Please vote for the piece you feel is most deserving:

Poll closed Aug 7, 2009.
  1. morningside - Emergence

    1 vote(s)
  2. NinniMauton - The long run of Mr. Ponty

    0 vote(s)
  3. Catchlight - On the rocks

    2 vote(s)
  4. bluebell80 - The Choice

    3 vote(s)
  5. DarrenW - Snow White

    2 vote(s)
  6. Leaka - The Husband Won't Die

    0 vote(s)
  7. Shockeye - The Immortal's End

    1 vote(s)
  8. JustaLittleFiction - Accounting for Life

    0 vote(s)
  9. zorell - The Anniversary

    0 vote(s)
  10. jonathon hernandez13 - The Final Sacrement

    2 vote(s)
  11. groovybananas - Devil's Rain

    1 vote(s)
  12. The Lost Boy - Finding What Happy Is

    0 vote(s)
  13. Taino - Punishment

    0 vote(s)
  14. *BK* - The Hospital

    1 vote(s)
  15. Ansky - A Reader

    1 vote(s)
  16. OhSoBlondex - Good or Evil?

    7 vote(s)
  17. Ragnar - The Choice of the Immortal Viking

    0 vote(s)
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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England

    Voting Short Story Contest (49): Immortality

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Jul 28, 2009.

    Voting Short Story Contest (49) Theme: Immortality

    Thank you for all your entries. The winner will be stickied until the next contest's winner is crowned. No more entries are allowed in this contest.

    Voting will end 7th August 2009 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 or over 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 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 Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    morningside - Emergence

    The light from the tiny window upstairs grew dim. Evi’s eyes could pick up on the individual rays even as the sun seemed to disappear from view. It was the same time her front door came crashing inward and an unfamiliar man appeared in its place.

    She heard the creeks of the floorboards as he advanced towards her, but kept her gaze on the tiny window. The beads of sweat falling from his forehead after a strenuous run up the mountain her house was nestled in, fell to the floor in audible crashes. His breath hadn’t let up and resembled the wind rushing past the trees. These heightened sounds, only Evi picked up on.

    He stopped before reaching her.

    “I know why you’re here,” she responded. It was obvious why a stranger was sent to get her. Even worse, they picked the human. But it was all deserving on her part; she had been the one to rebel, and by the original rules, there was a punishment.

    The Covenant was after her, the human before her was merely the bait. Other members were around, and she knew their every move as they knew her every move. Being a vampire had its perks. Instead of giving in to their assumptions, and killing the man before her, she turned towards him and smiled.
    “You’re time is up, Evangeline,” he whispered. He only had to whisper.

    Analyzing him, he looked just like all the other pitiful humans Evi had encountered whilst in the Covenant. Hair buzzed following the flawed contours of his skin line, eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep, and cloaked in deep blue attire- the color of the Covenant. Following her smile was a delicate laugh.

    “What’s your name?” she inquired.

    He gave no response, as he was trained to do.

    “I don’t work well with strangers, they should know that,” she paused. “Now let’s try that again: have a name?”

    The man knew to keep his title to himself, but had a hard time combating Evi’s melodious voice. “Ryan,” he responded.

    “Ryan,” she repeated. “Well Ryan, I’m sure you know what I am…”

    There was no response, though his silence had already been broken.

    “… and I’m sure you know what I’m capable of,” she continued. His eyes didn’t move, fixated on where she was situated on the downstairs couch.

    They would have trained him well in the art of combat against a vampire, but he was also under strict orders to refrain from harming anyone under the Covenant, and that still included Evi.

    He moved forward towards him, and before he could set his hand upon her shoulder, she moved swiftly up to the second floor and out through the little window. It was dark now, there were no longer any remnants of the previous sunlight. Darkness set the perfect stage for a vampire.

    As she jumped to her feed quickly on the ground below, a new man standing behind her held her by her neck. But she knew this man– it was Liev.

    Even in the darkness, she could see his enticing features. His hair was a deep black, which shone with blue hues in the moon’s light. His lips were as pale as his skin, and his eyes continued forever in deep pools of blue. He held the commanding rank within the Covenant, and if he had it his way, he would have killed her right then and there.

    Evi’s voice was asphyxiated by his grip.

    “You had to do it,” he began. “Had to fall in love with that… that mutant!”

    Liev, of course, was referencing Zachary, who had the unfortunate fate of being a half-human, half-angel in love with a vampire. The individuals on the opposite side of the spectrum falling for each other in the most odd of circumstances. It wasn’t anything malicious Evi did against the Covenant; at least, until they made it personal.

    He continued, “We were going to grant you amnesty. Allow you back in to the First Ring…”

    Evi shuddered at the sound of the First Ring. It was the highest group in training; the strongest, the wisest, and more notably, the best. The First Ring was no longer a life style she desired.

    “This is all you’re fault, Evi,” he accused. Beneath his garments, he revealed a stake carved perfectly to a point; the tip stained an incarnadine red from previous uses. In one hand, he held Evi, in the other, a symbol of her approaching death. This all would have never happened if it hadn’t been for Zachary. And yet, negatively, it would have never happened; Evi would have never found the love she found in Zachary.

    There were no regrets.

    Liev lifted the stake up to the stars, before it came crashing down, breaking skin. Evi took a quick breath and looked down upon her chest.

    Her shirt was intact, there was no object protruding, no stab wound.

    The wound, instead, appeared in Liev’s chest. His hand still wrapped tightly around the stake, as his other lost its grips around Evi’s neck.

    “I’ve--,” his words were muffled, his last dying breath, “I’ve always loved you, Evi.” Was all his once immortal body would allow him to say.

    Evi watched him fall to the floor and whither into ash. She said not a word in return, and knew her life had been spared, but only momentarily.

    The night was young, the moon was high in the sky. She ran away from a once comforting environment, and into the darkness of an empty life. They had killed Zachary, and she would continue to find a way to destroy those responsible.
  3. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    NinniMauton - The long run of Mr. Ponty

    Mr. Ponty ran. He wasn't running away, he wasn't running in an attempt to catch something. He was running becouse running was the ”in” thing among gentlemen such as himself. His newly bought sweatpants sagged a little. His running shoes were two sizes too large. Mr. Ponty was used to buying too large items for himself, just in case he was to grow up a little still.

    Needless to say, he was already out of breath. His legs were failing him so he paused to sit on a nearby bench. He tried sweeping away the sweat from his forehead with a sleeve of his shirt, but it didn't really help. He could not understand how his collegues could possibly enjoy these insane ordeals.

    Mr. Ponty worked in a pharmacy. He was quite adept at his work although frequently he managed to impress bystanders with his unsurpassable clumsiness. He had very shaky hands. Shaky hands was believed to be the worst possible attribute to a pharmacist. And Mr. Ponty was the person who initiated this belief. Considering this, it was amazing that he had kept his job, but he was after all very knowledgeable in his trade. So knowledgeable that whenever a problem arose in any of the country's pharmacies that no-one else seemed to be able to solve, they would immediatelly think of Mr. Ponty and his short figure, curly hair, his face somehow resembling a potato.

    His collegues had long ago convinced him not to bother doing any of the physical labour in the workshop. They said it was becouse a man of his caliber shouldn't bother with such lowly tasks, but it was mostly to save themselves the trouble of having to clean up after him. This arrangement suited each party just fine.

    The park sparkled in the rays of the descending autumn sun. Not many days left and leaves would start to wither and the whole scenery would morph in to gold. Mr. Ponty rose and dragged himself to his apartment no more than three hundred yards away.

    He lived in a small apartment, formerly known as an attic. It was not that he couldn't afford a better residence, but he was a modest man and had long ago taken liking to the place. He lived mostly alone, being already quite the old man he was, he had already given up on finding his own sweetheart a long time ago. He had always kept a pet however, to try brighten up his lonely days. As he entered his sanctuary he immediatelly crouched upon its small cage:

    ”My dear Susan. Haven't you touched your dinner at all today? I fear, have you gotten sick with the passage of time.” He opened the cage and closely observed his pet parakeet. Susan hardly croaked to greet him and turned away to continue its slumber.
    ”I should have gotten you a partner to cheer you up, should I have not?”

    He left her alone and changed to his casual outfit, which was not at all casual. He took a quick glance at his personal collection of drugs and equipment on his mahogany desk. Hesitantly he grasped a glass vial of clear liquid in his hands. His face turned into that of sadness.

    ”Could I have changed the whole world with you?”, he said with his gaze upon the vial.

    ”I should be truly happy, inventing you, confiding in you for all these hundreds of years, yet my life seems so empty and dull, without any sparkle shining through this heavy dust that shrouds my vision. Why is it so desirable for a man to continue living? Should there not be a time and place to... go.”, he whispered yet his lips were reaching for the end of the vial already. He slowly halted.

    ”Perhaps it was becouse of my selfishness that I never shared you. No, I was scared. I feared what this world would become like. Changing the humankind so rapidly. How could I possibly take responsibility for it? I never knew how hard it would be. Truly, this has been on my heart for so long.”

    His hands were starting to shake again. He sat down on his workbench, feeling if he didn't he would soon faint. He felt sick to his stomach. The sun cast its last rays through a small arc window. He sat silent staring at the tilted ceiling. Not moving a muscle he tried remembering his earlier years, but the images had long faded and everything seemed so blurry.
    He had started writing a diary after realising how limited a man's capacity of remembering things was, but it was long after his sad invention. He could not remember faces or voices of his relatives or friends. He couldn't tell where we has from, or from what decade. His eyes started to moisten and his nose felt hot. His throat felt sore.

    The vial crashed as it hit the ground after its short flight.

    ”No more, my lovely Susan. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry for having you go through all this with me. Lets end this stupid journey.”
  4. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Catchlight - On the rocks

    An angel and a demon stood side by side, peering over the edge of a wild and windswept cliff. Waves smashed against the rocks below like they really meant business.

    “I don’t know about this, it seems like a bit of a stupid idea to me,” said Guido, the shorter and rounder of the two.

    “What have you got to lose? You’re not going to get killed after all, you’re an Angel,” Delft said. He was the younger and more adventurous of the pair.

    “Sometimes, I think you’re a genius, lad. And other times, like now, I think you’re a bit soft in the head.”

    “Seriously dude, what have you got to lose?”

