I went to the zoo earlier this week and I started thinking about what it would be like if the animals went crazy and broke out of their cages. This is it. Please Enjoy.

The Zoo

Word Count: 972
Writing: 53 minutes
Editing: 16 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 9 minutes

The air was stale and thick, pressing down into the family’s lungs with force. It should be one of the most exciting days of the little boy’s young life, but something was off. Even the majestic creature beyond the cold glass couldn’t take his mind off the eeriness of the world around him. King Cobra or Snake Eater, the sign read. It was his favorite of the all the snakes, he’d been excited to be standing in this very spot for a month. Though now that the time had come, all he could feel were pangs of anxiety.

Meeting the eyes of the Cobra beyond the glass, the little boy wondered if the snake knew he was staring at him. The Cobra began moving, raising its head slowly and the boy took a step toward the moving his head forward until his nose was touching the display. Somewhere in the background he could hear his parents calling to him, but the words were nothing more than distant mumbles. As it rose the snake reminded him of the ones in the movies when the charmer would play music and call it out of its basket. It danced back and forth hypnotically, with its eyes firmly locked on the boys own until finally it stood still and expanded its hood.

His heart pumped and his stomach was slowly dropping as he stared at the creature. Behind him, he could hear the echoes of animals speaking with all the different voices God had given them, and people talking and yelling loudly. Yet, it all seemed to be coming through earmuffs. Once the Cobra’s hood was fully expanded the little boy understood why it had been named the King of snakes. Had he not known better he would’ve thought he was lost in the eyes of the Devil himself.

The Cobra lunged at the glass where the boy’s nose was pressed and it made a loud cracking noise. Falling backward the little boy thought he was going to throw up. Instantly, the invisible earmuffs that had been cloaking the sounds of the zoo fell away. Panic screaming and the sounds of angry animals flooded his mind. He jumped to his feet staring at the broken glass holding in the Snake Eater and again it lunged, cracking the glass in two more places.

As he turned around he saw movement on the ground and joined the rest of the people who ran out of the reptile house as a Green Viper almost slithered over his foot. He looked around in a panic, people were running and shoving each other and there were patches of blood on the ground with bloody footprints leading in every direction.

“Mommy! Daddy!” He screamed. Where could they have gone? Slowly he took a step forward toward the herd of people trying to escape. He knew they wouldn’t have just run away without him, would they? Maybe they couldn’t find him and panicked trying to escape with the rest. Thinking back on the day the little boy couldn’t quite remember the details. It was as if a heavy fog was clouding his short term memory. He thought he could remember walking with them to the reptile room, or had he run off to see the snakes?

From the bushes next to his right something shot out in front of him. The boy turned to run back toward the reptile house before remembering the moving ground-full of venomous snakes. Turning back to face whatever adversary this strange day had placed in his path, he saw a llama chasing the people ahead.

His stomach was threating to eject the hot dog and french fries he’d had for lunch, and the way his heart pounded he thought it may come out with the food. Frightened noises and screams were coming from somewhere behind him, beyond the reptile house, and the panic finally won him over.

Running into the crowd of people, he stared into every face he passed hoping to find the familiar face of his mother or father, side-stepping the large patches of blood as he did so. A little further into the herd of people he had to be careful not to step on the fallen humans who’d not been fast enough and now lay trampled. He was small and quick, making it easy to weave through the frightened people who ran toward the exit gate of the large zoo.

Above his head, he could see giant, colorful birds circling various areas in the park and he was even happier to be near the ground. Close behind him screams erupted and he turned in time to see a gorilla tear a small girl in half and bite off most of her head as if it were a soft piece of candy. There was a sour burn in the back of his throat and he clenched it tightly, as the image of the small girl tearing in two played on repeat in his mind.

He kept moving and that same hazy fog seemed to fall over him, his heart beat harder than it ever had in his short life and he kept putting one foot down after the other, trying to stare into every face he passed. The thought that one of the poor, squished people on the ground could’ve easily been either of his parents had already crossed his mind, but he decided he wouldn’t believe that. He was sure they’d just gotten separated and that all he had to do was make it to the exit and there they’d be, waiting with tears in their eyes.

