Archive for May, 2014

Mid week Blues Buster, year 2, week 11

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://thetsuruokafiles.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/mid-week-blues-buster-week-2-11/

“Not too tight, Keith. You know I don’t like it when you tie it too tight.” Billy tried to keep from whining, even though the blindfold was too tight, and it really hurt. But he was good at not whining – he’d learned that from Daddy – and Keith just slapped him on the back.

“Gotta be tight, you know. Can’t peek, can’t take it off. Or it’s not proper Hide and Seek.” Keith had just turned twelve, and his voice had started to crack, and when it was right, he sounded an awful lot like Daddy. They didn’t usually let Billy play with them, but Randy’s parents had grounded him for sneaking out after curfew, and Hide and Seek needed at least four guys to be any fun.

Billy felt Keith grab his shoulders and hold him tight. His hands hurt, more than the blindfold, and for the first time, Billy wondered whether he wouldn’t have been better off letting Keith call him a wuss for not playing. But Daddy wouldn’t just call him a wuss when he found out – and he always found out – so Billy just stayed quiet and listened to his big brother tell him the rules he already knew. And then they were gone.

“One! Two! Three!” Counting loudly, just as he was supposed to do, Billy strained to listen for the sounds that would tell him where his brother and his friends had gone to hide, but he just couldn’t hear anything over the echo of his own voice. “Nineteen! Twenty!”

Once he stopped counting, it wasn’t silent, as he’d expected. Billy could hear breathing – not close, but still somewhere in the room. He stepped forward, hands outstretched to make sure he didn’t hit the wall. Billy wasn’t worried about tripping on something – the floor, as always, was perfectly clean. Daddy had tripped on Keith’s baseball mitt once, back when Billy was still in preschool, and Keith had missed the next week of games while his arm healed.

Footsteps. Off to his left and his right, heavy thumps on the oak floor just out of reach, and Billy spun around. And then nothing but breathing. And then nothing.

They couldn’t have left – he would have heard the door open – but where were they? The silence dragged on, and Billy forced himself to move. One step, then another, and another. There. Was there a noise off to his left? He stepped quickly in that direction and banged into the wall. Footsteps again.

“Little Billy hurt himself? Bang into the wall?” Keith’s voice, deep and unwavering, echoed in Billy’s ears. They were moving behind him now, all three of them – he could hear them laughing. But who was that to his right? And to his left? There were too many voices.

“What…what’s going on, Keith? Who’s there?” The answer was a laugh – loud and harsh, with Daddy’s cruel overtones. Was Daddy home? But it was too early! Billy reached up towards his blindfold, and he felt the smack on his arm.

“Uh-uh, little Billy. You keep that on until you catch one of us.” Keith’s voice cracked, once, but that was enough. Not Daddy. The monster in his belly let go of his stomach, and he took a breath. This wouldn’t be fun, and they’d make fun of him, but it was just a game. He lowered his arm and heard Keith nodding next to him.

The room grew silent again, and Billy resumed his hunt. It would go on for far too long, but it would end. He sighed, and tried to concentrate.

Something skittered by on the floor behind him, and he whirled around. Now it was behind him, and in front, going in circles. Billy paused and tried to get the timing down. Now!

He leaped forward and grabbed at the sound. But instead of hitting his brother or one of his dopey friends, all he felt were solid legs, much too long for a twelve year old. How did Daddy come in? How did he move like that?

Billy reached up for the blindfold, but someone grabbed his arms.

“Nuh-uh, little Billy. Time to stay in the dark.”

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Flash Friday, vol 2 week 25

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://flashfriday.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/flash-friday-vol-2-25/

When Warren was naught but a tadpole, he asked Father what lay beyond the pool in which he was hatched.

“One day, I will show you, but the waterfall is too dangerous for one your size.”

But one day never came, for just as Warren was growing legs and shedding his tail, the goddess took Father for her own. So Warren stayed in the pool, though he came to be much too large to live in such a small space, and he was always alone.

The goddess did not want Warren to be alone, however. She had needed Father for another purpose in another pool, but so too did Warren have a purpose. Which is how it came to be that one night, during the summer solstice, she took living form. Reaching into the pool with hands of moss and ivy, she lifted him from the pool and set him, still asleep, on his way into the world.

Flash Friday, Volume 2-24

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://flashfriday.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/flash-friday-vol-2-24/

The box stood, unopened, for more than a half-dozen years. Well, technically, it was on federal land, and it wasn’t addressed to me, so there I let it sit.