    “Well my nice jacket for one thing –“
    Guido tugged at the collar of his very nice gabardine blazer.

    “You can take it off,” said Delft.

    “But then I’d be cold.”

    “It’s gabardine, how warm can it be? Come on, you can’t die.” Delft tapped a foot impatiently.

    “Maybe not, but if I get pinched, it hurts. It mightn’t kill me but it won’t make my day either.”

    “Well, I might be soft in the head, but you’re going soft everywhere else,” Delft said, patting his friend’s expansive middle.

    “You’re a cheeky wee sod. If I had my flaming sword on me, you’d be nothing but a smarty pants pile of demon dust right about now.”

    “Nah, you wouldn’t. Your life would be unbearably boring without me and you know it.”

    “Yeah, there would be no one to get me in trouble with Him upstairs and then gloat about it to Him downstairs. There would be no one to brag about his latest plague or bout of pestilence. No one to moon passing cherubs –“

    “Like I said, you’d totally miss me dude.”

    Guido peeked over the edge again as a particularly enthusiastic wave slammed into the side of the cliff. If there was an Oscar for best performance by a wave, it would have been carrying away a gold statuette, no question.

    “You’re going to have to give me a really good reason if you expect me to do this,” Guido said.

    “Because forever is a very long time and you have to do something to break the monotony.”

    “Having takeaway instead of meatloaf breaks the monotony. Watching American Idol instead of the news breaks the monotony. Jumping off a cliff and belly flopping onto the pointy end of rocks will break something else entirely.”


    “I’m not scared I’m just--

    “Chicken,” Delft grinned widely, he knew he’d win. He usually did.

    “Not chicken. I’ve never been afraid to try anything you’ve suggested, even though your plans are usually totally –“

    “Yellow belly, sooky banana.” Delft knew he had him with that one.

    “Fine, fine. You want to jump off the cliff; we’ll jump off the cliff. You count, go on.” Guido stripped off his nice gabardine blazer and laid it neatly on a rock.

    The demon grinned widely and took a few paces backward. “Come on, we need a run up.”

    Guido followed and muttered under his breath, “Flamin’ run up, as if we won’t hit hard enough.”

    “Okay old man, one…”
    Guido took a deep breath.

    Guido hitched up his pants and set his jaw.

    Guido took off at a determined waddle as Delft loped comfortably beside him. They launched simultaneously into the air.

    “Woohoo,” cried Guido as he felt himself hover for a moment, buffeted by the increasing wind. Adrenalin shot through his veins, he’d never felt exhilaration like it, his awareness had never been sharper.

    The excitement blew away the accumulated cobwebs from centuries largely spent sitting in the corner of the local pub hoping a good deed would stumble in his general direction.

    “This is brilliant,” Guido cried.

    His exhilaration turned to mild concern as the wind subsided and he began to plummet towards the business end of the rocks below. The odd hyperventilating crab, ribbons of seaweed and lumps of Gull doo-doo all came into increasingly sharp focus as he hurtled towards sea level.

    “I changed my—“


    “Ow,” said Guido. He sat up very slowly, there weren’t many bits of him capable of more than slowly at the best of times, and this was not the best of times.

    “Weird, I totally thought you’d bounce,” said Delft as he hovered nearby with two enormous black wings extending from his shoulder blades.

    “Wings? You never said nothing about wings?” Guido groaned as he pulled a very pointy rock out of an especially tender part of his anatomy. That was definitely going to leave a mark.

    “You never asked. I wasn’t about to just jump and land on the rocks, that would be silly. You could hurt yourself doing something like that.”

    “Yeah, no kidding. I think I’ve done myself a mischief,” said Guido as he tried to reconfigure his limbs into something a little more functional.

    “I can’t help but feel partly responsible,” said Delft.
  5. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    bluebell80 - The Choice

    My fingers have dirt under them. I pull leaves and twigs from my long hair. The ground is moist, soft with decaying leaves. The wetness from the ground leaves the seat of my pants damp. Large old trees tower over me, making me feel small and insignificant.

    Tabitha is still laying next to me, her head leaned against a rock covered with dead leaves. I shake her lightly. "Tabby, we've got to keep moving."

    "I'm so tired." She moans and opens her eyes slightly.

    "It should be around here somewhere. We have to keep looking. Get up." I push hard on her hip.

    "We've been going for over a week now, since we ran out of supplies. We can't keep going. We have to get out of here before we starve." She said, sitting up and rubbing her face.

    "We have to find the stream before Simon does. He can't get to it first." I stand up and stretch out my cramped muscles.

    "One more day and I'm turning back." Tabby says, brushing the leaves from her short blond hair.

    "Do what you gotta do. But, I'm not going back till I find it." I started walking down the hill in front of us. There was a clearing just ahead. From the angle of the sun there I could see we were still heading north.

    The undergrowth of the forest thins out after the clearing, making walking much easier. My legs ached, my stomach churned, and my eyes were dry, but I kept walking. I have to. I have to finish my father's work and must find the fountain of youth. He died here so many years ago, somewhere in these woods. I must finish what he started.

    "How can you do this? You're going to die too!" My mother's voice screamed in my head as I trample heavily through the brush. I could feel myself starting to die, just a little.

    "What's that over there?" Tabby asks pointing to the east.

    Simon Berkhart has managed to keep up with us. His quest, same as ours, was driving him still. I knew he was in the woods when we saw his truck parked on the dirt path in. I had started to wonder if we were going the wrong way, since we hadn't seen him up till now. Seeing him was a relief, but I also knew what I had to do.

    My fingers pop the snap holding my .40 cal pistol in it's holster. I stop on the side of a tree, peeking around it with the gun trained on Simon. He stops next to a blackberry bush and begins picking a few berries from the dying tree. I smiled at his misfortune and pulled the trigger. Within a quarter of a second the blood spattered from the back side of his head, before he had time to look up at the sound of the recoil.

    "Rina!" Tabitha came stumbling up behind me.

    "We must be getting close." I slid my gun into the holster.
    Tabitha's eyes were large and full of apprehension, but continues to follow me.

    I wanted to break out into a full sprint to get to the place faster, but my tired legs wouldn't go faster. Ahead I could see a veil of vines extending as far as I could see to both sides. "We're here." I push forward, new found strength in my legs, fueled by adrenaline. Joy washes over me with every step. I made it Daddy.

    The ground grew harder as we approach the vines. The vines emanate a green glow from the sunlight behind them. I stand before the vines, my body tingles with excitement. I draw the curtain of vines back, and the sight before me takes my breath away. In this forest of death and decay, is a lush green oasis.

    We step through the opening. It's amazing how everything was in bloom here. Fruit hangs from the trees, heavy and ripe. Flowers open and fragrant. Birds and bugs create a harmonious symphony of sounds around us. In the center is the heartbeat of this magical space, a bubbling brook erupting from a rock formation jutting from the ground. It pools into a small pond just to my right.

    Tabitha grabs fruit from the nearest tree with ferocious hunger in her eyes, yet the only thing I can see, can think about, is the water. One drink of it and immortality is mine.

    I walk straight to the source of the life giving water. As I cup my hands and dip them into the clear water, I hear someone clear their throat. I look up. Tabby is chewing on a piece of fruit. I glance around. A woman in a gossamer gown stands on the other side of the rocks staring at me.

    "Only one may drink from the fountain." She says.

    I frown and glance at Tabby. Tabby hasn't noticed the woman, her hands greedily grasping for more fruit. I look back at the woman and she has disappeared.

    I finger the snap holding my gun in it's holster. Can I? I watched Tabby eating. Stuffing her face with pieces of fruit. She didn't care enough about the fountain to even look at it. She wasn't worthy of it's gift. I was the only one.

    I lifted my gun just as she turned to look at me. Her eyes huge with confusion and fear. Pop. Her head explodes and her body crumples to the ground.

    I put my hands in the clear water.

    "There can be only one." The woman was standing before me again. This time she pointed to the other side of the small pool of water. There a man slept. He lay, on his side, among the soft grass on a natural bed created by rocks. Beside him was a small fire that had burned out.

    I pull my hands from the water and frown. Damnit. Another problem to take care of first. I train my pistol sight on the sleeping figure. I squeeze the trigger. Crack. The sleeping man sprawls out on his stomach as his head whips from the violence of the bullet.

    I turn back to the water and thrust my hands into it. I slurp handful after handful into my mouth. The woman appears before me again.

    "You are now the only one. But you have the choice. Stay and be forever young, or leave and instantly become the age you would have been and continue aging till your death." She shimmered away before my eyes, leaving me alone in the hum of life around me.

    Some fountain of youth. None of the stories said this. Of course, that means no one has left this place after drinking to tell the tale.

    I walked over to Tabitha first. I shouldn't have shot her, I could use her advice on this. A grimace takes my face as I look at her brains spread across the grass.

    I make my way around the pool of water to the dead man's body. His limbs limp and his blood is pooled around his down-turned face. The small entrance wound is barely visible through his thinning hair dark hair. Curiosity grabs me. I pull on his heavy shoulder, flipping his body over easily. Increased strength must be another immortal perk.

    The exit wound had taken out the top half of his forehead and continued through his hairline. His face was untouched by the severity of the damage.

    My empty stomach churns, and a cold sweat breaks out on my skin. The face looking up at me was familiar. His graying eyebrows were peacefully resting above his closed eyes. His nose crested at a slight angle where it had been broken before. His lips were relaxed and his face was clean of hair. His face was home. He had found the fountain after all, but had chosen to stay. Dad. I'm sorry.

    I run to the edge of the pooled water. Crystal clear it reflected my life here. Alone, forever frozen at the age of 32. Waiting for the next adventurer to stumble into this haven. Then death, for one of us. If I win, I am alone again. If I lose, I die anyway. Is this a life? I look to the vines encapsulating this hell.

    I get up with the same determination I had before. I filled my cantina with water from the pool and grab some fruit as I make my way to the vines. I push them open and step out into the decaying forest. I start to walk, hoping I have enough to get me to the car. If I make it out, I will tell the truth about the fountain of youth, to save future generations from this fate. I must. Or the story dies with me.

