So, this week has been an adventure for me for reasons I’ll keep to myself. That being said, part of this idea came from an unsettlingly vivid dream I had last night. But I think this might be one of my favorite stories thus far and probably will grow into something more. I hope you enjoy. Next week I should be back to posting on Wednesday. Thanks for your patience. Happy Thursday.

Testing

Word Count: 1256
Writing: 1 hour 2 minutes
Editing: 13 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

 
“After this we’re done. True blue officers of the law,” said Jeremy.

“If we make it,” replied Paul solemnly. The two walked through the large grayish-white stone archway, into a wide open room of the same stone from floor to ceiling. In the middle of the room were two stone benches with green bushes on either side. As the two men neared the benches Jeremy couldn’t help wonder how the bushes were staying alive in this room with its man-made fluorescent lighting, and no natural sunlight.

“We’re gonna make it man. We’ve already proven that we’re not like the rest.” As Jeremy spoke he saw Paul’s face drop and said a silent prayer for the man. The entrance tests had been hard on him, they were designed to make one face their demons and determine whether or not a man would be able to stand strong against the threats of greenies. And it seemed Paul had many more demons than most.

They’d started training with ten other cadets only a week earlier, but to the men it was a lifetime ago. Heart was what the recruiters called the first test. It was designed to see if when push came to shove, a man would make the right decision. Each cadet was escorted to a solitary confinement that was then filled with hallucinogenic gas designed to bring one’s deepest desires to life—for many men it was family or loved ones that would appear. Then the challenge came, it was about protecting humanity no matter what, even if it meant the cadet would have to kill the things he most loved. Which it normally did. Half the class didn’t make it past day one.

The next test was Body. All the men had assumed this would be the easiest and some had even gone so far as to call it a “free pass” test. Jeremy saw the smiles on the recruiters faces when they heard that and immediately knew, no matter what the test entailed, nothing about it would be a freebie. Each man was given a piece of sensitive information that was to be for their eyes only, no matter what. Then the torture started. Three days, multiple increasingly sick methods of “information retrieval,” and another three cadets went home.

The final test was Mind, and here the last two cadets stood.

“What do you think we’re supposed to do?” Asked Paul cautiously standing absolutely still as if touching anything may shatter the framework of reality.

“I’m not sure,” said Jeremy, eyes glued on the vibrant green of one of the small shrubs. He couldn’t explain why but it was wrong, the whole place. From the ash white of the walls to the immense green of the shrub, and the more deeply he stared, the more he knew, this would be their hardest test yet.

“Do you think we should sit down?” Asked Paul, glancing at the benches like they were monsters ready to consume him if he accidentally made eye contact.

“Maybe we should…” then it happened. The room spun in their eyes like a man who’s had far too many drinks. Queasiness set in and Jeremy had to fight the urge to vomit. A ringing erupted in his mind and Jeremy closed his eyes while pressing the palms of his hands to his temples. Whatever had hit them hadn’t taken it’s time and come on slowly, it hit them like a truck going down a steep incline at full speed.

“Gentlemen,” it was a woman’s voice, the Instructor. “Welcome to the final test, here we decide if your mind can stand up to the weapons of the greenies. As you know,” Jeremy had to fight to understand the words and momentarily he wondered if Paul was still there with him, but the room spun so vigorously when his eyes opened he dared not look. “A strong mind scrambling effect attacks the human brain when in close contact with the alien life forms. Some men can withstand it while others can’t. In both of your pockets, you will find a permanent marker. The test is quite simple. Anywhere in the room, on any surface, you must write your name three times. You will have two minutes starting now. Begin.”

Jeremy took his hands from his head, still keeping his eyes closed, and pushed himself to his knees. He didn’t know when it happened but at some point he’d fallen into the fetal position. Lifting one hand he reached into his right pocket and pulled out the marker, falling on his head as he did so, unable to hold himself up with his deteriorating motor skills.

“Open your eyes,” he whispered to himself. “Open your eyes!” He said louder and this time forced the lids to separate. The room still spun like a ride at an amusement park. Jeremy used his left hand to try and lift his body again and only resulted in re-slamming his head on the floor.

