Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The King's Champion

The King’s Champion

By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 1,053

“Well, my old friend. Who do you think did it this time?” King Theodore said to his Champion Knight, Sir Trentzor.

“I believe that it is our old friend the Church of Palpatour again, my King.”

“Curse them, Trentzor.” The king yelled and rose from his throne. “Who do they think they are? This is my country and my rule. They follow a perverse, fabricated tradition of religion, not what the Bible intended at all. For God, King and Country, not the Godhead.”

Trentzor rose to his feet and followed the king to his lectern. The king flicked through the open Bible and shook his head.

“We must stop this nonsense, once and for all.”

“I agree, my king. What would you have me do?”

“Trentzor, you are my most loyal and trusted knight. You alone, can I trust in all matters. Your council I seek on many occasions, as you are as wise as you are noble, in your own right.”

“You flatter me, my king. I only do what duty calls for.”

“Trentzor, we have known each other since our fathers were in the same position as we are. I call you my friend as readily as I call you my Champion Knight.”

“As do I, my king.”

“Then, as my friend, what do you suggest we do.”

“As your friend, Theodore. I would tell you to banish these priests and let the people follow the true Christian faith. Allow the Protestants more freedom and restrict the rule the Godhead has in our country. The Church of Palpatour has killed more of our citizens and destroyed out economy more than any Norse invaders.”

The king turned to his trusted companion and put his hand on his shoulder.

“That is true, my friend. Too true. I want you to select half a dozen of your most trusted men and begin an investigation into this latest riot. If you can find enough evidence to prove that, the Roman Church had something to do..., no... anything to do with this problem.”

“Consider it done, my king.”

Trentzor left the King’s Hall and headed straight for the Knight’s quarters, at this hour of the morning they would most likely have just finished training the squires in swordsmanship. Within a matter of half an hour, he had briefed his select crew of the confidential and discreet investigation. While the official capacity of this team of loyal knights was those of the king’s guardians, their unofficial, and real positions were investigators of the crown, known as The Royal Shaft. Sovereign immunity allowed them access to places and people that were normally out of reach and beyond investigation.

With individual missions set, all members of the Royal Shaft departed the quarters and each made their way to their suspect. Timing was essential in all investigations as the Cardinals had an uncanny way of discovering any charges against them before even the king knew who they were. By the end of the day, all suspects would be identified and brought to the Castle dungeon for a little chat. Trentzor left his companions and headed straight to the cardinal’s lodgings in the east end of the city; greeted with the anticipated hostility.

“I don’t see why I should have to go anywhere with you.” Cardinal Grendal shouted harshly, spitting his words at Trentzor.

“By Royale Decree, Cardinal Grendal, you are hereby requested to accompany me to the Royal Palace to discuss matters of the recent burning of three citizens of the city of Harrow.”

Grendal remained seated behind the overly large oak desk, using it as a buffer and tool of intimidation. The desk was situated on an elevated platform in the Cardinal’s study so all who entered were just below eye level when standing in front of the desk.

“I have been authorised to use whatever force necessary to see that you attend this meeting immediately. You may come willingly or I shall drag you their by your ceremonial robes, Cardinal. What shall it be?”

“The Godhead shall hear about this. You mark my words; this matter will not go without consequence to you and the king.”

Trentzor walked around the desk and grabbed the Cardinal, ripping him out of his luxuriously padded velvet seat easily. He dragged the Grendal to the ground and halfway across the study before Grendal agreed to walk willingly.

“Now that’s better isn’t it. It would be an embarrassment for the Church of Palpatour to have its superior officer dragged through the town square now wouldn’t it?”

The Cardinal grumbled something blasphemous sounding and straightened his robes. Trentzor was mindful of the dozen or so young acolytes pretending to be busy searching the multitudes of precious books for some essential information the Cardinal would need to defend himself of these allegations. They were more likely than not awaiting a call for help from the Cardinal; to which they would answer with their young life if necessary. The fear of their immortal souls was greater than the fear of such an intimidating knight as Trentzor.

“Send word to the Godhead. Immediately.”

“Yes, father.” The reply came in choral unison. None of these boys’ voices had broken, yet they had most likely seen more sexual perversion than any aged prostitute already.

The girlish squeals and shrieks Grendal and his brethren, made during the questioning were heard throughout the castle, though none objected. For too long, the abomination under the guise of a religion had tormented and tortured many innocent souls. The acolytes did not reach the Godhead to pass the pleas for help on; those that refused to renounce their faith in the Palpatour church were kept in the cells with the six Cardinals.

The citizens rejoiced and held celebrations at the outlawing of this false religion in their country and swore an oath to defend their freedom from this oppression at all cost. No more would the faith of another country be forced upon them. At least while King Theodore ruled that was. For one hundred years prior to his reign no other ruler had the backbone to stand against the oppressive Palpatour’s.

Trentzor faithfully maintained his post under King Theodore, although there was little conspiracy to investigate in the years to come.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Black Bullets part 1

Black Bullets

By Scott Wilson

Word Count: 723

“Whiskey, thanks.” Paul Black grunted at the barmaid.

He turned to face the crowded saloon, surveying every dirty, dust covered cowboy and local critically. Paul knew what to look for in a bounty hunter and was sure he spotted two playing blackjack at a crowded table. One of the bounty hunters wore a tan jacket to hide his pistols, red shirt buttoned up to the neck and denim jeans. The other wore all gunmetal gray, boots, trousers and shirt, he had no jacket on and his two six-shooters hung low.

The barmaid placed a dirty glass on the counter and filled it with watered down whiskey, of the cheap and nasty kind. Paul gave her the evil eye, and she shrugged her shoulders back. Saloon’s like this were a dime a dozen and nothing would change that. A man on the run had to make do with this kind of service without making a fuss. Less he wants to end up with an even bigger bullseye on his back. Nothing like making ordinary folk remember you more than ticking them off or being just down right disagreeable for no reason.

Paul took the glass and drank it in one fast swallow. It tasted more of the dirty and grim in the glass than of the whiskey. He tossed a coin on the counter and moved towards the piano near the small stage. From this position, he would be able to keep an eye on everyone in the saloon, and get a pretty good close up of the women dancing in their corsets and suspenders.

“I ain’t no cheat!” yelled one of the scruffy old men at the card table.

He knocked his chair back as he staggered to his feet in a drunken stupor. Paul watched the two bounty hunters closely; they looked like the kind of low life that would gun down an old man for no big reason. They looked like the kind of varmints that would get a laugh out of gunning down a drunken old man for fun too.

Paul moved quickly and was at the card table before the two bounty hunters had a chance to draw their six-shooters.

“You need to go home and sleep off your mood, ol’ timer.”

“Mind your business, stranger.” The bounty hunter in the tan jacket said to Paul.

“I make it my business when any ol’ timer is about to be gunned down over a card game.”

Paul did not like the attention he was getting from the crowded saloon now, but he knew it was a chance to get these bounty hunters off his tail for good.

