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Visions  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Visions
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 769

Lexis shuffled down the cold, sterile hospital corridor to her private room in the west wing of the Sunnybank Private Hospital. Her eyes were still foggy from the experimental blindness treatment. Dr Faith Savage told her she should begin to see clearly in a couple of weeks. At the beginning of the week, Lexis could only see a single bright light, flooding her ocular senses like the incoming tidal wave on a beach. It wasn’t until the seventh day that Lexis began to see shapes, dark forms dancing in the light, like marionettes swinging and swaying on the strings of a puppet master.

Lexis reached her room a staggered across the open corridor to her bed, feeling another bout of vertigo. Getting used to sight after being blind from birth was not going to be easy. She reached her bed and saw dark shadow sitting on her bed.

“Who’s there?” She said, startled by the unexpected visitor.

There was no answer and the figure disappeared when she blinked. She was now in the room by herself, but the feeling of another presence in the room did not leave easily. Lexis had only ever felt objects before, so she did not know exactly what anything was supposed to look like. The feel of an object was not always consistent with how it really looked, especially to someone who had no preconceived ideas of what things were.

Lexis felt the buzzer to hail a nurse. She was scared now, she passed nobody on the way to her room, and more disturbing Lexis heard no voices. Finding the call switch only eased her tension slightly. Without a response to the buzzer, she would still be worried.

“Hello,” she yelled after no nurse came running within a few minutes. Five minutes was the longest she waited before today.

Lexis hoped up from her bed again and fumbled her way out the door and back into the hall with a hand guiding her along the wall. No movement seemed to happen up the hall, down the hall or at the nurse’s station. This struck Lexis as being strange, especially for a private hospital, she would understand it if she went public where half the wards were vacant.

Using the rail on the wall as a guide, Lexis edged her way down the long, bright corridor, looking from side to side for signs of other patients or staff. Everything around was still a blur, but the light seemed to be clearer and, somehow sharper. By the end of the corridor, she was sure that she was living in a bad rerun of the Twilight Zone or something. It just didn’t add up, everyone was gone; disappeared over night.

A noise behind Lexis startled her, and she almost tripped over as she pivoted around quickly. Down the end of the corridor, near where Lexis judged her room would be, stood two tall, dark shapes. She thought they couldn’t be nursing staff; they always wore white shirts and trousers.

“Hello,” she called.

There was no reply, but the figures did seem to hear her call. They slowly moved towards Lexis. As they came closer, Lexis thought they were hovering a few feet above the floor, rather than walking on it like a normal person would, or should.

“Who’s there?” she said.

Although the two towering figures were now only a few feet away, they were still fuzzy, lacking clearly defined outlines. Lexis realised that everything looked as though she were watching an out of focus television.

“Welcome, Lexis,” one said.

“We have been expecting you,” the other said.

“Who are you? Where are the nurses?”

“Oh, you are between time, now,” said one.

“Between time... what are you talking about?”

“When you began looking in-between things that were and were not,” one said.

“You eventually crossed over to here,” The other one said.

“What are you talking about? Where is here, it looks like the hospital to me.”

“Here, is where you were before you could see,” one said.

“But it is in the space between what you call time,” the other one said.

Lexis looked around the corridor. It looked like the hospital she woke up in, but was that the same one she was in before the operation. She could not be sure. Without sight, she did not know exactly what the hospital looked like, so she thought she could be anywhere now.

“Oh, you are anywhere,” one said.

“And nowhere,” the other one said.

A Sense Of Spell  

Posted by Scott Wilson

A Sense Of Spell
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 100

Shiny Bling-Bling arrived home on Venus from another successful hunt for components listed in her spell book. She tipped her bag of human ears, noses, tongues and eyes onto her work bench. Shiny put each fresh ingredient in a labeled jar and flicked open her spell-book. Behind the large book sat and empty jar.

“Oh snazzlepots,” she said. “I forgot the fingers.”

Without these, she would not be able to cast the human touch spell. Not much of a market for the other human senses without the sensation of touch.

Shiny conjured up another wormhole and headed back to Earth.

After Midnight  

Posted by Scott Wilson

After Midnight
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 469

It was well after midnight, when the dog began to whine, growl and then bark. It may have saved them. Not long after Rusty woke Jim and Trudy Livingstone, they heard a faint rustle at the back door. The door knob jiggled about like wind chime being blown by a soft summer breeze and Jim could tell someone was trying to break in.

“Get my gun,” Jim said, picking up his baseball bat as he walked down the hall towards the kitchen at the back of the house. The corridor seemed alive, with shadows dancing in the moonlight before Jim’s eyes.

By the time he reached the kitchen door, Trudy was at his side with the loaded pump action shotgun, held tightly in front of her chest. Jim put his finger to his lips as his wife was about to say something.

The door handle rattled, then the couple heard the chamber of the lock click open. Time seemed to go in slow motion, and the door handle turned slowly anti-clockwise.

Rusty, the neighbor’s German Sheppard, growled loudly, and the door knob creaked to a stop. A white flash shot across the back porch and Rusty whimpered sharply.

Jim motioned for his wife to aim the shotgun at leg height at the back door. He did not want her accidentally killing the intruder when he opened the door.

The door creaked open and a large figure in a musky smelling, black robe stood covering the entire height of the doorway. The figure held a scythe in its right hand that reflected the moonlight on the gap where the face should be. A pale, yellowy white, bony face stared at Jim and Trudy in the moonlight.

Jim and Trudy were speechless. Though Jim was ready to read the riot act to the intruder, no words would make the journey to his mouth now, apart from an incoherent, ba...baa baa.

“Good evening,” the figure said in a hollow and deeply British sounding accent. “I am Death, and we have an appointment.”

“Ba...baa...baa,” Jim stuttered.

“Which one of us?” Trudy managed to say.

“Sorry, madam,” Death said. “With your husband, Ivan Trundle.”

“Ba...baa...baa”

“Ivan Trundle?” Trudy said.

“Yes, madam. Mr. Ivan Trundle of 94 Bottlebrush Road.”

“The Trundle’s live next door,” Trudy said. “This is 92 Bottlebrush Road.”

Death would have looked embarrassed, if he has a face rather than a lifeless skull.

“Oh,” he said, turning slowly towards the yard with the dog he had just zapped with a small bolt of year remover.

“Ba...baa...baa” Jim stuttered.

“Do close your mouth dear,” Trudy said.

“I do apologies for any inconvenience,” Death said. “Third time that this has happened to me this week.”

Death turned and walked down the stairs from the porch, shaking his head as he moved towards number 94.

One Hell Of A Time  

Posted by Scott Wilson

One Hell Of A Time
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:718

Toby opened his eyes, squinting from the bright yellow and red flames surrounding the cave in which he found himself. His skin stung, burning like a pig on a spit, blistering and swelling painfully. He quickly became aware of the sorrowful sound of a million moans, echoing in the vast, cavernous surroundings. Each bellowed seemed to ricochet off rough, red earthen stalactites and stalagmites like a stray bullet.

“Get up you scum!”

Toby felt a harsh sting run down his naked back. He turned and faced a towering red humanoid figure with the legs of a goat, the torso of a man and the tormented face that was the combination of a human and ram. Hanging from the creature’s tightly clenched fist was a long whip made of blood stained barbed wire and bolts.

“Get moving,” It bellowed, lifting the menacing whip high above its shoulder.

Toby scrambled to his feet, searing his palms on the hot, rocky floor of the cavern. A naked woman knocked him back to the ground as she rushed past. He felt the tearing flesh pull away from his back as the whip hit his blistered skin again. Quickly, he hoped up and joined the crowd of naked men and women of all ages, races and creeds shuffling along the sharp, rocky floor, towards the centre of the cavern.

“Hell-o, it's nice to see you all here,” A creature similar to the one that whipped Toby said, in a deep and thunderous voice. “Now, as the more perceptive of you probably realized by now, this is Hell and I am the Devil.”

“Now, you all are here for eternity. Which I hardly need to tell you is a heck of a long time. So you're all get to know each other pretty well by the end. No sorry, forgot, there is no end. Anyway, I'm going to have to split you up into groups.”

A young woman ran to the front of the group, screaming.

“Will you stop screaming, please? There will be plenty of time for that entire later, but for now, QUIET!” The Devil raised a finger and the woman’s mouth sealed shut in a fleshy gag.

“Thank you.”

The Devil opened a large parchment and looked down the list of souls for the day.
“Now, murderers, murderers... over here please... thank you. Looters and pillagers over here, thieves if you could join them and lawyers, yes you can join them to.”
Fornicators if you could step forward... Oh, bugger there are lot of you these days, isn’t there? Can I split you up into adulterers and the rest to make things a bit easy for my boys please? Male adulterers if you could just form a line in front of that small guillotine in the corner there. We can split the whisker, as you say.”
Toby looked around at the steady stream of naked men, walking against their will towards the punishment they would receive, over and over.

“Atheists... atheists? Over here please. You must be feeling a right bunch of tools about now. Oh, don’t worry; it won’t take long for the boys to make you change your mind about a few things.”

Toby tried to run. He could not move his legs and noticed that he defecated himself; the stench rose to his nose and made him vomit.

“Oh bugger it, I don’t feel up to sorting the rest of you out at the moment. What’s say we just start with a round on the rack for each of you, followed by a nice little disembowelment. Okay. Right...well...are there any questions? Yes?”

An elderly looking gentleman with a noose around his flabby neck yelled something out. Toby could not hear it and was pretty sure it wasn’t about anything like the answer it received.

“No, I'm afraid we don't have any toilets. If you'd read your Bible, you might have seen that is was damnation without relief. So, if you didn't go before you came then I’m afraid you're not going to enjoy yourself very much. But then I believe that's the idea.”

“And I'll catch you all later at the great barbeque, Bye.”

Psyc Out  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Psyc Out
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 280

Bob Reece shuffled towards the surgery door, dragging his slightly deadened left leg on the paisley carpet behind him. The stroke he had ten years after becoming a psychiatrist deeply affected the way he saw his patients.

“You just think about that,” he said in a low, gruff voice, to the young woman leaving his office. “I won’t put up with that again.”

Marge, the sixty-year-old receptionist in Dr Reece’s office, looked up from the game of solitaire she played on her computer.

“Same time next week?” Marge said.

The young woman looked at Marge, wiped a tear from her eye and nodded.

Dr Reece hobbled over to the front reception desk and taped the receptionist on the shoulder.

“Make a note on her file,” he hissed in a venomous voice. “That she is non-compliant and resisting treatment. I recommend that she be taken off her benefits and forced back to work.”

Dr Reece shuffled back into his office, tossed the young woman’s file in the red tray he reserved for ‘patients with an attitude’. He moved behind his large, antique oak desk and dropped into his leather executive chair.

Although he had his stroke twenty years back, when he was only thirty-four years old, the bitterness still consumed him. He had to work to pay the bills, keep a roof over his head and food on his table. His permanent disability made him unsympathetic to anyone on compo and he did everything he could to make them loose their compo so they had to go back to work to.

Crypt Tales  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Crypt Tales

By Scott Wilson

Word Count: 55

Under the blood, red moon, Samuel worked furiously against time. The shackles around his ankles were never a problem, nor were the one around his left wrist. Securing his right wrist and keeping the key safe for the morning took a great deal of concentration and careful manoeuvring. Lycanthropy was a real bitch.

