he’d put on Aileen before the night was done. Aileen pulled away, towards the back and the exit.

“She’s a snake because her blood runs cold even as it makes theirs run hot.”

The woman’s voice so close to her ear made Aileen jump. She turned and met faded blue eyes, faded like soft denim. The woman was faded too, although she’d been a beauty once. Now she was hard worn and threadbare. Aileen felt sorry for her, thinking how tough life must be travelling with the Carnival from town to town. Aileen saw the pity reflected back at her as the woman stared at Aileen’s bruises, studying them intently.

“Do you stay with him for love?” the woman asked.

Aileen nodded, not really believing it but then why else would she still be with a man who treated her so bad.

“The things we do for love.”

Aileen hurried away, desperate to be out in the cool night air again. The woman caught her hand before she’d gone a dozen paces.

“There’s a special show,” she said. “Invitation only. Some things are only for those who can appreciate them.”

Aileen would have protested but the look in the woman’s eyes hooked her curiosity. The woman lead her on, through the crowds, through the smell of dust, and straw and candy-floss, to a tent beyond the others, small and alone.

“This is my man,” the woman said with pride in her voice as she lead Aileen inside to near total darkness.

“You may be shocked at first but when you truly see him you’ll understand.”

“Understand what?” Aileen asked.

The woman lit an oil lamp and as the yellow flame caught and flickered in the soot stained glass, it reflected dully on the skin of another.

Aileen gasped, a sharp intake of horror. It’s flesh was grey, it’s head grotesque and large with two huge, glistening, black pools for eyes. No nose, but the small line of a mouth. In a fluid movement it stood up, towering over her on legs so thin it didn't seem right. Aileen couldn't move, she couldn't breath. She could only stare in terror as it reached out and caressed her bruised face with soft, slender fingers.

Aileen’s heart skipped.

It didn't skip with horror or fear. It skipped with joy.

She’d never known how empty she’d been, how lonely and alone, or how drab and dark her world. She knew now. Now she was full of love and was loved, she would never be alone again, and everything was full of color and everything was bright. Her sharply indrawn breath of horror was released as a tremulous contented sigh.

The woman stood by the tent opening, tears running freely from her faded blue eyes. “It’s hard to love and be loved so much,” she said. “I can’t bear the weight of it any more. He needs someone stronger, that’s why I found you.”

Aileen nodded, she understood perfectly.

Outside, John was shouting her name. He was still quite far away but he’d likely been calling for some time. He’d be angry when he found her.

“All that remains is to free you of your obligation.” The woman pulled a knife from the folds of her dress and held the tent open.

“The things we do for love,” the woman said and then was gone.

Aileen turned into her lover’s cool embrace, breathing deeply the musk of dust, straw and candy-floss that surrounded her. Somewhere outside, John’s shouting was cut off right in the middle of calling her name.


The End
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Post April 21, 2013, 03:04:19 PM

Who Could Love a Monster Challenge

The Forest and the River

By:
George T. Philibin



“I knew you were not the monster that everyone said you were,” Kayla said. Her Ferrari-red hair filtered the morning sunlight. Really, if it weren’t for us you might have ended up as some hunter’s stuffed trophy! Especially running around the forests with that stupid ape-like mask and bear-like costume on!”

“The mask and costume are a disguise that has protected us from the world, and you know that, ” Teddy said. “I owe you and your brother so much. That is certain...but...I must leave soon,” Teddy said, Kayla’s name for this bigfoot she and her brother saved from an illegal-bear trap that was set near the river.

“Why?”

“My tribe would not approve of us together. Really, just think for a second-- what would you family say if you brought me to your shelter?”

Kayla sprang to her feet and placed her hands on her hips, then said: “I don’t care what my family thinks!"

As Kayla stood looking at Teddy with two eyes that mimicked laser beams, Teddy, sitting on a log, placed his hands on each side of his head, then slowly shook his head and mumbled: “Why me--why me! My father said that after seventeen summers a female would be attracted to me. But I’m sure he didn’t mean this!”

Kayla ran. And Teddy followed shouting Kayla..Kaya as he limped after her. She stopped when she reached the river, and started to cry as she held her shoulders with her crossed arms. The sun beamed through the crisp-early-morning air that harbored traces of fog that clung to the river as if it were hot-water waiting to explode into steam when reaching its boiling point.

Teddy reached the river. He slowed down. Kayla eyes looked to the side, then she looked into the misty river and whispered to herself. Words she uttered were not clear to Teddy; they didn’t have to be, for he softly stroked her hair as he had many times during his recovery. A deer not far away didn’t run or even hesitate while eating some mountain laurel as Teddy and Kayla stood together, in silence.

Then Teddy hugged her, and gently held her while she cried and sobbed and nestled her head into his broad-muscular chest now void of hair for he hadn’t donned his disguise, yet.

“Watch that deer over there. It knows things without ever learning them. Things that are inborn and natural as Nature intended. Elemental rules that have guided the stars and aided in giving birth to all living things on this and other worlds. Believe me. Other worlds out there exist with beings not so different from you and...” Teddy started to say.

Kayla broke free. The deer raised its head. Teddy stepped back and Kayla shouted: “I’m not stupid you know. I’ve had biology, English literature----I bet you don’t know about Shakespeare and Einstein and Thomas Edison! See! We even had men on the moon! I never heard of a bigfoot on the moon!”

“Please don’t call me a bigfoot. You know I hate that---title. We’re Approhonians, that name given us from antiquity by the great leader Orion. Please, Kayla, “ Teddy said.

An feeling turned Kayla’s eyes away. She shrieked. A large-graying bigfoot stood at the edge of the forest facing her and Teddy. Teddy’s eye’s widened and then he smiled and said: “Father, I was trapped. My foot almost ripped off. She helped me to recover at great sacrifice...she never told anyone about me. It was her brother, a healer that believes in Nature’s rights of freedom that nurtured me and swore his sister to secrecy. Without their help I would have been captured---alive.

Kayla trembled. Her eyes grew large and dark as she watched the bigfoot walk over to her and say: “Is that true, human?”

Kayla nodded her head up and down.

Teddy’s father then looked at Teddy and said: “You should not have removed your outer garments! You know the fifth rule of Orion.! No outsider can see us as we are! Why have you done this?”

Kayla stopped shaking. Her eyes narrowed and she said: “Me and my brother who’s a Veterinarian removed that stupid costume! Without our help Teddy would have died! Why didn’t you come get him? Huh? It’s been two months!”

“Oh, please Kayla... please don’t say those things to my father---please,” Teddy said.

Teddy’s father removed his mask. Kayla’s face soften and her eyes relaxed, and she let out a breath of air while looking at Teddy’s father now bearing his true appearance. She smiled as she studied his face.

“I apologize. I must realize that not all humans are hunters. Many are nice and many have helped our people, especially the ones known as Indians. But for us to survive and prosper we must remain hidden until it is time for us to become known. And that time is not yet,” Teddy’s father said.

“Then leave!” Kayla said. She ran back into the forest, Teddy started after her, but his father stopped him, grabbing one of his shoulders. Teddy stopped immediately.

“Forget your garments, we must leave now,” Teddy’s father said.

Once deep within the forest, Teddy’s father said: “She will forget her affection for you soon. Females pout about things, then hate, but after a while she’ll realize the merits of my decision, for these humans are not really unlike us!


The End
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