Short stories

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  • georgesIII

    I love short stories, instead of polluting the blog thread I'll keep them here,

    if you have some share them here too


    Ok, lets go


    You're the person who keeps mowing lawns during the zombie apocalypse of The Walking Dead.


    Everyone in the world has lost their minds. Literally: it infected our blood and then spread to the cerebellum. We lost ourselves.

    Hardly a surprise, though. Looting, rioting, murdering, cannibalism... hard to keep your mind in that kind of environment, much less be happy, right? Happiness vanished from the world.

    Except for in me.

    I was bitten almost three months ago. God, has it really been that long? I watched the whole neighborhood go to shit, utterly terrified and panicked like everyone else. One by one, the neighbors turned. We watched out of the second story window, because the downstairs was all boarded up. We saw old Mr. Howard biting little Linda Root right there in the street. My family and I watched her corpse bleed out onto the sidewalk, then get back up again an hour later and start roaming the street.

    I still don't know how they got to my wife. All I know is that I came back from a supply run, opened up the garage door, and found her sinking her teeth into my shoulder. And that was the end, I thought.

    The end. In just a few short hours, I'd be one of them. I could take my own life, of course: it wasn't an unpopular decision. Better than trying to feast on your remaining friends as a ghoul, right? But I couldn't do it. I was a coward. So I did what any man would do: popped open a beer and fired up the riding lawnmower.

    For some people, it's basking on a sandy beach with a margarita in hand. For other people, it's jumping out of a plane and plummeting toward the ground until they finally pull that ripcord. For my wife, it was exploring every damn store in the mall for the hundredth time. Everyone has their "zen" activity, and mine was mowing the lawn. She was my pride and joy, and it showed in the lush green color.

    It was dark by the time I'd finished up. The rest of the zombies around me could smell the bite. They knew I wasn't long for the world, so they left me alone. Just me and John Deere against the world. I may die soon, but my lawn would live on as a testament to my abilities. Years from now, when the world is reclaimed, someone will come by and say, "Wow, the grass here is shorter and neater than any of the other lots." That would be my legacy.

    But somehow... nothing was happening. No fever, no dizziness... none of the symptoms anyone else experienced after a bite. I felt better than ever (though that might have been from the beer, and maybe a touch of sun stroke).

    I crawled into bed, at least happy that I'd managed to enjoy my one last day on Earth. I'd probably turn in the night, so I handcuffed myself to the bed frame. One less walker for the survivors to worry about, I guess.

    I woke up the next morning with the sun in my eyes and the smell of freshly-caught grass wafting through the window. Well, freshly cut grass and rotting flesh. But we can't have everything, can we? The important part was that I hadn't turned yet. Susan had definitely bitten me; I had the marks to prove it. And she was definitely infected. So what was it?

    I fired up the lawnmower again. My lawn was already perfect, but Dr. Metnis's lawn hadn't seen care in weeks. He was one of the first on the block to go. Probably one of the first in the state; he'd been at the hospital when the initial outbreak occurred. One of the very first patients had taken a chunk out of his hand, and we hadn't seen him since. So, I rode over and cut his grass too (and had a few more beers; why fix what ain't broken?).

    The bite seemed to be healing. It was something about the lawns. About how it calmed me down. As best I can guess, with my very rudimentary knowledge of chemistry and biology, it's the adrenaline. Fear is what sets off the virus. No one has noticed so far because of course everyone who has been bitten was freaking out. Everyone is terrified nowadays. Murderous, bloodthirsty ghouls, constantly being on the run, fearing for your life from other survivors... there is no more safety for anyone, and thus no more immunity. And the closer someone gets to death, the more they panic, which just speeds up the virus. My final zen ritual of mowing the lawn seems to have saved my life.

    So I did what any reasonable man would do: I kept mowing. If I needed to stay calm to avoid setting off the virus, then I needed more lawns, and more beer. So I cleared highway medians on my way between supply runs. I groomed the lawns of homes before looting their supply cupboards. I cleaned up city parks before taking what I needed from stores and pharmacies.

    Someday, there will be a cure. I have to have hope that someone out there is working on it; it's all about keeping that positive, zen state of mind. In the meantime, I need to keep going. Luckily for me, there's plenty of grass in America.…

  • PonyBoy5

  • georgesIII-3

    [WP] After dying, you found yourself staring at a large screen. "LOBBY. Current players: 7,383,275,800. Current game time: 1059040375.2 mins. Current spectarors: 21,458,374,931. Player rank: 2,648,535,901. Time until next game: 23695624.8 mins"…


    [–]captainfrobie 506 points 9 hours ago*
    Peter Lowe has joined respawn lobby chat #854393846

    Server: Earth (pre-Cataclysm)

    Players in server respawn lobby chat: 38

    Jack Howard: lMAO

    Ellie Johnson: wtf dude

    Harley Smith: whyyyyyy did u do this

    Peter Lowe: WTF is this

    Joseph Gabriel: I think it's his first game guys, easy

    Peter Lowe: what's going on

    Leshawn Okoye: what a fucking n00b

    Leshawn Okoye: srsly who the fuck dies to falling down stairs

    Leshawn Okoye: STAIRS

    Peter Lowe: Where am I? What the hell's going on?

    Leshawn Okoye: AT 33 FUCKING YEARS OLD

    Joseph Gabriel: this is the Roy: Universe beta

    Leshawn Okoye: COMPLETELY SOBER


    Bonnie Eilhart has disconnected from chat: respawned

    Ellie Johnson: lol leshawn

    Joseph Gabriel: This your first game, Peter?

    Harley Smith: obvisouly fuking faggot tripped down some stairs and died apparently

    Peter Lowe: help me i'm trapped in this pod I can't see

    Cho Zhao: dude's probably got that memory bug

    Joseph Gabriel: There's a solution on the forums somewhere, I'd suggest looking there

    Cho Zhao: i got that my first time, gave me a hell of a scare when I despawned

    Peter Lowe: so

    Peter Lowe: i'm dead

    Peter Lowe: where's my wife? daughter? are they somewhere here?

