Tag Archives: crohns

Pets in the Building. Short Story.

Went to my GI doctor today, going in for another colonoscopy in the next couple of weeks and another dilation of my stricture (basically they put a balloon in at the stricture and inflate it to stretch out the scar tissue) to see if that fixes the problem, if it doesn’t then it’ll mean surgery to remove it. So basically it’ll be waiting around until the colonoscopy and then I’ll have an idea as to what’s happening next. Still least I don’t have to go on steroids, always a silver lining!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!
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Martin unlocked his door and peered out into the hallway, he looked left and right and saw nothing but rows of doors to the other apartments. What ever had been making that scratching noise was gone. He closed the door muttering to himself, someone on this floor had a dog, he just knew it. They weren’t supposed to have pets in this building, it was supposed to be a pet free zone. He had his suspicious of who it was, but he had no proof yet, just a few missing puzzle pieces. There was that young couple that moved in next door about a month back, he thought he heard the yipping of one of those rat dogs once or twice last week, but he hadn’t heard anything since. Then there was old Mrs. Travis, who shuffled down the corridors in her tattered outside coat, which was just a different coloured version of the house coat she wore to collect her mail, both seemed to be covered in fur. Though he hadn’t gotten close enough to confirm if it was fur or just general dust and hair, she always had a rank stench of body odour around her and he never dared get close enough to tell. Then of course there was that Pakistani couple, maybe they were Indian, not that it made much of a difference to him. They were up to something, he didn’t know what, but it was something. Maybe they were the ones with the dog, if they were they probably planned on eating it or was that the Chinese that did that? Either way, they were suspicious. There was also that young woman who lived five doors down, always strutting around in skin tight short-shorts and tank tops, or tight skirts and shirts that were too low cut and revealing to be anything close to decent. In fact, the only people on the floor that he didn’t suspect were that couple who lived in the first apartment beside the lift, they were a nice couple, young, quiet, kept to themselves. Both dressed conservatively and the wife wore a cross that was nestled between the vague, baggy jumper covered mounds that were her breasts.

Martin sat down on his tattered couch and flicked on the television, keeping it low in case he heard another yip or the telltale clack of nails on the floor. He picked up his half empty can of beer and downed it in three quick swallows and threw the empty onto the steadily growing pile at the other end of the couch. He grabbed a fresh one and cracked it open, he took a sip and placed it on the low table in front of the couch. He jokingly referred to the growing pile as his collection which he had been building for the last three weeks, ever since he’d been fired and escorted out of his workplace by security. Twenty years he’d given to that company and they’d thrown him out like a beggar on the streets. They didn’t even allow him the courtesy of packing up his own desk, the young runt with the wide, staring eyes had said it was procedure, for security reasons you see. Martin didn’t see because it was all bullshit and they both knew it. He took another gulp of beer, it had been a witch hunt. That’s what it was. They had just been waiting to find a reason to get rid of him. He saw how all the young women behaved, dressing in too tight clothes, flashing come-fuck-me eyes at anything that walked on two legs and had a dick swinging between them. When the younger men made a pass at them it was cute, funny and worth a drink and maybe a quickie in the supply closet. When he did it though it suddenly became sexual harassment. He’d even gone for the sluttiest one, everyone knew Karen had ridden every dick in the office but his and it was about time he dipped his pen into the office ink. He’d kept himself in check all that time up until that frigid bitch Melissa had left him, all those years wasted with her and not once had he strayed though he had plenty of chances. Then the first time he tried to make a move they fired him for it.

Martin shot to his feet then stumbled across to the door, his footsteps were heavy and pounding. He gripped the cold door handle, eyes wide and feverish and pulled it open with a snarl, he was two steps into the hallway when he realised there was nothing there. He peered blearily each way, then disappointedly went back into his apartment. He had heard it that time he knew he had, there was even a gentle clink of a dog tag jangling on its collar. He stood by the door, breathing heavily, ear pressed against it, they were trying to get him, that’s what it was, trying to make him look crazy so when he finally had proof no one would believe him. He wouldn’t let them get away with it. He’d catch them and march their fucking dog right out of the building and throw the damn thing into traffic. He grinned lopsidedly at the thought, then the grin turned into a frown, first he’d have to catch it. He went back to his couch and sat down, taking another swig from his beer. He peered at his stash and counted them twice, he was running out, only a few cans were left, he’d have to swing by the liquor store tomorrow, maybe he’d go to a different one though, the sneering clerk that always seemed to be behind the counter knew his name and what he bought. If he kept going there they’d think he was an alcoholic or something and maybe they’d stop selling to him. Not that he was an alcoholic of course, he could stop drinking if he wanted to, but why would he want to? Now was the time to relax, the company agreed to give him his pension, no muss no fuss, so really he’d basically retired. And what was it that retired people were supposed to do? Relax and enjoy themselves. He’d earned it after working so hard for so long, he was 65 years old, he deserved a little R&R.

Martin opened his eyes blearily, the TV was still playing he shifted slightly, feeling the aches in his body as he did so. His tongue felt thick and furry, his head felt like it was too heavy. He reached blindly until he felt the cool metal of a can, he picked it up, opened it and took a long, slow sip. When he was done he belched, already he was starting to feel a bit better. He took another swig, this one a little faster and kept it down. He looked around the room, frowning, it was still dark outside, and he could barely hear the TV, what had woken him up? Then it came, the excited, steady clack of nails on wood, the sound of four little legs thumping one after the other, that god damned dog was running up and down the fucking corridor. He heaved himself out of the chair, gasping for air as he did so and lumbered over to the door, still only half awake.

