CCC #108 - Voting Thread

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Hello, peeps, and once again, it's time to vote on the latest Character Creation Contest! This round, YoungJustice asked writers to take a favorite movie character and an original character, and write a story with them. We're going to get right into it!

The voting rules:

  • READ the stories, PICK your favorite one, and CAST your VOTE!
  • If you wrote, you should vote! (It's just sporting)
  • No voting for yourself. (Also sporting)
  • The voting deadline is Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 11:59pm New York time (click the link if you're unsure) [that's Thursday, April 15, 3:59PM Sydney, Australia time].
  • Remember: All are welcome to vote - writer or reader, and the winner gets to pick the next contest.

The stories:

The Impersonator - Basic Revenge
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Basic Revenge

Catherine Tramell was one of those crime novelists that you couldn't resist. Any man would want to go out with her. In fact, one of them had turned out to be dead. A police detective named Nick Curran who used to have sex with her, had been found lying on the bed after being stabbed with an ice pick. The other police officers were truly baffled about the case, and they had no current leads on the killings, or who was responsible for them. However, a journalist was on the case, ever since it got dropped from the face of the public eye. He couldn't believe that the police would give up on finding the Ice-Pick Killer. So far, there were no other killings being reported on sight. But that doesn't mean the journalist wouldn't investigate the case. His boss had warned him to stay out of it, but it turned out to be personal. After all, he was Nick Curran's brother.

Jake Curran stepped inside his old brother's apartment. For a long time, he was jealous of the fact that Nick had turned out to be one of the finest detectives in the police force. He always wanted to be one. But he figured that being a police officer wouldn't cut out for him. Instead, he became a news journalist after graduating from college. He recalled the times that he exposed the crimes back then, and how he became a hero. It was tough work. Maybe, Nick had found out about his achievements by reading the daily newspapers. Who knows? Usually, he and Jake had never spoken much. Was it because of resentment or the fact they were too busy on their jobs? There was one time, Nick called his younger brother that he met a blonde woman during the investigation, and that he planned to spend the rest of his life with her. Jake couldn't believe it. Nick was one of those busiest types, who never had a chance to hang out with a real woman. But it was true. Nick had been seeing someone. And look how that turned out.

Now, Jake stood before the bed, wondering who had killed his older brother. He could imagine it was that blonde woman, Nick had mentioned about. How does he know this? Probably, his gut told him so. He looked around the apartment to look for any clues that the police had missed out or anything. So far, there was none. He sighed and walked out of the apartment.

A phone was beeping inside his pocket. Jake fished it out and answered, "Yes?" Waiting for the reply, a woman's voice spoke on the other end of the line. "Hello, Jake."

Jake looked around the place and then at the apartment. He said, "Who... Who is this?" The woman didn't answer him. She continued, "You're trying to find me. Aren't you?" Jake gulped and then spoke angrily on the phone. "Now you listen here! Whoever you are, I'll find you. You hear me? I will do it!" He paused for the moment and then asked, "How did you get my number?" But the woman hanged up.

Damn it! Jake became so furious that he wanted to kill her. But he had to find out where she was. He hoped that he could track her down, but the caller ID was unknown, and there was no number on it. He went back to his car, and drove towards the night.

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Jake had seen it all. He didn't know where he was. But then he realized that he was still in Nick's apartment. Was it a dream? He hoped not. Because he cared a lot about his dear brother, even though there were times that Jake wanted to step ahead of him. He saw the fiery moment in Nick's eyes, focusing on the mysterious, blonde woman. The police detective was having sex with her. Jake tried to see her face, but it was blurry. Then he noticed something underneath the bed. It was an ice pick. The blonde woman picked it up, and then constantly stabbed Nick on the chest.

Jake screamed and woke up from the car. He had been driving for too long that he couldn't even remember where he had just parked. It turned out to be some bar, which he probably walked out from. He felt something that got bulged inside his pants. He never thought that kind of dream would give him a hard-on. Since when he got laid after his girlfriend broke up with him? It didn't matter to Jake anyways. All it mattered right now, was that he had to find out the killer's identity. He knew it was a woman alright. There was no doubt about it. He also had to know whom he was dealing with. After all, he wasn't foolish enough to hang out with a wrong woman. Well, he thought his girlfriend had been the right woman all along. But he wasn't there for her. His past assignments have prevented him from doing so, and that his girlfriend would clearly understand it. Plus, it wasn't his fault. He had to get out of the country for a while to get the latest scoop on the dangerous crimes of human history. What else was new in this cruel world? Jake had been through tough times already. When he came back, he found out that his brother was dead.

Jake opened the car, and stood in front of the bar. He thought, Did I just go to this bar? He couldn't remember. He must have been drunk not to remember anything, even after he had dozed off inside his car. He gave his own breath on the hand, and realized that he didn't drink for a while. Which means...

"Hey pal. You're coming in?" A bartender just opened the entrance door, after noticing that the young man stood there for a while. Jake looked at him, and replied, "Um... Yeah." The bartender shook his head. "If you wanna drink, I'll give you one. But it's getting late. Better hurry." Jake nodded and followed the bartender inside the bar. Then the bartender went back to his regular duties. There was a blonde woman sitting on a stool, and having a glass of red wine. She was the only customer since Jake walked in. He looked at her, and then slowly sat besides her.

"Long night," the blonde woman said. "You must be awfully tired." She smiled at him, and then took a sip of her drink. Jake didn't say anything much. He just looked at her, and noticed the long, smooth legs below her red dress. She crossed her legs. Jake gulped at the sight of it. He could have sworn that she wasn't wearing an underwear and thought, Jesus Christ! He looked back at the bartender, and ordered himself a drink. The bartender nodded. A couple of seconds later, Jake received a glass of beer.

"Thanks," he said. He looked at his beer, but didn't feel like drinking it. He wanted to make sure that this woman, who was sitting besides him, was the Ice-Pick Killer. He remembered Nick telling him that he met a blonde woman during the investigation of the Ice-Pick Killer case. But he didn't give her name.

"What's your name?" Jake asked her. The woman looked at him, and just smiled. "Why do you want to know?"

"Oh, well. For one thing, you seem to be lonely here. I figured that you need someone to talk with."

"I see." The blonde woman took another sip of her drink. "Is that why you came here?"

He thought, No, bi***. I came here to make sure that you're the Ice-Pick Killer. He laughed. "Let's just say it's a coincidence. A lonely guy walks into a bar, and meets a beautiful woman like you."

This time, the blonde woman laughed. "Oh, that's how it is. Well then... you must be really desperate to find a woman for yourself. Tell me... Would you like to go out tonight with me?"

"Sure, why not. This could be my last day. I may never come here again."

"Hmm... What you do for a living?"

"Freelance work." Jake started his drink.

"Freelance?"

"Yep. Can't tell you much though. What about you?"

"I'm a writer."

"Oh, I see." He continued his drink. "What do you write?"

She just said, "Crime," and drank the rest of her wine. She placed the cash on the counter. Then she got up, looking at him. "You coming?"

Jake nodded, and finished his drink. He thought, Hmm... She must be Catherine Tramell, the crime novelist that I keep hearing about. Does she know who I really am? He read some of her novels, but apparently there were no photos of her at the back. Not to mention, her website didn't have them. Jake wanted to laugh and thought, Maybe, she liked to keep her true identity a secret. Must be those crazy fans out there, probably stalking her. He paid for the drink, and then followed her.

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Cold sweat kept dripping over his forehead. He never thought that this night would come. The blonde woman had been riding him over and over again. He figured that this was the only way to know that the woman was the Ice-Pick Killer. And the same woman who called him earlier on his phone. He also figured that Catherine must have found out that Nick had a younger brother, and that he was working as a journalist. Yes, he could feel the strong sensations coming from her. They were both at his apartment. Jake was waiting for something. An ice pick. He closed his eyes, thinking that this woman will pick out the weapon underneath the bed, and then stab him on the chest. But it didn't happen. He groaned, and then stopped.

"My God..." The blonde woman breathed very hard, and looked down at Jake. She said, "You really are something. You know that?"

"Where's the ice pick?"

The blonde woman became confused. "The what?"

Jake said it again, "The ice pick." He pushed her away from the bed and looked down under. "Damn it! Where is it?"

The woman looked at him angrily. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"I know you're hiding it. You used that ice pick to kill my brother. And you were going to kill me."

"Are you serious? You expect me to kill you? And no, I didn't kill your brother. What are you... On drugs?"

"Don't lie to me. You're her. Aren't you? You're that crime novelist."

"Oh, for crying out loud. There are other women who writes crime fiction too, you know. I'm not the only one." She shook her head, and quickly got dressed.

"You're not going anywhere!" Jake shouted at her. "I know the look on your face. The moment I walked in the bar and saw you. I knew it had to be you. You were waiting for me. Right? And you called me on my phone."

The blonde woman looked at him as if he was crazy. "You're nuts! I'm calling the police." She grabbed her phone on the side table, and was about to dial 911 when Jake took it away from her. Then he threw it on the floor. The woman screamed. Jake grabbed her hair, and pushed her down on the floor. "This is for my brother, Catherine." He choked her.

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Jake found himself in the jail cell. He tried to tell the police that it was Catherine Tramell, who had killed his brother. But they didn't believe him. Not even the superiors, who knew Nick Curran too well. And if that wasn't enough, Jake had been told that the woman wasn't Catherine the famous crime novelist, and even if it were, she wouldn't kill Nick Curran in the first place. Jake was so confused that he must have made a mistake. He was so sure of it that it was Catherine that he met back in the bar. He thought, So much for my journalistic instinct. There goes my career.

However, a visitor had requested to meet Jake privately. Jake was now sitting on the chair, facing across the glass window, and waiting for his visitor. He thought, It must be my ex-girlfriend. Who else wanted to meet him? But it wasn't her. It turned out to be a blonde woman whom he have never met before.

The woman smiled at the former journalist and said, "Hello, Jake. My name is Catherine Tramell. Nice to meet you."

The End.

Note- Jake Curran is an original character and the brother of Nick Curran who supposedly was killed at the end of Basic Instinct.

PyroFN - Our Princess?

Our Princess?

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The sun brightly shown through the window into the large room. A room gathered by nobles and servants for the exclusive event of the century. The wedding of the princess of their lands and the prince from a faraway kingdom. A union made for cohesion between kingdoms with tensions about a war. This would be their saving grace. She would be their savior.

She didn’t care about all that. She hardly knew any of them. What mattered were her father walking her down the aisle, her mother sitting up front waiting for her father to join her, and her aunts watching from above. What mattered most to her though was the man of her dreams. Literally. She had seen him in her thoughts growing up. She met him in the forest where they talked for hours about nothing and everything.

“Alright, my darling, Aurora. Make us all proud”, her father whispered before kissing her cheek. He then returned to his seat by her mother and the king and queen of Phillip‘s kingdom. It’s name? She couldn’t remember....but it doesn’t matter. He was there and he looked......The same......as he did when they first arrived.....did he...even change clothes....or did he have multiples of the same......

“You look absolutely magical”, he said to her as she walked in front of him.

”Thank you. You....look.....”, she hesitated. Did he even try? Thankfully, she didn’t need to finish though, since the priest started the ceremony.

”Citizens from far and wide! We are gathered here for the coming together of young love. Where they were apart all their lives, love won over-“

”Pardon. If you don’t mind, I would like to hear words from him”, Aurora asked politely. Yet, the act caused a gasp from the crowd, causing her to look around worriedly. “Did I....say something wrong?”

”Uh, n-no, of course not your majesty. That is perfectly acceptable”, he stumbled briefly before gaining his composure. After mumbling a complaint about a memo beforehand about this drifting from the script, he turns to Phillip. “You may start young man.”

”....Yes. Um, what kinds of things would like to hear?”, he asked her, not quite expecting to be put on the spot beyond vowing to marry.

“Anything you feel from the heart? About me. About us. Tell our whole world why you love me so”, Aurora said dreamily.

”Right. Ahem”, he says before taking a moment to compose his demeanor like his father taught him in his room.

High up to the rafters, floating above the union. The three Fairy Godmothers look worriedly at the two.

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”Oh dear. What are we to do, Flora?”

”What do you mean, Fauna? What can we do? It’s her wedding.”

”But, she’s spoken up to the Priest before he could finish!”, the green fairy said worriedly.

“Well, I don’t see what the big deal is. She has not disagreed or halted the wedding. She just steering away from tradition a bit”, the blue fairy, Merryweather, said with her arms crossed.

“Tradition that we neglected to prepare her for because we were too busy trying to keep the secret of her being a princess to even Rose herself”, the pink fairy said regretfully as she looked on.

“Well, I say the issue falls on the boy’s shoulders. He’s clamming up when he should be saying all the things wonderful about her”, Merryweather said.

“I’m sorry. Perhaps I did put you on the spot, Phillip. Let me go first.....As a girl, I always looked out my window daydreaming about my prince. Before I even knew I was a princess-“

This caused the crowd to mumble to each other.

”She didn’t know she was a princess?”

”Kind of a slow one, if you ask me.”

”Maybe the caretakers never educated her the difference between a princess and a commoner?”

King Stefan looked worriedly at the assembly before looking back to his daughter, whose focus was entirely on Phillip. The kingdom was aware the princess was in hiding, but had not considered the background she’d come from when she had come back. Appearances were everything to these people. Though she was beautiful, it was clear that her mannerisms did not reflect her peers.

“Those dreams led me to you as they had led you to me. And, oh, what a magical day that time we had together in the forest was”, Aurora said vaguely.

That caused more gasps and murmuring to take place.

“I beg your pardon?”, the Priest asked suddenly.

”Oh no, nothing like that. We were just talking that day”, Phillip piped up nervously.

”Oh we did more than that”, she said dreamily. The murmur’s kept going until she finally described what it was that had happened. “We danced as the forest animals followed us into the forest. My only friends ensuring he was truly the one. And he did. He talked to me about all sorts of things, like his travels across kingdoms. Learning so much from different cultures. His father and how strong of an impact he had on his life. And I felt....safe. Like we’d known each other our whole lives. He swept me completely off me feet”, she said finally.

”And...that was all you did, child?” the priest asked with an eyebrow raised.

”Yes. The day unfortunately was far too short to spend anymore time. Was too bad really. I really wanted him to met my aunts that day for dinner”, the Princess said, still not noticing the concerned looks on the parents or the judgmental looks of everyone watching on.Yet, seeing how earnest she was acting and how oblivious she was, the priest deemed the situation acceptable to conclude to be as Phillip had said.

“Well, dear, that sounded like quite the lovely day you had. He sounded like he was a perfect gentleman”, the priest said.

”Oh quite. I can only fathom the days when we are married together for the rest of our live....In sorry, Father, I never asked your name”, Aurora said turning to the priest.

”Father Ivory, child. So, I surmise that is all you had to say to your beloved?”, Ivory asked her.

“Yes, Father Ivory. I am ready to move on”, she says, pleased with herself for expressing exactly what she felt aloud.

“In that case, Phillip, it is your turn to say what you have to say before we continue”, Ivory said to the man, who took a breath realizing it was over.

“Right.....My Love, Aurora, you are everything I did not expect.....yet, I couldn’t hope for any better. That day I heard your voice, you lured me in like the tales of Siren’s I’ve heard about. Then, seeing you dancing with the animals....I could not help but be jealous that I wasn’t the one having fun with you. It felt so easy to talk to you. To tell you about myself. I was ready to abandon the idea of marrying this fabled princess Aurora for who I thought you were. Imagine my surprise when the wicked Maleficent told me the girl I’d fallen had been the one I was destined to marry. Even while chained to that dark and dank cell, with that hideous monster smiling at me, I was renewed. I had to see you again. Now....both of ours dreams are about to be fulfilled”, he said.

“That was perfect”, she responded with a sigh of adoration.

“My, it sounds like you two had eventful lives....well, you did, good sir. You are quite well-rested, which has done wonders for your skin I might add”, the Priest chuckled.

”Oh, it’s over”, Flora wiped her forehead under her large hat as the ceremony continued.

“That was quite the declaration Aurora made”, Fauna said as she took a deep breath in relief.

“Oh, you two are just worried over nothing. I had complete faith in her and she was raised”, Merry weather waved dismissively to them.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife. Long live Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora!!!”

Cheers filled the hall as the two shared their first kiss as husband and wife.

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As such with any wedding, the celebration continued as the Prince and Princess continued with tradition of cutting the cake, having their first dance, and greeting the different guests.

“That was a lovely ceremony, your majesty. And may I say, you look exquisite. No one here can match your beauty with the most expensive dress, dare I say”, one duke said to her.

“Thank you, good sir. I just wanted to express the things I never got to say to him after waking up. After all, once he had awoken me, he took me straight to the ballroom where my parents waited for me. Then it was days of quick preparation for our marriage. Being away was....hard”, she said as she leaned on his shoulder.

“Well, may There be many days together for you two with many children”, he wished before moving on for the next guests.

Before they could continue, Aurora then noticed a guard coming to her father and whispering something to him that caused him to furrow his brow in worry. He nodded and spoke a few words before turning to his wife, who presumably asked what was wrong.

“Well, well, well. If it isn‘t the darling couple!” Merryweather said as she flew up to Aurora to hug her, a gesture she returned eagerly.

”Aunt Merryweather! I’m so glad you‘re hear! I wanted you to meet-“

”I, uh, know Aurora. They were the ones who had helped me save you from Maleficents curse. Remember?”, Phillip interrupted before she could finish the introduction.

“Yes. We were quite astonished at the great coincidence, yet relieved that we wouldn’t have an unknown suitor challenge your union”, Flora expressed.

“I wouldn’t blame any man for doing so had they met her. I know I would have fought an entire kingdom for your hand if necessary. Things just work out, though”, Phillip shrugged as he held her hand.

”Speaking of Maleficent....Are you sure she is gone?”, Aurora asked.

“Yes. I made sure of it, my love. She was incredibly tough, not just for her power, but for the legions of monsters guarding throughout her castle”, Phillip said recounting the dangers he had to bypass with the fairies help.

“Monsters? You slayed her monsters and Maleficent?”, she asked astonishingly.

”Uh, no. I simply escaped and Maleficent followed. She is dead”, Phillip assured her.

“But.......”

”What is it, Rose?”, Fauna asked.

Aurora looked back to her father who was smiling at her, though not quite as brightly as before. The realization dawning on her causing her to swiftly walk towards him with Phillip and the fairies following behind her with questions.

“What is it dear? Is something wrong?”

”Father, what did that guard tell you?”, Aurora asked.

“Nothing for you to worry about my dear”, he said putting his hands comfortably on her shoulders.

“It’s Maleficent’s minions. Isn’t it?”, Aurora answered, which shocked him of her perceptive nature. “How did?”

”What is going on?”, Phillip asked her.

“A guard came to Father and told him something worrying. It has something to do with Maleficents minions”, Aurora explains.

”Killing the wicked fairy didn’t scare the creatures away I’m afraid, Phillip. It’s made them angry. They have been seen around the walls of the castle. There is belief they have left her castle for the forest to ready an attack on our kingdom”, King Stefan reveals with a sigh.

”Nothing our armies can work together in dealing with, Stefan”, Phillips father said as he sipped his wine.

”Father, are you planning on killing them?”, Aurora asked.

“Of course. They played a hand in helping Maleficent‘s plans before. They deserve nothing but the harshest punishments”, King Stefan declared to her.

”But.....isn’t it our fault? We did offend Maleficent and her minions are reacting accordingly to her death“, Aurora offered.

”You need not worry so much about this. They will not come to harm you if any of us have to say about it. We just got you back and will do whatever it takes to keep you safe”, Stefan to her.

”Right”, Aurora said, uncertain about how things will go.

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*The Garden; the next day*

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“Rose, what are you doing out here?”, Fauna asked walking up to the Princess out the fountain.

”And where is Phillip. This is basically your Honeymoon time. You two should be attached at the hip”, Mereyweather said looking around.

“He and our fathers needed to discuss the situation regarding Maleficent’s hordes. Apparently they have all come out of the woodwork, angry about her death”, Aurora explains.

”I suppose it cannot be helped”, Flora said sympathetically.

”But we’ll be happy to keep you company, if you’d like, dear” Fauna said as she hovered to her and date beside her.

”Aunt Fauna....why is it you all never taught me magic?”, Aurora asked her after she sat down.

”We were undercover dear. Attention would have been drawn to us had we started using magic. As far as you and anyone was concerned, we were just normal human aunts raising their adoptive niece”, Flora explained for Fauna.

”But why? Would it not be better to prepare me for anything that could happen?”, Aurora asked.

”Perhaps, but we were unfortunately correct about the deal with magic. It’s how Phillip was captured after you were put to sleep“, Fauna said.

”Maleficent was determined that her curse be enacted before your sixteenth birthday. We could not spare your safety for anything”, Flora explained further.

”.....What about now? Can you teach me anything that could help protect me?”, Aurora asked.

”Why would you need to, dear? You are fully protected around these walls and we will always be here to keep you safe”, Fauna said as she touched Aurora’s hand.

The young woman looked back at the reflection in the water of her as she remembered going down the dark corridors, led by a beautiful light leading her further and further in. The calls of her aunt’s haunting the back of her mind.

”Rose?”

Aurora snapped back to reality as she wiped a tear away.

”Whatever is the matter dear?”

”I....I’m sorry. I guess I....am having more trouble than I thought, processing it all”, Aurora admitted ashamed. That was when Merryweathwr pulled Flora aside.

”Perhaps we could show her a thing or two, Flora. After all, Maleficent did-“

”Don’t you start! I remember exactly what happened. I meant it what I said that night...”, Flora said as her voice was starting to break.

”What did you say?”, Aurora asked, overhearing Flora’s outburst.

”She felt guilty when you fell asleep, Aurora. She blamed herself for the failure”, Fauna said.

”The fact of the matter is, Flora, we can’t always protect her. She is grown and has to learn to be a ruler for the best of her kingdom. We will always be there when we can, but eventually, there will be times when’s he has to handle things on her own”, Mereyweather said continuing the conversation they were having.

”What do you suppose we teach her? We can only cast magic that brings happiness”, Flora said.