“Just write,” he said to himself. Forcing his eyes to focus on the marker in his hand he shakily began scrawling letters on the floor. Even in the rotating room he could see the marks he was making were barely legible, but it didn’t matter as long as they read his name three times in a row. After an eternity the buzzer rang, but the room didn’t stop spinning. Jeremy heard footsteps approaching as the marker fell from his hand.

“Tsk, Tsk, we had such hope in you.” The disappointment was surprising.

“Huh?” Jeremy managed to get past his lips. “But, I wrote my name,” he said, “three times, like you said,” every word was breathy and forced.

“Enough,” she called to the empty room. The feeling began to subside, “Open the door.” Jeremy stared at the eerie green of the shrubs as the woman above him came into focus.

“Cadet, can you tell me your name?” Asked the woman in a more kind voice than he’d heard since the training started.

“Of course,” the words were less breathy and talking became easier. “My name is Jeremy Caldwell.”

“And where do you think you are right now?”

“I’m finishing the final test of the mind for entrance into the force.”

“This is going to be hard for you to hear but in an hour I promise you’ll be okay. I need you to open your eyes.” Jeremy was confused, his eyes were open, weren’t they?

Then everything faded the white stone melted into the padded room of his solitary confinement. The gas. The memories. It all came back to him in a rush and he saw a woman standing in an open doorway.

“Now again Cadet, what is your name?” She asked again soothingly. Tears welled in his eyes, and his heart dropped to the pit of his stomach.

“My name is Paul Caldwell.”

“Yes and where are you?”

“I think,” he sniffled hard, “I think I just failed the first test, Heart.”

“Yes Cadet, you are correct. And who is Jeremy Caldwell?” She asked. Paul remembered his brother well, he was the whole reason he was here.

“My baby brother, he died two years ago and I swore I would make this happen for him.” Paul cried harder, he thought he was over the death of his brother, but it appeared his demons still had a hold on him.

“Very good cadet, there is always next year. Take your time to gather your thoughts and when you’re ready we can escort you to your ride.” 

 
 
So, this story came from something I read about being able to modify human embryos to give them specific eye colors, physical attributes, etc. Sorry for the delay, work has been busy lately. Happy Saturday, enjoy.

Unlucky

Word Count: 916
Writing: 1 hour
Editing: 11 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 11 minutes

Tay stared out the window into the rain and watched as Natalie got into the car with her new family. This was one of the worst day’s he’d had at the Dump in his short life. Not only was his best friend driving out of his life forever, he couldn’t help but hate her a little for it. Which, in turn, made him hate himself for the thought and only brought on more tears. Inside, he was truly happy for his friend that she’d been chosen, and by what looked like such nice people. That couldn’t stop his own selfish jealousy from clouding his mind, though. He’d wanted to be chosen.

Tay turned from the window and his eyes fell on the picture of Natalie in his hand. He smiled lightly and the salt from his tears seasoned his tongue. The thirteen-year-old girl that stared up at the boy had long brown hair and wise emerald eyes. He dropped the picture in his lap and stared across the room at himself in the mirror. The longer he stared, the more he accepted the truth. This was his home.

Mother Mary’s House of God and Place for Lost Children—or the Dump as the children called it—was a place where the genetically modified babies and children went when they weren’t born to specifications. Tay was supposed have been a medium sized baby, with two ocean blue eyes, and a head of brown hair. Whoever his parents had been apparently were surprised when he was born with brown, Asian eyes and stunningly blonde hair. They didn’t even give him a trial period like most of the other disappointed parents. It was straight to the dump.

Year after year he watched his friends disappear to the homes of strangers who wanted a child to love for whatever reason. But no one cared to love Tay, at least not past the nuns who were forced to by money or God. And why would they? The others looked like normal children, they simply weren’t the children the parents had designed and paid for.

