About Us

We are a group of several aspiring writers, who thought it would be fun to get together and challenge each other on a monthly basis. Judging is done by adding the total number of stars up and dividing by the total number of votes, so having the most stars or most votes doesn't necessarily mean you win, it's the overall average. Whoever wins gets to pick the subject matter for the next session's short stories. Please read each story and vote them all appropriately. The voting boxes are to the left of the page and are marked by story title. If you would like to leave a comment simply click on the story title above each entry, but please keep them constructive. Again, thanks for reading and I hope that everyone can get as much enjoyment out of this as I have.

User Directions

TO WHOEVER VISITS THE SITE WITH AN INTENT TO HELP, WE WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU VOTE ON ALL STORIES RATHER THAN JUST THE ONE YOU LIKE MOST. RATE ALL STORIES BASED ON HOW MUCH YOU LIKED THEM EACH. IN THIS WAY WE CAN GET A MORE ACCURATE TALLY FOR JUDGING THE WINNER. THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR TIME AND VOTES, WE APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH.

Contest Subjects

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

Infestation Story

Luckily, I saw the creature before it saw me. My luck doesn’t always run like that. When that last incident with the Snapes went down last year I was caught totally flat footed and just barely survived. I’ll tell you what… The last place you want to be is down a blind alley facing a handful of hungry Snapes when the only thing you are armed with is a trash can lid and a Swiss army knife.

It was touch and go there for a minute.


But this time I saw the thing first. Caught it’s reflection in a store window as I was admiring a new crossbow in the display of WonMugs Hardware. At first it was just a glimpse. But my subconscious mind picked up on it and all of the hair on the back of my neck rose in alarm. Turning slightly and trying to look casual, I stole a closer look.


Oh yeah. There was no doubt about it. Hoo boy. This could get ugly. What were the guys at the border doing? Playing Parcheesi?


From the direction the creature was headed, I figured it was homing in on The Club. Their kind always do. I don’t know why they keep that place open. If you ask me, it’s nothing more than a magnet for this kind of slime.


Then again, if it weren’t for The Club, then the streets would be hip deep in young pretty boys in leather pants trying to be all Guido in front of normal people and we can’t have that, can we?


Would it be all that bad if I let the creature eat a few empty headed mooks? Just a few? Ahh… It was nice to think about, just for a moment. But, no. Where there’s one there’s bound to be more. They usually run in packs of at least three or more. And Lawd help us if those nasty things started breeding somewhere around here. They would level this town in days.


Cutting through the alley I ran up a side street and got a couple of blocks ahead of the beast, slipping the pack off my shoulders and readying myself for the assault. While I got prepared I mumbled the litany from the Book of Armaments by Gygax.


“Look not into the eyes of the beast

Strike quickly and without hesitation

Sanitize your land of unclean things

And keep your freaking wits about you.”


A small mirror from my pocket gave me a good view of the creature as it came up the sidewalk. An unlearned man might mistake for an attractive if not beautiful, woman. Long shapely legs and a tight compact body with viscerally attractive bumps and bulges here and there along the torso. Long curly jet black hair and dark smoldering eyes set above what might be considered to be a “classic” nose. All encased in a tight black velvet dress that hugged all of those curves in all of the right places.


Yes, indeed. An unlearned man might very easily fall into the trap of this walking black widow spider. But not me. I could smell the layers of expensive makeup and perfume that wafted from the creature like the miasma from a dumpster on a hot summer day. And just underneath the stench was the sickly sweet smell of silicone mixed with Botox. It was enough to almost make the bile rise in my throat. I almost cursed aloud that such vile predatory creatures were allowed to exist.


I started out of my reverie in shock. The beast was almost upon me! Backing deeper into the alley I grabbed up an empty cardboard box and held it up in front of my eyes, letting my ears tell me the time to move.


The clack clack of those deadly stiletto heels made the ice run in my veins. I’d heard tales of them disemboweling a man with once vicious swipe of those heels. I held my breath until it stepped into the entrance of the alleyway.


