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  1. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Past Contest December 2016 Short Story Contest - Instructions and Entries Here

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Tenderiser, Dec 1, 2016.

    This month you have two options for a prompt. Build a story using one or both of these prompts as inspiration, as loosely or literally as you like...

    Prompt Option 1: Your story must contain the line, "Gently put the teddy bear down. I don't want to have to pull the trigger." (Proposed by @halisme and very popular with the forum)

    Prompt Option 2: Take inspiration from this photo:

    [​IMG]

    I'm excited by this month's prompts and I can't wait to see what everyone does with them. :D

    Requirements
    • 1,200 - 5,000 words
    • Any genre
    • Any style
    • Polished to the best of your ability
    How to Enter

    Post your entry as a reply to this thread. It will be automatically anonymised. Please title the story and include the word count.

    You will be able to post entries until 14 December at 23:59 GMT.

    Voting

    Voting will run from 15 - 31 December. There is no fixed voting criteria: voters will choose the story they think is the best.

    Winner

    The winner will be announced on 1 January. He or she will get a shiny medal under their avatar, automatic entry into the annual Hall of Fame contest, and their winning story featured in the WritingForums annual ezine.

    Get writing!
     
    PenelopeWillow likes this.
  2. blklizard

    blklizard Member

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    The Rogue Officer (1,217 words)

    Steve braked hard upon seeing a flash of lightning a few meters ahead of him. As the thunder faded away into the distance, he watched his hands tremble on the steering wheel.

    Damn, what a day this has been. I should have taken this day off.

    As predicted by the weather forecast, the storm clouds gathered over the city. With his heart still beating too rapidly, Steve wisely turned into the parking lot of a fast food restaurant and simply parked wherever he wanted. He then removed his glasses and covered his face with his hands feeling the beads of sweat on his forehead.

    “Sorry, Rob.” Steve pulled his hands away. “That was a close call, was it not?” he said as he put on his glasses.

    Steve scanned the empty parking lot until his focused on the restaurant itself.

    Maybe some food will do me some good.

    “You want anything, Rob?” He drove towards the drive thru lane and stopped by the menu.

    Steve took Rob’s silence as a no. He admired how his partner resisted the temptation of fast foods. He himself could never say no to a burger, especially after a bad scare.

    Guess I’m just a big scaredy-cat.

    Once he paid for his combo at the window, Steve waited impatiently for his food. The smell of fresh fries wafted through the air to his cruiser making his mouth water.

    Ten minutes left before we’re done with our shift.

    “Code eight received at the intersection of Willow and Samson.”

    Steve cursed under his breath. He eyed between the drive thru window and his radio a few times before letting out a sigh. Steve stepped on the gas and turned on his siren. He narrowly hit two drunk teens on his way out of the parking lot.

    As a well-built twenty five year old Asian man, Steve had been on the force for a few years. Since he was a boy, he dreamed of being an officer upholding the law. Steve was the perfect example of the stereotypical Asian man. His black hair, black eyes and yellow skin saw him bullied by his white peers but he endured all of that. Finding a partner to share a cruiser within a white male dominated police force was difficult but Steve eventually found Rob. He sneaked a look at the passenger seat where his trusty partner, Rob, stared passively into the distance.

    “What are you thinking about?”

    The silence stretched out for a minute.

    “Nervous as well, are you?”

    After getting no answer, Steve, all but given up on the conversation with his partner, focused on the road while his stomach growled in protest. The rain was now pouring down and Steve squinted to see the road ahead. The siren atop his cruiser should keep other drivers at bay but nature herself was his worst enemy at the moment.

    I should have replaced the windshield wipers. Damn!

    “Excited to return back to your old neighborhood?” Steve tried to start a new conversation with Rob a few minutes later. “Must bring back memories, doesn’t it?”

    A year ago, Steve chased after a thief until they ended up in an alleyway. As he cautiously advanced with his weapon drawn, the thief, hidden behind a few trash bins, slashed out at Steve. If Rob had not been there, that day would have ended very poorly for Steve. Rob needed twenty stitches for his injuries but, since that day, the two of them were inseparable.

    I will never forget that day, that’s for sure.

    Rob hadn’t responded and Steve didn’t push him. They were only two blocks from the intersection where officers called for backup. Being on familiar turf certainly helped getting this police officer to his destination quicker. Then, he suddenly braked hard a third time when his windshield cracked. Steve had been in the police force long enough to know the cause of the crack. Bringing out his handgun, Steve leaped out of his cruiser purely in instinct and kept the cruiser door between him and the likely location of the shooter. The rain had mostly muffled what noise he could pick up while his soaked uniform clung to him. He glanced around and only caught sight of one other police cruiser with its lights still on.

    Where are the other backups? I hope they didn’t chicken out from the rain.

    One body lay near the lone cruiser.

    Are they alive?

    “Officers down! Officers down!”

    Steve made out the silhouette of a person in the driver seat of the cruiser with his head down.

    Curses! When is this rain going to stop? How many men am I facing?

    He sneaked a look around his door a few times but the heavy rain concealed much of what was before him. When the passenger door across from him opened, Steve quickly raised his weapon in that direction.

    What the…

    He was greeted by a large man with nasty scars across his face. The man tossed something at him seeing Steve instinctively raise his arm up and jump away. Moments later, the explosion knocked him back further from the cruiser. Steve nursed his bloody arm and watched as the assailant stepped out into the open with something in his hand and a nasty smile on his face.

    Shit! He got Rob!

    With his good arm, Steve grabbed his handgun on the ground and pointed at the man.

    “Gently put the teddy bear down. I don’t want to pull the trigger.”

    The scarred man merely smiled and squeezed Rob harder. Steve raised his weapon, took aim and pulled the trigger. He watched as the smile on the scarred man’s face turned to shock. The man turned and looked down at the new bullet hole in his chest. Then, he collapsed onto the ground.

    Before Steve could take another step forward, he felt his body not responding to him. When he collapsed to the ground, he felt a warm fluid oozing below him to form a pool below him. As he slowly blacked out, Steve reached out with his good hand towards Rob. They were probably only a meter apart but the distance between them seemed like half a world across.

    “Rob…” he muttered before the darkness swallowed him.

    ***************

    Steve slowly opened his eyes and studied his surroundings.

    Where am I? What…

    As his memory rushed back into him, Steve cried out in pain and pressed his good hand against his head trying to suppress the pain. Moments later, a doctor and a nurse entered the room. The doctor studied his patient for a few seconds before giving the nurse a nod.

    “You are one fortunate man,” said the doctor. “I cannot say the same about the other two officers that were brought back.”

    “Where’s Rob?”

    The doctor grabbed the clipboard from the nurse and looked through the list. “There is no officer by the name of Rob.”

    Steve ignored the look of concern on the doctor’s face. He closed his eyes and could literally see Rob’s beady eyes staring back at him. Then, he felt a prick in his arm followed by darkness.

    Next time Steve opened his eyes, the doctor was gone and the lights in his room were out.

    Don’t worry, Rob. I will find you. Nothing can keep us apart.
     
  3. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Jihad (2928 words)

    You are about to read a story of the bravery of two warrior brothers; written by a proud mother, so please excuse any boasting. In it, I chose to word things the way that I did so that you might better understand the world I lived in. Our world was not like yours. We were not like you. I lived in a world where we and gods existed side by side. Not only side by side, but often together. We existed as family units, several gods and several of us (they called us meums,) all falling in line behind our fearless master who I called Ducis.

    Our universe was sectioned off into worlds, each controlled by a family of gods. Ours was an impregnable fortress where we separated ourselves from the dangers outside. The gods were powerful, but not all-mighty or immortal. Outside, there were more gods than I could ever hope to count. Maybe an infinite number of them, I’d never seen an end to the worlds.

    I saw a handful of other worlds twice a day, when Ducis took all of the meums out on patrol with him. We inspected beyond the walls of our outer perimeter for any signs of danger. We visited the worlds of nearby gods, most of which we knew and were friends with.

    Occasionally other gods would be doing their patrols at the same time. Whenever they have a meum with them, I always tried to say hello. It was nice to speak to someone else in my own language, which is significantly different than the language of the gods. There were four other mixed families like mine within the bounds of our patrol. I knew them all very well and I enjoyed sharing pleasantries with them.

    I spent most of my time though just in our little world, protecting the smaller gods and my own family. My sister Molly and I were born into this family unit. We've been with them for generations. Our mother was a beloved member of the family until she passed some time ago. The grieving gods buried her in a sacred garden just beyond our fortresses walls, but within the walls of the second secure perimeter.

    We were not allowed to go into the hallowed ground except for that one time when we said goodbye to her. They had covered her with dirt and planted a small, flowering bush over her. I performed a regular ritual in front of it almost every time I was outside.

    My kids also lived with me, a product of a premeditated ritual by the gods. Their names were Jesse and Jordan. They were growing into a handsome pair of great boys. The gods helped me raise them, of course. So did Molly, who was more than eager to be the wild, playful aunt whenever I needed a minute to lay in bed and close my eyes. I taught my boys the important stuff myself, though.

    I taught them the meaning of family, the bonds that tie us together: both to each other and to our gods. I taught them the ways of the gods: to wait their turn to eat, to not wander into the sacred grounds, to comfort or entertain the gods when they were sad... The most important job of all though, my boys seemed born to do: patrol.

    That’s my favorite duty, too. Like I said, the gods are not immortal and there are great beasts beyond the fortress walls. I’ve seen some of them. Great monsters who spend most of their time sleeping, but wake up with a rumble and run for hours at speeds I couldn’t hope to ever reach. It’s best for meums to avoid such things. Ducis showed no fear of those beasts, and can even command them. But not all of them, even he must remain vigilant. He spent most of his time outside the walls of the fortress, gathering resources or fighting off monsters I assumed. That’s why protecting the family was so important to me. The gods often entrusted the entire fortress to us.

    My boys were ready and willing to fight to defend the place. I had to a few times in my life, but the boys haven't yet. Then one day, they got their chance.

    It started like any other morning. The sunlight gently roused me from my deep slumber. I lifted my head and looked around. I could see that the gods were already up, preparing a morning meal. I smelled it, and whatever it was, it smelled amazing. I hoped that I would get some; sometimes they’d invite us to eat with them. Usually though, the gods didn’t share their food with us. We had our own.

    I learned to just accept this. It’s probably for my own good anyway in some way that I don’t understand. Ducis is always doing things that I don’t understand, but it always works out for the best. I’ve learned, like my mother taught me, to simply trust that the gods know and want what’s best for us. That they were constantly watching over us and protecting us from things that we couldn't comprehend. The gods worked in mysterious ways.

    I rolled over in the bed and stretched out. It felt good as my old joints pop and crack. I yawned and cracked my neck, trying to pop a crick out of it. I took a glance at my boys who were still sound asleep in their own beds across the room, one of them snoring gently. I was having trouble deciding whether to get myself up and start my day or lay back down and wait for the gods to finish their meal. I didn’t bother asking to join them, if that’s what they’d want, they’d invite me.

    I saw that they did leave something out for me, though: a drink. I could see that it was plain water, but I’m not picky. The gods all appear to be drinking the same thing and if it’s good enough for their greatness, then it’s certainly good enough for little old me. I got up from the bed and walked over to the cup of water.

    I enjoyed the cool liquid in my mouth. The air was dry and a little too warm for my comfort. I took another drink and lumbered around slowly. My old motherly joints hurt. While the years had take their toll on me: my hair was greying, my eyes were sagging, and I had chronic arthritis..., Ducis (or any of the other gods) didn’t seem to have aged a day since the time of my mother. They don’t live forever, but many times longer than we do.

    I looked up at Ducis, who was in the kitchen speaking in his language to his wife. I caught a word here or there, but don’t really bother trying to listen. Their language is far too complex. I listen for specific words that have to do with us meums.

    I watched Ducis intently. He was my best friend. When he was home, we did everything together. It’s been that way since I was born. I remember falling asleep in his lap when I was younger while he performed spells in front of his magic wall in the main room. He would play with me when my mother was too tired, and he played with my kids when I was. He’s a great god to us indeed.

    I have to look up at them, the gods stood nearly three times our height. He’s strong too, far stronger than any meums. Even the smallest of the gods were huge compared to us. Ducis had a deep bellowing voice that only emphasized his grandeur.

    To match his commanding stature, he possessed great powers. All the stories of your gods and prophets: creating food and water from thin air, controlling the weather, draining a sea, even controlling the sun. These are feats that my god performed on a daily basis. The water I’d just drank, for example, simply appeared in the cup. Seriously. He just performed a hand gesture and water poured from stone.

