Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Little Shop Trapped In Time

The night air swept the trash in swirls of echoing quietness down the empty back street, passed the little shop. Rotted wood creaked hello as it went by. The front window was filthy with neglect. Not even the slightest passerby was curious enough to peek through. The door to the shop, locked long ago, couldn’t even beckon thieves. A ‘Closed’ sign hung there without moving for years. Another gust of wind gently patted the sign above the door.

The dust in the shop had settled long ago, though some still floated through the air caught in the little bit of moonlight that shown through the grimy window. The shelves still held the love of the owner’s heart, though he’d long since gone. Red headed dolls in yellow dresses, blonde headed dolls in pink gowns, little boy dolls in school uniforms and sailor outfits. All kinds of dolls huddled together covered with the layers of dust, no one around to see their beauty anymore. They just sat there staring into the darkened shop.

The wax of a candle splayed out over the work bench almost holding his hand, the poor little boy doll that couldn’t join his friends. Brown hair and two blue eyes, his little nose and half a painted smile decorated his face. A knitted little sweater and some blue jean pants were marked by the line from the paint brush. There was nothing he could do that night he watched his father never wake up again. The curses he would have yelled at letting the brush slip as he fell into an endless sleep. Instead, his newest son would forever stare at his rotting corpse as he sat there in the little shop that was trapped in time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Viral n - Before the Hunt

The two guards stiffened when they saw the five Condors walking towards them. The Street Vultures were vicious and cruel, the guards in particular had to be really rotten to watch over the King Vultures Roost. But no one in the Cloud dared to ever provoke one of the Condors.

Condors were a small roost of the Street Vultures that consisted of the most elite. The tests included finding and marking of egg-layers, feathering younglings, and defeating a King Vulture. But their final test was the toughest of all, at least for the Street Vultures, they had to fly.

Flying consisted of making it to the top a large building chosen by the King Vultures. This task could take over a month to complete, especially if the building was still online. They sent in the top Condors to evaluate the number of a certain object and the candidate would have to acquire every single one. After showing their fearlessness to fly they were allowed into the Condor’s Roost. There was only one rule to being a Condor, the women could not be an egg layer.

The Guard on the right slammed a giant fist, covered with a bent sheet of steel, into the door. It slid up slowly, when it was high enough he slammed a metal rod into place to keep it open. The five of them were greeted in the lobby of the Squatter Apartment, known as the King Vulture Roost, by a mangled female. The lead Condor, known as Ash followed closely by her twin brother Blood, handed her signal over to the girl. She was so dead inside from the horrendous tortures that she didn’t flinch at their site. She shuffled off to hand the Kings the emblem to announce their arrival.

Moments later the girl came back, returning Ashes signal and stepping out of the way. This showed they were clear to enter. Blood took his place beside Ash and they lead the group into what use to be a meeting room. They stood side by side facing each of the five Death Kings.

Death King Vultures were in charge of the Condors. They were previous Condors that succeeded every mission during their younger days.They relayed all Condor missions and punishments, if needed.

Death King Veridan spoke “One of the Egg-layers escaped with an unfeathered. Go to the Nesting Roost and find out all the info you can to bring them back.” He looked over at Condor Shield, making it very clear “You are NOT to feather the child.” Shield had a twinge of disappointment on his face.

Condor Shield’s training showed just how dubious this Cloud was. He was a member of the Night Shield Cloud that was sent to infiltrate the Street Vultures. It wasn’t too long before he was discovered, but instead of killing him they made him go through the Condor training. His talents far exceeded their expectations. He didn’t hesitate the marking, he easily beat the King Vulture, and his flight almost beat the record time. The one test he refused was the one that turned him, feathering. At first they bound and forced the children on him for a week. It twisted his soul and he started to enjoy it. Now it was all he wanted, but he was kept on a very tight leash.

They left without another word. Waiting just outside, the guard removed the metal pole and let the door slam down. Ash and Blood led the way, followed by Shield and Sword. The newest member of their team, Record, was probably the brightest person in all the Street Vultures. But he was no less twisted.

Over an hour later they reached the Nesting Roost. As they stepped up to the guard the dying cry of a young boy snapped Shield out of his depressed shuffle. He started to turn for the Feathering House but was stopped cold by Swords stair. The guard tried his best not to look at them as he took his plated fist and smashed it against the door.

They stepped inside and were greeted by the Matron Cow. Most of the Roosts had a slave that would announce the arrival of guests to the master. The Matron Cow was known for killing her slaves and finally gave up on trying to train new ones. Without a word the Condors followed her to the conference room.

A long table with at least twenty seats decorated the center of the room. Four windows, all on one side of the room, fed them light. Almost every building that the Street Vultures had were the same. Squatter Apartments littered the lower parts of almost every state. Used mostly, in the old days, by those who could not afford apartments or those that travelled a lot.

Record stepped to the front of the group and began his questioning. “We’ve been sent to get retrieve your escaped Egg-layer. What is her name and how many marks does she have?”

The Matron knew every detail of every Egg-layer and she answered without hesitation “Her name is Amaya and she was only marked once. The unfeathered she escaped with was her own daughter.”

Record interrupted her “We’ll get to that in a minute. Who marked Amaya?”

Matron, again, did not hesitate “Vulture Raze was her mate.” She expected some twinge of surprise in his face, but it did not change. Though it did cause Ash and Blood to glance for an expression also.

Record replied “Missing left ear, clean cut?”

The Matron just nodded.

His voice held no emotion “Father never changes.” He was silent for a moment, possibly trying to remember if his father ever spoke of her. “Wasn’t she a captured about six years back during a flight?”

The Matron wasn’t shocked by his memory, he was just like his father “Yes, Condor Aethelthryth found her. I believe it was her home before.”

Record needed no more info, he remembered what building and room she was found in. There was little in his life that he didn’t recall. He turned to Ash “Ready to head to the Feathering House”

Shield perked up again at those words, Sword did not dissuade him this time. But he was smart enough to know that she wouldn’t allow him any fun.

The Feathering House was one of the only places in all of the Street Vultures territory that most of the Cloud avoided. From a young age they are taught to be cruel and vicious, but such a place can be too much, even for some of the King Vultures.

They stepped into the guarded building just as a group of unfeathered ran by, a three year old girl ran into Sword, falling backwards. Sword unsheathed her homemade dagger and stabbed the child in the foot. She promptly pulled the blade out, wiped the blood off on the child’s shirt, and sheathed the dagger. The others ignored the horrid squealing from the child as they continued following the servant to the conference room. Shield delighted in the scream the whole way, only wishing he could have been the cause.

The Master of the unfeathered was staring out the window as the Condors came through the door. He was one of the oldest in the Cloud, long gray hair and a tattered old suit. Ash could see that his attention was fixed on two small boys fighting over a ball.

The old man felt her watching too and turned. Instead of catching her eye, he looked at Blood “Your son shows promise even at this age.” His crooked smile pleased to see the smirk on Blood’s face.

Blood spoke “Don’t act too shocked, he’ll be a Condor too.” With that Record stepped to the front and began asking about the missing child.

It took less that ten minutes for them to gather the info. It took another four hours to reach the Western edge of Street Vulture territory. They would start their hunt in the morning and it would not end until they had their prey.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

Mary huddled in the corner shaking, barely able to control her fear. Her husband crawled over to the window to peek through the blinds. He could see them everywhere outside, going from house to house. He tried to keep his fear in check, but it was tough. He was shaking as he crawled back to his wife and put his arms around her.

A knock came at the front door making both of them jump. Adam put his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming, she didn’t resist. The knocking got louder and louder, and soon there was scratching. He cursed himself for not smuggling a gun into town. He hugged his wife tighter ready to die with her.

He’d seen all the movies thinking that he’d be able to stand against them. He’d take down hundreds or thousands of them. Sadly, reality is a lot different. The banging was louder now. He knew they only had moments left to live.

A loud crash came from the foyer. Adam was thankful that he had his hand over her mouth because Mary’s “RRRMMMPH” would have been a full scream giving them away. They sat there and prayed as they heard the shuffling getting closer and closer. “This is it” though Adam. Hysteria was getting closer to snapping him in his final moments, but he held strong.

The pounding was now at their bedroom door and he could barely contain his own screams. He should have never taken this promotion. He thought all the screenings and tests were just jokes cooked up by management. Who would have thought some place like this really existed? Him and his wife joked about them until they moved here. It had only been two weeks, the worst two weeks of their lives.

The bedroom door splintered and this time his wife let out a scream that was ear piercing. They both now needed a change of pants, not that they thought that would matter shortly. The three figures lumbered into the bedroom, coming straight for the couple with out stretched arms. Almost in unison they said “braaaiiiinsss” and just stood there. Adam, finally getting up a little nerve for a last ditch attempt that teetered more on hysteria “it’’s against our religion to celebrate Ha...halloweeen...” he said as he hugged his wife closer. The tallest of the three tilted his head and said “braaiins?” Adam exclaimed one more time “We...we don’t haa..have any...sor..sorry”, he was on the verge of tears.

The three zombie children, dressed as living children, lowered their bags disappointed. They shuffled out of the house and on to the next in hopes of getting their bags filled before the night was over.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Viral n - The End of Another Life

He awoke to a distant moaning, pain and the stench of bile. After a few minutes of trying to ignore it all and go back to the dream he decided to open his eyes. Sight gave way to sound as he found that it was he was moaning. He noticed the lantern off to his side. It had landed upright and was still burning. He tried to lift himself off the wet floor. A wave of pain dizzied him as he found he couldn’t move his arm. He plopped his head back down with a splash, that’s when he remembered the headache.

Moments later he was being prodded in the back with something really hard. It didn’t help the pain at all. The prodding apparently came with a voice “Will you stop moaning, I’m trying to sleep. And you’re being loud enough to wake the Street Vultures.” said the annoyed female voice.

“Sure...just knock me out again.” He responded, instantly regretting his poor choice of words. One thing to remember, get to know a person before you make snide remarks. She granted his request with a hard thump to the back of the head.

If there was a dream this time, he didn’t remember. There was no way he could remember a dream through that kind of pain. It felt like being yanked awake by a tiger mauling his shoulder. He could barely hear his scream over his battered and hungover headache. He began opening his eyes slowly, fearing that any light would cause his head to explode.

His eyes began to focus on the opened doorway to the bedroom. There was a small head poking around the corner, watching him. As soon as it noticed him staring it disappeared.

