Tag Archives: shortstory

The Storm

Author’s note: I wrote this short story a few years ago and it has been collecting virtual dust on my computer ever since. With this current storm brewing on the east coast, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share it. Enjoy.

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Kevin whistled as he walked to work. He loved his job, he was good at it, and there was always a sense of anticipation.
Perhaps today will be the day, he grinned.
He sighed with contentment, as he walked over to a small desk in the middle of the circular room, and touched a button. Instantly, the walls were covered with the most detailed weather map ever seen. He could zoom in as close as he wanted on any location…
Google would be envious, he smiled.
Kevin picked up his clipboard and went straight to work. He checked down the list of priorities, then leafed through the pages. Next, he zoomed in on the central United States, pulled a pen out of his pocket, drew a few clouds, darkened them in, then stepped back to admire his work. Within a few minutes, Peoria Illinois got an extra half inch of rain, just like the clipboard had requested.
He moved to the next item, erased three clouds over Egypt. Again, within minutes, what would have been a refreshing shower, never happened. He continued down the list…
Hail in Russia.
Rain in China.
Sunny in Venezuela.
Hours later, when his list was complete, he sat back to take a break. He watched the swirls and eddies of the world, admiring the simple beauty of it. He knew exactly where every El Nino and La Nina started. He knew the cause and eventual effects of each hurricane, including their names, before they were a gust of breeze. Very little surprised Kevin when it came to the weather, but every once in a while…
It wasn’t even a breeze, yet somehow Kevin sensed it. Somewhere over the Pacific, a bird dipped to avoid a predator, leaving an eddy of wind current in its wake. He could see it in his mind’s eye…
This eddy of wind is just about to die when it meets with a small updraft, which sustains it. The two move along until another breeze adds to their strength. A low flying airplane adds speed to it. It forms a cloud or two and continues to build, now a strong rainstorm. Another storm comes up from the south and joins with this one. Together they build into the most massively destructive force the world has ever seen.
It marches around the world, causing destruction and death on a biblical scale. Buildings are destroyed, entire forests wiped out, islands and beaches disappear. Tidal waves measure hundreds of feet tall cover miles of dry land. The death toll rises like the counter on a video game, as governments try to battle this force of nature. The storm changes seismic stresses, causing dormant volcanoes to erupt. Earthquakes shake the foundation of the world. The Richter scale is rendered moot, as each quake sets a new record. Continents shear away from each other.
Astronauts in the space station record the event, watching in horror as the world tears itself apart, knowing that they will die in the remorseless cold of space. Beneath them, the storm rages on.
Cloud cover, debris, and volcanic ash combine to block out the sun. As the temperature of the planet drops, the polar ice caps grow. Humanity has been reduced to a mere million quivering souls, trying to stay warm enough to survive.
It is a much different planet now, more akin to colonizing another world than surviving on the tattered remains of their former home. A two hundred mile wide temperate zone around the equator is all that keeps the earth from being totally encased in ice. Within ten years, humanity will be extinct. Because of the violence of the storm, and its aftermath, the Earth is thrown off its axis. Within a few hundred years, it will crash into Mars, destroying both planets.
Kevin blinked hard, bringing himself back to reality. He picked up his clipboard, and double checked it.
“Not on today’s schedule,” he sighed.
He erased the small eddy of wind, and the massive storm disappeared. He set down the clipboard, returned the screen to normal, and headed for the door.
“Maybe tomorrow,” he said.
He started home, whistling as he went.

 

The end?

 

 

I hope you enjoyed my story. If you liked it, please read some of my other stories. You may enjoy them as well.

 

The Journey: Chapter 7

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection’.

 

The passengers had settled in for a long ride. The conversations had died down, and one by one the clickety-clack of the rails lulled them into different levels of unconsciousness. The lights in the passenger car seemed to dim on their own, but no one was alert enough to notice. The conductor stood at the back of the train, leaning on the railing. The wind whipped his steel grey hair as he stared out into the inky blackness.

What he saw, no human eye could tell, but it seemed to please him. He wore a small grin as a raven appeared out of the darkness, caught up with the train, and landed on the rail beside him.

