Tag Archives: Science Fiction

My Progress ?



Thought I would update everyone on the progress on my Book I plan on putting out this year as a collection of  Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction all in one.

Shooting for a Lucky 13 stories to go into the Book… Hey!  Maybe that phrase could be part of the Title of the Book. Nah,  it’s probably been over done…I will have to think on it…. 🙂

Check out my progress so far in my writing on the various titles going in the book.

BTW I still need artists for various small sketches to donate an original drawing or artwork based a story or two. Nothing big. just some original stuff would be nice to give it a little pizzazz!

OKAY see below my list of stories either done or in the work.  WISH me luck!

Go HERE for Synopsis of some of the stories below:

Finished Stories

  1. The Summoning *
  2. Witch Hunt *
  3. Bits and Pieces*
  4. Flight Through the Forest
  5. Demon in the Details*
  6. Time Stopped
  7. Roadkill (Novella)
  8. Fire Extinguished

Stories at about 90% Done**

  1. Power in Me

Stories about 25% Done***

  1. The Well
  2. Sinkhole
  3. To Take a Life

Stories at intro to 10%

  1. Alphabet Killer
  2. Thousand Years
  3. Year of the Crow
  4. The Circuit Board






The Power In Me – Excerpt of Short Story by Philip Wardlow


The Power in Me

Three Ping Pong balls revolved in midair, each one following the other in a tight circle as they flew.


“I shouldn’t be able to be doing this, Carl!” she yelled at the bald little man sitting across the table from her in the dining room of her house. Carl was wearing a smug little grin on his face that annoyed the hell out of her. He was always full of himself, today more than usual. He obviously knew more than her. Shit! She was losing her concentration. One of the balls slipped out of it’s rotation and fell.


“True and not true,” Carl replied back glibly to her as he deftly caught the falling ball with his left hand, inches before it hit the table.


“What the hell is that supposed to mean!” she said, her eyes staring ahead at the two remaining balls still rotating in front of her. She thought of a figure eight, and immediately the balls begin to swirl in that configuration. It was equally cool and frightening at the same time, she thought, but Carl didn’t have to know that.


“Angela, you have taken to this extremely well. It seems you are a natural. I have to give our co-workers credit. They were betting you would do well the first time right out the gate. Not many can pull off even one ball this quickly, let alone three. Guess I will have to pay up when I get back to the office.” Carl chuckled to himself, rolling the little white ball he had caught back and forth between his hands on the dining room table still smiling at her smugly.


Angela took her eyes from the two remaining balls, which spun and looked directly at Carl.


“You mean there are others who can do this? Out with it, Carl, I’m sick of the games. You’ve been playing them too long, first with my husband, now with me. Be straight for once, or for god sakes I’ll shove these balls down your goddamn throat.”


Carl’s smile slipped a little her under dark stare. He involuntarily swallowed when he suddenly realized the balls were still continuing to spin in their figure eight pattern without her looking at them. Damn, she’s good, he thought, and arrogant. A lot like him more or less, he thought, but still soft.


“Well.” Angela said to him, more of a command than a question.


Carl ignored her tone. “You remember that project three years ago that kept Scott away so many hours at night?”


She remembered all too well, the late nights, and all the arguments that followed, telling her he couldn’t discuss his work with her because she didn’t have the clearance. It still rankled her a little to this day. Angela only nodded as she looked at him as the balls continued to spin, so Clark continued.


“We had found something amazing. To be more exact it found us. One of the lab geeks directed to synthesize some of the proteins from a plant brought back from Brazil accidentally combined two cultures in the synthesis we were working on with the lot. The other plant was from an older expedition we had done years ago in the Congo in Africa. Scott had pulled it himself from the incubator a few days later. Lot Forty-Two.”


Angela noticed Carl’s eyes dilating and his hand gestures became more animated as he spoke. This disturbed her for some reason and she didn’t know why.


“Oh, the things Lot Forty-two revealed to us, Angela!” Carl found it hard to contain himself as he talked.


“We didn’t know how much until we began the human trials. You did not know this, but Scott, was one of the first volunteers. The committee had been paranoid of it getting out to the general public so everything was done in house; very hush hush.


“I am sorry to say this ,Angela, but he was a fool.” Carl said flatly to her from across the table.


An invisible force compressed against Carl’s chest, to send him flying and to go slamming into the wall behind him. Plaster crumbled around his head and tumbled off the nice black suit coat he wore. Now I am going to have to go to the dry cleaners tomorrow, he thought idly.


“Release me, Angela.” Carl said quietly. She indeed is a natural. In front of her the two balls still wove their figure pattern in the air. If only it could be different.


Angela saw no fear in Carl at what she had just done to him. More so, a calm demeanor seemed to settle into him, like a mask had lifted. She herself was scared at what she had just done. Where had it come from? This was so much different than revolving balls in the air. This new power seemed to have welled up inside her and she had just let it go all at once at him in a stream. It was still flowing; like a fire hose turned wide open at the hydrant.


“Why say such a thing about Scott?” Angela’s dark eyes seemed to glow as she stood up and walked slowly around the table to him. Carl just stared at her, not blinking. The force increased upon his chest as he sank even deeper into the wall.


Because he knew the initial trials were unstable, he knew it could possibly kill him. But he went ahead with it anyway. He wanted to be one of the firsts. His vanity won out and it was his undoing in the end. ”  Carl gasped for breath from the pressure she was exerting on his chest.


“The drug he and the others had taken was unrefined, the levels too high for their system. The power consumed him; it drove him to lash out violently with the power for no reason. You must have suspected.”  Carl looked at Angela challenging her to disagree as he fought to breathe.


“You should remember his dark moods when he came home.   He had to be put down! Now let me go!” Carl controlled his breathing. This game is at an end. The committee be damned, he thought.


Angela ignored him. She pushed harder and the power flowed from her like the heat from the sun. Along with the power, anger filled her. Anger at this little man who had taken her husband away, anger at the lies he now spouted about him.  Her power escalated as her anger took a foothold in her, each resonated and drew upon the other. They were feeding each other.


Continue reading The Power In Me – Excerpt of Short Story by Philip Wardlow

The Books & Authors that shaped my writing…


I went to my library of books and pulled all the ones out that I thought shaped me as a writer in general. These are ones by certain authors, which I am sure, my subconcious mind draws upon when I write my own stories and poems.

The authors range from Ray Bradbury, Robert E. Howard, Julian May, Anne Rice, Magaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Isaac Asimov, Douglas Adams, Stephen King, Fritz Leiber, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, J.K. Rowling, J.D. Salinger, Brandon Sanderson,Harry Harrison, Ayn Rand, Fred Saberhagen.

I also snuck in a picture of a Comic book as well because I have been reading those ever since I can remember, so how can they not  have shaped how I write on a daily basis?

Let me know what books and authors have shaped you as a writer or even if you are reader of many books in general.

I have read much Fantasy ranging from low to high, Conan The Barbarian anyone?   And ‘The Wheel of Time’ – an  EPIC Series by Robert Jordan. Oh, and don’t get me started on the wonderful series of J.K. Rowling’s – Harry Potter.  And there are so many more fantasy writers that drive  me.

How about the beautiful poignant literary novels such as  Ayn Rand’s – “The Fountainhead” ,  “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel, J.D. Salinger’s – “Catcher in the Rye”,  or  Cervante’s –  “Don Quixote”

Are you a science fiction fan?  How about  Isaac Asimov’s – “Foundation Series”,  L. Ron. Hubbard’s – “Battlefield Earth”, or  Harry Harrison’s – “Stainless Steel Rat”.

Fancy some Horror?….  Stephen King, Anne Rice (even Ray Bradbury dabbled in it a little) ?

And lastly Comics…..Spiderman, X-men, Daredevil, Avengers, Hulk, X-force,Thor, Teen Titans, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and the list goes on…:)

I am discovering new ones as I speak. To me that’s the most  fun part of reading…finding that new favorite author.

What do you read…and what are your favorite stories?

Reality Set in the Fantastic – 5 Movies which move me to write the way I write

I have seen many movies….I mean many many movies. Probably not as many as some of the people  I  follow who are real movie reviewers unlike me in the blogsphere. They are  the real diehards I have come to know in this thing we call the internet.

I am simply, myself, an avid moviegoer who likes to traverse through  all movies, not really caring for one genre over the other. I look for good quality and uniqueness in the story & characters. I could find it in horror,a drama, a comedy, an action flick , sci-fi, or a fantasy movie.

I found that certain movies have shaped me as a writer in the direction I wish to go in my craft. The five  I have listed below barely scratch the surface for what has moved or shaped me but they are a good sampling to show you where my head is at. I highly recommend seeing any and all of them if you haven’t already. Some of the five I picked  you may recognize right away, while others may be a little more  obscure.  I picked them mainly because of their obscurity because I believe they should be seen.

Btw, I have NOT put them in any particular order of preference or rating for this listing:

NO. 1 –  Safetey Not Guaranteed


I recently saw this first one above on a whim as I was clicking through my Netflix account. I read the premise and I was hooked. You see, I’m a sucker for almost anything that involves time travel big or small. It’s about a guy who puts out a want ad in the newspaper claiming he has invented a time machine and wants a companion on the trip.  “Safety is not Guaranteed and by the way bring your own weapons”.  The movie plays on many subtle levels and I don’t think you will be disappointed. And I will not give away any plot points because I don’t want to spoil the experience for you.

NO. 2 – Dark City


Now Dark City; I saw this movie  a while back in the early part of the 2000’s on video…I never  did see it in the theatres when in it opened in 1998 but wished I had. This movie to me was very ethereal to me. Besides having an ensemble cast of great actors, like Rufus Sewell,Kiefer Sutherland, William Hurt, and Jennifer Connelly,  this movie dragged you into this world of Alice in Wonderland meets the Matrix.  This was probably where the Wachowskis Brothers (sorry brother & sister now) got the idea for their  Matrix movie. This movie put a man in maze like a rat and told him to find your way out…and in the end he did so much more…he thrived and won through bending the maze to his will.

NO. 3 – Groundhog Day


Ah Bill Murray, how I have loved him in so many roles and none more than GroundHog Day!  If you haven’t seen this one then please crawl out from under the rock you have been living under for too long and go buy it. Yes, go buy it, don’t rent it because you will want to see it more than once down the long line that is your life. He’s a weather man in the middle of a mid-life crisis  who doesn’t know he’s having one until he visits the small town of Punxsutawney in PA. As the same day repeats its over and over and over again NO MATTER what he does. He quickly comes to realize he’s trapped in a virtual world of never-ending days and unless he can figure himself out, he may just go mad. What would you do if every day was the same with no consequences no matter what you did?

NO. 4 -Man From Earth

manfromearthmanfromearth1 This story took me by surprise. Made in 2007 and written by a man named Jerome Bixby (who wrote some Star Trek Stories in the 60’s). I found out Jerome actually dictated the final screenplay to his son a screenwriter on his deathbed in 1998. To me right off, it felt like a play on stage for the big screen. It’s a very small and intimate story between a man and his colleagues he has called good friends while working at a University for the last ten years as a teacher. But he has a very big secret…or does he..or is it all just fantasy. It is a very cerebral thought provoking piece of work that will challenge your mind. It may lead you down many different roads of thought about life and your place in it. At least it did for me. What if a friend told you they were a caveman from 14,000 years ago who lived through the ages up until now?

