Please vote for the piece that you feel is most deserving:

Poll closed Aug 22, 2010.
  1. mintyleeks - What the tide brought in

    0 vote(s)
  2. forgebench - STRANDED

    5 vote(s)
  3. jo spumoni - What the Tide Brought In

    2 vote(s)
  4. Skodt - The Blitzmen

    0 vote(s)
  5. Aconite - Milesius

    0 vote(s)
  6. Joules03 - The Red Sail

    1 vote(s)
  7. Chudz - Public Opinion

    1 vote(s)
  8. Silque - Flotsam

    2 vote(s)
  9. Velox - Hope

    1 vote(s)
  10. Lankin - November

    0 vote(s)
  11. Biffa001 - Denuo

    1 vote(s)
  12. dogboon - What The Tide Brought In

    1 vote(s)
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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England

    Voting Short Story Contest 73: What The Tide Brought In

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Aug 9, 2010.

    Voting Short Story Contest (73) Theme: What The Tide Brought In

    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 Sunday 22nd August 2010 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
    mintyleeks - What the tide brought in

    “Sit down Michael” Lisa was stressed. The children were playing up and Mark was doing nothing to stop them. “Jessica, leave your brother alone” Lisa stood up and moved Jessica a further foot away from Michael. Jessica carried on eating her burger but now had to use a straw in order to continue poking her older brother. Lisa stared at Mark in disbelief. “Earth to Mark” she said sarcastically as she waved her right hand an inch from his nose. “This is Mark. Hear you loud and clear. Encountered momentary loss of communication. Returning back to base” Lisa smiled. Even when she was annoyed with him he somehow found a way to make her laugh.

    “What’s the matter Mark, you’ve not been yourself in the last few days” Lisa was genuinely concerned. She was stroking his left arm, leaving his right arm free to continue grabbing at the cold fries. “It’s fine” Mark said as he refocused his gaze on Lisa, instead of the wall opposite. “Shall we go for a nice drive after this? Find a nice farm. Go for a walk. Maybe have an ice ……” Mark’s suggestion was cut short when Lisa snapped “Right, that’s it” Jessica had gone too far this time. The straw was close to entering Michael’s ear. Lisa whipped the straw away with her left hand and with her right, removed the unwrapped toy from the food carton opposite Jessica. “Michael, you can play with this, as your Sister has shown that she is not able to play nicely. When she has shown us that she can, she can have it back” “I didn’t want it anyway. I wanted a Horse but they only had a Car” Lisa and Mark exchanged frustrated looks. Jessica was turning out extremely difficult to discipline.

    Michael was happy though, he now had two cars and continued to race and crash the cars around the table. “I’m sorry Mummy” Jessica was smiling and the sweet dimples in her cheeks were as defined as ever. Lisa and Mark exchanged happier looks. “Can you open this for me please” Jessica held out a small plastic carton of ketchup. Even for an adult, these were difficult to negotiate, but for an eight year old girl, completely impossible. Mark took the small plastic carton from her, opened it, placed it in front of her and discarded the lid among the pile of cartons, wrappers and coffee stirrers.

    “That sounds lovely” Lisa said to Mark, returning to his earlier suggestion. Mark smiled and clutched Lisa’s hand and gripped it tightly. He looked deep into her eyes, they hadn’t changed in the fifteen years that he had known her. While other features had aged and become more distinguished and refined, her eyes still had the spark of youth. Mark’s mind wandered briefly back to the night they met. It was only a second or two, but it was wonderful.

    Mark’s image of the past was brought to a shuddering halt, as a family entered the restaurant. There was no mistaking that they were family. The three children were perfect replicas of their parents. They looked like them, they walked like them and they sounded like them. They were morbidly obese and very loud. Dad had a tattoo on every available bit of skin that his t-shirt and shorts didn’t cover. An expensive hobby considering the amount of flesh on show. Mum had big everything. Big hair. Big nails. Big earrings and a clearly, a big appetite.

    “Look what the tide brought in” said Mark in a hushed tone as they waddled past. Lisa let her emerald eyes skip to the right, just as they were making their way past. “Bam” shouted Michael. Mark and Lisa jumped in unison as Michael crashed the two cars together. “Michael. Play nicely, you made me jump” said Lisa as she screwed up the wrapper that had previously housed her Chicken Burger. Jessica picked up her last chip and dipped it in the sauce. As she finished the chip she picked up the sauce carton and flicked the sauce over the cars that were still piled on top of each other in front of Michael. “Jessica, that’s enough” Lisa stepped out of her seat, walked round Mark and ushered Jessica out of her seat. “Mark, I’m taking her to the car. She can’t behave”

    Lisa strolled out of the door, dragging Jessica behind her. Mark reached into his pocket and pulled out his car keys. He watched Lisa get to the car, only to realise that she had no keys. She was just about to turn back as Mark pressed the button on the keys that released the lock. Lisa looked at the car, with the amber lights flashing and smiled. She looked up and through the glass of the restaurant to see Mark shaking the keys in his hand with a big wide smile. She blew him a kiss and began the complicated process of strapping Jessica into her car seat. Mark and Michael followed a minute or so behind, without the toy cars due to Jessica’s act of sabotage.

    Mark checked that Michael had secured his seat belt correctly, then opened the driver’s side door and slid in. Lisa was already seated and had selected Classic FM on the radio. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon drive. “Can we get an ice cream Dad?” Jessica shouted as they pulled away. “Only if you behave” Lisa stepped in. Michael poked Jessica. He knew that he could get his own back now Mum and Dad were no longer looking over them. He also knew his Ice Cream was safe. “If we take the B546 and head towards Barnston, we can pop into Evergreen Children’s Farm. We can feed the animals and have an ice cream from the farm shop” said Mark. He pressed the button to his right, which lowered his window a little and they pulled out of the car park and onto the busy roundabout.

    Mark turned the radio up as the sweet sounds of Chopin filled the car. It was his personal favourite, Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 35. They turned left onto the B546 and Mark shifted his position to make the next fifteen miles or so a little more comfortable. Mark looked to his left and could see his wife’s emerald eyes disappearing behind their lids. He checked the rear view mirror and could see that Michael and Jessica were fighting a similar battle. In checking the mirror Mark noticed a powerful black 4 x 4 approaching at speed. Within seconds the vehicle was right on his tail and his mirror offered a glance of the front two passengers. On one side was an overweight, heavily tattooed man; on the other was a big lady with big hair and big Earrings.

    What happened next, happened over just a few seconds, but it seemed like a lifetime. The car drew alongside and the big lady in the passenger seat shouted, “Look what the tide brought in!” The powerful black car immediately started nudging the car towards the fences and trees that lined the road to the left. Lisa, Michael and Jessica were wide-awake with the first bump. “What’s happening Daddy?” shouted Jessica. “Make them Stop,” shouted Michael. “Jesus Mark, do something,” shouted Lisa. Mark tried slowing down, but the powerful black car just stepped off the gas as well.

    The car’s continued to come together, with the powerful black car initiating the contact. Mark’s mind was a blur. He was panicking. He didn’t want his family to get hurt. His mind started to play tricks on him. He saw himself as a child, he saw his wife on their wedding day, he saw the births of the two children and then his mind filled with a chilling vision. The vision of the two crashed cars on the fast food table, with ketchup splattered all over them.

    Before that image had faded the powerful black car slowed down, it indicated right and it was gone. Out of sight. Like nothing had happened. Mark took a deep breath. The children calmed down and Lisa placed her hand on top of Mark’s, which was resting on the gear stick. Nobody spoke. A minute later, Lisa, Michael and Jessica were again giving in to the sleep that they were denied a minute or so ago. The sweet sounds of Chopin continued to fill the car as the road dipped and weaved around the beautiful country lanes. After one more minute, Mark too was asleep and ten seconds after that the car collided head on with a lorry coming the opposite way.

    Lisa and the Children recovered from their minor injuries quick enough to attend the funeral. Lisa paid tribute to Mark, a loving husband and father, and wished that he could have had the strength to tell her that he was suffering stress at work and had been unable to sleep. The coroner had reported a high level of Zolpidem in Mark’s body. A powerful medication for treating insomnia. As the service ended, Lisa walked back down the centre aisle with Jessica holding her left hand and Michael holding her right. They left to the sweet sounds of Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2 Op 35. or, how it is better known, Chopin’s Funeral March
  3. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    forgebench - STRANDED

    [There are a hundred pages before this particular one in the well-worn diary.]

    Day 376:

    I’m growing ever more weary of my existence here. I contemplated again today the thought of suicide. It’s appealing in it’s release, yet something urges me to continue on.

    Day 377:

    The sky was beautiful today, although my mind remained clouded. Something in me feels however this may pass.

    Day 378:

    I seem to have pulled out of my depression, and perhaps a new hope will dawn for me yet.

    Day 379:

    Today was rough. The seas refused to give up any fish. I had to mend the pole after a sharp wave caught it and split it at the end. I’m going to go look for some more of those tasty coconuts.

