Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Storm

The flapping of the shade on the window woke her up. The wind had arrived, a warning of the coming storm. Jane shoved Ryan's shoulder to wake him. "Go close the window. The storms are coming, " she said.

Ryan groaned as he slid out of bed and stumbled to the window. He looked out to see the green tinted clouds racing over the barren land towards the house, their acid-laden rain falling against the dusty, cracked ground.

He returned to bed and snuggled close to Jane. The soft pitter patter of the rain against the roof lulled them back to sleep.

The sound of the soil around their house breaking and heaving caused Jane to wake up. The soft drone of zombies rising from the ground drove fear into her heart. “Ryan, wake up. The zombies …”

“Wha?” he asked. Jane jumped when they started scratching against the walls.

“Zombies!” she screamed. Her whole body was shaking as the walls heaved as the undead pressed against them. The acid from the rain further weakening the boards.

“Go to the shelter,” Ryan said as he reached for the automatic rifle next to the bed. He loaded it with a clip and cocked it. Jane scrambled for her robe, a blanket, cell phone and tablet. “What are you doing? Go! Now!”

When the apocalypse began two years ago, Ryan had bought a giant restaurant freezer. He removed all the innards of the freezer and fortified it with steel then added electricity, lights, WiFi, a microwave, and a wall lined with food that could be nuked in their own container and bottles of water. In one corner was a small porta-potty blocked off by a shower curtain. The freezer was furnished with a large mattress, blankets and pillows. A small fan vent on the top allowed fresh air to circulate. There was even a small camera connected to a small TV screen to allow them to see when the zombies retreated back into the ground. Whenever the rains and zombies arrived, they retreated to the shelter until they were gone again.

Jane looked around one more time to see if she was forgetting anything then ran after Ryan as he headed out of the room and down the stairs to the basement. Every time the walls cracked she jumped.

“They’re going to get us this time. I know it,” Jane sobbed.

“Just get in the hideout,” Ryan ordered as he opened the giant freezer door. The zombies broke through the wall and rushed the freezer. Ryan shot the first three in the head then pulled the door closed and locked it.

“Dammit. I forgot to double tap,” he said as he put the gun down.

“I’m sure you got them,” Jane reassured him. She had curled up on the mattress, wrapping her blanket around her shoulders as she started up the tablet then loaded the Apocalypse Now application. “It says this should be a short attack. The rains are moving quickly.”

“That’s good. Let’s get some sleep.”

They curled up together and fell back to sleep. The sound of Jane’s alarm clock woke them several hours later. “Are they still out there?” Jane asked when Ryan returned to the mattress after using the bathroom and getting two bottles of waters. He got up and looked at the TV.

“It seems clear,” he answered. “What does the app say?”

“It is still raining but it seems to be clearing.”

They curled back up on the mattress. Jane started the Netflix app and browsed to “Zombieland,” their favorite movie for when the apocalypse reared its head. When the movie finished Ryan checked the TV while Jane looked at the Apocalypse Now app. “They’re giving the all clear,” Jane said.

“I don’t see any movement,” Ryan replied as he picked up his rifle and cocked it.. “I’ll go out first, cover me.”

Jane picked up the rifle they kept in the shelter and loaded it, then stood about three feet behind Ryan. He unlocked and slowly opened the door. He stepped on the body of one of the three zombies he’d shot on the way in. It didn’t move.

“Looks clear,” he said. Jane put her rifle down and picked up all her stuff. She followed Ryan out of the shelter and closed the door, revealing the other two zombies that had bullet holes in their head but were still very much alive.

“Brains … we need brains,” they said and fell on top of Ryan and Jane before they could react. The zombies gnawed on their heads, ripping and tearing apart their brains.

Ryan reached for Jane’s hand and squeezed it. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice raspy as he neared death. “I knew I should have double tapped.”

“I know.” Jane convulsed as the zombie’s teeth tore through her brain. Ryan’s hand fell out of hers as she exhaled her last breath.

Ryan mustered all his strength and lifted the rifle. He let out a primal scream as he shot his attacker in the head then Jane’s attacker. “Sorry I failed you, Columbus,” he said then shot himself in the head.

