Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 5)




Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 5)


falling over the side of the rusted out Peterbilt and gashing open his thigh as he landed on a pile of sheet metal. Clem hissed with pain and slapped his hand over the cut, jostling the three bags of gear around and spilling cans and clothes all around him. He could already hear the patter of thousands of paws begin to close in on him.
“Goddamn, awful, stinking, beasts,” Clem hissed, frantically looking around for a place to hide. The wound on his leg didn't look too bad, but if he didn't get it bandaged up soon it could start to fester. Running on it was certainly not going to do it any good.
It looked like he had fallen into a bowl shaped depression, long walls of junked cars and the bent remains of trailer homes surrounded him on all sides. It would take a while to climb out, but at least there were a lot of little hidey-holes he could crawl into for now. Seeing one that looked large enough, Clem began to grab up as much of his spilled belongings as he could carry.
That was when the thunder of the raccoons paws came to a sudden stop.
Clem looked over his shoulder. Lining the depression's wall, taking up almost half its circumference, were hundreds of raccoons. Clem stood and faced his pursuers. He could see the one that he'd kicked, with its weird scar running across its face, staring directly at him with an almost human look of pure hatred. The rest, though, seemed to be focused past Clem at the far side of the depression.
“Well looky what we got here,” A voice drawled from behind him.
Five men, dressed in the tattered remnants of military camouflage and carrying an assortment of weapons, stood along the opposite wall. The largest one, the one who spoke, was carrying an assault rifle and was lazily pointing it in Clem's direction.
“You look like you got some trouble, Mister,” he said slowly, as if he was simply observing the weather. “Dontcha know you ain't supposed to rile up the 'coons? They don't take too kindly to people invading their territory.”
“I must have missed that part of the brochure,” Clem said. A couple of the men chuckled a bit, but the large one glared at them until they shut up. “Don't suppose you could help me out a bit?”
The raccoons had begun to inch closer, a few hopping down onto various ledges and outcroppings. Scarface never took his eyes of Clem.
“Oh, I don't know,” the big guy sighed. “You look kind of fat and soft. I don't know if you'd get a good price. You may not be worth the ammo. What do you think, Mathers?”
“He looks like he's got a strong back,” the one whose name must have been Mathers responded. He was a heavily muscled black man and carried a long, chip bladed sword slung casually over one shoulder. He was looking at Clem as if he were appraising a side of beef. “We could sell him to the Apes, they're always looking for people to dig in the mines. The Swampers may take him, he could serve as gator bait, maybe?”
“What the hell are you people talking about?” Clem shouted, panic in his voice as the raccoons began to close in. “What do you mean 'sell me'?”
“You got any weapons in those bags, Mister?”
The raccoons, with Scarface in the lead, reached the floor of the depression. A few of them rushed for one of Clem's duffel bags, tearing into it and each other in a frenzy to get to what was inside. The rest of the horde began to make their way down the side.
“I just got an old paintball gun and a pocket knife. You gonna help me or not?”
The big guy made a gesture to a skinny, red-haired kid that stood next to him. As the ginger began rifling through a pack that was he carrying, Clem could hear the clink and rattle of chains coming from inside it, the big guy hunched down and gave Clem the same appraising look his companion had given him.
“This is how it’s going to work out, Mister,” he drawled. “You're going to leave that knife. My friend Enoch here is going to toss down a chain for you to climb up. If you can reach us before the raccoons get a hold of you then we'll keep you alive long enough to sell you to some Apes over to
Parlay.”
Clem didn't know what the hell Parlay was. He also knew that he didn't want to be sold to anybody. Given the choice between that and being eaten by a ravenous horde of raccoons though....
“What's it going to be, Mister?”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Agents of F.I.L.T.H. (part I)



Agents of F.I.L.T.H. (part I)

