All the Way Around the World….

All the Way Around the World was originally published on this blog a few months back; however, Chuck Wendig over at terribleminds.com has issued this week’s Flash Fiction Challenge: An Uncharted Apocalypse. Follow the link to read the variety of submitted tales of the Apocalypse. Happy reading!

cornfield sunrise

Delsante Corporation told me I could take it or leave it. Can you believe that?

My family owned this farm for ninety-two years before I had to go and sell a majority stake to a local distributor. Well, Delsante is way up his ass so you know they’re now up mine.

But I tell you what: if I make it out of this alive, I am sure going to enjoy watching those corporate bastards take a red-hot one in the ass. Same for the USDA.

We had no choice. They told us to plant the G646-DSGMO-666 or we could forget about distribution of any of our corn. Well, if we can’t sell anything, we may as well just give the farm to Delsante and be done with it. They’ll hire some Mexicans to come up here and plant that shit for them and they’ll never even remember my name.

So we planted it, watered it, and did fuck-all that their scientists told us to do. Have to admit, I’ve never in my life seen corn get so big so fast. After a month, I could disappear into those fields. And I’m six-three.

The USDA inspector came out one day along with a fella from Delsante. They were so impressed with how things were coming along. They took some cuttings away in a small plastic bag. Never said a word to me what they were for.

Well, along about eighty days into the growing cycle we started seeing a rust-colored pus oozing out of that corn. I told everyone to stay the fuck out of the fields and not touch anything. We walked the perimeter. That stuff just dripped down the ears. I got on the horn to the local distributor rep and I guess he called Delsante, because they came out to the farm with a huge RV that had a lab right inside of it.

They set up spotlights on the cornfield and kept them going all night long. They said it was just a precaution. Precaution for what? I remember thinking at the time.

There were lots of guys in lab coats and SWAT uniforms. Nobody told us any details about the pus, but I could tell they hadn’t expected it, and they were running around like their heads were on fire and their asses were catchin’.

Each morning, they put on space suits and walked out into that cornfield. Each afternoon they’d emerge with that rusty pus smeared across their suits, carrying laptops and samples.

One day, I was over in the barn replacing a fuel filter on one of the combines when I hear somebody start screaming. I thought one of the lab guys had stepped in horseshit again. I walked out and saw a huge red dust cloud swirling around above the field. All the lab guys and the SWATs were gasping and choking, falling to the ground. They twitched for a second, and then were still.

I know what dead looks like. I was a corpsman in Vietnam. And these people were dead. I know it. But then that red dust started making its way toward me.

Not thinking, I just ran back inside the barn and made for the combine. Closed myself inside the cab. The wind blew that red dust right into the barn and it covered everything. I can’t see anything through the cab windows.

 I don’t have any food or water in here. And I have no way of knowing what happened to my family and my staff.

So, I’m hoping Delsante Corporation sends someone out soon to find out what happened to their scientists and soldiers. I saw them die; at least I think I did. But now I hear things shuffling around the barn and grunting. And one time, something tried to open the cab door, while I held it shut with all my strength, too terrified to breathe. I don’t even want to think about what that thing was.

Far as I can tell, anyone coming near this farm will meet the same fate as those things stumbling around my barn. The chemistry folks at Delsante sure did a bang up job. The only thing I know about chemistry is H-2-0 is water and K-9-P comes out the ass end of a dog. But, I’m a farmer and I know pollen when I see it. That red pus dries and blows off. I think Delsante Corporation has a little problem with their fucked up corn.

G646-DSGMO-666 was engineered to survive. I think of all that pollen on the wind.

You can’t stop the wind. It goes all the way round the world.


What Happened to Sitting in Darkness?

Nothing.

I”m still here.

Travel, work, family, summer – excuses, excuses.

Off again today. To Scranton, PA, this week.

The stories are just waiting for a little breather to make their way from my fevered brain and thence out into the blogosphere.

Soon!…..


From the road…

Sitting in Darkness at the Charlotte Douglas Airport in NC.  On my way to West Palm Beach for work. Story coming tonight…. something straight out of the today’s news….check back later or tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by!