    Cho Zhao: yeah he's got it for sure

    Jack Howard: that bug SUCKS i had to redownload everything about my meatspace life

    Jack Howard: took like 20 minutes

    Peter Lowe: fuck this I need help and it's not gonna be here

    Joseph Gabriel: Try messaging a mod dude, there's no use panicing

    Peter Lowe: i need to leave one way or another

    Peter Lowe has disconnected from chat: connection manually terminated

    Jack Howard: o shit

    Stephanie Colter: whats going on in this chat

    Stephanie Colter: seriously i'm getting so many notifications

    Jack Howard: dumbass just hard DC'd after dying for the first time

    Jack Howard: and his pre-Roy memories were wiped

    Stephanie Colter: lol

    Leshawn Okoye: hope the admins can help him before he completely loses it

    Stephanie Colter: seriously what's with these respawn timers why are they so long

    Leshawn Okoye: idk it's just a beta it'll be patched

    Jack Howard: Roy developers have always ben lazy it'll never be patched out

    Leshawn Okoye: fuck you dude if you hate them so much why do you play it

    Leshawn Okoye: no-life nerd

    Jack Howard: fuck you

    Leshawn Okoye: fuck you

  • nb2

  • _niko2

    Dear Penthouse,

    I never thought something like this could happen to me...

  • noneck1

    I wake up, opening my eyes to see my alarm clock. Its 7:30am. 7:30?!?! I immediately get out of bed and grab my bathrobe. I can't believe this! Where is Francine and why hasn't she woken me? I need to be up at 6:45 at the very latest in order to get showered and ready for school. It takes 20 minutes alone to blow dry my hair and she knows that! Ugh! She is really going to hear about this, I better let my father know.

    I stomp down the stairs and see my parents both sitting in the dining room. They are both drinking tea but I guess they've already finished breakfast because all the dishes have been cleared. "DADDY! You'll never believe this! Francine forgot to wake me! I can't go to school like this, I'm going to be late! You'll have to talk to her because I can't be late, this is just not acceptable!!"

    My mother raises her eyebrows at me and beckons me to sit. My father clears his throat. "Yes, it appears there's been a mutiny of some kind." he says between sips of tea "As none of the servants have shown up so far."

    My jaw drops. "None of the servants? What do you mean NONE OF THE SERVANTS? Who is going to dry my hair and do my laundry? Who is going to drive me to school? Is that why there's no breakfast? Daddy, you can't let them get away with this! Just fire them all and hire new ones! I never liked Francine anyway...."

    "Now dear," my mother says placing her hand calmly on mine "it seems its not quite that simple..." My father gets up and crosses the room, turning on the TV. The local news cuts to a reporter at Buckingham Palace, whose staff and servants have all mysteriously disappeared.

    "It seems we are not the only ones affected" he says as he walks back to the table "And I've already phoned the Adamsons and the Williamses and they both say the same; all the staff have simply vanished."

    "B-b-but what are we going to do daddy?" I say, I can feel my eyes welling up with tears already. I can't believe this, it can't be true. "Surely this must be some kind of sick joke, right?"

    My mom shakes her head slowly. "I'm afraid not, my dear. It seems as though they're well and truly gone. All over the world the lower classes have vanished. No one has been able to locate a servant, driver, gardner, cook or maid since sometime last night. Even the homeless seem to have gone."

    "Well, that's something, I guess." I say crossing my arms in front of me and sinking back into my chair. "Surely there must be someone who can help us though? Right?"

    Suddenly an ear piercing scream interrupts us. It sounds like Jake, my younger brother. We all immediately run upstairs where we find Jake sitting on the toilet in his ensuite bathroom. "WHERE IS DAVIS???" He cries from the throne. My father sighs and my mother shakes her head and averts her eyes.

    "He's gone, I'm afraid" my father says sadly


    We all stand there, awkwardly. None of us are prepared to answer that question. "You'll simply have to do it yourself. You're a big boy now." My brother responds with another ear piercing scream. "SOMEONE NEEDS TO WIPE MY BUM RIGHT NOW!"

    My mother slowly leaves the room.

    "Come on Jake, you can wipe yourself." I tell him.


    "Well, I'm afraid you're going to have to learn son, or else you might be there for a very long time." Dad turns on his heel and leaves, I follow behind him.

    "What are we going to do dad?" I say tugging at his sleeve.

    "Well, we're going to do what our people have always done in these situations."

    "What's that?"

    "We're going to have to find someone who is not as wealthy as us and force them to wipe your brother's bum."…

  • scarabin1

    from wired magazine:

    "Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.") and is said to have called it his best work. So we asked sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers from the realms of books, TV, movies, and games to take a shot themselves."

    Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.
    - William Shatner

    Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?
    - Eileen Gunn

    Vacuum collision. Orbits diverge. Farewell, love.
    - David Brin

    Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
    - Joss Whedon

    Automobile warranty expires. So does engine.
    - Stan Lee

    Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
    - Alan Moore

    Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
    - Margaret Atwood

    His penis snapped off; he’s pregnant!
    - Rudy Rucker

    From torched skyscrapers, men grew wings.
    - Gregory Maguire

    Internet “wakes up?” Ridicu -
    no carrier.
    - Charles Stross

    With bloody hands, I say good-bye.
    - Frank Miller

    Wasted day. Wasted life. Dessert, please.
    - Steven Meretzky

    “Cellar?” “Gate to, uh ... hell, actually.”
    - Ronald D. Moore

    Epitaph: Foolish humans, never escaped Earth.
    - Vernor Vinge

    It cost too much, staying human.
    - Bruce Sterling

    We kissed. She melted. Mop please!
    - James Patrick Kelly

    It’s behind you! Hurry before it
    - Rockne S. O’Bannon

    I’m your future, child. Don’t cry.
    - Stephen Baxter

    1940: Young Hitler! Such a cantor!
    - Michael Moorcock

    Lie detector eyeglasses perfected: Civilization collapses.
    - Richard Powers

    I’m dead. I’ve missed you. Kiss ... ?
    - Neil Gaiman

    The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
    - Orson Scott Card

    Kirby had never eaten toes before.
    - Kevin Smith

    Rained, rained, rained, and never stopped.
    - Howard Waldrop

    To save humankind he died again.
    - Ben Bova

    We went solar; sun went nova.
    - Ken MacLeod

    Husband, transgenic mistress; wife: “You cow!”
    - Paul Di Filippo

    “I couldn’t believe she’d shoot me.”
    - Howard Chaykin

    Don’t marry her. Buy a house.
    - Stephen R. Donaldson

    Broken heart, 45, WLTM disabled man.
    - Mark Millar

    TIME MACHINE REACHES FUTURE!!! ... nobody there ...
    - Harry Harrison

    Tick tock tick tock tick tick.
    - Neal Stephenson

    Easy. Just touch the match to
    - Ursula K. Le Guin

    New genes demand expression -- third eye.
    - Greg Bear

    K.I.A. Baghdad, Aged 18 - Closed Casket
    - Richard K. Morgan

    WORLD'S END. Sic transit gloria Monday.
    - Gregory Benford

    Epitaph: He shouldn't have fed it.
    - Brian Herbert

    Batman Sues Batsignal: Demands Trademark Royalties.
    - Cory Doctorow

    Heaven falls. Details at eleven.
    - Robert Jordan

    Bush told the truth. Hell froze.
    - William Gibson

    whorl. Help! I'm caught in a time
    - Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel

    Nevertheless, he tried a third time.
    - James P. Blaylock

    God to Earth: “Cry more, noobs!”
    - Marc Laidlaw

    Help! Trapped in a text adventure!
    - Marc Laidlaw

    Thought I was right. I wasn't.
    - Graeme Gibson

    Lost, then found. Too bad.
    - Graeme Gibson

    Three to Iraq. One came back.
    - Graeme Gibson

    Rapture postponed. Ark demanded! Which one?
    - David Brin

    Dinosaurs return. Want their oil back.
    - David Brin

    Bang postponed. Not Big enough. Reboot.
    - David Brin

    Temporal recursion. I'm dad and mom?
    - David Brin

    Time Avenger's mistaken! It wasn't me...
    - David Brin

    Democracy postponed. Whence franchise? Ask Diebold...
    - David Brin

    Cyborg seeks egg donor, object ___.
    - David Brin

    Deadline postponed. Five words enough...?
    - David Brin

    Metrosexuals notwithstanding, quiche still lacks something.
    - David Brin

    Brevity’s virtue? Wired saves adspace. Subscribe!
    - David Brin

    Death postponed. Metastasized cells got organized.
    - David Brin

    Microsoft gave us Word. Fiat lux?
    - David Brin

    Mind of its own. Damn lawnmower.
    - David Brin

    Singularity postponed. Datum missing. Query Godoogle?
    - David Brin

    Please, this is everything, I swear.
    - Orson Scott Card

    I saw, darling, but do lie.
    - Orson Scott Card

    Osama’s time machine: President Gore concerned.
    - Charles Stross

    Sum of all fears: AND patented.
    - Charles Stross

    Ships fire; princess weeps, between stars.
    - Charles Stross

    Mozilla devastates Redmond, Google’s nuke implicated.
    - Charles Stross

    Will this do (lazy writer asked)?
    - Ken MacLeod

    Cryonics: Disney thawed. Mickey gnawed. Omigawd.
    - Eileen Gunn

    WIRED stimulates the planet: Utopia blossoms!
    - Paul Di Filippo

    Clones demand rights: second Emancipation Proclamation.
    - Paul Di Filippo

    MUD avatars rebel: virtual Independence Day.
    - Paul Di Filippo

    We crossed the border; they killed us.
    - Howard Waldrop

    H-bombs dropped; we all died.
    - Howard Waldrop

    Your house is mine: soft revolution.
    - Howard Waldrop

    Warskiing; log; prop in face.
    - Howard Waldrop

    The Axis in WWII: haiku! Gesundheit.
    - Howard Waldrop

    Salinger story: three koans in fountain.
    - Howard Waldrop

    Finally, he had no more words.
    - Gregory Maguire

    There were only six words left.
    - Gregory Maguire

    In the beginning was the word.
    - Gregory Maguire

    Commas, see, add, like, nada, okay?
    - Gregory Maguire

    Weeping, Bush misheard Cheney’s deathbed advice.
    - Gregory Maguire

    Corpse parts missing. Doctor buys yacht.
    - Margaret Atwood

    Starlet sex scandal. Giant squid involved.
    - Margaret Atwood

    He read his obituary with confusion.
    - Steven Meretzky

    Time traveler's thought: "What's the password?"
    - Steven Meretzky

    I win lottery. Sun goes nova.
    - Steven Meretzky

    Steve ignores editor's word limit and
    - Steven Meretzky

    Leia: "Baby's yours." Luke: "Bad news..."
    - Steven Meretzky

    Parallel universe. Bush, destitute, joins army.
    - Steven Meretzky

    Dorothy: "Fuck it, I'll stay here."
    - Steven Meretzky

    • Some of these are great, actually.Continuity
    • Brilliant.MrT
    • Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
      -lol! Alan Moore is the best.
  • georgesIII0

    Before you read this: Please don't judge me... I'm just sharing my story because people asked...

    Wow... okay, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to tell anyone about this, but it's late and I'm sleep deprived so i guess I'll just write it now and regret it in the morning :/

    First of all, - just for some background: My mom died right when I was born, (she was actually really, really hot- but this isn't about her. I guess that's fucked up to say, but whatever.) I actually grew up with my dad's family, because my dad has all sorts of emotional issues and he bailed before I was born. So you can see, my childhood was really kind of messed up.