    Day 380:

    I found some more of the coconuts on the eastern side of the island. They’re very tasty; they remind me of home. The sky is clear today. I caught a fish as well.

    Day 380 at night:

    I heard a noise near the beach a little while ago. I looked over the edge of the cliff shelter and I can see a soft glowing, perhaps something metallic reflecting light. I’ll need to wait until morning to investigate. It’s bright from the full moon, but I’d rather wait for the sun.

    Day 381:

    The object that landed on the beach is a giant rock of some kind! It’s extraordinary. I dare say it was some sort of meteor, although I can’t be sure. Its texture is rather like that of coral, and it’s covered in small sea barnacles. The barnacles themselves are of a type I haven’t seen before; they’re very oddly shaped. It’s obviously been underwater for some time. How long I can’t be sure..

    It was glowing slightly last night, and while it was too faint to see in the daytime I did notice it was warm to the touch. Warm as though it had heat emanating from inside of it.

    I felt slightly feverish while I was around it examining it. I decided to take a break and collect some rainwater. As soon as I’d taken a drink I threw up, and since then I’ve felt nauseous. The heat, glow and nausea all lead me to believe the rock may be radioactive. I’ve decided to stay away from it for the time being.

    Day 381 at night:

    I heard an odd noise in the bushes near the beach. At first a cracking sound then a rustle in the bushes. This happened a few hours ago. I looked down towards the beach and the glowing was dimmer and seemed to be in two places now. I’m hoping it wasn’t another one of the strange rocks arriving.

    Since I’ve been stranded here I’ve had no need for weapons as there are few native animals, however I’ve been up for hours now sharpening sticks and gathering large stones in case I should need them. The noises have me spooked. Not so much the cracking sound, but the rustling in the bushes. It sounded like a big animal of some sort.

    Day 382:

    Should anyone find my diary, let it be known that something has emerged from the rock.

    I went down to the beach this morning intending to investigate the noises I heard last night. To my surprise I discovered the rock broken in two pieces, split cleanly down the middle.

    As I approached it I noticed tracks in the ground. They were about the size of my feet, except they looked closer to that of a duck. There was obvious webbing inside them. I was hoping this was the egg of some sort of seal.

    I came near the rock and there was a noise hadn’t been present before. It was a slight humming, but not an audible one. It was only detectable to my ears when I cocked my head towards the rock and listened for what wasn’t there. By that I mean, it drowned out the sound of the ocean slightly, but it wasn’t audible itself. Very odd, must have something to do with the radiation.

    The inside of the rock was dry, and nearly completely hollow. It seemed to be covered in some sort of a gooey substance. Other than that it was simply what you would expect the inside of a large rock to look like.

    I retreated from the beach and headed to my original shelter at the top of the mountain. I detailed this in the first days of my exile here. It’s high at the top of the mountain in the middle of the island, I made it incase there were predators here before I’d searched the island.

    I’ve currently barricaded myself here, with all the heavy stones, sticks and food I could find.

    It will rain tonight, and be cloudy. Visibility will be poor. My mind is again in a shadowy place of it’s own, obscured with fever and fear.

    Day 383:

    Last night was uneventful except for the rain. I slept on and off, fearing something dangerous had emerged from that wretched rock.

    I’m sweating all the time, I have a fever. My hands where I touched the rock have developed small warts. I feel sick. I may have contracted radiation sickness. It’s still morning; I’m going to collect some water from last night.

    Day 384:

    I’ve spent the last day running from the monstrosity that came from the rock. It came yesterday while I was collecting rainwater near the shelter. I heard it climbing up the side of the mountain. I managed to escape down a small path that the rain had created.

    It chased me down the north side of the island, through the trees. I felt sick at many points and had to rest. I could hear it moving less than a half a mile behind me.

    With my sickness growing and this monster seeming unrelentless in our chase yesterday I’m going to put a note and this diary in the last waterproof container I have. With any luck it will reach society.

    [The following page is ripped from the diary.]


    The sun was going down and twilight would be seen very soon. The brightest stars in the sky were just barely visible. As the sun began it’s quick descent into darkness, a sound was heard on the beach. The clinking noise of metal tapping rock was unmistakable. It was near the edge of the beach where ocean met land. There was a large rock there, with a shiny steel box gently being pushed against it by the waves.

    A faint clicking sound could be heard coming from the top of the beach. Following it were barely distinguishable voices, muttering in some guttural alien tongue. The tone of their conversation was, to their species, the sound of surprise and curiosity. The reptilian creatures moved toward the edge of the beach and looked down. Their feet were swift, and although they originally stood on the back two they quickly shifted to all four to move to the edge of the sand.

    Their tongues flipped out, looking down at the rock where the tapping was coming from. One of them muttered something to the other in their gutter-speak. The other concurred. They both began an ambling gate down towards the rock and the tapping. They sped up as they got closer, their clawed and scaly feet shifting quickly. They came to the rock and sat at rest for a moment, looking at the shiny box.

    On the top of the box was printed in big, black letters:

    “United States Department of Corrections.”

    One of the reptile-men looked at the other and said in their speech: “This box is old. Very old.”

    The other nodded, and standing again on two feet, pulled the box from the water. He pushed open the latches at the sides, covered in barnacles and sea filth. They cracked open, and the reptile-man opened the lid. Inside was a diary, and a note.

    He looked at the note and it had no meaning to him, and its native speakers had long vacated this part of the world. To one that spoke the language the note was written in, it would read thusly:

    “To whomever should find this box:

    I am currently a prisoner held on the US penal islands in the south pacific. On my island I’ve been the only prisoner for six months, since the others died during a severe storm. My companions and I were put here for releasing classified information about the government that implicated them in atrocities around the globe. They thought it fitting that we should die on an island somewhere, instead of giving us a proper death.

    I write this message as my last breath to mankind.

    In life I was a computer engineer who stumbled onto something that needed to be told. In death, I’ve been hunted until I can go no further by some sort of amphibious creature I’ve never seen the likes of. My strength is failing, and I seem to have contracted radiation sickness that saps at my constitution every moment.

    Several days ago a large rock about the size of a sub-compact car washed up on my beach during high tide. After examination the first day I became sick. The second day the rock had split in two. I’d heard the sharp cracking sound that night of it breaking.

    I investigated and found tracks of some sort leading from it. They appeared to be reptile. I at first hoped it was a seal or something.

    The next day the creature came for me. I heard it making noise coming up the side of the mountain. It drew near as I escaped, and I caught a short glimpse. It was some sort of a reptile; with scales covering it’s body. It had claws and seemed to run on all fours, but was dexterous enough that it wouldn’t surprise me to see it walk like we do. It looked positively evil.

    I narrowly escaped down the side towards the north beach but it followed. I had had the foresight to include a small trap on my escape route, but it bought me only a fifteen minute lead. I’ve been running since then. I’ve heard it off and on but I think I’ve lost it for awhile.

    I’ll try to hold out and maybe kill whatever it is that’s chasing me. I will surely succumb to the radiation poisoning however. Please take my diary and share it with the world.

    - James Morrison.
    Unknown date, day 384 since we started counting.

    P.S. If you get this note, my coordinates are as follows:

    [Scribbled coordinates based on navigation via the stars are located at the bottom of the page.]”

    The reptile-men looked at each other, doing what would be the equivalent of a shrug. One spoke to the other:

    “That’s the language of the humans. This box surely must be a hundred years old.”

    “Yeah. My father told me stories of those days when I was a hatchling, which his father had told him. My grandfather was one of the Survivors.”

    The first nodded, “Mine as well. My father used to tell me stories of the Homeworld before it was invaded.”

    The second looked back, “Yes. It’s a shame that our race had to repeat that cycle of violence to stay alive.”

    They returned to the top of the beach with the box in hand. They could find a translator somewhere. At the top of the road was a truck, the interior reworked to fit their bodies. When they got in, a screen on the dash automatically lit up. One of them pressed it and it flashed to the news channel before he had a chance to turn it off.

    The news channel was showing a new report on the last human stronghold, Australia, and how the reptilian forces had repelled another counter attack by the humans. Pesky little humans. Just give us the planet already, he thought as the screen switched off.
  4. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    jo spumoni - What the Tide Brought In

    “Amelia Baker drowned here,” the old woman was saying over the brim of a thick romance novel. “She thought she’d go for a swim one night. But the tide pulled her farther and farther out. She couldn’t find her way back to shore. Legend says her ghost haunts this cove on moonlit nights.”

    Ian shrugged and glanced at the ocean carelessly without answering. Local talk, he thought. Everyone talked like that on this tiny island. The travel agency had made it sound so picturesque in their ad: “A week of sand, sun, and fresh salt air on a remote paradise”—just what he needed after a messy divorce.

    But on his arrival, he had found the island covered in a miserably thick fog that did not burn off until around 4:30 in the afternoon, only two hours before darkness. The shower at his private villa barely ran, the electricity frequently failed, and the people were surprisingly unfriendly. Well, not unfriendly so much as indifferent. They went about their daily business—their fishing, their local gossip, their storytelling—without giving Ian a third glance. To be fair, they gave him a first glance out of politeness, and a second glance to be sure he really was a stranger; and then they turned away.