    The only reason I felt a little too warm that day is because that was the will of Ducis over our world. Outside the fortress, I knew that it was dreadfully cold. There was snow on the ground, it had fallen the day before. I spent an hour out in it with the smaller gods. They stayed out long after I went in to get warm. The gods didn’t seem to be bothered much by the cold.

    I looked outside at the snow, through a protective invisible force field that separates the inner fortress from the outer perimeter. That’s when I first saw them. The monsters. Eight of them. The snow was torn up as if they had simply risen up from it. They were solid white with great round bellies. In gaping mouths there were rows of huge teeth. A pointed nose and long thin claws reached out towards us.

    To my horror, I saw that one of them had one of my smaller gods’ hats on its head. He'd been wearing it while playing outside last night! I checked to make sure that he was safe inside the fortress. He was. Had the monster taken the hat? Did our gods have a close call with these monsters while we slept?

    As soon as I saw them, they all stopped moving. They must have known that I could see them. The force field can be seen through in either direction, but as far as I know, only a god can open it. But I’d never seen monsters like this before, I didn’t know what they were capable of. They were inside the protective outer perimeter, something I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do on my own.

    I called for Ducis. He looked at me and started to walk over calmly. Did he not see them? Was he aware of them? Maybe he summoned them himself. Maybe they were friends of his, so I waited for instruction. He turned back to his wife.

    He didn’t seem to know. I stood bravely in front of the force field, making sure that every last one of the monsters knew that I was there. This was my world, these were my gods, and I was watching those monsters carefully. They still didn’t move, almost frozen in fear at the sight of me.

    The gods may be huge, and have all sorts of powers, but we are no weaklings ourselves. We have learned how to protect ourselves and the gods, and we take our job very seriously. I woke my sister and kids with a war cry and pounded on the force field. I hoped that seeing all four of us there, ready to fight, would scare the monsters off. Jesse and Jordan bounded up out of bed and ran to the force field, almost sliding into it. They let off their own war yell and bang on the force field. They’re young, but both bigger than I, stronger too. We all looked at Ducis, wondering what he wanted us to do.

    Ducis now noticed us all waiting for him and walked over. His huge thundering footsteps made the ground itself shake with each step. He glanced out through the force field. He saw the monsters, but seemed unintimidated. He was a god after all. He started a ritual that we all knew. He was opening the force field. I knew the gods would come help us if we need it, but it looked like he was entrusting this job to us. My boys first battle. We had this. We would make him proud.

    I readied my family. They lined up behind me, all ready to push their way out and do battle. The monsters were huge, but we’re tough and had our gods on our side. If Ducis thought we could handle it on our own, then I had no reason to question that. Jesse tried to push past me, but I quickly put him in his place.

    The monsters still stood frozen at the sight of us. They must have been even more afraid now that a god was unleashing us. As soon as there was a break in the force field, we darted through it yelling at the top of our lungs.

    Molly stayed back to defend the retreat path. My sons and I ran as a group, but quickly veered off to each tackle our own monster.

    I watched my boys first. They ran at full speed, each towards a different monster. They stuttered at the last moment. They were expecting the monster to turn and run like most do when we charge them, but these didn’t. The monsters stood their ground. There must have been a moment of terror for my sons, but I knew they would fight honorably. We were fighting for our gods.

    Jesse was the first one into combat, throwing his body and arms at the nearest monster. It fell onto it’s back, but managed to throw my son clear. Jesse quickly recovered his footing and turned back on the monster, as it seemed to try and roll back up. Like a great warrior my son pounced on the monster’s chest and it's head popped off and rolled off into the snow. A glorious first kill for my baby boy.

    Jordan, my bigger son, took on the biggest target. He turned away from a head on collision and slammed his body into it with all his might. He bounced off of the mighty monster and was tossed around. He landed off balance. I yelled out as Jordan turned back in time to see the monster attempting to tackle him.

    Jordan let out a scared howl as it came down on top of him. He practiced wrestling and fighting plenty of times with his brother and I. He knew just how to roll to get the best kicking position. As the monster came down on top of him a swift kick to the head was all it took for Jordan to dispatch it. It fell over harmlessly on him and he rolled back to his feet quickly. Another worthy first kill.

    Next it was time for the big guns: me. I had a specific target in mind, the leader. I wasn't sure how the monster got one of my god’s hats, but I sure was about to get it back. I charged right through their front lines and jumped to grabbed the arm of the monster. In an attempt to drag it to the ground, I ripped the arm straight out of the socket. I nearly fell over as the arm came out, but I regained my balance. It magically transformed into a regular stick, which I tossed aside. I then turned on the wounded monster as it stood in stunned silence.

    It fought hard, as I bore down on it again, I could feel it turning and trying to roll me. I bounce off the massive creature again, but jump off of its big round belly and gnash my teeth at its face. It still doesn’t back down so I use my hands to tear into the body of the monster. Its frozen body ripped away and fell beneath it. This seemed to anger the monster because it collapsed onto me and tried to pull me down. I hopped away as it attempted to body slam me. It missed with its desperate attack and cracked its head in half when it struck the ground.

    I reached for the hat, which was now pinned under the massive frozen body. It was stuck, but I yanked it from side to side and it eventually came loose.

    It seemed then that the gods thought that we needed help. Ducis came running out of the fortress, hollering at the monsters in his own language. I could tell that he was yelling at the monsters because I recognized a few words like “bad” and “getoff.” Now that he was in the fight, we would be invincible.

    To my surprise though, he didn’t attack the monsters. Instead, he came straight for me. He yelled my name and the names of the other meums. We all turned to him as he urged us back inside, away from the monsters. He grabbed me by the back of the neck and hurried me inside, still yelling, probably to keep the monsters at bay. I pulled on Ducis a little and tried to turn back to see, but he held me firm and yanks me inside. There must have been more danger out there than Ducis had originally thought.

    Inside, I proudly displayed the hat that I had retrieved for my lords.

    I gazed over the battle scene triumphantly. Three monsters lay dead in pieces in the snow: arms and body parts thrown all over the place. Five defiantly remained. They stared at us and I stared right back. They were lucky that we didn’t get a chance to kill them all. Yet, I feared for what caused Ducis to gather us back up so quickly. He must have sensed terrible dangers coming, so I had to remain vigilant.

    For the time though, I reveled in the victory of the day. My boys did amazing in their first battle. I was such a proud mother. I wagged my tail in elation. Who was a good girl? I was a good girl. Yes, I was.
     
  4. DueNorth

    DueNorth Active Member

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    Alexander’s Bear (1789 words)

    It might be hard for you to believe that, at first, I didn’t recognize my own son’s voice that night last week. It scared me hearing a voice in the dead of night like that, especially coming from his room, especially after what we’d been through. It scared me something awful hearing Alexander talking like he was, those words coming from his bedroom, considering what’d happened. Since the shooting he’d said only a few words, whispered ‘em real soft-like, usually when I’d been tucking him in at night. I can’t say that I blame him for not wanting to say much. Neither of us have been the same since it happened. I suppose we’ll never be.

    Me—it’s like I’m the opposite. I can’t stop talking about it; like I’ve gotta keep telling the story until the telling stops being so terrible. So that’s why I’m putting it on paper like I am; my therapist says that writing it down will help, will take the power away.

    Alexander’s therapist says not to worry about him…that it’s only been two months. He whispered his first couple of words to her just last week when he told her that he had to use the bathroom. “Selective mutism is a trauma response,” she explained to me in such a sugary sweet and patronizing tone that it embarrassed me to hear it. I wanted to tell her that if you know so much about what my little boy is going through then why don’t you get him the hell over it…but I didn’t say anything… she’s trying to help.

    It’s not just Alexander’s whispering that bothers me, though. It’s what he asks me. It bothers me that a seven year old boy would ever have to worry about such things. As I sit by the side of his bed tucking him in for the night, after I kiss his cheeks and tell him that I love him, after I pull the blankets up tight around his skinny shoulders and he reaches for me. He pulls me close, pulls me down next to him, next to his extra special teddy bear, Bear, that shares his pillow every night. He whispers, and I’m so happy to hear his little voice that tears rush to wet the corners of my eyes. He asks in a voice so quiet that I stop breathing to hear, “Mommy, will any more bad men come tonight?”

    So, yeah, it freaked me out when I first heard him talking in a loud voice in the middle of the night. I’ve got my own goddamn trauma response if that’s what the hell you want to call it. I’m pissed as hell that the whole thing happened. So much for restraining orders; for whatever the hell good it did me to have one. My ex wasn’t supposed to come within one thousand frickin' feet of me or Alex.

    I think the cops totally fucked it up, not that I wanted Alexander to get hurt—of course not—but the lady cop they sent in never should have pulled a weapon in the first place like she was Dirty Harry and my ex was gonna make her day. The cops had set it up with the sniper dude across the street two stories up, like they wanted it to play out the way it did; like they wanted their guy to take the shot so they could rack it up as a clean kill and save the taxpayers all the trouble of taking him to trial.

    So once I realized that it was Alexander talking I made my way down the hallway to his room, quiet as I could be, and I sat on the steps leading up to the attic just outside his door. Since the night it happened he hasn’t gone to bed without his room lit up like a Walmart parking lot so I had a good view of things. He had Bear in the arms of his big fuzzy panda on his bed propped against the wall. Alex was standing at the side of the bed holding a pretend gun made from his LEGOs. Loud and clear, I hear him say, “Gently put the teddy bear down. I don't want to have to pull the trigger."

    A look comes over his face, a kind of half-smile, determined, focused, and almost grown-up. In the very quiet whisper-voice he’s been using to talk to me he says, “Bang.” Then he reaches over, knocks the panda down, grabs Bear, and gives him a hug, rocks him back and forth in his arms. I choke back a mouthful of vomit.

    I was about to rush in and scoop Alexander up and give him a hug of my own when he started setting it all back up again. I was crying so hard I didn’t want to scare him…he’s been scared enough, that’s for sure. I let it go and I watched him do it all over again.

    Four more times I let it go on, tears streaming down my face, sure he’d hear me sniffling, before I went to the door. He saw me there, stopped, turned back to look at Panda and Bear, looked back over at me, and then just stood there, like he was in some kind of trance. I said, “Alexander, Alexander.” He stared like he saw me, but didn’t. That totally freaked me out, as though I wasn’t already; my little boy. “Jesus,” I prayed.

    I asked him about it the next day, what he was doing with Bear in the middle of the night. He looked at me and shook his head from side to side, curls shaking, eyes blinking. His therapist, Dr. Grotiky, says not to worry, that it’s a good sign, said that he’s trying to work out what happened, that he’s trying to master it. What-the-fuck? She’s not living in this house. Now I spend half my nights sitting on those attic steps crying while I watch Alexander relive what happened that night. Each time I relive it, too. The bastard is dead and he’s still abusing us.

    I thought that I had seen the last of him. We’d moved, new job, new city, restraining order, new life. That night when I woke from a dead sleep to the sound of breaking glass I knew right away it was him. As soon as I heard the crash of glass on the kitchen floor I reached for my cell and called 911. But he was in my bedroom before I could get any words out. I hesitated when I saw him. Looking back I don’t know why. Maybe I was blinded for a second or something when he switched on the overhead light. Or maybe I was just paralyzed by the ugly look of hatred on his face.

    The 911 operator said something and I started giving my address. He jumped onto the bed and grabbed the phone from me and threw it against the wall. I heard the operator saying, “Miss, Miss, are you still there?” I yelled that my ex was in my house. I yelled my address. I yelled to send the cops. I don’t know for sure, I think I did anyway. He slapped me, took me by the shoulders and laughed in my face, droplets of his tobacco chew-brown spit spraying all over my face. Then he jumped off the bed and picked up the phone, pushed ‘end call,’ turned off the ringer, and put it in his pocket.

    He stood there looking at me, grinning, with this crazy calm like he used to get after he beat the shit out of me. It frightened me more than any of his furious rages ever did. He put a finger to his mouth, motioned for me to be quiet, mouthing a silent, “Shhh.” I’d seen those sudden mood shifts from him before and I knew that it meant that the shit was about to hit the frickin' fan. He got extra wacky when he was off of his medication and extra violent when he’d been drinking. That night he smelled like a country roadhouse at closing time.

    I was hoping and praying that the 911 lady was sending the cops and that just maybe he’d come only for me when he grabbed me by my hair and pulled me to my feet. “Let’s go get him,” he said, and pulled a damn gun out of his pocket, waving it around like he was proud as punch to have it. “Whatever happens, we’re gonna be a family, the three of us, together again. Won’t that be nice?”

    The rest of the night is a blur, Alexander crying, me crying, and him pacing back and forth waving the gun, sometimes talking all nicey-nice and pretending we were a family, and other times ranting crazy shit. Eventually he answered the calls to my phone that kept vibrating in his pocket. When they told him they had the house surrounded he said he’d kill me, but he’d give up Alexander if they sent someone in to get him. He said it had to be a woman; said it’d better not be a cop, to send a social worker or somebody like that.

