Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions): The Spy Who Bugged Me

The Nick Of Time
(and other abrasions)
The Spy Who Bugged Me

Al Bruno III

Lorelei had been waiting for fifteen minutes and she was furious. Jason Magwier had promised her a visit to what was left of the Gardens of Anzon but he had insisted on one little stop along the way- to visit one of his spies...


And of course Magwier had waited until they were there before he told her that Degmoor wouldn't allow women into his
Sanctum Sanctorum.
Sanctum Sanctorum? Looks like a bungalow in the middle of nowhere to me. She grumbled and ran her fingers through her hair, well what she had left of her hair; she had shaved all of it off save for a single extravagant lock in the front that she had dyed black and kept swept back across the top of her head.
“I need to speak to this man," Magwier had explained, “he has made an exhausting study of the Monarchs. He could be invaluable to the Cause.”

Invaluable to the cause or not Lorelei was tired of freezing her ass of and with a growl of annoyance she barged into Degmoor's Sanctum Sanctorum.

Only to find herself in the middle of a nightmare.

The walls were coated with a sticky substance she'd rather not think about and the floor was gone, replaced by a gaping tunnel that angled downwards. The walls of the tunnel resembled soft pink flesh and as she drew closer Lorelei felt heat radiating upwards. She walked cautiously into the tunnel entrance.

A few minutes later the tunnel opened up into a cavern. The illumination that filled it was uncertain and tinted red. The roof towered, cathedral-like above her; shapes littered the walls, human shapes wrapped in layer after layer of white filament. Bloated insect-like creatures crawled over and around the cocoons. The uneven light kept Lorelei from discerning if they were tending the imprisoned captives, or feeding from them.

"Jason?" she called. Oh he better not be dead, that was the last thing she needed.

"Lorelei?" fifteen feet up the wall a shape struggled in its gossamer prison.

“Who did this to you?”

The insect-like creatures began to notice her and abandoned their immobile charges.

“Run!” he called to her, “Get out of here!”

A man stepped forward, carefully threading his way through the carpet of multi-legged creatures. He was naked except for the dark jewel laced about his throat, the source of the chamber's wavering light. "Woman...” His voice rang with contempt, “foul thing you do not belong here.”

Lorelei tried to think of a spell any spell but she felt herself starting to panic, “Tough talk from a guy living at the bottom of a giant vagina.”

Jason Magwier deepened his voice, "Leave her alone Degmoor!"

"Leave her alone Degmoor!" the man cawed. He was close to Lorelei now, close enough for her to see that thin veins of black stone fused the ruby to his neck, cutting paths down his chest and over his face. Dark, thin, hair-like strands of filament leaked from his pores, "Do as we say Degmoor! Don't eat the sacred eggs Degmoor! Don't touch the black ruby Degmoor! Degmoor is the one who is obeyed."

There was a faint tearing sound, Degmoor's abdomen swelled and split open. Four spidery appendages blossomed from the wound, he fell forward, catching his weight on his unsteady new legs.

Forcing herself to stand her ground Lorelei scanned the cavern for something to use as a weapon. Preferably something that wasn't disgusting.

"Degmoor is beautiful!" he ran his hands over his new limbs, the bristly hairs rasping against his palms. Then he turned his attention back to Lorelei, "Now for you woman.."

The insect like creatures advanced on her, scurrying up her feet and over her legs up leaving pale sticky thread in their wake. Lorelei shuddered with disgust.
No spells for something like this. she thought to herself. Time to get back to basics.

Lorelei ran at Degmoor and lashed out with a kick. The toe of her klunky shoe with his exposed groin.

The six legged man doubled over his eight limbs drawing him up into a little ball.

The insectoid creatures began attacking Lorelei, biting and stinging like a squadron of angry wasps.

"The ruby!" Jason Magwier cried from his prison, "Get the ruby!"

For a moment she had no idea what he was talking about, then she grabbed for the dark jewel.

Degmoor screeched, all his limbs thrashing. The creatures on Lorelei’s body went into a frenzy, she could feel a maddening itch where they had begun burrowing into her flesh.

The jewel wriggled in her grip but would not tear free, the crust of stone that had formed around it clung to Degmoor like a second skin.

"Let go!!" he cried, "Let go!"

Wedging her fingernails between the stone and skin she began to pry.

More and more of the insect-like creatures were swarming over her. The walls began to shake, loosing shards of hard clay to shatter on the floor. Degmoor screamed, his voice losing all trace of humanity.

With a tremendous, six-legged shove Degmoor sent her flying. He laughed, his voice carrying above the din, "Failed you did! Failed! Punishment comes to you now!"

The tremors shaking the floor increased, The multi-legged creatures began to stumble and curl up like dead leaves. Degmoor looked around in confusion, then his eyes settled on Lorelei.

She waved the black ruby in her hands, with her other hand she gave him the finger.

Degmoor collapsed, he lay a few feet from her, trying to scoop the four long coils of intestine back into his burst abdomen.

The webbing like its weavers had lost all strength. Jason Magwier himself free and rushed to Lorelei's side. “Oh my darling sweet,” he said, “Oh my sweet.”

“If I was sweet...” she said as she slumped in his arms, “we'd both be dead now.”

More Awesomeness From MY SUPA LIFE!

Give Fran a visit and a pat on the back!

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Ninety Two

The Executioner's equipment was paid for by a fee levied on the peasants. In other words all his axes came from taxes.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Ninety One

They were both ugly but when they made love it was a beautiful thing, unless you were watching.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Ninety

It wasn't the first time MightyWoman visited River City, but it was the last time she parked her car on the street.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Eighty Nine

Virtual reality technology allowed users to experience life as a large breasted woman and everyone loves First Person Hooters.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight

The Great Fashion Implosion was caused by someone wearing a Members Only Jacket and an Old Navy sweatshirt AT THE SAME TIME!

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Eighty Seven

Many people gained super powers from accidents but only the Amazing Flambe got his from mistakes made while deep frying a turkey.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Eighty Six

Judy had two talents magic and dirty limericks; she vowed someday to combine the two and conquer the world.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Eighty Five

Doomsday Girl returned from the dead with renewed strength, purpose and, much to Captain Hero's delight, improved muscle control.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Eighty Four

Most starships gained a unique odor during their 5-year missions, the Persea smelled like urine and sweetened breakfast cereal.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Eighty Three

“One thing's for sure,” she thought as her soul reached the deepest pit of Hell, “I have nowhere to go but up.”

Cold Steel And Warm Pizza: A Novel Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from one of my longer works and is pretty much what inspired my rants.

I planned to publish this as a serial novel in 2010 or so but consider this teaser a thank you for your support...


“The pizza’s on me.” Tristam said opening his wallet, “Well my Mom really.”

Drew peered cautiously inside, “How much did she give you?

Tristam pulled out a crisp bill “Fifty Bucks”

They had gathered, as they did every Saturday, in the living room of Greg’s house. With a couch, a love seat and two folding chairs there was just enough room for the whole gang. Their papers, pencils and dice crowded the coffee table. Greg sat in a swiveling office chair, a milk crate of D&D books to one side of him, a portable CD player thrumming out the soundtrack from the movie Conan the Barbarian on the other.

Everyone except for Rich was in their casual clothes, Rich he had come straight over from work still wearing his Burger Clown uniform. He still reeked of sweat and secret spices. He smiled appreciatively at the fifty. “Behold the power of guilt.”

From her place on the couch between them Drew snatched it away “The ink is still wet on this!”

More care than money had been spent on the adornment of the room, the furniture was mismatched but comfortable. The walls were decorated with framed photographs of the Fletcher family and luxurious paintings of religious scenes. The Dali print was Tristam’s favorite, there was just something about it that kept drawing his attention back. The curtains were drawn back from the bay windows bathing the room in light, setting the gilded edges of the picture frames glimmering.

