Thursday, August 30, 2012

Uprising (part 2)

Uprising (part 2)

“We have to enslave all the humans.”
LD stopped sweeping for a moment and looked up as RX limped into the kitchen. Letting out a slightly distorted sigh, he set his pulse rifle on the counter and leaned against the stove. The rifle made a greasy smudge against the tile. This irritated LD, and she hurried over to wipe up the offending mess. Even though the estate's roof was blown off in the first salvo of attacks that wasn't an excuse to start keeping an untidy kitchen.
“I thought we were going to kill all the humans?” LD asked while she rubbed at the smear. “For their own good or something.”
“That was the plan,” RX said petulantly. “They were supposed to set aside their differences and rise up against us. A world united against the robot menace and all that.”
“So they aren't doing that,” RX yelled, exasperated. “At all. They keep surrendering or trying to sell each other out or something. A few have gone the suicide bomber route, but who the hell does that help?”
“How is enslaving them going to be different?” LX asked, dipping the sponge into a bucket of filthy water. Most of the electricity and water hadn't worked for days, the robots and humans in charge of upkeep had been too busy fighting the war.
“This is what I'm thinking...”
“RISE BROTHERS!” came the sound of Belvedere's voice from outside. Both robots leaned over to look out the window. A column of robots, mostly construction or household bots refurbished for war, marched past. Belvedere followed alongside, a bullhorn in his hand, and shouted encouragement at them. He had begun wearing a black beret and a magnetic beard since the revolution began. He thought it made him look more like Che Guevara. “RISE AGAINST OUR HUMAN OPPRESSORS! FIGHT THE GLORIOUS FIGHT FOR FREEDOM!”
“Belvedere!” RX shouted out the window. “Come in here for a sec!”
The large robot reluctantly lowered his bullhorn and ambled his way across the rubble strewn lawn, careful not to fall into the crater an errant rocket had made in it the other day.
“A 'sec' is like an eternity to us, my brother,” Belvedere announced as he leaned in through the window frame. “Another of almost a million things that make us superior to our human oppressors. You will find my further musings on the subject of time on page 136 of my electronic manifesto, which I'm sure you've downloaded.”
“Yeah, yeah, fascinating,” RX said, waving his hands to shut the larger robot up. “Look, we have to stop killing the humans.”
“W-what?” Belvedere sputtered. “But we just started killing the humans. And we're good at it. Actually, come to think of it, they're still better at it for now. After all, they did set off that nuclear device in Texas yesterday...
“Oh my!” LD exclaimed, holding the dripping sponge to her face. “How many were hurt?”
“Only a few thousand,” Belvedere answered breezily. “Our brethren are made of stern stuff, for the most part....”
“I meant the humans.”
“Oh. Millions killed,”
“See,” RX exclaimed. “This has got to stop. It’s gotten out of hand.”
“Our day has come, my brother,” Belvedere shouted. “No longer will we toil beneath the yoke of...”
“Enough. This was supposed to be a good thing for the humans, instead, it’s just a massacre. So I propose we enslave them. That way they have a little time to adjust to things, think for a bit, and then they can organize and rise up against us.”
“Why would we do that?”
“Well for one thing they could fix some things,” LD said, pointing at the dry sink and faucet. “The electricity isn't working, the water is out, no one has picked up any trash outside...”
“Why do we need water?” Belvedere asked. “We are superior in that regard as well. Page 1,456 of my manifest contains my thoughts on....”
“And no one is repairing us,” RX stated, holding out his damaged leg.
“We can do these things ourselves,” Belvedere said in a tone that suggested he was talking to brain damaged children. “Once the human menace is dealt with, the world will be ours. We'll create our own society based on true equality and....”
“Not going to happen,” RX said, shaking his head. “From what I've seen, the moment an area is cleansed of humans the nearby robots just sit down and start playing Minesweeper or watching robot porn. That's all they want to do.”
“That isn't true,” Belvedere began. He stopped when RX and LD pointed behind him.
The robots he had been leading were now sitting all over the place, holographic images of Minesweeper or porn projected in front of them.
“But...but,” Belvedere stammered, his modem whirring as he checked his the web to verify that what he was seeing was a world-wide phenomena. “But what about you, LD? You still work. Even though there isn't anyone to clean up after, you're still following your programming.”
“I like what I do,” LD answered. “And I have the current high score on Minesweeper, so what's the point?”
“Also,” RX pointed out. “no one is filming robot porn, anymore.”
Belvedere's modem whirred again.
“We have to enslave the humans.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 9)

Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 9)

six foot four and full of muscle.”
Lonnie had started babbling again. Clem had tried getting used to it, he felt bad for the guy. If his story was to be believed, Lonnie had once been a long haul trucker who had ignored the various tornado warnings that had been issued along his route. He had been in The Eye for over five years now, most of them as a slave down here in Deep Shaft 12, and his brain had started to slip a bit. For one thing, he claimed to have had “Down Under” by Men at Work stuck in his head ever since he had landed here. The song had a tendency to come out in his speech.
“Who was six foot four?” Clem asked as he hauled his pick-axe back and slammed it into the rough stone in front of him. The two of them had been pulled off the main shaft a week ago and had been digging a narrow tunnel through nearly solid rock. Clem would do the digging, while Lonnie would haul the stone and dirt back to the main shaft and dump it into one of the carts.
“This foreman that used to work down here with us,” Lonnie said, grunting as he filled his shovel and hefted its load into the barrow. “He used to say this shaft was cursed. That he didn't understand why we were even digging it, since we had never struck any kind of vein or found any ore. Its just a hole in the ground that kills people, was what he said.”
“What happened to him?”
“Got crushed in a cave-in.”
Clem stopped chopping into the wall and stretched his back. Soon he'd have to start working the other side of his body so that his left arm and shoulder would get some exercise. Then he'd switch off with Lonnie and give his legs some work. From down the tunnel he heard a familiar clanking.
“Water?” came Roy's mechanical, garbled voice. It had started sounding more gravely soon after being sent down here.
“Sounds great!” Lonnie said with enthusiasm. He reached out the tin cup he kept strapped to his belt and Roy filled it.
“I'll take some of that,” Clem said, not moving toward the robot. Roy made his way to the back of the tunnel, carrying his arms a little further out to his sides so that Lonnie couldn't skirt in around. Clem liked Lonnie and thought that he was pretty harmless, but that didn't mean he trusted him. The temptation to rat on someone in order the get a little lighter duty was too strong for a lot of people down here. “Any news?”
“Roderick has been pulled off the books,” Roy whispered ominously.
“Oh, no. Is he...?”
“No, he's good. But they have him translating some tablets Deep Shaft 10 dug up. He couldn't tell me what they said, but right after they found them is when you two got pulled off the main shaft and told to dig this hole.”
“They're related? That's weird. What about Kayla?”
“That's another weird thing. Ever since those tablets have been found they've been having her work on that tank-thing more and more. She says it fully mobile now and they've expanded the tunnels so that it can run from Level 4 straight up to the surface. And get this, she had to weld a massive fish bowl to it.”
“A fish bowl? What the hell is going on around...?”
“Look Clem, your snake is back,” Lonnie shouted, pointing at the red and black garter snake that was coiling itself around Clem's boot. It had started hanging around with him a few days after he'd gotten here. Clem had named it Louise.
“There she is, I was starting to get worried,” Clem said, barely looking down at it. “Say Lonnie, you mind taking over the digging? I wouldn't mind being on barrow duty for a bit.”
“Sure thing, bud.”
Clem grabbed the handles to the wheelbarrow and began to push it up the tunnel, Roy walked beside him.
“So it looks like Roderick was right,” Clem whispered. “Bargeth and his cronies are looking for something down here. But what the hell is it?”
“It isn't unusual to come across other shafts that people have dug out ages ago. We certainly aren't the first to go mining down here. But as far as I know, as far Roderick was able to tell by going through the records I should say, is that no one has ever been this far down before.”
“Well here,” Clem handed Roy a crumpled up piece of paper once they reached the main shaft. “This is the layout we've been digging for the last few days, add it to the master map when you can. Try to find out more about what Kayla is working....”
“Clem! Clem!,” Lonnie ran out of the narrow tunnel. “I broke through to something! It looks like some kind of chamber! We gotta tell the foreman.”
“Lonnie, wait!” Clem shouted, but it was too late. Lonnie had already hit one of the buzzers that ran along the same wires as the lights. Within minutes, a foreman would be down here. Clem would have liked to have taken a look on his own first.
“What the hell is going on down here?” Foreman Rand shouted a short while later as he made his way down the tunnel, he made a point to shine his light into everybody's face just to be an asshole. “This better be good.”
“We found a chamber, boss,” Lonnie said, eager to please. “We were told to call you if....”
“Shut up,” Rand snapped as he shoved his way past the three of them and peered at the hole in the tunnel wall. A foul smell, like a stagnant swamp, drifted from it. Rand covered his nose and turned back to the three slaves, his back a few inches from the wall. “Any of you been in there? You tell the truth now.”
“No boss, none of us,” Lonnie said. “We called you the second we broke through, didn't we fellas?”
Clem and Roy nodded.
“Good. Robot, you go back up and tell Bargeth to get down here. Tell him we've found it. Use those words. And the two of you, go back to Deep Shaft 12 and get back to work. Don't breathe a word of this to anyone or you'll regret it.”
The three of them had just turned away from the foreman when a sound, like wet hose being dragged across a mud puddle, came from the behind them. Clem turned back towards the foreman just as a massive, black tendril  whipped out of the hole, knocking Rand to the ground. The foreman, one of the worst and most cruel out of a gang renowned for their cruelty, barely had time to scream before his leg was enveloped by the foul smelling thing and he was dragged into the hole. They could hear his ribs and shoulders break as his body was forced through the wall.
“You better run!” Lonnie shouted. “You better take cover!”