Quick Update

This week’s story “Margo Heats It Up” has been entered in the Friday Flash Fiction Challenge at Chuck Wendig’s awesome blog, terribleminds.  Now the only reason I point this out is the fact that each Friday Chuck issues a challenge, and writers from all over this godforsaken planet sit down and create something that is uniquely – THEM.  This is something I support in writing, music, glass-blowing, pipe-fitting and all the myriad arts. Check out Chuck’s blog for great posts on writing and general-but practical – artistic mayhem.  But be warned: Chuck should never be confused with Mr. Rogers…


Margo Heats It Up…

Author’s note: if you’re new to this blog, you may want to read the previous installments of Margo’s story:

Hermosa Beach Heartache

Margo in Rome

An Unexpected Guest

UPDATE: Chuck Wendig over at the great blog, terribleminds has issued a flash fiction challenge regarding “The Lady and The Swordsman”.  Now, although this story was written before Chuck announced the challenge, AND, although this story is above the 1,000 word limit, I felt it should be entered into the challenge for two compelling reasons:

1. “The Lady and Swordsman” seems to apply, thematically

and

2. Margo is a child of the terribleminds flash fiction challenge – you could say it’s her birthplace, her home (see above for earlier Margo stories).

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Margo Heats It Up

He looked like Omar Sharif. Abrams was right.

His name was Ephraim Zanzibar, and he was a very bad man.

Margo’s knowledge was founded on personal experience, not just talk on the wire.

She’d met Zanzibar in a hotel in Hermosa Beach several months before. Abrams had blackmailed her into seducing the guy for information. Of course, he’d failed to tell her about Zanzibar’s kink: raping women after knocking them out with roofie-laced drinks.

Margo had started out the assignment refusing to kill Zanzibar, wanting something different for herself. And, of course, for the baby and Dan.  But after two hours with the man, she’d known the world would turn more safely with Ephraim Zanzibar unceremoniously turned to crab shit off the Hermosa Beach pier.

Margo had entered his room at the Del Ray hotel and asked him for a vodka rocks. She taken her drink to the bathroom and poured it into the sink, replacing it with water. Her baby was going to have enough trauma that evening without bringing alcohol into the picture, she’d figured.

What had ensued still sickened Margo. But now, she had Mr. Ephraim Zanzibar in her sights. And things were going to get hot.

Margo edged around the riot of bougainvillea and jasmine that surrounded the compound. The sound of Egyptian pop music poured out of the open French doors. The cloying scent of jasmine turned her stomach slightly, but the sheer mass of it hid her from Zanzibar’s view.

Thank God, the morning sickness was all in the past, Margo thought.

Zanzibar was dressed in a white silk bathrobe. He had drinks in either hand and, with closed eyes, swayed to the music. He was completely unaware of Margo’s presence, in the dark, not four feet in front of him.

A young woman entered the room wearing a nothing but a black bra and thong. Zanzibar passed her a drink and pretended to engage her in a dance. The young woman finished the drink in three gulps. Margo of course knew what was coming.

Once the woman was staggering slightly, Zanzibar reached back and punched her squarely in the face. She went down and didn’t move. He moved in like a hyena at the kill.

That’s enough, Margo said to herself.

She drew her Luger and stepped out of the darkness into the soft, yellow light of the open French doors. Zanzibar’s eyes widened when he saw her: black jumpsuit and ski mask.

He turned and started to shout but she reached him in two long strides and pushed the gun’s muzzle firmly against his temple. Margo whispered, “Hello Omar.” She traced the gun along the ridge of his deformed left ear.

“What the fuck are you supposed to be? Some kind of half-assed Ninja?” His cologne was as bad as the jasmine and Margo pushed him away, keeping the gun leveled directly at his face.

She pulled the mask off. “How’s your ear?”

“You!”

“Looks like you were planning on having some fun here tonight, Zanzibar. Sorry to break up your lovely party. I’ll be taking her when I leave.”