The little boy continued fighting the nervous urge to vomit as he tried to focus on only his parents, with his instinct and will to survive pushing him forward. Nothing more than a frightened animal among animals.

 
 
I flew through this story. I didn’t feel like it was rushed and I wasn’t trying to write it so fast, it just happened. Which is good because going into it I had zero idea what I was going to write about and thought it was going to be one of those, “Oh shit, I have writer’s block this is going to be a tough one,” days. I leaned a little bit more toward horror this week. I hope you enjoy and thanks for reading. Have a very merry Wednesday.

Mother

Word Count: 1053
Writing: 41 minutes
Editing: 12 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes

The city was so bad, even the animals were mean. It didn’t matter to the young man though, this was where he’d grown up, it was home, and he knew how to handle himself on the streets unlike most of the pilgrims who passed through. Dodging and ducking through the fallen pillars and debris he made his way to the worship center where there would be a parcel of food waiting for him as there was every week. Mother had grown sick years ago when he was only just a boy, but before she had, she’d taught him how to handle himself like a man.

“And what do we do the second we leave the house?” She’d asked him each time they departed on whatever new mission of survival that day held.

“Grab hold tight the handle of my blade, for if it’s a fight they want, we aren’t the ones to be slayed.” He smiled now as he squeezed the very same handle that lay sheathed on his waist. Mother had always made easy rhymes to help him remember the rules and keep safe, and once he’d repeated them to her she always smiled down on him and said with a pat on the head,

“You’re a good boy.”

Some of the older people, his mother included, would tell him stories of the world before it’d changed, but it was always hard for the boy to imagine. For him, it was like trying to imagine one’s own birth, a memory a man could pretend to remember because he knew the mechanics of the situation, but never truly know. From what he’d heard though it’d been a magical place.

Color lit the streets of the city where they lived and people sold amazing mechanical merchandise that had powers beyond his own simple understanding. Men, women and children had parties day and night celebrating nothing more than being alive on the Earth that was. Then the flying people appeared in the sky, and life went dark for the human race.

A noise rattling behind the young man’s left shoulder brought his mind back to reality and away from his memories and legends of old.

“What do we do with our eyes when we walk through the street?” Another of his mother’s questions danced nostalgically through his mind.

“We keep our eyes on the prize, so the gypsy witches don’t pluck them and use them as spies.” In his head, the voice that repeated the rhyme to his mother was not the deep voice of the man he’d become, but the sweet light voice of the boy he still felt he was. Although it’d been some time since he’d come across a gypsy in the streets, he knew they were always there, watching and waiting for some innocent traveler to be moving a bit too absentmindedly.

After another moment of stealthy running he came upon the door of the worship center, and just like every other week he knocked on the door using the heavy piece of metal that had been attached.

“Name?” Came a deep voice that seemed to echo from the sky.

“Son of Theda,” he replied.

“Mother Theda?” Asked the ominous voice.

“Growing stronger by the day,” it was the same as every week for years now. Though the young man had never entered the place of worship his mother had been a member, and the place always took care of its members, after all they were the ones that had once fought the flying people.

Without another word a heavy, wet parcel fell at his feet. There were no more words to be exchanged, the young man grabbed the brown package and turned to run back the he’d come.

“And when do we walk my sweet boy?”

“Never.” The boy replied in his head. This was not a command to be taught with a rhyme, mother had made it clear, to walk, meant to die.

As he ran back the way he came he looked down the street at the horizon. A pilgrim man mother and he had met once told them of something called salvation just beyond the dark and beaten city. It was why strangers even decided to pass through the town.

“The road to heaven is paved with miles of hell,” the strange man had said. The boy hadn’t then nor did he now know what the words meant, and before he could ask, mother had cut the pilgrim down. It was another lesson for the boy, strangers who babble aren’t to be trusted and should be killed on sight.

He smiled as he remembered all the wonderful things his mother had taught him and he rounded the final corner to their house.

“And when we get home what is the final thing we do before leaving the street?” Her voice in his head was magical.