The Carnival of Flowers  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Carnival of Flowers

By Scott Wilson

Word Count: 55


Bright, orange petals exploded colour into the morning sky with a jubilant fanfare, followed closely by an array of sweetly, fragrant white, yellow, and pink blooms. With the first day of spring, the flora obliged willingly with the season’s expectations of filling the gardens around Toowoomba with joy and startling backdrops.

He, who has power, has power  

Posted by Scott Wilson

He, who has power, has power

By Scott Wilson

Word Count: 203

Jenny cried and sniffled uncontrollably, it was a life changing and extremely, traumatic experience for both her and her husband. Over six months ago, she ruptured the C6/C7 discs in her back, causing excruciating pain, suffering, and limiting both her ability to work and have a social life. While it changed her life in every aspect and clinical evidence, CT scans, MRI scans, and two neurosurgeon’s reports proved there were physical injuries, the psychiatrist she sought help from betrayed her over a disagreement on their first consultation. The battered ego of the psychiatrist caused him to extract revenge in the most vindictive and personal way he knew how, regardless of the evidence his accusations was blatantly false. By lodging a report stating Jenny was trying to rort the system and become “the sick person,” the psychiatrist caused the compensation board to cease paying benefits to her, leaving her without any form of income and the ability to earn a wage due to her debilitating injuries. As Peter Parker’s Uncle once said, “With great power, comes great responsibility,” there must be some justice in the world for those that abuse this power.

Good Foundations Make A Happy Home  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Good Foundations Make A Happy Home
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 1043

John could not understand why nobody else could feel it. Every time he went downstairs, he dreaded it. His parents moved into the house a month ago and he already hated it. He could feel the evil oozing out of the dark, isolated space under the patio. There was only a small crawl space in the brickwork in the middle of the wall half way up and dead bang in the centre. John wished that whoever built the house just bricked the whole wall in and did not leave this scary opening to the pits of hell.

There was only one light switch in the dungeon as his friends and he called it. You had to crouch down to get through the small doorway in the laundry and then quickly maneuver down one-step and across one meter of concrete floor to the light switch, located on the beam on the ceiling. Why the builder did not put this on the wall near the door was another question John would like to ask the builders. Just what were they thinking when they made this split-level house. Three bedrooms, bathroom and toilet on the top level, then down six stairs to the lounge room, kitchen and dining room. A long stairwell down to the garage and laundry was the next level of the house, with the dungeon another step down into the ground beneath the house.
John walked down the stairs to the laundry slowly, hoping that his mother would call him back upstairs, telling him not to worry about getting her the stepladder from the dungeon. Although John’s parents didn’t call this area the dungeon, they knew John and his friends did. They actually thought it was funny and could understand why they named it the dungeon. The area was cold, damp and constructed entirely of concrete, concrete floor, pillars, foundations and stair. The only non-concrete part of the room was the wall beneath the patio. Inside this area the floor was just dirt and never used for anything at all. Cobwebs hung from wall to floor and floor to ceiling and the dirt stank of moisture.

John entered the laundry, still hopeful of a last minute reprise from going into the dungeon. He hoped that his dad would get home before he went through the small doorway and into the feared spot beneath the house. It was four o clock and the sun was just beginning to make it’s decent from the sky for the evening. His father should be home by now, but he wasn’t. So John was going to have to go in.

He stuck his head in the doorway and looked towards the daunting hole in the brick way to his right. He turned to the left and stared at the light switch on the beam on the ceiling. He could reach it by standing on his toes, but this meant he would be vulnerable and off balance for a second. John looked back to the right, stepped quickly into the dungeon, and ran to the light switch. The hum of the fluorescent light sounded like a ghost moaning to John’s overactive imagination. He stood stationary until the single tube kicked on, faintly lighting the large concrete sepulchre.

“There’s nothing there, there’s nothing there,” John kept repeating to himself softly as he looked around for the stepladder.

“No, not there,” he said, spying the small, wooden ladder leaning against the brick wall a few feet to the left of the opening in the wall.

John eyeballed the most direct route from the light switch to the stepladder against the wall. He whimpered, realising he would have to walk in front of the opening to get past it and retrieve the stepladder. No two ways about it, the path against the furtherest wall was blocked off by the old mattress and wheelbarrows.

John took five deep breaths, and then ran to the first support pole. He hide behind it for a second before peering around the corner at the brick wall. He took another five deep breaths, and then ran to the brick wall. There was no way he would touch it so he stood in front of it, building up his strength to fly past the opening.
“You can do it, you can do it.” He said softly to himself. John built himself up and took a step towards the opening.

“Johnnie...Johnnie...” a soft whisper floated across the chill in the air to John’s tingling ears.

“Just my imagination, just my imagination,” he said to himself again.

“No, I’m not,” the voice whispered to him softly. “I am right here, Johnnie.”

John put his hands over his ears and forced himself to walk across the space in front of the opening. He grabbed the wooden stepladder and swung back around. Inside the opening, John saw the faint, Smokey face of a small boy floating in the dark background. The boy smiled at John with tiny, but razor sharp teeth and big pitch black eyes. Those eyes, John thought. He had never seen anything as horrific in his life. There were no whites to the eyes and they were solid, not like the opaque face surrounding them.

“Come here, Johnnie,” The voice said in a whisper as harsh and coarse as a lifelong smoker.

John felt his strength seeping from his body, as though he sprang a leak and his very essence oozed out of his pores. He was petrified, but could not help but be drawn towards the face and the entrance to hell.

* * * *

John’s father came home half an hour later. He kissed his wife and put his brief case down next to the front door. He walked up the stairs, past the two single bedrooms and into the master bedroom, stopping briefly at the bedroom filled with John’s toys and books.

“I think we should seriously pack up the kids stuff the last owners left behind,” he shouted down the hall to his wife.
John’s mother walked up the hall and looked into her son’s bedroom, with a distant feeling of familiarity.

“I suppose you’re right, honey,” she said softly. “It’s not like we are going to have children any time soon.”

Bad Prospects  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Bad Prospects
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 1135

Patrick Lawson panned another load of silt and grit in his rusted, weather beaten tray. It was the end of another fruitless day, gold prospecting the tranquil and peaceful creek on the outskirts of Gympie. While he found no gold that day, he still smiled to himself. Tonight, he would meet with Mrs Jones, the local constable’s wife for another evening of prospecting.

He packed his gear and bathed in the creek, downstream from his camp save polluting the water for drinking. Patrick pulled on his clean moleskin trousers and heavy, dark blue cotton shirt and walked towards town. By the time he reached Gympie’s main street, it was dusk and Constable Jones was already on duty, doing the rounds near the Royal Hotel.

“Quickly, come in before anyone sees you,” Elizabeth Jones said to Patrick.

Patrick scurried in the back door of the cottage, looking from side to side to make sure no one saw him. Inside, Elizabeth grabbed him by the waist and pulled his muscled torso toward her soft cotton skirt, kissing him passionately.
Patrick unbuttoned her blouse and cupped her soft, lily-white breast in his hand. If felt tender to his weather beaten hands, better than anything he handled during the day. She unbuckled his belt, harshly pushed his trousers down below his knees and began stroking him tenderly.

“Away from the window,” Elizabeth gasped, breathing deeply and panting with lusty excitement.

“I can’t wait,” Patrick said. “It’s been a week since we met.”

Elizabeth scampered to the bedroom, pulling her blouse and skirt off when she got to the brass bed and fell backwards with her legs spread invitingly at Patrick. He pulled his trousers off the rest of the way, kicking them to the side, and unbuttoned his shirt as he walked quickly to his lover.

“I wish we could run away together, Patrick.” Elizabeth said after they made love, resting contently on Patrick’s tanned and muscular chest.

“Aye, so do I.”

“Let’s do it, tomorrow.”

“I’ve nothing to keep me here, but I don’t know how we’d survive if we up’d and moved south. You’re probably to used to the luxury of a roof over your head and warm meal every night. I can’t provide that.”

“But you can provide me with all the satisfaction and love I desire. Not like this cold relationship my marriage has turned in to.”

“Aye, can’t imagine the constable being to tender in the sack.” Patrick cupped her breast gently and kissed her on the neck softly.

“Let’s go, Patrick. I can’t handle all of this sneaking around and waiting for him, to leave for long enough for us to meet.”

“If you’re sure,” he said, kissing her on the cheek. “Then I’ll meet you down by the river tomorrow night. We’ll ride out of Gympie under the moonlight. By the time they start looking for you we’ll have a good day’s head start.”

“I’ll leave a note saying I’m going to stay with my sister at Bundaberg for a few weeks.”

“And if we head towards New South Wales, they’ll never find us.”

They made love again twice before Patrick had to leave and Elizabeth had to fix the bed and other disrupted furniture around the small workers’ cottage.
That night, neither of them slept well. Both excited about the prospect of being together forever, not more sneaking around or hiding their feelings towards each other. Patrick was still half-awake at daybreak when a voice boomed through his tent in a deep, authoritive voice.

“Patrick Lawson, you will come out of your tent with your hands on your head.”
Patrick slowly rose from his uncomfortable bed on the hard rocky ground and poked his head out of the tent.

“What’s this about?” he said to the five troopers standing with carbines pointed at him.

“Please come out where we can see your entire person. Slowly as it does now, we don’t want any trouble from you.”

Patrick did not recognise four of the troopers, but did know the face of the fifth, Constable Jones. He did not know if this had anything to do with last night, but did not want to give them reason to gun him down. Slowly, he left his tent and stood in his faded red, long johns before the armed men.

“What’s going on?”

“Patrick Lawson,” Constable Jones said harshly. “You are under arrest for the murder of William Baxter.”

“What, who?”

“Put your hands behind your back slowly.”

Patrick did not react immediately and received a heavy blow to the kidneys from the butt of an army carbine. He fell to the ground, winded and clutching his side. Three troopers fell on his heavily and roughly pulled his arms behind his back, forcing his face into the rocky ground with more effort than needed. The fourth trooper locked a pair of heavy manacle tightly around Patrick’s wrists, cutting into the thick leathery skin with the rough edges.

The troopers hoped off Patrick and pulled him to his feet, almost dislocating his right arm when jerking him up.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Patrick started to say.” You must have the wrong man.”

“Oh, we’ve got the right man, Mr Lawson,” Constable Jones said harshly, leading Patrick towards the five horses grazing a few feet from the tent.

* * * *

“Is this your pistol, Mr Lawson?” Sergeant Williamson said to Patrick.

The sergeant held up a battered old revolver in front of the cell Patrick sat in on a rickety iron bed. Patrick looked at it carefully and could tell the worn handle and barrel was definitely his.

“I can’t be sure,” he replied. “It looks like any old pistol to me.”

“Aren’t these your initials on the grip?”

“P.L. They look like mine. Where did you find it?”

“It was found next to the body of William Baxter last night at nine o clock behind the Royal Hotel.”

“But I wasn’t at the Royal last night.”

“Do you have anyone that can back that statement for you?”