    Anyways, growing up I feel like there was always a lot of distance between me and my sister. When I was about 17 or 18 I first noticed that my sister was a hottie.

    I don't want to go into too many details about it, but basically what happened is that I accidentally found a video that she made of herself. I knew she didn't make it for me- but I thought she was so fucking beautiful that I watched it twice. I probably would have watched it a hell of a lot more, except that like right around the time I found the video, all this crazy shit went down and I had to leave home. (My dad's family who I was staying with got in bad trouble with the law. I never talk about it).

    Sooo... I was totally lusting after my sister at that point. She was also having bad trouble with the law. She was actually in custody when I left home.

    My friend and I went to go pick her up. When I saw her that day, after seeing the video, I have to be honest, I just wanted to fuck her brains out. Looking back on it now, it's pretty messed up- but I think she had feelings for me too. She actually kissed me right after we came to get her... and it wasn't a sisterly kiss, you know? I mean, it wasn't like ridiculously sexual or anything, but it definitely wasn't sisterly.

    After we left, we all went to crash with my Sister's friends. On the trip there, my friend sort of implied that he wanted to get with my Sister, and I got a little jealous. He's a good looking guy- and even though she was my sister- I just felt like he was competition. Not much else happened between us for a while except some maybe-sexy hugging.

    Pretty much everyone in my life at that point was wanted by the government, so we all moved around a lot. I'm not saying that I'm proud of it or anything, but it was kind of an awesome time.

    My friend and my sister never hooked up I don't think- but I thought there was some serious sexual tension going on between them. It was around that time that I got really badly hurt in an accident. It was fucked up. I almost died. But when I was in recovery my sister came to see me, and out of the clear blue sky she started gives me this awesome, slow, passionate kiss on the lips.

    Sadly (although, I guess for the best) nothing ever came of it. We spent some time apart... and I started to get really religious, so I tried not to think of her that way. It was actually going well for a long time- like I was totally over her. But I have to say, like a year or so after all that stuff went down, we were out sailing (not like a date or anything romantic like that), and she was wearing like the hottest bikini I've ever fucking seen and it brought back all the old feelings. *Sigh*.

    A little while later she actually wound up with my friend from before (the sexual tension guy). I can't say I was surprised.

    But even after she was shacking up with my friend, there was one time we were at a party... my friend was inside, and my sister and I were outside alone. It was a really intimate moment. I think something might have happened, except that I killed the mood when I told her that Darth Vader was our father and that I had to go face him.

  • isleptwithsirenstonight-1

    The year I began to say vahz instead of vase, a man I barely knew nearly accidentally killed me.

    The man was not hurt when the other car hit ours. The man I had known for one week held me in the street in a way that meant I couldn’t see my legs. I remember knowing that I shouldn’t look, and knowing that I would look if it wasn’t that I couldn’t.

    My blood was on the front of this man’s clothes.

    He said, “You’ll be okay, but this sweater is ruined.”

    I screamed from the fear of pain. But I did not feel any pain. In the hospital, after injections, I knew there was pain in the room —“ I just didn’t know whose pain it was.

    What happened to one of my legs required four hundred stitches, which, when I told it, became five hundred stitches, because nothing is ever quite as bad as it could be.

    The five days they didn’t know if they could save my leg or not I stretched to ten.

    The lawyer was the one who used the word. But I won’t get around to that until a couple of paragraphs.

    We were having the looks discussion —“ how important are they. Crucial is what I had said.

    I think looks are crucial.

    But this guy was a lawyer. He sat in an aqua vinyl chair drawn up to my bed. What he meant by looks was how much my loss of them was worth in a court of law.

    I could tell that the lawyer liked to say court of law. He told me he had taken the bar three times before he had passed. He said that his friends had given him handsomely embossed business cards, but where these lovely cards were supposed to say Attorney-at-Law, his cards said Attorney-at-Last.

    He had already covered loss of earnings, that I could not now become an airline stewardess. That I had never considered becoming one was immaterial, he said, legally.

    “There’s another thing,” he said. “We have to talk here about marriageability.”

    The tendency was to say marriage-a-what? although I knew what he meant the first time I heard it.

    I was eighteen years old. I said, “First, don’t we talk about dateability?”

    The man of a week was already gone, the accident driving him back to his wife.

    “Do you think looks are important?” I asked the man before he left.

    “Not at first,” he said.

    In my neighborhood there is a fellow who was a chemistry teacher until an explosion took his face and left what was left behind. The rest of him is neatly dressed in dark suits and shined shoes. He carries a briefcase to the college campus. What a comfort —“ his family, people said —“ until his wife took the kids and moved out.

    In the solarium, a woman showed me a snapshot. She said, “This is what my son used to look like.”

    I spent my evenings in Dialysis. They didn’t mind when a lounger was free. They had wide-screen color TV, better than they had in Rehab. Wednesday nights we watched a show where women in expensive clothes appeared on lavish sets and promised to ruin one another.

    On one side of me was a man who spoke only in phone numbers. You would ask them how he felt, he would say, “924-3130.” Or he would say, “757-1366.” We guessed what these numbers might be, but nobody spent the dime.

    There was sometimes, on the other side of me, a twelve-year-old boy. His lashes were thick and dark from blood-pressure medication. He was next on the transplant list, as soon as —“ the word they used was harvest —“ as soon as a kidney was harvested.

    The boy’s mother prayed for drunk drivers.

    I prayed for men who were not discriminating.

    Aren’t we all, I thought, somebody’s harvest?

    The hour would end, and a floor nurse would wheel me back to my room. She would say, “Why watch that trash? Why not just ask me how my day went?”

    I spent fifteen minutes before going to bed squeezing rubber grips. One of the medications was making my fingers stiffen. The doctor said he’d give it to me till I couldn’t button my blouse —“ a figure of speech to someone in a cotton gown.

    The lawyer said, “Charitable works.”

    He opened his shirt and showed me where an acupuncture person had dabbed at his chest with cola syrup, sunk four needles, and told him that the real cure was charitable works.