Word Prompt: flapping, freezer, soft

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Dark Fish Tale

Grandpa sat down next to Polly on the end of the dock. She was watching her father and two brothers out in the rowboat in the middle of the pond.
“It isn’t fair,” she pouted.
“Did you ask if you could go?”
“Dad said there wasn’t room. And Bobby said fishing ain’t for girls.”
“I see. Well, Bobby’s young yet and not got much sense in his head.”
Polly grumped some more as they watched her other brother Sam attempt to reel in a fish. He lost his balance and fell into the water. Dad scrambled to pull him out of the water but he was too far away.
“Let go of the pole and swim to the boat,” Dad yelled. The fish was dragging Sam further away from the boat and under water.
“I can’t! It’s a … big … one!” Sam yelled back as he bobbed in and out of the water.
“Stay in the boat,” Dad told Bobby then jumped into the water. He dove under to search for Sam. The dark water made it difficult to see more than a few inches in front of his face. When he surfaced he looked for any signs of Sam.
Dad spotted Sam’s fishing pole and swam over it. The fish was still on the hook, resting after the struggle with Sam. Dad brought it to the rowboat and tied it on. “Don’t touch that,” he said. “I’ll be back to get the fish as soon as I find Sam.”
In the distance, Polly and Grandpa could see a white patch in the water. It was Sam floating on the top of the water. Dad spotted him at the same time and quickly swam over to him then brought him back to the boat.
Sam’s lifeless, water-logged body was heavy but Dad managed to get him into the boat. Bobby was freaking out as Dad pulled himself back into the boat then grabbed the fishing pole. The fish wasn’t ready to be caught that day. He fought against Dad and nearly pulled him over the edge of the boat several times.
“You got one of us today; you’re not going to get two!” Dad yelled at the fish. He struggled with the fish, slowly reeling him closer and closer. Sam had been right; it was a big fish. In fact, it was the biggest rainbow trout he’d ever seen.
Dad finally got the fish close enough and was able to use the net to pull it out of the water and into the boat. He slid Sam’s body over the fish to keep it from flopping out of the boat then rowed to shore. Grandpa ran into the water to help pull the boat onto the beach.
“Polly, grab my camera from the bag and give it to Grandpa,” Dad said as he sat Sam up then put the fish onto his lap.
Polly found the camera and handed it to Grandpa. “Take the picture now,” Dad said, his voice cracking as he tried to hold back the tears. Grandpa took a couple of pictures then Dad moved the fish back to the floor of the boat. He pulled his hunting knife out of his pocket and stabbed the fish several times.
They carried Sam and the fish to the cabin. Dad sent Polly and Bobby into the living room to watch a movie while they decided what to do with Sam’s body.
“We can’t take them back home,” Grandpa said. “Sam will be rotted and smell awful by the time we get home.”
“I can’t not bring him home.”
“No reason we can’t bury him out back. This was one of his favorite places to go so he would be happy about being buried here,” Grandpa said. “We can report the drowning and cremation/burial after we get home.”
“Sure! First we will harvest his brain, organs and muscles for food then burn the body and bury the ashes.”
“That’s crazy!”
“Do you have a shovel to dig a six foot deep hole?”
Dad’s stomach turned as he thought about what Grandpa suggested. It was wrong to eat other humans but at the same time it made sense—they needed to take care of the body before they left and they also needed food for the rest of the time they were there.
“Okay, let’s do it. Just don’t let the young ones know the source of our food.”
“No problem. You go sit with the kids while I prepare the bodies for consumption.”
Dad didn’t want to know where his father had learned to cut up a human body for eating. Instead, he leaned over Sam’s body and kissed his cold, blue forehead. “Rest in peace, Sam. I love you.”
Grandpa waited until the kitchen door closed behind Dad before he got to work on carving up the fish and Sam. For dinner that night they had fish stuffed with kidney stuffing. Then for breakfast they had fresh hash made from Sam’s organs. They built a big bonfire for dinner. They grilled hamburgers made from the ground up meat from Sam’s body. When they finished eating, they had a small funeral service.
Grandpa, who’d been to a bunch of funerals, talked about Sam and how he was in heaven fishing in God’s pond. They all recited The Lord’s Prayer as Dad and Grandpa put what was left of Sam’s body, which had been placed in plywood casket Dad had made that afternoon, on the fire and they watched as he turned to ashes.
             In the morning, Dad dug a hole in the woods behind the house while Grandpa collected the ashes from the bonfire into a Mason jar. As they were putting the last clump of soil back into the hole where Sam was buried, Dad and Grandpa made a pact never to talk about what they’d done. They packed up when they were done then headed home, never to return to the cabin and their horrific secret again.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pollution Control

Uxhushi landed his spaceship on Uranus. The door opened and he was met with the most malodorous smell he’d ever experienced. Uxhushi nearly threw up as he held his nose and ventured out onto the tarmac. He wished he’d remembered his oxygen tank!