“Turn to make sure we’re not known, and if so draw the blade from the sheath.” It was the final step to ensure their safety and now the young man scanned the street with his back against the heavy wooden door. Once he was satisfied no gypsy witches, pilgrims, or other dangers lurked in the dark he entered the house.

“Mother, I’m home safe with food for the week.” He called running up the stairs and dropped the package on the table where she sat. It was her spot and she’d been there for years.

He shooed the flies that remained away from her body and wished the sickness hadn’t stolen her voice. At first the smell of her was nauseating but now he welcomed it like the aroma of a favored memory.

“Mother will you be eating this week? You’re looking much better.” The exposed teeth and jaw didn’t move and the empty eye sockets told him nothing. He sighed and opened the parcel.

“Very well, maybe next week you will be feeling better until then I will make sure no food goes to waste. After I’m through maybe we can play a game or read a story.” Those were his favorite things to do with mother. And though she wasn’t as interested as she’d once been before the sickness took hold, he knew she enjoyed the activities. After all, they were one of a kind, each other’s forever and ever.   

 
 
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.

 
 
I am running out of time. Sorry to any Scientologists, I’m sure I got something wrong it just don’t have time to check the facts right now. Happy Wednesday all, enjoy. *UPDATE* Sorry I couldn't get this on to the website sooner, I had to work this morning, if you sign up for my newsletter however you are sure to get the stories on time every week. Thanks. *UPDATE*

The Fence

Word Count: 1022
Writing: 1 hour
Editing: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes

 
The smell of rotting flesh was something that accompanied breakfast in his family like a steaming cup of coffee and a piece of fruit. Not that the Abece’s were murderers or kept rotting flesh around the breakfast table itself, the meat was a ways off, tied to the fence that surrounded the perimeter of their farm.

Some of the old books Davey read showed worn pictures and told magnificent stories about ancient people traveling the Earth, attempting to explore every nook and cranny. Most people nowadays—his father included—say that the books claiming to be “history” are nothing more than fairy tales. A past made up by fools for fools, that’s what they called it. The only thing that mattered was the book of Scientology now, all hail L. Ron Hubbard. There is no debate when it comes to its teachings. After all it was the religion born of the apocalypse.

Davey however, could never really get on board with the idea of Scientology. Of course that would never be heard coming from his mouth, to say such things meant death. He preferred the history books he’d collected over the years. Though his father didn’t agree with their teachings, he was an open minded man and told Davey so long as he never strayed from the Scientologist path, he was welcome to read whatever he pleased. So he went to church, confessed regularly to trivial matters, and secretly thought about what the world had really been like before the apocalypse, if that’s even what it truly had been.

His oldest book held the copyright symbol with the numbers 2025 next to it. He’d marveled when he first found it on the internet, after all it was almost one-hundred fifty years old, and bought it immediately. The day it arrived he asked his father to be off farming duty for the afternoon, promising to work later the next day to catch up. His father agreed and the second he saw the courier beyond their fence he dropped his tools and ran to the gate.

The book had a hard cover that looked like it once had a picture on it, but that had faded into time years ago. However, the inside seemed almost perfectly maintained aside from the deeply yellowed edges as if the book had never been opened. It told stories of the world falling into war before the outbreak. Of how ancient human societies reached an age of information, where anything seemed possible. New inventions were flying onto and off of the shelves every day, people cared less and less about their fellow man and more and more about possessions.

The book talked about a disease that had been developed five years prior, it was a mind control agent that heightened all human senses and increased strength. A Super Soldier Serum that would allow men to turn their enemies into mindless drones with incredible strength and use them to their advantage. The serum got out and infected the human population before it was perfected. Scientists were still working out the mind control sequence, and as a result it turned the men and women of the world into vicious killers. Anyone not already infected became at risk of death or sickness, the serum was meant to pass on through blood or saliva to the infected soldier’s comrades. It worked like a charm on every civilian it came in contact with.

Then came the fences, though of course that had been generations ago, his father, and his father before him had always known the fence around the farm. After all the decades of fighting off infected that roamed the open world like packs of murderous animals, it was hard to see the wire mesh through the sun-baked human bones.