but with everyone dressed in identical bright yellow-and-black jumpsuit and masks it was hard to tell exactly where Nate's friends were. After winding his way up and down the cafeteria, careful not to spill any food on his new, heavily armed companions, he saw a couple of people waving at him to join them.
“Just like fucking junior high,” Nate muttered as he made his way to the table. Setting his tray down he looked at his friends, squinting to try and recognize them through their amber eyepieces. “Hi Jenn. Hi Ernest. You'd think they'd let us take these damn masks off so we can eat.”
The cafeteria went silent. A hundred masks adorned with the biohazard symbol turned toward him and stared. Nate froze. It was just like fucking Junior High.
“Just kidding,” Nate let out a weak laugh. “Eating without our masks. What a silly idea.”
“This guy's like a turd in an elevator,” Ernest said to Jenn as Nate sat down and the rest of the cafeteria begrudgingly went back to shoving food up under their face plates. “Why the hell do we want him around?”
“What does 'turd in an elevator' even mean?” Jenn asked.
“It means he...stinks,” Ernest waved his fork in Nate's direction. “And he just sits there. And we're stuck with him.”
“I'll remember that if you need tech support in the middle of a firefight with the Super League,” Nate said petulantly. “If your sewer-gun breaks down don't come crying to this 'turd', okay?”
“Pffft,” Ernest went back to forking beef stew up under his mask. He continued talking while broth ran down his mask and over his throat. “Its not like we're going to see any action soon, anyway. We've been here, what, three weeks? What do we have to show for it? Drills and propaganda and more drills. I came here to fight superheroes and get a kick ass dental plan, not sit on my ass and jaw with a bunch of turds.”
“I'm a turd now?” Jenn asked. “Whatever. I heard from the girls in Communications that Lord Fecundus is planning an attack against Commander Comet. They said it’s going to be a final showdown and that the fight will be epic.”
“Now that's what I'm talking about,” Ernest shouted, holding his hand up for a high five. No one at the table reciprocated. “Its about time he took down his archenemy. Then we can finally go about taking over the world. We want to do that, right? Take over the world?”
“I think that was one of the bullet points,” Nate answered uncertainly. “But is Lord Fecundus really Commander Comet's archenemy? I thought Barry Man-O-War was his archenemy?”
“That guy's a joke. He couldn't hold Lord Fecundus' jockstrap.”
“Why would he want hold his jock strap?” Jenn asked around a mouth full of stew.
“It’s an expression! It means he couldn't.....
“Everybody shut up!”
Everybody shut up. The whole cafeteria turned towards the source of the shout. General Sewage stood up on one of the tables, a dirt-encrusted transistor radio in his hand. He was the only one who wasn't wearing a full face mask, and the expression on his face was almost ecstatic.
“I just heard this on the radio, I haven't confirmed it yet, but it looks like...”
Everybody continued to shut up and leaned toward the excited General a bit.
“Commander Comet is dead!”
Everybody kept shutting up.
The General sighed and ran his hand through his greasy hair. Shaking his head, droplets falling gently around him in a cascade, he looked at his troops.
“That's good news!”
The room erupted into cheers. Champagne bottles of mysterious origin began to pop, corks shooting out a few of the overhead, florescent bulbs. The suspended ceiling shook with the sounds of men and women celebrating.
Nate, for some unknown reason, felt that this wasn't actually good news.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