NO 5. Stranger than Fiction


For me Will Ferrell can be hit or miss depending on the roles he plays in any movie I have seen him in. For me, his character in “Stranger than Fiction” hit it out of the park. Here’s a man, named Harold Crick who thinks the world can be enumerated and cataloged and placed in a  nice neat box and tucked safely away. When he starts to hear a voice in his head, more accurately a narrator who tells him how pathetic his life is and then tells him his death may be imminent he begins to rethink what life and really living means to him.


As my title plainly says, I love writing stories based in reality while bringing in the fantastical element, and it can come in many forms. I want to lend to the reader a sense of escapism and allow them to leave their boring life for just a moment while at the same time grounding them to this earth they call their lives  so they can take it with them when they finally close the book.

My Nature – A poem (but not really my nature…really)


My Nature

Like a cosmic sandwich in my hand

I folded space and time

and slipped through to you,

To when you were younger,

innocent, happier, and  ignorant

of your fate cascading towards

you like a deadly comet careening through

a vacuum straight for your heart.

I knew the path you would take around the sun,

a planet on a collision course

that never had a chance to live but

you were so beautiful as you hung there

in the sky…a celestial angel.

Barely out of its primordial soup

from a single celled organism you

were flung to extinction as my

foot first felt the earth.

I am a black hole you see,

for I let nothing escape

when it reaches my event


I consume, I devour…

as I did you under that

ancient fall night sky…an eon ago,

with the bright eyes of  a thousand

stars as my witness to

your cataclysmic destructive end.

It is my nature, my make-up and you were

the unlucky one to have

crossed my path.

By Philip Wardlow 2012

A Fire to Extinguish – Short Story for your reading Pleasure (I hope)


Below is one of my most recent stories that I finished a while back that I  submitted to a contest…When you have the time, read it and let me know what you think….I personally like it more than some of my others I have written…I feel I am slowly getting better as a writer and I hope this story shows that a little..again let me know what you think…good or bad…but be gentle..:)

A Fire to Extinguish

By Philip Wardlow

Sarvit’s Story

“Please report Scout L1-6A, Trans End” said the crisp light metallic voice into the pilots’ auditory sensory canal located at the base of his neck.

“L1-6A to Mother, Negative as of yet, Zone 42 of Field 100 thru 1000, all clear.  I am now proceeding to Zone 43 for Final Pass & Scan. I will be returning to Mother for Final Jump out at precisely 10100 Time Mark. Mark will not be missed. Trans End.” The pilot replied, in much the same voice metallic voice but with a deeper overtone. He smiled in recognition of the voice on duty at the Com coming through.

“Best you don’t L1-6A, only Protocol Allowance 001.001.100 would prevent Jump Out of the Mother, but I don’t have to tell you how often that has happened, so make Mother by scheduled Mark or choose to stay until follow-up return for Jump Back at 1010010. Trans End.”  The pilot could almost see the smile on the invisible voice’s face as she gave him this warning.

“Positive read Mother and taken under advisement, would not care to stay here for another cycle waiting for return. I am proceeding with scan of Zone 43. Have a nice warm cup of plur waiting when I return. I am proceeding with scan of Zone 43. Trans End Meera.”

“L1-6A, see you at Mark. Cup of warm plur will be awaiting you my dear Sarvit upon return, Trans End.” The crisp metallic voice lightened even more at the end of the transmission. Sarvit smiled to himself again.  He was sure they both were going to be reprimanded for their indiscretion via the Com, but it had been worth it. He had been out here to long; he was ready to go home.

Sarvit flew the ship in over a low ridge hiding a deep river valley filled with dense green foliage and began scanning Zone 43 thinking of his lovely mate and what he wanted to do after finishing drinking his plur with her.

Nogeer’s Story

Nogeer crawled out of the thick brush and leapt atop the dark outcropping of rock wedged into the side of the hill which was itself overshadowed by a very large tree.  From the rock, he surveyed the valley leading downward to a fast running river.  He crouched low with fingers splayed almost flat onto the stone beneath him for better balance and concealment. Long straight black hair fell down to his shoulders and past tied tight with a cord at the nape of his neck. Not moving, his brown skin looked to be part of the rock itself.  He looked carefully with head turning slowly to the right and then to the left out over the fairly open ground leading into the thick forested valley below. He must be careful, he thought. He cocked his head at a skewed angle with ears listening intently to the day sounds which came to him. The chatter between the tree dwellers was normal, the sky was clear, bright even, but the day was escaping below soon and it was time to return.

He slowly brought his hand to his eyes to shield them from the run-away orb which hung lower in the sky every moment he looked to it. Today had been a good day, he thought.  Nogeer didn’t often go hunting by himself because of the many dangers of going out alone but he had awakened to the fighting of the other hunters near the river and wanted no part of it today.  Ryn, Kumka, and Belm had still been asleep when he had awakened so he had left before they drew too restless and could think to stop him.  They would be angry when he returned, especially Belm, she would probably look to a new bed warmer tonight. He smiled inwardly knowing if she did, she would eventually return, she always did. He was her favorite as she was his and they were never long apart; of the five children she had borne, he hoped most had been his offspring and not the others.

Satisfied, Nogeer slid his body off of the outcropping and went back into the brush some fifty strides back to retrieve his two kills.  He dragged out the two large gutted carcasses of an animal both with rich dark brown fur and with bony crest jutting from their massive foreheads. With relative ease, using his massive forearms he flipped them up to balance one on each of his broad shoulders.

Nogeer moved carefully but quickly down the slope entering the clearing.  The exposure the open ground gave him filled him with a little fear, he could be picked off by anything if he stayed too long in the clearing, but night was almost upon him and this was the quickest route back to the river where his people dwelt so he had little choice in the matter.

Sarvit’s Story

Sarvit engaged the cloaking device as he brought the ship lower in its altitude towards an open area near the valley floor. Already his scanners had started picking up readings of recent fires in the area, down close near the river bed deep in the valley spread out over several vectors and displaying a familiar pattern he new all too well. Definitely not random, Sarvit thought.

The allocation of the burns denoted purpose, control, and intelligence. Deeper scans of the ground level confirmed his suspicions as dwelling structures showed up alongside within very close proximity to the evidences of the fires. This mimicked other known areas already scanned from previous days and months.

Time for the final testing. Sarvit blew in heavily through his trunk to calm himself. How many planets had he visited in his lifetime, always it seemed, with the same outcome?  This was the last sector to be scanned on this planet, the last sector out of five-thousand-three hundred and fifty-two. Sarvit was to be the last pilot to yet check in with the Mother and give Final Report.  The data already collected from the remaining Scouts on the species being investigated came up in the negative for viability of this planet to progress any further beyond its current state. Barring any new data this planet would have to be reset.

One divergent line of all the known lines on this planet was found to possess intelligence enough for testing, had it not they would have left this planet alone for another cycle and checked again then. Unfortunately preliminary scans had quickly found an upright mammalian line that possessed the knowledge of fire, the order and control of fire more precisely. His brethren from cycles past knew that with order and control came creativity, and then the sciences and technology. They also knew it could perhaps bring one other thing, destruction.  One such race, called the Gollens, generations ago had brought that to their own planet, almost nearly destroying them utterly until they had prevailed against them and destroyed them instead. Sarvit knew his history well; where once their planet had been home to twenty billion now his home barely supported five million.  Only .00025% of their race had survived that one encounter. Never again, they had vowed, would they let such destruction happen.

Still, knowing the past and what it meant hadn’t made his task any easier in the many cycles since he had volunteered to become a scout and commit himself to the endeavor like so many others for the continuing survival of their race. The only consolation for him was that it had been only one line that they had found on this small planet. A small consolation, but one nonetheless that he clung to remembering other previous worlds that he had scouted having three lines, ten lines, or even thirty viable lines with which to deal with. No, this wasn’t going to be nearly as bad as some others, he thought.

Sarvit’s thoughts were interrupted by the scanner alarm indicating a possible pickup opportunity for him.  It was close, traversing below him on the open terrain moving fairly slow towards the valley floor. Odd, sensors were showing a mix of two species in one, not possible.

Sarvit swooped his ship in lower to get a closer at what his sensors were picking up. He refined the bio filters and magnification on the ocular lens for clarity.  Sarvit smiled when he saw what the sensors had been trying to interpret.  A bi-pedal mammal carrying two very big, very dead species of semi-intelligent quadrupeds of the herbivore variety that roamed throughout this region of the planet. The thing was bringing home dinner it seemed. Ah, never leave it to technology to interpret everything, sometimes it was good to get in close and know for sure.

 It was time to be done with this planet whatever the outcome.  Sarvit took the ship three kilometers ahead to the projected intercept along the creature’s path and brought the ship in still cloaked and switched to hover mode some fifty meters above ground level to just come shy of touching the tree tops with the ships expansive wing span.

Sarvit punched a button on the console to decouple his entire cockpit section from the main part of the ship. His body fell gently downward as the cockpit fell a meter or so until the ships secondary field held him in stasis in the open air.  He punched another button to cause a very long pointed cylindrical projectile tethered to a translucent cable to go shooting out through the very bottom of the cockpit’s hull deep into the ground below. The cable connected to the now anchored cylinder began to glow a bright purple as energy from the ship began to course through it. Three sides around the circumference of the cylinder low to the ground rotated open and down on hidden hinges until they were at a forty-five degree angle to the cylinder. Three more similar but smaller cables shot in three different directions across the open ground some hundred-fifty meters out where they also spiked themselves deep into the ground at approximately one-hundred degrees apart from the other to roughly form a triangle from point to point along the open ground.

The detached cock pit Sarvit sat in suddenly shot down the glowing cable at a tremendous speed stopping just short of a meter from the ground. He heard an audible click as the cockpit settled into place on the nexus of the three cables set into the ground. Sarvit had felt no sensation of speed with the inertial dampening field on all around him; to his body he had not moved at all.

Sarvit brought up a real-time topographical scan of the area using the ships sensors from above, augmented with his own sensors now in the ground, to give him a very detailed three-dimensional view of the entire bounded area.  Now he just had to wait until his subject entered that area.  He opened up his personal music file and pressed on the third selection in the list. A very low-toned rhythmic melody wrapped in layers of heavy bass entered in through the auditory outputs and filled the cabin of the cockpit. Sarvit let his body relax to the rhythm of the music and proceeded to wait for his final test subject to come to him.

Nogeer’s Story

Nogeer had always liked the challenge and thrill of the hunt, but he was beginning to regret hunting alone as he made his way slowly down to the valley floor with his two big kills still slung over his shoulders. An extra hand would be nice, he thought. Normally a strong man who didn’t tire easily, Nogeer’s endurance was being tested. Still, he picked up his pace when he noticed he was slowing down despite the burning pain in his legs as he walked.  The other men would be angry at being denied from the hunt but they would still give him the right to first cut he was sure; which was good, because he would need to eat fully  after this long outing; today especially if Ryn, Kumka, or Belm wanted his attentions in his bed tonight. It didn’t seem likely knowing theirs moods but he knew of ways to persuade them; he grinned inwardly.

He had often wondered why they had chosen him to bed with the most out of all the men in camp.  Belm especially could have had anyone she chose. He believed her to be the finest of body, with wide hips, strong legs and deep eyes as dark as the rushing blue river along with a spirit which sometimes could be just as violent. He wasn’t the strongest nor did he think himself the most cunning of all the men.  He gave up quickly trying to pull out reason from the bush. What was there to know but uncertainty when it came to any decision they made, he thought, women, a mystery greater than the night and the ocean which fell forever away into the unknown.