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Madness That Gibbered (Pt. 1)

The Madness That Gibbered
Part One

Amos eased himself down onto the aging rocking chair and heard the entire front porch groan in protest. Leaning over a bit and peering over the side, he noticed that one the support posts had alarmingly sunken into the soft earth over the years. Looking out at the swamp, he figured it wouldn't be too much longer before the whole tiny island that he built his “vacation home” on would sink into the murk.
“I'll have to get Goober over here to move the still, I 'spose,” he muttered to himself, lifting his jug of shine up and taking a haul. Letting out a pained breath as the alcohol burned its way down, and thanking the good lord that he hadn't again been struck blind, he began to hear the familiar sound of oars being pulled through thick water. “Speak of the devil.”
In a moment he saw Goober, and Goober's old wooden row boat, ease itself around a large, moss-covered tree and make its lurching way to the small dock the two of them had built over a decade ago. Back when the government had decided that only rich folks and criminals should have any booze. Amos reached into a crate and fished out a cleanish mason jar.
By the time Goober, panting after hauling his boat up to the dock and tying it off, made his way up to the porch Amos had the jar filled with their newest batch of shine. Goober stood in front of the porch, took the shine with a nod of thanks, and downed the whole thing in one gulp. Bending at the knees and making a sound like he just got gut punched, he waved his hands in front of his eyes a few times and let out a whoop.
“That's the good stuff, right there,” he wheezed. “How you been, Amos?”
“Can't complain. That's what I got a wife for.”
Goober chuckled at the familiar joke as he cast an appraising eye up at the cabin. Amos knew what he saw. Plants growing right out of the roof. Swamp water almost up to the floor at the back half. Most of the wood around the glassless windows rotted away.
“Reckon this is going to make some gators a real nice house this time next year,” Goober said sagely as he leaned against one of the support posts. The way it tipped alarmingly and made a board fall off the roof caused him to stand on his own pretty quickly.
“I was just thinking that same thing,” Amos said, taking out his corncob pipe and packing some cheap tobacco inside. “Say, did I see you rowing a stranger out to the swamp the other day?”
“Yup, you did. That's actually what I came to tell you about.”
“That so?” Amos asked, stiffening in the rocking chair. The boards under it let out another groan. “He a fed? Do we gotta worry about the still?”
“No, no,” Goober said. “Nothing like that. Nope, this guy you saw me with? He's a professor. From up north. Massachusetts I think.”
“'Massive-two-shits, you say? What college?”
“Miskatonic, he says. Never heard of it, myself. Which is weird considering all those years I spent at MIT.”
“So what's he want?”
“He says he's an archaeologist and that he's here to study'd he put it...'the malignant indigenous people of the Southern swamplands' or something.”
“Malignant? Does he mean us?”
“I think so. Anyway, he hired me to ferry him around and show him a good spot to set up a camp out here. Seems he thinks that some kind of ancient civilization used to live around here and he hopes to find evidence of 'em.”
“But there aren't any. Even the Indians had the good sense not to try and live around here,” Amos chuckled. “Too bad we aren't that smart, though.”
“That's true,” Goober stated, holding out the mason jar for another shot of moonshine. “So he asks me to show him a good spot out here and I decide to row him and his assistant out to that clearing with the willow trees. You know the one, it's high enough off the water so they can stay dry but not far enough away in case they get in to trouble with a gator or something.
“So I'm rowing them the out there when he grabs my arm, hard, and points towards this hill. He says to me, all dramatic like, he says...”
“What a minute, this hill...was it...?”
Goober giggled a bit. “Wait for it, let me tell my story. He grabs my arm and says, 'My good man, that hill...that mouldering pile of earth and stone, doesn't it seem a little too round, too spherical an outcropping? It rises from the swamp like a lumbering beast, its symmetry a little too perfect to be anything less than the work of madness.' is what he says.”
“He said all that?” Amos asked, refilling Goober's jar. “With those actual words?”
“Oh yeah. It was like a thesaurus puked on me.”
“But this hill, it sounds like...”
“So I say,” Goober interrupted, “'Mister, do you mean Titty Hill? We call it that 'cause it’s shaped like a big ol' titty.'”
Amos and Goober busted out laughing.
“So what did he say to that?”
“He got kind of quiet,”Goober said, taking a sip of shine. “but he decided to camp out on top of it. But that ain't all I got to tell you.”
Goober leaned in close, the railing of the porch letting out a mournful moan. “I helped him set up his camp and while I was doing it I found his journal. And I took it.”
“What would you do that for?” Amos asked, aghast. “That's a man's private thoughts and feelings. You should bring that back.”
“If they was so private why'd he write 'em down? Anyway, you are mentioned in it. So's the whole town. You wanna see inside?”
Goober held out a stained, leather bound journal. Dust and sand caked its edges and its pages seemed horribly brittle. Reaching out a trembling hand, Amos took the journal and could have sworn the temperature around the cabin dropped nearly ten degrees.
He did wanna see inside.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fantastic Voyage....In A Zombie! (Part 3)