While he was trying to figure out if it was just his imagination the female from earlier spoke “What Cloud are you with? You’re too high up for the Street Vultures, not the Wired either….”

He paused before answering. Clouds, or factions, were all over the place. They claimed territory from the underground to tops of the highest buildings. Some, like the Street Vultures, were to be feared. Others, like the Wired, were just a nuisance that were too far gone to do matter. Then there were others, like the Night Shields, that helped protect smaller Clouds from the more dangerous ones.

He glanced toward the voice. The butchered jet black hair would have been all he needed to see to bolt for the door. But it was the missing ear that caught his eye long enough for him to speak.

Surprised, he asked “How’d you get out alive?” Then a realization hit him. “SHIT! Are they still chasing you?” He winced at the pain as he jerked forward ready to run.

“How do you know about that? Who the fuck are you?” Before he could act she was upon him, knife out, holding him roughly by the hair. Regardless, it didn’t take much strength to keep him in place.

He hesitated a moment, then answered “I’m with the IAP.” She eased up a little, but kept her knife drawn, demanding “Show me your signal”.

The Independent Antique Providers weren’t large enough to be a Cloud. They were a small group of individuals that worked for all the other Clouds, collecting odd items that were hard to find. The items that were sought weren’t allowed to be taken from other factions. That trust kept them from the dangers of any group. There were known IAP officers that broke the rules, but everyone finds out. That would usually end badly.

He pulled out the small metal chip chiseled with his with his code and colors. The signal was etched, grayish and purple, it read ‘io9’.

“Independent Officer 9, I’ve heard that number before. You’ve done work with the Street Vultures, right?” She clenched the knife a bit harder.

“I’ve worked for many Clouds. But it’s kind of a moot point, isn’t it? You know I couldn’t take the job collecting you, I’d be going against the Shields.” She started to pull the knife away. “Besides, you know how much they enjoy hunting, even if it does involve flying.” He saw the fear overwhelm that ‘I’m in charge’ look in her eye as his words threw the truth, she refused to face, right at her.

She got up, putting the blade away, knowing her problems didn’t lie with him. “Since you can’t tell them where we are I’d like you to get the hell out now.” The shock of her own words rang through her head and she looked away.

He didn’t miss it “Who is we? Shit! You mean that’s why they marked you?” He shook his head “Fuck Science! I thought I was just imagining the kid...” He was going to leave her to figure out her own problems, but kids were the easiest way to corner his conscience. Sure, none of the other Clouds liked the Street Vultures, but if an IAP crossed anyone then what was to stop them from crossing everyone? He was going to become a Zombid. His only chance was the Night Shields.

“Thanks for ruining my life, you got a name?” He was pissed but he knew there wasn’t a way for him to walk away now. He couldn’t leave a child to those creatures.

She looked at him as if trying to apologize. She realized what he was talking about and was truly sorry he was getting involved. “My name’s Amaya, and you?”

He offered his hand “I’m Reavyn, thanks for the help.” He winced as he rolled his shoulder. Not knowing if it was too soon to ask “Is it yours?”

Her smile was gentle and thankful “Hina, come here.” As if the child had been waiting just outside the doorway, she blasted into the room jumping into Amaya’s lap.

She couldn’t have been more than four years old. Her hair was brown and curled everywhere. She looked too happy to be in a world like this. Staring at him, she backed farther into her the woman’s arms. The small whimper that came broke Reavyn’s heart. It was the sound of a child that knew to be scared of certain things.

He looked from the child to Amaya “She hasn’t....”

The woman shook her head fast. Thinking it a game, the child shook her head and looked to Amaya for approval. She patted the child on the head and nodded. Amaya looked up at him, “No, she hasn’t been feathered. And, yes, she is my daughter.” With a look of ‘Please don’t ask it’, she turned away. He seemed to take the hint.

Looking from mother to daughter, he offered the little girl his hand “Hello, I’m Reavyn. What’s your name?”

The little girl looked up as if asking for approval from her mother. Amaya smiled causing the girl to turn and take two of his fingers in her hand, shaking them “I’m Hina, nice to meet you mister.”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Time for Zombie Killing!

“Reporting live from downtown Savannah, our own Sarah Treble has the newest update on the Zombie scene, Sarah?”

The TV cut to the young lady holding a microphone. “Thank you Fred. As you can see here are a few zombies. Many of the local residents have shown up to make sure this menace is taken care of fast.”

The camera panned to the gun happy crowd, firing shots everywhere, zombies just moving slowly in circles. Bullets ripped through the zombies hitting the living. They’d drop to the ground, dying and the zombies fell on them eating. All of the sudden blood splattered the camera and we heard the camera man “SHIT! Sarah! Sarah, are you okay?” as the camera fell to the ground pointing at the small hoard of zombie shambling towards the downed reporter.

I looked over to the others watching “Why am I not surprised.” They shrugged almost in unison as I got up to turn on the 360 “Who wants to play some Left 4 Dead 2?”

Sure, between a Gamestop and a Target in the mall, we had plenty of games to choose from, but why not play a zombie game during the zombie apocalypse? Yes, we are pretty screwed up in the head.

Two of us joined a group in the lobby and began killing the undead when one of the people of there headphones had said he’d be right back.

We heard a loud gunshot in the background just before he rejoined the game “Sorry guys, neighbor shot her husband while trying to kill a zombie. He wandered into my yard.”

Steven and I looked at each other and shrugged. I chimed in “So, what do you think the death toll from shooting is up to?”

One of the others replied through his mic “Why can’t those fucking idiots see the zombies are just scavengers?”

Steven looked at me “I say let them kill each other, gives us more zombies to shoot at and less people shooting at us.” I toasted my bottle of wine to him with a “hear hear!” as we left the safe room and started shooting pixelated zombies.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Puddle Breakers

They walked down the street hand in hand, her umbrella doing nothing to keep the rain from pinking off his little yellow rain coat. It took all her luck to get him to wear the hat with it, she had to bribe him with candy.Her ankles became soaked without warning several times. It’s really impossible to get a kid his age not to jump in puddle of water.

She stopped at the edge of the sidewalk to make sure there wasn’t any traffic coming. His hand bolted out of hers. Startled, thinking he was about to run out into the traffic, she yelled “BRYAN!” She turned relieved to see him, face and hands, plastered against the toy store window.

He was staring at the new G.I. Joe action figures for sale. The sound of the splash and gasp didn’t even register to him. Bryan turned “Mom! Mom! Mom! I...Mom?” Looking at him was a little girl about his age in a pink rain coat and hat like his. “Have you seen my mommy?” he asked her.

She looked at him like she didn’t know what he was talking about. “No, but there’s a puddle over there. Wanna splash it?” He nodded his excitement, as if that would be the funnest thing in the world. He ran over to it jumping as high as he could. Having his eyes closed, for the inevitable water that would go everywhere, he didn’t see the screaming reflection banging as hard as she could against the puddle. He landed with a giant splash, sending red water everywhere.

He turned back around to give the girl a huge grin showing her his great accomplishment, but she was gone. He turned again to call out for his mother. Her body lay there, bloodied and broken, against the curb. He fell down at her, shaking the corpse “Mommy! Mommy! Wake up! MOMMY!” he began to cry.




The sound echoed in the dank apartment. Bryan had tried to find one on the ground floor or somewhere on the second or third floor, but his landlord only had one place open and it had a leaky roof. The clock on the nightstand was blinking 12:00 A.M. from the brown out earlier. The wind could be heard whipping through the alley way just outside his window. But it was the sounds of rain that had him cowering under his pillow and sheets.

He’d tried Psychiatrists, Psychologists, drugs, everything to forget that horrid night his mother had died. Sure, he could still get by, but doing anything having to deal with water was tough. As a kid it was practically impossible to bathe. He finally managed to get over that aspect, but the rain still made him revert to that little child trying to wake his mother.

He tossed and turned trying to block out the sounds of the drips with the cotton pillow, tears streaming down his face. He couldn’t take it anymore, he turned and sat up. Placing his feet on the floor his eyes widened and he could not move at all, fear petrified him as the water dampened his socks.

The sound of a familiar voice broke through the silence, a voice that should have frightened him, but instead comforted him. “Do you want to leave this fear behind, never have to worry about the water again?”

She stood there, unchanged by the decade that had passed since the accident, pink raincoat and hat just as he remembered it. None of this clicked as it should have, he just wanted to get rid of that which ailed him. All he could do was nod.

She grabbed his hands and they sank into the puddle. A darkness where there would be no more fear. Just the prey above.

Viral n - Dreams of a Better Time

The little blond haired boy jumped out of bed. He scanned the clock, it read March 18, 2212 8:02 A.M. His eyes brightened as he ran into the bathroom, threw his clothes into the sanitizer and hopped in the shower. He placed his hand on the tile in the center of the wall under the faucet. The door closed with a hiss and the shower started pouring out the water at the temperature he liked. He was so excited, and the shower couldn’t be over fast enough. The water finally shut off and the ceiling and back wall dryers turned on, dried him for a full minute to get all the water back into the drain, and then the door opened again. He ran over to the sink popped a Colgate pill in his mouth and swished a mouth full of water. Turning around, he placed a hand on the screen. The temperature for the day was displayed along with a number of outfits. He picked his favorite one and waited for it to come out of the processor.

A few minutes later he bolted down to the kitchen where his mother was waiting with his favorite breakfast. The omelette was completely artificial. Every thing now was made without killing animals. The ham tasted great, the eggs were soft, and the cheese…the cheese tasted amazing.

“Keith, slow down or you’ll choke to death before you get your presents” his mom chided.

His eyes went really wide and he slowed down. He took a drink of juice and almost choked on it.

His mom chuckled, “wrong pipe?”

He nodded while coughing. The juice was a pineapple flavor today. Finally finishing, he placed his plate, cup, and utensils in the dissolver. Seconds later the materials they were made of were transferred to the dish rack where they reformed perfectly clean. He put them away in the cupboard and ran to the living area of the apartment.

Sitting on the floor beside a large trunk, the boy’s father had the biggest grin on his face. “You’re ten seconds slower that last year, Keith” his father laughed.

The child wasn’t listening he was already trying to open the trunk. “What is it? What did you get me? Is it something from Greatest Grandad’s collection?”

His father bopped him on the head “slow down a minute.” Keith straightened up and sat back against the couch. “Now, what do you say?”