I’d been down south, repairing a fence that got knocked down when something had spooked the cattle overnight. Got a call from Old Ben that a few head had gotten out, and there went my Friday. Could have been worse, if grass grew thicker than the hair on my head in these parts, but I’ve been farming dirt for the last six-seven years.

When the post was back up and the cattle back home, I took a ride to check the rest of the fence. I was about to turn back home when I saw the box was gone. In its place was a bright red sticker. “Andorian Brandy of the Month Club,” it read. “Membership Cancelled Due to Lack of Payment.

“To reinstate delivery, notify the nearest telepathic agent.”

Mid-week Blues Buster, week 2.10

Posted in Uncategorized on May 22, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://thetsuruokafiles.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/mid-week-blues-buster-week-2-10/

For seven brothers

I open my eyes and see nothing. Still dark. Good – that will give me time to prepare. I let them out at night, sometimes when they get too wild and rambunctious. They’re too dangerous to be out on their own, really, even at night, but I’ve been getting more and more convinced that they don’t obey me as much as they tolerate me.

The first one, as always, is in the bed next to me. I can feel its weight pressing down on me, trying to keep me here, unmoving, alone. It’s big, and heavy, but easy to catch, and goes into its cage more docilely than some days. I could be happy about this, but I suspect it bodes ill for the rest.

Padding into the bathroom, I step over the toilet to drain my overnight waste products. As I take my penis in my hand, I feel it beginning to grow, and I know the second one has followed me in here. It’s been out all night, gathering sounds of couples (and sometimes more) satiating themselves in the dark. This morning, it has a special treat for me, a window shade left open, allowing it to record the delicious sights hidden inside. I know what it wants, and I give in, just for a moment, distracting it just long enough. Then cage number two is filled.

The water is hot this morning, before everyone else in the building is awake. Before the mirror fogs over, I catch a glance of my naked body in the mirror and smile. Who wouldn’t be proud of such a physique, especially at my age? And it takes effort, that’s god’s honest truth, walking to work every day, eating organic and vegan. All those things I deprive myself of – I deserve something more than just a clean bill of health at the doctor’s office. Then the fog comes, and I see it there, just in the last corner that’s clear. It could run, but it never thinks I’ll catch it. But I do.

Finally clean and dressed, I pick up the remote, hoping to flip on the news and catch up on what happened overnight – I don’t want to know, but I need to know. But then I remember – the TV died last week. An old monstrosity, heavier than sin, with a picture tube and console frame, it barely worked anyway, but was better than nothing. Yesterday, after work, I saw the box out in the hallway. Roger, in 3F. 60 inches. 3D. Stupid bastard leaves his door unlocked every time he goes down to the laundry, and he’s got so much nice stuff. Would it hurt so much to share? I slam the remote down on the table, feeling the rush that comes with smashing something that has failed me.

I hear the cackling behind me. Oh, they’re ganging up on me now? That just makes me angrier, and I kick the piece of shit end table over. Sure, it was a gift from my grandmother, but she’s dead, and what does she care? But I haven’t put on my shoes, and that table has sharp corners. The pain clears my head, and I open up two more cages in my mind. I made one nicer than the other, and it traps one of them easily. The other likes to fight, but I win. It was out all night, and I’m well-rested.

At this rate, I’m going to be late for work, so I try to lure the last two in. A six egg omelet, topped with caviar – I keep a tin in the fridge just for emergencies like this. I hear the five in my head hooting their derision at me, just like always. But the trap works, and I’m able to get the last two locked up before the stench from the chicken and fish eggs turns my stomach.

They’re all in there now, lined up in the dark. They want me to let them free, but I won’t. I hope so, anyway – those cages are old. I step out into the world and wonder if everyone else goes through this every morning. But I’ll never know.

698 words
@drmagoo

#DirtyGoggles Blog Hop, 2014

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2014 by drmagoo

Nurse to the Dead

754 words

Eric Martell/@drmagoo

Steampunk

Truth be told, I wasn’t a very good nurse. I wanted to be a doctor, to cut people open and see what was inside them, to feel their lungs expand and their hearts beat, but medical colleges wouldn’t even consider admitting a woman, much less one with my skin color. So I became a nurse, but I’d been relegated to the worst shifts and the worst patients, and there’s only so much vomit and excrement you can clean off before deciding that it’s just not worth it. Then one day he showed up.

Doctor Franklin was the thinnest man I’d ever seen, his skin so pale as to be translucent, but he was also the only doctor who spoke to me as if I was a person. Taking on the hardest cases, patients more dead than alive, he told me that he learned the most from the ones he couldn’t save. He let me stay in the room as he worked, teaching me about how the body worked.

