Dou(Double)ble Expo(Exposure)sure

I’ve had the idea for this story for a while and I’ve always wondered how I would write it.

I’ve tried to show  different perspectives by using normal font and italics to distinguish between two characters.

Read on and let me know what you think about the story and its structure.

Please enjoy ‘Dou(Double)ble Expo(Exposure)sure’.

~~~~

I met her in the bathroom of my house.

I met her in the bathroom of my house.

I screamed when I saw her.

I screamed when I saw her.

Why was there some random naked girl in the bathroom with me?

Why was there some random naked girl in the bathroom with me?

I told her to get out and I yelled for Mum.

I told her to get out and I yelled for Mum.

I grabbed my towel from the rack and wrapped it around my waist.

She stole my towel from the rack and wrapped it around her waist.

I yelled out for Mum again and ran for the door.

I yelled out for Mum again and ran for the door.

We got stuck in the doorway and it hurt so much.

I yanked myself out and ran to my room.

I yanked myself out and ran to my room.

She was following me.

She was chasing me.

I shouted at her to leave me alone.

I shouted at her to leave me alone.

I ran into my room, slammed the door in the stranger’s face and fell back on my bed.

I opened the door and confronted the stranger who was laying on my bed.

Why wasn’t Mum here yet?

Why wasn’t Mum here yet?

With tears running down my cheeks, I begged her to get out of my room.

With tears running down my cheeks, I begged her to get out of my room.

She screamed that it was her room I was in.

She screamed that it was her room I was in. 

I shook my head and pointed to my books, my messy desk and my pet rat. I told her they were mine.

I shook my head and pointed to my books, my messy desk and my pet rat. I told her they were mine.

She said I was a fucking weirdo and that I needed to leave right now.

She said I was a fucking weirdo and that I needed to leave right now.

Frustrated, I grabbed the instant photo sitting on my bedside and showed it to the stranger. I told her that it was me with my best friend Emmie.

I stared at the photo of me and Emmie. Emmie looked fine, with beautiful long blonde hair and blue eyes, but the rest of the photo looked as if it had been double exposed.

Feeling a sudden uneasiness, I turned the photo around. Emmie looked fine, with beautiful long blonde hair and blue eyes, but the rest of the photo looked as if it had been double exposed.

One of the overlapping images looked like me, the other looked like the stranger lying on the bed.

One of the overlapping images looked like me, the other looked like the stranger standing above me.

My voice trembling, I asked the stranger who she was and how she got into my house. 

My voice trembling, I asked the stranger who she was and how she got into my house.

She said her name was Kagami and that she had lived here her entire life.

She said her name was Kagami and that she had lived here her entire life.

I grabbed another photo off of my bedside table. Like the photo of me and Emmie, it was also double exposed. When I recognised the stranger’s face underneath mine, I felt a chill go up my spine.

I glanced at the photo the stranger had taken off my bedside table. I felt my stomach drop when I recognised the stranger’s face floating over my own.

We tested each other. We took turns pointing to something in my room and describing how I got it.

We tested each other. We took turns pointing to something in my room and describing how I got it. 

She got every single one correct. 

How did she get every single fucking thing correct?

Something doesn’t feel right.

Something doesn’t feel right.

It was as if…something was where it shouldn’t be. Like a square peg in a round hole…or a weed in a flower garden.

It was as if…something was where it shouldn’t be. Like a round peg in a square hole…or a weed in a flower garden.

I looked at her and she looked at me, eyes wide with fear. We’d both had the exact same terrible thought.

I looked at her and she looked at me, eyes wide with dread. We’d both had the exact same terrible thought.

Without looking away from her, I reached under the bed for my hockey stick and gripped it firmly.

Without looking away from her, I grabbed the pair of scissors that were on top of my school project and hid them behind my back.

I nicely asked the stranger to prove that she lives here by showing me where the kitchen is.

I kindly replied to the stranger that she should really put some clothes on as she is stark naked in the middle of my room.

I firmly retorted that this is my room and I will put on clothes once she leaves.

I bluntly told her to let go of my baseball bat.

I paused and looked down at my hands. A thick wooden hockey stick met my gaze.

I lunged at her with the scissors and stabbed them into the side of her neck.

Gasping, I grabbed the side of my neck as blood poured down my shoulder and chest.

I pulled the scissors out and tried to stab at her chest.

As she stooped down low to stab me, I bit a chunk of her neck out.

When our bodies touched it was the worst pain I’d ever felt.

I groaned in pain and, stumbling to my feet, I raced out the door.

Spitting the bloody mess out of my mouth, I stumbled to my feet and race after her. 

I sprinted past the laundry and the living room, screaming for Mum.

I sprinted past the laundry and living room, screaming for Mum.

I ran into the kitchen and stopped dead in my tracks.

I ran into the kitchen and stopped dead in my tracks.

The woman standing by the sink both was and wasn’t my mother.

The woman standing by the sink both was and wasn’t my mother.

Kagami...it hurts so much…”

I stared at the abomination of a human, my eyes struggling to understand what I saw.

I tore my eyes away from her and looked through the kitchen window.

She had two overlapping lips, four erratically winking eyes and eight spasming limbs. The woman who was and wasn’t my mother sobbed with two distinct voices.

Outside, I saw two moons in the night sky. Their sides had merged into one another, creating a strange, bulbous shape.

As if we were magnets, I felt myself being drawn to the stranger on my right.

As if we were magnets, I felt myself being drawn to the stranger on my left.

I held out my hands to her but I didn’t want to.

I took hold of her hands despite every inch of my body begging me not to.

We pressed our bodies close together.

The pain was excruciating as we merged into a single form.