Rage was darkening the boys mind and he fought the urge to throw his alarm clock at the feeble, crying image in the mirror. At least he had his own room to do it in, that was one consolation to being a Dump veteran. There was one room in the house that had a single bed and was meant for only one person, his room. Others were crammed with four to nine boys and girls, all sleeping stacked on bunks. Tay had been in the single room for so long he barely remembered sleeping on the bunk beds.

He closed his eyes and let his imagination wander. Natalie used to tell him about the rebels in the cities who were fighting to destroy all of the Baby Gen facilities. Tay remembered the excitement on her face and in those deep green eyes when she told him that they would join the fight one day. Together they would help all the kids like them and create a world where there were no dump babies ever again. When Tay would ask her where she was getting all of her sensitive information from—considering television and internet were banned in their house—she would get a sly look in her eyes and say,

“I have my sources.”

Tay smiled and wondered if one day they would see each other again. At the rebel headquarters, side by side, fighting for all those children born to the wrong specifications. An excited anger grew in his belly and he watched his adult self in his mind, clear as if it had happened yesterday and was no more than a fond memory. Natalie fought fiercely and he covered her back. They waged war through eerie labs, full of strange looking embryos in test tubes.

The thought made him sick and he wished he was holding the gun physically at that moment, executing each and every scientist that brought these unlucky children into the world. Because that’s what all dump babies were; innocent, and completely unlucky.

In his mind, Natalie led them down a metal hallway, where bodies lay in piles so thick the only option was stomping on top and over them. They ducked into a room as a new wave of mad scientists and military soldiers began firing at them. They stared at each other silently, no need to speak, they simply nodded, shared one kiss, and rounded the corner, gun’s blazing.

Tay opened his eyes. He was smiling and he looked down at the picture of his friend one more time before putting it in the drawer of his nightstand. The boy in the mirror stared out at him and they nodded at each other as their eyes met. Natalie had always told him he had the most unique eyes in the world and that anyone who couldn’t see that he was one of a kind, didn’t deserve to call him family. She’d always been good at comforting him after someone else was chosen by new parents.

With each passing year, though, it became clearer that Tay was just not the type of boy a couple wanted to care for. And as he stared at himself in the mirror he accepted the fact that he was to be a dump baby for the rest of his childhood. Until then all he could do was remember his friend, and plan for the future. 

 
 
Good Day Everyone. Happy Wednesday. This story is kind of dark and I flew through the writing. I don’t know if it’s because I was distracted or if it’s just an easy to write story. Anyway as always all thoughts are welcome. Enjoy!

Jerry Colt

Word Count: 1059
Writing: 55 minutes
Editing: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 7 minutes

 
The wailing sirens were getting louder by the second and the man’s heart fluttered instinctually as he drank his Guinness. It seemed the longer he was out of the game, the more he wanted to jump at the sounds of distress. But that life was over now, an earlier chapter in a dwindling book. Nobody knew, nor did they care who Jerry Colt was and that’s how he liked it. There’d only been one person in his life who’d ever really cared about him—but that was an earlier chapter too. Or maybe he was still living it.

The noise seemed to remain at a steady scream outside the bar, and Jerry thought that whatever was happening couldn’t be more than a block away. Again, that pang like a vicious hunger rang out through his muscles. He swallowed the rest of the beer in a swift three gulps.

“Another,” he said meeting the bartenders eyes and raising his glass. He relaxed and his eyes were warming up from the inside out as the buzz began to take hold of his senses. Just the way he liked it, and before the day was over he’d be so roaring drunk he wouldn’t be able to think about anything at all. Let alone the hero he’d once been.

“The one you could still be.”

“Shut up!” He said out loud dropping his head into the palms of his hands. It was her voice. It was always her voice. Jerry knew she’d balk at the sight of him now, the shell of the man he’d been during their brief love. He knew she would tell him to put on that suit and finish what he started.

“They need you, Jerry.” It was as crisp as if she was sitting right next to him. The words made his stomach turn with guilty-sadness and he thought he may vomit.

“Hey bud, you alright?” Jerry looked up to see the bartender placing his beer on the already damp coaster.

