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.