His father had taught him as soon as he could speak about the fence. It was the only thing that stood between them and death, and had to be maintained every day. If infected approached they were to be shot to death in the head, collected and brought to the fence to be strung up. There was no way of telling if hanging the bodies was what had protected the Abece family for so many years, but they were still alive, so they kept in with tradition. They also didn’t have the money to spend on high-tech protection like the walls of the city’s or some of the more well-off farmers across the state.

It took Davey some years to get used to the smell of the dead infected. Some days, when it was hot enough, you might be farming and hear the flesh sizzling just over your head. They smelled like baskets of rotting vegetables after a summer storm at first. Rancid, but also with a sweet, almost blueberry note. Then, it was the worst thing you’ve every fathomed, the rotting vegetables times a hundred. And without the sweetness. That’s why Davey figured the infected stayed away, the smell.

“You wanna load up the truck and take some of these vegetables to the church with me in an hour or so?” Davey’s father asked, snapping him away from his thoughts.

“Yea pa, that sounds good,” he said taking his last bites of the eggs before standing up and walking to the sink. Davey rinsed the dishes quickly and took a long gulp of the hot black coffee.

“I guess I’ll run out there and check the fence quick before we get goin’. You need me to do anything else while I’m out there?” The young man asked his father as he added the empty coffee mug to the drying pile of dishes.

“No, just hurry back,” his father said without looking up.

“Yes sir. You mind if bring a book with me for the ride?” Davey broached the subject lightly, sometimes it was okay, other times it wasn’t, all depended on his father’s mood.

“That’s fine.” Davey smiled and without another word headed out of the kitchen and toward the fence. He thought about which of his books he would bring as the familiar smell of something like blueberries filled his nostrils. 

 
 
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.

 
 
*Good Monday Everyone. Hope last week treated everyone well. This week's story, Porthole, was fun to write and I felt like I rolled through it pretty quickly. However after I finished and re-read it I feel like I might have babbled a little bit. But the concept it cool, feel free to let me know what you think. Also, I have started sending out these stories in a weekly newsletter on Mondays, sign-up to your right and get 40,000 right to your inbox. Enjoy.*

Porthole

Word Count: 1093
Writing: 59 min
Editing: 23 min
Total Time: 1 hour 22 min


This wasn't the same place she'd gone to sleep. She could tell by the color on the inside of her eyelids. It was all wrong, not the intense black-red-orange she was used to, but instead a purple-blue-green. A cold chill ran down her spine. She thought about keeping them closed, surely what was on the other side couldn't be worth seeing. But the color made her feel like she was drowning. Slowly sinking to the bottom of a lake, watching as the light turned from green, to blue, to purple, and then nothing.

She gasped and opened her eyes.

Don't move, she told herself. This is a dream, I'm obviously having a very vivid, very scary, dream. She was sitting cross-legged on a metal floor with her back straight up against a wall. The room was empty and with blank walls the were either green, or reflected a green light, she couldn't be sure which and had no interest in looking closer. The only distinguishing characteristic of the room was a small circle across from her on the wall. It reminded her of the windows she'd seen on boats that had cabins under their decks, the portholes.

She slowly moved her gaze from the small circle and once her eyes were completely free of it, the world turned upside down. A nauseating disembodiment consumed her and instantly she felt like she was weightlessly floating in the eerie green room. Her head swam and she could feel the acid from her stomach making its way into her throat. Breathing was becoming harder and the air began to take on a very chemical aroma. Or had it been there the whole time? Do people normally smell in dreams?

Close your eyes. The room still spun. Close your damn eyes! She yelled at herself inwardly commanding the lids to touch their other halves.

The dark purple-blue-green fell over her like a splash of cold water and her skin erupted in goose bumps. Her body began to feel centered again, she used her hands and felt the wall, then the floor. She was still sitting, back straight up, butt on the floor. That meant the window was directly across from her. Open your eyes. A strong command that was immediately obeyed.