”And who was happy the night we helped Phillip slay Maleficent! We gave him the tools to Storm her castle and then slay her with a sword blessed by our power!”, Merryweather said.

“.....Flora, I....think Merryweather is right. Suppose someone as terrible as Maleficent comes”, Fauna said.

”Very well”, Flora said wiping her eyes. “We shall take this time we have for ourselves to teach you some things. Since you are already filled with our magic blessing you from your christening, we shall give you three more gifts that will allow you to cast your magic.”

”Will it hurt?”, Aurora asked.

”Oh no, sweetie! Our magic is always to help and bring joy primarily. Even when we fought Maleficent, it was for the good of the kingdom and your life”, Fauna said as she looked between Aurora and the two others.

“Fauna is right“, Flora said as she pulled out her wand. “Thereby, I shall start. For your wedding gift, I bless you with full access to the realm of magic, so long as it is for good, you shall have no trouble casting your heart’s desire, so long as it stays pure.”

As Flora’s pink magic dust fell over the princess, the sparkles and dust swirled above Aurora’s palm in a tube-like shape until it form a smooth yellow stick that sparkled on the tip. A magic wand of her own, much like her aunt’s.

”Are you sure this is alright, Aunt Flora?”, she asked worriedly.

“You were right before about the need to protect yourself in the end Aurora. I will make good on my word about protecting you as best I could, but should any of us fail, you will not be so powerless as you once were”, Flora said confidently to her niece.

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“Yes, dear. Now, hold still. It is now my turn. For your wedding present, my gift shall be an aura of peace for our dear Princess Aurora. Even with your kindness and generosity, you will may across beings as powerful as Maleficent, so we are taking steps ahead of them to bring you to placate them and block their magic, at least for a time so long as you exert your will”, Fauna said. As the green dust fell over Aurora, the wand sparkled again to mimic the colors surrounding Aurora.

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“Get ready, Aurora, because your favorite Aunt‘s turn”, Merryweather said as she pulled her sleeve back a bit.

“I really do appreciate everything you all have done for me. Perhaps I won’t necessarily need it in the end, but I feel safer than I have ever before”, Aurora said.

”I am glad because you are once more containing the three of our power within you. Power from when you were but a babe and now power to add to you. Enough to slay even the mighty dragon, Maleficent, before“, Merryweather said as her wand began to sparkle and glow with blue.

“Okay. I’m ready”, Aurora said as she stood straight.

”Sweet Princess, you were given such a great responsibility you were never prepared for. Not more than ever will the trials become harder with magic available. The power to manipulate the fabric of reality by the will of your heart and mind. My gift to you is this, that the magic recognize your authority. For it is life manipulated by us. Wild and powerful in all its glory. Yet, not that it comes easy, but that it not harm you with its fickle nature”, Merryweather said as the blue dust fell over her.

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“Aurora.”

Aurora turned to the voice as the Prince searched the gardens to look for his wife.

”Phillip! Over here!”, she said running to him.

”I just came here for an impromptu farewell”, Phillip said sorrowfully.

”What? But-“

”I’m sorry. Things appeared worse than my father had predicted. I need to go with my father to our kingdom to rally more troops to defend your kingdom”, Phillip said.

”When will you be back?”

”A couple of weeks minimum, hopefully. Be safe for me?”, Phillip asked her.

”Of course. I’m not going anywhere until your return”, she said with brave smile, more than how she felt.

”Thank you, my love. I won’t be long!” he said as he hurried off.

”.........At least we got a chance to say good-bye this time”, Aurora said

”Your Highness”, a guard came up.

”Yes?”

”The King and Queen request your audience with them”, he responds dutifully.

”Of course. Can my aunts attend as well?”

”Only at your behest, your Majesty.”

”Right. Come along, girls”, Flora said as the girls cast their magic to appear as red, green, and blue lights flying even in the day.

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Fin?

Batkevin74 - Revenge of the Dragon
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Hello. My name is Vincent Kwan, producer, and welcome to the DVD commentary of Revenge of the Dragon: The Unfinished Sequel to Enter The Dragon.

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What you’re seeing here is what the second unit shot in Singapore, which is doubling for Florida. Peter Archer, who plays Parsons, didn’t really want to reprise his role but when told his character was going to be killed and it would be three days of shooting, he agreed.

The reason Peter sounds different from when he was in Enter The Dragon, is because he’s using his real voice and isn’t dubbed like the first film.

See that shadow shot, that was actually the second unit director, Chaplin Chang, standing in for Jim Kelly. This was actually the first part of the movie to be shot, coincidentally it was the opening piece of the film.

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Wide shot of ninjas…those costumes were made by locals.

So, this next bit is cobbled together stills and home movie footage as Bruce liked to film rehearsals, good thing he did. The idea for this scene was to have Jim Kelly and John Saxon fight on the roof, the reveal of Jim being a cyborg and him knocking John off the building into the pool. We had Circus Circus in Las Vegas lined up to let us film there but as we all know…anyway look at John with his silly moustache. John is actually an accomplished martial artist in his own right and was part of the reason he was originally cast in Enter The Dragon, along with him being a well known actor.

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Oh, I love this bit! It’s the only footage of Jim & John going at it. It’s like thirty seconds but man…the whole thing would’ve been amazing; their talent, Bruce’s choreography.

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These next few minutes are again the second unit filming shots of Hong Kong…nothing that impressive unless you like chopper shots…

So, this is again behind the scenes footage shot by, I think, Linda Lee as you all know was Bruce’s wife. That’s Bruce with Jackie Chan in a headlock…Jackie was brought back for Revenge of The Dragon because in Enter The Dragon, Bruce cracked Jackie in the head with a stick and made a promise that whatever film Bruce worked on, Jackie had a role. So that’s Jim Kelly with Angela Mao who reprised her role from Enter…there’s me…wow, I’m fat! Orange, what was I thinking?

So, Revenge of the Dragon was planned for a July release in 74, almost a year to the day after Enter. We had been given a five-million-dollar budget which was insane, but Bruce made us give back most of it. His reasoning was if we could make the first one on 850 thousand, then we could do the sequel for double. It was honourable but considering the extra cast members we hired, and that I was the producer, got it to three million.

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Okay, that’s Raymond Chow talking with Joe Lewis…and if you want to freeze it and go back you can see in the back on the right that’s Steve McQueen and James Coburn doing cocaine. They thought they couldn’t be seen…actors!

This is Joe Lewis’ screen test. He was asked personally by Bruce to be in both Enter & Revenge but was busy for Enter. Bruce regarded Joe as one of the best fighters ever, possibly even better than him.

This shot of Nora Miao running along the beach was I think for a chase scene. We only shot her running away from the camera man…can’t remember why though…it’s a bit weird isn’t it?

Wide shot of ninjas…I think that was the same day as Nora’s scene on the beach? Not sure…

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This is Bruce warming up.

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This is Bruce warming up with Jim Kelly…did you know that they never cross paths in Enter the Dragon? It was thanks to this film that Jim got Black Belt Jones and several other blaxploitation films. He did very well, massive in Hong Kong, great guy.

Shots of Bruce rewriting the script.

Um this is some cars…no idea what this is really.

Another wide shot of ninjas…those costumes were made by locals.

John Saxon doing pushups…John Saxon doing pushups with Bruce standing on him…

This bit is…

Sorry this bit is hard for me to watch, as I was there that day on set. It was going to be huge. Okay as you can see its Joe Lewis, Jim Kelly, and Bruce…this is that last film appearance. Oh boy…okay, so as you can see, they’re working out the choreography. The scene was the Bruce tracked Williams, Jim’s character, back to the Red Sea Lion headquarters to find that Williams is being controlled by Kilmen, played by Joe. Bruce takes them both on. Notice the ground at their feet doesn’t have mats or anything like the rest of the set. So, as they block the scene, Robert Clouse has a few words to Joe…don’t recall what he said even though I’m standing right next to them…anyway…well I’ll…

Sorry, it still gets me after all these years. So as Joe goes high and Jim goes low, Bruce spins like a top. Now if they’d done the stunt three feet to the left, he’d probably be still alive. But Bruce flipped and smacked his head on the concrete. Now everyone rushes in, but Bruce being Bruce walks off the injury and they replay the scene two more times, see! The coroner said that the initial impact is what triggers the swelling that kills Bruce later that evening. Anyway, look at Bruce…that’s the last filmed moment of him as he’s walked back to his trailer with Linda…it’s almost like a Western as he walks off into the sunset. I’m sorry, can you excuse me.

___

Lee Jun-fan, better known to the world as Bruce Lee, died on the 1st of February 1974. The coroner rules it to be a traumatic brain injury caused by an occipital condylar fracture when his head hit the concrete during a fight scene.

He was 33.

Notes

Vincent Kwan is my fictional person

Revenge of the Dragon was the name of another martial arts movie from 1977

Steve McQueen & James Coburn never did cocaine together as far as I know

Bruce Lee actually died on the 20th of July, 1973 in Kowloon, Hong Kong of a cerebral edema caused by an allergic reaction to a headache tablet. He was 32.

Turns out my partner actually knows Peter Archer's daughter! He passed away in 2000

Most of the people mentioned in this piece are fictionalised versions of the real people who starred in Enter The Dragon, you can IMDB them if you wish.

SpareHeadOne - Eric Draven

Eric Draven

In the pit where all souls go for a time was an area for Crow-Souls, souls that had been brought up by the Crow and had sought vengeance in this world. Many of you may think these Crow-Souls are at peace, but while they are satisfied with the revenge they achieved they are still greatly troubled. Eric's state was getting more and more fitful, the dreaming that emanated from him was nightmarish and it was causing those Crow-Souls who surrounded him to suffer. A Crow came and carried him to the place where souls waited for vengeance. Soon it would be his turn again to seek retribution, or so it seemed.

The Crow pecked Eric Draven's cracked grave stone in the Detroit cemetery. It was the night before Halloween, Devil's night. It had been 27 years since The Crow had last sat there.

The earth beneath The Crow began to move. The great strength that is given to Crow-Souls meant that Eric could burst out of his grave through the six feet of soil that covered him. This time Eric knew what was happening, though he didn't know why.

A dove flew over, Eric hadn't yet gotten out of his grave when he looked up unable to keep his eyes off of it. He watched the dove turn back toward him and land next to the Crow on his gravestone. Love filled his heart. He felt Joy at being one with his fiancé Shelly Webster in the underworld. He felt fatherly love for Sarah, the young girl he and Shelly had helped all those years ago. And that's when it hit him; a flood of memories of Sarah's prayers for him and to him while he was dead. She had prayed for Him everyday since he had gone back into the underworld and she had told him all about her life. And then finally Eric remembered her presence joining the underworld, She had died.

Eric felt that he would search out her life and feel what it was like to be her. He would touch the things she had touched and see what she saw.

The dove flew off to a street light and waited for Eric to work out that he should follow. From street light to street light the dove led Eric to the place where Sarah lived. The Crow took the rear.

Eric climbed the fire escape and entered Sarah's apartment through a window. It was nice and bright and clean. A wholesome feel except for the area around her stereo where there were pictures of him and his band "Hangman's Joke". There were also pictures of him as a crow-soul. Eric felt the darkness of his past more intensely than ever. He didnt feel that he could live in such darkness anymore. Thoughts of himself and how he had changed brought him to a mirror. He had been resurrected with his sorrowful makeup, the image of his last incarnation. "Put on a happy face." he quipped to himself in the mirror.

Sarah's apartment didn't look like it was going to be disturbed anytime soon. It seemed as though no one was immediately missing her. After a while of taking in the atmosphere of Sarah's home Eric sat on Sarah's bed and picked up her diary. Images flashed in his mind of Sarah taking two young brothers to a shelter to be fed. Sarah worked there serving poor and messed up people. He automatically opened to the page from weeks prior where Sarah wrote about the boys.

"I think these little guys are being used by the local scum. I dont want to think about how they are being used but i often see them leaving the building where those assholes live. I have a plan to take them and give them a home in the country. I may have found a couple who will take them."

Eric checked the notes near the phone. One note with a phone number read "Harry and Brenda. Lexington." Eric dialled the number. "Hello is that Brenda? .....Yes my name is Eric I work with Sarah at the homeless shelter... I'm wondering if you have come to a final decision regarding the two boys we have here? ....Oh that's wonderful news. I can have them to you by trick or treat time tomorrow. Fantastic bye bye now.

The dove appeared at the window to guide Eric to the building where the boys seemed to live. Eric entered the building. Two large men stood in his way before he even entered the stairway. "Wrong building weirdo!" said the larger of the two men as he placed his hand on Eric's shoulder. Eric placed his palm on the hand and spoke to the large man. "You love art, classic art." The big man had a surprised look on his face. "You used to paint when you were a boy and now if you really look at art, it makes you cry." The slightly smaller big guy was looking at his counterpart with curious amusement. The bigger guy was struck dumb but slight embarrassment could be detected in his face. "Your father didn't allow you to honestly express yourself. He burned your paintings and told you that you couldn't be a man if you were an artist." The slightly smaller man was spooked and he swung at Eric with his fist. Eric parried the blow and directed his attacker into a wall. Then he put his hand on the chest of the big man and said "Receive inspiration.". The big man fell down on his knees in tears. The slightly smaller man held his hands up waving them and saying "Don't you come anywhere near me with that shit." and he ran off out of the building. Eric began walking up the stairs to the first floor. He heard screaming in the first apartment and he quietly walked in. Two more men were beating and abusing a woman. Unnoticed, Eric touched both men on their temples. The men went on mistreating the woman in the most terrible ways, not knowing that Eric had been there. One of the two sadistic men moved in close to the woman's face and began putting his cigar out in her eye. She screamed in pain and the evil man was pleased. But then her screams turned to laughter and the men were taken aback. Her laughter turned arrogant and confident and two men were confused. Her laughter turned into a man's laughter and the two men were filled with fear. They watched as the woman metamorphosed into Eric with his painted white face and black features. Running for the door in fear the two men soon found it locked. "Your mothers abused you, they watched and laughed as your fathers gave you to their friends for money." said Eric as he advanced upon them. "You love each other. Your love is too precious to ever involve another." Eric touched their chests and at least to them he seemed to disappear. The two men, clearly in love left the building.

All else was quiet on the first floor so Eric went up stairs to the next floor.

Remember: Votes due by Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 11:59pm New York time (click the link if you're unsure) [that's Thursday, April 15, 3:59PM Sydney, Australia time].

I'm glad you're here. Thanks for reading, thanks for voting, and see you on the 14th! In the meantime, stay safe, everyone, and after you vote, kick back and watch a movie. :^D

20 Comments

CCC #107 - Voting Thread

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Hey, peeps, COVID kept me from handling this contest, so I handed it off to Batkevin74. He picked "By the Power of Cupcakes," where the OC's power had to come from eating cupcakes, twinkies, or whatever. Fun stuff. Let's get to the voting.

The voting rules:

  • READ the stories, PICK your favorite one, and CAST your VOTE!
  • If you wrote, you should vote! (It's just sporting)
  • No voting for yourself. (Also sporting)
  • The voting deadline is Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 11:59pm New York time (click the link if you're unsure) [that's Monday, Mar 22, 3:59PM Sydney, Australia time].
  • Remember: All are welcome to vote - writer or reader, and the winner gets to pick the next contest.

The stories:

The Impersonator - Cupcake Fantasies

Cupcake Fantasies

You know what the old saying goes, With Great Power Comes With Great Responsibility. But I wasn't responsible when it comes to watching naked women, even without undressing themselves. Ever wonder how I was able to achieve this awesome, irresponsible power? Well, it happened one day when I was asked by my girlfriend (Who kept cheating on me by having sex with another guy) to buy a special cupcake for her birthday. So, I went to this store where they have all sorts of cupcakes to choose from. And I didn't think that all these tasty-looking pastries were truly special. But when my girlfriend wanted a special one, I think she meant something else. So, I didn't know. There were times that I couldn't read her mind, so to speak. And for that reason only, Cassie acted like a bi*** sometimes. Although I wished I had that mind reading power just like Professor Xavier. That way, she wouldn't have thought of me for being such an idiot. Anyways, I bought this cupcake, which was a rare variety these days, and it had just been recently imported from some country, which I didn't know. Or probably, I didn't want to since I bought most products, which were made in China. And guess what? They were broken. So, I've decided to buy the one that had a white, jelly cream inside of it. That was because the owner suggested the one when I asked him about this "special" cupcake. And he said, "Why don't you try a sample before buying it?" I said, "Hmm... That's a good idea. I'll try it for sure." So, I ate the sample. And let me tell you, folks. The jelly cream was so yummy that it got those juices flowing through my mouth. It was heaven. And then something extraordinary happened that changed my life. When this woman walked inside the store to buy her own cupcake, I could see her through everything. I mean everything. She was totally naked, and my jaw dropped open a bit like I was about to drool on the recently, cleaned floor. Kinda like a dog if you ask me.

And she wasn't the first woman and the only one I could see through. For some strange reason, I couldn't see through naked men. Maybe, because I'm not gay? Anyways, I bought a single pack of the "special" cupcakes with me. As I drove along the heavy traffic, I saw two women, laughing at each other inside their car. And they were also naked. I got so hard that I couldn't concentrate where I was going. Some other cars honked at me, and one of the drivers had said, "Hey pal! Watch where you're going!" And I called out, "I'm sorry. I was just..." I paused, thinking I shouldn't say this embarrassing thing to the angry driver that I've actually watched naked women, right in front of my perverted eyes. So, I've kept this dirty secret to myself. Eventually, I've come to learn this cupcake allowed me to see through things only when it comes to women. Nothing else. I tried to see through walls for that matter. But still nothing. If I were able to do that, I could see what my girlfriend was doing to my best friend. Yeah, there was no doubt about it. My buddy named Jake usually had the hots for so many women out there. But the truth was that he wasn't interested in any one of them. He was only interested in my girlfriend. So, I didn't say anything to him about these things. He should know Cassie was my girl, and nothing more than that. But Jake couldn't resist her. And I could see where this was going. And no, folks. This isn't going to turn out to be a threesome like one of those adult movies, where you can watch privately at your own home. I'm not that kind of guy to share my girl with anyone else. Especially, my best friend here.

But eventually, I didn't bring this "special" cupcake to my girlfriend for her fuc**** birthday. Because I figured, what the hell? I might as well eat these cupcakes for myself. Let her know that I couldn't take up with her unfaithfulness or her bi*** tone anymore. She can have my best friend all she wanted. And honestly, I cared less about Jake anyways. He could screw my bi*** for all I care. I've just recently told Cassie while driving on the quiet road, and the sun falling down ahead. Yeah... I was that pissed.

One time, I went alone to this beach just to cool myself down after learning about Cassie and Jake, hitting off each other. There were often times that I could see the beach women who wore bikinis and tops, were also naked, but not really. I could see through them where no else can, and I should be lucky about what I've gotten here so far. But this is where I get really stumped on things of the fact that I couldn't get another woman myself. Is this the reason why I got this power? To let me know that I was desperate enough to have sex with another woman, whom I should know about first? Imagine if my own mother were alive right now, I wouldn't want to see her naked. That was something, I didn't want to think about. Yikes!

So this power that I have right now. It turned out to be an X-ray vision of some kind. Hey! I'm no Superman here. So, what do I know? I haven't read a lot of comic books since I was a kid, only except for reading erotic literature when I had to sneak inside the forbidden section of the library, and read through the pages, and then come back for more. Ahem! My only problem was that I could only see naked women. That was all. I was so frustrated that I wanted more from this power. It wasn't enough. I ate all those darn cupcakes and nothing happened differently. It was still the same. The only thing was that my power kept fading at the moment, and I couldn't see any naked women at all. So, I had to go back to the store, and buy some more. Unfortunately, the store ran out of those "special" cupcakes with the white, jelly cream inside of it. Mm... So yummy. I could feel those juices flowing through my mouth. The owner had said, "Sorry pal. That was the the last one you just bought." And I was like, "Are you kidding me? There's gotta to be more where that came from." I wanted to eat those cupcakes. Not that I wanted to eat them all at the same time. But I just wanted to take a single bite out of it. With that single bite, I could see a naked woman for a couple of seconds, whenever either one of them comes by. Then, I've realized that I had to eat the whole darn thing, so I could see them for hours and hours. And yes, I had to stroke myself secretly when I sometimes go to the theaters and watch some naked women, who either sat with their clothed boyfriends or entirely alone. Let's just say that I couldn't help it.

As for the cupcakes that ran out, I've tried searching for them online, and see if any other stores had an extra pack. But there were none. I wished I had taken a picture of that cupcake before I bought it like a month ago. After all, I knew what it looked like. But sometimes, I could get confused about its size and appearance, and whatnot. Besides, they looked all the same to me. As the search went on, I became so tired that I had to finally stop. It was hopeless.

Then one day, I came back to the store just to see if they have any other special cupcakes on the menu, other than the X-ray ones. So, I bought this cupcake with the red jelly cream inside of it. The owner smiled at me, and said, "We have another special one this time, but not quite the same as the one you've bought before." Yeah, I guess I could remember that. So, I tried the sample anyways. Mm... So good and better than the last one.

Then, a naked woman just appeared out of nowhere. The owner cried out as if he had seen a ghost, and dropped to the floor unconsciously. And I was like, Holy $h!t! What just happened here? Did she really even exist? Or maybe I was just seeing things. Anyways, the naked woman came along with me. I told her to cover herself up before anyone else saw her like this. Because who knew this beautiful stranger had just popped into existence, could eventually get into trouble. I wouldn't want that.

Later on, I've found out this latest "special" cupcake allowed me to reshape reality by using my own imagination. That basically says, I could make things come true by thinking about it, but only when it comes to naked women. I sighed and looked at her. I could name her if I wanted to. But she would eventually fade away just my like last power. Who knows how long it will last. I just hope these new cupcakes won't run out too soon. I'll have to buy another pack before someone else gets it. Something tells me that there are lonely, horny men out there, waiting to get the latest cupcake. But for now, I could cherish these intimate moments, entirely alone with her or any other woman that I could imagine. Let's just hope they don't follow me around. Because everyone will think that I was some crazy, magnetic attraction like... Magneto? Anyways, I had to keep them at bay and tell them I'll be back from work or any other place that I might go out to. Besides, I have some friends to hang out with, other than Jake himself.