    They sent a lady cop in plainclothes. She carried a large pizza and a twelve-pack of beer just like he demanded. When she came into the house he yelled for her to come to Alexander’s bedroom where we were. I was sitting on the floor with Alexander and he was walking around waving his pistol, all edgy-like. She came in all sweet-like, a big smile on her face, saying everything was cool, that she was going to take Alex out with her as soon as she set down what she’d brought.

    All of a sudden she’s pulling a gun from a shoulder holster under her jacket. Before I knew what’s what he’s got Alexander snatched from me, arm around his neck, pistol to Alex’s forehead. She’s across the small bedroom in a shooter’s stance with her gun aimed at the two of them. I’m in the middle. Then this lady cop, she’s playing it like it’s some damn movie…I realize later she knows all along there’s a kill shot coming through the damn window any second…she says, "Gently put the kid down. I don't want to have to pull the trigger."

    As soon as it’s over I take Alexander into the tub to wash his father’s blood from his face and his hair. He looks at me with brown eyes so wide I think he might never be able to close them again, and he asks me in a whisper-voice, ”Mommy, are we dead?”
     
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  5. dbesim

    dbesim Contributing Member

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    Mother Snowman (2, 491)

    Amy runs into her bedroom and slams the door shut. A loud bang echoes through the corridors of the house. She hears the sound of steps thumping upstairs. Amy panics. She breathes fast and looks around. Quickly working out what to do next. She heaves a chest of drawers from the side of the room and shoves it in front of the door. Surely he can't come in now. A dizzying sensation overwhelms her as she desperately pushes a few more objects in front of the door. A pot of flowers, two side cupboards and finally ends it with a wooden desk. Amy squeezes her eyes shut hoping that that's enough. The sound of Gareth heaving his body full force over the door startles her too soon. He heaves again. Thump! Thump!

    "You know you can't hide in there forever!" he shouts. "I'm gonna get you good." He tries again, heaving his body a couple of times more, inching the room's objects forward. Amy pushes back with all her might and holds her breath. A few attempts more and Gareth has enough. There's a silence. Amy hears the sound of wooden footsteps retreating. Then the sound of silence. Relieved, she lets out a breath.

    She makes her way toward her bed and collapses on her soft duvet cover. She whimpers in exhaustion. He's right. She can't hide in here forever. He'd get her soon. Or get her toys is what he means.

    She gazes around her room downhearted. She doesn't even mind that her board-game collections aren't complete. The Guess Who game lacks all the faces. The Ludo's missing counters. The Monopoly set's got no houses. Her Twister game has no mat. Her Connect 4 has no coins. Or that one of her pretty pink roller-skates is missing. He likes to harass her toys but if only that was it. What matters most is that her Fireman Sam's lost an arm. Barbie doll has had her hair pulled out. Millie the china doll has its face smashed. Elsa her princess doll has an eye missing. Heavy tears form in her eyes. She wipes them away with fury. And even more frustratingly, Tiddles has been coughed out of the tumble dryer. She stares deep into his sorrowful eyes. He looks so unhappy, she can't bare it.

    "I'm sorry Tiddles," she says hugging her bear close. "I promised I'd protect you. I failed."

    Now Gareth wants to get to what's left of her toys. To destroy them. To rip them into shreds so she won't recognise them anymore. A whimper escapes her lips. He wants to kill them.

    There's nothing she can do about it. She can't stay inside her room for long and she would need supper soon. He knows that.

    Carefully, Amy makes her way toward her toy box, she opens the chest and takes out her doctor's kit. She puts on the stethoscope and places it on Tiddle's heart.

    "Don't worry, Tiddles, it's not that bad," she says. "Take a spoon of this medicine every day and you'll get better soon." She kisses his furry forehead. "I promise."

    She makes her way round the other dolls and delicately nurses them.

    "I'll get you a good arm soon, Sam," she says. She sighs. Just as long as she could keep Gareth away.

    Amy looks out the window at the cold December day. A ladder stands beside her window sill. The window cleaners will be coming soon to wipe the snow off the window. She rubs her hands together. Light flakes of snow fall gently down and consume the ground. Amy has an idea. Why not escape down the ladder? Surely she can leave the bedroom now and still keep the door jammed so that her dolls should stay safe. Yes.

    Amy goes into her wardrobe and pulls out a thick coat, a scarf and some mittens. She dresses warmly. She opens the window and makes her way down the ladder cautiously. She holds on tight and descends slowly making careful of each step.

    Out in the fresh, frosty air, a laugh escapes Amy's lips. She runs around the garden, picking up snow and throwing it over her. What a gorgeous time to build a snowman. The perfect time.

    Amy begins by piling together mounds of snow. She wants the snowman to be taller than her. That won't be difficult since she has long arms.

    Amy pulls out two brown buttons from her coat pocket to use for the snowman's eyes. She runs quietly into the kitchen and brings out a carrot to form its nose. She wants the snowman's lips red and uses a red apple peel to achieve this. Finally, she snatches a curly black wig from her father's collection. She wraps a warm cloak around it. One at the front and one at the back so the Snowman will be extra warm. She gives it arms, feet and adds gloves, shoes and a scarf. When she finishes, Amy steps back a moment to admire her creation. Oh, what a surprise. This is the prettiest snowman she has ever seen. The way her cherry-red lips frame her face with those sultry chocolate-coloured eyes and felt-tip lashes that Amy adds as an afterthought. Her creation is a woman. Oh, what a most beautiful Snowwoman.

    As Amy stares deep into the snowman's button-brown eyes she senses a connection with it she doesn't understand and it stirs her. Amy reaches up to plume its curly hair and as she reaches up to define the lashes, the snowman suddenly blinks. Is she seeing this right? Did the snowman just do that? The snowman blinks again and smiles. Amy trembles slightly in confusion.

    "Hail," says the snowman. "I am your mother snowman." Amy gasps. "Don't be afraid, child," says the snowman. "You may call me Mother Snowman." Amy's heart leaps. She runs forwards and hugs her. "I'm here to make all your Christmas wishes come true."

    "Oh, Mother Snowman," says Amy. "Can you do that?"

    "Of course I can, sweetie," she says. "Now where would you like to start?"

    "Oh, Mother Snowman," says Amy. " I've got a bunch of toys. But they're not quite well. It breaks my heart to see them like that. Can you heal them?" Says Amy.

    "Is that your wish?" says Mother Snowman. "Yes, oh, please!" says Amy.

    "Then it shall be done."

    "First it's Sam," Amy says leading Mother Snowman up the ladder back into her room. "You see, he has no arm." Mother Snowman reaches out a cold puffy hand and touches Sam lightly. His broken toy arm is magically replaced with a new one. Sam beams proudly.

    "Then there's Millie," says Amy leading her to the broken china doll. "She needs a new face."

    "Oh, we can't have that," says Mother Snowman reaching out and healing Millie.

    "Elsa's blind in one eye," says Amy. "Look at the state of Barbie Doll's hair." Then after a pause, "And Tiddles too, please." Mother Snowman heals them all. Amy's particularly joyous that Tiddles' fur is looking so new and fresh. Oh, would you look at her dolls. Now all looking so healthy and vibrant. Amy is about to thank Mother Snowman from the bottom of her heart when suddenly all her dolls chime:

    "Thanks for healing us, Mother Snowman!" Amy gasps.

    "Oh, they are better than ever!" she says. "I always knew they can talk. I mean, I did used to talk to them before they were unwell. But ever since Gareth made them ill.. I suppose I forgot they knew how."

    "Of course they can," says Mother Snowman.

    "Well said, Mother Snowman," says Tiddles. "Do remember. It's that boy Gareth who hurt us, Mother Snowman. You must beware of him." Mother Snowman hugs him warmly with a considered expression on her bright, glowing face. After a moment:

    "But what a selfless young lady you are," she says. "Putting your dolls before yourself. As a reward for this..." she waves a cold arm around the room. Suddenly all Amy's board-games are whole again. The Connect 4 has all its coins back. Her Twister has a mat again. Her roller-skates are a pair!

    "Oh, thank you Mother Snowman!" says Amy.

    "Now come with me," says Mother Snowman. "Our work is all but done yet."

    She scoops Amy into her arms and whooshes her out of the window. Amy has never flown before or seen anything from this high up but the experience is so exhilarating. "Oh, Mother Snowman," she says. "This is extra-ordinary. But where are we going?" Mother Snowman laughs a silvery laugh that makes Amy tingle. "You'll see!" she says.

    Hovering overhead, Amy spots a wooden-brown grotto. Spaces and spaces beside the grotto, Amy sees hundreds and thousands of little baby snowmen from overhead. They make up miles and miles of the empty snow space ahead. Amy gasps.

    "Why, there are hundreds and thousands of them!" she says. " Who are they?"

    "Each and every one of them are my children," says Mother Snowman. "They are my babies."

    "But they are all so small," says Amy.

    "They are very adorable, aren't they?" says Mother Snowman. She and Amy hover over the grotto and then she lands them both gently inside of it. "They're all here to make a wish for Christmas."

    "And is that a wish-list that they each hold?" says Amy. "That it is," Mother Snowman says, her bright eyes twinkling.

    "Mother, we've been waiting for ages," fires one of her little snowmen, "Surely you cannot get through us all?"

    Mother Snowman gives Amy a side-glance and winks:

    "Oh, that I will," she says.

    Mother Snowman gets through all her baby snowmen and as they each all make a different wish, Amy realises that she's never had more fun. True to her word each and every baby snowman has their wish come true. Amy knows that those babies will never forget her but even more so, Amy has had her wish come true and she knows Mother Snowman's given her more than she' s asked for.

    After the day is over and the last little snowman makes his wish and leaves the grotto, Mother Snowman and Amy make their way back home. This time rather than fly, they take a walk.

    When they reach the house, Amy realises that the ladder is gone. Oh no, there's no way of going up to her room now. As Amy makes her way toward the house, the door suddenly breaks open and Gareth storms out. Amy looks behind her noticing that Mother Snowman has suddenly frozen still and stands in the centre of the garden remaining motionless.

    "I see you've made a snowman," Gareth grins. "Hey, it's got hair! What is this freak job?" he says. "Hey, isn't that dad's wig?"

    Before Amy could protest, he raises a huge arm and smashes it into Mother Snowman's head. The wig falls on to the floor. He breaks two big arms through the rest of its head and chops through her neck.

    "No, Gareth stop!" shouts Amy. "Stop! Please, Gareth, no!"

    The head falls on to the floor and he stomps over it, breaking it into the snow. He karate kicks his legs through her cloak. The body falls hard. By the time he finishes, there is nothing of the snowman left but a mound. Mother Snowman's dead.

    Gareth takes a step back admiring his handiwork as Amy collapses on the floor and releases her bitter tears. She doesn't even glance at him.

    "It's about time you got over your fancy toys," he screams He makes his way back into the house.

    Amy cries all day. Even when her father calls her in for supper, Amy doesn't leave Mother Snowman's side.

    "Darling, what's wrong?" asks her father. "Whatever it is I'm sure we can sort it out. Now come into the warmth, supper's getting cold."

    When Amy wakes up the next morning, she looks out of the window and there's a joy to see. Hundreds of thousands of baby snowmen outside the garden.

    "Hey, what's going on?" Amy shouts through the window.

    "We've come to avenge our mother," they chime.

    "Oh, I'm so sorry," says Amy. Her eyes well up again. "I've tried everything."

    Gareth soon runs out of the house.

    "Amy!" he shouts. "Who are you talking to?" Amy looks away from the snowmen to look at Gareth. He's got something in his hands which he waves up in the air. "Guess who I've got!" he says. Oh no! It's Tiddles. Amy breaks down into tears.

    "Shut up! You cry-baby," he says.

    "Oi you!" someone shouts from behind him. Gareth turns around perplexed. He hadn't noticed before but now.." hey is that snowmen?" he says.

    "You're darn right it is!" the baby snowman calls out. "Gently put the teddy bear down. I don't want to have to pull the trigger."

    As the snowman steps forward, Gareth notices to his horror that he holds one of those toy pistol holsters. Anyone fired by one of those knows exactly how bad it bruises. "How about a taste of your own medicine?" says the baby snowman clearly unafraid to use it.

    "No stop!" shouts Gareth. "I'm putting the bear down."

    "He has a name!" shouts the snowman.

    "Tiddles," cries Gareth. "I've put down Tiddles." Had the baby snowman been on his own, Gareth might have considered him easy to handle but with a pack of hundreds and thousands of snowmen on his case, he has to think again. Gareth runs into the house screaming in horror.