Patrick thought deeply. He sure did have someone who could verify his story, but at what cost? He wondered what would happen if he told them that, he was shagging the constable’s wife at the time of the murder.

“No,” he said sadly. “I live in the tent the troopers found me in this morning. Unfortunately, by myself.”

“Then you have no proof of just where you were last night, do you?”

“No,” Patrick said, shaking her head in defeat. “No, I don’t.”

“Then the trial will be held in two weeks at the Gympie court house.”

Patrick hung his head low in sorrow. He could not get a message to Elizabeth and he would not implicate her in her infidelity to save himself from the gallows. It was more disgrace than she deserved.

Black Diamond  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Black Diamond
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 300

Out on the street for a living at the age of fourteen, it feels like the picture has only begun. The harsh reality of life has already hit home and Sarah Diamond felt as though they had her under their thumb. The landlord of the small single room flatette she rented in the hostel, the men who paid her for her services by the half hour. Sorrow and madness filled her day, not much better than living at home with an abusive stepfather. At least she knew when and where she the abuse would come from. The one hundred dollars hardly compensated the feeling of disgust and loathing, but at least no one took it free.

Darkness fell on the city again, also seeming to fall on Sarah with heaviness in her heart she expected. She accepted her lifestyle, falling into the drug scene that accompanies her line of work without too much guilt or loathing. It no longer numbed the pain significantly. She does not ask for pity, she knows that there is nothing anyone can do. One day, she will save enough to dig her way out of this situation, or at least she hopes she will. She is not confident she will ever escape after talking with women twice her age that started the same way, thinking the same thing. By the time worked the streets of the Valley for more than a few years you knew you were never going to leave.

Apart from on Pretty Woman, there were no stories of a knight in shining armour coming to save girls like her from the streets. She was, and would always remain, a diamond in the rough.

Mr Powers  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Mr. Powers
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:1542

An ad on the front page of the Courier Mail stated boldly in a full-page feature, ‘Want to be a super hero? Come try out for the latest reality TV show – My Hero.’ Splashed across the bottom half of the page were a variety of costumed characters arrayed in all the colors of the rainbow and all manner of zany outfits. According to the ad, the auditions would be held on the weekend at the distribution warehouse of Dark Idol comics between eight in the morning until five that evening. Founding editor and storywriter, Jack Idol, would be judging the auditions himself.

“Take a look at this,” Chris said to the group of nerds hanging out at his flat. “A full page, color ad. That must have cost a fortune.”

“Guy must think he’s Stan Lee, throwing that sort of money around.” Ivan, Chris’ friend with an unnaturally large red afro said in a nasally voice.

Chris’ other two friend, Charlie and Shaun, paused the Star Wars Jedi Knight game they were playing online, and looked at the ad with childlike excitement.

“We should enter,” Shaun said.

“Yeh,” replied Charlie. “Use the characters we created in Champions.”

Ivan pulled out his superhero role-play game book and took his well-worn character sheet from the page. He held it up beside his head, looked at it then looked at his three friends.

“I look just like Transistor,” he said mockingly. “Don’t I?”

The rough sketch on the piece of paper held the image of a muscle-bound superhero wearing a tight, bright blue, spandex costume with a silver T across the chest. The three friends burst out laughing at the ridiculous comparison between the hero on paper and their wiry framed friend with thick, black rimmed glasses. The absurdity of even thinking they could dress up like their heroes caused immense amusement to the four friends.

“What have we got to lose?” Shaun said. “The auditions are on next Saturday, so we won’t miss work. Don’t have to tell anyone we are going.”

“Yeh,” said Ivan. “It’ll be a blast. Dressing up as our characters will be super fun.”

Charlie threw a Spiderman figurine at Ivan, hitting him on the forehead.

“What did you do that for?”

“To bring you back to your senses. Where are we going to get costumes in three days?”

Chris opened his laptop and Goggled costume hire in Brisbane. He sifted through a dozen or so possibilities, excluding those that specialised in B&D outfits, until he narrowed it down to four that looked half descent.

“I’ll give them a call, see what we can get sorted out,” Chris said, picking up the cordless handset on his desk.

By the third phone call, Chris tracked down a costume hire shop that could supply four different superhero type outfits that could have symbols, letters or emblems Velcro’d on in a range of styles and positions.

“Okay, “Chris said cheerfully. “Let’s go check these costumes out and get ready for the auditions.”

****

First thing Saturday morning, the four friends drove along Ipswich Road, through the industrial precinct until reaching the address of the auditions. The four friends dressed in their super hero costumes, under their normal clothes. Outside the warehouse, a large crowd of costumed men, women and children gathered already.

“I thought we’d be here before the majority of other contestants,” Chris said.

“It’s cool,” Ivan said reassuringly. “I’m sure we will be just dandy. The amount of time we’ve played these characters in Champion will give us a better knowledge of the powers and characteristics than the others.”

After waiting in line for two hours, the four friends finally reached the entrance to the warehouse. Seated at a shiny, stainless steel table were Patricia Shields and Justin Smoke, two assistant editors for Dark Idol comics.

“Name and powers,” Patricia asked Ivan, who was first in line.

“Transistor,” said Iva. “I have the power over radio waves.”

Charlie was next in line.

“Speedball. I have superhuman speed and can run so fast I barely touch the ground. Water is not a problem, as I can run so fast my weight does not make me sink.”

“Next,” Justin said.

Chris stood forward and flexed his biceps, or lack thereof.

“Iron Law,” he said. “My superhuman strength is the result of an accident in a foundry. Now, my skin is as tough as iron and my strength, that of a dozen men.”
Shaun was the last of the four to enter the warehouse.

“Fire Fly. I have the power to fly and shoot fireballs from my eyes.”

“Together, we form the HAAS; Heroic Alliance of All Stars,” Shaun added.

“Oh,” replied Patricia. “A super group. We have not seen one of those today. Jack will be very excited.”

“Follow me,” said a gorgeous, red head in a tight latex bodysuit.

She lead them further into the warehouse, through a maze of passageways and corridors, all constructed in the same shiny, stainless steel that the desk outside was made of. Pale blue fluorescent lights hummed softly in behind the opaque diffusers in the ceiling.

“How much further?” Ivan asked their host.

“The secret lair is at the heart of the building. It won’t take us much longer to reach it, gentlemen.”

“She’s sure in character,” Charlie said to his friends.

“Where are the other contestants?” Ivan said, looking around the corridor.

“Each contestant has been allocated a host to evaluate their character. Once the ten are chosen, you will regroup in the arena for the final stage of the audition.”
They followed their host to a small auditorium, where she instructed each of them to sit in a stainless steel chair, which looked more like a modern electric chair than anything of comfort.

“I think I might stand,” Ivan said to the host.

“I’m sorry. You must take a seat for the interview process. They look uncomfortable but you will understand why shortly.”

Ivan reluctantly sat down, joining his three friends on the cold, hard seats in front of the host. She stood on a small platform in front of them and asked them personal questions individually. After almost an hour Ivan, Chris, Charlie, Shaun and Ivan felt like they had been interrogated by ASIO. The host left them in the room by themselves.

“Some of those questions were just weird,” Chris said.

“A bit personal to, I thought,” said Ivan. “I felt like I was being grilled for a crime I had committed.”

“I suppose it has to be very thorough for legal reasons,” Charlie said. “I mean some of the stunts and stuff we will be attempting might be pretty dangerous.”

“Yeh, I suppose.”

The host re-entered the auditorium.

“Please sit back down in your chairs,” she said. “We will now proceed to the main arena.”

When Ivan, Charlie, Chris and Shaun took their places back on the sterile chairs, the host clicked a button on what looked to be a DVD remote control. Thick, steel cufflinks shot out of the arms and legs of the solid chairs, locking the four friends into place.

“Hey, what’s this all about?” Shaun yelled.

The chairs began to vibrate, and then lift an inch of the floor, before turning around to face a doorway opening in the wall to the left.

“Let me out of here!” Ivan yelled.

The host walked down and ran her hand across Ivan’s arm.

“You’ve been selected as part of the final ten contestants. Now, you will get to meet the great Jack Idol.”

The chairs slowly moved on a track in the floor through the doorway, then into a dimly lit passage. The momentum picked up until the chairs moved at a nice even pace of twenty kilometers an hour.

“We’ve got to get out of here.” Charlie yelled over his should to Chris, who was in the set behind him.

Chris struggle and wiggled in the shackles but they did not budge.

“Look, we must almost be there.” Shaun shouted, seeing a white light approximately the same size as the door they left the auditorium through.

The chairs flowed out of the tunnel into an even larger auditorium, capable of seating over one hundred people if packed in. There were six other solid stainless steel chairs situated around the outside of the lower level. Sitting on each seat were other superhero fans, dressed up as their own hero.

“Ah, the last of my super team.” Jack Idol said in a jovial voice that echoed in the large, empty room.

“You have all passed the auditions and will participate in my quest to create real superheroes.”

“I think you can unlock these now,” Chris said, rattling the shackles on his wrists.

“Oh, I think we might keep them on for a little bit longer now, Iron Law. I am going to try and turn you into the character you wish to be.”

“What the...” Shaun yelled.

“Each of you has given me the story of how your character gained their powers. I am going to try and replicate this scenario and see if I can actually give you the powers.”

“You’re crazy,” yelled Ivan. “You’ll kill us.”

“Perhaps, Transistor. However, imagine if I don’t. You will be real heroes.”

Kiss of Death  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Kiss of Death

By Scott Wilson

Word Count 198

It was only a brief encounter, like wind through the trees, it came so suddenly. But then it was gone like it had never been, if it weren’t for the unseen after effect perhaps there would be no way of knowing it really happened.

How could I have ever seen what was really happening, even though it felt like I was in a dream. She seemed like a lost heart, not a demon that would take my soul as she took me in her arms, and brought me to an end. She promised paradise as she lied upon her bed, like a fallen angel with the devil's charm. It was a night of passion and heat, unlike any I had ever experiences before, and now, would ever experience again.

I tried to stop as she held out her hand, but the fire was burning inside like a furnace of pain. We just met, but she knew what I wanted and she gave it and more, but now I must pay the price. We were strangers, passing in the night like ships at sea. How could I have known?

Rock Soldiers  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Rock Soldiers
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 668

Back in the summer of '83, Ace was going off the track in a big way. He lost his wife and son in a drink driving accident, well because of a drunk driver. With the driver being a high profile lawyer and buddies with the Premier of New South Wales, he managed to get off the charge with no criminal record; no time served and not even a fine.

Ace began drinking' and driving' himself after the trial and disappointment of seeing a powerful man escape justice. Each day was bringing me closer to Hell, with the Devil in the passenger's seat of his automobile. The Devil said to him each time he started the car, “Hey Ace, let's not be silly, there's a life out there to steal.” I didn’t know this at the time, I just thoughts he wasn’t coping with life.
He was a good friend of mine and we had been in a band, The Rock Soldier, together since high school. I don’t know how I missed how stoned Ace was the night of the accident that he caused when we drove home from a gig down in Sydney. I thought he must have been coming to terms with his loss. I thought Ace was back.