And guess what? All the naked women that I've imagined before, were all gone. And I found out that a single pack of cupcakes was totally empty. Which means that I'll have to go back to the store, and get another one. When I reached the store, I've learned there was someone else buying that same, special cupcake. And guess who was buying it? It turned out to be the lover boy named Jake. That damn Jake, who stole my girlfriend. I mean, look at him. Does he even know what he was getting himself into? How should I know that he was going to buy that cupcake? I bet he was going to buy it for Cassie, since I've told her that I wasn't going to bring those cupcakes for her birthday. He had been a betrayer from the first, and this time I'll not let him get those cupcakes. After all, it could be the last one. Who knows?

So, Jake came outside the store and finally saw me. I punched him on the face, and grabbed the cupcakes as quickly as I could. I had to eat them all. Because, eventually Jake would have to call the police and say that my old buddy just beat me up, and stole my precious cupcakes. But let me tell you something, folks. That these are my cupcakes, and I won't let any horny man get them. Not even Jake.

But there was a problem. As I drove along the way, there were quite a number of naked women, popping out of existence. For that, my car became too crowded. And I thought to myself, Stop thinking! Stop thinking! But it was too late. There were more of them where they came from.

And yes, I got myself involved in a car accident. All the six cupcakes that I've eaten from a single pack... I groaned in pain. I couldn't clear my head, and yet I could still see the white light, shining in front of my very own eyes. I didn't know what it was, but then I knew where I was going. No more cupcakes for me.

THE END

Batkevin74 - [Untitled]

“Igor!”

The cybernetic man-beast bolted upright at the harsh tone of his master, Professor Töröttkar. He quickly closed all the tabs of kittens and cat memes on his laptop. “Yes master.”

“Where are the Chernobyl strawberries that I left on the bench?”

Igor gulped and shut his laptop. “Um…”

Professor Töröttkar seethed as he exhaled. Slowly he stalked towards the creature he created with his own two hands and looked deep into his eyes. “Igor…where are the strawberries?”

Igor quivered in fear and lowered himself towards the ground. “I’m sorry master.”

“WHAT DID YOU DO?”

Igor curled up into a ball and rocked back and forth making nonsensical sounds. Professor Töröttkar stood over him and waited. He contemplated kicking him but all that did was make a mess. After a while, Igor had regained his composure.

“I took them, master.”

“Why?”

“For your birthday.”

Töröttkar was taken aback by the statement. “My birthday?”

“Igor wanted to do something nice for master, as master is always nice to me.”

Töröttkar felt a rare twinge of guilt as he wasn’t always nice to his creation, nor to anyone else for that matter, but from Igor’s point of view he was.

“Igor took the strawberries to the shop as Igor has idea but no skill to make master a cake like the Ainstagrom videos master watches in the bubble bath.”

Töröttkar was a little annoyed that Igor knew what he did in the bath but was also touched by the monster’s sincerity and generosity.

“The shop will deliver the cake on your birthday on Friday,” Igor said. “Igor is sorry he took your fruits.”

Professor Töröttkar patted Igor on his shoulder. “You are…what do you mean fruits?”

“Igor also used the pineapple and the apples too!”

Töröttkar clenched his fists. “The Bikini Atoll pineapple and the manchineel beach apples from the Bahamas!”

“Yes master.”

“AND YOU HAD THEM MADE INTO A CAKE FOR MY BIRTHDAY? ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME YOU STUPID, IGNORANT MISH-MASH OF ANIMALS?!?”

--

Professor Töröttkar sat in the passenger seat of the black XJ-220 Super Jaguar as a bloodied and beaten Igor drove the incredibly fast machine to the cake store.

“I’m very sorr…”

“Shut. Up.” Töröttkar snapped returning the car to silence. The GPS showed it would take nineteen minutes to get there; nineteen silent minutes where he could contemplate how stupid his cretinous creation had been. Igor had taken several of the most poisonous & toxic fruits from the lab that were intended for use on the upcoming G20 summit and sent them to a baker to make a birthday cake. These fruits combined with there three pretty coloured potions Igor had also given the baker; namely Human Growth Hormone, Cobalt Thorium K and Polymethylditetrahydrofuranic Acid, meant the cake was possibly the most lethal baked good on the planet.

“How could you…” Töröttkar stopped himself and just glared at Igor for the remainder of the trip into Portland.

--

“Oh no!” Igor said as they stood in front of the exploded cake shop. Professor Töröttkar reached into his pocket which made Igor cower but luckily it was simply a scanner. He waved it around collecting and collating data when a glowing figure hovered up from the ruins.

“I am The Boulanger!” said the glowing man. “I created a dozen cupcakes and when I tasted one, it transformed me into a living super powered pastry chef. Evil doers beware!”

Professor Töröttkar looked at Igor and raised his hand causing Igor to flinch. But there was no slap or punch. It became a hug.

“Do you know what you’ve done Igor?”

“No master.”

“You have created for me a brand new enemy to fight. Someone for me to play with, confound, and ultimately defeat. This is the best birthday present an evil genius could ask for!”

“Igor did good?”

Professor Töröttkar smiled. “Igor did very good. Excuse me, Pastry Man?”

“I am The Boulanger!”

“Of course you are.” Töröttkar pulled a ray gun from his pocket and began to engage him in combat. “Igor! Make sure you record EVERYTHING! I wish to know about his powers, weaknesses, EVERYTHING! Well done you magnificent mongrel!”

“Yes master!” Igor the cybernetic man-beast clapped his hands in delight and began to record as his creator and a flying man powered by superpowered cupcakes did battle. Laser blasts and cream-filled rays flew back and forth. “Happy birthday.”

Steve40L - [Untitled]

Cupbake. He's cute, he looks like a blue cupcake with pink sprinkles, and shoots soda from a giant gun he carries on his back. What's not to love about him? He's a hero everyone likes. You're probably curious about his origins, am I right? Well it all started at a baking factory (And that's why he's named Cupbake rather than Cupcake) It was a normal day and the baker was pulling out a batch of blue muffins. When the literal Ginger Bread man ran through the shop and landed on a cupcake. Leaving behind a few crumbs. As you probably know, the Gingerbread man is a magical ginger bread cookie. So naturally, his crumbs where magical. This cause one of the cupcakes to come to life. The baker, being nothing but surprised picked him up. This Cupcake had little tiny arms and legs. His hands like he was wearing mittens and no toes, just two feet, without toes. The baker was astonished, he was ready to show off this cupcake to the world! He looked back at his palm where the cupcake was supposed to be. He or She wasn't their (I don't think this cupcake really has a gender, so an it maybe?) Anyway, he was eating all of his brothers, or the cupcakes that weren't fortunate to come to life. Trust me, it's a lot easier to think about when you think about the fact they're not alive. After swallowing the last one whole, he stood back flew onto a table (Didn't expect the Ginger Bread man's crumbs to do that, now did you?) Now the Ginger Bread man doesn't have powers because he's not a cannable, this Cupcake had no problem with it and ate as many cupcakes as he could get his tiny cute hands on. He then proceeded to summon a fairly large gun for his size and covered the room in soda. (It's ok a for a hero to be a little mischievous if he's cute, ok?) He then jumped off the counter and flew out of the room. The baker would never forget him, mainly because it's hard to forget a living super hero cupcake that you make free cupcakes for daily. Cupbake had a marry time beating up petty thieves with a soda. (How that worked? I have no idea, I'm pretty sure you can find an interview or something on the internet.) He got the idea from having a brief period in his life where comic books made up most of his day. By that I mean he read them a lot (I have no idea what other context that could be taken into but I don't want to find out). Things where dandy and he no problem taking out criminals until he meat his arch enemy. The Muffin (And before you get it wrong, his name is The Muffin, not Muffin. I don't know why he did that) He had a similar backstory, actually. Not at all, he was a lab experiment. Rather then a freak accident, any how. He pulled out two large guns, this meant war. He started shooting chocolate chips at Cupbacke, this was not taken well at all. He pulled out his one large gun and started machine gunning rainbow sprinkles (I don't the difference, but I'm pretty sure the blaster came with a manual so Cupbake sure knew, I think...) This battle wasn't going to end until one beat the other. That reminded Cupbake of something, from one of his favorite characters "One shall stand, and one shall fall!" (Bonus points if you know who that line is from:) Cupbake was finally struck down by his nemeses. He tried getting up, but The Muffin put a foot on him. And took of his hood, (Oh, did I mention he was wearing a red hoodie that said the words evil in a cool faunt? I probably forgot, and he was wearing a gas mask while I'm at it. I don't know why he whore it, maybe to look cool?) He then took of the gas mask he was wearing, reviling a big scar on his eye. He got ready for the final shot, when Cupbake stuck out his two arms and shot two blobs of frosting on the floor. The smiled, and in the cutest voice you could possibly imagine

"I win"

Yes, that's what he said. The the blobs of frosting grew larger and tied around The Muffins waist. It was the end, Cupbake had won. After his most heroic fight yet, he ate more cupcakes. Cause that's how he got his powers, and he was quite drained. Maybe I should have mentioned why he liked cupcakes so much at the beginning? I just said he was a cannable, so had powers. That's not the best way to put things, now is it? Why are you still reading? It's the end, go do something now, play a game. Go outside, it's the end of the story. Ok bye now!

YoungJustice - Darkchild

Darkchild

“Hello, my name is Cassie Sirach, I am twenty-seven years old, and I am a recovering food addict.”

In unison, a group of fellow members replied to her, “Welcome Cassie.” Cassie sat back down in her backrow seat, immediately looking down at her legs, fearful of the lingering, the assumptions, the opinions of the room.

At the head of the room, the apparent leader spoke, “Thank you Cassie, you are taking the first step and we are all proud of you.” Her tone was stoic and cold, she stared into Cassie, her words were friendly, but her body spoke something much different, something much darker.

A few seats next to Cassie, a man discussed his addiction to snack cakes, going into details about the lengths he would go to get his hands on one; stealing packages of them from convenience stores and taking them out of his children’s lunchboxes, in the midst, he pulled one out of his jacket to continue his point, the instructor quickly took it from the man, “Sorry Mr. Hox, no food allowed in here, it was in the intro packet. Please continue.”

She dismissed the group moments later, as the meeting dispersed, the woman called to Cassie, reaching out to her in a much gentler tone than earlier, “Hey, Miss Sirach, if you could I’d like you to stay around for a second.”

Cassie glared at the woman, it was clear she intended to leave this uncomfortable setting as soon as possible, but she felt it rude to deny her, “Sure, yeah. I can stay for a few minutes.” Cassie moved further up than she sat before, once the room was empty, she followed up with her, “So, what’s up Dr. Lyras?”

The woman sat herself across from Cassie, sitting backwards in her chair, she smiled at Cassie, “Please, outside of the meetings you can call me Susan.” Cassie smiled, surprised at the sudden change in the Susan’s demeanor, Susan continued to speak, “Look, I know how hard this is for you. The courts order for a lot of people to come into these meetings and they don’t show up, but you did. You introduced yourself on your first day. That’s no small feat.”

Cassie’s smile slightly fell, she knew what this was, this treatment, its been happening to her since she was a child, and it was never genuine, “Thank you for the pep talk, but…I have a feeling you don’t do this for everyone that comes here.”

Susan smirked, “You’re right. You are different. It would be against logic to deny that. I don’t intend to make you uncomfortable, but your situation is different. You aren’t just in recovery for food addiction, you in recovery for all the things that caused it too. I know I’m supposed to act like I don’t know you, but I do, everyone did, that’s something that isn’t going to go away. For you to heal, a different route must be taken.”

Her honesty was refreshing, but not a deal breaker, a haze of hesitation still lingered over Cassie, not sure if she should trust Susan or not, “I’ve tried so many, I don’t think this is going to help and nothing else will either, to be straight with you. I appreciate you for thinking to try, but it’s best for me to just meet the required meeting count and never come here again.” Cassie stood up, preparing to leave, but Susan stopped her, putting her hand on her shoulder, “You fought so hard for this world when you were a child, forced into a position many wouldn’t take in prime. You deserve to be free of the pain, free of the fear, free of the need. Let me help you.”

Cassie looked at Susan as her eyes began to water, this wasn’t the first time someone had reached out, but it was the first time she felt it, felt the emotion and determination that would be needed to help her. If she walked away from this opportunity, she would never forgive herself, she became overwhelmed with emotion, “I just want this weight lifted from me.”

“Then it shall be.” Susan removed her hand from Cassie’s shoulder and moved it up to her head, she pressed firmly upon her temples and looked into Cassie’s eyes, “Close your eyes, and think about your pain.”

The room changed from the brightly lit meeting to an open field, the grass turned to dirt and covered in the bloodied bodies of heavily armored soldiers. Chaos engulfed the area, distant fires raging, smoke filled the air, and the deep screams of the few that remained. It was a scary sight, yet a young girl stood in the middle, fitted in the same armored suit of the dead, covered in dried blood.

She looked coldly at the scene around her, completely stoic and depleted of all feeling. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a perfectly clean wrapped filled cake, her expression shifted as she opened the delicious snack. As she bit into it, she let out a sigh of relief, proceeding to lay upon one of the dismantled bodies and enjoy her snack, however, the more she enjoyed, the more gut wrenching the scene around her became.

From the ground, demonic like beings arose, scattering to find the few remaining living in the area and decimating all in their way. The creatures expanded their jaws as the ate humans whole, spitting out their bones and moving to the next target, they were ruthless.

The young girl reached into her pocket again and pulled out a cell phone, she quickly called a number and set it to speaker, setting it aside next to her. An older man spoke to her, “Cassie! We have been monitoring your progress on the Northern Isle. You are making history kid!”

Cassie’s mood rose even more, “Thanks Papa! I told you I could do it.”

He replied, “I knew you could champ, I knew it.”

As he continued to speak, his voice began to fade, along with the area around Cassie, it slowly reverted back to the meeting area and the screams of the citizens became Cassie’s, she dropped to the floor in horror of her memories, Susan kneeled to comfort her.

“I know, I know. Just take a second, let yourself breathe.” Susan rubbed Cassie’s back and head, trying to comfort her as much as possible. Cassie’s screams became cries as she settled, “I didn’t want to do any of it…I swear. I just…that was my life. Ever since I developed my abilities, I didn’t know it was wrong I swear.”

Susan grabbed Cassie’s hand and brought her to the chair, sitting alongside her now, “I’m sure you didn’t, but…you did, I mean hell you exceeded expectations. You weren’t just the average lab experiment; they couldn’t even come close to achieving the real-world results that you did.”

Cassie’s cries subsided, she inched away from Susan and looked at her sharply, “Why the hell would you say that to me?”

Susan stood, overlooking Cassie with the same stoicism as earlier, once again looking directly into her eyes, “It’s the truth isn’t it? For too long you have been coddled, told you were manipulated and used. You weren’t you were created for one purpose and one purpose only, to kill those who threaten the safety of our American people.” Susan walked to the back of the room and closed the doors, “My real name is Doctor Susan Keers, and it truly is an honor to finally meet my finest work.”

Cassie looked at the woman in horror, her whole life she never knew how she truly came to be, how she became the weapon she was, “You…you did this to me! You made me this. Do you even know the damage I had to do during the war!”

Susan smirked, “Yes, that was the entire point. We needed a powerhouse asset to assist the military in the War, and you did your job correctly. The only thing you have done that was not intended was, well…grow a moral compass. As a child, you were more disconnected but the more you grew, the more you remembered…well we couldn’t account for how much it would affect you. For that, I apologize, and offer a solution.”

“I don’t want ANYTHING from you, you should be in jail for the rest of your life just like Pa-, just like General Hinton for what you did!” Cassie began to cry again, but this time her eyes pierced with anger.

Susan remained unfazed, “See, now that’s why you were so good. You’re a firecracker.” She walked close to Cassie, “You have spent all these years trying to run away from your bad, did you ever think of all the good you could do.” Susan grabbed a picture from her pocket and unfolded it, “See her? Deena Warren, a former CIA officer and is being tortured in Yugoslavia as we speak, but we can’t do anything about it, too many politics involved.”

Cassie scoffed, “I would rather die than lay a finger for this country.” She could only look at Susan in disgust at this point, “Make another lab child if you need help so bad.”

“We can’t, after you escaped and outed the program, all further developments into the project were scrapped. We don’t even have the resources to do so if we could, the only reason I am not in jail is because they needed someone with my credentials without the high price tag.” Susan focused on the picture of Deena, “We are a weak nation, a shell of what we were before the war. You are the only one who can do what needs to be done.”

Cassie sat back down, hiding her face in her hands, obviously overwhelmed with the situation, “You know, you were right, earlier. I keep running from that part of my life, acting like it didn’t happen, like it wasn’t my fault but…I knew it wasn’t right. I kept doing it because…because it felt good. To have that much power, to have that much control.” Cassie uncovered her face to unveil a smile, “Thank you for bringing me back there, I’ve suppressed so many of those memories.”

Cassie walked close to Susan, she no longer seemed angry or overwhelmed, she seemed powerful. She reached into Susan’s pocket and grabbed the confiscated snack cake, quickly opening and biting it before Susan could react.

Susan quickly realized the monster she had re-awakened, as she tried to sprint to the door, an arm pounded through the floor, grabbing her by her leg, dropping her to the ground as she continued to kick and fight.

Cassie kneeled in front of Susan, even more so blocking her path to the door, “I think you’re right Susan, it’s time to take a different path.” She rose and walked out of the room, as the screams of Susan filled the building.

Taking another bite of her snack cake, Cassie walked outside, once again reunited with the familiar scenes that filled her childhood. Terror rummaged the streets as creatures busted through the city streets, killing everything in their path. Cassie looked around, the terror excited her, the fear aroused her, the pain fed her. As she took her final bite of her snack cake, for the first time in years, her heart pounded with joy, she was herself once again.

SpareHeadOne - Just Desserts

Just Desserts

Leif sat in his mothers bakery doing his homework at one of the cafe tables. Hunched over with his head leaning on one hand, he pined over the cream cakes he could see behind the counter.

"Here you are Sugar." said his mother as she handed him his afterschool snack.

"Plain rice crackers and a carrot. Gee thanks mum." said Leif, ironically.

"You know there are harmful chemicals in all that flavouring. We want to be healthy don't we Honey?" his mother preached.

Leif's mother was a health food Nazi. No one in her house ever ate anything sugary or salty or fatty or tasty in any way. She considers herself to be a paragon of self control and as such she can run a bakery without ever eating its produce. She would send Leif to birthday parties with a lunchbox and strict instructions that Leif was not to eat anything but what was in his box, She would tell other parents that he had allergies and could end up in hospital. This was a lie of course. To make things a little more painful for Leif no one even came to his birthday parties because the food was so bland and boring. He had just turned 14 and didn't even bother to plan a party this time.

"I tell you what Sweetie, when we get home I have a surprise waiting for you." said his mother, seeing the depressed look on her son's face.

In the attic at home Leif and his mother stood perusing seven large wooden chests. "Your Father has left these to you. His wish was for you to get one every year until you turn 21." His mother announced. " Here is the first one for you." and she pointed to the one marked "14" with big brass letter box numbers.

"This is between you and your father," his mother said. "If you need me, I will be in the kitchen.". With that, his mother left the attic and began preparing a dinner worthy of a rabbit.

Leif began rifling through the chest. The whole collection of the first run of MagicTG cards; "Brilliant!!!". The whole collection of Energon series Transformers figures; "Awesome!!!". A huge pile of comics. "Whoahohh" exclaimed Leif excitedly, "An "Eternals #1!!!". Leif carefully pulled the comic out of its plastic sleeve and began flicking through the pages. He stumbled across an advert for Hostess Cupcakes. Even though the ad was in black and white Leif began to drool as he looked at the delicious Hostess cupcake featured on the page. For most of us an advertisement such as this would pale compared to reading the original story in an "Eternals #1" but for Leif the idea of a frosted delight such as this was becoming a constant fantasy. He saw the phone number in the ad and he began to imagine himself as a kid in the 1970s ringing up on an old rotary dial phone and placing the order. He would receive his parcel of cakes the next day from a delivery man and his family would gather around him smiling and eager to view the mouth watering treats. He would share them with everyone and they would all admire him.

As his daydream dropped away out of focus he noticed again the phone number at the bottom of the ad. "Ring it" a voice sounded in his mind. It was his father's voice.

Leif laughed "This should be fun.". He got his phone from his pocket and dialed the number.

An old man answered the phone "Ahhh this must be Leif, I've been expecting your call. Your cupcake is on its way, I sent it with the courier this morning."

"I'm sorry, you've sent it already? Who is this? How do you know me?" Asked a flabbergasted Leif.

Ignoring his questions the old man called out "Excelsior!!!" and simply hung up the phone. Then immediately the doorbell rang. Leif hurried down stairs and answered the door. It was his package. After telling his mother that it was just someone looking for directions, he ran back up to the attic, locked the door and opened his package.

He slowly opened the box, mouth dripping with expectation. A beautiful chocolate covered cup cake glistened back at him. He ran his eyes over the white icing, following every curl and loop from one side to the other. "Its magic" his father's voice echoed in his head. With that Leif picked it up and took a bite. As he consumed the heavenly treat he could feel his brain changing. He could feel things moving inside his head, chemicals rushing around. Oh but the taste was more important to him, the best thing he had eaten in four years. He made sure to eat every bit of it and to lick every last bit of icing off of the grease paper it was wrapped in.

After school the next day Leif had promised to help his mother serving in the bakery. "We have alot of cakes and buns left over from yesterday." she told him "Do your best to sell them to the customers."

In came the first customer of the afternoon, a man who was in the mood for a meat pie. As he perused the different meat pies in order to make his choice, Leif called out from the other end of the counter "Would you like a cream bun sir? The man looked over at Leif and headed straight for him with his hand out. "Yes please." he said. Leif handed him the cream bun and he ate it immediately. "Err that'll be three dollar$ thanks.". said Leif. The man, with a confused look on his face, handed him the money and walked out.