    The only thing about the island that proved entirely satisfactory was the warm, clear ocean water. Swimming was wonderful, even on foggy afternoons, and Ian had been to the beach every day since his arrival. Usually, he was alone in this little, isolated cove. Today, however, Mrs. Irving, the little old woman who owned the B&B next to where Ian was staying, had joined him quite by accident.

    To make conversation when Ian had sat next to her and reintroduced himself, she had begun telling him a few facts about their island that were fascinating only in their overwhelming mundaneness. The island had been discovered in 1734 by a Mr. Charles Cleary, for whom it had been named. Cleary had built the first Catholic Church on the island, and it still stood in the main square three restorations later. Cleary Island had been an important tuna exporter ever since the cannery had opened up in 1923. And then, she had told him this story. Amelia Baker had drowned at this very cove in 1944.

    “How old was she?” he asked the Mrs. Irving.

    Momentarily confused, she dog-eared the page in her novel. “Who?”

    “The girl. The one who drowned.”

    “Oh. Amelia would have been…oh…nineteen, I think. Pretty little thing. Dark hair, athletic build, prettiest brown eyes you ever saw. But alas, the sea can be cruel.”

    “Quite a tragedy,” murmured Ian. The waves rolled back and forth innocently, as if protesting Mrs. Irving’s indictment. A gull cried nearby, breaking the melancholy silence.

    The woman nodded and returned to her book. Ian hugged his knees for a moment before leaping up and going for a third swim. It felt good to be moving against the current, wonderful to have a meaningful struggle again, glorious to be at one with nature. He imagined himself standing on a rock facing the roaring ocean. Abruptly, Ian realized that the image came from a painting he couldn’t remember the name of, but that he was pretty sure he’d seen in college. He could almost hear his art history teacher intone dully that the painting was a perfect example of romanticism—man versus nature.

    “Well here I am nature!” he screamed into the wind. “Come and face me!”

    Ian glanced back at the shore, but the woman was gone. He couldn’t even see the imprint of her folding chair on the sand.

    He was alone. The sky was darkening a placid full moon had emerged. The silver moonbeams mingled with a dying sunset.

    “Ian!” someone called out. “It’s time to go back to shore!”

    He looked around, but saw no one. You’re crazy, Ian, he thought, There’s no one here. But he decided that whether or not the voice was a hallucination, it had a point: he should return before darkness fell. He started to make his way toward the shore, but the harder he struggled, the farther back he seemed to drift.

    With a jolt, he realized he could no longer stand. He started to move his legs in a rapid circle, as though riding a bicycle in the Tour de France. His heart was in his throat. This is a nightmare, he told himself. You will wake up. Now! Nothing happened, except that a wave sent him crashing to the ocean floor and bobbing back to the surface again. He pinched himself, and a sharp pain in his wrist told him that he was quite awake.

    “Help!” he started to shriek, only to inhale the burning salt water that made him cough and sputter as he vainly treaded water. His legs began to protest and he desperately wished that he hadn’t played football in college and sustained that lousy knee injury.

    “Ian!” someone called. A young woman with long dark hair was swimming toward him, seemingly immune to the strong current. “Follow me.”

    To his shock, he saw that she swam not toward the shore but in the opposite direction.

    “I’ll die!” Ian cried desperately. “I need to get back to shore!”

    “Trust me!” she insisted. Her big brown eyes caught his and he felt his fear melting and an overarching calmness settle in him. Later, he would tell himself that it was because of his fatigue and his desperation and his certainty that this situation spelled out death for him, but the truth was that he felt a sudden and inexplicable urge to follow her.

    He swam, ignoring the cramping, ignoring the waves, ignoring the painful salt on his lips and tongue. Her silhouette moved through the rough seawater as though it were a swimming pool, and he began to fall behind.

    He gasped and called to her, “I can’t make it!”

    She didn’t seem to hear him. Not wanting to lose her, he found one more precious burst of energy. He kicked his way forward and clawed against the raging foam, his feet dangling helplessly.

    “I can’t!” he said finally, although she was out of sight by now. “I just can’t.” Ian did the unthinkable—he let himself fall.

    His feet touched sand. And suddenly, he realized the tide had brought him back in again.

    He turned around and stared at the vast ocean and began to weep.

    “Oh, God, thank you! Oh God, oh God.” He looked around for the woman, but she was nowhere to be found.

    Mrs. Irving came running toward Ian, who was still waist-deep in the ocean. He ran back to the shore, still sobbing. He told her what had happened, and she seemed incredibly relieved that he was alive.

    “I had come in and when it occurred to me!” she told him. “I thought you might be in danger. You see, once a year or so, we get this odd tide—it pulls you all the way out. If you and swim against it, that just makes it worse.”

    He nodded. “I was in that. But then a girl came and told me to follow her. And then the tide brought me back in.”

    Mrs. Irving looked around. “I don’t see anyone.”

    Ian shook his head in disbelief. “I know. Do you think she drowned?”

    “What did she look like?”

    “Well, I didn’t get a good picture of her, but she was small, athletically built, with dark hair, and wide brown eyes” Ian explained.

    Mrs. Irving was staring at him strangely.

    It dawned on him suddenly. “It was Amelia Baker! That’s exactly how you described her, holy ****!”

    The old woman frowned at him. “Honey, there’s no such person. It’s a just joke we play on tourists. No one named Amelia Baker ever lived on Cleary Island, let alone drowned. There’s no one like I described.”

    “But…then who?” The question floated for a moment in the salt air, answered only by the crash of waves against the shore.
  5. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Skodt - The Blitzmen

    In 1954 war was predominate. The United States was on the brink of destruction, when a group of sixty electro physics and chemist got together, to complete a bio-chemical weapon. The weapon was a bacteria eventually unleashed on the rival countries, after the desired effect had taken place an anti-dote was given. The USA won the land of many and the war was over. Leading scientist Tom Glimmer continued to harvest bacterium for the USA until 1957, when he created a bacterium so strong that unleashing it could destroy civilization as we know it.
    Instead of unleashing the virus the USA fired Tom, but not before taking the virus away. Tom unfortunately had already contracted the bacteria in his veins. Upon arrival at his home in Colorado, he passed the virus on to his wife Helena Glimmer, and son David Glimmer.
    Tom created one antidote inside his home basement lab, with no time to test the serum he didn’t know the effects, but he used this on his son. His thoughts were it is better to try and live then to suffer and die without ever knowing at all. Tom and Helena died three days later. David survived the virus, with strong chemical effects from the serum. David lost all his blonde hair from atop his head and body. His teeth began to rot, and his skin turned a milky white. It wasn’t only on the outside that his body was changing though.

    In the 1950’s when one didn’t reclaim his mourning paper for more than a week, he was considered in need. The police were called to the residence one week after the death of Tom and Helena Glimmer. What they found was a bald and white unclothed David Glimmer. In front of him where thousands of sheets of paper, all with the same drawing, a shore with a black rock covering the sand. David Glimmer never looked at the police, and when they asked him question he always told them of the storm that would happen twenty years from now. A storm that would wipe from the sky an alien rock, into the ocean it would sink and on the night of August 24th 1994 it would arise again. David Glimmer was sent to a doctor who pronounced him insane; the nine year old Glimmer was placed in a mental home for boys.

    David Glimmer grew up in this home and never complained a day in his life, sticking to himself and his thoughts he drew himself on that shore, and as long as he was there he was free. The doctors sent him to an adult facility on his 18th birthday and David continued his fascination with art. On his 46th birthday David Glimmer was released. His first duty was to find a following to believe his story, and after six months he had his cult. One thousand men and women following his every word, they all were to believe that in a matter of six months they would be indestructible. Beyond the capabilities of men, beyond the reason of any science, they were to be gods.

    On the night of August 24th on a beach in Maine David Glimmer, and one thousand other people stood on the shore watching the waves lap against the sand, without a word between them at all. The thousand stared into the ocean.

    Elsewhere in the USA the war in the Middle East was becoming unbarring. It was seemingly a lost cause and the US would lose their grip on the world. The president of the United States was set to make a conference speech the next night August 25th about the state of the US, and how they would be backing out of the war defeated. The mood was somber in the white house, and the world was about to change, but if only they had known how.

    The president Robert Johnson is ready to make his speech to the millions of Americans. Every TV in the world is tuned into this speech. Every radio is dialed in; every computer is programmed to stream. In a somber voice the president announced that the US will recede and will be under control of the Middle East. The array of tears to follow is quickly dried. David Glimmer the 47 year old mentally insane man walks through the door. Behind him stands an army of one thousand men and women; across their bodies is a suit of black rock armor. In his hand is a small sample of this rock. David walks to the podium, he pushes the president aside. In his speech to follow he explains how his life story, his visions, his father, the virus, and his antidote. He also explains how this small rock is impenetrable by any man made devise, and while you are encased with this armor you are indestructible. He then demonstrates how easy it is to coat oneself with this material. With a small rock David Glimmer stretches it out and covers his body. He then declares America to be alive again.