The other bounty hunter was on his feet with his hands at his sides, ready to draw.

“Why don’t you sit back down, partner?”

“I will, once we finish our conversation with this cheatin’ dog.”

“I ain’ no cheat.” The crusty old poker player said, reaching for the gun at his side. With his drunken vision, he grabbed at the gun he thought was real and was surprised when his hand passed through it.

Guns roared.

The bounty hunter in grey took to bullets in the chest from Paul’s colt peacemaker before firing off a single shot. It passed by the old man, clipping him on the right leg before thudding harmlessly into the bar. Paul gunned down the second bounty hunter as he leapt to his feet before he got a shot off. Paul’s bullet hit him in the forehead before he even had a chance to draw his pistol. It thudded to the floor, unfired a second after the owner crashed down.

“You alright, ol’ timer?”

“Dirty, stinkin’ bastard. I ain’ no cheat, mister.”

“It’s alright. They won’t be giving any a hard time now.”

Paul picked up the loose notes on the card table where the bounty hunters had been. He counted out six hundred dollars for himself; the amount they would have received for bringing Paul in for a crime he did not commit, and gave the rest to the old man.Time to move on he thought to himself. He slowly walked from the saloon and rode out of town. Without these two on his tail, he knew he had a good two weeks head

Sewer Tour

Sewer Tour
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 2,767

The entrance to the stormwater drainage system was dark, cold and covered with moss. Jagged cracks stretched out from the huge cylindrical concrete storm water pipe like lifeless veins on a corpse. The steel mesh security grate hung limply to one side, torn away by time and the occasional homeless person looking for somewhere to sleep. It was large enough for a six foot person to stand upright in, although there were stalactites of slime hanging from the roof of the drain that would run across their head like some hideous octopus tentacles. The pipe jutted out into the Bulimba Creek over a sharp rocky embankment, making it dangerous to enter, but that didn’t stop the small, highly illegal Brisbane business – Sewer Tours, from taking small groups of adventurous citizens in each night for a two hour guided tour.

Franklin McCall rounded up the twelve members of his tour group once they had all made their way into the entrance. The youngest were an eighteen year old Goth and his girlfriend and the oldest was sixty two year old lady, who looked more like a woman in her forties. The rest of the group comprised of mainly adventure seekers in their early to late twenties, all who were in top physical condition. Franklin knew it would be a fast paced tour, more of an adrenaline rush than some of the tours he previously conducted.

“Okay ladies and gentlemen, do we all have our light backpacks?”

Franklin would not let anyone commence the guided tour without the very specific pack containing two bottles of water, a strong Maglite torch with two sets of spare batteries, a walkie talkie, 1 dozen glow sticks and dried army rations for one day. It might seem excessive to some, but if anyone were to walk off at least they would have essential supplies to hold them over until Franklin could find them. He had never lost a customer yet, but knew from personal experience just how easily you could take a wrong turn and end up totally lost in the maze of tunnels and pipes. While the storm water system was not that far under the streets of Brisbane, it was a world away from safety and help if you lost your way.

“Yes.” The group said in unison, like a classroom of children.