A lady was waiting her turn." How can I help you?" asked Leif.

"I'm looking for a birthday cake for my son she explained."

"How about a tower of these cupcakes here?" Leif suggested half joking.

"Yes please." said the woman and she held her hand out.

Leif was beginning to worry. This was familiar behaviour. He slowly lifted the plate of cupcakes up out of the counter and tentatively handed them over to the lady. She took the plate and sat down on the floor right where she was and started to devour a stack of 20 cupcakes. Slightly disgusted Leif watched her until she was finished. Two customers had come in and walked straight out when they saw her on the floor with her face covered in chocolate. "Umm that'll be forty dollar$.". The woman paid up and left the bakery embarrassed.

Leif had decided to keep his mouth shut for the rest of his shift just in case it happened again. At the end of his shift he piled the leftover cakes and buns into a large tub and started walking to the homeless shelter a few blocks away so that he could give them away. Down an alley he saw a big rough looking man slapping a woman around. "Get back out there Bitch and work!!!" he growled. He pushed her over and kicked her. Then he looked up and saw Leif standing there staring at him. He started running at Leif but when Leif took off running the man gave up chasing him. When Leif arrived at the shelter he put the tub on the table and turned to walk home. An old man called out to him. "Leif! How did you like your cupcake?"

"Could this be the old guy on the phone last night." Leif thought

"What? " answered Leif.

"You are going to need that box of cakes." The old man said.

"What?" said Leif totally weirded out by his day. "There must be a hundred cakes in here. I couldn't eat them all even though I want to."

The old man grumbled a little as he got up off of his comfortable chair and strode over to the table. He picked up the box of cakes and buns and gently shoved them into Leif's arms. "Trust me" the old man said earnestly. "You are going to need them.". Leif saw the look on the man's face and he knew he could believe him.

"Ok" he said and turned and began to walk away.

"Excelsior!!!" the old guy called out.

On his way home Leif was spotted by the rough looking pimp who had chased him earlier. The pimp was with another man who had a mowhawk. This time they were able to ambush Leif. Mowhawk grabbed Leif from behind, pinning his hands down. The tub dropped to the pavement and bounced off to the side. The pimp stood before him and slapped Leif's face hard, making his nose bleed. "You start talking to anyone boy and you're gunna get worse than this." And with that the pimp punched Leif in the stomach. Mowhawk dropped him to the ground and stepped on his head as he walked over to the large tub of cakes and buns. "What have we got here." Mowhawk said.

"Cakes and buns, you guys can have em if you want em." answered Leif hoping to placate them enough so that he could avoid more pain.

"Yes please." Both of them said in unison. They sat around the tub and began eating all the cakes and buns.

It took Leif a while to bring himself to sit up but when he did he saw the pimp throwing up into the tub that was still three quarters full. Mowhawk was grabbing another cream bun that was covered in puke and was, to his own horror taking a first bite.

People from the neighbourhood had begun to gather around. Kids were filming the disgusting spectacle. Mowhawk began to throw up in the tub as well. The two of them would eat three or four cakes or buns and then throw up as they were grabbing their next one to eat. The police were eventually called but they just ended up watching until all the desserts were gone and Mowhawk and the pimp began scooping up handfuls of vomit and eating it. The fire brigade was called at that point, in order to have them washed down and taken to the hospital.

"You have a power." vibrated the voice of Leif's father in his head.

For the next year reports came in every week from all over the city, of crimes being foiled. The criminals involved would mysteriously start eating deserts without stopping and the police would be called anonymously. A card would be left at the scene, embossed with the simple phrase "Just Desserts".

Remember: Votes due by Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 11:59pm New York time (click the link if you're unsure) [that's Monday, Mar 22, 3:59PM Sydney, Australia time].

I'm glad you're here. Thanks for reading, thanks for voting, and see you on the 21st! In the meantime, stay safe, everyone, and do everything you're able to not catch COVID! It's no fun- trust me on that. -cb :^D

35 Comments

Highlander: The Immortal Venom

DateHighlanderViewRead the...
02/04/21The Immortal Venom(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
RatingRating explanation
TNudity mentioned, but not described.

The man in the black trenchcoat and blue jeans stood outside the church in the rain only a few seconds before hurrying up to the door and inside, his black loafers barely making any noise on the concrete steps. Once there, he was greeted by a faint buzzing in the back of his head. Then a priest appeared from the rectory.

"Duncan," called the priest. "Duncan MacLeod? Is that you?"

"Darius," replied the man with a smile, snapping his coat once to clear some of the water. The part of his blue shirt that wasn't protected by the coat was soaked.

"I thought you were in Paris?" Darius asked as he came down the main aisle to greet his friend.

"I'm here to meet another immortal. Dane Whitman."

"The Black Knight?" Darius asked in surprise. "Don't you think it best to leave the weilder of the Ebony Blade alone?"

"He can tell me where to find Lo--"

MacLeod was cut off by the pealing of the church's steeple bell.

Darius took a few tentative steps towards the door to the bell tower. "What the devil? It's too early to ring the bell."

Duncan stepped forward, and put the back of his hand to his friend's chest. "No, Darius," he said over the bells, and drawing his sword. "Let me."

Carefully opening the door, his sword held in front of him, the sound of the bells reverberated down the tower's stairwell. It was dark inside, and full of more cobwebs than he thought his friend would allow in his church. A flash of lightning near the belfry lit the stairs only a moment. Duncan saw a man, naked, being carried down the stairs by... he wasn't sure who. They seemed to be hidden in shadows, even during the flash.

As his eyes readjusted, he heard the man's body thud at the bottom of the stairs. Another flash of lightning confirmed it was him. But where was the person who had carried him? He looked further up the stairs as a third flash revealed the thing. White eyes and teeth were all he could see. It growled. It leapt. Duncan swung his sword. There was a scream, and a loud crash of thunder.

Moments later, Duncan emerged from the bell tower, now dry, and wearing black pants, shirt, and trenchcoat.

Darius looked concerned as he approached him. "Is everything okay, Duncan? I heard a scr--"

The priest was cut off by Duncan's sword going through his stomach. Through the shock, he said, "But... this... is... holy ground."

Leaning in to put a hand on Darius' shoulder as he pulled the sword out of his gut, Duncan smiled bigger than human proportions could allow, showing huge, sharp teeth. Something black oozed across his face, meeting in the middle, leaving great white spots over his eyes. In a snarl, he said, "Sorry, old friend, but there can be only one," and he swung the blade to decapitate Darius. Looking on the body as the Quickening started, he growled, "And it... is... us."

Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb

Story owned by Chris Bishop, copyright 2021. Character ownerships listed in the first comment box.

6 Comments

CCC #106 - Voting Thread

There can be only one.
There can be only one.

Hey, peeps, Happy Groundhog Day! SpareHeadOne asked me to do the voting thread. The theme this time was to write a story in the universe of the immortal, sword-swinging Highlander! This was fun, so let's get right to the stories, and the voting.

The voting rules:

  • READ the stories, PICK your favorite one, and CAST your VOTE!
  • If you wrote, you should vote! (It's just sporting)
  • No voting for yourself. (Also sporting)
  • The voting deadline is Monday, February 15, 2021 at 11:59pm Sydney Australia time (click the link if you're unsure) [that's Monday, Feb 15, 7:59AM New York time].
  • Remember: All are welcome to vote - writer or reader, and the winner gets to pick the next contest.

The stories:

The Impersonator - Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing

Ronan MacLeod had been the toughest warrior since the 16th-century. The year was now 2150 A.D. and the largest company known as Diamos Corporation on Earth, have been using its vast resources, in order to drain the energy from the Earth's core. Ronan hadn't much else to say about it, because he knew that one day that this thing could happen. Lord Daimos was the true perpetrator behind this devastation, causing earthquakes and other natural disasters out there. He had also killed all the Immortals, who have tried to vanquish him before. Even Ronan was too afraid for that. But then, he'll have to defeat him someday, so that Earth could be saved. Besides, there was no one else. Who else could it be other than Ronan himself? He looked at the latest technology that tracks down the other Immortals from different parts of the world. So far, they were none. He and Diamos were the only ones left. But a while ago, he had to confirm it by asking the computer several times, just in case if he had been right about it. The answer was still the same.

I must defeat Daimos, Ronan thought. He has gone too far. I must stop him at once! He went down to the Training Ground, and continued training himself to the point that he had learned the sword techniques, masterfully. It wasn't easy. He had to learn it by heart, since his current, Immortal master was killed by Diamos a couple of months ago. Yes, he had been taught over the centuries by other masters as well, and the fact that he had to learn them wisely. But it wasn't enough. In order to defeat the powerful Diamos, he must learn more.

While training, Ronan heard an unknown voice, saying in his head, "Ronan... Ronan... Please... You can't do this." At first, he wasn't sure who the person was talking to him. It could be anyone, like some sort of spirit, who came to warn him about the incoming danger. Ronan thought, Whoever that was, he just merely wants me to be alive by not taking Diamos down. I won't give up! Ronan ignored that familiar voice, and continued training.

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At the Diamos Corporation, Lord Diamos made sure that he had killed all the remaining Immortals on Earth. In fact, he had killed billions of them. His vast power and knowledge grew intense, and that he became so powerful that no human or Immortal could defeat him. Yes, there were Hunters out there, trying to take out his head. But eventually, they had failed their mission. Lord Diamos sat on his throne, watching the screens for his enemies. He thought, "Bah! Those fools! They couldn't defeat me! Not even those Watchers, who could barely do anything but watch." He laughed at that expression, when no one else was around. He must have felt alone throughout these years, but he had his own Immortal assailants to protect him. It wasn't a surprise that they have also tried to kill their own master, because they thought Diamos was too powerful to take over the entire planet. Diamos also made sure that his betrayers would die in vain. At one point, Diamos fought his assailants, one by one. It was the rules of the game, nothing more. But there were other Immortals who had broken the rules, and fought him at the same time. Yet they still failed. Daimos had won again.

However, there was only one Immortal left. He had known this fact because the Immortal Tracking Device had detected a new Immortal, hiding somewhere on the desolated wasteland of America. He wanted to ignore this fact, thinking that the device must have an error. But that wasn't the case. The device had no errors, since the day it was created by an Immortal scientist back in 2010. Daimos had killed him too, just in case the scientist planned to hack his head off during sleep. Diamos couldn't trust anyone, but himself.

He got up from his throne, and asked the computer again about the Immortal's whereabouts. The computer said that it couldn't pinpoint the Immortal's exact location, due to the electromagnetic interference. Daimos figured the last time that the Immortals had hid themselves in the Sanctuary for the rest of their lives, so they couldn't participate in the Game. Either that, they were too afraid of fighting the legendary Diamos himself. Of course, these Immortals had no choice, when they had heard of Daimos getting stronger day by day, and that they had to venture out in the open wasteland and fight Daimos alone, or together. They had failed too. Except Ronan MacLeod of the Clan Macleod, who was still alive and well.

"Yes, Ronan," Diamos said to no one else in particular. "I'm waiting for you."

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Somewhere in the highlands of Scotland, a drunken man was found dead on the ground. But he suddenly woke up, and saw that he was still alive. Was it a dream? Surely, it couldn't be a dream because a drunkard remembered clearly that he had come to the bar, offering drinks to his new friends, and then had sex with some English woman, who came to Scotland in order to lead a new life, except that kind of life have only lead to prostitution. Anyways, the drunkard known as Ronan had walked slowly, trying to remember what really happened on that fateful day. Sometimes, he could be selfish and annoying, and other times, he made jokes that not even a single person would laugh at. A man rode his horse and found Ronan getting himself lost, deep in the forest.

"Yay!" The Scottish warrior said, stopping his horse. "Lad! Wet has happened to ye?" Ronan kept quiet for the moment, thinking that he was still drunk, but not really. It only happened a while ago, and that someone killed him on this very spot. Mest likely, it wes a thief, Ronan thought. Hu else? Then he remembered something and thought, O, me Lord! Me guld coins! He checked his purse, over and over again. I ne it. Dat rascal stole me monee!The rider looked at him, confused. He said, "Wet ees the matter, lad? Are ye missin' somethin'?"

"Yay, Em missin' somethin'!" Ronan said angrily. He looked at the horse rider for the first time. "I hev ben rubed."

The horse rider chuckled at the thought and said, "Weel... perheps ye didn't realize dat ye wee dead."

"Dead?" Ronan said, laughing at the horse rider, and then looked at himself. "I ain't dead. Luk et me. Em seel alive."

The rider shook his head, and said, "Nay, I hev sheen u keeled by de preteest thief ef eva seen. Trost me."

"Is dat supoose to be a juke?" Ronan said. "Becuss if it is, I dent like it."

"If ye dent like it, my freend, den u mest be eff an' I wud du the same. So leng, Ronan."

Ronan was stunned to hear his own name, being said by the unknown stranger. "Weet a minit," Ronan said. "How de ye ne my name?" The horse rider smiled and said, "I em the member ef de Clan MacLeod. I ne u." He rode his horse and then stopped in front of Ronan. "Ye shud change urself, lad. It's fer the bist." Then the rider left Ronan alone.

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Currently, Ronan have finally arrived at the Diamos Corporation via a flying ship. Lightning flashed across the sky, and he winced at it. Surely, this could be a mistake coming here, Ronan thought. But it was the first time that he had ever set foot on this futuristic stronghold, being owned by the Immortal dictator. Diamos had founded his company back in the 2050s. But as time passed on, the renegade Immortal wanted to seek out more knowledge and power by killing dozens of Immortals, including his best friends. He was selfish, just like Ronan had felt all those years ago, ever since he had met the horse rider. For the first time in his life, Ronan had listened to the rider's advice and changed himself to become a better man. He also thanked the pretty thief, who had killed him. Whoever she was.

Now that Ronan was here, he was ready to fight Diamos alone. He had his katana ready, and well-equipped on the the hilt of his belt. This katana was forged and created by his Japanese master, who had also taught the sword techniques to several of his students back in Japan. The master took certain interest in the Ronan character, even though he used to be a native of Scotland. But there was another student, who jot jealous over the fact that Ronan was so much better than him, that the student himself had to kill him, alone. Later, he was stunned to see that the highlander came back from the dead, and had said, "Master! Master! Ronan is a demon!" From that day on, Ronan left Japan, and was never to see his master again.

But he wouldn't leave Diamos, not after what he did to all those Immortals, and not to mention the innocent lives that he had caused. Such grief and sorrow were not forgotten. Yes, Diamos had to kill them as well, just for interfering his plans. Over the years, Ronan had grown restless, wanting to get out of the Sanctuary and face Diamos alone. But his master, who got killed a couple of months ago, had said, "Ronan, you can't beat him. You know this. Do you have any idea how many Immortals, he had killed?" But Ronan didn't listen to him. When he had went off alone without his master's permission and then came back, he found out that his master was beheaded outside the Sanctuary. For that reason alone, he had to seek out another shelter that could protect him from Diamos. Henceforth, Ronan decided to live alone in the abandoned church. It was the only way.

And there was that. Ronan had lived in the church for all those months. Then, he had to set himself a small section called the Training Ground below the church, where he could train himself by studying the old books, and watching past videos on the computer mainframe. He had put everything to their use. Ronan was confident enough to beat the Immortal dictator.

Looking back at that place, Ronan felt peaceful during these dark times, but he hadn't forgotten about Diamos. He knew his mission very well. The door opened itself. It was quite dark inside. The lightning still flashed across the threshold of the Diamos Corporation. There was no human on sight, only except for the androids, who were designed to work day and night in fueling the resources from the planet's core. Ronan stepped inside carefully, and walked. The androids ignored him as they were programmed to do so, and instead continued their tasks. Ronan was watching for any booby traps nearby, but knew that Diamos wouldn't pull an easy trick on him. After all, he was only playing by the rules. Ronan could feel him, and so was Diamos.

"Yes," Diamos thought. "He's here." He could feel Ronan's presence nearby. The highlander was coming closer to him. The evil Immortal got up from the chair immediately, and stepped down to the wide floor of his main office. Flashes of lightning cracked across the skies, and reflected on the main floor. This was the place where Diamos had worked alone, until he had planned his own doomsday clock. He had planned everything in foresight by using the power and knowledge of the other Immortals that he had slain earlier. Once he kills Ronan, he will become a God.

But for Ronan, he wanted peace, or rather he wanted to become a mortal. Because they can be only one, and that one can wish for anything in the world. Ronan have always wanted to age and die. He told his wish to the horse rider, a couple of times when they had crossed paths, again.

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"Em net shure I ken du dis," Ronan said. He was fighting against the horse rider to prove that he was the best man to offer. The Clan MacLeod couldn't afford failures such as the one called Ronan MacLeod. Ronan may be handsome and all, but he was still selfish, thinking that he could beat any man in the world. He had his own sword ready to fight the horse rider. The rider said, "Kem un, Ronan." He also raised his sword, ready to attack his new opponent. "Fight me!" Ronan sighed and said, "Okee." He raised his sword and swirled at his attacker, which was meant to miss him, because he was afraid of killing his new master. The rider had revealed himself to be an Immortal, and said, "Dent worry, Ronan. I kent die, only if ye cut me head eff." Ronan had never known about the existence of Immortals, until the rider have explained everything to him back at the cavern. "Kem un! Du yer steff."

Ronan huffed again, and swirled his sword at the rider. But the rider was skillful enough to block Ronan's sloppy attacks. The young highlander grumbled to himself, and tried to hit the rider, again and again. But he still failed. The rider said, "Okee, thet's enough. Leets tek rest." But Ronan said, "Nu, I ken du dis." The rider looked at him, as if he was crazy. He said, "Okee den." He raised his sword high up in the air, that Ronan thought he could hit him very well on the spot. The young highlander gave his best shot. But the rider struck his apprentice down by stabbing on his chest.

A couple of minutes later, Ronan woke up, and breathed heavily. The rider said, "Easy, lad. U did ur bist ye could. But ye mest try herder if ye wend tu live, thet is." Ronan shook his head and touched his chest. He just remembered of what happened a couple of minutes ago. He asked, "Did ye jest keel me?" The rider nodded and said, "I figure thet ye wend tu ne thet u ken die manee times, bet dat ken give de enemy the appertunity to cut yer head eff." Ronan sighed at that fact. He knew this was one thing that he had feared the most. But then again, he had thought of becoming the greatest warrior there was in the highlands of Scotland. He looked at the warm fire, and said, "My fether is very disappented in me. Ye should ne, in case if ye met him." The rider chuckled and said, "I ne." He looked at the clouds, indicating an incoming storm. "Kem Ronan, it's goin' te rain. Leets fend sum shilter." Ronan nodded in agreement, and followed his master.

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Ronan entered the main office of the evil Immortal. There he was, standing there on the floor, and facing Ronan. He smiled and said, "It's been a long time, Ronan. How are you doing?" Ronan didn't say anything. He couldn't believe all those years ago that his master, the horse rider of the Clan MacLeod would turn out to be Duncan MacLeod himself. He said, "Duncan..." He raised his sword, hesitating... And Daimos did the same. Diamos said, "My name isn't Duncan. MY NAME IS LORD DIAMOS!" The lightning flashed across the sky again. Ronan said, "I couldn't believe you would do such things, Duncan. I know you. But this... this has gone too far. You have killed so many!" He gave one full swift against his former friend and master. Diamos moved swiftly too, and their swords clashed, again and again. Daimos kicked Ronan's gut, pushing him back. Ronan stepped up, and clashed his enemy's sword, staring at him for a while. Then Ronan hit his chest. Diamos grinned and said, "You're getting good, Ronan. You have grown." He hit Ronan's face with the back of his sword. "But not good enough." He jumped over Ronan, and swirled the katana and slashed his chest with a straight line. Blood spewed a little on the floor. Ronan made sure that he couldn't get hit, or stabbed by the sword itself. He had remembered his former master's very own words.

"I figure thet ye wend tu ne thet u ken die manee times, bet dat ken give de enemy the appertunity to cut yer head eff."

Ronan cried out in anger, and clashed his enemy's sword. He rolled over the floor, and kicked the enemy's leg. Diamos fell down. But the great enemy got up immediately, and kicked Ronan's gut again. He even punched him on the face. Then Ronan swirled his sword, and stabbed the enemy's shoulder. Diamos winced in pain. Ronan kicked the sword away from him, and said, "There can be only one!" He pulled his sword away, and turned around to cut his head off. The head of the great Diamos, and the former Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod rolled on the floor, and the body fell down. The familiar voice of Ronan's dead master, had said, "What have you done?" Ronan still ignored him. He finally killed his sworn enemy, and now he could feel the energy, swirling around him. Ronan flew up in the air, and the Quickening struck him, tenfold. Ronan cried out in pain.

"AHHHHH! IT'S TOO MUCH... I CAN'T TAKE IT!" The Quickening energy kept hitting him from every side of his body. The painful process took longer than Ronan expected, because he had never felt this kind of pain before. It was different from the other Immortals that he had killed in the past.

While still experiencing the pain, the same, familiar voice appeared in Ronan's head again. Ronan... Ronan...

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"Ronan... Ronan..." Ronan suddenly woke up from the bed, and saw his master, the Great and Wise Methos, appearing before him. "Ronan, are you alright?" Ronan looked around his room, and covered half of his face. He then looked up at his master and said, "I just had a bad dream. That's all."

"I see," Methos said, looking at him and concerned. "What was it about?"

Ronan got up from the bed. He and Methos were the only ones, living in the Sanctuary. Back then, the other Immortals decided to take shelter here, in the hopes of not getting involved in the Game. Methos had been out of it for such a long time, because he was considered the weakest Immortal there was, even though he had lived long enough to see the old days of ancient Egypt.

"It was..." Ronan paused, looking out the window. The storm was still brewing outside. He continued, "It was a dark place, and Duncan was there. He sat on his throne with all those severed heads of the Immortals that he had slain. Those heads were hanging from the walls and the ceiling. It was... horrible." He looked back at his master.