His techniques were different than the other doctors’, and a higher percentage of his patients found their way out the back door to the morgue than out the front to their homes, but he never seemed discouraged. Still, when I showed up for work and heard raised voices, I was concerned. The man he was arguing with was the director of the hospital.

“…will leave this hospital and never return! Only the barest shred of professional courtesy has kept me from contacting the authorities, and my patience is at an end.”

The door swung open, and Doctor Franklin stormed out, his gaunt face twisted into a knot of anger. When he saw me, he stopped. “Maria, I am sure you heard the end of that unfortunate confrontation. I am doing great work here – with your assistance, I must add – but I must leave now. If you wish, you could join me, and we can continue our work.”

I didn’t have to think hard about the doctor’s offer. There was nothing for me here but a lifetime of being dismissed as inferior. And so when his carriage showed up, I was ready.

Doctor Franklin was waiting in his front room, but I almost did not notice him, so startled was I by his home. Whereas the outside was worn and nearly dilapidated, the inside was pristine. Spartan almost to the point of ascetism in decoration, it was instead filled with gadgetry the like I had never seen. Faint blue lines appeared on the ground, and the doctor motioned me to follow him in the direction they pointed as he began talking.

“My home is large, but you will never lose your way – just follow the lights which appear and you will be able to assist me as necessary.” He paused. “I must speak to you of the nature of our work here, Maria. What, do you think, is the most fundamental question of our existence as living beings?”

I had no answer, but he didn’t wait for one. “It is simple, really. What does it mean to be alive, and what does it mean to be dead?

“Doctors have worked for millennia to keep people alive, but what does that mean? And while it is obvious that we can cross over from life to death, is it, as they say, a one-way trip? What of miraculous recoveries, people who seemingly have died but once again become one of the living?”

We reached a small door, made of polished bronze and opaque glass. Doctor Franklin stopped and turned to me. “In the hospital, when someone dies, what do they do with them? They throw them away, put them into the ground to rot. That’s what other doctors do. Not me. I bring them here.” He put his hand to the door, and the same blue light from the floor glowed around his fingers. With a click, the door swung open.

Superficially, the room behind resembled a hospital ward, a half-dozen beds lining each wall, but there the similarity ended. Each bed was surrounded by an endless supply of gadgets. Bellows to force air into their lungs. Pumps pushing blood into their bodies. Arrays of lights blinking red and green, though to what purpose I could not say. And each was occupied by someone I recognized – men and women who had died on Doctor Franklin’s operating table. I straightened my uniform and bent over to examine the first patient. They were dead, but I would help keep them alive.

Dirty Goggles Blog Hop story, first draft

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2014 by drmagoo

Alright, this sucker needs some serious editing, but here’s my first shot at a story for the Dirty Goggles Blog Hop, and the first steampunk story I’ve written. 

Nurse of the Dead

The carriage had once been well-appointed, with rich fabrics and polished brass, but it had been many years since those days. Still, it was the nicest I’d ever had the chance to ride in, and the worn brocade and uneven cushions were echoes of a decadent life I couldn’t believe I had been invited to join. The driver had pulled up outside the boarding house promptly at six o’clock, his thick cloak and fur-lined cap a much better bulwark against the cold than my flimsy uniform. I’d been hired as a nurse, though, so as a nurse I went.

Truth be told, I wasn’t a very good nurse. I’d wanted to be a doctor, to cut people open and see what was inside them, to feel their lungs expand and their hearts beat, but the medical colleges wouldn’t even consider admitting a woman, much less one with my skin color. So I became a nurse, but I’d been relegated to the worst shifts and the worst patients, and there’s only so much vomit and excrement you can clean off before deciding that it’s just not worth it. Then one day he showed up.

Doctor Franklin was the thinnest man I’d ever seen, and his skin was so pale as to be translucent, but he was also the only doctor who spoke to me as if I was a person. He took on the hardest cases, patients more dead than alive, and told me that he learned more from the ones he couldn’t save than he ever did from those who lived. Since he let me stay in the room as he worked, I didn’t have to hide my interest in what he was doing, and he began teaching me all about how the body worked.

His techniques were different than the other doctors’, and a higher percentage of his patients found their way out the back door to the morgue than out the front to their homes, but he never seemed discouraged. Still, when I showed up for work yesterday and heard raised voices, I was concerned. Doctor Franklin never yelled, and the man he was arguing with was the director of the hospital.

“…will leave this hospital and never return. Only the barest shred of professional courtesy has kept me from contacting the authorities, and my patience is at an end.”

