Monthly Archives: October 2013

No. 472

Tonight, Samantha was going to sleep with her head at the other end of her bed.

She was pretty sure that the monsters would not be able to find her there.

Especially the orange one, with the tentacles.

No. 471

“Last year, I increased sales by thirty percent,” explained Tanya Perry to the interview panel.

“No, that’s wrong,” said the bland man sitting next to her. He had a computer in his lap and was furiously typing as Tanya tried to continue her answer. “It was twenty-eight,” he clarified.

She shot him a sideways glance and continued speaking, trying to ignore him.

“And our store was sixth out of nineteen in district sales,” she said.

“Seventh,” said the man. “Of fifteen.”

Tanya couldn’t handle it anymore. “Shut up!” she snapped at him. “Why are you even here?”

“I’m your personal facts-checker,” he said. “We’ve talked about this.”

Tanya excused herself from the interview and hustled the man out of the room. Once they were out of earshot of the executives, she confronted him.

“I hired you as a personal assistant,” she hissed. “I don’t know where you got ‘fact-checker’ from. And I’m pretty sure I fired you last week. Twice.”

“Three times,” he corrected.

“You’re fired!” she told him.

“That’s four, now, Miss Perry,” he said without moving.

No. 470

The birds were singing, but nobody was listening to them.

The trip upriver had been Thomas’ idea. He was already dead.

So were Mary and Jack. And soon it would be dark.

No. 469

Dinosaurs are back. Nobody knows where they came from, but the first ones were small. Now they’re everywhere, and especially the big ones. The best way I can describe it is an “outbreak”.

I saw my first one at a baseball game. I was in the stands at right field. A T-Rex crashed through the wall at center. The players didn’t have a chance. It ate two before it was three steps into the stadium. I’d been in the middle of texting my friend, who was sitting behind home plate. I pushed through the panicked crowds to meet her in the parking garage. We were lucky. A lot of people were lost to smaller, faster carnivores that had infested the concourses.

She and I were able to make it to an apartment building not too far away. Those are the only safe places, now. So far, the dinosaurs haven’t been able to deal with stairs. But houses and low-rises, they just tear apart and pick the people out.

I wish I knew what happened to my wife. She hates baseball, and stayed home that day. I haven’t heard from her since the middle of the sixth inning. All the phone lines are down, and the streets are dangerous.

We’re living in fear of a shadow at the windows. Although the dinosaurs seem most attracted to noise, or maybe smell, there aren’t any problems with their eyesight, either. A big predator could easily peer into the lower floors. A guy who made arrived last night said he saw a flying one, as well.

It’s been two weeks since the beginning. I’m not sure how much longer we can hold out.

No. 468

Alan decided that the only way to stop daylight Saving time from robbing an hour of his sleep was to change the orbit of planet earth.

It was an ambitious, if somewhat insane, conclusion.

 

By the end of the first year, he was no closer to achieving his objective. He’d poured all of his energy into the study of rocketry, hoping to develop an engine powerful enough to move a planet.

His neighbors would later describe Alan’s work habits as “noisy” and “unprofessional”.

Failing to generate any positive results, he switched to other, more harebrained endeavors.

 

Year two was spent trying to contact an alien civilization with advanced enough technology that Alan could simply have them do all the work for him.

He neglected to consider that, at the speed of light, even the nearest star is more than four years’ travel for a radio message.

 

He did no work in year three, having had devoted all of his energies to his fantasy baseball league.

 

And so the process continued for nearly a decade. He came close, once, in year seven, to causing an incident that would register on nearby Richter scales.

 

His quest was, quite honestly, doomed from the start. It would have been a much better idea to simply move to a country that didn’t change its clocks.

No. 467 – Bony Finger Canyon Part 5

“Who are you?” The phantom groans at me as I’m turning to flee.

I catch myself and turn to face it.

He’s pretty gross. The phantom’s ghostly flesh seems to have mummified over its bones. His clothes are torn and faded. Of course, his right arm is missing.

That’s strange. I always imagined the left one was gone.

But he doesn’t seem to be very patient.