There was a moment of silence. Methos came closer to his student and said, "Listen... I know how bad you wanted to kill him. But you can't do it, Ronan. Do you understand?"

"Oh, come on," Ronan said, getting annoyed. "Don't brag me about your wild theories again."

Methos sighed and said, "There's something that I have to tell you. It's... It's about Duncan."

Ronan looked at him, and sighed. He said, "Okay... Go on."

Methos thought for the moment, remembering the good old days, when he had spent time with his old friends, Duncan MacLeod and the Watcher named Joe Dawson. He said, "Duncan had met this mortal woman named Michelle, and they had quite a fling back then. Yes... it was the 1990s, somewhere around there. One day, Duncan decided to marry her. She had said yes. I thought it would be a bad idea for Duncan to marry his girlfriend, because you know how it is between mortals and Immortals. Right? They can't have kids."

Ronan have always known this fact, since Duncan had also told him about it. There was one time that Duncan had sex with a mortal woman back in the days of Scotland. Therefore, the woman didn't get pregnant. He said, "Yes, I know."

"Anyways," Methos continued. "He told me that he will reveal his secret before they got married. Eventually he did that, and I... Well, I wasn't surprised. I mean you could say that it was quite shocking, when a lover tells you that he's Immortal. Who wouldn't be shocked about that, let alone some other person think he's crazy?" He laughed a bit.

"Yes..." Ronan said, chuckling at the thought. "Yes, I guess you're right."

Methos stopped smiling, and stared at his student seriously. "But something dreadful had happened on their honeymoon. An evil immortal named Kali... She killed Michelle."

"What?" Ronan said with a surprise look on his face.

"Yes, Ronan," Methos said. "It happened when Duncan went out to buy a certain gift for his wife, and when he came back to the hotel room... Michelle was found dead."

Ronan became quiet for the moment, because he hadn't known that Duncan had married earlier in life, and now that he heard this horrible part of his first master's tale...

"So you see Ronan... That's when Duncan killed Kali after finding out the true culprit. Kali was so evil that she couldn't care less about whom she had killed, whether it was mortal or Immortal. She used to be Duncan's lover until he left her in India. Duncan did it because he felt that she was too dangerous for him, and always got hungry for power. When she found out that Duncan fell in love with Michelle, Kali came for her. For that reason only, Duncan took Kali's life and the evil energy along with him. I've warned him about the consequences, but he wouldn't listen to me."

Ronan still didn't say anything.

"Look... I know that I should've told you this before. But it doesn't matter. Does it? You would still go after him?"

Ronan stared outside the window, thinking of what his last master had just said. For what felt like two minutes, he said, "Yeah... I still would."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ronan remembered clearly that his master once said, "Daimos had killed every Immortal on Earth. Billions of them... If you were to take him down, that power... it could prove devastating to the entire planet. Who knows what will happen..." Back then, Ronan didn't believe his master's theory. Now, he believed him. All the massive power went through him, and still hitting him with too much energy. Ronan was so selfish that he had to kill Duncan for humanity's sake. Diamos had to be stopped, one way or the other.

Everything was falling apart around Ronan MacLeod, including the entire Diamos Corporation. From up here, he could see its destruction that he had caused.

Ronan cried out to his master, "I'M SORRY, METHOS! PLEASE! FORGIVE ME! I HAD TO KILL HIM! I... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Everything went white.

The End

Translation- Scottish Accent

1. "Lad! Wet has happened to ye?"

"Lad! What has happened to you?"

2. Mest likely, it wes a thief

Most likely, it was a thief

3. Hu else?

Who else?

4. O, me Lord! Me guld coins!

Oh, my Lord! My gold coins!

5. I ne it. Dat rascal stole me monee!

I knew it. That rascal stole my money!

6. "Wet ees the matter, lad? Are ye missin' somethin'?"

"What is the matter, lad? Are you missing something?"

7. "Yay, Em missin' somethin'!"

"Yes, I'm missing something!"

8. "I hev ben rubed."

"I have been robbed."

9. "Weel... perheps ye didn't realize dat ye wee dead."

"Well... perhaps you didn't realize that you were dead."

10. "I ain't dead. Luk et me. Em seel alive."

""I ain't dead. Look at me. I'm still alive."

11. "Nay, I hev sheen u keeled by de preteest thief ef eva seen. Trost me."

"No, I have seen you killed by the prettiest thief I've ever seen. Trust me."

12. "Is dat supoose to be a juke?"

"Is that suppose to be a joke?"

13. "Becuss if it is, I dent like it."

"Because if it is, I don't like it."

14. "If ye dent like it, my freend, den u mest be eff an' I wud du the same. So leng, Ronan."

"If you don't like it, my friend, then you must be off and I would do the same. So long, Ronan."

15. "Weet a minit"

"Wait a minute"

16. "How de ye ne my name?"

"How do you know my name?"

17. "I em the member ef de Clan MacLeod. I ne u."

"I'm the member of the Clan Macleod. I know you."

18. "Ye shud change urself, lad. It's fer the bist."

"You should change yourself, lad. It's for the best."

19. "Em net shure I ken du dis"

"I'm not sure I can do this"

20. "Kem un, Ronan."

"Come on, Ronan."

21. "Okee."

"Okay."

22. "Dent worry, Ronan. I kent die, only if ye cut me head eff."

"Don't worry, Ronan. I can't die, only if you cut my head off."

23. "Kem un! Du yer steff."

"Come on! Do your stuff."

24. "Okee, thet's enough. Leets tek rest."

"Okay, that's enough. Let's take rest."

25. "Nu, I ken du dis."

"No, I can do this."

26. "Okee den."

"Okay then."

27. "Easy, lad. U did ur bist ye could. But ye mest try herder if ye wend tu live, thet is."

"Easy, lad. You did your best you could. But you must try harder if you want to live, that is."

28. "Did ye jest keel me?"

"Did you just kill me?"

29. "I figure thet ye wend tu ne thet u ken die manee times, bet dat ken give de enemy the appertunity to cut yer head eff."

"I figure that you want to know that you can die many times, but that can give the enemy the opportunity to cut your head off."

30. "My fether is very disappented in me. Ye should ne, in case if ye met him."

"My father is very disappointed in me. You should know, in case if you met him."

31. "I ne."

"I know."

32. "Kem Ronan, it's goin' te rain. Leets fend sum shilter."

"Come Ronan, it's going to rain. Let's find some shelter."

Batkevin74 - [Untitled]

Haiphong, Vietnam, 1976

No Caption Provided

Minamoto no Burusuto felt that weird buzz on the back of his neck as he sat at the bar. Standing in the doorway was man with sandy brown hair, weary eyes, a tan trench coat and white sneakers. He stood out amongst the locals.

“Highlander…” Burusuto muttered as he slowly got up from the bar and placed a hand on the tachi by his side.

“Samurai…” Connor parted his coat to reveal his katana.

“Drink?”

Connor paused. It felt like a trick. He walked closer and took the seat next to the ancient Japanese warrior. “Aye.”

Burusuto called out in Vietnamese to the bartender. “You needn’t worry, this is holy ground. We can’t fight here.”

Connor looked around as the bartender placed a beer bottle before him. “Really?”

“No!” Burusuto chuckled. “I particularly don’t wish to fight today. I will…but I don’t want to.”

Connor again was perplexed. “Is something the matter?”

“Today is my birthday,” Burusuto stated. “Well, I think it is. Around this time of year, I reflect upon my immortality, how it came about, the people I’ve killed along the way and when that happens, I declare it my birthday.”

Connor clinked his bottle to his rivals. “Happy birthday, Samurai.”

“Thank you, Highlander. So, do you wish my head?”

“No, not now. Today is actually an anniversary for myself,” Connor looked into his beer as thoughts of his first love Heather danced through his mind. “I must buy a candle…”

Burusuto raised his beer bottle. “Kanpai! Here’s to us, a couple of sad, eternal warriors.”

__

“Hardest opponent? Good question…” Burusuto drunkenly looked down the blade of Connor’s katana. “This is an exquisite weapon by the way.”

“It belonged to my mentor, Ramirez…” Connor paused as he realised he was now weaponless and a tad drunk.

“His name was Xhaferi…evil Slavic man who looked like cold death,” Burusuto spun the blade around before laying it back on the bar. “Piercing grey eyes. He was the hardest opponent as I couldn’t behead him.”

“What?”

“It was in Vienna, some ninety years ago. I crossed Xhaferi’s path by accident. He was stalking prostitutes and children. I hit him right in the neck with a blow that should’ve killed him.”

“Magic?”

Burusuto shook his head. “Science. The mad bastard had his spine coated in steel! Can’t decapitate him and take his power if his head is unable to come away from his neck. He fled into the night. I searched that city for a week before finding him again hunting women. The battle was long and bloody. Three more times he should’ve died but that metal neck saved him.”

“How did you defeat him?”

“I pushed him under a train!”

Connor looked at Burusuto and burst out laughing. The pair erupted in rapturous giggling and guffawing.

“You killed him with a train!” Connor laughed.

“And what of you Highlander, your hardest opponent?”

“The Kurgan…giant bastard of man from the Steppes of Russia.”

“I have seen him from afar…perhaps I’ll introduce him to my train!”

Again the pair erupted into laughter and this continued on for the remainder of the evening.

__

On the morning, the two dusty and aching Immortals shook hands and parted ways. They would never meet again.

Notes

Burusuto originally comes from my story located here

Original character for this is Xhaferi, though admittedly there is very little about him

SpareHeadOne - Highlander - Poetic Justice

Highlander - Poetic Justice

When Connor Macleod is in the vicinity of another immortal his ghost rises and grows within him. It begins gathering energy from the World-Soul because it is striving to gather in the soul of the other immortal. His ghost is naturally bent toward a striving to be one with the souls of all immortals.

The first few times Connor's ghost sought oneness with another immortal soul he felt overcome and unwell. This is partly because he was not accustomed to such feelings and partly because his ghost drew more power than most immortal souls do. When he first met his immortal forefather Ramirez, the man who trained him, Connor's ghost drew in lightening from the World-Soul. This was not common. It was a sign that Macleod would be great among immortals.

Ramirez taught Connor techniques to control his immortal ghost. He taught him how to gather the soul of an animal to himself and feel what it is to be that animal. He taught him to do the same with a human. He can draw you to himself and feel what it is to be you, he can know your motivations and intentions, he can feel what you would do. He can speak to your soul and tell you what you need to hear, or what you want to hear.

Often this inner feeling is used as an alert to let Connor know that another immortal is nearby, preparing to take his head with a sword. As was the case this very night in Paris. Connor had been stalking Walter Somersby a particularly wicked immortal, a crime boss who among many evils ran the world's largest human trafficking racket. Connor had managed to ruin enough of Walter's shipments for Walter to come out and face Macleod.

Connor Macleod stood by the cobble stoned walk that follows the bank of the canal St Martin. With his back to the pillar of a garden wall, he waited with his sword drawn. He could feel Walter getting closer. Not long now and Macleod would jump out and catch Walter by surprise. But voices interrupted Macleod's plans. Another Immortal had challenged Walter Somersby and their duel had begun. Macleod stepped out to watch. He would not interrupt; there are rules that immortals obey, a code they live by, usually.

The unknown immortal was dressed in dark brown, he looked Mediterranean. Macleod guessed Italian. His opponent Somersby was a British man dressed in a blue business suit. In all superficial respects Somersby was refined and gentlemanly. Watching them fight Macleod identified some of the stranger's techniques as being from ancient Rome. "Definitely Italian " he thought. After a few minutes the combatants began to tire and the tempo of the fight changed to slower and heavier clashes. It was then that Macleod heard the stranger speak. Upon the clang of a heavy stroke he chanted...

..."Iustitiae refert, redeunt Saturnia regna;"

"Latin." thought Macleod curiously. " Justice returns, returns old Saturn's reign."

With the stranger's second heavier stroke, he continued to call out...

"Cum iam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto"

"With a new breed of men sent down from heaven." Macleod translated. "I think I recognize this." He thought.

The stranger's third stroke saw Somersby on his knees with his wrists no longer able to withstand the damage...

..."Tantum faciam tibi nascenti puero, quo ante" 

"Only do thou, at the boy's birth in whom" Connor had now recognised the poem. "Virgil's Fourth Eclogue. This guy is more Italian than spaghetti." He thought.

The stranger raised his sword, a huge roman gladius above his head. He called out....

..."Ferrea primum desinet ac!" 

"The iron shall cease!"

He cut down on the evil neck of Walter Somersby and cleaved his head from his body. And as lightening of the World-Soul flashed and entered the stranger he shouted his last line...

..."In toto surget gens aurea!!" 

"The golden race arise!!"

When it was over the stranger fell down on the ground unconscious. Connor was confused. "Somersby didn't even touch this guy." he thought. "Still, anyone who takes the head of that asshole deserves some hospitality." Macleod carried the man and his sword to a nearby barge on the canal.

Duncan Macleod was waiting on the Barge when Connor arrived with their guest. "Oh, him!" Duncan moaned knowingly.

"You've met?" Connor inquired.

"Yes last week. He took the head of someone I was hunting." Duncan answered.

"Yes he has just done the same to me. But after the Quickening he fell unconscious.

The stranger began to stir. "Oohhh the bastard still loved his mother." he mumbled, cradling his head in his hand. "Why do people have to be so conflicted?"

Connor and Duncan stood above the stranger, both looking down curiously. "Ahh my rescuers." the stranger said, acknowledging each of them with his eyes.

"What's wrong with you?" Conner asked.

"I would tell you that it is a long story but you would just tell me that time is something you have a lot of, no? Perhaps a little wine will loosen my tongue."

Taking the wine that was offered him and nodding gratefully the stranger anounced himself "Philip Auream, pleased to make your acquaintance. I know you are Connor Macleod, I have been following you for a little while now. And you are?" asked Philip turning to Duncan.

"Duncan Macleod of the Clan Macleod." He answered.

"Ah family, a blessing and a bane, no? Certainly it has become a bane for me."

"Well he does get most of the good women." Connor joked.

No Caption Provided

Sipping his wine Philip began. "I was born the first son of Gaius Asinius Pollio, a soldier, politician, orator, poet, playwright, literary critic and historian of Rome. Pretty big deal uh?.. I never got to meet the man.

No Caption Provided

There was a cavernous temple near my father's town, full of women who took drugs and made prophecies. Sibyls they were called. They claimed to speak the words of Apollo but I think sometimes they could be persuaded to speak the words of the highest bidding Consul. They had prophesied a golden age that would soon come. A time of peace and knowledge, harmony between men and beasts. Everyone believed in this prophecy. It was a fine way to keep morale up in the empire.

When my father returned from war I was conceived. At this time he entered his Consulship and a divine poet who my father had helped during the war dedicated a poem to my father which spread through the empire. Many people were putting their faith in this poem."

"Virgil's Fourth Eclogue" Connor interjected.

"Yes" answered Philip "The Poem told of my coming birth and how it would herald in the golden age that the sibyls had prophesied. It said that I would see the gods and know them and that my soul would be of theirs.

"For the child’s birth-right is the life of gods,

Heroes and gods together he shall know, and rule a world his sire has blessed with peace.

For thee, fair Child, the lavish Earth shall spread thy earliest playthings, trailing ivy-wreaths and foxgloves red and cups of water-lilies, and wild acanthus leaves with sunshine stored.

The goats shall come uncalled, weighed down with milk, Nor lions’ roar affright the labouring kine. Thy very cradle, blossoming for joy, shall with soft buds caress thy baby face"

The empire came to await my birth with excitement. But there were those in the empire who were not impressed. Caesar feared that when my birth did not do a damn thing, the people would lose faith in the sibyls and the gods and most importantly in him. My father's opposition in government feared they would not win an election for a long time after my birth. The Sibylline Order feared that people would begin to turn to Divine Poets rather than to their oracles. So I was taken away at my birth in 40 B.C. and it was announced to the world that I had died. Soon thereafter my father was removed from office and theories that the poem was about something else were circulated.

I was raised in the Temple of Apollo by a priest named Melchiorre. He named me Filiip Auream "Golden Son" because of the Divine Poem.
No Caption Provided

He raised me to believe in the Poem but also he told me the truth of my origins. He taught me to fight with two swords at once for he had also been a soldier. He taught me the honour of martyrdom and sacrifice. Every day he would point out its honour or its naturalness. "See here the spiders mating." he would say. I would watch as the male was consumed by the female when the mating was over and Melchiorre would say "He goes willing to his death, his death has honour because his very body is used in the building of all his young." If we saw a butterfly or a cocooned caterpillar he would always say "It's you" and never explain. He would tell me of the sacrifice of Osiris and how it enabled Horus to be born and how it enabled the greatest castle to be built. He would tell of a man he once knew called Abram who wrapped his son in a wooden cocoon ready to be sacrificed. His god saved his son who emerged from the cocoon as a great leader. The stories and examples were many.

As you may have guessed, all the stories were preparing me for my own sacrifice. By the time I was 33 Melchiorre had convinced me that I was the golden child of promise, that if I lay down my life Apollo will give it back to me a hundred fold. Apollo would give me the life of a god. Once I rose again I was assured that I would begin to heal the world. So I allowed Melchiorre to wrap me up and place me on the altar. I saw the look in his eyes and it was reassuring to me. He knew that I would be okay. He raised his dagger high above me and called out these words from the poem...

..."O enter upon your high honours – the hour will soon be here – dear offspring of the gods, mighty seed of Jupiter to be!"...

And then he killed me".

Connor and Duncan nodded knowingly.

"Of course Melchiorre turned out to be an immortal and he became my mentor. He said he was around long before the time of Homer. I didn't know til later that Abram existed more than a thousand years prior to Homer. He taught me everything, the rules of the game and the brute fact that in the end "there can only be one". He told me of "The Prize".

These facts haunted me for centuries because for the golden age to begin there must be an end to our fighting and for there to be an end we must fight to the last of us. I saw in the poem a second war that I must fight, a war with immortals...

..."Yet will a few traces of old-time sin live on, to bid men tempt the sea in ships, girdle towns with walls, and cleave the earth with furrows. A second Tiphys will then arise, and a second Argo to carry chosen heroes; a second war will be fought, and great Achilles be sent again to Troy."

So for those centuries I hunted hard, looking to kill as many of us as I could. The sooner I won the prize, the sooner the golden age could begin.

So fixed was I upon this undertaking that breaking the rules seemed justified to me. "Why prolong the years of war when I can break the rules and get the job over with?" For a hundred years I killed those on holy ground. I shot others with arrows and took their heads while they were down. I watched two immortals duel and when it was over I took the head of the victor while he was recovering from the soul lightening. " Why not!" I thought. "Who makes the rules anyway? Who enforces them? Nobody! I will kill you in your sleep or after I have drugged you. Nothing will happen, nothing ever happens!" ".

Connor and Duncan considered what it is to live with honour for no known ultimate reason. They examined themselves and they knew well the constant temptation to break the rules for a good reason, or a selfish one.

"But I tell you that something does happen. At the end of those hundred years my heart was hard. I had become evil in the course of a good cause. Somewhere along the way I stopped caring about the world. I was the son of a god and I had the opportunity to win The Prize and rule the world, to become one of the gods like Heracles once did.

But that is not all that happens when you break the rules of the game. The end of my dishonourable quest arrived when one day I came upon an immortal priest who dwelt in a church. He had never killed, he was a good and innocent man. Welcoming love shone from his face, and I hated him. He offered me food and rest for the night so I whipped out my sword and punished him before I took his head. In the moments before I received the priest's soul an eternity flashed by in my mind. I saw scales fully weighed down on one side. I saw Melchiorre pointing at me in accusation. My father and Virgil, the priests and sibyls all turned their backs to me. Consequences for breaking the rules had finally come upon me.

I took in that innocent priest and it made me sick. Turmoil within. Oh the disgust I felt inside. His goodness made me ill. His love and loyalty turned toxic in me. Every day for nine years his incessant goodness and gratefulness would rise up in my soul and cause my bones to ache, my stomach to churn and fever to begin. I was bed ridden for a lot of that time.

I killed again many years later and even though the immortal I killed was a guilty man, the good in his soul made me sick. His love for his parents caused me anger and my anger turned arthritic. His loyalty for his mentor made me jealous and jealousy turned my stomach sour. His desire to be a good and honourable man made me laugh sardonically and my disbelief turned to fatigue and fever.

Every kill makes me sick. Their loves and loyalties can make me unwell for weeks. Even now the goodness of that terrible man outside has caused me to end up here in your care. I have learned that the more evil the person I kill is, the less ill I will become. So now I often find good immortals like yourselves and follow them to steal their evil quarry"

Connor and Duncan stared at each other, as they considered what this information meant to them. Something they had never known had come to light. There actually were consequences for breaking the rules of the game.

Cbishop - The Maze of Death

The Maze of Death

The man and woman had been at a costume party in a Hollywood mansion when they sensed each other across the room. They had made their way to the center of a garden maze at the far side of the mansion's back yard, had revealed their swords, stayed at a cautious distance, and began to talk.

The woman, dressed as an aviator, said, "I do not wish to fight tonight." She held a slim sword with a dragon's head for a pommel, pointed low to the ground, and added, "But I will if I have to."

The man, dressed as a Viking warrior, had a bit heftier sword that he held out to the side like a cane; the point resting on the ground, and his hand resting on the studded mace pommel. "And I have no wish to fight one as beautiful as you. Tell me though- have we met? You seem familiar, but the years have been many. I am Manuel Jaro."

"I am Amelia Earhart."

"For me as well," she answered. "I am Amelia Earhart."

Manuel chuckled. "That explains the costume, but what is your real name?"

She shrugged. "That is my real name... this decade, anyway. You should see the looks people give me when I tell them that."

They both smiled.

"Fair enough," conceded Manuel. "But I have definitely not met 'Amelia Earhart' before. Perhaps in a past life?" He thought for a few seconds, and said, "In World War Two, I was ace reporter Chic Carter, A.K.A. The Sword."

Amelia winced. "A bit on the nose, isn't it?"

Manuel shrugged. "You?"

"At that time, I was Ritta Farrar, alias Senorita Rio." She curtsied as she spoke her alias.