The door swung open, and Doctor Franklin stormed out, his gaunt face twisted into a knot of anger. When he saw me, he stopped for the briefest of instants. “Maria, I am sure you heard the end of that unfortunate confrontation. I am doing great work here – with your assistance, I must add – but they are too short-sighted to see the future. I must leave now, but if you wish, you could join me, and we can continue our work. I will send my carriage to your home tomorrow, precisely at six o’clock. Good day.”

I didn’t have to think that hard about the doctor’s offer. There was nothing for me here, nothing but a lifetime of being dismissed as inferior, day after day. And so when the carriage showed up, I was waiting.

My life in the city had been restricted to a fairly small area – my home, the hospital, a few markets which didn’t kick people like me out – and I’d never had the chance to travel into the surrounding countryside. Even in the light of a waning moon, it was clear that I was in a world which bore only a passing similarity to the one I was used to. The carriage rolled over hills that took me past enormous estates, bordered by rock walls which led to iron gates, each seemingly more ornate than the last. Just as night was beginning to replace the day, the carriage slowed. The gate we were approaching was large, but plain, and as the lead horse neared it, it swung open on its own. I looked for an attendant, but saw none. It was the first of many marvels awaiting me in the doctor’s home.

The doctor’s house matched the carriage, and had clearly been a seat of importance once upon a time, but the worn steps and flaking paint on the shutters made it clear that no one had been paying much attention to property upkeep for many years. The carriage pulled up outside the front entrance, and the driver carried my bags as he led me up the stairs. As with the gate, the door swung open as we approached, again with no doorman.

Doctor Franklin was waiting in the front room, clearly agitated. “Finally. I should have better considered the time of the commute from the city in my planning for the night. Matters will be coming to a head shortly, and I have need of your assistance. Come, we will talk along the way.”

I almost did not hear what he was saying, so startled was I by his home. Whereas the outside was worn and nearly dilapidated, the inside was pristine. Spartan almost to the point of ascetism in decoration, it was instead filled with gadgetry the like I had never seen. Faint blue lines appeared on the ground, and the doctor began following them as he talked.

“When I have need of you, you will hear me call via the box on the wall. My home is large, but you will never lose your way – just follow the lights which appear and you will be able to assist me as necessary.” He paused, just for a moment. “I should speak to you of the nature of our work here, Maria. What, do you think is the most fundamental question of our existence as living beings?”

I had no answer, but he didn’t wait for one. “It is simple, really. What does it mean to be alive, and what does it mean to be dead?

“Doctors have worked for millennia to keep people alive, but what does that mean? And while it is obvious that we can cross over from life to death, is it, as they say, a one-way trip? What of miraculous recoveries, people who seemingly have died but once again become one of the living?”

We reached a small door, made of polished metal and opaque glass. Here Doctor Franklin stopped once again and turned to me, his face alive with an energy I had never seen him exhibit before. “In the hospital, when someone dies, what do they do with them? They throw them away, into the ground to rot. That’s what other doctors do. Not me.  I bring them here.” He put his hand to the door, and the same blue light from the floor glowed around his fingers. There was a click, and the door swung open.

At first glance, one would have thought that the room behind was nothing more than a hospital ward, a half-dozen beds lining each wall, but each was surrounded by more of the gadgets I’d seen in the front room. Bellows to force air into their lungs. Pumps pushing blood into their bodies. Arrays of lights blinking red and green, though to what purpose I could not say. I straightened my uniform and bent over to examine the first patient. Each of the beds in the room was occupied by someone I recognized – men and women who had died on Doctor Franklin’s operating table. They were dead, but I would help keep them alive.

Flash Friday, Vol , week 23

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://flashfriday.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/flash-friday-vol-2-23/

Cheese and Onions

This was a man who knew what he wanted, ordering before sitting down on the plastic-topped stool. “Bowl of chili, cheese, onions.”

I flipped the rag off my shoulder and wiped down the counter. “Can do, friend. But first, I’ve got a story.

“You see that guy up there? On the TV?”

“Yeah. Everyone knows him.”

“He was in here earlier today. Just like you, bowl of chili. Man loves his chili. Eats it before every big speech, to show off his ‘intestinal fortitude.’”

“Yeah?”

“Just watch.” The man on the TV was getting warmed up, his arms beginning their familiar gesticulation. The sweat on his brow, however, was unusual.

“Man like that makes some deals, makes some enemies. Some of them sell chili.”

The man on the TV was visibly discomfited now, panic setting in on his face. Suddenly, he turned and darted from the stage.

“Still want that chili?”

The man on the stool smiled. “How’s the meatloaf?”