December's subject was chosen by myself and is... "A large stone was found in the middle of a field in Iowa."
The first subject for January was chosen by Sgt. Hubbard and is... "A locked box is left to you in a will."
The second subject for January was chosen by myself and is... "A person is found in the desert with amnesia."
The first subject for February was chosen by Stan Weiss and is... "The baby sitter is snooping and finds your many passports, each with a different name."
The second subject for February was chosen by T.J. Reed and is... "Rewrite a classic monster, ghost, horror story in a modern way and include the story as the title so we know what you have rewritten."
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
John felt like a year in the Montana wilderness would renew his love of the world. Plus he thought being alone for a year would help him put his messed up life into perspective. So he took his savings bought some gear, paid a couple of guides to take him deep into the middle of nowhere. From there he walked another week before deciding to make home. He found a nice open spot on a ridge overlooking a stream and the beauty of it all just said “here“. It was peace and tranquility. He wisely pegged fall as the time of year to begin his adventure. The winter was hell and he used up all his supplies. He was even almost out of ammo. It had took him over a month to build his small cabin. The books he studied made it seem so easy but in truth building a cabin with an axe was hell hard. So he had just erected his tent inside the cabin for extra protection against the elements. He was thankful however because he felt incredible for having survived the harsh elements.
Spring was stunning here and he wept almost every morning as he watched the sunrise. Then one morning he was surprised to see a helicopter passing over head. He was even more bewildered when it landed in a clearing just few miles away. He had planned a year of solitude but he went to see why the copter landed only to find Lenny. Lenny was one of the guides who showed him the middle of nowhere. He was actually thankful for the company when Lenny had brought him renewed supplies. Oh the can goods were as heaven upon his lips. The ammo was a very welcome sight. He had used most of his on a pack of wolves that had decided to stalk him. Plus Lenny also gave him an emergency beacon just encase he needed help. John laughed and said he would keep it but he would never need it. Lenny spent the day and night and left the next morning. John was happy with the renewed supplies but also grieved his year of solitude was ruined. He decided to just move on and enjoy his time on the ridge. He could never get over the feeling he was not alone. Something always nagged at him he was being watched.
John woke up the next morning hoping to enjoy the sunrise only to find the skies dark and grey. He could hear thunder in the distance and see lighting flashes coming over the hills. A cool wind blew in from the north. Odd, because in the 5 months John had lived on the ridge the wind never came from the north. Well John thought, no worries he would just hold up in the cabin until it passed. He had all the supplies he needed to weather the storm.
The storm started vicious as the rain and wind pelted his cabin. It didn’t take long for his roof to leak, and leak it did. The cabin floor was mud. He took refuge inside his tent. He had almost fallen asleep when the wind shook his tent and shook it hard. He sat straight up covered with goose bumps. He listened for a minute fearing his cabin had been blown away. Silence only followed. He unzipped his tent and looked out. His cabin still stood unaffected by the storm other than the constant flow of water from his roof. He jumped as the pelting against the cabin wall began. He could only reason it was hail but he couldn’t hear the wind and the pelting only hit the southern wall. He shivered as silence once again reigned. He was startled by a knocking on the cabin door that grew into a banging. John finally found his voice and asked “who is there”? No answer so he shouted “who is there”? The banging stopped. He could hear footsteps walking away from the cabin then a great guest of wind shook the walls of his cabin. Then silence reigned again.
Gripping his pistol firmly in his hand John pushed open the cabin door. At the very moment the cabin door banged against the wall lighting blinded him, thunder smashed his ear drums and rain poured once again from the sky. When he first blinked his eyes from the flash he thought he saw someone falling off the edge of the ridge. He ran over but could see no one at the bottom. John shook his head and said to himself “get a grip ole John boy before you loose it.” That’s when he noticed it. Footprints from the door to the edge of the ridge cliff. However the footprints where made from gravel and there wasn’t any gravel around accept from the stream down below. Then he noticed the gravel piled up along the cabin and some imbedded in the wall. “Shit” John thought it wasn’t hail but gravel he had heard pelting the cabin.
John retreated back inside the cabin to seek refuge from the rain. John shivered but not from the rain. He shivered from whatever the hell bizarre shit that was going on. He remembered his emergency beacon and turned it on. He had decided his Montana vacation was over. He need civilization before he went stir crazy. He began to pray he hadn’t already went stir crazy. Then he heard a pecking sound on his cabin door. Like a bird pecking on it. Then another and another. Finally it echoed through his cabin which he began to see as his coffin. At least ten birds pecking on his door he decided. “Stop, stop” he shouted and then he shot at the door with his pistol. The pecking stopped but then the cawing began. “Crows?” John pondered. He opened the door after pausing several times to quiet the shaking in his hands. It was only a light drizzle now. He stepped out and saw ten crows sitting on branches surrounding his cabin. Each mocking him with there caw. He began firing at one of them over and over and with each shot missed it mocked him again and again caw, caw, caw, caw. Finally with his clip empty he spun and ran for the cabin. He had only taken a couple of steps when he was knocked to the ground by something. His gun slipped from his hand and skidded over the edge of the ridge. He scrambled to his feet as blood filled his eyes. He blinked and looked at what had knocked him down. Nine dead crows lay on the ground. He looked back to the branch and saw that one still mocking him caw, caw, caw. John ran for the cabin and once inside hid in his tent grasping his shotgun as if his live depended on it.