Manuel wagged a finger at that. "Ahh, that name I know, but still, I never met her. Hm," he said as he picked up his sword, and began to walk a wide circle around Amelia. He considered her as she watched him circle, and then he said, "There was a time when I was Jeffrey Scott- The Black Buccaneer!"

She nodded in appreciation. "I heard tales of him, to be sure. During that time, I was a nurse in a maternity ward."

"Noble," said Jaro, nodding his own appreciation.

"Selfish," she said, shaking her head. "We immortals are cursed to not have children of our own. I sought to share the joy of others as they brought newborns into the world."

Looking the slightest bit sad, he offered, "Still understandable, and you were helping."

"I was... El Zorro!"

She smiled at that.

"Well then. In the late 1800's, I was Don Diego de la Vega, known to the people of Alta California as El Zorro!" Manuel proclaimed, standing tall and throwing his arms in the air.

Amelia now circled him, considering. She shook her head. "Before my time in California."

"In 1792, I was Sir Percy Blakeny."

Amelia gave him a confused look.

"The Scarlet Pimpernel?" Manuel prodded.

"Ooooh," said Earhart. "Saving French aristocrats from the guillotine? And I'm the noble one?"

"Ah, a bit selfish of me as well," he confessed. "Beheading? It hit a little close to home." He shrugged, and then with a flourish of his sword, he declared, "But in the 1620's, I was a Musketeer!"

"Ha!" laughed Amelia. "In 1692, I lived in Salem, Massachusetts."

"No!" gasped Manuel. "They tried you as a witch?!" His voice said he was horrified, but his face showed his amusement.

"Easy for you to laugh," said Amelia, stepping in and taking a swing at the man in the Viking garb.

He stopped her sword with his, and caught her wrist, stepping in close. "It's funny now, certainly? Those tests could only have revealed you as a witch?"

"That damned ducking stool."

Amelia swung a foot around and buckled Manuel's leg, using his moment of unbalance to shove him backwards, and back away herself. "That damned ducking stool," she shuddered. "Just a ludicrous excuse for killing women, if you ask me," she said angrily. "If you drown, you're innocent. If you don't, you're a witch?"

Manuel couldn't help laughing again. "They must have been quite surprised when you didn't die."

"Oh, yeah," confirmed Amelia. "So, they burned me at the stake!"

Jaro winced at the thought. "Oh, my dear woman. I'm truly sorry- there's no humor in that."

"Especially since they buried me after that," she said, trembling involuntarily.

"A fear for us all," was the only thing Manuel could say.

"I was buried near a river, and there I stayed until a flood loosened the soil enough for me to escape my grave. I can't tell you how many times I died for lack of oxygen, revived due to my immortality, and died all over again before that flood. It was maddening."

"Were the witch trials how you found out you were immortal?"

Amelia sighed, then smiled, shaking off the memory of her time in Salem. "No. My time as an immortal goes back much further than that. B.C., even."

"Oh?" prodded Manuel, now truly intrigued.

"I was an 'Amazon' enslaved to the Roman Empire--"

"--And condemned to the gladiatorial arena!"

"--And condemned to the gladiatorial arena!" finished Manuel. "Your name? What was your name?"

"Long forgotten," she said uneasily, the light of recognition flickering in her eyes. "But in the arena, they called me simply Amazona. You? You were--"

"--Yes!" shouted Manuel. "I was there too! That is how I know you! I was part of a Viking invasion force," he said, sweeping his hands over his costume as he said it, "but we were conquered and enslaved by the Romans! I was taken to the arena, where I showed all of Rome to fear the name--"

"--Manjaro the Manslayer!" gasped Amelia, full recognition flooding her face.

"YES! MANJARO THE MANSLAYER!" he yelled. "We faced each other in the arena, and I killed you!"

"My first death," recalled Earhart. "When I discovered my immortality."

"They allowed me a Viking burial..."

"And mine," said Jaro, pointing his sword at her. "When you revived, they said I spared you against the Emperor's verdict, and they condemned me to death, forcing me to fight in the arena, unarmed, against twenty men. I held my own for a couple of minutes, but they were too many, and I succumbed to a sword in the back. They allowed me a Viking burial- setting me adrift on a boat full of oil, and setting it on fire with a flaming arrow. I revived as the boat was engulfed, and managed to haul myself overboard to extinguish the flames."

It was Amelia's turn to chuckle. "So. You burned just as I did."

"And you were rescued by water, just as I was," countered Jaro.

They thought about that momentarily, then both took fighting stances, shouting in unison, "It's your fault I'm immortal!" Then they charged each other.

"Now, Amazona Amelia! You find out why men fear Manjaro the Manslayer!" he screamed as he swung his sword over his head and down at the woman in the pilot gear.

Stopping his blade with hers, and grabbing his wrist as he had done her a few minutes before, she gritted her teeth, and said, "You might have noticed- I'm not a man!" With that, she kneed him in the groin, used her sword to throw his to one side, and then landed a left cross that surprised them both, knocking him to the ground. She swung for his head as he laid on his back.

"A dragon said that to me once."

Manjaro brought up his sword to block, and said, "A dragon said that to me once." He kicked Amelia's legs out from under her, and she fell towards him. Their sword arms stretched above their heads, the swords still crossed, and he wrapped his arm around her waist as she fell on top of him, holding her fast. "Are you a dragon, Ms. Earhart?" Manjaro asked with a playful grin.

Breathing hard, she smiled at his audacity. "No, but I do have a secret you have yet to learn."

"Oh? And what is that?" he asked, clearly pleased at this turn from their fight.

"I was the original Amelia Earhart too."

Manjaro was clearly surprised at that, but then realization came. "Being immortal, fame wasn't good for you. So, you faked your death during your final flight."

"Fame wasn't the only reason," she said with a smile.

"What else was there then," he asked, slackening his hold around her waist just a bit.

"I was chosen to be part of an elite group of women warriors," she said with pride.

"Back to being an Amazon then?" he asked.

"No," she said, dropping her sword to caress his face, making him smile. "A Valkyrie."

"A chooser of the slain?!" Manjaro's face fell and went ashen, but before he could move, Amelia kissed him hard. He died then and there.

"Yes, Manjaro," she said to his corpse as she stood up. "We immortals cannot help but to cross the paths of other immortal groups. Like international marriages, we are bound to intermingle eventually. And I did," she said as she lifted her sword, "But when it comes to our type of immortal, well... there can be only one!" she cried as she swung the sword.

"...there can be only one!"

Immediately, lightning began to crackle around Manjaro's body, and then jumping to hers. It swirled around them, then flashed through the maze. It grabbed Amelia, and her body went taut as she screamed with the power that came from the fallen immortal. Lightning arced from her body to the sky and back again, and she sank to her knees as the Quickening washed over and through her. The lightning subsided as she fell, and only wisps of smoke were left, trailing away from her in all directions.

The guests of the party had come out into the backyard to see the spectacle flashing from the garden maze. They assumed this was just some Hollywood special effects trick cooked up for the party, and cheered as the lightning crashed, and the thunder boomed. The cheers turned to gasps of amazement as a winged stallion descended to the maze just after the lightning. They clapped in appreciation of the show their host had set up for them, and their host was shrewd enough to take the credit, raising his champagne glass to his guests.

Inside the maze, Amelia declared, "Rise, Manjaro the Manslayer! Rise, and ride to the halls of Valhalla!" She leapt lightly onto the back of the winged horse.

His body restored, Manjaro looked on his killer with new appreciation. Invigorated anew, he picked up his sword, and mounted up behind her with a fierce smile. At last, the eternal reward he had so long thought denied to him was within his grasp. They arose from the maze, and flew away. Behind them, the guests cheered at the sight. It reminded them both of the cheers of the crowd in the gladiatorial arena.

***

Notes:

Story and original characters owned by Chris Bishop, copyright 2021.

The Scarlet Pimpernel, Zorro, Chic Carter, Black Buccaneer, Musketeers, and Senorita Rio are all public domain.

Amelia Earhart originally appeared in my story Death Gets Recruited, but her being a Valkyrie was only hinted at.

Manjaro the Manslayer orignally appeared in The Day the Vikings Landed, later in Heironymous vs. Leviathan, and another minor appearance that I'm not really fond of, and probably isn't canon.

This story probably isn't canon for Amelia or Manjaro either, but dang, it is a grand way for Manjaro to die! I had fun. :)

Remember: Votes due by Monday, February 15, 2021 at 11:59pm Sydney Australia time (click the link if you're unsure) [that's Monday, Feb 15, 7:59AM New York time].

I'm glad you're here. Thanks for reading, thanks for voting, and see you on the 15th! In the meantime, stay safe, everyone. -cb :^D

18 Comments

Sleeper Agent #3: In Search of Action

DateSleeper Agent #3ViewRead the...
01/21/21In Search of Action(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
RatingRating explanationLast Issue:
TMurder and death discussed.And Your Codename Is?

We are several miles away from the apartment when Karen says, "You've been quiet."

"Just letting it all sink in," I say. I'm quiet another minute as I play with my phone. Finally, I say, "So, that phrase you used to 'wake me up.'" I mispronounce it, "Ee-lee deely stony boot."

"Idi sdelay chto-nibud," she corrects, in that sexy Russian voice. I feel the surge to my body, but she quickly says, "Dobroy nochi," and it stops as quick as it started.

"Damn," I laugh. "That's a hell of a thing."

Karen smiles.

"Why did you use that phrase though? And why Russian?"

"I was going to major in Russian in college, and I had just learned that on my own. I wanted to use it somewhere, and I liked that telling you to 'go do something' would trigger you into action." She looked at me, smiled, winked, and looked back at the road.

"Okay, fair enough. How come it didn't trigger me when it was said to me in Vegas?"

"Hypnotism again," she said with a shrug. "It only works when it's my voice."

"Hm," I muse. I look out the window for a little bit, then say, "Is it wrong I'm glad he's dead? I mean, I'm really not even a little sorry about it."

"You mean...um..."

"Just call him Rob," I answer.

"Okay. 'Rob' though?"

"I don't like saying his name, and Rob is an artist he hated."

"Okay," Karen laughed. "You really don't like Rob, do you?"

I smile like I just ate something bad, and say, "I'd have liked to push him in front of a bus, but I'd hate for somebody to have to clean that off."

Karen just shook her head. "Well, I have to ask the question."

"Shoot."

"Where were you last night?"

"At home all day. I was off work," I say with a shrug. "I was on my computer until three or four in the morning, which is when I went to bed. I was back-and-forth between Facebook and a couple of other sites. I guess my posts will show I couldn't have had the time to drive there and back."

"You could have made the posts from your phone," Karen counters.

"Phone sat on the desk all night," I say. "Phone's GPS ought to show that."

Karen thinks about that for a few seconds, and says, "Okay, you're probably good."

"Does anyone really think I killed him?" I ask warily. "I'm glad he's gone, but I wasn't going to be the one to do it. Hell is hot."

She chuckles. "No, you're clear. We just need you to help us find this missing item."

"What is this mystery item?" I ask, as we pull onto the highway.

"Remember Nicolas Cage's stolen Action Comics number one?" she asks, smiling big when it gets my attention.

"You're not saying...?"

"Yes, we are fairly certain Rob has it hidden somewhere."

"That so wouldn't surprise me," I say with disdain. "but, wait a minute. It was found in 2011 in an unpaid mini-storage."

"That's what we told the press, yes," Karen says as she gets into the fast lane. "We were just trying to quell some treasurehunting that was interfering with the search. It was never found though. It was in a frame, and there was something else behind the book in the frame."

"Let me guess," I say, throwing my hands up, "The Declaration of Independence. OMG, National Treasure was real, wasn't it?"

"You're not taking this seriously," Karen chides.

"No, I'm not," I confess. "I don't care that he's dead, I don't care what's lost, and I don't know why anyone thinks that I can help find it."

"Because you were his business partner. We're hoping maybe you have part of his stuff, and have the Action Comics issue."

I huff in irritation, and look out my window. "Nope. I never took anything from him. He kept leaving things he knew I wanted, hoping I'd take them. I guess in his mind, that would have been compensation for the money he wasn't paying me. I wasn't going to let him off like that though." I huff angrily again, then sigh. "Bastard died owing me money. I can hear him saying, 'I win' from Hell." The thought really does irritate me. "So, you didn't say. What else was in the frame?"

Karen hesitates only a moment before answering, "Swiss bank codes."

I give her a look of disbelief.

"Really," she says with a shrug as she guns it past a tractor trailer. "Apparently, he wasn't just chiseling comic store customers. He hacked a fair amount out of a very old account from the First National Bank of Philadelphia. Owner wants it back, and the government is backing him on it. So, here I am."

I leaned against the headrest, and huffed through my nose. "Rob was a hacker too?"

"He practically lived on his computer. You never noticed?"

I shook my head, and laughed at myself. "I thought he was ordering books. Checking on conventions. You know: stuff for the store."

"He did that too- he had to keep up appearances after all. But he spent a lot of time hacking, putting customers' books on eBay, and generally scamming in any way possible."

I was quiet for a few seconds, and then spat, "Damn!"

Karen sounded surprised. "What?"

"I wish I had killed him."

"You don't mean that."

"Yes, I do. God help me, I do." We were quiet for a minute, then I said, "Can I at least piss on his grave?"

Karen gave me a troubled smile, and laughed despite herself. "Sorry. He's being cremated."

"Figures," I say with disappointment. "Bastard." I thump the armrest lightly with my fist, then ask, "Where are we going, anyway?"

"Rob's store. Maybe you can see something there that we can't."

"You know, I'm not the first partner he conned. There was Andrew, Nick, and his ex-girlfriend Jimmie."

Karen raises an eyebrow.

"With an 'i-e' instead of 'y,'" I add.

Karen shook her head. "Jimmie's in the clear. She came to us a few years ago. She didn't take anything from him either. She even let us search her house."

"What about Andrew and Nick?" I prod.

Karen's silent for a few seconds, clearly weighing how to answer. Finally, she just says, "They're dead."

I gulp reflexively. "Recently?" I ask.

"No. Both were heart attacks."

I give a mock gasp, and stage whisper, "Curare!"

Karen laughs again. "No. Andrew's was cholesterol-related in 2014, and Nick's was drug-induced in 2016."

"Hmph," I say lightly. "Didn't see that coming." Then I add, "Really should have though, now that I think about it. Serves 'em right," I mumble as I look out my window.

"Wow," says Karen. "Bitter much?"

"They both came in the store while I was partnered with Rob, and neither one of them warned me. I'm not missing those fuggers either."

Karen looked a little troubled. "This is definitely not the voice of the straight-laced little church-boy I dated in highschool."

"Says the spy," I mock.

Karen scowls a little, but I just shake my head and sigh heavily. "I've tried, Karen. It's hard to forgive someone who used my dreams against me. And I bought it so completely too," I say with disgust. "It just... pisses me off.... and I'm more mad at myself than I am at him. Those two though? They knew. He was taking me for a ride just like he had done them, and they knew it, and didn't say anything. Nothing," I fumed.

Karen let me stew for a few seconds, then asked quietly, "Would you have listened?"

I sighed heavily as I plugged earpbuds into my phone. As I put them in my ears, I admitted, "Probably not."

We drove the rest of the way in silence.

Next: ?
Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb

Story and characters owned by Chris Bishop, copyright 2021.

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Sleeper Agent #2: And Your Codename Is?

DateSleeper Agent #2ViewRead the...
01/15/21And Your Codename Is?(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
RatingRating explanationLast Issue:
TMurder and death discussed.Life and Art- The Secret Life of Spies

"Don't make me kill him, Mike," says James.

Kill me?! I snicker to myself, and say, "Oh. 'Contractor.' Right." I shake my head. How did I not see that?

Neither acknowledging me, Mike says, "You kill him, I kill you."

"And if he doesn't, I will," says a woman from the other side of the room, another gun cocking.

Seriously- did I leave the door unlocked? I wonder.

I look at the new addition to our party, and it's, "Karen," says Mike. "What are you doing here?"

"What?" I demand, not hiding my surprise. "You know my ex-girlfriend?"

"She's your ex-girlfriend?" Mike says, now sounding surprised himself.

"Karen?!" I plead. "What's going on?"

"Boin soir," she says in a lilting French accent. Then in her normal voice, she says, "You look well, my love."

"Would someone mind telling me what the hell is going on?" I ask, not moving a muscle from my chair.

James says, "We found--"

Mike clears his throat.

"--your former business partner dead," says James.

"He's dead?!" I yell with jubilance. "'Bout fuggin' time." I sigh with satisfaction, and I'm surprised at how much lighter I feel.

"He had something I've been hired to find," says James. "I'm hoping you have it."

"And Mike," I say without turning around. "How did you happen to come in at just the right time? You're not supposed to be off for another couple of hours yet."

"I've been investigating him since before you partnered with him. When he turned up dead, you were both a possible suspect, and possible target. I took off early."

"Suspect?" I say defensively. "You know I never go anywhere except work. I'm not gonna miss that ass, but I didn't kill him!"

"I know," Mike says calmly.

I look at Karen. "Well? Are you going to make me ask? I assume you did take an intelligence job of some sort."

"I've been investigating 'Duke' here, and--"

I throw up my hands, and say, "Wait a minute! Wait! Wait!" I turn around in my seat, and look at James. "Really? 'Duke?' You're codenamed after a G.I. Joe?"

Still pointing his gun at me, and Mike still pointing his at James, the contractor shrugs. "You know I like G.I. Joe."

"But 'Duke'?" I balk. "You're 'Snow Job,' at best."

James smiles mockingly. "Ah. I see what you did there." He waves his gun at me to tell me to turn back around.

I roll my eyes as I turn back towards Karen. "I guess I should be glad you didn't call yourself 'Snake Eyes,' right?"

"It was taken," mutters James.

I look at Karen, and sigh. "Please. Go on."

"I was investigating a contractor named 'Duke.' When your name came up, I flagged the whole case, so I got notified if anything came up. When Mike--"

I throw my hands up again, and Karen raises an eyebrow at me for interrupting her again. "I'm sorry," I wince. I turn around again, and look at Mike. "You were never 'laid off' from Best Buy, were you? That three months in Ireland... you were just on some sort of mission. Right?"

He shrugged in a noncommital manner, his face inscrutable.

"Right. Let me guess. Your codename is 'Optimus?' No! Wait! 'Prime!' It's 'Prime,' isn't it?"

"No," Mike says defensively. "It's 'Red Alert'."

I turn back around, and looking at Karen, I smile and say, "It's 'Prime.'"

Karen says, "When the report of your former partner's death came in, Prime--"

"--Ha! I knew it!"

"At least I have a codename," mutters Mike.

"The next person who interrupts me gets shot," Karen said firmly. When none of us said anything, she continuted, "Prime reported that you needed to be intercepted before anything happened to you, and I was in the area. Now, gentlemen," she said, looking at James and Mike, "how do we resolve this standoff?"

James relaxed first, and lowered his weapon to a nearby table. "I'm not after him. Just something he may know the location of that his partner had."

Mike took the gun, but James lunged forward and grabbed me up in front of him, putting a screwdriver to my neck. "I'm walking out of here, and I'm taking him with me. My employer doesn't like to be disappointed."

"That's too bad," said Karen. Looking at me, she said, "Idi sdelay chto-nibud," in a sexy Russian accent.

For five years, I worked for a company in Vegas that was owned by a Russian family, so I knew that what she said was "Go do something." What I didn't know was that it would trigger me into becoming a complete badass. Before I knew it, I had disarmed James, knocked him sprawling across the table, and I was on top of him, an elbow in his back, and the screwdriver to the back of his neck. "Do. not. move," I threatened him.

Karen moved quickly, putting cuffs on James. She put a hand on my shoulder, easing me away from James, looked me in the eye, and said, "Dobroy nochi."

It was like I could feel the adrenaline subside, and suddenly, I wasn't a kung fu badass anymore.

Mike called in some backup, and they took James away. While he was dealing with that, I talked to Karen. "What the hell was that?"

She tried to blow it off with, "What was what?"

"You frickin' triggered me into being Jet Li with one Russian phrase, and back again with another. I didn't learn any Russian until long after we broke up."

She kind of winced. "Well, not exactly," she said. "Remember when I was tutoring you?"

I nodded.

"I wasn't being recruited. I had already been recruited. You... were kind of... my psy-ops training."

I blinked slowly. "What's that now?"

"Through some verbal hypnotism, and embedded phrases, you compartmentalized some things from yourself, and there's a whole level of training you don't even know you've had. You're a sleeper agent. Guess what? Time to wake up."

I just looked at her. Holy crud. I'm a spy! I thought as Mike walked up. "Wait! Do I have a codename too then? Please tell me I have a codename!" And please let it be something cool, I thought.

Karen's mouth kind of scrunched to one side as she thought about whether to tell me or not. "It's, um, Sleepy."

Mike snickered.

"What?! 'Sleepy?' My codename is 'Sleepy?' I'm 'Codename: Sleepy?' Really?"

Karen shrugged. "You're a sleeper agent, and I like the Seven Dwarves."

I made a face. "Oh, psht! 'Dobroy nochi?' 'Good night?' Very funny. Did it have to be so on-the-nose though? Couldn't I have at least been 'Doc,' for crying out loud?"

Karen raised an eyebrow. "Actually, 'Bashful' was my runner up."

Mike snickered again.

I just pointed a finger at him, and then narrowed my eyes at him. "You can go away, Prime."

"Sure, Sleepy," he sneered as he crossed the room to talk to an officer.

I look to Karen, point a thumb over my shoulder, and say, "I'm never going to hear the end of that, y'know."

Karen gave me a sympathetic look. "Well, you have for now, because you're coming with me."

"What? Where?"

"We have to find the thing Duke was looking for," she says as she heads for the door.

"Ugh," I complain as I fall in behind her. "He is not Duke!"

As we leave, agents are preparing to take James away. They stop by Mike, and James asks him, "So, what's her codename?"

"Who, Karen?" Mike smirks. "She's 'Snake Eyes.'"

James becomes angry, and the agents take hold of him forcefully. "What?! They named a girl 'Snake Eyes?' That's not right, Mike! That's not right!" he screams as the agents drag him out of the apartment.