“Hey!” The thing paused. I could see its feet as I glanced underneath the box.


“Found a Prada handbag here. Did you lose one?”


“IT’S MINE!!!” the creature shrieked “GIVE IT TO ME!!!”


Dropping the box to the ground as the beast dove at it in a fury; I stepped to the side and reached under my coat. Forty eight inches of cold Damascus steel as black as night with a handle of the finest American made parachute cord slipped into my hand like it was a part of my own body. I had only a fraction of a second to strike. The vile thing had instantly clawed the box to bits looking for its prize then froze in dismay when it found nothing but old copies of “The Village Voice” and some wilted Cilantro.


That tiny hesitation was what I was waiting for. My blade came up and down in a blink, severing the creatures head from its neck in one clean motion. The head tumbled away down the alley and its body fell to the ground in a spasm. I drove the blade through its back, pinning it to the ground. I’d heard they could live for hours or even days without their heads. I wasn’t taking any chances. My weight leaned into the blade, keeping the shuddering torso pinned while the head hissed at me from under the edge of a dumpster.


After what seemed like hours, both bits of the thing lay still. I removed my blade and donned a pair of thick gloves. Hefting the body up, I dropped it into the dumpster and bent to retrieve the head. I could hear soft gnashing noises as the foul head still tried to bite at me in death. Following the set protocols I dug into my pack and removed a Big Mac and stuffed it between the gnashing teeth, silencing them forever.


With that I flipped the head into the dumpster and set about cleaning up and putting my things back, confident of a job well done.


Suddenly I heard a car door slam out on the street. A loud nasally voice creaked “Kim? Kim? Where are ya’? The goils and me are heah!”


Oh snap! More of them! Another quick glance with my mirror showed at least five more gathered on the sidewalk in front of a Lincoln Town Car.


Realizing this was more than I could handle on my own, I hot footed down the alley towards the town square. I had to raise the alarm!


It seemed like my legs were made of lead and I was running in quicksand in my desperation. But finally I reached the square and burst into the front door of the church, ducking through the hallway in the side to the bell tower.


Grabbing the rope with both hands I began clanging the bell just as loud and as fast as I could, hoping that folks roused quickly and realized their danger. In between peals of the bell I leaned out the window and shouted:


“Kardashians!!!!”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fishing in the Rain

Fishing in the Rain



            Kurt had spent the last several hours drowning worms from his small boat in his favorite lake while kicking back a few brews. A perfect day. Whether the fish were biting or not, a day on the lake was better than a day at work. A notion he lived by strongly enough that he had purchased a bumper sticker so anyone whoever traveled behind him knew it as well. With the sun slowly sinking in the western sky, Kurt knew that he should begin his slow trek back to the boat ramp before he ran out of too much light; plus there was a doozy of a storm approaching that looked to be the type that would sink his flimsy little boat.

            Kurt took a long pull on his beer, crushed the can in his powerful hand, let out a belch that would blush a sailor, and threw it in the floor of the boat. Littered about the bottom of the boat were several small fish and beer cans; the cans far out numbering the fish. The boat motor roared to life and began pushing the small vessel across the already choppy water of the small man-made lake.  A quick glance over his shoulder revealed that the storm was approaching faster than Kurt had anticipated. Lightening arced maddeningly through the sky; electric tendrils reaching through the clouds over Kurt’s head as if racing him to the boat dock.

            With each flash and crack of lightening Kurt began to wonder if he was going to beat the storm.  The wind began to howl around the drunken fisherman, spraying water over the sides of the boat, and into his face. Another glance over his shoulder and he could see the wall of rain approaching. Through the trees on the far bank, the heavy rain made its drenching journey; a sheer wall of water drowning out the scenery behind it from Kurt’s eyes view. It was moving quickly like a lioness chasing down its prey. The sight, though harmless, made Kurt’s heart race as if the rain was some sort of predator chasing him across the small lake.