    Ten steps into the forest I start to feel light headed. My heart starts to pound in my chest. I look down at my hands and find them to not be my own. They where weathered and veiny. I clasped my hands to my face. The skin felt leathery under my fingers. Aged. Deep wrinkles around my mouth felt like grooves. My breathing became ragged. Weakness crept up my legs and I fell to the forest floor.

    Leaves stirred up under me as I hit with force. What's happening to me? I watched my hands age before my eyes. Exhaustion blanketed my thought. I must lie down before the darkness hits. My eyes close.
  6. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    DarrenW - Snow White

    It was something Jack had wished for once.


    To live, unrestrained by the chains of human frailty. Now, many years later, stood watching his daughter’s mechanically forced breath ebb and flow like the tide, eroding her life, he knew her time was coming closer.

    Upon arrival, two days ago the resident physician Dr Mohammed Abedin had explained the nature of Isabelle’s injuries were to be expected. Although externally, she had been relatively unscathed, the simple laws of physics had come into brutal focus when Isabelle’s Vauxhall Astra had collided head on into a Jeep Cherokee. She had stopped immediately upon impact, but her spleen and kidneys had continued their journey. Hey, don’t worry about us organs, we’ll just go on ahead and see you there! Her brain had tried to join them, but had been met by the immovable force of her skull. At this point, Dr Abedin had punched his own palm in demonstration. Quite unnecessarily in Jack’s opinion.

    The last two days in this room had been horrific for both Jack and his son-in-law Andy. The room was private, and that was a small mercy given the number of people Jack had observed being shoehorned in to the communal patient bays at visiting times. The room was sparsely decorated, presumably to make infection control easier, with a single window view to the car park ten stories below. The sun had sank from view less than an hour ago and rain had begun to hum a light tune on the window frame. They both waited for the results of the brain scan taken three hours ago.

    Isabelle’ bed was surrounded by an array of expensive looking machinery. At first, the various tubes protruding from his wife and the constant electronic beeping of the alarms had unnerved Andy in particular, but over the last day he had grown accustomed to them. Now, he had come to rely on them. The noises coming from the machines were keeping his spirits up as much as they were Isabelle’s lungs.

    Jack felt sorry for him. As a boy, Jack had never believed in God despite being brought up in a strict Catholic household but he knew Andy was praying whenever he wasn’t speaking. Jack’s father, possessed most evening by drink used to take pleasure in administering biblical justice for even minor offences against the Lord. Jack had decided young that he would rather not spend eternity with someone who could sit by and watch him take thirty lashes of his father’s belt for mislaying a school book.

    In adulthood during his conversion to atheism, Jack would sit in Church on a Sunday and try to guess which parishioners were genuine believers and which were simply hedging their bets. Jack had observed that the older you got, the closer to the front of the Church you sat. When Jack had openly questioned one of the parishioners, an elderly lady named Grace why she had moved forward three pews in two years, she had replied with a curt ‘It’s my hearing’. Jack suspected the real reason was a growing need to sidle up to Him as sentencing grew nearer. Once tired of people watching and pew-swapping, there was no reason left to go.

    Only Andy and Isobelle spending nearly two weeks praying at his bedside after a major heart attack five years ago, at the age of seventy six had saved him in his opinion.

    Jack barely noticed that Dr Abedin had come back in. Andy was trying to mentally prepare for the conversation ahead.

    Jack edged away from his daughter’s bed and knelt down beside Andy. He was a good man. His parent’s had died in a fire when he was twelve and Andy had naturally gravitated toward the fire service as a career in response. He was brave, with a physical strength matched only by the love he had shown to his daughter and in return, Jack had more or less willingly adopted him as his own.

    Jack could see Andy was struggling. He was sat slumped in his chair, like a string-less puppet. Jack offered him his hand but Andy didn’t take it and stood unsteadily, like a foal trying to gain its balance for the first time.

    Dr Abedin placed a comforting arm on Andy’s shoulder as Jack watched on and listened to the news he knew was coming. “The results of the brain scan are, I’m afraid, conclusive, Sir”

    Andy closed his eyes. “She’s all I have” was all he could feebly offer in return.

    Dr Abedin softened “I know. But she is only alive, Andy, because we are keeping her alive”.

    “What if there is a mistake with the scan?” said Andy “don’t mistakes happen all the time in hospitals?”

    “Yes, Andy, sometimes they do” Dr Abedin offered an apologetic smile “but not this time. Isabell is clinically brain-dead”.

    The words lingered above Andy for a few seconds, as if seeking confirmation of their target before dropping the full weight of their ordnance on him.

    Dr Abedin went on, his years of experience telling him that that the best strategy for an injured bird is perhaps mercy “We have undertaken several tests, Andy. Isabelle has no response to pain and no reflexes in her cranial nerve. Her breathing is being regulated by us, and her pupils – “

    “I get it” Andy said. He walked to Isabelle’s bedside and looked down on his wife of three years “We were going to try for a baby soon”.

    Dr Abedin shuffled in his spot. Andy sensed it immediately “She’s pregnant?…”

    Jack saw the answer in Dr Abedin’s eyes.

    “No Andy. Not any more”.

    Andy’s legs buckled from under him. Snip snip go the strings. He reached to try and steady himself. Jack tried to grab him but he seemed to slip through his fingers. Andy slumped, his knees falling hard on the hard linoleum floor. He emptied the meagre contents of his stomach.

    “I hope he rots in hell” Andy cried

    Jack could understand his anger. The man who had put Isabelle in this situation. The man who had decided that, on reflection, seven pints were no worse that one when it came to driving home never even made it to the hospital.

    “Trust me”, Jack said to Andy “it will all be okay” but the words had no impact.

    “Do you understand what that means, what decision you must make?” Dr Abedin said, helping Andy back to his feet.

    Andy nodded, an almost imperceptible movement. As if nodding vigorously might somehow mean he was eager “I just need a minute”

    “Take what you need Andy”, Dr Abedin said “Would you like me to come back later?”

    “No” Andy replied “I would rather you stay”.

    “It will be painless”

    Andy glared at him “For who?”

    Jack sat in the faded leather chair next to the bed knowing there was nothing he could say or offer to make the burden or pain any easier to bear. Instead he could only watch, as Andy stood and approached the bed, taking his wife’s fragile hand in his.

    ”I love you so much” he whispered, wiping away a stray hair from her forehead. He leant over the bed rail, and kissed his wife’s lips. There was no response. No Snow White moment.

    “She’s already gone hasn’t she?” Andy croaked, caressing his wife’s hand.
    “Not Physically” said Dr Abedin “only you can do that”

    Andy gripped the bed rail. His knuckles white with tension. Jack took up position on the other side of the bed, to watch over his daughter. He wanted to let her know he was there for her. Here, at the end of all things.

    “What do I have to do?” said Andy
    “You need to sign this” Dr Abenedi replied, offering Andy a clipboard and pen. Andy signed and wiped his nose on his sleeve.

    “and tell her you love her” replied Dr Abenedi.

    “I thought she is brain dead” croaked Andy, not taking his gaze from his wife’s face
    “She is”, smiled Dr Abenedi “but you are not. Tell her”
    Andy felt salty tears trickle down his face. Soon, there would be a flood “I love you Izzy”

    Dr Abenedi copied down some readings, and, following a nod from Andy, powered down the ventilator. He stood back. The stage was not his for this act.
    Andy was surprised. He had expected an immediate whirr of alarms and lights. But there was only the sound of the rain outside and the laboured efforts of a ventilator removed of its power source.

    Jack stood opposite Andy, and watched his final moments with Isabelle with an enormous sense of pride for the man in front of him. He looked at Isobelle. His dear sweet Isabelle and wondered what he would have done differently, had he had the chance. Not much, he concluded.

    But now was not the time for reflections.

    Her breathing began to shallow. The tide going out.

    “Jack –“ cried Andy “I need you here for me now”

    Now was the time for preparation.

    ”I am, Son” said Jack.

    But Andy didn’t hear him.

    The tide, finally, went out.

    Jack closed his eyes, and prayed hard for Andy. Prayed hard that he would find peace amidst the grief. Prayed hard that time would numb the pain enough for him to continue. Prayed hard, that he would love again.

    “I can smell Jasmine” said Isobelle “It smells so beautiful”. Jack turned to his daughter who was now stood by his side and took her hand, smiling

    “Welcome home Isobelle” Jack said “there’s so much to show you”.
  7. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    Leaka - The Husband Won't Die

    Dear Woman of the Woman's House Club,
    If your husband is like mine you'd feel the same. He gets to stay out as long as he wants. “Busy at work” he makes excuses like that. And if you know us woman in this era have no rights to speak out or be out when we want. I got to clean this kitchen where he may be at some brothel. So I have advise plans to kill him. But none work. I've poisoned his drink and I mean he fell unconscious, but he came back to life. I hit him on the head with a pot and he did have to go to the hospital, but once again he came back. I've stabbed him once too, but he came back then as well.

    And leaving him in a divorce is no option, I've tried that too and it never worked. So I'm sitting here thinking of how to kill this man of the immortals. I'm using it as a metaphor here ladies. Because he always comes back. I've set the house on fire, tried to drown him in the bath, and even tried to set him on fire. I've tried to run him over, kick him in the face, I've smothered him in sleep. I've left a trap for him in which a bowling ball hit him on the head. I've shot him. Ladies I know how abusive this sounds, but as we know these men are pathetically stupid. As long as you stay with them and talk sweetly it was accident according to them. I've tried to feed him unsafe food. Purposely bought expired food. I didn't cook the eggs fully. I'm running out of ideas. And that's why I'm writing this letter to the Woman's House Club. I need more ideas. You all seemed to be able to get rid of them. I've tried being with another man and all he did was scoff.

    I need something more deadly. I mean I don't want to be as cut throat by tearing him to pieces with a saw. That would be to messy and it would look suspicious on my part. How did you girls do it? Give me more ideas, I mean I even replaced the sugar with rat poisoning and it hasn't worked yet either. And he's had more then enough. I've read that instructional bullet of how to kill your man. I've tried electrocute him, but that didn't work all it did was cure his heart issues.

    I'm begging anyone, it's like he's immortal. But I mean he isn't because it does takes a few weeks till he's healed with my physical attacks. But the poison never works. I'm so lost girls. I haven't come to the Woman's House Club in so long because I'm ashamed I can't kill my own husband. All of you have been able to do it with such success and some of you have only taken two tries to do it and others one. God bless you leader, you're the greatest for getting rid of your husband in one try. So ladies, please send me letters of advice to my address and we can finally get rid of this husband of mine.