~~~

 

TEENAGER FOUND DEAD IN HER FAMILY HOME

At 9:00pm last night, police were sent out to a disturbance at a suburban home in North Brisbane.

Neighbours reportedly heard screams from the one storey house that sounded like someone in ‘excruciating pain.’

When police received no response from the homeowner or her seventeen year old daughter, they entered the house and found a grisly sight in the kitchen.

The seventeen year old girl was found deceased on the kitchen floor. An official police source has stated that blood loss was the cause of her death. Information has been leaked that the deceased was found with multiple stab wounds and a severe gash on her neck.

The girl’s mother has yet to be found.

This area of Brisbane has been notorious for gruesome happenings over the past few years. Two years ago and only one street away from the most recent crime, a thirty five year old man was found dead in his home. He had simultaneously been stabbed in the back with a kitchen knife and shot in the chest with an unidentified firearm.

The suspects in this case have been yet to be identified.

Just last year, a twenty three year old man was also found with multiple injuries. He was taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition. When confronted by the media outside the hospital, he reportedly stated:

‘I’m me but I’m not me…I think double, my thoughts are double and I can’t sleep at night…”

The man was later admitted into a local psychiatric ward where he remains to this day.

Three Sentence Stories #3 feat. Milly vs. the Monster

Hello again! Please enjoy more three sentence stories that I came up with on my way to and from uni.

The continuing tale for this lot of stories (every odd paragraph this time) is about a young girl who has to face off against a savage beast. Will she prevail alone, or will religion guide her through it?

~~~

Milly’s Sunday school teacher Miss Webster had told her that the best way to get rid of monsters at night was to close her eyes and pray to God, so she did. When she was sure the coast was clear, she peeked out into the darkness through slitted eyes. When saw her Dad was still standing over her bed, she closed her eyes and tried to pray a little harder.

~~~

One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy. Rubbing her pregnant stomach, Lilian played the superstitious rhyme in her head as she looked at the two ugly magpies foraging under the telephone lines. She felt a sudden sharp pain in her abdomen and, as she fell to her knees, the larger of the magpies tackled the other and began pecking it to death on the earth below.

~~~

Milly’s father, the well-respected priest of a well known local church, roared with laughter when he found her praying by her bedside table. “Stupid girl; God isn’t going to save a little harlot like you!” Milly said nothing as she closed her eyes and clasped the inverted cross that hung around her neck.

~~~

Zoe had always wanted to be a princess like she saw in Disney movies, so when a tiny woman claiming to be a wish granting fairy appeared before her one day, she knew exactly what she wanted. “Now Zoe,” the small pink woman squeaked, a small grin appearing on her face, “the process of becoming a queen-to-be is irreversible, are you sure you want to – oh of course you do, here we go!” Hours later, as she was force fed royal jelly in a hexagonal comb by her humble servant, Zoe realised that perhaps not all wish granting fairies were very kind.

~~~

Milly awoke to find a small impish creature devouring something at the foot of her bed. “You’re safe now, go back to sleep child,” hissed an unearthly voice in between the ghastly sounds of teeth gnawing on bone. Smiling happily, the young girl snuggled down into her bedsheets and fell into a peaceful sleep.