We Are Not Alone



We Are Not Alone

since a meeting with the UN has been...uh...delayed due to the level of panic our new...visitors...have inadvertently caused, we have decided to hold this press conference and air it live so that news affiliates around the globe can....broadcast it.”
Everyone in the room began shouting questions at the president, who simply shook his head and motioned with his hands for the amassed reporters to calm down. The flashbulbs of cameras lit the room, capturing every crease on the face of nation's obviously exhausted leader.
“We have a representative from the spacecrafts here today,” the president continued. “He is prepared to answer all of your questions. I've met him. He seems...quite nice. And so, esteemed members of the press, citizens of Earth, I am proud to introduce our new friend who hails from the planet...”
On the last word the president began to cough into his hand, garbling the pronunciation. Grabbing a glass of water he quickly hopped down from the podium and almost seemed to scurry to the side of his press secretary. The two men looked at each other apprehensively as the journalists in the room muttered to each other trying to determine what the last word the president had said was.
The room quickly fell silent as a new man entered the room. He stood just under six feet tall and was wearing a rather rumpled gray suit. He was balding and seemed to slump a bit towards the podium. The only thing that marked him as an alien, and not just some dude named Phil, was a series of small ridges that ran along his nose and faded into his forehead.
“Howdy,” The alien said as he leaned towards the microphone, recoiling a bit as feedback whined from the surrounding speakers. “My name is Phil and I come from the planet Pidthburgh. You have a very nice planet. And myself and my people are very pleased to be here.”
The room stayed quiet. Everyone stared at the alien.
“Did you say 'Pittsburgh'?” a reporter from The New York Times asked.
“Pidthburgh,”
“And your name is 'Phil'?”
“Yup.”
The president nervously chewed on one knuckle as he watched the group of reporters look at each other with a mixture of disbelief and, if he read the expressions correctly, disappointment. He couldn't help but imagine the groups of people around the world, pausing momentarily from the rioting and looting that had been going non-stop since the visitors craft arrived, stopping and looking at each other in much the same way. Finally a woman from The Post cleared her throat and raised her hand.
“So....do you...is this...how you look...all the time? Or are you afraid that your true form is so alien that it would shatter our minds if we were to behold it?”
“Good question,” Phil said, excited. “This is it. It turns out that every species in the universe, we've met three others, tend to look just like us. Um...your noses are all smooth. The Rigellians have these large ears. The Andromedans have dots all over their faces. And the Frill have really big hands.”
The room stayed quiet.
“Fun fact, though,” Phil leaned onto the podium. “We found out from the Frills that the old joke about having big hands meaning you have a big....you know...is universal. Every intelligent species has a version of it. They say it all the time. All. The. Time. Gets a little tiresome if I'm being honest. Any more questions? This is fun.”
An older, portly woman in the front row raised her hand.
“Ellen Fitzhugh, Cleveland Chronicler, you seem to speak English quite well, did you learn it the moment got here or have you been listening to our radio broadcasts as you got nearer to our planet?”
“Its just another coincidence actually,” the alien held up his hands and frowned a bit. “We call the language Incklith and it turns out that, like our appearance, everyone in the universe just happens to speak it. That and Thpanith.”
“Bill Watkins, Daily Sun, in order to get here your people must possess technology that is far superior to ours. Do you plan on sharing your expertise with us?”
“Well, we sure would like to but you see, we didn't build those ships. The Frill built them for us and programed them to come here. They said they had been observing you for a while through telescopes and stuff and that they thought we would get along. Their ships are really hard to get around in though, everything is made for people with humongous hands.
“They also said that the ships would start to fall apart once we got here so we should probably move them so they aren't hovering over your major cities like that.”
The murmuring grew louder. The President saw several journalists begin scribbling furiously in their notebooks. He also saw General Ross frantically whisper at his aide, who rapidly left the room.
“Bill Watkins again, if your ships are going to fall apart....how do you plan on getting back to...Pidthburgh?”
Phil chuckled as if the mere notion of going back was absurd.
“Go back there? Oh no. That place is an inhospitable wasteland. We really fucked that place up. Actually we were kind of hoping to stay here. If that's okay?
Phil stopped and looked around the room, waiting for an answer. The president saw the general begin to get antsy again. Several reporters began to take out cell phones and frantically whisper instructions back to their respective news outlets.
“There aren't that many of us,” Phil said, trying to sound reassuring. “Only a few hundred million, give or take a hundred million or so, and we don't need much. Just a stretch of temperate land, with water and trees and clean air. Lots of trees though, we really need those. My people find chopping trees down to be very cathartic. You can have most of the wood when we’re done. We like to keep some to burn. We like fire a lot too. We really like fire a lot. Gawd knows we really, really like fire.”
The president watched as a delegation of the world's religions suddenly stiffened. A reporter standing near them noticed as well and promptly raised his hand.
“Marshall Miller, Louisiana Looky-Loo, you just mentioned ‘God’, are your people very...religious or spiritual?”
“Its pronounced ‘Gawd’ actually and yes, very much so. We believe that we are made in His image. Especially around the nose. He has a very strict code of behavior we expect others to follow and our priests can't wait to get down here and start converting as many of you as we can.”
The delegation of religious leaders left the room, several of them shaking their heads in disbelief while they tried to think of a way to report what they just heard. Several of the reporters were just staring at the alien with expressions ranging from stunned amazement to barely suppressed rage. Phil on the other hand had a very genuine, almost simple, smile on his face.
“Anything else you feel like telling us?” asked a grizzled looking journalist who didn't bother introducing himself.
“Only that we are looking forward to getting to know you and learn from you and hopefully reach a day when we can superimpose our culture over your own.”
“That's just great news,” grizzled stated flatly. “So these Frill guys...buncha dicks, huh?”
“They aren't very nice, no.”
The President covered his eyes with his hand and sighed. He could swear that his press secretary was crying and he could almost hear General Ross' blood pressure hit the boiling point. He would have a lot of explaining to do at the UN this afternoon.
Oh, I almost forgot,” Phil said, slapping his hand against his forehead. “Oil! We need as much of that stuff as you can get a hold of. We are a really oil-dependent society. That gonna be a problem?”  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tornado Trailer Park (part 4)



Tornado Trailer Park (part 4)