“Yeah, sorry. Long week.” His voice was weak and empty, not even comparable to the booming voice he’d wielded only months before. Jerry thought about his suit, the all black thing he’d worn so many times, with the wide eyes he’d build on the head to illuminate the night—it’s why they’d called him the Alien—and laughed. If only all the crooked politicians and self-proclaimed super villains knew, that in a shit-hole dive bar on the bad side of town, they could find the Alien, Jerry Colt, hammered and vulnerable.

“It would do wonders for the business here,” he muttered to himself, smirking as he surveyed the mostly empty room. He hadn’t heard the sirens stop but at some point during his thinking they’d been replaced by a muffled voice of authority. Jerry looked out the front window of the bar and could see the reflection of blue and red. He took a big swig from the glass and imagined busting out of the doors and charging to the scene. After all, couldn’t he do by himself what thirty or more cops could accomplish together?

Jerry turned back to the bar, there was no more helping people, no more powers, no more Alien. The people of the dying city would have to fend for themselves, it was natural selection. Who was he to keep getting in its way? No one stopped him from walking into that cave, nor did anybody say, “Don’t touch that weird looking piece of metal.” It just happened. That’s the way life works, and in the end, everyone gets death as a prize for participation.

A gunshot echoed outside and Jerry jumped to his feet. He stood there, hand on his beer, staring out the front window. The yearning inside of him was pulling at his guts as if he was magnetized to the commotion.

“Hey man, you should just sit down and relax, shit like this happens all the time, it’ll all be over soon enough,” the bartender said. Jerry swallowed the remaining suds in the pint glass and turned holding it up to the young man.

“Another,” he said as he put the empty glass down on the soft coaster and took his seat. His head was swimming and he was confused. It felt like the angel and the devil that typically lived on his shoulders, were waging a war that was taking place throughout every part of his body. A ball was winding in his stomach that he was afraid may explode at any second, and when that happened, who knew what he would do.

“I think this’ll have to be your last, my friend,” said the bartender looking suspiciously at the deranged drunkard in front of him. Jerry nodded and waved him away without saying a word, he was used to being cut off, it was a daily occurrence in his life.

More gunfire sang outside and with each loud explosion he felt like the bullets were tearing through his soul. He took a deep gulp of the frothy beverage, if he could just get a little more drunk this would all leave him be, at least for a little while. As he set the glass down, the front window shattered inward as the bodies of two police officers came sailing through. One man was dead, and the other crawled toward Jerry on his stomach. The glass cut his palms and his face was mangled by many beatings.

“Help me,” he spat through blood. Jerry couldn’t understand the words, but he knew what the man said, it was what all men say when they meet death. A man appeared in the window, he was large and covered in all black including a black ski mask. He drew a gun and walked in the building to where the cop was crawling.

“I’m sorry,” Jerry said as a tear fell from his eye. He turned back to the bar and drank the remaining drop of alcohol in his glass as a gunshot went off beside him.

He wished he could’ve helped, he really did. But the Alien was dead and gone, he escorted his love into the afterlife and that’s where he would remain. An old chapter, steadily forgotten with each passing stroke of the clock. All that was left now was a sad and drunk man, named Jerry Colt.

 
 
I had a really hard time getting started today and deleted three story openings before I decided on this one. I wanted to add an element of horror to this one and was generally just kind of in the mood to write a sad story. As always I welcome comments. Hope you enjoy. Happy Wednesday!

Sheriff

Word Count: 1106
Writing: 1 hour 5 minutes
Editing: 24 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 29 minutes

Sadness echoed through the boy’s heart like screams in the dungeon. He stared at the blood that soaked into the wooden floor of his house. It was ironic he thought, that the same floor his father had worked so hard on, had put his own blood, sweat, and tears into, now once again soaked them up. Preston tried to tell himself it was his fault, tried to take responsibility for his families slaughter by attributing it to his absence. But he knew the truth. Had he been with them when the endo’s showed up his body would lie next to the rest.

