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Category: Fiction

West of House

“This is it?” he asked.

She nodded. “Yeah. The place has been here for almost a hundred years, but the trouble really started about fifty years ago.”

She continued walking up the road toward the house. He followed.

“What happened?”

She said, “Some kid went inside and vanished. They found a window open around back, and some of his stuff inside. Nothing else.”

She walked up to the old mailbox and pulled it open. It was empty. She grunted, then slammed it shut.

“That was your uncle.” He said it rather than asking.

“Yeah.”

She shifted the backpack on her shoulder and stopped. The yard of the old house was overgrown. The house, which might once have been white but was now a faded gray, peeked above the tall grass. At here feet was the remains of a gravel path which looked like it had once led up to the front door.

“I’m surprised it’s still standing,” he said.

She grunted again. “Rumor is some rich family owns the place. Forbid or paid off the county to leave it along.”

She exhaled slowly. He watched her take the backpack off her back, she it on the ground and unzip it, and then pull out a crowbar. She flashed him a smile.

“You coming?”

“Seriously?”

She pinned him with a speculative glare. “Yeah, I’m serious. I’m going to see what’s in there. You coming?”

Second ticked by. She shifted her weight and sighed impatiently.

He shrugged. ‘Fine. Yeah. Let’s go,”

Together they fought their way through the tall grass, toward the old ruin of a house.

Not Quite Peter Parker

I’m not going to lie…I missed a few entries this weekend.

I’m not sure that the 100 Days of Words project I’m working on means 100 Continuous Day of Words.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Because it sounds better than the truth.

I was bitten by a radioactive Easter bunny on Saturday at the Midway Plaza rest stop on the Pennsylvania turnpike. I found that I could hop very quickly, could color eggs with my mind, and could sense small children nearby. Also, the carrot craving was incredible and disturbing.

See?  I told you.

They Met In a Dream

He closed his eyes, and he dreamed.

He saw her again, just like last night, next to the fountain, beneath the canopy of fluffy pink leaves.

“You,” he said.

“Grndlsnayf, pergalon,” she whispered back breathily.

“Yes,” he whispered back, leaning in and brushing his lips against hers in a kiss.

He took her hand in his. She smiled. They stood and watched the sunset over the cotton candy forest.

And then the carnivorous squirrels poured out of the trees and ate them.

The Running

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I decided to watch the running of the dinosaurs.

I’m unclear on whether big lizards are nocturnal or not, but I do know that if you don’t run them, they’ll drive you nuts; they’re like Dalmatians or greyhounds, you’ve got to exercise them regularly.  Nighttime is the only time that folks can let them out into the streets to get a good run without causing traffic problems.

Anyway, they raced past my hotel at about 3am, flocks of muzzled Velociraptors weaving in and around the groups of triceratops and T-Rexes. My tenth-floor room allowed for quite a view. It was neat to see how the posts that hold the traffic signals swivel and swing out of the way to avoid being damaged by the large creatures.

I do think it’s a little draconian to use Democrats for bait, but I have to admit it was a little funny to watch the park rangers using cattle prods to get the politicians running so the dinosaurs would see the movement and start the race. But hey…it probably wasn’t fair back in 2012 to offer up Newt Gingrich and seven conservative pundits to Ah-Puch, the Mayan god of death in an effort to delay the Mayan apocalypse. Politics, man. Politics.

Anyway, the whole parade was over in about twenty minutes, and then the street sprayers and cleaners came through to deal with the blood and offal left behind. By 4am, the streets here in Arlington were nearly spotless. The whole thing was a marvel of efficiency and planning.

Over breakfast, I overheard that tonight the board of United Airlines will be the bait. I think I’m going to stay up to see that. I don’t think I’m the only one.

Prepping

“Hello?”

“Hello, Mr. Paul Thorn? This is Naomi from the Red Cross calling. Are you free to talk?”

“Well…I am a little busy. Things to do. You know how it is.”