            The boat slammed to a sudden stop launching Kurt to the front of the boat and smashing his mouth on the metal seat in front of him. Blood sprayed freely from gashed gums and missing teeth. Kurt cussed loudly and freely at whatever had stopped his boat so suddenly. He stood and began wiping the gore from his face. The water was clear around the boat, except for the choppy waves that were now rocking it madly from side to side.

“What the…” Kurt muttered through busted teeth.

            The boat suddenly launched upper from the water as something large slammed it from underneath. Kurt’s body flew like a ragdoll launched from a cannon, tumbling in the air and then slamming back first into the cold lake water.

            Bubbles swirled around Kurt’s head making it difficult for him to find which way was up or down. His lungs burned to be filled with air as his legs and arms ached for relief from the struggles against the cold water. His head broke the surface just in time for his aching lungs to be filled with life giving air. His gasped looking for his boat that seemed to no longer be in the area he was now floating. What had struck the danged boat?

            Kurt looked back over his shoulder as he tread water and watched as the falling wall of rain cleared the last few feet to reach where he was floating. The rain drops were the size of nickels and the impact they had on his head felt as if they were nickels. The sound was deafening. A sudden pain gripped Kurt’s left leg causing him to scream out in agony. His open mouth filled with dirty lake water as he was pulled under the surface. His once aching lungs were filled with the swirling water as whatever had its death grip on his leg drug him deeper into the waters depths. Kurt looked down into the murky water and stared into the red eyes of the small lake monster that had him. He screamed but no one would have heard him; he was silenced by the murky water in his lungs and the heavy rain that brought his unexpected visitor.

The Thunder Rains

The Thunder Rains

  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

The Rain

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!”

“I’m sorry?”

“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.

“Beg pardon?”

“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

New Writing Topic

Hello all! If you work for Farmington Correctional Center and wish to participate in the next writing topic, it is "a heavy rain brings and unexpected visitor." So get to writing and email it to tjreed1234@yahoo.com so we can get them posted. Thanks for visiting and reading our work.
Reed

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Frankenstein

Frankenstein

Frank stood on his wood plank porch watching the rain fall in sheets. His creation was out in the world, escaped the night before after bringing it life. The Beast, as many were already calling it, was not meant to harm the innocent that it had been hunting. No, Frank merely wanted to create the greatest friend a man could have; a dog of his own. Through a series of surgeries and electric shocks, Frank had brought seven dogs back from the grave and back into the land of the living. He did not know that what he was doing was bring seven hounds from hell and unleashing them on the unsuspecting community. He had spent the last 12 hours listening to his police scanner; their radio traffic telling a terrifying tale of a cat and mouse game that was taking a life every two hours. It was out there. Frank just had to wait for it to come home.

Frank looked into the lightening streaked sky and spoke in a calm voice; as if he was talking to an old friend.

“Lord? Boy I think I screwed up bad.”

Frank laughed and took a drag from his cigarette.

“I’m sorry for what I am Lord. I know this isn’t what you wanted of me. I am sorry about that little girl from over on Millers Street. I sure didn’t want what happened to her to happen and I know you know that. I played God and I know I need to pay the price. Just bring him back here please. I will fix what I have wronged. Please…”

As if God had heard Frank’s prays, the beast leapt from the darkness. Frank was knocked from his feet as the 120 pound beast struck him in the chest slamming him hard on his back. His creation immediately began snapping its jaws, trying ferociously to latch its teeth around its creators face. Warm salvia fell freely from the misshapen mouth and slid across his face. The smell of death and decay was strong; fighting for his life Frank drove his thumb into the monsters eye. A shriek of pain escaped its mouth and scrambled from Franks chest.

Frank did not hear the many shots from the police man, nor did he feel the pinch of pain as the lead pierced his body. The blinking blue and red lights shined wickedly through the large drops of rain that fell on his face.