    In the months to follow David Glimmer and his troops destroy any remnants of a threat against the USA. They take back over the Middle East and set America back on top of the world. David Glimmer is declared the President of the USA. His values and efforts take the world back to the 1950’s where his mind has been stuck all these years. And then David Glimmer chooses to unleash the virus. A mind is a subtle device and when David was stuck in his prison for 39 years he decided that people would pay. David Glimmer the lone survivor of the world.
  6. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Aconite - Milesius

    In the first moments after the galleon went down, Francisco stumbled ashore, his legs barely supporting him. Dazed, in shock, and covered in blood, he hadn’t looked like an easy target to the raiders. The attention of the natives quickly turned to choicer pickings, and he was left alone to collapse amidst the rushes. He might have fainted; he could not be sure. Either God or the Devil woke him in the middle of the night, and he stared up at the stars, surrounded by the pitch of the sky and the sea.

    Those stars looked different here, although his seaman’s instinct told him that could not be true. They had not gone south at all, let alone far enough south for the constellations to change much. This lonely stretch of beach felt like the end of the world, though, and Francisco was sure he was at the end of his life as well.

    He regained his strength in the morning, though. Away from the sting of the salt water against his wounds, he felt better, and as brisk as the autumn weather was here, it fueled him on, although he had no clue where fate was sending him. He had been lucky enough to drift a mile onto the shore, and he reasoned that his luck would hold. Either that or it would fail spectacularly.

    So when he encountered the priest, it seemed more routine than he would have expected. No thrill of being able to communicate surged through him. His Latin was feeble and halting, and the priest stared at him as if he were a wild man of the woods, muttering words in a guttural-sounding native language that Francisco neither knew nor could attempt to piece together. At the end of their labored conversation, the man left him with the name of a man who might help him: O’Rourke of Droim Dhá Thiar.

    Using the name as his one way to communicate with the locals, he spent several days living off berries and watercress. The country was surprisingly mountainous; he found a lake full of islands, and a river heading to it and another heading from it. On the banks of the upwards river, he found a small town, and knew it instantly in his heart: Droim Dhá Thiar. O’Rourke lived in the castle nearby.


    He told none of this to the girl, of course. O’Rourke’s two finest sons spoke no Latin, and had strange names like Brian Óg and Teig. The man’s youngest daughter spoke more fluent Latin than Francisco did, and had the sensible Catholic name of Cecilia. While he had not been terribly conversant with the priest, the girl was young, pretty, and eager to find out about his adventures. So rather than tell her that he had crawled his way through Sligo towards the northeastern corner of Connacht, he told the girl he was a gypsy who had been pressed into service, who had escaped through a charm and a spell.

    She looked like she believed him. Her face was rapt with interest as he put up a great show of reading her palm, telling her future, and lying through his teeth for as long as she kept nodding. She leaned in, her unearthly bright hair swinging with the motion, and reached out for his arm in interest.

    Curiously forward, he thought, although she was pretty enough for him not to resist. No woman would have done that in Spain; no man would have allowed it.

    “Where do you plan to go after you leave us?” Even as she asked the question, the girl looked disappointed because of it.

    “I cannot be sure. Hopefully not to England.”

    He had learned in the past weeks living with the O’Rourkes that most Irish people had a nearly fatalistic sense of humor. Cecilia apparently shared that trait in common with her countrymen, for a smirk twisted her lips, tightening her mouth in a flat, almost severe expression.

    “You will not go to England,” she said, and there was a strange certainty in her voice that surprised him. Her fingernails dug into his arm, and he wanted to pull away, but did not dare. “You can tell fortunes, gypsy, but I have my own gifts, and I can prophesy that much.”

    He wanted to laugh in her face and admit the lie, but he restrained himself and nodded. His eyes roamed down over the girl’s bright blond hair, her milk-white skin, and stopped at the front edge of her dress. “What else do you prophesy?”

    Her fingers released his arm, to drift to the top of her dress. She adjusted it pointedly. “You will marry no woman in Ireland, although one will be offered you. You are not through with shipwrecks.” She swallowed, her eyes drifting beyond him with their strange color, neither wholly brown nor wholly blue. “You will kill my father.”


    He was in Dunkirk when the news came to him. One of the people who rented lodgings by his own greeted him with a “Hey, Spanish!” It was not the same greeting as it usually was; although the words were the same, the man’s voice was insistent. He had been idly drawing on paper on which he had intended to write, and was glad for the distraction. He set down the quill and pushed himself up from the desk, smoothing his doublet carefully before he started for the door.

    He felt a rush of irritation at being bothered, coupled with annoyance as his own situation. If he had married Cecilia–or perhaps the daughter of MacClancy, as had been offered him midway through his sojourn in the north–then either of the women could have answered the door for him instead.

    The man who greeted him at the top of the staircase was wearing the soft, round hat of the Flemish style, but removed it when Francisco met him. It was an oddly considerate gesture, and instantly signaled that something had gone wrong.

    “What is it, Pieter?” He was fluent in Flemish by now, but for some reason he felt the impulse to stumble over his words.

    At least he was not the only one. Pieter was fidgeting and could not look him in the eye, a strange thing for a judge. “You told me once that the Irish saved you, Menheer. They hanged one of them for saving fugitives from your Armada.”

    Francisco’s throat went dry, and he could barely form the words that he knew he had to say. “The man’s name?”

    “O’Rourke. Brian... I forget the rest. Damned strange names, those Irishmen all have. The English say that he ought to have killed you instead of harbored you.” Pieter’s eyes were sharp upon him. “Pity he thought it best to help, isn’t it?”

    Francisco could barely nod his agreement. The Devil had been the one who had kept him alive after the first shipwreck, he knew. He should have drowned at sea and all would have been equal. He could have even drowned during the second wreck, when he had been flung into the sea just outside of Dunkirk. Now, though, he had the blood of Cecilia’s father on his hands, and no possible way to settle the matter short of suicide.

    “Spanish?” Pieter’s voice was high and thin with concern. “What will you do now?”

    It was a very good question. Francisco could not possibly find an answer besides, “Return to Spain and never put to sea again.” It would have to be enough of an answer, for he could not bring himself to wait for Pieter’s reaction. Even the Devil would not force him onto a ship again.
  7. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Joules03 - The Red Sail

    The woman draped one arm over the back of the bench, feeling the breeze flow over her body like a wave. Using her other hand to shield the sun out of her eyes, she looked out to sea. The sunlight played over the water like a sparkler candle, broken up occasionally by the figure of a windsurfer, the sail cutting across the horizon. She tossed some bread to the seagulls, watching them peck at each other to get the biggest piece. A child ran by, scattering all but the bravest – or hungriest – birds away.

    It was a nice day for windsurfing, she thought, her eyes following one red sail as it leaped into the air. The surfer landed the board expertly, then leaned back into the wind. She'd tried windsurfing once, but hadn't been able to keep upright. There were six sails out there, but the red one was doing the most tricks – he looked like a professional. She wished she'd brought her binoculars so she could see better.

    From this distance, she could still see the blue curl as the wave approached. The surfer bent his knees as he drove the board up the middle of it, launching it over the wave. The woman gasped as she watched the board flip backwards into the air. She thought for a moment he was going to land it, but the flip came up short, the sail collapsing into the water.

    A seagull squawked at her, diverting her attention. She broke off another piece of bread for him, which he snatched midair, and she turned back to watch the red sail. She shaded her eyes again, scanning the water. There were five sails – none of them red. Her eyes shifted toward the shore, wondering if he had already sailed to land, but he wasn't there. He wasn't anywhere.

    “Oh my.” The woman stood up, the remaining of the bread falling unheeded to the ground where the greedy gulls devoured it. She glanced around her to see if anyone else had seen the red sail crash, but even the other windsurfers didn't even seem to notice that one of their own was missing.

    A flash of red caught her eye. Squinting, she could see the sail lying flat on the water, the white of the board coming and going as the water rippled over it. It was closer to shore now than it had been when it crashed, but there was no sign of movement.

    Her hand flew to her pocket where she kept her cellphone. Should she call for help?

    As the sail bobbed closer, she could just make out the form of the surfer – his upper body on top of the board, his legs in the water. He didn't appear to be moving.

    Shaking, she dialled 911 on her phone, and explained the situation to the even-toned operator. “I'm worried about him hitting the rocks. The tide is rising and he's going to run right into them.”

    “Help is on the way, ma'am.”

    She clutched the phone in her hand, as though putting it away would prevent help from coming. Her eyes remained locked on the figure of the surfer as he continued to drift inland.

    Two minutes later, she heard the wail of the siren, and she breathed a sigh of relief as an ambulance came within view. She waved to it, and the driver pulled up nearby. Before the paramedic was even out of his car, a police car parked next to it, its lights flashing. There was another distant siren – a fire engine, no doubt.

    “Did you call in, ma'am?” the police officer asked.

    She nodded, pointing out the surfer, who hadn't changed positions and was getting closer to the jagged rocks that lined the shore. “He hasn't moved,” she explained. “I saw him crash, and he never got up again.”