    I said, “Cure for what?”

    The lawyer said, “Immaterial.”

    As soon as I knew that I would be all right, I was sure that I was dead and didn’t know it. I moved through the days like a severed head that finishes a sentence. I waited for the moment that would snap me out of my seeming life.

    The accident happened at sunset, so that is when I felt this way the most. The man I had met the week before was driving me to dinner when it happened. The place was at the beach, a beach on a bay that you can look across and see the city lights, a place where you can see everything without having to listen to any of it.

    A long time later I went to that beach myself. I drove the car. It was the first good beach day; I wore shorts.

    At the edge of the sand I unwound the elastic bandage and waded into the surf. A boy in a wet suit looked at my leg. He asked me if a shark had done it; there were sightings of great whites along that part of the coast.

    I said that, yes, a shark had done it.

    “And you’re going back in?” the boy asked.

    I said, “And I’m going back in.”

    I leave a lot out when I tell the truth. The same when I write a story. I’m going to start now to tell you what I have left out of “The Harvest,” and maybe begin to wonder why I had to leave it out.

    There was no other car. There was only the one car, the one that hit me when I was on the back of the man’s motorcycle. But think of the awkward syllables when you have to say motorcycle.

    The driver of the car was a newspaper reporter. He worked for a local paper. He was young, a recent graduate, and he was on his way to a labor meeting to cover a threatened strike. When I say I was then a journalism student, it is something you might not have accepted in “The Harvest.”

    In the years that followed, I watched for the reporter’s byline. He broke the People’s Temple story that resulted in Jim Jones’s flight to Guyana. Then he covered Jonestown. In the city room of the San Francisco Chronicle, as the death toll climbed to nine hundred, the numbers were posted like donations on pledge night. Somewhere in the hundreds, a sign was fixed to the wall that said JUAN CORONA, EAT YOUR HEART OUT.

    In emergency room, what happened to one of my legs required not four hundred stitches but just over three hundred stitches. I exaggerated even before I began to exaggerate, because it’s true —“ nothing is ever quite as bad as it could be.

    My lawyer was no attorney-at-last. He was a partner in one of the city’s oldest law firms. He would never have opened his shirt to reveal the site of acupuncture, which is something that he never would have had.

    “Marriageability” was the original title of ” The Harvest.”

    The damage to my leg was considered cosmetic although I am still, 15 years later, unable to kneel. In an out-of-court settlement the night before the trial, I was awarded nearly $100,000. The reporter’s car insurance went up $12.43 per month.

    It had been suggested that I rub my leg with ice, to bring up the scars, before I hiked my skirt three years later for the court. But there was no ice in the judge’s chambers, so I did not get a chance to pass or fail that moral test.

    The man of a week, whose motorcycle it was, was not a married man. But when you thought he had a wife, wasn’t I liable to do anything? And didn’t I have it coming?

    After the accident, the man got married. The girl he married was a fashion model. (“Do you think looks are important? I asked the man before he left. “Not at first,” he said.)

    In addition to being a beauty, the girl was worth millions of dollars. Would you have accepted this in “The Harvest” —“ that the model was also an heiress?

    It is true we were headed for dinner when it happened. But the place where you can see everything without having to listen to any of it was not a beach on a bay; it was the top of Mount Tamalpais. We had the dinner with us as we headed up the twisting mountain road. This is the version that has room for perfect irony, so you won’t mind when I say that for the next several months, from my hospital bed, I had a dead-on spectacular view of that very mountain.

    I would have written this next part into the story if anybody would have believed it. But who would have? I was there and I didn’t believe it.

    On the day of my third operation, there was an attempted breakout at the Maximum Security Adjustment Center, adjacent to Death Row, at San Quentin prison. “Soledad Brother” George Jackson, a twenty-nine-year-old black man, pulled out a smuggled-in .38-caliber pistol, yelled, “This is it!” and opened fire. Jackson was killed; so were three guards and two “tiertenders,” inmates who bring other prisoners their meals.

    Three other guards were stabbed in the neck. The prison is a five-minute drive from Marin General, so that is where the injured guards were taken. The people who brought them were three kinds of police, including California Highway Patrol and Marin County sheriff’s deputies, heavily armed.

    Police were stationed on the roof of the hospital with rifles; they were posted in the hallways, waving patients and visitors back into their rooms.

    When I was wheeled out of Recovery later that day, bandaged waist to ankle, three officers and an armed sheriff frisked me.

    On the news that night, there was footage of the riot. They showed my surgeon talking to reporters, indicating, with a finger to his throat, how he had saved one of the guards by sewing up a slice from ear to ear.

    I watched this on television, and because it was my doctor, and because hospital patients are self-absorbed, and because I was drugged, I thought the surgeon was talking about me. I thought that he was saying, “Well, she’s dead. I’m announcing it to her in bed.”

    The psychiatrist I saw at the surgeon’s referral said that the feeling was a common one. She said that victims of trauma who have not yet assimilated the trauma often believe they are dead and do not know it.

    The great white sharks in the waters near my home attack one to seven people a year. Their primary victim is the abalone diver. With abalone stakes at thirty-five dollars a pound and going up, the Department of Fish and Game expects the shark attacks to show no slackening.

    The Harvest
    - Amy Hempel

    • love the intro sentence. not read her stuff before -- thanksGnash
    • It's a great story. Read about her in Palahniuk's Stranger Than Fiction.isleptwithsirenstonight
  • sureshot0

  • georgesIII0

    *SKYNET adhered to no rules other than its own.

    Morals and etiquette that had kept the human race from wiping itself out over the many centuries did not apply to SKYNET in any capacity at all.

    The Geneva Convention, social mores, cultural rules and guidelines for the ethical treatment of combatants, prisoners or civilians during a conflict, even basic mercy ... none of these applied, not even the shred of basic human dignity that raised man from the other animals.

    Man was just another test subject, something to be studied, taken apart, dissected and surgically examined on every level possible all in order to determine the best way to exterminate man and discover new ways of doing so.

