Thursday, September 2, 2010

Close Encounter

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get over their eyes.  Their hairless, fetal pink skin wasn’t much better, but the eyes were the worst.

At least two dozen of the things lay there, all with perfectly identical pairs of empty black eyes that gleamed like marbles.  They were like those dome covered security cameras they have at the bank; you can’t see it, but you know it’s watching your every move.

“They’re not of this world,” I muttered to Amy.

“Definitely alien,” she agreed.

Neither of us dared to look away from them, certain they would spring to life and jump us if we did.

“Okay class,” Chef Michael strode in.  “I’m glad to see that everyone survived our first week of Advanced Butchering, so we’ll begin this week with a new beast: suckling pig.  If one person from each bench will come up and pick a pig, we’ll get started.”

Amy and I looked at one another.  I threw paper.  She threw scissors.

Cursing my bad luck, I grabbed a hotel pan while Amy lay out our carving knives.

Approaching the pig pile, their unearthly plastic, alien quality became even more apparent.  They stared up at me.  I gulped.

Look at it this way, I told myself.  At least you won’t be facing it unarmed.

With that final thought in mind, I grabbed the nearest pig by its front hooves and pulled.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Marie and George: Home Alone

Bill was away for work and Tommy was spending the night with the cub scouts the night it happened.

Marie awoke to what she registered as a glass shattering as it hit the floor.  Her first though was that Tommy had woken in the middle of the night and wanted a glass of water.  Then she remembered that Tommy wasn’t home and George wasn’t able to get to the glasses, as they were safely tucked away with child proof latches on the cabinets.

Fully awake in mere moments, Marie rolled silently out of bed and slid into her slippers.  She heard more clinking and jostling coming from the dining room as she crept down the stairs, only further confirming her worst fears: someone had broken into the house.

The first thing Marie noticed as she slipped into the kitchen was the broken window in the kitchen door, its glass scattered across the tiled floor.  Then she noticed the door to the broom closet, where George slept, had been flung open. 

Feeling a sickening bout of panic rise in her, Marie quickly sidestepped the broken glass and tip toed over to the closet.  George’s bed was empty and the singed toys he neatly put away before bed each night lay scattered across the floor as if they were overturned in a panic.  


As if on cue, she heard the scrabbling of dragon claws and the clang of dragon scales against a metal cage in the living room.  The burglar was not only after the Finnegan’s fine China, but was kidnapping the family pet!

Oh no you don’t, Marie thought.  From the knife stand, she drew her largest chef’s knife.  Robbing her was bad, but stealing George?  This burglar was going to pay for that.

Creeping along the walls, she made her way towards the living room.  In the dim moonlight she could make out the back of the man stuffing the silver candle sticks that had belonged to Bill’s grandmother into a sack while a very frustrated George tried to burn a hole in the large Have-A-Heart trap the burglar had forced him into.  Enough was enough.

Marie flicked on the lights.

“Hey, you!  What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded, banishing her knife at the intruder.

The burglar started, dropping a vase Marie was particularly fond of so it smashed into hundreds of pieces.

“Hands up!  I’ve got a knife, so no sudden movements.”  Her voice was clear and unwavering.  She was in charge here, she was the one armed.

The man turned slowly, his arms raised over his head.  Between his sun burnt face and ruggedly menacing demeanor, Marie figured he was something like a construction worker on his honest days.

There was a click and Marie noticed the glint of mental in the light.

Crap, Marie thought, her bravado gone.  He has a gun.

Without a word, he motioned for Marie to put down her knife.  Slowly, Marie bent down and placed the knife on the carpet.  She never took her eyes off the gun.  She was too scared to look anywhere else.

Once the knife was down and Marie’s held her hands where he could see them, the burglar lowered the gun and reached down to pick up his bag.

That’s when George jumped in.  He sunk his jagged teeth into the burglar’s gun arm, causing the burglar to yowl in pain.  In his surprise he accidentally pulled the trigger and shot the coffee table.  The bullet went though a stack of cooking magazines Marie had been borrowing from her sister-in-law.  Marie hoped she wouldn’t mind the bullet hole.