He pulled the door open and stumbled into the corridor, he looked to his left and saw nothing, then to his right and there it was. That little ball of fur, it was bigger than he expected, about knee high, he thought it would be one of those rat dogs those gold diggers liked to carry in purses. He called out to it, “Here pup.” the dog stopped and turned, it had all white fur and when Martin got a look at its face he took a step back. It was one ugly fucker, its snout was pressed back, its skin was droopy and hanging, its eyes were a filmy grey. It had teeth that stuck out from all angles, Jesus he’d be doing this dog a favour by throwing it into traffic, hell it might even look better afterwards. He patted his leg, “here doggy doggy, c’mere” the dog took a tentative step towards him then continued on, building up speed. Martin smiled and patted his leg again, this was just too easy. The dog was about ten feet away and showed no sign of slowing, damn thing would probably jump up all over him, slobbering away. Five feet, two, Martin leaned over to pick it up, the dog jumped forward, teeth sinking into Martins face. Martin screamed and stumbled backward, hitting the wall hard, the dog had sunk its teeth in and wasn’t letting go. He gripped the dog around the midsection and pulled, his hands seemed to sink into it, he barely noticed the fingers of his hands touching each other. The pain in his face was all consuming, he couldn’t see out of one eye, he could feel drool and blood running down his face as the dog stayed latched on. He pushed himself from the wall and tried to ram the dog into it but he slipped on some of the blood, his legs flew out from under him and he landed with a heavy thud, the air driven out of him. He breathed in to scream again but his mouth filled with a mix of fluids, causing him to cough. The pressure on his face was increasing, then the dog tore itself free, taking a chunk of his cheek and his nose with it. Martins hands went to his face, blood was pouring between them, the dog chewed for a moment, its tail wagging. Martin shuffled backwards, using his legs to propel himself. This thing was fucking rabid or something, he needed to get inside, somewhere safe. He looked up at one of the doors and couldn’t make out the numbers, they were too blurry, his own door had closed and they all looked the same. He banged against he wall, “Help. Help.” the words were weak and gurgled, he banged on the wall again. The dog swallowed and turned to him, it now had a red bib of blood around its mouth and down its chest. Tail still wagging it launched at him again.

Martin was found the next morning, blood splattered across the hallway, chunks of him across the ground, some had even ended up inside the small flower vase full of fake flowers management had added three months back to brighten up the place. It was Old Mrs. Travis who found him, she stepped outside while pulling her ratty coat tighter, then she saw the streaks of red, at first she didn’t know what she was looking at, and then she started screaming, a second later she collapsed. The scream and subsequent thud brought neighbours into the hallway, one or two thinking that Old Mrs. Travis had finally had a heart attack or stroke. Instead they found her unconscious, lying in the gore streaked corridor. Soon they found out it had been a wild animal attack, looked like a pack of dogs. The camera in the corridor had been on the fritz, had been for the last month so no one was quite sure what exactly had happened, or even how the animals had gotten in and out. Soon they decided amongst themselves that Martin must have been an animal hoarder, it made sense, he was always going on about someone having a dog, no doubt a manifestation of his own paranoia. Besides, if they were truly honest, none of them cared how he went, they were just glad he was gone.

Change. Short Story.

Hope everyone has had a good week! I’ve lost a bit more weight which isn’t that great, but I’ve an appointment on Monday with my GI doctor so hopefully more will be revealed then, though I expect it’ll be mostly getting tests done.

My sourdough starter should be getting to the point where it’s almost done, I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to try make some bread over the weekend or let it go for a little bit longer before I start keeping it in the fridge.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Percy kept his head down as he walked through the streets, he missed the comfort of his hood, how it helped make him another nobody. They’d been banned in July of the last year after there was a terrorist attack in a local market, anyone caught outside with a covering on their head would be summarily arrested and sent to prison under suspicion of being a terrorist. He ducked and weaved through the thronging crowd, not wanting to stop and listen to the agitators, men standing on wooden boxes and shouting their ideology into the din. It wasn’t a good place to hang around but unfortunately for Percy his office building was just on the other side of it. He snaked his way out of the bulk of the crowd and felt himself relax a little, he eyed the black face masks of the police as they stared impassively at the crowd. Percy walked past one, nodding as he went, it seemed polite to greet them, after all he passed the same one every day. Or at least he thought it was the same one, the uniforms were made of heavy body armour that made it impossible to distinguish them from one another, they were even the same rough height. All part of regulations to keep anyone from figuring out who the police were after the last rash of police killings three years before, where almost a thirty police men and women were murdered in their own homes along with their families while they’d been sleeping. Percy felt himself relax a little more as he entered the building, the most dangerous part of his day was over, for some reason the revolutions always seemed to happen in the mornings rather than at night or the afternoon. Not that it was much safer being outside in the evening.
“Good Morning.”
“Morning.”
Cassandra didn’t look up from her computer, she rarely did. Percy entered the stairwell, ignoring the taped up lift doors. The elevators had been decommissioned after the last attack, they were too much of a safety hazard apparently. Percy didn’t care either way, he always took the stairs, he could never stand the cramped space of the elevator, the crush of people cramming themselves in and the reek of perfumes, cologne and body odour, all competing to drown out the others. When he reached the sixth floor he was just starting to breathe a little faster, he opened the door to his floor with his eight digit code and carefully closed the door behind himself. The office had been open plan when it first opened fifty years ago, now it was a strange maze of bullet proof half walls that were just that little bit too tall to see over comfortably. He made his way through the corridors calling good morning to anyone he spotted as he went. He entered his small cubicle and sat down on the chair, he waited for the computer to boot then entered his login. While the computer loaded his profile he pulled his mug from his desk cupboard and placed it under the small coffee nozzle, he pressed a button and watched as it filled. It was supposed to have an automatic cut off but that hadn’t worked since he began, despite repeatedly flagging it with maintenance. He stopped the coffee and pressed the button for milk then added half a packet of sugar. When he was done doctoring his coffee his system had loaded, he opened up the programs he needed then went straight to the internet browser. He scrolled through the mornings news stories, everything seemed OK for the moment. He checked to make sure the alert system was still working then he minimised the page and got to work.