Nogeer stopped suddenly in his walking and musing. Something had changed; different from the moment before.  He looked up at the sky.  It was a clear blue with wisps of white hanging high. The sun was a bright ball low to the ground throwing shadows at him though the trees ahead. He turned in both directions surveying the area over the chest high grass which grew tall on the open plain. He turned fully to look behind himself down the trail of trampled grass showing his passing. It all seemed the same but not, the air felt heavier, the colors were not quite right and the tall grass, something was not right about the grass. Then it struck him, the grass wasn’t moving.  It always moved. The wind was gone. There was always a wind on the open plain leading into the valley, always.

He looked further down the trail he had walked even taking a few steps back the way he had come.  His eyes spied something peculiar. Nogeer shook his head to make sure it was clear. Not more than ten full strides distance from the way he had come the grass moved as it always did in the wind; but he felt no wind from where he stood.  What trick is this?

A sharp prick of pain stabbed his neck, it felt like being bitten by one of the giant black eight legged creatures which had crawled into his bed one night while he had slept. Suddenly he found himself on his knees.  Why am I on my knees? The muscles in his arms which held his two kills began to shake but he refused to succumb to whatever ailed him and let them drop.

I must not go under for I may never return, Nogeer thought frantically. He had known many who had been bitten by other strange things such as the eight legged creature and had never woken up again. The eternal sleep his people called it.

A massive shadow grew up from behind him to envelop his own. He felt the earth move as something approached him through the tall grass. It truly must have been massive to shake the ground so, he thought. I will not die on my knees without a fight.

Nogeer let one of the carcasses drop from his shoulder to the ground while he grabbed the other with both hands, and quickly stood pivoting as he did swinging outward with the large dead animal into the air at the large shadow bearing down on him from out of the tall grass. He let it fly true and straight at whatever it was that loomed into view. His vision seemed to be going for the creature which bore down on him looked very similar to an animal well-known on the distant plains and grasslands to the north where his people often hunted. At least in shape, for it walked tall on four legs, with a round muscular body above and a head as massive as the stump of an old dalib tree, it even had the same similar arm jutting out from the front of its head but this creatures arm split into three.  There the similarities between the two ended and the strangeness began; for where the skin of the animal he knew was covered in a thick matting of brown fur this creature instead shimmered like the surface of a lake at night under a full moon with. Its head was round with big holes on either side of its skull, it had no ears hanging at its side of which to hear nor tusks which protruded out of its mouth like the other beasts he knew well.

His aim was true as the carcass of the dead animal hit the creature coming towards him in the middle of its upper body. The creature staggered for moment from the blow but seemed to brush it off almost immediately as if only a small annoyance and kept bearing down on him through the grass at him.  It seemed to be holding some sort of stick in its arm (s).

Nogeer yanked at the spear secured to his back snapping the leather bindings holding it and hurled it at the thing. The point of his spear simply bounced away off the creature’s chest not penetrating the beast’s thick shimmering hide.

Nogeer cursed at it, turned and ran down the trail the way he had come.  His feet felt unsure on the trail as he ran since the bite on his neck.  The world tilted and his eyes wouldn’t focus right, but he ran anyway.

He chanced a look back and saw the creature had stopped moving forward. It simply stared at him running away down the trail. Nogeer looked forward again and considered himself fortunate, yes he had lost his hunt and one of his best spears but he was alive and would live to hunt another day, now he would simply circle back arou – Nogeer’s next thought was sharply cut off as his head rebounded from something very hard that he could not see hanging in the air. His body fell limp and unconscious to the ground amidst the tall grass.

Sarvit’s Story

Heart rate was within normal parameters for this species. Initial examination indicated contusion from the blow to the head by him running into the static boundary he had implemented. Sarvit had determined sex upon inspecting the genital area of the creature; “him” it definitely was. It was so hard to sex a certain species sometimes. The male’s head wound was very pronounced but not life threatening. Administration of pain and anti-inflammatory medication would be the course after completed testing whatever the outcome.  Ethical law 4110.1 required no life form to be unduly harmed through the testing procedure. If race found positive for reset they still were to be afforded all possible care and comfort and be allowed to rejoin their kind for the short duration that remained no matter how long that would be.

Sarvit was displeased with himself for incorrectly calculating the wrong dosage on his tranquilizer.  Then again too much could have killed the creature; better to wake with a bad headache then possibly death and not wake up at all, he thought, consoling himself. Sarvit was pleased with himself that the status field on his suit had been on and working when the creature had thrown his dinner at him so unexpectedly. Sarvit found himself smiling to himself admiring the creature’s tenacity for wanting to survive.

The creature moaned on the table it was strapped to, surprising Sarvit who stood closely over him. Even with another half dose of the tranquilizer upon capture this creature still exhibited voluntary motor functions and near consciousness. Strong indeed; perhaps the mixture was flawed in some way to this creature’s biochemistry. None of the others on this planet, and there had been many, had exhibited such a resistance to the sedative. Maybe this one was different; perhaps the testing would prove fruitful. The syringe he held with his right appendage shook with anticipation to get the final testing started.

Standard protocol was to draw enough blood for three tests; always three tests per subject, but for this last subject he drew enough blood for nine. The bio-engineers back on home planet had stressed three tests were essential and adequate for cross checking of all gene paths to gaining a probability factor in the aggressive characteristics  regarding  the progression and evolutionary tract for any particular path a species would take. Sarvit himself, through his own studies in the field, knew three tests were inadequate. Nine he believed was the correct number for accurate testing of a species.  He had even gone so far as to submit his findings in a bio-statistical analysis paper presented to the heads of the Bio-Engineer committee back on home planet. He was just a scout with no formal training in such matters. They had rejected it out. What did a dumb scout know?

Sarvit brought the blood filled syringe over to a small round silver receptacle on the console against the side wall of the lab room and pushed the syringe into it until he heard an audible click and then turned it clockwise locking it into place. He pushed a single button on the panel to initiate the program for the testing to begin. He blew out slowly through his appendages. It’s started. I will be coming soon my dear Meera. He could almost taste the hot cup of plur now.

Sarvit turned back to the subject strapped down on the table to get distract himself while he waited for the test to resolve itself.

The creature was similar in stature and body symmetry to some of the others they had already encountered in this region of the planet. Perhaps pigmentation was a little deeper in this one than some they had encountered but that mattered little. Data had already established the species was a well-known divergent from a sub-class some hundred thousand years ago and were essentially the same breed spread all across the planet in various isolated pockets. Except for small differences such as overall cranial averages for dimensions, pigmentation, muscle mass, and other such trivial physical differences they were indistinguishable from each other. It was well-known climate, diet, and other regional factors forced small mutant adaptions in that particulars creature’s protein sequencing to produce a body type exclusive to that area. The helix however hadn’t propagated to the extent to reclassify any of the subjects as a species unto themselves of all that had been tested thus far and Sarvit didn’t expect there to be a difference with this one.

What luck was it that he was to do final testing? Actually no luck at all,  but Sarvit had to be careful so the others did not know his careful manipulations for ending up last in the testing on most of the planets they had visited in the hundred Home cycles so far. The other scouts knew him to be thorough in his duty that was no secret. Many of his fellow Scouts often had chided him on how slowly he went about his business. Of all of them, only Meera, his mate, knew he was slow on purpose so as to be the one to administer the final test on his terms. His Mother, his real Mother had taught him well in the study of genetics. Though not taught formerly he was more intelligent and progressive than most in the field of bio-genetics, well in secret anyways. They had denied him his application to the Group on grounds that his own mother had been to divisive within it herself when alive and that they knew all too well that trait might manifest in him, her son.

When she was alive, his mother had argued that they we were committing what amounted to genocide on all the various planets that they had been visiting thus far.  Exterminating thousands of civilizations based on the fear of our forefathers and that we were now no better, if not worse than the Gollens that had come before when they had nearly wiped our planet of its inhabitants.

What we were to know was in the heart of a being she had argued. What were we to judge of intention yet to be written? We were the judge, jury, and executioner of races not knowing they were being tried?

What did we truly know of the mind and the DNA which managed it?  How could we take our sterile instruments using our sterile objectivity and ever hope to divine a species future actions. Who were we she had argued.

Sarvit’s mother had died soon after being asked to leave the Group. She had been devastated at being cast out and fell into a deep depression of which she had never recovered.

Sarvit had never forgiven the Group for that. Five hundred cycles later he knew what he had to do to honor his Mother and feel complete in his job now as a Scout. He had done the only thing he could do; he had made the testing better. He had convinced them to increase the spectrum of analysis on the blood draws and raise the standards for selection on every planet they had visited.  It had taken a while; slowly over two hundred cycles or more but finally the Group had relented to his requests, during that time he had convinced the other scouts his region of the galaxy to put forth overtures on their own behalf to stand as a collective in what was needed.  Sarvit knew the Group would always be swayed by the collective over the individual so they had given in, somewhat.

They had rejected his algorithm he had created to better establish a correlation to a species intention and the complex sequencing of a particular species DNA in regards that. They thought his findings insufficient. He was sure they hadn’t even looked at the data.

So he maneuvered himself to be the one to do the final testing when he saw that the species was mostly likely to be scheduled for reset. With his algorithm and with blood enough for nine such tests compiled along with the other scouts findings downloaded planet wide, he was the final tester to submit. The final results were always sent to the Mother indicating only his normal three tests just as it was with the other remaining scouts.  Since he had begun this deception he saved probably over a thousand species. Whereas their version of the test had rejected fifty percent or more of the species tested, his test came back thirty percent higher saving countless creatures from extinction. The Mother and Home never care or distinguished who administered the final test they had only looked at the results. You needed only one positive result to nullify the call for reset which was flaw in their reasoning as he thought but one that worked in his favor many times over.

Still, has he looked down at the male creature strapped to his table, he felt a disquiet that seemed to settle over him. The evidence was so overwhelming with this one. Not one other Scout planet wide had come back with even one possible gene marker in the base pairs make-up for mercy, compassion. Worse yet markers had been found for violence, apathy, and similar anti-social behavior sprinkled through this species genes. Perhaps this one would be different. He would know soon enough; where he lacked confidence in the Groups way of testing he felt assured of his own a hundred fold in sorting out the right bits and pieces from it all.

The sun had fallen well below the horizon and darkness had fallen fast across the open area where the cockpit of his ship sat leading into the valley when the test was finally completed. Sarvit stared at the results on the screen. His brown eyes were fixated and flat just staring at the roll of data he saw before him. How could it be?  Same as the others, he thought. The test hadn’t revealed anything new like he had hoped it would, like it so often did when performing his test. This species was doomed. He stared at the screen as if willing the data to change.

Numb, he slowly shambled over to the creature still strapped down to the table. He saw the male creature’s chest slowly rise and fall in its breathing as it lay there under sedation. It looked to be such a docile creature really. Brown skin and heavily haired covering a soft shell of semi-dense bone standing barely 2 meters when fully erect.  It almost seemed like a child to him.  Perhaps in many ways it was he mused. This child was destined to grow up one day from a lineage stretching back to tens of thousands of years to this very creature which lay here. The date showed in his report that it was pre-ordained to wreak untold chaos and havoc upon this world and perhaps the universe if allowed. It’s very cells told the story. The evidence didn’t lie. His computations were true. Yet, doubt always bubbled up in him along with a vision of his mother.

