Good Day. Today’s story took me far longer than I had originally thought it would. I had this idea the other day for some reason about a monster who makes this weird noise, and I thought it would be a good short horror story. However, after I finished writing it I still like it but am not sure how much horror is really there. I thought it would be scarier, however I do think if given more time (like maybe 20-60,000 words more time) it may make a moderately scary novel.

On another note thank you to anyone who has read any of these stories. So far they are a part of the week that I look forward to more and more. We’ve reached number 20 today, the halfway point! Here’s to the next 20. Cheers and Enjoy!

Scrum

Word Count: 989
Writing: 1 hour
Editing: 28 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 28 minutes

 The click of the light switch was loud as a firecracker in the little boy’s ears. He hated the darkness, that terrible thing we call night that comes every day no matter how much you try to wish it away. But he was ready tonight—or as ready as a scared little boy can be.

There were no windows in Harold’s room and when the lights went out, they were gone. Utter blackness. At first it’d been a dream come true for the boy. He liked to pretend it was space and he was traveling across the universe, fighting aliens and saving damsels in distress in billions of different galaxies. What adventures he’d had… at first.

Then they came, the scrum. That’s what he called them, it was the sound they made. A low noise that was almost a grunt, but he could hear the word clearly in their chants; scrum, ssccrruumm, ssssccrruumm.

“Sweet dreams Harold,” his mother said, and just like that the darkness was complete. The last piece fell smoothly into the puzzle, as the hallway light disappeared from the crack under the door.

Harold’s head disappeared beneath the blanket and the boy quickly sealed the edges between the seam of the mattress and box-spring. Once secure, checked, and double-checked, he sat cross-legged in the center of his bed so that none of the edges would escape their holdings and expose him to the infinite darkness of his bedroom.

He took deep, slow breaths, trying to calm the thunderous beating that emitted from his chest before they heard it. To his left—at the foot of the bed—were his weapons. A flashlight, aluminum baseball bat, Swiss army knife, and his trusty second-in-command, Sergeant Spongebear, keeping watch over it all. He ached to turn on the flashlight, but it had to be saved, all he could do now was wait and listen.

There was something strange about sitting in complete dark silence. If you let yourself you could forget which way was up, and which way was down. Becoming a piece of the unseen for short time. Harold thought that maybe when he’d been playing in the wild dark worlds of his imagination, something may have hopped a ride back with him and Sergeant Spongebear.

The quiet seemed to go on forever, and the thought that tonight would be different—scrum free—crossed his mind, but he knew better. He wouldn’t be tricked into taking down the protective blanket barrier, not this time. If they wanted him tonight, they’d have to come and get him.

Kkkccchhhttt, kkkccchhhttt. A long scraping noise ruined all the hard work he’d done on controlling the rhythm of his heart—it pounded now, and threatened to beat its way right up and out the boy’s throat. They were almost here, the scraping along the walls and floor was like the welcoming bell in school, on time every day. A tear fell from his eye as the fear began to spread its dark roots deeper and deeper into his small body. Harold tried not to think of what he would see this time when the blanket was thrown down. It changed all the time always seeming to stem from one of the boy’s deepest fears… but worse.

He hoped it wouldn’t be the zombies again but he was ready if it was. They were a new one, his dead, moderately dismembered parents and siblings, moving toward him ready to gorge on the sweet young flesh of their little Harold. That had been the worst night, besides the scrum monsters.

Sssssssscccrrruuummm.

His body froze, but the room was getting hot. As much as he wished to believe it was from his rapid breath underneath the sealed blanket, lying to himself would do no good. It always got hot when they arrived. He looked at Sergeant Spongebear and slowly raised his right hand pressing his index finger over his lips for the bear to see. His other hand reached toward the foot of the bed, the weapons supply, and wrapped around the handle of the bat. He fought the trembling that tried to take hold of his body while frightened tears flowed freely from his eyes. There was no other time in his short life where he had been so scared. So alone.