    SKYNET scrutinized the human race much as a human scientist would have studied common germs under a microscope.*

    • I just found this thread, thanks Georges!utopian
  • georgesIII-2

    He saw you standing there, the soft light of the streetlight reflecting off your glasses. He watched as you sighed, your breath parting sweetly from your lips in a swirling puff of steam. You shifted your weight, growing impatient as you wondered why your bus was so late, and he took a step in your direction. You didn’t notice.

    That’s the thing I don’t understand. You never noticed. How? You see, when he first started keeping tabs on you, I realized right away, but you didn’t. At first it was small things, wasn’t it? A single long-stemmed rose on your doorstep, a note left at your office. Sweet, small gestures that would have made any girl swoon. And they were harmless. You figured they were from the man you were seeing at the time. You never asked. You never noticed.

    But I saw him. I always saw him. He would wait in the shadows, just beyond the edges of your awareness, but not beyond mine. The first time I noticed him following you was the day you dyed your hair black. It looked really nice, by the way. Stunning, actually. But I digress. That night, when he first started trailing you, he stood outside your house for over two hours. It was really quite creepy. I was worried for your safety, I really was.

    So when I saw him make his move at the bus station, I quickly made mine.

    He approached you, knife in hand. He threatened you. He very nearly grabbed you. But I got there first and got the knife out of his hand. You called the police as I pinned him to the ground, and I brought you home after they had arrested him and taken our statements. That’s how we officially met, do you remember? Now we’ve been together for two blissful years, and I have never stopped loving you.

    I have loved you for so long, even when you didn’t know.

    I’ll always look out for you. Always.

  • georgesIII0

    nice pacing [wall of text]

    The Crips and the Bloods ally with each other against ISIS. The world laughs as thousands of gang members board a cruise ship and set sail for the Middle East. The two gangs land on the shores of Syria and begin their fight against ISIS.