“Let’s begin the adventure then.” Franklin said and switched on his 4D Krypton lamp Maglite flashlight and turned to face the dark, uninviting belly of Brisbane.
“We will keep to the left as we enter into this historic section of the Brisbane Storm Water system. This section was one of the first built in around 1788. Please keep close together and be careful not to step into the stream running between this walkway and the one to the right.”
“How deep is the water?” Janet, the oldest member of the group asked.
“Most of the water you will see is between one to four feet deep, but there are sections that can be as deep as six foot deep.”
“But this tunnel is not much taller than six feet.” Carl, the young Goth said mockingly.
“Well, it is a storm water drain and can be completely filled with water during a heavy downpour. The main reason for the deeper streams though is where the older pipes have crumbled over time and fallen through. Parts are now connected into natural underground springs.”
“Cool,” Carl said. “So any crocs been flushed down here like the urban legend goes?”
“’Fraid not. The only nasty you will come across down here is the odd rat or vagrant. I have taken groups on tour for ten years now and never seen anything bigger than lost German shepherd.”
“What about ghosts or dead people?” The Goth’s girlfriend, Eva asked.
“There have been rumours floating around since the collapse of the early tunnels back in the early eighteenth century, when the storm water system was expanded. Nine workers died in the cave in, and rumour has it that their ghosts still wander around looking for a way out.”
“Have you ever seen them?” Stuart Faulkner, a burly built, long haired bouncer asked.
“’Fraid not. I know it sounds quite dull, but you will see some great historical parts of Brisbane that you won’t see anywhere else. If you are lucky, you might also find some little trinkets or treasure washed down the drain or flushed down the toilet.”
“That’s gross.” One of the women groaned from the back of the group.
Franklin motioned for the group to start walking again. He shone his flashlight from side to side, pointing out various parts of the structure. Unlike the entrance to the system, many parts were made of brickwork, wood walkways and steel supports. The old style mixed in with the new and occasionally the tunnel changed into a solid concrete tunnel, then back into brickwork. The group walked briskly, swinging their own torches from side to side, hoping to see something weird or bizarre. One of the group saw a zip lock bag floating down the stream and thought it looked like a bag of weed. The Goth tried to fish it out but it speed away down the centre of the stream, out of his reach.
An hour into the tour, the group was right in the middle of the system, and tour. They were right under City Hall in a large circular junction thirty feet in diameter. A number of pipes and tunnels ran into this chamber and the stench of politics could almost be smelt above the occasional methane odour in the tunnels. Overhead, the faint sound of pedestrians walking across King George Square could be heard through the manhole. A series of ladders lead up to walkways and another level of the storm water system. The brickwork and metal supports were littered with a variety of graffiti and tags, not much by the way of talent in any of these markings though. This mindless act is comparable to a dog pissing on its territory to let other canines know to stay clear.
“Take five guys and gals. We will start on our way back after we rest for a few minutes.”
The group still into smaller subgroup, people clustering towards others they met on the first half of the tour who had similar interests. The Goths made their way up the ladder and on to the overhanging walkway. It was darker towards the ceiling and the group did not notice the bats covering a corner of the ceiling until Carl shone his torch around to take a better look at the structure. A few of the nocturnal creatures shuffled around and one or two left their upside-down perch and flew around to find a spot in the dark recesses of the roof.
“Hey, out that torch down, dude.” One of the group yelled. “You’ll piss the bats off and make the attack us.”
“Bats don’t attack humans you dick.” Carl yelled back at the muscle head.
“We might start to make our way back now,” Franklin said. “If you…”
With and ear piercing crack, the floor rumbled and collapsed in the centre, sending five of the group down into the darkness below. Franklin managed to grab hold off a steel support beam and save himself and Janet, who was standing next to him. The two Goths were still climbing down the ladder and managed to hold on, but the ground beneath the ladder was no longer there now. Carl helped Eva regain a sturdy hold on the ladder and they both made their way back up to the suspended walkway.
The other three members of the group lay on the ground on the same side as Franklin and Eva. The stood up slowly and rubbed their arms and heads; no one seemed to be seriously hurt.
“Everyone stay where they are.” Franklin yelled. “I’ll see how far down the others are.”
Before Franklin took a step forward he noticed a red dot moving around the chamber until it rested on the forehead of one of the three adventurers closest to the edge of the hole. It took him only a few seconds to realise what the dot was, by which time it was too late. The young man’s head exploded as a hollow tip bullet from a high powered rifle pierced the centre of his face. His lifeless body collapsed to its knees, then fell into the chasm.
“Everyone, away from the edges.” Franklin yelled.
The two who stood near the damaged floor didn’t register Franklin’s plea and the other male took a bullet in the chest, dying before he fell to the ground. The woman next to him fell backwards onto the hard concrete floor.
“There’s a bloody guy with a .303 down there.” Carl yelled.
Another shot rang out and sparks flew as a bullet hit the steel walkway Carl and Eva stood on. They both dropped down to their knees quickly, narrowly Eva from being shot in the forehead as another bullet ricocheted off the wall.
“You two, get down here before you’re hit.”
Franklin quickly moved towards the only remaining member of the group on the ground level. He helped her back towards the wall and then over to where Janet was crouched down against the buckled support structure.
“Okay, Rebecca, wasn’t it?” Franklin said to the woman, who was still in shock. “Stay here with Janet. You’ll be safe if you stay away from the bloody big hole in the floor.”
“People call me Bec. No one calls me Rebecca.”
“No worries, Bec. Just stay here while I help those two get down from there. They’re sitting ducks up there.”
Franklin looked up and saw the two Goths crawling along the walkway towards the side of the chamber he was on. He knew he had to distract whoever was down that hole taking pot shots at them.
Water was running into the hole in the floor and Franklin tried to think of someway to use it to his advantage. He grabbed Bec’s backpack and tipped out the contents. It had to be light but still hold enough weight to do what he hoped it would do. He opened one of the water bottles and squeezed the fluid out quickly. Franklin put the bottle back in the backpack and shoved a handful of rubbish from the floor in for good measure. Cracking one of the glow sticks, Franklin finished the last part of his plan and wedged it into the small pocket so it was half hanging out.
“Over here.” He yelled, tossing the backpack as high as he could across the gaping wound in the floor towards the stream of water running over the edge into the darkness.
A rapid fire of three shots rang out; two hit the backpack and knocked it off course. It landed in a torn pile of material and plastic a few feet to the side of the stream.
“Bugger.” Franklin said to himself. He hoped that it would land in the water and flow down into the hole, taking the attention away from the gunman long enough for the last two survivors to reach safety. Luckily, Carl and Eva took the opportunity to bolt across the walkway and slide down the ladder to safety.
“What the hell’s going on?” Carl yelled at Franklin.
“I don’t know, mate.”
Carl grabbed the tour guide by his shirt and shook him violently. Franklin was about twenty kilos heavier, and a lot better built than the Goth but Carl still managed to rattle him about like a rag doll.
Franklin slapped the pale, white hands away and grabbed the Goth by his neck.
“Settle down, mate. I don’t know what is happening but carrying on like that isn’t helping.”
He let go of Carl and patted him on the shoulder, like a football coach or perhaps a father would. Carl shrugged the hands off and took a step back.
“I think we should get out of here.” Janet said.
“What about the others?” Bec shrieked. “They might be alive down there.”
“If they survived the explosion that took the floor out, I think whoever is down there would have finished them off by now.” Franklin said, with sorrow in his voice.
Franklin led the way out of the chamber with the remaining members of the group close behind. He hoped that they would make the hour long journey back without encountering any problems, but knew this was not going to be very likely.
Ten minutes into the return journey, Bec stopped Franklin with an abrupt grasp on his shoulder.
Franklin turned around quickly to the shocked look on Bec’s face.
“What’s wrong, Bec?”
“Up ahead …, I thought I saw a red dot moving on the wall.”
Franklin flicked his torch off and motioned the rest of the group to do the same. Carl, Eva and Janet all switched their flashlights off in unison. Before Bec had a chance to turn hers off, an infrared beam drew a beam on her chest. She dropped to the ground seconds before the bullet passed through the position she stood. The bullet ricocheted off the wall and grazed Franklin’s right forearm.
“Everyone down.” Franklin screamed.
A rapid fire of bullets sprayed the tunnel, a number pierced Carl’s skull, killing him instantly. Eva did not see the bullets hit her boyfriend, but felt the warm sticky mass of his brain splash against her face. At first, she thought it must be a slug or some other hideous thing living in the sewage system. Unfortunately, the faint reflection of her multitude of silver necklaces against what used to be Carl’s head told her otherwise.
She screamed.
Bec scrambled to her feet and ran back to the chamber, hoping that it would be safe in there now that the gunman was in the tunnel. Without the torch on she stumbled and fell a couple of times before reaching the room. With skinned knees and palms she had arrived otherwise safely.
“What the hell is going on?” Janet whispered to Franklin.
“I have no idea, Janet. I don’t know who else is down here, or why they are shooting at us.”
Franklin motioned for Janet and Eva to follow him and they crawled slowly towards the junction chamber, and hopefully safety. Franklin had a plan now and he was hoping that it would work and the last living members of his tour would make it out alive. The ground was damp and covered with debris and rat faeces, making it hard not to vomit from the hideous methane stench.
Within minutes they were back at the entrance to the chamber. A bright light shone into the dank chamber, allowing the three survivors a clear view of the destruction and chaos from less than ten minutes ago. Franklin rose to his feet, holding his hand to his forehead and squinting from the sunlight coming through the open manhole cover.
“Look out,” screamed Janet.
Franklin looked across to Janet, noticing the red beam shining on his chest from out of the gaping hole in the ground. He dived to the side, hoping to avoid the oncoming rain of bullets, but they never came. At least not in his direction.
The three survivors heard the volley of bullets and expected the pain. It was not until they realised that none of the adventures were shot that they noticed half a dozen ASIO officer camouflaged and scattered across the chamber.
“Are you okay?” one of the officers called out.
“We are now.” Franklin replied.
The officer walked over to them cautiously, making sure that they were not armed.
“What the hell is going on here?” Janet asked.
“We have been tracking this terrorist group for weeks now. They planned on blowing up City Hall today when the prime minister made his speech and welcomed the five hundred new Australians as they became citizens. Almost a third of the five hundred were from the Middle East. They were going to send a clear message to Australia, and the western world that this Muslim faction did not accept our way of life and none of their citizens should accept it either.”
“They have killed nine people in the sewers; did they get anyone on the surface?”
“No, The Prime Minister and all at City Hall are safe. The charges they set must have gone off before they finished placing the explosives on this level.”