It was midnight on 12 December and we were on the highway back to Brisbane after four months touring the east coast; playing at any and every pub or hotel that would book us. I was sick after eating a bad batch of Chinese takeaway, otherwise it would have been mean me driving, and the accident probably would not have happened. Ace assured me he hadn’t had a drink all week and he was sober. I smelt his breath and he seemed clean, so I felt safe with him at the wheel.

The sound of a police siren screeching like a banshee, hot on our tail woke me. I could see the flashing red and blue lights in the mirror and feel a chill in the car that was not from the AC being too high. I told Ace to pull over, but his eyes were glazed over and he did not seem to be focused on anything. They looked glazed over, as he had skulled a bottle of Jim Beam while I was asleep. I tried to grab his arm, but something stopped me. An unseen cold, bony hand grabbed my right arm and pushed it away. Nobody else was in the car, but I swear I saw someone, something, in the rear vision mirror when I looked back at the police car again. Something sort of human, but red and black, with horns like a ram and jagged teeth like a great white shark, smiling at me. When I blinked, it was gone and only the flashing lights of the patrol car were there again.

I heard Ace scream, “I am invincible.”

I didn’t see the truck we hit or remember that much else from that night. In amongst the wrecked metal, smell of leaking fuel and blood, I rolled in and out of consciousness. Ace’s neck seemed to be at a strange angle and as I could tell, he wasn’t going to be waking up any time soon.

Friends say they will stay with you right through that danger zone, but the closer you get to that fiery hole the more you realise that you will have to make it alone. I felt my right leg burn; I looked down and saw the bone protruding from just below the knee. That pain was not as bad as the pain I felt, seeing Ace’s soul painfully pulled from his corpse. Ace looked at me with terror in his eyes and there was nothing I could do.

When I think of how my life was spared from that near fatal wreck at least I know that if the Devil wants to play his card game now He is going to have to play without an Ace in his deck!

Darklands  

Posted by Scott Wilson

WORD SLAW: My Legacy, S.Wilson  

Posted by Scott Wilson

WORD SLAW: My Legacy, S.Wilson

Death on Strike?  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Death on Strike?

By Scott Wilson

Word Count:1174

“Sod you then,” Death said to the spirit of the lawyer, holding onto his corpse, or at least he was trying to with his ghostly fingers that could not grab anything physical.

Death released his hold of the lawyer’s right leg, turned and walked away mumbling about being sick of people always saying it wasn’t their time, blah , blah blah.

“Nobody appreciates what I do,” Death grumbled. “Fine then. Let’s see if you lot can do a better job of things yourselves.”

Death kicked a cat that was hanging around the corpse of the lawyer. One of the cat’s nine lives fell out of its body and began licking its balls, not noticing that it was no longer attached to the body containing the remaining four lives.
Skulking along the street, Death continued mumbling and complaining until he was far out of earshot of the bewildered lawyer.

The lawyer finally realised he had escaped Death’s cold and bony grip, but was still laying outside of his physical body. He sat up and looked around, perplexed by his current situation. There he was, obviously completely dead, but not in Heaven or on his way down to the flaming, sulphur pits of Hell. He tried slipping back into his body. He could lie in the spot his body was but not stick to it. Inside his body’s head, he could see the aneurism that caused his dead moments ago and curiously poked it with his finger.

“Well, bugger me,” He said. “Now what do I do?”

He turned towards the fading figure of Death in the distance, leapt up and ran off down the road waving his arms and trying to attract the attention of the being he was just trying to escape.

He passed a young teenage couple lingering around the pieces of their gold Mitsubishi Lancer, wrapped around a telephone poll in the centre of the road. They looked just as confused as the lawyer, looking at their broken and bloodied bodies in the torn and jagged skeleton remains of the boy’s brand new car. They did not even notice the lawyer run past, chasing Death down the road.

“Hey, wait up,” he yelled as Death approached a crest in the hill.

Death turned around and shook his head from side to side, the bony teeth rattled like beans in a can.

“What do you want?” Death groaned in a low, monotone voice, devoid of all emotion and enthusiasm.

“Hey, what am I supposed to do now?”

“What do I care,” Death grumbled. “You were soo concerned about hanging on to your body before. Why not go back there.”

“I tried,” the lawyer said. “But I can’t get back inside. What do I do?”

“Not my problem,” Death said, turning to walk away. “I quite.”

“But, but, you’re death. You can’t quite.”

“Sure, you all hate me when I come to take you to your final destination, like you haven’t had your whole life to prepare and then act like it’s a big surprise. Do you know anyone who hasn’t died? No. So why the big fuss when I try and do my job?”

The lawyer reached out and touched Death’s thick, black hessian robe.

“Look, nobody liked me when I did my job either, but I still bloody well did it. Now you just stop feeling sorry for yourself and either put me back in my body or take me to Heaven.”

“Fuh,” Death chuckled. “You weren’t going there. Honestly, did you really think that is where I was going to take you?”

“Well, why not. I won every case I took to trial. Has to be worth something doesn’t it.”

“No, not really,” Death said, pulling out a set of shiny, gold scales from inside his robes. “Look at all the bad stuff on the other side here. Cheating on your taxes, lying, purgery, getting criminals off murder charges when you knew darn well they were guilty and being a downright unfriendly person.”

“You can’t be serious, being unfriendly? You can’t use that against me. It doesn’t say anything in the Bible about being a cheerful, laughing baboon, now does it?”

“Oh, I don’t care. I don’t make the rules, do I? I just get faxed the list at the start of the day and have to listen to you all whinge and whine while I try to finish my job on time. I am sick of hearing, I’m too young to die, I haven’t achieved everything I want to, But I just put the kettle on.”

“Look,” the lawyer said. “I’ll make a deal with you...”

“Like I haven’t heard that one before,” Death moaned.

“No, no seriously. If you put me back in my body, I’ll work for Legal Aid for the rest of my life.”

“Sorry, even if I had the slightest inclination to consider that pathetic attempt at a bribe, I don’t have the power to do anything about it. You’ll have to take that up with The Boss.”

The lawyer became furious and shook his fists in Death’s face.

“Now you look here sport. You take me to The Boss, then so I can sort this and get back to work. I’m going to be very late for an immensely important case. It’ll ruin my reputation if I’m not there for the closing session.”

Death shook his head again, wishing he had the power to send this annoying little man back to his body, just to shut him up. He was really beginning to get on Death’s nerves.

“Hey, are you the Grim Reaper?” a young boy, who had just been run over while skateboarding home from getting a bottle of milk for his mother. “Aren’t you supposed to, like come and get me or something?”

“I quite this morning,” Death said in his monotone drawl.

“Cool,” the boy said. “So can I like, go around and haunt my English teacher? Like, she says I can’t write or, like spell. I think she is full of shit, and all. What does she know?”

“You can do what you want,” Death said, looking worried about the large group of recently deceased spirits coming up the hill towards him. He sighed and thought, “Why did I stop on the top of this hill, if I’d waited until I got over the crescent they wouldn’t have seen me.”

The young boy was already half way back down the hill, running past his physical body lying under the car close to the scene of the accident the lawyer passed a few moments before. He did not seem to be the least bit worried about being dead at all.
Death sighed, wishing he hadn’t left his pale white horse, Sam, at the office this morning because it had a bit of a sniffle and didn’t feel well. He should have known that it was going to be one of those days.

A Whisker and Tail  

Posted by Scott Wilson

A Whisker and Tail
By Scott Wilson
Word Count 897

Achilles licked his paw until the dirt, firmly wedged in his toe pad popped out like a cork and hit the trash can like a bullet, ringing loudly in the quiet back alley. If there was one thing he hated, it was toe-jam; not as much as wearing shoes to prevent the toe-jam, but almost. A stray moggie sprung out of one of the bins further down the alley, startled by the ricochet.

“Sorry about that chief.” Achilles said apologetically.

The ginger and white stray looked at Achilles and wiped a streak of crusty gravy from his whiskers.

“You could kill someone with a careless aim like that, my friend.”

Achilles winked at the stray and continued cleaning his other front paw. The moggie slinked off down the alley, looking back over his shoulder once before turning left into Queen Street.

“You can come out now.” Achilles said.

Three tall, thickset black felines slithered out from behind a pile of rotten pallets near the back door of a sporting goods store. The biggest of the three slowly strutted across the rubbish filled ground, swaying its hips as if to distract Achilles from the other cats.

“We’ve been expecting you, Achilles.” The cat purred.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to disappoint you now, would I Angelina?”

The two slinky, sleek black felines walked to either side of Achilles, leaving the dominant female the only cat in view. Achilles knew where they were standing, and could strike out with his paws, knocking them off balance before they could leap.

“Didn’t we agree?” Angelina said in her husky meow. “That my girls could work this side of the city without any harassment from the fuzz.”

“I’m not here to bust your chops, Angie.”

“Why else would a straight laced cop like you stroll into this side of town?”

Achilles felt the two cats approach within swiping distance diagonally behind. His tail stood on end, and the silky fur on his back prickled.

“To help you.”

Angelina moved forward and rubbed her head against Achilles’ broad chest. Purring heavily in his ears to distract him.

“Why would we need your help, my sweet?”

Achilles realised he allowed himself to be cornered, distracted by the charms of this sleazy, kitten of the night. He knew he had to get his message through, and quickly.

“The bureau has gotten the scent of bad news. Bad news for you kitties, Angie. The humans have setting traps in this alley. Too many cats coming and going brought the attention down on your little operation. Now more felines are coming in than leaving.”

He felt the felines behind ease up their stand over tactics and back off.

“We’ve been very discreet. How could this happen?”

“Someone tattled, Angie. Someone who wanted you out of business. Do you know who would want to shut your girls down?”

Angelina licked her paw, and then brushed her brow slowly. She thought deeply, and then flicked her tail when recalling an odd character that recently moved in at the Thai restaurant down the end of the alley.

“This Siamese cat moved in. He strutted down the middle of the street, proud as can be. ‘Till one of my girls made fun of him, being neutered an all.”

“Thanks, Angie. I think I shall pay him a visit.”

“We’ll come with you, Achilles. You know how sneaky those Siamese are, I don’t think you should confront him by yourself.”

“You stay out of sight while I talk to him, okay.”

“We’ll be close by.”

The four felines strutted down the dim alley to the Thai Boat restaurant. Angelina and her girls slinking into the shadows before they reached the fly screen door at the back, leaving Achilles to front the new cat on the block alone.

“Wha you wan offica?” The Siamese said after nudging the screen door open.

“Just like to have a chat, um...Sorry didn’t catch your name.”

“I Hariuka. No ploblem at all. We chat inside you like?” The Siamese said motioning for Achilles to follow him back inside the kitchen.

“I think we should stay out here, Hariuka. You know how humans are with cats they don’t know.”

“My master like all cats, you be safe.”

“I’ve only got a few minutes, so let’s chat out here.”

“Okay, mister. What you wanna know?”

“Have you noticed any cats being trapped around the alley? You know, in those cages the humans use.”

“Me no see anysin’ likea that.”

“How long have you been in the neighborhood? I haven’t seen you around before.”

“Me move in not rong ago. My master buy restaurant and set up here couple weeks ago.”

“Don’t get out much, hey. I pass by most nights on the way home. Haven’t seen your whiskers out and about.”

Me no like to leave my master. He take very good care me. Feed me well and make sure me plenty happy.”