At noon the alarms went off and the shutters closed down on the windows, plunging them into gloom for a few seconds while the rest of the overhead lights kicked in. An alert popped up on Percy’s screen, “Please stay calm while the situation is resolved.”
Samantha popped her head around the side of Percy’s cubicle wall, “I heard it’s the New Reformation. They’ve been planning this for weeks apparently.”
“Are they the ones with the leader in the mask?”
“No, the New Reformations leader is a woman, she’s about fifty, severe face, short grey hair?”
Percy nodded, he vaguely remembered seeing one of her speeches somewhere. He didn’t particularly agree with what she was saying, but then he didn’t agree with most of them.
“So what do you think of their chances?”
“Well pretty good I think. She seems like the type to get things done. Though we might have another Walt Ingram on our hands.”
Percy nodded, pretending to know who that was, there were just too many names to keep track of. One government was barely settled before a new one was muscling its way in.
“Do you think we’ll get out of here before close?”
“Hopefully, last time it didn’t take long at all, only an hour or two.”
A voice came over the intercom, “Please note that you are still expected to work your normal hours during this emergency situation. Thank you for your understanding.”
Samantha sighed, “least they could do is give us the day off.”
Percy snorted, “if they did we’d never get any work done.”
“I’ll see you later. Hey, would you mind if we walked home together tonight? You’re close by me and you know how crazy people can get.”
“Yeah, of course.”
Samantha smiled, “thanks! I’ll see you later!” she turned and Percy caught a glimpse of her ass, he sighed to himself as he looked back at his screen, her wife was very lucky. He opened his web browser and was greeted by a not so friendly reminder, “All internet activity has been suspended for your safety. Repeated attempts to get online or attempts to circumvent this block will be met with disciplinary actions.” Percy clicked out of the browser.

Three hours later there was a high pitched whine as the shields over the windows were raised. Percy stood from his desk and stepped out of his cubicle, joining the stream of people going to the windows. He found a good spot and peered down at the square below, the police still stood guard, it looked as though there were still speakers though a worker was spraying down the area with a hose. He moved from the window, letting someone else take his place. It didn’t seem to be too bad this time, he hadn’t spotted any broken windows and while there was blood there were no bodies.

By the time he’d finished work he had the whole story, the New Reformation had neatly and quickly killed or arrested most of the Main Government officials, taking control for themselves. The news didn’t go into the nitty gritty details of how they did it, which was unusual. Most of the groups were falling over themselves to tell everyone how they took over. Perhaps their leader was smarter than the others, who knew, maybe they’d be the government that lasted, though it seemed unlikely. He met Samantha at the door to the stairwell and together they joined the line of people leaving. Outside the air was cold and held with it a faint tinge of copper. Who ever had been in charge of hosing the place down had done a slapdash job, there were still puddles of blood tinged water. That would be gone by the morning though, the cleaning crews would come out after the celebrating was mostly finished. Percy and Samantha walked side by side, heads down. They chatted as they went, the layout of the new data spreadsheets, that jackass Tom from accounting who always seemed to lose files. Nothing personal, nothing inflammatory, it was safest. Samantha stopped outside one of the buildings, “this is me, thank you so much.” She glanced around quickly, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but thank you.” Small groups of revellers were shouting and drinking but they seemed to be leaving passer-by alone.
“It’s no bother, it was on my way, if you want someone to walk you home let me know anytime.”
They shook hands and Samantha entered the building, pausing only to enter the code. Percy waited until the door closed safely behind her then resumed his journey. As he walked he kept his head down, not looking at those celebrating. He passed a group of men and women jeering at an old man, he saw one of them push the old man to the ground, the shouts grew louder. Percy kept going. If he got involved he’d only make it worse for the old man and himself. The police would be making sweeps through the city as the night wore on, calming things down as best as they could.

Percy let himself into his building and went to the stairs, the elevators were still functioning, the dinged open and a young woman stepped out, a young man followed her and grabbed her ass. The young man spotted Percy and pumped a fist into the air “We did it man, we did it!” Percy ignored him and stepped into the stairwell. He climbed the stairs quickly then slowed as he reached the third floor, if the young man hadn’t started after him yet, he wouldn’t. No doubt the young man would get himself into a few fights in the coming hours. Most people intelligent enough to avoid that behaviour also avoided advertising their political stance. Percy himself ignored politics all together as that seemed to be the safest bet in general. Sometimes the new governments liked to crack down on political opposition and the only way to avoid it was to just simply not get involved. He opened the door to the ninth floor after punching in his code, then he walked down the corridor to his door. He unlocked it quickly, stepped inside and closed it behind himself, feeling his shoulders relax as he leaned against the cold metal of the door.

The Change. Short Story.

I think I’m doing a bit better, the stomach cramps have eased off a bit so I’m hopeful! Still really tired but then what’s new there really! I’m going to try and get my next appointment with my GI doctor moved up anyway, if it’s just a lull or if it’s passing no harm in getting looked over!

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Brad held his hands out to the fire, letting the warmth seep in. It probably wasn’t the safest idea they’d had but it was too damn cold, their options were to light a fire or potentially freeze to death. After a few minutes debate they decided the risk was worth it. They were far from any cities or towns and hopefully far from people. A lot of people were doing what they were, striking out for the wilderness, it was the safest thing they could do. The threat of changing was getting worse every day, they’d waited as long as they could then packed their car and started driving. They’d abandoned the car four days back, they’d run out of gas and the last few gas stations they’d passed had hand written signs saying they were out. Well, that wasn’t true, the very last one had a large sign proclaiming that there was still gas and to “Come on in for a bite!” that sign had seemed too suspicious to them both, so they kept driving. For Brad the strangest thing about it all was that to a casual observer they might not notice anything was wrong. You could gloss over the stores with dwindling supplies (they couldn’t seem to keep the shelves stocked no matter how hard they tried) or the sight of someone frantic and running down the street, hell you could even ignore the way that people would watch you out of the corner of their eyes. The news was useless, blathering on about celebrities and the usual fluff, like it still mattered. The internet was being censored, occasionally you would come across a post about a family member changing, about the way everyone was on edge, but almost as soon as it went up it was taken down again. Brad and Helena had hit the road after the last call from Helena’s parents, they’d sounded bright and cheerful, far removed from the quiet, anxious voices that they had heard previously. Brad’s own parents had gone over about a week back and had been aggressively inviting them over for dinner since.