Next: In Search of Action.
Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb

Story and characters owned by Chris Bishop, copyright 2021.

7 Comments

Sleeper Agent #1: Life and Art- The Secret Life of Spies

DateSleeper Agent #1:ViewRead the...
01/14/21Life and Art- The Secret Life of Spies(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
RatingRating explanation
TKilling discussed. Guns appear.

When I was seventeen, I had the most drop dead gorgeous girlfriend I could have ever imagined. I still don't know why she was with me. Her name was Karen. She got a ticket, wound up in my dad's defensive driving class, and found herself sitting next to the doorway of the small projection room where I sat, waiting to run the films each hour for my dad. We whispered back-and-forth enough for me to find out that she tutored other students, and I asked her to tutor me in Latin.

That first tutoring session was just us talking, getting to know each other better, and that turned into us dating, albeit ever-so-briefly. She was just unbelievable. Wicked smart. She volunteered as an EMT, knew four languages fluently, and had plans to major in a fifth language in college, and minor in a sixth. Because of her GPA and language skills, she had intelligence agencies trying to recruit her from before we ever met- she mentioned the FBI, CIA, and Military Intelligence. That's all she ever told me.

We broke up, of course. She wanted a more physical relationship, and my little virgin self was afraid to go there, because I was worried about getting her pregnant. That wore thin with her real quick, and she broke up with me. I look for her occasionally on Facebook, or just through a Google search, but I've never found her. I figure that means she took one of those intelligence jobs. My ex-girlfriend, the spy.

***

My roommate, Mike, works for Best Buy. He travels for them, installing displays at various stores all over the state- sometimes out of state; a few of those being across the country. He makes twice what I do. Best Buy was kind of the reason we wound up being roommates.

Mike likes TransFormers which is how he knew my business partner, and so was a regular customer/visitor at my business- a comic and toy shop. I had the shop for only a few months, found out that my partner was crooked, and had shut it down when all the clues came rushing in on me at once. I was broke, and about to lose my apartment when Mike got laid off from Best Buy.

He took a manager job with Lidl, and they were sending him to Ireland for three months to train. He had two cats that were like his kids though, and he didn't want to leave them, or put them through the trauma of moving them to someone else's house while he was gone. So, we helped each other out in the form of me staying at his apartment while he was away, and watching his cats. He wound up getting his job back with Best Buy, and coming home a little early, but we've been roommates ever since.

***

James was another regular at the shop. He was a contractor, and liked G.I. Joe figures. Just something about the paramilitary cartoon that appealed to him, I guess. He used to stop in about midday, and just talk away for an hour or more. He'd joke- well, really, I don't think he was joking, but he'd laugh anyway- that I was "a captive audience," because I had to be there to run the store.

***

My business partner- I'd prefer his name didn't cross my lips- he was the perfect, scumbag conman. He caught me at a low time in my life, reeled me in, and used me until he couldn't anymore. I had seen a couple of red flags early on- even early enough that I could have avoided the whole mess if I had just paid attention- but I was too focused on what he promised me to give the red flags any credence.

By the time I realized that he had been playing me, I had to scramble to pay the debts he had racked up by not paying state sales taxes. I lost my business, and soon after lost my apartment. I quit talking to him the day I shut the business down. He still lives a little over an hour away, running a big shop. Who knows who he's conning for that one. Mike's been there, but I never have. I'm afraid of what I might do if I go there.

I don't know if I can adequately explain that. It's not like he just tricked me. I was duped, conned, fleeced... he pulled the wool over my eyes, and took me to the cleaners. I saw a guy that looked like him once, and had taken three steps towards him to punch him before I realized it wasn't actually him. I've had two dreams where I angrily told him he owed me money. It was while waking up from that second dream that I realized that I can't go see him. I want to kill him, and I'm afraid I might actually do it.

Not that I'd miss him- the world would be a better place without him. It's just that I've never killed anyone before, and I'd most likely get caught. Who wants to spend the rest of their life in jail, thinking about someone they'd rather forget? Not this guy. That's not really me anyway. Violence isn't really my nature. That's what really scares me about how I feel about my business partner- I think I'm actually capable of killing him. He screwed my life that bad.

***

I should probably put "my life" in quotes, because what life? I'm working at a Walmart, living on the good graces of my roommate, and I don't even have a girlfriend. My life is work, streaming shows, and Internet.

Like lately, I've been binge watching Chuck. All about a guy named Chuck Bartowski that gets a government supercomputer called the Intersect uploaded into his brain after opening an e-mail with encoded images from his old college roommate, Bryce Larkin- a CIA spy. When Chuck "flashes" on something, the Intersect kicks in, giving him needed info and skills for the mission at hand.

Chuck- he works for the Buy More Nerd Herd, and over the course of the show, meets a girl named Sarah that becomes his girlfriend, but turns out to be a CIA spy sent to protect him and the computer that's stuck in his brain. NSA agent John Casey comes into play too. It turns out a CIA underground complex called Castle is conveniently beneath the Buy More. Chuck winds up becoming a spy, and anytime he goes on a mission, Buy More thinks he's out on a Nerd Herd install.

I had seen the first couple of seasons when it was originally on TV, but now I'm getting to see the show start-to-finish. It's fun.

***

So, I've been binge-watching the show, and I still think it's funny that "Buy More" is so obviously Best Buy, and "Nerd Herd" their Geek Squad. It bugs me though that these "installs" Chuck is out on for long periods of time never seem to bother anyone too much at the Buy More. Every time the show gets to the point that it would become a problem, someone else gets let in on Chuck's secret spy life that can help him keep from blowing his cover.

Then it hit me. Mike travels a lot for Best Buy, installing displays for the stores. He's the supervisor of a small team that travels with him. Suddenly, I blurt out "It really would be the perfect cover for a spy." Yeah, sure, my rommate, the spy.

***

I'm just about to shrug off the whole notion as ridiculous fantasy when I hear the gun cock behind me. A voice says, "I need you to not turn around." I don't know why he's worried about it. I recognize James' voice. I never even heard him come in. And I live on the third floor. "I need you to tell me- when's the last time you saw--"

"--He really doesn't like it when you say his name," says Mike as I hear another gun cock somewhere behind me. I hadn't heard him come in either. I must really tune everything else out when I'm watching television, I think to myself.

Next: And Your Codename Is?.
Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb

Story and characters owned by Chris Bishop, copyright 2021.

3 Comments

Just Write #0

Keeping Up With Batkevin74

I originally wrote Be the Pencil #1: The Epiphany of "Just Write" in May of 2014, then reposted it to Facebook in June of that year, and then finally to CV in October, 2015. I've been thinking about doing this blog ever since then. So, a little over six years. Batkevin' also started his Crank-verse in September, 2015, and that made me want to do this too, but I procrastinate. Procrastination... <sigh>

...Now, Batkev' has decided to go back to the once-a-week writing, and I'm throwing my hat in the ring too. So, this is going to be me taking my advice: just write. Whether the pieces are long or short, the goal is to hopefully keep up with Batkevin' this year, and we'll both get at least one piece of writing out a week, plus whatever CCC's this year. @batkevin74: here's hoping we keep at it. :)

***

This is going to be my library/tracking thread for my progress this year. Like Batkevin' in his My 2021 Goals thread, I'll post the link to each new writing in the comments. The first is here: Heironymous Meets His New Partner. :)

NOTE: All stories and characters, and other story elements are owned by Chris Bishop, and copyright 2021, unless stated otherwise on the individual stories (ex. Indigo City in the above-linked Heironymous story belongs to the 5th Column Comics group/ whoever named the city).

10 Comments

Heironymous Meets His New Partner

DateHeironymous:ViewRead the...
01/07/21Heironymous Meets His New Partner(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
RatingRating explanationOpening shot:
ESuitable for everyone..Just Write #0.

Crystal Salt walked down a government hallway with bland, pale, mint green walls, and well-worn white tile speckled with black, pink, and yellow flecks. She was pretty sure her grandmother had the same tile in her house when she was growing up. She probably still did. She told herself to call her grandmother later.

Knocking on the door at the end of the hall, she immediately heard "Come in," and she did so. Considering the hallway, the office stunned her. She took it in for a few seconds, and before she could introduce herself to the older man behind the desk near the door, he said, "Please take a seat." Crystal sat down facing him, and he said, "You Crystal Salt?"

"I am," she nodded. "How a--"

"--I'm Agent Heironymous. Describe the room." He sat back in his chair and waited.

Slightly perturbed at being cut off, she paused only a couple of moments before saying, "It's as wide as the end of the building, and the ceiling has to be the ceiling of the next floor, which is the top floor. Everything looks to be real hardwood- cherry, I'm guessing. Bookshelves built into three walls, full of books, the occasional small statue- all animals, ornate bookends, and knick-knacks scattered in front of the books.

"The eye-catcher is the Chinese dragon running across the shelves to your right. Kind of cool that its head angles over the edge, and appears to be looking at the horse rearing in its direction from the middle of the shelves. I assume that's intentional, since they both appear to be made of iron, and are both painted the same matte black.

"The last wall, behind me, is windows that go from waist-high to a few feet below the ceiling. There's a door in the far corner on that wall that goes out to a balcony that's about half as deep as this room, and just as wide. Fantastic view from both the balcony and the windows, but no shades, and I'm wondering how you tolerate the glare when the sun hits them, since you face the window."

At that, Heironymous picked up a small remote, hit a button, and the windows tinted to an opaque black. He smiled momentarily, which lifted the ends of his horseshoe walrus mustache, then hit the remote again, untinting the windows.

Crystal continued, "You have pictures hung over the windows of you and every sitting president since Lincoln. You appear to be the same age in all of them, so either you're an egomaniac with a penchant for Photoshop, or you really are a dragon, and not one of the Dragon Men as people have been assuming since they were outed at the Rhinodome fight between Supermodel and Superblonde."

Holding eye contact with Heironymous, she finished, "Your desk is the same dark, presumably cherry wood as the walls and bookshelves, and carved with dragons going up the corners. Glass to protect the top was a practical choice. The coffee table, three end tables, two chairs, and couch across the room, under the windows, are similarly carved, and upholstered in a plush fabric about the same color as the wood. I don't know fabrics very well, but it looks comfortable. The deep burgundy pile carpet is an odd choice for an office, but it is very cushy, and goes surprisingly well with the room. My only question is: how does a Secret Service agent rate an office like this?" She smirked, knowing she'd aced his test.

Heironymous looked at her unflinchingly for a few moments, then gave a brief chuckle in the form of a, "Hm." Sitting forward in his chair, he folded his hands on the desk, and said, "I rate an office like this, because as those non-doctored pictures on the wall behind you show, I have served every president since Lincoln. I have been around a long time, I am very old, and yes, I am a dragon. In some ways, this makes me more powerful than the president, and in some areas gives me more influence." He said nothing for a few seconds, and then said, "You took all that better than most."

Salt shrugged. "I've seen some weird things in this world, sir."

Heironymous chuckled, and opened the only file on his desk, looked it over momentarily, and said, "You were Navy?"

"Hooyah, sir," she said with subdued pride.

"Says here that you fought Humboldt?"

"That's not accurate, sir," she said immediately.

Heironymous looked up in surprise. "You didn't capture Humboldt, The Red Devil? That was the main reason I chose to interview you."

"Oh, I captured him, sir. I just wouldn't say it was much of a fight."

"Hm!" Heironymous chuckled again. He looked at her file another few seconds, then closed it. Standing, he extended his hand, and said, "You start Monday."

Standing and shaking the agent's hand, Crystal looked surprised. "We take the weekends off, sir?"

"Ha, no," deadpanned Heironymous. "We take off when we have time. You're taking the weekend to pack. Monday, you and I head to Indigo."

"Indigo," she repeated. "I thought that city was quarantined?"

"You're going to go a lot of places other people can't, Special Agent Salt."

Crystal smiled. "I like the sound of that, sir."

"Heironymous, or Special Agent Heironymous. 'Sir' is reserved for others."

"Special Agent Heironymous," Crystal corrected herself.

"See you Monday," he said.

"See you then," she confirmed, and headed for the door. Pulling it shut softly, Crystal smiled with some satisfaction, chuckled noislessly, and started down the hall. Pulling her phone out of her pocket as she walked, she dialed, put it to her ear, and kept walking to the elevators. Hitting the button, the car arrived fairly quickly, the doors opening as her call was answered. Stepping into the elevator, she said, "Hi, grandma... I got the job... I know! I'm pretty pumped," she said as the door closed.

In his office, Heironymous smiled, having heard every word Salt said in the hallway. Picking up his desk phone, he hit a button and waited. Almost immediately, he said, "I hired her. I think she'll do nicely. ...Yep. Thanks," and he hung up. He sat back and looked out the windows, thinking about the coming week, and the talk he'd just had with his new partner. Raising his eyebrows, he said, "It is a fantastic view."

Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
Story and characters owned by Chris Bishop, copyright 2021.
Indigo (aka Indigo City) is part of the 5th Column Comics universe, and does not belong to me. It's used here as set up to other stories I've written with Heironymous in Indigo.
6 Comments

CCC #105 - Voting Thread

Cthulhu
Cthulhu

Hey, peeps, The Impersonator asked me to do the voting thread. The theme this time was to write a story based on the Cthulhu Mythos... or just mention Cthulhu in the story. So, really, someone could have said, "Chtulhu," and someone else could have said, "Gesundheit," and it would have met the criteria. Fortunately, the stories that follow are better than that idea. ...I'm assuming...I haven't read them yet...If somenoe did that, I apologize...<ahem> ...Let's get to it!

The voting rules:

  • READ the stories, PICK your favorite one, and CAST your VOTE!
  • If you wrote, you should vote! (It's just sporting)
  • No voting for yourself. (Also sporting)
  • The voting deadline is Sunday, January 10, 2021 at 11:59pm British Columbia, Canada time (click the link if you're unsure).
  • Remember: All are welcome to vote - writer or reader, and the winner gets to pick the next contest.

The stories:

The Impersonator - The Abernath Complex

The Abernath Complex

Dr. Richard Stahlman had nothing much else to say about his current patient. The patient was said to be a unique one at best. But what would others say, the fact that this patient had delusions of the highest order? The madman calls it the Abernath Complex, a place in the mind itself, where you can imagine the worst fears possible there is, and that could be fatal to anyone, who comes in contact with or worse... If that wasn't enough, the mad patient keeps calling, "Cthulhu is coming! Dr. Stahlman! CTHULHU IS COMING!" Richard sighed and tried to forget the absolute madness, stemming from the patient's mind as he looked at the current report. As a professional psychologist, he couldn't fathom the idea that the patient would say something like this, every single time. The doctor had made numerous visits to the patient's room, and observed the behavioral patterns, being recorded by the hidden machine, which not even the mad patient knew about it.

"The patient's name..." Dr. Stahlman said and stopped his recorder. He became kinda sweaty, and wanted a drink, but he quit drinking a long time ago, ever since his wife died of brain tumor. He almost killed himself at that moment because he felt the dread and fear that he was going to be alone for the rest of his life, feeling guilty, shameful and miserable. But then he realized that he needed to stay alive and look after his patients. They needed him the most. His friends and coworkers also needed him. So, Richard decided to clear his act, and come out in the open. He resumed, "The patient's name is Peter Davidson. Former Occupation- Software Engineer. Currently divorced. Came from America at the time of his son's death." He paused. He didn't want to say the brutal moment of his life, that he had ever head from Peter's confession. He resumed again. "Patient claims to have seen a creature known as Cth..." He stopped again. "Damn it! How do you pronounce that name?" He tried again, without turning the recorder on. "Ct-hul-hu. Cthulhu. Yes!" He resumed recording, and repeated the previous line. "Patient claims to have seen a creature known as Cthulhu. Possible causes- High anxiety, hyperventilation, drinking problem possible, but not really. There was one time..." He stopped. He was going to say that Peter used to drink a lot in the pub, which the bartender had recounted the facts of a drunken man, who clearly lost his mind. But the question remains clear, why would he come to London? Richard resumed. "He came to London to look for a job?" He even asked Peter that question, several times. Sometimes, Peter said yes, and other times, he said, "No, Dr. Stahlman. I came here to warn you. Yes, you could say that I'm mad. But I'm not entirely insane, if that's what you think." The patient used to keep fidgeting all the time, whenever he talked about his crazy idea, meeting this unknown creature- the so-called Cthulhu. He had resumed speaking then. "As you can see, Dr. Stahlman, the Abernath Complex is such a wonderful place that nobody could understand it. At first, when I have ventured into his unknown space, I was awed by it. Truly awed. You couldn't begin to imagine what wonders I've seen there. I bet everyone will like it. Even you! This creature known as Cthulhu..." He paused, continued fidgeting, and then resumed. "Yes, you could say that I had trouble pronouncing his name first. But then I got it! And guess what, Dr. Stahlman? Your wife was there."

"What?!" The doctor had stood up from his chair, staring into Peter's gloomy eyes. He couldn't believe what he was hearing at that very moment. The mad patient continued. "You're surprised! I can see that. But I'm telling the truth, Dr. Stahlman. Your wife..." He paused, thinking of her name. "Ah yes, Peggy. I remember it now. Peggy Stahlman. Nice name, pretty woman. I sure loved to screw her. She was there, alright. Actually there! She told me you never came to see her by the bedside, until her timely death. You were too busy taking care of your patients. And..."

"Stop!" Richard said, and stopped himself from hitting Peter Davidson, who had sat on the chair across from his desk, the time of the interview session. Now Richard was staring at the empty furniture as if his patient was actually there. But that only happened a couple of hours ago. What a day! He remembered clearly that his old friend of the same profession had hit one of his patients, and as a result, his license got revoked. He didn't want that to happen. Instead, he had calmed down, and said, "That's enough, Peter. How did you..." He paused and decided to think that this madman must have been following him, before he was brought in, raving about "CTHULHU IS COMING! CTHULHU IS COMING!" and who knows maybe... Just maybe...

"Oh come on!" Dr. Stahlman thought. Get a hold of yourself. A woman dying of brain tumor, can't surely sleep with a madman like Peter Davidson, who keeps talking about this... this... Abernath Complex and the... Cthulhu.What a ridiculous idea! He looked back at the mad patient to see if anything else was coming from his confessional mouth.

"I'm sorry to say this, Dr. Stahlman. She told me everything. But I assure you, that we never... slept... together, if that's what you think." He stopped talking then, and mumbled to himself.

Presently, the doctor placed the patient's report back on the desk, and closed his eyes, wanting to sleep. But there was still work to be done. He phoned the Medical Board Committee, and reported to one of his superiors about the latest incident.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The lightning flashed throughout the sky, and Dr. Stahlman was so tired and weary that he wanted a drink. It was 12 am. The new orderlies just appeared for their night shift. From the window, he noticed several cars going by, knowing the rest of the staff have gone home for the weekend. Here comes the night shifters! He closed his eyes, and kept thinking, whether he should drink at a time like this. He opened his eyes, and thought, Sure, why not? Just a little drink wouldn't hurt. He got up from his chair, and opened the drawer, where he kept his favorite whiskey. At last! How long has it been? 5? 10? A million years, I suppose. Who cares? I just want a drink, dammit! Lord, help me! He opened the bottle, and then poured it into the glass. Swirling the liquid contents, he sipped the drink slowly.

"Not bad!" The doctor said loudly. He must be going mad of hearing this Abernath Complex. And he had to mention it in the report? What would the rest of the Medical Board Committee think about it, now that he had mentioned to his former instructor on the phone? He thought of going back to that room, and witness the patient's behavior. At times, when he came there, Peter usually sleeps, and sometimes mumbled to himself.

I might as well have to see what he's up to. Let's see if this... Eh... Cthulhu is coming! He drank the rest of the whiskey, and decided to venture out into that horrible room.

But what was so horrible about it? Why, Peter of course. What other reason could there be? I must end this madness, the doctor thought. I must end it. Right. Now. Not to say that I'm going to strangle him to death just he like did to his... He stopped. My God, what's happening to me? He shook his head, and kept sweating all over. It's that bloody drink! Yes. I shouldn't have drank it. But I had to... Oh Peggy, I'm sorry. I should've been there. The doctor wasn't aware that he dozed off into the unknown space, where he can see all the strangest symbols that mankind has never encountered before, and being printed on the walls, made it look artistic in a way, that nobody could even understand its true meaning. But didn't Peter mentioned the wall symbols before? How strange they looked... A unique design of utmost nature. How fascinating! But no. Peter didn't talk about it. Why? I must ask him, what these symbols meant and why he didn't tell me about them. He could hear distant voices coming from somewhere, beyond the realms of darkness. Or was it space? That voice...

"Richie?" It was Peggy's voice. She stood there completely naked, but entirely different. Her skin was so white, that some strange light kept shining upon her. She looked like an angel. And there were scales around her body, as if she came back in the body of a fish. "Oh, Richie. I've been waiting so long to see you."

"No... You're dead." The doctor tried to blink, but he couldn't. Her grotesque beauty mesmerized him in ways that men couldn't understand the difference between inner beauty and the outside one. But Peggy was much more different than that. This wasn't Peggy. It couldn't be.

"No, You're not Peggy. Leave me alone. The real Peggy is dead." He looked around the walls, the symbols and the darkness beyond. "Where are we?"

"We're in the Abernath Complex." The doctor stared at her, as if this was his first visit to a woman, whom he loved so many years ago. Oh Peggy, I've missed you so much. He came closer to her and stopped.

"The Abernath Complex?" The doctor repeated moments earlier of what his so-called wife, who seemingly came back from the dead, had mentioned. "That can't be! I'm in a dream. A madman's dream!"

"It's no dream, Richie. Look around you. Peter and I have seen them. And so do you."

"No..." He looked around the unknown space again. "No, it's a dream. And you're not Peggy!"

Peggy didn't say anything to that. She just stared at the doctor.

"Look here," Richard said. "I'm going to Peter's room. Okay? And I'm..."

"You're in Peter's room." The creature said, stopping him. The doctor stared at her, completely bewildered. After a moment of silence, the doctor said, "What do you mean? I'm already here?"

