Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I will be mostly away from the internet for the next 5 days or so...

When I see you again I will be 42!

Keep circulating my blog!

And don't forget to pick up IN THIS TWILIGHT for your Halloween enjoyment!

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Seventy

They reached Los Angeles, almost immediately their car was stolen as they blundered about blinded by the smoke from wildfires.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Sixty Nine

The stink of feet and flatulence moved through the car like a living thing. The pine scented air freshener only made it angry.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Sixty Eight

They say whatever happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas, Brian and Matt hoped that applied to warrants for public indecency.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Sixty Seven

It was in North Carolina that they found themselves embroiled in a feud between beekeepers and fainting goat enthusiasts.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Sixty Six

Once Matt and Brian got thrown out of three Waffle Houses in three days they made it part of their daily itinerary.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Sixty Five

Stranded in a strange town they earned cash to pay for car repairs with manual labor and the occasional bit of street theater.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Sixty Four

Brian and Matt would have been able to cover the car repairs if they come across a strip club with a buffet and an ATM machine.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Sixty Three

For their cross country trip they set a leisurely place, stopping out of the way places, then they gave up and bought a map.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Sixty Two

They took turns, one would drive while the other updated Facebook; every few hours they switched.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Sixty One

For the first few hours of the road trip they listened to a book on CD, only to realize it had been on shuffle play.

The new trailer for THE WOLFMAN

squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!


5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Sixty

Like all great adventures Matt and Brian's cross country trip began with a need for adventure and a desire to escape creditors.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Fifty Nine

He came home to furniture covered with dog hair, which was odd because he owned a goldfish.

The Weather Channel To Air Movies (or in other words to Hell with everything)

I lost my shit when the SciFi Channel showed BRAVEHEART, LAW & ORDER SVU, and wrestling.

I was appalled when the Cartoon Network started showing live action films and reruns of 'The Office'

But now this... I just give up...


Weather Channel to air movies for first time

..."The Perfect Storm" begins a four-week period in which The Weather Channel will try some Friday night movies.

The films areeither weather-themed or have plots in which weather plays a key role, Darby said. Meteorologist Jennifer Carfagno will host movie night and offer commentary.

Other movies include the documentary "March of the Penguins," the thriller "Deep Blue Sea" and "Misery," for which Kathy Bates won an Academy Award...

...Darby said most viewers on Friday night aren't interested in much more than the weekend forecast, and that will be updated on the screen six times an hour.

"It's a way to respond to at least a significant portion of our audience that says, 'Let's expand the definition of weather,'" he said...

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Fifty Eight

They found him on the roadside reeking of industrial bug spray and douche. He described his day as a 'misadventure'.

A FridayFlash in the middle of the week? Have I gone mad?

No, not this time anyway.

I am going to a wedding this weekend and am not sure if I will be near a PC (or a Mac) for a few days and rather have THE CHOSEN AND THE DAMNED sitting around I posted it yesterday.

Enjoy and as always comments are welcome.

And for those of you that don't know FridayFlash is a weekly posting and sharing of short fiction that goes this way and that via Twitter.

If you want more information links to the stories are gathered at the MAD UTOPIA webpage.

And you Twitter-philes can stop here to see more...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions): The Chosen and The Damned


The Nick Of Time
(and other abrasions)

The Chosen and The Damned
by
Al Bruno III


It was dusk. Jeff Hayes stared down the sights trying not to shiver from the cold, trying to control his breathing like he had been taught. Wet snow was falling, soaking through his jacket and making the rooftop a maze of puddles. It would just be a little while longer before the girl stepped out of her front door to head for the bus stop, maybe forty minutes to an hour, and when she did Jeff Hayes would do shoot her dead.

“How old are you?” the stranger asked.

“Fourteen,” Jeff said. Water had dripped down between his eye and the scope blurring his vision until he blinked it away. His father had warned him that if anyone saw him up on the rooftop he was to drop the rifle and run, Reverend Ferdman had stressed the exact same thing but Jeff stayed in his place and let the stranger talk. There was something both relaxing and familiar about the man.

“I brought soup,” the stranger said. “Do you want soup?”

There was the sound of a thermos being opened and then a warm, meaty smell reached Jeff's nose, “I can't now.”

The stranger slurped audibly, “As you will. This person you're going to kill-”

“How do you know I'm going to kill someone?” Jeff turned to glance at the stranger, he was no taller than Jeff was but his face was old and his dark eyes seemed even older, he wore a leather jacket and a weatherbeaten blue fedora.