He headed for the main airport building. Adverts for broccoli were all over the walls and all the commercials displayed on the TV screens expounded its value through singing and dancing. Every concession booth offered the green vegetable from fried to boiled to baked and covered with cheese, butter and other sauces.

Nhru, his business contact, met him at the airport entrance. They quickly exchanged pleasantries then got in Nhru’s vehicle. They passed a sign that said, “Three servings of broccoli a day keeps the doctor away.”

“I have to ask, what’s with the broccoli?”

“There was a depletion of gaseous fumes in our atmosphere. People and animals were getting sick and no one could figure it out. A study done by our scientist showed that it was the lack of fumes causing the problems and it was determined that the best way to maintain the level of those gaseous fumes was from farts produced by eating broccoli. So now it is a world-wide law that every resident eat at least three servings of broccoli a day and fart outside to maintain the levels.”

Nhru opened the window and let one rip.

“That’s digusting!” Uxhushi exclaimed as he nearly vomited again.

“Better that than being dead.”

Moral: Eat your vegetables.

Word Prompt: broccoli , malodorous, dancing (to dance)

Mother Knows Best

A man on a motorcycle stopped in front of Sharon’s house. She watched from the window as he slid off the bike. He was wearing dark pants, boots and a dark leather jacket. When he pulled the helmet off, he revealed long dark hair and an unruly bushy beard.

When he turned to look towards the house she ducked out of sight.

She was shaking as she tried to find her cell phone in her pocketbook, hoping that today she would have a signal and that she’d remembered to charge it recently. As she floundered for the device, she could hear his heavy footsteps coming up the creaky front steps and crossing the porch.

Sharon wasn’t a religious woman but she made the sign of the cross and fervently prayed for God to protect her from whatever was waiting for her on the other side of the front door.

There was a knock. She froze, holding her breath.

He knocked again. “Hello? Is there anyone here?” a gruff voice called. She reached into her purse to look for her cellphone again and still couldn’t find it. Crap! I left it at work! she thought.

Sharon remembered that she had a Google Talk account and could call for help from her laptop in her bedroom. Sharon inched towards the stairs.

The motorcyclist knocked on the door twice. There was a pause then the doorknob start to turn. Sharon froze. Her mother had warned her about living alone in the country. Why hadn’t she listened?

The door creaked open. “Hello? Is anyone here?”

She looked around for anything she could use as a weapon. The only thing she could find was a silver letter opener she’d gotten when she graduated from secretarial school.

When the man stepped into the house she panicked and ran at him, the letter opener held out in front of her. He jumped back and she stumbled then fell into the wall. The man reached down to help her stand up.

“Don’t hurt me!” Sharon yelled as she menacingly lunged the letter opener at him.

The man laughed then held up a police badge. “Lt. Anderson. Your mother called and asked for a courtesy welfare check to see if you were okay.”

Sharon sighed with relief and let the officer help her up. He took the letter holder from her as she said, “I thought you were a murderer. You have to admit, you don’t look much like a cop.”

“That’s because I’m not.” He laughed at the look of surprise on her face then used the letter opener to stab her in the stomach several times. As she fell to the floor, he said, “You should have trusted your instincts.”

He grabbed her car keys from the table in the foyer then ran out of the house. She heard him pick up the police radio. “There’s a dead cop down on Briar Lane and one woman dead at 17 Fiddler’s Road. And I’m the one who done it,” he said then laughed maniacally.

He dropped the radio then dashed over to Sharon’s car. He unlocked the door and got inside. The last thing Sharon heard was the hum of her car as he pulled out of the driveway.

Moral: Always listen to your mother.

Word Prompt: motorcycle, Google,  unruly