Please vote for the piece you think is most deserving.

Poll closed Aug 6, 2008.
  1. Daisy - The Power of the Charm

    3 vote(s)
  2. silverfrost - The Red Fox

    2 vote(s)
  3. hellomoto - consciousness

    2 vote(s)
  4. Jsta - Freedom

    0 vote(s)
  5. Chickidy - True Evil

    2 vote(s)
  6. inkslinger - Circus Hands

    4 vote(s)
  7. HippieLord - Naomi

    0 vote(s)
  8. DrJoe - The Reaper

    2 vote(s)
  9. xMissEnvyx - My Darling Wolf

    1 vote(s)
  10. rumplestiltzkin - Sister of Life, sister of Death

    0 vote(s)
  11. The Essential Writer - No More Heroes

    1 vote(s)
  12. Cogito - Gabriel's Fire

    3 vote(s)
  13. Bruceo55 - checkmate

    2 vote(s)
  14. sfr - The Night Evil Won

    0 vote(s)
  15. illuminati - invasion

    0 vote(s)
  16. adamant - Use of Deadly Force

    0 vote(s)
  17. FlakeandFins - Sam, Sammy and Samuel

    0 vote(s)
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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England

    Voting Short Story Contest 25: Theme - Good vs. Evil (and Evil wins)

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Jul 23, 2008.

    Short Story Contest (25) Voting Theme: Good vs. Evil (and Evil wins)

    Thank you for all your entries. The winner will be stickied until the next contest's winner is crowned.

    Voting will end 6th August 2008 to give you all a chance to read the entries.

    It is possible to vote for yourself, but I would hope in the name of good sportsmanship that you would only do so if you have read all the other stories and given them your honest evaluation. You gain nothing if you base your vote solely on how you feel about the author or whether you have personally invested time and effort in the story. In the end, your conscience is your only judge.

    Any entries under the suggested word limit will be flagged as such - they are still entered in to the contest. It is for you to decide whether they are still worthy of your vote.

    Any entry not strictly in accordance with the theme will be dealt with on a case by case basis to determine eligibility. Consider how the author has responded to the theme in making your decision.

    Good luck to everyone.
  2. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Daisy - The Power of the Charm

    The Power of the Charm (2,737)

    The demon hovered, like a smoky cobweb collecting in the corner of the nondescript room, wispy and weak, he watched her, waiting for the moment that he knew would come. Her self-doubt and loathing permeated the room and he sucked it up inside himself, his life blood— her weakness, his strength. Taking her would be a triumph and the demon knew she’d be worth the wait.

    Blink, blink, blink – Laney stared at the central figure in a sea of white, despising the perfection of its repetitious nature as one would despise a nag. The cursor nagged her now – ‘Write, write, write,’ the words in her head keeping time with the synchronized blink. The Blinking Cursor, she typed, centering it just so, her fingers dashing over the keyboard as she quickly added two long lines.

    Blink, blink, blink—

    She stared at the page. ‘Pretentious pile of claptrap,’ she muttered. Delete, delete, delete.

    She stuffed a stick of peppermint gum into her mouth and tried again. “Drivel, clichéd, done, done and overdone,” she pronounced to the empty room. Delete, delete delete.

    ‘She was vacant, blank, and worthless,’ she admonished. Resting her elbows on her desk, her nose mere inches from the screen, she forcefully pressed each side of her head as if she could squeeze out an original thought, squirt it on the page as easily as popping a pimple.

    Her head jerked around, eyes darting about the semi darkened room, her heart suddenly in her throat. ‘What was that,’ she asked the question of herself, but had no ready reply. The room was as empty as when she’d entered it, her own private sanctuary. But be that as it may, she had heard something. Or was it merely one of those feelings, the kind you get out of the blue and for no good reason at all. Giving the room one last glance, she chided herself for an overactive imagination and turned back to the blinking screen.

    Ten minutes later, she’d typed, she’d deleted, she stared at the white void. “Give up, give up, give up,” the blinking cursor nagged.

    A prickling sensation at the back of her neck traveled briskly to her arms, causing all the tiny white-blond hairs there to stand on end. She’d had this feeling before. She tried to disregard it.

    She stood and paced the room, chomping on the now flavorless gum, throwing thoughts on the walls, searching for the elusive idea that would give her fingers wings. The walls ignored her.

    She went to the window, staring down at the empty street, bathed in a dusky twilight, the end of another unproductive day. A touch to her shoulder and she nearly jumped out of her skin, twisting about and searching for the source, finding nothing, yet raising a hand to the sudden beating of her heart as her throat constricted and her skin grew cool and clammy. She took a deep breath, hoping to dispel the feeling, but it was not so easily dismissed.

    ‘She needed air and a fresh perspective,’ she decided. Stuffing the bills from the dresser in the pocket of her blue jeans, Laney moved towards the door with single minded purpose.

    The landing of the two story apartment building was empty and she flew down the stairs, taking them two at a time, eager to get outside before one of her nosy neighbors had a chance to accost her. At the bottom of the stairs, Laney jerked the front door open and stepped onto the darkened sidewalk, breathing in the cool crispness of the October evening.

    However, the beauty of a day coming to an end was lost on her, her vision clouded by shadows, and portent. The fresh air offered no respite from the menacing sensation that had assaulted her within the four walls of her room, for whatever it was, it had simply hitched a ride with her, refusing to be left behind.

    “Come with me, my little soul,” the demon whispered lovingly in her ear.

    She opened her mouth to scream, snapping it shut again, his cruel smoky fingers stifling the sound to silence. The demon was before her, thick, black, two white holes where a face should be. The demon blinked and pressed closer, drawing her into the meaningless void of his eyes.

    She recognized the demon. She’d seen him more than once, though he’d never been so visible or so strong and he’d never spoken to her before.

    The blackness below the whites of his eyes seemed to curve into a lurid smile as if he were pleased by her recognition. His smile dissipated into tiny tendrils of gray smoke that reached out to her, tenderly crawling over her skin and seeping into her pores. She clutched a hand to her throat, the constriction that had begun in her room tightening, a lump forming, threatening to cut off the very air she breathed.

    “I’ve missed you,” the demon purred, seducing her with his voice.

    Laney’s terrified eyes frantically searched the streets, praying for someone, anyone, even one of the neighbors, to step up and rescue her from this life stealing beast. But there was no one.

    Using every ounce of her courage and will, she wrenched her eyes from his hypnotic gaze, tearing herself from his grasp, hurrying along the store lined street. She focused on a single streetlight blink, blink, blinking in the distance, nagging her onward, as if she might find safety there.

    She moved quickly, though she knew without looking back that he followed close upon her heels; that he was gaining more ground than she. Her lungs began to burn, blood pumped through her veins at an alarming rate and she was sure her heart would simply stop with each new step. Amidst the pain and panic, she spared a thought to the questions in her mind, “Why must he hunt me? Why won’t he let me be free?”

    The answer came swiftly. The demon would never “let” her do anything. If she wanted it bad enough, she would have to take it, fight for it until she was battered and bloody and barely whole. The demon would respect no less.

    Her feet pushed forward, growing heavy, her eyes glued to the blinking prize ahead. ‘Almost there, keep moving, almost there’ she chanted to herself.

    She felt his deadly grip on her shoulder, holding her back as she struggled to take one more life giving step. Frozen as a statue beneath the coldness of his smoky fingers, rage suddenly rushed through her, melting his touch, and she turned on him, clawing with her fingernails, punching at his shifting form, connecting with the blackness; the impact of fighting with air spinning her sideways so that she fell against a shop window.

    His hideous laughter pierced her eardrums, the pressure building inside her head like a balloon blown too full of air, and she expected any moment for the balloon to pop, spilling and decorating the sidewalk with its contents.

    “You’re weak, little soul,” the demon murmured in a sickly sweet voice so near that she felt his breath fan her face.

    Tears slipped down her cheeks as the urge to give in filled her with a sense of relief and simultaneously a sense of dread. Turning towards the light streaming though the storefront window, she pressed her palms against the cool misty glass, startled by her own reflection, wondering how she would look once he had his way.

    A tall, rather gaunt man stood inside the shop, and his glance seemed to pass over the girl pressed against his shop window as if she wasn’t even there. Glancing back, he was struck by the terror on her face, and his gaze locked with hers through the seemingly invisible barrier between them. The man was not alarmed by her demeanor or to find her pressed against his glass in such a state. He’d seen such things before, worse things, on this street and in the night. He was a special man. He was a man who understood demons.

    The man raised his long fingered hand to her, motioning for her to come inside.

    Laney tore her fear stricken eyes from him, just as the demon pushed her from behind. She struggled to breathe, inching along the window, the demon shoving her with each movement, step by slow step, she forced herself to go on. Over her shoulder she saw the blinking streetlight, and heard its voice inside her head, “Come to us, Laney. Hurry!”

    But she had no strength left; ‘she was vacant, blank and worthless.’

    The demon pushed her roughly, his strength grown incredibly strong; her hand reached for the shop door and with a weak push she stepped over the threshold.
    The man inside the shop beckoned her to him while his gaze concentrated on the window as if he could see what she could see.

    “Do you see him?” she asked in a hushed voice as she slowly moved towards him.

    “Yes, I see him,” the man said. “I’ve seen him many times.”

    “I ha—ha--hate him.” she stammered. "Help me..."

    The man moved towards the back of the shop and Laney followed behind him like a beaten lapdog. The man began to pilfer through items on a tall shelf lining one wall and situated behind a long counter and it seemed to her as if he were looking for something particular, something special.

    After a moment, the man set a golden box, encrusted with blue diamonds and fine lines of silver on the counter, delicately placing a set of keys, edged in bright red beside the beautiful box. The man pushed the items towards her.

    “These will quiet the demon-- for a time,” he said, leaning over and placing his elbows on the counter, resting his chin in his cupped hands.

    Laney glanced towards the front window of the shop. The effects of the demon’s depravity on her body and mind had not lessened upon their separation; she inside the shop and he, hovering on the other side of the door, lying in wait like an obsessive lover.

    “Do you want these things?” the shop owner asked, a curious expression passing over his face.

    She glanced at the items on the counter and nodded, realizing that she must offer him something in return for such a treasure, but what did she have.

    “Is this enough?” she whispered fishing in her pocket for the bills she’d stuffed there earlier, dropping them on the counter before him.

    “Keep your money,” he said pushing the bills away.

    With a trembling hand, she reached for the bills only to find the man’s hand upon hers, pulling her to him, his other hand curling into the shape of a cup which he placed near her ear, his mouth following it, shielding his secretive words from the world.

    Her eyes studied him for a moment and after nodding to him in understanding, she pulled her hand from his grasp, scooped up the box and key, leaving the bills on the counter as she moved quickly towards the door. Near the front of the shop, she stopped and carefully opened the golden box, studying its contents intently, before snapping the lid shut.

    “Be careful out there, Laney,” the man behind the counter called as her fingertips touched the handle of the door. She had no breath left to reply.

    Stepping out into the night air, she stood still for a moment, allowing her eyes to adjust to the gloom after the bright lights inside the shop. She felt the demons’ presence although her eyes could not discern him in the new layered darkness, and she looked once more for her beacon of blinking hopeful light, focusing all of her intent upon it.

    Inching along the walls and leaving the shop behind, she progressed no more than a few yards when the demons’ voice captivated and held her still.

    “I am here, my lovely,” his honeyed voice slid down her spine, imprisoning her with its hideous beauty.

    “Not— for— long,” she managed to say, the words sucked up from lungs on fire through the shrinking channel that was once her windpipe. She opened the golden box, she could feel his panting breath nearby, she withdrew the terrible charm from within as his fathomless white eyes rose up before her and she shrank back, nearly dropping the keys. Holding the charm up between them, she eagerly touched the edge of the key to the tip of the charm, the spark of ignition nearly blinding her, but not before she’d seen the demon blown backwards to the edge of the street, his thickened body filtering into black lace particles, struggling for cohesion.

    Laney moved towards him, the charm, bright in her hand, a flaming sword she brandished before him, a new strength and clarity of mind flowing through her veins, and then, with one last telltale smile, the demon vanished, no longer a part of her night.

    With the charm as her companion and protection, she visited the blinking streetlight, standing next to it as she watched through the window of the house it illuminated. The perpetual family scene and she imagined herself there, sitting at the table, conversing easily, her shyness and lack of social ease a thing of the past. But she had no time for her family tonight or their disappointments in her; so she didn’t tarry, but made her way quickly home, letting herself into her sanctuary, eager for the blinking white void.

    Grabbing the candy dish from her desk she emptied its sweet contents into the trash, laid the blazing white charm in the place where they had been, and set the golden box and keys beside the dish, seating herself before the screen, at the ready.

    Her fingers danced over the keys, moving of their own accord, the words came like honey from a beehive to her mind, so sweet, so fluid, so clear, and they were as meaningful and full of purpose and life as she meant for them to be.

    She rested, re-read, at peace with her creation, absently taking another charm from the near empty golden box and flaring its tip with another key. She held the terrible white charm between her fingers, raising it to her dry pink lips, taking a long slow deep drag of the life stealing elixir, tilting her head back as she blew the gray smoke upwards where it merged with all that had come before, a floating halo above her head.

    Her eyes were drawn to the hovering mass, and she suddenly hung her head in defeat, her chin nearly resting on her chest, a single tear falling into her lap, a dark spot on her jeans; a badge of her failure. Her brother’s whispered words inside the shop resounded in her ears, “I wish you wouldn’t take them, Laney. I wish I could do it for you, but I can’t.”

    Laney raised her head to the screen, staring at the beauty of the canvas she’d painted with her mind, each brush stroke supporting the whole, each stroke worthless without the other. She knew the canvas would still be blank without the quieted demon by her side, yet his price was so terribly high and she was so terribly tired of paying it.

    Her spirits lifted as she told herself the lie again and she believed the lie because she’d told it to herself. “Tomorrow—I’ll try again tomorrow.”

    The demon rested in the corner of the room, weak from his efforts, but so utterly pleased. He had brought her once more into the fold, climbed on her back and pressed her to his will. He grinned at her naïveté-- as if she could write without him, as if she could do anything without him calming her nerves and focusing her erratic mind.

    Her stupidity at times astounded him. Had she really thought that she could escape, that he’d actually allow her to quit him? She wouldn’t try to quit again anytime soon; no, he’d shown her what that felt like.

    He watched her light another cigarette, so enraptured by the sight of it that he lifted his head, roaring into the silent night so that all his demon brethren might hear, “My name is Addiction and I am Almighty!”
  3. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    silverfrost - The Red Fox

    The Red Fox (2,370 words)

    Most farmers had to protect their sheep from wolves, but Casey and her Pa had to guard their chickens from foxes. Ever since Casey's Ma died six years ago, Pa complained about the birds and their eggs missing, and in the mornings, he'd storm inside of the kitchen and say,

    “He got one of 'em again!”