“Well, you do have a rifle.”

“Who are you?”

The stranger smiled, “Magwier, Jason Magwier. Now who was this girl you're going to kill again?”

“Her name is Janice.” Jeff's throat tightened a little at the name, he turned his attention back to starting down the scope and tightened his hands around the reassuring solidity of the rifle, of his father's rifle.

“Janice?” Magwier said thoughtfully, “Janice and Jason and Jeff... how cute.”

“Her father is a doctor that kills babies,” Jeff tried to recapture the anger he had felt when he had first learned the news but he couldn't.

“So you're going to kill her?”

“The sins of the father will be visited upon the son a thousand times. Reverend Ferdman said that means daughters too.”

A light flicked on in the house, Jeff angled the scope so he could watch the Tillman family go through their morning routines.

“How do you know what she looks like? What if you kill the wrong person?”

“I know who she is.” Jeff said, he could hear the stranger pouring himself another cup of soup, “We used to go to school together... back when I was still going to school. The Reverend said it was better we learned at home.”

Leaving school had been hard but Jeff's father felt they spent to much time filling him up with facts instead of faith. It had hurt to know he could never see his friends again but Jeff mourned them in secret. Reverend Ferdman was always warning his flock against earthly attachments that even loving your children too much was a kind of idolatry.

“Oh,” Magwier slurped another mouthful of soup, “This reverend sounds like a fascinating fellow.”

“He said the Holy Spirit moved through him.”

“Does it now?”

“He would call you up to the altar and touch you on the forehead so the Spirit would go out of him and into you. Usually you faint or have visions but only the Chosen get to go up to the altar, only the ones that have been saved by my Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Back in school I was always chosen last. Makes you wonder doesn't it?” Magwier got to his feet and began to pace in little circles, “If you can be chosen for redemption can you be chosen to join the damned? Is it even our choice at all? Some would say that it's all part of God's plan but if that's the case then that means that some people are going to be damned no matter what they do.”

“I was Chosen.” Jeff said, “After I said I would do... you know... this.”

“You volunteered to kill this girl?”

“I was Chosen.”

The snow was falling faster, the flakes getting thicker and wetter as the sky brightened. Magwier tried to get the lid back on the thermos but it wouldn't go, finally he threw it down into the alley, “...never liked that one anyway.”

More lights were flicking on, Jeff moved the sights from window to window feeling sick with anticipation, “I think you should go now.”

“But I want to hear more,” Magwier returned to where he had started and saw down on the wet roof; he crossed his legs and rested his chin in his hands, “It's not that often that I get to talk to someone that had the Holy Spirit in them. Were you scared?”

“...Yes,” Jeff tightened his hands around the rifle again remembering the way it had recoiled when he first fired it, it was a heavier caliber than the one he was used to, “But my Dad was there to catch me when I fell.”

“Good man.”

“She was my friend once.” Jeff said.

“Come again?”

“Janice- it was the three of us, me Janice and Greg, we hung around a lot in 7th grade.”

“How long ago was that?”

“A year ago... maybe. Everything changed when we switched churches.”

“Really?”

“Greg's Dad was my pastor but Reverend Ferdman said he was a ravening wolf.”

“What was it like when the Holy Spirit entered you?”

Jeff looked up from the scope but kept watching the house, he could almost see the muzzle flash- the face caught in a rictus of surprise and terror. Was it the same every time? “Wait a minute… How did you know my name?”

“Eh?”

“You said Jeff and Janice but I never told you my name.”

“Actually I said Janice and Jeff.”

“So who are you? How do you know me?”

“I’m am,” Magwier’s voice lilted with mischief, “what I am.”

It was getting brighter now, the streetlights were flickering off, morning traffic began to clog the streets. It was just raining now and Jeff was soaked to the skin, he felt like he was going numb inside and out. He said, “If she's good she'll go to Heaven.”

“Janice?” Magwier was lighting a cigarette it was thin and foul smelling, “Will she be with the Holy Spirit?”

“I suppose.”

“So what was it like when you felt the Holy Spirit?”

Jeff frowned, “I don't remember.”

“Oh you must, how could anyone forget something like that?”

“I just don’t.”

“Then tell me what you do remember.” Magwier puffed smoke.

“No. Just go away.”

“Sure... once you tell me.”