Chapter Two

Groll wondered vaguely why this human was still alive. The great ape, a proud member of The Obsidian Brigade, had been watching the bearded man rummage through the remains of the trailer home that had come crashing down from Great Wall a few hours ago. From the way he carried himself, Groll figured that this man must be a newcomer to The Eye. He was focused only on scavenging as much as he could from his shattered domicile and was ignoring the gathering of raccoons that was taking place all around him. Groll wondered if he would live long enough to learn from his mistake.
The great ape wedged his bulk between the twisted remains of a dishwasher and the wing of an old airplane and examined the wound on his leg. Twin fang marks, the punctures separated by three inches of swollen flesh, marred his calf. Groll could already feel the poison seeping into his system, coursing through his veins and making his reactions sluggish, and he knew he didn't have much longer to live. His only consolations were that he had killed the Reptilian who had attacked him and that he may still have time to warn the others that the Slithering Host had finally awakened.
That is, if the human who now stood pissing into the cracked remnants of a toilet wasn't consumed by a horde of raccoons first.
Groll readied his weapons--a large golden hammer and a glittering, silver battleaxe--and prepared to charge the gathering horde. If he was lucky they would scatter at the sight of him and, hopefully, the hapless human wouldn't do anything stupid in the meantime. Testing his weight on his wounded leg and preparing to spring, Groll didn't hear the cloaked figure slide up and uncoil behind him.
A thick, scaled arm closed around Groll's throat, wrapping bonelessly around his neck and pulling him backwards with alarming strength. The ape couldn't make a sound as he felt cold steel slide into his left side, serrated teeth biting into his ribcage. The blade sawed back out of his flesh and was immediately plunged back in, its tip entering his heart and stopping it immediately. The silver-backed warrior's last thoughts were of his own dishonorable failure and that the human who was now casually flipping through a magazine would be lucky if the raccoons arrayed around him bit him to death.
Then he would be spared the fate that was about fall upon The Eye.

“Is it dead?”
Vipis turned at the susurration of voices that came from behind him, wiping the blood of the ape off his blade with his cloak. Below him, nestled on a writhing throne of snakes, lounged Melissent. The assassin didn't care for the shaman, but she did serve her purpose.
“Of course,” he hissed at her, his tongue darting out and tasting his victims blood that still hung in the air. “Did you doubt me?”
“He seemed more than a match for your assistant,” came her cool reply. With a wave of her hand the writhing throne dissipated, the thousands of snakes that had formed it disappearing into a multitude of cracks and crannies, until it was just the two of them. She slithered up until she was swaying gently next to Vipis, the top of her diamond pattern head a full foot above his own, and looked down on the corpse of the armored ape.
“Fissig was a fool. He should never have partaken of that potion you gave him. It made him overconfident.”
The brew I gave him was only to give him a clarity of vision,” Melissent folded over to better examine the corpse. Vipis observed that she had added a few more golden rings to her long tapering tail. It seemed that Melissent's star was on the rise.

     “There is a human nearby,” she said, her gaze not moving from sightless eyes of the ape. Her bejeweled hand caressed its slack face. “My thousand eyes can see him. He is in danger.”
     “Yes. Those raccoons are going to eat well today. I may gather a few up to bring back to the nest. They taste better when they've recently fed on flesh.”
     “They will not be feasting on this one,” the shaman said vaguely. One of the things Vipis hated most about shamans were the constant tone they had that made it seem as if they knew more than anyone else. He had long suspected that it was all for show. “My eyes see an aura around this one. He is an agent of change, though we can not see if it is for good or ill.”
     “Then best to kill him now,” Vipis hated change. He was already moving, his knife gripped in his hand, when he felt Melissent's hand grip his shoulder.
     “Oh no. This one must live. Agents of change, no matter what the end result of their actions, always bring chaos. And right now, chaos is exactly what The Host needs.”