The strange porthole in the wall met her eyes and she couldn't deny the small burst of relief she felt in the depths of her belly. She desperately wanted this dream to be over and nothing more than a distant memory of a poor night's sleep.

But what if it's not a dream? She quickly ignored the question and began thinking of ways she could wake herself up. Pinching wouldn't work, she knew by the pain on the undersides of her legs, she'd been pinching them since the moment her eyes opened. Maybe if she screamed? Could she yell loud enough that her sleeping conscious body would hear and open her eyes?

I don't think this is a dream. The thought was trying to sneak its way into her mind and poison her hope like a slow moving venom. Again she ignored the idea and continued her brainstorming, trying to remember all the ways she'd read about, and seen people use in the movies to get themselves out of similar situations. Nothing came, her mind was blank.

What's outside that window? The question made her heart drop and a hollow feeling take over her gut. She didn't want to know, it was only a dream, no, a nightmare, and she had no interest in what horrors lay beyond the small glass.

You do. And she did, there was no use in trying to deny it. Her human curiosity had won before her internal argument had begun. She had to know what was outside this wall, what's the worst that could happen, it was only a dream, after all.

It's not a dream. I don't know where I am, but this isn't how dreams feel. The acceptance froze her mind, that feeling of drowning fell over her again and her body felt heavy. Her hands moved to the floor seamlessly and all of a sudden her body was raising itself to her feet. Eyes locked on the window, that small circle like a target in her sights, she barely noticed her feet rising and falling. Memories that had been locked away in the vault of her mind flooded back a million per second, like a highlight reel from the lost archives of her life. Then she was there, nose to the glass, staring through a porthole that looked out into a strange metal room. Bright lights shone down all around and the world appeared to be sideways.

She looked to the sides and the corners trying to take in every inch of the place she could see beyond the glass. Childish wonder mixed with the anxious surreality, and she thought this must have been how Alice felt when she reached the bottom of the rabbit hole. Her eyes saw what looked like a pale white foot and ankle that appeared to be undergoing some sort of surgical procedure. A strange déjâ vu flashed across her mind and the foot looked unsettlingly familiar. Hadn't she just used the same toenail polish on her own feet the night before? All of a sudden the small room felt less like a foreign place, and more familiar, like a vacation many times taken.

A flood of anxiety took her to her knees and the room began spinning again. The stomach acid rose faster this time, as if ready and waiting for it's next chance since their last nauseating bout. She lost balance and fell to her side, or maybe she was standing? Floating? There was no way of knowing, everything looked the same. Just as she could taste the burning sour on the back of her tongue, she lost consciousness.



Her face was dripping with sweat and tears rolled down the sides of her face as she opened her eyes. The dreams hadn't bothered her for months, she sat up and placed her feet on the floor. Stiff, sore and swollen, like clockwork her right ankle hurt the same way it always did after the dreams.

She moved slowly to the bathroom and turned on the faucet. The cold water refreshed her hot eyes and cheeks. She stared at herself angrily in the mirror for a moment, silently cursing the nightmares. After dabbing her face dry with a towel, she flipped off the light switch, and limped back to her bed.

 

 
 
*Originally Published 1/12/15*

*Good Day! Today’s addition to, 40,000 A Rough Draftis 971 words, written in 48 minutes! Before you get on to the reading remember they can’t all be winners. I had a tough time getting going this morning and ended up wasting 15 minutes writing three different opening scenes then promptly deleting them. The final story is okay, but I wish I would have been able to get going a little sooner and not have to rush as much.

On the other side of that, I managed to bang out 971 words in 48 minutes, the whole writing session only took 1 hour 3 minutes! Kinda proud of that, cause after the first few minutes I wasn’t sure if I would make the word count. I’m also going to start logging the stats underneath the title for how long the whole process took. 