    “Does anybody have a set of binoculars?” the police officer called. A small crowd had gathered with the appearance of the emergency crew, and now everyone was looking out at the surfer. They all shook their heads.

    The woman tapped her phone against her thigh, waiting for them to take action. She was going to jump in and save the man herself if someone didn't step up and help him.

    “Don't worry, ma'am. We've called in the rescue boat. It's on it's way,” the officer said, putting his hand on her arm to still it. He pointed to the east. “There. See it?”

    She looked where he was pointing and saw that he was right. The boat was making rapid progress. When it was within a few hundred metres of the surfer, it quelled its engine and drifted towards him.

    Everyone on the shore waited for a rescue. The boat was within ten metres, and a crew member leaned over to examine the surfer. The woman expected him to dive in, or throw a life preserver, but nothing happened.

    A second later, the boat's engines started again and headed to land, leaving the surfer where it was.

    “What's going on?” the woman asked. “Why won't they help him?”

    The officer didn't respond, but jogged down to the boat launch. The crowd hesitated only for a second before following him. The woman pushed her way to the front when they reached the water's edge.

    “He's fine,” the crew member yelled from his boat. “Broken sail.”

    “What about the rocks?” the woman shouted back at him, not caring that she had spoken over the police officer.

    “He's paddling his way over here right now. Says he surfs here all the time and knows how the tide works.” The amusement was apparent in the crew member's voice. He tipped an imaginary hat to her, then climbed back to his wheel and spun the boat around. The roar of it faded and people in the crowd murmured to each other, but no one left.

    A few minutes later, the sail came around the bend, making faster progress as it rode a wave toward the boat launch. Now that he was closer, the woman would see that the man was clinging on to his board, and that the sail was at an unnatural angle.

    “You all right, young man?” the police officer asked ,when the surfer came within earshot and his board scraped up onto the pebbles. “You gave us quite a scare.”

    The man's eyes moved across the crowd of people that moments ago had been fearful for his safety and were now happy to see him alive and unhurt. He hefted his board out of the water and came over to them.

    The woman watched him, hands on her hips. What would he say? Would he apologize for worrying everyone? Would he thank them for their concern?

    The young man shook his head out like a dog, the drops of water fanning away from him. He ran his hand through his hair, and grinned.

    “It's all good. But man, I gotta take a piss.”
  8. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Chudz - Public Opinion

    Ento Mining Corporation (EMC) cuts workforce by thirty percent
    By Taylor Bright, CNN
    May 1, 2057 5:55 p.m. EDT

    Omega Settlement, Lunar Surface (CNN) – Earlier today, Houston based Ento Mining Corporation announced that it will cut staffing levels by thirty percent, effective immediately. The move came quite unexpectedly as its latest financial statement appeared to be solid, despite the worsening economy. More surprising, it announced that the cuts will also affect its lucrative mining operations here on the moon.

    Disgruntled former employees quickly gathered in Dome 16, where EMC keeps its lunar headquarters. Tempers flared as no further information was forthcoming, and the building remained locked down and inaccessible.

    Lunar police were later called to the scene as some of those gathered attempted to force entry into the structure. Three people were injured during the confrontation: two protesters and one police officer. None of them seriously. Police would also make four arrests before the protesters eventually dispersed, many of them chanting “Entropy Mining Corp.,” as they did so.

    Ento Mining Corporation (EMC) suspected of corporate fraud
    By Taylor Bright, CNN
    May 17, 2057 5:45 p.m. EDT

    Omega Settlement, Lunar Surface (CNN) – Leaked documents, including emails between earthbound and lunar executives, point to a cover-up within the corporation. The Lunar Regulatory Agency has announced that it will be looking into the case immediately. This statement was echoed by government regulators in every country that EMC has a presence in.

    As a result, the value of the company's stock (ENMC) has dropped nearly 35% over the last three days. This in turn has eroded employee retirement accounts, which are at least partially funded through company stock purchases.

    Jason McDonal, a recently released EMC employee, had this to say: “I've spent the last fifteen years of my life slaving away at LMP11 (Lunar Mining Pit 11), for these people. And they got rid of a bunch of us without any warning. Now my retirement account is shrinking due to fraud that was no doubt rooted in the highest levels. I'm mad, I tell ya. And so are a bunch of others.”

    Public opinion for Ento Mining Corporation (EMC) continues to plummet
    By Taylor Bright, CNN
    June 1, 2057 6:22 p.m. EDT

    Omega Settlement, Lunar Surface (CNN) – An unidentified source at the Lunar Regulatory Agency has leaked information on Executive Compensation at EMC, detailing salaries well into the seven figure range, plus bonuses totaling millions more. Especially telling is the accusation that executive bonuses and retirement accounts are not funded with company stock. EMC responded with a press release stating that those figures were blatant lies.

    Public outcry over this latest information has exploded on both the earth and the moon. And shares of the company are now valued at 10% of what they were a month ago, further destroying many retirement dreams.

    EMC Public Relations has announced a lunar press conference to further refute the accusations being brought against it. The conference is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. EDT, on Monday, June 4.

    Death in Ento Mining Corporation's Dome 16
    By Carrie Tatum, CNN
    June 4, 2057 3:10 p.m. EDT

    Washington (CNN) – Earlier today, CNN journalist Taylor Bright was attending a press conference at the lunar headquarters of Ento Mining Corporation when the tide of public opinion rolled in bringing with it death. Death in the form of three armed men.

    One of the men—identified as Jason McDonal, who had previously been interviewed by Ms. Bright—shouted, “You've taken my future; now I'm going to take yours,” before opening fire on the gathered executives. Security personnel immediately returned fire while chaos erupted around them.

    Ms. Bright was able to get through a side door safely and turned in time to see the scene's horrifying climax. She said, “There was blood everywhere, and I could hear the screams of the wounded during a lull in the gunfire. Many of the Ento executives and public relations officers that were present had been hit. I saw a couple of security personnel down, crumpled and unmoving, as their two remaining comrades trained their weapons on the only surviving attacker.

    “It wasn't McDonal. He lay in a heap and looked to be nearly decapitated. The unknown man, who had a great swath of blood covering his face, dropped his weapon. It had been so silent for the last two moments that the loud clatter of it hitting the floor made me flinch. The rest seemed to happen in slow motion.

    “The man smiled, exposing white teeth. Then his right hand shot into the side pocket of his bulky jacket. The security personnel opened fire an eye-blink later, but it was too late. He exploded.”

    The detonation is believed to be responsible for most of the deaths accounted for, 43 at this time. Ms. Bright was saved from the brunt of the explosion as she was in the next room, but still suffered injuries and burns to her right upper-body and face.

    Even seriously injured, she had the drive and determination to get the story out. And as she lay waiting for rescue, she was able to send it via personal communicator to our lunar office. She is now recovering in a local hospital.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Ms. Bright.
  9. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Silque - Flotsam

    No one was quite sure what it was.

    No one ever will.

    Time seemed to stand still, for the briefest of moments and only the shrill screams of the children, followed by the women and the fearful expressions of the men seemed to jolt time back into momentum.

    It rolled up onto the golden sand, squirming and writhing like a new born infant, that had just been pushed into a new world. It splashed, but not much, in the frothy lip of the sea, tangling with weeds and flotsam alike.

    Despite the clear pandemonium around me, I stayed, curious as to what was happening, and why people were turning and fleeing in such uncoordinated panic. The soft, sandy beach was being ripped apart by hundreds of screaming people. Picnic hampers were kicked and deserted. Blankets and chairs and umbrellas, all left alone, casting a morose sight down a golden stretch that had merely minutes ago been so joyous and full of life.

    The salty water sprayed the thing, allowing buttery rays of sunshine to reflect from it.

    It was no bigger than a five year old child.

    I walked, tentatively towards the shoreline, nervously looking behind me as I did. The hot sands burned at the soles of my feet as I pushed through the mini dunes and shells towards the sea.

    It raised, what appeared to be an arm. Clawing at the sludgey beach in front of it.

    I stopped and squinted, trying to get a clearer view of just what I was approaching.

    I walked a little further, until I was almost mere feet away from it.

    I gasped, as the thing rolled over, slapping across the wet sand as it did. It gave the resemblance of a small, caucasian boy, although completely hairless. It's eyes were like like small saucers, and they looked up at me with fear, and pain and the kind of thing that hits you right in the stomach, and cries out, help. The thing was covered in wounds, scratches, lacerations and numbers had been printed on it's back: 018883, with what appeared to be a barcode. It's two legs, were thin and bruised, and around one of it's ankle were the remains of a shackle, and a few links of chain. The shackle was half embedded in the skin of the poor little thing.

    It stretched out an arm towards me.

    I hesitated, moving back slightly. Unsure of what action to take.

    The thing made a hissing noise, then emitted a noise that made my heart wrench. Pain. It was like that of a dog, trapped beneath the wheel of a car. It was in agony.

    I moved forward, and just before I could reach out to help the little beast. Something caught my eye.