It seemed like hours passed with the rain pounding the cabin again. The cawing finally stopped but as it did he heard it, a gun shot and heard the bullet hit the cabin wall. He dropped to the floor and began yelling “there is someone in here stop shooting”. Then it came to him, that was his pistol, he knew the sound of his 40 cal. anywhere. But he emptied the clip and his ammo was in here. He yanked up his ammo case only to find the 40 Caliber rounds missing. The shots began again. He tried to count them. Then they stopped. He laughed for he figured they ran out so he leapt from the tent and ran outside with his shotgun in hand. He would make that bastard pay for shooting up his cabin. He opened the door and smacked his face on a dead crow hanging from his door frame. He screamed. Then bolted out looking for his tormenter. However he could only find an eerie silence. Then the hard rain returned and he back stepped to the cabin. He shook the rain off and spotted his pistol completely disassembled on the stump he used for a table. That meant whoever had put it there must be hiding inside his tent so he pumped round after round into the tent. He finally mustered up the courage to look inside the tent after the trigger just clicked. No one there. John just retreated to a corner of the cabin and began chanting “just leave me alone” over and over.
Lenny and the rescue team found John in his cabin huddled in a corner clutching his shotgun mumbling “just leave me alone”. They didn’t understand the piles of gravel, the dead crows, or why John had shot up his cabin and tent. The only thing John could tell them was “just leave me alone”. Lenny wished the storm hadn’t been so severe. Maybe if it hadn’t taken them a week to get here John wouldn’t have suffered his melt down. Then again maybe the Native American legend of the Animiki the great storm spirit Lenny had heard occupied these lands was true. Lenny laughed at the notion. John just went stir crazy.
Animiki watched as the humans took John away. Animiki had been willing to share the ridge with John because he liked him and he could smell his ancestors blood in him. However when the white man had came from the sky Animiki knew it was just matter of time before he would bring more back here with him and that Animiki could not have. He felt sorry for John but in time John would be alright and peace had been restored on the ridge, on Animiki’s ridge and this ridge was all Animiki had left.
The rain! Oh, the rain! It descended in torrents and sheets and buckets, seemingly determined to drown the world outside my doors. Glancing outside I couldn’t even see the front sidewalk through the downpour. The entire world, as seen from my doors, seemed to be dark and drear and uniformly gray, desolate of light or life or merriment of any kind.
And the noise it made! It hammered on my rooftop and beat at my windows so! It was as if Nature Itself were trying to beat it’s way into my home, intent on mayhem most foul.
Wisely, I decided to forgo my morning constitutional down to the newspaper shop (since indeed, my rain slicker was at the dry cleaners), and spend a quiet morning at home inside where it was quite dry and cozy.
In preparation for my mornings pleasure I had lit many lamps about my study and kindled a merry fire in the hearth, bringing a wholesome and cheery glow to the room. A steaming kettle of water and a goodly supply of my favorite Chamomile tea along with some fresh scones with small pats of butter sat on the table beside my chair.
Several days before I had finally received my long awaited copy of John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” and I had fidgeted ever since, awaiting the time where I could settle in and lose myself in this engaging tome.
Now was the time! Let the merriment begin! I poured myself a cup of tea and waited patiently the requisite three minutes while it steeped, admonishing myself not to be impatient and nibbling on the corner of a scone in the interim. At long last, my cup was ready, steaming the fresh enticing scent of chamomile throughout the room. With a happy sigh, I settled down in my chair and opened my book to the first page and began to read…
I had no more gotten to the first sentence when such a loud banging came at my door that I started and sloshed tea into my lap. Before I could even set my book down it came again! And again before I could rise from my chair. It was as if someone were trying to batter down my poor front door with his fists.
“Coming, I say! I’m coming! Oh, do stop banging on my door! I just had it painted!”
I hurried to the door and opened the small viewing window set cleverly in the door to see who exactly it was. All I could discern through the blowing wind and rain that there seemed to be some sort of monstrous apparition on my doorstep. It could have been a bear or one of those great shaggy mountain monsters that the native have reported in Tibet. A Yaki, or something. A great mound of beast almost the size of my doorway. And it was standing there waving a paw at me!
And then it spoke!
“Aargh betterment sputnik grease pole!” It cried, waving a hand at my door.
“I say…. What?”
“Millennium hand and shrimp, Bugrit!”
“Bugrit!” It cried. “Bugrit, Bugrit, Bugrit!” Both arms were now waving in the air, slinging water everywhere. The poor creature was positively soaking wet in the downpour.
Although I really did not want such a huge thing in my home, I was nearly in tears at the thought of turning anyone or anything away from my door during such an inhospitable night. Far be it for anyone to say that I, William Winesap Wetwhistle III was anything but hospitable. Especially to those less fortunate that I.