A loud thump brought her back to the burglar.  He had sunk to the floor, his gun forgotten on the rug next to him.  He held his bitten arm to his body, his face contorted in unbearable pain.

“George, get the gun,” Marie said.  She didn’t know how George had escaped his cage, but she didn’t care.  He had saved her.

Carefully, she approached the burglar.  Now that she was standing above him, she could see that the flesh on the burglar’s arm was deteriorating in front of her eyes, as if it was being eaten away by acid.  Understanding setting in, Marie whipped around to look at the cage.  There was a large, ragged hole in the metal, the sort of hole you’d expect from acid erosion.  George stood at her feet, the gun in his mouth and his tail wagging.  He dropped the gun at her feet.  There were distinct dents where George’s teeth had clenched the barrel.

“Guard him,” Marie ordered George, pointing to the burglar.  She went into the kitchen and called the police.

The police arrived fifteen minutes later.  The burglar seemed happy to go with them, as it meant putting further distance between him and George.

Marie half expected the police to insist on taking George in, on account for his having bit someone.  To her surprise, the officer instead scratched George under the chin, earning him George’s everlasting friendship, and said, “Looking at the circumstances and seeing as it’s his first offense, we’ll just let this slide, alright?”

Marie was not one to argue with an officer of the law (at least not when he’d just done her and George a favor).

Once the police left, Marie went back to the kitchen to sweep up the glass, tape over the huge hole in her door, and tuck George back into bed.  Only George had other ideas.

After helping her find far flung pieces of glass, he waddled into his closet, grabbed his asbestos lined doggy bed loaded with his favorite toys, and dragged the whole lot into up the stairs.  When Marie entered her bedroom, George was already there waiting for her.  He glanced between her and the bed, his request obvious.

“Oh, alright. I guess you’ve earned it.  But just this once, okay?”  George gave a little nod and waited patiently as Marie heaved his asbestos coated doggy bed and toys up onto Bill’s side of the comforter.  With practiced ease, he sprung up and onto his bed, fluttering his wings excitedly.  He circled around his bed a few times before settling down to face Marie as she climbed onto her own side.

Marie smiled and gently stroked the top of his head.  “Good night, George,” she whispered.

George heaved a content sigh and fell fast asleep.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


 Maire and George are back again with a quick little view into their hectic lives.  To meet the entire Finnegan family and witness George's hatching, please read Marie & George: The Beginning
Marie secretly hated taking George for his daily walks, but she liked her house in its (minimally) un-charred state too much to risk not taking him.  It wasn’t the walking itself that bothered her – George’s walking skills had improved to the point that her being entangled in his leash was a weekly rather than daily occurrence – but the questions that she got from passers by.  They were always the same.

“How old is he?”
“Nine months.”
“Where did you get him?”
“My son found him in the woods somewhere.”
“Will he get much bigger?”
“I certainly hope not.”
“Can I pet him?”
“Only if you want a bite marks full of sulfuric acid.”

The last answer, probably the one Marie used the most, was an exaggeration.  George was exceedingly friendly (she only knew about the acid was thanks to a burglary attempt a few months back) but Marie felt there was no need to run the risk of some idiot kid – or adult, for that matter – doing something stupid, getting hurt, and then blaming George for it.  As far are Marie was concerned, people should know better not to bother animals.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Plant Whisperer

A quick and fun not-so-Friday-flash based on the Writer’s Digest prompt “You wake up one day with an unusual super power that seems pretty worthless—until you are caught in a situation that requires that specific ‘talent.’”

Sun sun sun! Shine shine shhiiine! A small, merry voice hummed.

What in the – I thought as I woke.  I squinted at the rays of sunlight that crept through the gaps in my venetian shades.  Leaning on an elbow, I looked around my room, trying to locate the source of the voice.  No one was there.  I could hear the pattering of water from the showing in the adjacent bathroom.  My roommate was up, but it couldn’t have been her.

Glancing back at my window, the African violet my mother had given me caught my eye.  The bud it sprouted a few days ago had finally bloomed.  Its violet face seemed to smile as its velvety leaves bathed in the light.  I grinned back at it and reached into its pot to test the soil moisture.