    Another one. Only, far smaller than the first. It washed up a few feet down the shore, and looked lifeless. I left the first creature, and headed towards the second, and upon seeing it close up, I could've cried.

    It was a baby.

    I picked up the creature in my arms, and it's head started to twitch. It was alive. Just.

    I walked over to the other creature, and it started to wail, uncontrollably. I bent down, with the small creature in my arms, and placed it towards the now apparent mother. I stood there, in shock, wondering what the hell was going on. Two of the most alien looking things I'd ever witness, embracing in the wet sands of a golden beach, in broad daylight. Mother and child, just plain existing.

    Before I could even think about anything, I heard some commotion from the roadside. A white van had pulled up, and around ten people, all in yellow suits were running frantically down towards me. I didn't know what to do. I got to my feet, but was hit with something square in the chest. I looked down slowly...it was a dart. As the salty air around me became a blur, the last thing I remember before they dragged me away in darkness, was the small creatures, sat in the surf. Holding onto one another desperately. They looked at me, a longing look of fear and terror, combined with something, deep, deep down, that said, I hope, 'thank you', before the people in the yellow suits, started beating the creatures with clubs.

    I sat in the corner of the room I now found myself in. With nothing but a bed, a stool and a small toilet to keep me company, I found myself thinking over the attrocities that we, as humans, commit on a daily basis. The wars that rage across continents and the just plain nastiness that we are capable of showering on the things, and people, all around us.

    A mother and child were murdered in plain daylight yesterday. A mother and child that needed help, and had nowhere in the world to go. A mother and child that had wanted to be loved and live a normal existance, and within minutes of finding that love, and that life, they had been exterminated.

    And the sad thing?

    No one, will ever know.
  10. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Velox - Hope

    A human form floated down a large river, unmoving and seemingly lifeless. It drifted up onto the beige shore head first, skidding slightly before coming to a stop as the rough ground slowed its movement to a halt. The male body was bloody and bruised, and what was left of the clothes he once bore proudly were now tattered beyond recognition. The man laid there for hours, as still as if he were dead. Birds landed near the body, inspecting what may be their next meal.

    Suddenly, the four small eyelids flickered open, only to be quickly shut again as the sun blinded what they protected. The birds fluttered away, aware at once that the meal they greatly desired was still alive. Slowly, he opened them part-way again, waiting for a while before opening them up slightly further. He repeated this action until his eyes were fully open and used to the sunlight. He looked around, moving his head slightly in different directions to examine his surroundings.

    He found that in front of him there was the face of a cliff on the other side of a large body of water, and to the sides of him sand as far as the eyes could see. He tried to move his body so that he could see behind him, but found that he was unable to. It was then that he saw his arms and body covered in blood.

    What happened? he asked himself repeatedly, wishing to know what brought him to this state. Flashes of being held in a dark cave filled his mind, but try as he did he could not remember anything else. He abandoned trying to regain his memory and once again focused on his body, this time trying to just lift his arm. He lifted it a millimeter, followed by another, until he had raised it an inch off the ground. He left it fall as an overwhelming weakness overcame him.

    Tears filled his eyes as he started to lose hope, wondering if he would ever be able to move again. No, he demanded to himself, I will get up. I will make it home. It was with that that he finally remembered her -- the one he had loved. I must get back to her.

    His breathing became heavier as he tried and tried again. Finally he was able to turn his body to the side, only to have it turn all the way over and cause his face to become embedded in the sand. He lifted his head slowly, and shook out the sand from in his mouth and on his face. He moved his arms out in front of him, determined to push himself up.

    He placed his arms in a push-up position (but with his body still on the ground), and pushed up, only to have them give way to the weight of his body. But his mind had been made up. He would get home.

    He tried again, only to fail a second time. "NO!" he yelled in frustration. "I WON'T GIVE UP!" He placed his hands out on the sand again and pushed up with all his might. His arms failed again, and he fell back down on the rough sand and tears began to fill his eyes once again. He hit the ground with his forehead out of anger, still determined to get back home. But as he tried and failed again, he knew he had to rest, turning his head before lying it down so as to not get any more sand in his dry mouth. He longed for water and food, and started to question how he would ever get home.

    He put away these thoughts, knowing they would only do him more harm, and focused once again. He finally managed to get his arms and legs into a crawling position, and started dragging himself little by little off the sand. Minutes flew by before he finally grabbed a small bit of grass in his fingers, ripping it out of the ground and looking at it with joy. He raised his head to see a valley before, the shore of the God-forsaken river left behind.

    At least I know I made it this far. I only hope I can go the rest . . .
  11. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Lankin - November

    J** ***
    Captain of the H.M.S. ***
    c/o H.M. Naval Base
    Portsmouth, Hampshire

    Dear J***,

    Whenever you come home to me -- on your visits during your shore-leaves that I've come to long for and dread at the same time –- you have changed. At first, the change was very subtle. Now, as we both grow older, and more and more estranged, it gets too obvious to hide. Estranged -– funny, isn't it? Old couples should get closer to each other, or so they say. They allegedly can even hear each others thoughts. There was a time when I could hear yours, but no more now, not for a long time.

    All I ever hear now is the endless beat of waves rolling to the shore -- through my open window, or when I walk along the coastline, searching the horizon for a speck of sail. Yes, somehow I'm still wishing for it; even if your absence as well as your presence makes me suffer, to a point where I don't know any more what to prefer –- your embrace or the even colder one of the sea. Would it be colder, after all, I wonder.

    It is worst when you try to be kind, feeling I would deserve some thing or the other. I dread those moments. I can't bear the look in your eyes then –- faked affection where there should be real one –- and once was, but not anymore. It is pity I see, sometimes despite. I prefer despite.

    There must have been a time when you finally ceased to love me, I'm not sure if I knew at the time. It must have been when you realized that a lover waiting for you ashore couldn't make up for the hardships you had to endure day by day, nor for any hurt done to you on your journeys – by people I never will know, people whom you have even given up to tell me about. I wouldn't understand anyway, you fended me off -- and in the meantime, you are probably right. There is nothing we share anymore, apart from faded memories.

    We should have been both free, both free together. Would that even have been possible? You couldn't marry me, we could never share a life like other people; and you are bound to His Majesty, and the sea. Where was my biggest fault? Deciding I would wait for you, as long as it would take at times, endless days merging into sleepless nights? Never making any demands? You could have quit the job, the job you hate and love at the same time. But for what now -– for a lover you equally have only mixed feelings left for?

    I did what I never wanted to do – I chained you. To this place ashore, and to me. All I want now is you to be free again – free as you once were, long before you met me, and how I came to know, and love you.

    I never stopped loving you, J***.
    It will be tonight. The sky is black, the sea even blacker. It is cold, November. I hope they never find me.

    Tomorrow you'll be free again.

  12. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Biffa001 - Denuo

    The jet ski rammed up against the beach. I jumped off and ran to the shore shaken and breathless.

    “Hey. Hey, what are you doing there? Are you OK?”

    The sodden figure, face down in the sand, hair entangled with seaweed, stirred slightly, groaned and tried to move forward. As he stretched up towards me I could see he was a boy of about 10 or 11 years, a year or two older than me. His hands were scratched and bleeding with fingers dug into the roiling mass of bubbling salt-water and foaming breakers.

    He pulled himself painfully up the beach with a low moan.

    “They...are.....”, his voice trailed off.

    I crouched down, “they are what, tell me, what can I do?” Panic gripped me as I saw the blood seeping from his head and my voice rose and wavered.

    The boy fell forwards at my feet with one arm outstretched. In between his fingers I could see a mud caked object, small, shiny and metallic.

    “They are ....coming”, he said more forcefully, “they are coming...NOW”. As he shouted this last word he managed to turn his head and look to my left towards the road. I turned quickly and my throat tightened.

    Two large black cars screamed towards the beach front, both swerved and skidded to a stop up onto the kerb spilling out their occupants: 6 large men dressed in long dark coats. The men pointed and ran towards us.

    “What going on?” I screamed at the boy as I grabbed his arm and tried to pull him up the beach away from the onrushing men. “What do they want?”, I puffed, “WHO ARE YOU?”.

    I glanced down at his face as I panted and pulled him towards the supposed safety of the arcade. The seaweed and sand clung to his hair and features, filled his eyes and mouth. He spluttered and coughed like a land locked fish. The effort of moving made him groan in pain.

    But the men were gaining too quickly.

    “Stop”, he wheezed. “Take this and run...now”. He threw the shiny metal object at me and it hit my ankle. Hard.

    I bent down and picked up the metal disc which was much heavier than I thought it should be. I brushed the sand away quickly as I looked up to see the men even closer. I could hear them shouting something at us.

    I looked at the stricken boy, “What do you want me to do? Tell me! What is this?”. The men were almost upon us, one reached inside his jacket and pulled out a large black bag.

    “Can’t ... explain”, cough, “somehow I know it will give you more ... time.”

    The boy looked at me, using all his strength to lift his head to look deep into my eyes.


    The look in his eyes, his half hidden and soaked face, the men closer, ever closer...something made me turn and run.