    Abby White
  8. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    Shockeye - The Immortal's End

    I hate that I cannot die. I enjoyed it for a while, a few billion years at most, but now I spend my time wishing for death. I know my fate and it terrifies me.

    I forget the exact details of how I became immortal. I knew it happened while fixing the core of a cold fusion drive for a starship I was working on. There was a bright flash, not an explosion mind you, then I was knocked unconscious and woke up in a hospital bed with the uncanny ability to never perish.

    I've done many things with this ability. Being able to cheat death constantly has it's perks. I've been a hero, villain, scoundrel, and a savior. Sometimes all at once. Need to save a baby from a burning building? I was your man. Need someone to be a shield during a shootout with the police? I was your man. Need to hide a consignment of weapons by making it look like they've been blown up in a supernova? And it can only be done by throwing yourself into that supernova? Damn right I was your man. But those times are over.

    I've seen civilizations come and go. I've watched humanity mature as they spread out into the stars. Then they grew bitter when their empire was in downfall. Then the elderly human race killed itself in one last glorious war. They fought only themselves, and yours truly was right in the thick of it. Caught a missile in the head in one battle.

    That was so long ago. The human race, once they reached the stars, lasted only a few hundred thousand years. They've missed so much that has happened since. They missed a race of highly intelligent dogs tame a black hole and harness its energy to power their time ships. They missed the supremely spiritual Slakeezi race engineer their own gaseous nebula, forming it into the exact shape of their holy symbol. They also were absent when sentient robots enslaved half the galaxy.

    But it's all over now. There are no stars left. The galaxies broke up and dissipated. And I drift in empty space watching the universe slowly perish. If you were to ask me what year it was, I would reply with a one followed by so many zeroes you would have trouble comprehending it. But my ultimate fate is to not drift in empty space forever. How I would rejoice if it was so.

    My fate is much worse. I am to become the center of all gravity. My modest body will be the most massive object in all creation. Everything else has fallen apart into atoms scattered throughout the void. But soon, maybe just a few more centuries, I will start attracting these atoms. They will stick to me. Then more and more until every atom in the universe is stuck to me. I will be at the center of a rock composed of all the atoms in the universe. Can you imagine what that would be like? I've done all the calculations, I can't be wrong. The only hope I have left is to find a passing time hole and go through it to somewhere in the past. I say that as if it's actually going to happen. But it's the only hope I have.

    Only a few centuries left. There is the other hope. The hope that I will die one day. I doubt it though. Only a few centuries left. Then... crunch!

    How I hate being immortal.
  9. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    JustaLittleFiction - Accounting for Life

    Maybe I’ve always been wrong. Maybe all this meaning and purpose in my life was nothing more than a cloud of vapor. Maybe I'd interpreted everything incorrectly and everyone else saw the true world. But in the end it doesn't matter. I have to continue with my plan. I won’t be stopped. Not by the police or some random stranger. The game had kept me alive for years and would for eternity.

    Within my reach shined the value of every passing person. Revealing to me the worth of their putrid life. Sitting above their tiny little heads like a beacon of destiny. And I was put on this planet to harvest that value. To add it to my own and build this terrible existence. The next hunt was just around the corner.

    “Hey Levi,” white 52 barked with his ever present smile. How he always kept that bubbling enthusiasm was beyond me. Living his dull life with a fat wife and two children. It always looked like he walked on clouds not knowing how insignificant he really was. I’d passed on his value for eight years. Looked over it from the day I first began working at Coger’s Wholelsale Grocers. Even with 52 points to collect, the value seemed vile and stained with joy.

    “Hi Doug,” I said back to white 52 with a forced grin. “How's the baby doing?”

    “Oh, pretty good. Finally starting to get a sleeping schedule down.”

    “That’s always a good thing,” I muttered trying to stay upbeat. Small talk. Not really my forte, but something I had to do to keep up for appearances. None of these idiots had any idea of the real world they lived in. No one but me knew the power of collecting another person’s value.

    “What are you two yackin about?” gray 90 asked as he rounded a corner in his meandering gait. His own value towered like the needle on top of a skyscraper way over my head. A crown of grand achievement at the summit of some tall peak. I'd love to harvest that value, but the opportunity had never seemed right.

    “Levi was asking about Luke,” white 52 called back with a sip from his cup of steaming coffee. “I was just telling him how me and Jenny are finally able to get some sleep since he's sleeping most of the night.”

    “Hmmph? Oh yeah,” gray 90 said with a confused looking blink. Like me, he didn't specialize in small talk. I liked him for it. Straight and to the point, but ever more tantalizing. “Levi, I’ve been meaning to ask you… are you doing anything on Friday?”

    “I’m not sure,” I responded cryptically. Nothing was on my calendar for the night, but a new value needed to be found. And wasting time with the lumbering troll wasn’t the way to do it.

    “Come on man. Don’t give me that crap. We haven’t done anything in months...”

    “I know. I’ve just been busy. You know my mom’s been sick.” Not the truth, but he didn’t know that. The thought of her value brought a smile of reverie. So long ago added to my own. Extending her child’s life. My mom’s greatest gift.

    “Well, my wife has this friend,” gray 90 continued without caring for any excuse. “She’s freakin unbelievable man. Guys would line up around the block to get a shot at her. You can’t pass this up.”

    “I’ll check,” I promised half-heartedly.

    “I’ve heard that before…” gray 90 shot back. “Oh well... if you don’t go, I'll try to get some actoin off of her myself. Can't pass up the opportunity to have a romp with her. With that serial killer stalking the city, it might be the only chance I get. She's probably a prime target for that guy.”

    “Your wife will be there!” white 52 blurted in protest.

    “We’re not all prudes like you,” gray 90 fired with a sideways wink in my direction. Annoying white 52... his favorite hobby. “I’m only jokin anyway. I wouldn’t stand a chance. She’s out of my league. But Levi could probably be in the sack with her in no time.”

    “Whatever,” white 52 replied looking into his coffee. “But you did take a vow when you got married. And joking about the Accountant is not funny. He’s killed almost thirty people.”

    “That’s only the ones they know about,” gray 90 chortled. “He probably has another twenty or so cut up in his freezer.”

    “Sometimes you go over the line,” white 52 berated like an overbearing father. “Think of all the families he’s destroyed.”

    I left the two of them to continue their age old argument. It almost always ended with a bickering and nagging discussion. The odd couple incarnate. And right now I didn’t want to keep up the appearance of caring. The pressure to harvest another value weighed in my chest.

    Three days. Nearly eighty hours since my last collection. The burning desire to target my next value wouldn’t sit still for long. I fell into the chair in my office and quickly typed out a full-scheduled excuse to gray 90. He would keep trying to get me to go with him, but nothing could stop me when the next target was on my mind.

    So I began the hunt. Patiently and calculating I scouted out potential values. Everywhere my eyes moved the numbers called for my attention. Summoning me with the power of the harvest. And when a smoke and beer filled Friday night rolled into early Saturday morning, I find the next value to add to my life.

    Tall and lean with long blonde hair. She had a perfect shape but an ugly, hawk nosed face. For two hours she stood near the bar at the rundown Silver Stallion. A place made for rednecks and drunken fifty year old children. Tonight it was the perfect setting for my game. A place of prey and morons.

    “You want to dance?” I asked with one arm holding half my weight against the bar.

    Blue eyes glanced up and down my frame for only a split second before a smile crept across her beaky face. “Sure,” she replied in a twittery voice. Always so easy. They never knew it until the very end. Right when the value over their head sucked away to be stored over mine.

    The green 38 over her head bounced and whirled as we danced until last call. Such beauty. Exotic hips and a gyrating, perfect butt. It was almost enough to make me re-think my collection. At least until after we’d had sex.

    Unfortunately for her, the drive was too strong. I paid sixty five dollars in cash for a cheap hotel and she was laid before me on a dusty comforter in a dank room. Three hours after I met her but so close to collection. A thrill ran up my spine as an image of the green 38 melding into my own number. Such brilliance and wonder. It never ceased to amaze me.

    “You ready?” I asked with a creepy purr rumbling through the words. Her blue eyes lit up as I sunk onto the bed and pulled a knife from the waist of my jeans. I could see it instantly in her shimmering, nervous eyes. A building scream of terror. But she would never get it out. Too many collections lay in my past. My left hand shot out to stifle the panicked shout. Ever so slowly the knife drew back. I relished every collection. Let it savor like a fine wine. The knife steadied in my hand as it prepared to plunge into the wriggling body. To release the value that would be mine forever.

    But something happened right then that had never happened before. The flimsy hotel door splintered open into a dusty mess onto the stained carpet. Into the room stormed an avalanche of yelling police. Guns drawn and aimed at my chest.

    They didn’t know though. Didn’t know that I was worth more than all of them. They had no clue the power they'd walked in on. Without a care I sprang towards them. On the hunt for a mountain of values. Ready to slash and tear my way through the steady faces. Make them scream and cry in fright.

    Flashes filled my eyes before I was all the way off the bed. Ripping pain lanced through my shoulders and stomach. Before I knew what happened my face planted onto the crusty filth of the floor. A steady stream of blood added to the blotchy stains of the cheap hotel. Growing faster and faster with the ocean of life.

    “It… I… can’t die…” Barely a murmur escaped my lips as air bubbled out in red geysers of muck.

    “Are you okay?” a burly officer asked as he crunched his knee into my back.

    “I’m fine,” Green 38 answered through a buzzing haze of pain and dizziness. She crouched into my blackening, spotting vision. “We finally got him. He’s definitely the one we’ve been looking for. The Accountant. All those people…”

    She shuddered from head to toe as I began to fall. Straight through the floor I fell. Like a meat hook had plunged around my spine. Dragging me into the blackness with all the values I’d collected doing me no good in the end. My life was over. Something I never thought would go through my mind.
  10. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    zorrell - The Anniversary

    What is "Life," really?

    Is it the breaths we take? The choices we make? The consequences we suffer or the ones we love?

    Is "Life" the scream of the newborn infant or is it the groan of the antelope in the lion's maw? The sun's brilliant shine or the moon's subtle glow?