Jeff sighed, “My Dad was holding my elbow. Everyone was singing and the Reverend was there. I couldn't breathe. I was so excited. Usually only adults can be chosen to have the Spirit in them but I was special because of what I was going to do...”

“And then what?”

“The Reverend put his hand on my forehead.”

“And then?”

One of the lights in the house flicked off, Jeff readied himself, “She's coming. You have to get out of here.”

Magwier’s voice was pleading, “What was it like?”

Jeff spun in place and fired catching the stranger in the belly. Magwier tried to stand and blundered backwards. “He kicked my leg out from me,” Jeff’s face felt cold, like it was hardening into a mask. He couldn’t even feel his tears, “My father kicked my leg out from me. I didn't feel anything.”

It was almost too easy this time, when he had shot his father he had been quivering and weeping, the rest of his family had been easier. Reverend Ferdman had been a wicked kind of pleasure. Jeff turned back to the Tillman house but his target was already making her way to the bus stop. Jeff considered trying to take the shot anyway but there wasn’t a clear line of sight. Better to wait, better to surrender himself to what he knew he had to do. He would make ready to slaughter sons and daughters for the guilt of their fathers lest they rose up and possessed the Earth.

With a sigh of resignation he headed for the stairwell. Magwier was coughing blood as he tried to speak, his fingers clawing at the wound in his belly.

“You were right,” Jeff said as he headed out into the morning, “Some of us are chosen to be damned, some of us are chosen to do the most terrible of things.”

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter thirty four



BY AL BRUNO III



Saturday November 16th 1996




“I’m Ok… ” Warren coughed into a napkin, “Really... you just surprised me...”

“Really?” Jack said, “What about you and your cousin Tess?”

“She was my third cousin- not my sister or anything like that.”

Roxanne explained, “Well when you get right down to it the Lunts are a family of cousins. It was decided long ago that intermarrying would be the best way to keep the bloodline pure and our gifts undiluted.”

“If you say so,” Warren coughed a little, his eyes were still watering.

Isobel poured herself a little more wine, “Well did you... you know?”

“Hell yes,” Roxanne said, “I was sixteen years old and on the verge of an arranged marriage, I needed to feel like I was in control of something. But we had to be careful. If we got caught it would be off to the basement for Chadwick.”

“And the basement would be bad right?”

“Oh very,” Magwier said. He had gotten out of his seat and was busying himself straightening the pictures on the wall, “The Lunt family basements are kept flooded- all the better for the breeding of their precious ǽlfix.”

The candles were dwindling along with everyone’s energy, the poor light, the wine and the lateness of the hour gave everything a dream-like quality. Roxanne continued, “So I wasn't a virgin on my wedding night but thankfully my new husband was close to seventy and easily distracted. I guess all men are if a girls' got the right distractions.

“About a month after my honeymoon came my first night as an Oracle. They lay you out on this soft bed and you wear a ceremonial gown that would make a Vegas showgirl blush. The Lunt men surround you with their little notepads but some of them use tape recorders nowadays so they don’t miss anything.

“They prepare the Gemætan and the first time you hear the wormy things sobbing you want to just call the whole thing off but there’s no turning back.”

Roxanne scanned from one end of the table to the other, almost preening at being the center of attention. “They give you a cupful of the stuff,” she explained. “The cup is wooden- more tradition and ceremony- and it tastes like drinking spoiled milk when you have a bad nosebleed. Most girls throw up a little the first time but you always get enough of the stuff in your system for the visions to begin.

“My first vision wasn’t of some great mystical truth or mystery, it was of Chadwick. I saw him as an old man, fat and ruined looking- he was kneeling before a wall of masks. He looked… so alone. That’s what I saw but what I said didn’t match up with it at all, the men said that all I talked about was the Hierophant and the Forest of Doors.”

Magwier turned back from his picture straightening, “The Hierophant?”

“Yes, that was one of the things that sent the menfolk scrambling to their books. It's especially important for the males to be familiar with religious texts and certain sources of arcane knowledge. We supposedly have the sole original remaining copy of Boken av Drömmar och Damm. In fact we have one branch of the family that spends most of its time copying the text exactly down to each detail.”

“What not just photocopy it?” Isobel asked.

“Roxanne shook her head, “Photocopies and things like that don’t work, they just don’t come out. While all this was happening to me they had sent Chadwick away to complete his studies. He never came back. It happens a lot really, there's a whole big wide world out there after all. One of the Lunts actually runs a summer camp if you can imagine that?