The boy looked at his father with the most serious look a ten year old boy could “I promise to take care of these items for as long as I live. I cross my heart and hope to die if I let any harm come to them.”

His father patted him on the head and smiled to his wife. The boy could tell that his father was just as excited about this as he was. “So, what do you think it is this year?”

The boy sat there for a moment thinking about everything he knew of his greatest granddad. He looked up quickly “Is it books?”

His father smirked and placed a finger on the front pad of the trunk. He opened it slowly and couldn’t believe his eyes. The look on his face could have lit the entire city of Georgia.

Scanning the pile inside the trunk “there’s at least thirty books!” He hopped up almost tackling his father in a hug. “Thank you father!” He hopped up and ran and gave his mother a huge hug as well. “Thank you mother!”

He got up and started dragging the chest to his room to unload his presents. He back into the two Sers that had come to help him. “No, leave, I’ve got it” he griped while waving one hand and trying straining to hold the trunk up with the other.

He finally made it back to his room and immediately started placing the books in stacks according to genre. He wasn’t at all surprised when he got finished and found that all but one book were either science Fiction or fantasy. All of the science fiction and fantasy books seemed to be regularly published books for that time. He looked over at the lone book that seemed handwritten. Flipping through it he found it to be a book that listed names. Each section had the title of a book before it. He looked down at the title he stopped on and read “A Terrible Tragedy and New Beginnings.” The first name under the title caught his attention “Reavyn – A troubled Paladin seeking to avenge his parent’s deaths.” He’d read about Paladins and loved everything he could get his hands on about them. He grabbed the antique wooden sword he had gotten for his last birthday and jumped on the bed. “I’ll avenge you my parents!” He said while pointing the sword at the ceiling. He quickly slid off the bed and searched through the books until he came upon the book with the same title. Half an hour later the words became bleary and he started nodding off to sleep.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Viral n

Three hundred and forty-eight stories up, he was looking out as the sun was setting on the gleaming city. From this perspective it looked as though nothing had ever happened. Clenching the railing, he closed his eyes tightly until he felt the slight burning and let that single thought explode through his mind “WAKE THE FUCK UP!” Never sure if he was actually screaming it or just lets it rattle his brain, the faint echo of it is still in his ears when he backs away from the railing.

The cool breeze washes over him as he feels assimilated with the wall. A flock of birds off in the distance carry on with their lives not caring. “Yeah? FUCK you too! Think you can do better. YOU NEED US!” Ah, how alcohol can make the brain incoherent at times. He leaned for a moment trying to figure out why the birds needed humans. Finally giving up, he stumbled, kicking the lawn chair in his way. “Damn stupid machines!” His cigarette darted through the air hitting the chair right where his ass would be. Before the molten ash could singe it the seat flushed the tiny cherry with foam.

The door, still propped open to the balcony, only had a little damage from the large metal bar that kept it from ending this horrible nightmare for Reavyn. He thought about building a fire for a meal, but he knew he had too much to drink. Fire and drunkenness does not mix. The old flashlight he found in someones antique collection came in quite handy. Grabbing the axe, the flashlight led him to the kitchen. He almost split his skull with the axe trying to pry open the cabinet, sputtering letters just strewn together to almost sound like a curse. He picked the closest glass and grabbed the axe again, heading for the bathroom this time. Gently setting the flashlight on the counter, he wavered for a bit deciding that wasn’t a good place. Wobbling for a bit trying to place it on top of the toilet, he didn’t like it there either. Finally tired of trying to think with everything blurring, he put the flashlight between his legs pointing at the sink. Not hesitating, he picked the axe up and swung it down at the faucet, water spewing everywhere. Seeing an intoxicated man trying to catch water in a glass that is showering a whole bathroom is probably the most amusing thing this apartment complex will ever see. He finally gave up after a few minutes, shattering the glass against the shower door.

The sharpness of the loud siren startled him awake. Feeling for the flashlight in the completely darkened room, he started coughing. He couldn’t breathe. The smell of smoke was everywhere. He grabbed the axe and his shirt, stumbling to his feet and covering his mouth at the same time. Feeling against the wall for the door to the balcony, he scrambled while running out of air. Finally finding the small crease that gave away the position of the door, he back up a step and swung the axe. He felt it stick in the door for a second. The door hissed upwards and he flung
himself out onto the balcony’s daylight.

The seconds flew by. He couldn’t stay more than a single minute. He watched as the smoke rolled out of the apartment as he caught as much of his breath as he could. He grabbed the axe from the doorway and wacked both of the shutters over the windows, sending them to be repaired with the door. He caught a glimpse of rags smoldering on the stove. Running as quickly as he could, he grabbed his pack, flashlight, and poll holding his breath as long as he could. He made it to the front door with fifteen seconds to go. “SHIT!” He’d forgotten to grab the smoke alarm. It was too late to go back. Swinging the axe with all his weight, it slammed against the hard steel door barely denting it. It opened with a lazy whisper. He jumped out of the portal
as far away as he could manage, the white foam encasing the whole of the apartment behind him. “That’s it…no more drinking, fucking machines.”

Dumping out his pack, the bruised and hungover man felt around until he found the small lantern. Shuffling through all the antiquities he had come across in this apartment building alone, he fished for the odd writing utensil. He remembered most of this stuff from his history lessons. The strange long yellow hexagonal object was called a pencil. It was used for making marks on paper. It was odd getting use to writing without the aid of computers. He found he could barely understand his own writing. He fiddled around a bit for one of the large calenders that use to be made of paper. He found the one he started using just days before. A big X mark through
the year 2099. The last year that everyone agreed to stop production of paper calendars. This one had holographic horses that you could pet. Flipping the pages he came to March. Making a big X through the eighteenth and let out a sigh “Happy Birthday to me….”

Shoving everything but the lantern in his pack, he fastens the axe to it and helped himself up with the large metal pole. He glanced back at the doorway he jump out of how ever long ago and noticed the elevator wasn’t there. He looked down the service hallway, but the light didn’t shine very far. “Where the hell are all the Sers?” He realized there wasn’t anything in the hall. There should be ServPeds all over.

ServPeds were basic automated service machines used for many things back when they weren’t hostile. One use was repairing elevators in the service hallways. Reavyn wandered down the huge corridor only meant for humans in an emergency. The elevators brought each resident to their own front door. One hundred elevators used to constantly move up, down, and sideways throughout the five hundred story building. The service-ways were large enough for two humans to walk side by side, just in case a fire broke out.

About fifty yards down, almost halfway to the next suite, he came across two severely
dismantled Sers. Stepping exactly one foot in front of the other, he counted the paces. “Twenty-one feet, huh?” Whoever did this knew how far apart to spread the torso from the magnoboard. The machine couldn’t rebuild itself. This was definitely someone to watch out for. The machines kept changing this number. Soon we’d be spreading them miles apart.

The next door came about three minutes later. Unstrapping the axe from the hard polymer pack he held the metal bar and backpack in one arm standing with his back against the wall and swung his other with all his weight. His faithful door knocker almost flew out of his hand. The door opened lazily. About halfway up Reavyn jumped through. That’s when the door had a change of heart, it bolted upwards. His arm contorted as the metal poll slammed to the ceiling, getting caught on the elevator behind him. The pain was unbearable. Turning to his side he retched, passing out before he knew if anything came up.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Same Old Days

I rolled over groaning while hitting the alarm clock. I raised up to see what time it was, you can never remember how many times you’ve hit the snooze. “....shiiiiit” I rolled the pillow over my head hoping that the clock wasn’t right. Ten minutes is never enough time to get up, get dressed, brush your teeth, try to look somewhat presentable, and drive to work. It doesn’t matter what traffic is like, or if my hair survived my tossing and turning (it never does).

I rolled out of bed, grabbing a towel, and headed to the bathroom. It always seems further away right when you wake up. I brushed my teeth and washed my hair as quickly as possible. I’d have to keep the beard until I found time to shave in between my gaming, doing nothing, and procrastinating. Returning to my room, I had to ignore my usual habit of slamming myself into my computer chair and roaming the internet before I scrambled off to work. I through on my pants from the previous day and picked a shirt at random, I really did not care what I looked like today.

Driving to work is never eventful. Not that it’s a long drive. There is the occasional speeder that’s been pulled over with everyone in all six lanes slowing down to look at the pretty flashing blue lights. Finding a parking space is usually just as easy.

I didn’t feel like rushing to open the store. I was only running ten minutes late. Hell, half the stores still had their gates down. Of course, the day I’m late there would be a regular waiting for me. “It’ll be a few minutes, sorry.” He nodded and I lifted the gait and let it slam back down. I hurried to turn on the lights and the computer only because he was one of the nicer regulars.

The day was being pretty uneventful. I was sitting there with my chin propped on my palm staring at the stein display when Lacy came running in armed to the teeth. I slightly leaned my head to the side as I looked at her.

“Seriously? Even the Zombie Apocalypse can’t get any traffic in this mall, dead or alive.”

She looked at me shocked “Wait, you knew and you’re still sitting here at work?”

I shook my head and sighed “Nope, internet has been down and I didn’t get a chance to check it before work.”

She looked genuinely puzzled “Then how did you know?”

I slumped my shoulder and probably had a ‘how stupid do you think I am’ look on my face “You really think you’d be able to run in here with that many weapons and I’d think you were just out for a stroll?”

Apparently she had forgotten about all the guns she was wearing, not too good in case you get surprised by zombies if you ask me.

What? You expected some exciting story about me being in the midst of battle and such when the apocalypse started? Sorry to disappoint, but that is generally how every thing goes for me, boring. Hell, three weeks held up in this mall and I haven’t seen a single one of them....not sure if I’m lucky or not. God I hate this mall....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mezzo Cuprum

The chains clanked against the hard stone floors as I was escorted in the dark. The faint cries, muffled by the layers of brick, barely filtered through the walls. The stench of punishment permeated Tomb Prison. The small lantern, carried by the guards, gave little light to the horror that awaited me. The death that surrounded us swallowed the small beacon of life that wavered back and forth. A small crumpled man came into view, hiding his eye from the pain of the lights. Like a shadow in the sunlight, he shrank back behind the pile of bricks.

The guards threw me in the dank room that would become my coffin. It could barely fit the three of us. Not that it mattered, these prison cells were built for one person. I didn't fight them as they bolted the chains to the wall behind me. I would have helped if I could. The walls were old. There was no telling how long they had been there, awaiting the next prisoner in line.