He shrugged and smiled. “More, many more, where she came from. Maybe you’d like to take her place? We never got to finish back in Hermosa Beach.”

Margo remembered the first wave of unreality that had alerted her to the fact she’d been drugged back at the Del Ray. She’d taken a long, deep gulp of her water, but he’d somehow slipped a roofie in there. He was good, no doubt. It seemed only seconds before she was reeling.

She had staggered toward the door but he’d grabbed her wrist and yanked her back into a bear hug. Margo had bit down and ripped off a large chunk of his left ear, which she’d spat into Zanzibar’s face. His punch brought stars and then a deep, velvet blackness.

When she’d come around, she was naked, lying on the bed on her stomach. He was on her back, trying to push his cock into her ass. Her first thought had been, at least this will be easier on the baby.

At one point, he’d pushed off of her and gone to the bathroom.

This is it, move Margo! she’d told herself through her stupor.

Lying there, she’d had a vision of the baby, of Dan, and of the new life she wanted. She’d bit down, hard, hard, hard, on her tongue. Blood had spattered the sheet as she’d swung her head back and forth, trying desperately to wake up. She’d been able to scramble to the door, get on her knees, open it, and fall forward into the hallway. Then she’d crawled like a crab to the fire alarm, reached up, and pulled for all she was worth, flooding the hotel with its wail. Zanzibar appeared in his doorway just as the other Del Ray guests were emerging to gawk and scream at the bloody, naked woman with the dazed but crazy eyes.

“Oh, I’ll be finishing all right. I need to go image your hard drive. You, in the meantime, can sit down right here while I tie your ass up.”

Zanzibar started a low, guttural laugh. A troll’s laugh. “You’ve put on some weight since we last met. You can’t blame me…I used the other hole.”

Margo shot off his left kneecap.

“Aarrgghhhh! You miserable bitch!”

“Shut up or the other one goes, too.”

Margo tied his hands behind his back. He was going nowhere, with no hands and one leg.

After making a copy of Zanzibar’s hard drive, she came lightly down the stairs. This should get Abrams off her back, finally.

She went into the bathroom. She had to piss like no one’s business. She looked at herself in the mirror. Baby bump clearly showing now.

Back in the living room, Zanzibar was looking pale and pissed off.

She took a small envelope out of her back pocket. It was filled with something lumpy.

“Omar, there was a time when I would have made you cut off your own dick and eat it.”

Waving the envelope in front of Zanzibar, she continued, “But, I’m trying to have a new life. Something that makes me happy instead of satisfied. There’s a difference, you know. I’m sure you wouldn’t understand.”

She opened the envelope. It was filled with fiery, red peppers.

“These are my  roofies, Omar,” Margo said. “I wouldn’t want to leave you with the impression that my desire to turn over a new leaf has somehow dulled my sense of justice.”

She pushed Zanzibar’s bathrobe up and crammed the first red pepper up into his ass.

He moaned loudly.

“This may get nasty. Hold on a minute,” she said.

Margo returned with a dishrag that she pushed deep into Zanzibar’s mouth.

“That’s better.” And she shoved another pepper deep into him.

And then another.

And another.

“Hmmmpphhh. HMMMPPPHHH!” It was all the sound he could make. Tears filled his eyes.

“Did you know you have digestive juices in your rectum? It’s true. Wait until they get a load of these, Omar. This should help you remember what you did to me and all the others.”

Zanzibar’s face was purple with pain and rage. Veins bulged in his neck and forehead.

“I’m going to leave the rest of these for you. As a memento,” Margo said, and threw the envelope onto the table, spilling some of the peppers.

Then she went into the other room and picked up the comatose girl. “C’mon, baby doll. This is no place for nice girls like us.”

On the way out, Margo leaned down and kissed the envelope, on a whim.

Then she kicked Ephraim Zanzibar in the balls, as hard as she could.

“Don’t come looking for me, Zanzibar, you fucking loser. You’re the last bit of shit I need to wipe off my shoes so I can start a real life.”

After dropping the girl off at an emergency room door, Margo went in search of Abrams.

To give him the disk.

And to claim her future.

