Friday, 25 March 2011

A short detour

The lights of Palm Springs were a distant glow in the rear-view mirror, and dwindling by the minute.

I pressed the accelerator to the floor, the car rocked slightly as it barreled down the deserted road, the sun would be up in a couple of hours, and I wanted to cover as much distance as possible by then.

Just one short detour to make, then eastbound all the way.

Julia was staring out of the window, her head resting on the glass, in the reflection I could see her eyes following the overhead lights as they sped past.

I flicked on the CD player, the smooth voice of Glen Campbell flowed through the speakers...

“By the time I get to Phoenix, she'll be risin'...
She'll find the note I left hangin' on her door...
She'll laugh when she reads the part that says I'm leavin'...
'Cause I've left that girl so many times before...”

She would not be rising by the time I got to Phoenix, and if I had taken the time to write a note, and hung it on her door, I'm absolutely sure that her twinkly blue eyes would not be reading it, or her very sweet kissable mouth laughing at it. And there was no way I would ever write a part that says I'm leaving, I never had any wish to leave her.

“By the time I make Albuquerque, she'll be workin'...
She'll prob'ly stop at lunch and give me a call...
But she'll just hear that phone keep on ringin'...
Off the wall, that's all...”

By the time I make Albuquerque her shift will be almost over, I'm afraid the diner would just have to manage without her sparkling personality today, at least the other waitresses would get the benefit of any tips that would have come her way in recompense for sharing her workload. I'm sure her boss will be disappointed though, he had an extreme interest in her attendance each day.
Her dainty fingers will not be holding any phone handset today either, or her cute little ears listening to any ringing, off the wall or not.

“By the time I make Oklahoma, she'll be sleepin'...
She'll turn softly, and call my name out low...
And she'll cry just to think I'd really leave her...
Tho' time and time I tried to tell her so...
She just didn't know, I would really go..."

By the time I make Oklahoma she will certainly be sleeping.
As for turning softly and calling my name out low, I would be speaking to her about that soon.
I never gave her any reason to cry, I never once threatened to leave her, I couldn't leave her, I loved her, she always knew that.

The song came to an end as I took the exit ramp, a couple of miles later I turned onto a narrow track and then into an abandoned farmyard.

Julia struggled ferociously as I dragged her out of the passenger door, thrashing against the ropes around her wrists and ankles, trying to scream through the duct tape over her mouth.

Her eyes were shiny with fear and hate, sweat beaded on her brow, her hair, usually so perfect, a tousled mess.

By the time I had managed to get her over to the old well I was breathing heavily, you wouldn't believe the amount of strength that such a petite pretty little thing could have.

I held her against the low wall of the well, and pulled the .38 from my waistband...

“When you turn softly and call a name out low, it's not a good idea if it just happens to be your boss's name, you cheating bitch.”

I shot her straight between the eyes, threw her body over the wall, then made my way back to the car.

As I pulled out of the farmyard, and set off towards the freeway, the sweet tones of Olivia Newton John drifted from the speakers.

“Almost heaven... West Virginia...”

When I reached the main drag I floored the pedal again, I had a long journey ahead of me.

It was seventeen years since I'd walked those Blue Ridge Mountains, or seen my brother, boy was he in for a surprise, see you soon bro... I'm comin' home.

©2011 Stephen. J. Green.

Author's note:

Although the story "A short detour" is my own creation I give thanks and credit to Jimmy Webb, the original composer and performer of the song "By the time I get to Phoenix"

The version I am more familiar with, and the version I had in mind when writing this story was performed by Glen Campbell.

I extend my thanks and credit to both of these great artistes, for the lyrics, and for the inspiration.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Awakening (Part 2)

Bulmer and his team worked in the locked-down government building sub-basement, collating all the facts from the events over the last two weeks.

The reports, backed up by eyewitness accounts and CCTV footage were coming in from every Megacity in the civilised world. Contact with the Megaslums of the third world had been lost eleven days ago.

No-one knew where these things had come from, just that they were here... now.

The facts:-

They were strong:- They had been seen to flip vehicles over, and rip doors completely from their frames. They were also very adept at ripping people limb from limb.

They were fast:- There are reports of them running alongside trains and cars travelling in excess of forty miles per hour.

They were nimble:- They could scale buildings and high walls with unnerving speed, and leap wide distances between structures.

They were virtually bulletproof:- There were hundreds of accounts of small arms fire just bouncing off their scaly skin leaving no apparent damage.

They were organised:- Many massacres involved dozens of them working in unison rounding up the human victims.