    I stumbled through the surf, panic and fear gripped my chest tighter and tighter. I found it impossible to breath. My legs felt like lead dragging through treacle.

    I gasped as I ran and ran and ran.

    I stole a quick glance over my shoulder and 2 of the men had stopped at the boy and were starting to lift him into the big black bag. I stumbled as I turned and fell face first into the surf. Waves rushed over me and filled my mouth and nostrils. I choked and rolled onto my back. The metal disc fell from my grasp and hit me full in the face.

    I scrambled over onto my front, grabbed the disc and ran full pelt into the arms of one of the men. He reached for my arm but his fingers slid off my wet skin. I turned and twisted like a cornered eel and pushed my way through the attackers and towards the sea. My escape. If only my jet ski was within reach. I would swim out to sea, so far and fast they would not reach me.

    I struggled through the low breaking waves until the water reached up to my waist then dived. I held onto the metal disc, the last clue as to the boys existence. Once I escaped I would tell someone, anyone, of the boy from the water and how he was taken away.

    I swung my arms faster and faster cutting through the water when a dull thudding pain overtook me. My head swam and water rushed over my face pushing me down. The pain in my head was intense, throbbing. I thrashed my arms, my legs, my hands, expecting strong arms to be grabbing at me but all I felt was the bottom of the seabed, rocks, stones and hard sand.

    Pushing up towards the surface I spluttered out, shooting up into the air coughing dirty seawater out of my lungs. My eyes burned, by body ached. My legs started to give way and I sunk down again. Water covered me and the waves pushed me, pulled me. I hit my head again on the bottom and this time the pain was too much. I blacked out.

    As the light started to creep into my vision the throbbing pain in my head pulsed and hammered like a jackhammer on my eyeballs. I was lying on the beach tangled up with old seaweed, wet and bleeding.

    I tried to lift myself but the pain was too much. I think I may have broken my leg. I started to cry, my face buried in the sand. I had let the boy down. He had been taken and any minute rough hands would grab me and take me away too. I was scared.

    I heard a shout and thinking the worst, tried to push myself into the sand, to hide, to escape. But the voice sounded younger, not as deep or as harsh as the burly men.

    I looked up and a small boy ran down the beech towards me. I strained against the pain to move forward and reach up towards him. He spoke:

    “Hey. Hey, what are you doing there? Are you OK?”
  13. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    dogboon - What The Tide Brought In

    The corona of a new sun flared out from the horizon in a magnificent burst of orange light. Night turned to spectrums of violet blue that dissolved to red as the sun rose out of the sea. The tide had withdrawn to its morning low exposing the freshly drained pebble beach’s and the crustaceans that Seagulls feasted upon. A large freighter, the Isis, its decks loaded with metal containers stacked six high sailed into the estuary against the tide towards the docks further up river. Wash that gently stroked the beach turned into a crest of a wave, which came from the freighters wake, broking along its length. The flock of Seagulls, chugging down fresh mollusks fluttered over the seeping serf then scattered as a bounding German shepherd ran towards them kicking up pebbles behind it and barking.
    The dog ran through the dispatching Gull’s then let out an ear piercing yelp scrambling back to the sea wall with his tail between its legs.
    ‘’Sabre!’’ Called the dog’s owner. Wearing blue overalls with a high-vis vest, clutching a chain lead in his hand. ‘’Sabre!’’
    He called again to the fleeing dog. Watching him run up the steps and hide under his car, the man walked back through the settling Gulls that paid him no mind. The blue tarpaulin stood out from the wet brown pebbles. He paused. ‘’Jesus!’’ The man cried. Then ran.

    The Whiteboard was covered in such questions as ‘time of death? UNSUB? M.O.? Identity of victim?’ The command room was a cacophony of debate and banter. Like a classroom before the teacher had arrived. Desks were set out around the large room, covered in trays and lap tops with filing cabinets at the end of most leaning against square sealing supports.

    The door opened and three people walked in. A suited, tall, middle aged man with short brown unkempt hair and day old stubble led them in followed by Superintendent Miller in his well pressed uniform and peak cap. His service accolades and rank insignia glistened with luster, his clean shaven face looked fresh and well exfoliated. Last, carrying a stack of cardboard folders filled with paper and photos a woman wearing a well fitted black pin stripe women’s jacket and pencil skirt with her brunette hair tied back into a weaved bun. She stepped in with a clatter as her high heels met the tiled floor. The noise turned from chatter to shuffling on furniture as the inspectors’ present turned to see who was wearing the heels, then she closed the door shut with her hip.

    Supt Miller stood at the front of the room under the projector screen. The first man stood back to his right then stepped round the Supt. to clear a space on the desk for the woman with the folders. ‘’Good morning Gentlemen. We have a homicide, as I’m sure you have heard already. We believe that the Victim, a young female, has been on the missing persons register but obviously until the pathologists report has been completed we won’t know the victim’s identity. This case will be SIO’d by Detective Chief Inspector Foe’’ He gestured towards the stubbly man who was flicking through the folders on the desk and passing pieces of paper and photos to the woman. ‘’ DCI Foe is on a secondmant from the Met, he has much experience and has recently come back from a special training program with the FBI, no less.’’ His eyes scanned the faces of the plain clothed detectives, they stared back, arms folded. ‘’Moving on then.’’ Making a diverting indication to his left ‘’Deputy Inspector Wren. She will be acting as DC’s assistant. ‘’
    Wren looked up from the clutter and through her pen pinching teeth called out. ‘’Hi. ‘’
    ‘’Any questions?’’ Supt. Miller asked the dull crowd.
    ’’Can I have an ’assistant, Super?’’ Called back a chubby white shirted detective half perched on the corner of a desk with his thick arms folded tight across his round chest.

    Turning to face the man, Miller waited for the thrown comments to stop. ’’I think you will have to, Jenkins. After all, how else will you get out of your car the next time you’re on surveillance duties’’ Jeers were called out. ’’If that’s all, you men can get on with it.’’ He turned and walked out towards the door, giving Foe and Wren a nod as he past.
    ‘’Good morning. My names DC…’’ A bellowing yawn drowned out his words.
    ‘’ I know who you are; I even wrote it in my note book. Can we get on with it?’’ Jenkins said as he scratched his wispy ginger hair.
    ‘’ Ok.’’ Foe said, turning his back but looking at the men sitting around the room. A curious smile made out across his face. ‘’Lets get started.’’

    Foe held it up a photo. ‘’I can tell you one thing from this picture.’’ Showing it to everyone in the room. His face drawn taught with disgust. No one spoke. ‘’This was a sustained assault. I would say possibly over a long period of time.’’ He pinned it to the whiteboard with a magnet. ‘’Kathy, put up the rest. Please. These Photos were taken just a couple hours ago along Wayborne beach.’’ He leaned on the desk running his fingers through his hair. The sound of the magnets clipping down told everyone more pictures were being arranged in a macabre display of grotesque sadism.
    Eyes stared at the floor, except Jenkins who lit up a cigarette shaking his head.
    ‘’The Unsub is a male, judging by the obvious orifice intrusion and mutilation. He would be medium build, between twenty-five to his mid forties. A loner, Either unemployed or in a low band job. Single. Not married at least. He wouldn’t be able to conduct a sustained attack without having the privacy.’’ A chuckle blurted out from amongst the gathered inspectors‘.
    Foe glared at the men, ‘’Shut the hell up.’’ He screwed his face up, anger built in his eyes. Silence fell totally.
    Then a voice said; ‘’my apologies DC.’’
    ’’He will drive either an estate, or a hatchback that has a large boot space, it will not be new. Nothing flashy, dull colours. This is his ‘rape kit’’’. Pausing, taking a look over his shoulder as they listened. The pictures had been arrayed for clear inspection.
    Jenkins took a drag on his smoky cigarette, another leaned over behind him and opened the blind then a window which swung out horizontally. ’’Cheers Barry. ‘’ He said with a wink. ‘’So, sounds like you know him, do you have a name?’’ Then after a final pull on the cigarette, he flicked it out of the window.
    ‘’Ha. No!’’ With a slight twinge of a smile. ‘’I have a profile. That’s somewhere to start. Our Unsub finished with his victim last night. Now he will be hunting for another. We must stop him. The Pathology report will be complete soon, let’s hope there is something to go on.’’
    ‘’Inspector Jenkins, is it?’’ Foe came forward to the slowly dispersing group.
    ‘’Yes, Chief.’’ He replied and took Foes outstretched hand to shake it.
    ’’Be a good bloke, coffee two sugars.’’ With a wink and a smile, then turning away.
    ’’Hey, what about her, your assistant?’’ complaing as he stood up.
    ‘’Oh yeah. DI Wren?’’
    ‘’Black. Two sugars, Thanks.’’ Wren replied.

    DI Wren ate an appalling excuse for a cheese and tomato sandwich from a plastic carton she held underneath as Dr Peterson brought in the report. She gave up after just three bites, relived at the distraction, then picked up the file and opened it. Together, the Inspectors discussed the findings, and analyzed any small detail. No one rested.

