#HorrorBites 1 : A Bag Of Heads

imageJessica moved silently through the trees, searching for any signs of other people, and finding none. She carefully searched the area around the house, making sure no traps were present. She took her time. She needed to know the man was the only person in the house.

She remembered the bodies. Six naked women. Not even buried. All naked, bruised, battered. He’d raped them, then beaten them. Then beheaded then. The eagles told her all six had been alive when he took their heads. The bodies rested in the woods around the house. Footprints all around them lead back to the house.

The wolves and eagles guarded the bodies, protecting them from scavengers until she could bury them.

She had to stop him before he killed again.

She waited hours past the sunset, until she was certain he was asleep before she approached the house. She picked up the axe he kept by the front door, then slipped inside the house. She moved through the house slowly, making no sound as she searched for him.

He was asleep, face down, on the sofa by the windows. He snored deeply. Jessica used what she’d learned from the wolves, and silently crossed the room. He never heard her. When she reached him, she raised the axe, and slammed it down on the back of his neck, severing his spine. She wasn’t proud of what she’d done. She didn’t like to kill, but knew, sometimes there was no other choice.

As she turned to leave, she spotted a large duffel bag beneath the kitchen table. A note on the bag read “A Bag Of Heads”. She knew what was inside. The heads of the six murdered women.

Jessica sank to the floor, and cried. The whole word had gone insane.

299 words
@LurchMunster


Laura James has started a new flash fiction challenge, #HorrorBites. It happens once every two weeks, and is specific to the fiction genre, horror. I wrote this for #HorrorBites. Please go read all the other #HorrorBites stories. They are well written, and just might scare you.

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#ThursThreads Week 114 : Go Get The Man

I walked toward my car as the voice in my head urged me on, ““Go get the man.” I got in, and drove. “Go get the man,” echoed in my head.

I’d done everything right. Talked with him every day. Went to lunch with him and his friends. Dressed for him. I wore skirts that showed off my hips and legs. I wore as little beneath my clothes as I dared. I showed off my boobs. I knew he saw. I wanted him to see.

I always joined him for lunch I knew all his favorite places to eat. I tried countless perfumes until I found ones he liked. I styled my hair different ways until I found the ways he liked. I even colored my hair red, because it was his favorite. I learned what kind of clothing he liked to see me in, and always wore his favorites.

He knew I loved him.

But he got engaged to her anyway! Another woman he would hold, kiss, sleep with. The thought of him fucking her was the last straw. “If I can’t have you, no one will!”

“Go get the man.”

I pulled my car to the curb outside his parking garage, motor running, and waited. When his car came down the ramp, I floored it.” Go get the man,” echoed in my head as my car tore into the driver’s side of his.

I watched him die. I smiled. If I couldn’t have him, no one would.

249 words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 114. Reading the prompt while listening to music, I knew what to write. This piece was inspired by the song “I Want You”, by Delain. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

I’m Not All Pessimistic

As the saying goes, “And now for something completely different.”

There are many people who feel, probably quite accurately, I am a pessimist. A strong pessimist at that. As an example, my views on the US economy, and the global economy are best expressed as, “It’s bad. And it’s going to get much, much worse.”

I’ve mentioned, on Facebook, such news items as the Bill Gates story, in which Mr. Gates says more and more jobs being performed by robots, resulting in growing numbers of unemployed, unless the unemployed are willing to work for less that the cost of maintaining the robots.

I’ve spoken with my doctor about the pending demise of such employment powerhouses as Federal Express and UPS, as indicated by companies like Amazon investing in package delivery drones to use for direct from their warehouse to your front door package delivery. The demise of such employment powerhouses as McDonalds, where making burgers, fries, and McNuggets becomes a task performed by robots.

The employment picture is not going to get any better. It’s going to get worse. And worse.

I could continue alone this negative path, and give links to countless stories indicating the end is coming. But that’s such a negative view.

What I have not spoken of, on Facebook, Twitter or others, and have not spoken of with friends, through e-mail, or face-to-face, is a much more optimistic view of what is happening, and what will continue to happen.

It is my view the existing, conventional economy is dying. Look at the closure rates of brick and mortar businesses. Look at the collapse of the music industry. Look at the collapse of the publishing industry. Can you remember a few years ago, when there were small bookstores like Waldens, and B Daltons. Remember Borders? How long with Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble survive?

Examine the television business. What is the impact Internet data streaming is having on that? What’s happening with Cable and Satellite TV? How are they coping with Netflix, Roku, and others?

Even Wal-Mart is not the profit and growth machine it was a few years ago. What does that mean?

The economy is changing. It’s becoming a very different, very highly optimized, very profit oriented, very controlled process. And people are becoming more and more of an impediment to profitability. Wages reduce profit. Benefits reduce profit. Accidents reduce profit. Mistakes reduce profit. Humans reduce profit.

As a result, there are less and less humans working in the economy. Because that’s how to increase profit.

Yeah. A very negative, pessimistic view indeed.

But, look more closely. What do you find. People are working, but not inside the economy. They’re creating new jobs, new businesses, new ways of earning a living that don’t depend on having a job, working for a company.