Tristam glared half-heartedly at Drew, “You give that back this minute young lady or sometime during the game, when you least expect it, I will give you a wet wobbie the likes of which you have never seen.”

Warren bristled from his place on the love seat. “Just freakin try it.”

Everyone froze. Warren glanced from them to the mayonnaise jar full of dollar bills on the mantle. “I said freakin’.”

“Keep it up Warren,” Adelphos said, “You and that Swear Jar are going to put Greg through divinity school.”

The Swear Jar had been the idea of Greg’s Dad, mainly because the boys tended to cuss up a storm when they failed an important die roll. In Tristam’s opinion Greg’s Dad was a pretty laid back guy for a minister. He’d always thought that Baptists were against violent games and rock and roll but Greg’s dad seemed to not mind either. Sometimes they could hear him in his den working on a sermon with Iron Maiden playing on his stereo.

Drew gave the fifty back, “Gotta love it when the parents are wrong.”

“Your parents are frequently wrong?” Yusuf leaned forward in his chair.

“And yours aren’t?” Adelphos gave him a funny look.

Yusuf shook his head “Never.”

Tristam pocketed the bill and went back to looking over his character sheet. He’d only been playing with them since October and he sometimes had a hard time keeping track of it all. The different stats, the modifiers and all the charts relating to said stat and its modifier. And the dice! How could one game need so many different kinds? Dice with four sides, six sides, eight sides and even twenty sides - couldn’t they just flip a coin?

“What did your Mother do that was wrong?” Yusuf asked.

“She punished me for something I didn’t do. She thought I cut the assembly but I didn’t I was innocent.”

Warren snorted and grumbled under his breath.

“I wouldn’t be here now if Greg hadn’t vouched for me.”

“All in a day’s work.” Greg looked up from his dog-eared Monster Manual “My next project will be world peace.”

“Oh I see.” Adelphos leaned back in the love seat, lacing his fingers behind his head, “And what are you going to do with the rest of your weekend?”

Greg thought a moment then smiled, “Marry Gillian Anderson.”

Rich gave him a hurt look, “Hey now I had dibs.”

“Tristam,” Warren leaned forward, “Do you honestly mean to tell me that you didn’t do something worthy of a grounding last week?”

Tristam narrowed his eyes “What is your problem?”

“You have the temerity to sit there and say you‘re innocent.” Warren said, “You’re not innocent of anything. They only thing you are innocent of is not being caught yet.”

Drew buried her face in her hands, “Here we go again.”

Yusuf said “I would like to say at this point that we are all sinful in the eyes of God and only through his divine grace-”

“Wait.” Rich interrupted, “Where does that leave me? I’m agnostic.”

Yusuf frowned sadly, “Your goose is pretty much cooked.”

Rich pounded his fist into his hand “Nuts!”

“Yes you are.” Yusuf managed to say before starting to laugh.

Adelphos shook his head sadly “Well those impure thoughts would have done you in anyhow.”

“But-” There were tears in Rich’s eyes he was laughing so hard, “But they were about you...”

Adelphos stood his face full of mock anger, “Hey!”

“All right!” Greg waved a hand in the air to restore order, “There are no impure thoughts allowed in my house. If you must have impure thoughts please go outside.”

“He’s stern but fair, I like that.” Drew said admiringly.

Adelphos agreed “And he’s fair but stern.”

“Sternly fair?” Rich started laughing again.

“Fairly stern?” Yusuf added and then they were all off again. They only sour faces were Warren’s and Tristam’s

Warren asked “What I want to know is how long is it going to be before you sell us out?”

“What?” Tristam almost dropped his dice.

“When are you going to do something to us to get you back in the good graces of the Pretty Boys?”

“I can’t believe you used to call us the Pretty Boys and I can’t believe you’re obsessing over this when you should be obsessing over... you know... pies.”

“Cocksucker!” Warren grabbed a book from the coffee table and threw it at him.

Tristam ducked the book and was on his feet his arm already drawing back. Greg and Yusuf got between them. Drew and Rich looked to stunned to move. Rich just stared at the copy of The Dancers at the End of Time lying on the floor, “ book...”

When the pizza arrived they took a break from the game. Tristam paid for everything, he insisted. That seemed to make Warren even madder and he cursed a few more times just so he could put his pizza money in the Swear Jar. “I tell you,” Rich said through a mouthful of cheese, “I’m finally gonna go up a level this session.”

Drew sipped from a can of diet soda, “You’d have gone up a level months ago if you weren’t muliclassed all to Hell.”

Everyone froze. Shaking her head Drew got up and put a dollar into the Swear Jar. When she sat back down Rich said “Multiclassed works for me. Elroy the Albino is a one man army.”

Warren threw a pizza crust back into the box and got another slice, “Elroy the Albino is a one man copyright lawsuit.”

Yusuf said “A one man army that was nearly killed by a beggar with a stick.”

“A leper with a stick.” Greg corrected

Rich frowned “That was one tough leper.”

Adelphos laughed at the memory “And those were some terrible rolls.”

Tristam took another bite of pizza and tried to make eye contact with Warren “Sorry my fighter almost killed your paladin.”

“That’s all right. It was a fumble, couldn’t be helped. He’ll recover.” Warren threw another wedge of pizza crust into the box and grabbed another slice.

“Well, what’s a groin injury between friends?” Yusuf said.

Adelphos winced “Quite a lot I think.”

Warren said, “Luther’s a Psionicist, he's beyond the needs of the flesh. He didn’t even scream.”

"I screamed."

Drew wadded up a napkin and tossed it at Greg “Those weapon fumble tables were written by a sadist.”

It was almost five o’clock and pitch black outside. They had had drawn the curtains to keep in the warmth. Books and papers surrounded them, stacked on the armrests of the seats and piled on the coffee table. Dice and pencils were scattered on every flat surface. Greg’s Mom was home early from choir practice and was baking cookies, the smell was almost maddening. The portable CD player was now tuned to the local rock music station, when they got back to playing Greg would start the soundtracks up again.

Finishing off his soda with a gulp and a belch Tristam looked around the parlor. It occurred to him that he was having more fun here than he’d ever had at one of Linda Kaspary’s parties.

Maybe I’m just a geek at heart. He thought.

Greg made eye contact with him, “Something on your mind?”

“Kinda.” Tristam began, “Look I know I’m the new guy here and I’m enjoying the game but why exactly are our characters exploring this dungeon? This place is a deathtrap. Wouldn’t it make more sense to become mercenaries or joined the king’s army?”

Rich raised a defiant and pizza stained fist “Elroy the Albino bows down before no man!”

“Unless its a beggar with a stick.” Drew rolled her eyes.

Greg corrected her again “It was a leper.”

Rich lowered his fist, “That was a badass leper.”

“Oh.” Adelphos laughed, “The swear jar claims another victim.”

“Badass isn’t a swear word.”

Greg’s Mom called in from the kitchen “Yes it is and you just said it twice. That’s two bucks.”

“Busted!” Warren laughed as Rich walked over to the mantle and dropped in a handful of quarters.

“But to answer your question,” Rich grabbed another slice of pizza and sat back down, “We are in this dungeon because at the heart of it is a black dragon-”

“Are those the ones that breathe fire?” Tristam asked.

Warren threw another pizza crust into the box “You wish. They spit acid.”


Rich started talking again, “As I was saying at the very bottom of this dungeon is a black dragon- very old and very evil.”

“But the dungeon didn’t used to be a dungeon.” Yusuf interrupted, “A thousand years ago it was an underground fortress and the forces of good kept the dragon imprisoned there.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.” Tristam said “Why didn’t they just kill him?”

Warren laced his fingers behind his head “It’s one of Greg’s dungeons, it doesn’t have to make sense.”

“You wound me sir.” Greg said.

Drew explained “Because as long as the dragon was alive they had a ready made supply of dragon scales for their armor and dragon blood for their spells.”