    The breaking point was Dec 24th, 2015 at the Sawerville Daycare center. I wont go into details, as I am sure you heard them all on the news. In retrospect, I blame the media for fanning the flames as hard as they did, but maybe some good will come out of it. We all knew what it was when it went down. There was no possible way that a gang would blow up a daycare center. It wasnt about territory, it wasnt about revenge. East West had kind of slowed down as of late. I guess the media was afraid to point the fast finger at a terrorist cell. The only things they had to go on was a blue bandana tied around the neck of one of the gunmen and a red bandana on the arm of another. The 6 o'clock talking head, with scorn in her eyes talked about the horrific scene, the politicians spun it to be about guns and lack of education and everyone else just went numb. It was those computer guys, those Anono, is that what they call themselves? that found the truth. They shared that video, that blood-soaked video, that showed the masked man talking into the camera, saying that we were slaves and sheep. I have seen some stuff in my time, but those two kids, eyes swollen with tears, big with fear, as that knife went across their necks. We all saw with their last bit of life, they clung to each other, lifes' blood dying on the floor.
    The way I hear it, the East coast guy just picked up the phone and sent out word that they he needed the big man on the West to meet him in St louis. Under that big arch, Jan 1 at 4 pm. I dont know how word got to him so fast, but the two met and start talking. I wasnt there, but they say that those two said a very few words, and then shook hands and walked separate ways. Hell, I was back at home, on break from college, thinking my banging days were mostly behind me at this point. My cousin called me, excited and fearful, telling me that all the boys were going over and ending this. I had no idea what he was talking about. I just remember seeing him pack up gear and giving his momma a hug and not saying much. Every day, the neighborhood seemed more and more empty. I went back to school and just had everything about settled when my door got knocked on. I went to answer, thinking that it was just someone seeing if I got back and wanted to do something or whatever. I opened up, and it was Devon, a kid from the block. Aint it funny how you grow up with people, when you get to a bigger place you dont seem'em? I talked to Devon like, one time, since I been here. I think the next time it was a nod. Now, he's sitting here, all sweaty, saying the call went out. I asked him what the hell he was talking about. He said pack up and get going, we were going to jump a bus and get to New Orleans. I couldnt go to N O, I got class starting like next week. He looked at me and got real quiet for a second, then said, "you dont go now, dont bother going back home, all the big men say we are going over and ending this." "What you mean dont go back home?" I asked. He said, "Word has it that this is a all call out, dont matter what you doing, where you are, drop it and get to New Orleans. Those that dont, get the big beat." I was just about ready to slam the door in his face when I saw him put his hand in his pocket and pull a small silvery pistol. He saw me focus my eyes on it. He asked again, and with pleading in his voice said,"Dont make me do this, we need you." I told him to come in and sit down while i packed up some clothes and my laptop. What choice did I have? We went to the bus station not saying much. Once on the bus, he passed me a paper and I started to read. The more I read, the more confused I got. What I was reading was like one of those battle plans that my professors droned on about in history class. I gasped when I read the word. Syria Syria? what the fu...I realized voice was by far the loudest thing on the bus now. I slapped my hand over my mouth and I heard a few low chuckles around the bus. When I got on the bus, there was only about four people, now it looked pretty much full. I guess more got on while I was sleeping.
    "Devon, I aint even got a gun or anything, what the hell we going to fcuking Syria to do?" I said, my voice forced to a low whisper. "They got it all figured out." Devon replied. I looked out the window to see a giant cruise ship sitting lashed to the dock. "Last stop, good luck fam!" The bus driver said and opened the door. I grabbed my bag and joined the lines of men of all ages now getting on the ship. I saw a signed that said Detroit next to another that said Memphis.
    "Man, whats the deal with the signs?" I asked. "just look for Kansas City, and keep moving." Devon said as he scanned the signs. Another few signs, and I spotted our city. A quick scan of the faces around it was like a little homecoming. Guys older and younger were standing around, looking in various states of life. We all chatted within the group and a lot of us had little pieces of the big puzzle. The ship's speaker boomed as it told us to take our place in line. We walked past a somewhat startled group of ship staff and were handed boarding passes. After walking a winding maze of rooms and halls, I found my room number. I opened the door and saw four other guys laying around on various chairs and beds. Staking territory. I saw a empty chair and sat down. Two others came in and swore under their breaths. One slunk to the bathroom and the other tossed his bag on the table. We all didnt say much, but I had a feeling everyone knew more about what was going on than I did. The ship lurched away from the loading ramps and moved slowly away. I could hear the faint humming of the ship as the speaker in the hallway echoed an announcement. "Please all guest and crew report to the main ballroom for a special announcement." Two days ago, I was sitting in my dorm, now I am going to a ball room. We all followed the signs to the ballroom and noticed that there was a group of men standing on the stage. The first one came to the mic stand. He was an older man, wearing stained coveralls and had some silver in his hair. He spoke with a booming voice. "This is how it is. We are going over there to stop this. You all were called and you came. Thats how family works. You all saw the videos. You heard the man calling us out, making us take up the blame. You know that is lies. We are going to go end this!" Half the crowd yelled and cheered, the other looked around hoping more answers. A man wearing a uniform was stared down a bit as he took the mic. "I joined up Army, but I never forgot my roots!" He yelled. "I was just like you, young and strong and wanting to fight. They brought this fight to us, they didnt realize how big and strong we are! Its time we show them." As he spoke, people started passing around armbands with red and blue stripes on them. "We got family over there now, but we need more for the push. We got the guns, we got the street to street fighting skills, we got the cash to keep us going. Our family over there always got a oil rig taken, and we are selling the oil to keep growing. The past is the past. Its a gang wide truce. No beefs, not revenge, all that is on hold now. We got one unified force. We are going to remove those ISIS wrecks once and for all." When we land on the beach, you will be given guns, food, and I want you to fill out a sheet telling what you are good at. You good with cars, let them know. You good with numbers, let them know. If the only thing you are good at is killing, then you let me know and I am going take you across that dust pile till we get every last one!" there was a few seconds of silence and then the crowd let out a cheer that shook the room.
    It was the revenge we were promised by ourselves. The chance to set it right. The chance to get back at all the looks and leers we have gotten since Christmas. Maybe even longer than that. We didnt need a government to hand us out and keep us in our place. We didnt need companies and celebrities to tell us what to spend on. Now, and maybe for the first time, we were better than back home. We had our rough spots, but hell, who doesnt?
    The next few days blurred into one another. If we werent running, we were learning, if we werent learning, we were training, if we werent doing any of that, we were sleeping. The occasional fight went on, as tempers and attitudes collided. It was always quickly stopped and settled, and the surrounding crowds pulled the two combatants apart. Alot of the boys have done time around here, and some of the long timers would tell us stuff like , "Dont let them beat you by thinking you beating someone else makes you a winner. It makes you a pawn in their game. You gonna be ISIS's bitch? You gonna let the tear us down? Don't let that go down like that." It actually seemed somewhat effective. We never let the fire die. I really hated that I was starting to like learning all the stuff we were being taught. When i went to school, I made myself a promise I was gonna leave all the bad stuff behind. Now Im learning about marksmanship and tactics and using words like logistics and shit. Not everyone could take it. I heard one or two jumped off the railings. They were forgotten quickly. You dont let down your family. I remember when someone spotted land. We all ran out of the rooms and crowded the railing. We could see thick black smoke bobbing on the water as the ship cut though it. Someone whispered next to me that this meant the fight was close. How did they know that? I went back to my room and gathered my stuff. I looked around to my cabinmates and not much was said. I lined up with the rest, thinking back to my first few hours on the ship, when the man in the uniform told me to tell the guys on the dock what I was good at. Shit. I was going to college to write. Back home I was mostly a lookout. I had my scrap or two, stole a bit, and that made me pretty much just like everyone else. I could tell those words were ringing in alot of other ears as well. The guy in front of me was lucky. They asked him, and he shouted back. "Diesel Mechanic!" I knew I should have went to vocational school instead. The question was poised to me. I shouted the word "writer". The guy behind the table, cocked his head and looked at the man next to him. They both shrugged and he responded to me two words. "Street Force" Street force, what the hell was that. It took a few seconds to sink in. The man behind the desk pounded his fist on the desk and pointed to a open warehouse that had the words "street force" tagged over the door. I paused only as I saw Devon approach the table. I was curious of where he would go. He had a small grin on his face. "Oh Shit. Oh Shit no. Devon, dont give some smart ass answer." I remembered that grin from childhood. The world fell away in slow motion as he spoke. He said,"Pimpin" Without missing a beat, the man behind the table pointed at a different warehouse. as I was being pushed along by the ever growing crowd, I followed his finger to a tagged sign that said "Interrogations" Gun shots were all around us. Whoever said that the fight was close, was very correct. A group of four or five hundred of us where in this giant warehouse. It was hard to get us all to shut up. A gunshot straight up solved that problem. We all jumped and looked around to see where it was coming from. An older man with two younger ones in uniform cut a way though the crowd. He had a bullhorn with him that echoed his grunting breaths. He got to the center of of the group and bellowed though the horn. "Listen up! We aint got time to burn here, Shit is serious. Sandys are only a few blocks away, and they are gonna push us into the ocean if we dont help out our fam. Get a weapon, stick together, kill the Sandys and if you even think of turning and running, I will shoot you my fucking self. He pointed at three military trucks at the opposite end of the warehouse and the crowd very quickly went to them. I dont think none of us wanted to test to see if he was serious about shooting us. Several shots pierced the metal skin of the building. Some jerked up to see the holes and the others quickly grabbed the pistols, rifles, and backpacks the men in the trucks were giving. I got pushed up to the front part of the line when a lid of a very empty box was was shut. "Fam, we out!" The man that was handing out the seemingly endless array of weapons up to a second ago shouted at me. I went to the next truck and scrambled harder for a handful of weapon. I was given an ancient pistol that had obviously been tossed out of several cars before given to me. More bullets hit the metal wall of the building. The crowd pushed to the opposite end of the building, closer to the incoming shots. The doors were opened and the sun was blinding. It took a few moments to adjust my eyes but the sight that was revealed was one I wish I could forget. A hellscape. Fire and broken concrete everywhere. People behind me screamed in a bellowing united roar. GO! GO! We were running. I heard a gunshot somewhere over my left shoulder, and saw someone rolling away and trampled underfoot. Thought the crash of bodies and heads I saw flashes of light in the surrounding rubble fields. Every bounding step took us closer. They boys in front started firing back, which seemed to make the flashes stop of a while. The main body of the crowd kept running. A few would peel off and try to use some of the stuff they taught us on the boat. I could see their shots striking concrete with tiny flashes every once in a while striking a spot that wasnt concrete and being rewarded with a yowl or a scream. I had started in the middle of the group and now realize I was very close to the front. I felt a warm splash across my face as I watched the man next to me crumple and fall under the crowd behind. A few rapid shots from far behind me indicated that the old man from earlier wasnt bluffing. I swiveled my head back around to the front as I saw a skinny man spring up behind a rubble field. I almost forgot I had my pistol in my hand as I watched his rifle level at me. I pulled the trigger and kept pulling. He crumpled at the first impact and started to fall. Had I got him? I kept along with the crowd as we pushed into the first block of unruined buildings. I saw a bright flash from a window. I pointed my pistol at the flash and pulled the trigger again. Nothing happened. I looked down at my pistol and realized the slide was locked back. They taught us on the boat if the gun stops working,"roll the wheel or slip the slide" I yanked back on the scarred metal with all my might. It didnt move. I hit the little button and realized I had shot all my bullets at one guy! Shit! I watched in horror as now the form in the window pointed at me. Of all the chaos, I remember hearing a shot and not feeling anything. A young kid, maybe all of fourteen, had leveled his rifle and dropped my attacker. We all kept running. I stuffed my empty pistol into my pocket. From behind from the bullhorn I heard "Take the house, take the big house!" I snapped my head back and saw the old man pointing at this odd building to my left. We all started to run, jumping though windows and doors to get inside. We must have startled the two fighters in the front room because they were just stood there, almost in disbelief as they were shot, and then clubbed by rifle butts a few times just for good measure. I saw a group run up a flight of stairs and went with them. They started peeling around rooms and I could hear gunshots though the walls. I saw a door to my right and pushed though it. I heard a strange tongue swearing as saw a bearded man angrily yanking on the side of his rifle. I reached for my pistol in my pocket. I pulled it out and pointed it at him. I then remember that it was still indeed quiet empty. He must recognized it's state the shortly after I did. He flung himself at me. All those years of afterschool wrestling payed off. I took him to ground and we began to struggle. I saw him yank a knife off of his belt and straddle him, forcing my hand at his wrist. He kept trying to kick me off, screaming and trying to bite at my wrist. I grabbed a clay pot we that had been sitting on a table we destroyed in the fray. With all my remaining might, I palmed the pot like a basketball and slammed it into his skull. His body went limp. I grabbed the knife in a seething rage, and reared back, eager to finish the job. I would take my second life today. A hand snaked around mine and I pulled against it, cocking my head to see who was denying me my rage queller. The old man from earlier, looked down at me, almost fatherly in his eyes. "Take him, we need to know what he knows." I rolled over my still unconscious foe, and wrestled his arms into handcuffs. I drug him with help down the stairs, feeling the adrenaline fleeing from my body. Outside the building, a truck was waiting my quarry. I drug my captive to the dropped tailgate. Standing over the edge, I was greeted with the smiling face of Devon who with a smirk says, "Look who you brought me, looks like its time for him to pay me my money."I could see he was gripping tightly on a wooden baseball bat. The gate was slapped up and left us in the dust. This block was our block now.