For example, look once more at the music industry, with independent musicians, taking control of their careers, producing their own music, and marketing it themselves, resulting in bands like Abney Park, and Cruxshadows. Bands outside the corporate world, making their own path to success.

Look at the book publishing business, and the growth of indie publishing. Writers producing their own books, publishing them on their own, and no longer needing the approval of a giant publishing house to become successful. My Kindle Reader account on Amazon shows this trend clearly, given 90% of the books I’ve purchased in the past four years came from independent writers, and small publishing houses. Titles you can’t find at Barnes & Noble, or Books-A-Million. Independent publishers, with fiction types and kinds, and stories a big publishing house wouldn’t touch.

Then, look at what happens outside the conventional economy, at the small, independent business level. Some people refer to it as the gig job market. People have started offering their skills, their talents, directly to others. It’s the old neighborhood market, returning, with a vengeance, outside the control of the conventional economy. So far outside, it can’t be measured.

Is the unemployment rate really less than 10%? Or is that a way of hiding the number of people not participating in the conventional, working for a living, economy? Search for yourself. Check the Internet. See what you can find about people working in unexpected ways.

Don’t get me wrong on this. I do expect things to get much worse, with many people becoming unemployed, under employed, and living in or near poverty as defined by the economic measures of the country.

I also expect the changes in the economy to continue, with the unmeasurable part of the economy growing larger, becoming the dominant way people make a living. Independently of companies, and their profits, and automation, and their management of human resources.

I may well comment more on this topic in the coming months. Time will tell. But for now, I simply wanted to show I’m not as pessimistic as I sound. In fact, I have a very optimistic view of human adaptability, and ingenuity. I believe the old economy, and its ways of doing things is dying and the new economy, with independent people determining their own economic destinies and fates is replacing it. I don’t expect this transition to be pleasant, but I do believe it’s already in progress, and is growing each year, and will, in the end, change our society into something better than it is today.

I’m not all pessimistic. Remember that.

Mark.

#FinishThatThought 38 : Chickens Have Lips

“Chickens have lips,” I observed, staring at the video feed from the rover. “At least on this planet.” I studied the creature in the video. It looked just like a chicken from the history books of Old Earth. Except it had lips, and not a beak.

“Hey! Herry! Look at this!” I motioned Harry over. “The rover found a life form.”

Herry stared at the feel. “What the hell is that?”

“Looks like a chicken.”

“‘Cept it has lips.” He studied the image. “They look just like Bellas.”

I studied them a bit. They did look like Bellas. “I’m going to have the rover follow it. See where it goes.”

“Good idea. Maybe it’ll lead us to more chickens with lips”

It did. That chicken walked a couple of miles, arriving at veritable chickens with lips city. Chickens were everywhere. Moving in organized patterns, like they were walking on sidewalks. They congregated in small groups of two, three or four. The members in the groups were talking to each other. That was my guess, since their lips were moving, and they kept looking at each other, flapping their wings.

They ignored the rover.

I had the rover follow a group of three chickens. They made a right turn around a rock, and the scenery changed, becoming a row of different sized rock structures. I noticed rock structures looked like small, stone houses, with no windows, or doors. Each structure had an opening. The three chickens turned into one of them. I sent the rover in after them.

“Son-of-a-bitch.”

Herry heard. “What?”

“The chickens just stopped in a bar for drinks.”

“What?”

He started at the video from the rover. “What?”

It was a bar, complete with bar stools. A dozen chickens sat on the stools, facing a long rock bar. Every so often, a chicken flexed its wings, picked up a stone glass, and had a drink of whatever it contained.
“Well.” Herry shook his head. “This is certainly going to wake up the fanatics, isn’t it.”

I nodded, “I wonder how they’ll explain intelligent chickens?”

“Probably will call them demons, and say we should stay away from them, or wipe them out.” He was right. As a human from Old Earth, I knew we humans had a nasty habit of destroying anything we couldn’t understand. “Probably wipe them out.”

I looked at the chickens on the screen, and tried to think of them as lunch. I almost pulled it off. But it was too disturbing to think of eating chicken lip sandwiches.

424 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 38 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Given I’m the Judge this week, my entry is ineligible. But it was fun to write. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#MWBB Week 2.1 : Sally MacLennane

Once a year, on March 17th, those of us who haven’t died yet, celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day at the Sally MacLennane. This year was no different. My grandson wheeled me in, “Now, Grandfather. You know you’re not supposed to drink.”

“On this day, I drink, and you know it!”

Jamie, Liam, Conner and Dillon all raised their tankards and belted out, “Hear! Hear! We’ll drink to that!”

“I see Ryan’s not here this year,” I observed, as I studied the room.

“He took the train to Dublin three weeks ago,” Liam took another chug. “Should be with the others now.”

Dillon hollered at the barkeeper, “Bring Gavin his first round!”

“I’m on it! I’m on it!” came the answer.

Conner raised his drink, “Aye! Won’t be long before we’ll be joining them!”

Ah, I wished I were 50 years younger when the barmaid handed me my drink. She was grandly built, and my old eyes followed her as she walked away, her little kilt barely covering anything as her hips danced the way a pretty woman’s always had.