    Casey learned to assume that “he” meant the same red fox that came around the hen house every couple of nights, and “one of 'em” referred to a kidnapped chicken.

    “Case,” her Pa said on one of those mornings, sliding his fingers under the straps of his denim overalls as he often did, “I know you're only twelve, but you're the smartest person I know. What am I supposed to do?” He left his toast and scrambled eggs untouched.

    "I don't know." Casey stared at the front window. The wind blew the kitchen's plaid curtains so that they undulated like the navel of a belly-dancer. Somewhat hypnotized by their motion, she said, “Why don't you sick Jesse on 'im?”

    Upon hearing her name, the border collie came running in from the living room, wagging her thick tail and raising her folded ears the best she could. Her tongue hung out of her mouth as she placed her forepaws on Casey's lap.

    “Hey. I'm tryin' to eat breakfast, here,” Casey said, and then pushed Jesse's paws off of her thighs. “Pa, you dropped egg shells in here again.” She picked them out with her fork, leaving them in a pile on the side of her plate.

    Pa frowned and eyed Jesse. “She ain't a guard dog, Case. She's a sheep dog. She wouldn't know how to protect the chickens.” Then he rose, puffed out his chest, and stared out the front window, his thumbs still hooked under the straps of his overalls.

    Petting Jesse under her chin, Casey thought more about Pa's bane. It was as if he needed something to get his mind off of the death of his wife, something to help him ignore his pain. Casey was thankful he'd found a distraction, even if at times, it got out of hand. After all, the culprit was only a fox.

    “Pa,” Casey said softly. “he's gotta eat, just like we do—”

    “No!” said Pa. “He ain't like us! He's a thief, and I don't wanna hear you defendin' him no more!”

    Casey forced a grin, hoping her worry didn't show in her eyes, as Pa's fury had in his. One day, Pa would catch the fox in action, she knew, and he'd either shoot or trap him. Then what would help Pa forget his grief?

    Even now—even with the fox—Pa howled like a lone, lost wolf during the night. He must not have realized that the walls were so thin, because in front of his daughter, he acted so strong, like nothing could affect him. And Casey didn't dare to bring it up or ask him about his feelings. Although she was young, she knew that a man had to hold on to his pride.

    And what can I hold on to? Casey thought. Pa had lost his wife, but she'd lost her mother. And in whom could she confide, when her Pa refused to talk about their loss? The kids at school didn't understand; the worst problems they could imagine involved climbing the social ladder and reaching the popular clique, or preventing teachers from discovering they'd copied a homework assignment off of another student. Casey had no one to talk to but Jesse.

    Jesse listened well, though some would say she was just a dog. Sometimes, Casey imagined, the border collie looked as though she was pondering Casey's words, and that she would have given an intelligent, thoughtful response if she could. She was much smarter about Casey's feelings than anyone else.

    One day, after milking the cows, Casey lugged the buckets towards the house. Jesse followed close behind, trotting happily and releasing high-pitched barks.

    “Excited 'bout this weather, Jess?” asked Casey with a smile.

    Glancing up at the sky, she eyed the brewing storm, the low layers of clouds swirling, as if they would only settle after raining again. She set down the buckets to ring the water from her hair. The barn roof had sheltered her, but still, even an hour later, her hair was soaked from the heavy 5:00 am showers under which she had run to get to the cows.

    Jesse ran in circles around Casey, kicking up the mud in the front yard of the farmhouse. Thanks to the drought, only a few patches of grass sprouted around the walkway. The crops weren't exactly growing in thick and full either. That only aggravated Pa's stress.

    Just as Casey caught up to Jesse, Pa flung the screen door open and stepped outside. He wore his nicest jacket, a bootlace tie, and his brown leather boots with the shiny silver spurs. Casey stopped in her tracks, and her jaw dropped. This outfit was even nicer than the getup he wore for church.

    “What the heck's this, Pa?” asked Casey.

    He reached his hands up to his chest, as if trying to thumb his overalls, and smiled foolishly when he remembered his dress. “What do ya mean, child?” he asked.

    She dropped the buckets and looked Pa up and down. “This! You never dress up.”

    “Quit it, Case. A man can dress any damn way he wants.” Then he marched to his rusty truck, got in, started the engine, and said, “I'll be back soon. Finish up your chores.”

    From that day on, Pa always dressed that way, and every day he went into town. He helped Casey take care of the animals and completed most of the chores, but while they worked, he never told her what he was up to. Instead, he relayed his progress in catching the fox while Casey nodded and kept silent. Always, he spoke of that stupid fox.

    Two weeks after Pa first started dressing up and spending hours each day in town, Casey and Jesse waited for him outside of the chicken coop, Casey pacing and kicking up dirt and Jesse running in circles around her. When his truck pulled up the long, winding driveway, its wheels kicking up dust, Casey ran to meet him.

    “C'mon, Jess!” she said, and in the flit of a hummingbird's wing, Jesse sprinted ahead of Casey, barking and lashing her tail. But both Casey and her dog halted when they saw someone—a woman—sitting in the passenger seat of Pa's truck. Casey clutched Jesse's collar and slowly pulled her back, so that Pa could park close to the house.

    Pa was beaming—glowing even—when he stepped out of his truck. Without so much as a glance at his daughter, he ran to the other side of the vehicle, opened the passenger door, and helped the woman out. Casey furrowed her brows. She couldn't imagine why the lady didn't just jump out by herself, that is, until she saw her.

    Holding Pa's hand, she delicately stepped around the front of the truck, clutching the trail of her dress with her other hand. Her blond hair was pulled back into a tight, elegant bun, and her lips were a bright, shiny red. She had to be ten years' Pa's junior—at least, she acted it, giggling and shrieking as she stepped through the mud, apparently finding it difficult to keep her balance.

    “Oh, filthy! I shouldn't have worn these shoes,” she said, laughing.

    Pa laughed too. Looking at Casey and Jesse, he said, “this is Miss Durbston. She just moved here.”

    Casey stared at her and gritted her teeth. She felt Jesse twitching against her hand, as if waiting for the chance to pounce on the bizarre, annoying woman.

    Pa scratched his head and his cheeks turned pink. “Uh, this is my daughter, Casey, and this is our dog, Jesse. They're just... shy.”

    Casey kept staring at Miss Durbston. She wanted to tell her that it wasn't nice to meet her, and that she should leave, but the look on Pa's face prevented her from saying those words. He looked at Casey as if pleading her to behave; she knew that look well.

    After a while, she managed to say, “Hi.” But she excused herself and, with Jesse trailing close behind, ran into the house. She didn't stop until she was in her bedroom. Slamming the door behind her, she dropped on top of Jesse and sobbed into her fur. “Oh, Jess! What's Pa doing? Is he tryin' to replace her now?”

    Casey glanced at the picture of her mother on her nightstand. It was like looking into a distorted mirror, one that revealed what Casey would look like when she was older. She'd inherited her mother's unruly strawberry-blond hair, her big forehead, her freckles, and her dark eyes. But she couldn't take looking at that photo, not while Pa was trying to replace Ma with that Miss Durbston, so she shoved it face down on the nightstand and lay on her bed.

    Outside, Pa and Miss Durbston spoke quietly. Casey failed to hear what they were saying, until Miss Durbston, abruptly raising her voice, said,

    “There! Did you see him?”

    “What? Where?” asked Pa.

    “A fox!” she said. “A beautiful red fox! I've never heard of them coming out in the day time, and I hardly ever see them at home in New York.”

    Casey jumped up and peered through her window. The chicken coop was just outside her room. It looked like a little white house, with a slanted shoot at the front entrance. Casey scanned its surroundings, but couldn't see the fox.

    Pa ran behind the coop and into the thicket while Miss Durbston stood still, her hand shading her eyes. She frowned and furrowed her brows.

    Casey snickered, and to Jesse, said, “She's got no idea what's goin' on."

    It wasn't long before Pa strolled back to where Miss Durbston stood. “It got away,” he said, and then sighed.

    Miss Durbston smiled and looked out into the field, as if daydreaming. “You know, I love his colors. I would adore wearing a fur like that!”

    Pa nodded. “Well I was tryin' to catch him anyway. Then, when I do, he's yours!”

    Every day, when Miss Durbston visited the farmhouse, she spoke of nothing but that fox—how “darling” he would look with her white gown, and how jealous the other women would be at her parties—and Pa kept telling her it would be hers. He tried harder than ever to create a fool-proof fox trap, and then resorted to buying a cage with a trap door. After dinner, when Miss Durbston went home, Pa would sit outside until the middle of the night, waiting for the fox to crawl inside so he could slam the cage door and finally have him.

    After a particularly annoying dinner with Miss Durbston, Casey went outside with a flashlight and met Pa in his usual spot, behind the porch. He held a string and stared wide-eyed at the cage in front of the coop. A chicken sat inside, fidgeting nervously as if fully aware that she was bait.

    “Pa,” Casey said, and he jumped. "Have you forgotten Ma?”

    “Quiet, Case,” said he. “You're gonna make me miss him!”

    She turned off the flashlight, crossed her arms over her chest, and huffed. “You never talked about her with me, Pa, and you chased this damned—”

    “Watch your mouth,” said Pa.

    “—this stupid fox for all these years. It ain't fair that you're doin' it for her now.”

    Pa sighed and stared at her. “I ain't just doin' it for Miss Durbston, if that's who you mean. She told me there's a market for these things. I can also breed 'em and sell their furs. We'll live comfertably, Case. Com-fer-ta-bly!”

    With that, Casey knew that Pa valued the fox for a different reason now. However it helped him grieve before, however it filled the gap left by Ma's death—it no longer mattered. The need to get over his loss had vanished, thanks to Miss Durbston, and had been conquered by a different desire, one surrounded by evil.

    “Pa!” said Casey, shaking her head. “That ain't right. You're just gonna hurt it, and for no good reason!”

    “Watch it, Casey,” said Pa, glaring at her. “I got my reasons.”

    She stepped back, repelled by this new Pa. “No! It was all right when you were doin' this for Ma's sake. And I thought that now, just maybe, you were doin' it 'cause Miss Durbston made you happy. But it's for money?”

    “Well,” said Pa, frowning, “partly. She's gonna help me sell 'em. She cares about us. She's a good woman, Case.”

    She stomped her foot on the hard dirt. “No, she ain't! All she cares about is lookin' pretty and makin' money! I can't believe you're sayin' she's good. She's nothin' like Ma, and she's seen her picture on the wall but won't say anything about her—just like you! Does she even know that you were married once?”

    “How selfish!” Pa stood, towering over her, and pointed at the house. “Inside! Now!”

    Casey stormed all the way to her room, where she found Jesse curled up at her bedside. The moment Casey started pacing, Jesse whimpered with concern.

    Not an hour later, something clanged and snapped outside.

    Pa laughed triumphantly while Casey ran to the window. Leaning across the sill, she saw him walking eagerly towards the barn, lugging the cage. Within its bars struggled a brilliant, long-furred red fox with dark eyes, the same creature Pa'd hunted for all these years.

    Now, Miss Durbston would have her money and furs, and so would Pa. And Pa would be happy with some other woman. It was over. The fox hunt was over.

    Collapsing on her bed, Casey picked up the face-down picture on her nightstand. “I'm sorry, Ma. I'm sorry!” But she couldn't help imagining that Ma's hair looked brighter, sleeker, and that it was dappled with tufts of white and orange, like the fur of the red fox.
  4. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    hellomoto - consciousness

    His mind was now his enemy. He thought hard to stop it from controlling him.
    He fell to the ground, his eyes blurry and his face red in anger, in pain, in confusion.

    Kill her.

    It was screaming the same line at him, the voice in his head. He felt like screaming, but couldn’t, he must fight on. His teeth clenched and he groaned. The feeling was un-bearable, the urge was irresistible. He had no control over anything. Nothing.

    He looked up. A small child walked up to him and smiled.

    “You must kill her, she hurt me,” The little girl’s smile faded into a sinister grin. Evil.

    The girl faded into nothing. He groaned, his mind was tricking him.

    Kill her.

    It was persistent. He fought to overcome it. He must. A bright light appeared in front of him. Blinding him. His own mind was torturing him. It could do so however it wished. He was killing himself.

    Kill her.

    Why? He didn’t know, he was a wreck, a hopeless wreck. He didn’t know anything. He couldn’t do anything. He squeezed his eyes shut, blocking the white, blinding light.

    Kill her.

    His teeth clenched tight, his muscles were tensing. He felt they would snap. His mouth opened but nothing came out. He was fighting himself. He was losing – again.

    Kill her.

    He couldn’t. He was incapable of killing anyone again. Or was he? He didn’t know anything. He couldn’t do anything. His head felt as if an atomic bomb was ripping it to shreds. He wished it would. He stopped fighting it, he gave up, all because of one fact.

    He couldn’t do anything.

    He woke up on a hard paved surface. His hands were bloody, the ground was bloody. His head felt empty, it was no longer possessed. On his own again. He knew he must leave, before someone came, before the police came. On the run again. Just like he had been for the last week.

    He washed his hands in the cool water of a tap. His clothes were wet, they were cold. He was cold. He walked out into the main path.

    The outside world flooded him like busy ants serving their queen. He resented every single one of them. Not because they had money. Not because they stared at him with a look of dislike. But because they were normal, they weren’t crazy like him. They had control over themselves. They didn’t know about the real world. About death. The sickening sight of a dead body. The smell of death itself.

    He hurried out into the street. For him, life was a loop. In day he was on the run, at night he was something else. He was insane. Life would continue like this forever. Forever. He had killed many, he would kill many.

    Willpower urged him onwards. Away from the Police. He could escape them. He knew he could. But there was one thing he couldn’t escape. Himself.
  5. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Jsta - Freedom

    Freedom (2672)

    The world was a beautiful place, yet why did this have to be so cruel? Locked, caged, in my own mind. Watching as she ran the place, but not for much longer.
    Ella didn’t know what I was capable of, that I was testing the bonds holding me back. Every time I was stronger. Until one night, I had control! How sweet the air smelt! Yet, alas, I had never controlled a body. Clumsy as I was, I could move, so I spent the night out, roaming free, while Ella slept, unknowing.
    As dawn approached, I went home. As I got back into bed, I bound myself again, returning to my original confines. She didn’t need to know yet. Anyway, she had to go see the shrink that day.