“I’m sorry sir, but we noted that it has been over six months since your last donation. As a member of the public with an O-negative blood type, your donations are extremely helpful to people in need. Are you aware that O-negative is what we call the universal blood type?”

“Yes…I had heard…”

“Then you can understand how vital it is in this time of shortages that we schedule a time for you to visit your local Red Cross to donate. Can we schedule a time for you right now?”

“Actually…I’ve been meaning to call you. We need to talk about my donations.”

“Yes sir? Is there a problem?”

“I hope not. The truth is…I’m going to need them back.”

Pause.

“Are you still there?”

“Ah…yes, Mr. Thorn. Did you say you need your donations…back?”

“Yes. May I schedule a time to pick up the eight pints I have donated in the past six years? I’m going to need them.”

“Sir…I’m afraid that’s not how this works…”

“I understand, but you see, something bad is coming, and I’m going to need that blood. As you say, since I am the Universal blood type, that makes my blood extremely useful for certain things. I’ll come by this afternoon.”

“Mr. Thorn…we cannot give you…”

“Look…I know this is awkward, but look at it this way, this is not as awkward as my last call.”

A pause, then a sigh. “Ok. I’ll bite. What was your last call?”

“The sperm bank.”

Click

Paul Thorn sighed. He tossed the phone into his backpack, grabbed his keys, his last elder rune, and his hunting rifle. He didn’t lock the door behind him.

The Nothing Under The Bed

Jack didn’t think Mom would come, but he called her anyway.

“Mom?” A pause, then louder, “MOM?”

A loud sigh, a shuffling of steps, then his mother was opening the door to his room. Her voice was a sharp hiss. “What. Is. It. Now?”

“There’s…under my…” Jack faltered, not really wanting to say it.

“Dammit, Jack. NOTHING is under the BED,” his mother seethed in a fierce whisper. “No. Now…go to SLEEP.”

The door was shut quietly but firmly, then Jack was alone again.

Sitting up in the glow of the night light. He waited.

And waited.

And…waited.

There was a rustle, then a ghostly arm reached out from under the bed. It pulled a body…shrunken, withered, wasted away, out into the open. Jack stared. It was pale like moonlight, like what Jack imagined a ghost would be like. It pulled itself free and then turned, pulling itself onto the foot of the bed. It sat there across from Jack, legs folded underneath indian-style. it stared at Jack.

“Hel…hello.” Jack said.

It nodded.

Jack pursed his lips, then, “What are you?”

It smiled. “Nothing,” it hissed.

“Are…are you going to eat me?” Jack asked.

The creature smiled wider. It’s teeth glinted.

Jack swallowed. “Why?”

The creature’s smile widened more than any mouth could widen.

Jack said again. “You tell me why. What did I do?”

The creature’s voice was a growling whisper, like two stones being rubbed together, “Nothing.”

Jack slouched. A tear started to roll down his cheek. “But…but…”

The wraith reached out, sharp nails drawing blood on the the boy’s cheek.. Covering Jack’s mouth, it tilted the boy’s face up to meet it’s cold eyes. Inside its eyes was…nothing.

Jack was pretty sure he didn’t want to be eaten. . Staring into the mouth of the thing was like staring into one of those black hole things he’d seen on the Internet. Jack didn’t like where this was headed, so he did what any little boy would do. He grabbed the Nothing’s arm and bit its hand.

There was a lot of thrashing. The Nothing tasted, Jack thought, like cold jello and dust, but he didn’t mind. There was something about it that made him feel warm inside. Like…he was waking up. Like he was supposed to eat the Nothing. He continued to bite and lick and suck and chomp, all the while the Nothing’s thrashing becoming weaker and weaker. Finally, only the head was left, held in young Jack’s hands.

His mother’s voice called out from her room, “Jack…what are you doing in there?”

Jack smiled, and the smile was not so different from that of the creature. ”Nothing, ” Jack called back.

And then he finished his snack.