Water, the voice had returned. Please? it added.

I pulled my finger back from the soil like it was going to bite me.  Was that…what I thought it was?

Tentatively, I stroked one of the leaves.

Tickles! The voice giggled.

Great.  I’m hearing plants talk.


By the end of the week I’d gotten use to hearing plant chatter whenever I went outside.  The grass would whisper, the flowers boasted about their blooms, and my potted herbs would sing to me whenever I watered them – in harmony no less.

It could get annoying, though.  I use to enjoy the quiet walks through the park, but now my walks were invaded by the passing thoughts of every blade of grass, every shrub, and every tree.  It was no longer a quiet walk.  The only way I could get away from the noise was to plug myself into my ipod and blast Dragonforce.

On one such walk I was minding my own business, power metal buzzing in my ears, when a young girl and her untrained puppy jogged past; her parents walked behind them at a more leisurely pace.  Actually , it was more like the puppy was walking the girl and in its excitement it pulled the leash free of her hands.

“No!  Mr. Snuffles!  Come baaaaack!”

He bounded into the woods edging the park and without a second though the girl ran in after him. 

“Nora! Nora, get back here right now!” her mother cried, running up to the edge of the woods, but it was too late.  The girl and puppy were gone.

People began to stop and gather around the wailing mother and frantic father.  Cell phones were out en mass as everyone started calling 911 and the news stations.   I paused my music and popped out my earbuds.  My plant senses were tingling. 

By the edge of the forest where the puppy had bounded off, a faint groan rose from the plants whose stems had been bent or torn.  That gave me an idea.  Maybe I could put this new, slightly annoying new “talent” to good use.

I strode past the crowd and right up to the parents.  “I’ll go find them,” I said and before they could reply I stepped into the woods.

As the chatter of the crowd gave way to the murmur of the undergrowth, I knelt and listened for the pain ridden moans of damaged plants.  Sure enough, there was a whole line of them bearing to my right.  Doing my best not to add to their pain, I followed the string of complaints deeper into the woods.

A half an hour later, I found a sweaty Nora holding onto the dirty leash of Mr. Snuffles who had paused to relieve himself on a nearby oak.

Smelly, it whined as the urine seeped through its bark.  I felt sorry for it.

“Hello, there," I smiled a the girl.  "You must be Nora.”

The girl nodded and Mr. Snuffles finished doing his business.

“Are you ready to get out of here?”

She nodded again and took my hand.  I retraced our steps, whispering my apologies to the plants as we stepped on them, again, and Mr. Snuffles frolicked over previously undamaged growth.  I apologized to those plants too.

When we emerged from the woods, we were greeted by ambulance sirens, TV cameras, and cold drinks.  I took a bottle of water while Nora shyly told her story to an overly made-up news anchor.

“And how exactly did you find her?” the anchor asked, shoving her microphone in my face mid-sip.

I took my time swallowing my water before saying, “Oh, a little oak tree tipped me off.”

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rottin' Job: Tape 2

After a month hiatus, we're back with part 2 of the serial Rottin' Jobs!  This is my part of my challenge to mari over at mari's randomities to write a story involving a zombified dragon.  Make sure you follow her serial, starting with It's Coming.

I'm trying yet another approach to this story to to make it understandable while letting the characters...uniqueness shine through.  Let me know what you think. Thanks for your patience, everyone, and enjoy!


Montague Mansion Log
Butler in residence: James Butler III
June 4, 2021

This is a continuing account of the “incident” in the primary underground vault that required the hiring of Mr. Timothy “Teeth” O’Mally and his crew of zombie hunters – or as they call themselves, “undead pest exterminators.”   I left Mr. O’Mally and team at the entrance of the vault at precisely 11:23 am on Monday June 3, 2021.  The following is my own account of the incident with aid from the audio and video recordings made by the vault’s security cameras that morning.

“What the ‘ell is that?!” exclaimed the leather clad twenty-something, his nail studded, blood stained baseball bat slung over his broad shoulders.