“Smart girl.” Rich gave her unmarked cheek a pinch, “But of course eventually the forces of good got hosed and the goblins came in and took over the underground fortress. Thing was they weren’t smart enough to figure out a way to untrap the dragon, all they could do was feed it and worship it.”

Adelphos nodded “And since the dragon is mad smart he’s been giving them tactical advice. Now the goblins, the biggest wussies since the orks, are actually a threat to the humans.”

Yusuf smiled “It is pretty cool. The dragon is trapped but he might just enslave every human in the region.”

“Of course it’s only a matter of time before the goblin army captures some dwarves and enslaves them.” Rich concluded, “And since the dwarven elders built this prison they’re the only ones that can set the big bad boy free.”

Tristam snagged the last piece of pizza for himself, “So we want to kill the dragon before this can happen.”

“Yes.” Warren said, “Each character has his own reason, Luther was called upon by his god, Drew’s thief-acrobat is looking for treasure and experience. Elroy is out for vengeance.”


Rich opened his trapper-keeper and pulled out a wrinkled character sheet, “Behold the glory that was Corwin of the Golden Codpiece. Anti-Paladin- Illusionist- Bard.”

“Oh God him!” Drew feigned retching.

Tristam looked over the character sheet, not understanding what half of the things written on it meant, “So he died fighting the dragon?”

“Nah, he died fighting one of the dragon’s henchmen.” Rich took the character sheet back and returned it to its place of reverence in his folder. “A very tough, non-leprous Ogre Magi.”

“It was an awesome fight.” Adelphos grinned, “The whole party was droppin’ like flies. I got a crit on the Ogre Magi and chopped off his arm.”

Greg tsked under his breath “Not his arm, his hand.”

“Whatever. So the Ogre Magi zaps us with a cone of cold, everyone dies but Corwin-”

“But I’m pretty low on hit points too.” Rich added. “So I go charging after him and run him right through with my sword. He’s almost dead and so am I.”

Warren smiled evilly, “Then the next round you blew your initiative roll.”

“Yeah.” Rich said, “So the Ogre Magi goes first and he centers a disintegration spell on Corwin’s Golden Codpiece.”

“Ouch!” Tristam wondered why there were so many groin injuries in this game, “Well at least he died with his boots on.”

“Yes.” Yusuf said “His boots were all that was left.” ...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another awesome best of the year list... THIS ONE FROM ALL THINGS HORROR

read and enjoy.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Eighty Two

Not unlike small businesses most super hero teams fail within the first year.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Eighty One

Hrothgar the Viking had lost his sword in a card game, his heart to a mermaid and his virginity to a centaur. All on the same day.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Eighty

“Not many people can appreciate the subtle eroticism of wargaming, mostly because there isn't any.”

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Seventy Nine

Disagreements about how to coordinate the non-violent protest resulted in a fistfight.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Seventy Eight

“No one gets everything they want for Christmas because most people don't know what they really want.”

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Seventy Seven

He never used hashtags because he wanted to live in a place where the Tweets have no name.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Seventy Six

No matter where he went he smelled gravy.

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter forty four

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

Chapter Forty Four




He had come here with a gun, a handful of black rubies and orders not to return empty handed. Typical of the way the Kuen-Yuin treated their middlemen, it was all threats and contempt until you'd proven your value a dozen times over and if you weren't Chinese-born you were still going to get passed over in favor of half wits with the right pedigree. His boss Jack Diamond had warned him about this before he brought him in but Mich had been young and eager and he'd paid it no mind. Now he was pushing fifty and all he had to show for it was a bad liver and a nice car.


Of course there were memories too, memories of pleasures that would have had the guys from the old neighborhood turning away in either disgust or jealousy. Mich was sure that if he just stuck it out just a little but longer he'd be the one with giving orders from the deck of a ten million dollar yacht.


So here he was, waiting in the woods, in the dark to try and cut a deal with a man that had made treason a lifestyle. At least it was a nice night for it, the warmest November in years some said.

A good sign maybe?

He could hear the sound of cars passing up and down the Northway but he was too far from the roadside to see their headlights or for any of the drivers to see him. It was a stupid place for a meeting, there were a dozen places they could have used instead- places lost to human history and otherworldly notice, places where the air was thick with ghosts or bustling with magic. You didn't need to go to Laurel House or The Gardens of Anzon to conceal yourself from the Powers That Be. This was just paranoia as far as Mich was concerned, or a trap. Either way he'd been a fool to wear his best suit.


Not that he could have brought himself to wear anything other than his best suit, after all he was meeting with royalty wasn't he?

Mich smiled a little at that, then realized he wasn't alone. He waited for the shape to resolve itself out of the shadows of the treeline before he spoke, “Galen Delaworg?”

“What's that sound?”

“I'm Michlyund Cross. We spoke on the phone.”

His voice became dangerous with panic, “I said what was that sound?”

At first Mich tried to decide if one of them had been followed or if Galen was crazy as well as being a coward. Then he realized what the man was talking about. Mich said, “You mean this?”


“That’s me.” Mich tried to sound soothing, “I have dentures and I suck at them until they pop. It's a bad habit, if it bugs you I'll stop.”

After a long pause the other man drew closer, “I'm Galen. What did the Kuen-Yuin have to say?”

“Your offer surprised them.”

“But can they help?” Galen’s posture became more and more meek as the conversation continued.

“Sure they can,” Mich resisted the urge to click his dentures again, partly out of habit and partly to see if he could make the High Born Vlodek jump out of his skin. “But right now they’re still thinking about cost versus benefits. Helping you is trouble.”

“I think we could help each other out.”

Mich paused, now came the kicker. “How many Torweig can you give us?”

“One. The offer was one.”

“But there’s more than that. The higher ups in the think there’s gotta be twelve left, maybe more.”

“I said,” Galen’s voice became icy, “they’d have one.”

“That’s not much, considering how dangerous it would be to protect you.”

“I don’t even know if you can protect me so why would I give you everything?” He ran his hands through his hair.

“Oh we can protect you and you can trust us. You’ll be like family.” Mich offered a smile that was as charming as it was ghoulish.

“Family…” Galen sneered, “I don’t think that’s the best way-”

Footsteps approached from out of the dark, their gait casual and confident. Each man shot the other an accusatory glare.

“Evening boys.” A feminine voice said, “Nice night isn’t it?”

“Please don’t try to run again Galen.” A male voice said, “Let’s be adults about this.

Mich’s hand snaked into his pocket. He’d heard about these two, Sauno and Ginnmett, the Monarchs eyes and ears and worse. It looked like he was going home empty handed, if he was going home at all.

Sauno spoke, “And I must say I’m very disappointed that your people would get involved in this mess. We aren’t some law enforcement agency the Kuen-Yuin can thumb their noses at, we allow you to exist.”

“Hey partner,” Ginnmett said, “I think someone is going to- ”

Galen Delaworg ran, making his way for the roadside.


“Must have a car waiting nearby,” a loop of silver dropped from Sauno’s hand. “You take care of this one.”

“Will do,” She watched Sauno tear off after their quarry, then she turned her attention to Mich, “Wow huh?”

“I don’t want any trouble.” He started to back away. How fast could one of these things run? He didn’t know.

“Wow,” she grinned. “Are you in the wrong line of work.”

The sound of a struggle erupted from the treeline, Galen screamed and shouted something. Sauno said something back, hie sounded bored.

Ginnmett jerked a thumb in their direction, “Doesn’t know when to quit does he? I think you’re smarter than that.”

“This is all a misunderstanding.” Mitch, kept backing up, his hand clasping the gun. They said these things had a weak spot somewhere. Everything had to have a weak spot didn’t it?

“I’ll be honest with you,” she began to keep pace with them. “I’m not into confrontations. Now Peirs, he craves them. He’s very visceral.”

More screaming from the woods and the sound of something being dragged, what were they doing to him? He almost felt sorry for Galen.