“Hello old friend,” the conductor said to the bird. “How’s your unkindness?”

The raven looked at the man and cocked his head as though pondering the question, then let out a harsh cry.

“Really?” the conductor said. “I’m sorry to hear that, do send her my regards.”
The bird whistled and clicked his beak.

“Me? I’m fine,” he answered less than truthfully.

The bird eyed him dubiously and squawked.

“I never could fool you could I?” he said. “One of ‘them’ is on board.”

The bird hopped to the side and peered into the passenger window, chirping.

“The young woman on the left, third row up,” he said.

The bird quickly chirped out a question.

“I’m going to go about my normal routine, that’s what I’m going to do.”

The bird clicked its disapproval.

“What would you have me do?” the conductor asked. “Accost her in front of the other passengers? Throw her off the train? Neither is going to accomplish our goal.”

The bird croaked out a question that made the conductor wince ever so slightly.

“If it happens again, then it happens again,” he said. “She can’t torment me forever.”

The bird hung its head.

“Your concern is touching, but we have business to attend to, my friend,” the conductor said. “What are the numbers for the day?”

The bird emitted a series of chirps in answer, causing the conductor’s brow to furrow.

“I may have to make an extra trip today,” he said with a sigh of resignation.

The raven let out a long, mournful cry. The man looked at him and smiled.

“I appreciate your sympathy, but I knew what I was getting into when I took the job.”

The bird chirped softly.

“I hadn’t thought about it much,” the man said. “I suppose I could use a holiday, but who would take my place, you?”

The bird flapped its wings wildly, screaming and snapping at him. The conductor fended off the playful attack.
“You’re probably right,” he said, laughing. “You could do a better job than me.”

But the bird was on a roll. He cavorted about the railing, snapping and whistling, beating its feathers against the rail.

“Calm down old friend,” the man said, chuckling. “There’s no need for such language, I was just having a joke with you.”

As the bird settled, suddenly the night air was shattered by a woman’s piercing scream. The bird flew off and the conductor ran inside. When he arrived at the scene, all the passengers were awake, and several were crowding around the young woman. She was pale and shaking.

“What happened?” the conductor asked.

“I had this incredibly vivid nightmare,” she said, staring at him blankly.

“Can you tell me about it?” he said, inching closer.

“Really? Now?” one of the other passengers asked.

“Yes, while it’s still fresh in her mind,” he said with a hungry look on his face.

“I … I’m not sure … ” she said.

“Trust me,” the conductor said, taking her hand. “Nothing and no one can hurt you here.”

The coldness of his hands seemed to calm her as she breathed deeply.

“It started like this … ”

***
 

The Journey: Chapter 1

The Journey: Chapter 2

The Journey: Chapter 3

The Journey: Chapter 4

The Journey: Chapter 5

The Journey: Chapter 6

 

The Journey: Chapter 6

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection‘.
“Instant Serial”
Smoke poured from the superheated barrels of his powerful handguns. Brass casings covered the floor, laying in pools of blood. Dead bodies lay here and there, littering the room like trash at a rock concert. The man slowly lowered the empty weapons, sighed deeply, and calmly walked out the door.

One down. He thought with a twisted grin, as he reloaded.  He stepped over bodies, and headed toward the main hallway, but found the door locked.

“Hmmm … ” He turned back into the room, searching for something, leaned down and took the keys from a guard’s lifeless body.

“Thanks, Leonard,” he said to the corpse.

He unlocked the door, and glanced into the hallway, first shooting out the security cameras as he had done before.  Walking down the hallway, he unlocked another door, into a room full of people in orange clothes. The guns opened up, time slowed, bodies fell.  The thump of bullets slamming into flesh and bone, and the horrified screaming, satisfied him immensely.

He went diligently from cell to cell, making sure he didn’t miss anyone, even checking under bunks. When he was sure that no living person remained, he reloaded and moved on to the next room. On he went with his possessed rampage, leaving a bloody trail behind him.

Finally satisfied with his macabre tour de force, he holstered his weapons and climbed up to the escape hatch.  He slipped into the shadows, leaving behind him no reason for the carnage.  His thoughts now were only on escape.  He stood at the edge of the roof, trying to find a way down, when one policeman saw him, then another.  They pointed their guns at him and started yelling.  Then, with a flash, he was jolted awake.