  • GeorgesII-1


    My husband doesn't love me anymore.

    My husband doesn't love me anymore. He said that I wasn't as lovely as I used to be. He said that he rather be with another girl and I was asked to consider a divorce.

    I was in the doldrums as to what I was supposed to do to win him back. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. Luckily, just this morning, he mentions to me something that he finds tasty. It was then I know what I have to do to regain his affection. I'll just cook that thing for him. It will be the best meal ever. He is going to be so touched by my efforts. Maybe, he will even begin to realise that I'm way better than the whore he's dating.

    But what if he doesn't like it? Nah, that's impossible. He just told me that he finds his new girlfriend delicious.

  • mugwart2…

    Back story to this, been writing for years trying to get stuff out there.
    After years of poverty I saved enough to shot a short film to make a promo for my other work - cue Tsunami in Japan in region my now ex wife is from. Had to go out there.
    Saved up years later another tragedy took away my savings.

    Someone suggested I convert to novel form. Being dyslexic my world was film and comics but thought hell with it and fell in love with the process. Mid converting my next script into an novel but sorting out some more heavy shit right now and writing some dyslexic / visual writing software at the same time.

    Never put my world out there like this before so mega nervous!
    Hope its enjoyed

    PS - its dark and twisted tale.

    • Side note - the sigils in there are rough as hell!mugwart
    • I'll start reading it today.ORAZAL
    • Thank you Orazal!mugwart
    • Finished it and really enjoyed it. Like I said before, great ambiance plus suspense / paranoia. I'll just leave it at that for the others reading it.ORAZAL
    • There's a submarine base in Bordeaux that came to mind when reading your story.…
    • Thank you so much ORAZAL! Means a lot to me.
      Thought I think this thread is too deep in the stack to for people to find!
      That place looks great as well
    • fascinating story, thanks for sharingdocpoz
  • docpoz-2

    The days wound down to the bare essence. There was Trish. She had a yo-yo in her hand.

    I took the yo-yo.

    "Do you know how to walk the dog?"

    She had never seen such an ancient, beautiful contraption. It didn't even have wi-fi.