    "Nobody treats our Mother this way and gets away with it," shouts the baby snowmen and they all chase after him. "We're going to make your life a nightmare!" they rage.

    Amy laughs like she's never laughed before. "Oh, Mother Snowman. I'll never forget you." she says. "But fear not, for I shall resurrect you. I will build you up again."

    And so, not just that day, but for every year on Christmas month, Amy brings Mother Snowman back to life all over again. The process of building her is by no means easy, but she celebrates the festive season first with her father and then (when she gets older) with her husband and children too. Gareth, having been chased by hundreds and thousands of raging snowmen, never forgot the experience and never would he hurt a toy or a snowman ever again. He truly had learnt his lesson. And every year for the rest of her life would Amy enjoys resurrecting Mother Snowman and even more so helping her to make everyone's Christmas wishes comes true. Next time you see a toy, you make sure you treat it properly or else the baby snowmen will be after you too. Now season's greetings everyone and with hopes that this Christmas, you get everything that you deserve. Just like Amy and just like the baby snowmen.

    Merry Christmas!
     
  6. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    A Dull Domestic, 1200 words


    Dorothy yawned because surely child-minding was the dullest occupation known to humanity.

    Sprawled on the sun lounger, and in her state of total exhaustion, she bemoaned servitude, tugged upon tight lines of her bikini strings. She scratched a thigh, tanned delightfully bronze, and sizzled lovely, here under the California sky. Sky lacked only clouds.

    Dotty, as we shall call our hero, suffered actually from a debilitating condition of the total sleep deprivation this morning, had consumed one month’s quota of Imperiella schnapps in a one night sitting aside the celebrated Greek rappers, handsome Demis, and the burly Roussos, that night before. Her head thumped as thunder, but by gods those Greek boys were hilarious, she remembered, almost a party act together, and she knew now with a groan, why plate breaking antics had become so legendary on the strip.

    Suffering sweltering heat poolside she monitored with trained ears the lawyer’s, the employer’s, ugly infants. Babies bumbled in their playsuits amidst stickle bricks, soft toys, a plastic action lawyer figure. Both were of course dull brats linguistically, and each gurgled hopelessly for attention from their cage. Yet Dotty considered, today of all days, confinement was simply the best remedy, or solution, for the sentient puddings. Thank goodness for a playpen, she said under her breath, its security features, the wrought bars, padded mattress, ensured she could take a long nap at some point herself, or sleep now really, sleep, sleep, sleep it off before the children’s one o’clock till four pm nap-time or official sleep, her very own swimming time. Later, she would endure a shared high tea among towels, and the disco dancing to follow as calmation toward finale. At six pm the handover would conclude her struggles, the pass baby to a monobrow bitch, corporate lawyer woman, face of evil lipstick. Boss would park her Jaguar in the drive, skip to manage her two off-spring blobs, however briefly. Oh, and pay Dorothy one hundred dollars in purse change, of course. This was strictly business.

    Dotty’s tummy rumbled, literally she was starving herself to death. She had consumed nothing since the evening before’s souvlaki dinner,

    She leaned from her lounger, reached for the supersoaker aside her Steiff teddy bag. She crouched, filled the supersoaker in the pool waters, and safety-conscious, slung the bag containing her purse, marijuana joints and her handcuffs, over the corner of the play frame. Suddenly a child reached for her bag.

    ‘Hands off motherfucker,’ said Dotty, ‘and gently put the teddy bear down. I don't want to have to pull the trigger,’ she said, and she pulled the trigger anyway - like a child murderer would do the same thing. Water gushed into the face of Cordelia, or Giles? Neither wore their name badges today. Giles screamed in his pink dress, Cordelia ate a brick in the sailor outfit. Still, both were happy poultry. She left the babies, and padded barefoot toward the mansion and its refrigerator.

    As ever the top shelf stood crammed with the aloe vera bottles, the bottom compartment stuffed to the brim in beetroot supplement. Bottles of cauliflower extract lined side shelves.

    ‘Euch,’ said Dotty.

    Yet somehow, spotlit by the fridge’s own magic light, two tiny bowls of delicious pasta bolognaise sat apart, a post it note affixed to each one:

    ‘Regurgitate, and feed 12.30, thank you, C. Quinoa in cupboard, please help yourself!’

    Dotty flipped the bolognaise on to a plate, flipped the microwave to a regime of one minute.

    ‘Gnomh, gnomh, gnomh,’ she said, her cheeks pouched hamster style when from behind the fridge door emerged Riply, Riply Tinn.

    Riply Tinn, Mrs Carolina Tinn’s seventeen year old stepson scratched his erection inside beach shorts.

    ‘What’s that aroma? Is that the baby bolognaise you’re eating?’ he said. He squared her fully in eyes. ‘I’m gonna bust you, Doris,’ he said manfully.

    ‘No, oh, but no,’ she swallowed, ‘I need this job, you mongrel lobster,’ said Dotty, and swallowed again, the last mouthful, then licked the plate, slowly.

    She leaned over - in her bikini - to gather dust from the lino.

    ‘Where are the babies?’ said the adolescent.

    ‘Sunbathing,’ said Dotty.

    ‘Sunbathing, eh?’ said Riply.

    ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘I am preparing a quinoa luncheon.’

    Riply licked his lips.

    ‘But maybe…I might not tell Mom,’ he said, ‘about the bolognaise?’ he said.

    ‘But maybe you should prepare us both a…a cocktail…’ said Dotty. She herself giggled manfully, and swung her fulsome head of black hair, poolside. ‘Come find me when you’re ready, Riply,’ she said.

    Moments later Riply perched on the recliner aside Dotty’s own recliner. He sipped at his vodka whiskey rum and the coke mixture,

    ‘Maybe we might settle on some kind of arrangement?’ he said, his eyes full beam on the prize before him.

    ‘One moment,’ said Dotty, and limbered over the play fence, secured each baby in place, and one by one, she removed diapers, the faecal matter that so plagued her trade.

    ‘Take these inside,’ she said, ‘big boy.’ She patted Riply’s pert bottom.

    Riply swam thirty-five lengths of the pool, Dotty spooned quinoa into the mouths of the struggling infants, their high chairs bunched aside the lifeguard seat. Riply emerged from the waters, dripped and himself, he reclined in the lifeguard post.

    ‘Feed me,’ he chuckled.

    ‘Later,’ said Dotty.

    She burped those baby boils, placed each one in a hamper, indoors and secure, and now swung her frame outdoors, exotic, comely, hips like a broadway hoarding, over toward the young man aside water. He hyperventilated, and stroked his broad chest, the palm squeezed across one nipple.

    ‘Umm,’ said Dotty, ‘Ooh,’ she said and stretched fully aside the fellow, twin beds really, recliners, the atmosphere electric.

    ‘Ooh,’ he said.’

    ‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘stroke my feet, my toes, yes,’ and she reached for the lotion. ‘Stroke my camel toe.’

    Riply gasped.

    ‘Yes, the tall fellow, aside my big, big toe,’ she said.

    Riply stroked both her feet the full half hour, his ardour, man passion raging in wet shorts, the friction became unbearable.

    Dotty snored.

    And then like an osmosis she heard the wakening, the babies cry for Moma.

    ‘Lie down,’ she said, ‘take these off,’ she said, ‘blindfold for moma, and she wrapped shorts around his sweating brow. Click, she snapped handcuffs to an ankle. Certainly Dotty was a sexpert, a BDSM, fifty strokes of every ice-cream.

    ‘Stroke it till I return..’ she said.

    Moma returned that afternoon.

    And the infants too, as every day, played happy in their play-pen, yet the minder was nowhere to be seen. Ripley reclined here on duty, a glass of shit at his side, the shorts wrapped around eyes. The proud member, once held as a flagpole, wilted somewhat in the salute.

    END
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  7. Mocheo Timo

    Mocheo Timo Active Member

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    Il Macchiato Down (2,255)

    I had done it again. I could not believe myself. I could tell that my senses were odd. Melinda was taking something out of her purse as she stood in front of a black door in the end of the corridor. Was that her apartment? What was I doing there?

    “But honestly, encrypting a message is not as difficult as it sounds,” I felt compelled to tell her. “All you need is to take some letters from the alphabet, assort them at random, and –”

    “Oh shush. You were blabbering about that the entire time while we were in the taxi,” Melinda said as she put something in the key hole and gently pushed the black door. It seemed to shrink away as it swayed inwards, swallowed by the dark void that was the room.

    Right; I had taken her over on a date. Most likely we had become a little tipsy, so I had done her the favor of calling up a taxi and dropping her home. A flood light suddenly shone on my face, making me wince.

    “God! Make me blind, will you?” I said. Melinda was standing inside of the apartment; she seemed to be double her height – a giantess; her short blonde hair and her dark lipstick were the only things I could make out in all that brightness.

    “C’mon Dummy. Get in,” she said casually. I hated to be called that and she knew it. She was making use of that moment in which I was in mental disarray to abuse of the nickname. But why would I agree to go inside? It was probably very late at night and she lived on a single room apartment by herself. Nothing good would come out of that.

    There were some pictures in my mental storage, but they floated in my head like jellyfish in a neon aquarium. There had been a restaurant. I remember a plate of mashed potatoes and peas; there had been no meat. Had Melinda eaten vegetarian food as well? That would have been an accomplishment. There had been the smell of something roasted, though. I could feel it again, and it made my stomach churn.

    I walked miles before I got inside. Melinda was fumbling in the cupboard of her mini-kitchen looking for something. Her place did not seem very organized. I could tell the floor was clean and her bonsai tree under the window sill was well-watered, but her copybooks, her video-camera, and her laptop were thrown all over her small table. Her pencil was on the verge of falling off, and I felt a strong urge to save it and place it back inside of the – open – pencil-case. Her sheets and her blanket were also spread over her bed like an oil spill. Hiding under the bed, there was a cat.

    I had never known Melinda owned a cat. I had always been a dog person, and we had brought up the subject several times; how come she never told me? I looked irritably at the feline. It was completely still; probably waiting for the right moment to pounce upon its prey. Or for Melinda to bring it some milk.

    “Here it is. Found it,” she said. I was expecting her to take out a carton of milk, but instead she pulled out a large bottle of wine. “Il Macchiato,” she said, trying to produce an Italian accent.

    “What?” she said as she looked at my face. “Oh come on! It’s neat.”

    “It is anything but neat,” I replied. “The bed is undone, the table is a mess, the trash bin is full,” she looked at it – it was full, “and you have a cat under your bed!”

    “A cat?” She said as she started giggling. I looked at it again. It was still there, what was so funny about that? Suddenly there was a loud pop that sent my heart racing. Melinda laughed, as she poured the red wine in crystal-like glasses.

    We sat in the plastic chairs beside her messy study table. She handed me one of the glasses, still stifling her giggles. “Teach me, connoisseur.”

    Then it struck me. She was throwing her French words at me, giggling, and calling me Dummy, all because of my dare. We had had some wine with mashed potatoes and I had promised her that I would become a wine expert in that same night. I had placed my reputation on the line.

    “Jonathan,” she told me. “I’ve been saving this wine for quite a while now. It’s quality stuff.”

    “I know it’s quality stuff,” I said, although I had no idea.

    “Really?” she asked, and nearly giggled again as she watched me clumsily sip the drink. It slid down my throat like a warm bath flooding through my internal cavities.

    “That’s how you do it,” I said, placing the cup in the tiny space found in the study table. She had taken a sip as well. Her rosy cheeks made a pretty contrast with her dark-purple lips. I looked at the cat to escape her tempting glance; it had not moved at all, I could see it. I was glad that I still grasped my senses.

    Melinda stood up and walked towards the bed. Before I realized, she picked up the cat and threw it at me. I tried to swat it away but it hit me with the impact of a light bean bag. I let go of the creature, in fear that it should scratch me on the face. Melinda guffawed in seeing my despair. I looked sorely at her, and then back at the feline – to my surprise, it had transformed into a white teddy bear under the lamp light.

    I became incredibly mad at her. I picked my cup from the table, gently swayed it, and put it close to my nose, making sure Melinda saw the conceit in my face. Then, I gulped down the wine as if it was a remainder of apple juice.

    “That’s how you do it,” I said, placing the cup in the same space I had placed it before – except this time, it fell on the carpet. Melinda smiled, and joined me again, picking her cup – and with it, my indirect challenge.

    Time passed by very quizzically from then on. It was a bit like the jellyfish inside the neon aquarium, but with the glass breaking up and the jellyfish floating away into outer space.

    “Imagine us Melinda,” I started telling her at some point. Her shiny blondes were very close to my face, and I figure I was seated on the lap of her long, slender legs, although it was difficult to judge. “We got a big future ahead of us. I tell you, a big future. We’ll get together and move to France, where you’ll be journalist at a top broadcasting agency, say France 24.”