The guards left and the darkness consumed me. After an hour of hearing the clonk and slurp of the mason, my eyes finally adjusted to the faint light. Maybe it was all the misery that made it darker than it seems. He had already sealed half the wall.

His chains connected to the guardrail, so that he could go up and down the corridor, barely moved as he worked. As the last brick was set into place I was forever left with the weight of guilt. The thought of the creature I created from my love. There was a reason vampires weren't suppose to feed on humans....

The Blood Moon was full over the Mezzo River. She had been reminding me of this night for a year. We strolled down the river walk, arm in arm, as the giant moon slowly rose above the water. The low hum of the steam works under the street could barely be heard as they continued to keep the lamps a glow. The smell of copper and steam ruled this age. A much cleaner smell than the era I had been born. The clothing seemed more elegant and easier to don as well. I looked over to my love, awe struck by the beauty of the scene.

There she stood, hands clasping the black iron railing, leaning up as if wanting the moon take her away. The way the black lace courted the crisp red silk around her body. The black feathery plume graced her delicate shoulder. An ivory pendant wrapped in silver dangled from the black lace choker. A gift on the night I revealed my love for her. Her hair, a stark black with sparkles of glitter, made her look as if she was one with the night sky. Her skin was a smooth light olive, and her sloe-eyes full of hopeful dreams. Yes, her eyes, they could pull even the soulless into their depths with a glance. She was much like a Goddess from the tales of my brothers and sisters.

Half-pirouetting, the dress spun as she clasped her hands together. Oh that look, I’d never be able to forget the longing in her eyes. “Please say you will!” I sighed, as I did every time she mentioned the subject. My doubts were no secret. I strongly voiced them each time, but I’d given in months ago. “I promised I would.” A single broken promise has been known to eat away at a human their whole lives, imagine living with that for hundreds of years. Some promises are better broken.

She had been romanticizing about it for longer than I’d known her. Our love only made the prospect of it more real. “Why do humans think eternal life is such a great thing?” I’d asked the question many times. Each time she produced a different answer. “Seeing the rise and fall of civilizations is a momentous thing! Because we don’t have it?” Then, one day, she told me the terrible news. She was sick. For two months straight she made even more attempts to get me to promise. I asked her the question one finally time. Her answer pained me so much that I began to cry. “Because I’m afraid to die.” Those words held so much of her fear that they barely made it out as a whisper. How could I say no?

She started growing weak as we crossed the cobbled street. She always abhorred letting others see her in such a state, but tonight she didn’t care. She’d be rid of it forever. Very few people wandered the streets this evening. Everyone was at the lottery, hoping their number came up. Praying they’d be the next chosen for a new life. The giant clock struck 22:00 and the steam rushed through the whistles at its base. As the whistle died down I could faintly hear the steam from the castle grounds. They lottery was starting.

Every Blood Moon a single person to each Viceroyalty would be chosen. They would procure eternal life. The machines that spun and whirled, brandishing steam high into the night air, would be able to choose those few people whom had the ideal blood for the transformation. It was far too costly to for everyday use. It would also break after every use, taking months to repair. Therefore we couldn’t check her blood. If I were a Viceroy, or even a Count, there may have been a way. Unfortunately, I was but a mere Peregrine.

We came upon our Manse just as the hoops and holler assaulted the otherwise peaceful night. The first of the chosen were revealed. Her body had reached its threshold a block earlier. I had pleaded with her sooner to let me carry her. She could no longer protest. The heart break washed over me as I ferried her in this sickened state. It would be insignificant compared to the anguish I would soon feel. I carried her up to the medicinal room and placed her in the copper tub. The cost of the room addition had been costly. When her illness grew more dour I didn’t even consider the money.

The structure took up both floors. The ground floor hid the boilers and pipes that would send the water and steam to the restorative room above. I’d hired a runt to help with the chore of running the machines. The upper room was a marvel all to itself. The copper pipes ran in alluring lines that helped distract the mind. Two grated coffers stood atop the largest pipes. The medicine placed in them was meant to envelope the whole body through the steam. The large copper tub could stow three full adults side by side. The depth of the water would just cover the body for fear of drowning the patient.

Only an hour passed and she was feeling well enough. I knew what she swaggered in for and I begged her to let the promise go. I dropped to my knees begging. She wouldn’t have it. She lowered to her knees and hugged me. The smell as she bit her lip was rousing. I knew what she had planned. Then she kissed me and I was lost.

The intoxicating taste controlled my every move. I kissed her like I’d never kissed anyone before. Our hands shifted gently to free us both of our clothing. It was to be the single greatest night in our lives, her birth into a new world. The twitching and squirming as we writhed through the blanket; the rise and fall of our bodies sweating in the red moon light, I didn’t want it to end. Our bodies met at a crescendo as I went to kiss her again. This time she pivoted to the side and my lips merged with her neck. I willed myself to stop, but my whole being yearned for that succulent taste again. My fangs sank in letting me gorge my true loves life. Those horrors would never fade from my heart.

Her arms, folded against my chest, suddenly straightened sending me flying into the wall across the room. My arm was broken from the force of hitting the dresser. The horrid scream tore my attention back to the bed. Sitting up on her knees, her eyes were wide and her mouth agape. Blood trickling out of any hole it could find. Her ears, nose, eyes, mouth, every orifice leaked her life away. Then the spasms started. She fell backwards onto the bed as every muscle in her body fought each other violently.

As sat there, in shock, knowing there was nothing I could do to save her. Her head snapping back and forth raising her in an arch until her muscle crashed her against the bed again. The sound of bones creaking and joints snapping in protest started drowning out the gurgles. Her mouth began attacking whatever it could, the only things being near it was her own flesh. Teeth sank into lips ripping the flesh away into her mouth.

The spasms became more regulated as she started clawing at her own flesh. The fingernails of her left hand sank into her skin at her right collar bone. I couldn’t turn away as I watched her rip a gash all the way down to her naval. The spasms started again with rended skin and pieces of tissue from her former right breast making nauseating flapping noises.

I was frightened beyond belief. I wanted to help her, end the tremendous pain she was probably feeling. But I couldn’t move. My body would not respond to anything, it wanted me to watch what I had done. The process took less than ten minutes, but it felt like days.

Her body arched ferociously standing on head and toes. Her arms dangled lifelessly towards the bed. It was as if the stars were sucking her soul out through her chest. She fell back to the bed, arms twisted at impossible angles underneath her. She lay there for hours in the bed that was now puddled with every drop of blood and other bodily fluids.

The slight moaning accosted my ears as I watched her sit up and shuffle towards the door, arms slamming it off its hinges. She was gone.

It was daylight before I realized that I was still sitting there staring at the bed. I was tempted to step out into the day, to rid myself of the loss I’d endured. I was too much a coward. At sunset I found myself slumped in front of the gate of the Proconsul. The guards came and I told them of my guilt. Without question they wrested my naked body from the street and brought me before the Lord of the night. I made no defense. I asked for death, but knew it would not be granted. Those of us that dared to cause such unspeakable horrors, to those that we fought so hard to befriend, would live with their consequences. I had broken the treaty with the humans. That visceral change I spawned was all I would see for millennia.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Birth of Venus

The ‘Birth of Venus’ project was one of the most astounding projects we as humans had ever undertaken. The amazing discoveries made shook us as a whole planet, in more than one way.

The year was 2550 and not much had changed. Sure, technology had come a long way in the last five hundred years, but it never changes how it’s used. The American Congressional Continent was at odds with Eurica. They had been for the last hundred years. The only thing that had been holding them back from totally destroying each other was the whole of the Asiatic Nation.

The A.C.C. Controlled all of the Western hemisphere, but they were the poorer of the three powers. The were the defining cause of the world being able to understand a single language, though each of the three nations have their own variations of English. The A.C.C.’s being ‘The President’s English’.

Eurica was comprised of what was formally known as Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. They prefer to still speak the ‘Queens English’ even though the Monarchy has not existed there in hundreds of years. The northern part of Eurica, what use to be the heart of the world, was destroyed in a catastrophic incident that took place at the World Technology Fair in the United Ireland Kingdom. The scientific invention was powered by a particle of dark matter. No one knows what really happened. The resulting blast was centered on the northern part of United Ireland. It completely destroyed the whole island, the bottom part of Iceland, the northern parts of German and France, all of Denmark, and the southern regions of Norway and Sweden. This caused a surge of colonization throughout all of Africa. Though, the northern parts of Eurica do still hold quite a bit of life, it is no longer the most advanced part of the Nation.

The Asiatic Nation is the most advanced, both industrially and militarily. Their nation spans from North to South pole. Both Eurica and the A.C.C. learned the hard way not to go against this nation. They allow both nations to work at many of the scientific centers in the country. The Mariana Trench facility being the largest in the world. The facility spans ten Kilometers overlooking the trench. Though they allow no other nation inside their military training facility on the Tonga Trench.

The A.C.C. was capable, like all the nations, of sending robots to the surface of Venus. A portion of the A.C.C. had been the first nation to put a man on the moon more than five hundred years ago, but everyone thought they’d lost their edge. It was a complete shot the day they received their first transmission from their crew on the surface of Venus. Both, Eurica and the Asiatic Nation were scrambling trying to get the A.C.C. to collect all the information they could from their exploration robots. Everything changed on August 12.

On the fifth day of their exploration of the Venusian surface the team of explorers found the most amazing discovery our world had ever seen. Some circles still claim it to be faked, that crowd will never die out. All three nations came together that day, dumbfounded by the news. Ruins had been discovered, and not just any ruins. What looked like ruins found on Earth were visible through the feed. All that was left was concrete. They took hundreds of samples, digging everywhere. We wouldn’t know just how big the discovery was until they ship returned to Earth.

On their last day, one of the crewman got sick and died. Everything in the ship was decontaminated again. They placed the crewman in the freeze to both quarantine and save his body for examination. They were back on Earth a week later.

Scientists found that the concrete found on Venus was the exact same makeup as that used on Earth in the early twentieth century. They also found that it was amazingly older than human life on Earth. Theory upon theory started flying around the globe. Most of which stated that humans had come from Venus originally. Many Eco-Terrorist groups were claiming that the humans that had previously lived on Venus did the same thing that most of the world was now doing to Earth. This caused a lot of wide spread terrorism around the globe.