"Yes, you are. Look!"

The doctor turned around and saw Peter lying naked on the ground, with his legs crossed. It looked like some pentagram of some kind. Like the walls, these strange symbols were also imprinted. The madman was mumbling some chants of ancient prayer. He then opened his eyes, and saw the doctor.

"Hello, Dr. Stahlman. It's good to see you. Welcome to the Abernath Complex!"

"What's the meaning of this, Peter?" Richard said. He was quite fascinated by all those pretty symbols, glowing right in front of him. Pink glow, I should say. And it felt powerful that nobody could think of doing such a forbidden thing. Not even the madman himself.

"I'm uttering a prayer to the Great God Cthulhu. As you can see here, the creature lives beyond space and time. It can give you wonders of the imagination. It can give you everything. It can also bring your loved ones back." Peter looked at the naked creature. The doctor also looked at her, and said, "But.. She's not my wife."

Peter sighed and said, "In a way, she's not. Yes. But I've prayed to Cthulhu to bring her back. But not the way, I've imagined. I suppose the Great God Cthulhu couldn't bring the whole humanness to the entire equation of one's existence. Who are we to blame the god? At least he brought your wife back! You should be happy, Dr. Stahlman."

Richard didn't know what to say all this strangeness of the entire situation. He remembered the day, when Peter confessed his crime to the authorities. That he sacrificed his own son in the name of Cthulhu. It goes beyond human reasoning, no doubt about it. This madman has to be stopped before someone else gets hurt.

"It's time to make another sacrifice, Dr. Stahlman. And you will help me choose."

"No!" The doctor said. "I will not do it!" He knew it all along that he should have killed him a long time ago, even if it costs his license that he had worked hard for. The thought of sacrificing another innocent life was too unbearable for him. Dr. Richard Stahlman couldn't take it anymore. He stepped toward the pentagram, and strangled the madman.

The creature didn't do anything to stop the doctor. She knew what was going to happen next. She stepped back, and then disappeared into darkness.

As for the doctor, Richard kept strangling the madman until his very last breath.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Dr. Stahlman? DR. STAHLMAN! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!"

The doctor saw himself still gripping the madman's throat, and then let him go. One of the orderlies grabbed the doctor immediately, and the other orderly went to get the security.

The third orderly just came in, and saw the incident. He was shocked beyond belief. Coming closer to the patient, the third orderly checked his pulse.

Jesus Christ! He's dead. The doctor has killed him. He looked at Richard, confused and scared.

"I had to kill him!" Richard said, trying to break free of the orderly. "He forced me to choose, and sacrifice someone in the name of Cthulhu. I'm telling you! CTHULHU IS COMING!"

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"CTHULHU IS COMING!" Dr. Riles Stevenson stopped the recorder, and stared at Richard Stahlman. The former doctor kept fidgeting, and said, "Dr. Stevenson, the Abernath Complex is such a wonderful place. You should see it. But I'm afraid..." He stopped.

"Afraid of what, Richie?" Dr. Stevenson couldn't believe his eyes, that his own friend had become a madman just like the late Peter Davidson. He still couldn't believe it.

"I'm afraid that you will be next, Dr. Stevenson. But you'll have to see it for yourself. This Abernath Complex... You'll understand it, once you get there."

Dr. Stevenson sighed and said, "Richie... I hate to say this. But... there is no Abernath Complex and this... Eh... Cth... Cthu..."

"It's Cthulhu, Dr. Stevenson. I know it's hard at first. But you'll get it."

"Right..." Riles shook his head, and said, "It all exists in your mind, Richie. Nothing more."

"But it does. You just have to get there. And you will!"

"Alright." Riles said, feeling tired already. "What will happen once I get there?" He couldn't believe his own words. But he just have to get along with it, no matter how crazy as it sounds.

"A sacrifice for the greater good." The former doctor said. "Once that sacrifice is done, the gateway will open."

"Gateway?" Riles said, confused. "To what?"

"The Abernath Complex, of course," the former doctor said. "I swear on my grave that it will open, once the sacrifice is made. I'll have to do it, but you have to choose."

Oh my god! Riles thought. He's mad! He looked at the former doctor for a while, and then said, "This is madness, Richie. I don't believe you."

"Oh, you will believe me, Dr. Stevenson. In time... You will have to choose someone to be sacrificed because Cthulhu is waiting..." And that was the end of the interview session. The former doctor was then taken to his cell, which left Stevenson wondering what to do with him.

The Abernath Complex. Cthulhu... What does it all mean? Wild thoughts went swirling around Stevenson's head. Of course, he didn't believe any word of it. But it was pure madness, indeed. As mad as it sounds, he wanted to sleep. But he couldn't. The current session did scare him the most out of all the other patients, which he had interviewed them in the past.

I need a drink, he thought. Yes, that would be a good idea. Surely, he will do it, once he gets home. It's better that way. He was getting things ready, when he heard distant voices coming from somewhere, and that he found himself in the unknown space of darkness. He hasn't even left his office yet!

Dr. Riles Stevenson tried to breathe and told himself, "It's only a dream. Nothing more." But he was still sweating. The voices kept growing louder and louder as Riles walked somewhere on the floor. He stopped, and there he saw Richard's naked form lying on the ground, imprinted with strange symbols that he had never seen before. The former doctor was currently chanting.

"Richie?" Riles said, coming closer to the former doctor. "Is that you?" Somewhere in the background, the female creature was watching the events unfold itself. The former doctor stopped chanting, when he heard his old friend's words. Opening his eyes, he said, "Hello, Dr. Stevenson. It's good to see you. Welcome to the Abernath Complex!"

THE END

Batkevin74 - We Serve the Beast

We Serve The Beast

11th January 1946, Operation Crossroads planning

Lewis Theobald exhaled and took up the shuffleboard cue. Around the table the scientists and military men were watching. He moved the puck with the radiation symbol on it to 47°9'S 126°43'W and stopped.

“The newly emerged island of R’lyeh,” Lewis said to the group. “Possibly a volcanic spire, more exploration would need to be done. It has no native life on it as it’s only about twenty years old.”

“Never heard of it,” Deputy Task Force Commander for Aviation General William E. Kepner stated from the far end of the table. “I think Bikini Atoll is better.”

“Only because its your suggestion.”

The room went silent at the retort. Kepner squirmed and glared back at the lowly Manhattan Project scientist. “what did you say?”

“You heard me, you’re just wanting to cause a scene and use your rank to bully me into submission,” Lewis said calmly. “My suggestion is we use the R’lyeh site. We don’t have to move any natives. It’s miles from anywhere in the middle of the ocean. And if something goes wrong, its miles from anywhere in the middle of the ocean.”

“You’re foreseeing a problem, Theobald?” Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves Jr, Head of the Manhattan Project, scratched his moustache.

“Sir, we are testing a nuclear device, there a plenty of variables that could become problems.”

“Good point,” Groves stood up. “Right, we put it to a vote. Those in favour of Bikini Atoll move to Kepner’s end of the table; those who like…what was your name again son?”

“Lewis Theobald, sir.”

“Move to the other end. Go!”

Several army and navy officers moved to Kepner’s end, whilst scientists moved to Theobald’s side. The mood in the room changed when Groves moved towards Kepner’s end.

“You’ll see that Bikini is the best…”

“I wasn’t joining your side, Bill, I was just coming to see what the layout looked like from this end.” Groves knelt down getting eye level with the map. “There are people on Bikini?”

“Yes sir, about two hundred including the royal family.”

Groves stood up. “And we’re relocating them? Where?”

“To Ruck-oh-gee-eye, island across the…”

“Sir, sorry to interrupt but General Kepner has left out some pertinent details,” Theobald said. “It’s Rongerik, eleven miles east of Bikini and possibly within the blast and fallout zone of the test. It has inadequate water and food supply and due to deep-rooted traditional beliefs, the natives believe the island is haunted by the Demon Girls of Ujae.”

Groves sternly stared at Theobald for daring to speak up but then turned and glowered at Kepner. “This true?”

“I don’t know sir,” Kepner stammered.

“What’s wrong with your island?” Groves pointed at the radiation puck.

“It’s isolated, sir, it’s also small. It’s equidistant between New Zealand and Argentina and closer to Antarctica. The remoteness will add to costs. But it’s a safer choice as there is nothing around.”

Groves walked around the table and stood next to Theobald and shook his hand. “Settled. R’lyeh it is.”

"C' ahnyth uh'enyth" Theobald said. Groves looked at him strangely.

"Bless you?"

19th June 1946, R’lyeh test site

Admiral Harry D. Felt stood on the bridge of the USS Cassandra as it bobbed in the cold waters of the remote Southern Ocean. It was nothing but frigid blue sea for thousands of miles topped with grey cloudy skies. Sticking out of the water was this huge grotesque thing that was island mixed with temple.

“I was under the impression this place was uninhabited?” Felt asked Captain Edward Softly who stood beside him.

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" Softly muttered his face beaming at the sight of the ancient temple.

Felt looked at his 2IC. “What are you blathering about?”

“In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.” Softly slammed a fist into Felt’s throat knocking him to the ground. “C' ahnyth uh'enyth! It is time to wake Cthulhu!”

No Caption Provided

1st July 1946, R’lyeh site

Temporary Admiral Edward Softly looked through binoculars as Operation Crossroads began. A Stratofortress dropped the 23-kiloton device some five hundred feet about the target.

“Nafl'fhtagn Cthulhu!” Softly chanted as the cloud of nuclear smoke rose into the air. The blast was impressive but paled to what happened next. The spire cracked and fell into the ocean as it felt like the entire earth shuddered. Gaseous bubbles of ancient chemical rose from the depth turning the surface of the water into a witch’s brew. A sound akin to breaking metal echoed from below. The sky darkened.

An awful squid-head with writhing feelers emerged from the sea. Softly’s eyes bled in delight before he took his service revolver and blew his brain out. Larger and larger grew this monolithic thing; a sticky spawn of the stars with flabby claws and terrible bat-like wings that covered the sky. Sailors behaved like terrified children; some shooting at the mountain sized beast others jumping into the water to flee whilst others cowered in fear filling their pants with feculence.

No Caption Provided

CTHULU HAD RISEN!

Notes:

Lewis Theobald and Edward Softly are aliases used by H.P Lovecraft.

Deputy Task Force Commander for Aviation General William E. Kepner, Admiral Harry D. Felt, and Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves Jr are real people but fictionalised.

The R'lyeh speak was gotten from an English to R'lyehian translator on Google. And "C' ahnyth uh'enyth" supposedly means we Serve The Beast in their language.

Nuclear blast pic from Wikipedia article of Operation Crossroads

SpareHeadOne - Nyarlathotep

Nyarlathotep

The cockroach squelched around in my vomit, the only other living animal in this vile room. I had already retched before I even arrived at the front gate of this house, again when I opened the front door and a third time in this room of depravity. The smell is all-pervasive. I'm not sure if I can do this. I've done it with ease many times before but this, this is far worse, hundreds of times more disgusting and horrifying than any murder scene I have attended. I am a reporter and this is the first time I have ever been on the scene before anyone else. I can't let an opportunity like this slip through my fingers. I can't give up but for the fourth time I am afraid I must throw up.

I lift my weary head from my bile. My stomach is completely empty of its contents. I see the husks of dried rats long since dead, their skin still wrapped around their skeletons. I can't bring myself to look up any higher but I am aware of a large mass that the rats are surrounding, hundreds of rat corpses baring dry flapping flaking skin, worn away in places, leaving holes so that I can see their dehydrated organs and bones. I make sure to breathe through my nose, somehow I think my nose will have a filtering effect on the diabolical air as opposed to breathing it straight into my mouth.

I look down again, I'm gathering my energy. I feel the floor beneath my palms. It is a solid crust, not floorboards like I expected but a kind of sandstone feel, uneven and unlevel, rough and lumpy. I look down to inspect it, I see bits of seed and corn in it. I soon realise that the entire floor is coated with the dried faeces of God knows who or what. I gag yet again, soon I will be empty of bile.

I get to my feet and turn to try the light switch but it doesn't work. I push the door open as wide as I can and a beam of light spills in from the window in the other room. I turn to get a look at the light bulb but there is no light bulb, instead there are the remains of a young child who was seemingly hung by the cord that previously bore the light. Again the remains of the child were dehydrated like the rats so that the body was somewhat mummified. The terror could still be seen in the child's preserved facial skin. I began to imagine the twisted, black hearted monster who did this terrible thing. I saw him in my mind. I was going to imagine all the punishments I would inflict on him but "Imagination" had other ideas. I imagined that the Scum who had done this was me. Like I was retracing his steps. I had no evil in me, I knew that I was doing a good thing, a greater thing, a thing that held meaning beyond that which any average human had the privilege of contributing toward... Shake it off, I won't sympathise with this Filth, I resume being angry at the other person, that evil Bastard.

Looking down below the hanging child I engage with the large mass in the centre of the room. A lattice, a heavy duty trellis splayed out like a hand of cards stands there. A mound of bones surround it, piled up to over half its height. I can see where the bones of previous hanging children have dropped from the light cord and collected into their own mound over time. Along the top of the trellis are hung more children strung up by the hands and feet, enough to fill it from one end to the other. Their faces were filled with pain and horror. It occurred to me that these children must have died in the midst of these agony and horror filled climaxes. Littered through the remaining gaps in the trellis were dried bat corpses. They had been feeding on the children's soft body parts.

The thought of the suffering is too much for me. I look away and stare at the one beam of light in this darkest of rooms. I stare into the light and for a moment I find something wholesome and even glorious in it, but then I notice the dust in that beam of light, the room is thick with dust. Compared to a normal dusty room there is ten times the amount. My nose can feel it going in as I breathe. I realise that I have been swallowing this dust as it congeals in the back of my nasal passage. I make a pathetic attempt to shield my nose with my hand but then I remember that my hands have been rubbing on the dried excrement of rats, children and bats. I pull my had away but as I do, I think about all the dust particles I have disturbed from the floor, all the miniscule flakes of defecation that I have put on my face as I wiped the puke from my mouth. I am disgusted as I realise that I am breathing shit. I want to throw up again but I can't. I want to get this filth out of my body. I get frustrated, I'm angry that this rancid smell is going into my lungs and the air is becoming part of my blood. I'm annoyed that this faecal dust is going into my stomach where I will digest it. The thought that some of it may become a part of me fills me with outrage. If I don't win a Pulitzer for this story, I won't be the only one eating shit.

I try to pull myself together, I try to get a look at the main display between the hanging child and the trellis. It is an adult sized figure but it is not human looking. I begin to twitch, my eye strays to where the beam of light hits the flaking skin hole in the child behind, I can see the child's dried and shrivelled stomach through the hole, I see where bats have gnawed on the child's underarms and I start thinking about the infections and the disgusting gangrenous rotting flesh. I see the dust in the light as it rests on the child and then I am mortified as I realise I am breathing in the dried microscopic peelings of all those infectious, gangrenous wounds. I am breathing in this whole evil scene and swallowing it into my body. If I stay too long I will get sick. If I stay too long it may change me somehow. Yes, there is an evil that I can't see and it is trying to poison me, It is trying to make me sick. Germs. I can feel them crawling over my hands and mouth. I begin to spit so i can stop them getting into my mouth. They want to kill me. I start brushing them off of me frantically. If i brush with enough speed i can get those germs off of me. I dance and whirl as i brush myself off. I dance right under the hanging child where i bump solidly into a wall of scent. By scent I mean stench and by stench I mean an alien, unearthly miasma, Something so beyond what you can imagine or I can describe. It goes far beyond ideas of bad smell and into ideas of evil smell, the smell of wickedness. I drop to the floor. I'm in a daze. I think i will just rest...

...I'm hacking the head off of a crocodile, the Mi-Go surround me. They love what I am doing. There are crying children hanging around me, some of them screaming in agony as the bats chew on them. I know I am in the room but at the same time I am somewhere else where being inside or outside doesn't matter. The Mi-Go are outside the room, all around it, but I can see them and they can see me. The Mi-Go are strange human sized beings, pinkish, fungus-like and crustacean looking. They have oval shaped heads that are built up in layers of progressively smaller ovals, like pyramids are built and they are covered in antennae. They are about five feet long, and their bodies bear multiple pairs of limbs and a pair of membranous bat-like wings. I feel elation at their approval, they are chanting to encourage me...

..."mnahn' uaaahnythor

nyarlathotep ahlloigazath ymg'

mnahn' uaaahnythor

nyarlathotep ahlloigazath ymg'

mnahn' uaaahnythor

nyarlathotep ahlloigazath ymg'"

(..."Worthless Puppet

Nyarlathotep Mocks You.

Worthless Puppet

Nyarlathotep Mocks You.

Worthless Puppet

Nyarlathotep Mocks You.")

I wake from my rest. My dream has left me feeling happy and I want to be close to the Mi-Go. I use my nose. I move around the room until the smell smacks me in the face again. I snuffle all around it and sniff out its dimensions. I can tell where it is and i can tell where it isn't. I can smell another one across the room. I am tuning in to this new sensation. As always the smelling wasn't like the smelling we usually understand. The olfactory senses are attacked in a sideways manner. The smell is to be sensed from inside the nose and going out, as though it first oozed out from the taste-buds.

The odors begin to take form in my mind. I can see some Mi-Go outside the room and three of them inside. I feel comforted.

I finally get a look at the strange figure in the center of it all. It is a human body with goat legs and the head of a large crocodile. I look inside the crocodile's mouth, there is a human head inside and it's face looks very happy. Its eyes are closed peacefully and there is a smile in its mouth skin.

The Mi-Go are exiting the room. There is a smell approaching and it is more potent than the Mi-Go. I sit back on the bones, toppling the crocodile-goat-man figure and sending clouds of dust up around me. I have a revelation in that moment that such a dry dehydrated room should not have given off much smell at all and that it was the Mi-Go all along who had made me sick to my stomach. Though I had become accustomed to the smell of the Mi-Go I still feared what I was about to encounter. Would it come here to my room? What would its effulgence do to me? Will I survive it? W llll nyarlathotep....

...My lower legs lay next to a goat that is dying. I have cut them off and sewn the goat's legs on to my stumps. It feels wonderful. There is a child tied to the goat, crying for its mother. I think the child doesn't want its mother to miss the glory of the coming moment. I finish cutting off the crocodile's head. The Mi-Go stop chanting and move back to make room for something. In the distance, underground I can see the Yogshugg Uh'enythh arrive from nowhere. They are beasts from the moon and they have brought their equipment. They have some sort of ray gun looking thing and they are pointing it diagonally away from me back through the earth and I know it is pointed at me. I am very pleased. Then they appear in close proximity to my room with a large cauldron that they hang on nothing, it sits sideways in the ether.

Chanting begins again...

... "Ah'legeth uaaahnythor

uaaah ahlloigazath llll nyarlathotep

Ah'legeth uaaahnythor

uaaah ahlloigazath llll nyarlathotep

Ah'legeth uaaahnythor

uaaah ahlloigazath llll nyarlathotep"

("Foolish Puppet

Execute the Mockery for Nyarlathotep

Foolish Puppet

Execute the Mockery for Nyarlathotep

Foolish Puppet

Execute the Mockery for Nyarlathotep")

I untied the child from the goat and held it aloft by the hair as it flailed pointlessly. A force lifted me up off the ground to the ceiling where I wrapped the light cord around the struggling child's neck and let it hang. The force lowered me to my pedestal where I proudly donned my crocodile head. I was choking on its brains and suffocating for lack of breath. It was wonderful. I heard the rumble of the ray gun and I began to feel thirsty. I could hear the groans of the children. In the distance I saw a green liquid pouring upward into the air where it floated in a round blob with one flat side. Closer to me I saw a Yogshugg Uh'enythh stirring the sideways cauldron with its snout. A mass of pink tentacles adorned the end of it's snout which I imagined were working away in the cauldron like eggbeaters. I could see the liquid in the air far away being agitated as more and more was being added to it. I could feel my lips drying and cracking and the corners of my eyes splitting. The children had gone silent and I felt one last glow of pleasure in my heart before it was all over.

Again I wake. Immediately I begin to smell the Yogshugg Uh'enythh in the room. If I move I am sure that I will smell too much and pass out agai L' nyarlathotep, ainyth'drn, ahnythor nilgh'ri hnahh ah mgep'ai....

...I watch on. I think I am a Mi-Go this time. There is a huge diagonally upside-down throne hanging over the house and there is a cup which contains the liquefied mockery, the insanity, horror and suffering of earthly fools. Nyarlathotep will soon be passing through and we have prepared this for him. I am aware that Nyarlathotep is mighty and knows all things and that he is the Son and Messenger from the Dreamer of all things.

We begin to chant our praise as Nyarlathotep approaches with throngs of beasts surrounding him.

Over and over we chant...

... L' nyarlathotep, mighty ainyth'drn, ahnythor nilgh'ri hnahh ah mgep'ai. Ng h' ahor llll epgoka semblance ot shuggoth, waxen n'ghft'drn ng robes cahf ah'n'ghft, ng nog mgyogor hup shuggog ot yeeogngm yogfm'logg l' ahlloigazath

("To Nyarlathotep, Mighty Messenger, must all things be told. And he shall put on the semblance of man, the waxen mask and the robes that hide, and come down from the world of Seven Suns to mock.")

He comes by. He is huge, larger than a skyscraper. He walks like a man through the aisle we have prepared for him and then he passes by. Nyarlathotep goes to Cthulhu and does not thirst.

I'm awake again. I feel normal now. The room doesn't smell anymore and though it is a grizzly scene, it has lost its evil hold on me. I open the window and let some more light in, then I pull out my notebook and begin to describe what I see and the experiences I had. I shut the room up and lock the house as I leave. Its fifteen miles back to the town where I am staying. I get a map out of the glove-box of my car and carefully plot my course to the nearest kindergarten.

Remember: Votes due by Sunday, January 10, 2021 at 11:59pm British Columbia, Canada time (click the link if you're unsure).

I'm glad you're here. Thanks for reading, thanks for voting, and see you on the 10th! In the meantime, stay safe, everyone. -cb :^D

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