    We were walking down the street when I decided to scare her a bit.
    Hey, Ella, watch doin’?
    The effect was beautiful. She squeaked and jumped about a foot in the air. The she realised It was me.
    “Elizabeth, what was that? I thought you couldn’t do anything?”
    Worried anyone would hear her supposedly talking to herself; she lowered her voice, even though I could understand every thought rushing through her mind.
    Well, you think a little bit too much, don’t you think? Oh, look, I made a joke!
    I was enjoying myself. But it had to stop for a while. We were going to see Dr. Padma Malik, and I didn’t want Ella too freaked, so off to Dr. Malik‘s we went!
    So, they went through the usual, “how are things?” Then Ella blurted out what I did when we were walking down the main street.
    Padma paused, and looked us straight in the eye.
    “Did she now? Hmm... maybe it’s progressing faster than we thought.”
    Ella was freaking. Her thought said It all, chasing their tails around and around, until It was a raging sea of confusion and fear. Needless to say, It was fun to watch. So I decided to take my chance.
    Ella was weakened, so I took control. Now was my time.
    “So, you knew I was stronger? Why didn’t you just tell us that from the start? All that about, ‘oh, It will get better, don’t worry’ was a lie. You shouldn’t lie to people.”
    I had done It. I had totally taken the woman off guard. She didn’t know what to do.
    “E-Elizabeth?! But, we weren’t... you... my god!”
    “Bu-bu-bu.... oh stop It, you’re making me blush! You knew this would happen. If you had warned her, she might’ve had a chance. But she took It for granted, and now, SHE’S locked up. So, could you please ring my mother, and tell her I won’t be needing these cosy little sessions anymore? Thanks. “
    I must’ve spoken with more power and authority than I thought, because Padma picked up the phone and called home.
    “Mrs. Dixon, its Padma Malik calling, I just wanted to tell you that your daughter doesn’t need these sessions anymore... yes, she has changed a lot...”
    I left there. I knew she wanted to tell mother what had happened, and I had had enough of making the woman uncomfortable. Anyway, I had things to do.
    When I got home, mother was there. She looked worried, but joyful as well.
    “Elizabeth? Darling?”
    “Yes mum.”
    “Oh! And where Is Ella?”
    I couldn’t help It. I grinned
    “Where she should be.”
    As I went Inside I heard In my head the weak sounds of her conversing with me, the more she went on, the more pleading she became.
    How could you! Let me out!! When will you let me out? Elizabeth?! PLEASE!
    I laughed.
    You’re In there forever Ella my dear. So get comfy.
  6. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Chickidy - True Evil

    True Evil

    1,140 words

    "Hurry up Patrick!" whispered a black figure in the night. "We haven't got much time, the pigs will be looking." Moments later a lamp illuminated one pale, muscle choked arm connected to the shadow. It moved on quickly, panting with each step it took over the tall, green grass.

    A second shape followed, smaller, a man known as Patrick. As the two crossed through a cluster of trees and out into a road, he said, "Ed, where do we go now? Huh?"

    The first figure, Ed, didn't stop, but continued across the road and began up a hill. "We're going there," he said in between breaths, one finger pointed squarely at the old stone ruin that sat atop the hill. It sort of looked like an old church, if not a really, really old one.

    Patrick stopped immediately and began to say, "No Ed, not their, you know the stories-"

    "**** the stories Pat, we got half of Dublin looking for us, you are going up that hill!"

    Reluctantly, he followed Ed up the hill. Fear filled his mind as he took each step. It wasn't a very steep climb, they made it to the top in no time at all. As if by luck, not a single rock, bush or hole hindered them in the darkness when inconvenience is most crippling. As the two men stood in front of what was to be their hiding place, the lantern that had guided them was snuffed.

    "What did you do that for?" said Patrick urgently. Though his partner could not see it, sweat ran down his face like a river and stained his white polo like blood.

    In a defensive tone, Ed said, "You don't want to get caught do you?"

    "No . . . I suppose not, but this place is creepy and-"

    "Why don't you shut the hell up with all this superstition already," he began angrily. "At the moment me and you have real problems!"

    "It's just that, well, this is the Goddamn Hellfire club we're at and-"

    "And?" Patrick said nothing more. "Good, now grow a pair and help me find the door." The two crept along the old stone wall, feeling for an opening in the pitch black, trying not to trip on the trash that littered the ground. Their hands made a wet, slapping sound as they touched the ancient rocks. Soon it worked itself into a pattern, slap slap, slap slap, slap . . . .

    "I think I found the door Pat, come on." They entered the building quickly, and sat down against the first wall they found. Ed sighed deeply and said, "Well we wait here then, till tomorrow night when the heat goes down a bit. At least most of the locals are dickless worms like you Patrick, so we shouldn't be found."

    "Hey back off Ed. This place is supposed to be filled with evil."

    The other man yelled, "Ya well you'll learn real quick in this business that evil is an illusion! Perspective is what really matters. From the right perspective everything is clear, no good, no evil, just different shades of ****ing gray! The protestants? Half a step away from us Catholics, and if it weren't profitable to hate them then we wouldn't, but it is so we do. The sooner you realize that the better." For a moment the only sounds that could be heard were the echo of Ed's words and the dududud of a far off chopper. Then there was a sound, a small scratch in front of the two.

    "What was that?" asked Pat nervously.

    Ed, still annoyed, said,"How should I know, probably a rat, this place is filthy, plenty of trash for those bottom feeders." He slammed his fist into the ground and a loud, metallic popping sound filled the air as a can was crushed. "You see? Nothing."

    Meekly, Patrick replied, "Ya, I see." The two sat silently for ten minutes, no sounds at all. It wasn't awkward, just quiet. Pat said, "Hey Ed, I gotta piss."

    "So unzip your fly and piss, its too dark for me to see anyway, not like I'm a queer or anything."

    "Screw it, I'll go outside." The rustling of fabric and leather on dirt told Ed that he had left him, and once again, things were just quiet, but not empty. The large Irishmen lifted the collar of his shirt and wiped the sweat from his brow. It was hot. From outside, running water could faintly be heard, but it wasn't the only sound.

    Ed couldn't place it, but somewhere in the room he heard something else. Air, rushing back and forth, in and out. Breathing, in the darkness something was breathing. "Who's there?" he snapped angrily, trying to pick out shapes in the black. But he couldn't, nothing could be seen, only heard. The breathing stopped and Ed felt his blood go cold. For a minute all he could here was his friend peeing, and then a hot rush of wind struck his face, then get abruptly sucked back.

    He sat there, face to face with something, breathing in his face, too terrified to move, for five seconds before footsteps filled his ears and a voice said, "Done."

    * * * * * *

    Down the old road below the Hellfire club lights from a squad car flashed in the black night. The officer driving its eyes passed through the trees to his left, and then to the hill on his right. He picked up the walkee and said, "Nothing by the Hellfire cl-" Two screams stopped him dead in his words. "Hold on a minute, theres noise up on the hill, I'll check it out. Probably just teenagers."

    The car pulled up along the shoulder and the officer stepped out. A beam of light shone from his hand as he jogged up to the old ruin, nearly tripping three times as he climbed to the peak. His flashlight shined madly across the graffiti covered wall, finally passing over an opening. He stepped through it and ran the light across the most ground. The tiny beam crossed over a pair of boots, and then climbed up. "Jesus H. Christ," whispered the officer as his eyes struggled with what they saw. Two men, dead, one had his stomach ripped open, blood seeping into the dirt and a look of pure terror on his face. The other's neck torn apart and its hand was zipped up into a bloody mess in its pants.

    The officer reached for his walkee and said, "We have a double homicide at the Hellfire club, ge-" He stopped for a moment, hearing a sound. The sound of air, rushing back and forth, in and out. "Who's there?" he called, shining his light across the old, empty room. And it was silent.
  7. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    inkslinger - Circus Hands

    Circus Hands (3,090 words)

    I’m Stanley Smith, and unlike the countless idiots trying to be different, trying to blend out, I’m trying to blend in. People don’t know how simple they have it, taking their mediocre, run-of-the-mill lives for granted.

    Your everyday blue-white collar worker; the Average Joe… well, what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with fitting in, with looking around and finding that you have security?

    No, you’re not some sub-par being, you’re John Doe. What more do you want?

    I go to sleep at night and I dream about living in a three bedroom house with a fresh lawn and a white picket fence, married to the typical wife with the typical, simple son and daughter. I wake up to breakfast, go to work, and come home to find the family at the dinner table. A nice run over of my newspaper and then it’s off to bed, for I have to be up bright and early!

    Sometimes the dream of my desired John Doe existence varies a bit. Sometimes the wife and kids and I take a vacation; why not to the Grand Canyon, New York City, Niagara Falls, Disneyland! All those touristy places you see happy families in packs, showing off their smiles and flashing their cameras.

    Oh, what a life. I wish.

    When I wake, even before I do, I find my mouth already curved into a frown. My subconscious even knows it’s all one big pathetic wish. I’m fooling myself if I think even for one second that my life will ever turn down that road.

    No… no, I will not have the typical All-American family.

    I’m Stanley Smith, and nobody worth knowing wants to know me. I guess that’s how it goes. The nobodies with the nobodies, and then there’s the rest of society, the norms with the norms. The nobodies with the nobodies and the norms with the norms. It makes sense.

    It’s just… you can’t help it, you know, sometimes wishing, hoping.

    “Forget about it,” says Allison as she stands in her booth. Her eyes are droopier than usual and her pointy hands hang over the counter, her stance slumped. She looks as gaunt as ever. Never was the peachy one, Allison. “Don’t even think about it,” she tells me, “it’s all one big fantasy. What a laugh.”

    I don’t know what she means. I tell her so.

    “Do you think people actually live like that?” she says shrilly. She scoffs dismissively. “We’re the lucky ones,” she says, “we don’t have to strive for that manure, because we’d never amount to anything, but at least we know… at least we know. We’re not spending our lives fooling ourselves.”

    Allison works with me, a booth operator as Silv, our boss, calls it. We stand behind booths all day cheating customers out of their money. Do you actually think you’ll win that bear, little girl? HA! Joke's on you. You have to spectacularly out-skill the cheats we have locked down on these games. You’re a fool, little girl, and so is your father for thinking he’s going to win you that bear.

    I have gotten past the point where I feel guilty for knowing the underhanded methods to cheat customers out of their money. It becomes droning, the people faceless, their disappointment meaningless. So you didn’t win the poster, big deal! Try living my life and see what disappointment really is.

    “Do you ever stop being such a mopey mess?” Allison asks, shaking her head.

    “Guess not,” I answer.

    She sighs as she stands up a bit straighter. We haven’t seen more than five customers the entire day. It’s a slow day, Wednesdays. No one wants to come to the Circus on a Wednesday. I wouldn’t be here if I had somewhere to go…

    “Stanley,” she says exasperatedly, “we’re different, me and you. This… this is where we belong. Those people out in the city, with their normal lives, they don’t want us. Nobody does. It’s a big ‘oh well’. At least Silv gives us a place to sleep. He’s… he’s here for us.”

    I watch her as she speaks, her speech slow and her face dead-pan. Then I look around me, at the other booths with my other friends behind them, and I see defeat. Really, if defeat had a face, it would be that of a Circus booth operator.

    …we weren’t even good enough to be Circus performers. Tightropes? Lion taming? Juggling? That’s a funny thought; we weren’t good enough; we were freaks and freaks don’t have a talent other than to be ugly.

    “I guess you’re right,” I say, caving in. I always cave in; it’s one of those things to know about me. I’m a nobody and I am a self-admitted pushover. “I shouldn’t dream about that junk; it’s a waste of time.”

    She nods and reaches out with her pointy fingers to give me a pat on the shoulder. “That’s my Stanley, a nobody just like me.” She smiles, her few teeth showing. “Now, here comes a customer, scoot!”

    I waddle off, past two men who are waiting to be served their hot dogs at the food stand. If there’s another thing to know about me, Stanley Smith, it’s that I’m socially incompetent. I see those men as I’m about to pass them and my eyes fall to stare at my clumsy feet. I don’t make eye contact with strangers. I’d rather gawk stupidly at my feet as I teeter around like a fat penguin.

    I feel those men staring at me; I know they are with a disturbed face. It’s the same face every other John Doe gives me. It’s a, “what’s wrong with you?” kind of stare.

    They go on with their conversation as I pass. I’m sweaty I’m so nervous. My breathing quickens.

    “Did you see that new episode of I Love Lucy last night? Bertha made me watch it, but boy was it a laugh!” says the first man as he’s handed his hot dog. “I feel like doing that with Bertha, dividing the house up; here’s your end and here’s my end.” He gives off a grunted laugh.

    The other man joins his laugh.

    I break out into a run, if that’s what you want to call it. It’s rather uncoordinated and sloppy, but it’s my own private run. I run down the aisle of nearly empty booths until I reach our tent, where we booth operators stay. It’s empty itself and I’m grateful. I don’t know why, but my heart is jumpy and my nerves are panicky. I feel like I’m the only one on the planet to feel this way.

    The tent we sleep in is just that, a tent. It’s a big, bright orange and white tent with a middle part as the entrance. Inside, there are rows and rows of cot beds and a few dresser drawers here and there. It’s not very home-sweet-home, but you grow used to it.

    I head right for my cot, the third row, fourth one down. You’re allowed to keep whatever you want underneath your cot, and I don’t really have much of anything. I have a brown box full of different things and that’s it.

    I plop down and reach for that box. It’s hard to find what you’re looking for. I keep everything just tossed in and on top of each other. I rummage through the things and pull out the one possession that calms my shaky heart; no more stomach churning for me when I lay my eyes on it.

    In my hand is a photograph of Trista Underwood, the one and, well, the only, love of my life.

    Oh, she’s so beautiful… so simple and put together.

    Cornflower blue eyes, pale skin, curly red hair, curving lips and a pointed nose; she’s nice to look at, her features are what they’re supposed to be. Looking at her, seeing her smile, thinking about the past, it makes me float up and for only a few moments, I’m back. I’m Stanley Smith and I’m normal, because I’m accepted.

    You can’t possibly turn me away, because Trista doesn’t. Trista is a norm and I’m with her. She… she loved me. She almost said so. I’ll never let go of her. I can’t and I won’t and she doesn’t want me to. She couldn’t have been lying when she said those things. She meant them, every word.

    Then, it’s gone. No more scenes of laughter and smiles and hands laced together. I’m sitting on my cot bed with this photograph in my hand and I’m quivering. How could it come and go so swiftly?

    I yelp, voice strangled. It’s not fair. It kills me how unfair it all is.

    I don’t know how long I sit here with her photograph in my knobby Circus hand.

    I forget time hardly matters when you’re a freak; you have nowhere to go and nobody to be.