So with no small amount of trepidation I unlocked the door and opened it wide, bowing slightly as I said “Please do come in and get warm. Can I get you anything? A towel, perhaps?”
The apparition stepped through my doorway and I could see in the light that instead of coarse fur as I suspected, the being was wearing what seemed to be a wool coat of enormous dimensions and great disrepair. I could not see a face as much as the hint of two beady dark eyes sunk deep behind layer after layer of sopping wet clothing.
“Yard beagle meant spunky cheese holes!” Came the muffled voice.
“I’m sorry. I don’t quite understand you.”
With a growl of frustration, the enormous being began fumbling with the buttons of it’s coat and after a moment, threw it off, revealing another coat inside of that one. It immediately began unbuttoning the coat underneath that one and again tossed it to the floor revealing another coat as underlayment.
I watched in fascination as layer after layer of clothing was shed in an ever growing pile on my parlor floor. Coats and jackets and scarves and mufflers and neck warmers and a succession of hats that was almost astounding.
And as the pile of cast off clothing grew, my visitor visibly shrank. Layer by layer and garment by garment.
For nearly five minutes I watched my visitor rid himself of layer after layer of clothing until with a final shrug, he divested himself of an enormous cable knitted maroon sweater with a large yellow “R” stitched into the design. And there, standing before me, was a youngish man of about my size. Pale and ginger haired. Panting a bit from the effort it took to divest himself of his home made rain gear. I could only imagine the time and effort he took putting all of that on in the first place. Looking a bit hot and disheveled but quite dry, despite the rain. I guess it hadn’t time or even so much as dared to try and soak through all of those layers of clothes.
“Yardley Michael Sheepsoul?” he said.
“Aren’t you Yardley Michael Sheepsoul? The bloke with the patent crop rotator for sale?”
“Oh good heavens, no.”
He looked around in confusion.
“Isn’t this 221B Baker Street?”
“Not at all. This is 221B Bleeker Street. Baker street is north of here. Across town. Easy enough mistake, I suspect.”
He looked around in growing horror at the mounds of clothing laying about in piles and drifts at his feet. His already pale face grew paler and just before he fainted dead away he cried “I came to the wrong bloody house…………….?”
Friday, April 6, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Vee stood recessed in the shadows and looked out at the chaos as it unfolded. She thought about how beautiful war was. It was a canvass to an artist who loved to paint in red and in that she had no rival. She thought about the centuries that had past and her happiest times were spent in a war zone of some kind or another. It allowed her to operate right out in the open. She had lived as a goddess adored by many. Living as a demoness and being feared by thousands was more pleasurable. Once, she even lived among the humans as one of them. She really had bathed in the blood of a hundred virgins. She had impaled her enemies on stakes after skinning them. Of course, the great thing about creating history is also being able to rewrite it. In lore there were no evil lady vampires, but in truth she had been the lone evil vampire. She was the first and usually only one. She mainly created prodigy so as to enjoy hunting them. That was her greatest joy. Besides, the blood was more potent than human blood. Sort of like a vampire aphrodisiac. She also had writers write that vampires could not exist in sunlight and around crosses. Sure she would get an awful sunburn if in direct sunlight for any length of time but she would not burst into flames and if she wore a cloak or something, then no problem. She handled crosses all the time. Also, the stories made it seem like vampires existed everywhere but there were just a couple in the whole world. She hunted most of what she created. Yet there was one that had eluded her. She had made a wise choice in turning him. Yes! Bruce was still out there somewhere but someday she would find him and destroy him and his kung fu. The thrill of the hunt was always so exhilarating to her. However because of the stories she persuaded men to write she would never be suspected of being a vampire. If men only knew that they just had the power women allowed them to have, their heads would explode. Oh exploding heads, now that does get me all excited Vee thought.
As it turned out, an exploding head got Vee’s attention back to the moment at hand. She loved the playground that Iraq had proved to be. She was watching as some American troops were closing in on some terrorist. Of course, the terrorist had set it up as an ambush but the American troops were too cocky to see that. All the more fun for her. She leapt from her perch to the roof top below and tip-toed to the window at the other end of the building. She quietly moved inside to find a spineless whining man screaming into a cell phone about being surrounded by the infidel Americans. She simply stepped in front of him reached down inside his pants and gripped his scrotum then slowly began to twist and pull. He screamed a blood curling wail and flailed his hands and arms about like a fish on shore. She smiled as it began to stretch like it was on a rubber band and then heard it snap as it pulled free of his body. His mouth was wide and bellowing to his god for mercy so she shoved it in his mouth then used the stretchy part to wrap around his jaw and head and tied it shut. Then she sat down on a chair and watch to see if he would choke or bleed to death first. Mainly she preferred to watch his eyes as he went from frantic to panic and finally to acceptance. He bled to death first, she must not have got it in his mouth far enough for him to choke, but hey it wasn’t her fault he had so little. Oh well, on to the next bit of fun. She heard an explosion downstairs so she decided to go check it out.