They were smart:- Their learning curve was disturbingly steep. They had learnt to utilise lift keypads and the like, and they were learning more, rapidly.

They were cunning:- They were masters of concealment and ambush, they seemingly appeared and disappeared at will.

They were carnivorous:- They ate anything in the food chain, including humans... especially humans. And they had voracious appetites.

They bred fast:- Only two weeks after the first sightings, infants were seen on the streets joining in the hunt.

They were numerous.

The phone rang, Bulmer picked it up and curtly said “Yes?”

“Mister Bulmer, this is the president, what do you have for us?”

“Well, Mr President Sir, after assessing the massive amount of data we have collected, and collating all the facts at our disposal, studying thousands of hours of CCTV footage, speaking online to many hundreds of eyewitnesses, and bouncing dozens of hypothetical ideas around the think-tank, my team and I have run several possible computer scenarios, and in the final analysis, and after much deliberation, our considered opinion is....”

“Just give me the bottom line, will ya?”

“Well sir, we believe that the human race is very soon going to be in a world of shit!”

- - - - - - - - - -

Awakening (Part 1)

©2011 Stephen. J. Green.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Awakening (Part 1)

The eggs had lain dormant in the underground cavern for thousands of years, awakened now by a slight shift in the earth's core temperature, there was movement.

Eggshells cracked...

Snouts emerged, sniffing, tasting, sensing.

Claws slowly extended and retracted....

Jaws yawned....

Fangs bared....

Muscles stretched....

Scales rippled....

Tails twitched....

Stomachs cramped....

Hunger burned....

Mouths salivated....

Thousands of claws began burrowing feverishly upwards.

Above, the city of Megapol was awakening to another hot August day.

- - - - - - - - - -

Awakening (Part 2)

©2011 Stephen. J. Green.

Friday, 4 March 2011


On the outskirts of town was a weather-worn sign.


Right next to it stood a relatively new sign declaring in bright red paint....




REALLY DEAD....2,124

The numbers were of the 'slide in-slide out' type, this was to make life easier for Frank because he updated the board just before sundown each day.

Frank was a martial arts teacher before the infestation snatched all of his fee-paying students, thus taking away his livelihood and his beloved sport in one fell swoop, but now he had a new sport to play.

Frank was the sole survivor, custodian, and (in his eyes) owner, of the freshly re-named Franksville, and he was systematically clearing out the town, and immensely enjoying his new sport at the same time. He had set up a well-equipped gym in one of the rooms of his penthouse fortress, and worked out daily with weights and hand weapons, he prided himself on never using or carrying firearms, he didn't need them, he was strong, tough, and very very fast.
In a sheath at his side hung Macca, a fourteen inch machete, and strapped to his back, a beautifully crafted samurai sword, oh, he loved taking the Zacks out with the nunchakas or stars, but for serious Zombaiting you couldn't beat Sammy the sword, he was a little worried at the fact that he had given the weapons names, but reflected that maybe it wasn't so strange after all, as they were the only friends he had now.

Zombaiting was Frank's new sport, and he was the world champion, because as far as he knew, he was the world's only player too. It consisted of teasing the Zacks, dancing in and out of reach, and occasionally lopping bits off them until they were just a crawling lump, and it was time to administer the coup-de-grace.

The game was much more fun, and required much more skill, when facing several Zacks at once, but right now he had a lone shambler, in full working order, and it was almost sunset, so Frank decided to have one last dance before adding the day's tally to the pop-sign, and retiring to his suite before nightfall.

Frank turned up the volume in his earphones, the classic sounds of 'Ode to joy' pulsed through his ears, “Okay, let's dance.” He said,and pirouetted towards the walking corpse.

As the Zack reached for him Frank moon-walked backwards keeping a mere inch from the grasping fingers, he swivelled lightly on one leg, swinging Sammy in a wide arc, and lopped one arm off at the elbow, continuing the movement he ducked under the other arm, then danced full circle around the zombie, flickering Sammy out again to take the other off at the wrist, he waltzed around twice more before doing a double spin, culminating in a low slash that took both legs off at the knees.

The rain began just as Frank was raising Sammy to give the final blow, “Okay,” thought Frank, “game over, time to get going.” He sliced off the head in a single blow, then picked it up from the street. Holding the head by the hair he hoisted it high, tilted his head back, and laughed his triumph to the sky, as the rain fell onto his face, the single drop of virus-filled liquid that dripped from the zombie's lip went unnoticed as it landed on the side of his nose, and was washed by the raindrops into his open laughing mouth....

©2011 Stephen. J. Green.