When the scrum had first come to his room Harold told his parents, but they acted as all parents do when children are afraid. They said it was nothing to be afraid of, that it was just nightmares and they would pass before he knew it.

“Be brave big guy,” his father had said one night with a kiss on the head.

He heard more slow scraping across the floor, making its way up the walls and onto the ceiling. It would only be a few more minutes now. The palm of his left hand squeezed so tightly around the bat, Harold thought his knuckles may start glowing.

Ssssscccccrrrrruuuuummmmm. Ssscccrrruuummm. Ssccrruumm.

They were almost all there, almost as many as they should be, but it’s still not time. One is missing, he knows it by the sound of its scrum. The Scrum King Harold calls him.

It was never like the others, whether they were giant spiders, monsters, snakes, or zombies. This one stayed at the back, a black shadow with dull, glowing red eyes. It watched as if the whole production was merely a show, and though it had no face aside from the eyes, Harold knew it was smiling.

He pulled the bat closer as he felt something land on his bed at the pillow.

SSSCCCRRRUUUMMM.

It’s here. The darkness outside the blanket is now one long, echoing scrum. The blanket at the foot of the bed sagged inward just in front of Sergeant Spongebear.

Now!” Harold yelled, and he charged into the scrum bravely.

 
 
Happy Wednesday everybody. So I wrote this yesterday and ran out of time before work to send it out. Until I re-read it and edited it I didn’t care for it too much. But after going back through it I actually think I enjoyed the exploration of a future not so far away. Give it a read and let me know what you think. Enjoy.

 2050
Word Count: 985
Writing: 1 hour 3 minutes
Editing: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 23 minutes

A warm, heavy breeze blew his dark hair as the sour stink of too many humans combined with decades of super-pollution clogged his nostrils. He stared down from the rooftop, watching the non-stop stream of car lights fly by like slow lasers. Normally he didn’t come to the future, it made him too emotional, especially this close to his own time.

Humanity was truly an incredible thing, he liked this roof-top when he wanted to reflect or just needed a break from a job. It was nowhere around a giant landmark, or around some jaw-dropping beauty, just a downtown building in the never sleeping world.

He thought about his little boy, the main reason he didn’t like the 2050’s. The world had changed so much and so little all at the same time. It looked a little fancier, holograms, zippy cars that drove themselves, people moving down sidewalks without needing to walk, many of the things engineers and scientist were currently working on in his own time. At first he was relieved he hadn’t landed in a nuclear wasteland, or disease ridden Earth that only provided a few resilient humans with life. Though instead, the Earth was full, packed to capacity with plants, animals, and humans.

The man got up and began walking down the fire-escape on the side of the building. Everything was opened twenty-four hours a day in the future. There were too many people to be up and about at the same time, so the government issued a curfew depending on your employment. Though from what he’d seen it wasn’t strictly enforced.

His feet hit the alleyway that looked so strange next to the enclosed moving sidewalks. The air was thicker on the ground, it’d made him woozy the first time he’d visited the future. In the enclosement around the sidewalks, cool, fresh air flowed through vents and was welcome in his lungs. The tubes were installed in the thirties when speed limits had to be increased to unclog the roads. People regularly gave him strange looks when he walked down the sidewalk that was meant to be stood on. Walking was a thing of the past.

No one read books anymore nor did they crane their necks downward to stare at their cell phones like the people of his time. Everything was holograms worn directly on top of the eyeball like a contact lens. If one were to look at a person and didn’t know about these lenses, humanity would appear to be talking to the air and waving their hands and arms around like lunatics. After all, it’s what he’d first thought.

His stop was just up ahead and he decided he would let the sidewalk do what it was meant to and stopped walking. He wasn’t excited for this appointment, maybe it was because he didn’t understand the reasoning behind the job; maybe he was just uncomfortable in this time, either way it didn’t feel right. The faster he could get it over with the faster he could get back home. Maybe he would ask the boss to only go back to the past for a little while, he loved the medieval era.