They’d ditched their phones with the car, it wasn’t like they had anyone to ring, it seemed like almost everyone had gone over. Part of him wished it was all more dramatic, that the people who changed were flesh eating zombies or weapon wielding maniacs. At least then you’d have a chance, you’d know to defend yourself. They looked like normal people, acted like them too for the most part, but they were different, changed. He couldn’t explain it properly, even now, but there was a subtle wrongness to them, something that was just off. He hadn’t managed to pinpoint it, whether it was the way they moved or sounded or smelled. Sometimes it was obvious, the personality change or the sudden insistence at meeting up, but other times it was subtle. Subtle enough that you could miss it. So they’d did the only sensible thing and ran.

Helena poured hot water into two cups, neither of them particularly liked tea but they’d run out of coffee yesterday and hadn’t been able to resupply yet. They’d need to do it soon, their food supplies were dwindling rapidly, much faster than either expected, and they had no idea how to even begin hunting or foraging. Brad popped a hole into a can of spaghetti and put it beside the fire, it was only a few days and he was already sick of canned food, they had both thought themselves reasonably prepared and believed that they could pick up the rest on the way, it was only now he was realising how unprepared they really were. A branch snapped nearby, Brad’s head whipped around, a voice called out, low and frightened, “Hello? I’m sorry if I scared you but can we warm ourselves by the fire? Just for a minute, please, my wife is pregnant.” Brad glanced at Helena, she nodded slightly, “Yeah. OK. But don’t make any sudden moves.” They had no weapons with them, save for an old baseball bat, but the new comers didn’t know that. A man and woman emerged from the trees, the woman moved slowly, her large stomach protruding in front of her. Their faces were red and they were both shivering from the cold, both had light jackets on. “Jesus, you’ll freeze to death out here if you’re not careful. Where are you coming from?”
“Livington, it’s about fifteen miles east of here. We weren’t planning on leaving.” They sat down, holding their hands out to the flames. “My brother attacked us. We barely got out of the house.” he looked at Brad, “I just thought people were overreacting, that it was just in peoples heads.” his eyes were pleading, as was his voice, Brad thought the man was hoping he’d agree, tell him that it wasn’t really happening, that it had just been a mistake. “Do you want some tea? It’ll help heat you up.”
“That would be great, Thanks. I’m Patrick, this is Francine.” Francine nodded at them both and gave a half smile.

An hour later and they were all talking like old friends, Brad was surprised at how much he missed just chatting with people, without worrying whether they were still people. What ever was replacing people was sticking close to the towns and cities, carrying on their scheduled humanity, going to work or school, doing the shopping, they weren’t out in the wilderness. Patrick finished off his tea, his second cup, “We should probably get going. W just wanted to heat ourselves up and we don’t want to intrude.”
“Nonsense, you’ll catch your death out here. Besides us humans need to stick together.” Brad nodded, Helena was right, they’d be better off in a group. It would make keeping watch easier, bother Brad and Helena had managed to fall asleep the night before, leaving them entirely exposed.

Helena poured more tea into Francine’s cup, she clutched the cup tightly, enjoying the warmth radiating through her hands. “Thank you. You know I never thought I’d experience this again. Drinking tea with friends” she sniffed, Brad looked away awkwardly as Francine wiped away a single tear.

The muffled gasp woke Brad, he was groggy, how long had they been asleep? It was still dark out, there was a low moan, his first thought was Francine, that the baby was coming here in the cold, dark woods, he sat up and looked across the faintly glowing embers, who was supposed to be on watch? The fire shouldn’t have died down that much. He saw something in the dark, a hunched shape over where Helena was sleeping. He shot to his feet and charged at the figure, just as he took his second step another shape hurtled out of the darkness, knocking him to the ground. He landed hard, the weight on top of him driving the air from his lungs, it took him a second to make sense of the shape on top of him, it was Francine, her pregnant belly hanging above his face. She was holding him down, her hands wrapped around his shoulders with a painfully tight grip, she leaned down, an angle he would have thought impossible, then her lips were over his creating a seal. He felt something oozing into his mouth, he bucked and writhed as he felt the liquid moving, pulling itself down his throat. Suddenly there was pain, bright hot at first but quickly becoming dull and far away.

The next morning they packed their bags in silence, Francine and Patrick had left during the night. They shouldered their bags and started walking, they knew the woods held more people, they just had to find them.

Up the Ranks. Flash Fiction.

Bloods came back and everything seemed to be fine which is both reassuring and worrying. I’m glad there isn’t active disease but I’ve lost 5 pounds in two weeks which isn’t a good sign. Hopefully I’ll find out what it is soon enough.

Also I had the weirdest experience while getting the bus last week. A homeless guy tapped me in the back and I turned around, I told him I only had bus fare and he starts shaking his head and unzipping his jacket before he starts to pull out a bottle of red wine while trying to sell it to me. I mean who buys wine at a bus stop? Obviously it must work for him but I was just so baffled by it!

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Up the Ranks. Flash Fiction.