~~~

Short Story Time – The First Date

This story might seem a bit strange compared to my previous ones; and it is. I’m hoping some people may feel a sense of familiarity when they read it, or even a sense of unfamiliarity.

Let me know what you think.

~~~~

Meg waited for him at the centre of the ever busy Queen Street Mall.

She had spent hours choosing her outfit, plucking out any unsightly hairs and applying her winged eyeliner just right. Now, more dolled up than she had ever been in her life, she waited for her online date to show up.

He said he would be wearing a blue shirt with large black ‘I’ on it. Pretty easy to spot, she assumed; and it was.

She found him standing under a silver pole. He was very handsome, but Meg considered that a bonus. When they had chatted online, she had only ever seen one picture of him. It had made him seem quite plain, but Meg wasn’t one to judge appearances. She was a little plump and more than a little bit homely looking and she was quite aware of that.

What had caught her attention about him was just how intelligent he was. Not only was he a fellow writer, he was an avid reader of the classics. Meg had never met a man who had read all of Ernest Hemingway’s novels.

Meg always believed the old saying about beauty being on the inside. She thought at first that he was proof of that, but now as she approached him, she supposed that it was possible for beauty to shine inside and outside of a person.

“Adam?” Meg asked.

Adam turned his head and smiled as she approached.

“You must be Meg, nice to meet you.”

He held his hand out to her and she shook it. It felt warm and inviting.

 

~~~~

They went to a quiet book store at the end of the mall. There, Adam talked about all of his favourite novelists – Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Jane Austin and of course, Ernest Hemingway. Meg had felt her eyes light up as he spoke. He was so passionate; she could feel herself falling in love with him.

After buying a few of his recommendations, they wandered through the mall for a while. Adam explained how he had just graduated from university as a creative writer and Meg interjected that she too was doing creative writing. He continued, saying how he had several projects he was working on currently and how he was certain they would be finished soon.

Meg found a space to talk and mentioned that she owned a blog where she wrote all of her stories.

“I absolutely love writing short stories; they make up most of my writing.” She said, smiling happily at him.

He gave her a small, polite smile and then went silent. A few seconds later, he began talking about one of his most recent writing projects.

 

~~~~

He took her to a burger joint for lunch.

She rolled her eyes playfully as she imagined the mess eating a burger would make.

“Wow, what a great place to go for a first date, Adam!” She said to him, giggling.

She glanced over at him, expecting something witty in response. Adam just gave her another small, polite smile.

“It is a great place, isn’t it?” He replied in a sincere tone.

Meg chuckled as her date gave such a deadpan reply. She really did like being with this guy.

As they waited for their lunch to come, he told her more about himself. He described how stressed he had gotten at university and how he nearly had a breakdown. Meg imagined the poor man bent over his desk, anxious about his half-finished novels.  She couldn’t believe how much he cared about his work.

He soon switched topics and asked her how she was enjoying the date. Meg replied that she was loving it. He mentioned how he had been paranoid that it would not go so well. Meg just laughed.

“Don’t worry about it; I get worried before dates too!” She said, taking a sip of her drink.

She was in awe over how well this was all going. Meg had only had two other boyfriends before and both had been terrible mistakes. Adam was something else. He was so smart and even though he had never left the country before, he was worldly too. She began fantasising about them going on overseas adventures together, writing side by side and being so in love.

Meg noticed Adam had begun fidgeting with his hands and before she could ask what was wrong, he blurted out:

“I have something I need to tell you that I think is important.”

Meg’s smile faltered slightly. It wasn’t that his voice sounded gravely serious, or worried or upset. It was the fact that his voice sounded the exact same as it had throughout their entire date.

“Okay, what is it?” She asked her voice inclining as she finished her sentence.

He looked her straight in the eyes as he spoke in his unchanging tone.

“I am a robot.”

Meg gave her date a dumbfounded look.

He lifted his arm and peeled away a flap of the silicone skin. Underneath, she could see gears whirring and small lights flashing.

Meg felt the fantasy in her mind shatter into millions of unsalvageable pieces. An uneasy smile surfaced on her face.

“O-oh…” She found herself stammering.

She quickly shoved a straw in her gaping mouth and took a long drink from her glass.

 