     Clem hated raccoons more than anything. Terrible little bastards with greedy little hands and vicious, mean little eyes. And bold, too. The one standing in front of him, almost seeming to glare at him, was about to get a boot in the face if it didn't mosey on along in a minute and Clem was in a kicking mood.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Voyages Of The S.S. Amore (Pt. 5)



The Voyages Of The S.S. Amore (Pt. 5)


pacing back and forth in the small cabin.
Finally, after what felt like forever, Jane heard a timid knock on the cabin door. Jumping over the twin bed, knocking her makeup kit full of various black-colored lipsticks and eye-liners onto the floor in the process, she slammed into the door and yanked it open. On the other side was Ethan, holding a bloody cloth to his neck and looking even paler than normal.
“Oh my God!” Jane screamed, yanking the young porter inside and slamming the door. “You really did it! You got bit for us!”
“Yeah...well...I did get bit...,” Ethan stammered, his teeth clenched through the pain. “Can I get a towel or something?”
“Oh. Yeah,” Jane ran over to the closet and yanked out a suitcase. Tossing out the clothes, she picked out one of her stepmother's hot pink beach towels and some peroxide from the first aid kit her dad always carted around with him on trips. She noticed that he had also brought along an old photo album filled with old pictures of them from when she was a kid. He had probably wanted to reminisce with her at some point. Yuck. “I can't believe you really did it. Tell me everything.”
“I went up on deck, like we planned, and I looked around for, you know, them. I didn't have much luck though, so I went below decks, figuring they like being underground or something. And then...is that a Polaroid camera?”
“What?” Jane finished pouring the peroxide onto the towel and handed it to him. Looking behind her she saw what Ethan was pointing at. Her dad's old camera. “Yeah. It's my dad's. He loves the thing even though a digital camera is totally better.”
“That thing is vintage,” he said with awe, pressing the pink towel against his neck wound and wincing a bit. “Does he have any film for it? I heard they stopped making it?”
“He bought a bunch before that. But who cares. What happened when you met...Him. Was he all Gothic and commanding and stuff? What did you say to him that made him want to turn you into one of them instead of just feeding off you. He did turn you, didn't he?”
Ethan had gotten up and began rummaging through her father's suitcase. Jane walked over to the window and looked out over the starlit sea.
“You know,” Jane began. “I almost wish I had woken up early today to see the sunrise. Of course, I had no idea it would have been my last one. Soon, right after you bite me, I will be a child of the night. We'll roam the darkness, existing in that twilight space between life and death, feeding on..”
“Dude, these are bitchin'!”
Jane turned around to see that Ethan was wearing her dad's embarrassing Elvis sunglasses and was holding up a pair of wrist sweatbands her father wore when he played tennis. Now that she got a look at it, Ethan's wound didn't look like it was made by vampire fangs. It was more of a ragged tear and not the two neat puncture marks she would associate with a vampire's kiss.
“Do you think he'd let me borrow these?” he asked, slipping the red-and-white sweatbands onto his wrists. “Check out this album. Your dad used to have some style. Do you think he still has this western-style button up shirt around? Ooh! Did he bring it with him?”
“No. What's going on? Why are you being so weird?”
“I'm not weird,” he snapped. “I'm just into stuff most people aren't. Do you like bicycles? I was thinking about getting one of those fixed-gear ones when we get back from this trip. And I think I'm going to change my band's sound, you know. Maybe do a Film School meets Rogue Wave kind of thing.”
“Who the hell are they?”
“They're obscure, you probably haven't heard them.”
“Oh, dear God,” Jane gasped, backing toward the cabin door. Fear began to crawl up her spine. “What bit you out there?”
“Hey look, I'm getting some facial hair,” Ethan was looking at his reflection in the cabin's window. “Does your dad have a shave kit handy? Maybe I can trim it into a trucker's handlebar kind of 'stache or maybe twirl it on the ends. What do you think?”
He turned and looked at Jane with eyes that had turned entirely black. His formerly pale skin had now darkened to a chestnut brown and was rapidly sprouting long, black hair. His canines had extended and sharpened, but were not elegant like a vampire's tapered tools of undeath. These were the savage, utilitarian teeth of a wild dog.
“You're not a vampire.”
“No. Vampires are boring. You don't know what I've become.”
Yes, I do!” Jane yelled, her hand scrambling to open the stubborn cabin door. “You're a filthy hipster. You're a goddamned filthy hipster werewolf!”