Half a year after the exploration returned one of the main Eco-Terrorist groups called The Earth’s Restoration and Rights Association (T.E.R.R.A.) broke into the lab that held the corpse of the Venus explorer. The Earth’s Nations all tried to pay the group to give the corpse back. Before the exchange could be made one of the groups members opened the Freeze. This was the first disease the planet had seen in two hundred years and it took full advantage. It was dubbed the Botticelli Virus.

A third of the population of the entire world was wiped out before the military stepped in to ‘control’ the situation. All the scientists that survived were relocated to the Mariana Trench facility to find a cure. It took a year of hard research to come up with the first trial cure. It took another year for the first suit that could that would be safe enough to go into the infected areas to try the cure. Thankfully, no one was concerned with money at the time. If they had, there would not even be a prototype of the suit due to costs. Fifty suits were made.

We never fully recovered from the Virus. Many wars have broken out and many weapons that pollute the Earth have made it almost uninhabitable. It’s dying. Our only chance is to look for another world that we could make livable. (The lights in the auditorium came back up) It is believed that we once made the journey from Venus to Earth. It is time that we take another step. That is why Dr. Allero and I are here today to outward, towards the depths of space, towards Mars. We ask that you give a thorough read through the project outline on your data pads. Tomorrow we will discuss the operation in detail. Thank you for your time today and we will see you again tomorrow.

“Well, that could have gone better.” I looked over to Dr. Allero, I could see he had been nervous the whole time. There is nothing like getting up in front of a thousand of your colleagues and making a proposal that was this insane. “I agree, but I think the plan will catch the eye of the right people.” He sounded as if he were trying to convince himself more so than me. “Care to come over for dinner tonight? Adriana is making Even-spiced Oarfish and Isopod soup.” She knew just what to cook when I was stressed. It was mine and Dr. Allero’s favorite dishes. “I would, but there are a couple of students I’ve been assigned to tutor tonight. They’ve got a lot of potential and would probably be a ton of help if we go to Mars.” I was a bit sad, but completely understood. It has been years since the three of us sat down for a good dinner. “If it’s not too late after you finish you know you can always stop buy for left overs.” He nodded with a “Thanks” and left. I stood there staring out at the auditorium dreading tomorrow....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day One: The Discovery (Part 2)

The knock at the door startled me. I looked up to see the young assistant standing in the doorway. “Dr. Allero told me to let you know when the bodies were prepped and ready sir.” The kid couldn’t have been more than seventeen, just out of New Earth Program Academy.

NEPA earned quite a bit of money from overly rich parents that wanted to decide their child's fate as soon as they were born. The Academy raised them from birth and parents had to pay extra for visiting rights. The program needed tons of money, but most of these people just wanted their names in on it. The price for the future wasn’t as small as people used to think it was. The children of the top scientists at the Academy were secreted in due to “special” circumstance. Gene therapy could make sure a child didn’t get diseases and was athletic, but hadn’t come far enough to make sure the child would be intelligent. Hence, not everyone that made it in became doctors or scientists.

“I’ll be right down, Liseth.” The more I looked at the readings from the gas collected, the more it made no sense. “Why’d this have to happen three days before rotation?” Resigned to try and get this solved before rotation, I dragged myself down to the morgue.

In the hallway, just out of site of the morgue, Dr. Allero stood with a scowl on his face. “Shit, Franz! Don’t tell me Ares is here?” He closed his eyes and took a breath as if trying to persuade a headache to go away “He wants to know how one of his Caddies died from a ‘disappearing rock’.”

‘High Martian Ares’ was top of the chain of the Martians and a general pain in everyone's ass. If one couldn’t tell from the self given title that he was full of himself, they’d have no problem when he opened his mouth. Though, it pains me to admit it, he is very intelligent in both science and military issues. I still think the only reason his company got the job was because his wife was on the NEPA board. He didn’t give two shits about his Caddy. He was just interested in possible security issues.

“Good afternoon Dr. Kelly.” Oh how Ares hated being called by his real name. I could always tell the feminine sound of it just pissed him off, even when he had to use it. He was trying to burn holes into my head with that nasty look “Dr. Veda”. It was the only greeting he ever gave to anyone, just their name and a slight nod. Liseth’s eyes were the size of saucers. She tried to look as busy as she could without having to go near Ares. I don’t blame her, he could be extremely intimidating. Hell, he was to me, but I tried to never show it. What can I say, I love pressing buttons that should never be pressed, must be the scientist in me. “Let’s get started.”

Liseth started the SASP. The Sound Analyzing Sensory Projector uses sound waves to produce completely accurate pictures of the body without harming a single cell. Autopsies used to be a huge mess. These days you didn’t have the body in the same room. They were always kept in a room by themselves inside the sound caskets. All in case there was a contaminant. It was created not long after the Botticelli Virus found its way to Earth.

Quickly scanning the outside of the bodies, I see no physical trauma other than the gaping hole in Lester’s head. “Show me a layered scan of Lester’s head, Liseth.” She was quick. She probably knows this machinery better than I do. “Zone in on layers 53 through 60.” I see Dr. Kelly shift his stance off to the left. “Is that a fragment of the meteorite, Dr. Veda?” Dr. Allero was already suiting up before I could answer. The robot was out for routine maintenance, like everything else this close to rotation. Picking up a glass container I remembered how it shattered the one the boy had stored the larger rock in. Sitting it back in place I decided on the metal container instead. Call it a hunch.

Dr. Allero pulled on the Hazard Level Black suit. Extremely expensive and worth every million. It’s made of a flexible hardened rubber that is resistant to temperatures from -200 to 150 degrees Celsius, with no effect to the person wearing it. The micro-filters inside change Carbon-Dioxide to Oxygen and have to be changed out after every use. The visor is made of the same rubber, put through an extremely costly process to make it see through. That alone cost more money than the rest of the suit. The best part, it could fit to anyone who wore it.

As soon as he placed his foot inside the room, I was watching his every move. All I could do was hope that Lady Knowledge would watch over him. “Open the casket, Liseth.” We could hear the nervousness in his voice. He’d always felt the same as me. The more expensive something was, the more likely it was to fail. Even if these were the only suits that stood up against the Botticelli virus, he had no idea what we were dealing with.

I only began to notice I wasn’t breathing after he had the fragment in the container and the container sealed in the gravity vacuum scanner. He was starting to pull the suit off right as the alarm for the sterile room started blaring. “These...these readings aren’t making sense.” Dr. Kelly and Dr. Allero crowded around me, none of us could figure it out. Liseth was yelling something over the alarm and pointing. The alarm for the GVS was going off too. We all looked up, but nothing was happening. I’m not sure which of us pointed faster, but we were all four pointing to where the forceps that were used to extract the piece of meteorite out of the body. It was nothing but a pile of rust, as was the canister that used to occupy the GVS. My eyes were the size of saucers this time “The report from the HepaVents showed nothing but rust...” I was looking at the other three. “Dr. Kelly, I need you to cancel the rotation. No one can leave. Quarantine everyone that lived or was near the lower east side today at any time.” Without a word, High Martian Ares stood at salute and quickly vanished through the door. "Thankfully there is still enough time to cancel the flight from Earth...I hope."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day One: The Discovery

The sound of the alarm clock startled Lester from his peaceful dream. To most that would be a rude awakening that would nag at them for hours, but not Lester. Whistling as he stepped into the sound shower, he had a great feeling about today.

With the forecast for today calling for light showers on the lower west side, he decided to take a walk before the meeting this afternoon. Lester stepped out of the front door whistling to himself again. He looked up to see the beautiful red tinted sky just as the meteor blasted through his forehead, killing him instantly. Seconds later every monitor in his house blared to life for the Emergency Broadcast System announcing meteorites in lower east side of the Mars community.

An hour later after the all clear was given several small cleaning robots made their way to the front porch to clean the mess up. Sensing the blood, the first little robot automatically dialed the Martians.

The private security members had been here longer than any of the other scientists. Unlike everyone else that came to the planet they didn’t cycle out every few months. They were sent here to train at a young age and lived the rest of their lives here. They were the only true residents of Mars, hence the nickname “Martians”.

Three of them pulled up in the jeep already seeing the cause of death. There were no weapons out here. This was a true science community trying to set up a livable place for those who could afford to get away from the dying Earth. If the giant hole in Lester’s head didn’t give it away then the brownish looking rock that the cleaning robot was holding definitely did. Hern reached into the jeep and called for the morbid mobile as Sev grabbed the body bag out of the back. Piht, the youngest of the three, helped Sev place Lester in the bag. He was hoping there would be something interesting.

This was Piht’s first time out of the training hall and he wanted it to be special. It had been ten years since he arrived, since his family bartered him so that they could have a future place away from Earth. He started training as soon as he was handed over at the age of four. Now, at the age of fifteen, he finally got to go outside and see Mars. He wasn’t impressed. He picked up the meteorite and threw it as far as he could. He would have been amazed at the weight of the small rock had he not seen the mess it had made when it landed.

Hern walked up and smacked the hell out of Piht’s head “Go get that ya dumbass! This is a science community; don’t you think they might wanna look at the damn thing?” The young boy trotted off after the meteorite pissed. Not at Hern, but at himself for not realizing something so simple. Picking up the rock, he noticed a foul smell coming from it. He threw it in the container on his belt and ran back just trying to get away from the smell. Hern and Sev had the body inside the morbid mobile and were sitting in the jeep waiting when he returned. Sev looked up to him “Okay, now go shut down the house and meet us back at the pit.” Piht’s eyes got wide and he almost said something. He still had a year to go before he could speak in the field. Unless there was an emergency, the Caddies weren't allowed to speak at all outside of their dorms for a full year after they’re regent training began.

He walked through the front door and over to the Nuem. The main control pad in every building was located next to the first monitor you came to, with the exception of the Pit and the Face. There were numerous Nuem pads in both buildings. He swiped his PerChip and punched in the code, ceasing all power in the home with the exception of the cleaners. He walked back outside and started the five mile hike back, cursing in his head the whole way.

Piht finally arrived back at the Pit starving. Swiping his PerChip to open the door he stepped inside. Before he could even relax the container on his belt exploded, sending a horrible smell throughout the main hall. Alarms started blasting, ViroBarriers starting slamming down, and HepaVents started roaring sucking the cloud of fumes into a Haze Casket. Thirty seconds after the ordeal the alarms stopped and the barriers lifted. Thirty second after the ordeal and Piht lay dead, the small meteor gone.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Camera Issues

He smacked the side of the small television a few times. That didn't straighten the picture out at all. Sighing, he went to the back office and tried unplugging the wire to the main monitor.