Date with a Vampyre

Date with a Vampyre

By Scott Wilson

Word Count: 327

I don’t know where she comes from she just wouldn’t say, but were going down to the graveyard at the finish of the day. I know it sounds strange, but she has me under a spell or something more sinister. I can’t stop thinking about her; she dresses up in black and wears a red rose in her hair, I know she is a demon but somehow I just don't care.

We met at Morticia’s, Brisbane’s only gothic night club last night, just before sunrise. I wanted to go back to her place, spend the rest of the day with her, make mad passionate love to her, but she said tonight, my dear. All I have thought about since we met is her smooth, milky white skin, her raven black hair. Those scarlet lips, how I want to kiss those lips. I never believed in love at first sight before I met her. This feeling is so strong, so overpowering, I need her. I feel that I will burst with desire like an over ripe piece of fruit in the scorching sun if I don’t see her soon.

It is six o’clock now. Only six hours until we meet at Morticia’s again. The twelve hours already passed since we left felt like a month or more. She wouldn’t tell me where she lived, only that she wanted to take me to the Toowong Cemetery tonight. She was in to kinky, morbid sex she said and who was I to argue. She told me not to wear my skeleton white make up tonight. She said she loved the feel of my skin, the smell of my flesh and blood. I am wearing a collarless shirt tonight, just like she said. A loose fitting shirt that she will be able to rip from my muscled torso easily in the throws of passion.

I’ve got a date with a vampire tonight.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cyber Pirates

Cyber Pirates
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:535

“Hey dude, have you got the new AC/DC album, Black Ice, yet”

“It isn’t released until the end of the month, how could I?”

Felipe adjusted the camera sitting on his pc to show Phil his monitor, and the track listing of the album he just downloaded.

“Got it half an hour ago, Phil.”

“Man, you’ve gotta be careful. You’ll get busted dude.”

“No way man,” Felipe said as he tapped away on his keyboard, “I use an ISP filter so no one, even my service provider, knows what I am downloading. Safe as houses.”

“Gotta go dude,” Phil said shaking his head, “be careful dude.”

Felipe turned the video camera off and searched the net for a link to the new Dokken torrent.

He was ecstatic when he found a link to a studio version of the unreleased album.

“Don’t have to wait until next month for this one either.” He said to himself.

The speakers beeped twice, his monitor flickered, and then the message appeared telling Felipe his new torrent had finished downloading. Felipe clicked on the open button, and then leant back, eagerly awaiting the file to reveal the next free tunes for his collection.

“What the…”

Swirling green mist seeped from the monitor of Felipe’s computer, slowly spinning until it filled the room. The mist broke into five distinct sections, and then gradually reformed into human shapes. Within minutes the mist was gone and standing in Felipe’s room were five translucent green pirates. Each one stood over six feet tall and carried a menacing cutlass and flintlock pistols. They appeared to be solid, not like the ghosts Felipe first thought them to be.

“Ya scurvy dog,” one pirate growled at Felipe, “Ya like pirating do ya?”

The other four pirates drew their cutlasses and stepped forward, making a tight circle around Felipe against his computer desk.

“What the frak are you?”

“We be the ether pirates of the Australian Recording Industry Association. That be ARIA for short, matey. We be assigned to scour the waves of the ether and rid the world of your meddlesome kind.”

“How did you get in my pc? How did you get out of my pc and here come to think of it?”

Each of the pirates moved closer and raised their cutlass to Felipe’s neck, forming a flower shape around his sweating, exposed skin with the four blades.

“We be the etherants, creatures of the plane of ether. Risen from our slumber when your kind discovered our plane of existence with your internet. Now, we have been given the power to enter your plane thanks to this ARIA crowd of fools.”

“Why are you here?”

“Aargh, me hearty. We be given the spoils of our missions, when we hunt down you modern day pirates. Your soul is mighty good fuel for our ship and we’ve been given the bounty to take you as we please.”

“By who?”

“The head of ARIA, you scurvy dog.”

With that, the four pirates heaved their blades forward, severing the head of Felipe from his shoulders. The curved blades of each cutlass glowed brightly and sucked the life force from Felipe’s limp body.

Soul Box

Soul Box
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 291

The ecstatic crowd roared in awe of the mastery of guitar work performed by Angus Blues. Metal Light closed the show on the third encore, giving the punters an extra forty minutes of concert at no extra cost. This was the last night of a sell out worldwide tour, and the best night of them all. Nothing like starting, and then finishing a world tour in your hometown.

Angus knelt down and unplugged his latest musical effects pedal, the Soul Box. It was one of a kind; no roadie ever touched it. Collecting a soul was hard work and Angus did not want to lose two years hard work from any knucklehead roadie dropping his creation. You had to capture it at the right point for it to give the desired effect in the soul box. To date Angus had saved forty-nine souls, all at different emotional stages at the moment of extraction from their body.

Before Angus created the Soul Box, he was the same as any struggling teenage guitar player. Now, he surpassed all of his heroes; The Edge, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen and Yngwie Malmsteen. Each soul made his guitar playing sound better, more soulful. It did not matter what Angus picked, strummed or fingered on the guitar fret board, it only mattered what he felt and how many souls connected to produce the best riff Angus could visualize.

No more worrying about guitar practice, expensive Gibson, Fender or Ibanez axes, or Marshal Amps. His playing sounded great as long as whatever he was playing was hooked up to his invention.

All Angus had to worry about now how many souls he could fit in his Soul Box.

Wasted Years

Wasted Years

By Scott Wilson

Word Count: 172

Jarlric had travelled from the coast of gold, across the seven seas, to run from the pain. He stared into the clear blue sky from the bow of his Viking longship. He travelled far and wide and now became a stranger to himself.

Twenty years he had been sailing, looking for the marauders of his homeland, the killers of his wife. Jarlric wasted all his time always searching for those wasted years without his love.

The things he now did from the bitterness and pain were unspeakable; murder, torture and pillaging. When he closed his eyes and thought of home, he thought how funny how it was, you never missed it until it's gone away.

He died with his crew nineteen years and eleven months ago and now had too much time on his hands; all he thought of was his love, and nothing could ease the pain.

His first mate could not find the words to say to the tormented captian, so the crew was condemned to make it through another day as Jarlric's ghostly companions.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Burke’s Creek Zoo

Burke’s Creek Zoo
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:3,780
“Okay, ladies and gentlemen,” Sarah, the nocturnal tour guide of Burke’s Creek Wildlife sanctuary said. “We will begin the tour in a couple of minutes.”

“Just a few ground rules first. We must stay together as a group at all times. The sanctuary has security guards patrolling at night and the park is safe, but with limited lighting it is easy to become lost.”

The group of thirty men, women, and children were keen to start the tour and were noticeably restless.

“The tour will last for two hours and cover all areas of the sanctuary. We will stop for regular breaks at the nocturnal animal enclosures, giving you plenty of time to take photos and enjoy your surroundings. Does anyone have any questions?”
“Yeh, can we get going.” A loud mouth larrikin at the back of the group yelled out mockingly.