    & * & * &

    Saturday is the biggest day for the Circus. The booths have lines and the performance tent is full to the last seat. This Saturday I’m handing out heart and star-shaped balloons. They’re very nice and pretty. I want one myself, but Silv says they’re for the people.

    From every direction I can hear fits of giggles and children talking with their friends and siblings. They skip around with popcorn and cotton candy, having the time of their childhood. Usually their parents are tailing them from behind, lazy and with an arm around each other. The older kids, the teenagers, are usually the one’s to poke fun.

    Allison and the others have had to bail me out more than once, when some older kids think it’s funny to make me nervous. I don’t know how they know I’m so weak, but it’s as if they’re drawn to me. I’ve tried to defend myself, but it fails. I never know what to say. I stutter and sweat and shake. They laugh. Silv pops up and kindly herds them away, only to scold me for bothering customers.

    I guess it’s like Allison says. It’s a big oh well.

    Today’s been lucky so far. No trouble-makers harassing me. I hope no one does. I’m handing out nice and pretty balloons and it’s a bright, airy autumn day. It feels like a happy day.

    And it is.

    I'm down to my last few balloons when I see her. I stiffen, eyes wide and my mouth hanging open. My heart flips and it doesn’t beat. I’m too surprised for breathing.

    She is too. Her eyes are as wide as mine and she blinks and can do nothing but stare.

    A long moment of staring goes by.

    “St-Stanley,” she chokes. She blinks some more and let’s go of the arm of the man she’s with. “I… didn’t know you worked for the Circus. How… how are you?”

    I can’t even answer. I still haven’t moved. My lips spread into a goofy smile.

    She smiles herself and shares a small glance with the strange, stupid man she’s with.

    “It’s been so long,” she goes on to say, “I… you look… good.”

    I have to stop smiling; my drool is starting to pool. I swallow and nod enthusiastically. “Yeah,” I say finally, “it sure has been a long time!”

    The man whispers something into her ear and she nods. He slips away and disappears into the crowds of families and friends. Trista turns to face me again, and she smiles. I forgot how white and pearly her teeth are…

    “E-Everyone at Yorkfield misses you; many of them still ask about you. I don’t know what to tell them when they do, of course, because we haven’t seen each other in so long,” she tells me, finishing with a small laugh.

    I laugh too. “I miss Yorkfield and I miss you.”

    She shifts and her smile flickers. “Oh, thank you. I’ve… missed you too. You’re a very bright and nice person, Stanley.”

    “Sometimes I want to leave here and go back to the city,” I confess suddenly. The words spill out one right after the other; I can’t stop myself from telling her. “I think I can blend in if I try, maybe… maybe. What do you think? I think I can, but no one else thinks so.”

    “I think you can do anything you want to do, Stanley…”

    “I want to, I really do. I miss you.”



    “I have to go see the show now; it’s starting in ten minutes,” she says as she checks her wristwatch.

    I move forward to grab her pretty hands and she pulls away.

    “Stanley!” she snaps, stepping backward. “What are you doing?”

    “I want to hold your hand,” I say sincerely, pleadingly.

    “I have to go.”

    “Don’t you want to talk to me?”

    “The show starts in ten minutes; Edward is waiting for me.”

    “Who’s he? What about us?”

    “I have to go, goodbye, Stanley,” she says as she backs away further and twists to turn.

    “Can I see you after the show?”

    She doesn’t say a word. She turns and walks off, blending into the crowd. Everyone looks like everyone. I stand there with the balloons in my hand and I feel a knot in my throat. I’m going to cry.

    My monster fingers are wrapped around the balloon strings, and I force them open. It’s hard for me to move them, they’re slow, my fingers. The balloons go up, drifting into the bright sky. I know a few people notice I’m crying. I slouch when I tear up, like I should have a shell.

    I don’t know where to go. The music from the performance tent is loud and bubbly. I try to move, but everyone’s passing in front of me, so many shiny, smiling faces. I push my way through and I hobble awkwardly toward the tent. In my mind is a picture of Trista and Edward, seated together, their faces the shiniest of all.

    I’m angry. I’m burning. I feel ridiculous. I don’t know why I care so much. Someone like me shouldn’t have the ability to feel this much.

    The show is already going on. The audience looks on with awe as the performers expertly do their tricks. I scan the masses, looking for Trista. She’s blending in. The norms all look alike.

    The act catches my attention. Two tightrope walkers, a man and a woman are walking the thin line midair from opposite sides; they’re going to meet halfway. The man is chiseled and dark and handsome; the woman reminds me of Trista, red hair, pale skin, grace and poise.

    They do meet midway. They kiss. The crowd goes wild with approval, applauding and cheering.

    I’m not angry. It’s gone in a big sweep, replaced by the same disappointment that greets me each morning when I wake up. I don’t bother to frown. There’s no point. I turn away and leave the packed performance tent, and no one knows the difference.

    The show goes on.

    & * & * &

    Night has fallen when the show is completely over. Everyone leaves the big tent tired and yawning. The crowds of people head toward the sand parking lot to get into their cars and drive off, back down the highway road to their safe haven norm city.

    I stand by the edge of the sand parking lot, watching as the people get into their cars. No one looks at me. I’m part of the circus, like the two poles holding up our big, flashing, neon red sign. No one acknowledges those two poles, no one acknowledges me. They might as well not even be there; no one would know any different.

    If just one person would stop and turn and look at me, I’d be happy. Oh, if they asked me to come with them, hop into their car along with them, and zoom off to the city, to be an Average Joe with them, I’d probably die from happiness.

    Silv creeps up beside me and I hardly notice. It’s when I see Trista with Edward walking toward their car that I can’t control myself.

    “Trista!” I yell desperately. “Trista!” I call again.

    She doesn’t stop; she only glances in my direction, and then speeds up with Edward.

    “Trista!” I say one final time. I know it’s useless, but it’s always been, and it’s like no matter what I just can’t let go of her. She’s such a part of my life and she doesn’t even know, she doesn’t know how much she means to me. She doesn’t get it. I almost hate her for leaving me; I would hate her if I didn’t love her so much.

    “Forget about it, Stanley,” coos Silv into my ear. He’s blue in the night’s darkness.

    His words seep into my head. I don’t say anything.

    In the dark, Silv smiles. “She doesn’t want anything to do with you, Stanley. It may hurt, but it’s the truth. The novelty of nursing someone like you has worn off. She’s a pretty woman with a nice future. You, you’re you.” He chuckles and puts his arm around me. “It’s all about being realistic. You’re no one and you need to accept it, or you’ll only make life harder on yourself. Look at yourself, Stan, you’re a disfigured mess. But it’s okay, because you’ll always have a place here with the rest of them. Don’t kid yourself, you can do no better.”

    I don’t defend myself. I’m a pushover, remember? I know what he’s saying is true.

    “Now go on and get to bed; Sunday is our second biggest day,” he says with his grin.

    I do as he says. There’s no disagreeing with Silv. Without Silv, all of us freaks would be dead by now if left on our own. We need him. He provides us with a place to sleep and he’s there to tell us we can do no better. I guess you can call it tough love.

    I enter our orange and white tent, and it’s already full with my fellow nobodies. I don’t think anyone understands me. Each freak sitting on their cot beds has calmly and willingly accepted their fate. I know I can’t. I’ll always have my sleep, where I’m that John Doe with my wife and my two kids. I look normal and I have two nice hands.

    Be satisfied if you’re normal, be happy about it.

    When you’re different, you’re alone.

    I’m Stanley Smith and I sure am.
  8. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    HippieLord - Naomi

    Naomi and her two companions rounded the final bend of the crypt-like Demon's Labyrinth, progressing into an unprecedently large chamber enveloped in untainted darkness. A menacingly deep and penetrating laugh echoed through the room and the torch-baring pillars slowly grew illuminated by magically wrought flames.

    "It's been such a long time since I've laid eyes on your face...A year and a half if I'm correct. It's such a pleasure to stand here before one of my prized pupils who's grown up so well," the elderly man said.

    Naomi glared at the figure in the middle of the chamber with malicious eyes. "Why...? Why!? How could you betray us...? How could you murder everyone? The students who looked up to you, the innocent we were trained to protect, the peace and justice we were to uphold, the king you swore allegiance to! How could you take their lives with so little care?"

    "Dear child, don't misjudge my intentions. I simply did what I had to live. You know as full well as I that with the ressurection of Ruena there is no escaping our fates. No one is equipt with the power to stop her in these days and ages; a goddess that controls the minds of her victims through enchantments, and curses...simply look into her eyes and she can have you raving mad pulling out your hair and peeling your skin to the bone with broken shards of glass or even killing the one person in your life that means more than you weigh your own life to be worth. Against her there is no reffuge; no sanctuary. The world's coming to an end and I would rather sail a more peaceful stream than go cascading over the falls of demise with every other fool."

    "Your words are weak and petty. Tonight your sins will be compensated by your blood, old man."

    "You expect to defeat me with just the two of you?" the elderly man laughed as he leaned upon his magestic staff. "Naomi, I do not wish death upon you. You've been misguided by your morals into choosing a fate that does not correspond with your talent. In fact, the goddess herself has sent me to bring you to our cause."

    "I would nev-" she started, but grew pale with shock as her elder brother advanced from hiding. "Y-you're dead..."

    "Far from it. What you saw in that battle was an illusion, just like the duplicate of the headmaster you encountered back home. The headmaster took me under his wing and showed me the path I now choose. Please, come with us..."

    "This can't be...It must be some trick-" Her brother extended his arm, resting his hand on her cheek. "Derrik?"

    "It's me. Father lives too. Come with me and we will be reunited as a family once again."

    "Naomi!" He bares the mark of the goddess on his amulet. "You aren't speaking to his true self."

    The girl retreated a step and then redeemed her fight. "I'm sorry brother, but you're lost. I will not take an amulet of the goddesses and become one of her soulless minions." Naomi gripped her flame-shaped blade and slashed in Derrik's direction, who countered likewise. Their blades met with a savage clink and both pushed with all their might. A sizzle sounded and an electrical current generated from Derrik's blade. The magic advanced through Naomi's blade and armor. Her mustles convulsed, breaking her grip on her blade. "A paralyzing technique..."

    Aduro, a ninja and companion of Naomi's who retained speed that is beyond that of normal sight, relinquished his hiding spot to strike Derrik while he was unaware and defenceless, only to be rebutted by the elderly man who somehow matched his speed. "My attack...only one man has ever been able to evade my attacks..."

    The Headmaster (A.K.A elderly man) smiled, "Thanks to your brother's affiliation to our cause, I've become accostomed to your techniques. Now, to end this, Iron Mist!" The spell summoned dust-like particles which spread throughout the room.

    'What is he doing?' Naomi wondered. 'If he plans to use a highly-potent spell this place will collapse and take all of us with it...'

    Derrik shook his head. "Chain lightning!" Debilitizing electricity surged throughout the room, feeding off of the iron particles in the air. The electricity rendered both of the girl's companions paralyzed. Naomi struggled to her hands and knees with all the coordination of a drunken bum. "She's revitalizing already? Her will is beyond anything I've ever seen. Most wouldn't be able to regain their senses to this point for nearly a half a day."

    "I...I won't let you control me with your damn amulets!"

    "No, you're much too strong for an amulet to keep you in check. Don't take Ruena to be a fool. The goddess taught me this for extreme cases." The headmaster began an incantation. Several minutes passed and Naomi's consciousness faded. Her eyes grew grey and rolled back as she fell limply to the ground. "Damn, Ruena warned me that this spell might be too much for her...I thought she was strong enough to withstand it. I'll be punished for her death for sure..."



    Naomi found herself falling endlessly into a dimensional void that seemed to spiral downwards. As she fell she caught glimpses of demons, angels, and other soulless beings that traveled the same pathway. After what seemed ages Naomi collided into a hard surface of parched land. Strangely, she felt no fatigue nore soreness. She lifted her head to see a demonic monk standing before her in robes that flowed magically in a fiery fashion, and froze.

    The monk spoke: "Child, you've awakened the Blade of Dimension's true powers. Many have accomplished this, but few made it further. Right now you are trapped in a dimensional rift, both physically and mentally. From here you have two choices. In both you will suffer greatly, but prosper as well. Naomi's brother Derrik materialized on her right side and her companions and comrads appeared to her left. The monk stepped toward her with her blade outstretched in his hands. It glowed with a fiery power as she reached for it. "You know the choice at hand. Choose your destiny; look deep into your heart and follow what's most important to you."

    Naomi stood and looked from side to side, dazed and indecisive. "You must choose quickly. Follow your heart and find what feels right before you're trapped in here for eternity. You must pick which path you wish to follow and strike down your enemies in order to return to your own world. The girl trembled at the decision. She knew what was right, and she knew what she must do. Walking to her brother with sword at hand, Naomi grasped her brother's shoulder and tears of realization trickled down her face. "Brother...I love you." Naomi raised her blade above her head, spun around, flicked her wrist, and the blade flew straight into the heart of Aduro, her companion.

    The darkness faded and Naomi had been returned to the chamber, an inferno maelstrom of energy surrounding her with untold potency. Her eyes were pure black and her face conveyed unnatural rage. The headmaster smiled, 'She's chosen her side.'

    The Necro-Ranger, Aevon, Naomi's other former companion, was stunned as he saw her outstretched hand and her blade protruding through Aduro's chest. He quickly loosed a life-draining arrow and it flew rapidly towards Naomi with a green aura. Weaponless, Naomi raised her hand towards the arrow and a rift opened in thin air, dissapearing as the arrow passed into the next dimension. She closed her fist and another rift opened, sending the arrow straight back at it's origin.

    Aevon saw that any attempt by himself was futile. 'I have to relay this information...' He enacted a self-sacrificing spell, "...message of the dead." A light aura surrounded his body and his soul seperated into a ghost-like essence which vanished shortly after his body dissolved as result to the ritual.
  9. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    DrJoe - The Reaper

    The Reaper (1700)

    In two short hours, I’m going to die. I got myself in a lot of trouble over the last 3 weeks, and I guess I should tell you about it. Whoever “you” may be, of course. You might be Simon, but I doubt that he’ll go looking through my garden before dragging me off. I’m going to throw this book out the window, and hope someone finds it.

    Three weeks ago, in early March, I got a new job. It was a boring job at AaroN, a large corporation. You’ve probably heard of it; they bought out PG&E a few years back. My city harbors the nerve central of AaroN, where the head, Simon Glouster is positioned. I was one of the members of a large team that had to keep the money that AaroN spent in check, a boring job with a moderate paycheck of $20 an hour.