As she entered the room, she stayed in the shadows and walked across the ceiling. She saw an American soldier on the floor with his legs blown off from the knee down. Three Al-Qaeda or whatever they were standing around him kicking him and flinging insults at him that he no doubt couldn’t understand. The soldier tried to reach for his gun but it was just a little too far out of his reach. Clinging to the ceiling by her feet she uncurled out of the shadows and firmly grasped one of the Al-Qaeda’s heads in her hands and then swiftly spun it around and off his shoulders. Blood spurted from his neck and she vanished back into the shadows as the other two began hysterically shooting in her direction. She let them empty their clips and then she leisurely stepped out of the darkness and eviscerated one of them from belly button to throat. She had turned to the other but the soldier had found his gun and shot him right between the eyes robbing her of her fun. She giggled however, for that was an impressive shot. She looked down at the soldier’s name tag. “Reed“, it just kind of rolled off her tongue as she said it and then she grinned at him. He blinked a couple of times and then asked her “are you going to eat me now?” She chuckled and then asked him “what do you think I am a monster or something?” he blinked a couple of more times and said “well you sure in hell aren’t special ops.” She laughed even harder and said “I like you Reed but I am a vampire and I only drink blood I don’t really eat people.” He gazed into her eyes and stated “cool, but please call me T.J. all my friends do”. Vee looked him up and down and thought for a second. Then she cut her wrist and said “T.J. you remind me of Alexander the only man I ever loved and he really was great. Since I regret killing him I am going to do you a favor and let you drink my blood.” T.J. then blinked rapidly and whispered “that’s freaking awesome, so am I going to be a vampire too?” Vee just shook her head no. “That sucks” T.J. bellowed. As she lowered her wrist to his lips T.J. drank it in big gulps. Vee forced her blood into his legs and then reconstructed them. She winked at T.J. as he wiggled his toes and said “I bet you didn’t know vampires could do that, did you?” “Sweet, I can’t wait to tell my buddies and write about this” T.J. shouted. “Oh I am so sorry T.J. you won’t remember any of this or even this mission, no you can’t. You will remember getting hit over the head and nothing else. When you wake up you will only want to write about zombies and deaths because that’s so cool.” “Zombies and deaths so cool, zombies and deaths so cool” T.J. recited over and over as he fall into a deep slumber.
Vee watched as the medics hauled T.J. off and a sense of peace fell over for which she hadn’t felt in along time. She smiled and didn’t feel much like chaos anymore tonight. But then something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. It was a young girl maybe 10 or 12. Well what would a little dessert hurt on a night worth celebrating she contemplated to herself.
No one could understand why Reed talked about zombies and deaths when he woke up or where his boots and shocks had gone too. But most just figured war messed with people in different ways. Besides, who knew what he saw out there. War was hell and they figured Reed had seen hell first hand. T.J. woke from his dream with one word on his lips “awesome".
17 November, 1945
Capt. Isadore Michael Crunch, Agronomy Division, USAR
The war has been over for months, but we’re still fighting it here. There’s no longer a defined enemy, and we’re not digging foxholes and aiming at anything in particular, but we are still fighting the war nonetheless.
Now that our boys are coming home again and we’re not spending millions of dollars a day keeping them overseas, the big wigs have started throwing money at the science geeks, prodding them for bigger and better weapons for the next war.
Always thinking ahead, they were.
So I guess that’s why I’m here, stuck out in the middle of the desert miles from anywhere, watching these idiots play games with their new toys. The way things have been going, it looks like we will probably blow ourselves to kingdom come before a new enemy rears it’s head.
I knew I should have retired when I had the chance. Dammit…
So the eggheads said they developed some new kind of bomb. Something along the lines of the A-bombs we dropped on Japan, but more and less destructive.
That was their exact words “more and less destructive.” One of the scientists, a strange completely bald man with thick glasses, tried to explain it to me. “It’s an anthropophobic weapon. As Sartre said ‘Hell is other people.’ My bomb creates heaven on earth.”
When I gave him a blank look, he said “It destroys the enemy and not their stuff. Then we can move in and take their stuff afterwards.”
That was the most coherent sentence I had ever gotten from one of those pencil nibblers.
The General in charge of the whole operation hadn’t been seen in months, but apparently he was on his way in for this test. So everybody was walking on eggshells, running back and forth and making sure everything was absolutely perfect. There was a constant line of jeeps and trucks running back and forth from the blockhouse to the bomb itself, which was almost ten miles away.
The last time I had seen general John Kellogg Mills he was a small round man with exactly three hairs plastered across the top of his shiny pate. I saw now as he stepped out of his staff car that he was still small and round but now had a spiky bristle of sparse hair growing in patches all over his head. Like someone had taken the bristles out of a hairbrush and jammed them into his scalp.
And since he stepped out of the vehicle without his hat on, I assumed that he wanted everyone to see his new growth. Much to the General’s dismay, neither I nor the scientists paid it much heed.
But luckily for the General’s ego, his new entourage did nothing but pay attention to his hair. He’d acquired a pair of dubiously Middle-European types that were so “Totenkopf” that if I would have had them in my sights two months ago I would have cheerily put a bullet right between their eyes. I assume that they were a man and a woman, strictly because they referred to each other as “Hansi” and “Greta”, but I wasn’t putting any money on the bet either way.