“Yes, sir,” Sarah said politely, “We will head off now. Please follow me.”

* * * *

Tim pried open the entrance to the cassowary pen. The stainless steel and mesh groaned against his efforts, resisting from giving him enough space to let out the caged birds.

“Bugger” he grunted.

Tim opened his backpack and rummaged through the various tools of the trade until he located the bolt cutters. Although they were compact, they would easily snap this padlock as though it were nothing more than a dry twig.

The padlock dropped to the ground with a loud clang. Tim heard a loud primeval groan from within the pen. There was no way that was a cassowary, he knew that for sure.

Tim decided it was time to meet up with his two partners in crime, Jess and Martin, both members of the Freedom for Native Wildlife Association of Australia, FNWAA.
Jess and Martin were both close by, opening other enclosures to let out all non-dangerous wildlife, such as wombats, kangaroos, wallabies, and birds. There was not much they could do about the crocs or snakes at the moment. Letting them out in Brisbane would be dangerous to the native wildlife and that was not what the FNWAA were about. Just imagine the chaos that would cause, letting a creature like a crocodile into an unnatural environment.

“Hey, Jess.” Tim said over his walkie-talkie, “How are you guys going?”

“Hi, Tim. Martin and I have just met up outside the rock wallaby enclosure. We have let out the wombats, Kangaroos, and lizards. What about you, big fella.”

“I just opened the cassowary pen and heard the strangest noise, hey. Sounded like a dinosaur.”

“You sure you opened the right cage, Timmy?” Martin said mockingly as he joined to conversation.

“Very funny, dude. I think I know what a picture of a cassowary looks like. That’s why I got this pen. You know how dangerous they can be with those big talons of theirs.”

“Ok, boys. Let’s leave the banter until all the poor little creatures are out of earshot.”

Tim heard a noise behind in the pen and turned around. He realised that he shouldn’t have taken his attention off the pen. Cassowaries could be dangerous if angry or scared.

“I’ll meet you guys in a se…..” Tim finished his sentence with a scream.

* * * *

Alex McLeod had been a security guard at the wildlife sanctuary for fifteen years. He was sixty-five and looking forward to retiring at the end of the year. It wasn’t that he didn’t like his job; he loved working the night shifts at the zoo. It was quiet, and you could imagine you were out in God’s country all by yourself with the soothing sounds of the wildlife. Alex had a bad case of arthritis in his joints and it ached like a bastard during the winter months, especially on the night shifts.

“Aaaargh!” a scream shattered the ambiences of the night, making Alex spill his cup of tea.

“What in blazes was that?” Alex’s offsider, Simon said.

“Trouble, by the sounds of it, mate.”

“With the nocturnal tour?”

“Most likely. No one else in the sanctuary at this time of night.”

Alex looked at the security monitors. CCTV covered most of the sanctuary, but he couldn’t see who made the horrific noise. He did see the nocturnal tour, safely standing outside the sugar glider enclosure and all accounted for. They did not seem to have heard the scream, so it must be close to the security office.

“I’ll go for a peek-a-boo, boss.”

“No, Simon it’s okay. My arthritis is giving me grief, so the walk would do me some good. Stretch the old joints out. You just keep an eye on the CCTV for me.”

“You sure old timer?”

Alex tossed one of the radios at his young partner, “You’d better get hold of Sarah and make sure all her group are present and accounted for.”

Clipping on his utility belt, Alex headed towards the old cassowary enclosure, and where the he thought the scream came from. He hoped that it wasn’t, as that would mean there was a big problem to fix. The cassowaries had not been in that enclosure for two months now, and the new resident was even less friendly.

It was only a five-minute walk to the enclosure and Alex walked briskly. If there was trouble, he wanted to get there as quickly as he could. Before he reached the enclosure, a young woman covered in blood ran onto the path in front of him, knocking both of them to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs. The woman wriggled and squirmed, covering Alex in blood and dirt.

“It’s killed Tim and Martin.”

“Calm down miss.” Alex said soothingly as he untangled himself and helps the woman up. “Who are you and what are you talking about?”

“It’s killed them. Ate them and almost got me to.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It wasn’t a cassowary. Tim let something else out. It wasn’t a cassowary.”

“Cassowary, what are you talking about. The cassowaries were moved months ago. What are you doing around that enclosure? The tour doesn’t get to that part of the zoo for another twenty minutes.”

“We were only letting out the friendly wildlife. I didn’t want to let out the cassowaries, but the boys did. Now there both dead.”

“What do you mean let the wildlife out?” Alex took a good look at the woman’s blood soaked clothes and recognised the badge on her chest. Covered in a scarlet red mess, but he could see it now he was looking at it.

“You’re one of those bloody greenies, aren’t you?”

“They’re dead!” she screamed.

“What’s your name, miss? I can’t help you if I don’t know your name.”

“Jess, Jessica Lang.”

“Okay, Jess. I need you to come with me. We’ll go back to the security office and get you cleaned up a bit. Sit you down and then you can tell me what happened.”

Alex led Jess by the arm back to the security office. The sight of the blood soaked woman startled Simon and he dropped his cup of tea.

“What the...”

“Here, sit down Jess. Simon, clean up that mess and get this lady a wet towel.”

Jess sat down, facing the CCTV monitors and began crying. She could see the path leading up to the enclosure she had just run from and though she saw a leg on the ground.

Alex sat down next to Jess and handed her a tissue.

“Okay, Jess. I need you to tell me exactly what happened. Starting with what the hell you are doing in the sanctuary.”

“We were here during the day. Hide in the bushland near the wombats until it was dark. All we were going to do was to free the kangaroos and stuff. Nobody was supposed to get hurt.” She began to sob again. “Now they’re both dead.”

“Which enclosures have you broken in to? We need to contain this.”

Jess told Alex which areas that had been to, he became worried. Old Salty, the five-meter fresh water crocodile was in the area previously used for the cassowaries. If those other greenies had let Old Salty out there would be hell to pay. The front of the enclosure clearly identified the area as the home of the mother of all crocodiles. It must have been an oversight of the maintenance team to leave the old sign up at the rear of the pen. Not that it should have really mattered, only staff should ever be wondering around the back of any enclosures.

“Simon, get hold of Sarah and tell her to get those patrons out of here immediately!”

Simon immediately tossed the wet towel he was carrying to Jess, hitting her it the chest as she was in shock and didn’t realise it was being tossed to her. He slipped over on the tea and felt his right arm snap, as he hit the hard, cold linoleum floor.
Jess looked up and began screaming again, when she saw the end of broken bone jutting out of Simon’s arm just below his elbow.

“Stone the bloody crows.” Alex yelled, thinking to himself that he should have retired early. How was he going to deal with this by himself?

“You, Jess,” Alex yelled, “Phone triple zero right now.”

