Friday, December 25, 2015

Breakroom

[MP] drip coffee and dead bodies.

Nov. 10, 2015

Sal watched in earnest fascination as Kelly bypassed the brewing coffee and opened the fridge pulling out a battered jar of instant that looked like a tired relic from the 1970s.

She scooped in a couple heaping spoonfuls and then ran tap water on top of it. Just barely warm enough to dissolve the chemical slog that was instant coffee crystals.

"You're disgusting, Cowbell," Sal said, holding her own coffee with both hands and blowing on the steaming liquid, before taking a pull that warmed her insides.

"That's why you love me," she said, making sure to slurp her lukewarm brew loudly. Sal shuddered.

"That's how I know you're dead. Pulse or no pulse, drinking whatever the hell you call that is unholy," said Sal.

"Hey, when you shuffle off and find out that the hot stuff takes layers off your skin, see how keen you are to keep up with trends," said Kelly. Her next sip was quieter. "Still need the caffeine though. That's messed up. What's on the agenda for today?"

"Got ferals down by the river that need corralling and then there's the vigilants that are sniffing up trouble downtown," said Sal.

"Vigilants again? Do you think they'd stop if they knew they were just making things worse?" asked Kelly. Sal snorted and finished her coffee in one big pull.

"Last time they tried to take out the Church of the Newly Risen they ended up first-timing at least a dozen warmbloods," said Sal. "I think they only managed to finish off three of you weirdos."

"Oh, we're the weird ones - I don't keep up with the news, but I'm pretty sure there hasn't been a bomb set off by a revenant lately," said Kelly.

"Don't get touchy, Cowbell. You know we love you and think the Vigilants are nutters," said Sal, laying a friendly hand on her co-workers shoulder. She was very gentle, knowing that too much pressure could cause issues. Kelly assured her that sloughing off of skin didn't hurt, but Sal knew she didn't want to look like a rotting shambles.

Kelly finished her cold slop and shrugged into her modified shoulder-holster. It was designed to go on loose and then be snugged gently against her torso by pulling the adjustment strap. It was padded to avoid chaffing.

Sal grinned as she watched her partner get ready.

"You are such a delicate flower for someone who crawled out of her own grave," she said, handing Kelly her silk blazer that slipped over the holster.

"Well, I know we're taking your car and how much you hate it when I shed," she said, grinning back.

"If you do, you can just pay for the detail work," said Sal.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Heart Healthy

[WP] Your house is possessed by a demon that feeds off of positive emotions, and it is doing everything in its (admittedly ill-informed) power to give you the time of your life.

Oct. 31, 2015

She's coming back. He thought to himself as he put the finishing touches on the set-up in the living room. The door creaked open and Lizzy's eyes widened briefly before she leaned heavily against the doorjam, the keys jangled from the doorknob and her purse slumped to the floor.

"Not again," she groaned. Leaving her keys in the door, she tromped over to the closet and pulled out her broom. It had stopped being scary around the fifth time it happened, but for some reason she couldn't stop the tears as she swept up the rose petals from the floor, pausing only to blow out the candles that were lit on the mantel piece, and turning the gas off on the fireplace.

Rantix watched her from his pocket dimension with a quavering frown. She was crying again. He couldn't understand how he was screwing up the ritual. He watched all the human movies he could find on making a woman feel wanted and the flower petals and candles was always a hit. Rantix's stomach growled as he watched Lizzy brush the flower petals into a dustpan and dump them in the bin. She picked up the goblet of rare French wine and dumped it into the sink without even smelling it. The demon chewed on his knuckle - that had cost him three goats and one first-born.

Lizzy shoved the broom back in the closet and slammed the door.

"What do you want from me?!" she screamed to the empty house.

Rantix hesitated, then sighed and unzipped his pocket dimension. He saw the woman stiffen and turn the color of curdled skim milk. He knew he was breaking several inter-dimensional treaties by manifesting, but he was starving. He knew he looked bad. Knobby horns curled out of his forehead, rubbery, slightly damp skin the color of cooked beets, and stubby vestigial wings that did nothing but make him look like a lame bat.

Lizzy's knees gave out and she fell on her ass, hard. Pain exploded as she landed squarely on her tailbone.

"Sonofabitch," she gasped, tears streaming down her face for a whole new reason. She shook her head and then stared at the demon that was standing in her living room. He was clutching a heart-shaped box of candy.

"You!" she said, understanding washing over her, followed closely by anger. Still nothing he could eat. "You're the one who's been stalking me!"

"Wh-what?" he stammered. This was going so much worse than he had ever seen it go.

"The flowers! The love notes! The jewelry!" with each declaration she jabbed her finger into his chest.

"Why didn't you  like it? I did everything like I was supposed. But you hated it. I don't understand ..." Rantix said, black tears welled up in his eyes and spilled over his cheeks.

Lizzy suddenly felt a stab of shame. Yes, it was clearly a demon, but it was also ugly-crying in the middle of her living room. She trotted to sink and pulled off a sheet of paper towel and handed it over to the sniveling thing. He wiped his eyes, and dabbed at the places on the carpet where his tears had fallen - they were smoldering slightly. He blew his nose and the paper towel caught on fire. He looked stricken for a moment, then he ate it. His skin tone tinged towards eggplant.

"Why are you doing this?" she asked, her voice quavered, but Rantix could taste the flavor of real curiosity on her breath.

"Because you're my assignment. I'm supposed to make you happy so I can eat. Happy thoughts are..." he searched for the word. "Filling. But you don't like anything. And it's been almost a month and if I fail this assignment I get demoted to boggle."

"You eat happy thoughts?" asked Lizzy. She sat down on the floor next to him, and laughed for the first time. Rantix jumped, surprised and he felt refreshed for the first time since he came here.