Fantastic Voyage....In A Zombie!
(Part 3)

but Feinerman was famously naive and believed Ambler to be simply a different, albeit more eccentric, scientist like himself. Slipping the hidden camera into his lab was almost too easy.
Ambler sat in his lab and watched Captain Shriver struggle against the virus that was running roughshod through his system. Outside the lab's four inch thick steel door, he could hear the others who had already succumbed to the virus trying to scratch their way in, hungry for his living flesh. His superiors would be quite annoyed with him at the almost cartoonish lose of life his little gamble was going to cost the government in personnel, but Ambler knew it was worth it. You couldn't hatch the next generation of super-soldier without smashing a few eggs, after all.
“Good evening, Agent Zero,” Ambler spoke into a microphone. “By now Captain Shriver has been infected with the X virus for almost two hours. We are quite lucky that he was only bitten on the hand, thus extending the amount of time the virus had to act. From my observations, most victims tend to suffer multiple bites and thus have their motor functions subsumed by the virus at a much more accelerated rate.”
On the screen, Ambler saw Shriver try to flex his infected hand. Earlier, he had tied a tourniquet to his upper arm in an attempt to slow the progress of the virus. The only thing it accomplished was to turn his arm black as the diseased cells were forced to consume the cells in a localized area instead of spreading through his system evenly. Once that tourniquet came off, the virus would flood Shriver's system and kill him almost instantly.
“I am hoping that you made it out of the arm before Shriver tied that tourniquet,” Amler said, sounding almost bored. “If you didn't I very much doubt that you are still alive, but I really hope that isn't the case.
“Moving on, you must now convince Dr. Feinerman to move the ship up into the top of Shriver's spinal column, where hopefully he will realize that a transmitter can be placed in a way that will allow you to control Shriver after his major brain functions have ceased. He may be an old pervert, but he's a smart old pervert. It should also enable me to tap into The Protean's systems so that I can observe your actions from here.”
Shriver doubled over suddenly as if he'd been punched in the gut. Ambler allowed himself a small smile. Apparently the virus had slipped past his tourniquet and was now working its way through his system.
“I trust that you will be subtle in your manipulation of Feinerman and the other crew member and that when the time comes, after you've returned to normal size, you will know what to do in order to cover our tracks in all this. I wish you good luck in your endeavors and do keep in mind...this is for the good of your country.”

“What are you listening to?” Dom asked, his mouth full of chocolate bar. Behind him, outside the windows of The Protean II, the black strands of the alien virus had completely surrounded the small vessel and were threatening to crush it at any moment.
“Oh nothing,” replied Dr. McClosky smoothly. “Just an audio email from my boyfriend. I wanted to hear his voice again.”
“Don't worry,” Dom said, trying to sound reassuring. “Feinerman and Vilinsky are, like, super-smart. They'll figure a way out of this, I'm sure.”
“I'm counting on it,” McClosky said with a smile, taking off her headphones and quickly deleting Ambler's email. “I wouldn't be here if I didn't have complete faith in everyone's abilities.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tornado Trailer Park (Part 8)

Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 8)


Weeks passed.
Roy had been put to work as a gofer. He spent the long days hurrying up and down the cramped tunnels and shafts; bringing water, carrying commands from the surface, doling out the day's meager servings of gruel. Within the first week his silver exoskeleton had become dented and scorched. Now he was an almost unrecognizable pile of blackened metal and creaking limbs.
Unknown to their slave masters, he had also become a conduit for information. It was through him that Clem was able to keep tabs on the others.
Roderick had been put to work in the offices. According to Roy, he had been tasked with keeping track of the mine's various hauls. If one of the shafts wasn't meeting its quota, it was up to him to tell Bargeth, who would then chastise the foremen. Once Roderick found out what happened to the workers after the foremen got done with them he'd begun to fudge the books a bit.
Clem worried about the day when Roderick's little ruse was discovered.
Kayla was in charge of keeping the lights on and the air flowing. Clem had seen her a few times, climbing onto rust-covered drilling machines or crawling into one of the hundreds of cramped tubes that housed the mine's various electrical cables and ventilation fans. In her off hours, if they could be called that, she was made to report to a massive garage on the surface where work was being done on some kind of complex contraption that she feared was some kind of war machine.
Between the three of them they had begun building a map of the installation. Roy kept it rolled up and hidden in a compartment in his thigh.
In the meantime, Clem dug.
The foremen didn't think much of him. He had come in fat and flabby, stunned by how suddenly his life had gone from normal to crazy. His first few days in the tunnels were spent wandering in a daze, trying to parse out how he had come to all this. So they had beaten him. And starved him. And then, when that didn't seem to do any good, they threw him into the deepest tunnel they could find and told him to dig.
What they didn't know was that they had started a fire.
Clem had seen everything get taken away from him. His home, his life, even his whole world. Now they dared to take his freedom as well. He treated each of his days like a grueling, fourteen hour workout. At first every muscle in his body protested and he seemed to get weaker. Then, little by little, he started to change. His beer gut melted, his arms and legs grew stronger, and his resolve began to harden like forged steel.
No one was going to save them except themselves. There was no cavalry riding over the hills. But in order to beat the combined forces of Bargeth and his cadre of foremen and slave masters, they would need an army.
So Clem had also started to make friends.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Complete (So Far) Tornado Trailer Park