Alex scurried over to Simon and helped him into his chair. He grabbed a bandage from the first aid kit and gave it to Simon to hold on the open wound and ease the bleeding. No use putting a splint on it or a triangular bandage just yet. Had to stop the bleeding first.

“You’ll be right mate. Just keep the pressure on it.”

“I can’t it hurts too much.”

“You have to. If you don’t stop the bleeding you’ll pass out.”

Alex looked at Jess, who was still sitting down sobbing.

“I thought I told you to call triple zero!”

Jess did not make a move to comply with this, so Alex grabbed the phone and called the ambulance and police. It had been at least ten minutes since they arrived back at the security office. The nocturnal tour group would almost be at Old Salty’s enclosure. He grabbed the radio and began calling Sarah in between telling emergency services the situation.

“What are you talking about?” Sarah replied when Alex called.

“Get everyone out of there, now. Evacuate the zoo as fast as you can.”

Sarah watched helplessly as the tour group dispersed around the viewing platform and surround area near the old cassowary pen. There were now patrons at the top of the platform, overlooking the large pond in Old Salty’s pen, others down near the security fence, a few lingering around trying to hear what Sarah was talking about on the radio and even more heading towards the picnic tables close to the rear of the enclosure.
The nights around the viewing platform and walkway were bright and Sarah could count seventeen people safely off ground level.

“I need everyone to regroup on the viewing platform please.”

A small group of the tour group walked up the stairs to the platform, leaving only the group of six Japanese tourists heading to the picnic bench and the family of four near the toilets left to round up.

“What’s going on, miss?” One of the group asked.

“Security has asked that we evacuate the sanctuary immediately. I don’t have any further details at this time.”

Sarah moved to the edge of the viewing platform and yelled out to the family nears the toilets.

“You have to get up here right away.”

The father looked up and waved, but still headed into the toilet block with his two sons. The mother must already be in the toilets, as Sarah could not see her.

“Please sir, for your own safety bring your family up to the viewing platform.”

The father and his sons disappeared into the toilets.

“What’s that?” screamed one of the children.

All of the children and half of the adults on the viewing platform moved over to where the child was standing. In the shadows near the picnic table a gigantic black object lurched forward, grabbing one of the Japanese tourists seated to the rear of the table.

Panic spread among the group of petrified patrons and all hell broke loose. Men, woman, and children panicked. Those who were already on the viewing platform began to run down the stairs and ramp away from the direction of the picnic table. The oncoming rush of frantic tourists knocked Sarah over, and she bumped her head against the rails. She was unconscious when one of the heavyset women stood on her in a panic, breaking two ribs. The heavyset woman stumbled and crushed the radio as she fell over Sarah.

The husband of the Japanese tourist pulled his wife’s arms, trying with desperation to save her. As he tightened his grasp, the enormous jaws of the crocodile shook violently, tearing the woman’s legs from her body. It lunged forward, taking a bite out of the torso and knocking the husband to the ground. His wife’s upper body bled on him and he began to yell. He did not see the croc lunge forward and bite both his arms clean off.

“Somebody help us.” Screamed another Japanese tourist in broken English.

“What the hell is going on out here?” Yelled the father as he came out of the toilets. He quickly stepped back into the toilets and told his two boys to stay put before dashing to the female toilets and getting his wife. All four barricaded themselves in the male toilets. There were no heroes in the lavatories today.

Two Japanese tourists ran towards the viewing platform, while the remaining two struggled to pull what was left of the husband and wife away from the crocodile. As the croc was happily chewing on a meal of arms and legs this was easily achieved. The wife was already dead and the husband was bleeding profusely from the two stumps that had once been his arms. By the time they reached the ramp of the viewing platform, the husband was not sure if he was in shock or not when he saw two big red kangaroos hop passed him.

* * * *

Alex loaded the tranquilizer gun, put the box of spare cartridges into his utility belt, and opened the door.

“You keep an eye on his for me girlie. I don’t want him going into shock and passing out while I am gone. If he does and let go of that bandage he will bleed to death. If that happens, you will be responsible for his death as well as your friend’s deaths.”

This cold statement had the desired effect and snapped Jess out of shock, slightly but not fully. She nodded her head and moved over to Simon to help hold the bandage in place. Alex left the office, for what he thought was probably going to be the last time. So much for retiring next year but what, could he do? The zoo was half an hour from the nearest emergency service branch and Sarah was not answering her radio now. If he didn’t go to help, there might not be anyone left by the time the police got here. The chances of the tranquilizer darts piercing Old Salty’s thick leather hide were small, but it was the only weapon available. Wildlife sanctuaries do not make a habit of keeping firearms on site. They are about protecting wildlife, not harming it.

“Here goes nothing,” Alex said to himself as he cautiously walked up the path towards Old Salty’s enclosure.

He could hear screams in the distance and knew that it would look like a war zone if the temperamental old beast were amongst the group of tourists. The sound of the imminent battle spurred him forward, ignoring the pain of his arthritis shooting out from his knees and he jogged, and from his elbows as they supported the heavy rifle.

As Alex came around the corner near the old cassowary enclosure, a tourist bolted past him with blood running down his face. Alex did not have a chance to ask him anything before he disappeared into the night. At least he was heading the right direction for safety. Hopefully he would reach the security office and help Jess and Simon.

“Help,” A week voice, cried from just ahead.

Alex cautiously edged forward, raising the tranquilizer rifle to a comfortable firing position against his right shoulder. He moved out from the path and into the open area beneath the observation platform. Blood and limbs were scattered across the paved ground, in the gardens and on the stairs. Alex saw two of the group lying on the stairs with arms and legs missing. It almost looked like there was only one body there rather than two. From the looks of it, they were beyond help now.

“Over here,” A voice from the toilets whispered.

Alex slowly moved over to the toilets, swinging his head from side to side to make sure the croc was not still around. He stepped on something soft that squished beneath his foot. Alex did not look down; he did not want to know what it was. The father opened the toilet door fully and Alex could see the two young boys, cowering on the floor with their mother.

“Do you know where it is?”

The father pointed past the viewing platform, towards the aviary.

“Go down that path, there is a security office about a hundred meters to the left. You will be safe there.”

Alex cautiously walked across the open paved area to the stairs. He checked the two tourists near the stairs for signs of life. As he suspected, it was too late for them. He paused to catch his breath and call the security office. Hopefully, he would get an answer and hear that help was on the way.
“Simon, are you there mate?”

After what seemed like an hour, but was only thirty seconds, Simon answered.

“I’m here, boss.”

“How are you holding up?”

“I think I must have passed out for a few minutes and...” Alex heard voices in the background. The family must have made it back there already. Simon was distracted and did not answer again.

“Aargh...” another scream in the distance brought Alex back to the task at hand.