“How many did we lose?”
“Six.”
Mark tapped his pen on the desk for a moment, “Send in another six.”
“Are you sure?”
“No, but we can’t just ignore it either. We need to figure out what that damn thing is before it gets taken away from us. If we know what it is we can control it.”
Stacy nodded, “I’ll have a list prepared for your approval, I’ll have it to you in the next half hour.” She stood and left the room, Mark looked down at the print out on his desk, he didn’t understand any of these readings and it seemed no one else did either. They found the hole by accident, a worker had fallen in two days ago, Mark still couldn’t get a clear answer as to what the worker had been doing out there. Witnesses said he’d been walking along and then he was just gone. No screams, no dropping from sight, he just vanished. One of the workers had moved to where he was and she had vanished too, the rest were smart enough to stay back. So far twenty people had been sent through, including the original two and the witnesses, all would be reported dead due to a tragic accident. They couldn’t get any recordings of what it looked like on the other side, but they were able to maintain radio contact with exploration teams, though each team reported different findings. The first team in had reported a shallow ledge with a long drop, they’d needed ropes to get down safely, and a large cave system, about half an hour into their journey their radios went silent. The next team in reported no drop and wide open fields. The first few minutes of the recordings were a confusion of voices trying to figure out where they were and why everyone else had seemed to vanish. The other two teams reported a large lake and dark, frozen tunnels. All lost radio contact after half an hour exactly and with no reports of distress, one moment they were talking, the next all radio contact was lost. If they could figure out what it was maybe they could harness it, just think of the limitless applications and they’d be the only company with any access, at least until the government came along as it always seemed to do. Mark sat back and started scrolling through the reports on his computer, Stacy would be back with those names soon, in the mean time he wanted to try and make sense of some of the reports.

Mark yawned and stretched, two hours later and still he could barely follow along the reports. He’d just get someone to summarise it for him so he could summarise it to the higher-ups. They hadn’t put him on it specifically, he’d just gotten lucky by being the most senior person in the vicinity. No doubt they’d people on the way, ready to bust in and take things over from him, and he was fine with that, first though, first he wanted to show he wasn’t useless. Stacy had come back with the names and he’d signed off on them all. No one too important or indispensable, but they’d good experience, enough that a short trip into the wilderness shouldn’t kill them, in theory anyway. Stacy burst into his office, panting, “What the hell?”
“You have to hear this!”
She ran around his desk and shoved him unceremoniously out of the way, his chair sliding into the wall behind him, he was about to protest again but the look on her face silenced him. Stacy was pale, her eyes wide and staring. A second later she clicked play and the room was filled with screams.
Stacy jumped, then lowered the volume, “What the hell is that?”
“That’s the team we just sent through. They started babbling about creatures, didn’t know what they were then they just started screaming.”
The screams were dying out one by one, a panting, desperate voice, “Oh god.” And there was silence.
Mark felt shaky, but he had to remain strong, he couldn’t show weakness. He took a slow deep breath. “Analyse any recordings that were made and prepare a list for the next team.”
Stacy opened her mouth, then closed it and nodded, “we won’t be able to keep this under wraps for long. People have already stopped volunteering and there’s been talk of people quitting.”
Mark thought for a moment, “Tell them anyone who quits will be first on the next list to go in. Anyone tries to run they’ll be thrown in.” Stacy didn’t object, she knew that their security would have no problems following Mark’s orders, at least until someone else took charge. Out here in the middle of nowhere the security teams were the law.
“I’ll get you that list.”
Mark went to the small cabinet in his office and pulled out a glass and a water bottle, they didn’t allow booze on company property, he filled it then took a long, slow drink. He needed to maintain control and he needed to find out what the hell that thing was, even if it cost the company a thousand workers. He only had a limited window to make a name for himself, he didn’t want to spend years clawing his way up through the company, not when he had a golden opportunity like this in front of him.

Endless Worlds. Short Story.

I’m feeling a bit better today, I’m still feeling pretty tired but I haven’t had much cramping. I’m taking it as a good sign. Haven’t gotten my results back yet, so I won’t know until Monday if there’s inflammation. It’s strange because half of me hopes there is because then a course of steroids should bring everything under control, but the other half of me hopes there isn’t because if there is inflammation that means that the disease is active. It’s a strange feeling, not going to lie! Least it’s the weekend!  My plan is to sleep, I may do some baking depending on how I feel over the weekend. I’m absurdly looking forward to having a bath, listening to The Magnus Archives podcast (seriously recommend it, I absolutely love it) and getting into my bed with fresh sheets (really, is there anything better than fresh sheets after a bath or shower?)

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Lewis crept through the dark house, by now everyone was asleep. All the guards were outside, making sure no one was breaking in, idiots. He still couldn’t believe how easily they’d let him join and they’d bought him right inside too, he had expected someone to be standing watch, someone keeping an eye on him but there was nothing. They’d left him in an unlocked room with complete access to the rest of the house. Well, not complete access, but he had his lock picks with him and that was just as good. He found the door easily enough, and with practised hands he unlocked it, it swung open on silent hinges, he stepped inside and closed the door behind himself. He stood in the darkness for a moment, listening. There were no sounds in the house, no one was moving around, no alarm had been raised. He smiled, then reached out and felt along the wall until he found the light switch. And there they were. Smaller than he expected, rows upon rows of them. The devices were about the size of a smartphone, with a similar shape. At either end they had straps so it could be mounted onto the forearm. He picked one up and carefully strapped it to himself, the screen lit up, grinning he started pressing the screen. It was incredibly easy to use, he pressed a few of the buttons and a second later a shimmering doorway appeared. It was oval in shape, about seven feet tall and at its widest point about three foot across. He took a deep breath, then stepped through.

It felt like walking through a cold shower, his started shivering, his entire body felt as though it was drenched then as quickly as it happened it past. He stood in the middle of a street in daylight. Gone was the house, the rows of devices, replaced by a wide street with tall buildings lining either side of the road. He turned slowly, taking it in. bits of paper blew down the street on a light breeze, there was a smell in the air, sour and dusty. Everything looked dirty, run down. The buildings either side of the street were tall, the glass was dirty and hard to see through. He stepped up to the glass and cupped his hands, he couldn’t see anything inside. He turned from the window and started walking to the left, it was brighter at that end of the street.

At the end of the street Lewis paused, there was no sound of people, no rumble of engines, no animal cries. He peered around the building and saw an open square, rusted cars sat on deflated tires, dead trees twisted up from the ground, surrounded by brown, dead grass. He looked down at the device, it didn’t say where he was. He took a slow breath, it had to be safe here, it was the preset location. He just needed some time to get to grips with it, that was all. Somewhere in the distance there was a low rumble, it didn’t last long. Lewis started moving again, he needed to find somewhere to figure out the device, somewhere that wasn’t so open.