    “No, not France 24,” she protested.

    “It doesn’t matter. You’ll be on top.”

    “Jonathan?”

    “Yes?”

    “You’ll do your encrypting thing over there also, won’t you?” she said coyly.

    “Of course. I’ll be sent as a CIA agent, and I’ll encrypt messages for the government. The fricking government! We’ll have protection too,” I said.

    “Who says we need protection?” she asked.

    “Of course we need it. People always need protection.”

    “No. No. No.”

    “In France we need it –” I said, and was suddenly interrupted by her finger which shushed me.

    “No. No. No,” she said in a softer tone, “I have protection,” and all of a sudden she became ebullient and stood up – if I were indeed seated on her lap then I fell on the floor awkwardly.

    “Hey! Do you want to see something cool?” she asked.

    “Yes,” I said, becoming almost as energetic as her. She ran towards the kitchen, tripped on something and fell. She stood up again, and as I looked over her direction I saw a black device on the floor. I had no idea how in the world it had gotten there.

    “Hey,” I told her, “your camera’s busted.”

    She giggled at that as she fumbled for something in the kitchen cupboard – there was the sound of pans clattering and some bottles rolling. I expected her to bring more wine, but instead she took out an odd apparatus in the shape of a pink banana.

    “Look,” she said as she handled me the thing, “Dad gave it to me.” I looked at the pink object and could not make much out of it.

    “It’s a taser,” she explained. “If you press here, some wires will come out and electrocute you.”

    “Ele-ctro-cute,” I repeated, “cute. It has cute in it.”

    “It is my cute little taser,” she said trying to sound like a little girl, “isn’t it cool? It’ll protect us in France. Against bullies. Big, big, bullies.”

    I held it with both hands, looking at the object as if it were a precious artifact. I held it clumsily and aimed it at the wall. I thought of sheriffs in the Wild West who shot tin cans from miles away. I could become one of those; I was credible enough for that. Suddenly, I felt an animal twitching inside my stomach.

    I let go of the pink banana, ran to Melinda’s toilet, and released an eruption of liquid on her sink. I found it odd to see the cupboard doors opened, and pots and pans spread out on the floor. That girl always left some mess around her place.

    The animal had been a very large one; like a hedgehog, it had curled up to the size of a ball, revealing its full size only when I let it go. Somehow I felt like it had a very important function inside of me, since releasing it made me feel dizzy and weaker. As I still recovered from the loss, I heard a zapping sound and looked around.

    “Bulls-eye!” Melinda shouted triumphantly.

    I could not see what she had done, but she had the taser gun in her hand.

    “Give it to me, I want to try,” I said.

    “Show me what you got,” she said handing me the gun with a wink, “teacher.”

    I wanted to point the gun at something, but I did not know what. Lying on the floor, there was a green bottle with colorful spots on its label. It had IL MAC- something written on it; I could read that – I was glad I was still holding grasp over my senses. I aimed at it, and tried to hold the taser properly.

    “Jonathan,” Melinda said, “when we go to France, and you encrypt Maths to kids in school – ”

    “School?” I interrupted, “I told you I will work for the CIA!” I hated when people told me I would become a school teacher. It was the last thing I wanted to do with my major.

    “It’s only Maths for Chrissake! You want to become an agent with only that?” She shouted. For some reason we were both shouting now.

    “And you will do much better as a reporter, right? Look at your camera lying on the floor!”

    I shouldn’t have mentioned the video camera. It really irritated her. She walked towards the black device and crouched over it. I could see her eyes were beady and bloodshot. The camera seemed to be alright, but Melinda was still angry.

    “You’re an animal. Don’t touch my camera!” She shouted.

    I looked again at the black device – was that her camera, or her laptop? As I tried to figure that out, I felt something small whizzing past my face. It clacked on the bare floor with the sound of a pencil. Melinda started picking up copybooks and throwing them at me. Some papers flew in the air, being scattered all over the apartment like giant butterflies; I felt a small bag hit me, spilling out pencils and pens of different colors. As she groped for other things to throw, though, she touched a white lump of cloth which prompted me to rage.

    It seemed to me like the very embodiment of evil. I could hear its mocking laughter echoing in my brain. I pointed the gun in the direction of the white devil. It was not still now; it floated from side to side like a ghost, as if ready to attack.

    “Stop,” I said. “Gently put the teddy bear down. I don’t want to have to pull the trigger.”

    The bear did not stop though. Before I realized, it was upon me. My fingers moved by themselves; I felt something buzz in my hand and I instinctively let go of it. Melinda gasped and fell on the floor with a thump.

    I looked at her bedazzled. There were some thin metallic snakes attached to her left ankle. I was not sure where the snakes had come from, but they did not seem to be poisonous. I lay down on the floor next to her, seeing that the snakes would not harm me in that position. She giggled.

    “I can’t feel a thing,” she told me.

    “Shhh,” I said as I put my finger on her lips. “The snakes will hear you.”

    I put the back of my hand on her cheek – it was so warm! I was glad to still have a grasp over my senses, to still be in control. I closed my eyes and curled up my legs, sinking into the welcoming darkness of the mind – a kid in the body of an adult, sleeping like a child.
     
  8. pamedria

    pamedria Member

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    The Snow Men

    1366 words

    After an hour of sprinting, he stopped to catch his breath. He could hear the fast rhythm of his heartbeat ring in his ears. Everything hurt. Above, through the dead branches, the Viking could see a blanket of dark clouds rapidly moving across the grey sky. A storm was brewing on top of all else. They blocked out any sunshine or hope of warmth. For miles around there were only dead trees, bitter solitude and coldness.

    He ran north, towards the vast mountain range. At the start of his journey he had attempted to cover his tracks in the snow, but he knew there was no hiding from the men who may be hunting him. He just had to make his way to the Monster before they caught up to him. He had escaped in the middle of night, so he guessed they would not have realised his disappearance until dawn.

    It would be a dangerous journey over the icy slumbering beasts, but it was his only way home. He and his people had known the string of mountains there as the Monster. It would get angry in the midst of winter, and roar in a rage, throwing off its casing of snow, ice and black rocks in an avalanche. The Monster had taken the lives of many of his Viking brothers last winter, but the trek was a risk that Jeb had to take. The bearded man had no other choice. It was either endure the Monster, or return to the Snow Men.

    He could feel his lungs burning as he ran, but he did not stop, and he did not turn around. The Snow Men would not be far behind if they had followed. This was their land, and they knew it best.
    Jeb had tears in his eyes, but he could not stop to cry. He just continued to run.

    His wife had begged him not to go on the other side of the Monster, where the Snow Men lived. He kept visioning the beautiful Gwen. Her long raven hair, soft skin and green eyes dwelled in his mind.
    “Why must you go?” She asked, with her honey soft voice. Gwen had fallen pregnant, to Jed’s delight.
    “I must bring us some fortune, my love.”
    “We have all the riches we could ever need.” She had replied.
    “This wooden shack will not do. We haven’t even eaten in two days. I need to earn some gold to trade for food Gwen. This is the only recruitment there is.”
    “It is named the Monster for a reason.”
    “Yes, but people risk their lives to go over it for a reason. The kingdom will pay handsomely if we bring back enough timber. There is no more on our lands, Gwen. We must go over the mountain and bring some back.”
    “Will you be back in time to name our child?”
    “Of course.” He pursed his thin lips and kissed her on the brow. “I love you.”

    He shook the memory from his mind. He wondered how old his baby would be now. Was it a boy or girl? He had only been gone for five months, but he had lost all sense of time, since being captured by the Snow Men. He thought it had been years.
    His comrades had been frozen, buried and driven mad by the Monster, and he had been the only one to make it to the other side. He did not turn back at that point, though he should have. Fortune was too close.
    On the other side, he finally saw a sight he hadn’t in years. Trees. Countless trees surrounded the southern land. The Vikings had destroyed all their native trees in the north for their king, and he wanted more. He had built armour, weapons, homes, sheds, stables and arsenals.

    Jed had taken in the image for some minutes, before hacking at the first piece of wood.

    He had heard rumours of the Snow Men, the southern natives who lived in homes of ice and hunted men, but he thought they were much further south. He had heard of them being savages, even eating their own babies.

    He had torn apart two trees and put the wood into bags. Had the group all made it, they would have been able to bring back more, but he figured this was better than nothing. As he gathered his things, he heard something slice through the air by his ear. At first, he thought it was the whisper of the wind, but then it happened again. Before he knew it, there were huge men surrounding him with bow and arrows, talking words he could not understand. They were not as tall as he imagined, but they still towered over him with their muscular bodies. Their pale faces were wide and flat, with small black eyes and no visible sclera. They had taken him back to their fortress and kept him there for months, during which time he had only recognised one word from a Snow Child, who would emerge from her iced home to walk up to the cage that Jed was left in.

    “Thief!” She would repeat. “Thief!”
    As he looked around the village from his cage, he noticed that unlike his home, almost nothing was made of wood. It was all ice and fur. Their weapons appeared to be the only things, with wooden handles. They seemed to be worshipping the large surrounding trees, as the southern natives would bow down before it and chant in their mother tongue.
    At nightfall, the Snow Men would escort him from the cold cage into one of their ice homes, where they would feed him and let him sleep. Jed was confused by their motives, but by the stories he had heard when he was a child – he was convinced they were fattening him up to feast upon his flesh.

    “Beware of the Snow Men,” his father used to say as one of his bed time stories. “They eat us northern men, and live in snow and ice with no protection. They have scouted the lands for millenniums, and they know everything. It is the Monster which protects us from the Snow Men…” Jed could not remember the rest.

    Yet, the Snow Men appeared peaceful. In Jed’s village, men would fight daily and rape each other’s wives. Many locals were starving and would have to make offerings to the Viking king and show what they could do for the kingdom, in exchange for food.
    Here, the Snow Men would dance and laugh. He never saw any of them fight. Every day, Snow Men would stand in front of his cage in disgust. He could not understand their words, but they would cry and shout. It was only the little girl who spoke the one word in his native tongue. Their faces were all desperate as they spoke to him. What were they saying?

    His escape was easy. The men had forgotten to escort him to an ice home, and his cage was left unlocked and unguarded. Was it on purpose?

    As he ran, the word dwelled on his mind. “Thief”. He was indeed one, but what other choice did he have?

    Before him finally stood the Monster. It soared up into the sky, and he could not see the peak. There were tunnels that slivered through the range, so he searched for some shelter. He could only pray he would get lucky with his chosen route. He continued to trek in the freezing conditions. He looked behind him, and there were still no Snow Men. He wondered if they would even chase him. Why had they captured him? Where were they now? Perhaps it was unlocked on purpose. He found himself lingering for some minutes as if to wait for the foreigners.

    They did not come.

    Again he endured the mountains, and he returned home, against the odds. Gwen did not care that he was empty handed, and listened to his story intently. He had so many questions, as did she. They agreed to tell no one.

    Soon they would be parents.

    “She must grow up to be kind and honest. With no greed or lust." Gwen smiled with tears in her eyes. It was their special day. "What shall we name her?”

    Their newborn was being cradled by Jed.

    He smiled wide.

    “Snow.”
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  9. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    The Prompt and the Contest (3544)




    It was Rob’s week to clean the kitchen, which really meant cooking for the week as well, to limit the mess. He always took the same route through any room he cleaned. In the kitchen that meant starting at the table, and then moving around the edge, ending at the phone, where a message pad and grocery list resided. He happened to find himself at that very point as he looked down and noticed something scrawled on the bottom of the grocery list. It looked like his roommate Paul’s unintelligible penmanship, and as usual it made no sense



    gently put the teddy bear down. I don’t want to have to pull the trigger.



    Rob ripped the bottom from the list, crumpled, and tossed it into the full trash can, grabbed the top of the trash bag, pulled it together, tied it in a knot, and dropped it by the door to go out later. Relining the can with a fresh bag finished his duties for the week.



    He dropped himself onto the worn sofa and turned on the tv. He found the cable guide and searched for a sporting game to watch. Might as well relax, he figured, it would be a few hours before his friends started calling and texting. Saturday night. Klay’s Bar. Ritual. A smile spread across his face as he thought back to all the good times they had had there since turning 21. Rob held a little pride in the fact that he was the only one of the group that had made every Saturday night; rain or shine, in sickness and in health, holiday or not, he was there.



    The television settled on a channel showing Olympic qualifying. Not a bad way to spend a weekend afternoon; Paul at work, place was quiet, perfect temperature, and scantily clad athletes jiggling and glistening in the sun. Rob stretched his frame out and settled in to watch, and hopefully doze off a little.