    DCI Foe observed the unit dissect the case and report. Then finally he interjected his input. ‘’The report indicated that the victim had died between five and seven hours before her bodies discovery. The head injury did not kill, although being a serious fracture caused by a large blunt object. I’m guessing a rock. But considering the inability to kill his victim, I think the Unsub couldn’t see the victim properly and he was in a hurry. He thought she was dead already but had come back to consciousness when he opened the boot so had to act swiftly, reaching for something heavy.’’ The others just gulped at Foe.
    ‘’I told you he was there!’’ Jenkins mumbled under his breath. Wren smirked to herself. ‘’So what do we do with such wisdom, Chief?’’ He said condescendingly.

    The Pathology report found no trace of the Unsubs DNA. No foreign bodies. No clues to lead the investigation. Two days passed, and one was found two miles downstream at a beach car parking area, a wide dusty patch with trees and bushes around the edges.

    The press had been issued a release statement; the police declined a press conference due to not wishing to unnecessarily upset the public. The statement was brief; Charlotte Barnes, fifteen. Missing for a month to the day. Presumably she had fallen in somewhere further up river. DCI Foe was furious. He wanted to draw out the killer. He argued with the Superintendent but it was overruled. The press never printed it as a suicide.

    Foe left clicked the mouse and the audio began.
    ‘’Caller, please specify the emergency.’’ The operator insisted.
    A strange hissing ambiance was broken by dull creaks of the caller’s handset and a hollow murmur could just be made out. ‘’...I open them to a blinding light beyond sense, my brother. The light that is within them, I draw it out. So bright it is, brother. So wonderful. The eyes shine so bright. I feed on that light. We can feed together.’’ The voice was muffled as though it was distant but still very close.
    ‘’Caller, I will warn you that…’’ The creaking handset hung up to the sound of a mono tone.
    ‘’This was received at 10:37pm yesterday.’’ Foe said to the encircled detectives in the command room, then clicked on the laptop never looking up. ‘’The next call came in at 12:35am this morning. I’ve wound it forward a few seconds.
    Sobbing. ‘’…Stop the light. Stop the pain.’’ The sobs chocked the words, which sounded much clearer now. ‘’Young Charlotte…’’
    Foe looked up and looked to each team member at a time with pursed lips.
    ‘’…Oooh.’’ The crying became groans as the caller retched in torment. ‘’…No more killing. Stop it! Stop it!’’ Then suddenly the caller silenced and a shuffle could be made out. A door creaked open, as the handset was put down.
    ‘’The two calls were from the same address. Let’s bring him in.’’

    The address was raided within an hour. The property had one resident owner. One man was arrested.

    The small monitor looked antiquated with its bulky metal frame and seemed to be built out of old tank parts. Foe had stayed behind to prepare for the suspects interview. He waited patiently in the CCTV monitoring room.
    ‘’So tell me Chief. Why the hell have you put that lump in the interview room?’’ Jenkins slouched into his chair, arms folded. ‘’If he kills you with it I’ll bloody laugh, you nutter.’’ Foe leaned forward in anticipation. A phone on the table let out a blurt and he snatched it up. ‘’DCI Foe. Suspect just arriving. Do you want me to send him to suite one after he’s booked in, sir?’’
    ‘’Yes please, send him straight.’’ Hanging up, Foe rubbed his hands. ‘’Don’t worry about me. I’m sending you in.’’
    ‘’I’m shocked. You not worried I’ll balls it up? I thought you were dying to get in that room with him and you’ll get that rock out first.’’ His shirt seemed to bulge as he sat up straight.
    ‘’ I’m not worried at all, it doesn’t matter what you do. It’s all about his reaction to the murder weapon.’’

    The interview went on for two hours. Jenkins started well enough but his material had all but exhausted. In the screwed in chair opposite him sat a plain looking man. His cloths were simple and featureless. Warn polished shoes, beige pressed trousers, a navy blue t-shirt and he sat wearing a beige zip-fronted jacket. Blonde hair swept over in a side parting, his skin pale with distinctive Germanic facial features such as fuller lips and bone structure. His bright blue eyes matched his body frame. Unthreatening, mild, soft and lonely. He spoke gently, with an European accent. He had a short honest answer for ever question. When asked to confirm his name he said, ‘’Mr Herman Friend’’ almost in a whisper. Jenkins took his hands of the table and folded his arms and raised his eyebrows at a camera in the opposite corner.

    The murder weapon nestled on top of the cabinet behind Jenkins right shoulder, at eye level the entire time. He looked at it a few times. He never reacted.
    ‘’It’s not him.’’ Foe exclaimed. He sat so far forward that his face was inches from the split-screen monitor. ‘’Check his address for loggers. I want a voice match up done immediately.’’ Spinning on his chair and looking at DI Wren, ‘’Go and tell Jenkins to ask if he has anyone living with him.’’

    Wren entered the interview room to Jenkins relief; she approached and whispered into his ear when Herman started to speak.
    ‘’When I was a child, my mother would give me my supper. I would stuff it into my pockets and share with…’’
    ‘’Christ. As soon as a bit of skirt walks in you chirp right up don’t you?’’ Snapped Jenkins.
    ‘’Shoosh, Jenkins. What are you talking about Mr Friend?’’ Wren asked, curiously.
    ‘’Klaus. My brother. I cried when I knew I could not help my brother anymore.’’ He said looking into his lap.
    Wren walked out of the interview room.
    ‘’Do you have anybody living with you Herman?’’ Jenkins asked the question as though he was talking to a boy.
    Mr Friend sat still. ‘’Do you want to tell us what you know?’’ Mr Friend slowly shook his head.

    Hours passed. Evidence of abuse and murder was collected from Herman’s house. Voice matching proved positive, though even with headphones tight against his ears, foe could not understand the ‘distortion’ in the first call. He was convinced that Herman was not the prime suspect however. He took this belief to the Superintendant.

    ‘’It’s not him Miller. Shouted Foe.
    ‘’I have the evidence that will take him down, I don’t have to look any farther DCI Foe and I order you address me likewise. I can’t believe you would have your suspect, your only genuine, sorry I mean only lead literally land in your lap gift wrapped and you want to free him because your FBI witch craft says otherwise?’’ Miller rebuked scornfully.
    ‘’Sir, we should extend the search. He isn’t the killer.’’ Foe insisted uselessly.
    ‘’I want him charged and sent to court by tomorrow. I’m closing the case DCI Foe, and that’s it frankly. You can go and help bag up the evidence, if it helps you come to terms with this hard fact. Dismissed.’’ Miller waved his hand as he turned back to his P.C. ‘’Foe.’’ He said before the door closed. ‘’I’ll be taking over this case personally from here on. As you were seconded, I don’t think you’re ready to represent this department on such a case yet. This will be televised, you know?’’ Foe paused, and then shut the door.

    The living room had a heavy musty scent and decorated in a elderly persons style, with small nik-naks and doily’s arranged evenly on the fire place and a armchair with a collapsible table beside it. Foe took in the room for a moment when Wren spoke. ‘’I’m sorry Sir. I think Miller is right. He fits the profile, the evidence is strong. The call’s…’’
    ‘’The call’s indeed’’ Foe answered, closely looking at a painting; a wooden house on a lane. Two small boys wearing matching lederhosen stood by the side of the road holding hands. ‘’Where are the phones kept in this house, Wren?’’ He asked with a sudden sense of urgency.
    ‘’Erm, only in here I think.’’ She replied looking for the socket. ‘’Here it is.’’ Wren bent down and picked up a telephone that had been raveled up in the cord.
    ‘’Call Jenkins, I want to talk to him.’’ He walked out of the room closing the door.
    ‘’Where are you going? It’s ringing.’’ She called out.
    ‘’Hold it to the door.’’ She frowned and coyly held out the receiver.
    Jenkins called out from the handset. ‘’Hello, who is this?’’
    ‘’Do you hear me Jenkins? Can you hear me?’’ The voice behind the door said, in a normal tone.
    ‘’ Just about . Is that you, Chief?’’ He shouted back. Wren giggled to herself.
    ‘’Yes Jenkins. Bad reception. Can you hear me ok? Foe asked again.
    ‘’Sort of. You sound like Herman the German in the first call. Are you ringing from his place?’’
    Stepping from behind the door, ‘’Yes, could you put Supt Miller on the phone please pal?’’ Putting a hand to her mouth, Wren gasped.
    ‘’Someone else was on the first call.’’ Like a revelation.
    ‘’Yes. Klaus, his twin’’ Foe confirmed.

    The queue was quite long but Mr Friend was not bothered for he had something that drew his attention. He whispered to her as the queue shortened. In the foyer a young mother stopped to check and realized her baby was missing. Hysteria spread quickly.
    ‘’Mr Herman Friend. Your passport doesn’t include this child. I’m sorry sir, but…’’ A loud smash came from the entrance as a window was put through. The gate guard instantly gave Herman his passport back as He ran over to help in the commotion. A younger newer guard came over to replace him and waved Herman and baby through to board for Calais.
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