Anyway enjoy and as usual feel free to leave any thoughts you may have on the comment board. Have a good week.*


Deus Ex Machina

Word Count: 971

Writing: 1 hr 3 min

Editing: 21 min

Total Time: 1 hr 24 min


“I see him in my head sometimes. Alone, standing on a hill. Or maybe it's me, I'm not even sure I can tell the difference anymore. Hell, you're the first person I've talked to in more years than I can count.” A gust of wind kicked up leaves and scared the fire under the logs. “I've always assumed I was the last one. A man alone,” he paused staring deeply into the fire. The flames danced light pink and yellow on his long golden hair. “And him. Of course him.”

“How old are you son?” The old man asked, his voice crackling in unison with the fire. He stroked his long beard slowly, entranced with the man across the clearing.

“No real way of telling. I stopped wondering about time altogether long, long, ago.” His voice was still young and strong. Though there was a knowledge that lay heavily on his words. A knowledge one can only attain after a great many years of learning.

“Yes, yes I can see that,” the old man said more to himself than to the other man.

“How have you survived old man? How has he not come for you the way he has for every other living thing that used to walk on this planet?” The man finally took his eyes from the fire. “I found you simply wandering around, as if you were out for an evening stroll. Surely that is not how you have protected yourself for this long.”

The old man smirked invisibly under his long beard.

“I've just been lucky I suppose.” The blonde man's eyes returned to the fire. A breeze rustled leaves above them and ash rose from the burning wood while both men sat silent.

“Very well,” said the blonde man finally. “But he will come for you. You must know that? He comes for everyone eventually. My time will come as well, but I intend to keep it at bay as long as possible.” The old man continued to smirk as he stroked his long beard.

“Is that so?” He asked, more fascinated with the man across the fire with every passing word.

“It is indeed,” he said looking at the old man now, eyes daggers of seriousness. “I have watched first hand, and from afar, as he murdered entire cities. They didn't know it was coming, not a single one. He's not anyone you would ever expect. Just a small, regular looking man. At first. Then he starts the killing. Devouring each and every soul, growing more powerful with one death at a time.

I'm sure he's the Devil, I simply don't see any other explanation. But not the traditional Devil from the Bible,” he paused and wrinkled his brow. “An old man like you must be familiar with the Bible right?” He asked, suddenly realizing the last survivor's he'd met could barely speak let alone read or write.

“I am,” said the old man, his invisible smirk now an invisible smile.

“I thought so. Anyway, as I was saying. I don't think he is the traditional Devil in the sense of commanding hordes of demons, and running hell. That would mean that I believe in a heaven, and I'm sorry if I offend you sir, but I can't believe that. If there was a heaven than I would hate to see what torture happens there. That God let one man exterminate life on an entire planet without so much as lifting a finger.” The blonde man stopped speaking again and the two simply looked at each other. The flames were dimming and if they intended on keeping the fire going it would need more fuel soon.

“So you run then? That's your life?” The old man was almost too giddy to sit still, and his hand moved faster through the long, coarse hairs of his beard.

“What else is there? Anyone who has even thought about taking him on has been killed. For years I have watched life on Earth disappear little by little. Once the humans were gone he started in on the animals, wiping them out species by species. There is nothing but running. I am simply lucky he has no taste for plant life or I would have starved to death eons ago. And unless you intend to share the secret to your own longevity then when I wake up tomorrow; I will run.” The blonde man realized he was almost yelling and his breathing was fast and heavy. The flames illuminated his face in a series of ancient shadows, and the old man could see the wrinkle of anger over his eyes.

The old man stopped stroking his beard and chuckled lightly. Then again a little louder, and again, louder still, and again, and again. Until finally he was laughing so hard his body rocked and he clapped his hands.

“What exactly do you find so funny old man?” The blonde man asked, yelling so he could be heard over the bellowing laughter. The blonde man stood ready to spring on the man across the fire when the laughing stopped.

In a flash the old man was on his feet, staring the blonde man in the eyes from across the fire.

“For as long as we have been sitting here you still haven't realized. I've been listening to you yammer on about God and the Devil, hoping and waiting for you to put it together.” The old man's voice no longer crackled, it flowed equally as smooth as the blonde man's own. “But it seems, even after all this time, you were right. They never do see it coming.” The young man's eyes widened with a hopeless knowledge as the devil sprung across the fire.

 


 

    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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