Neither of them could just walk. They pranced or something. Like some kind of cross between ballet steps and a goose step.
I’m not really all that prejudiced, but something about those two made me slightly sick at my stomach.
Those two fluttered around General Mills like a pair of hummingbirds at a Coca Cola factory. Constantly touching and massaging his scalp and applying creams and ointments to the bare patches in between. Hansi even had a special silver hairbrush connected to a battery unit that glowed blue at times with electrical sparks in between the bristles. He was constantly flicking it through the sparse growth on the General’s head and crooning like he was tending to a sleeping baby.
That little goose-stepping fairy prince even tried to use that thing on me. Just as we were heading into the bunker as they started the countdown I felt a tug on my hat from behind.
“Ach! You haff such a nize head uff hair, Mein Herr! Let me show you what my little friend can do for you too!” And he raised that ridiculous electrical contraption towards my head. Without even thinking, I snatched the sliver brush from his hand, breaking the wires. Whipping around like I had a grenade in my hand, I leaned back and threw the thing as far as I could over the sandbags and deep into the blast zone.
As I walked into the bunker he was screaming something about that brush belonging to his mother. I paid no attention and went inside. Behind me I could hear the other one yelling something. It sounded like “Hansi! Kommt back, leibchen! Hansi!!!”
“Where the heck is he going?” One of the scientists pointed through the tinted widow of the bunker. The Generals eyes went wide as we all watched that fool racing deeper into the test zone, his white lab coat flapping behind him.
“There’s only seconds left!” I shrugged.
“One less pompous Prussian pigeon in the world. No great loss.”
Behind me Greta sniffed and wailed “But we are Swiss!”
Ah. Oh well. My mistake.
“Look!” someone yelled.
In the far distance we could see Hansi standing in the field, holding the silver hairbrush high above his head in triumph.
Suddenly the world erupted in blue light. Even through the tinted windows we had to shield our eyes. There was a rumbling noise and all of the sudden it felt like my chest had been replaced by a metal coffee can full of marbles rolling up a staircase. It was the oddest sensation.
And just as quickly it was over. An eerie quiet settled over the bunker as we all took stock of ourselves. A quick inventory to make sure nothing important had fallen off.
“Mein Gott! He’s alive!” Greta cried, pointing.
Sure enough, Hansi stood up again, shaking off the dust and raising his hairbrush in the air.
“Is is just my imagination…” mused general Mills, “Or has he gotten taller?” Sure enough, from the distance it looked like Hansi was now about seven feet tall. The General rubbed his eyes and muttered “Must be a trick of the perspective. That light made me feel funny.”
Someone else yelled “Holy snap! Look at that!!!”
Hansi’s whole body was surrounded by a blue corona. An aura, like his hairbrush had short circuited or something. And as we watched he suddenly glowed brighter and twitched hard and grew larger! And again! And larger! He was about twelve feet tall and getting bigger!
As we watched him grow we saw the expression on his face change as well. At fifteen feet he just looked confused. By twenty five feet he began looking really annoyed. When he hit forty feet he looked really pissed off. And when the final growth spurt came he turned to us, his eyes blazing with blue light and a look of homicidal rage twisting his features horribly.
Reaching down he picked up an entire deuce and a half truck in one hand and threw it about a mile downrange. He roared in anger and rage and swung that awful hairbrush, which had grown with him and was now the size of a school-bus, like it was a battle axe.
Great summed the whole thing up in one horrified and entirely unnecessary exclamation.
“Mein Gott!” she cried. “It’s the Attack of the Fifty Foot Wyman!!!”
Monday, February 20, 2012
Trinity was beaming with excitement and joy as Geoffrey walked her to the door and kissed her good night. His kiss was soft and passionate like a gentle breeze she thought. It was the first date she had been on in just over two years. She hadn’t been on a date since before the twins were born and Geoffrey was everything she could have dreamed of. He was striking, tall but not too tall. He was very articulate, intelligent and a real romantic. He was also a very successful self employed , self published romance novelist. He owned his own home and had a investment portfolio. He was almost too good to be true like a figment of her imagination or something. Trinity giggled to herself as she opened the door and stepped inside. She realized she hadn’t been this happy since……..well she couldn’t remember ever being this happy. She paused as she closed and latched the door trying to savor the moment for as long as possible. She had never known much happiness. Her life had been long and hard at least what she could remember of it. It got even worse when she became pregnant with the twins, but thankfully her friends found her and took pity on her taking her in.