He headed towards the aviary with increased haste, knowing that every second could mean someone losing their life. Alex reached the aviary in a matter of minutes, although it was another hundred meters away along the curving, paved path. At least he did not see any more bodies on the way, which he half expected. The aviary was thirty meters in diameter and twenty meters high. Suspended wooded walkways surrounded the diameter and zigzagged across the middle. If the tourists made it there then hopefully, most of them would still be alive. Alex did not think Old Salty would be able to fit through the two doors to get into the aviary, they both opened outwards.

Alex moved towards the doors and saw they were twisted and torn, pushed inward and impossible to open. He would have to crawl through if he went in this entrance. The other entrance was the opposite side of the aviary and would waste precious time to reach. If he was going to get Old Salty, he would have to crawl through on this hands and knees.

“Here goes nothing.”

Alex slung the rifle over his shoulder and knelt down slowly. His old companion arthritis reminded him that he was still there, yelling at him through each joint. Cautiously, he crawled through the first mangled steel door. He was now in the two meter by two-meter section between the outer and inner doors. This is the most vulnerable position he would be in and he knew it. Sweat dripped from his forehead and into his eyes.

Alex paused and sat upright, he needed to wipe the sweat from his eyes, he could not see clearly. He ran his hands across his khaki shirt to dry the sweat and dirt from them. The last thing he needed now was to get any grit and grim in his eyes while he was stuck in this small compartment.

With his eyes closed and his hand running across his face, he smelt the reptile before he saw it. The hot, putrid breath hit him and almost caused him to vomit. The rancid flesh from past meals, combined with the bacteria in the foul beast’s mouth was the worst stench Alex had ever had the misfortune of coming across. Alex stumbled back and quickly swung the rifle from his back. His vision was still blurred, but he could make out the huge jaws pocking through the warped steel gate in front of him. He fired the tranquilizer into the ancient reptile’s gaping mouth.
“Take that you bastard.”

Old Salty roared, swallowing the dart that was wedged in his rough rancid tongue. The crocodile slide back; catching it is head on the jagged mess of a metal door and tearing at the scaled neck. Blood gushed out of reptile’s neck and it twisted and turned in agony.

Alex reloaded the rifle and fired another dart into the crocodile’s exposed neck. The tranquilizer pierced the thick hide and joined the other serum in the reptile’s system. Old Salty began to roll, his instinct taking over and going into a death roll. The dart that hit the croc’s tongue was numbing it and it made him think it had something in its mouth. Old Salty might have thought he had grabbed one of Alex’s arms.
The aviary groaned as the giant beast pulled against the metal door stuck in its neck. More blood gushed from the wound and poured out like a geyser.

Alex wiped his eyes quickly then reloaded the rifle once more. The dart hit the open gaping wound the crocodile’s neck. Old Salty let out a primeval groan and then fell to the ground. The force of the beast’s weight against the gate tore a massive chunk from the scaly neck, almost decapitating the crocodile’s head.

“You poor bastard,” Alex said as he let himself fall onto his back, exhausted and aching.

Alex saw the spotlight from the police helicopter before he heard it. He laughed to himself when the spotlight shone on the remnants of one of the activist’s shirts in Old Salty’s mouth. Beneath the FNWAA, logo was the motto, saving our wildlife one creature at a time.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


My short story, Bushranger Blues, about the misadventures of a Queensland Bushranger has been accepted by The Shine Journal for their December issue.


Sunday, September 7, 2008


Hi All

My flash fiction about the dilemmas of Christians in a futuristic world where there was no death has been accepted for publication in the November issue of Sonar4 Science Fiction and horror ezine.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hotel Womb

Hotel Womb
By Scott Wilson
Word Count 639

Outside the volcano pierces the air with high pitched shrills and shrieks. Dark, sulphur ashes block out the midday sun. The sky appeared as midnight, with a feint blood red moon, hidden behind black clouds. Inside, I dream I am safe in my hotel womb. The white walls are soft and comforting, a stark contrast to the morbidly gloomy and mysterious alien world outside.

Lying next to me, on the luxurious emperor sized bed adorned with smooth, peach satin nightgown is my wife. I met her at a small boutique nightclub, The Lair, or at least I think I did, two weeks ago. The locals were strangely friendly to all foreigners, and I heard that many men came to this planet to meet a wife. I shortly found there was a price for everyone, even women already married. I paid eighty credits for this wedding ring; I couldn't take it off if I tried. The local goldsmith must have been a Sharman, or witch doctor. Some kind of spell shrunk the gold band when I put it on, joining it with my skin. Either that or something was in the strangely, sweet cactus wine I drank at the wedding, melding the alien material with my flesh.

A sudden voltage in the sky lights the river outside my hotel womb. I see a single, sullen woman float downstream to where the black waters swirl. She is wearing a pale white mask, but I can tell she is crying. Tears roll out under the mask, dripping on her ash, covered blouse. She must not have met an Earthman from the last shuttle landing on this planet on Monday. She will have to return home to her parents. There will be no union with our species for her this time. No rebirth in one of the hotel wombs. Great shame will fall upon her father. She will say, “Can we be reconciled?” Her father will have no choice, but to bear the burden, live as an outcast and hope next time an Earthman will pick her.

I go to sleep.

In my dream, I see the mother of the storm roam the sky searching for her child. She is sad, crying red tears that wash away the ash from the volcano. Drenching the alien streets, staining the cobblestone paths with crimson tears of pain. I wish I'm back in my hotel womb, slip through the cracks back to that wonderful room. I have done my duty, come to this planet, and selected a wife to maintain interstellar relations between Earth and these highly evolved aliens. Why do I still have these dreams? They are supposed to go once the psychic bond links between man and alien.

Morning comes at last, and she is lying by my side. She has not moved since we consummated our marriage last Tuesday. She has the face of the widow that keeps following me and the body of my bride. I check to make sure she is alive. The hotel womb is slowly pulsing, so I guess she is creating our child. It usually only takes a week for this to happen, the female alien hibernates for the gestation to conserve energy for the birth. The walls are now slightly pink, pulsating, and warm. It has become humid in here, uncomfortably so, but I will not leave the womb until after the birth. That would just be bad form. If I did leave, there is a high probability that both mother and child would die.

I look out the window again.

“Why are those buildings swaying like trees?” I say to myself.

She says, “Can't you hear the city that's hidden in there?”

I can hear her voice in my head again.

I am going to be a father soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thicker Than Water

Thicker Than Water
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 1253

“You have a great night honey.”

“”I won’t be late, Luke.” Sarah said to her husband. “You know I don’t like these work functions. I wouldn’t go if there was anyway I could get out of it.”

“I know. Do you want me to pick you up later?”

“No, I’ll catch a cab home. Company’s expense.”

“Love you,”


Sarah hung up her work phone then met up with her colleagues in the lift lobby. After the pub lunch earlier in the day, most of the men were already completely blotto. The women had a little bit more decorum and were walking straight, well sort of. Sarah was not a drinker, so by the time they arrived at the Britannia Inn and was the only one to arrive at the pub without already being drunk.