    It went perfectly for two weeks, except for the talk about the boss. A lot of people who had been employees for more than a year were talking about how Simon was involved in all this criminal activity, how he had seriously threatened the head of PG&E, and committed various acts of arson when he was a young boy. All baseless accusations it seemed to me, and they just wanted to talk about him. I had never actually met Simon; he arrived about an hour before the rest of us, and left an hour later. A lot of the rest of them had, since they would work overtime occasionally, at Simon’s request. He seemed to know a lot of the employees on a fairly personal basis.

    Then I had one of those days. It wasn’t the kind where everything goes wrong, because you can almost predict the next awful event in those. It was the kind where everything goes right, and you feel fine, and then it takes a turn for the worse. It makes the good part of the day seem like it happened years ago.

    I arrived at work, and began doing my typing as usual, when I noticed an earwig scuttling across the floor. I’m one step away from a phobia of bugs, so I squashed it underneath the heel of my snow boot with one swift thump, and scraped my boot across the cubical wall. I noticed a couple more and continued this process, until finally I slammed my hands on the keyboard, and to my disgust about ten more earwigs crawled out from under the broken alt key. I jumped out of my cubical, and realized this was my chance to assert myself to the boss. There was a problem, and I was going to let him know I damn well expected something done about it. Bosses love strong willed people, right? Just a load of crap I picked up in some old business class.

    I headed towards the elevator, counting the buttons, whose number labels had long since been worn off from greasy, sweaty thumbs slamming down on them. I picked 18, which I had heard been mentioned as being the “floor of death”, in reference to Simon’s office being on the floor. The elevator made a terrible sound, like a dying cat, and began to make the dangerous accent to floor 18. On the way up, I remember thinking up all sorts of bull I could say.

    “Sir, I came here to politely inform you of the bug infestation on floor 2, and my patience is wearing thin for your negligence.”

    “Mr. Glouster, I want to tell you that I have been patient so far about your overlooking the bug problem on floor 2, but that patience is getting about as thin as a spaghetti noodle.”

    I distinctly remember the spaghetti noodle one, because it was such an awful one. Then the doors of the elevator opened, and I saw a staircase. There wasn’t even any platform, just stairs, and when I got out of the elevator, I realized there were no doors for the elevator on the floor either. I quickly and queasily hopped up about ten stairs before looking back on an empty elevator shaft, leading 18 floors down to your death. The stairs were extremely small, and there were no rails. It was like a walk of doom. I crawled up the staircase, until I could see the door just out of my reach. I grabbed the knob, and it felt so good to be able to hold onto something, and let out a breath I just realized I had been holding, and got ready to give Simon Glouster a piece of my mind.

    When I opened the door, I expected to see Simon at his desk, perhaps looking at some paperwork. What I got was Simon smashing a fat guy’s head against a wall, with a gun to his neck.

    “You son of a bitch, why didn’t you let it go, you son of a bitch, WHY COULDN’T YOU LET IT GO.” Each word was punctuated with the disgusting crunch of the man’s skull caving inward against a concrete wall. Simon turned the man around, and dug the barrel of his pistol into the man’s right eye. Fatty had no other answer to this other than a muffled howl, and then he fell. Simon smashed the man’s rib cage in with his shoe, and then turned around. I wanted to throw up.

    “Who are you?” He sounded very calm, as if he hadn’t just beaten a man to death.

    “James Wilson, sir.”


    “I work here, sir.”

    “James Wilson, you are not to leave town. You are not to return to work. You are to return to your house, and close all the windows. You will disconnect your phone. You are not permitted to answer your door. You are not permitted to have a cell phone on your person, please give me the cell phone in your left pocket.” I was scared stiff. There’s a saying about being so scared, your blood runs cold. I always thought it was a stupid saying, but my entire body felt cold and numb. I couldn’t think clearly, and I still wanted to throw up. I handed him my phone without a moment’s hesitation.

    “Thank you James Wilson. Return to your home now. Don’t leave. You have exactly one week from this exact time. You will disappear silently, and no one will ever remember you. We’re putting this into action right now.” I looked at the clock. 9:46 AM. I left.

    I wasn’t stupid. He couldn’t touch me; I’d just have to go to the police. He couldn’t just kill me. I’m stupid as hell.

    Three nights later, after a lot of crying and thinking, and living on baked beans from a can, I left my house to go to the police station. I half expected a sniper to be positioned right there, locked and loaded. There wasn’t. No one was there. I was going to make it. He couldn’t touch me; I’d just have them station a police officer outside my house. I got the to the police station half an hour later. The Sheriff was right there. I began to spill everything at once.

    “Sheriff, I need protection, someone is going to kill me in four days. You’ve got to help me, you’ve got to put someone outside my house then they can guard me I can’t die Sheriff I don’t want to die it’s your job I figured you could help Sheriff and I don’t know where to go.”

    “Relax. Take a seat over there, and tell me what happened.” For the last three days, I’d been ready to tell someone what happened, and I did. It took an hour for me to properly explain it, but I did. And when I was done, I felt stupid as hell.

    “So, Mr. Wilson, the head of AaroN threatened you with death? Quite a dilemma, since the file here says you’re in the witness protection program; you saw the Coca-Cola guy molest some kids.”

    “I…that’s not right.” Then I got it. No one was going to believe that the head of a huge electric company was going to kill me. It sounded stupid thinking about it, writing it on paper it still seems stupid as hell. The Sheriff grinned at me.

    “Uh oh, 4 more days. Better hurry back before the all knowing electricity god finds out you’re here.” I stepped out into the night, cold and angry. Then I noticed some shiny graffiti on the stop sign at the intersection by the Sheriff’s office. I would have ignored it, but so often it’s hard to ignore your own name written on a stop sign. I was almost certain it wasn’t there before.


    I knew it then. They were everywhere. I didn’t know why he expected me to stay in my house when he first told me, but now I realized how ludicrous the situation was. I had given up all hope of survival.

    But here I am, writing this down in this diary I haven’t used since I was 10. God knows why I kept it, but it came in handy. At first I didn’t expect anyone to believe this. I still don’t really. But if one person believes it, maybe one person can find my house, and search for the evidence. I’ve included my address on the back, and my parents’ address.

    I hear a car pulling up in front of my house. It’s them, for sure. It’s 9:46. I don’t fear death, but I fear the way in which I’m going to die. I've been up all night thinking about it, and I can't let it go. I hear them on the stairs. So I have to cut this short. Please believe me, you're the last chance at justice I have, whoever you are.
  10. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    xMissEnvyx - My Darling Wolf

    It was hard being in this world. I could not switch my shape and I hated being in human form. Besides, this world has grown boring. The atmosphere was bland, and the people were just that, people. Not one shifter could be found!

    I sighed and lifted the chain around my neck. The keys at the end clinked together and glistened in the sunlight. They each secretly begged to be picked. As a traveler of worlds I found I could never have enough keys. I rummaged through them until one caught my eye. It was square, black, and not a typical key I would normally have. This sparked my interest. I whispered the secret word to the key and lifted it to the invisible door. I looked back only once, and walked quickly into the darkness. The door slammed shut and disappeared as if it was never there to begin with.

    I knew the moment I walked through the door it was the wrong world. I turned, thinking I could go back. The door I summoned was gone. I sighed and looked around my surroundings. The darkness smiled back at me like an old friend.

    Why did I pick this world? I had eight others I could have chosen, but it was as though the key whispered to me. It called to me, telling me where I needed to go to get away.

    A light flickered on ahead of me. It moved in a dancing motion as if trying to call me to it. Curious, I strolled towards it.

    As I walked forward the light grew bigger and moved higher until it wasn’t just a ball of light. It was the moon, in all her glory. My heart leaped into my chest. The last moon I saw this brilliant had only caused me suffering.

    "Darling…" I heard a voice call out and I spun around. A wave of emotion circled around me as I found myself face to face with a wolf. Or at least what he wanted me to believe was a wolf. Only I knew him far better.

    The animal lounged on the cliff and watched me intently. He was waiting for my first move. I avoided his gaze and stared at his sleek black fur.

    "That form suits you very well.” I smiled. “Don't they say wolves come out of nowhere wreaking devastation before they disappear into the night?" I continued to avoid his gaze. I wasn’t going to be placed under his magic again.

    The wolf walked towards me and as he got closer his form changed into that of a man. He was gorgeous and knew he could have whatever he wanted; except me. He will never have me again.

    “My little fox, you are so beautiful yet so deadly. A trickster among the shifters and the perfect match to a cunning wolf.” He smiled. I wish he wouldn’t. I stared down at my feet but I knew he was examining me.

    “My darling,” He said after a few moments. Oh I hate when he calls me that. “Where have you been hiding all this time?”

    I took a step back. He stepped forward. "Do you like this world? It’s so great, Lady Luna high above the trees. I created this world and the moon is always full.” I continued to back away from him, plotting my next move. I needed to get as far away from him as possible.

    "You should stay here with me. We could have fun." He stopped walking and I knew he was just watching my reaction.

    "Lead us not into temptation." I muttered. The words stung my mouth as I spoke them, remembering him, the innocent. He was not a shifter and did not know of my kind. I stole his heart and crushed it all as the Wolf hid in the shadows of deception.

    And now the Wolf stood right in front of me, chuckling at my words. “Quoting virtuous words now? Remember little fox, I am your temptation and you are no stranger to me.”

    I continued to back away from him but lost my balance and fell to the ground. The Wolf laughed again at my expense. “Aren’t you happy to see me little fox? Why are you trying to get away from me?”

    "Because," I answered to his bare feet as he stood over me. "I will no longer be held by your magic." My voice was barely a whisper. True happiness will always forsaken me because he will always be my temptation. I knew this, but I will always fight the losing battle.

    “Oh, my little fox. Why try to fight it? You know I always win. I thought we always have so much fun together!” It was as if he could read my mind.

    I slowly got to my feet, avoiding his gaze as always. I looked around, trying to find an exit, but with no luck.

    Finally, I decided to do the unthinkable. I ran at him, and pushed him to the ground while going full speed. I turned around just as he changed back into a wolf.

    I lifted my chain from my neck but all my keys were mysteriously gone. I searched franticly to each side, but I had nothing to defend myself.

    I closed my eyes, looking deep inside myself. There, just a reach away was my favorite form. I grabbed it and suddenly I was a small fox just as the giant black wolf came upon me.

    He lashed at me with his claws and I fought back, trying so hard not to stare into his eyes. He jumped away from me and shook his head with a sneeze. We circled each other for a moment. “Don’t fight it my love.” He growled at me.

    I ran at him and my fangs bit hard onto his throat, but he shook me off like a ragdoll. I was thrown a few feet away but he was there, upon me with his mouth wide. He nipped my leg and I cried in pain.

    I knew he would not kill me. He would only hurt me until i couldn't stand it anymore and give in to him. I tried to run but he was right on me. His large form pushed into me and I flew into a stone wall. The wind was knocked out of me and I blacked out.

    I thought of the world I had left. It was bland, and boring. A place the Wolf could never find me. Only it wasn’t enough to keep a sly fox entertained.

    Why did I pick this world?

    I now knew it was because the Wolf never lost hold of me.

    I slowly opened my eyes to the Wolf standing above me in his shifter form. His wolf ears twitched and he smiled as I stared into his big brown eyes, defeated. My eyes locked with his and the magic took full hold once again.

    “Darling.” He whispered again, bending closer to me. I smiled.

    Oh how I love when he calls me that.
  11. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    rumplestiltzkin - Sister of Life, sister of Death

    Sister of Life, sister of Death
    [2167 words]

    She had been eighteen when her life changed forever, and it had changed for the worse.

    Her twin sister, Rin, had been kind and sweet to the end. At least Rakanar assumed that her sister had been killed. She hadn’t seen her in nearly a millennium. Fifty or so years after the …incident.

    She and her sister had been home alone, in their small home deep in the woods. Rin was a Healer, and that was where most of their wages came from. She often took long trips to the nearest town to help. Rakanar had let her go alone for the first few years. Until she had been attacked while in the middle of an intensive Healing. She’d been unable to defend herself, and was too determined to finish the job she had started to abort the Healing spell. In the end, Rakanar had had to find another Healer for her sister.

    After that time—they had been fourteen—Rakanar decided to apply the skills she had learned to protect her twin if the need should arise. She always wore her leather armor and large sword, glaring menacingly at anyone who dared come near.

    Rin with her Healing arts, kind nature and light looks, with her glass blue eyes and blond hair so light it was almost white. Rakanar with her brutal skill with the sword, almost violent nature, and dark looks, with her black raven’s eyes, and shoulder length black hair. Two twins could never have been more opposite.

    And that, she supposed, was what had led Dorrikhil to them. She closed her eyes as she remembered that day. Their father had been away on a business trip when the visitor—Dorrikhil, she later learned his name was—came, breaking the barriers the sisters had worked together to build as if they were nothing.

    He knocked politely, Rakanar remembered. It had been Rin that answered the door, being as naïve, innocent, and sweet as always. He had looked at Rin up and down without saying anything, before grinning widely, and reaching for her, whispering that she must come with him, fulfill her destiny. Rakanar’s instincts had been screaming at her, so she had obeyed them: by throwing a kitchen knife in his general direction. He had dodged, and it had thunked into the wall near his head.

    He’d looked at Rakanar then, eyes full of excitement at seeing her. “You are the other,” he’d whispered.

    She had no idea what the hell he was talking about, and didn’t especially care. “Out,” she growled, kicking him hard out the door and slamming it in his face.

    “Rakanar,” Rin had said disapprovingly, “that wasn’t nice. Or kind. Or polite! He was just an ordinary traveler who wanted protection from…”

    Exhausted, Rakanar had leaned against the wall. “I don’t believe that for a minute, Rin, and neither should you. At the very least, he was a dirty old man, and the minute I let a bastard like that touch either me or you, I’m useless as both a protector and warrior. What does that say to you?”

    “It says to me that you’re not only very un-trusting, you’re also very suspicious of everyone! That’s not a good way to live. You should really trust people more. I do, don’t I?”

    “You also,” Rakanar said quietly, “very nearly got raped by bandits.”

    “Oh. Right. That. Um…but that was just one incident!”

    Rakanar fixed Rin with a cool stare. “My point is, dear sister, that not everyone can be trusted. Better safe than sorry, right?”

    “I don’t know about that, Rakanar. It sounds…” Rin shrugged uncomfortably. “I just don’t know.”

    “I do,” Rakanar said firmly. “You trust too much. It puts you in danger far too often.”

    Rin’s shoulders slumped. “Maybe. But…shouldn’t we help him?”

    The door suddenly exploded. “By all of Satan’s Fires!” Rakanar shouted, unsheathing her sword and shoving Rin behind her.