He stared at the badge in his hand, an ancient relic that had been passed down in his family through time. Sheriff, read the badge; his family name. Sworn protectors of the weak and defenders of the realm. Timeless warriors who kept the good people safe for as far back as history could remember.

Preston put the badge in his pocket and calmly walked over to his father’s body. His long hair covered the partially exploded face and that was fine with the boy. It almost made him look like he was alive; almost. The people were waiting for him to come out and address them, their new leader. He always knew he would follow in his father’s footsteps, he just hadn’t known it would be after only twelve years on the Earth.

It’d been three days, at first he hadn’t known what to do, he just sat and cried. It was what he still really wanted to do, maybe forever. But his father taught him about a man’s responsibilities and more, the responsibility of a Sheriff. Preston was a born leader, with or without a family.

The little boy blinked away tears as he lifted the heavy dead weight of his father and began to drag him to the back door. That’s where the mortician would pick up the bodies when the time came. As he walked through the kitchen his family had eaten so many meals in, he heard a rustling moan coming from the basement and his heart leapt to his throat. Not yet, he said to himself. Preston had to deal with his family first, then would go downstairs.

He dropped his father by the backdoor gently without looking at what was left of the man’s face and turned quickly to go grab the next body. Mom. The bloody trail that was left from moving the body reminded Preston of the snails he’d been happily playing with only a few days prior. When everything was normal and his family was still alive.

His mother was on her belly in the living room and it made him happy he wouldn’t have to see her face either. She lay on her handmade purple carpet that was now a crusty brownish black. At least she died in the place she most loved, thought Preston. He grabbed her feet around the ankles in the crooks of his elbows and began dragging the body. She was a petite woman and moving her felt like moving a feather compared to his father.

At the back door, he looked away as best he could while he propped his mother against the wall next the man she loved. More muffled noises were climbing the basement stairs and there was a flash of anticipation in the boy’s belly. He had to fight the urge to run down the stairs right that second. Family first. Preston quickly turned and followed the snail trail back to the foyer where his father had lay. The last body was in the room to his left, the playroom.

He stared through the open doorway and the pain in his torso almost knocked him to his knees. It was a combination of every bad emotion he’d ever been taught words for and at that moment he didn’t want to be a man. He didn’t want to be Preston Sheriff, son of Paul and the next protector of the people. He wanted to cry into his father’s shoulder while he told him everything would be all right. But he knew that wasn’t an option. That life was as dead as the little girl in the next room, and Preston took a deep breath before he walked through the doorway.

There was no way to avoid her empty gaze, it was why he’d chose to get her last. The tears raced down his cheeks as he walked toward his little sister. She sat in her favorite spot under the window, her white dress a dark red from the single hole through her chest. It took everything inside of the boy to hold back the sobs, at least until he carried her to the back door with the rest of the family. Her body was the lightest of all, but the heaviest for the boy to carry. He tried not to look at her face, but it was no use. The two stared at each other, eye to eye, until he set her down by the door with the rest of his family.

More noise came from the basement and this time he let the anger free. Turning quickly he stared at the basement door listening to cries from below. He felt a smile spread across his face, it was a sinister expression he’d never worn before. Preston stood and basked for a moment in the pain that tormented the endo below before walking down the stairs.

The man was tied up and slumped over with a large multicolored bruise on his head where Preston had hit him with the baseball bat.

“Hello,” said the boy in a wavy voice. “You killed my dad.” It was all he could think to say.

The man hadn’t had food or water for three days and could only make weak gargling noises. Preston didn’t mind, though, he hadn’t come to talk with the man. He walked over his father’s sword and drew it from its sheath. Guilt was trying to creep into the excited vengeance that brewed in his stomach. This wasn’t what his father would do, Sheriff’s were supposed to forgive and seek fair trial for all. But his father taught him well, and he knew that sometimes as a man one had to make hard decisions.

Preston stared at his reflection in the shining metal, but the boy who had been there only days before couldn’t be found. He turned to the endo gang member who met his eyes, and Preston smiled at the fear he saw there. His decision was made, and there would be no fair trial.

 

    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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