    Is "Life" everything or is it nothing at all?

    Can't say that I know...can't say that I care, not anymore, not without you, Davie.

    What has it been, a decade? A century? A millennia? No matter, it's been an eternity for my falsely beating heart. I still think that it should have been me that died that night. I was the one to over do the igniter fluid after all. It was I that turned myself into a widow on our wedding night.

    I still wear the ring you placed on my finger so many years ago. When I touch it, I can feel that day again. My father's arm is firmly wrapped in mine, his confident resolve a welcomed companion. His soft brown eyes are looking at me again as we walk slowly with the cadence of the song. He smiles when you two make eye contact. And I smile just seeing you standing there at the top of the aisle. You were such a wonderful sight to behold in your midnight tux...the tux I would later bury you in.

    That's not what this is about, my beloved Davie. Can you believe that tonight is the one hundred fifty seventh anniversary of our wedding? Yes, yes, that means that it's also another, less joyous anniversary, but I don't want to dwell. Nothing in this world can equate to the feeling of our wedding kiss, that symbolic action of sealing our fates forevermore... I find it so sweet that you seem to keep that vow even after what I did to you.

    Wasn't it you that presented me with that lottery win on our tenth anniversary? A grand gesture from you, one not all that surprising. The bouquet of roses you bought me the night of our very first date, back when you and I were only nineteen, I had them pressed the next night. But you knew that, we had them framed and hung near the front door of our home. Well, I still have them, they come with me to every new home I make for myself, or try to. Is it really ever a home without you?

    The answer is no, no it is not. A building or a room may be my dwelling, my house, and even my abode- but it never feels like home. If only you could see where I live now. It’s not much to look at. There are no pictures on the walls, no special knick knacks here or there and no ornate furniture or fixtures. There is only me, our roses and the hearth. Think of it as your throne, I like to. It’s as tall as the doorway to our first house and just as wide. There’s always a fire living in the hearth, always an open door waiting for you to come back to me.

    That’s the thing, you have to come back to me…I can’t follow you. Davie, you can’t understand how hard I’ve tried. They kept me in an asylum for a whole year after our wedding night. They called me a “menace” to myself. I wasn’t a menace, I wasn’t! I was trying to be a faithful wife. I just wanted to be with you for better or for worse, forever and for always. Isn’t that what we said in our wedding vows before a church filled with our friends and families?

    Our friends and families…they, too, have left me behind. My mother, my father, all of my sisters and most of your family…gone.

    Yet here I am with my beating heart, my lonely nights, and the memory of us. Our hearts will beat as one again, I promise you, Davie. I promise.
  11. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    jonathan hernandez13 - The Final Sacrement

    The priest’s soles tapped on the floor with a rhythmic pace. They seemed to imitate the meter of the rain drops as they rapped on the Hospital’s windows and roof. Father Mendoza peered out of a solitary window, spotted a bright blue ribbon of lightning, and heard the issue of its thunder a second later. It was a dreary evening, but the work of the Lord could not be stopped by inclement weather.

    The elderly man’s family were present and evidenced by the sound of their weeping while the priest was just halfway down the hall. A middle aged woman emerged from the female restroom clutching a wet piece of tissue paper, her eyes were red. She saw the priest and instantly recognized him.

    “Father Mendoza?” She asked.


    “Oh, thank God. The doctors say that he could go at any minute.” She sobbed.

    “I want his soul to be saved, before.” Her shoulders sank. He put a hand on her back and rubbed generously.

    “I understand, please, take me to him.”

    The walk down the hall was brief and silent. Each door that they passed was open, each room was empty. They walked to the very end of the hall, at the threshold of a door he smelled death, voices hushed and throats coughed to clear themselves of phlegm.

    “Abuelo, this is the priest, this is Father Mendoza.” The woman spoke as if she were talking to a child.

    Father Mendoza couldn’t see who she was talking to, the room was full of all manner of family members. There were chubby little kids, strapping young men, and mature adults with wizened countenances. Father Mendoza felt like a celebrity cornered in an alley, every wet eye regarded him warmly, trembling lips forced a smile. He felt as though he had become a part of the family, for however long that would last. They cleared a path to the bed and the priest saw God’s dying child. The man was small and frail. His limbs were thin, his complexion was pale.

    “Do you need privacy?” Someone asked Father Mendoza. He shook his head. That’s not necessary, unless you would like to have a final Confession, Mister Marquez.”

    The gaunt dying thing in the bed nodded its head.

    “Yes. Privacy.” It shook as it spoke, its voice rasped like a rusted whistle. The family members cleared the room, it took some time.

    There were over a dozen of them, they all filtered past the priest, exchanging kind and understanding glances as they left. A few waited patiently by the door, but then began to amble down the hall for the vending machines or a seat in the waiting rooms.

    “We are alone now, my child.” The priest said and held up his hands; he muttered a quick prayer in Latin and made the sign of the cross over the bed.

    “Come here.” The sick man said. Father Mendoza walked quickly, he had precious few moments, no telling when he would pass, he would have to complete his work before then.

    “For me there is no cure or remedy, for me death is very near.” Mister Marquez’s voice was gaining strength.

    “My son, God has the power to heal, miraculously.”

    A hand shot out and grabbed the priest’s hand with a surprising strength.

    “He is near, I can feel him now.”

    “Who is, my child?”

    “Gabriel.” The old man said, pronouncing the name in an archaic Hebrew fashion.

    “Gabriel, you mean the Archangel Gabriel? The Angel of death?”

    “Together we brought death to millions, destroyed entire cities. I have lost favor with him long ago, but never gave up hope. I have asked him many times for this small favor. It seems that now I am granted mercy. How I have waited for this day to come.”

    “Mister Marquez, you are ill, please allow me to perform the Final Sacrament. The Anointing of the sick has been known to heal---”

    “I am not doing this for myself. I’m doing it for them.”

    “Your family.”

    “Family? My loins have sired a line that reaches back to the first quill mark in recorded time. They insist that as a good Catholic I have the final Sacrament performed.”

    “What do you think?”

    “That you are as useless as the Doctors are. Come, sit by my bed, and keep me company as I wait for him to come.”

    “As you wish, Mister Marquez.”

    “Not Marquez.”

    “I beg your pardon?”

    “My name is not Marquez.”

    “But that is your family name, has it been changed?”

    The old man nodded.

    “Many times. Marquez was my Conquistador name, I had it when I came to the United States from what is now called Latin America, and before then when I sailed for New Spain from Cadiz. Before then my name was Marquis, when I was living in France, in a self-imposed exile from Muslim Spain.”

    He was hallucinating, a sure sign of failing health. There was no telling how much time was left.

    “But Mister Marquez, that would mean that you are hundreds of years old.”

    “Older.” He rasped matter of factly.

    “How old are you?”

    “Older than your calendars.”

    “You must have met Jesus then.”

    “No, at the time I was in what is now Great Britain. I was a Legionnaire, fighting barbarian Celtic tribes. I did not become a Christian until five centuries later.”

    “That would be about two centuries after the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal in Rome.”

    “Was it? I can’t remember. You must be right, priest. I have dim memories of campaigning in Gaul under Julius Caesar, but before I was a Roman I was a mercenary fighting for the Carthaginians. Those were good years, but still before then I remember sailing with the Phoenicians and establishing some of the first colonies in Spain. I remember a city on the coasts of the Levant and the curious color of Sidonian sand. Ah, I remember the walls of Byblos, and the colored dye made on the island city of Tyre.”

    “Mister Marquez, my child, you must repent your sins and go through this sacred sacrament.”

    “Child? You call me a child? I have been places you can only dream of, etched my name in stone in places that have eroded through time. I heard the first word ever spoken by man. I saw the first twinkling city, and the rise and the fall of the tower of Babel. I fought in the first war and in more battles than there are hairs on your head. I saw Atlantis fall beneath the glimmering waves, and the flood. I’ve sailed on seas that have dried into dust, and made catalogues of races who have vanished from record. I’ve read a quarter of the volume of the Library of Alexandria, and watched the wisest men in history grow from silly youths to senile old men.”

    “Is it not good that life is so short? We should grow so fond of living; of every ache and sorrow as well as every joy and laugh. The waxing and waning of the endless moon. The rise and fall of the timeless sun. Would my eyes not ache, will the taste of sweet life day after day not dull my tongue? If I shall find no rest should life not then become unbearable? And then, dreary of life, should I not seek a way to end it and find my peace?” The old man moaned.

    “Peace, is that what you are looking for?”


    “You shall have it, eternal peace. The Lord has a Kingdom not of this world.”

    “I know.”

    “When you die, you will go there.”

    “No, I will return there. This is not my home, this was my prison. I am merely a tenant, you were once my pupils. I was placed here to teach and watch over, but we failed. We failed utterly, don’t you understand? This was our punishment.”

    The old man sobbed.

    “I have waited so long to return. And now, at last, he is coming.”
    There was a knock at the door. It was a nurse.

    “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt. Mister Mendoza, you have a visitor.”

    “I think---” Father Mendoza looked at Mister Marquez, or Marquis, or whatever he claimed to be.

    “---I think that we are done.”

    The old man smiled and nodded. He put a hand on Father Mendozas arm, and, taking it as a sign of farewell, he rose from the bed. He kept his head low as he walked past the nurse and came upon the guest. Fearful to look him in the face, he looked at his shoes and pants, which were both as ebon as obsidian.

    “My name is Gabriel.” The visitor spoke with an harmonious voice.

    “Yes, I have heard.” He said, not sure if what he was experiencing was actual reality, and if it was, what the implications were.

    “Do you know who I am?” He asked.

    “Yes, I think that I do.”

    “Then you understand how important the message that you share is. There are flocks that need tending priest, go find them. If not, the blood of the Saints and the Martyrs will have been wasted.”

    “Will it hurt him?”


    Father Mendoza walked out and could not decide whether to feel joyful or sad, or if anything at all. Should he have rejoiced in the knowledge that there was a God, or pity that a man should have to witness death for so long before tasting of it himself. He embraced some of the family members mourning silently in the lobby and said some prayers with them.