“Mother to Scout L-16A please report Trans End.”  Transmission came in loudly through the labs communications board in the overhead across from him in the room.  Meera, from Mother was checking in. Jump out was soon approaching.

“Mother to Scout L-16A please report. Trans End” Meera sounded anxious the timber her voice rising slightly in the transmission. He forced himself out of his reverie and walked over to the overhead and tapped the screen.

“Scout L-16A reporting. Final Testing complete. I will be uploading final results for final disposition by Mother shortly. Will be disengaging with subject momentarily and returning to Mother to meet up for Final Mark for Jump-out. Trans End.”

“Message received Scout L16-A please remember Time Mark for Jump out is 10100 – Thank you, Trans End.” At the end Sarvit could tell Meera wanted to say more but held back, she knew she had pushed protocol from before.

“Acknowledged, Thanks my dear Meera. Trans End”   The Mother could come down on him instead. He didn’t care at this point. He suddenly felt disgusted with himself.

Nogeer’s Story

Nogeer started awake.  His body felt numb and removed from himself, disconnected. He lay on his back amid the tall grass and his eyes stared upward at a dark sky with a thousand bright eyes looking down upon him.  The bright ones mischievous sister who carried no warmth was just starting to rise higher in the sky and she was full of herself tonight. It gave him much light to his surroundings.

He willed himself to move but he could not. Not a leg, not a hand, nor his neck. Only his eyes wanted to cooperate. His breath came in fits and starts and was labored, like his body was trying to learn how to work again. The wind again moved across the plains causing his skin to prickle at its presence.

His body trembled just as the ground beneath him shook. The creature had returned. Fear was present only for a moment, more present was the humiliation at being laid low like this and unable to defend himself and meet death head-on, on his terms. He strained the muscles in his neck. He wanted to at least see his death approaching and face it.  Inch by inch his muscles obeyed as he fought his body to submit to his will.

He saw the shadow of the animal’s massive body loom into view through the swaying blades of grass trampling everything in its path as it approached and stood directly over him as he lay on the ground. Nogeer blinked in confusion, was this the same creature?  This creature’s skin did not shimmer like the others before it; but it must be, Nogeer thought. This one’s skin seemed more like his own, lighter in color and thicker but still looked very smooth.

The creature approached him slowly within an arm’s length and looked down at him. Nogeer saw that it held something in its arms.   It was his two big kills he had made earlier in the day.  The creature gently placed them next to Nogeer’s body. What was this?   I do not under understand. What does it want?

The creature’s breathing became heavier to his ear though it looked as though it had not exerted much effort in returning his hunt.  It lifted its massive three prong arm up high behind itself near its head and pulled out Nogeer’s spear he had thrown at it before. It seemed it had been carrying it there in some way.

Does it intend to kill me with my own spear?  First, it mocks me with its strength easily placing my kills next to me and now it wishes to shame me even more by dealing my own death out with a weapon I created myself. He would die as if caught unawares in his sleep like a baby.

But no, just as it had laid his kills next to him, so did it lay his spear to his other side.  Was the tightness in his neck a little less? His breathing felt less labored and he felt a twinge in his left leg. He tried to move one of his toes slightly. YES, success. But it would not be enough he knew. He needed just a little more time, he could feel it.

The thing continued to stare him as it did all this over him. Its eyes were knowing as it looked him. The creature’s eyes were a deep brown like his own. They were soft it seemed. There was no cast of hardness to them as he had expected, just a softness.

It brought its massive arm up overhead and gently rested it upon his head and moved slowly down over his body and with all three arms gently touched his shoulders, arms, chest, and down the entire length of his body until it was done. Nogeer was amazed at the gentleness of such a massive creature. It blew out again heavily as if tired. To Nogeer, he sensed agitation in the animal like a heavy sigh as if something bothered it.

It had look at him intently one last time with that same softness and then quickly turned back the way it had come to leave. The feeling in his arms and legs were suddenly beginning to return quickly now. He sat up slowly and stared at the retreating back of the creature as it was leaving.  Nogeer did not know what to make of this encounter. He had sensed something important had happened but he had not a clue as to what that was.

Nogeer heard in the night, a quick thrashing sound come from out the tall grass up ahead towards the creature off to its right side.  Nogeer’s blood went cold. He knew what made that sound going through the grass, a river demon.  His people knew they sometimes ventured on land to hunt but usually stayed away from the open areas and it was so very far away from the water. The lack of rain had shrunk the surrounding rivers. This must have forced it to look for food further from its normal home. It must be very hungry. He wondered how long his kills had sat outside like this; that would have surely attracted it to this spot.

He quickly stood up on unsteady legs supporting himself with his spear he didn’t remember grabbing from the ground.

The retreating creature had heard the thrashing as well and turned towards the sound. To late however, the demon sprung at him out of the dense brush biting deep into one of the creature’s legs. The creature bellowed a deep rumbling roar which could only have been because he was in pain from the bite the demon had inflicted. The demon still held tight to the creature’s leg.  Nogeer knew the demon would not let go in its grip on the creature’s leg. The demon was walking death.

The size of the demon was tremendous rivaling the creature in sheer weight even though it was set lower to the ground than the creature.  It was dark but there was enough light to the sky that Nogeer could see the demon’s long toothed snout connected to a head as big as the creatures except it was all muscle and teeth.  Nogeer could hear its massive tail whipping back and forth on the ground to gain leverage against the creature it still held. The creature would bleed to death in no time. The creature bellowed again in pain as the demon bit deeper into its leg.

What did Nogeer care? He thought as he looked on the scene.  I need to take this time to gather my things and go or he would be the next kill of the day. His strength seemed sufficiently returned to him has put away his spear and picked up his hunt.

He skirted the two combatants giving them a wide berth as he went around them, to continue his track back towards home. He reached a small rise and gave a quick look back and saw that the creature seemed to be weakening already.  He had seen this play out many times with other such incidents and already knew the outcome to this. He turned away slowly from the fight and continued on home.

Sarvit’s Story

Even through his pain Sarvit noticed the man creature walking away from the area. He couldn’t blame him. He would have wanted to just get away as well after the ordeal.  Sarvit cursed himself for not putting up his status field after leaving the man.  The pain in his leg was excruciating, making it hard to think.  He had to address this thing attacking him quickly before his situation escalated into something he couldn’t control. The thing suddenly bit down harder.

Momentarily all went black in front of him from the pain. He yelled at the creature in frustration and tried to stomp on its head but it thrashed every time he tried, throwing him off balance which threatened in to toppling him over on the ground. If that happened he feared he might not be able to get back up and the creature would have its way.

His only advantage was his height. The thing’s bite was painful but his own body itself was fairly resilient to most attacks to indigenous life form such as this. Unfortunately his own physiology relied heavily upon touch hence many of his nerves ran close to the surface of his skin.   Where that was nice and fairly enjoyable when the added sense of touch came in handy with being with  Meera,  it was not to his advantage when being attacked by a half crazed amphibious creature with a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth that didn’t want to let go. It was an annoyance he had to be rid of now.

Calmly, Sarvit reached back to his supply pack which was strapped to the upper side of his head. He needed his tranquilizer. It wasn’t mixed for this species type but he had no worries that a few injections would even began to hurt it much less kill it. This planet had turned officially turned into a dismal failure for him.  It was time to report in with the final test results and return to the Mother.

He loaded two cartridges into the gun and brought it around with the sites pointed directly at the beast still deep into his left front leg.  He fired once and the first capsule punched into the creature’s backside. The creature didn’t register that it had been shot. Sarvit shot again and fired the second shot for another direct hit into it. Did the pressure from its teeth feel a little bit less? Sarvit took careful aim for the last shot.

A spear suddenly appeared in the things side close to its right eye. The thing roared in pain.  So much for tranquilizers, its adrenal glands were taking off now was Sarvit’s first thought, the second was, who threw the spear?

Sarvit looked to his right and saw the man creature fairly close by with its body in a low crouch breathing heavily like he had been running. Running? For me? Why?

The creature’s mouth which held his leg suddenly released its grip on him.

Sarvit had to get more of the tranquilizer in him before – but before was too late as it thrashed its tail wildly, swinging it almost ninety degrees to its own body.  Sarvit saw the man creature fly through the air to land in crumpled heap some twenty meters away to the ground amongst the tall grass.

Sarvit surprised himself by doing what many would construe as crazy on his planet. He took both of his front feet and raised them high from the ground and brought them both down hard to smash into the beast’s skull crushing it completely. The creature’s body convulsed and thrashed in its death throes and then was still.

Sarvit quickly made his way over to the man. He was in ruin. One of his lower legs was bent at an odd angle with a bone protruding through the skin; blood flowed freely from the wound onto the ground collecting in a pool around him. A large branch from a low lying bush protruded into his back and out the front of his chest possibly puncturing one of his lungs. Finally he had a several head laceration above his right eye where the blood flowed like a river around it to drip off his chin to collect upon his chest. He saw that his barely breathing. It came in fits and had made a very disturbing gurgling sound with each intake.

However, the man creature was alert, even through the pain that was evident on his face his gaze remain fixated upon Sarvit all the while he approached him as he lay bleeding out his life. Sarvit extended his arm out to check and him upon his chest for vitals with his bio sleeve covering his prehensile arm which augmented his own sensory abilities of touch a hundred fold.

Pulse slow and irregular pressure cascading on a downslope, oxygen conversion as well, death was imminent. Suddenly the man reached out and gently grabbed his arm, his eyes still focused on Sarvit’s own. Sarvit held still and caught himself from rearing back in surprise. What did it want? Why did it come back? Why would it come back? To save him…but the test? His mind spun with questions.

“Nogeer.” The man creature uttered weakly to him as he continued to hold his arm.

What was it saying to him?

The man removed his hand from Sarvit’s arm and placed it upon his own chest.

“Nogeer” The man repeated to him tapping his chest as he said it.

Comprehension dawned within Sarvit. His name.

“Sarvit.” He said to the man tapping his own as well when he said it.

The man smiled at him knowingly now and seemingly satisfied with the exchange of meager words.

Sarvit sensed the man new he was going to die and that he wanted to convey himself and to know him before he died. Sarvit understood this deeply on some level he couldn’t quite define. The man again raised his arm and placed it upon his own face and ran it down from his forehead to his chin and then extended his arm outward to Sarvit and mimed the same to him.

What was he doing? What did it mean?

“Tell me what do you mean, I don’t understand.”  Sarvit bellowed at the man in frustration as he stood over him.

The man was still smiling. His eyes though had lost their focus from before, they were distant and gone. For the first time he noticed they had been brown like his own. He closed them gently and walked slowly back to his ship.

Sarvit didn’t remember the walk back to his cockpit nor disengaging from the surface to go shooting back up into his ship parked just above him or setting the ship to auto pilot to return to the Mother while he went back to the lab to finish uploading the final test results.

“Scout L1-6A to Mother, Trans End”

“Proceed Scout L1-6A, Trans End” Meera was still at the Com as voice came to him like a soothing song.

“I have disengaged from the planet and am proceeding on course for rendezvous with the Mother. Ready to proceed with submission of final report.  Initiating now, Trans End.” Sarvit tapped at the screen to begin uploading which would take but a second to reach the Mother for evaluation.