Deep in the bowels of the ship, in the back of the shadowed cargo hold, Murdertron stalked his prey.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

If Wishes Were Fishes


If Wishes Were Fishes


floated there as Derek arranged the fat stacks of money into a makeshift throne. Stepping back to appraise his work, he turned to the djinni and laughed triumphantly.
“That's what I'm talking about right there!” Derek shouted, leaping into the seat and scattering hundred dollar bills all over the basement floor. Looking over at where Greta and Helga lounged in the corner, he imperiously snapped his fingers and gestured at his lap. The two buxom girls giggled and ran over, blonde hair and boobs bouncing almost hypnotically as they went.
“Fantastic,” the djinni said, bored. Wiping an unseen speck of dirt from his sapphire-tinted shoulder, he sighed and looked over at the smug skinhead. “So now that you have a hundred million dollars and a 'pair of fine, German bitches', what will it be next? Eternal youth, fame, more 'girth where it’s worth' perhaps?”
“Yeah, man,” Derek said, distracted by Greta's tongue in his ear. What the djinni said last seemed to worm its way into his brain eventually and he jumped a bit, glaring at the floating Arabian spirit. “Hey! I'm just fine...down there.”
Derek slumped back into his cash throne and sulked a bit. What would he do with his last wish?
“I sure as hell don't want fame,” he said sullenly. “Too many people know me already. They're all going to turn into a bunch of begging bitches once they see all this dough. And I sure as fuck don't want to live forever in this cesspit of a world.”
The djinni laid back in this cloud and rested his head on his hand as Derek paced the room. He hated it when humans came to their senses on the last wish. He really should have given him a pair of German Shepherds on that second wish, but he figured this little bastard was a prime candidate for the old immortality wish. The djinni loved nothing more than arranging for immortals to get trapped underground right after that wish was made.
“You know, people don't know what it’s like,” Derek complained. He stood in front of his mirror and put his hand over the swastika he had tattooed over his right pectoral muscle. “To be a part of something. To believe in something greater than yourself. Something that once made the whole world tremble. And then have that thing get eradicated by a bunch of inferiors.
“My people are a joke now. A punchline. Something you call someone when they don’t agree with you. I gotta ask myself the question, man”
“What question would that be?” the djinni asked, looking up from his nails.
“WWHD, man,” Derek said with reverence, pointing to the poster of Hitler that hung on the wall behind him. “WWHD...”
“Oh! I remember that little fellow,” the djinni said, brightening a bit. “I can tell you precisely what he wished for. He started right out with fame. 'The most famous man in the world' he said. I think he meant painter, but I only care about what is actually said. Then he went for the larger peni...”
“I know what he would do,” Derek exclaimed, not listening to the djinni. “I know exactly what he would do. All right, djinni, I'm ready.”
Derek walked back over to his throne and sat down. Greta and Helga dutifully grasped a leg each and looked longingly up at him. The djinni floated, still bored.
“I wish,” Derek began, smirking, “that everyone who gets accused of being a Nazi, gets turned into one.”
The djinni's eyebrows perked up and he steepled his fingers just under his mouth as he thought about the wish for a moment. Slowly, a malicious grin began to spread across his face.
“That....that's a pretty good one.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 3)


Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 3)

part I
part II

hoisting the New Kids On The Block backpack over his shoulder.
“Listen,” Chip said, handing over a canteen of water. “There aren't a lot of rules around here. Its all pretty lawless. But there is one thing, universal among all the different people trapped in here and it doesn't matter what they look like, that you absolutely can not do.”
“What's that?”
“Do not!” Chip said emphatically. “Ever! Make a Wizard Of Oz joke or reference. Ever!”
“Seriously?” Clem asked. “That seems....Really?”
“I can't stress it enough.”
“Why? Is it a superstition or something?”
“Maybe,” Clem said, scratching his beard. “But superstition works a bit different around here. You’ll pick that up soon enough. I’m not certain of the details, but supposedly when a load of people got trapped here back in the thirties a bunch of copies of those books got sent here too. Wherever they went or whoever even mentioned them suddenly came down with a case of real bad luck. Fatal bad luck.”
“Well, I’ll keep that in mind. I guess. Thanks for the grub and the hospitality,” Clem said, reaching out to shake Chip's hand. “You said my trailer landed a bit that way, right?”
“Half of it, maybe,” Chip answered. “I probably wasn't the only one to see it land either. Get to it, get what you need, and try to make it one of those villages on the west side. That's where the humans live.”
Clem had turned and was about to make his way to his trailer when he froze. “What do you mean 'humans'? What else would there be?”
“Well,” Chip said, leaning back against his trailer and seeming to think. “You got the apes. They aren't like the apes from our world. These are the smart kind, like Planet Of The Apes, and they like to take humans as slaves.”
“You're shitting me.”
“Wish I was. The big ones, the gorillas, they aren't so smart. They tend to do all the heavy lifting and the fighting, but they can be okay if you don't act like a coward around them. They sense weakness and they'll make your life hell. Its the chimps you want to watch out for. They're smart as hell and devious. They will....”
“Do they wear little bell hop uniforms?” Clem smirked. “And fly around with little bat wing...”
“Seriously, you will be shot in the face,” Chip stated, looking up along the maelstrom wall as if something was listening. “People will go out of their way to kill your ass for stuff like that. Just don't ever mention it. I'm even tempted to take you out.”
“Okay, geez,” Clem said as he shrugged. Looking out over the ragged debris that stood between him and the shattered remains of his trailer, he let out a sigh. “Thanks again. If I ever make it back out this way I'll stop by.”
“I look forward to it,” Chip said, waving. He watched the newcomer as he picked delicately over the sharp detritus for a while and then began climb his way back up onto the roof of his trailer. He stopped halfway up and slapped himself on the forehead. “Damn it! I should have told him about the snake folk. He's not going to like them much. Oh! And the Old Gods. And the goddamn raccoons. Damn.”
Chip climbed the rest of the way up his trailer and squinted to see if he could make out Clem among the piles of old refrigerators and dismantled trucks. No luck.
“Well...He'll figure it out, I guess,” and then he promptly flopped down in to his lawn chair and dozed off.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Specter House