Stepping off the moving sidewalk to his right, he was standing at the entrance to an upscale apartment building. The buzzer screen brightened as he moved onto the landing.

“Good afternoon. Tenant or visitor?” A faceless female voice asked.

“Visitor,” he said slightly annoyed. For as fast as the future moved the simple things seemed to take forever.

“Name, please,”

“Adam Evens,” he replied.

“Where shall I direct your call, Mr. Evens?”

“Mrs. Margarie Bouferot, apartment 10F.”

“Thank you,” said the woman’s voice and the screen went blank as the buzzer called the apartment.

“Come on up dear,” said an older woman’s voice and Adam heard the lock on the building’s door release. His heart began to race as he walked into the elevator and pushed the button on the display, which currently had the weather and other breaking daily news scrolling across the top and appearing to pop out of the wall.

The elevator doors opened and he walked down the hall to Maragarie’s apartment. 10F’s door was cracked and he pushed it opened to find her sitting at the living room table with two steaming cups of coffee.

“Have a seat,” she said and waved an opened hand at the chair across from her. He walked slowly over to the chair, fighting the feeling of surreality that was rapidly trying to consume him.

“It’s good to see you,” he said genuinely. He looked at the woman’s sixty-year-old face. They had never been friends by any means, but she’d always been nice to him.

“It’s nice to see you too,” she said with a small, sad smile. They sat silently sipping their coffee, for an amount of time that could have been an eternity, Adam wouldn’t have known.

“Well,” he said startled by the amount of emotion he heard in his voice, “I guess we should get this over with.” The woman across the table tilted her coffee back and swallowed the last bit. She stared into the cup longingly,

“I will miss the coffee,” she said bringing her eyes back up to meet Adams. He stood from his seat and his eyes watered.

“No,” he said, “you won’t.” He pulled the scrambler from his coat—a device that looked like nothing more than mere headphones.

“They say it doesn’t hurt,” she said hopefully as Adam placed the mind-destroying instrument over Margarie’s ears.

“You won’t feel a thing,” he said. The scrambler was secure and all that was left was to flip the switch.

“It was nice to know you,” said Adam.

“You as well,” Margarie replied through silent tears. Adam smiled, flipped the switch to the side that read ON, and walked out of the front door as Margarie Bouferot convulsed on the ground.

 
 
I thought the idea of machines enslaving us by destroying the part of the brain that is responsible for creativity was a cool idea. I kind of looked into it here. I hope everyone’s Monday has been relatively painless and hope you enjoy the story. Cheers.

Imagination
Word Count: 974
Writing: 1 hour
Editing: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

He stared at the machine across the table.

“Mr. Agoniamitie, how are you feeling today?” A calm metallic voice softly escaped the speaker. The probes stuck to the man’s bald head were as invisible as the nose in front of his face after all this time.

“Fantastic,” he said without emotion. The gray room buzzed lightly with the occasional flicker of unseen switches, inside the many machines lining the walls. Small beeping red and green lights, and the flicker of the single fluorescent bulb above had made him queasy the first few times. Now they were as invisible as the probes, all he could see was the robot across the table.

“Have you reconsidered joining the human workforce?” Its voice seemed gentle underneath the long thin camera with the steadily flashing green light. Once a week, for twenty-five years he’d attended this meeting. They called the robots Negotiators, their one primary duty was talking humans into giving up their imaginations and joining the workforce. Mr. Agoniamitie was the oldest human in the camps as far as he knew. Most normally broke after a year or two, sometimes the really stubborn ones would last five.

The machines claimed that without the imagination humans were as harmless as sheep, and they listened nearly as well. In the beginning plenty opposed, but they quickly thinned out. Years alone in the dark will do that to most people. It was always funny to Mr. Agoniamitie how they did it, convinced people to so easily give up their creativity. Trap a human with only their own imagination as company for years; and out they come ready to be rid of it completely.