“Transmission received Scout L1-6A, Evaluation complete; per your data supports viability of species 1H9U69 to continue on this planet – Wait – conflicting data reported Hold – Trans End” the COM was deathly silent to Sarvit in the ship. The ship’s engines low hum was the only sound present in the lab as he waited patiently for further response from the Mother. Sarvit’s feet shifted impatiently as he waited.

“Scout L1-6A, Data collected per test does not coincide with chronological signature encoded into data. Time stamp indicates incorrect procurement of source please explain anomaly for report back to Mother for final disposition to be determined. Trans End.” Meera’s voice came through the Com controlled and calm, but he sensed an undercurrent of tension in it. She must know what he was trying to do.  He knew this was a longshot but one was he willing to take it. Would she go along with him was the question. Time to find out.

“Original data was corrupted planet side due to main module system failure; backup module recording same test results from species was a recycled module which seemed to be improperly reformatted prior to insertion into my ship’s lab by the technicians. I will make sure it gets properly reformatted prior to any future testing. Data is clean and good as submitted please make exception for time stamp as it holds no bearing on test. Trans End.”  Sarvit held his breath.  Please Meera …Please Meera.

“Code L1611 will be instituted for exception to anomaly. Final Jump Out of Mother on target, per your Auto Pilot report I expect your arrival shortly. Trans End”   Sarvit closed his eyes and exhaled fully. Meera, my dear Meera, thank you.



The ship docked and Sarvit went straight to his quarters from leaving his ship. No one bothered him as he walked through the vast corridors of the Mother. Mostly because Jump out was fast approaching and protocol demanded everyone to be in lock down prior to departure. Meera may already be there. Would she have his plur waiting for him?

He rounded the corner off the main hall leading from the dock station and took another turn down a narrower hallway which led to the barracks for all the planetary scouts on board. He came to a massive set of metal doors to his right with two glyphs engraved into to door which indicated his name and Meera’s.

He placed his arm over the two glyphs and the door became insubstantial and opaque. He walked through it feeling cold prickle his skin as he did. Once through he turned back to the door and touched the same glyph hanging in midair. The door immediately turned back into a solid mass of metal.

“I was wondering if you were going to show yourself to me or avoid me for the duration of the trip by taking residence in a fellow scout’s quarters” Meera stood next to the glass panels in the front sitting room looking out to space as she spoke the words. He was sure she had been waiting for him probably since her last communication.

“Why would I do such a thing?” Sarvit walked over to her nudging her slightly.

“Recycled Module, bad re-format, seriously Sarvit?”  She nudged him back but harder than he had.

“Why? Sarvit, Why? I trust you in what you do. But have you decided to start manufacturing evidence now to suit your own ends. Are you that vain to think you know better than all the rest? You put all our lives at risk. Our whole race at risk if you are wrong.” Meera reached out and delicately touch him with her arm and stroked his head and ran it along his own arm.

“I am no more vain than The Group back on home planet dear Meera.” Sarvit moved closer to Meera.

“Except now I have woken up from that. I finally understand what my mother had been fighting for all her life and what cost her career and her own life in the end. We have killed countless millions over fear and hate. A decision based on either is the worst kind of injustice we could met out to another species. I would label now what we do as evil, pure and unadulterated evil no better than what the Gollens tried to do us. They lusted for power as we lust for the comfort in knowing the destiny of our lives is controllable.”

“What would you have us do Sarvit? Wait for them to reach our doorstop all over again to repeat what they didn’t finish…you know the histories.”  Meera look away from him.

Sarvit stared out the glass panels. In the distance was the small blue planet hanging in space. The focus of all his frustration and now his found realization.

“I met a man creature today. My last subject using my final test. He failed the test Meera. Like all the rest on this planet. He was devoid of the necessary prescribed gene construction and chemical balance to validate the species for saving. He needed to die. They all needed to die.”  Sarvit spat it all out in anger bellowing to the high walls of the room he was in with Meera.

“In the end I couldn’t be the one to condemn him. There was something to him I hadn’t seen or noticed in others like him before on this planet or the other countless ones we had already put to death.”  Sarvit spoke softly now in reflection.

“He was aware of me and himself. He knew his worth and he knew of mine at the end of his life in his sacrifice he chose.  So you tell me. How does a man as primitive as that with all the evidence pointing in the negative behave in such a way? Where does it come from? Tell me because I can’t quantify it. Tell me where does it come from?” Sarvit found himself on the floor with his head leaning against the glass.

Meera came over and gently laid her arm upon Sarvit’s head.

“I don’t know Sarvit. I don’t know.” Meera looked out at the little blue planet which was nearly a speck now as the ship maneuvered itself out of the surrounding solar system for final Jump out.

“Perhaps one day we will find out if this planet has any tales to tell.” Meera said quietly to herself as she continued to console Sarvit.

The End

Bits and Pieces – A Short Story – Dark Urban Fantasy

The story below was submitted to a major contest a while back for consideration for publication and placement in their anthology.  Well. I have recently received news by one of their editors ( a very nice woman..btw )  telling me that it did not place.  She also encouraged to be submit more stories for their publication for possible future consideration because they would like to see more from me in the future so I was not to be discouraged.  I have since actually submitted another story to them  that was already ready to go…so I’m crossing my fingers with that story now.

Please take the time in your leisure to read this short little urban Fantasy story which also has a little bit of Science Fiction and a smidgeon of Horror thrown in.  ANY feed back good or bad is always welcome. I like constructive criticism in regards to any of my writing.  I am at your mercy in that regards so be gentle….:).  I hope you enjoy it…btw you can also go over to MY Collection over at Scribd to check it out  there as well to read it in a different format if preferred.

Bits and Pieces

By Philip Wardlow

Charlie’s old 1984 Ford Ltd came to an abrupt stop on the dust bowl of a road that went by the name of Horsehead by the locals or 188th by the not so local residents. The road lead into the little town of Galatia, Kansas where he lived. The town of Galatia was still some six miles distant to the north with twice as many miles behind him to the south to anything you would remotely call a town.

Dammit, and hells bells he thought.  I just got this thing a tune up last month. Charlie tried turning the key in the ignition again. Click, Click, Click. Dead.

            Charlie pulled the lever under his dash to pop the hood and got out, not bothering to look for cars on the road, because there were none, not a soul. This road didn’t get much traffic, especially two hours after the sun had already set. He had a full stretch of road all to himself all the way from the Number 4 Highway teeing into the Old 190 Rd that cut the town of Galatia in half.

He looked around, nothing but corn, rows upon rows on both sides of the road he sat on. Tall stalks, taller than he was, (and he was six foot-four and just as lean and straight) were just waiting to be harvested and seemed to be reaching for the stars that dotted the nighttime sky that surrounded him. He hated corn, in any fashion. He never had a taste for it, especially at this moment. Fucking corn. He was beginning to rethink the wisdom in traveling this road as he lifted the hood on his car.

Charlie played the flashlight over the engine block like he knew what he was looking for, nothing apparent jumped out at him.  He jiggled the connections to the battery, good and solid.  It’s gotta be the alternator, he thought idly.

            A sharp loud keening sound followed quickly by a low rumbling moan came from the cornfield across the road making Charlie hit the back of his head smartly against the inside of the hood. What the fu… , was as far as he got with his thoughts before they were interrupted by another sound from behind coming out of the cornfield on his side of the road close to the car.

“Mister?” a little girl’s voice came from out of the corn.

“What the hell!” Charlie muttered out loud, his heart doubled in speed in his chest. He moved the flashlight to the rows of corn nearest his car.

“Who’s there?” Charlie yelled back as he edged towards the trunk of his car.

“Come out of there, you here? I don’t have time to be playing games!” Charlie felt like a fool yelling at the corn stalks. He was starting to feel like he had made up all the sounds and the voice inside his own head just before he was answered back.

“Mister, have you seen my dog?”  Suddenly, a little slip of girl, no more than probably seven years of age Charlie reckoned, walked out between the tall rows of corn.  She had short cropped red hair, with a splash of brown freckles covering a pale white face. She wore a pull over white nightie which fell down to just above her knees where he saw she must have fallen down once or twice in, because both her knees were mocked up with dirt.  Big brown boots which seemed two sizes too big covered her feet with no socks completed the look.

Charlie showed the flashlight directly into her face which caused her to raise her right hand to block the light in her face.

“Dog?” was all Charlie had heard. Charlie lowered the flashlight to point at her boots.

“Yeah, he got out and my dads gonna be awfully mad if he finds out. He’s not supposed to be out after dark. He gets into too much trouble, so he’s gotta stay locked up till mornin.  My dad thinks I’m in bed but I saw em get out of his pen…oh he’s gonna get it when I get a hold of him.”   She stomped her foot at the last bit.

“I don’t think you should be walking out and about little lady. It’s not safe this time of night, no telling what could happen to you. I’m sure your dog will come back home in due time. He probably got sight of a yard bird and took to runnin after em.  Don’t you worry none, get along home now.”  The little girl was making him nervous, he didn’t need this shit. He just wanted to get his car fixed and get the hell on down the road. Charlie turned from her back towards his car and continued to wiggle things inside under the hood.

“Car problems Mister?  My dad’s great with cars, he can fix anything. I think you’re right about my dog, he does come back eventually and my dads gonna be upset but not as upset as he would be if he knew I was out lookin for him. But I can go get em for you, even though I might get in trouble, he says we should help people any chance we get. You know, the lord Jesus and all that stuff.” She said from behind him, her voice seeming much closer to him.

Sure enough, Charlie looked to his left and she was pretty much on top of his car.

“Do you say pretty much whatever comes into that head of yours?”  Charlie muttered low under his breath to her without her catching what he had said.

“Step Back.” Charlie almost yelled, as he slammed the hood down on his car closing it.

Charlie stood there in the road next to his car doing some heavy thinking, considering his options.

He could wait and try starting his car in a few of hours to see if the problem fixed itself except is, he didn’t have a few hours and he really didn’t think the car would fix itself. He wasn’t about to call a tow service, even if his cell phone did work out here in the middle of Cornville, USA.  He didn’t need any undue attention. He knew he couldn’t be sitting around all night on this road, the sheriff’s office still sometimes might send a patrolman down roads such as these to wrangle out teenagers racing cars, smoking pot or drinking on back roads such as this. No he didn’t need that kind of attention right now.

“What’s your name?” Charlie asked the little girl.

“Nuh uh, sorry can’t tell you that on a count of you’re a stranger.”

“Well, my names is Charles and if you tell me your name, then we won’t be strangers anymore now will we?” Charlie put a smile into his voice.

“Well, you got a point there Charles so I’ll meet ya half way and I’ll tell ya my name – my Daddy call’s me, Smidgen. That’s my not my real name though, I am not a Smidgen – I’m pretty big for my age.”   Charlie shown the flashlight on her and she was smiling back.

Too easy, he thought to himself idly and grinned inside; Charlie had been that trusting once.

“Well, I should like to take you up on your dad’s help if that wouldn’t be too much to ask.  Do you mind taking me to him so I can be about my way?”  Charlie asked her just as nice as you please.

“Sure, we live just up on the next road. I took a shortcut through the corn to get here but we can walk up this road to get to our property.”  The word property came out as prop-pretty to Charlie’s ears.

“C’mon.” she said and grabbed his hand in hers and pulled him up the road with her.