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Once again, Margo image by Nathan Eckinrode

Hot pepper image by Nina Matthews


The Martyr of Evolution…

The Martyr of Evolution

 

Joan is close.

I can hear her servos whirring somewhere over by the boiler. Did she unplug herself?

Joan never liked the motherboard at the back of her head. I could see it hurt her when I installed it, but I thought she’d calm down when I severed her cervical neuronic relays. That was a mistake. I can see that now. Because Joan realizes she will feel no physical pain from her jaws down. No matter what I do to her now. That’s what’s given her this boost of self-confidence, godammit.

Does she really think she can win at this?

Whirrrrrr – click – whirrrrr.

A little closer, but still far enough away for me to come up with a plan.

I knew I shouldn’t have painted the cellar windows black. All for security, of course, but now the blackness is total; Joan’s gone and shorted the breakers. Probably whirred over there while I was at the Quickie Mart and slammed a titanium hex-rod right into the board. She’d have the strength.

I left her plugged in clear on the other side of the cellar. So, she’s either found an extension cord – which I find doubtful, given the fact that I removed all of them to avoid this very turn of events – or, she’s unplugged herself and is hoping to get out or at least get her hands on me before her mobile pack runs down.

She was once my lab assistant as well as my wife, so she knows how this all works.

Her next-gen NiCad power source will last three- maybe four- hours, tops. The exoskeleton is heavy. So without the power to move the servos, she’ll be dead in the water. All I need do is stay away from her until her batteries die, and then move in and kill her. It’s not worth the risk of keeping her going now.

I’d make a run for the breaker board, but, knowing Joan, that would be unwise. She’s angry. I guess I can’t totally blame her, but I’ve Borg’d her in a way that no one outside a Universal Studios lot could ever envision. I tried to show her there was an upside to this for her, a way for her to be powerful, as she was always saying she wanted to be. But, as usual, it was all tears and anger. More of Joan being controlled by men. She should be grateful I took her away from that awful father of hers.

When I decided to try the experiment, everything just fell into place. Joan lost her job at Parkside Elementary as a first grade assistant. She came crying to me, even though our divorce was final two years ago. With no friends or family who would ever come looking for her, it was a perfect meeting of motivation and opportunity.

First, it was easy to drop her last month with a moderate Benadryl dose in her chardonnay, which, following her dismissal from Parkside, I was finally able to convince her to try.

Scrrrrape – whirrrrrr – click – click.

She’s down on the floor, I guess, about ten feet in front of me. That noise is unnerving in the dark. The whirring. And the scraping on the concrete floor.

Behind me, I can hear one of the cats hissing at a mouse. I want to throw something at it, but I don’t want to give away my position.

The actual installation of the exoskeleton was easier than I’d imagined. A lot of antiseptic gel, sutures, and cutting. The months of study and practice paid off. Once I got her post-op fever under control, I was able to start the wiring – my real area of expertise.

Of course, the exoskeleton was cumbersome during our, well, intimate moments. But I was able to unplug her cables to freeze her scaffolding in any position I wanted. No more fighting back. No more headaches. No more bashful Joan.

I wanted to prove that I could control her neurological life with just a hard drive, some easily downloadable software, and a few coaxial cables plugged into a motherboard sliced into Joan’s brainstem. The titanium exoskeleton proved to be a superb bio-electric pathway for brain stem impulses to travel uninterrupted to her neocortex and then back to the hard drive in a beautiful feedback loop.

You see, Joan’s ceaseless moaning was freaking me out. So I removed her larynx. But then, a funny thing happened. My hard drive started registering electron-volt spikes that weren’t explained by any potentials that would be in play. I could only assume it was Joan’s emotional reaction to her predicament plowing upriver through the lizard brain to the neocortex and thence down the coaxial cables back to the computer. This was exciting. If the correct software was available, I could’ve taken those e-volt spikes as raw data and plugged them into a linguistic integrative algorithm that just might have transformed that emotional energy into words. Hello Nobel Prize….

But then tonight happened. Joan got loose.

Clang – sic. Whirrrr – click.

