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Say What? Part 4

June 22, 2017 Leave a comment

“This sucks so much worse than I imagined it would,” Tom said. He looked down at his watch and sighed. “We’ve been here for three hours and nothing.”

Harry didn’t respond. He was looking out the window, fog forming on the glass from his breath.

“I blame you.”

The dog took the blaming with stoic aplomb.

Over the years that Tom had known Malone, he had gotten familiar with the doctor’s house. They were both lonely and Tom’s interests made it easy for them to have a reason to talk. Neither would have felt comfortable just calling up a friend to hang out but as long as Tom was writing, they had an excuse.

Years of beer and pizza while discussing injuries and accidents. All sorts of talk about anything just so that they could have a friend.

The big dog belched and Tom looked at him with a disgusted snarl. “Excuse you,” he said before wrinkling his nose and jumping out of the car. “Oh good god. I am getting your teeth brushed tomorrow you disgusting beast.”

Harry began to pant while wagging.

When Tom shut his door again, he turned to lecture the dog, but stopped without a word.

Harry turned and faced the backseat. His lips pulled away from his teeth and he snarled so that Tom could feel the vibration in the seat.

But the back was empty.

Say What? Part 3

June 15, 2017 Leave a comment

The idea of the doppleganger ate away at Tom’s days. Minutes slipped by while he stared at his computer without any idea of what he was looking at. He would sit in the restroom looking up legends and definitions until his legs went numb and he almost ran stop signs on his way home.

Two days later, and he had covered every inch of his novel planning wall with notes and drawings about the creature.

His dog, Harry, was sitting behind him licking the last evidence of having eaten the pizza, while Tom stood staring at his wall with his arms crossed over his chest.

“The problem is that the magical creature I think of when I use the word doppleganger can’t exist,” he said without looking back over his shoulder. “No matter how much I want there to be magic in the world, it’s easier if I accept that it isn’t.”

Tom turned around and grabbed an empty beer bottle. He tried to take a drink, frowned at the bottle, then headed into the kitchen to get another. “Harry,” he said. “What do you think?”

The dog stared up without comment.

“Right,” Tom said. “If it isn’t magical, then it has to be a twin or a disguise.” He turned to look at his dog and smiled. “So if that is true, then that means we can try to track whichever it is. That means it is time for a stakeout.”

Categories: Flash Fiction, serial

Say What?

May 17, 2017 2 comments

“Hey, can you check something for me?”

Sarah looked up from her monitor and smiled at Tom. “Sure.”

Tom leaned his elbows on the counter and looked Sarah in the eyes. The first thought was to ask for her number or address, but he knew the flirting would have to wait. For one thing, she would expect it. For the other, he really didn’t have time today. “Can you tell me what time Dr. Malone left last night?”

Sarah’s eyes got wide and she went a little pale.

“What?”

“You haven’t heard.” She said it in a whisper, and she wasn’t smiling anymore.

“Heard?”

“Dr. Malone died last night,” Sarah said. She reached over and grabbed a tissue. “He called for a pizza since he was working late, but when he didn’t meet the delivery guy at the door, the kid called the cops. They found him slumped over his desk.”

Tom stood with his mouth hanging open as he tried to process the words. “What time did they find him?”

Sarah sniffled before answering. “About seven.”

Tom lowered his head. He had come to see the doctor at nine last night. He remembered the pizza, because Malone had given him a slice before they started discussing the case. “What the fuck,” he said.

“I know,” Sarah said. “He was such a nice doctor. Nobody knows why someone would have wanted to hurt him.”

“Hurt him?”

She bit her lip before nodding. “Yeah. He was shot.”

Tom opened and closed his mouth a few times before just turning around and leaving. He hoped they were just wrong about the times, but considering what Sarah had said about the pizza, Tom was sure that this wasn’t going to be a simple mistake. He didn’t know what it was, but he had to find out.

Visitors

May 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Each tiny foot made a soft sound as it touched down on the rough industrial carpet that filled the office. She could hear them since her ear was pressed against the door, but only if Rayanne held her breath. She had to be careful not to hold her breath too long though, because then she would gasp. If they heard her gasp, they would come to investigate. They would find her. That would be the end of it all.