    Later on that evening the doctors would note that Mister Mendoza passed away at ten thirty seven P.M. from natural causes due to the complications of age and resulting heart failure. The storm clouds quickly vanished soon after, as if they had hurried to spirit away the old man to his final resting place.
  12. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    groovybananas - Devil's Rain

    Oh blessed little bullets. I thought as I raised the gun to my head. A gun shot was the last thing I heard.
    Until I woke up two days later with an exploding head ache. Devilish little bullets.
    “And now she has awoken, the suicidal failure,” I heard a sarcastic voice snort behind me. “Did you seriously think that would work?”
    “Worth a try,” I said shrugging my shoulders.
    Another snort.
    “JAAAAAAAAACK!” Someone yelled joyously; that did not help my head ache. Quickly I ducked down, so as not to get knocked over, as the small child ran into me squeezing the air out of me that wasn’t in me in the first place.
    “Hey Cooper. Did ya’ miss me?” I asked ruffling his hair. That was a stupid question.
    “Uh huh." He nodded, snuffling back a tear.
    “Well of course he did, you’re like his mother,” the sarcastic man stated the obvious. I turned and gave him a death glare. My scorching head only shortened my temper. He could tell. “Sorry Mum,” he said rudely, but quickly.
    I raised an eyebrow. “Mum? You’re older than me!”
    “Only by a hundred years,” he countered. Oh yeah, only. I ignored his comment and turned my attention to Cooper.
    Dustin may have the stomach to talk about it, but he had a few hundred years to get used to it. The thought still made me shudder and gag. And if that was still happening to me, I’d hate to think how Cooper felt about this, he was only a kid. And he would stay that way. Forever. As would us all. Just us three, so far as we knew, at least.
    “Come on Coop,” I said trying to sound brighter. “Let’s go fetch an ice cream.” I scooped him up and walked out of the sorry looking abandoned building that we stayed in. Dustin, having nothing better to do, followed.
    After thirty minutes of internal mental debating, we all had our ice creams and sat around an outside table with a brightly colored, shady, umbrella. I slowly savored my cookie dough ice cream in a cup. Cooper raced the summer heat licking the dribbles of mint and chocolate running down his cone. Even Dustin eagerly devoured his oh-so-plain vanilla.
    We did not eat often. We did not need to eat often. But it was always nice when we did. It made us feel like we were a part of it all. Apart of the life we will never have. We would never be the toddler learning to tie his shoe, the teen and her drama, the newlyweds on their honey moon, or the grandparents on their death beds. We were outside it all. But eating, like everyone else did, always connected us to that life.
    After the ice cream, Cooper had enough courage to go play ball with the children in the park. Dustin stretched out on a blanket to take a rest in the sun; no doubt he had stayed alert the whole time I had been knocked out. I watched the cars racing down the road, with the occasional taxi stopping to pick up a pedestrian.
    All is well with ice cream.

    Suddenly a drop of water hit my nose. Rain? I looked up to the sky, still a sapphire blue with a blazing sun. Horror crept into my mind. Dustin shot up in panic.
    “Devil’s rain,” he whispered. What does that mean? I looked for Cooper. He stood stock still the middle of the park. The sprinkling droplets started to get harder. Soon umbrellas were raised and mothers called out for their children to duck them from the rain. But we didn’t move. Soaked, I finally got the strength to stand. Memory? I shuddered as my mind flashed back to a horrible day. A day where it rained with the sun in the sky; a day when I became the way that I am.
    I started to make my way to Cooper slowly when someone grabbed my hand. It was Dustin. “Come on,” he urged pulling me along faster. He had already gotten all his strength back. Finally we made it to Cooper who was still frozen stiff. Dustin picked him up. “We have to get out of here!” Dustin demanded.
    We started running, but never made it out of the park.


    It was a woman’s voice, a beautiful voice ringing in my head. It seemed as loud as a church bell, but was whispered to me like a secret. I could tell that Dustin and Cooper heard it too.

    “Where are my children?” Her voice called out mournfully. “Come, come now. Mummy is lonely. The Devil just beat me, can't you tell by the way it is raining. See, I am crying. Please children, come comfort your mummy.”

    I willed myself to move, but couldn’t. Cooper started to squirm in Dustin’s arms. I found myself taking a step backward instead of forward. This voice, it sounded so familiar. I wanted to turn around. I wanted to see her.

    “Well, if my children will not come to me, I will just have to make one.”

    “No!” Dustin shouted out. “Take Cooper! Take him!” He yelled thrusting the struggling boy into my arms.
    “What?” I called out. But Dustin was already gone. I turned around to see Dustin running towards someone. It was an old man walking through the park. But then my head snapped to someone in front of the old man.
    It was a woman. Her black hair flowed as if gravity had no effect on it. Her skin was dark from too much sun and her dress was a bright red like flames. The lady seemed to float above the ground. She was beautiful and alien-ish. But the old man seemed not to notice her as she reached out a skeleton arm unraveling her thin fingers towards the old man.

    “Come here child. I want you to stay with me forever. I don’t want to be alone when he beats me. I will give you a kiss, the most precious gift, immortality.”

    The word ran through my brain like fire racing through a forest. Suddenly I found myself on my knees, vomiting my ice cream. Cooper leapt out of my arms and ran towards the woman. Dustin was already there and had knocked the old man out of the way.
    “Stop!” Dustin commanded. The lady looked at him curiously.

    “You? Oh Dustin! You have come to comfort me. Now, where are my other children?”

    “I am the only one,” he stated firmly.
    “Mummy!” Cooper cried. He had already gotten across the park. No! He flung his arms around the woman.

    “But you are mistaken, dear Dustin, for here is my other child! Oh, come here Cooper. Mummy has missed you. Come, let mummy give you a kiss.”

    “Don’t!”I cried out.

    “Oh? What’s this?”

    She looked over to me. Then she appeared right in front of me. I wiped my mouth and stood up. She looked at me with her piercing black eyes. Cooper only stared at her. Dustin was running back across the park to us.

    “Have we met? Do you want to be my child too? I love my children. Come, I will give you a kiss and give you the most precious gift, immortality.”

    “Don’t you remember me?” I asked with a pang of sadness.
    “Wait! Jack!” Dustin screamed.

    “Jack? My Jack? My only daughter?”

    “Yes.” I swallowed. For some reason, the fact that she remembered me made me happy. Immediately she dropped Cooper who fell and hit his head on a bench. The woman didn’t notice and for some reason, I didn't care either. The only person I cared about was the woman in front of me. She quickly twisted her boney arms around me in an embrace.

    “He will want to see you, you know. He is looking forward to his next wife.”

    “Will he beat me mummy?” I asked scared, tears tumbling down my face.

    “The Devil always beats his wife. Now come my –“

    She didn’t finish her sentence. I looked up to see a pole protruding through her head. No blood poured out. The woman just disappeared in a wisp of black.
    The sky no longer rained Devil’s rain.
    “Jack?” I heard a voice ask. It was Dustin. In his arms was Cooper unconscious. “You can’t die that way Jack.”
  13. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    The Lost Boy - Finding What Happy Is

    A man falls from a hundred feet in the air, straight into the ground. He does it laughing and screaming, like it's a roller coaster rather then a death for anyone human. He cuts through the air with no resistance. He spins and flips in mid-air before colliding with the ground, making a deep crater. He made an Earth shattering sound and a big mess and all he can do is laugh.

    Jon lifts his head from its bowed position. His deep, sentimental prayer is interuppted by a crash. He stands up from his knees and journeys down the hill. The grass is sharp, yet it tickles his bare feet. His dirty clothes sway with him as he swerves around trees. He finds the hole and sighs. From the pit, Francis struggles up onto flat land.

    " If I could bleed, it'd be pure liquor." Francis laughs as he rolls onto his back, drunk as usual.

    " Why do you live like a human when you're not," Jon asks. He stands looking down at who is the closest thing he has to a friend.

    " Immorality makes everything empty." Francis struggles to get up. " Temptation, consequences, faith and every other virtue and vice. I figure I'd fill myself with fun."

    Jon walks behind Francis as they start to exit the forest.

    " You treat this like a joke Francis." Jon is angry. " This is a curse. God condemned us on this Earth to watch everything we know and love leave us. God's work is no joke."

    " What'd we ever do to God," Francis snorts before stumbling on a rock. Jon tries to help him, but he shakes him off. " We did nothing. The human Francis McGillicutty went to church every Sunday and sinned as much every other man. I didn't do anything extraordinary so why did God or destiny or Nirvana choose me." At this point, Francis goes hysterical as he sometimes did. " And you, Jon Cane. A good husband and religious man. You were better than me, yet you're an immortal too. By the way, how's Sarah?"

    Jon's face turns to a frown.

    " She's married to a human man." Jon's voice is as strong as a whisper.

    " So you're still in love with her. Could forcefully get any girl, but you stay with the one you can't have. Well I guess marriage lasts forever, but humans have no idea how long forever is. It's a mighty long time."

    " True love is a rare thing," Jon says. " Most humans find love that last just long enough just before they die. Immortality can't take away true love, but it keeps us from finding it."

    " Couldn't have said it better myself," Francis slurs. The two men started up a steep hill. " Hey, you've got to happy. Quoting you, you said God brings happiness. I think that means something. If Sarah can be happy and I can be fake happy, then what's wrong with you?"

    "Immortality is different for every one. It depends on who you are." Jon bites his lip and feels tears seep out from behind his eyes as they usually did. The two stop in front of a cliff.

    " Whatever Jon. I'm off to steal a car and pick up a girl. See you later." With that Francis jumps off the cliff. Jon thinks for a moment as he looks down the cliff. " It can't ne that fun." Jon shrugs and jumps off the cliff.

    A man falls from a hundred feet in the air, straight into the ground. He does it laughing and screaming, like it's a roller coaster rather then a death for anyone human. He cuts through the air with no resistance. He spins and flips in mid-air before colliding with the ground, making a deep crater. He made an Earth shattering sound and a big mess and all he can do is laugh and smile.
  14. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    Taino - Punishment

    "Watch out for his nose!" a man looking over a woman’s shoulder said over the buzzing sound of a laser-thing, which the woman was applying to a sleeping man’s face.

    "Anything done to his nose would be an improvement," the woman said.

    "These people were ugly," the man agreed.

    The woman did not seem to be able to hide the revulsion she felt when she was forced to touch the pasty skin with the stubble growing out of it. "How would you like to have had facial hair," she added, turning her head up to look at the man standing behind her.