    A cacophony of electronic sounds stirred him from his nap and the search was on, for the phone he had once again misplaced. Groggy from sleep, he stumbled around the apartment trying to home in on the noise before it stopped. A dimly flashing light from down the hallway caught his eye; ah yes, left in the bathroom so it wouldn’t be lost while cleaning the kitchen. Four steps later and the phone was in Rob’s hand, unlocked and swiped, his fingers dancing out a reply seemingly before he could even read the first message. Three replies, plans in place, time to clean up. He changed the channel to streaming music and headed for the bathroom; a quick shower and shave, then Rob pulled on some mostly clean, newer jeans, and a clean plain t-shirt.



    As he was tying his shoes, Rob heard his roommate unlocking and entering their apartment. He grabbed his wallet and keys, took a quick look in the mirror and shrugged. It was as good as it was going to get. Smiling, he left his room and found Paul, looking as worried as usual, scouring the living room for something. “Hey Paul, what’s up?”



    Paul didn’t react and kept sorting through things making a mess.



    “What’re you looking for?”, Rob tried.



    “Uh, just something I wrote down”, Paul replied, doing his best to straighten the magazines he just spread out. “It was a thing called a writing prompt, and I need it for a contest I need to enter.”



    Rob raised his eyebrows, “Really. You need to enter?”, he grinned out “Perish the thought you will be taken from us for something so trivial.”



    “Shut up dumb ass”, Paul breathed out pushing past Rob and into the kitchen. “I want to enter a contest and add the win to my non-existent author resume. Happy?”



    “Oh? Well I finished the kitchen earlier, so destroy it all you want looking for whatever you want. You get to clean it up.”



    “A writing prompt. That is what I am looking for. It is made out of letters.”, Paul said, adding with a grin of his own, “You know, those things you use to form words? Remember those colorful things on your fridge when you were little? Some were straight, some were curved... Most people use those to spell out words.”



    “I know what a writing prompt is, Paul-eena. What was this particular one?”



    Paul breathed out loudly, exaggerating exasperation. “If I knew what it was; then I wouldn’t need to find it, would I?”



    “Ok. What did you write it on? Do you remember?”



    “If I knew what I wrote it on, or where I wrote it, I would probably be there. Man, Rob, some days you are beyond dense, you know that?”



    “No, I’m too dense”, Rob flashed a smile. “Can’t you just go to whatever forum you found it on and get it again?”



    Paul stopped rifling through a drawer and faced his roommate, explaining, “No. It is a writing group from the library, not online. Last time we met we got a new prompt. I remembered it until I got home and wrote it down. But that was a few days ago.” Then added, “It is due Tomorrow at 12. High noon, to the likes of you. I gotta email it to a contest place.”



    “Hmm. No one to email? The instructor?”



    “Nope. We just meet the third Sunday of the month, and whoever shows up, shows up. And there is no instructor, she is an author that likes to help writers.”



    “Oh, really...she?”, Rob started, “You holding out on me? Tell me all about your little mystery woman.”



    “Gimme a break, Rob, ok? Just leave it”, said Paul wearily, adding,”If you’re not gonna help, then just be quiet.”



    “Help? I’ll help you. Here’s a tip: get out of that coat and tie, it’s Saturday night”, offered Rob. “Oh well, I’m off. Heading out for a night of fun, and hopefully a little debauchery.”



    Paul looked hurt. “Where’re you going?”



    “Duh. It’s fuckin’ Saturday night. What happens on Saturday nights? Why would you even ask? Call me dense?”



    A sigh issued forth from Paul’s nostrils. He turned and sulked his way to his room and closed the door.



    “Alright, I’m out. Try not to have too much fun”, Rob yelled, then added in a lower voice, “Or kill yourself.”



    Taking the stairs two at a time pissed off the people that lived next to the stairs, but Rob couldn’t stop. Ever since he was a kid, taking two, or three, stairs at a time was in his blood. He hit the bottom stair and lunged, trying to make it across the hall and through an open doorway, without touching the ground. Hitting his funny bone on the door jam was the only thing that went wrong with Rob’s aerial maneuver, and it messed up his landing, spinning him to the left with a yelp. Using a wall as a stop helped, but his elbow was screaming at him, and not only that, but a couple of the cuter tenants were entering at the time. They stopped and giggled as he blundered by, then both ducked through the doorway before he could respond.



    Red faced, he yelled, “I have to practice a lot if I want to make the Olympic team!” Why am I such an idiot, he thought, immediately regretting what he had said.



    Klay’s Bar was only a couple blocks, the night was warm, and best of all, Rob’s favorite taqueria was almost exactly halfway between, so he set off walking. His thoughts were full of tacos and rice. He was remembering familiar smells of any good taqueria. The happy thoughts put a bounce in his step, and a smile on his face. He reached the restaurant in record time, entered, and saw that his favorite girl was working the register, so he put on his most charming grin, and approached the counter.



    Tanya, her name tag read, watched as Rob entered, looked around and fixed his eyes on her. Like so many before, he too put on a shit eating grin and decided to saunter over. She stared up at him with a hint of a smile.



    Rob placed his hands on the counter, slightly flexing, and asked, “How are you on this fine evening?”



    The girl with the name tag that read Tanya moved her eyes around as if indicating that what was happening here and now, would indeed be how her evening was, and how her night could be expected to proceed. The change in her expression was almost imperceptible.



    He opened his mouth to say something more but noticed her playful smile was gone. Deciding to change tactics, Rob ordered his food in broken Spanish, thinking for some reason it would impress her. He then pulled out his wallet, and decided to impress her some more, by paying with a $100 bill. Making a show of snapping it out flat and placing it into her flat palm.



    She rolled her eyes and looked over her shoulder, “Need change up front!”. She then swiveled her head back and stared at Rob, and he suddenly gained a fascination with the menu board above her head. Another woman showed up, took the bill and counted out change. Tanya finished the transaction and dumped the change in his hand.



    Rob got a new idea that was sure to win her over. He smiled wide again and separated the bills from the coins in his hand, and dumped the coins into a carafe with a note taped to it that said TIPS. Grabbing his drink cup and plastic number, he headed for the soda fountain, then threaded his way through tables to claim the perfect one. Perfect for Rob since he could see all the tables and front door, but more importantly he got a view behind the counter, where the cashier stood.



    His view unobstructed, Rob watched as she helped a young couple, noticing her laughing a couple of times. When the couple walked away to find a table, a squat older woman arrived and relieved the cute cashier. Then his food showed up, distracting him. As he ate and the restaurant filled with patrons, the noise level rose accordingly until Rob could no longer hear the music part of the music videos playing on the flat screens. He finished eating and made his way through the packed floor, bumping elbows and shaking tables as he went.



    The second half of the walk went quickly; the evening still warm, a good tune stuck in his head, and a path taken so many times Rob knew every crack in the sidewalk on the way. As he walked into Klay’s, he looked around the rectangle room. From the door he entered, a bar took up the right side wall, with an identical door in the wall opposite him. To the left were a couple of pool tables, dart boards, a fancy jukebox that connected to an app, and restrooms in the far corner.



    The bartender on duty this night was the sassy milf Victoria, who now simply insulted Rob whenever he hit on her, it was part of her charm. They saw each other and she grabbed a glass, filled it from a tap and set it in front of an empty stool.



    This place had been his dad’s bar too. They still had a little, faded picture of him stuck up under the wooden frame of a mirror behind the bar. The same picture used for the obituary and the funeral brochure, it looked like his dad, but wasn’t the image in Rob’s mind, too stiff, and when did his old man ever wear a suit? There was a new addition next to his dad. A photograph, 8 x 10 with a thin white frame. As Rob stared at the picture, his head cocked sideways, he wondered why the frame was added. It was almost lost in a sea of snowmen; odd, two section snowmen. Some with ears, some with angry looking faces, others looking happy, while some looked plain. The oddest thing he saw were the square ones. How to make a square snowman, he wondered, surely you can’t roll the sections; maybe they rolled them and then cut them? His eyes drifted to the right and read the sign attached to the snowman picture



    $10 ENTRY GOES TO CHARITY

    GUESS THE NUMBER OF SNOWMEN AND WIN HALF THE POT!!

    MAKE SURE TO LEAVE NAME AND NUMBER DRAWING SUNDAY 11:30 AM


    Rob pulled out his wallet and put a 20 dollar bill on the bar, told the bartender he wanted to play. She left and returned with a five as change for the beer and a post-it-note for the entry. He placed his phone on top of the five and squinted at the snowman picture while absentmindedly tapping a pencil against his teeth, trying to figure how many there were. His phone vibrating and the screen lighting up with a text message brought him back to reality. He glanced at it and sighed, Mel was cancelling for tonight; oh well, back to the picture.



    He ordered another beer and was close to coming up with a number as regulars to Klay’s randomly said hi to Rob, or slapped him on the back as they noticed him. He replied to each and every one, most were almost family, some had spent time drinking away the hours with his dad. He felt the night was building nicely, a game of eight-ball was sure to come along soon; everyone wanted a piece of Rob, the kid that used to hustle old men in this place. A smile behind Rob’s eyes betrayed the memory of his old man teaching him how to play pool.Pool is hard to teach, but even harder is teaching someone how to play pool badly, with precision. Artfully losing at pool is not a skill that comes in handy most days but a fun one to have nonetheless. It had helped to pay a bill here and there since that time.



    Rob grabbed his phone off the bar and made his way to the restroom. Part way there a text message came in, actually, not one, but two. He stared at the screens briefly as he swiped between messages; it looked like Karen and Matt weren’t going to make it either, time to put it on vibrate. The restroom was freshly cleaned and smelled faintly of Simple Green; better than the urinal cake odor that would pervade the small space in a few hours, Rob thought. He placed his phone on top of the commode and started to urinate; at precisely that moment, a text came in and vibrated the phone right into the basin. It took Rob a moment to realize what just happened, and to stop pissing on his phone. He stared at his phone long and hard, like it was going to apologize, then gently picked it up with finger tips and looked at the screen. A text from Paul:



    Are you sure you have not seen my writing prompt?



    He shook his head and ran the tap enough to quickly run the phone under the stream before wiping it down. Finishing, he washed and checked his reflection before heading back out to get another beer.



    His stool was still empty, with a full beer sitting in front of it. He took a sip and closed his eyes, savoring the taste he loved so much. “Hey Vic, how’s your night going so far?”



    The bartender looked over and moved his direction while wiping the bar, “Can’t complain. You?”



    “Everyone cancelled, and Paul is still a dick.”



    “Well that’s not a fun Saturday night. Know what else isn’t fun? You owe me $5 for that beer...And I would guess Paul says the same about you, and is probably more accurate.”



    “Thanks Vic, you’re always there for me when I need you.”



    Rob paid and added a tip, deciding to leave when this beer was done. The beer lasted long enough for some socializing and a few songs on the jukebox. Grabbing the post-it-note, writing 223 along with his name and number, his entry was dropped into a fishbowl for the drawing. He said his round of goodbyes and made his way out into the warm night air, breathing deeply to help clear his head. He had a small buzz that should last him until he got home and either had another beer or went to sleep. The walk home was fast and uneventful. Upon entering the apartment and not seeing Paul, he decided to slip into his room and crash.



    Rob woke at eleven sharp, checked his phone for messages, opened the door and stepped across the hall, into the bathroom. A minute later he emerged, headed for the kitchen to grab some water and start rehydrating after the previous night, stepped around the corner, and ran into Paul. One look told him it would be a tough morning, Paul’s face already looking dour.



    “Good morning, Sir Paul”, smiled Rob as he stepped to the sink, adding “I, for one, certainly hope this glorious morn finds thee faring well”, trying to be cheery.



    “Not really”, Paul replied, a look of worry flashing across his eyes.



    Rob drained his favorite green glass, placed it back on the counter, took a deep breath to steel himself, and turned with a smile. “Whatever could be bothering such a good man on the lord’s day cannot be tolerated!”, he quipped, “Please tell us whateth maketh you aileth, we shall promptly get to work solving the problem..eth!”



    Paul’s eyes rolled up halfway, and Rob took the opportunity to step around him and into the living room, eyes on the tv remote. He plopped down on the sofa, scooping the remote into one hand. Looked at his roommate with a grin, he tossed the remote in a rainbow arc, from one outstretched hand to the other. As soon as the remote touched his second hand, Rob’s fingers were powering on the tv, while he stared at Paul and moved his head in short, sharp movements like a quizzical bird.



    Paul’s expression doured even more, “I cannot find something that is very important to me, and you did not invite me again last night.”



    The tv settled on professional wrestling and Rob set the remote on the coffee table. “Paulie, Paulie, Paulie. When have you ever needed to be invited to Klay’s?”, he asked. “We grew up across the street from each other, our dad’s were always there. We have all been going there every Saturday night since we turned 21. I even missed my first few..to wait for your birthday...remember?”