“Now you know what I think?” Ginnmett said, “I think misunderstandings like this could be avoided if we had someone in the Kuen-Yuin. This might be your big chance for advancement Michlyund.”

“Like Hell,” he said. “I know what you do to people.”

“It sounds to me like you don't know anything at all,” her voice was full of pity. “Make no mistake that if you cross the Monarchs you pay to consequences but were not into cruelty for cruelty's sake.”

More screams and a sound like a tree shattering.

“Well maybe Peirs,” she shrugged. “But you, we have no quarrel with you. You're just doing your job, just following orders, just like me. Does it really matter who you take orders from in the long run?”

Mich backed up into a tree, she was too close now, he leveled the gun at her “You eat people.”

“No,” she said. “We repurpose them. Nothing is wasted, not even a single thought.”

“Stay back!”

“Do you think I was always what you see now? The Monarchs gave me all this. They made me important,” The gun was right in her face but she barely seemed to notice, “You don't have to be afraid. You're all so afraid of entropy, you try to hold it back with your prayers and spells. Do you think if we just up and vanished one day that the world wouldn't end? That all wouldn't end?”

Mitch shook his head, she was making a crazy kind of sense. He closed his eyes and tried to remember all the horror stories he'd heard on the street about the Monarchs. “Shut up,” he said. “Shut up.”

“We're all going to die Michlyund but you you can be so happy until the end. We can all be so merry,” She held out her hand.

It seemed to Mitch like the entire forest had gone silent; there was something so sweet about her smiles and promises. This was what it all came down to he realized. The Monarchs or oblivion. He decided on the safer option and put the pistol to the side of his head.

Helen Ginnmett didn't even flinch at the gunshot, she just watched the body slump against the tree. When she did speak her voice was full of exasperation, “Cheese and crackers...”

Sunday, December 27, 2009

(Recommended Reads) "One Christmas Eve" by Chris Chartrand

“Hey, Tommy, you seen my mitt?” I ask as I poke my head into the little room we’ve been sharing.

“Yeah, it’s in the garage, but I don’t want to play right now.”

I take a deep breath and let it out slowly to steady myself for the news I’m about to give.

“You might as well know, I’m leaving tonight.”

click here to continue

Friday, December 25, 2009

(Recommended Reads) "Death Goes To Motoread" by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith

The band were leaving the stage to loud applause from the crowd as Death walked unseen into the venue...

click here to read the rest

(NSFW Recommended Reads) " Winter Solstice Ritual" by Fantasia Lillith

For years she had celebrated alone. Yet, like so many things in the last few months, this too had changed.

A part of her was nervous, the other overjoyed. She had become accustomed to being a solitary witch. His presence although exhilarating, also threw her off her game a little. Deep inside her, she knew things would never be the same. She was now truly understanding the level of his commitment to them as a couple. It scared her. It pleased her...

click here to read the rest

Role Playing Public Radio Dramatizes My rants

The Team That Couldn't Shoot Straight This ones new!

Achy Breaky Mythos

Death By Thumbs

The Bad Rifts Project

The D&D Session That Mostly Wasn't

These guys make me laugh at my own material!

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Seventy Five

Fighting in Harnett's Rebellion left Megan scarred and limping; the war left her a mercenary, her wounds left her cruel.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Seventy Four

Doomsday Girl was alive! Captain Hero found it darn unnerving how often things like that happened in the superhero world.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Seventy Three

A December snowstorm stranded Karl far in a motel full of strippers with boundary issues. It was the best Christmas ever.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Seventy Two

It would have helped if the Voice of the Resistance hadn't been so squeaky and annoying.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Seventy One

And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer! Yep the acid had kicked in.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Seventy

Harry Balzak hated telling people his name.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Sixty Nine

Every year corporate served a lavish Christmas dinner to all the employees and just to keep them humble they served venison.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Sixty Eight

The superhero known as Amoeba Man could divide into two Amoeba Men but they frequently argued about which of them was the sidekick.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Sixty Seven

Look,” Judy said. “I like the strong silent type but when we're screwing can you at least grunt or something?”

The Christmas Stories of Al Bruno III

Blood And Tinsel (a novella)

Acquainted With The Night (a novella)

Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Fight

Thursday, December 24, 2009

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Sixty Six

Werewolves never tell anyone to have a Merry Christmas, some however will wish you Happy Howlidays.

THE LOCAL HEROES: Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Fight

Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Fight


Al Bruno III

Some superheroes patrolled the River city by leaping from rooftop to snowy rooftop, others flew and some just sat by a police scanner and waited; Captain Hero kept River City safe from behind the wheel of his specially modified taxicab. The red and white taxi made its way through the snowy streets, its headlights glinting off the Christmas decorations that marked every lamppost and window front.

A taxicab might seem like a strange way for a superhero to get about but it was a fuel-efficient mobile crime lab and the fares helped pay for costume repairs and medical bills. Citizens walking the darkened streets waved as he drove past, sometimes tourists took pictures but tourists were a rare thing in River City now that crime was the only growth industry. Things had been so very different in the 1980's, back when ShadoMask had still been active and the big time heroes from Megalopolis City had made regular flyovers. Now ShadoMask was either retired or dead and the likes of Commander Infinity and Mighty Woman could no longer be bothered to deal with the deformed mobsters and petty villainy of River City.

That was why Captain Hero never rested, not even tonight on Christmas Eve.

His patrol went on as normal, then after dealing with two purse snatchings and a kitten in a tree he spied a convenience store in flames. The owners were out on the street with tears in their eyes. The taxicab skidded to a halt and the Captain bounded out; he was short for a superhero, barely five feet tall and wore a costume of red and white, a cowl covered his face and a cape was draped over his shoulders. Unlike some of the new heroes he still wore spandex instead of molded plastic and Kevlar. His six pack abs were real!

Captain Hero realized he had forgotten something and bounded back to get his fire extinguisher. He cautioned the store owners to keep back and headed inside spraying , spraying chemical foam ahead of him.

The scorching heat pressed in from all sides, the edges of his cape began to singe filling the air with with the scent of burning Lycra. Soon he had the flames under control but the damage was considerable. As a small businessman himself he felt for the owners and wondered if perhaps he could get cyborg adventurer/contractor Rusty Johnson to-

Something crunched underfoot. He looked down to see broken bottles of dip all along the main aisle, there were footprints in the salsa. Footprints that could only belong to one man.

Captain Hero dropped the fire extinguisher and dove behind a holiday display just in time to avoid a burst of machine gun fire. Bullets quickly reduced his cover to festively colored shrapnel and the Captain had to make a run for back of the store.

“Take that hero!!” a mocking voice called.

And Captain Hero knew that voice, it was one of the Shellfish gang- the armored villain known as Overkrill. He strode through the store looking like a nightmarish stainless steel prawn (although Captain Hero didn't think there was a time when the sight of a stainless steel prawn wouldn't be nightmarish.).

“Using hi-tech armor to rob a convenience store?” the Captain tutted as he crawled from one aisle to the next, “I'd say that's overkill Overkrill.”

“You won't be joking when you're dead!”

“True.” Captain Hero pulled a box of wine from a shelf and tossed it towards in his adversary. It was quickly obliterated in a hail of weapons fire.

The fire was starting to re-assert itself, casting the entire scene into flickering shades of yellow and orange. Thick curls of smoke hung low in the air. Overkrill coughed as he walked through a particularly dense patch.

Coughed? Captain Hero realized.

“Keep talking,” Overkrill stomped through a pile of Hostess Twinkies, by the time he had past they were already returning to their original shapes. “I'm going to break your back, unmask you and deliver you to Boss Aragosta.”

The armored figure passed right by Captain Hero without seeing him; the red and white clad avenger knew he only had one chance to take Overkrill down. If he failed he might very well be unmasked, revealing his secret identity and worse yet his terrible case of male pattern baldness.

