The Survivors

-160 words

In the aftermath of the global nuclear war the earth wept toxic radiation, killing the remaining living things slowly and painfully.

Poisonous gases weakened the planet’s struggling species worldwide. Once lush forests were transformed into wastelands. Skyscrapers that once kissed the heavens now reduced to steel skeletons. Human shadows etched on concrete, gruesome portraits depicting their last moment of life.

The human race had finally fought it’s last world war. Chaos reigned as the last vestiges of civilizations turned to dust. History erased with no trace for space explorers from other worlds to see. No record of humanity.

No. The only survivors will not be able to talk with any celestial visitors. They’ll be flattened under surfaces of all kinds, scurrying around and scavenging in dark places unseen by prying eyes. Just like their ancestors for millenniums past. They were built to last. That’s why cockroaches survived man’s follies. They were the one species mankind could not drive into extinction.

The Coyote’s Mistake

Flash Fiction -260 words

They crossed over to the Texas border on a moonless night. Six immigrants hailing from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador bearing backpacks. The coyote, who name was Carlos, urged them to move faster.

“Estoy exenuado!” a young man from Guatemala complained.

“Seguier avanzando!” Carlos warned him not to stop.

The four men and two women who followed Carlos were silent after that, not wanting to anger the coyote and be left to die in the Rio Grande Valley’s harsh environment.

Just before daylight Carlos led them to a wooden shack that was almost entirely concealed by clusters of small barrel cactus and honey mesquite. The one room shack was just big enough for the tiny group.

“Descansa y duerme,” he advised the immigrants, knowing they would need all the rest they could get, because the next night was the most perilous part of the journey.

The next night the moon crept up over the horizon like a silver ball as Carlos looked out the one window in the shack. A full moon. How could that be, he wondered? He checked the almanac, and the national weather service. It was supposed to be a quarter moon tonight!

His perfect record of delivering his cargo to a safe haven on the other side of the border was going to be ruined. He hoped he wouldn’t get a bad reputation. There weren’t too many jobs for werewolves these days.

As his body morphed into a mass of muscle and hair he briefly felt sorry for the group. Then he let out a howl!


Dial for Love

Flash Fiction 400 -words

Deuce McCutcheon went to her funeral a year ago, but was still having trouble believing she was gone forever. Freyja was the love of his life. She was the first, and only, woman who could see behind the hideous mask of his contorted face, which was a result of a terrible childhood injury.

She never hesitated to kiss his twisted lips in public or private. They were soulmates, spending endless hours talking through sleepless nights. Sharing their dreams and inner desires until exhaustion overtook them both. Their years together flew by like days as the lovers languished in the security of one anothers embrace.

As lovers often do, they talked about life after death and what they would do when the horrible time came when one was left without the other. They weighed in on his Christian Heaven, and her Norwegian Valhalla. They explored the concept of life energy moving from one host to the next. They planned elaborate ways of communicating from one realm or dimension to the survivor’s world.

But nothing worked. Deuce grew more depressed every day. On the anniversary of her death he visited her grave. Pulling out a sprig of sage he lit it and passed the smoke back and forth over her resting place. Next, he pulled out his pipe and packed it with a strain of their favorite cannabis, and puffed on it thoughtfully as he looked at her photo which he brought with him.

A thought entered his grief. Hazy and unformed. He realized that he had saved more than just photos of her. He had saved her old cell phone number. He was fumbling for his old-fashioned flip cell phone when the sun parted the dark clouds that hung over the cemetery.

Opening it, he went straight to his address book. There it was. Freyja’s phone number. The chill seemed to go away and he took his jacket off while staring at the number. He was experiencing a strange sense of peace. He pushed her number…and waited. It rang three times. Then he heard Freyja’s high voice…”I wondered when you would call,” she teased him.

The next day a ground’s keeper discovered Deuce’s body, curled up on a grave. He was still clutching his cell phone. Later when asked about his discovery by a reporter, he said, “You should have seen the smile on that guy’s face!”

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

250 words –

Woz waited by the doorway to the labyrinth for the green light to come on. He was a professional gamer who traveled around the galaxies taking on challenges created by the Game Changer. The challenges always incorporated alternate realities, and reality.

The red light was on a timer. When it changed Woz entered the maze of dimly lit tunnels and followed the directions written in laser lights on the smooth metal walls. This challenge involved finding a crystal key to open the door to eternity.

When Woz encountered a door he went in without hesitation. The inhabitants inside bowed and called him an angel. He ignored them and went back to the endless passages seeking the crystal key.

Eons passed in the lonely search. Worlds were created and destroyed. Civilizations rose and fell into dust. Woz wandered from one dimension to the next, always re-appearing in the luminous tunnels. Never losing sight of his goal to find the crystal key.

During a time of solar systems defying gravity for gamers like Woz, he emerged from the maze to witness the birth of a dwarf planet and discovered a crystal cave. Inside, there hung hundreds of identical crystal keys swaying to gentle hidden melodies. They were bathed in a blue light.