    Paul put on the dejected look he had perfected long ago, “You know, friends sometimes invite friends to do things so the friend feels included, even if they do things together every day.”



    Rob’s eyes rolled and stayed rolled for several seconds before snapping onto Paul. “Why do you have to keep harping on this? EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT WE GO TO KLAY’S, period. No invites. You either go or you don’t. If you are going to continue, please change the subject; I don’t think I can take another Sunday morning listening to this.”



    “Have you seen my writing prompt?”



    “You said it is due at twelve today? Less than an hour? Could you possibly finish in the time left?”



    “I know I can bang out a story in under an hour. I don’t know how good it would be, but better than some others there.”



    “Ok, Paul, I will help you. I will help you to become the greatest writer you can be.” , smiled Rob. “You see, crunch time is when heroes are made. Out of the ashes rises the phoenix, and all that. Your life has crashed and burned. You have less than one hour to salvage it. What will you do? Ready? Set...3...2...1...Gently put the teddy bear down. I don’t want to have to pull the trigger.”



    “You knew this whole time?”



    “Yes, Paul. I want to teach you to be a better writer so I waited until it was time for a Hail Mary pass. You will thank me when you are famous. You will put my name in every book you write.”



    Paul looked stunned, “You are a dick! What is wrong with you? I cannot believe you did this to me!”



    “I told you, I am helping you be a better writer, you’ll thank me later.”



    “I do thank you Rob, you have helped me make an important decision.”, stated Paul, “I was waffling between genres to follow and now I have decided: I am going to write mysteries, and horror short stories. Every victim will be named Rob, or a variation, and every Rob will die a long and painful death.”



    Rob smiled a shit-eating-grin and said, “Whatever it takes Paulie my boy, whatever it takes.” With that done, he turned back to the tv and gave his full concentration to the carefully choreographed match inside the squared circle.
     
  10. Alphonse Capone

    Alphonse Capone Member

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    Shit Sometimes Happens(2,804 words)

    Tony picked up his pint glass and finished off the beer. "Same again Paul," he said to the bartender standing nearby reading a newspaper. On the face of it, the Crown Bar was a strange choice to drink in on a Wednesday night, never mind for someone who lived a thirty minute bus ride away. The place was dark and dingy, the carpets sticky and a whiff of urine penetrated the nostrils regardless of far you were from the toilet. But Tony had always drank in here as it was next door to the precinct, and a twenty year habit did not disappear just because you were on special leave.

    "There you go Tony. You want it on your tab?" Asked Paul, a man with an incredible stature suggesting he could crush you at will.

    "Yeah, sure, here Paul, turn that up will you," said Tony, his eyes fixed on a large TV screen sitting high up behind the bar. Paul picked up a remote from below the till and turned up the volume.

    "Melington Hospital today reported the death of a new baby from the unknown infection sweeping the county. This is the tenth child to have died in the last two months and authorities do not appear any closer to discovering the nature of the infection, nor its cause. The mayor has urged all citizens to remain calm. And finally, the Zipplin company, makers of the best selling Love You teddy bear, announced an increase in profits today..."

    "You can turn it down now," said Tony before picking up his fresh pint and downing it. He pulled a few bank notes out from his pocket and threw them onto the bar before heading toward the exit. "Should keep my tab in check for now, got to go."

    Outside, Tony shivered as the chilling wind blew the rain against his face. He regretted leaving the bar in such a hurry as to forget his jacket, even if Melington precinct was only a short walk next door. Entering the precinct, he breathed a sigh of relief at leaving the cold outside but the feeling was quickly replaced by that of sadness. He peered through the window, looking into the main part of the office and realised the last two months on leave had been the longest he had gone in his career without setting foot in the precinct.

    "Tony, you're back?" Asked a voice from behind.

    Tony turned to find his first ever partner, Mike Ludlow, walking towards him with a box of papers. Mike had shown Tony the ropes, even saved his life during a high speed car chase but for the last couple of years he had been kept indoors to shuffle paper around, deemed too old for proper police work.

    "Not exactly," said Tony, hesitating for a moment, "psychologist won't sign me off yet but I need to see the chief."

    "He's in his office, with the deputy. Listen Tony, I'm sorry about Cathy and the baby."

    Tony looked hard at his former partner, watching as his eyes watered. He'd never seen Mike look vulnerable.

    "I appreciate that Mike," he said, grabbing hold of his shoulder.

    Tony opened the door to the main part of the office and let Mike enter first. He followed behind, hoping Mike would shield him from anymore words of sympathy. It was not a lack of appreciation at the sentiment but the idea of sharing any feelings terrified him, much to the police psychologists frustration. But the main office was quiet and he managed to reach the chief's office without any interactions.

    He chapped on the door before opening it and sticking his head in. "Captain, can we speak?"

    "Tony, what are you doing here? Come in," replied the captain, looking bewildered.

    "I wanted to talk to you about the baby cases sir, I think I could be of some assistance."

    The captain looked to his deputy who shared his confused expression. "What baby cases?" Asked the deputy.

    "You know, the infection ones," Tony said as though it was obvious.

    "Those aren't criminal cases, they're medical ones," said the captain, who had stood up from his chair and now sat against the front of his large, oak desk, arms folded.

    "I've got a feeling there is more to it captain. How often have I came to you with a feeling and called it right?"

    "Tony, let's be honest here, you want there to be something criminal going on because if there is, it means you can go after someone. You'll have someone to blame for Ella, a bogeyman. And that's easier than accepting that sometimes, shit happens," said the deputy in his usual, matter-of-fact tone.

    " Look, I think what deputy Malone is trying to say, is that you're desperate to get back into the field and that's understandable but you have to be signed off by the psychologist in order to make sure you can trust that gut feeling again," said the captain, shooting his deputy a look.

    "Sir, with all due respect, the psychologist is a waste of time. My baby died and my wife had a breakdown before leaving me. What does speaking to someone achieve? Neither are coming back."

    The captain looked at his deputy. "Can you give us a minute?" The deputy nodded before getting up and leaving the room. The captain approached Tony. "It won't bring Ella back but it will help you. The psychologist shared some concerns with me, about the suicidal feelings you've had."

    "I thought the shit I say is confidential?"

    "It is, I mean, the guy is concerned for your life. Tony, you might get Cathy back, she might just need time. And what about your job? Once you are back in here, you'll start to feel a little better, I promise. Just give the therapy a chance."

    Tony looked into the captain's eyes, sensing the same sympathy he had from Mike. "Ok captain, I understand, I'll give it my best with the psychologist."

    "Good. I look forward to getting my best officer back. And forget this infection thing, it's for the medical guys."

    "Ok sir," said Tony, nodding his head to the chief before leaving the room.

    He made his way back through the main office, again managing to avoid any awkward conversations. Leaving the precinct out onto the main road, he hailed down a passing taxi and jumped into the back.

    "Melington hospital please driver."


    [SIZE=6]*[/SIZE]


    Tony walked through the entrance of Melington hospital and down the standard clinical white corridors toward the elevators. Two burly security men were standing guard.

    "Are you here to visit sir? You should be on our list if so," said one, holding a clip board.

    "I won't be on your list, I..."

    "Sorry sir, the hospital is under strict security procedures at the moment. If you aren't on our list, you can't get in," said the guard, interrupting.

    Tony stuck his hand into his pocket and felt his badge. He hesitated for a moment, reminding himself that to use the badge when on special leave was serious misconduct. Both guards were eyeing him up, suspicious.

    "I'm a police officer," said Tony, flashing his badge.

    "Oh, not a problem officer." Both guards stepped out the way.

    Tony entered the lift and pressed the button for the second floor. He could feel a knot in his stomach as the elevator climbed, the number two flashed in red above the doors as it stopped. They opened and Tony stepped out into the neonatal ward for the first time since his daughter had died. The walls were painted with a variety of animals in an array of colours in an attempt to diverge from the depressing decor of the rest of the hospital, but for Tony, this would always be a place of nightmares. He focused himself, looking over to the main desk where a woman was sitting sipping coffee.

    "Can I help sir?" She asked, noticing him.

    Tony wandered over and flashed his badge. "Evening, I'm here investigating the infected babies. I was hoping to get some files to help with a line of enquiry."

    The woman squinted at him. "I wasn't aware there was a police investigation into that?"

    "It's not an official investigation per se, just looking into all avenues, as the mayor has said, leave no stone unturned." Tony wiped away a few beads of sweat from his forehead.

    "What sort of files?"

    "I'm just looking for contact details for the parents of the children involved."

    The woman sighed. "I can't give out that sort of thing without a warrant."

    Tony smiled at her, trying to quickly weigh up his next move, before being interrupted by a tap on the shoulder. He turned to find a small man with a thick, black beard staring at him.

    "Sorry officer, I couldn't help but overhear your conversation. My name is Colin Berland," he said, sticking his hand out. Tony shook it as the man continued, "Drake, my son, died from the infection. Do you think there is something criminal?"

    Tony gestured with his head to the waiting room nearby, suspicious of the receptionists suspicion of him. They both wandered over and sat down.

    "I don't know for sure but I've got my worries there might be."

    "Why?" Asked Colin.

    "I don't know if I can explain it really. My daughter, Ella, also died from the infection. She was the first baby to be infected," said Tony before a heavy sigh. "Something about the situation suggests at least negligence to me, maybe more. My wife, she was, well is, a virologist, she said there was a case about a decade ago, where someone in a hospital down south was working on a manmade virus as part of some Government research while also working at a local hospital. They accidently spread the virus in the hospital. Fortunately no one died and it was covered up by the Government but those in the industry knew about it."

    "My God, you think it could be something like that here?"

    "All I know is, they don't seem to be any closer to finding out what is going on yet no one will even contemplate the idea that it might not be natural."

    Colin stared off into the distance, pondering, before turning back to Tony. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a piece of paper, handing it over.

    "This has the names and addresses of almost all the parents. I'm trying to organise a support group. I found most of them online doing a little bit of digging and piecing together. You can take it."

    Tony smiled at him before pulling out a small notepad. "Do you mind if I start with you?"


    [SIZE=6]*[/SIZE]


    Tony stared at his wall swamped with post it notes full of details from the interviews he had carried out in the last forty-eight hours with those parents who had agreed to speak with him. He tried to discern a pattern but none stood out, no matter how hard he looked.

    He grabbed his bottle of beer, hand shaking, and took a swig but it was empty. Tossing it into a pile of empty bottles in the corner of the room, he slouched against the back wall, slowly sliding down until he reached the floor, head in hands. He considered whether he was losing his mind, if he was dreaming up bogeymen to blame and needed that psychologist after all. Pulling himself up, he walked gingerly to the other wall, ready to tear down the post it notes and embrace his insanity when he noticed there was a pattern, if you ignored one child.

    Frantic, he grabbed each of the post it notes related to Ella and sat them off to the side. He re-arranged the remaining notes. The pattern was hardly a smoking gun but it was something. They'd all been visited by a woman from the Zipplin company with a free, Love You teddy bear, minutes before the onset of the first symptom. Tony concentrated, trying to figure out whether it was a clue or just another sign of his madness. He decided it was at least worth speaking to the woman and bargained with himself that if it came to nothing, he'd call the psychologist.

    His taxi arrived at the hospital and dropped him off at the same spot as the night before. He rushed along the corridor and passed the same guards at the elevator, this time without the need to show his badge. The red number two flashed again as the doors opened. Tony could feel the same knot in his stomach as he entered out into the ward. There was a man sitting behind the desk this time, playing around on his phone. He looked up for a second as Tony approached the desk before looking back down at his phone.

    "If you are here to see the Simpson kid then it's room four."

    Tony, confused, decided not to question it and walked down towards room four. The door was lying open as he reached it. He walked inside the room and found a woman lying in the hospital bed holding a newborn baby. She started to scream while a man to her right pushed the emergency button on the wall, triggering a wailing sound throughout the ward. Tony spotted another figure out the side of his eye, facing away from him but he was too busy reaching for his badge to explain his presence to pay much attention to it.

    It became apparent that neither of the parents had even registered Tony, instead, they were reacting to the baby who was vomiting blood. The room burst with medical staff but in amongst the chaos, Tony noticed lying on the bed, one of the Love You teddy bears. Before he could react, a hand reached over and grabbed it. A nurse pushed him to the side so as to make way for a small trolley and as it passed him, he could only watch as the figure, wearing a long black coat with the hood now up covering their face, left the room with teddy in hand.

    Tony was surrounded by medical staff but he managed to push his way past them and exited the room. The figure was running down the corridor towards a sign for the fire exit. Tony ran after, pulling the gun from his holster. Reaching the exit, the figure tried to force it open but the emergency alarm system had caused it to lock. They were trapped.