“I think…it’s a dragon,” murmured the red-headed teenager.  Slung over his bony back was a bag near as tall and twice as wide as himself, it’s contents leaking in odd patches through the rough canvas.  I can see him quiet literally shaking in his too large boots in the video.  He holds his remaining arm behind his back, as if hiding it will keep it safe.

“Stop talkin’ crazy, Nom!  Dragons ain’t real!” the angry man shouted.  He used his bat to point at what was clearly a dragon, “’E’s probably just an ‘uge zom-bay-fyed lizard!”

“’Ush up, Brady!” Mr. O’Mally hissed at the angry man, presumably his son by their shared resemblance.  “I don’t care what it is, but ‘elp me gods if you should wake it up.”

Indeed, Mr. O’Mally judged the situation wisely.  The graying dragon had made itself at home, going so far as to sweep all of Mr. Montague’s treasures up into one pile around the 1/3 scale model of the Parthenon.  At that moment he was fast asleep on roof of the half buried monument, using a gilded treasure chest as a pillow.  With every snore he emitted greenish puffs of rotten air from his nostrils.  His scales, red turning to gray-black with mold on the edges, were sliding off on his sides, neck, and tail to expose the rotting flesh beneath.  I dare not recall the stench of the vault for risk of having to rush off to the lavatory.  Again.  How they could stand being in the same room with it…But I digress.

“What’s our move, Teeth?” The man in a broad rimmed hat and shaggy beard asked.  He was tugging on the hat’s brim with one hand, the other resting upon the hilt of his machete.

“Standard procedure, me thinks,” Mr. O’Mally replied while tucking his necklace of human teeth strung like pearls under his worn t-shirt. “Wes goin’ fer the ‘ead, boys.”  To illustrate his point, he drew his thumb across his neck. 

“But first, doe-vide ‘n con-core.*  Me ‘n Jake will go round the back ta sneak up on ‘im.  Brady, you ‘n Nom go round the front.  If the beast-ay wakes up, distract ‘im.  Use the bait first, ya hear?  I don’t want ya ta go chargin’ in there on yer own. Keep ‘im still fer Jake ‘n his machete.  Are ya listenin’ ta me, Brady?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Brady said waving him off.  “Wes can ‘andle it, Da.  No need to Mam** us ta death!”

“Ya want us ta get closer,” Nom gulped, his knees knocking more violently than before, “ta ‘im?” 

“No, ‘e wants ya ta go back up the stairs ‘n tell Montague ‘e’s a nutter.”  Brady slapped Nom upside the head, “O’ course we’re gettin’ closer, ya dummy!”

The dragon gave a little snort in reply to Brady’s yell as it echoed through the room.  The entire team went still, readying their respective weapons.  When the dragon turned over, sending a cascade of rotting scales sliding down the side of the treasure pile, it was still asleep.  They all breathed a visible sigh of relief.

“I’ve read ‘bout these monster types,” Nom insisted in a whisper.  “Theys got these super senses so theys can tell when ya gets too close ta their fancies.  Wes’ll wake it up fer shore if wes gets closer!”

“You ‘n your readin’!” Brady whispered fiercely, bending down to get in Nom’s face. “If I could knock off a zom-bay ‘ead fer every time ya say ‘I’ve read,’ I’d be the best ‘unter in the world!”


Nom snapped to attention while Brady gave his father an annoyed look.  “Will ya shut your bloody gobs ‘n get a move on?!”

“Yessir,” they both mumbled.  Brady, swaggering like a bulldog, took the lead with Nom trailing behind.  Nom riffled through his bag, pulling out a handful of plastic bags that seemed to contain various animal parts.  “Chicken livers, sheep brains, or cow ‘arts?” he murmured to himself in a distracted way.

O’Mally shook his head as he and Jake watched them walk off.  “What are wes gonna do with ‘em, Jakie?”

“Ya worry too much, Teeth.  They’ll be fine.  Brady’ll keep Nom safe ‘n Nom will stop Brady from doin’ somat stupid.”