Specter House
by
Phillip B. Gamma


….ssssshhooowwww......
“There it is again!” Elaine jumped up off the couch and frantically looked around the living room. Brad, who had been dozing next to her, groaned and put his hand over his face.
“It's your imagination,” he said. “Now sit back down. You make a nice pillow.”
“There is something weird going on here, Bradley. I can feel it. My grandmother claimed to be a psychic and I think I might have inherited some...sensitivity.”
Brad, sighing and sitting up, gave her a look as if he were talking to a child. “There is nothing 'weird' going on. And you are not psychic. And neither was your grandmother. Because psychics aren't real. Now, do you want a beer?”
Brad got up and eased into his slippers. He made his way around some of the unpacked boxes that were still cluttering up most of the house. Between the living room and the kitchen, he flicked on the front porch light. Psychics may not exist, but drunk college students with a bladder full of Red Bull and Vodka sure were. Best not to give them too many shadowy places to urinate in.
“What about what I saw last night?”
The kitchen lights came on just as he crossed the threshold, the motion sensors making him feel like he lived in the future. Now if only he had a jet-pack.
“You didn't see anything last night,” he shouted. “You had a dream.”
“I wasn't dreaming,” he heard her yell back. “I saw a figure in a white gown walk by our bedroom door. I know it. I was awake and reading. I was not asleep.”
“No self-respecting ghost is going to walk around in a white robe. That's like...racism for ghosts.”
…...sssshhoooowwww.......yyyyoouuuuuu......
Elaine froze. She wasn't asleep now, was she? And she heard it. She knew she heard it. Circling slowly, she gazed into each shadowy corner of her new living room.
“Hello?” she whispered into the room. “Can you hear me? Should I buy one of those Ouija board things?”
“Are you seriously trying to talk to spirits?” came Brad's voice, now just behind her and loud enough to make her jump. “More importantly, did you drink all the beer and put the empties back in the fridge?”
“What? No. Why would I put them back in the fridge?”
“I knew it!” Brad exclaimed. “It was those damn movers. First they break all my Depeche Mode CDs and then they drink all my beer. They even put the caps back on. Assholes.”
“I don't think it was the movers, Brad,” Elaine said. She knew that if she said the next part, that if she just said the word and got it out in the open, she would feel better. Silly, but better. “I think the house is....haunted.”
“That's ridiculous,” Brad said immediately. He reached over and placed a hand on each of her shoulders.“Baby, this is a pre-fab house. We picked out the floor plan online, a bunch of warehouse workers took pre-fabricated pieces, shipped them here, then a bunch of people looked at some directions and built it. Saying it's haunted is like saying our Ikea touch lamp over there has a Quaker genie trapped in it.”
“There's no such thing as Quaker genies,” Elaine stated with a pout, crossing her arms.
“Oh, I'm sorry. Did I say something in this conversation that didn't make sense?”
…...ssssshhhoooooowwww........yyyoooouuuuuu.....
Elaine saw Brad's face change. She knew he heard it that time.
“You heard it too!”
“It was the wind. Or some of those college kids fucking around. I'll check the backyard.”
“I'm looking our address up online. If it isn't the house it's the land the house was built on. I saw Poltergeist.”
Elaine unfolded her laptop and began to enter her address in the search box. The good thing about living in a college town was having a quick supply of Wi-Fi connections to choose from. While looking, she could hear Brad rummaging about in the backyard.
Five minutes late he came back in to find her sitting, pale faced and close to hyperventilating, in front of the computer.
“Did you find something?” he asked as he moved closer to the couch.
“It happened in 1985,” she stated as if hypnotized. “There was a frat house here. A bunch of them threw a kegger one night. Someone tried to rig up some kind of gas-powered beer bong. There was an explosion. Fifteen frat boys lost their lives that night.”
Elaine and Brad locked eyes, both looking frightened as they heard that long, mournful whisper-wail.
….ssshhhoooowww....yyyooouuuurrrr....tiiiiiiiiitsss......