“It was years later when I got a package in the mail with no return address. It was a handwritten manuscript called Vizards and Veils: The Transformative Evolution of Masks. There was a note attached telling me to read it and then find him.”

“Excuse me,” Warren asked, he was on his sixth glass of wine and his speech was getting slurred, “But if he didn't leave you an address how were you supposed to find him.”

“I was an oracle.”

“Oh.”

“Chadwick also wanted me to bring him some ǽlfix eggs,” Roxanne said, “So I stole some. It wasn't as easy all that really, I had to stab a squonk to get out the door. Of course that meant there was no going back for me, but I decided Chadwick was worth it.

“I found my brother in the midwest living in a big house with no furniture. It turned out my brother had been playing at oracles. He had six very ordinary girls wrapped around his finger and they couldn't wait to have a vision or two. He told me over a dinner of cold pizza and warm beer that he’d been snatching bits of Gemætan here and there for his personal use from other branches of the Lunt family. I told him he was lucky not to have been caught and killed but he just laughed and said something about the blessings of Iadalboth.”

Magwier made a tiny squeak at the name but tried to cover it by clearing his throat. Isobel and Galen shared a shrug of the shoulders. Warren kept trying to refill his wineglass only to have Hao snatch it away. Angie was fast asleep on Sig's shoulder and he couldn't be happier for it. Zeth, Jack and Bodivar seemed to be listening intently, but Bodivar was slowly twirling a butterknife between his fingers and Zeth kept glancing Magwier's way.

“All through that dinner my brother kept making these remarks about women being the weaker sex and that our visions were tainted by our lack of clear thought. I offered to be his oracle but he told me he needed these girls because they had none of the Lunt family indoctrinations,” Roxanne frowned, “Oracle or not, I was surprised when a few days later when he and his harem skipped town leaving me behind to make a life for myself.”

“Respectfully,” Zeth began, “What was the point of that story?”

Jack raised an eyebrow, “Rude rude rude.”

“No, I mean it, what was she trying to say?”

Roxanne leaned across the table at him, “I was just backing up what Hao said about love being conditional- even if it’s family, even if it’s a lover, even if it’s both.”

“So…” Magwier said, “What have we learned?”

“I leaned what it feels like to have wine come out your nose.” Warren said.



Happy Birthday to Blog!

I just realized that on 10/07/09 this blog became ONE YEAR OLD. I want to thank all my subscribers, followers and readers for making it much more fun and successful than I ever thought it could be.

Now lets celebrate!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Be sure to check out Swing Shift Studios MY SUPA LIFE


The story starts here. I think you'll find yourself enjoying it as much as I am.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Fifty Seven

“I am glad Doomsday Girl and Captain Hero are in love,” Fuego said, “But these pet names they call each other must be stopped.”

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Fifty Six

He wasn't the first mad scientist to invent a shrinking ray, he was to create one that specifically targeted NFL players' junk.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Fifty Five

After the first bear attack Jim thought he was just unlucky, by the third he realized he must be delicious.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Fifty Four

Brad's parents sent him to a private school in hopes of keeping him virtuous, they didn't know about his schoolgirl outfit fetish.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Fifty Three

CGI dinosaurs and robots battled on the screen until finally someone shouted “What is the fucking plot of this thing?”

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Fifty Two

Many in Space Patrol feared the aliens that burst from your chest but Captain Eagle had seen the ones that burst from your urethra.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Fifty One

“Now I will teach you the meaning of the word fear.” he said as slowly paged through the dictionary.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Fifty

Brian had a gym membership and a World of Warcraft account but used both a little too infrequently.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Forty Nine

Once Geppetto bought a laptop and router Pinocchio could finally go wireless.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Forty Eight

Once people with cancer sued cigarette companies it was only logical that long time virgins would sue the makers of Star Trek.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Forty Seven

Scarlet Squid was a famous big city superhero, but years of watching anime had left Psychotic Kid with no instinct but to attack.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Forty Six

Most workplaces banned the use of time machines to keep employees from extending their 15 minute breaks by years.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Forty Five

“Only good looking rich dudes are sex addicts, the rest of us are just fat guys with too much porn.”

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Forty Four

Like most vampires he wove a web of schemes and sycophants, surprisingly iPhone had an app to help him keep track of them all.

5 Second Fiction Five Hundred and Forty Three

Since the only way to advance in the Council of Mystagogues was either via thesis or assassination- it was publish or perish.

Sunday, October 18, 2009