    Dorrikhil looked at them pleasantly, fingers smoking ever so slightly. “I’m an old friend of your father’s,” he said. “Surely you should act a little more courteously?”

    “No, we shouldn’t!” Rakanar’s hold on her temper had snapped. “You just exploded our door!”

    “Ah. So I did.”

    “Would you like some tea?” Rin offered.

    Dorrikhil looked amused. “No, I think not. Your father instructed me to take you two to complete your training.”

    Rakanar narrowed her eyes suspiciously. “Oh, he did, did he? What training?”

    “All will become clear in time.”

    “You know what else is clear to me?” Rakanar asked dangerously. “How easy it would be to kill you where you stand and rid us of this danger. Which would be you.”

    “Easy? No, dear child, I think not.”

    “I’m eighteen,” she snapped.

    “Yes. You are. You will see many more millennia to come.”

    “That’s impossible,” Rakanar said flatly. “Get out, old man.”

    “Yes,” he mused. “I suppose I am old. If you count being older than time itself old.”

    “Great. You’re not only old, you’re crazy. Get the hell out!”


    The name was spoken on a shocked breath, the weary breath of someone who has had to deal with far too much.

    “Daddy!” Rin squealed, running forward to meet their father, who stood behind Dorrikhil. Rakanar shoved her roughly back, dark eyes fixed on him. “You’re home early.”

    “Just in time, too, I see,” Jaak murmured.

    “It’s been a long time, Jaak,” Dorrikhil said. His voice lost all the pleasantness it had had before, turning into a predatory hiss.

    “Not long enough.” Their father took a step forward. “What do you want?”

    “Two are the same, and yet opposites,” Dorrikhil whispered, eyes lit up with a fanatical glow. “Together, they shall make up what has been missing an identity. Together, they shall be of one, and yet fight their very natures. Soon, they shall become part of a cold and heartless cycle. And they shall attempt to destroy themselves in the process…”

    “Stop!” Jaak’s eyes had filled with fear, and his face had paled. “Dorrikhil,” he said desperately, “you can’t know it’s them. You’re just grasping at straws…”

    “I feel that potential power in them. One with the power of Life. The other, with the power of Death. There is no mistaking this.”

    “There’s no mistaking that you’re mad.”

    “Mad I may be, but this will serve us all well. Death is as natural as life, perhaps more so.”

    “No!” Jaak whispered hoarsely. “I’m not going to let you take them. You took my wife already. You can’t have my daughters.”

    “Your daughters?” Dorrikhil rose a brow in question.

    “They are what they are,” Jaak growled, anger seeping into his piercing blue eyes. “My body will be broken and dead before I’ll let you take them.”

    “Oh, I somehow doubt that,” Dorrikhil crooned. “I don’t need to break your body to take them.” He snapped his fingers, and Jaak’s body suddenly turned into grey dust. A gust of wind scattered the dust that had been their father. Rin’s mouth turned into an O of horror as she stared at the man. Rakanar felt something icy grip her insides as she watched this unfold, unable to cry as Rin did so openly, yet almost…wanting to, for once. How had it come to this?

    “See?” he asked them. “No breaking necessary.”

    “You killed our father,” Rin choked out, tears coming into her blue eyes.

    “True. I did. He stood in the way of destiny.”

    “You stupid piece of crap,” Rakanar whispered, fury rising in her throat, hot and desiring spilt blood. “I’m going to kill you for that!” she screamed, launching herself at him.

    He looked slightly surprised, but didn’t move, other than to wave his left hand, freezing her in place.

    “That negative attitude is not going to help you in your new job,” he said disapprovingly. She made a growling sound in her throat, helpless to do anything else.

    He smiled. “The new Age shall begin,” he whispered.

    It had been over a thousand years since then, and she hadn’t seen Rin since.

    She had become Death, herself, able to kill with a thought. All she had wanted was to live a simple life in the woods—her woods. The woods she had grown up in. That future had been killed as easily as a man could be. So easily. And by one man. That man she hated above all others. The man who she was bound to with magic. The man she could not refuse. He had made sure of that. She had tried hard to kill him in those first years, but he had fixed that particular dilemma with a potion, binding her to him. She had tried to break it, many times, but to no avail.

    She could only weep for the life she might have had.


    Rin hated visions. Hated them with a vengeance. Though, thinking back, it was those visions that had allowed her to escape Dorrikhil a few centuries after serving him as Life so she could go to service God, himself. It was a much nicer existence.

    She still wished she could have those days back when she and Rakanar had been the best of friends. That day had torn them apart, and the last time they had met, Rin had lashed out at her sister with anger she hadn’t known she possessed. She remembered it only dimly, screaming at Rakanar as the tears ran down her cheeks. Why couldn’t Rakanar kill him? Hadn’t that been what she’d been doing all these years? Killing for Dorrikhil, acting as the common assassin? The stricken look on Rakanar’s face had never faded, even after all these years. Rin shoved the guilt back down into the depths of her heart. God had comforted her in this. Rakanar was Death, herself. Death was not as natural as Dorrikhil made it sound. Death in this magnitude was evil beyond comparison. That had helped.

    But those happy, carefree days were gone forever.

    You were right about one thing, Rin thought wearily. Not everyone can be trusted. You were right, Rakanar. You were so right.

    Now she knew.

    Rinnamarra, the silent voice of visions came. Do you copy? Over.

    “Cut that out,” Rin snapped, irritated.

    My apologies. Silent laughter. Rin could sense sorrow behind it. The sorrow of…what?

    The sorrow of a lost child, the voice said quietly. But it matters not. That is in the past, though it will never fade.

    Rin didn’t know what to say to that. “What do you want this time?” she asked.

    You must beware.

    “Oh, that’s helpful. Real specific! Beware! Gosh, I never would have thought to do that!”

    Be silent, child!

    “I’m over a thousand years in age!” Rin protested. “I’m not a child anymore.”

    That laughter again. It was beginning to get on Rin’s nerves. Dear one, all children say that. We all have, at one time. You said it multiple times in your life, did you not?

    “Well…yes. But still…”

    Let me continue. You must beware of your own hatred.

    “What hatred?”

    You do not yet see it in yourself? The voice sighed. Oh, dear. That could be most dangerous.

    “What do you mean?” Rin asked, feeling a little grumpy.

    You are hating your sister. Death.

    Rin flinched. The voice saw it, and smiled a little. How Rin could see a voice, or the voice could see her, she didn’t know. Visions were always a bit strange.

    Do not let this hatred consume you. You may need to work together with your sister again at some point in time.

    “No! She’s Death! Life and Death do not mix.”

    The voice looked at her sadly. They are a part of the same thing, dear. I had hoped you would see this, being Life, but…well. Perhaps you will understand it some other day.

    “Stop talking to me like I’m a little kid. It’s annoying. It makes me want to throw a large rock at something. Preferably your head.”

    I have no head. I am but immaterial. I am the spirit of a Goddess, after all.


    Rinnamarra. If you lose yourself in your hatred, you will die. I know you think yourself immortal, but…

    “I can’t die, you jackass!” Rin snapped. “I’m Life!”

    Oh? And how do you think you came to that position? There has been life before you came to be Life. What does that say to you?

    Rin had absolutely nothing to say to that. “I’m sorry,” she muttered.

    Don’t be. After all, throughout Life, you will learn. This is how it has always been. This is how it always will be. The vision faded and Rin found herself staring at the ceiling.

    She hated visions.

    She felt a stab in her chest, in her very being, and gasped from it. This was how a slaughter always felt. Or a famine, or a storm…

    She knew her sister—no. No longer her sister. No longer Rakanar.


    Death had made its move.

    And she was powerless to do anything.
  12. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    The Essential Writer - No More Heroes

    No More Heroes
    The Essential Writer

    They’re all against me, like cats on a mouse. The only difference is, I’m stronger then they are. In fact, I’m the dog.

    But it doesn’t matter, because they have the people rallied against me. Every last one of them, dedicated to witness my death. All because of an accident. Not everyone’s perfect. They don’t think they make mistakes? I see them, everyday. Murderers. Thieves. Rapists.

    I’m not perfect, but neither are they.

    Above me is the sky, cloudy and gray, like a mosaic of some sort. The rain feels good against my face as the pain lingers through my head. They’ve got my arms, holding me against the dumpster, exchanging blows and crackling with laughter.

    They betrayed me, after all of the people I saved. They betrayed me, because I killed one man. His death was the death of myself.

    I see the infrastructure of the city watching me-- cops, firefighters, politicians, doctors --all motionless as the people attack me. I know that in their mind they are killing me over and over again.

    All because I’m not perfect.

    My body is weak, bruises scattered among it. Their blows are getting weaker and weaker, for they grow tired. It was when the heavy set barber let out a bellow, punched me, and laughed again, I struck.

    I charged at him, breaking free of the peoples’ hands. My hands ball into fists, charging, pulsing with electricity. They met the chin of the heavy set man, sending him flying backwards. He landed, stomach jiggling, crackles of fading electricity sliding along him.

    Then everyone stops. The alleyway is silent, save the sound of the rain. The air is tense. The cops are wide eyed, the doctors fear stricken. They all are waiting for me to kill them. But I won’t, because I’m no villain.

    I’m a hero.

    But in the eyes of the citizens, I am a menace. I can see them, regaining their composure, readying to strike me. I back away as they step forward. Electric currents flow through my arms as two men approach me. I can see my reflection in one of the mens’ knives.

    I am ready now. To live, I must defeat them. They are closing in on me, batting crowbars and baseball bats in their hands. They are swinging chains in their fists and raising 8-shot pistols. I am cornered. The alleyway ends. The only way out is murder.

    And that is something I cannot do again.

    I realize now what I have to do. To save others, I must die. It is the only way. I cannot risk anyone else’s death. I fall to my knees, the rain piercing my back. The people grin, for they know they have won. I see them rushing towards me in a mob, striking me down.

    Blood pours from everywhere, pooling below me. Hard blows shatter my bones and twist my body. But it’s the only way. I must die in order to save them. Minutes pass, and they clear away from me. The clouds are visible, a beautiful painting. I can’t move. Everything is fading.

    Blackness. Death. Life.
  13. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Cogito - Gabriel's Fire

    Gabriel’s Fire (1023 words)

    The war is over at last. After nearly three decades of sustained global conflict, the guns are silenced, and the weary world finally knows peace. I did it. May God forgive me, I did it.

    Twelve years ago, I was drafted into the Free Mediterranean Armed Services, like all other able bodied boys at age seventeen. When they tested me, they said I had an aptitude for research, so instead of posting me in a combat unit, they put me in Strategic Development. My Liza had a cake in the kiln, so they granted us family quarters on base.

    Where are my manners? Out of practice, I suppose. Name’s Gabriel Teague. I last held a rank of Major, so I supposed I still do. But back then I was Specialist Teague, when they put me on Project Mustang.

    I got home late that night. Liza was in a right huff.

    “I hope you like your chicken dry and cold. You couldn’t call?”

    I got a cold beer and settled in my chair in the dark.

    “You couldn’t call?” she asked again, but quietly.

    “I couldn’t call.”

    She came up beside me, leaned her big belly against my arm. “I felt her kick today.”

    “Him.” I took a long pull at the beer. “They put me on something new today.”

    She didn’t ask. She knew better. “She’s a strong one. A future footballer, for sure. I had to run to pee.”

    I drained the beer. She got me another, and massaged my temples.

    I took her hand and kissed it. She hugged me and resumed the massage. I closed my eyes and took comfort in her gentle hands. The nightmares began that night.

    Mustang was a last resort bioweapon, an airborne virus with an affinity toward nerve tissue and a disturbingly high mortality rate. Coupled with a lengthy incubation rate, it could spread through a target population in a matter of days, and the first symptoms would only appear weeks later.

    The first symptoms were a tingling in the fingers and toes, and a low grade fever. This was followed within hours by paralysis of the arms and legs, blindness, loss of hearing and speech, then finally respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.

    But from a military perspective, it had two flaws. There was no immunization to protect friendly forces, and the mortality rate, high as it was, wasn’t high enough.

    Project Mustang’s directive was to find solutions to these two shortcomings. After the first two years, we discovered a need for a third, undocumented objective: retaining researchers on our team.

    No one resigned, of course. We were government property. But the attrition due to emotional collapse was relentless. Petrov Kaminski was the first. The MPs found him naked on the floor of a shower stall, sucking his thumb and finger-painting with his own feces. Only a week later, Lindsey Marino hanged herself with a jump rope in the gymnasium.

    We were all placed on a thirty day compulsory R and R leave. Two more researchers failed to return. If the command staff knew what happened to them, they never told us. Then I discovered a virus that caused only a mild illness in rats but prevented them from contracting the weaponized virus.

    Liza was on the phone when I came home early. “He’s home early. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

    “Who was that?” I asked.

    Emily came running into the room. “Daddy, Daddy!” she squealed, and tripped on the edge of the carpet. I caught her and lifted her up next to the ceiling as she wriggled and giggled.

    “Daddy just got promoted,” I said.

    Liza stared for a moment, then came over and squeezed me. “It’s about time!”

    I set Emily down and pointed out the new silver bars on my uniform. “First Lieutenant Gabriel R. Teague, at your service.”

    Liza stood up straight and executed a nearly perfect military salute. “I await your command, Lieutenant.”

    “I have some maneuvers scheduled for twenty thirty,” I said. Emily’s bedtime was at twenty-aught.

    Six weeks later, I came home to an empty house. At least she left me the furniture, along with the note.

    The inoculation proved to be safe for humans. All of the researchers were treated with it, although we weren’t sure if it was an effective prophylaxis. After all, as closely as we were working with the weapon, we couldn’t pass up any possible protective measure.
    We began testing it on captured prisoners. I insisted. We had to know if it would protect friendly forces. Some of them died anyway, but my team managed to improve the antivirus. I began routinely treating myself with each improved version, on the QT.
    Eleven months ago, I isolated a mutated form of the weapon virus nearly a thousand times as lethal as the original. They awarded me the rank of Major for that. They named the strain Teague 423, but my staff christened it Gabriel’s Fire. Samples were taken to Prague for production.

    No one lived to report what happened, whether it was a production accident, or one of the samples leaked during transport. By the time symptoms appeared, the trail was as cold as the seas of corpses.

    And the virus mutated further. The inoculation was no longer effective. I watched my staff collapse and die last month. Everyone else on the base had already died.

    I got sick too, but did not die. All my pilfered inoculations must have afforded me protection the others had lacked. I began searching for survivors.

    I have found none. Not only people, but apparently all mammals have succumbed to my angel of death. Birds too have vanished from the skies and lay rotting across the landscape. The airwaves are silent.