Achilles did not see the small Asian chef, in black clothes approach the kitchen door until it was too late. The door flung open, knocking Achilles into the trashcans and dazing him. The chef lunged at him and threw a bag over Achilles before he could spring out of the way.

“My master, do chop, chop on you now mister. No ladies laugh at me again when no boys left to buy kiss, kiss from them anymore.”

HOORAY: Christmas Crackers  

Posted by Scott Wilson

My Story Christmas Crackers has been published by Spec The Halls, http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls/guidelines.html

HOORAY: The cover of Darkness  

Posted by Scott Wilson

My story, The Cover of Darkness, has been published by The Tiny Globule http://www.thetinyglobule.com/index.html

Billy Bad Boy  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Billy Bad Boy
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 2389

Frankie gathered up the supplies scattered around the rocky ledge, saving anything not damaged in the fall. He was the supervisor for a small group of people with intellectual disability and this was the fifth annual camp for them. Lying on the sharp rocky ledge, battered and bleeding was Tom, the youngest of the group of eight. Frankie pulled the zip up on the sleeping bag, covering Tim and securing him in place with ropes and tent pegs. It would have to do until he could get the rest of the group back to the ranger’s station and return with professional assistance. By the look of Tom’s head injury, Frankie thought there would be no chance of him regaining consciousness before he returned with medical help.

He took one more look around the ledge, regretting that there was no way he could carry Tom back up by himself. Frankie grabbed hold of the thick nylon rope and began the slow and painful ascent back up the cliff face to the hysteric group of scared campers.

“How is he bossman?” Danny Freidman asked.

“Not good, Danny.”

“Why he no come up with you?” Nicole Betterford asked.

“We have to hike back to the ranger’s office. They will be able to help get Tom back up to the top of the cliff.”

Jimmy Strong walked up to Frankie, pat him on the back, and smiled.

“I can carry him back up, Frankie”

Frankie looked up at Jimmy; he was six foot seven tall and built like an ox.

Frankie had no doubt that Jimmy could physically carry the weight by himself in one hand but there was no way he would risk his life to retrieve the unconscious body of their companion.

“I know you can, Jimmy. But it is not safe. We need to get the professionals to help us now.”

“Maybe, Billybadboy help.” Billy Jones said. “Billybadboy thinks Tom be scared down there, all by hisself.”

Frankie did not want to tell them their friend was unconscious and probably suffering from a near fatal head injury, and wouldn’t feel scared about anything anymore. However, he needed them to keep it together until he got them back to safety.

“He won’t be scared, Billy. But we need to go and get help now.”

“Maybe Billybadboy stay here, just case he calls out for you.”

“No, Billy.” Frankie said, patting Billy on the shoulder as a father would to his son. “We all need to stay together now. The sooner we leave, the sooner we can get help for Tom.”

Jimmy cracked his knuckles and pushed his chest out then said, “You heard what the boss said, we gotta go now.”

“Grab your backpacks but leave everything else. We need to get to the ranger quickly so don’t worry about putting your tents down or packing up. Just make sure you have your water bottles and enough food for lunch and dinner.”

“Maybe Billybadboy go and give Tom his bag, case he gets hungry.”

Frankie stopped Billy before he could walk close to the edge of the cliff and fall over it to.

“I left everything Tom needs down there, Billy.”

“Look, Tom’s hiding in his sleeping bag.” Trish yelled from the edge of the cliff.
Everyone turned around, startled by Trish’s loud shrill tone when she called to them. She was standing right on the edge of the cliff, peering over the edge at the ledge Tom’s body lay on.

“Get back from there, Trish.” Frankie yelled.

“It’s okay, boss. I’m sa…” Trish ended her sentence in a scream as the rocky ground beneath her feet crumbled, sending her over the edge.

Nicole screamed, waving her arms in a fury of panic and horror. The oldest of the group, Beth Patterson, fell to the ground, fainting from the tension and shock.
Frankie ran to the cliff’s edge, dropping to the ground as he reached it and crawling like a crazed lizard the rest of the way so he did not fall over the ledge himself. He could not see Trish on the ledge Tom fell to. He knew that that she had gone passed it, plummeting to the river below, and her death.

“Trish!” yelled her best friend Sally Anderson.

Sally ran toward the ledge and Frankie grabbed at her from the ground to stop her toppling over. He managed to get hold of her right arm as she stumbled past him. Pain shot up his shoulder when it stretched to its limits, as she fell over the edge and would have plummeted to her death to if he had not grabbed her. Frankie gritted his teeth together, the searing hot pain shooting down his arm from the weight of Sally’s heavyset frame. It felt as though his arm was being torn from its socket, stretching beyond its natural limits. A thick, muscular arm shot past his head and grabbed hold of Sally’s shoulders, pulling her up the cliff and over Frankie’s head. He let go before his arm was flung back with Sally, spinning around to see the towering form of Jimmy, holding Sally in his tree trunk thick arms.

“You okay, boss?” He asked.

“Yes, thank you Jimmy.”

“Trish, I want Trish.” Sally cried.

Frankie looked at the scared and terrified faces of the group. He trembled, felt vomit build up in the back of his throat but chocked it back. He had to stay strong for the group or someone else would get hurt.

“Where’s Billy!” Frankie said.

Frankie surveyed the campsite and could not see Billy anywhere. He hoped that Billy was in one of the tents, gathering his belongings, but knew better. Although Billy was thirty-two, he had the mind of a twelve-year-old boy. Billy had the reckless nature and bravado of a child who had not yet experienced the horror and disappointment of adulthood. He would most likely be looking for a way to climb down to the ledge and save his friend Tom.

“Jimmy, I need you to help me find Billy.”

Jimmy walked towards the campsite and put Sally down on a canvas chair next to Nicole and Beth. Beth had come round and was sitting up rubbing her head where she bumped it when she fainted. A small trickle of scarlet blood ran down her forehead and dripped off onto her top. She wiped it with her right hand and fainted again. One less to worry about for the time being, Frankie thought to himself.

“We are going to look for Billy.” Frankie said to Sally and Nicole. “I need you to look after Beth, okay.”

Nicole nodded and put her arm around Sally, rubbing her arm as a caring sister would. Once out of sight, the tragic events were out of Nicole’s mind. She had a limited memory and felt calm again now there was no apparent danger in her sight.

“”We’ll be okay, won’t we, Sally.”

Sally rocked back and forward in the canvas chair. She did not have the luxury of a limited memory and shook with shock. Frankie decided that he would be able to have a quick look with Jimmy around the area surrounding the campsite for Billy before he would have to take the girls back to the ranger’s station.

“Let’s go.” Frankie said to Jimmy, and they headed into the pine trees surrounding the campsite.

The morning sun rose on the horizon, seeping into the forest with a river of golden light. Dew drizzled off the leaves and branches as Jimmy and Frankie brushed past. Frankie looked around as they walked, hoping to see tell tale signs of disturbed dew on branches from Billy. Seeing no signs of Billy’s track, Frankie assumed they were travelling in the wrong direction.

“Let’s go back and check the other direction, Jimmy.”

“Sure thing, boss.”

They headed back towards the campsite; saw Nicole in between Sally and Beth, stroking their heads like one would pat a pet lovingly. Frankie was feeling better about leaving the girls there for the time being and picked up his pace to try and find Billy before he hurt himself.

“Let’s try over near the right side of the cliff. Maybe he was looking for a way to get down and help his friend.”

“Look here, boss.” Jimmy said.

“What have you got, Jimmy?”

“Bear poo.”

“Ain’t no bears in Australia, Jimmy. It is probably possum or kangaroo poo.”

Frankie sighed. For a minute, he felt like he was searching for the lost man with another person of the same capacity as himself. Jimmy could act like a highly intelligent man sometimes then a minute later display the attributes of a ten year old. A lathe almost scalped Jimmy when he was an apprentice, leaving him with permanent brain damage and an IQ of sixty-eight. At times, Frankie thought Jimmy got a faint glimpse of the life he used to live as a bright, attractive young man. He would stare blankly into space, not hearing anything that happened around him or responding to any of his five senses. Then, just as suddenly as he spaced out, he would be in the land of the living again and carry on as though nothing occurred in the preceding minutes.

“I thought you’d found him, for a minute there Jimmy.”

“’fraid not, boss.”

“Okay, let’s keep looking.”

Jimmy followed Frankie into the forest on the other side of the campsite. They scoured the trees and foliage for signs of disturbance; broken branches, marks on the dew or footprints. Each step they took was a track that they could not go back over if they missed anything. Their movements left a trail on the damp leaves like that of a giant snail trail, covering anything they missed on their way past.

The rising sun began to warm the forest and evaporate the dew, making the chance of finding a trail even harder. Frankie and Jimmy’s clothes were saturated from the moisture and the heat of the day starting up began to dry them out. If Billy came this way, he would be waterlogged to, so his hay fever would not be such a problem until later in the day. It appeared to Frankie that the odds were stacked against him in finding poor Billy.

“Better go back soon, boss.”

“I think we might have to, Jimmy. Get the girls back and get a search party out for Billy.”

Jimmy followed Frankie back to the campsite. Nicole, Sally and Beth were huddled together inside Beth’s tent when the two men arrived back to the tent, as they were sitting in the safety of a cocoon.

“You okay, Beth.” Frankie asked.

Beth shook her head.

“We should start walking back to the ranger’s office before it starts getting too hot. That way there will still be some daylight left for the emergency services to look for Billy.”

Jimmy helped the women up and they began the four-hour hike back to the main road, and safety of the ranger’s office.

The well worn dirt track winding in and out of the trees seemed to take twice and long and hard to maneuver as the trip out to the campsite. They were full of excitement and anticipation during the walk out and the backpacks and gear did not seem to bother any of them. Now, the light day backpacks they carried their water and food in, seemed to weigh them down like bags of concrete. Frankie knew it was their sorrow that weighed them down though. Each step was an effort as no one wanted to leave their friends behind.

By the time, they reached the ranger’s office it was just past lunchtime. The ranger organized a helicopter with the SES to fly back, retrieve Tom from the ledge, and send out a search party for Billy.

Frankie rode back to the campsite in the ranger’s Nissan four-wheel drive, accompanied by Jimmy in the back. Jimmy refused to stay with the medical crew at the ranger’s office.

“I’m gonna help find Billybadboy.” Jimmy said.

“We will find him, Jimmy.”

It only took half an hour to drive back to the campsite and Frankie cursed himself for not driving there with the minivan to start with. The road was too rough for the van and he knew it was not his fault the group hiked there on foot. Over the last five years, the group enjoyed the fellowship of one another during this peaceful walk through the pines. The campsite overlooked the vast forestry and was situated far enough back from the cliff ledge for it to be a safe site for camping. When the Nissan reached the campsite, Frankie couldn’t believe his eyes. The SES helicopter was sitting at the edge of the campsite, with Billy, Tom and Trish being attended to by the medic.

Frankie and Jimmy ran to their three friends, beaming with happiness and confusion.

“Billy, Trish what happened?”

“Maybe, Billybadboy helped Tom and ‘rish.”

The SES helicopter pilot shook his head and patted Billy on the back.