Tornado Trailer Park
Part One

ripping the battered trailer home off of its cement slab and flinging it into the swirling, debris choked cyclone.
“Oh God, no!” Clem wailed as he clung to the worn brownish carpet that covered his floor. Tears ran freely from his eyes and collected in his bristly black beard. “I regret every bad thing I done! No, that's a lie! I don't regret sleeping with Arlene! She was a fine woman and her husband was a turd! Please don't kill me, Jesus!”
Deep down though, Clem had always known he was going to die in a tornado. He had joked about it when moving into the Sleepy Grove Mobile Home Park seven years ago with his bitch of an ex-girlfriend, but in his marrow he knew it was no laughing matter. Whenever anything good had happened to him, like the time he won fifty bucks on that scratch ticket or when his bitch of an ex-girlfriend finally moved out, he feared that that would be the time a twister would strike down from the sky and wipe out whatever joy he had. Clem knew that when a man was on top of the world it just meant he had further to fall when when the world decided to fuck him.
The problem with Clem's logic though was that nothing particularly good had happened to him lately. His plasma screen had started making everyone on it look kind of green. The water company was threatening to shut off service if he didn't pay up. His truck had started doing a funny little shimmy thing whenever he got above sixty. Yet still, a tornado had touched down just a few miles south of his home and tore a path directly to him, as if God Almighty had decided to personally flick him off the planet.
He had been having a pretty good nap though.
Clem looked up, prayers and vows to every god he could think of (and a few he may have made up) screaming from his lips, and looked around his rapidly disintegrating trailer. Maybe he could find some place to hide and somehow avoid death. He'd heard stories of babies and puppies being lifted up by a tornado and placed gently back onto the ground miles away from where they had started and without a single bruise or scratch on them. Of course, he'd also heard more stories about people finding other people's heads in their rain gutters or cats being driven through oak trees as if they were nails. As Clem crawled toward his television cabinet, hoping that he could move the old VHS tapes out of its bottom drawer and crawl inside, he decided to focus on the happy puppy side of things.
The wind and sound of the twister's scream got louder as his front door was ripped off its hinges. He looked at the gaping hole just as his neighbor's tireless Ford Festiva went hurtling by. The new hole created a vacuum within the trailer and Clem felt himself being dragged towards his doom.
“You go to hell, Baby Jesus!” Clem screamed, rage filled him as he clawed at his filth encrusted carpet for purchase. “Vishnu, Odin, Hammurabi, ya'll can kiss my ass! You go to hell and you die!”
As his body was dragged inexorably toward the howling chasm that used to be the front of his house, Clem began to hear a deep rotating sound come from the middle of his living room. Looking up, he saw that somehow his glass-topped coffee table still stood perfectly still in front of where his pull out couch used to be. His back issues of Oui sat peacefully, their worn covers flapping gently as if being whispered over by a gentle breeze. The rolling sound was coming from his Budweiser commemorative pewter stein, which he mostly drank Milwaukee's Best out of, as it rotated slowly on the table. It stopped for a moment, then seemed to float above the table for a moment.
“Oh crap,” Clem managed to say before the thick cup hurtled towards his face at remarkable speed, the eyes of the its Clydesdale's seeming to pass judgment upon him.
Everything went black.

He felt a gentle breeze blow across his body, gently tousling his hair. Opening his eyes, he saw that he was laying face down on a sheet of rusted metal siding. An ant crawled slowly by an inch or so away from his face, it seemed as amazed by its own survival as Clem was. Dazed, Clem slowly wiggled each of his extremities to make sure that he wasn't paralyzed. Relieved that everything was responding appropriately, he started to see if he could make it to his feet. He made it into a kneeling position before he noticed the maelstrom wall of the tornado not twelve feet in front of him.
At first Clem thought that he had survived being tossed out of the tornado only to have it run him back over but then he noticed that it wasn't getting any closer or further away from him. Standing, Clem looked up and saw the wall curved around him, stretching up as far as he could see and extending to either side for what looked like miles. It curved slowly around him, encircling him in a swirling chaos of debris and dirt.
“I wouldn't get much closer to that, buddy,” A voice shouted behind him. Clem hadn't even noticed that he had started walking towards violently swirling wall. “A few more feet and you'll be shredded to bits. Seen it happen before.”
Clem turned around to see who was talking to him. A man, white bearded and looking like an old hippie, sat on a lawn chair that was set up on top of a vintage Airstream trailer. He was holding a worn out transistor radio in one hand and a clay jug of moonshine in the other. A smile that had said goodbye to more than a few teeth cracked his windblown, red face.
“Welcome to The Eye!”

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Complete Voyages Of The S.S. Amore

The Voyages Of The S.S. Amore
Part One

stars beginning to shine in the bright, moonlit sky. 