Larry Brahm opened his eyes in shock. He was momentarily disoriented, and couldn’t recall where he was. Remembering his bedroom, and the dream he’d just had, he thought,

Wow!  That seemed so real!

Looking over at the clock, he realized he had overslept. It was time to get ready for work.

“Back to the grind again,” he said, almost disappointed that his grim fantasy had been only that.

The people he had to deal with at his job had become his main source of stress. Try as he might, it just wouldn’t go away. His counselor had told him not to let the job bother him, but how could he? The incredibly vile things those people had done? They deserved to be punished, and not the justice system ‘punishment’, but something more real, more permanent.

As he drove to work, he turned up his favorite song ‘Jeremy’ by Pearl Jam and screamed the lyrics at the top of his lungs as the CD played.

He rounded the corner to the main entrance and was met by a sight that he would never have guessed.

No!  No, this can’t be!

Ambulances lined the front walkway. Police cars surrounded the building. The prison itself was alive with activity, with emergency workers going in and out like bees in a hive.

As he pulled into his parking spot, he could see bodies laying on the ground, neatly placed in rows, like they were being set out for spring cleaning. Each one was covered head to toe by a black plastic bag, but a few had an arm or a leg sticking out enough to see a blood stained orange inmate uniform or a gray officer’s uniform.

He walked up to a policeman.

“Excuse me, I work here, what happened?”  but the officer was too busy, and just ignored him.

He noticed some Corrections Officers from another shift standing, watching it all go on. He tried to talk to them, but they were in shock and didn’t say anything.

“Hey, you!”  a tall, good looking officer yelled to him.  “The Boss wanted me to get somebody, and go inside to see how bad the cops are messing things up.”

“All right,”  Larry said slowly.

They made their way inside. It was beyond his worst nightmare. Everywhere he looked were shell casings, bodies, bloody floors, and bullet holes.

“Wow!  What a mess!” the officer said.

The crime lab photographer, who was still taking pictures of everything, aimed right at him and snapped a picture.

“Hey!  What was that for?”  he said, as he started after her.

The officer grabbed his arm, “Don’t worry about it, she’s just doing her job.”

He looked suspiciously at her, but walked away, as she continued taking pictures as though he wasn’t there. They walked into the control unit, where blood and bullet holes littered the control panels. Suddenly he had a vision of his hand holding the gun, blasting the holes in the panels, and the officer that had been posted there.

He blinked his eyes and the vision passed, but he was now breathing hard.

“Sometimes a scene like this will do that to you,” said the officer.

“Do what?”

“Knock the wind out of you, from the shock.”

Larry eyed the officer with suspicion.

“I don’t think I ever got your name, and I don’t recognize you.”

“Oh, I’ve been here for a while,” the officer said with a cryptic smile. “You just didn’t notice me until recently.  My name isn‘t important right now.”

They walked down a long hallway, with the occasional blood splatter and chipped concrete from a bullet ricochet.  Everywhere Larry looked, he got the feeling of déjà vu. Each room he entered, seemed like he a picture in his mind of exactly what it would look like, down to the position of the shell casings on the floor.

Twice he caught the officer looking at him with an expression he would best describe as amusement. But the look would quickly disappear as soon as Larry spotted it.

There was so much blood on the floors that the investigators, EMTs, and police had to be very careful where they stepped. In these rooms, they had laid down several plastic tarps to use as walkways, so they didn’t slip or track the blood all over the building.

They entered a cell and Larry looked at the broken body of a young man he knew from the street, who was only in jail for a misdemeanor and nearly broke down.

“What kind of person does this sort of thing?”  Larry asked.

“Lots of people think about doing it. Correcting the world’s injustices is usually how they see it. Most of them lack the conviction, the final push over the edge, to make them act on it,” the officer said.

“You almost sound like you admire this monster.”

The officer looked at Larry with a gleam on his eye.

“You find monsters in the strangest places. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re doing anything wrong, almost like it’s a dream.”

Larry’s face went pale.

“I need to get some air,” he said.