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 2)


Tornado Trailer Park (Pt. 2)


moonshine burning every part of his mouth and throat as he worked to swallow it down.
“Auggh!,” Clem shouted as the liquid slid into his stomach like a magma flow. “What is this stuff?”
“Let's call it bathtub gin and keep it at that,” Chip said, reclining in his lawn chair and checking his antique pocket watch again as he squinted at the maelstrom wall.
“You don't make it in the same tub you bathe in do you?”
“You really want me to answer that?”
Clem didn't. Instead he looked up from the tin cup of rocket fuel and followed Chip's gaze to the swirling chaos of impenetrable dirt and filth that loomed just a dozen or so feet in front of him. Every once in a while Clem would see a recognizable object fly by, like a washing machine or a mangled bicycle. He could have sworn he saw that Ford Festiva go hurtling by at one point too. The tornado wall towered up over him and reminded him of the time he went to Houston and stood gawking up at all those skyscrapers for the first time. But though it made him feel small and insignificant, it was still better than looking out at what lay behind him.
Chip checked his watch again.
“What are you doing with that watch?”, Clem asked, risking another slug of moonshine.
“Waiting for cow o'clock,” Chip said, as if the answer was obvious.
“What the fu...,” Clem began to ask before Chip raised a shushing finger and then pointed down the wall at something that hurtled towards them a few dozen feet off the ground. Clem rubbed his eyes when he saw what it was and then dumped out the rest of the moonshine that was in his cup.
It was a cow.
Clem watched it as it tumbled end over end through the rushing debris and smoke, letting out a plaintive moo as it went. Both men watched it spin past until it became a small brown-and-white dot that was eventually swallowed whole by the filthy clouds.
Chip smiled and put his watch back into the bib pocket of his overalls. He picked up the jug of gin that sat next to him and took a big haul, smirking at the shocked expression on Clem's face.
“That cow was still alive?” Clem asked , his voice full of awe. He absently held his cup out for Chip to refill. “I thought you said that wall shredded anything that go too close to it?”
“It is, I did, and it does,” Chip answered. “That cow right there is as close a metaphor to life in The Eye as you can get. Folk who struggle against it, throw themselves at the walls of this prison, get shredded. The ones who accept it and go along with it survive and find a way to get by. That cow accepted it fate a long time ago and now every three hours and eighteen minutes it completely circles The Eye. It's kind of become our clock.”
“How long has it been doing that?”
“As long as I've been here, probably longer.”
“How long has that been?”
“I got here on April 3rd, 1974 and you said it was 2008 outside. So there you go. But time doesn't work the same in here I think. Otherwise I'd look over sixty and I don't. I don't, do I?”
“No, you look fine,” Clem said, distracted. “So no one leaves? I'm trapped here? Am I dead?
“You could be dead,” Chip offered, frowning as he seemed to consider it. “I've often thought this might be purgatory. It would make sense, I guess.”
“I don't feel dead. I twisted my ankle something fierce when I fell here, seems if a fella was going to die and end up in a wind prison they'd at least make it so you couldn't hurt yourself.”
“That is a good point. Plus, I've seen quite a few people die in the time I've been here and you wouldn't think that would happen either.”
Reluctantly, Clem turned around and looked into The Eye.
From where he was standing on top of Chip's trailer he could see for maybe a couple of miles and what he saw didn't make sense. He looked down on a twisted maze of junked metal and debris stretched out in front of him, culminating in the large pile of jagged detritus that had built up near the maelstrom wall and, according to Chip, ran its entire circumference. Off to the west and east he could make out what looked like a couple of small villages made up of re-purposed materials and a few spots of cultivated vegetation. Looming over it all in the middle was a gigantic stone tower that seemed to be constantly crumbling as Clem looked at it, heavy stones fell from all sides of it but it never seemed to lose any height or girth.
“I gotta get the hell out of here.”