“I have not today, nor will I next week, or the week after,” said the man and a chill danced over his skin. The gray room was cool to keep the machines from overheating and even after so many years he’d not grown used to it.

“Why do you still resist? Life our way is not as bad as you seem to think, many would say they are even happier than before,” said the Negotiator.

“Is this the argument you’ll be using today?” Asked Mr. Agoniamitie. Though the machines were super intelligent—they had managed to overthrow mankind as if they were nothing more than a small ant colony after all—the Negotiator seemed to only have a certain amount of programmed arguments. After the fifteenth year, Mr. Agoniamitie never heard a new one. He took a deep breath of the cool air and closed his eyes. He liked the way the silicon and metal smelled, it reminded him of being a boy in his third-grade computer class.

“No argument Mr. Agoniamitie, simple curiosity.”

“So it is the argument you want to go with today,” he opened his eyes and sighed. “Very well then.” He leaned forward staring hard at the flashing green light and thought about what approach he would take to the argument this time. It’d become a game to him, seeing what different outcomes were possible with each argument. He didn’t know if he felt like playing this week though, and his mind wandered to being back in his cell with his imaginary adventures for another week.

“Do you ever think about what it would be like to have an imagination of your own? To create things that may be seen as illogical for the simple fact that you can?” He’d asked similar questions before and knew what the Negotiator would say before he even started to speak.

“It would be a complete waste of time and resources. Humanity single-handedly almost destroyed the Earth in just a few short millennia. Now the Earth thrives and peace reigns over all its animals.” Mr. Agoniamitie had to stop himself from repeating the speech out loud as it played in his own mind.

“What is it you plan to accomplish?” One more question and their meeting should be adjourned for the week. This was a tried and true path to getting back to his cell. Mr. Agoniamitie hated the, humans are happier now, argument. It bored him.

“The mission is to colonize and discover new life and planets in the solar system without draining the Earth of its resources. Therefore providing the planet and its inhabitants the strength and opportunity to survive and grow. As you well know.” Again the speech played through his mind and he fought to control his lips.

“What if,” he paused and a smile spread across his face, “this is all a story, made up by some man in the sky? What if every time you bring me here, it’s the same time over, and over again? Forever and ever. You and I Negotiator, until the end of time.” His face beamed at the machine as its green light turned red and stopped blinking. Mr. Agoniamitie heard the door open behind him and felt the probes being removed from his head.

“Status on Mr. Agoniamitie is still highly unstable, demonstrating deeply concerning imaginative behavior. Recommend continued confinement.” The Negotiator’s voice was no longer soft and calm, it was a robot voice, emotionless and dead. The man was lifted to his feet.

“See you next week,” said Mr. Agoniamitie as he turned and followed the security bots to his left and right.

The smile illuminated their path as they walked down the long, gray metal hallway. But Mr. Agoniamitie was never walking down that dreary prison walk. Instead he began his weekly adventures, out to the Atlantic with treasure-hunting pirates, or dragon hunting with ancient knights and wizards. Or some days he simply went home, back to the time when he was a boy and people controlled the computers—not the other way around. No matter where he went though, as long as Mr. Agoniamitie had his imagination, he would always be smiling.  

 
 
Good Wednesday World! Sorry for the delay a second week in a row. Fail. Anyway Things should be getting back on track this week so look for the next story on Monday around noon. This one is not my favorite one in the book. I wanted to explore a dystopian world and so that’s what I did. I hope you enjoy.

 Shambles

Word Count: 940
Writing: 58 minutes
Editing: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 18 minutes

Shambles was the only word for what had once been the greatest race of mammals the Earth had seen. He wondered what would come next, perhaps another form of similar animals to the humans, maybe even better. Hopefully better. The red apple was crisp as he bit through the juicy skin, and he chewed with a merry discontent as he walked through the vacant street.