~~~~

As they walked down to his favourite park, she began noticing all the signs she had missed before.

Every time he took a step she could hear the clunking of gears.  She began hearing the slightest traces of static when he spoke. His blank face was the biggest tell tale sign, though. It was just too perfect and generic.

Meg felt like a complete fool. She didn’t understand how she could have been so oblivious.

At least she now knew why he hadn’t responded to her jokes properly.

They sat on a bench together and he continued to talk about his favourite novels. She said nothing and just nodded. She figured he must be a publishing robot, programmed to talk about nothing but books.

“Well Meg, I have nothing left to say. I’ve run through my entire catalogue.” Adam said to her, blinking.

“Oh, ok…” Meg replied.

He stood up and gave her another polite smile.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting you, Meg. I was worried it wouldn’t go well, but I think it did. I hope we can meet again soon.”

He held out his hand to her and she shook it. It was devoid of any warmth she had once felt.

 

~~~~

When she got home that night, Meg did some research on her computer. She typed the phrase ‘dating a robot’. Google came back with over 20 million results. She read through the first page of results.

How to Date a Robot

Can Robots Love Like Regular Humans?

10 Things to NOT do on a Date with a Robot

Robots – All you need to know about dating and SEX

My Robot Boyfriend RUINED MY LIFE – Why you SHOULDN’T date a Robot

She clicked on the first link which took her to a health website for women. The article was written by a woman who specialised in couple’s therapy and robot psychology.

Meg read the piece, feeling her heart sink the further down she went.

She discovered that although some robots seem to show emotions, in the end it is all just programmed into them. They tended to be socially awkward and were terrible at reading people. Some robots even malfunctioned and sometimes said inappropriate things out loud.

They also needed to be maintained on a daily basis by a robot handler. By forming a relationship with a robot, you’re assumed to be the robot’s new handler, not just their lover.

Meg found the comments section even more disheartening.

Several people spoke about their horrible failed marriages. One man gave a testimony about his 30 year marriage to a robot woman.

When I first met her, she seemed shy and eccentric, but I thought that was just who she was. Then after we married, she showed her true colours. She told me she was a robot and she had to perform her robot duties each and every day. 30 years later and she’s always whirring about the place with as much emotions as an onion. We never have sex any more; after all, she sees no use for it. She doesn’t even ask me how I am after a long day of working. My advice – if you find out your date is a robot, do a 180 and run.

Some people ranted about how wrong the woman who wrote the article was. One lady spoke of how she was happily married to her robot husband for several years.

I find this article misleading and poorly written. Me and James have been together for many years now. He’s a wonderful soul mate and we get along really well. It’s all about putting effort into your relationships. If you go into a relationship with a robot expecting it to be easy, it’ll fall apart. Relationships are about supporting each other. If you love your robot man or woman enough, you’ll stick by them and help them and they’ll show their own way of loving you.

Another commenter, a robot herself, explained how offended she felt by the professional’s statements.

I may be a robot, but I’m built with the likeness and intelligence of a human. Sure, I have troubles making friends and going on dates, but I’m not completely worthless. Stop treating me like I’m nothing but a piece of scrap metal!

Meg felt a mixture of sadness and guilt course through her.

Her first thought was there was no way she could date a robot. The idea of spending her life fixing Adam every day just sounded like a big waste of her time. Then she realised how horrible that made her appear. She began to mentally scold herself.

You loved him when he was talking about books yet the moment he said he was a robot you shirked away. What was that about beauty being on the inside?

But she knew that he had no ordinary insides. All Adam had inside of him were gears, pistons and microchips. He wasn’t built like an ordinary human.

Meg took a deep breath and opened up Facebook. Adam had sent her a message.

Hi Meg, thanks again for the date, I really enjoyed it. I was too paranoid to say anything, but I thought you looked quite pretty today.

Meg stared at the message for several minutes. She wondered how long it had taken him to write those two sentences to her. She could imagine his fingers slowly tapping out the message, the little gears inside his knuckles whirring as he typed. She closed the page and opened up a new word document.

She began to write a story.  As she typed into the late hours of the evening, she hoped she would figure out how to reply to Adam.

She never did.