    "Facial hair?" the man said. "Hair at all..."

    The woman applied the laser-thing with remarkable skill and the stubble seemed to dissolve as the laser touched it. When the woman finally shut off the instrument only a square little patch of hair beneath the nose remained.

    "What do you think?" the woman asked looking at the immobile face she had just ‘shaved’. She removed plastic gloves, which she discarded into a vacuum-thing that sucked them into oblivion.

    "I really don’t know. I didn’t study them as well as you did. It does look like the picture; but, don’t forget, I’m only the answering man," the man said. "How long before he wakes?"

    "Any time now," the woman replied.

    Moments later, the sleeping man’s nose twitched and his right hand came up to scratch it. His eyes opened. "Where am I?" he asked.

    "It would be hard for you to understand," the answering man answered.

    The former sleeping man’s eyes turned to the source of the voice. "Let me try," he requested.

    "No, you wouldn’t understand," the answering man asserted.

    "Shouldn’t I be speaking German?" the former sleeping man asked.

    "No, everyone speaks English," the answering man replied. "We made English the universal language over three hundred years ago."

    The former sleeping man made a wry face and said, "I should be dead... why am I not dead?"

    "You’ve been resuscitated," the answering man replied.

    "Then, that means that ‘The Cause’ triumphed after all," the former sleeping man said.

    "What cause?" the answering man asked.

    "Well, that explains why German isn’t the universal language," the former sleeping man said. "I think I’d rather be dead."

    "Wouldn’t you like to live forever?" the answering man said. "We conquered death, you know."

    "I don’t know if I’d like to live forever," the former sleeping man replied.

    "I’m afraid that you have no choice," the answering man said. "Today we made you immortal."

    "Well, what’s done is done," the former sleeping man said. "What’s in the agenda for tomorrow?"

    "Tomorrow you start a life sentence for crimes against humanity," the answering man said.
  15. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    *BK* - The Hospital

    The scene outside the window is just as bleak as the scene inside our room. She’s hooked up to three different devices now. One device keeps track of her blood pressure and heart rate. For two weeks I’ve sat and watched these numbers slowly decline as the life drains from her now decrepit body. Another device is used to administer the IV and the drugs so that she isn’t aware of what would be constant, piercing pain throughout her body. When she opens her eyes they look cloudy as death continues to haze her. They were once filled with the brightest shade of blue I’ve ever seen in anyone’s eyes.

    I’ve spent countless hours just staring into those eyes, getting lost in a sea of memories and feelings of joy that wrapped around me like grandma’s knitted blanket. They say she can’t feel much but I still hear her groaning at times through her muffled breath and I can see the pain in those clouded eyes. The wrinkled skin around her eyes tells the true tale of misery and heart ache.

    Her mouth is often puckered as if she has the tangy taste of a fresh lemon in her mouth. Even with the tube down her throat it’s a look I could not forget. I remember our first picnic when I dared her to take a bit of the lemon in our ice tea we brewed together. She was reluctant at first but never backed down from a dare. She fished that lemon out of her glass and placed it into her mouth with determination. She quickly puckered her lips and spit it out. Boy did she hate sour tastes. She said every time she thought of a lemon her mouth would immediately water and her lips would pucker.

    The third device is what’s keeping her alive. As her heart rate slows and her blood pressure drops, the air being pumped into her lungs gives little hope of survival. Her whittled frame shows no sign of life. Her chest slowly rises and falls as if she was mechanical. This is the remainder of a woman who fought for civil rights in the 60’s. This is the remainder of a woman so filled with class and beauty that I often felt meager in the shadow she cast.

    She was friends to many and loved by all. Now in the privacy of this bleak, gray, hospital room she is left to decay before my very eyes. She’s not the first and she won’t be the last. Death seems to become crueler as time progresses. To allow a woman of her beauty decay like this makes me sick. But she fought for a long time and I have to commend her strength. I couldn’t have made it through all the obstacles and challenges she has. Her heart and courage are far larger than any stretch of ocean on this planet.

    To think, just two years ago we were celebrating our 50th anniversary on a cross country journey through India. Now I sit by her side begging for God to take her already. Hasn’t she seen enough I ask?

    I’ve read of man’s quest for immortality in the hopes that it would bring a lifetime of riches and pleasure. I can tell you from experience, immortality is a curse I wish no man to bare. I’ve seen 42 wives die in my lifetime from a variety of diseases, plagues, illnesses and a few just because of old age. With each new relationship I enter there lies the inevitability of its gloomy, painful death. I would stop marrying but how else would I pass my sentence?
  16. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    Ansky - A Reader

    Milton Herbert died at 4:22 PM, unaware that he was immortal. The time of death was duly noted by the sympathetic doctor as his family sat at Milton's bedside.

    “I always thought he’d outlive me,” his wife Agnes said, her tone of voice as stoic as if she was commenting on the weather, but her face at least shade or two paler than usual.

    “He lived a good, long life,” offered Charlie, Milton’s only child, as he eyed his mother closely, waiting for her emotions to boil over.

    After several minutes Agnes stood and turned to leave the room. She made it to the door, then grasped the door frame for support as the tears started. Charlie caught her as she was slowly sliding toward the floor and held her as she mourned the man that she had spent the last fifty-two years of her life with. She looked back into the room but could hardly stand it. It looked like he was sleeping, but she knew that he would never open his brown eyes again like he had every single day during his eighty-eight years on the planet.

    As she and Charlie entered the waiting area a large man rose out of his chair, setting his Forbes magazine down on the table as he instantly realized that it was over for Milton. He opened his arms, taking Agnes in them as her sobs continued.

    “He was a great man, Aggie. A great business partner and an even better friend.” He wondered how his words sounded. He was never quite sure what to say when a person died, and far too many of his friends and family members were doing so as he aged. He had rehearsed what he would say if Milton died for hours, and he hoped that it provided some sort of consolation to Agnes. A part of him was surprised that Milton had died. He knew that he shouldn’t have been surprised—they had been expecting it for months, after all—but he thought that the old man who had beat the odds in so many ways in life might just be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat and conquer Death itself.

    “Oh, a great man, that doesn’t matter right now, does it? What’s the difference? The fact that he was a great man didn’t stop him from dying,” Agnes replied, leaning against his shoulder, her eyes glistening from the tears.

    “Uncle Henry’s right, Mom. Dad did a lot of good,” Charlie said, patting her shoulder lightly.

    “And who’s going to remember that?” she asked, her tone of voice more short than she intended.

    “A lot of people, Mom. They’ll remember, ” Charlie assured her.

    The words only seemed to make Agnes cry harder. They shouldn’t have to remember him, after all, she thought. He should be right there.

    “I was thinking, Charlie,” she said as best as she could through the tears, “I was thinking that maybe we could have a service for him at the library. You know how much he loved that place,” she continued, barely choking out the last words.

    “That’d be great, Mom. I’ll give them a call. I’m sure they’d be happy to set something up.” He put his arm around her as they reached the door, which was being held open by Henry. They walked through it, passing a local news crew stationed outside. Agnes’ reaction told the crew all they needed to know. They would check with the hospital to make sure, but when the family walked by they were prepared to report back to the newsroom that Milton Herbert was dead.


    “Some sad news tonight out of Willow Creek as Milton Herbert, a noted businessman and philanthropist passed away at the age of eighty-eight,” the local newscaster said, looking straight into the camera with downcast eyes. “Herbert donated over thirty million dollars to local causes during his life. His donation completely funded the construction of the Willow Creek Library, one of the finest public libraries in the entire state. The plaque honoring Mr. Herbert outside the library reads simply, ‘A Reader.’ He was pronounced dead at 4:22 PM of natural causes. He is survived by his wife, Agnes, and his son, Charlie. In other news…”

    Seventy-Five Years Later...

    Mrs. Bryson held her child’s hand tightly as they walked up the concrete steps toward the entrance of the library. The boy, who barely came up to her waist , stared in awe at the large plaque near the library door.

    “Mommy,” he said.

    “Yes, Todd?” she asked, knowing from experience that he would never finish his question or comment unless she prodded him along.

    "I have a question," he announced.

    "Well, why don't you go ahead and ask it, honey?"

    “Who’s Milton Herbert?” the boy asked, pointing at the plaque.

    “He lived here in Willow Falls a long time ago. He gave all the money that built this library.”

    “So these were all his books?” Todd asked, his eyes wide with amazement.

    “Well, I don’t think all the books were his, but he helped make sure that you and I can read them. Why don’t we go get some?”

    “Yeah!” the boy replied, racing ahead through the door.
  17. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England
    OhSoBlondex - Good or Evil?

    Part 1

    Jane never liked being disappointed; especially when she found out she was being lied to. Looking over her left shoulder, she stared into the brightly lit office on the thirty-third floor of the business building opposite to the one on which she stood. Hovering above the ground of the roof by mere inches, her eyes glared with anger. Inside the well-lit office, she saw Matt, talking to a tall brunette. In high heels and an inappropriate skirt, Jane instantly recognised her. As Matt sat behind his desk playfully twirling his pen in his left hand, the woman made a comfortable seat upon the front of his desk. Casually lifting her right leg over her left, gave Matt an excuse to stare at them. Turning away, Jane’s eyes started to shimmer with a glowing red tint that always happened when she got angry. Taking flight into the night’s sky, the moon’s rays shone down on Jane’s long, blonde matted hair. She was medium height and average build. Her appearance made her look like an average, everyday normal girl. Little did people know that when the moon came out to play – so did she.

    As the sun shone through the bedroom’s curtains, Jane wiped her eyes and let out a loud yawn.
    “Morning hunny,” Matt said turning to face Jane in bed.
    “Why you up so early babe? You don’t have to be in the office until nine.”
    Sitting on the edge of the bed and pulling on her underwear and jeans, Jane refused to give Matt eye contact.
    “I’d rather be early than late,” Jane replied while putting on her blouse and walking out of the bedroom.
    “Don’t you want to cuddle for a bit?” Matt shouted after her.
    “I’d rather throw you off a cliff and watch your head smash open at the bottom you prick.” Jane murmured to herself.
    How much longer was she going to have to pretend to like this idiotic, poor excuse of a man? It had been almost four months and she had only seen her target three times. The longer she waited to confront her target, the greater the chance was of failing her task, and that would be disappointment.