She’s close now. This is no longer funny.

Her whirring locates her directly between me and the cellar stairs. Her power should have bottomed out by now. What’s going on?

Whirrrrr – scrrrrrrrrrrape.

I can hear the table with the computer sliding to me know. She’s pulling the entire set up behind her via the coax cables.

The cat behind me suddenly jumps down onto my shoulder and I scream and leap forward. My foot kicks something heavy lying on the floor in front of me: the exoskeleton.

Behind me the cat hisses at something again.

Then whirrrrr.

I reach down and feel the coolness of the titanium rods. The frame is empty.

Where is Joan?

I suddenly realize it is not the cat hissing behind me.

A flashlight snaps on. And there she is: bleeding and angry in the harsh white light.

Her eyes bulge, shot through with a primal madness. Blood and mucus slide her neck from the laryngectomy incision. An unnatural hissing issues from the hole in her throat. In her hand is a scalpel that I recognize only too well.

 As she descends on me, I think of electricity and beauty and wires and flesh.

And then Joan becomes the angel of my vision.

The martyr of evolution.

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Really, really cool image by Webwizzard


On the Road (again)…

Unlike Willie Nelson, I’m not traveling from town to town in a pot-befogged tour bus with my friends. No, I’m sitting in darkness in towns like Scranton, Buffalo, and Ft. Myers. Fly in late, work all day, fly out late the next day. As you can see, if you’re a reader of this blog, since hitting the road a couple of weeks ago, my story production has plummeted – and it’s pissing me off. 

But the mortgage man must be paid.

Before I had a family, I’d fly nearly 130,000 miles a year for work. New York, LA, San Francisco, Honolulu. It was great…for a while. But, now that I’m out on the road (just a couple of days a week for the next couple of months), I miss my wife and kids. Nameless hotels, faceless desk clerks, flight attendants.

I am making the adjustment and I have what I think is a neat, nasty, little story coming up: a tale about a lonely but disturbed engineer and the nameless woman he….transforms.

Stay tuned.

Oh, and don’t forget about “Bijou” on Flashes in the Dark on July 1st.

As always, I’m glad you came back to check for another story. I truly appreciate your support. It is coming – tonight.

Image by no3rdw


“Bijou” to be Published on Flashes in the Dark…

Do you remember the two gangsters in the closet trying to rob Mimi Del Sarte of her precious jewels?  If you recall, they ran into a problem with Mimi’s pet, Bijou.  It was a fun story to write and I like to re-read it every now and then.  Well, the folks over at Flashes in the Dark will be posting “Bijou” on their website on July 1st.  While you’re there, you might check out some of the other great stories they post from other authors.

I’ll be back with a new story tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by.


Sitting In Darkness Update…

I wanted to let you know I haven’t deserted the blog. I am still jotting down stories all the time. However, I’ve been enjoying the short-form stories so damned much that I haven’t been putting any work into longer pieces that I want to send out for publication.  The thought of sitting down to revise a longer story has been no match for the fun of creating these ulta-short snappy dark pieces. But that must change if I’m ever to be a published author. So, please continue to visit. I’m writing another piece for Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge this week. The challenge is to use the name of a raunchy sex move (he provided a link to a hilarious but disturbing site) as the basis for a story. The story need not actually describe nor even include the sex move: it only must be the title of the story. Stay tuned for that one!…

Image by THOR


My Story “Alpha Male” to be Posted on “Flashes In the Dark”

Perhaps readers of this blog will remember the story “Alpha Male“. The image below may jog your memory. Think “demon rooster possesses young girl”. This story has been selected to appear on the website Flashes in the Dark, a website devoted to daily doses of horror flash fiction. The story will be posted this Friday, June 10th.  I have a good friend whose husband was out of town the day I published this story on this blog. Seems there was some type of commotion in the chicken coop in the dark of night, and she had to go out there and…investigate. Sometimes the real world just plays into a writer’s hands.

Horror writers get their jollies in very shallow ways..

A new story tomorrow!

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Once again, the image is by Ryan Abel


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