“Who are you?” he rasps again, pointing with his good limb. “Why have you come here?”

I swallow hard and tell him the truth. “A dare,” I croak. “I’m here on a dare.”

“You have an arm,” he hisses. His eyes are drawn to Mr. Granley’s bones, now laying on the sandy ground. “Is it mine?”

I shake my head. “I don’t think so. It’s from school.”

The phantom floats toward the arm. He seems to hover over it, perhaps evaluating its heritage.

I stand completely still. I’m hoping, deep- down, that his vision is based on movement, like the T-Rex in “Jurassic Park”.

I can’t hear anything from the bullies hiding somewhere behind me.

At last, the ghost stands tall. He doesn’t seem happy.

“You lie!” he shouts. “Do not think you can deceive me!”

There is a flash of light and suddenly I’m not standing in the canyon anymore.

It’s daytime, and I’m in the middle of a prospector’s camp, about halfway up Oak Hill.

Oak Hill is on the opposite side of town as Bony Finger Canyon.

No. 466

The mercury in the thermometer crept up, the expanding red line spelling doom for the snowman on the front lawn whose coal eyes were fixed on the instrument.

There were hours left until nightfall, and unless the weather changed drastically, the snowman wouldn’t last.

It felt the first rivulets of water begin to trickle down its icy flanks. Its carrot nose began to sag as the face caught the afternoon sun.

One tree-limbed arm dislodged and fell to the ground. The snowman could do nothing to prevent the loss. It sat still and hoped for a stray cloud to block the dangerous solar rays.

Still, the thermometer mocked the snowman. It rose five, six, then seven degrees, in two hours.

An eye rolled to the ground, and the snowman struggled to focus. It knew it didn’t have much time left. Slowly, it began to resign itself to its fate.

 

“Aw, mom!” said Kevin, as the car pulled into the driveway after school. “My snowman’s all melty.”

Mom shrugged. “It’s too hot for a snowman now. You can build another one the next time it gets cold enough.”

The car stopped, and Kevin jumped out. Before entering the house, he ran across the lawn and drop-kicked the snowman’s head off. Taking a moment to kick the rest of its body into a formless pile of wet slush, Kevin didn’t consider that the snowman had never had a chance.

No. 465

Marty the Infector had a rough time of it.

Like his name suggested, Marty got people sick.

He was never sick, but, like clockwork, four days after somebody met Marty for the first time, they would catch a disease that most people thought was made-up or extinct.

Diseases with strange names, like” beriberi”, “diphtheria”, or “gout”.

Eventually, Marty realized what was going on, and voluntarily shut himself indoors.

With little-to-nothing to occupy his time, Marty developed an elaborate system of ranking television shows, on a scale from one to nine.

The numbers did not correspond to the quality of the show but, rather, to arbitrary rules that Marty made up.

For example, a “two” meant that the show had a dog on it, and a “three” was given to a show that solved at least one crime a week.

If the show had a dog and crime-solving, then the dog would be given priority in the ranking arrangement.

It made sense to Marty.

Marty also had to be careful how he acquired his food. He couldn’t go to the store, in case somebody new began a conversation with him. Instead, he ordered take-out from local restaurants where he’d already caused minor pandemics.

His pizza was currently delivered by a driver that had developed scurvy after bringing Marty’s first meat lover’s.

Marty made sure to tip well.

He was satisfied enough with his predicament. Knowing that he wasn’t hurting anybody was better than going outside. He stayed in his home for almost six years.

Then he got a letter demanding that he appear for jury duty.

No. 464

For a long time, Captain Flapjack had many pairs of pants and wore a new one each day. Captain Flapjack would never wear the same pair of pants twice.

One day, Captain Flapjack ran out of pants to wear. He had a choice between putting on an old pair, or not wearing pants at all.

What Captain Flapjack decided was to take off his shirt and wear it like a pair of pants. From then on, Captain Flapjack wore two shirts.

One up top, and one down below.

But Captain Flapjack didn’t have very many friends, because two shirts was too weird.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, Captain Flapjack wasn’t a superhero at all. He was just a regular guy who liked pants.