“Dandiest thing I’ve ever seen. This young fella was sitting on the ledge down there like Florence Nightingale, looking after his two friends. Don’t know how he got down there in one piece?”

“But, Trish fell over the edge.” Jimmy said. “We all saw her.”

“Maybe, Billybadboy saw her hanging on near Tom. Maybe, Billybadboy had to help friends.”

Trish lay propped up on a stretcher, oxygen mask covering her bloody and bruised face, right arm in a sling and left leg in an awkward position. She sure looked like she fell off a cliff and had the scars to prove it. Frankie could not understand how she had managed to grab hold of the ledge on her way down the cliff.

“How did you manage to survive?” he asked Trish.

Trish was too doped up on morphine to answer Frankie, but he was just glad no one had died.

Billy put his arm around Frankie and gave him a bear hug.

“Maybe, Billybadboy be second boss at camp next year, boss.”

Frankie smiled and ruffled Billy’s hair.

“Maybe, Billy. Just maybe that ain’t a bad idea.”

The End

The Cover of Darkness  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Cover of Darkness
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 1584

Thick black clouds with the texture and color of burnt marshmallows hung in the midday sky, causing a darkness to fall over the city like nightfall. Terry moved away from the window and headed to the bathroom to wash the sleep and grim from his bloodshot eyes. He didn’t know why he looked out the window as soon as he woke up, darkness covered the horizon like a blanket no matter what time of day it was. After five years, he still had not become use to the effects of the cataclysmic storm that changed the world.

Religious leaders said it was the Armageddon and they were living in the end times. They called the veil of darkness the cloud of sin. It circled the globe, covering every nation and continent and hiding the sun from mankind as though the light of the world had been taken from it.

Scientists said the atmosphere was the effect of greenhouse gases, caused by man’s pollution and decadent lifestyle. Either way you looked at it, man had brought it upon himself.

Terry pumped the water into the grim, mould-covered basin, and splashed the cool water on his face. He looked into the mirror, disgusted at his appearance. Five years after his wife and two sons died in the storm, Terry had let himself go. He stopped working out, started eating a diet of high fat, greasy take-away and began drinking and smoking excessively. His sick pack stomach was now nothing but a flabby sack of hot chips and Chico rolls. Walking up to his tenth floor unit took away his breath and made him sweat as if he had just run an Olympic marathon.

“You sad, sorry, sack of shit.” He growled at his image and punched the mirror. If he hadn’t installed a metal backed mirror, it would have smashed until his daily abuse.

Terry lifted the folds of fat on his gut and watched the waves in the mirror as they bounced and shook when he let go. He took the packet of Marlboros from the top of the medicine cabinet and lit the first of many for the day. Walking out to the kitchen, he tripped over a pile of dirty clothes, almost falling into the flat screen TV. Not that it would have mattered, the government took the news channels off air two years back after radical groups kept breaking into the stations and hijacking the news with their own agendas.

Terry rummaged through the pile of food encrusted plates and cups in the sink, giving up when he thought something smiled at him from the dark, deep recesses beneath the month old crockery. He resigned himself to having a liquid breakfast and took a long pull of Southern Comfort straight from the bottle.
Terry went back to the bedroom, bottle still in hand, and pulled his shoulder holster, ankle holster and utility belt on. The .44 Magnum revolver in the shoulder holster was very old school compare to the Beretta hanging from his belt, but it still packed a punch and helped him get out of many tight situations on the beat. He picked up his SPAZ12 Semi-Automatic Shotgun, headed to the stairs, and began the decent to the grueling working day.

“Top of the morning to you, sir.” The concierge said cheerfully as Terry walked through the main foyer.

“Mornin’, Charlie.” He replied.

Terry did not know how anyone could be cheerful with the planet over-run by winged creatures that looked like a cross between a human and a bat. With the constant darkness they roamed free, unabated and on a constant feeding frenzy with a taste for human flesh. The religious fanatics said they were demons, released onto mankind as punishment for their sins and years of living in sin. Scientists dismissed them as mutants, men infected by a virus that spread under the apocalyptic conditions of perpetual darkness and unbearable humidity.

Terry waited for the concierge to release the security door, and then walked out into the despair that had once been the main street of the bright and cheerful city of Brisbane. His squad car was parked directly in front of the building’s entrance. Surveying the sky for any flying threats, he made a dash to heavily armored vehicle, pulled the door open, jumped in and slammed the door shut behind him. The streets were clear of pedestrians, but littered with abandoned cars, trucks, buses and bikes. The government cleaned up the main roads after the storm, well kind of. They made clear paths down the centre of the streets but didn’t worry too much about the state of the sidewalks. As long as the police and army could maneuver their vehicles to and from where they needed to go nothing else seemed to matter. Civilians stayed indoors, apart from when they had to use the subway to get to work or anywhere else, they had permits to go. The only people allowed above ground now were those trying to clean up the streets and hunt down the demons, which were becoming harder to find. Either they were becoming smarter and better at hiding from the hunters or they were slowly dwindling in numbers.

Terry drove down the street, hung a left and was almost at the Central Police Centre when he heard an explosion and felt the ground shake beneath his armored car. A bright flash of searing white light exploded from a few streets ahead of Terry. He turned the scanner up to see if there were any reports floating around the priority channels. He pushed his foot to the floor and the squad car’s engine roared like an angered lion. As Terry approached the light, he saw it came from a squad car that was ripped in half around a light pole. The office lay in the middle of the road in an unnatural position with his torso folded over like a piece of hate mail tossed carelessly on the ground.

“Back-up required in sector A312. Officer down, I repeat officer down.” Terry yelled in to the radio.

He slammed his foot down on the break and grated the car out of gear with the harsh crunch of metal against metal.

“Dispatch calling Alpha Quattro. We have five squad cars on their way. Turn your vehicle cam on; all we are getting is sound back here.”

Terry flicked the switch and the four micro CCTV cameras flicked into life, sending headquarters visuals from each side of Terry’s squad car. A dozen of the winged demons surrounded the demolished police car, hissing and screeching at the body on the road. The largest of the demons moved forward in jerking and uncoordinated steps, like a baby learning how to walk. In the air, these creatures were almost graceful and nimble, but on the ground, the thick membrane behind their legs hindered their mobility.

Terry picked up the shotgun from the passenger seat and pumped a round into the chamber, ready to take a shot at the beast if it moved any closer to the injured officer. At the sound of the gun’s action, the demon turned and hissed at the vehicle, as though its breath were venomous and capable of melting away the armor plating.

“Get the hell away from him!” Terry yelled through the car’s pa.
Six of the other demons turned to face the squad car, as if just noticing Terry’s arrival. They slowly and awkwardly began to move towards Terry, hissing and screeching like primeval beasts. Terry pumped a round into the closest demon and it fell to the ground, holding what remained of its right arm and face with its left winged arm. Terry emptied his shotgun into the pack of hideous creatures, killing or critically injuring all six. He reloaded fresh shells into the searing hot chamber of shotgun. Four more of the demons approached the police car, blocking the leader from Terry’s view and clear shot. He could see the creature leaning over the prone body of the downed officer, its large reptilian fangs and forked tongue glistening in the fire light.

“Leave him alone, you bastard!”

Terry emptied his shotgun into the approaching pack, hitting three of them and killing them, but missing the fourth one. It was on top of the bonnet of his car before he had the chance to reload. He tossed the shotgun to the passenger seat and pulled out the .44 Magnum, ready to blow out the windscreen and hope that the reinforced mess screen covering it would remain secure to the vehicle.

Before he could pull the trigger, the demon was blown from the bonnet of his car by a shotgun blast. To his left, Terry heard the backup pumping rounds into the last of the demons. Before any shots could hit the leader, it flew straight up, darting quickly behind the cover of the adjacent building.

Terry quickly flung the door open and ran to the injured officer. He dry retched when he was the headless body and the trail left where the demon ripped the spine out when flying off.

“We’ve got problem, mate.” Chief Inspector Jones said, putting his hand on Terry’s shoulder.

“Not as bad as this guy’s I’ll bet.”

“Worse. The demons have been sighted in the underground network.”

“What!”

“It appears that the pickings above ground have become too slim for the bastards. They have started venturing into the transportation network.”

“Great, the planet really has gone to Hell then.”

An Unexpected End  

Posted by Scott Wilson

An Unexpected End
by Scott Wilson
Word Count: 995

Earl ran down Elizabeth Street with the old woman’s handbag dangling from his right hand like a chicken limply swaying back and forth from a fox’s mouth. He turned into Edward Street then cut across into Mac Arthur Chambers, quickly grabbed a flannelette shirt off the rack in Big W and headed into the change room. Ripping his shirt of and placing it on the seat, Earl proceeded to empty the handbag onto the soft and sweaty cushion to hide the sound. He rummaged through the pile of tissues, make up, medication and smiled when reaching the purse. Inside the fake blue crocodile skin purse, Earl found a thick wad of fifty and twenty dollar notes.

“Bingo.” Earl said slightly louder than he wanted. “I love pension day.”

He stuffed the notes into his jeans pocket and rattled the contents back into the handbag, tucked it under the bench, put his t-shirt back on then left the change room. The quirky young sales assistant with the nose ring and piercing in her eyebrow gave him a smile as he handed back the tag. Earl purchased the shirt and slipped it on before leaving the shop by the Elizabeth Street exit. He crossed the busy road and quickly climbed the stairs to the St John Chapel across the road.
At the front of the cathedral, the Catholic Priest finished his sermon and asked the collection plate to be sent around. Earl quickly sat down in the back row; thinking today was a great day for him and eagerly waiting for the collection to come to his row. He pulled a five-dollar note from his pocket and made out as if he was putting it in the collection tray. He smiled directly at the old man holding the tray as he pulled out a handful of notes without him noticing Earl’s real intent.

When Earl rose to leave the service, the priest at the door took his hand and held it firmly, not letting him leave without Earl listening to what he had to say.

“If you are in need of help, my son.” The old priest said. “It is never too late to repent of your sins and receive forgiveness. “

“Thanks, but no thanks.” Earl replied. “I don’t need any help.”

“Repent, my son. While you are alive, you can always turn around and seek salvation. Avoid the fiery pits of hell, while you still can.”

Earl felt a shiver run down his spine, shrugged it off and pulled his hand away from the priest. He thought that the old geezer must have seen him take a wad of money out of the collection plate, but he was just giving him the usual sales pitch.
A loud screech, smashing of a car window and the screams of pedestrians on Elizabeth Street made Earl stop and turn his attention to the main road. Lying on the road was the mangled body of someone a Ford Falcon just hit. Earl couldn’t see the person’s face, but by the angle of the legs and back, he wasn’t looking like he would be able to run the Bridge to Bay marathon this weekend.

In the distance, Earl heard the siren’s roaring and horns blaring in response. By the time it reached the scene of the accident there would be a crowd of rubber Necker’s and would be doctors, all helping or offering help to the poor sap bleeding his life out on the main road like a burst water main. This meant that he would be able to slip away in the confusion without worrying about the police who had been chasing him wasting any more time on him.

A man in a deep purple suit and black beret bumped into Earl, turned and smiled in a wicked pearl white grin. Before Earl had a chance to tell the guy to watch where he was going, the businessman spoke.