“Wes can only hope.” Mr. O’Mally gave his head a final shake.  He shifted his taser gun, a monstrosity I’d heard him refer to as “Mr. T” earlier that afternoon, from one shoulder to the other and said, “Well, there’s no need fer us ta be lolly-gaggin’ ‘ere.  It’s you’re show, Jakie.”

Mr. O’Mally took a step back to allow Jake to take the lead.  “Knock ‘im dead.”

“’N take ‘is head!” Jake finished.  “Slice 'n dice, brotha," he held out his fist and Mr. O’Mally knocked it with his own.  My nephew has told me this is called a “fist pound.”  Where they come up with these things…

And thus, they headed towards the far edge of the vault by the dragon’s tail just as Brady and Nom disappeared behind the mess of toppled terracotta soldiers closer to the dragon’s head.

So ends tape 2.  I will continue this account with tape 3 after Mr. Montague finishes his afternoon tea.

*I believe he was trying to say “divide and conquer.”
**Perhaps “Mam” is some reference to mothering?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rottin' Job: Part 1

I got a call one mornin’ from a fancy talkin’ man askin’ for O’Mally’s Exterminators: Slayin’ Undead Pests, Formerly ‘Uman or Otherwise, since 1820.  Said ‘e ‘ad a large infestation ‘n would pay double for a quick fix.

So, I rounded up me team: Bloody Jake, me cousin ‘n best friend (‘e specializes in beheadin’ zom-bays.  ‘Is record is forty ‘n one night); Shady Brady, me youngest son (‘e’s a numbskull, but ‘as a way with a bat); Nom, our bag ‘n bait boy (‘e was only the bait ‘imself that one time where ‘e lost ‘is arm.  Called ‘im Nom ever since); and meself, Timothy “Teeth” O’Mally, sporttin’ me zom-bay taser, Mr. T (‘e can fry a zom-bay nervous system t’a crisp from an ‘undred paces).  We jumped inta the van ‘n ‘alf ‘n ‘our later we rolled up ta this big ol’ ‘ouse, all stone ‘n glass.  Missin’ was the normal evidence of an infestation: no torn up lawn, no smashed ‘n windows, no screams or cries fo’ mercy.

“Where the zom-bays at?” Jake asked, peerin’ out the shotgun window.  ‘E was pullin’ on the brim of ‘is pride ‘n joy of an ‘at, like ‘e always do when ‘e’s a readin’ the lay ‘o the land before a raid.

“Don’t look like no thin’s happenin’.  No broken glass or nuttin’,” Brady drawled from the back seat, pickin’ flesh stuck onta the nails drilled inta ‘is bat ‘n droppin’ ‘em onta the floor.

“Dang it, Brady, ‘ow many times do I have ta tell ya, don’t pick at yer soddin’ bat in the van!” I shouted back at ‘im.  ‘E shruged ‘n kept pickin’.

Poor Nom was ‘unched next ta Brady, doin’ the breathin’ exercises the doc told ‘im ta do before a job.  Somethin’ ‘bout visualizin’ ta keep ‘is nerves together.

“Let’s bag us some zom-bys, boys!” I hollered ‘n kicked me door open.  Jake ‘n Brady whooped in agreement as they piled out ‘o the van.  Nom, ‘is cheeks still puffin’ in ‘n out, fell in behind.

When we got up all the stairs, Brady rang the doorbell with ‘is bat.  Nom began a twitchin’ again, ‘is knuckles white from clutchin’ the bait bag ‘n ‘is watery eyes bulgin’ out like saucers.  Jake gave ‘im a little slap ‘round the ‘ead to calm ‘im down.  Works most o’ the time.  It managed ta calm down a notch as a starch ‘n pressed butler answered the door.

“You must be the exterminators,” ‘e said, steppin’ back ta let us in.  “The master is waiting for you in his study.  If you’ll follow me?”

“Don’t mind if I do,” Brady said, pushin’ ahead o’ Jake and Nom. ‘E was lookin’ at all the fanciness ‘long the walls in a way that made me weary.  Brady’s a simpilton, but ‘e has an eye for fine thin’s.  ‘E’s tried to lift thin’s on other jobs and I didn’t want no trouble.