    "You've nowhere to go. Gently put the teddy bear down. I don't want to have to pull the trigger," said Tony. The figure slowly lowered the teddy bear to the ground before standing back up. "Turn around and pull down the hood. Slow."

    The figure turned and reached up to the top of the hood, pulling it slowly down, unveiling a face. Tony could barely believe his eyes.

    "Cathy?"


    [INDENT][B][SIZE=6]*[/SIZE][/B][/INDENT]​


    The captain walked into his office and sunk down into the large leather recliner behind his desk.

    "I don't even know where to start with this Tony. Cathy has plead guilty to infecting ten babies, including the one tonight, with a lab born virus from her work. She pretended to work for the Zipplin company and give out those teddy bears as a promotion which she used as a carrier for the virus. It was only deadly to babies due to the quantities she used."

    "Don't you mean eleven babies including tonight?" Asked Tony.

    The captain waited before answering. "Ella wasn't infected by Cathy. Her death was the trigger for whatever snapped in her head but Ella's death was from a natural infection."

    Tony stared at the captain, struggling to process everything. "What infection killed Ella?"

    "They still don't know I'm afraid. The rest of the babies have tested positive for the virus Cathy was working on in the lab but not Ella, consistent with her version of events. She is being transferred to a psychiatric facility," said the captain while Tony stared off into the distance, "Tony, I'm afraid you'll need to give me your badge and gun. The independent policing commission is investigating this, you'll likely not serve again. You know if it was up to me, I'd give you a pass."

    Tony continue to sit, motionless.

    "You're suspended while they investigate, so still technically a police officer which means you can use the police psychologist. Please, Tony, tell me you'll make an effort with the psychologist? I don't want to hear you've done something stupid."

    Tony looked up at the captain knowing it'd for the last time, everything in his life gone and nothing left to live for. "I guess shit sometimes happens, sir."
     
  11. Fernando.C

    Fernando.C Active Member

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    Location:
    Lands Beyond the Wall
    The Von Catus Murder Case [2272 words]


    So, I was murdered by snowmen today.

    How was your day?

    Perplexed, are you? Very well, allow me to explain.

    Just a few hours ago I was enjoying a nice stroll along the east bank of the lovely river Jade. I had my headphones in my ears, listening to a rather fascinating historical fiction novel named Golden Prince, Purple King. It recounts the tale of a vain and cruel prince who ascends to the throne after the untimely demise of his father, King Jerome of Thrwaeshawcentros. Now the prince in…

    Ah...I see I’m beginning to lose you. Not a fan of historical fiction, eh?

    No matter, no matter, let us get back to the topic at hand. So I was walking riverside, listening to my novel and taking in the glorious morning. The Yellow Sun rose high in the north, proud and radiant as always. Gods, how I wished the Green Sun was out too, but we are still early in summer so that’s more of a wishful thinking on my part.

    A mighty splash sound caught my attention. But when I turned around all I saw were giant ripples on the river surface with no signs of what had caused them. I did witness the next splash - this one possibly even bigger - in full but still failed to spot the responsible party. It was as though a giant invisible fish kept diving in and out of the water.

    But that’s nonsense of course. Everybody knows giant invisible fish only live in open seas.

    I picked up pace trying to put some distance between myself and the river. I love Jade as much as anyone else in this town, but I don’t have to tell you about the dangers of being in the vicinity of bodies of water when they begin to act erratically, which happens far more frequent than is strictly proper. Not that anyone will ever hold them accountable, mind you. Honestly, the thing rivers and lakes can get away with these days. And don’t even get me started on that whole Cereneberus Ocean scandal.

    Unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough in my get away. The third splash and the biggest, drenched me from head to toe in seconds, ruining my favorite jacket in process. It was a good thing I had the foresight to put away my headphones and Walkman just seconds before or they’d have been damaged as well. And I was only on chapter ten of the audiobook too.

    The water wasn’t too cold, thank the gods. Still I was left with no choice but to get back home and change. Before I could go more than a few steps, however, an ear-shattering screeching sound stopped me in my tracks. I made the mistake of looking behind, and my heart stopped. Three ugly and massive rhino sharks were coming out of the water and straight towards me.

    I don’t have to tell you how frightening that was. They don’t make them any more viscous than those damned rhino sharks.

    I ran as fast as legs permitted. Those beast shot after me on four legs. Four legs. Savages.

    I made it all the way to the Green Hills before collapsing to the ground, panting, My chest burned, my legs hurt and I was out of breath. I’m not young anymore, you know. Not that those nasty rhino shark cared. Uncivilised brutes.

    I lay at the foot of the Hills, catching my breath for a few minutes. Surprisingly the rhino sharks didn’t come to get me. Lost interest, they most likely did. They’re not that bright you know. Of course my troubles were nowhere close to over.

    Just as I got back to my feet, a horde of snowmen attacked me. They came out of nowhere, without any warning at all, and simply charged at me for no good reason. People seem to have lost every last hint of common decency these days. They came in all sizes and shapes too, these snowmen. Some easily ten feet tall, others no bigger than a toddler. Some were so fat they could barely move, and some had probably spent too much time at the gym. Seriously, a snowman with six packs? Whats next? A clean-shaven Santa?


    Anyhow, I ran and they followed. Most of them armed with sharp-looking, carrot daggers - which I doubt any of them had licence to carry, not that it stopped them - a few of them even had snow guns. I don’t even want to imagine how they came to be in possession of those things.

    The good news was they were terrible shooters. Every single snow bullet missed me and pretty soon they were out of bullets. I heard one of them curse when they came to this realisation, I don’t care to repeat the words though. Terrible language for snowmen.

    The bad news? In my haste to get away from murderous brutes, instead of running back to the town I had ran farther and farther away from it. And now I stood in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a dozen angry snowmen, intent on killing me.

    Now I’m as anti-violence as it gets. I believe in solving my issues peacefully. So I tried to reason with them.

    “Gentlemen,” I said, “whatever problem you have with me, I’m sure we can talk it out. We are civilised people after all, are we not?”

    “Oh shut it Professor,” said the largest of the snowmen with an ugly scowl on his face. “We’ve got places to be, ain’t got no time any of us for one of your pretentious lectures”.

    “Preten-”

    “GET ‘EM BOYS.”

    And they were on me in a flash. Punching and kicking and stabbing me with their carrot daggers. Those nasty orange things cut me on my arms and legs and chest, making me bleed. Oh it hurt bad, I don’t mind telling you, it hurt something awful.

    I wasn’t one to go down that easy, though. I’m as anti-violence as it gets, I said before, but when violence smacks me in the face, I don't just stand there and take it like an idiot. I hit back. And I hit harder.

    So I fought and I fought and I kicked and I punched. Letting my claws out, I scratched them across their faces and their snowy chests. I may have caught one or two in the eye as well. I won’t feel bad, they deserved it.

    I couldn’t say how long the whole thing took. Just that it was painful and exhausting. And...well, I must admit, somewhat exhilarating. At the end, only three snowmen were left standing. And those had terrible scars all over their bodies as souvenirs.

    I myself didn’t look much better. Bleeding from several places, nasty scars and bruises everywhere, some of which will no doubt leave marks. And to top it all off, I had lost three of my carefully groomed whiskers in the fight. Do you have any idea how long it takes me to not only grow those but make them look so splendid?

    I should sue the Snowman Council just for that alone.

    If the remaining three were fazed at all by losing so many of their friends, they didn’t show it. They came right at me. I tried to put up a fight, and did an admirable job if I do say so myself. But I was so injured and exhausted at this point, and my adversaries were clearly much younger than me, that it was only a matter of time before I was overwhelmed.

    If they had any honor left in them they would’ve spared an unarmed, elderly gentleman. But no, ruthless thugs that they were, they assaulted me with their terrible carrot daggers. Stabbing me in the chest, once and twice and thrice, until my torso was coated with blood. And they didn’t stop. They kept stabbing and stabbing. Pain enveloped me like a blanket of lava.

    They stabbed me once more.

    I grew numb.

    They stabbed even harder.

    And my vision darkened.

    One final stab.

    I knew no more.

    ***

    When I came to, I lay alone and bloody on the grounds, the bodies of the snowmen I’d killed all around me. My ‘killers’ had fled the scene, obviously. The cowards.

    Getting back up to my feet and the whole walk back home was an absolute torture, I’m sure you can imagine. What’s worse, When I finally arrived home and took my clothes off, I noticed the snowmen had stolen my headphones and Walkman, with my historical fiction audiobook cassette in it. Oh, the rage I felt. It is not enough that they ‘killed’ me? And ruined my favorite outfit? they had to stoop so low as to still my audio book as well?

    And I was only on chapter ten. I hadn’t even gotten to the exciting parts.

    Of course, you realise I had no choice but to immediately order another copy. And a brand new Walkman, too

    Afterwards I took a much needed hot shower. It calmed my nerves considerably. Then changed into my second favorite outfit and called your office to make an appointment to see you as soon as possible.

    Here I am now, Mr. Mayor, prepared to file an official lawsuit against the Snowman Council for damage done to my property. And my person.

    I can only hope that you do your duty and see justice done.

    ***

    Mayor Peliwater, regarded the elderly professor sitting before him. The stern expression, the angry eyes, the demanding air. He had only been in office for a few weeks and yet this was already becoming a painfully familiar sight for him.

    “Mr-”

    “Professor.”

    “Professor Von Catus, what do you expect me to do?”

    “Why, help me sue the Snowman Council for what was done to me.”

    “You can’t simply sue the Council for what a few rogue snowmen did.”

    “A few? There were a dozen snowmen, you know full well that such a number couldn’t have acted by themselves”

    “Are you suggesting the Council ordered a hit on you? That’s a serious accusation Professor.”

    “Why not?” Von Catus said, “it’s no secret that the snowmen have been quite hostile towards the feline community for the past decade or so”.

    The mayor sighed. Rubbing his temples with his index fingers. He didn’t have time for this.

    “Professor, I’m fully aware of the snowman-feline hostility in our city - which I must point out is very much two sided - and agree that something must be done about it. But you’re accusing the Snowman governing body of a very serious crime without a shred of evidence.”

    Von Catus began to protest, but the mayor held out a hand. “I’m sorry professor, but we’re done here”.

    “Very Well,” Von Catus said in reply, barely containing his rage.

    At five and a half feet tall, he was exceptionally tall for his species, and as he marched over to Peliwater's desk with a stiff posture and long strides, he actually cut an intimidating figure. Not that Peliwater would ever admit that to him.

    Von Catus bent forward over the desk, his furry face mere inches from Peliwater’s beak. Yellowsh-grey eyes stared at the mayor.

    “This is far from over, Mr Mayor” he hissed, “I was wronged and I will not rest until I get my justice”.

    Then he turned on his hills and stormed out.

    Alone in his office, Peliwater began pacing around, deep in thought. Von Catus didn’t understand, nobody did. Did they think running the city was easy? Divided, hundreds of different factions at war with each other, years of animosity. Did they think he could just come in and make everybody kiss and make up?

    Just at that moment, a turf war was brewing between the mermaids and the rhino sharks over who should have control over which rivers and lakes. The guerrilla and donkey communities were also at each other's throats over some ridiculous dispute.

    How was he supposed to handle all that? He needed support and he needed time. Neither were easy to come by when he had pretentious assholes like Von Catus breathing down his neck every second of every day. The same pretentious assholes who had done everything in their powers to keep him from winning the office, believing that he wasn’t capable enough for the job. That a pelican-human hybrid just didn’t cut it as the mayor of this fine city.

    Well, he would prove them all wrong. He would unite all the factions, and end all the disputes. In time.

    First, he needed to get rid of the bothersome opposition.

    He picked up the phone and dialled the familiar number.

    “Hey Jack,” he said into the phone, “yeah, it’s me and guess what? You screwed the job”.

    Jack sounded confused.

    “Felis Von Catus is still alive.”

    “But how?” said Jack, “I was there myself, we made a Swiss cheese out of him”.

    “He’s a cat you idiot, they’re hard to kill. All you did was take just one of his lives. He’s got eight more left. And he’s pissed.”

    He told Jack about his conversation with Von Catus.

    “Damn! Alright I’ll send more of the boys after him, they’ll do him in this time.”

    “No, no no no no,” said Peliwater flatly, “I’ve had enough of snowmen. We’ll need the big guns on this one, we’re not taking any chances”.

    “Boss...you’re not actually suggesting that we...that we…”Jack’s voice shook with fear, “Boss?”

    “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting Jack. We don’t have any other choice,” that didn’t make him dread the decision any less. “Send in the Teddy Bear Squad”.
     
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