“I hope that guy was right with God.”

Earl felt a shiver run down his spine again.

“If you believe in that sort of stuff, sure.” Earl replied.

He was about to walk away, when the businessman grabbed his arm and clenched it tight, hurting Earl’s muscular forearm.

“Oh, I believe.” The businessman said in an acidic tone. “And I think you will believe in time to.”

Earl tried to pry his arm free, but the grip was like a two hundred pound crocodile had latched on to him and was preparing for a death roll.

“Hey, dude. Let go, or I’ll mess you up.”

“Do you know what happens if you haven’t made your piece before you die, Earl?”

“How do you know my name?”

“Oh, I know a lot about you, Earl. If you don’t repent, you are condemned to eternal damnation.”

Earl could not escape the tight hold of the purple suited man as he dragged him along the footpath away from the cathedral.

“Are you a cop, dude? Look, I’m sorry about taking the money. Let me go. I’ll give it back, both to the church and the old bag.”

“Oh, it’s too late for that, Earl.”

Earl pulled the wad of money out of his tight jeans pocket. Money scattered on the footpath like amber leaves from a tree in autumn, as he fumbled. Earl felt that cold shiver run down his spine again, but this time it would not stop. The businessman in the purple suit was beginning to freak him out. Earl wondered if he were a vigilante, a serial killer or just some gangster he had upset once.

“Look dude, I repent. That’s what the priest said to me. If I repent then my sins are washed away.”

“Sorry, Earl. It is too late for that, much too late.”

“I repent.”

“Once you are dead, it’s much too late.”

The man pointed to the corpse under the car and Earl was shocked to see it was he.

The Field  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Field
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 950

Jessica walked across the flat field of brightly radiating sunflowers in a day dreamy haze of pure bliss and ecstasy. Her heart fluttered in her chest like the rainbow of butterflies weaving in and out of the beautiful flowers like a climactic ballet performance. She thought her chest would burst with excitement before she reached the large, rolling hills at the far end of the field.

Although she was just seventeen, she knew that she was madly in love with the tall, dark and brooding musician in her drama class, Jimmy Sterling. Jimmy would be waiting for her already she thought to herself. He was quite nimble and athletic for a guy who played no sport or outdoor activities, and it amazed her how much strength and stamina he had in that small but manly body she loved to embrace.
Jessica could see his tall and lean silhouette atop the hill in the scorching afternoon sunlight, erect and alert like a scout on the lookout for his battalion. She surged forward and hurled herself up the hill, panting and puffing from the strenuous marathon from the high school. If she could find this kind of energy in athletics, she would break every world record with her undying enthusiasm.

“Jimmy,” she said, leaping into his awaiting arms.

They kissed deeply and passionately in a hot and sweaty lovers embrace for what seemed to be hours, but were but a few minutes. Jimmy brushed her long black and wavy hair from her face and kissed her on the forehead.

“I missed you today, Jessica.” He said softly.

“I hate Wednesdays. No drama class. Why do they have to have sport every week for half a day?”

The young passionate couple slowly lowered themselves to the picnic rug Jimmy laid out a few minutes before. They embraced again, intertwining arms and legs as if they were part of the same creature. Lips locked and tongues flickered and darted in and out of the moist caverns like angry bees, collecting pollen from forbidden flowers. Jessica could feel her boyfriend becoming hard as she rolled on top of him, exciting her almost to the point of no return.

“When can we tell them?” She asked tenderly. “I want to tell everyone we’re engaged.”

“It has to be soon, my love.” Jimmy said. “Dad told us last night he received a promotion. It means he will have to move to the city by the end of the month.”

“No, Jimmy.”

“It’s okay,” Jimmy said, caressing her cheek softly. “I have scored a job at Bay City Records. It is only a janitor job to start with, but it’s with the best recording studio in Brisbane. I’m sure I can work my way up, promote the band and make the big time.”

“No, no, no.” Jessica said, tears welling up in her eyes. “You have to take the scholarship to the music academy. You’ve worked so hard for it. I won’t let you throw it away.”

“But if I do, we will only see each other a few times a month, maybe each weekend at the most.”

“I love you Jimmy. I won’t let you throw away your chance at a brilliant career to stay in this hick town just for me.”

“It’s not throwing it away; it’s just going to take a bit longer to get there. The band is good. We can make it if I make contacts at the studio.”

“No, Jimmy. I won’t let you do it.”

Jessica sat up abruptly, did up the top button of her blouse, then covered her face with both hands to hide her tears from Jimmy.

“Don’t cry, baby. Things will work out for us either way. I mean, we’ve got the best of both worlds no matter which way you slice it.”

“You have to go, Jimmy. You’re a fool if you give up the scholarship. There’s no way you’ll ever get another chance like that.”

“Okay, Jess. I’ll go if you promise we make this work. I don’t want to lose you.”
Jessica took her hands away from her face and unbuttoned her blouse to reveal her pert and firm breasts. She flicked her hair back and lowered herself back on top of Jimmy.

“You’ll never lose me, my love.”

They made passionate love until the sun set in the horizon, by which time they ran out of condoms, otherwise they would have kept on going all night. Jessica did not want to let Jimmy out of her for fear of losing him forever. She wished that they could stay joined together forever in a lover’s embrace, not having to face the cruel harshness that the world thrust in their faces. While she did not want Jimmy to go, and kind of thought that making love to him like she did would make him think twice about leaving her in this backwards town. She did want him to succeed and become the best musician he could through the scholarship he worked for since picking up the guitar when he was seven.

“Promise me you’ll come back every weekend, Jimmy.”

Jimmy was covered in perspiration and couldn’t believe he had another erection, seeing Jessica straddling him with her spotless, olive skin and dark hair aroused him deeply. He did not want to leave her, but knew it was the best decision for their future.

“I love you, Jess. I’ll drive back every Friday and stay until Monday morning. I promise.”

They lay back down on the picnic rug, enjoying the warmth of each other’s naked body as the evening slowly brought down the night on them like a star speckled blanket.

Plan D  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Plan D
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:879

Judith went into the doctor surgery with her husband, trembling with anticipation at the thought of a long term fix for her type one diabetes. She was selected to participate in the test pilot group for the new drug destined to change the medical world. The drug would replace the need for someone with diabetes to inject themselves with insulin daily. One injection would repair the pancreas, enabling it to produce insulin again.

“Okay Mrs Smidt, this is going to be a great day for you.” Dr Samson said.

“Are there any side effects that I should be worried about, Doctor?”

“It is still in the experimental stage, but there have been no adverse effects in the animal trials.”

“I can’t wait, Henry.” Judith said, turning to her husband. “No more blood tests, no more injections three times a day.”

Henry took his wife’s hand and squeezed it lovingly.

“It will be good, won’t it?”

Dr Samson opened the bar fried under his desk and took out a vial of clear fluid with a slight milky tint. He drew ten millilitres of the fluid into a hypodermic needle and tapped the air bubbles out. This was the hundredth patient Dr Samson injected with the trial drug, making it the last of the subjects for his surgery. Across the country, a select group of medical clinics trialled the new drug on one hundred patients; a total of two thousand subjects. Judith was the last.
Judith felt slightly nauseas immediately after the injection and had a faint headache swirling around the back of her head like whirlpool. Only a few minutes later, the pain and nausea dissipated and she felt better than she had in years.

“The feeling doesn’t stay with you long.” Doctor Samson said reassuringly. “I’ve been told it is the serum entering your system immediately and beginning its repairing process. You won’t feel sick again, from the feedback the other patients have given me.”

“Thank you Doctor.”

“We will see you again in a week to check you travelling along well. I’m not expecting any problems, though.”

Judith and Henry left the surgery and drove directly home, just in case there was any ill effect from the injection.

Henry was worried and nervous. After forty years of making sure Judith took her injection before breakfast, lunch and dinner, it was quite unsettling, not having to be so vigilant. He could not help but think Judith would go into a diabetic coma if she ate her lunch without the insulin. By that evening, Henry was a nervous wreck. By the end of the first week, Henry was only slightly used to not checking up on Judith’s medication around mealtime. One month after the injection, Henry finally stopped going to the fridge to retrieve the small vial of insulin for Judith.
Judith enjoyed the freedom of eating whatever she wanted to without fear of going into a high from too much sugar in her blood. She didn’t realise how painful the daily injections were until she stopped needed them. All was going well after one month, and Judith was glad she volunteered to be part of the trial. It was not until exactly thirty-one days after the injection all hell broke loose.

Henry was sitting in the downstairs lounge room, watching the midday news when the phone rang. He was engrossed in the story about the outbreak of the walking dead and did not get up to answer the call. The reporter was talking about the nationwide epidemic of people who appeared to die of a heart attack, only to come back to life minutes later with a craving for human flesh. Anyone bitten by the infected died immediately of a cardiac arrest, then returned as a zombie, similar to the one that just attacked them.

Judith was taking a midday nap upstairs and Henry finally tore himself away from the news flash to answer the telephone. He walked backwards, trying to keep his attention on the television and did not see his wife standing in the doorway.

“You startled me.” He said, bumping into Judith when he reached the door. “Can you get that call please love? There is a medical alert I am trying to hear on the tube.”

Judith did not answer Henry. When he turned to face her fully, his jaw dropped, seconds she tore it from his head, at the sight of his wife with crimson eyes and a wicked snarl like a possessed animal. She lunged at him, raking his face and snapping her jaw like a hungry piranha. Chunks of flesh fell from Henry’s face under the relentless barrage of powerful bites. Bones jutted from the tips of Judith’s fingers, severed and shredded from pulling teeth and broken spectacles from her husband’s face. The sharp talons tore and caught on Henry’s jaw, tearing it from his face with the inhuman strength behind the once human hands.

“Anyone on the medical trial of the insulin replacement program, known as Plan D, please seek medical aid urgently.” The reporter on the news said in the background as Judith blindly stumbled over the furniture with her husband’s arm hanging from her mouth.

A Nice Bunch  

Posted by Scott Wilson

A Nice Bunch
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 207

Sally put out the sign advertising fresh flowers by the side of the road, then went back to her two daughters sitting under the beach umbrella. She liked Mother’s Day. Spending the time with her two girls, selling fresh flowers, and making about a month’s worth of income in a single day.

A Range Rover pulled off the road not long after she had the sign out. A well-dressed woman in her thirties hopped out and walked over to look at the buckets of flowers surrounding Sally and her girls.

“Perfect,” the woman said, picking up a bouquet of bright yellow carnations. “Mum always loved these.

“That’s the only bunch I have too, you are lucky.” Sally said.

“Thanks, my three brothers had better hope they can find some on their way to visit mum then” the woman said and drove down the road to the cemetery.

“Okay girls,” Sally said to her two children. “See if you can find me some more yellow carnations will you?”

The girls jumped on their bikes and sped off to the cemetery, eager to look around the gravestones for bunches of flowers to bring back to their mother to sell, again.