~~~~

 

Three Sentence Stories to Pass the Time #2 feat. Miss. Interpretation

So I’m back at uni now and I’m going to start getting really busy soon. I’m going to try and make an effort to write as much as I can in my spare time. Expect my next few posts to be mainly three sentence stories and (hopefully) my two part horror novella.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these three sentence stories as I much as I enjoyed writing them! The connected stories this time focus on a sweet dimpled girl who probably needs to be taught what metaphors and euphemisms are.

Enjoy!

~~~

Weighing in at a muscly 300 pounds, Robert “The Brute” Adams is one of the world’s most renowned heavyweight wrestlers. During the day, he body slams opponents into the centre of the ring for the adoration of his cheering crowd. At night, he spends hours in his home studio perfecting his pirouettes as he listens to ‘The Blue Danube’.

~~~

Gertrude felt the blood rush from her face as she saw what her darling daughter was doing in the courtyard. Her little blue eyed princess was wrangling a fallen baby sparrow in her chubby little hands. “But Mumsy,” the confused girl said to her distraught mother, “you always told me a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!”

~~~

The ‘street artist’ snuck onto the train tracks at night and headed towards the huge unused billboard. Unable to resist the temptation of an empty canvas, she wrote in a big black scrawling letters ‘Havoc is here’. As Marcus rode the train to school the next day, he was surprised to see the usually blank billboard now had a message printed on it in neat, red font: ‘Havoc was here’.

~~~

Gertrude let out a horrified scream as she opened the door to her daughter’s bedroom. Her little blonde locked angel was crouching over the family poodle, holding the severed head of their cat in one hand and a sewing needle in the other. “I’m doing an experiment Mumsy,” said the adorable little girl, “to see if two heads really are better than one!”

~~~

We all rejoiced when the aliens came down from the sky and declared that they were an advanced and intelligent species. They explained that they had discovered our primitive little planet and that they were going to teach us everything they know. When they began forcefully assimilating us into their society and taking our children away ‘for their own good’, some people knew it was history repeating itself and the rest of us just felt ashamed.

~~~

Gertrude rolled on her side to face her husband and let out a choked gasp. Sitting between the couple was their small porcelain skinned daughter, all smiles and with blood dripping from her clenched fists. “What’s wrong Mumsy,” her daughter whispered, “everybody always says that I have Daddy’s eyes, so I wanna play with them!”

~~~

Short Story-Time: Nip’s Voyage

This is a comfy short story that I wrote over a few days. I’ve always wanted to write a piece of fiction about space and now I’ve finally done it!

I think it’s best enjoyed at night, right before going to bed. Oh yeah, and it’s kid friendly too!

If you want a bit of ambience to go with the story, listen to a bit of this while reading it.

Goodnight WordPress and sweet dreams!

~~~

Nip loved to stargaze. No; she loved how the stars gazed at her.

The fact that her spacecraft was transparent made her all the more happier. It didn’t matter whether she looked at the floor or at the ceiling. Nip was engulfed in the universe.

Sitting back in her cozy nest, she allowed her eyes to trace along the burning spheres of gas like a dot to dot picture. In her mind, she turned each patch of stars into a different animal.

To the left of a spiralling purple galaxy was a giraffe, its elongated neck arched as though it was reaching for tree leaves. Beside the docile herbivore was a ferocious tiger. The starry beast leapt over a bright blue nebula, it’s bright eyes glimmering with intensity as it glared at the girl huddled in her little clam-shaped nest.

Nip took in the spectacle before her as she sipped from the silver bottle in her lap. It was delicious; she called it her ‘moon juice’. Today, the juice had the flavour of freshly squeezed apples with just a hint of blackcurrants. Sometimes, it tasted like hot chocolate with melting marshmallows and whenever they passed close to a sun, it became plain water, tasteless but refreshing.

Although she knew it was silly, Nip sometimes liked to imagine that the colourless liquid existed on the Moon. She would daydream about splashing about in its huge craters and bobbing on her back so she could look at the endless galaxies above her.

Nip found herself remembering the rotund hunk of space rock. Ever since she could remember, she had studied the natural satellite that orbited Earth. Though it paled in comparison to many of the wonders in the galaxy, something about the little humble moon made Nip sympathise with it. They did have a lot in common, after all. Both the girl and the moon were small, lonely space dwellers.

A calm voice entered her thoughts. It spoke in a soft and feminine tone which reminded Nip of her Mentor. Although the memory was quite fuzzy, she could still remember the kindly woman’s smile and her warm hugs. Sometimes Nip wished she could see her again.