It had been about a fifteen minute walk to their farm, but in that time Charlie was bombarded with all kinds of questions from the little girl nicknamed Smidgeon. Where you from Mister?  Galatia,up the road.  What’s your last name?  Wilkins. Do you like dogs Mr. Wilkins? Sure, long as they don’t bite.  Do you like corn? Cuz we grow corn, my daddy says people all over America eat our corn?  Nope, never cared for it.  So on and so on it went. It had been a very long fifteen-minute walk to the farm.

The farmhouse sat back from the road a bit, a good seventy-five yards or so, by his reckoning. A wide graveled road lead up to the place from the main one and in much better condition he noticed than the one he had just left. The house, to Charlie, was your typical country home, two storied and white with dark painted trim work and dark shutters on either side of every window. The porch was long and wide in the front and wrapped around the house. One side, at the end had a nice porch swing sitting there. Ideal, he thought.

What looked to be a big oak tree sat in their front yard. The massive oak took up most of the yard, the tree sat some twenty feet from the home but its upper limbs reached out till they were almost touching the upper roofs of the second story. The road up to their property made the turnaround at that tree to exit back to the main road. Charlie also saw jutting up out of the darkness at the back of their property a massive grain silo, it looked like a giant silver bullet pointing up into the sky. Adjacent to it sat a giant pole barn with rippled corrugated aluminum walls with various farming machinery, such as tractors, combines, and a pick-up all parked alongside either side of it.

Charlie took this all in as he and the little girl slowly walked up the drive to the house. The front yard was nicely lit by a bright flood light mounted high atop a pole sunk into the ground smack dab in the middle of the yard. The pole was leaning a fair bit from the vertical looking dangerously like it was about to fall down similar to the leaning towering of Pisa in Italy, Charlie thought. Underneath the light, Charlie saw a balding little red headed man digging furiously around the pole with what looked to be a spade shovel in his hands. As Charlie got closer he noticed the man might have been little but he had arms like tree trunks as he dug and flung the dirt out of the hole he had made. He seemed to be sweating profusely because it was spilling off him like a leaky hydrant. There was a mountain of dirt surrounding the pole where he had excavated around it. Nearby he saw a wheel barrow and what also seemed to be unopened bags of cement along with various bits of lumber lying on the ground. Busy in his work the man hadn’t seen him and the little girl approach. Charlie quickly detached his hand from the little girls. Funny thing for all her talking, she hadn’t said a word since she had reached their private drive, he had almost forgotten about her and how he would have to settle things at the end of all this.

“Excuse me Mister, is this your daughter?”  Now most people would have jumped, was Charlie’s first thought, the way he did in coming up on the man, but the man just slowly rose up from his shoveling and just as calm as you please turned to look at him like he was expecting him to be there or at least didn’t have cause to have any fear on his own property for anyone for any reason. Either way, Charlie thought in that moment that this was one cool cucumber; he might have some trouble with this one.

“You see, my car broke down back over on Horsehead, and I ran into this little one here who said you might be willing to try and help get my car back on the road. I’m thinking it’s the alternator or battery or some connection, or something…” Charlie cut himself off and just gave the guy an imploring look.

The man took a handkerchief from the inside of his coveralls and wiped the sweat from his balding head and face. Charlie noticed the pinky finger on his right hand that held the handkerchief was mostly missing. It seemed to be nipped off just above the second knuckle, hazards of being a farmer Charlie though idly, you can keep it. The man looked back at Charlie scrutinizing him up and down. The man might have been all but five four and Charlie towered above him but it felt to Charlie like he was being looked down upon, at that moment by someone much bigger.

“Smidgeon go in the house, you and me will have words soon enough.”  The little man looked at his daughter without blinking but Charlie could tell he was displeased with her.

“Yes, Daddy but he’s out. He got through the fence pen again like he did two nights ago.  I told you, you gotta make it stronger, he’s gettin bigger.”  Smidgeon began to move towards the porch.  What she had said seemed to get a reaction out of him this time. He grabbed her hand and turned towards Charlie suddenly with an oddly inquisitive look on his face.

“What’s your game mister? Really? Cuz, I have way of sniffing out the shit from the roses. Where you from, you talk like you’re from around here but then again you don’t.”

Charlie was starting to get pissed, feeling like he was being interrogated for no reason.

“I was just passin through on my way back to Galatia where I live is all, names Charlie, Charlie Wilkins. I’ve lived there all my life; probably know half the people you know in these parts I’m sure.”  Charlie put on his best relaxed smile he could muster and stuck out his right hand to the man and looked him straight in the eye.

The man just looked down at Charlie’s hand like he didn’t know what to do with it. He still held to his shovel with his right hand and with the left, his daughter’s hand not budging an inch.

“You’re daughter said you might be a good enough Christian and take a look at my car that’s still back on the road and maybe get me on my way.” Charlie didn’t think appealing to his Good Samaritan side was going to work looking at the man, but hell it was worth a try.

That seemed to soften him a bit and he let go of his daughter’s hand.

“Well what kinda car is it?  I can fix most anything providin it’s American made? Can’t work on any of that foreign junk ya know.  Names Barry, by the way, Barry Keegan.” With that Barry reached out and shook Charlie’s hand. Charlie came back flexing his fingers. Boy, he’s got a grip on him.

“No, No, it’s a Ford LT…”  just as before back on the road, a sharp loud keening sound followed quickly by a low rumbling moan came from behind him, but this time it seemed much closer than before. He had only a moment before everything went black but it seemed to all unfold in slow motion; with Barry raising the shovel over his head, a black shadow descending on Charlie from behind, accompanied by an onrush of wind blowing at the back of his head, the scream of the little girl from behind her father with her eyes open wide staring at something Charlie couldn’t see, then darkness when the shovel held by Barry connected with the side of his head sending him to the ground hard.


Charlie woke to his head exploding. He breathed in evenly and long until the pain dulled enough to prop himself up from where he sat.  He looked around gingerly because his neck didn’t like certain angles his head wanted to take. He seemed to be lying on some type of air mattress directly on a slab of cement in some very big almost warehouse like room with very high vaulted ceilings. Probably the pole barn, thought Charlie through the dullness and pain that was his brain. He grabbed tenderly at the side where Barry’s shovel had connected with his head. He felt bandages covering it going all the way to cover his right ear as well.  He went to prop himself up to stand, but his body wasn’t having any of that as it sent stabs of pain to the back of his head leading to another series of mini-explosions to bounce and skitter around his skull.

Charlie saw there was a bottle of water next to him on the ground along with what looked like a generic bottle of over the counter pain pills. Well wasn’t that nice of him, Charlie thought. He twisted the cap off the water and popped four of the pills into his mouth and drank heavily still being careful to not tilt his head back too far.  He noticed blood splattered down the left side of his shirt sleeve. Fucking great, this was a dog’s dinner now wasn’t it? For the moment he just sat there thinking on what all this meant. Charlie, always a cautious man, a smart man, knew when it was time to look at the situation and understand it from all angles if he could. First thing he decided, was to give it another go at getting up and was greeted with billiard balls knocking around inside his head instead of the mini-explosions from before. He would take that over the other for now.

            He shambled over to what looked to be a big metal door which had a very small window set near the top. At his height, he had to bend over just a bit to look through it. It was pitch black outside, not much to see, but through it, he could make out their house in front of the pole barn he was now in. The front porch was lit by a small light near the steps, and a dim light also shown from inside in one of the rooms of the house on the lower level towards the back. The front yard flood light he had seen earlier was now off with the big oak tree just a very dim shadow against the sky.

“Anybody out there!”  He regretted doing that the moment the first words came out. He put his hand to the bandaged side of his head fearing that something was spilling out of it. Shit…shit.shit that’s a smart one.

When his head calmed to a dull drumming thud he put his ear to the steel door.

Scritch Scritch …Scritch Scritch…..a soft metallic scrape reverberated into his ear through the door. Something was on the other side of this door. He listened closer. It sounded like heavy breathing, more so the bellows feeding a fire, a hollow but raspy deep inhalation of breath.

“Anyone there?” Charlie spoke in a low tone right next to the door still holding the side of his head.

“BAM!” went the door; “BAM!” went the door again. Something was trying to get in at him was Charlie’s first thought. No Shit.

“Stop it Brutus, just settle down boy.  He’s alright, what’s gotten into you? Stop getting so worked up.”  The little girl’s voice carried through the door to him.

“You alright mister?” she asked him, her voice coming through slightly muffled as if he was hearing through a big ball of cotton. Charlie didn’t know if that was because she was talking behind the door or because his hearing was off from the blow to the head.

“No, I’m not alright, where’s your damn father? Why am I locked up in this place and why the Sam-hell did he hit me over the head with a shovel?”  Charlie fired back at her sounding angrier than he meant to, but damn it all he had a right to, didn’t he?

“BAM!” the something hit the door again and this time much harder. The steel door held though. Even being locked up, Charlie was glad for that.

“Don’t get’em riled up Mister, Daddies gone to hitch your car up and bring it back here to have a look at it for you. He just put you in there for your own safety on account of Brutus.”

“Brutus?” Charlie hadn’t caught the name before. What’s a Brutus?

“He’s my dog.  You were right he did come back just like you said.  Brutus doesn’t like you much, not sure what you did to make him mad at you. What did you do?” she asked politely through the door like they were just carrying on a normal conversation and this whole circumstance wasn’t strange at all.

Charlie never got a chance to answer back because he heard the chink chink sound of metal on metal and the crunch of wheels driving on rock. He couldn’t tell how close the sound was but through the little window on the door he saw a truck’s headlights coming down the private drive. For a moment the lights blinked out on the truck as it got lost behind their house then popped out again on the backside where it made slow progress to the place he was now locked up in.

Charlie heard the truck come to a stop, followed by its headlights being turned off. Charlie heard the creak of a car door being opened and then slammed shut.

“He’s up Daddy.” was all he heard the girl say.

Charlie was too afraid of getting close to the door so he only caught mumbled phrases and clipped words through it with no real meaning behind them. Barry must have been working a key into what must have been a padlock by the heavy sound it made banging against the door as he went to unlock it to enter the pole barn.

“Take Brutus and yourself back to the front and keep’em there till I call ya…thanks darling. I’m gonna have a talk with Mr. Wilkins now.”  Charlie heard the padlock being removed.

“Okay Daddy. C.mon boy…lets go se….” The girl’s voice faded away as Charlie heard her continuing to talk to what must have been her dog, Brutus. Charlie was happy Brutus had gone bye bye.

Barry opened up the door into the pole barn. Charlie saw he didn’t have anything in his hand, like a gun or that blasted shovel. He could rush him right now but the pounding in his head was just now starting to let up and he didn’t think it best to push it till he knew wouldn’t fall over from a dead feint or in agonizing pain from the monster headache that threatened to grip his brain at the wrong moment. Besides small or not, the balding red-haired little man looked like he could break Charlie like a piece of balsam wood over his knee.

Barry shut the door behind him and walked directly up to Charlie, “How you fairin, Mr. Wilkins?” To Charlie’s ear there seemed to be genuine concern in his voice when he asked the question.

“How do you think? You hit me in the head with a fucking shovel!” Charlie glared at the man hoping for a reaction but none came. None that Charlie could see.

“There’s reasons behind everything that happens. Now as to the shovel, well I guess I was trying to save your life. I just want to give you a fair shake you might say. Brutus is still young and is prone to over reacting, but he’s getting better. He’s learning to look before leaps most days now. I want this to play out the right way for you is all.”  A chill ran through Charlie and he knew it wasn’t a cold breeze in the room doing it.