"Please work!"

Plugging the wire back in showed nothing but static.


He put the ladder up near the shelving in the back room and climbed to the top. Grabbing the long stick that looked a lot like a broom handle he hopped up on the wooden shelf as quietly as possible.

"I don't get payed enough for this" whispering as he made his way to the back corner.

Raising the ceiling tile as quietly as possible he peered through the darkness. From the faint light cascading from all the different places he could see the silhouette gnawing on the wires. Thankfully it was turned away from him. Ever so slightly he pushed the stick through the small gap he had made.

The quick jab startled the creature and it was gone in a puff of dust. Coughing and throwing the stick to the floor, Richard climbed down the ladder muttering "Goddamn ceiling unicorns..."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Verus Ortus

Before the Universe, there was nothing.

Well, almost nothing.

There it was, a tiny speck in the middle of emptiness, less than a speck. She couldn’t see it with her eyes, it was more a feeling, maybe even a whisper.

Then it happened, a huge explosion from the only place it could have come, perhaps a
seedling, she thought. The power of the explosion couldn’t be felt or heard and she moved just out of reach of everything that the tiny spore dispersed. That’s when she noticed them, did they come before the explosion? She wasn’t sure. She counted thirteen in all. They looked just like the Truanthleng. But why thirteen? The Elders only ever spoke of “The Decem”. So who were the other three? As she squinted to get a good look at the furthest three, all but the nearest one shot off in all directions so fast that she didn’t even realize it for at least half a minute.

The Truanthleng that stayed with her, floated there beside her before turning face to face. It seemed to smile, though it lacked any visible mouth. The only thing visible on its head where three eyes. She knew she wasn’t suppose to be staring at one of them directly, it was forbidden, but it was as if the being was telling her the rule did not matter here. Its head resembled a seedling in almost every way. The odd double roundness that looked as if a smaller bubble had joined with a larger one. The upper sloping ridge that reached the top of its head looked as soft as her flora. Below it,another ridge sloped up just above the third eye. The eyes, the only other real feature of the being, were like nothing else she could imagine. They were in a straight line, one below the other. A soft glowing white emanated from the edges of them. The whiteness seemed to coalesce with the pitch blackness that made up the their center. In her world, that kind of darkness should have chilled her to the roots. But it was, some how, a reassuring darkness that gave hope. As she stared, she saw its name “OE”.

Without realizing what she was doing, she closed her eyes and tilted her head slightly toward it. She knew that if she opened her eyes, it would be the last time she’d ever see anything again. She felt the cool warmth of a dew like moisture on her forehead followed by what she imagined were hands running through the soft feathery-flora that flowed like hair from her head. So sensitive were her feelings that she actually felt her flora change its color. Something seemed off.

She felt the change, counted slowly to herself. She lost count as she felt the slight surge rush through her. Each feather seemed to have multiple colors, and each layer was a different color fading into the next as though it belonged, but it didn’t! “What’s happening to me?” She wondered, panicking silently. She dared not open her eyes. She felt confusion flow through her flora. Green flowed into white, white caressed yellow, orange sauntered from the edges of the yellow, and into brown. Brown fluttered into to red, red swam into pink, pink sank into purple, and the purple FLARED into blue! This couldn’t happen, this…wasn’t suppose to happen. She felt the Truanthleng flow back away and her eyes burst open at the knowledge that assailed her from the damp spot on her forehead. What was happening? She tried to speak, to allay her fears, but she couldn’t open her mouth, couldn’t see anything but the blinding sights within her head. As the images slowed to a subtle climax, a tear fell from her eye. A subtle breeze sang in her ear, and for the first time, Nioce knew her own name.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Homecoming Badge

The clouds began covering the moon and the roar of the ocean signaled the rising tide. Beth stood on the beach with the flashlight signaling one of the far off ships. The escort might get here on time, but they'd never make it to the ship before sunrise. Sure, there were more state of the art suits for her condition, but all she had was the old hazmat looking version that she felt embarrassed to wear. Scanning the barely visible lights on the horizon with her binoculars, Beth found the ship flashing a signal where it would send a boat to pick her up. Looking down at her watch she felt hesitant. It was already 4:30 A.M. About an hour and a half till the projected sunrise time. They'd be here in about an hour and ten minutes. If she was lucky and they were not rookies, they could make it in fifty minutes.

Nostalgia started setting in. The sand in her toes felt comforting, and the smell of the salty air pulled at her to stay. Sadly, there were preparations to be made. There was one of the showers to wash all the sand off right in front of the van. The water was terribly cold as she stuck each foot in the streams, trying not to get too wet. She'd never realized how awkward it was to drive barefoot. What she wouldn't do for a towel right now.

Tybee Island isn't a large place, and it doesn't take long at all to get around at this time in the morning. It was the drive back to the dock that would take too much time. Getting pulled over by a cop would get the word to someone she didn't have time to deal with. Someone that would most likely need to be “taken care of” and the boat that was being sent didn't have room for anymore people. So, the speed limit it was.

The docks finally came into view about thirty minutes later. She was cursing the many back roads on Wilmington Island for getting her a bit lost. Picking the little blue box up from the passenger side floorboard, she got out and unlocked the back of the van. She filled each syringe with a little less than normal of a stronger anesthetic. With something already in their system, she didn't want them dead from too much. The usual drug wouldn't be good enough out on the waves.

The boat made it to the dock about fifteen minutes after she arrived. Before they got close enough to tie the boat off they waited for her to give the code. "Manifesto Zebra Triage" A necessary odd set of words that would never be accidentally spewed by anyone. Satisfied, they roped off the boat and threw the large bulky suit to Beth. Two of the three boys and two of the girls climbed out of the boat and followed her back to the van. As she donned the stuffy suit that would allow her to be out in the daylight the others carried to unconscious siblings to the boat. Climbing in the boat would have been an annoying task had it not been for the twin boys that helped her. Blushing for needing the help, she thanked them and turned away.

They were almost to the ship when the sun started to rise. She'd forgotten what it was like. She stared at it in wonder until the ship interrupted the view. The ship was large and looked like a science vessel of some sort. It flew the flag of the Sea Scouts. This is where Beth had been trained in her youth, alongside the boys and other girls that the coed program allowed. They'd be safe here. Though she worried what was going on back at the camp with her friends.

Down in the small infirmary Danni and David were just waking up on the beds. The ship’s Captain came down to greet them with Beth and two of the other specialists. She was glad to be back in a naval uniform, it felt like home. The Captain could have just given her a regular uniform, but he wanted her rank showing. Jennifer, the other female specialist, was glad to supply one of her older uniforms that didn't fit anymore. Her and Bradley were the second mates and siblings, like so many of the Sea Scouts. Beth almost teared up thinking about her brother. He'd drowned in a bad storm three years ago. That was why she decided to go undercover. Someone had to stop the Girl Scouts from coming to power. Now with Danni and David joining them, they would have little more hope.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Extradition Pin

It was around 2 A.M. when the white van parked outside the large house in downtown Savannah. Danni was just starting to stir in the back. As the driver got out to open the back doors, Beth stuck another tranquilizer dart in Danni’s arm. “Don’t need to make this any harder than it needs to be”. Stepping out into the humid air, the pale and fragile girl looked around to make sure no one had followed. She looked up at the driver with an air of authority, but not too harshly, said “Lock the doors and give me the keys. You are to stand guard until I get back.” The driver nodded, locked the doors, and handed over the keys without question.

A few minutes later, Beth strolled over to the backdoor of the house and pulled out her lock picking kit. It didn’t take long for her to get inside. She was a bit surprised at the lack of an alarm. As soon as she turned the corner into the kitchen, she understood the lack of an alarm. There were two girls about fourteen years old sitting at the table. Thankfully, they hadn’t heard the back door open. They only noticed the new arrival as the drug worked its way into their system. They were out before they could raise an alarm. The lone Night Owl was hoping that the six darts she had left would be enough to get this done. Pulling the two dart guns out, she started towards the stairs. The house wasn’t very open. This was a good thing when trying to sneak around. Though it meant there could be more guards than she knew about. There wasn’t nearly enough time to search every room. Luck seemed to be on her side for now having made it to the stairs with no incidents.

It had been at least five years since Beth had been in this house. She didn’t remember the layout very well. All of the top girls in the organization had come here at one time or another. This is where the girls were sorted into their special task groups. That night was the first time she had ever met anyone with the same disease. She always felt so alone, like she was the only one in the world who wasn’t allowed feel the sun. Having such a horrible thing in common, the five girls warmed up to each other really quickly. The thoughts came flooding back fast, Chelsea. The oldest of the group, she was eighteen. It pained Beth to remember those days. Their bunk had UV blockers on the windows. They didn’t need alarms or locks on the door. Not until a soft ball broke one of the windows. None of the younger girls in the camp really understood why we couldn’t come out. Two of the brownies approached the cabin that day. They probably thought they could just open the door, run in, and get the ball really quickly. They didn’t want to wake the night guards. Beth shook her head. Those poor girls had just started with the Brownies. Chelsea was the only one to hear the window break. She got up to see what happened and found the ball. As she walked by the door to get to the phone the two little girls opened it really fast, letting the sunlight into a place it was always forbidden to go. They saw the older girl standing there and bolted. She must have been in shock. Anya was the first to find her, the front door still open. She was just out of reach of the sun light curled in the fetal position. None of the girls had ever seen someone that red before. Chelsea died about a week later. The two young girls that caused the accident will probably never forgive themselves, but that’s probably also the reason they have become so enamored with Anya.

Shaking the memories from her head, Beth walked into the room at the end of the railing. It seemed a cozy den, except that she saw the clock against the left wall and knew exactly why it was really there. Only the guards were taught those secrets. She now knew where to find the prisoner. Sticking her head out of the door to scan for anyone that might be there, she decided to be smart this time. She crouched and snuck out of the room and made her way to the door near the stairs. She knew that anyone else would have thought it cocky to keep the prisoner so close to an escape route. But anyone else wouldn’t know that the prisoner was being kept there by using subliminal messages coming from the clock in the next room over. Before opening the door, she fished in her pocket for the earplugs. She knew the mind control wouldn’t work on her that fast, but she didn’t want to take any chances. Opening the door just enough to squeeze inside, she knew there wouldn’t be any guards to catch her there. Silently, she closed the door and stood up straight. Her watch told her she’d only been in the house for about ten minutes, but that was longer than she wanted to be. She strolled over to the bed and placed her hand over the boy’s mouth while shaking him with the other. His eyes opened slowly until he realized something was covering his mouth. Bolting upright, he threw the covers off and went to remove the object before he noticed the girl holding a finger to her mouth in the universal language that told him to be quiet. He quickly settled down and she removed her hand. She whispered almost too quietly “I’ve got your sister in the van, come with me.” His eyes widened again, but this time with hope. Quickly, but quietly, the recovering boy got up and got dressed. Beth hoped that the thought of his sister would get him to conquer the suggestions to stay where he was, and she was right.