The voice repeated its message to the distracted girl.

“Nip, is everything okay?”

“Yep!” Nip replied, nodding her head.

Her movements caused the thick ashen curls in front of her face to bounce. She wished she could tie up her own hair, but whenever she did she always messed it up. She once asked ALOE to help her, but the kind voice had explained to her she couldn’t as she didn’t have any hands.

“Don’t fib to me, Nip. You had a sad thought, didn’t you?”

The voice had become the slightest bit sterner. Nip bit her lip. ALOE always sounded like this when she suspected that Nip was lying to her. Although she was glad ALOE was so loving, Nip sometimes wished the spacecraft couldn’t read her mind.

“ALOE, when am I gonna be at my new home again?”

The spacecraft stayed quiet for a few moments as it calculated its next statement.

“We’re nearly at your new home now, Nip.”

Nip beamed and tapped her feet together. She wiggled her toes, making them dance against the star speckled backdrop.

As always, time continued to pass by at a snail’s pace. Nip finished her drink, did an hour of her astrology studies, played virtuoso checkers with ALOE, sprayed herself with anti-bac, read her favourite holo-book ‘Animals of Earth’ and laid to rest in her nest.

She yawned as the lights in the spacecraft dimmed and her nest closed over her. Shrouded in darkness, Nip snuggled in her blankets and embraced her stuffed panda, Kiki.

“What theme do you want tonight?” ALOE asked the tired girl. “Rippling waves? Tropical rainforest?”

“Full moon.” Nip whispered.

Moments later, the darkness surrounding her was lit up by a single cream orb that floated above her body. Nip gazed over the spherical space rock, her eyes wide with joy. She reached out to touch it and felt nothing as her hand passed through the hologram.

Soon, the young girl’s eyes grew heavy and she drifted off into a blissful sleep.

In her dreams, she was swimming through the stars with a herd of giraffes. She flew up as high as she could and dove down under a small blue planet. She grabbed the tail of a starry tiger as it leapt from star to star.

Soon, it came to a stop and glanced at her expectedly. Nip saw where they were and she smiled. Nip petted the creature’s glittery fur and glided towards the powdery round moon.

Just as she landed feet first onto the dusty surface, the ground below her began to shake violently. She wobbled but managed to keep her balance.

“Nip.. Nip…”

The young girl heard ALOE calling to her. In the distance, she could hear the sound of a wailing siren.

Nip was jolted awake as she was slammed against the top of her nest. Her head spun as she was blindly knocked about the small enclosure. She screamed for ALOE but the friendly voice was no longer there.

Instead, a strong, intimidating voice started shouting instructions to her:

“WARNING, BRACE FOR IMPACT. FASTEN YOUR LIFEBELT. BRACE FOR IMPACT.”

With great difficulty, Nip managed to find her seat and snapped the lifebelt across her body in an x-shape. Despite being held back by the safety harness her body still flailed about, making her feel like a rag doll.

The whole pod shook and Nip began to feel hot. Her clothes stuck to her skin and her brow became wet with sweat. She gasped for air and kept calling out for ALOE. ALOE didn’t reply.

She heard loud clicks and whirs and suddenly the nest began to fall.

Nip closed her eyes and gripped the ends of her seat as her stomach dropped. With a sudden lurch, the nest slowed its descent.

There was a loud thud as the nest came to a sudden halt. Nip let out a shocked cry and whimpered in fear. After a few silent moments, she opened her eyes. She was still trapped inside the nest.

She undid her lifebelt and pressed a button above her head to manually open the enclosure. With a soft click, the sleeping nest opened.

Stumbling out of the nesting pod, she fell face first onto the dusty ground below. With shaky feet, she stood and looked the remains of her spacecraft. The clear outer layer of craft had been ejected during the descent. Half of the pod was now covered in a thin material that felt like silk.

Her eyes were drawn to the bright red words engraved on the side of the silver pod she had spent the majority of her life in.

Automated Life-sustaining Offspring Enclosure
Sector: Astrology and Ecology
#001

“ALOE…” Nip whispered, touching the side of the craft.

She glanced over the landscape. In the soft light of dusk, she could just make out the outline of exotic jungles and strange landscapes filled with foreign structures. She became overwhelmed with feelings of fear.

Then something familiar caught her eye. The young human girl looked up at the universe she had become so accustomed to. Her eyes widened as she saw the large, crater spotted face staring down at her from the night sky.