"I thought you were some kind of stalker," she said. Then she laughed again, and Rantix laughed too and clapped his knobby hands. It felt wonderful.

"I never would have thought I'd be so happy to have my house possessed by a demon," she said, and she smiled at him. He smiled back, his mouth full of needle sharp teeth. Lizzy found is strangely adorable and on impulse pulled him in for a hug.

"Alright, no more rom-com crap, okay?" she said.

"I... I don't know what you're talking about," he said.

"Don't worry. I'll make you a list," she said.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Intergalactic Pit Stops and Other Bad Ideas

[MP] Just one more.


Oct.29, 2015

Just one more, they said, Slink thought to himself as he huddled in the air duct listening to the sound of distant plasma explosions. One went off on the other side of the wall he was on, made him close his eyes and press his hands over his ears. He had to clench his mandibles together to stifle a chatter.

He tried to creep along, cursing inwardly every time his exoskeleton scrapped along the metal. How was I supposed to know they were dangerous? They were so soft and pink - like Spiro's Salt Taffy.

They had almost bypassed the planet. It was the last day of school break, and they needed to get back. But he had wanted to just see one more planet before returning to the grind. Maybe get a pet.
Honestly, it had been how cute the puppies looked asleep that had made him grab this particular bunch. With no chitin or mandibles he didn't even bother to lock their doors. Which was why they had been able to access the armory. And then the killing began.

He'd seen Brib take Laser-filimented knife to the eye, while one of the pink puppies gave a blood curdling cry of rage and defiance, spraying a hideous clear spittle in Slink's face. Some of Brib's green blood had gotten in his mouth, and he gagged thinking about it.

I bought him 'Bleakers Revenge' to play on his Mind-Station for his birthday last week. I was going to show him how to beat the Tiger-wasp level. Slink stifled another chittery sob, with a segmented leg.

Inching forward, he knew if he could just get to the other end of the duct, he would make it to the escape pods.

There was an explosion of gunfire, and holes perforated the duct and Slink couldn't stop a high-pitched clicking, or the sudden spray of pheromones. The acidic smell filled the air.

"One of them is in the ducts," a voice said. And within the space of his double hearts beating, there came a deafening pounding on the metal, and Slink could see them bludgeoning their way into the duct.

He ran, his hooked appendages slipping on the smooth metal, but he moved swiftly once he found purchase on the riveted seams. He was working his way into a rhythm, each of his six feet moving in syncopation that calmed his mind from the numbness of panic. The noise faded into the background, though he was sure they would find a way to track him.

The pods are just ahead. The pods are just ahead.

The duct came to an end, and he peered through the slotted grate. The airlock seemed empty. His antennae twitched, but he couldn't scent a single puppy in the room. Slink clamored down, trying to walk softly, but knowing it was futile. He rushed to the pad and clicked in his code, the door opened with a 'whoosh' and he slipped in and hit the lock code.

He began the launch sequence when the pod was rocked by an explosion. Slink screamed and began mashing the controls with his hooked appendages.

"Leave me alone," he screamed. The thrusters kicked on - and he realized he hadn't buckled in when his head slammed into the overhead paneling. The world went black.

Slink woke up to the gentle beeping sound of the pod's homing beacon. His head throbbed and he gingerly touched it. The carapace didn't seem broken. But as he turned to sit in the cockpit, he froze.

"Can't let you infest my planet," said the pink puppy that had been waiting in the pod. Slink didn't even hear the plasma rifle fire. But he could smell it.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Women in the Moon



Oct. 23, 2015

Cora stepped inside the room and looked around. She was surprised by the warm and homey smell of baking bread.

"Hello?" she called out. "Am I in the right place?"

A woman holding a wicker basket, covered with a blue and white checked towel, turned around from the oven. She was pleasantly plump, and looked to be in her 30s, her midnight black hair braided back from her face rosy face.

"Oh my, is it that time already?" she said. "Come in, my dear. Take a seat by the window - I always loved that seat."

The younger girl slipped her feet out of her shoes, and padded over to the overstuffed chair near the window. The carpet on the floor was thick and lush, and shone silver.

"It's warmer than I thought it would be," said Cora, easing into the big chair. "You must be Per--"

"Not anymore, sweetheart. I'm changing jobs, just like you. Soon you won't be able to keep track of who you are either. That's just the way of things."

Cora smirked, but didn't say anything. It was ridiculous to think that she would be anyone but herself being the moon didn't matter so much. The older woman - Persephone, Cora thought with rebellious flair - plopped the basket down in Cora's lap. It was warm and the smell of fresh bread wafted from it. She peeked under the cloth and admired the round, golden loaves nestled inside.

"Try one," said Persephone.

Cora picked one up, it was about the size of a softball, had it been made of dough pressed into a half globe. Heat gently radiated out from it, and the young girl broke it in half. Crumbs sparkled as they fell to the carpeted floor.

"I use stardust in my recipes," said Persephone. She leaned against a pale wall, and pushed a grey streaked lock of hair away from her face. "It is later than I thought, isn't it? How silly to think I could stay so long."

The young girl looked at the other woman, whose shoulders bent under the weight of years, and the bones of her skull seemed visible in her face. Her skin was translucent, like spider silk.

The crone sighed, setting the basket down and dusting the shimmering crumbs from her hands. "Take care of it, will you? It all happens so fast."

The girl watched as the old woman hobbled to a door on the far side of the room that hadn't existed before. The hag looked over her shoulder, and despite her eyes being milky with age, looked at the younger version of the moon and smiled kindly.

"Goodbye, Persephone."

The first loaf was already eaten - and the woman could hardly remember the taste. But there were more loaves in the basket - and she had to make more before her next guest arrived.

"Farewell, Hecate," she said absently, looking out the window as the far door closed with hardly a sound.