They managed to sneak back out without anyone else running into them. The driver was wide eyed when she saw the boy walking beside her. A minute later the driver was unconscious on the side walk. Beth walked over and unlocked the back of the van, opening one of the doors for David to see his sister sprawled out on the floor of the van. He didn’t even stop to think, Beth had planned on that. He hopped into the back to make sure his sister was alright. She took aim and fired a dart into his leg. Not even waiting for him to hit the floor, she closed and locked the back door, and made her way around to the driver side. She was sure she pissed off a lot of people in one night. Looking in the rearview mirror she mumbled to herself “time to go home.”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Badge of Secrecy

Anya, always the first to wake at sunset, noticed the letter on the floor before she woke up the other girls. The other girls never saw any of the special orders that came, Anya made sure of it. Not that they couldn’t be trusted, there was just a system around here you followed. This wasn’t the first time they had to take down someone infiltrating the camp, it wouldn’t be the last. But this would be the most difficult. Not only for her, but for many girls in the camp. A pang of guilt surfaced for a moment, she almost didn’t want to go through with this. She imagined grabbing the prisoner and fleeing with her. The reality of the situation and where she was took that thought away fast. Turning on the water and soaking the thin sheet that the order was on disintegrated it. She walked back to the bunks to wake the others as Jen awoke rubbing the sleep out of her eyes with a frown. With a pout on her face and almost a tear in her eye, she looked up at Anya “something bad is gonna happen…” The older girl was a bit shocked, but Jen had always been right when saying stuff like this.

As usual, the girls stepped into the shower to get ready for the patrol tonight. Anya really didn’t want to give the orders, but knew she had to. The showers were the safest place to do so since it can be too hard for anyone else listening to hear anything. Leaning her head down to get the shampoo out, Anya sighed and just held her head there from a moment. She hoped the water would wash away the reality of the situation. It had to be done.

Jen let the water hit her face, trying to hide the tears. She wanted to question the orders, to not follow them, but she didn’t dare say it out loud. She was scared, for the first time in a long time she was actually terrified. She couldn’t shake the feeling of her dream, though she couldn’t remember what happened. It was just bad. So, silently, she sniffled as the water tried to take the sadness away.

As Anya gave the orders, Yui couldn’t help the audible gasp that came out. Everyone heard it, but they knew not to say anything. Yui really enjoyed Danni’s company. She’d sometimes sneak into Danni’s tent each night to talk to her about everything. She just couldn’t believe this; she didn’t want to believe it. She’d never been this angry before. She’d never really been angry at anyone, except the doctors. But she understand them, they were just trying to help. Danni? She was trying to destroy everything. She wasn’t sure if the steam was from the hot water or her anger, she wanted to hurt people. She sat there inhaling and exhaling, flaring her nostrils, trying to calm down. Bracing herself with one arm, she turned the water to cold to try and extinguish the anger.

Beth continued washing just thinking about it all, taking it all in. She wasn’t thinking about how this order affected her, that didn’t matter. She was wondering how this order would affect the whole camp. All the other targets they took down had been either boys that snuck into camp or girls that may have had a few other friends. Danni was different, everyone loved her. She knew the other girls wouldn’t speak up with their doubts about tonight, and she knew why. Beth saw that this could make girls start to question their other friendships. This single order could start witch hunts. Making this public could end the whole operation. Turning off the water, she was the first to step out and get ready.

They still had a few hours before their breakfast came. Instead of helping each other get ready, they sat there in silence not knowing what to say. Anya looked in the mirror seeing Jen directly behind her sniffling, facing her own mirror. Someone had to break the ice. She turned and hugged Jen. She didn’t know what else to do. The youngest girl sat there accepting the hug, and then the tears came harder. Yui sat beside Jen. She didn’t want to look, but the sound of the sobbing just made her want to punch the mirror. She’d join in the crying if she didn’t feel so betrayed. She left the bathroom to go mess with her dart gun. Beth also got to her feet and went to the other room. Anya turned Jen around and looked her in the eye “it’ll be okay, you don’t have to do anything.” Jen nodded and wiped her eyes with her sleeve. Anya hugged her again and then went to get her stuff ready as well.

The knock came at the door exactly at 11pm as per the schedule. Anya opened the door to see Danni carrying their meals. She helped set them on the table while the other girls finished washing their hands. Jen saw that Danni remembered her favorite meal tonight. She excused herself to the bathroom before she started crying again. Danni looked to Anya “is she alright? I thought she’d be devouring her food before anyone else could sit down.” Anya nodded her head “she just had a bad dream.”

Jen came back to the table and started to eat, Danni put her hand on her shoulder to make sure she was okay. The anger and pain welled up inside as she shrugged the traitors hand was from her. Before Danni had a chance to say anything, Yui, looking straight ahead, asked “Why?” The anger in those words dripped from her mouth. That simple word made everyone else at the table visibly uncomfortable. The only response she’d give would be “if you had a brother you loved then you’d understand” Before anyone could react, Danni shoved needles in both Jen and Anya at the same time. They collapsed shortly after from the drug. Diving beside Anya, dodging Yui’s dart, the unskilled girl moved better than anyone thought she would. She grabbed the dart gun from Anya’s belt and shot Yui in the leg from under the table. Dropping the gun, she rolled to the other side of where she was seated and grabbed Jen’s gun. She went to aim for Beth’s leg but it wasn’t there. Staring from atop the table, Beth thought about her possibilities. Danni got to her feet holding her arms out wide “You don’t have to do this. Let me shoot you and just walk out. Please!” She started backing towards the door. Leaving her gun hand up, she reached for the door and turned the knob. “Going somewhere, traitor?” The voice made her cringe. She knew she wasn’t going anywhere now. Sarah aimed her stun gun slowly, enjoying this capture. The dart soared past Danni’s ear. She didn’t know what just happened. Was Beth helping her? She turned just in time to see the other dart hit her in the arm. Before she passed out she looked at Beth barely getting the word out “why?”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Badge of Justice

Arms crossed and a huffy look on her face, Sarah sat on the swinging her legs back and forth. Her feet just barely off the floor would occasionally hit the coffee table in disdain. She looked at the front door several times, almost tempted to leave, but she knew better than to disobey. The youngest girl to lead a Troop, she had bested everyone else in camp, everyone but HER. She still had to take orders from the older girls, and she knew why, but it didn’t make it any less irritating. She kicked the table again with a loud bang just as an older lady rounded the corner carrying a tray. Not startled at all, the woman sat the tray on the table and started pouring the tea. “Ah youth, how easy it is to anger.” She looked at Sarah, “was it three lumps, my dear?” Sarah turned her head sharply the opposite way, sending her pigtails flying around her head with a “Hmph!” With a trembling hand, the white haired lady handed Sarah her cup and saucer. “Oh come now, don’t be like that. I know you want to be out there right now, but you understand why you can’t.” Greeting the saucer with a sigh and taking a sip of tea Sarah stared at the reflection in the warm liquid. With a resigned childlike tone, Sarah spoke “I know, we want the traitor in camp to think I was captured so she doesn’t run away.” Finally, she looked the Elder in the eye “But how long is it going to take, Grandmother? And does Sis HAVE to be here? She’s being too nice to HIM.” With so much venom in those words, her grandmother was taken aback. Sarah looked away, shameful. She didn’t like upsetting her grandmother.

She had just finished bandaging his shoulder again when the question finally came. He looked at her, hoping she would at least give him an answer. “What…what happened to me?” After almost a week of silent interactions with him, his voice almost startled her. She didn’t think there was any harm in discussing it, “What do you remember?” He almost looked ashamed, especially after how they were treating him. “I…I snuck into the camp at night to capture one of the girls. I was about to sedate her….and the next thing I knew I was here.” The anger returned to girl, making him flinch as if waiting to get hit. “One of the guards saw you and shot you with a tranquilizer dart. When you passed you fell on it. We had to operate to get all of it out. Part of it hit your bone causing the needle to break.” He winced at the thought of falling on the dart. “Why are you treating me so nice?” A not so nice smile crossed her lips. She gathered the old cloth and bowl of water, and got up to leave. She looked at the mirror, hoping to see his reaction “Because, you tried to capture my sister. Now, we will find yours.” The reaction she was hoping for was surpassed by the look of terror on his face. She looked back “I’m Janie by the way.” With her vigor returned, she left him to his own thoughts.

A few hours later someone rapped at the door. Ms. Audrey opened the door to see a young lady in a police uniform. Opening the door wider as she stepped to the side, she invited the police woman inside. “Please wait in here. I’ll get the Madam.” She turned from the living room and left the officer to wait. Just barely out of college, the young officer had her hair up in a bun so that it did not get in the way. A strawberry blond, she was a bit pale. She was skinny, and looked like she could be easily taken down, but she was a Girl Scout. She had passed all their training and the police forces. She could easily take down some one twice her size. Today, though, she was just an errand girl.

With a smile and a hug, she greeted the older lady that had taught her so much in her youth “Mrs. Mary, it’s so wonderful to see you again!” They sat and chatted for a while about old times. The minutes turned to hours before they finally got down to why Emily was here. Placing her hand on the yellow envelope she brought with her, she felt a twinge of sadness for the news it held. She handed it to Mrs. Mary with a solemn tone she told her “This may be bad for the moral of several girls.” Not knowing exactly how bad this would be, she held her breath for the news. Boy Scouts got a merit badge for getting their fingerprints registered. Girl Scouts also had a fingerprinting activity that they did, and would also get their prints registered. The Elder looked so fragile when she saw the names on the papers. The words flowed as if someone else was saying them “We have to make an example of her.” She looked Emily straight in the eye, and regretted what must be done. “Ms. Audrey. Could you bring my granddaughters here, please?” Mrs. Mary got up with Emily and showed her to the door. With a hug, the officer left.