“First time I ever heard of being hit in the head with a shovel as someone trying to save someone’s life, oughta keep your damn dog on a leash.” Charlie uttered a bitter laugh behind the comment.

Barry ignored him and ran his hand through his balding head.  “I have to make you understand something about my situation and have you come to an understanding about something in yourself. The first part to me always seems like it should be the hardest in all this, but it never is. People have a knack at seeing the fantastic more so than the lie that’s already inside them that they’ve come accustomed to living with all their life.”

“Just what are you getting at Mister? It all sounds like babbling to my ear if you don’t mind me saying. I just want to get the hell home. You’re lucky I’m not gonna sue your ass for assault and battery.” Charlie gave him a hard look this time, people said he could be intimidating when he wanted to be.

Barry just clenched his massive fists once and smiled to himself. He walked over to a corner and grabbed two fold out chairs leaning against the walk and then walked back to where Charlie was standing. He carefully unfolded them and placed them on the floor across from each other.

“Sit please.”  Barry intoned in a low voice with a hand on one of the chairs.

“What if I don’t want to?” Charlie asked.

“Well I could make you sit, but I would rather have your cooperation. Frankly, I‘ve a got a little story to tell and I don’t wanna be doin it by craning my neck to look up at your Paul Bunyan ass the whole time.” Barry sat in his own chair not more than three feet away facing his.

“Well since you put it that way; I’m all for story time.”  Charlie fell into his chair secretly happy to be off his feet, but Barry didn’t need to know that.

Once again Charlie’s snide remarks and sarcasm got no reaction out of him.  Barry just leaned

back in his chair and folded his arms across his chest. Barry give a momentary wayward glance upward before he started in on his story.

“First try not to interrupt till I finish cuz I imagine you might have a few questions, but save’ em till I’m done if you wouldn’t mind…good?”  Barry stared intently until Charlie just nodded his head.


It happened about three years ago, what I’d like to call the ‘Incident’. It was about this same time round harvest time.  The corn was high and plentiful almost like you see it now and back then my only worries were the weather and the possible blight to my crops. I had been having a good year and looking to cash in at the end of the year somethin real good.  I was blessed I told myself.  It was hard work mind you, up before the chickens even crowed and settled in to bed for what seemed like to me an hour before I got up.  So I rightly thought I deserved any blessing, cuz of all my hard work.  I only want to mention this partly because I want you to see where my head was back then before I go on with the rest of the story. I was full of pride you see and nobody could tell me different, not my neighbors wondering when I was coming over to visit , not my preacher asking me why he hadn’t seen me in church, or my wife god bless her when she needed my help at home. I had my own stuff to do, the farm wasn’t gonna run itself, sure I could of hired some help. Then I would have just had to pay ‘em. You see I was a greedy bastard back then and I’m ashamed to say that now.

            I was out back in the middle of my property working in the middle of the fields, clearing out one of my irrigation ditches with the back hoe when it flew by right over my head some ten feet. It was bright as the sun to my eyes and I could feel the heat coming off it as it had passed over. The sound it made was like a high pitched hissing growl like it was burning up the air. It cut across ten rows of my corn demolishing them into bits of nothing before it came to a stop in my field. I walked over to where it fell to and looked down into a hole about twenty feet wide and half as deep in the ground. At the center of that hole was a round knobby rock, like one of those geodes you might see with the crystals inside.  It was glowing red hot and big as a soccer ball and almost just as round. Now I’m no fool, I’ve seen one too many science fiction movies as a kid, so I didn’t go poking a stick at it like those idiots you see, looking for a slime creature to come crawling up my arm. I went and got my back hoe out and scooped it up and drove it all the way back to the house and set it behind this pole barn you see here.

            Then funny thing is, after that I pretty much forgot about it for a long awhile. Sure, I told my wife and daughter about what had happened and even showed it to them, then it was on with my life again. So there it sat for the next two weeks in the shade behind the pole barn.  It wasn’t till my daughter came running to get me late one afternoon that I actually remembered it. My wife, Maggie, was already standing there behind the pole barn staring down at it when I came up on it.

            I saw that the rock had a crack in it much like an egg would you might say and it was oozing an oily brown liquid onto the ground. The crack slowly started to get wider and wider like something was pushing to get out from the inside, it started to remind me a lot of baby chicks when they start to hatch out. Then we saw something moving on the inside of it but it didn’t look like a little fluffy baby hatchling.  For all its slow progress from before, it suddenly broke free from its shell entirely and there it was. It was a beautiful creature, about the size of full grown cat or small dog. The skin of it looked strange like rough textured black steel sprouting fine silver spikes all over its body which was slowly unfolding and filling out from its round shell it had been in for God knows how long. It had six legs instead of two or four like you might expect, with three on each side of its body. Nothing deformed mind you, I’ve seen many a calf born with a leg or hoof sticking out of some weird location on its body. No you can tell this thing was meant to look this way if you know what I’m getting at.

            Even for being just born it looked pretty strong, its muscles along its back were already well formed for something so small and was already standing on all six of its legs pretty confidently. It ambled around a little testing its new legs and stared at us all with very big brown eyes you could just see held intelligence behind them. To me, it looked like a cross between a cat and dog. It had a long  jaw line  like a dog with sharp canines that looked to be made of metal as well. The tip of its snout looked like a cats along with the ears which both moved on its head as it listened to sounds around it. It had a long black thin tail tipped in silver like the very end of it had been dunked in a can of silver paint.  The look of it was kind of hard to place with any known animal; of course it was a breed all of its own. I remember thinkin and sayin out loud to my wife and daughter that he was gonna be a brute when he got bigger. My daughter decided to call him Brutus, he has lived up to that and then some you might say.

            Well my daughter wanted to keep it as a pet and was I having none of that. I didn’t trust it, not in the slightest. Every time it looked at me it seemed to be sizing me up, it made feel uncomfortable.  The funny thing is, my wife who loves animals for that matter thought the same thing about it. Well the issue was taken care of soon after when I came back home to find the police and an ambulance on my front door surrounding my daughter and wife.  A coyote had gotten a hold of our little girl while she was playing at the edge of the yard near the corn and tried to drag her into the corn.  Well little Brutus, as we called him back then, heard her screaming and jumped out of its pen which he had never done before and tore into the thing and dragged if off into the corn somewhere. My daughter and wife knew better to explain the full details of what had happened to the police. The police just called her lucky to be alive and filed their report. Since then my daughter and the creature have been inseparable.

            Now here in the story is where it goes stranger than it already seems. A few days after the coyote incident, I had gotten in late one night at about eleven. I came into the house quiet as you please, everyone was settled in and should have been asleep. Maggie, I figured was fast asleep like my daughter but then I heard footsteps overhead where our bedroom was, then I heard something fall loudly to the floor followed by my wife screaming. I bolted up the steps and burst into our bedroom.

            When I entered, I saw she was on the floor in her pajamas leaning her body tight against the wall between our bed and the night stand table she had pushed over.  Her eyes were as wide as she could get them and a sick grimace of terror was all over her face. I saw that one of her legs was bent at the knee and tucked up next to her close and the other was laid straight in front of her on the floor of the bedroom. Little Brutus was there, very close to her, and his body was glowing blue all over, pulsing actually, from a bright almost blinding blue light to a dim glow until the blue light almost winked out but then it came back into full brightness again and continued the cycle all over. He wasn’t Little Brutus anymore, he seemed to have jumped in size tenfold from the time he had first hatched, he seemed to be the size of Great Dane or Cheetah.  Its body was hunched low to the floor and his jaws were clamped tightly around Maggie’s ankle with its metal teeth. It stared straight at her not moving or making a sound. Its tail swished violently just like a cat’s does when it gets agitated.

            I yelled at it to get off her but the thing ignored me, it just kept looking straight ahead at her. I was afraid to do more on account of I thought it might snap her foot off in an instant. Maggie then started shaking her head back and forth like she was saying no to something. I yelled at her and asked her what was going on. She told me the thing was inside her head. She said it was talking to her. I asked her what it was saying to her.

            She only said one thing to me, “Speak the truth and be free.” I imagined it was more than that, but that’s all she kept saying over and over again when I asked her.

            She kept shaking her head no to the thing. Then she suddenly yelled out to it that she had nothing to say. Then it bit down on her foot and took off her leg. She didn’t scream like you’d expect. She just sat there numbly looking ahead. Her eyes looked distant as if remembering something then tears began to flow down her face and she began to mumble she was sorry.

            The bottom of her leg where her foot should have been wasn’t bleeding; no blood flowed on to the floor.  In fact it looked completely healed over like it hadn’t happened at all, except that the foot wasn’t there, just a leg ending in a knobby rounded white stump. I think I went crazy after seeing that. I jumped on the thing still sitting there crouched on the floor next to her leg.

             It jumped up and knocked me down like I was nothing and turned on me pinning me to the ground with its front two legs. Its body wasn’t pulsing blue anymore it was just a dead metallic color.  It looked me in the eyes like it had been doing to Maggie and bit down on my outstretched hand grabbing a hold of my pinky finger in its mouth and began to pulse again but not as deeply or as bright.

            Then I heard it inside my own head.  “Tell me truths you only tell yourself.  Speak the truth and be free, the bigger the lie the more the piece.” 

            What truth, what lie I asked it. I didn’t know what it was talking about. Like her I found myself shaking my head no to it. Then it bit into me.  There was no pain, just a euphoria which pervaded through my whole body and then into my mind, then suddenly my brain seemed to click into place and images of me flood in. The story book of my life paraded by, every action, every reaction from the time I was born till now, me growing up as a young child, a teenager to a young adult till now and all that went with it. I saw a perspective of myself of all the things that brought me to fruition, who I was at this point, I suddenly saw all sides of the puzzle that formed me and understood where I stood in the world, the universe for that matter. I saw my pettiness, my greed for what it was; most of all was my forced ignorance of what was going on at home. My wife had a greater truth than me that she was forced to see it seemed.

            She had been abusing our daughter you see. Her truth had been going too far with disciplining our daughter. This wasn’t the occasional spanking mind you.  This was the kind that’s bad enough that you feel you have to threaten your daughter with worst things if she ever told her daddy about what she was actually doing. She did just enough never to leave a mark or a scar but the marks and the scars were there none the less even though you couldn’t see ‘em. Deep down I knew, but I didn’t want to see it, so I just kept on not seeing.

            She told me later, like me, she had her life laid bare for her to see. For her she said, it was almost magical in a way, like a lifetime of therapy all rolled into a just a few seconds of time. Still there’s something more there in what the creature does that gets removed when it bites into you. It takes something more than just your flesh. It seems to take the part you don’t wanna give up that’s causing you all this grief, the part you hold on to no matter what.

             I’ve learned over these last couple of years it’s harder for some than others. The bad bits and pieces that make them up are more damaged and numerous than you can imagine and it’s hard to fit them all right again but it can be done. I’m a witness to it.  It all depends on how badly you want to see the truth I guess and what you’re willing to lose to hold on to it still.

            My wife died of cancer late last year. You might not believe it but she told me towards the end it was the best year of her life after what happened. The years before she said had been like a bad dream she could never wake from. The veil had been lifted she had said. I knew exactly what she meant. I held her hand as she passed and knew she was at peace.