Finally the baby sitter shattered the blissful flash with “the kids are asleep and I should be going, see ya later”. Trinity was shocked as Georgia the baby sitter tried to brush past her and get to the door. Trinity grasped her arm and said “hey I still have to pay you, why don’t you fix us a quick cup of tea and I will go and get your money”. Georgia seemed nervous and reluctant but Trinity was adamant about the tea and pay so Georgia finally went off to the kitchen to make the tea. Trinity was stunned by Georgia’s behavior and wondered if something had happened to the girls while she was out. She doubted that but Georgia always stayed for awhile and had a cup of tea with her after sitting. Why was she acting so peculiar now? So she stuck her head in the girls room anyway only to see them hugging each other as they slept. She began to think that maybe she was just being paranoid until she opened her money cabinet and noticed a few things out of place. Someone had went through it but why? Then she remembered she told Georgia that she had some medicine for the twins cold in the cabinet in her room. ‘Shit” she thought, she had been referring to the hanging medicine cabinet by the mirror not her jewelry cabinet. Georgia had found the multiple cell phones, id’s and passports all with different names.
Trinity laid back on the bed and tried to think of what to do but was so scared. Her roommates would know what to do so she text them Georgia’s little discovered secret and closed her eyes hoping when she next opened them this would all have gone away.
Gemini was awoken by her cell phone chirping so she went over to the cabinet and got it out. She quickly scanned it and smiled to herself. Trinity was always so damned needful and never able to deal with anything on her own. The solution was simple, Georgia had to go. Gemini started to think about how to make it look like an accident. It wasn’t like she hadn’t done it before. It came with the course. The job was what it was. The glamorous term was international spy but she was really just a underpaid assassin for the government. However, she couldn’t just tell sweet little ole Georgia that now could she. She looked at herself in the mirror and laughed at that silly party dress she was wearing. Gemini started singing “Georgia on my mind” as she got undressed and headed for the shower. It helped her to clear her mind as she plotted how to dispose of that baby sitter witch.
Solitaire just couldn’t seem to figure out why the song “Georgia on my mind” was stuck in her head as she got out of the shower and got dressed. Then she checked her phone and saw Trinity’s message. “Oh jeez” she thought she better act before Gemini did or it would be bad. She loved Gemini and all for the things she had done for her. If not for Gemini her husband would surely have killed her with all those beatings. Thankfully however Gemini had come along and sent him to meet his maker. Randy was a real piece of work but even the devil had a maker so she guessed Randy did do. Officially it was an accident and his insurance policy sure helped her start a new amazing life. It also enabled her to reach out to Trinity when she got pregnant by some loser during a one night stand. However Georgia was not like her husband and deserved better so she got dressed and went out to have a cup of tea with her.
Solitaire sat down with Georgia for tea. “Sorry to keep you waiting dear but I just had to get out of that dress and shower, I really feel so much better now.” She smiled at Georgia and said “sweetie did I ever tell you the story of what brought me to the lovely town of Jonesboro?” Georgia just shook her head no. Still a little nervous she was afraid to say much of anything. “Well let me start at the beginning” Solitaire said as she licked her lips and sipped some tea. “It’s a hard story to follow, but I came here after my third husband Randy died. I knew I needed a fresh start so I blindfolded myself and threw a dart at a map of the world. It just happened to hit Jonesboro of all the places in the world. So here I am. Imagine having to go through another name change because I was trying to leave my old life behind. I didn’t want any reminders of my life with Randy. The memories were too much to bare. So I had to get a new id, a new passport I mean it’s a real pain in the ass. Plus it’s not like I had to get just a new US passport. You see my papa was German and mamma was Italian. However the tale gets even more interesting. I was born in the US Embassy in Rio. So add all that up and you see the need and aggravation in updating passports. It is nice being a citizen of multiple countries. Now some time when we have a little more time I will tell you about the saga of why I was born in Rio’s US Embassy but for now you should get home before it gets too late. I gave you a little extra for taking such good care of the girls. We sure do appreciate all you do for them.” She smiled at Georgia and walked her to the door. As she closed the door she let out a sigh and wondered if they should just get a new sitter or move again.
As the door closed behind her Georgia let out a deep breath and thanked God. For a little while she really thought she was going to die. She always found Ms. DiDie a little eccentric but not like tonight. She always talked about roommates that where never there and now Georgia thought she understood. She also decided Ms. DiDie needed to find a new sitter. She didn’t really buy that outlandish story about multiple marriages, names and citizenship's. All the same she also figured she didn’t want to know the truth. Best to forget she ever heard or knew of Ms. DiDie. That was one mystery she did not want to solve.
Trinity tried to wrap herself up in her covers as she heard Gemini and Solitaire arguing about the sitter. Gemini had wanted to provide her an accident just like she had on Solitaire’s husband and the twins dad. That way no one would find out about what they had done in the past and what Gemini did for a living. Of course Solitaire argued Georgia was not deserving as such since she had been directed to the cabinet by Trinity. It’s not like Georgia betrayed them by nosing around where she didn’t belong like the last sitter. Secretly Trinity knew they both blamed her and she wrapped her covers more tightly around her hoping they wouldn’t come to the conclusion she was not needed anymore. After all Geoffrey awaited and so did happily ever after.
To say that Bartleby Jones had trust issues was an understatement. It was far more natural, and in fact safer in his case, to assume that everyone was a potential threat. He had managed to survive in the spy game for this long, not because of his skill in warfare, but because he was so very cautious. So, it came as a great surprise to find out that it was someone within his own household that ended his career. And to think, just a week or so ago, his life was finally starting to look normal.