Rayanne heard them find Mark. He was hiding under a desk when she darted into the supply closet. His voice was so deep that when he walked up behind her and asked if she needed anything for lunch, she could feel the bass rumble against the back of her neck. His yelling had been just as deep. The scream though, she would always remember how much higher his screaming sounded.

A group of guys started yelling. It was followed by the sounds of breaking glass and thumping, like someone were beating on a door. Rayanne backed away from the door and bit her hand to keep from crying. The glass must have been the windows on the conference room. Since it was Wednesday, that meant the software guys would have been in their weekly meeting. If Mark couldn’t protect himself, then they had no chance.

She fought to keep control as she listened to their yells change into screams. It lasted for a while, but not very long.

She sat in the closet, listening to the tiny foot falls, praying that they wouldn’t hear her. Rayanne watched the shadows cross the threshold of the door. They twisted the knob and one even knocked, but she didn’t make a noise.

Signs

There had been all sorts of signs and warnings that shit was about to go sideways. People disappearing and then a bunch of bodies being found in a fire. Dead animals and lights in the skies. Ghosts and strange noises. Buildings falling down and holes opening up in the ground.

We should have paid more attention.

Now, its too late. It ain’t safe to be anywhere no more. You walk around a corner, and all of a sudden something is there, waiting on you. You look at it, think maybe it didn’t see you yet, and try to ease back around the corner.

Then you run into its bigger, meaner, older brother.

Why didn’t we pay attention? Why didn’t we try to do something when we saw the signs?

Why didn’t we believe?

Together

April 12, 2017 Leave a comment

In all the things we tried during those early days of our work, I had always held doubt as to the possibility of success. My rational mind could not fathom why muttering words and making strange shapes with your hands might allow you to channel some esoteric energy to change the world around you.

But she believed, and that was enough to keep me there.

We worked together. Spending our evenings on strange and alien research. We had no family, though not for lack of trying, and that was why we worked as we did. She wanted a family and I wanted her happiness.

The first time we achieved some repeatable result, the pair of us had celebrated for days. Our bodies fused as our shadows held hands and danced. We bound ourselves together in ways that most people didn’t believe were possible and because of it, we stood apart.

I believed, but we were still just the two of us.

She was pregnant when we tried to open the gate. She miscarried, lying on the basement floor. I wanted to hold her hand, but I was struggling to keep something black from walking out of a shadowed corner. By the time it was gone and I was sure she was safe, she had fainted. Her shadow was hiding underneath her.

I carried her to bed. Washed her body; changed her clothes, and mopped up the blood that was staining the concrete.

It wasn’t long before she disappeared.

The state called me, telling me that she was in the hospital. Telling me that she had attacked a free clinic and that she was now restrained. I sat in silence as she raved about what they were throwing away. I watched as my shadow tried to hold hers, but her own darkness punched and kicked at mine. I was holding her hand, but watching as her heart disappeared through a door I hadn’t closed. Part of her walked away and I wept.

I watched the long, dark shape reach out of the corner. I thought about leaving, about having my shadow hide from whatever it was, but I couldn’t. It grabbed my shadow and dragged it away as she took her final breath.

The color drained out of everything as I felt the cold begin to cover me. My final words were a prayer, to a god I didn’t worship, begging him to let us be together again.

The Machine

April 5, 2017 Leave a comment

The machine was not as complicated as I had thought it would be. In my naivety I had imagined my vision to have required whole new fields of science to bring it to life. How could an idea as wild as this be possible in this day and age?

Now, I am working in an abandoned factory. I have an electrical bill that is due and I have no way to pay it. I must flip the switch before they turn off the power. I would have liked to have gone through the math again, but there just isn’t time.

I flip the switch and the magnets power up. The fields fight to establish themselves and in that invisible world where things overlap, it happens.

I can’t see any results, but I can feel it. The hair on my body stands up and goose flesh rolls over my skin in waves. The sensation is not pleasant. I feel sick and it is escalating much faster than I expected.

I flip the switch thinking that I have enough to go back to the university with my findings. I will be able to take my machine and demonstrate my success to those who shunned me.

My sensation of illness grows stronger. The gauges still twitch as they monitor everything. I move to the breaker.

The breaker doesn’t stop it.

It is when I am down on my hands and knees, looking for a way to shut off the power, that I realize what this means.

There are tears in my eyes. I sit there, watching the needles lean to the side and listening to the clicking of my geiger counter as it gets faster.