Jamie roared, “I see you’ve noticed our dear new friend!”

“I’ll drink to that!” I tipped my drink, and let the brown pour. “Well, Ryan, the least you could have done was drop a postcard in the mail when you got there.”

We drank away the night, into the early dawn. My Grandson joined right in, it wasn’t like he had a choice. We told the stories once again, of our wives, and sons and daughters, and of all our friends now gone, all gone, on the train to Dublin and beyond.

“Was Eathan that left first, as I recall.”

“Aye, he did,” Dillon agreed. “And we all cried like little girls that day, we did.”

Liam set his drink upon the table, “It was the first time one of us left.” He stared into his drink, “The first time.”

Conner shook his head, “He could have told us he was leaving. Going to Dublin and beyond.” He raised his drink and drained some more, “Was rather rude of him, you know. Not telling us about the train.”

And as the dark began to fade away, falling before the sun, we sat there at our table with our drinks, and remember every name.

What does it mean, when ancient men like us, get sloshed on Saint Patrick’s Day, you might wonder. It’s what old men do to live with the memories of all the friends and loves long gone, so we don’t feel so alone. And we never say they’re dead and gone, buried in the cold hard ground. That would be so permanent. It’s better, don’t you know, to leave hope and dreams alive. And say they’ve caught the train to Dublin and beyond. And someday know our turns will come, and we’ll ride that train, and join them.

In Dublin, and beyond.

480 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 1 (Week 2.1) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

#ThursThreads Week 113 : You Would Not Listen

Billy stood on the sidewalk across the street, laughing, and pointing at the dead dog in the middle of the road. My dog, Sam. Billy had just run over him with the truck his parents got him.

I stood on the sidewalk, looking at Sam’s mangled remains. He had broken bones everywhere, and his guts were coming out his mouth.

Billy glared at me, as he sang, “He’s looking over his dead dog rover, laying on the black asphalt! One leg’s broken, another’s just gone. I ran over Rover with my big damn truck!”

Dad sent me inside, before I could do anything, or say anything. “We’ll let the lawyers handle this.”

Like hell we would.

The next morning, I watched Billy get in his truck to go to work.

I knew he would put the key in the ignition, then put his foot on the brake, and turn the key to start the engine. And I watched his truck catch fire when he did. I watched him try to get out of the truck, as the fire spread quickly. I knew he couldn’t.

Billy had wanted war. “I’m gonna take care of that damn dog of yours!” he’d screamed at me.

I looked across the street, as his truck burned, with him in it. Have I mentioned how useful the Internet is? Amazing, what you can find on it. “I warned you not to hurt Sam. You would not listen. You should have listened.”

245 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 113. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#FinishThatThought Week 37 : The Basement

I knew I shouldn’t have opened the basement door. But, I’d never been one for doing what I should. I’d always done what I shouldn’t. So, I opened the door.

And stared at a black hole. It was like someone made a three-dimensional painting of black, outlined in pale blue that flickered, fading in and out. “Cool!” I thought. “I wonder where the light switch is.” I reached into the black, feeling for the inevitable light switch on the wall. I couldn’t find it.

I couldn’t find the wall.

I pulled my pocket flashlight out, turned it on, and shined it into the black. It didn’t do a thing. The beam hit the surface of the black, and vanished.

I remembered what Diana said when I told her I was spending the night in the Thompson house. “You know. The haunted one.”

“You’re an idiot.” Yep. Her exact words.

“You know what happens to people who stay there. You’ve read about it in the newspapers. The ones that come out alive babble about the basement door being a gateway to another universe.”

“You don’t believe that crap, do you?” I’d laughed. “It’s probably just an urban legend.”

“Of course not. But, something happens to the people who stay there. Something strange. You know that.”

We argued about my plan for hours. Until she finally made me promise I wouldn’t open the basement door. “I promise. I won’t open the door. OK?” It was a lie. But it was what she wanted.

“Good!”

She didn’t need to know I was going to explore that basement. I didn’t tell her.

I stood there, staring into the blackest black I’d ever seen. I stuck my hand into it, and my hand vanished. I could still feel lit. I could move my fingers, wave, make a fist. My hand was fine, even though I couldn’t see it.

I stuck my arm in, up to the elbow, and watched it vanish. I moved closer, until the black was between my elbow and shoulder. I bent my arm, and poked my fingers back into the room. I laughed as I wiggled my fingers. “What the heck, why not?” And I stepped into the black.

And fell on my face, hard. Everything was black. My ribs hurt, and I’d probably broke my nose. “Jesus!” I shifted, on the ground, got to my knees and stood up. I couldn’t see a thing. It was that dark. I waved my hand in front of my nose, and couldn’t see it.

I couldn’t see my watch to check the time, and my phone didn’t work at all. It wouldn’t even light up. I tried to find my way out, but couldn’t. I had no water, no food. I wondered long it takes to starve to death?

I heard one thing, a while back. The only thing I’ve heard. Diana. “I told you not to open the basement door.”

490 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 37 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.