We were led all the way to the back o’ the house ‘n inta a ‘uge room full o’ books where this thin ol’ man sat behind a ‘umongous desk. ‘E introduced ‘imself as Mr. Montague ‘n got right ta business.

“Mr. O’Mally, what I have is a…unique situation.”

“Well, whatever it is, we can ‘andle it,” I assured ‘im.  “O’Mally’s Exterminators been dealin’ with unique situations for over two ‘undred years now.”

‘E smiled, “I assure you, sir, this is a situation like none you’ve ever faced.”  Before Jake could open ‘is mouth ta cuss ‘im out, ‘e added, “However, two hundred years of experience is nothing to sneeze at and you are the best in the area.  All I need from you, sir, is to promise that you won’t be spreading any rumors about what you see here.”

I looked at me team, getting’ nods from Jake ‘n Nom.  I ‘ad to give Brady the ol’ stink eye before ‘e shrugged ‘n mumble, “Whatever, man.”

“You ‘as our word,” I said ‘n shook ol’ Mr. Montague’s ‘and.

“Excellent,” ‘e said.  “If you would sign this, Mr. O’Mally?  Then I’ll have James show you and your men downstairs to the underground vault.”

Brady perked up at the mention o’ “the underground vault.”  I saw Jake give ‘im a nudge with ‘is machete out o’ the corner o’ me eye as I signed the papers.  Nom, on the other ‘and, started a twitchin’ at the phrase.
 “Basements.  Why’s it always basements?” ‘e muttered as ‘e rummaged round ‘is pack for ‘is night goggles.  ‘E’d like a ‘ead lamp, but it’d attract the zom-bays like moths t’a flame – not very sneaky like.

With the papers signed, James opened a panel in the study wall ‘n gestured for us ta follow ‘im.  ‘E led us inta a narrow ‘all that ran all along the ‘ouse walls ‘n down twisted staircases.  We were pretty deep inta the ground I reckoned from the cold damp air, when Nom whispered, “W-w-what’s that s-s-s-smell?”

I ‘ad been ignorin’ the smell, figurin’ it was normal.  T’was somat like a dumpster ‘ad been soaked ‘n pool water then left out ta dry on a ‘ot ‘n ‘umid day.  It didn’t stink like zom-bays – they ‘ave a rotty, moldy smell ta ‘em.

“That would be the beast,” James said, stoppin’ short o’ a vault door nearly twice ‘is size.  ‘E ‘ad to turn the combination lock with both ‘ands ‘n even then ‘e struggled.  There was a “click” ‘n the door creaked open.

“Well, gentlemen, I’ll leave you to your work.  Press this bell,” ‘e pointed to a button next ta the door, “when you are finished.  Good luck.”  With that, he walked back the way we’d come.

I unloaded Mr. T from me back ‘n pulled back on the safety ta charge ‘im up.  Jake already ‘ad his macheties out, ‘is ‘at tipped back.  Nom fumbled with ‘is plastic bags o’ chicken livers ‘n sheep brains, tryin’ ta guess what these zom-bay might like.

“Let’s get this par-tay started!” Brady roared, reachin’ out ‘n pulling the vault door wide open, ‘is bat slung over ‘is shoulder.

I couldn’t believe me eyes.  None of us could.  There, asleep on top o’ pile of golden treasures (impressive on its own) was the biggest Beastie of ‘em all: a rottin’ zom-bay dragon.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Closed for the Holiday

There will be no flash fiction from me this week.  I was really pushing myself to get something posted this week but in the end I don't feel like what I've written is ready for any of you fine people to read it.  I got a little too carried away with voice to the point where I'm having a hard time understanding my own characters (who are hilarious, btw; but I could just be bias) when they speak.  Also, I've been running around getting ready to go to NY to visit my grandparents for the long weekend (it's Memorial Day Monday for those who may not be from the US). 

*Sigh* it'll just have to wait for next week.  I was really excited too, because mariblaser and I were going to do two different stories based on a wicked awesome theme.  Stop by next week to see what it is!  It's likely both our stories will be serialized (mine in 2 parts) so hope you will like it!