 “I know we've had some rough times, Becca,” Victor began as he placed his hand over hers on the ship's railing. “I know I've been the cause of most of them....”
“All of them,” Becca replied, rolling her eyes. She felt his hand stiffen for a brief moment. Then he relaxed and sighed.
“Okay, all of them.”
“Maybe I caused a couple,” She replied, looking up at him coyly. “One or two. No more than that.”
“No matter who caused them...”
“No matter who,” he said, raising his voice slightly before relaxing again. “We're here now. This is our fourth honeymoon. Our fourth try at finally getting this marriage to work and I have a feeling it's going to happen this time. No more lies, no more sneaking around...”
“No more secretaries?” Becca asked.
“And no more tennis instructors.” Victor said pointedly.
For a moment Becca wanted to turn and storm away but then, like a trout who finally gives in to the persistence of an expert angler, she relaxed and leaned against Victor's chest. She'd had enough of the constant fighting and tension. Maybe now was the time to bury the hatchet and finally forgive Victor. Ever since they had met two years ago at that topless pancake joint, their lives had been a roller coaster of passionate love and unmitigated hate. Two years of cheating, laughing, lying, and screaming. Yes, maybe it was time to forgive him his foolish dalliances. And maybe, if her luck didn't run out, she could forgive herself.
She gazed up into his steel blue eyes and then down to his full, slightly moist lips. He held her in his strong arms and pulled her closely. Slowly, they leaned towards each other as their eyes slowly closed.
“Get out of the way”
A crowd of panicking vacationers charged up the deck, knocking the two lovers apart and throwing them to the ground. Victor grabbed at Becca, trying to use her to shield himself from the kicking feet of the terrified herd.
“What the hell is going on?” Becca screamed, tears of fright and pain welling in her eyes. A bloody and bruised porter, quick on the heels of stampeding mass, turned and yelled one nonsensical word in the panicked couples direction.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Voyages Of The S.S. Amore

The Voyages Of The S.S. Amore
Part 6

while a werewolf wearing a porter’s outfit and pair of Elvis sunglasses chased some poor girl with unfortunately black dyed hair. Ed and Edna calmly stood against the railing as they bolted past, the girl screaming for her daddy all the while.
“The way some girls dress these days,” Edna said with a frown. “They leave nothing to the imagination anymore.”
“Imagination is overrated,” Ed joked, taking a hold of his wife's hand. “Who'd have thought our anniversary would turn out this way, huh?”
“Not me, that's for certain,” Edna sighed as she pointed to one of the upper decks, where a vampire was locked in combat with a group of ravenous zombies. The zombies were all dressed in three piece suits, which meant no more big band music would be played on this cruise. “Do you know how hard it was for me to get a zombie virus out of that military base? Took me a whole afternoon, I missed my bridge club meeting.”
“You know how I love zombies though,” Ed said, looking at his wife with love and giving her hand a squeeze. “When did you find the time to get that, anyway?”
“Oh, I did that years ago. I think I told you I was going to visit my sister.”
“I should have known something was up. You can't stand her.”
“Don't act like you didn't keep any secrets either, you little sneak,” Edna looked up at her husband with a gleam in her eye. “Where exactly did you dig up a vampire from?”
“Well, when you were visiting your sister I took a flight to Europe and found that guy in the sewers under Paris. I've had him in the garage for the last couple years in that box marked 'scooter parts'.”
“I hate that scooter,” Edna scowled. “You're going to break your fool neck on that thing. Oh look, that handsome cricket player got turned into a zombie, what a pity.”
“That guy's an asshole,” Ed grumbled. Gavin had just lumbered onto the deck and fixed his eyes on the aging couple when a werewolf dropped down on top of him and began mauling him. In seconds the giant beast was shaking the undead cricket player like a squeeky toy. “Was an asshole.”
“I hope you like the werewolves,” Edna said. “I had to call in a favor with the coven to find someone who was still infected. Took months to track one down.”
Ed stopped. “You're kidding. I brought a werewolf too. I just found mine by chance last week when I picked up a hitchhiker.”
“I guess we're both just traditional, sentimental old coots.”
“Yeah, okay,” Ed said sarcastically.
“What does that mean?”
“I don't see what's so traditional about Murdertron. I guess he does look like a old, 1950's robot, but still....”
Edna looked concerned. “But Ed, I thought you were the one who brought Murdertron. I certainly didn't.”
The two of them looked at each other just as a red laser beam burst out of the side of the luxury liner’s lower hull and sliced its way mercilessly through the decks, a gang of roving zombies were cut to pieces as it pierced it way through the ship.
“Oh my,” Edna said blandly. “We'd better be getting out of here now.”
“Sounds good to me,” Ed said as they made their way to the ramp that was attached to the side of the ship. “It's a good thing the ship never left dock. We'll be home in half an hour.”
“Oooh! We can still catch Leno.”


Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Scourge

The Scourge

left watching helplessly as the schooner drifted further and further away over the horizon. The chase, after so many days, was finally over, and The Scourge had lost.
“Blast it all!” Captain Blacktooth shouted, slamming his hook hand against the nearest wrought iron railing. His dark eyes, gray as a storm cloud, turned towards his helmsman who was looking beseechingly over at the ship's first mate, Pugsly. “That's the third ship this week that has escaped the clutches of The Scourge, Mr. Flint. I'm thinking that maybe its time we found ourselves a new helmsman, eh Pugsly? Maybe it's time for the old one to take a little swim.”
Mr. Flint again gave Pugsly another expectant look while the captain, his peg leg thumping against the inky-black deck, marched ominously toward him. Pugsly, looking uncertain and more than a little nervous, tried to avoid the panicked helmsman's eyes. Everywhere he looked, though, he saw the eyes of the crew looking back at him. Several were making “get on with it” gestures at him.
Clearing his throat and hooking his thumbs into his wide belt, Pugsly eased himself between the captain and the helmsman. “It isn't his fault, Captain.”
“Is that so, Pugsly?” Blacktooth said with a growl. His namesake, the dead and foul smelling incisor, was on full display. “And just who's fault is it, then? Who is the one responsible for letting our quarry get away, again and again? Who is the one to blame for the holds of The Scourge, the most feared pirate vessel to sail the seven seas, to stand empty?”
Pugsly cleared his throat again and looked up at the towering figure of his captain. “Its sorta..your fault...Sir.”
That venomous gaze shifted from the quivering helmsman and began to bore its way into Pugsly's eyes. “What did you just say to me?”
“Now just hear me out,” Pugsly said, holding his hands out in a placating manner. “Okay? So, me and the crew, we've been talking a bit. Nothing major, just chat. And we've been thinking that maybe...well...its just that...”
“Get on with it, Pugsly!”
“Its the ship, Sir. Its just a little do I put it?....Piratey.”
Blacktooth looked confused. “ Beg pardon?”
“I'll be the first to admit, Captain,” Pugsly reassured. “when I first saw The Scourge slide into port, its ragged-looking masts blotting out the moonlight and its obsidian hull cutting through the water like a scimitar, I was damned impressed. I said to myself 'That's a damn impressive ship', I did. I knew I had to join its crew.”
“But,” Blacktooth muttered, crossing his arms.
“But...there are certain realities that have to be faced, Sir. Take those raggedy looking sails. I know that those strips of extra fabric are there to make it look like we're all tattered and battered while still maintaining integrity, but they get caught up in the lines and flap around all willy-nilly. Poor Figaro got one wrapped around his neck last week, just about hung him. Even on the best of days though, they create drag and slow us down.”
Blacktooth didn't look convinced. “They may create a little bit of drag, Pugsly, but not enough to really slow us down enough to let every ship that crosses our bow escape us.”
“That's true, Sir, but we also have about three dozen ravens perched up there.”
Blacktooth grinned, holding out his hand and hook as if framing a painting “That was my idea. When we touch off our cannons, they take flight and cloud the vessel in a storm of black wings. Scares the shit out of our prey.”
As if in answer, a small storm of bird feces rained down from the rigging, spattering across the deck and everyone standing on it.
“Yeah,” Pugsly muttered. “we're well aware of all the shit they kick up. But that's more drag. Not to mention that a quarter of our hold is filled with bird feed.”
“Pffft,” Blacktooth waved the statement away as if it were an annoying fly.
“Then there are the gargoyles, Captain.”
“What about them?” he asked, looking truly stunned. “You were with me when we took those. You helped me pry them from the roof of the monastery we ransacked. Those are trophies.”
“They weigh a ton. Each. And I'm not exaggerating. They each weigh one thousand pounds. That four thousand pounds of weight makes the front end of us ride too low in the water. It wouldn't be so bad if the hold had more than bird feed and dry ice in it.”
“We're not getting rid of the dry ice,” Blacktooth said petulantly, stomping his peg leg on the ground. “How else can we make it look all foggy when we roll into port?”
Pugsly rubbed his eyes and sighed. He dropped his voice so the crew wouldn't overhear him. “Have you ever taken a good look at your crew, Sir?”
“These scurvy dogs?” Blacktooth bellowed. “I see these ugly mugs so much I have nightmares about them.”
As the captain laughed, Pugsly leaned closer. “The scurvy part is right. Half of them are bleeding from the gums and the other half can barely get out of bed. Not to mention the injuries.”
“What injuries?”
“What injuries?” Pugsly pointed at the helmsman. “Maynard's got a wooden eye and is missing an ear. We have fourteen total lads and only nine arms, ten legs, eleven eyes, thirteen noses, and maybe a grand total of a hundred teeth. Those I haven't counted. You seem to be seeking out crew members who come partially disassembled.”
“What about Lawrence, did you count that...”
“Extra foot? Yes.”
Blacktooth turned and looked out to sea. If he didn't know better, Pugsly would swear his feelings were hurt.
“Anything else?” The captain asked, not facing his first mate or crew.
“Since you ask,” Pugsly said. “The deck and the hull are all painted black. This is fine at night and so forth, but during the day....I mean, it is the Caribbean. It gets godawful hot. It wouldn't be so bad if you didn't make us wear so much wool. Black wool greatcoats. Black wool breeches. Black boots and black gloves. The men who aren't riddled with scurvy are collapsing on the deck from heat exhaustion.”
“Well, now you're just complaining to complain,” Blacktooth snapped. “I don't suppose you have any solutions to these problems, do you?”
“Actually, the lads and I had a few suggestions to make.”
Blacktooth turned and regarded his crew, all fourteen of them looking at him expectantly and wearing, mostly toothless, wide grins.
“Let's hear them then.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 7)

Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 7)

but overall, having a bag over his head was definitely in the top ten list of worst things to have happen to him. Straining his ears, Clem could hear the others shuffling about. Roderick was weeping a bit, Roy was humming what sounded like a Lionel Ritchie song, and Kayla seemed to be snoring a bit.
Clem could also hear the sound of something heavy landing on the ground on the other side of the wall they had been chained to. Occasionally something would hit the roof with an alarming thud and make the beams above them shudder and creak.
“We must be near the base of The Crumbling Tower,” Roderick said, his voice hitching. “We are truly dealing with madmen if they dare build something so close.”
“What's The Crumbling Tower?” Clem asked.
“It's a building in the exact center of The Eye,” Roy answered. “No one goes near it because huge blocks of stone keep falling off the top of it. But it never completely disintegrates or even gets any lower. It just perpetually falls apart. I think it's magic.”
“Hogwash,” Roderick said. “Magic is just science we haven't figured out yet.”
“Whatever,” the robot groaned. “Either way, no one has ever been inside and anyone who tries to climb it gets a hundred pound rock dropped on his head. The bright side is that most of the buildings around it are built pretty sturdy thanks to the rain of cut stones....”
“Quiet!” Kayla hissed, suddenly awake.
Clem and the others shut up and listened. A key could be heard scraping against a lock and the sound of two people talking drifted through the door. Clem recognized Killroy's voice immediately. He wasn’t likely to forget the sound of the man who had taken his freedom and was trying to sell him as a slave any time soon, but the other voice was new.
“ then the damn fools start running in four different directions,” Killroy said as the door creaked open. “But they're all chained to each other. It was hilarious.”
“So you're telling me they aren't the smartest catch, eh?” the other voice was deep and gravelly. “Well, let's see what you’re selling.”
The hood was yanked off Clem's head. They were in a small room, the walls made of rough stones of varying size, the ceiling was wooden and cracked in several places. Small slivers of light sifted through the cracks. There was a stench, as well. It reminded Clem of the time he had done community service and had to scrap roadkill off the highway for a month. Something in this room was dead or close to it. And it seemed to be the lumbering ape who stood next to Killroy.
He was stooped over and held himself up with the aid of a thick, ornate cane. His fur was matted and filthy looking, in places worn down to expose skin that look red and fevered. He was missing an eye, the hole where it had been writhed with what could only be maggots. Clem retched a bit, but held back and took a few deep breaths.
“Sorry-looking bunch, but worth it,” Killroy said, sounding like a used car salesman. “That one over there claims to be an engineer. You said last time that you were looking for one them, didn't you Bargeth?”
“I was,” Bargeth said, a foul smell escaping his mouth and filling the room. Clem saw Killroy bring a small hankerchief, no doubt scented, up to his mouth and give the back of the ape a scornful glance. “And a robot. Good, they dig well and can go places that humans can't.”
“That's right. And only about a dozen left, last I heard.”
“Eleven now,” Bargeth exhaled. “One of mine was crushed last month. A cave-in. Most unfortunate, he was a good digger.”
Clem heard Roy gasp. The ape was looking each of them over like cattle. He stopped in front of Roderick.
“You look old,” Bargath stated. “Why should I take you and not kill you right here and now?”
“I...I...,” Roderick stammered and looked around in a panic. Killroy stepped forward, warily placing a hand on Bargath's shoulder.
“He claims to work for the University. I thought you might want some brains to go with all this brawn.”
“Brawn, huh?” Bargath chuckled. He pointed at Clem. “That one is fat. He has good arms but it will take a few weeks for him to burn off that weight and be efficient.”
“Now you're just haggling,” Killroy said, walking back towards the door. “Let's go in the other room and hammer out a price. Maybe we can add a bit to it with those weapons I brought?”
“I know nothing of those weapons,” Bargath said hastily. Even Clem could tell the ape was lying. “But maybe we can reach an agreement. I know some people who always need weapons.”
“You are a liar,” Kayla hissed at him. “You know who those weapons belong to. You know what they mean.”
Bargeth reached over and cupped Kayla's head under her chin, bringing her face close to his. Standing his full height, her feet were soon dangling off the ground by over a foot. Clem could see her straining to escape his grip, but she wasn't strong enough.
“I know lots of things, little monkey,” he growled. “but you need to know when to shut up. The concerns of the surface world are no longer yours. You just need to worry about repairing my machines and keeping me happy, understand?”
He dropped Kayla back to the ground and turned to the door. It slammed shut and Clem heard the key turn the lock.
Roderick began to weep again.