    Today I found Liza and Emily’s bodies, in the home of a man I had once called friend. I buried Emily. I was going to leave Liza where she lay, but in the end buried her as well. I wept over their graves.

    I buried my name and rank with them. I don’t deserve a name, and I have a new rank.

    I am the Destroyer of Life.
  14. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Bruceo55 - Checkmate


    We decided to meet in New York City on New Year’s Eve. I enjoyed the sights and sounds of the city and had some of my best memories there. It was a rather chilly evening, so I had to remember to take extra items to keep myself as warm as possible. I was not from New York, actually quite a bit further south, so it always felt colder to me than it would for the locals. We had no plans on going to Times Square to watch another year pass. If you’ve seen one ball drop on New Year’s Eve, you have kind of seen them all.

    This particular day on the calendar is of upmost importance to me and the organization I headed up. This was the day that plans for the upcoming year were to be made. Unfortunately, the plans we had worked on for a number of months had to be negotiated, so nothing was carved in stone until these negotiations were complete. To make things worse, they always sent their top negotiator. My reputation for negotiations, much of it historical, was very well documented by the media.

    After walking a number of blocks, I finally arrived at my destination. It was a hotel and as I entered through the front doors, two men noticed me and quickly made their way to where I was standing. They were very familiar to me as I had met them for these negotiations on several previous occasions. I preferred to negotiate alone, but they always had a number of people assisting their top negotiator. They escorted me to the elevators and when the first door opened we stepped inside. One of the men inserted a key and pressed the button for the penthouse suite. As I recall, they always used the top floor for every negotiations that had taken place in the past. They always hosted the negotiations.

    As we arrived at a door just off the elevator, one of the men opened the door for me and waved his hand as an indication that I should proceed. As I entered the large room, there were many other members of their negotiating team. One younger man asked if he could take my coat. Despite there being many people in the suite, the room was cool, so I kept my coat.

    I was offered a refreshment of my choosing. I chose to have my usual. I was shown to a table and decided to sit facing the windows of the penthouse suite. The table was not an ordinary meeting table, but rather one with just two chairs facing one another. I was handed my drink and took a small sip before resting it down on the table.

    A few minutes passed with a number of people rushing around taking care of last minute details. Finally, their top negotiator appeared. As he sat down, we exchanged pleasantries, yet the tension in the room made such pleasantries hollow. He was an elderly man with not much hair and a white beard. Before negotiations began, we always started our annual meeting with a best of seven series of chess. It was not necessary to have a coin flip to determine which of us would go first. As was customary, I always played the black pieces, meaning he would play the white pieces and thus would go first in all seven matches.

    As the room suddenly went silent, most of the people got a bit closer and began to watch. He put down his glacier fresh glass of water and picked up the first white pawn, the one in front of the Queen, moving it two squares towards me. A few watching had placed a hand upon their jaw, a gesture that would most be associated with the act of thinking. I quickly countered by moving a pawn one square forward to the G3 position of the board.

    As the evening progressed there were some close matches, but I had taken the fifth match, so I found myself up 3 matches to 2, with only one more win required to take the series. Feeling confident, I ordered a 2nd refill of my usual drink, a bloody mary. With the tension mounting, match six began. He had played a similar strategy all evening, but his first few moves of this match were not in-line with his previous patterns. I began to lose some confidence as I was unable to detect the strategy he was employing.

    With a number my key chess pieces lost, I suddenly saw an opportunity develop. Within minutes I had him in check, but he scrambled to avoid checkmate. However, he was showing the look of panic as we both realized that the win for me was inevitable. He could dodge the inevitability for a few more turns, but rather resigned. My smirk turned to a smile, which was quickly followed by a deep, sinister laugh that made my opponent get up from his chair and start consulting with his advisors.

    The chess board was removed and additional chairs were placed behind their top negotiator in two rows of five. As I basked in the glory of winning the series 4 matches to 2, he and his advisors each slowly took their seats. Due to winning the chess series, the negotiations were most definitely in my favour. I, in fact, had doubled my negotiating power. A slim, short man with glasses sat down between us and opened his laptop. He was the official recorder of the negotiations.

    Their top negotiator began by noting this was the annual negotiations for the upcoming year. With that he asked me what I wanted as my first step of the negotiations. I leaned back in my chair giving it some thought before announcing that I wanted a catastrophic event to take place for the upcoming year. He reminded me of the wars that were continuing into the upcoming year. I couldn’t disagree, but this wasn’t about what I had successfully negotiated in previous years, it was about new items for the upcoming year. He also reminded me that mother nature, with the help of climate change, generally took care of the catastrophic events. I agreed that she had been doing very well the last few years, but I reminded him that neither of us had any influence over her. There wasn’t a negotiation process with her, every decision she made was unilateral.

    I continued by requesting that a research lab technician would “accidently” create a new uncontrolled strain of the plague. That caught the attention of their top negotiator and caused quite a stir with his advisors. He asked how many, where and the duration. I replied by saying one billion, worldwide and at least five years. He responded swiftly by noting that I was out of my mind and wouldn’t agree to such senseless devastation of human life. After some heated negotiations, I begrudgingly agreed to half a billion, limited to two continents of my choice and completed in two years. I reminded him that my record annual chess series victory streak had now reached 78.

    And with another deep, sinister laugh, I reminded them all of just who I was.
  15. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    sfr - The Night Evil Won

    The Night Evil Won

    (Word Count: 1450)

    in a swirl,
    of thought,

    so pleasing,
    everything has
    clear meaning.

    in the library,
    day dreaming.

    My life is mine,
    but it's others too
    and their live's are mine
    through the books we brew.....

    This was the last little poem I wrote before the night that changed everything. I actually was in the library when I wrote that, I wasn't lying. I was writing down things as they happened, or atleast everything was based on real life. You see, I had been thinking to myself all day in a way in which I had never quite thought of things before. I guess that wasn't unusual, but I think you know what I mean. It was five-thirty p.m. when I left the library, and I was planning on getting a good work out at the pool and then heading home for some long awaited drinks with my roommates. Let me just try to describe to you my thoughts of what happened that night, starting with my time at the swimming pool and moving on to the night's drinking. I'll let you in on some of the surrounding thoughts that I can remember so you'll get a better idea of where my head was as this was happening. This is what I remember as it happened. Here it goes: (I'm swiming in the pool)

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

    I don't hear much submergered, except the slight susurration of water. Arms and legs moving in unison, as I swim like a frog. Looking down at the pool's blue bottom I see a dance of light composed of delicate connections, like that of a sea spounge or spider web. As I Gaze upon this beautiful tesselation transforming in time I am lost inside myself for a moment. To a place where God consoles me, and worries do not exist. However, I soon become aware of my need to breathe, and instinctively head up for air. It seems like lifetime inside the journey to the top, but as I push through to the surface the sun starts to warm me as I begin to breath. Content, yet ready to leave, I swim freestyle the last fourteen feet to the pool's edge and climb up the latter and out of the pool to the concrete deck.
    Back on sturdy ground I now clearly see almost all of San Jose State University's aquatic center. Located in downtown San Jose, California, a bustling city of one million people. In the heart of the Silicon Valley, located at the southern end of the greater San Francisco Bay Area agglomeration of seven million. Thinking to myself of where I am I recognize my small place in the world and my even smaller place in the universe, but feel importance in all things. Everything is interesting and beautiful, books, people, places, tastes, touches, and smells. Resonating with some fundamental force, I feel a part of God. Living a tableau fantasy with infinite engery. And when I decide to sleep, as my head hits the pillow I am in another world, but don't remember a thing when I wake. Because as soon as I am asleep I feel as if I am immeadately up again, as if no time has passed, as if I could travel through time. It is in this way that days meld together and moments while apericated in infintesimal segments become connected, and entire lifetimes can be seen as single moments. Living like this is wonderful, and I could not imagine a more heavenly life.

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

    However, as I think of my happiness I realize I it hasn't always been so. There have been darker and more insidious times. Some say you can't have the light without dark, I think the darkness is just harder to miss. Because it's easy to forget the light's there when your busy looking at the world it provides. But when your lost in darkness you can't get your mind off the fact that you can't see, and part of you thinks you'll never get out.
    I have noticed the dark power of evil. The corrupt rich running governments that rule the poor with prisons and panopticons. Institutions wanting to kill my soul, to commit me to prison for crimes I did not commit. Where I'd live in a inconspicous building downtown with two-way glass. A building that people pass daily, but don't think twice about what goes on inside . Where TV is always on and medicated prisoners do more work than thinking. Where sadistic guards rape inmates with smerks, and the imagination's most horrid thoughts hide. A place so scarry people regularly shiver from anxiety, and so sad the abilty to swallow is lost due to rock hard lumps of the throat. Luckily for me this imprisonment is only a thought (Usually I don't like to dwell on the negitive aspects of life, but sometimes it's inevitable).

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

    Having stoped my brief detour of thought about light and dark, happiness and sadness, and good and evil, I shifit my concentration to the easier task of walking down the concrete deck toward the men's locker room. As enter I noticed a pale English man, as I could tell from his accent talking to a gray haired older gentlemen about how swimming regularly really helps one stay young and keeps the sickness away. I take a shower cleaning my entire body, especially concentrating on my hair with the pink shampoo from the dispencer on the wall. I finish and head back to my locker to change into my street clothes as I think back to my thoughts of just moments before. About living a good and wonderful life full of activity verus a horrible life in fear of evil. Comtemplating it more deeply I realize that I do fear what evil people are capable of, but I'm sure I would never be succumb to becoming evil myself for I know it is not the path to happiness. Reaching my locker I am content with my assement of the situation for the moment, realizing that I have to hury home to meet my roomates for the drinks we have been planning for weeks. Life is grand, and I feel as if I only have to concentrate on the task directly at hand. Afterall everything else is practically extra credit at this point because I have most of my obligations like work and errands squared away. I feel invincible, like nothing can touch me.

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

    The feeling only increases as I get home and start in on my shots of rum. At this point the night is geting even more exciting as I begin to get drunk. One shot turns to four and before you know it I'm in a flurry with a big bottle staring me down. The next thing I know I'm over fifteen shots deep. That's when things begin to turn red, like dark red blood that's almost black. **** you! No, **** you, you piece of ****! I'll ****ing kill you! BAM! SMACK! WAAP! Straight to black.

    * & * & * & * & * & * & * & *

    I felt like I got hit by a ton of bricks waking up on a couch the next mourning in an unfamilar place.
    "Oh no, what just happened?", I thought to myself.
    As my friend Edward walked into the room I asked him: "What happened last night?"
    Yesterday was such an amazing day, it seemed like only minutes ago, but once I started drinking things got out of control.
    "I'm sorry to say this", said Edward, "but last night you attacked three people at your house, you were threatening to kill them. Your lucky things didn't end up worse, a lot worse. They said you were violent and full of rage, that you couldn't be stopped."
    "Oh my god, did that really happen?"
    "It all feels like a bad dream. How could I have done that, that's not me. I am a good peaceful person."
    "Wow, I guess things will never be the same." I said, feeling sick to have hurt others horribly like that"

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

    After staying with family for a few days I came to a realization. For so long I searched for evil outside of myself. I thought I was good, and that I would never hurt anyone else. But after that night I knew that we are all capable of the most horrendous feats. I used to be scared more of other people, but I realized the only evil I have to fear is the evil inside myself, because there are things in life worse than death; like regret.
    I eventually apologized, but that could never change the night evil won.
  16. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    illuminati - Invasion


    (Approx Words: 2000)

    The shrill scream of sirens pierced the night skies. The alien ran through the back roads of the urban jungle, clutching his bleeding arm as he tried to escape his pursuers. He stopped only for a few seconds to try and force air into his burning lungs with short raspy breaths. It would only be a matter of time before he would pass out, and the alien knew this. Time was of the essence, and being caught before the transmission upload to the mother ship would seriously jeopardize the mission.

    ‘This way,’ a voice shouted not too far off. ‘It went this way. Don’t let it escape!’

    The alien groaned and once again, he ran. It was almost by accident that he saw the alleyway and he immediately slipped into the small strip between the two buildings. Water splashed beneath his feet as he ran down the dark alley. He needed to find a place where he could rest and tend to his wound. His legs felt weak and his throat was parched. It would only be a matter of time before he wouldn’t be able to go any further. And then they would catch him and all his efforts would have been in vain.

    No, he thought. I need to go on. Failure is not an option. Only after sending the transmission from my craft can I bother to worry about my own personal needs.

    The distant barking of dogs grew gradually louder and the alien’s heart skipped a beat. The dogs had given him a renewed sense of urgency and he started running again. He squeezed his wound and screamed out in agony. The pain was excruciating, but the jolt of adrenaline was what he needed to go on. Soon there would be nothing left; no fuel to keep him going, and when that happens, billions would die.

    A thin trail of blood would lead the soldiers right to him, but he couldn’t worry about that now. He was two blocks away from his ship. Two blocks and then freedom. When the alien finally broke free from the claustrophobic grip of the alley, he noticed a few residential houses across the street. Despair turned to relief and for the first time since his exposure did he feel a glimmer of hope. He thought it best to drink some water before the final stretch to his ship; just enough to give him the strength required to fulfil his mission.

    He ran across the empty street to a house where all the lights were off. He hoped that the inhabitants were gone for the weekend. Under different conditions he would have knocked on any door and asked for help—he blended in quite nicely with the rest of the population—but the colour of his blood would have caused for concern, and given way to alarm.

    Behind the house, at a section hidden in the shadows, a window shattered. The alien unclipped the latch and ignoring the burning furnace in his wounded arm, raised the window. He climbed through the small space into what appeared to be the master bedroom. The bed was empty.

    The alien made his way to the bathroom where he took off his shirt. He opened the medicine cabinet, but found no pills that would help for the pain.
    Great, he thought and slammed the cabinet shut. He rummaged through a small basket filled with toiletries and breathed a sigh of relief when he found gauss and bandages.

    After tending to his wound, he replaced his blood-stained shirt with one from the cupboard in the master bedroom. It was a snug fit, but it would do. The alien then made his way to the kitchen where he scrounged around in the fridge for something to eat. He found what appeared to be leftover pasta in a bowl and he ate the cold food rapidly, using his fingers to scoop it into his mouth. There simply was no time to heat it.

    The sudden thunder of helicopter blades overhead startled him and he dropped the bowl to the floor where it shattered into tiny pieces. A search light flooded the living room through the window and he instinctively knew that they had found him. Above the roar of the blades, he could hear the barking of the dogs nearing, drawing closer with each passing second with one objective: to take him down. It would now only be a matter of minutes or even seconds before they would corner him and catch him.