Sarah couldn’t remember the last time she had cried, let alone hugged her own sister. She felt weak, betrayed completely. Why would her friend, everyone’s friend do this? She sat there in Janie’s arms sobbing. Her big sister was angry, but the anger didn’t stop the few tears that gathered in her eyes as she stared at the papers that were strewn across the coffee table. All she could see were the two names. Names she wished were those of someone she didn’t know. David and Danni Stevens.

An hour before sunset a note was passed under the door of the Night Owls…

Monday, July 19, 2010

First Aid Badge

He awoke with a sharp pain in his right shoulder and a very dry mouth. Remembering what had happened, he bolt up in the bed. He only made it halfway before the pain, nausea, and the blackness hit him hard.

Back at the camp looking at his prisoner, he began to drug her so he could take her back. All of the sudden her hand was around his throat and he was being lifted off the ground. With a smile wider than humanly possible the little girl spoke “Do you think we don’t know?” Off in the distance David could see a giant stake in the ground with someone tied to it. Just a foot away stood a normal version of the pigtailed girl that was holding him off the ground by his throat. In her hand was a torch. As she lowered it to the kindling around the stake, David could see the tear streaked face of his sister. He reached out his right hand helplessly, already on the verge of passing out due to lack of oxygen. The little monster holding him stabbed him in the shoulder while laughing.

His eyes shot open. Still in pain, he grabbed his right shoulder with his left hand. He almost sat up again until he remembered what really happened. Wiping his tears away, he looked around the room. The chandelier near the center of the room was barely visible. It was old, but didn’t look costly. It looked as if it use to hold candles where light bulbs now burned. The curtains were drawn, blocking his view of the window to his right. The dresser on the far wall looked old as well, oak, maybe cedar. The mirror above it gave him a view of the bed. It was very comfortable, almost lavish. This was his first time seeing a four poster bed, much less sleeping in one.

The door opened and a girl around his same age walked in holding a tray. He started to scuffle back against the headboard in fear until the pain shot through him and he pass out again. He opened his eyes slowly this time, but couldn’t help the single tear. It had been the same dream again. He looked to his right to see the young lady dressing his wound. Her hair was in a bun, blonde, maybe a light brown. Her eyes followed her hands as she worked them, her mouth in a bitter frown. She tightened the cloth and David winced. Her sash was full of badges, but he couldn’t make any out through his bleariness. She sat up and closed the first aid kit beside her and looked him in the eye. David cringed at the angry girl that looked as if she wanted him in more pain. He opened his mouth to say something, but all that came was an inhuman raspy sound from his dry out throat. Her anger lifted a little and she reached for the bedside table. “Can you sit up?” The voice was soft and poignant, but full of spite. The young man sat up slowly with her aid. She lifted a straw to his lips and he sipped the refreshing water. Coughing as it moistened his throat, he took another gulp, but she pulled it away before he could drink too much. “You’ll give yourself a headache if you drink it too fast, moron.” This time her voice was not as soft, but full of something he couldn’t place. She abhorred him. He saw it in her eyes. She wanted to cause more pain to him, but couldn’t.

Finally, after a few minutes, he was able to speak. All the thoughts that rushed through his head, “Where am I?” “What happened?” “What did you do to me?” “What’s going to happen to me?” “Are you going to kill me?” None of that came out. He was as startled as she was when he asked the first question “What’s your name?”. The shock and pleasantness left her eyes in a flash as they returned a glare. She slammed the cup on the table, picked up the first aid kit, and left the room.

It seemed like hours had passed. He had lost count after trying to follow the ticks on the large clock that he presumed was in the room directly behind him. Should he get up? Just as he was about to move the door opened. His eyes centered on the girl standing at the door and he recoiled violently. The pain in his shoulder didn’t register through the terror he felt. He couldn’t breathe at all. The pigtailed girl sneered at him. Hyperventilating was the only thing his body could do to try and get oxygen. Someone rushed to his side. Everything was muffled, but the voice he heard sounded like the girl from before. Her harsh tone wasn’t directed at him this time. “Sarah! What did you do!?” He couldn’t hear the reply and he still couldn’t catch his breath. “Go get Ms. Audrey! We need a wash cloth and water, and a paper bag!” He felt cool hands on her face and saw what looked like the blurry outline of someone. It turned sharply “GO NOW!”

Sarah turned sharply at the door, huffed loudly, and stomped down stairs quickly. Moments later an older woman entered the room quite fast. Bowl of water, wash cloth, and bag in hand. She walked to the right side of the bed and sat the bowl on the table, handing the bag to the girl on the other side. The girl was trying to tell him get him to listen. She opened the bag and cusped her hand around the top, placing it over David’s mouth. “Breathe deeply and slowly, calm down. It’s okay.” She almost snorted at that last comment. Finally, he could draw air again, but his shoulder was in horrendous pain. He glanced at it as the redness on the cloth over his wound was growing. He winced away and found himself staring into those eyes again, but not so spiteful now. They looked concerned. He almost smiled before passing out again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Weasel Patch

Watching as quiet falls over the camp, he checks her map again. Using a small red flashlight, so as not to give himself away, he figures out where the tent sits.

He checks the plastic covering on the syringe. Making sure it doesn't come loose in his pocket.

Silently, he makes his way to the tent.

He waits, trying to time the snores in the camp with the zipper. Crawling inside, slowly, he pulls out the syringe and takes the plastic cover off. Soon, he’ll deliver the prisoner.

A pinch, then blurriness. His last thought was cursing his own sister…

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Night Owl Patch

The sun had set just a few hours ago as she stirred awake. She roused the three other girls in the cabin as she got her things together and wandered in to the shower. Not even the adults were accommodated like this at the camp. The lights never came on in this building, and its occupants never left during the daylight hours. Some of the younger girls in the camp teased them and called them vampires, but they knew that these girls were the best at what they did. As they finished getting ready, they could hear that everyone outside starting to settle in for a good night’s sleep, and they would make sure it would be uninterrupted.

Though they didn’t leave the camp, they still wore their sashes. Instead of the typical taser, these girls carried tranquillizer guns. They were all in the top five percentage of marksmanship in the camp. These girls were trained on moving and non-moving targets, close range and long range, and could easily distinguish threats from friendly targets. If they couldn’t, they shot both. But the thing that made these girls so special was their ability to see extremely well at night. Raised in an environment of darkness due to a rare disease that they all had in common, Xeroderma pigmentosum. They were basically allergic to sunlight.

Their meals were delivered by one of the older girls. For some reason, she liked visiting them and this was the only time it was allowed. Danni could easily pass for a fourteen year old, but she was about to turn nineteen. She wasn’t very good at a lot of the training in the camp; her sash was only half full. Though she wasn’t good enough to go out on the field trips, she was great at helping around the camp. She was like a big sister to everyone. And when she visited it was always a fun time chatting away like they were normal girls. As they finished their meals Danni collected the trays and wished them a quiet night as usual. They were always a bit sad to see her go; she hadn’t been coming around as much lately. But couldn’t dwell on things like that for now. It was time to start their duty.

The night was humid and hot, the hottest of the summer so far. Their shower was wasted as soon as they stepped out the door. Their cabin was a few yards from camp in a small clearing. They could easily see the rest of the camp from where they were. The line of cabins where the Brownies bunked. The youngest girls that still weren’t accustom to camping. There were a few windows where they could still see faint signs of light, most likely flashlights as a few of the girls huddled under their blankets with each other telling ghost stories. Between the cabins and beyond were row upon row of tents. These were for the Girl Scouts. Most of these had three girls to a tent. Only a select few were allowed their own tent. You had to be extremely good at what you do to get such amenities.

They set the alarm and locked up, these girls were extremely cautious. They all walked together through the short trail to take up their positions. They never thought anyone would be dumb enough to try and come into the camp, but you never know. The oldest of the four, Anya, did her rounds of the Brownies first, as always. The other three continued to their areas. They came up to the mess hall and offices next. Jen broke off this time and started checking her area. Being the youngest, she was in charge of the area where there would be others around to help. Beth and Yui headed towards the tents where Yui started her rounds. Beth continued over to workshops.

The moon was a barely visible crescent, not bad for these girls and not good for anyone trying to sneak into camp. It has been three hours since the sun set and almost everyone in camp was asleep. Anya talked a bit to two of the girls in bunk two that were waiting up for her, Mindy and Charlie. They had a bit of a crush on the older girl. They wanted to be just like her, though they didn’t quite understand why they couldn’t help with her rounds. She tucked them in and continued her checks.

Jen stalked through the mess hall. It was a bit creepy at night. Rows and rows of tables and benches, the walls lined with screened windows. Not a single curtain in site. She often dreamed about being able to eat with all the other girls. She grabbed the cookie that the chef always left out for her and continued over to the offices.

Beth surveyed the workshops, which bored her to tears because she could do this all at one glance. They were all opened areas and if someone was sneaking around they make such a racket that it would probably wake the camp. She picked up a piece of wood and began whittling to pass the time.

Yui had the toughest job of the four. There were so many rows of tents and you couldn’t see over all of them. Not to mention some of the girls snoring made it impossible to hear someone coming. She started coming up on the medium tents that held the Field Trip leaders; she had to all around because she could not see over them. She came up on the last one and stopped. She could have sworn she heard a zipper. She came around the front, slowly, and noticed the heel of a foot barely protruding from the flap. Pulling out her tranquilizer, she aimed through the doorway and lifted the flap quickly. She didn’t even think before pulling the trigger. The target fell shortly after and the girl in the tent awoke sharply. The pigtailed girl almost shot Yui with her taser but quickly changed targets to the boy passed out beside her.

The pigtailed girl got up and went to get her troop to take the boy to a secure location. Yui stood there watching him just in case. She pulled out a little device and pressed the button. It vibrated in her hand. The devices of the three other Night Owls did likewise and put them on the alert that an intruder had been found. They search their areas really good and Beth would join Yui and search the tents for the rest of the night. Jen would keep an eye on the mess hall and cameras at the office, and Anya would exhaustively keep her eye on every single entrance and exit to the Brownies, locking every door with gun in hand. She dared anyone but her to get near them.

The rest of the night went very fast. Just before dawn they made a report of what happened and locked it in the office safe. They got back to their bunk and got ready for bed. As the sun came up they could just barely hear the sounds of the camp coming to life as they started drifting away to dream.