Grave Disorder  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Grave Disorder
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 2538

Gerard watched the funeral service from the comfort of his air-conditioned Bobcat excavator, smiling gleefully as the minister carefully pressed the switch and the beautifully polished coffin slowly descended into the grave. He opened his lunchbox and took out a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken, leftovers from last night’s dinner, and took a large bite and washed it down with a swallow of Mountain Dew. Waiting patiently for the service to finish and the last of the mourners to leave, Gerard amused himself by playing solitaire on his mobile phone, while listening to the latest Iron Maiden album. Sometimes, he became so focused on the mp3 he listened to that he failed to notice the mourners leave, allowing him to finish the job and fill the final resting place of the deceased in with the dark, rich soil of the Hemmant Cemetery.

Today, Gerard was unusually focused on the large group of mourners; rich friend, relatives and celebrities of the deceased. He had never seen so much money gathered together in one place. Analytically, he calculated that the clothes worn by the sixty mourners would be worth more than his run down workers cottage a few streets away. This was not a bad thing, he thought to himself. At least his extracurricular activity would net him a nice bonus for the day’s work, and give him that satisfied feeling that he thought felt like having great sex.

Thirty-seven minutes after the first of the funeral party arrived, the whole shebang was over. The last to leave was the deceased businessman’s twenty-one year old trophy bride. Gerard imagined what it must have been like to be shagging a beautiful young bird like that, especially when she was young enough to be your daughter, or even granddaughter. She was putting on a good show for the crowd to, tears running down her face, smudging her mascara so much that she looked like Brandon Lee in that movie, The Crow. She did the good old, throwing herself on top of the coffin just before the minister lowered it into the grave. Surely, she did not expect the relatives and other mourners to believe she really loved the old guy that much. Then again, who could blame her for wanting to ensure she got all that she deserved after shagging the old geezer for five years. It mustn’t have been very attractive to her; Gerard thought to himself and almost brought up his KFC just thinking about the sickly smell of mothballs on the old guys testicles.

Gerard kicked the Bobcat into life and slowly rolled over to the recently vacated plot. He had to get out and move some plastic chairs around to make room for the machine to drive to the pile of dirt. Cursing under his breath, Gerard thought that the couple of tartan fold up chairs left behind might be worth the amount of time he had to spend moving the Cemetery’s own plastic chairs. This thought cheered him up again and he giggled like a little school girl when he sniffed one of the canvas chairs that a good-looking, middle-aged woman in a short black skirt had sat on. He could smell her expensive perfume, mixed with her own scent, and felt himself getting an erection. The excitement was almost too much for him to bear and he poked his tongue out to touch the canvas seat around where he guessed her vagina was rubbing against.

“What the hell are you doing?” A powerful English voice yelled at him.

Gerard turned around, lowering the chair back to the ground with one hand while pretending to pick up a contact lens with the other. He poked himself in the eye to make it weep.

“Issa just gettin’ my lens offa tha chair, sir.” Gerard said and sniffled. “Was a very movin’ service an’ all. Musta popped out when I bent down to pick uppa chair.”
The elderly gentleman looked at him suspiciously, but the felt a wave of compassion when Gerard looked directly at him with his moonlike face and quivering lips.

“Yes, yes it was very upsetting. My brother, Archie Fields was a well respected lawyer and he will be dearly missed.”

Gerard wiped his nose again and sniffled.

“My wife has lost a diamond earring; she thinks in might have fallen off around here. I said I’d look for her but would rather get to the wake.” Mr Fields said softly, pulling his wallet from his coat pocket. “If you see it when you are clearing up, can you please let my office know?”

Mr Fields handed Gerard a business card, and a fifty-dollar note. The earring was worth three thousand dollars and he thought that Gerard would not know it’s value if he found it. By giving him the money, Mr Fields assumed Gerard would be so grateful that he would call him rather than keep the earring.

“Youssa very generous man. I be sure to call ya if I see it.”

“Thank you very much. Good bye.”

Gerard’s excitement was rising by the minute. This funeral was ending up being a real gold mine for him. If he found the earring, he would make over six thousand dollars by the end of this job. He began stacking the plastic chairs up, scouring the well-mowed grass for the shiny white gem as he did. Eventually, he did come across it, pushed into the ground from someone’s heavy boots, probably the fat young guy sitting at the back of the crowd. Gerard was sure he saw him looking around the chairs for some dropped candy or something when everyone else was shaking hands and consoling each other.

It took Gerard twenty minutes to carefully lower the soft dirt back into the grave, leaving a two foot high mound in front of the large plague with the deceased’s name and image loving engraved in gold embossing. He put away the plastic chairs, stowed the canvas fold-up chairs in the back of his panel-van and drove down the Bobcat back to the shed at the back of the cemetery. Once his full time job was finished, he would start his shift for his own little business.

Behind the shed, Gerard moved a pile of sandstone and opened the trapdoor he discovered two and a half years ago. By taking no sick days or vacations, he had ensured that this secret was not discovered by anyone else. He covered the trapdoor with turf so nobody would see it when he went down into the catacombs and left it without the protection of the sandstone. Hanging on the stone wall a few steps down the entrance was a Dolphin Flashlight. Gerard picked it up and switched it on before continuing down the concrete stairs the passageway twelve feet below. It was cold and damp in the ancient tunnel; Gerard shivered and rubbed his arms to get the circulation going. Each time he came down here, it took him a few minutes to get used to the chill down his spine and the rank smell of death all around him. The first time down here, Gerard had vomited his KFC up before getting more than a few feet from the stairs. Without the aid of a map or markings, he found his way to the plot where Archie Fields grave sat. Waiting for him was the stepladder and thick sheet of gray metal sitting in a grove just above where the coffin lid finished. Gerard rested the torch on the ground, facing the ceiling and quickly climbed the stepladder. The metal sheet was heavy, it took a fair amount of wiggling and pushing to slide it across the length of the coffin, and a foot into the dirt passed the end of the grave. Gerard climbed back down the ladder and walked a few feet further down the passageway to where he left the small hand operated scissor-lift platform the previous day. He wheeled it under Archie’s grave and jacked it up until the platform sat flush under the pink spray-paint outline Gerard marked out earlier that day. Gerard began the painful task of slowly, and carefully shovelling out the two feet of soil between the passage ceiling and the coffin about. This task was labour intensive and Gerard would have hated it if it were not the only real form of exercise he ever participated in regularly. Muscles built up in his arms, back, and chest over the past two years and Gerard looked buff and lean, like a weight lifter. He could shovel five times as fast as he was without feeling the burn in his arms, but that was too dangerous. Patience and a soft touch was what were needed to safely tunnel into the grave above without causing a cave in or damaging the coffin and the goods inside.

Methodically and painstakingly carefully, Gerard shovelled out the seven-foot long and three-foot wide space until the coffin dropped onto the flat platform bed with a loud thud. Anyone above would think old Archie was turning over in his grave at the thought of giving up his young lover and warm bed for this cold deathbed of loneliness. Gerard lowered the scissor-lift trolley and brushed the soil from the lid of the coffin. It was only slightly marked from the soft soil landed on top of it, but nothing that would not polish out with a bit of TLC.

“Let’s see what we have here.” Gerard said softly to himself, losing the fake retard slang he always bung on when talking to mourners. He found this allowed him to get away with just about anything.

Carefully prying open the coffin so he did not damage it, Gerard felt an erection building up again. The anticipation of seeing the good inside was always intense and mind blowing like an orgasm for Gerard. If he had actually ever had sex he would have known that the feeling he had was probably more intense and fulfilling in many ways and he was not actually missing anything being a virgin. Inside the coffin, Archie lay as peaceful and tranquil as a Buddhist monk at the foot of the Andes. The mortician had groomed Archie extremely well, better than Gerard did on a special occasion, like a wedding or the Sunday morning Church service he attended ever week without fail.

Archie wore a pure silk Armani suit, deep navy blue with gold buttons adorned by crested eagle images. The silk tie Archie had on was worth more than any complete set of trouser and shirt Gerard wore. Pure gold cufflinks shone brightly like glimmering eyes when Gerard shone his torch around the coffin. Gerard ejaculated in his pants when he saw the beautiful, black leather shoes. He considered keeping them for himself, rather than selling them at the small designer clothes shop he co-owned with his brother, Jacob. Gerard told Jacob that he had a contact in Asia that sold him designer clothes and accessories at bargain basement prices and Jacob accepted this. Why question his brother’s source when they made three hundred percent on every item of clothing they sold at his prestigious store in Bulimba.

“Okay, Mister Fields.” Gerard said, propping the corpse upright. “It’s time to get a bit up close and personal.”

Gerard slowly undressed the cold, blue corpse with clinical carefulness. Each item of clothing was carefully hung polished wooden coat hangers on the sparking, stainless steel clothes rack Gerard kept in the tunnel. By the time all the clothes were removed, Gerard had come in his pants again. He wheeled the clothes rack back to the staircase and left it there while he finished his work back in the tunnel.
Returning to the open coffin was a disappointment for Gerard. The corpse was naked, lifeless and void of anything worth getting excited over now. All the good stuff was hanging neatly on the clothes rack. He felt this way whether the corpse was male, female, stunning in appearance or just downright ugly. Necrophilia, he did not know how anyone could be excited over having their way with a dead person’s pale and depressingly blue body, but while there was a market for the corpses, he would provide.

Further, down the tunnel, Gerard wheeled the scissor-lift trolley until he reached the pulley lift he rigged up to the basement of his house. Slowly and quietly, he pulled the ropes and levers until the platform lift reach the lower level of his small worker’s cottage. The basement was an unexpected surprise that he came across when repairing some rotten floorboards in his kitchen. Gerard wheeled the trolley to a large stainless steel bench and carefully slide the coffin onto it before returning to the tunnel to store his equipment until the next funeral.

Before he opened the trapdoor behind the shed, Gerard used his custom-built periscope to make sure nobody was around. Every now and then, a group of Goths or teenagers having dares with each other, would visit the cemetery and he would have to wait for hours before he could leave the catacombs. Today, the coast was clear and he was able to bring the clothes and accessories to his panel van without any delay. Five and a half hours after the funeral, Gerard was back home.

He made a few phone calls and organised a buyer for the corpse, a delivery point and the usually sale price of two and a half thousand dollars. Gerard found it amusing that Archie’s clothes would bring in more money for him than his body would. It was easy to lift the corpse into the body bag hanging next to the stainless steel workbench after the hard work digging earlier that evening. By nine twenty that evening, the first transaction was complete and a raving homosexual necrophilia was going home with a perfect mate. Gerard often wondered how long these sickos kept the body before they had to get rid of it, but did not want to ask. Some of his customers bought a corpse every few weeks, others only the once.

At twenty to ten, Gerard loaded the coffin into the panel van and delivered it to the funeral home. He had a meticulous tracking system for making sure he did not sell the same coffin to the same funeral home twice. A coffin was a coffin to some people, but these funeral home directors seemed to notice the finest details on them, as a parent would notice a new freckle on their child. Ten thousand dollars through selling the same coffin four times was the best Gerard had achieved so far. After too many burials, some coffins were just too badly damaged or foul to sell again.

On the way back home, Gerard stopped at KFC again for a Colonel Burger and large fries. Working the night shift always built up his appetite and nobody quenched his craving like the Colonel.

Gerard drove back home, stored the cash the safe in his basement and went to bed dead tired, dreaming of the money he would make from the Lord Mayor's funeral tomorrow.

The End