    Driving to work dressed in her pretend work clothes, Jane took the normal detour, which didn’t lead to an office. Instead, it lead to her real job, the STA. The Supernatural Target Association was an organisation lead by some of the finest Hitmen, Scientists, Doctors and undercover FBI agents to date. The people that are targeted by the STA are tracked from birth, or in some cases tracked as soon as their special abilities start to evolve. Each person with a supernatural ability gives off radiation called Texton. The more Texton a supernatural gives off, the stronger they are. The Scientists in the STA labs have built multiple devices that can track down Texton within 200 miles and pinpoint its exact location within twenty seconds.

    The STA found Jane when she was sixteen, as this was when her abilities started to evolve. The Texton meter tracked her down on the database, only instead of killing her, they chose to bring her onboard with the company. Of course it wasn’t her looks that stopped her from being killed. She was immortal. Even if the STA aimed a shotgun at her heart and fired, she would still be standing, very much alive.

    “Good morning Jane,” her personal assistant said greeting her at the door as she followed her from behind.
    “Can you give me the Texton status with Lisa?”
    “Yes, her reading has increased by five percent over the last week which shows an overall percentage increase of forty-five percent in the last three months.” Her assistant replied looking at her PDA.
    Stopping dead in her tracks, Jane turned around to face her assistant, Nimo.
    “Forty-five percent?”
    “Yes, her strength is increasing weekly and the last location status report the lab received was last night when you tabbed her in on the roof.”
    “This bitch is going to make it hard for me to kill her, isn’t she Nimo?”
    “Looks that way Jane.”
    “I hate people who make my job harder than what it already is.”
    Signalling Nimo away, Jane followed the long spiral stairs down to the laboratory.

    Opening the door to the brightly lit laboratory, Jane’s eyes searched the crowded room. The room was filled top to bottom with machines, which gave off a light humming noise. From laptops and computers, to Texton target trackers, the laboratory was defiantly well equipped for any emergency that may arise.
    “Good morning Jane,” Doctor Fenix said greeting her with a warm smile.
    “Morning Fenix, I was just looking for you. I just had a status report from Nimo stating Lisa’s Texton radiation has increased by forty-five percent? This can’t be right?”
    “I’m afraid Nimo was right, Jane. Lisa has been gaining strength and the longer we leave it before we make our move, the harder she is going to make it for us.”
    “How is she gaining all this extra Texton? It doesn’t make sence, the average supernatural gives off twenty percent a year. How is this chick managing to more than double that in three months?”

    Following Doctor Fenix further into the laboratory, he stared down onto his clipboard and wrote down a few notes. As Jane followed and nodded to a few of his colleagues, he stopped at his desk.
    “Take a seat Jane.” As Jane pulled out a seat, she noticed the worry in the Doctor’s eyes.
    “What’s going on Fenix?”
    “Lisa knows we have been following her and has been visiting places where Texton radiation is prone to circulate. Even though it’s only small amounts, you can see, it makes a big difference.”
    “Okay, so we get her and kill her before she gets stronger?”
    “That, Jane, is easier said than done.” Fenix replied taking off his glasses and rubbing his forehead.

    Part 2

    “Lisa we have reports on Jane’s whereabouts last night.” Melissa stated while handing Lisa several tracking reports.
    “Madison Square?” Lisa read aloud questionably.
    “That’s right. She was following you.”
    “Does this woman ever take a holiday? She has been following me every day for the past three and a half months. Nice to see I mean so much to her.” Lisa said exasperated.
    “She has only spotted you three times that we know of.” Melissa added taking a seat at Lisa’s large mahogany desk.
    “So she knows that I saw Matt last night?”
    Looking at Lisa with curious eyes, Melissa took back the reports she had just handed to her.
    “Why were you actually at the office last night with Matt?”
    “What?” Lisa said, annoyed that her thoughts had been interrupted.
    “Why have you been meeting Matt in the office late at night?” Melissa asked once again with a raised eyebrow.
    “It’s necessary to stop the STA. That’s all you need to know.”
    “Ok well, the Texton chamber will be open for you to enter within the next hour; you have almost gained fifty percent radiation within three months.”
    Melissa took the silence as a hint and stood up to leave. Before reaching for the door, she turned around to face a worried Lisa.
    “You can always talk to me if you need someone to trust, you know that right?” Instead of waiting for an answer, Melissa turned to leave Lisa’s rather quiet office.

    Getting tracked down by the STA since the mere age of nineteen for being able to set things on fire, Lisa had always been on the run. She knew that her abilities made her different and that’s why she could never tell anyone who she really was. It was one of the reasons she enjoyed working for the ANNEX Corporation. She fitted in; there were other people just like herself that she could relate to. The ANNEX Corporation’s main aim was to stop the STA from killing off supernatural people and instead, welcome them to a new life with ANNEX. Being the head of the supernatural staff at the ANNEX Corporation, Lisa was eager to work on her first independent case, Jane Summers. Being head of the CEO at the Supernatural Target Association, Jane was a major security risk for her company. Lisa was to eliminate that risk. How she was supposed to eliminate someone who was immortal, was going to be challenging.

    Making her way in the elevator up to the thirty-third floor of the Madison building, Lisa looked down towards her skirt nervously and straightened it with her hands. As the steel doors opened, Lisa made her way to Matt’s office. She needed to warn him, she couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. Jane was using him to get to her and if anything happened to Matt, she would never be able to forgive herself. After three months of using Matt to try and get more information about Jane, Lisa had unexpectedly gained emotional feelings for him. It wasn’t supposed to happen, she knew that. She also knew that what she was about to tell him could ruin everything she had worked for.

    Standing outside Matt’s office, Lisa took a deep breath. She had never told anyone her personal secret before, let alone had she told anyone about ANNEX. Reaching for the door handle, Lisa knocked slightly on the door.
    “Matt? You in there?”
    As no reply came from inside, Lisa slowly opened the door and walked in the unusual quiet office. Closing the door behind her, she looked around.
    “Matt? You here?”
    “Hello Lisa.” A voice in Matt’s office chair replied as it turned around to face Lisa. Gathering Fire from her fingertips, Lisa prepared to defend herself.
    “Oh, that won’t be necessary.” Jane replied looking at her burning hands that gave off a fiery glow. Instantly recognizing who sat in Matt’s chair, the fire from Lisa’s hands disappeared.
    “Hello Jane. Finally had the balls to come speak to me this time?”
    “Speaking of balls...” Jane replied looking over towards the window. Lisa’s heart sank as she saw the horrific sight that she wished she hadn’t.
    “You killed your own boyfriend?” Lisa angrily asked fighting back her tears.
    “Oh, I wouldn’t call him my boyfriend. More of someone who was once needed for a purpose but was no longer necessary, kind of like a dog that needs a new toy to play with.” Jane replied sarcastically while getting up out of Matt’s desk chair.
    “More like you’re an evil bitch that will kill anyone that gets in her way.”
    “Exactly, and you, Lisa, are in my way.”
    Looking around, Lisa found no route to exit. Turning around to try to open the door and make a quick escape, she noticed it was locked.
    “Leaving so soon? That’s a shame, I was about to offer you muffins.” All of a sudden, a group of armed men attired with fire resistant suits emerged from Matt’s closet and surrounded Lisa.
    “You won’t get away with this Jane! After me, there will be other people! One day you will meet your match and then you’ll be screwed!” Laughing at Lisa, Jane walked around to the front of Matt’s desk where Lisa remained restrained.
    “Until then, you are the only person who obtains the Texton chamber. Without it, other supernaturals are unimportant.”
    “You’re killing me for the Texton chamber? What happened? Could you not get your amazing lab to create one? Your staff is lacking on the good old education I see.”
    “With the Texton chamber, you are one of the strongest supernaturals in the world. I am going to eliminate you and put your chamber to good use.”
    “Exactly Jane. Underestimating people was never your weak point. Until now.”
    As Lisa magically evaporated into thin air, Jane instantly became confused.
    “What? Where did she go?” Jane panicked. Just then, Jane realised that she had just misjudged someone who was not to be underestimated and her eyes started to glow with a fiery red. Looking over onto the opposite building’s roof where she had once stood the night before watching over Matt and Lisa, Jane recognised the real Lisa. As Lisa looked down on Jane through the window, she stared at her with a snide, heroic smile on her face. Suddenly Jane realised that she was not only able to burn things but she was also able to make realistic holograms. Her strength had finally reached fifty percent.
  18. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Ragnar - The Choice of the Immortal Viking (Under Word Limit)

    I stared down at the limp body before me, the disgusting old man with his grudging hairline, exposed hairy chest and sickening obesity. No outsiders would have guessed that this was the president that staged a coup ten years past. No outsiders would have guessed that this man had managed to stay the president ever since.

    Judges, police, military all in his pocket, or more accurately; on his payroll. Extra payments to ensure their loyalty, along with the starvation and misery of the other inhabitants. There he was in front of me, unconscious. To many, he was terror personified. And old, balding man with a beer-belly. I almost laughed at the notion as I prodded his stomach with the tip of my right foot.

    To me he was nothing but weakness. Something that crumpled after one weak blow to the head did not deserve the honor of being feared. There was nothing to fear in such a pathetic man. In the old days he would have been sent out into harm’s way to die, before he dishonored his family further.

    But then.. things were different. Powerless creatures could gain control over hordes of people… it disgusted me. How could they not deal with this man themselves? How could they not realize that they can take him down? So incredibly disappointing, especially the armies.

    They probably knew even then. Even before my coming, they had known that his hold on power was nothing but the powerless grip of an infant. Throw some of the corrupt judges into the starving crowds, see them get what they deserved and it would have fallen apart. But I could have saved them the trouble. I could stomp on his head then, and I would have saved the starving, illiterate masses from the pathetic tyrant. But it was not my place to make that decision. I could not bring myself to dishonor them in such a manner, even if they were no more than starving dogs.

    Much better if they took him down themselves, much better if they grew to be more than dogs. Of course this never came to pass. Only nineteen years later when he passed away because of cancer did his reign come to an end.
  19. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Thanks for your votes and participation, but please let us not clutter this thread with chatter. We would not like to influence voting in any way. No member posts are allowed in contest voting threads. Thanks and kind regards
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