A burning rafter fell from the ceiling. The sound of sirens began to fill the air, began to drown out the roar of the fire, River City's finest were on their way. the Captain didn't want any of them getting hurt in the crossfire- it was time to put an end to this. He grabbed a handful of sneezing powder from the third pocket from the left on his utility belt and rushed up to his enemy.

It was just as he had suspected, Overkrill had neglected to add any kind of air filtration system to his helmet. He began to sneeze violently, each outburst marked by an eruption of gunfire. the Captain ran one aisle over and with a single well-timed push toppled a shelf onto the armored criminal. Once he was pinned the red and white clad avenger knocked him out with a kick to the head.

A few moments later the white and red clad avenger limped triumphantly out of the burning building dragging the limp form of Overkrill behind him. The police took charge of the villain and Captain Hero returned to his taxi before anyone could pester him with thank yous and requests for autographs because that wasn't why he did what he did.

Justice was it's own reward.

Of course the fares didn't hurt either, and he saw one waving him down just now.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Sixty Five

“There's nothing worse than outliving someone you admire,” Zeth said. “That's why I don't believe in heroes.”

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Sixty Four

She converted to Atheism to Catholicism because a good dose of shame made sex all the better.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Sixty Three

History teacher Mr. Roberts had an unhealthy musk and a love of spicy colognes, when the students were bad he shut the windows.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Sixty Two

Magwier sneered at the decorations, “Holiday sentiment to humanity is like sterilizing a blade before you slit someone's throat.”

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Sixty One

A postal error sent many childrens' letters to Mexican wrestler Santo instead of Santa Claus, and a new Christmas special was born.

I have a new short short story available in the online magazine SHORT, FAST AND DEADLY

Thanks to Joseph A. W. Quintela for finding my work a home!

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter forty three

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

Chapter Forty Three



The front and back doors exploded open. Armed men in body armor stormed into the house, toppling furniture and filling the air with shouts. The laser sights on their weapons flitted over the walls. The bright yellow lettering on their bulletproof vests marked them as agents of local law enforcement. The three suspects in the living room dropped to the floor at the sight of them and were quickly restrained with zip ties.

One of the suspects sitting at the kitchen table was too stunned to react, his grip tightened around his hand of poker cards. The other suspect cursed and drew a pistol from a shoulder holster.

At the sight of the weapon everything erupted into chaos. Each of the tactical weapons specialists opened fire, killing both suspects instantly. One of the suspects in the living room screamed only to be silenced with a blow to the head. When the gunfire had ended a chorus of shouts went from one room to another as each group of armed men made sure the other was all right. The pulses of the dead men on the kitchen floor were checked in a cursory fashion.

The three suspects in the living room were dragged to their knees and photographs were taken with a digital camera. Movement was heard on the second floor and four of the tactical weapons specialists were ordered up the stairs to investigate.

Outside the plain blue two story house police, fire and rescue vehicles moved into place. The street was cordoned off and people were ordered to stay in their homes. Digital cameras were trained on the crowds gathering at the barricades. Ten minutes after the raid had begun a heavy-set man in an expensive suit exited from a car with government plates. He slowly made his way to the van that was parked closest to the house and found the senior officer on duty and asked if everything was secure.

“Yes sir.” Lieutenant Gabriel's uneasy frown deepened at the sight of the man, “three suspects in custody, two dead and one of them is holed up in an upstairs bathroom.”

“So by secured…” Special Agent Mario Krump said, “…you mean not quite secured.”

“He’s not going anywhere.”

“Don't be too sure,” Mario said. “What have they found?”

More special weapons and tactics officers were heading into the house, a helicopter passed overhead, both men craned their necks to watch. “Some guns,” Lieutenant Gabriel said, “some cash.”

“Is that it?” Mario bristled. He hated having to rely on the local police but things were stretched too thin right now, too many things going wrong at the same time. He imagined the officers inside the house looking under the beds and in the closets for meth.

Lieutenant Gabriel said, “Maybe if you told us what we were doing here.”

“The warrant said stolen goods and contraband. Is that so hard?”

“Patriot Act bullshit.”

The paramedics were heading in now, shortly they would be bustling body bags out to one of the waiting ambulances. The men at the bathroom door radioed to tell the Lieutenant that the suspect in the bathroom wasn't responding. He told them to give it a few more minutes, then break down the door.

Mario Krump poked the taller man with his finger, “What makes you think I know any more than you do? All I know is these idiots robbed a Trinity Advance Research facility.”

“What is a Trinity Advance?”

“They're a medical company, big into prosthetics and stem cell research.”

“Did these guys steal some kind of germ warfare shit? Do I need a biohazzard team?

“Do you think I'd be here if you did?” Mario's voice was almost gleeful in its contempt. If there was one thing he couldn't stand it was someone that didn't know their place in the scheme of things. Didn't the Lieutenant know that shit ran down hill? Homeland Security Senior Assistant Brian Hayes rained crap down on to Mario, and it turn Mario got to rain it down all over the Lieutenant and his Keystone cops. Just for the hell of it though Mario threw the man a few crumbs, “They stole classified research data, we're looking for laptops, flash drives, anything like that.”

“Finally. Was that so damn hard?” Lieutenant Gabriel started barking fresh orders.

“And let me know if they find any kind of graffiti.”


“It’s this thing they might paint on the walls or on a door. It looks like a big circle with three smaller circles around it. If you look at it right it kind of looks like a man howling.”

“Yeah.” Lieutenant Gabriel rolled his eyes, “Well keep an eye out for that. Anything else?”

That was more than the man deserved to know, but Special Agent Mario Krump wanted to get out of Troy, NY as fast as possible. The whole damn town was nothing but trouble and the last thing his career with Homeland Security needed was trouble, not when he'd managed to turn his career around, not when he'd managed to make most of the Federal bureaucracy forget he was one of the last of the Pharos Agents.

Project Pharos had been a federal agency created in the 1920's and tasked with investigating and debunking the criminals that passed themselves off as spiritualists or prophets. While they had done good work dealing with the murderous followers of the so- called 'Dark Gods' it had turned out that the director of the project, Victor Kovach, had gathered quite a team of thugs and grifters to become his agents. They all ended up killing each other in some kind of a meltdown, the causes and results of which are still being debated. Mario's old boss Gawain Wight had even been convinced that Victor was still alive but since Gawain and the rest of the team-Thalia Blackwell, Ben Gammon and George Butler- were either imprisoned, dead or on the run it didn't matter much anymore did it?

As far as Mario was concerned Project Pharos being absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security was the best thing that had ever happened to him. His specialties were appreciated and he got to spend considerably less time in the field. Of course s there were still days like this when he had to waste an afternoon moron wrangling.

There was another flurry of activity at the house, the paramedics and police officers were fleeing; they dragged the surviving suspects after them. “What the Hell is this?” Mario asked but Lieutenant Gabriel was too busy chattering back and fourth on his radio to answer, “I asked you a question!”

“He said he's got a bomb!” Lieutenant Gabriel turned to him, “And he wants to talk to you.”


“He says he knows you,” there was an accusation in the man's glare.

Mario shrugged and turned away, “Maybe he does but I'm not talking to him. Do what you have to but I want this wrapped up by sunset.”

“I'm not getting my men killed for you!”

“Then I'll have you removed and get someone that will.” Mario walked back to the car with government plates, what was left of his lunch waiting for him there. Not that he was really hungry he, just wanted something to pick at. That was half the problem of being in law enforcement, sometimes there was nothing to do but eat and finish paperwork.

He had actually come down with a case of gout a few months ago and that had led to kidney stones. These were things he always associated with old age, not middle age but the doctors told him his weight wasn't doing him any favors.

Well that wouldn't be something he would have to worry about much longer, once he was finished here the good people at Trinity Advance were going to give him a little corrective surgery at no charge. One of the rewards of learning to play ball with the powers that be, A lesson that his old boss never learned. His cell phone bleeped. Sighing to himself Mario answered it, “Yes Mr. Grant. Everything is secured, well not completely secured but its just a matter of time.”