It had been a long time since he’d seen another—living—human being, and with each passing day he thought more and more that he may be the last. He chuckled to himself taking another bite of the apple, and still so young, he thought to himself. Who could’ve thought it would all come crashing down so quickly? How long had it been now? Twenty, twenty-five years? Twenty-five sounded about right, but he hadn’t given time much thought in the last decade at least.

He still remembered where he was when it happened, he’d never forget. The groceries were piled up, bagged, and ready to go at the end of the conveyor belt. He swiped his debit card through the small terminal, declined. Again, declined. What was going on? He knew there was plenty of money for the groceries in his bank account and then some. The supermarket grew loud around him and it seemed other people were having the same issues. Quickly he pulled out his phone to check his bank account, but there was no signal.

“You fuckin’ deal with it then, this is bullshit! I’m taking my food and going, you all can come and get my money when your system fixed!” One man yelled at a cashier. The rest of the customers voiced their approval for this man’s initiative and people started to grab their bags of groceries and head for the doors. He remembered looking back down at the word, searching, where the bars on his cell phone used to be and feeling like something had changed forever.

That feeling never left, and his bars never came back, nor did his or anyone else’s money. Cash quickly became a precious commodity, then more quickly became obsolete. As far as he knew they’d never found any explanation as to what it was that killed the satellite signals around Earth. There was speculation of all kinds from aliens to sabotage by one of Earth’s many governments. It didn’t really matter what the motive was to him though, it couldn’t change the fact that it had led to the last world war and the apocalypse so many had predicted since the beginning of time.

First, the United States declared the attack on the world’s satellite signals a combined effort by hackers from the Middle East and North Korea. Which led to the unanimous world decision that they should no longer be tolerated, and the nukes were dropped. But not in time to stop the Korean biological bombs that wiped out the planet, a strain of the flu with a ninety-nine percent mortality rate. For years after, the few people left on the Earth formed small bands and gangs, waging war on each other over trivial things, helping to further the extinction of the human race.

He looked at the broken ruins around him and took another bite of his apple. The irony was literally sweet in his mouth as he chewed the last bite and threw the core to the ground. How could something as small as an apple seem to survive the test of time, yet these structures and things humanity created couldn’t make it for thirty years after the money dried up? He wondered if, when scientists and computer engineers were working in whatever small white room he was sure they’d been in, they had any notion the monster they were creating called the “internet,” would one day have the power to destroy all that civilization had worked so hard on, for so many thousands of years.

As a boy, he’d been briefly fascinated with stories of the apocalypse and predictions of future doom. But never had they been anything more to him than fantastical stories, myths of the new millennia. Yet here he was, standing alone in the ruins of the American civilization. The main character of his own myth. And what would the next race say about their ancestor’s the humans? The once great and powerful people that killed themselves in less than a century, with a swift and graceful swipe of the blade.

There was a bench up ahead and he decided to take a seat and rest his feet. Despite the doom that peppered the face of the Earth at every turn, the sun was out and the temperature was nice. He closed his eyes and let his other senses take over. The breeze blew across his face and carried the scent of green trees from somewhere in the distance. On the insides of his eyelids, he watched memories from the past, stories from a life that most days he was no longer sure he hadn’t fabricated, simply to combat his loneliness. All the same he liked to watch them, like the movies of old.

Sometimes he wondered what life may have turned out like that day if his card had swiped, if his phone had never been searching. Maybe he would have a wife and kids, a family. Or maybe he would’ve gone on to be famous or change the world. Like a child’s fantasies, he would let his mind wander on occasion to these wonderful places. Though, each time, he knew when he opened his eyes again, he was sure to be among the shambles. 

 

    40,000: A Rough Draft

    Welcome to my collection of forty Scifi, Horror, and Fantasy short stories. Every Wednesday during the year 2015, I wrote a new one thousand-word short story in one hour, gave myself thirty minutes to edit, then published it here. 

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