The longer he was in this place the worse it seemed. There were no signs of living people, there weren’t even any bodies. It was like something had just ripped everyone from the world. Twice he came across collapsed buildings, debris and rubble strewn across the streets, glass shards glittering in the sunlight. He didn’t bother picking his way through it, instead he just changed direction. As he walked he tried to figure out the device but so far he couldn’t seem to open another doorway, though he didn’t know why. It didn’t matter how many times he pressed the buttons, nor what order he pressed them in, nothing happened.

It was starting to get dark and the air took on a chill, Lewis chose a building at random, they all looked the same, and pushed the door open, it was heavy and the hinges shrieked as it opened. He coughed as he breathed in the stale air. The lobby was large, though it was dark, the windows and doors too covered in filth to allow much light. He pressed the screen of the device and it lit up, holding his forearm in front of him he walked around the lobby. It looked like it was an office building, a long reception desk was against the far wall, there were a few couches scattered about the lobby and a row of elevator doors that remained closed. There didn’t appear to be any stairwells. He moved back to the couches and sat down, immediately there was a loud crack as the couch collapsed, plumes of dust filled the air and Lewis started coughing again. He got up from the ground and stumbled back towards the door, he was about to push it open when he heard something. It sounded like something large running, great pounding steps that moved far too quickly. He stopped, hand resting on the handle of the door. He moved to the window and carefully rubbed at a spot, he tried to peer out but there was nothing but darkness, night had fallen while he had looked around the lobby. He moved from the window, using the device to light his way. What ever was out there it could wait until the morning. He settled down on one of the cushions, he was sure he had slept in worse places though he was struggling to think of any. Tomorrow he’d get the hang of the device and then he’d get out of this shit hole of a world. Hopefully the next one would have something decent to eat. His stomach grumbled at the thought of food, at least that was something he could deal with. He’d been hungry plenty of times before this. Lewis settled in as best he could and after a few minutes he started to doze, it wasn’t long before he was fully asleep.

The sound of the hinges screeching startled him from his dreams, he jumped from the cushion, spinning around in the darkness trying to figure out if anything had come into the lobby. The only sound he could hear was his own heartbeat and his heavy breathing. He took a slow breath then tapped the screen of the device, light illuminated the room, in the far corner he could see something lurking in the gloom. It turned towards him slowly, it was large and hunched, he saw the light glint off it’s deep black eyes, without warning the creature took three bounding steps towards him. Lewis had time to scream before the creature tackled him, taking him to the ground, a second later the scream died as his throat was ripped out, then the only sounds were the creature tearing at his flesh.

Paul pushed the door open, wincing at the shriek, he held it open as Samantha walked through, giving her plenty of light. It didn’t take her long to spot the messy remains of Lewis, she shook her head, then scanned the room quickly. The device was resting against the reception desk, still attached to his arm, which was no longer attached to the rest of him. She undid the straps and gave the device a quick wipe down, shaking her head as she did so. He’d been an idiot, a liar and a thief, but that didn’t mean he deserved what he got. No one deserved that. The training grounds were only safe during the day, the final test was to survive here for three days alone, after that the device would unlock and allow the user to travel pretty much anywhere. If he hadn’t been so hasty he’d have learned that. Samantha turned and left the lobby, glad to be outside in the slightly fresher air. “Get everything?”
Samantha held up the device. “Good. Let’s get out of here. I hate this place.”
Samantha nodded, not looking at Paul and the gnarled scar across his face, at the mottled space where his left eye used to be. She opened a portal and stepped through, Paul opened his own and followed.

The Path. Flash Fiction.

Bleh. Haven’t been great the last few weeks. Went to the doctors earlier tonight and got some blood drawn, I’ll find out in a few days if anything turns up. If there is inflammation I’ll most likely be put onto a course of steroids. On one hand it will help, on the other it also means things like moon face, night sweats, mood swings and ridiculous levels of hunger. Either way it’ll beat the symptoms which is something. Hopefully things will start settling down soon. Oh the wonders of Crohn’s.

 

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Rose turned slowly, trying to figure out what had happened. She had been walking down the street, listening to music, she had grabbed her phone from her pocket and looked down to change the song, when she looked up again she wasn’t on the street. In front of her was a long, winding path that wound through darkness. She couldn’t see a source of light, nor could she see any walls or any end to the blackness. She took a tentative step forward and found the path still supported her weight. She moved forward slowly, testing the path each time before resting her weight on it. The further she walked the faster she went, wherever she was, whatever the path was made of it wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. She knew she should be scared, but there was no fear, no worry, just curiosity. As she walked she reached out towards the darkness, she expected her hand to hit something hard at the edge of the path but it moved past it freely. She pulled back her hand and moved more to the centre of the path. She wasn’t sure if she could fall off it or not but she had no plans to find out.

She had been walking for hours, her phone had died, the music cutting out suddenly. At first she didn’t mind its absence, there had been no signal so no hope of calling for help but as the time past she began to miss the music, it broke up the monotony of the journey. The silence seemed to press in on her from all sides, pushing her down. Her walking speed started to drop, it felt like she was wading forward, Rose tripped, stumbled, then landed hard, bright hot pain flared along her knees and palms. She picked herself up slowly, wincing as her ripped jeans tugged at the scrapes on her knees. She looked around, the cars were back, as were the houses and the people. There had been nothing to signal the change, no sudden blinding light, no rush of sound. The people walking past didn’t even glance in her direction, Rose limped to a low wall and sat down. Rose felt her phone vibrate, she pulled it from her pocket carefully, it had an almost full battery. She frowned, looking at the time and date, according to her phone she’d been walking that path for almost two days. Her phone started to buzz again as text messages came through along with missed call notifications. She read through them, then she took a deep breath and released it slowly. How the hell would she ever explain this? She frowned, explain what? Where had she been? She tried to think back, she had been walking, and it had been dark, was it night? It felt like trying to remember a dream. She winced as pain flared in her hand, she looked down at the scratches, how had she done that? It looked like she fell. Rose shook her head, panic finally starting to sink in, what had happened to her? Where had she been? She looked at her hands, hoping that something about them would trigger her memory but there was nothing, just a blank spot, she’d been walking along, she looked down to change the song, then she was sitting on this wall, palms and knees scratched up and no idea of what had happened in between.