A week (or so) earlier...
A mouse scurries across the floor and instantly Bart sits up, alert. Seventeen years of training in the field, and he still woke up, gun in hand at the slightest hint of movement. Bart's wife Malissa was so used to his little idiosyncrasies that she didn't even twitch at his movement. He scanned the room, methodically lowered his heartbeat, and returned the nine millimeter to it's hiding place under the mattress.
Bart lay there for several moments, staring at the ceiling, but he was unable to fall back asleep. So he slipped into his navy blue robe and headed downstairs to the kitchen, to have a nightcap. Perhaps some bourbon would ease his mind. Bart poured the smooth brown liquid and two cubes of ice, into a shiny, silver coffee cup. The cup, a gift from his father-in-law, was engraved with the words “To Malissa and Bart, may your lives be long and peaceful.” Words which now seem all too ironic.
As he lifted the coffee cup to his lips, he caught his nearly perfect reflection. A smooth jawline and strong chin, marked his more prominent features. But something was off, an Indianesque red spot dotted his forehead. His instincts exploded into action at the same time as the cup exploded into pieces, and he flung himself to the floor. Tiny fragments of silver metal and glass were all around, and more than a few of them had pierced his skin. “But hey,” he thought, “that's better than a bullet!”
Seconds later, he heard glass breaking in the living room, as gas grenades came flying into the house. He always kept a gun stashed in each room for just such an occasion, and he headed toward it. Under the range hood was a derringer, and he cycled an armor-piercing round into the chamber. No sooner had he cycled the round, then a black masked face appeared in the doorway. Two rounds entered the figure before he could react.
Bart quickly put his training to work and outfitted himself with the fallen figure's body armor and weapons. The enemy's surprise attack had failed and now they were going to pay dearly for it. A fully outfitted and armed Bartleby Jones entered the smoke filled living room and made quick work out of the two black clad figures that had entered through the broken windows.
One by one Bart scanned the downstairs rooms, then once they were clear, he hustled upstairs to check on the rest of the family. Although this was the first time they had been in such a situation, the other Joneses were far from unprepared. Bart's children, Jake and Jenny, had immediately taken shelter under their beds upon hearing the gunshots downstairs. Malissa had retrieved her husband's nine millimeter and was kneeling behind their upturned bed, using it as a makeshift bunker.
She fired a wide shot into the doorway, just as Bart crossed the threshold.
“Whoa, honey, it's me!”
“Oops, sorry baby. With all that on, you looked like one of them.” She pointed to a black clad figure lying on the ground motionless. Apparently not all the action was downstairs.
“Alright, you know the drill. Gather up the kids and head out the back way. Take the van and don't stop driving until you get to the cabin on the beach.”
“But why can't I take the SUV and why can't you come with me?”
“Listen honey, there's no time to debate. I'd love to come with you but I've got to find out how they found us, and who they are. Malissa, I love you honey, but if they found us here, they could know more than they should. And if that is the case, then it'll be more than just our family in danger. I'll see you around. If I don't show within a week, fly the kids to Uncle Carl's in Alaska. Goodbye.”
Bart gathered up all the weapons from the fallen assassins, and loaded them into the back of his SUV, and headed north toward Washington. He had long since broken any contact from the secret organization which employed him, but that didn't mean that he was without his sources. Perhaps his contact in Seattle knew more about his attackers.
The weather in the city was unusually warm for May, so Bart was cruising with his windows down as he rolled into Seattle. His contact, Giovanni, was waiting for him in the Waffle House parking lot. Bart had called him on the drive up.
“Well I hate to say you drove all this way for nothing... but you drove all this way for nothing. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'd love to help you out but I've exhausted all my resources. In fact I've... What's that smell?”
Bart smelled it too. There was a strong smell coming from his car. Maybe because he was driving with the windows down, he never noticed it until Giovanni mentioned something. The two of them tracked the smell down to the back side of the trunk area. When they opened it, flies buzzed around and a much stronger smell of decay wafted out.
Just inside the trunk was the body of Stacy Rabinowitz, the Jones' babysitter. And then it all clicked. That's how they found the house and why Malissa wanted to drive the SUV instead of the van! Without a moments hesitation, Bart dumped the body out of the trunk, which he knew Giovanni would “take care of,” and jumped into the front seat. His foot never left the floor as he sped southward toward their beach house.
Bart arrived on the scene, skidding to a halt just up the street, and made the rest of the trip on foot. He held his assault rifle at the ready, and walked in short, crouched bursts. He had known this area very well for many years, but so did she. A quick glance around the corner revealed what he had feared the whole drive home.
Malissa was waiting for him out in the open, but she had both children on their knees, with a pistol pointed at each. She knew it was only a matter of time before he discovered Stacy's body. So instead of waiting for him to make the first move, she decided to weight the scales in her favor. Bart came out into the open too, but kept his rifle at the ready.
“Stupid babysitter, just had to stick her nose where it didn't belong. She found all my passports, Bart. What was I supposed to do? My cover was blown, and you of all people must know what happens after that. Isn't that right Mr. Spy Guy? I've got to tie up the loose ends.”