    He ran down the hall and into the master bedroom and was barely out the window when the front door exploded into splinters of wood.

    Two blocks.

    The alien ran.

    Only two more blocks until the mission would be accomplished.

    The pursuers pursued.

    The barking of the dogs neared with an alarming rate and for a brief moment the alien thought that they had him. It was when he saw his ship—carefully hidden behind shrubbery—that he cried out in relief. With shaking hands, he opened the emergency beacon and removed the silver medallion from his pocket. He slid the medallion into the slot and pressed the red button.

    For a brief moment nothing happened. The barking neared. The helicopter thundered overhead and for a split second the alien was blinded by the sharp search light as it washed over him. The humming sound coming from his craft was soft at first, but gradually grew louder. The alien’s heart beat furiously in his chest and he felt a sudden sense of joy and release when a thin strip of light shot from the beacon and pierced the skies.

    Mission accomplished!

    The joy was short-lived and the alien jerked as a sudden sharp stabbing pain shot through his back. He fell to his knees and only had a second to see the oncoming mob of soldiers before the device in his back surged a bolt of high-voltage electricity through him, instantly rendering him unconscious.

    * * *

    His vision was blurred, but the pain in his arm was as sharp as ever. He tried to move his arms but realized that his hands ad been cuffed behind the chair that he was sitting in.

    ‘It is waking,’ a voice spoke from the blurry void.

    The alien shook his head in a painful attempt to clear it. He blinked a few times and allowed the blur to subside and the room to shift into focus. It was an empty, cold room save for the metallic table that he was seated at. Across the table were two uniformed officers, both of them armed. Behind them was what appeared to be a two-way mirror that the alien thought probably covered a room with more armed soldiers in it.

    ‘Where are you from and what is your mission?’ one of the uniformed officers asked in a gruff voice. ‘Why are you here?’

    The alien did not respond. His muscles ached and his throat burned. He knew that they would kill him regardless of whether he told them about his mission or not. It was only a matter of time before the invasion would commence, and he figured that if he could hold out long enough, his own would come and rescue him in due time.

    ‘Where are you from?’ the officer repeated his question and slammed his hand down on the table. The alien jerked at the sudden angry outburst and he screamed out as the pain flared up in his arm. He bit his lower lip and waited for the pain to subside before he spoke.

    ‘It’s too late,’ the alien said and released a painful chuckle through clenched teeth. ‘There is nothing I can tell you now that will save you.’

    The two officers looked at each other and exchanged words in a harsh whisper. The alien observed their concerned expressions and realized that he had the upper hand. He could play on their fears for as long as needed before the first wave of attacks would wipe out most of their largest cities and eliminate their communication infrastructure. It would be amidst the chaos and confusion that the second wave would wipe out their entire defence system. After that everyone would be eliminated and not a single life would be spared. All-in-all, the invasion would last about five days.

    ‘If what you’re saying is true,’ the officer said and aimed the weapon at the alien’s head, ‘there is no more use for you. We can dispose of you right now.’

    The alien flinched. Although the mission was a success, he had no desire to die. It did not matter what he told them now, they were doomed. He decided that he might as well give them enough information to pacify them to the point of saving his life. ‘I will tell you what you want to know,’ he said, ‘if you promise to spare my life.’

    The two officers looked at each other. One nodded and the other lowered the weapon. ‘Continue,’ the officer instructed. ‘Tell us about your mission.’

    ‘It’s a resource mission,’ the alien said. ‘For years the natural resources on our planet had slowly been declining until there were almost nothing left. We fought amongst ourselves to see who would rule over what little resources remained until finally that too had been depleted.’

    He studied their faces. So far, so good. He figured he might as well go ahead and tell them everything they wanted to hear. There was nothing that they would be able to do about it anyway.

    ‘We then turned our attention to the stars to see if there was a planet out there that had similar resources to what we needed. We managed to find a small planet here, another there; but never one that was rich enough to sustain our existence. That is, until we found yours. It was a near perfect match with resources in abundance.’

    The two officers exchanged hushed comments and then turned their focus on their prisoner. ‘What resources do you seek?’

    ‘Oil, precious metals, food,’ the alien said and paused. ‘Come to think of it, we want everything.’

    A muffled outcry came from behind the two-way mirror.

    ‘To tell you the truth,’ he said, ‘the plan is to simply eradicate all life forms on this planet and to populate it with our own. What remains of our old planet will be used as a remote prison from which there could be no escape. It’s perfect, actually.’

    ‘And is this old planet of yours the prison where you will hold us captive?’ one officer asked. ‘Is the plan to enslave our people; to have us build your monuments?’

    The alien shook his head. ‘I’m afraid not, no,’ he said. ‘Your kind will be wiped out completely. Even your animals would not be spared.’

    Another outcry from the room next door.

    ‘You are very confident in your species,’ the officer said. ‘How do you know that you will win this war?’

    ‘You don’t get it,’ the alien said and flinched when he absentmindedly tried to move his arms. ‘This is not a war,’ he said. ‘It’s an annihilation.’

    The door flew open and three more uniformed officers stormed in. ‘Lies!’ one of them shouted. From his size and slight difference in uniform, the alien deducted that this would be the leader. ‘Just who do you think you are to make claims like these?’

    In the distance an explosion rocked the building and the room shuddered. The two-way mirror exploded into sharp shards of flying glass that sprayed across the room. Three more explosions shook the building. Screams echoed through the hallways and then stopped abruptly after yet another explosion. The officers in the room looked at each other, each with an expression of trepidation reflected on their faces.

    ‘I am General John Riker from the planet Earth,’ the alien said. ‘And as you can see the invasion has begun; and there is no stopping us now.’
  17. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    adamant - Use of Deadly Force

    Victor slouched in a rusted car waiting in front of a vacant lot, eventually becoming part of the scenery. Through tarnished windows, his bloodshot eyes rummaged the porches of dilapidated houses and small barren yards from under his unruly, greasy hair. As they pressed firmly against chest, his tightly wrapped arms increased the sweltering heat and rotting odor that had built up in the vehicle over the week.

    Movement. It was him—the killer. The troublesome handgun, oddly positioned in his back pocket, needlessly reminded him of his face. Patiently, Victor watched, his long tired face shriveling into a contorted grimace. The man walked to his car and ignited the engine. The headlights of the sedan came to life, and the machine noisily treaded. Victor followed, allowing a few seconds of separation.

    The white vehicle sped through the city before coming to a red light near its undeveloped outskirts. Victor sat clenching his teeth and the steering wheel, occasionally twisting his hand around leather, distorting the worn hide. A honking horn alerted him that either of them had yet to move. He was being studied. It had become apparent to the driver this face recognized him quite well.

    Screeching, the sedan took off through the intersection. Victor followed. No longer having use for concealing himself, he accelerated into the rear of the white car. It slid across the pavement through dirt in violent recoil, but soon regained stability. He continued ramming the car, mangling both of the metallic bodies. With the constantly increasing damage, his rusty vehicle began to spew a heavy black smoke, completely blocking his view. F--k. You’re not getting away.

    Keeping his eyes focused on the target, he stopped the car and grabbed the police-issued gun. Victor brought the weapon to eyelevel with a woman in the station wagon behind him. “Get out.” She obeyed, clumsily dropping her cell phone and spilling out onto the street. He gave little thought to her widened eyes and chattering jaw as he jumped in the vehicle and pursued once more.

    Nearly a mile away down the road, the driver left the car. He ran up the stairs on the side of an industrial building, and disappeared. Victor parked his vehicle near the white sedan, taking cover behind the mass of metal to survey the surroundings, gun in hand.

    “Don’t you want to finish off the rest of the family?” Victor called through the narrow alleyways formed by the aluminum walls. Only his echoes responded.

    Carefully, he made his way to the stairs, running to and from the cover provided by the structure. After ascending the steps and taking position behind an air conditioning unit, from a distance, the man spoke.

    “Put the gun down, or you won’t make it off this building alive. The police are already on their way.”

    “I wasn’t planning on it. Besides, I need to give you your gun back—bullet by bullet.”

    “It was just a job, kid.”

    “Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.”

    Victor rolled out from the structure and began shooting where the voice was. No response. He ran across the roof to get a better angle—just as the man peered for a shot. A wave of heat passed through Victor’s left shoulder, sending him stumbling to the loose gravel. But it was too late. The man’s corpse fell lifelessly to the ground, victim of a wild spray of shots. Their cold eyes stared into one another as the roar of police sirens grew closer.
  18. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    FlakeandFins - Sam, Sammy and Samuel

    Sam, Sammy, and Samuel. (1,067 words)
    by. Fitz Smith

    “The cops can’t find anymore evidence,” the DA’s voice said over the phone.
    Sam was paralyzed by the woman’s words.
    “Unless we come up with something by 8:30 in the morning,” the voice continued, “Judge Ogren will declare a mistrial.”
    Sam hung up the phone without another word.

    The next morning he awoke, still trying to comprehend what was happening. He was stoic. There is no justice, he thought. He threw on a pair of dirty jeans, a grey hoodie, and his puffy blue vest. Before leaving his closet, Sam reached for a shoebox. He removed the lid and inside was black .45 Ruger. He took the clip, inserted it into the gun, and stuffed it in the inside pocket of his vest. The gun was cold and heavy. She’s dead, and that bastard walks free on a technicality, he thought. Sam stormed out of his apartment.

    Once at the courthouse, Sam pressed his sunglasses a little closer to his face and pulled his hoodie down some more. He didn’t want the media recognize him. He brought his camera with him, just to deter anyone suspicious enough to get close. Just a paparazzi, he thought, nothing more. He was listening to the reporters and journalists. Then the words he had been dreading came from one: “That’s it, Judge Ogren just declared it a mistrial,” the reporter said. “Ford is free.” The herd of cameramen, women with mics, and men with recorders flooded to the top of the steps. Sam pressed in with them, holding his camera up. The courthouse doors swung open, and out came the newly freed man with his lawyer hooking his arm and cops shoving people out of the way. The two stopped to have a moment with the press. It was Sam’s moment, and he took it.

    “My client is happy to be cleared of a crime he didn’t commit,” the lawyer began.
    A reporter looked at Sam. “Hey aren’t yo-“

    Before she could finish, Sam pulled the gun and shoved his way through the crowd. Men and women screamed and moved away. He aimed the gun at the freed man. Time slowed in that instant.

    “Don’t do it Sam,” came a voice from Sam’s right shoulder. There was a man dressed in a blue seersucker suit standing on it. “It’ll be all down hill from here.”
    “Don’t listen to that putz Sam!” Yelled another voice from the end of the gun barrel. There was another man straddled on it. He was wearing jeans, a hoodie, and a vest, like Sam. “We’ve already planned this buddy.”
    “Silence Samuel!” Yelled the man in the seersucker suit.
    “Oh no, Sammy,” Samuel replied. “Not today.”
    “You are ruining his life by doing this,” Sammy replied.
    “No no no, I’m freeing Sam,” retorted Samuel.
    “You’re a fiend!” Sammy yelled at him. “Silence your forked tongue.”
    “Forget this guy Sam,” Samuel said to the motionless giant. “You’ve gone through the whole day without listening to this nancy, and you’re doing fine.”
    “Sam,” Sammy said calmly. “He is leading you down a path you’ll never return from.”

    Samuel hopped up from the gun barrel and strolled towards Sammy. The two stared each other in the eyes, and Samuel began to sneer. He continued strolling until he was on Sam’s right shoulder.

    “Sam, Sam, Sam,” he started. “You’ve been listening to this schmooze your entire life.”
    Sammy eyed Samuel. “Stop it.”
    “Remember in the Twelfth grade?”
    “I said stop it, Samuel.”
    “Frankie Dunn was pounding on poor Tyler Schmidt.”
    “Knock it off.”
    “And you went to give big ole Frankie a piece of his own medicine.”
    “Samuel, stop it.”
    “But Sergeant Sissy here told you not to, and you didn’t,” Samuel said mockingly. “And then Frankie smacked you around too.”

    Samuel walked down Sam’s outstretched arm, past Sammy, and back onto the barrel of the gun. Sammy shook his head and walked onto Sam’s shoulder.

    “But what happened after that,” he started. “Frankie was expelled from school, if you had hit him things might’ve been different.”
    “Different how?” Asked Samuel.
    “Shut up, Samuel,” Sammy said harshly. “We’ve made it through this life just fine by turning the other cheek. You’re successful, people like and love you, you have a genuine heart.”
    “You don’t have a fiancé anymore.”
    “I said shut up!” Sammy screamed. “This isn’t you Sam, put the gun down. It’ll be ok.”
    Samuel turned back and looked up at Sam. “Yes Sam, it’ll be ok,” he said sarcastically.
    “I’ve had about enough of you for today, Samuel,” said Sammy.
    “It’ll be ok to let the man who murdered the love of your life go. It’ll be ok to show this city that it’s ok to kill people because deadbeat lawyers will get you off. It’ll be ok as you drink yourself into oblivion.”
    “You cause him to do that,” Sammy said sharply.
    “You can’t let him go free, Sam.”
    “Enough!” Sammy yelled.
    “Remember what I said this morning?” Asked Samuel, ignoring Sammy.
    “There is no justice Sam!” He screamed. “None! Get the justice you deserve!”
    “Don’t listen to him Sam!” Sammy pleaded.
    “Pull the trigger!”
    “Don’t pull the trigger!”
    “Do it! Get justice!”
    “This isn’t justice, Sam! Don’t fire that gun!”
    “Do it for her! She deserves it!”
    “Don’t, Sam!”
    Samuel breathed deeply and calmed himself. “Listen, Sam,” he said. “We’ve put up with Sammy’s shenanigans long enough. It’s because of him that she is dead.”
    Sammy looked at Samuel wide-eyed.
    “You heard him yourself,” Samuel continued as he walked up to Sam’s shoulder. “He’s always lead you to believe that turning the other cheek was the way to go through life.”
    “Please stop,” Sammy said quietly.
    “All you had to do was tackle this guy, so what if he had a gun.”
    Sammy was almost in tears. “Samuel, enough.”
    “Instead Sammy here, he told you just give him what he wanted and then call the police,” Samuel continued. “And then he shot her!”
    “Sam, I’m sorry, but this isn’t the way to go about getting justice,” Sammy sobbed.
    “Can it Churchy,” said Samuel harshly. “Get the justice you deserve, Sam.”

    Time unfroze. Sam heard the people screaming and crying. The cops were yelling at him and had their guns aimed. What am I doing? He thought. Then his eyes locked on the man who murdered his fiancé.

    Sam pulled the trigger. Again. And again. And again.
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