The Bird. Short Story.

My week’s been ok so far. I went to the doctor yesterday morning and had another blood test to recheck my B12 levels. I’ve been very, very tired lately and there’s some concern that I may be low in vitamins. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster in the doctors, first thing he said was that I lost weight, followed shortly by how terribly tired I looked. I mean I know I looked like I was going to just curl up and go asleep, but you’re not supposed to say it!

He also recommended that I give acupuncture a shot. I’m going to go for a few sessions, if it doesn’t work oh well, there’s nothing lost but if it works then awesome. Good thing I’m not afraid of needles!

Beyond that I didn’t do much else, got a small amount of work done, then I watched Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, both very enjoyable movies. My favourite description of Dr. Lector is when Clarice says he wouldn’t come after her as he would consider it “rude.”

On with the show!

 

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Class was boring. So very, very boring. The lecturer was droning on in that monotone voice he had. She stifled a yawn and glanced out the window. At least that was something. The view wasn’t spectacular, nor did it change, but she could see groups of people wandering through the college and, from her angle, the reflection of people on a glass fronted building. That was definitely the most interesting part of the view, she didn’t quite know how, but it magnified the people, she couldn’t make out who they were, but she could see them in much better detail as they walked by. She was looking at the people, wishing she was out there instead. The class was an elective, taken on a whim, much to her regret. It hadn’t sounded that bad, but the lecturer was terrible. He barely looked at the class, mostly reading from the notes in front of him, if she had any other way of getting notes she wouldn’t even bother going to class. A flock of birds took off from the roof of one of the buildings, swooping and swirling in the sky, she followed them with her gaze, they turned and pivoted, until one seemed to flounder and branch off from the rest, it was this one that she looked at. It dove and banked to the left, it almost appeared as though it was being chased by something. It took another left, then it disappeared. She frowned, then started scanning the sky, trying to find it again. At first she thought she had simply lost sight of the bird, that it had gone behind a building, but further thought on it showed that couldn’t be right. It was nowhere near a building, it was just there and then it was gone. Completely vanished. She shivered slightly, then tried to discretely look at the other people in the room, trying to see if one of them noticed, but they all seemed to be focusing on the lecturer or lost in their own daydreams. Not that she could blame them. She had almost missed it herself. She tried to dismiss the thought, just one of those weird little things, she probably just dozed off or something for a second. There didn’t seem to be any break, but with the lecturer just droning on and on in that same dull tone it was hard to tell, she could barely focus on the words when she was trying to listen. She shook her head slightly, then looked down at her notebook, trying to figure out where she was in the lecture. So far her notes consisted of a few words scribbled down, mostly at random and plenty of doodles. She picked up her pen and began to idly draw again, wondering about what had happened with the bird.

She spent the rest of the class ruminating the conundrum of where exactly the bird had gone and, by the time the class finished twenty exceedingly long minutes later she had decided that she had simply zoned out while watching them. It wouldn’t be the first time she zoned out, nor would it be the last. It seemed the simplest and at the same time, the most elegant, solution. It covered everything and as she put her things away, she let the idea slip from her mind, instead it was replaced with her schedule, she had another class, then she was free for the day.

Her last class was interesting at least, the lecturer was much more lively, expanding on a few written lines and trying to engage the students actively. The subject itself was very captivating, but his passion for the subject was infectious. After the class she packed up her things, the day was over and she was free. Most of her friends had another class or two, so she said goodbye to them all and went to the bus stop.

The bus journey wasn’t that bad, she spent most of it listening to music, a few people were reading on the bus, something she could never do. Motion sickness would strike sooner or later and usually sooner. Still the music provided plenty of distraction and that was all she wanted. It was still early enough in the day and not too many people were out, she had the seat to herself for the entire journey.

The walk home was short, she still lived with her parents, though both were out and would be for another few hours. The two of them worked, though her father only worked part time. She wasn’t expected to cook dinner tonight at least, she had an essay that was due in a week and a mid-term in one of her classes. She had work to do and the faster it was done the more time she’d have to herself. She had been finding lately she needed some time alone, it didn’t matter what she was doing, watching a movie, reading a book, going for a walk, as long as it was alone. It was a strange turn for her, she enjoyed the company of others immensely, she had hated being alone for a long time, but now she craved it, needed it. She didn’t question it too much, it wasn’t doing her or anyone else any harm. She wasn’t shutting herself away from the world, though she was careful to minimise her alone time, just in case that happened. She didn’t want to end up one of those sad people, old and alone because everyone they knew was either dead or had been scared away.

She clicked save, then closed the word document. She sighed and rubbed her eyes, she was getting tired, it was time for a break. She knew she probably wouldn’t get back into it today, she’d just continue on tomorrow. Neither of her parents were home yet, it would still be another hour before her father arrived in. She grabbed her keys and IPod, then left.

The day itself was overcast, slightly dull with a petulant threat of rain. There was a very slight breeze, one that brought a chill with it. Her jacket was warm however, so it didn’t bother her. She turned left and started to walk. Her method had yet to change. She’d go left or right at the gate, then she would just wander, taking turns randomly. She had a good sense of direction and she knew she wouldn’t get lost. She never had before. A few minutes into her walk she realised she forgot her phone, it was still sitting on her desk, beside her laptop. Oh well, it’s not like anyone would be urgently contacting her.