“Sure,” said the officer, “let’s go up on the roof.”

There were two sentries posted near the roof hatch. They just ignored the officers coming out of the hatch. Larry and the officer walked to the far end of the roof. Larry hesitated when he saw yet another body.  For some reason this one was different. The officer called to him.

“Come on over.  You have to see this.”

“I’ve seen enough,” Larry said.

The officer’s voice changed, it lowered and became menacing.

“No, you must see this!”

Without realizing he was doing it, Larry walked over and looked down at the body. His own lifeless eyes stared up at him. Larry stumbled back.

“No!  This can’t be … ”

The officer smiled a mirthless smile.

“Can’t be what?  Real?” His maniacal laugh sounded like many voices at once.

“You so-called ‘Good Citizens’ are all alike. You love denial. You can deny anything. You denied the truth of this place the whole time we were walking through it. Did any of it seem the least bit familiar to you? Like … oh, I don’t know… maybe a dream?”

Larry’s eyes grew wide with realization. The officer laughed again.

“You don’t seem to realize that you made this happen. You, ‘Mr. Good Citizen’, who should have shown these people compassion at a time in their lives when they needed it most. Instead, you treated them with disdain and hatred,” he smiled. “I am so proud of you. You held on to your hate so tightly that it drove you to this.”

“I didn’t … I couldn’t … It was just a dream,” Larry stammered.

“There’s that wonderful denial again. Have you even thought about guessing my name?”

“I don’t know who you are, I’ve never seen you before.”

“I have had many names, some better known than the others.  One of my favorites that you might recognize is ‘Lucifer.’”

The name hung in the air like an acrid smoke on a calm night. Larry’s eyes and mouth grew wide with fear.

He stammered, not being able to form any coherent sound.  Slowly he worked until his mind forced his mouth to utter a single word.

“Why?”

“Don‘t ask me, you made it happen. Your hate, rage, and contempt for these people was felt and returned. That made it grow like a weed in your mind until you just couldn’t contain it. I live off of hate, so I didn’t mind it one bit, maybe even gave a little nudge here and there, to keep it going. Had you been a real ‘Good Citizen‘, you might have seen what your actions were heading toward and stopped. But your ’high and mighty’ attitude only made people hate you, which made you hate them.”

“A vicious cycle,” Larry said, finally realizing the truth. “So what happens now?”

“Now?” Lucifer said. “A few of your friends are going to take you on a little trip.”

Instantly, every one of the inmates and officers that Larry had brutally murdered, appeared and grabbed him. He tried to get away, but there were too many.

Larry felt as though the roof of the prison had turned to quicksand, as they dragged him further and further down. He looked up through a long tunnel, as he continued his rapid descent. Lucifer was looking down at him, laughing.

“Enjoy the company!” he shouted. “You’re going to be together for a very long time.”

***

 

 

The Journey: Chapter 1

The Journey: Chapter 2

The Journey: Chapter 3

The Journey: Chapter 4

The Journey: Chapter 5

Last chance

My newest shory story is free on Amazon for one more day.

I have to say I was rather shocked at having offered my story for free and only having 6 people take me up on my offer.

I feel like one of those poor unfortunate souls who is hired by a restaurant to stand on a busy street corner, dressed like a giant hot dog, and hand out flyers that no one takes or reads.

So once again, I’ll put on the suit, stand on this particular street corner and offer people my story.

I thought up my Mr. Smiley series a few years ago as a way to introduce my short stories. He has developed quite a bit and taken on some unique and interesting challenges.

If you like the Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt, you’ll like Mr. Smiley. Give it a try. I’ll be standing here, waiting.

Field of Screams

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection‘.

 

I love living in the country, away from all the lights. Over a dozen meteor pictures and I should still have time for more.

I trudge through waist high grass, climb into my car, and listen to the radio as the camera automatically takes another picture. Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ plays softly, causing me to smile and close my eyes.

When I wake the full moon is up, bathing the field in an eerie glow.

The grass undulates as if waving in the breeze.

That’s odd, the wind isn’t moving the trees.

The wave of grass continues steadily towards me, enveloping the car. I stick my head out through the window and watch one of the waves pass right by me. It stops moving and out of the grass I see glowing red eyes.