As the night grew on, Sarah became increasingly uncomfortable with the carrying on of her colleagues, but at least now they were so drunk and rowdy that no one would really notice if she left to go home to her husband and twelve year old son, Benjamin. Without drawing attention to herself, she silently slide out of the pub and towards the taxi rank on Edward Street.

It was close to midnight and the streets were quite, after all it was a Tuesday night and hardly any self respecting business man or woman roamed the pubs at this hour during the week. Sarah felt quite cold, even though it was the middle of summer. A cold shiver ran up her spine as she walked past a dark and uninviting alleyway close to the cab rank. There seemed to be a thick mist emanating from the alley, making it impossible to see more than a few feet into the alley. Sarah tried to hurry past, but felt compelled to walk into the ice, cold misty alley.

“Sarah…” a soft whisper said from the mist. “Come to me, Sarah.”

Sarah couldn’t help herself. She wanted to run, but had to go to the ancient voice. She walked into the mist.


“Who, who’s there??”

Sarah walk only few feet into the mist when she felt a cold, lifeless hand softly caress her neck from behind. She was frightened but calm at the same time. Slowly, Sarah turned to meet the owner of the pale, white hand.

“Who are you?”

The owner of the voice was a tall, extremely handsome gentleman, dressed in a black silk Armani suit. He had skin as pale and soft as milk, creaseless and powerful. His hair was shoulder length, thick and as black as a raven. His eyes were two large black pupils with very little white surrounding them. Sarah found him to be overpoweringly attractive, yet the smile was that of a monster. Two razor sharp teeth appeared at each side of his mouth when he smiled.

* * * *

Luke heard the taxi pull up in the driveway. He looked out the window and was glad to see Sarah safely home. He always worried about her when she went to work functions by herself, not because he didn’t trust her, but because there were too many crazies around these days.
He opened the door when Sarah walked up the drive, startling her.

“Hi honey,” Luke said as he gave her a peck on the cheek.

“I feel a bit sick, love. I think it must have been something I ate. Cold and clammy and my stomach is churning.”

Luke lovingly put his hand on Sarah’s forehead, “You are freezing. Let me run you a bath.”

Sarah followed him into the bathroom and slowly began to undress. She felt stiff in her joints, like you do when you have glandular fever or Ross River virus. Her arms and legs ached with each layer of clothes she removed.

“What happened to your neck?”

Luke brushed her hair back on her shoulder, revealing a small pair of round incisor marks three centimetres apart on her neck. They were swollen around the outside, like two small anthills or flesh.

“I’m not sure...” Sarah said as she looked in the mirror.

“What the. You’re reflection is hardly there.”

Sarah rubbed her eyes. Luke was right, you could see right through her reflection in the mirror, as though she were only a ghost.

* * * *

“Close the curtains, honey.”

“They are drawn, sweetie.”

Luke gently brushed Sarah’s hair from her brow. Her skin was now like ice to touch.

“How are you feeling?”

“Sick as a dog. My mouth tastes like a garbage truck off loaded in it.”

“I have already rung the office for you, said you won’t be in for the rest of the week.”

“The rest of the week? Why.”

“Because you are dead.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Sarah, I think you are a vampire. You have no reflection, no pulse and you can’t stand the sunlight.”

Benjamin came into the bedroom and jumped on the bed. Sarah lifted off the mattress and stayed floating in the air instead of landing back down.
“What the...” he said.

Sarah sat up, falling back onto the mattress simultaneously.

“We need to have a family meeting.” Luke said.

“A family meeting, I’m fucking dead. A vampire. What are we going to do?”

Luke and Ben both cuddled Sarah tightly.

“I love you mum.” Ben said. He seemed to be taking this whole undead thing quite well.

“I love you too Benny.”

Sarah felt like crying but there were no tear to weep. She had the emotion but the body would not comply.

“What do we know about vampires?” Luke said. “I mean, how much of what we’ve all seen in the movies is hunky dory?”

Sarah stood up and looked into the mirror. There was no reflection at all now.

“Well, the sunlight and reflection things seem to be true.”

“Crucifixes don’t seem to worry you though.” Ben said, pointing to the gold cross hanging around Sarah’s neck.

“Stone the bloody crow, what about food?” Luke said.

Sarah and Luke had been devout Christians for ten years now, both baptised at the same ceremony down at the Wynnum foreshore. He could not imagine Sarah killing people for a meal, nor could he imagine himself driving a steak through her heart.

“What about animals?” Ben said.

“I don’t want to kill anything.”

“Maybe you don’t have to,” Luke said optimistically. “We will try different substitutes and see what works.”

Ben ran into the kitchen and came back with a bowl of Wheat Bix. Sarah looked at it and laughed.

“Try this mum.”

Sarah took the bowl and ate a spoonful of the cereal. It did not make her sick, but it also did not seem to quench her appetite. So she could eat normal food, that was a start.

“Guess we will have to wait and see what happens and what will fill me up.”

* * * *

The basement of the two story house took only a small amount of modifications to become the new living quarters for Luke and Sarah. Benny stayed in the upstairs bedroom and tried to maintain a normal life. Going to school, having friends over on weekend and going out with his mates. Luke maintained a normal life, well apart from the weekly ritual of going out with Sarah looking for some lowlife to bring back to their house for Sarah to feed off until no more blood could be drawn.

The Congregation

The Congregation
By Scott Wilson
Word Count 363

A small group of non-descript plain clothed men and women gradually made their way to the private coffee house. Passers by would take no notice of any of these people and the meeting would be held without anyone being any the wiser. Many groups and small organisations had their own private coffee houses these days now. Ever since the cyber police raided meetings in public halls and cafĂ©’s in 2090 and the massacre of the Catholic Church that same year. Christians were rounded up and put in detention, fathers, brother, mothers never to be seen again.

Each member of the group scanned their retina to gain access through the security door, waiting for the outer door to close before the second scan to the inner door occurred. Inside the small coffee house around thirty men and women had taken their designated seat behind the one-way reinforced glass windows.

“I greet you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour.”

“”Peace be with you.” The congregation replied in unison.

“And with you.”

“Tonight, we will be exploring the unspoken topic of death.”

A murmur began among the congregation and some shocked faces looked around the coffee house. One or two members of the congregation lifted their steaming hot cup of coffee to their mouth to hide their stunned looks.

“We aren’t allowed to talk about that anymore, Pastor.”

“I know, since the medical profession found a cure to all disease and eventually prevented death we have been banned to discuss this. But death and redemption are integral elements of the Christian faith. Many believers have fallen from the faith since death was no longer an issue, but it is still part of the Bible.”

Two members of the congregation abruptly stood and left the coffee house. A small number of people sitting around the same table gave each other worried looks, and then also left.

“We are never going to see God, now we can’t die we will never go to heaven.” One of the congregation yelled out. “That’s why there are few Christian’s left now. There is not fear of death and Hell.”