The wind tugged at her hair, thin strands of it tickled her face. She stopped, frowning. That was the third time it happened. She took her headphones out and listened, the trees were still, they made no noise. Another breeze gusted past her, again the trees were silent. She looked around, as though trying to see the source of the wind. Strange. She put her headphones back in and started to walk again, deciding that at the next turn she’d go home. The wind seemed unpredictable, she didn’t want to get caught in a storm. The weather forecast hadn’t said anything about it, but then everyone knew how reliable that was. The wind rushed past her again, pushing her forward, tugging at her clothes, yet still the trees appeared to be still. She shivered, suddenly cold. She didn’t want to be outside anymore. She started to jog lightly, the wind blew at her again, almost taunting. She went left as the road branched off and the wind blew against her, stronger this time, trying to push her back. She shielded her eyes from the grit that scratched at her face. Finally the wind relented and let her move forward unimpeded. She picked up the pace, almost running now.

The wind kept blowing against her, pushing or pulling her forward, she started to run and soon began to sprint, trying to outrun whatever the hell was happening, she knew if she got home she’d be safe, inside the weather couldn’t get at her. Her mind called up the image of the birds unprompted, how they twisted and looped, then that lone bird, the one that had been separated from the others, she tried to block the thought out. She was alone, there was no one else around, she was vulnerable, as vulnerable as that bird. Her breaths came in great whooping gasps, her lungs and throat burned from the cold air, her calves ached with each pounding footstep. Her music still played, but she didn’t hear it, the noise of the wind was drowning it out. Her ears and nose were cold, water ran freely from her eyes. She was almost sobbing as she ran.

There. Home, safety. She saw her father at the door, his key in the lock, he turned it and stepped inside, she tried to breathe deeply, to call out, to tell him to hold the door open, she opened her mouth, ready to scream and her entire world went black.

If anyone had been watching, though no one had been, they would have seen a young woman running frantically, her nose red and dripping, she appeared as though she was crying. She bounded along in great strides, one foot leaving the ground before a second later the other landed heavily. They would have seen her running, seen her open her mouth wider as she gasped for breath, they would have seen her leap forward and, mid-leap, they would have seen her disappear. One moment she was there, the next she was gone.

Her father closed the door gently, he knew his daughter would be upstairs, probably studying and he didn’t want to disturb her. It happened this way, either she’d come down or he’d call out when dinner was ready. She didn’t like to be bothered while she worked. He put down his back pack and went towards the kitchen, it had been slightly windy outside and it had chilled him, a cup of tea would warm him up.

The Only Solution. Short Story + Update On Hospital Situation (I’m Out!)

So, got out of hospital today. Yay! the MRI was strange, it felt like my organs got warm. My skin/outside was normal but inside was al warm. I had to drink this gloopy drink first, there was an after taste of watered down stamp glue. So that was fun.

Anyway, have a diagnosis (Crohns disease) so basically I have to be healthy, eat well and exercise can all help so it’s a sexifying disease (also chronic, but that’s neither here nor there.) Also, exercise helps against clots which it was mentioned I am more susceptible to because of the crohns.

They don’t really know how people get it, could be genetic or diet or a combo of both. Basically I’ll be fine unless I have a flare up which can be triggered by foods and can result in nausea, pain and vomiting so, ya know, fun.

I’m fairly wrecked from the hospital, so the rest of the day will probably be spent lazing around watching tv and the like. The update schedule has returned to normal, and I will strive to create a large buffer to prevent any gaps if there is another flare up or anything happens over the next few weeks. I am on steroids before going on other medication so I’ll try to get a good few stories written in case there are any more problems side effects.

Anyway, if there are any more problems (like hospitalization) I’ll probably let you guys know but it most likely won’t effect anything again. So, on with the show!

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The gentle humming wafted through the door, harsh sunlight streamed through the open window, leaving only a silhouette of the mother and her child, gently rocking back and forth.

Though Jacob was only three months old Janice knew something wasn’t right. He didn’t act like other babies he never cried, he just growled. When he did growl all the lights flickered casting strange and horrifying shadows on the wall.
Although he was still young his teeth had grown at an alarming rate. Sharp and pointed like daggers.

Soon after he was born strange thoughts invaded her mind and dreams. Terrifying dreams where she is burning, surrounded by millions of demons, each one scrambling to sample her delicate flesh.  She always awoke, covered in sweat, but there were always scratches from where the demons clawed at her.

The first, and last, time Jacob cried was when he was a week old. All the light bulbs exploded, glittering glass rained down throughout the apartment, not even the microwave was spared, no longer working Janice had to boil his milk, She dared not breast feed him after he nearly bit her nipple off.

Every time she prepared the milk, a strange urge came over her, each time she would take a knife and cut her finger tip, letting blood drop into the milk. One, two, three drops. No more, no less.

She started to hear strange thoughts, strange, violent thoughts that were not her own, but yet, they still floated through her mind with a strange ethereal clarity. She could see herself committing vile and sickening deeds, but surely she couldn’t have such a capacity for evil, surely these thoughts did not come from the deep, dark depths of her mind.

Every night as she lay in bed she would think the night she had conceived Jacob, a night of pain and degradation. She was feeling lazy so she ordered pizza. A knock came at the door. She grabbed the money from her kitchen counter and opened the door, a man had burst into her apartment, then raped her, when he was done he wrapped his hands around her neck and started to squeeze.. He had nearly killed her before the police had arrived. Her throat was bruised and tender for days. She lay in bed, curled into a ball, crying. By the time she realised she might be pregnant it was too late to take a morning after pill.  She couldn’t bear the thought of this life growing insider her, but nor could she bear the thought of abortion. So she kept the child conceived with hatred and uncontrolled lust.

Her eyes snapped open, the thought rolled in her head, like wine being swirled in the mouth. It left her with sweet thoughts, she finally relaxed.

She realised what must be done.

She stood over him, looking down with eyes clouded by hatred and fear. Jacob started to cry as Janice’s hand clasped over his mouth and nose.

She sat down in the rocking chair, Jacobs’s body cradled in her arms. She started to hum a lullaby, which drifted through the window on a summer’s breeze.