Next to him, his creation, his attempt to create the ultimate Man’s Best Friend, lay staring pleadingly into its creators eyes.  The pleading asking Frank, Why? Why did you bring me back this way? Why did you make me the way that I am? For something that was considered so murderous, so vile and nightmarish, the softness in its eyes showed to Frank, there was still that hope of a Man’s Best Friend hiding in the shadows of the beasts soul.

Their blood flowed from their wounds and mixed together in the miniature rivers leading across his broken porch.

Frank reached out and ran his hand across the top of the beasts head and behind its ears. Slowly he began to scratch and in a soft voice said, “Good dog. I’m sorry boy.”

Vampire Story?

                                                                   Vampire Story?

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".

Attack

Attack

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

Trinity

 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.                     

Secret Agent Man


Secret Agent Man

The evening had been perfect so far and was about to get even better as my wife and I pulled into the drive way after the ROSL fund raiser. I had been thinking about how Sharon was filling out that little black dress all night and couldn't wait to get her and that dress home so we could be alone. I had already planned the fastest way to get the baby sitter paid and out the front door so we could get comfortable. I opened Sharon’s car door and up the stairs and into the house we went; we were holding hands like two teenagers on their first date. I put my key in the lock and turned it as I shoved it gently inward and stepped across the threshold after Sharon. The front room was dark so I called out for Susie, the girl who had been watching the kids but got no answer. “What was going on”, I thought, as I flipped the light switch up and the sound of several men’s voices filled the room and our ears before the light could fill the darkness. Within seconds we were both on our faces on the living room floor with over a dozen police officers and Homeland security agents hovering over us screaming out orders and questions. Sharon was terrified and crying but I was remaining calm, well as calm as a man can with a gun pointed in his face and a knee in his back. Within a minute I knew exactly what was going on; the baby sitter had went through my closet and found my work bag and while snooping also found my passports. She had called her parents and they had called the police; it was going to be a long night.

My first job strait out of college hadn't gone quite as well as I had hoped and after a slight incident with my supervisor I ended up in county jail for almost a year on assault charges. It was during that year that I learned the lessons and made the connections that got me into my six bedroom, three bath home in the suburbs of Chicago along with the vacation house in Florida and my small collection of muscle cars and other assorted toys. My first day down I was placed in a cell with an older man that everyone just called Boog who had made his living somewhere on the wrong side of the law most of his life and from what I was hearing from the deputies he was pretty good at what he did. In that year I soaked up every piece of information no matter how unimportant it seemed and stored it away in my mind until I could get out and try it for myself. When I was released Boog gave me a phone number and a piece of paper with his real name, Everett Bollinger on it and told me if I wanted to make it big to just make the call; I did. I remember my first assignment like it was yesterday.

The door exploded from the blast of my 870 twelve gauge as I rolled into the room like something out of a Rambo movie with buckshot ricocheting and bodies dropping under their impact. I was armed with just about everything I could carry and still be able to stand up under the weight of, including a flak jacket and a riot helmet with face mask. As I ejected the last spent shell case from my twelve gauge I tossed it to the side and at the same time pulled my AR15 up from across my chest where it had been hanging from its single point sling and put it into action on three round bursts. There were at least eight in the entry way area and I could hear others running my way as I ducked and weaved to avoid being hit head on from a monster of a man. The screams and the blood were almost more than I could handle but I just kept pulling the trigger until there was no movement anywhere inside the building. After I got finished throwing up I set fire to the building and watched it burning in my rear view mirror as I drove quickly away into the night. I received $25,000 for my first job and it only took me a little under an hour to complete from the time I pulled into the parking lot until the time I pulled back out. I was hooked and after a year or so I was good at my new found profession. The travel and the secrecy had me using different names and needing different IDs for every place I had to travel and there was no lack of areas needing my expertise.