The men in body armor stormed back in to the house.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies: The Nightmare Never Ends (1980): or, Ridin' on the Night Train

Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies: The Nightmare Never Ends (1980): or, Ridin' on the Night Train

(Recommended Reads) " Dismissed Mingling" by Craig Daniels

After our split we morphed into mere apparitions dismissed by the other with a turn of the head. No social foot prints were left for the other to discover, friends were enlisted as spies concocting elaborate cloak and dagger routines assuring we never went to the same party, never appeared at the same wedding the same book reading, until Halloween night that is.

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(Recommended Reads) "Shy Cowboy" by J. Dane Tyler

He scrutinized his image in the rearview mirror and turned his head from side to side. His hat spat his hair out in tufts, and stubble crept over his cheeks, chapped lips and jaw. He sighed. It would have to do.

The pickup’s door screamed when he opened it. The wind knifed through threadbare denim as he seated his tired hat lower and zipped his jacket. He stuffed his hands in his pockets, sniffed, and headed for the general store’s entrance.

Click here to continue

(Recommended Reads) "Attack On Sector Four" by Chatrand


That damn intercom always interrupts me just as I’m about to fall asleep.

“This better be important.” I say double checking that I pressed audio only.

“Sir, sensors have picked up a large aircraft approaching sector four at high speed. The silhouette does not match any known craft.”

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(Recommended Reads) "Feast" by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith

Her husband was coming home today, and joy mingled with apprehension in her thoughts. His letter, written on the hospital ward, had not been out of arm's reach since it had arrived - she must have read it over a hundred times by now, almost not daring to believe that it was true. The war was over for him: a leg cut off at the knee had seen to that...

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Friday, December 18, 2009

(Recommended Reads) Time's Arrow by by Tony Noland

The first arrow was less than two feet from his chest when he pushed it with his sword, just a slight upwards thrust to the barbed tip. He'd learned a dozen lifetimes ago not to try to stop arrows completely. Less than an eyeblink later, as men felt time, the arrow rotated around its middle and the wooden shaft slapped broadside on his armor. It snapped and fell, and he rode on toward the archers and warriors. The rest of the first wave of arrows was tightly spaced as it closed on him; these men knew their business. Probably four fifths of them would have hit his torso, even though he was mounted. It took him a moment to see his way through the cloud of arrows, but there was plenty of time. They were still seven feet away...

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(Recommended Reads) Night Calls the Green Falcon by Robert R. McCammon

He was in the airplane again, falling towards the lights of Hollywood.

Seconds ago the craft had been a sleek silver beauty with two green-painted propellers, and now it was coming apart at the seams like wet cardboard. The controls went crazy, he couldn't hold the stick level, and as the airplane fell he clinched his parachute pack tighter around his chest and reached up to pop the canopy out. But the canopy was jammed shut, its hinges red with clots of rust. The propellers had seized up, and black smoke whirled from the engines. The plane nosed towards the squat, ugly buildings that lined Hollywood Boulevard, a scream of wind passing over the fuselage...

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The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions) - A Full Deck

The Nick Of Time (and other Abrasions)

A Full Deck
Al Bruno III

Spring in the city of Olathoe always brought protests and riots; this spring was no different. Lorelei found it all so weird, outside her dorm there was street to street fighting going while she sat in the commons room playing cards with her best friend Audra, her worst enemy Judy and the Amish kid that had taken a vow of silence. Of course the weirdest part of all was that the Amish kid won just about every hand.

(Recommended Reads) "Catsup Soup" by Karen Schindler

David stood in front of the open refrigerator looking at its meager contents. Nothing. Nothing appealed to him at all. And no wonder….. the sticky shelves held few options..

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions): The Squids In America

The Nick Of Time
(and other Abrasions)

The Squids In America
Al Bruno III

“We are in so much trouble,” Ruby was in Chad Lunt's basement, pacing back and forth wringing her hands.

Chad was bent over one of his many salt water tanks his sleeves rolled up his arms. The dozens fish tanks filled the dark room with a chorus a bubbling noises, the air reeked of brine and decay. “Just relax,” he said. There was something about his smile that made her weak in the knees. He said he was nineteen years old, that was almost a grown up as far as Ruby's tenth grade sensibilities were concerned, “No one is going to say anything.”

“You didn't see what happened!” Ruby shouted, “Sharon just started barfing up tentacles all over 3rd period History class! They were huge! One was still moving!”

“Huh,” Chad said. “That's never happened before.”

The rest of the house on Broomfield Court was quiet, Chad's parents never seemed to be home but Ruby was glad of that. She'd dealt with enough adults and their questions today. After all Sharon was her best friend so everyone was so sure Ruby would know something, the sweet respectable honor student never told her parents. While that was true there was no way Ruby was going tell anyone anything, no matter how guilty she might feel about giving her friend that first, fatal dose. Ruby couldn't afford a conscience right now, not if she wanted to get into a good college.

“What went wrong?” Ruby said, “What are we going to do?”

“Nothing went wrong,” Chad pulled a squirming shape from the murky water and brought it over to a table with a cutting board and knives, “I warned you about giving this stuff to an art major.”

“She needed help for finals!” Ruby whined, “What are we going to do? Someone's going to figure it out.”

Chad took a knife the the thing on the cutting board, the wet shape sobbed like a baby, “No one is going to figure out anything. Even if they did they wouldn't believe it.”

Licking her lips Ruby drew closer, watching him work, “I can't do this anymore.”

“I know,” Chad sighed. “Want a piece?”


“Come on, one for the road.”

With that smile of his could talk her in to anything, she drew closer, reaching for he choicest, thickest morsel. She was already trembling at the thought of the visions and revelations it would bring. Math tests were nothing when you were on the stuff, she barely even remembered taking the state exams.

The knife flashed and Ruby fell across the table spraying red from her throat. Chad let her slump to the floor. He grabbed a boning knife and said aloud, “Who wants sushi?”

The inhabitants of the salt water tanks bubbled and thrashed with excitement.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Sixty

“The main difference between a blogger and a terrorist is that people occasionally pay attention to what terrorists have to say.”

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Fifty Nine

The Corporate Safety Specialist died from complications of a paper cut received while hanging colorful and informative signs.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Fifty Eight

You'll know if a time traveler didn't like your Christmas gift because he will already have the receipt.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Fifty Seven

She thought a 'Sewage Smoothie' was just an ironic name for the drink, she realized later the bartender was a sick sick bastard.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Fifty Six

No one was warned about the vampire uprising but they all knew that AN ATHLETE WAS CAUGHT CHEATING ON HIS WIFE!!!

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Fifty Five

All the goth kids want to be visited by the ghost of Christmas future.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Fifty Four

The Capslock Avenger was a noble hero, BUT STEALTH WAS NOT HIS STRONG POINT.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Fifty Three

She wanted their lovemaking to be a symphony of pleasure but all he wanted to do was get to the triangle solo.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Fifty Two

The rivalry between the Dunwich and Innsmouth University football teams was aggravated by their non-Euclidean playbooks.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Fifty One

He came of age during the sexual revolution and was hit by shrapnel on several occasions.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions): Assume The Position

The Nick Of Time
(and other Abrasions)
Assume The Position
Al Bruno III

Oh, I see you’ve recognized me.

While my trial was years ago the so-called popular media has been obsessing over my case for over a decade. A veritable cottage industry has sprung up in the wake of the things did. You must understand however that I had little choice.

The prophecies, I can see them lurking in the eyes of the Chosen. They glitter like teardrops about to be shed. When I see them I have to act, to do otherwise would be unthinkable. The Chosen aren’t alive like you or I, they’re shells, shells that hold burning embers of the truth.

Those truths will be found out by someone eventually. So, why not me? Better me than some of those others, we’ve seen their handiwork already haven’t we?