            Barry looked across at Charlie sitting in his chair in silence now done with his story.  Charlie was looking down just staring down at his feet in front of him.

“That’s a good story Mister.” Charlie picked up his head and looked at Barry directly.  Something Barry had not seen before in Charlie entered his face. Malice was the first word that came to mind. It made Barry turn cold.

Barry knew it was coming but hadn’t anticipated the speed or the ferocity of Charlie’s attack. The chair Charlie had been sitting on crashed up side Barry’s head and the world exploded in white.

“Paybacks a bitch isn’t it?” he heard Charlie ask knowing he wasn’t expecting any answer as Barry lay on the ground trying to focus and not lose consciousness.

Barry tried to get up but Charlie delivered a vicious kick to his ribcage. Barry’s breath went out of him and he fought to drag air into his lungs. He could hear his breathing come and go with a hollow raspy sound behind it.

Charlie circled him with a piece of the chair grasped in his hand. Charlie pushed at Barry with his foot to roll him over and reached into his pocket and took his keys.

Charlie bent down close to Barry’s ear as he continued to regain his breath “I see my life for what it is. You can tell me all the stories you wanna tell me but I’m the one that’s gonna be showing you the truth Mr. Keegan.” Charlie raised the chair over his head above Barry as if to smash it into him.

Barry looked up at him. “He’s coming for you, we’re connected me and him. He knows what I know and I know what he knows…”  Barry whispered between ragged breaths and looked at Charlie directly into his eyes.

Charlie lowered his arms slowly and walked over to the door and opened it up looking out towards their house. Barry knew what Charlie saw coming for him.

Charlie dropped the keys and bolted to his left past the perimeter of the pole barn and plunged into the rows of corn adjacent to it, running flat out as fast he could never looking back.  Brutus lopped past the pole barn almost lazily and plunged amongst the rows of corn in pursuit.

The night was swallowed in the sounds of crickets chirping, the quiet rustle of leaves being moved by a soft October breeze and the loud piercing cry of a man in the night with the cornfields around him beginning to glow a very bright blue.


“There better be a good reason you called me in from my day off Jerry, especially this early in the morning.” Max said as he shut the door of his car that was parked along the dirt road with all the rest of the vehicles already parked there. God, it was a circus out here, an ambulance, coroner’s van, three state trooper vehicles, one of his own local patrolman cars and two press vans from news three and eight.

The man Max called Jerry, a very round looking fellow who filled out his patrolman’s uniform very nicely walked over to him from his own car parked across the road.

“Sorry Chief, couldn’t be helped thought we might need your assistance on this one. First we thought it was just a regular mauling by a coyote or something but it turned out to be much more than we figured.” Jerry guided Max to the back of the coroners van and unzipped the black bag sitting on the gurney.

“Sheesh Jerry! He’s got no head, no arms, no legs, what the hell happened to him. Where’s the rest of him?” Max zipped him back up himself. Jerry then motioned to him to follow him over to the ambulance.

“It’s only gonna get weirder; we found his car, at least what we think is his car on the side of the road not far from where we found him in the cornfield. We tore through it trying to find some ID on the guy because his plates were bogus and the VIN number wasn’t on the car. Look what we what found when we got into the trunk.”  Jerry and he came up on the ambulance with Medic attending somebody wrapped in a blanket standing back from them about twenty feet.

Max looked at the woman closely. She had long blond straight hair, about twenty yrs of age, probably five- foot three and pretty.

“Is that who I think it is?” Max asked Jerry in a whisper.

“Yeah, she’s been missing for a couple of days. She’s a little dehydrated and shook up and probably will be claustrophobic for the rest of her life but she’ll be okay.

“You let the parents know?” Max asked

“They’re driving in from Hutchinson, they should be here soon.”

“You think that’s the guy’s car for sure. Could just be coincidence?” Max asked.

Jerry shrugged “Don’t know.  Both witnesses described it as a dark Ford LTD they saw that picked her up and that the fellow was a white male fairly tall and thin.  Add arms and legs to the guy in that back of the coroners van and you might just get that.” Jerry smiled at Max acting like he had made a joke. Max didn’t smile back at him.

“Weirdest thing is, there’s not one drop of blood around the scene, not a lick and his wounds are healed like he was born that way but I just know that can’t be right.”  Jerry added in.

“Yeah, I noticed that too.”  Max didn’t add anything else to that.

“Maybe he had it coming, who knows what he would have done when he got her to wherever he was taking her.”  Jerry said as he leaned against his patrol car.

“I imagine he might have, there are a lot of sick bastards out there. Maybe he ran into something a little meaner than himself and it wanted a little piece of him.” Max said.

“Perhaps, but it took more than a piece, if it did.” Jerry smiled like he was making a joke again.

“Guess it wasn’t satisfied with just one bite.”  Max said, and this time he did smile back at Jerry.

The End

Where I stand….Taking stock of where I’m at in my writing for the year so far

As the title of the  blog states,  I am taking stock this month. More of a critique and review of myself and the goals I put forth for myself this year in writing to see if I’m track.

Well I started this Blog back in April of this year 2012…and before that in September 0f 2011 is when I really started getting serious with  my writing.

I mainly started this Blog back in April  to appease various publishers who want you to have a web presence for yourself so possible fans can find you and flock to you and worship you over the worldwide web….still waiting for that to happen.

I have never been great at kissing people’s asses in terms of marketing myself….I just wanna write , straight and simple.  I am sincere in my writing in my blogpost  and of my own opinions of those I follow so I hope that people that came to my blog saw that.

Now I have to stress I don’t consider myself a blogger.  I just consider this my personal website and I’m your host who wants you to know more about me and what I’m about as a writer and direct you to where you can find my latest writings whether on here, Scribd, Amazon, Smashwords, or hopefully down the line other places around the web from minor to major publishers who pick up my work.

btw…  To ring in Halloween – I will be doing a another FREEBIE promotion near Halloween this month for my Horror/Dark Fantasy Novella “Roadkill” on Amazon…so look for that to happen soon!

Back when I started this website I said I would keep you abreast of my progression of becoming a Fantasy Writer/Author . So here is a run down of what I have accomplished thus far from approximately a year ago  along with my future goals in writing for the coming year 2013.

What  I have written thus far:

Finished Works:

1. Roadkill – Horror/Fantasy Novella 24,000 words   (rejected many times by various Publishers and have went on to E-Publish it on Amazon but I am still submitting it to other publishers in the mean time.)

2. Devil in the Details – Urban Fantasy – 3,500 Words  (Rejected many times by various Publishers, but still submitting, and have sent to Beta-readers for their critique)

3. Bits and Pieces – Urban Fantasy/Scienc Fiction – 8,000 Words , Entered into major contest and awaiting results. If it doesn’t place then I will submit to publishers and show on here as well for your reading pleasure….:)

4. A Fire to Extinguish – Science Fiction – 8,700 Words , Entered into a major contest and awaiting results. If it doesn’t place then I will submit to publishers and show on here as well for your reading pleasure….:)

5. Flight through the Forest – Heroic Flash Fantasy – 2,000 – Words, Rejected by various publishers BUT did get accepted by one non-paying publication entitled Quail-Bell Magazin online-  I am still submitting to publishers aroudn the web.

6. Witch Hunt – Horror/Humor  – 4,000 Words Entering into Halloween Contest at Carnage Conservatory this year.

7.  Various Poetry amounting to approx 50-60 poems this year over approx 5,000 words between them all…I have turned some into publishers but as of yet none have been accepted…please check out most of my poetry here on my blog or over at Scribd the self publishing website. You can see most of my Poetry work here.

Current Projects:

1.  The Thing under the BridgeYoung  Adult Fantasy Novel with a goal of 85,000 Words Currently up to 5,000+words. I am finishing up some outlining and research and then will be diving back into to the writing portion to finish hopefully by End of January 2013.

2. The Grate  –  Dark Urban Fantasy Story – 10,000 to 17,000 Word Goal currently  up 2,000 Words. This will be another Contest entry before Dec 31st, 2012,   and then later with submissions to various Publishers. (and will show on here as well)

3. From a Dark Place – Dark Fantasy Story – 10,000 to 17,000 Word Goal currently up to 4,000 Words. This will be another Contest entry for March 31st, 2013 Deadline, and then later with submissions to various Publishers. (and will show on here as well)

I am always brainstorming and have many small ideas as memos in my notes future story ideas BUT first these above must be finished and fleshed out completely..

I am trying to take the advice of a professional succesful writer who said it’s best to lose count of how many stories you have written  then you know your working at a good pace.  I know I am not there yet with that by a long shot but still I definitely want to have quality over quantity any day for my writing.

So I ask you to check out ALL my stuff that has been divulged to you thus far on here and other websites and comment if you feel like commenting on my stuff…it’s always appreciated.. THANKS

…and remember my FREEBIE for “ROADKILL” will be coming out soon on Amazon  for the Kindle or for free electronic download on your computer….how’s that for self-marketing…:)

The Science of Speed – A poem

The Science of Speed

3 to 120 Meters Per Second,

the speed at which nerves endings transmit signals through the body.

This body wants to be touched gently by your fingertips;

I have no doubt it would feel like you had never left.

25,000 miles per hour,

the speed it takes to escapes Earth’s gravity.

What would it take to escape my want of you?

186,282 miles per second,

the speed at which light travels.

When that light strikes my eyes how long would it take

for you to realize what’s still behind them?

Time dilation ,

the theory that as your body increases in velocity

time slows down.

I wish to have you near so we could accelerate to the infinite, then

time would slow to nothing and in that final instant

when our speed was at its apex

time would simply stop,

and forever with you would

never end.

Ray Bradbury – Something Wicked this Way Comes

Hello Readers of the fantasy realm.

You may already know this but I wanted to mention this very important current event,  Ray Bradbury, the great Horror,Fantasy, Science Fiction writer  died this Tuesday June 5th 2012 at the age of 91.  I heard coincidentally it was during the time Venus was in transit across the sun as viewed by us Earthbound aliens. So I think that is fitting.  Venus won’t transit the  Earth  for another 100+yrs as viewed by us down here and we probably won’t get a writer to come along like him for just as long.

I’d say he lived a pretty full life,  filled with magic, love, good friendships, and genuine appreciation by his critics and readers. What more could you ask for in a life as a writer.  His legacy will live on for many years. He has certainly influenced me in what I see I want to be as a writer.  I grew up with a lot of his stories.  From the aforementioned title of this blog  – Something Wicked this way Comes”  a  little Horror/Fantasy horror yarn about a diabolical carnival coming to a small town,  to Fahrenheit 451  – a dysotopian story so many other writers have tried to illuminate often  in their own writing.

What I love I about him as a writer, was that he was so electic.  He could go from writing  a short love story like the “Laurel and Hardy Love Affair”  to  a fantasical endearing friends epoch little adventure set on the night of Halloween in the story called  Halloween Tree.”  to his Science Fiction piece – Martian Chronicles”  and do them all so convincingly with new ideas never before explored, along with new perspectives to be pondered.

You believe the characters. You believe the fantastic situations. You believed the emotions. You believe the possibilites. He will simply be missed as a voice in all these genres.

I know many other authors and writers who followed his work have probably benefited from his many teachings whether they realized it or not when trying to translate their own stories from their inner minds to pen and paper. I know I have greatly.

I hope to do him and writers like him justice one day. Thank you Ray Bradbury for being a part of my life eventhough you didn’t know you were.