I took my job as a sub-contractor very seriously and even after fifteen years of being on the road only those who I was working for knew what I did for a living, not even my wife knew. Who would have believed me anyway; everyone knows zombies are just in comic books and the movies? I was like a superhero in my mind but to the law I was a murderer and a criminal who needed to be put away. Most of my clients were the remains of a military experiment gone very wrong. While trying to build the perfect warrior with the help of mind and body altering drugs and even multiple types of brain surgeries many of these young men had become more of a brainless killing machine like a shark than an order taking, battle ready, Special Forces type that they had hoped for. Many of them seemed like a perfect example after they were put back into action but with no warning they would change over and become a liability, a very mean, nasty, murdering liability. I never knew where I would be headed or how many of these walking dead I would be dealing with until I got the call so I was always anticipating what lay ahead. The actual eradication could be pretty intense sometimes and other times it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Believe me the comics and movies do zombies no justice; they are fast, they are mean, and they don't die easily. I have put a thirty round magazine of 5.56 into a single zombie before dropping him and that is more than a little unnerving when there are over twenty of them in a target zone and they all want to kill and eat you. More than once I found myself broken and beaten down, wondering if I was going to be killed and eaten before I could get the last one put down and the evidence torched. Torching was the only way to avoid anyone in the public finding out what had happened and who it had happened to. We couldn't take the chance of anyone finding out that our military had created these monsters and having the panic take over when everyone knew these flesh eaters were out there?

When we got downtown Sharon and I were separated and I was setting in an interrogation room somewhere in an FBI office. I was being grilled and questioned about everything from terrorist cells to radical church groups. They would get no answers from me and Sharon couldn't give them anything because she knew nothing. I figured they would hold us maybe twenty four hours and then would have to cut us loose, I was wrong. I sat cuffed to the same chair for four days soaked in my own urine and sweat. I hadn't had a drink of water or a bite of food since being brought in and I was close to falling out completely; the only thing keeping me up was the back of the chair and the constant screaming and questions. They were doing everything they could to break me and it was working. I was about ready to give in and tell them what they wanted when an explosion rocked the entire building. Within seconds there were gunshots just outside the door and the agents inside with me had weapons pulled and it was me in their sights. I was expecting the worst when the wall behind them exploded inward and we were all knocked to the ground from the pressure of the blast. Gunshots sounded and I was being lifted to my feet and the cuffs removed as I was drug through the now open door.

The five o’clock news cast stated a terrorist organization had bombed a federal building in Chicago and that all those involved had been killed during the assault; that was interesting. Sharon remembers only what I have told her. It seems after the injection she received in the van ride downtown she is blank; it did its job very well. As for me, I am on my way to Washington; see you soon.