“Honey, I've known you for fifteen years, and I know you won't pull those triggers. Besides, your mascara is running.”
“You didn't know that I was a counter spy, and you didn't know that I've been watching you since the day you became a spy. Now, drop it or the children will suffer for your arrogance.”
Bart complied, but before the rifle could hit the ground, he yelled, “NOW!” The two children dropped to the ground in opposite directions, at Bart's cue. He drew a pistol and dove to the side, firing as he fell. Malissa too began firing wildly in his general direction.
Before they knew it, the two of them had exhausted their ammo and were locked in mortal combat. When they had fought for several minutes, Bart had gotten the upper hand. He had Malissa in a choke hold and her arms were pinned. But just when she was about to break loose, a green puff of smoke appeared around their heads and both of them passed out.
Standing over their limp bodies were Jake and Jenny. Jenny pulled out her cell phone and dialed a coded number into the disposable phone.
“Failsafe initiated. Operation Burnt Bridges successful.”
It was obvious, the babysitter must die. What was not so obvious was how to accomplish this without compromising the mission. He could shoot her, of course, but that was messy. Cutting her throat was even worse. Strangulation, perhaps? Yes, he would have to strangle her. He shuddered at the thought, a delicate little shiver that belied his distaste for the act. He wasn’t even sure that he could do it. The last time that he had strangled someone it had not gone well. Of course that had been a full grown man who had fought back. He imagined that he could still feel the pain of the victim’s knee in his groin.
He thought of himself as a secret soldier in the war on terror. Secret because there were things that must be done but that the public did not want to know. They wanted to be protected but they required plausible deniability to be able to sleep like the sheep they were. He was the wolf in sheep’s clothing, prowling the edges of the civilized world, keeping the God-fearing safe in their comfortable homes.
Truth be told, he was an idiot, an idiot with delusions of grandeur. By day he worked in a tiny government cubicle shuffling meaningless papers. The job was endless, stamp a paper, pass it to the next drone and another paper appeared waiting for the red stamp. He had been bored, so he joined the Organization. He dreamed of being a hero to his people, the ultimate patriot, now this.
He and his wife returned from an evening out and that is when he discovered that the babysitter had found his stash of passports. Various names and addresses all with his photo. He had been warned of this, security was imperative and he had become complacent. Now the babysitter must die.
This would be his second kill, his first solo. The last time he had been in the company of his trainer. They had prowled the allies of the city until they found a homeless man lying beside a trash dumpster. His trainer urged him forward and he had knelt in the dark, gloved fingers sliding around the sleeping man’s throat. With the suddenness of a cobra the drunken derelict had become a thrashing beast fighting for his life. The man’s knee slammed into his groin with enough power to bring tears to his eyes. He lost his grip and rolled in the garbage. Had it not been for his trainer shooting the man in both knees he would have failed. As it was it took minutes for the man to stop struggling and go to meet his god.
The babysitter should be easy; after all she was a mere woman. He would walk her home and do what must be done, his handlers need never know. He could do this. If only he had put the passports somewhere other than his briefcase. But then, it was her fault. Why had she been in the master suite closet anyway? Was she merely a snoop or was she, in fact, a spy? Paranoia aside the fact remained, she must die.
She waited patiently in the foyer, a sturdy matronly looking woman, pleasant enough, but certainly not one to be trusted with secrets. Women gossiped. Of course she would tell others. He had no choice, she must die.
They strolled down the sidewalk side by side. She chattered but he paid no attention. He was imagining what was to come, the feel of his fingers on her throat, his thumbs pressing into her larynx, cutting off any sound she might make. He was perspiring in the cool summer night.
It was convenient for him that she chose to walk around the house and enter from the rear. The yard was enclosed by a privacy fence protecting him from the spying eyes of a sleepless neighbor. She stood on the tiny stoop, fumbling for her keys as he waited a step below; impatient for the door to open so that he could strike.
As she began to open the door he lunged, hands reaching for her neck. He barely touched her as he tripped on the step. His hands slid down her back as she stepped inside, all thoughts of strangling her gone as he tried to catch himself. He failed. His chin hit the doorsill with a whack that clacked his teeth together biting the tip off his tongue. Blood spurted from his mouth. He lay stunned.
At last he lifted his head and saw the woman leaning placidly against a counter, the ugly snout of a silenced pistol pointing at his head. He shook his head in confusion. That confusion multiplied as a man stepped into the kitchen from the hallway behind the woman. Understanding followed slowly as he recognized his handler. This had been nothing more than another field test, one he had failed miserably. He groaned at the thought of the training camp in the middle of the desert, none of the comforts of home, only the trainers and other candidates for company. Martyrdom did not come easy.
He did not die a martyr. No bomb strapped to his body exploding in a shopping mall to propel his soul to paradise and the waiting virgins. No prayers carried his name to the Creator. He died with a bullet in the brain on a kitchen floor in suburbia, far from his beloved country, in a land of infidels. But he died with a final thought, the mission was secure. Allah be praised.