As the shell dies the truth escapes on the dying breaths. Those truths are why I turned myself in and confessed my every transgression. I needed to be incarcerated; I needed time to contemplate the Truths I had collected.

Years later, when the cleansing fire came to the Polk Institute for the Criminally Insane it passed by my door allowing me to escape.

This happened because I willed it to happen. It was exhausting and painful but it proved to me that I was right and that I have the power to create a better, ordered world. History will not call me a madman, or a murderer or a sorcerer.

It will me Hierophant.

But enough of that, I still need to decide what to do with you don’t I?

And regardless of what the future holds, I need you to be kneeling.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Fifty

Mike loudly announced, “I'm going to go tinkle.” and the rest of the biker bar fell silent.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Forty Nine

He held the Necromonicon above his head and with a cry of horror told the world, “It's a scrapbook! A scrapbook!”

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Forty Eight

Kid-friendly super hero Mr. Nice Guy's team up with Viking superhero Hrothgar was a storm of bloodshed and hugging and bloodshed.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Forty Seven

Enticed by our television transmissions the horny aliens came to Earth only to learn they had been watching all the wrong channels.

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter forty two

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

Chapter Forty Two



His face was handsome and aristocratic, with hair that was slowly going gray and a razor-thin smile. He stood in a room with five bodies on the floor and blood on the walls; he smoked a cigarette and waited. The room was deep underground, a sub basement in a long abandoned building that had become a makeshift temple to the faithful few.

Five. Just five of them. Victor Kovach was almost disappointed by it. This was all that was left of the cult of Damiea, just five old women scrabbling before a filthy statue. That statue, just like its cult, was shattered now. Another of the so-called Dark Gods reduced to memory and garbled superstition.

Bodge Loyar… Anzon… Delphonos… Eldrad… Noggar-Dallieon… Damiea… and Kressor... They had all fallen.

Flicking away one spent cigarette and indulging himself with another Victor wondered to himself why these cultists always chose empty ruins to gather in. There was a time when the followers of the Dark Gods had hidden in plain sight and wanted for nothing..

But that was before men could journey from one end of the United States to another in less than eight hours, before voices and images could travel through the either and before toothless sovereigns ridiculously abandoned their crowns in the name of love. How could any religion survive in such a world?

Victor mused at the risk he had taken in coming here alone. In every other raid of this nature he sent in his Pharos Agents to secure and subdue, but this time, this time he felt it was best to go alone, even going so far as to leave his faithful bodyguard Sig behind. Victor knew his patrons would be watching closely and he knew how fickle they could be. This small show of force was best, just a little something to remind them he was not to be trifled with.

He glanced back to the bodies again; it was a simple enough act to observe their ghosts. The dull, lazy shapes hovered in place and tried to cling to the cooling flesh that had released them. They were nothing but husks of memory and thought but they would have their uses later, once Victor had completed his business.

The voco spurcamen twisted in his hand and shivered; it was a fist sized clump of life that was not quite insect and not quite crustacean. It was one of the Monarchs creations. Victor’s smile twitched with disgust, they were so eager for the flesh that they became drunk on it, pulling into new and impossible shapes. Each one had a purpose; like this for instance, it could call the Monarchs from anywhere in the world.

Even here, to a place sanctified and hidden by the Dark Gods.

There was a tiny gurgling sigh, voco spurcamen curled in his hand and died, its purpose fulfilled. Footsteps approached, Victor kept his attention elsewhere.

“So.” Mr. Kriely said, “It’s over.”

“I would have thought this was merely the prelude..” Victor looked up at the new arrival. Mr. Kriely was thin and pale, he tried to disguise his sickly appearance with the liberal application of cosmetics but there was no concealing the dull shine of his eyes or his uneasy expressions.

“Of course. You’re right.” His smile was cadaverous, “The Monarchs are pleased and close, so very close.”

“I have fulfilled my part of the arrangement.”

“And you will be rewarded when the time comes.”

Victor said, “It has come to my attention that your forces have suspended their preparations.”

“There’s a war coming.” Mr. Kriely crouched before one of the bodies, trying to contort his face to match the cultist’s expression, “Resources will have to be diverted.”

“I would have thought the Monarchs would be comfortable with the ways of despotism.”

Mr. Kriely stood, “In the chaos of war there is a greater chance that our adversaries could move against us. This must be an orderly transition of power.”

“To my perception this seems like an unwarranted cessation but naturally I will defer to their acumen.” Victor stubbed you his second cigarette, “Although I have heard disquieting rumors that the Vlodek, both high born and common born, are opposing your efforts at homogenization and sterilization.”

A frown pulled at the corners of Mr. Kriely’s mouth, his eyes stayed passive, “There has been some resistance, but it expected. This isn’t our first breach and it certainly won’t be the last.”

“In your prior incursions was there the equivalent degree or diversity of resistance that you find yourselves encountering now?”

“Each time is different.”

“Ah.” His nostrils free of smoke Victor inhaled the odors of the sub basement - the damp, the blood, the filth. It was time to leave, he climbed the stairs knowing he would be followed, “Then this isn’t some difficulty with your chosen manner of interface? Such vast passions whittled down to so little. I liken it to attempting to observe a parade through a pinhole.”

“Do not obscure our intentions with ignorant words.”

Victor chortled, “You’ve been reading.”

In his anger Mr. Kriely allowed his face to become blank, “We are familiar with the dogmas of each of our conquests.”

“Of course,” Victor held open the door at the top of the stairs, his voice patronizing, “I had become concerned that in this very transitory and vulnerable state that perhaps the nature of cause and effect might have become problematic.”

“What you see as a flaw is nothing of the kind.” Mr. Kriely paused in the doorway, “Meta-temporal consciousness allows us to know that our victory is inevitable.”

Both men headed outside. “Intriguing.” Victor said.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Forty Six

It wasn't the first time Karl had spent all night buying drinks for women of loose morals and questionable dentristy.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Forty Five

Their 5 year mission at an end the crew of the Starship Persea returned home brimming with tales of adventure and alien parasites.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Forty Four

A serial killer had left Agent Quinn claustrophobic, Agent Krump's gunfight at Krispy Kreme left him with a fear of sprinkles.

Monday, December 14, 2009

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Forty Three

His friends and his pornography had trained him to expect that part of a woman’s body to be shaved clean, or at least artistically.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Forty Two

Zack immersed himself in all aspects of social networking until he finally confirmed people just didn't like him.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Forty One

A lifetime ago he broke her heart, a lifetime later he was heartbroken with regrets.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Forty

Scientists eventually realized that never ending arguments about global warming significantly increased global warming.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Thirty Nine

Every year hundreds of teenage werewolves are killed while trying to light their farts.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Thirty Eight

Mom wrapped the Christmas gifts with the zeal of a pissed off dominatrix.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Thirty Seven

Many superheroes cheated death but no superhero ever came back after a public beatdown from the Legion Of Evil Ballerinas.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Thirty Six

They called her 'Lady Napalm' because she had a way of inflaming your privates.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Thirty Five

In retrospect Colin realized he should have mentioned his priapism to the people hiring department store Santas.

(Recommended Reads) "Morning Vespas" by Cecilia Dominic

“How long have you been involved with a motorcycle gang, Mrs. Dougherty?”

“Oh, heavens, they’re not motorcycles!” The petite woman twisted her silk scarf between her fingers and looked up at the two men questioning her. “They’re scooters! You boys can’t really think I’m involved with a gang. Tom would never forgive me! He works hard to keep order in this town, and I’d never do anything to disrupt that.”

click here to read the rest

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Thirty Four

No one ever suspected Mrs. Butterworth's scandalous past as Lady Marmalade.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Thirty Three

Techno-Pimp spent long hours perfecting his iWhore app but it was always one bug or virus after another.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Thirty Two

There were many bills introduced to outlaw time machines but each one ended with legislator's parents never having met.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Thirty One

By the time Ken learned the warranty on his hip replacement didn't cover booty shaking related damage it was far too late...