Babysitting the Dead


Babysitting the Dead
            This is not the most glamorous job that I have ever held but it is the most meaningful. I have always wanted a job that when the end of the day came I would feel like I had made a difference; like I had really helped someone. Now I have this job. I’m a babysitter. This used to be a job designated for teenaged girls and older sisters but now it was a job that was not for the faint of heart. I babysit the dead of Crestview Falls; a small gated community nestled in the middle of suburbia. There are 20 homes under my charge with 13 occupants. All are now walkers, Z’s, Zak’s, maggot sacks, Zombies, whatever you prefer to call them. But, unlike the movies people did not just run around blasting their heads off their shoulders. No, people were a bit more compassionate you could say. Of course there were the cases of people “murdering” the infected. I did not look at it as murder, I looked at it as survival, but one day changed that. My brother and I had spent so much time fighting off the dead together, we became a well oil machine of dealing death to death. One day in a supermarket in Jamestown, Missouri he was bitten by one of the infected. I left him in that store, unable to bring myself to shoot my own brother, infected or not and then I watched as National Guards men, standing on line like a firing squad, shot him down in a hail of bullets. That is when my mind changed. That is when my eyes finally opened and seen the zombies for what they were. Mothers, Fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers…. They were all someone to someone. That is when I stumbled on this job. Babysitting the family members of Crestview Falls, to ensure that they do not leave their residences and that they are not harmed.
Today I would be spending the day with Mr. Anthony Bergman of 1123 Mason St. Before I entered the home I already knew where I would find Mr. Bergman. In the first bedroom on the right, behind a locked door, and tied to a chair. I found the appropriate key from my large key ring and opened the door. The air inside was stale and dry. Everything in the house was nicely put away; if it weren’t for the thick layer of dust that covered the things in the home, it would seem that the home was well kept. There were several framed degrees and awards hanging from the yellowing walls. Mr. Bergman seemed to be a pretty successful man. I found the key to open the bedroom and slid it into the lock. I could hear him rustling in the bedroom. It sounded like small movements so I knew that I was safe. Well as safe as a man could be in a home with a zombie tied to a chair.
Mr. Bergman was sitting with his back to the door, staring through the open window as if enjoying the sunset. He must have heard me enter the home because he was shaking himself back and forth in his chair, trying to free himself from his bonds that kept him to that wooden dining room chair. The room looked to be Mr. Bergman’s study. Each wall was lined with shelves full of books. The wall which held the window was the only wall without shelves but was instead covered with more awards, degrees, and certificates from different State agencies.
“Mr. Bergman? My name is Ernest Angel. I am your babysitter today.” I walked around to face Mr. Bergman. I have been doing this job for quite a while and there are not many sites that will turn my stomach. This was one of those times though. Mr. Bergman had no eyes, his teeth seemed to have been knocked from his jaws, and a large gapping gash spread deeply from each side of his neck. The wound looked to have been created by a rope. Most likely, Mr. Bergman had been hung or drug behind a vehicle. Like I said, in the beginning people were not too nice to the infected.
To keep my mind from dwelling on the site of Mr. Bergman, I began to shuffle through his drawers. There was a lot that could be learned about a person from the materials that lay in their drawers. Random keys to locks that would never be mated again, pens, pencils, paper clips, old batteries, and remotes for electronics that would never be turned on again. But the interesting things were in the second drawer that I skimmed through. Passports. Many different little folded pieces of papers from different countries: Mexico, Thailand, Australia, France, this list went on and on…..
Who were you Mr. Bergman?
            Behind me, Mr. Bergman seemed to struggle harder against his restraints. As if his mind was still trying to hide some secrets from a past life. The drawer under the one with the passports contained lock box. Need a key. I went back to the first drawer and sifted through the debris and found several keys that looked to be the same size as the one that may fit the lock. I tried each one until I found one that slid into the lock. Eureka! I twisted the key and the lid popped open; a small vile lay in the padded box with a small piece of folded paper. Mr. Bergman continued his fight against the ropes holding him to the chair.  I unfolded the paper. It looked to be some sort of medical report with the heading The University Medical Center Freiburg. A German university?
            I continued to read the report and could not believe the gold mine that I had just stumbled upon. There was a note attached to the report that said the following:
Mark,
Here is the vaccination. I hope that it works. I have seen the walkers that shambled the streets of Frankfurt. I will not allow my fellow Americans to share the same fate. I wish that I would not have had to retrieve it in the manner that I did, but all is fair in love and war. And that is exactly what we are doing Mark, we are at war with the living dead. Make sure this reaches the proper hands my friend and I will see you in Washington.
G.W.
Wow. Mr. Bergman was not Mr. Bergman. He was many people and was almost the savior of our nation. I put the vile back in its hard case, along with the note. Mr. Bergman was look not fighting the restraints anymore. Just staring at me through eyeless holes in his dried out skull.
“I will complete your mission sir. I am sorry it had to end this way for you. I will get this into the right hands.”
I finished my days watch of Mr. Bergman. The whole time wondering what other missions this man had completed. He seemed at peace the rest of the time I sat with him. Maybe there was a part of his brain that told him that his mission was going to be completed. No telling I guess. All I know is I have something new to babysit. Wonder what stories this job will hold for me.

Subterfuge


Subterfuge

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.
“Operator.”
“Failsafe initiated.  Operation Burnt Bridges successful.”

Collateral Damage


Collateral Damage

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.