I throw myself back inside the car and roll up the window, ignoring the sound of something scraping on the door.

OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod!

I focus on my breathing to avoid a panic attack.

In my mirror I see the mounds of grass moving away.

I roll my window back down, lean out, look down and see no red eyes.

I think it’s time to go home.

My camera sits a mere four feet away.  I won’t step out of my car, or leave it in the field.

I pull over closer to the camera, reach out through the window, grab the ‘Oh shit’ handle inside the car, all the while shooting furtive glances down at the grass.

Got it!

I sling myself back inside the car, roll up my window, and try to calm down. The longer I sit here the more silly the whole thing seems.

It had to be a dream. I fell asleep and dreamt the whole thing.

I chuckle at my own stupidity, then turn the car around and drive back over the same tracks I used to get here.

I drive out of the field, through my own backyard, and park beside the house.

I head for the backdoor, exhausted.

Two a.m. is late, even for me.

Against my better judgment, I lean down to look at the side of the car door and was surprised to see scrapes in the metal.

Must’ve been a stick or something I brushed against in the field.

I head inside, lock the door, and start looking through the night’s pictures.

Several of the meteor pictures are nicely framed with the field and trees. As the moon comes up, the stars disappear.

This must be where I fell asleep.

As I scroll through, I notice the waves in the field.

So I didn’t dream that?

I enlarge the picture.

My breath catches in my throat.

Red eyes.

I push to the right and see another set of eyes. I zoom back out and count dozens of them. Every hump of grass has glowing red eyes looking out.

Oh my God!

My spine turns to ice when I hear scraping at the back door.

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this story, try one of my others.

Eyes, Avian, The Exam, Open, Haunted, Crash, Stained, Puzzled

Open

An excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear Collection’

 
My tormentor sits beside me, mocking me.

“Come on, Ben, you know you want me, why don’t you just do it?”

I try to ignore it, work on my tan. The sun helps out by shining down as bright as possible, baking me to a crisp.

“Beeeeennnnn,” it sing-songs to me. “Why don’t you peel off this outer cover and do what we both know you want to do?”

Water splashes in my face, pulling me out of my delusion.

My mind drifts back to this horrible reality.

Alone in a life raft, adrift in open water, my companion who speaks so seductively is an unopened can of baked beans.

For three days I’ve stared at that can. During my less lucid moments, it mocks me and beguiles me.

Whoever loaded the supplies on this life raft was either stupid or one sadistic bastard.

They packed saltines, peanuts, canned food, but no can opener, and no water. The crackers and nuts were gone on day one. Now my throat feels like it’s swelling shut.

My stomach has stopped rumbling and sends jolts of pain now. I fear that it is slowly devouring other internal organs. But that’s nothing compared to my pounding headache.

I feel like I’m going to burst into flames any second. I don’t know if I could drink even if I had water.

The irony of dying of thirst in the middle of the ocean throws me into a fit of hysterical laughter…on the inside. On the outside, I only have enough energy for a weak smile.

Early morning day four, that’s when my miracle happened. The most commonplace of all miracles, water fell from the sky.

The first drop hits me on the cheek, and my eyes struggle to open.

I’m having another horrid, sadistic dream.

It wasn’t until I was soaking wet that I made a feeble attempt to open my mouth as wide as I could and allow drop after life-saving drop to slowly fill it.

I attempt my first swallow in nearly two days.

Try as I might, I can’t do it. My throat has swollen nearly shut. Breathing has become difficult.

Now my mouth is full of water that has begun to drip into my lungs.

Four days ago I would’ve just spit the water out. But then, four days ago I was able to swallow. Now I’m so weak I can’t turn my head and I can barely cough. Even when I do, a mere drop or two of water comes out.

After two feeble attempts, I can’t breathe.

Whatever energy reserves I have, go into one last cough.

It barely makes the water in my mouth gurgle. Panic fights exhaustion, and loses.

The rain comes down in torrents. What I thought was my savior has become my doom.

Lying on my back, I look like a fish out of water. My mouth moving, unable to breathe, slowly suffocat…

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this story, try another.