Because the Game Changer doesn’t play by any rules, he had nothing better to do than make fools of gamers like Woz, who saw the challenge for what it was, but still played the game. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Instinct

Sgt. McGruder realized two things; he wasn’t going to get back to the base in time, and he couldn’t keep driving in the near white-out conditions.

He saw a Burger King. Went inside. It was empty except for one nervous counter clerk. He ordered a burger. Out of the corner of his eye he saw shadowy figures outside the glass door.

They came in. Two Hispanic teenage boys with desperate eyes. One reached into his pocket. McGruder’s instincts kicked in.

“Are you hungry?” he asked, watching the teen’s concealed hand.

“Si,” they echoed, as one pulled the stump from his pocket. 

(Author’s note: this is my first attempt at writing flash fiction in 100 words. Quit a challenge. Props go to The Drabble blog site.)

 

The Drunken StormTroopers Punishment

lehmann-joerg-bacchus-roman-god-of-wine-painted-wooden-figure1 Headquarters for the 37th Solar Stormtroopers, Circa 4588, Mercury

“You stand accused of Section 2115 – Drunk on Duty,  Private Bar12 Bacc. What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I hope I have a good lawyer!”

The three judge jury looked down at the squat, ungainly, figure of Private Bar12 Bacc and simultaneously wondered how he ever got into the Solar Stormtroopers. His slovenly appearance was an affront to the fleet.

He was short, even by Mercurian standards. Bar12 wasn’t recruiting poster material in anyone’s army. He enjoyed playing pranks, drinking, telling jokes, and chasing females. His ability to down great quanties of liquor made from Neptunian grapes, was legendary throughout the fleet.

So how did a slob like Bar12 Bacc get into the Imperial Star Fleet? The answer was stunningly unimpressive; his wealthy parents bribed the Supreme Commander to take their wayward son into military service for 20 years.

It was only a year into the arrangement when Bar12 was busted for drinking on duty. He was lectured, fined, and told to never do it again. The said that the second time too. And the third.

Now, as the jury of three looked at him they were faced with a tough decision, the penalty for defying the rules was death. But when the star fleet lawyer told them they couldn’t kill Bar12 because the Supreme Commander said so, they sought a creative way out of the situation.

Bar12 had to be made an example of. Military disipline demanded it. It took the judges three days to come up with a solution. They would exile Bar12 for life to another planet in the solar system.

They picked earth at the time mankind was beginning to emerge from mud huts to building great mounds. The primitive planet would be a safe place to send him. When the verdict was given to Bar12 he blinked stupidly.

He was allowed to bring a small memento with him to his new home. After the spacecraft dropped him off in a country called Italy, he pulled out his momento. A dozen seeds from his favorite Neptunian vineyards.

He quickly planted them in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Alsace. His new earth name was Bacchus, and his vineyards soon become the stuff of legends. So did he. His ability to drink any wine and party hearty was seen as a good thing among his Roman followers.

At some point in time they called him a god.

To underscore the influence of Bar12’s amazing evolutionary leap in wine making, the techniques used to make the earliest Neptunian/Languedoc wine in the first century A.D. did not change until the 1970’s.

As It Stands, this is my myth about the creation of Bacchus, the God Of Wine.

The Secret Life of Preston Smith

serial_killer_6_26046

“But I lived in a world where you could never want what you wanted out in the open.” –Tayari Jones

At a very early age, Preston Smith (an only child), learned not to tell his parents the truth about everything.

It was pointedly apparent that he not talk about the animals he killed, and how much fun he had when doing it.

When he did, he got into lots of trouble.

That set the stage for the other Preston who was allowed to think or do whatever he wanted – no rules – no lectures. Total freedom. The older he got, the other Preston demanded more time.

Preston was always a good student and got great grades. College came easy for him. He lived on campus, but had no interest in fraternities. Not that he wasn’t social. He had a girlfriend.

She, Laura Lee, even fell in love with him. The other Preston didn’t like her however.

Still, they dated until he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. To celebrate this accomplishment, the other Preston took over and viciously murdered her a week after graduation.

It took Preston two years before he had his own successful practice. His reputation for helping people grew every year. Former patient referrals and word-of-mouth kept him very busy.

At first, both Prestons settled into a comfortable routine working like a well-oiled machine. They delved into patients inner fears like miners in search of gold. It was refreshing to Preston to know he had an excellent reputation.

No one ever linked the bad things that happened to some of the patients to Preston. Why should anyone have reason to be suspicious if one of the nuts killed themselves? If, on a rare occasion police did come by seeking information on a deceased client, Preston always cooperated.

One thing troubled Preston; the other Preston had established complete control when nightfall fell four years into the practice. During the day it was still a joint arrangement. This slow dawning of facts (unequal hours) told him the other Preston was making a move for complete control 24-hours a day.

He knew he was going to die soon.

His father and mother always wanted him to tell the truth. He reflected on his 34-years and what goals he accomplished. Preston wanted to be like normal people, even after he slaughtered his parents, two aunts, and a friend in a night of horror.

It was about freedom. Wasn’t it?

As It Stands, I was shocked at the carnage that one man, Stephen Paddock, created in Las Vegas recently. It made me wonder how many other people are leading “secret lives.”