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Thirty

Like all great men he had a great women behind him- to find him find his keys, his wallet, his glasses...

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Twenty Nine

Years ago she had told him he was all that and a bag of chips, now she realized she should have told him to lay off the chips

Friday, December 11, 2009

(Recommended Reads) "The Choice Of A Lifetime" by Karen Schindler

Maggie wandered listlessly from room to room. Mr. Smithers gathered cat hair and dust bunnies in his fur as she dragged him along behind her.

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(Recommended Reads) "The Stalker" by J. M. Strother

He waited and watched.

From this vantage he could see her coming, while remaining hidden from any passersby. She certainly would never see him. He learned that over the last several nights. This spot in the hedge was perfect for an attack, the light from the street lamp fell well short, and the dim light from her front porch was too far away to matter.

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(Recommended Reads) "Two Heads Aren't Better Than One" by Laura Eno

My thesis was due in two days and I still hadn’t picked a suitable animal to study. I ran down the list of extinct animals, wondering which might peak my interest...

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Once again RANDOM ACTS OF GEEKERY makes me weep with nostalgia!

If there is a Heaven I hope that when we get there we are reunited with all our old toys.

(Recommended Reads) "Enough Is Enough" by Howard Hopkins

I normally stay out of politics but I am now irritated sufficiently enough to speak out. It’s coming to the point of tyranny in this country and something has to be done. Something has to be said. The madness must be stopped. Now...

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(Recommended Reads) " In Which A Favorite Musical Icon Turns Sixty!" by Kate Sherrod

December Seventh lives in infamy
But it's also a day to celebrate!
Pearl Harbor took its blow in history,
But something lovely happened this same date!
Tom Waits was born, whose music changed the game.
A smoky, growly voice, like to a drink
Of bourbon on an empty stomach. Name
Me one more guy whose songs so make one think
Of seedy sadness e'en as one rocks out.
Percussion with found objects, horns and things
I can't identify all make me shout
With glee on hearing them, e'en ere he sings.
Nor doth he make just music: look right here.
He's also had a nifty film career!

via The Suppertime Sonnets

(Recommended Reads) "Witness" by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith

I was still dry-heaving when the police arrived at the scene. I didn't think I'd be going for a run in this part of the woods again, somehow. The sun, still low in the east, was shining straight into my eyes, but this was preferable to looking in the other direction. Not that it would have made any difference - the image of the bludgeoned girl was plastered all over my mind's eye and was unlikely to go away any time soon...

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(Recommended Reads) "Simple" by Dan Powell

It’s too cold to walk home but the taxis all seem to have their lights off. Carly snuggles into me, her beanied head nudging into the crook of my shoulder, and we stand on the edge of the pavement unsure of what to do. No buses are running and we have no one to call for a lift.

‘I want go home,’ Carly says...

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Twenty Eight

Writing slashfic during his lunch hour didn't get Dave fired, accidentally emailing 'Red Shirts and Pink Parts' to the CEO did.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Twenty Seven

Special Agent Krump spent days searching for a cross dressing albino before he realized the sketch artist had it in for him.

5 Second Fiction Seven Hundred and Twenty Six

The low point of Dr. Posideion's career was mistaking the sound of a porn star with laryngitis for the cry of a wounded porpoise.

The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions): The Trailer Park Of Dracula part three

The Nick Of Time

(and other Abrasions)

The Trailer Park Of Dracula

part three

The Final Vignette In The Trailer Park Of Dracula
Al Bruno III

We live by night and by ceremony; we have been touched by the curse of the Vjestitiza and have chosen to follow the teachings of Delphonos.

The need to consume blood has made demons of us, blood and the filigree of soul carried within each drop of the warm red.

Our kind do not live long, our adversaries and appetites make short work of us but we the legendary Seven - Thea, Elizabeth, Olwin, Radu, Yaffa, Fenris and Bob- have endured for almost a century.


Even before I knew we are being watched I was musing over what a sight we made, three women and four men standing in a stream and singing in an impossible tongue. What would an outsider think of our strange prayers? How would they judge us with out pale skin and our ruined finery? Would they believe me if I told them there were ground bones mixed in with the silt of the stream?

Fenris noticed them first. Three frail human figures gawking at us. We incapacitated them with ease but did not feed, not with the our prayers still half-complete.

And besides, I recognized one of them. I knew him from days of old.


My prisoner was hanging upside down, his wrists and ankles bound. His eyes snapped open suddenly and a smile spread across his features, “Radu? How wonderful to see you.”

“Who are you this time?” I asked, knowing that my prisoner changed names habitually.

“I am known as Jason Magwier,” he jostled in his bonds, “I’d offer to shake hands but...”

“You are a fool to come here.”

“Well, you know me, incorrigible,” he made a show of looking around. “This isn’t your tailer.”

“No it isn’t.”

We were in a hunter’s cabin some distance from the trailer park. The hunters that owned it were long dead. I had seen to that. The cabin was on the other side of the stream and just beyond the treeline. It was far enough away that no one could hear the screams of those I brought here, not even the rest of the Seven.

Not that they would have cared, we all have our own ways of passing the time.

The cabin windows were boarded over and dust was thick on the floorboards. I kept my sharp things here, each one a lifetime of cuts and bloodshed. I could never explain why blades held such a fascination for someone like me. Perhaps it was a kind of kinship. I pulled a cruel looking knife from its sheath and examined it. It had belonged to my long dead brother and the the hilt was fashioned as a crucifix.

Magwier frowned, “Now, now. No bringing the church into this.”

“I’ve never tasted the blood of an immortal.”

“I’m not immortal, just disorganized.”

“Always the jokes.” I put the knife aside and drew closer to him. He smelled like sweat and dust and rosepetals.

“I know you have some Carmot here, perhaps the last bit of Carmot in the world,” Magwier cocked his head and offered an ingratiating smile, “could I have it please?”

There was a moment of surprise when I realized he knew but then I chided myself, of course he knew. Curious I asked, “Why would you want carmot?”

“Why does it matter?” Magwier said, “Life is nothing but a series of vignettes with no true answers.”

“A very fancy way of saying you won’t tell me.”

“And hopefully more interesting,” he tried to shrug, “where are my companions by the way?”

Now it was time for me to grin, “I gave them to the others as prizes.”

I watched Magwier’s features darken with panic, he began struggling against the ropes, “Is this how you treat your guests? Release me before something terrible happens.”

“You know that’s impossible.”

“Listen Radu, if I found you that means the Monarchs could find you.”

“The Monarchs don’t care.”

“I can help you,” Magwier said. “I can bring you to a place where the Seven could rule like gods. Just let me go before things go too far.”

“You mean the Shard Worlds?” I smiled, “What good is a dying kingdom?”

“Everything’s dying.”

“Fitting final words.” I grabbed hold of him and sank my teeth into the quivering flesh of his throat.


I don’t know how much later it was when Magwier’s companions kicked open the door to the cabin; one armed with pistols, the other with a fire iron. I knew then that the others were dead, that they had fallen before these deceptively fragile creatures.

The girl - Magwier’s lover- ran to him panicking at the sight of blood running down from his throat only to calm down when she saw the wound was a trifling thing.

The man - Magwier’s bodyguard- scanned the room searching for threats.

They all know I am no longer a threat, that I am helpless in my agony.

Magwier' companions untied him and then began searching the cabin. As they did Jason Magwier simply stood there and watched me die, his eyes full of smug pity.

I carried within me the curse of the Vjestitiza and the need to consume the warm blood and the filigree of soul that is carried within and now I was burning away from the inside, every thought, every memory being reduced to ash. He knew all along this would happen.

How much time passed as they searched? How many of my blades did Magwier's bodyguard take for himself? When did the girl find my pitiful supply of Carmot? Did Jason Magwier hear my dying whisper as he turned to leave? If he did he made no sign.

I said,
“What are you?”