In front of the pale moon, she could just make out dozens of other silver pods, floating down with the aid of parachutes.

A whirring sound came from her own fallen spacecraft as a recorded message played. A soft and familiar voice began to speak with the slightest hint of sentimentality.

“My dear Nip, thank you for being so brave.

I’m sorry I am unable to continue this journey with you, but I would just like you to know how proud I am of you. You have grown into the intelligent and lovely girl we all knew you’d be. I have no doubts that you and your fellow bio-neers are going to lead humanity into it’s next golden age.

On behalf of myself and everyone associated with Project Odyssey, I would like to welcome you to the planet of both your ancestors and your future children, Earth.

I hope you like your new home.”

Short Story-Time: The Terrible Truth About Valentine’s Day

Here is my contribution to what is arguably the most romantic day of the year.

Be sure to send it (or link it) to all of your loved ones, preferably those who are single, hate Valentine’s Day or love a bit of dark (and somewhat skewed) history.

For maximum enjoyment, read it out loud a few days before Valentine’s Day and after a couple of glasses of your preferred alcoholic beverage.

 

~~~

Hey you, the one with the big gloomy frown!

Yes I’m talking to you. Don’t look so shocked.

Why have you been actively avoiding all those mushy romantic posts on Facebook and WordPress for the past week? What’s with that big blank space in your diary on February 14th? Why do you roll your eyes every time you see a big Valentine’s Day get-a-treat-for-your-special-someone sale advertised on TV?

Oh, I get it. No really, I do.

It’s because you’re single, right? Or is it because you’re just sick to death of all of this, as you call it, ‘commercialised Hallmark holiday bullshit’?

Maybe it’s a little from column A and a little from column B.

No, wait! I’m not mocking you; honest!

Listen; just listen to me, okay? You’re perfect, you’re just the type of person I want to talk to.

I want to tell you something that is really important. You could go as far as to say that it may even save your life.

Are you sitting down? Okay, here it goes, then.

I am going to tell you the terrible truth about Valentine’s Day.

What!?  You already know the truth? Not only that, you also know the origin of Saint Valentine’s Day already?

Okay, let’s hear it then. I’m all ears.

Woah, woah, woah…where the hell did you hear that?

Secret marriages? Old men in funny looking hats?

Persecuted Christians!?

Valentine’s Day was never a Christian celebration!  That’s like calling Christmas a Jewish celebration.

For crying out loud, it isn’t even supposed to be called Valentine’s Day!

Your ignorance astounds me, it genuinely does.

Now listen up, I’m going to give you a very important history lesson.

Before some guy came along and decided February 14th should be named after some other guy, February 14th was part of a three day festival of purification.

During the time of Ancient Rome it was known as Lupercalia, or ‘Wolf Festival’. It was said to be a celebration dedicated to the founders of Rome, Remus and Romulus as well as the she-wolf who raised them.

Of course, that was how the Romans celebrated it. Long before they took over the tradition, the festival was held by a group of nomad shepherds. These shepherds lived in an unmarked region which overlapped with Rome, hence how the Romans came to know of the festival.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter who holds the festival, what matters is what occurs during the main ceremony of the festival.

Before the ceremony began, a group of priests (the Romans called them Luperci or “brothers of the wolf”) would gather at a special cave. They believed this was where the twin boys Romulus and Remus were raised by their wolf mother.

At this cave, the priests would perform a purification ceremony. This ritual was very specific and as such entailed the use of very specific objects. This included two male goats, a dog, a small bronze dagger, sheep wool and the milk of a pregnant she-goat.

The ceremony always started with the sacrifice of the two male goats and dog with the dagger. Once that had been performed, two young men would be led to the altar. It was of utmost importance that these young men were of noble birth.

The head priest would then wipe the sacrificed blood off the dagger using a swab of wool. Of course, the wool must have already been soaked in the she- goat’s milk overnight. It couldn’t have just been given a quick dunk; it must have absorbed the milk completely.

After this has been done, the two young men would have their foreheads anointed with the sacrificial blood off of the wool.

The next step was a crucial part of the ritual. With blood dripping down their foreheads, the two young men would have to laugh. Their laughter must have been loud enough to echo throughout the interior of cave. The louder and the more joyful it sounded, the better.

I know this sounds weird but trust me; I’ve been studying this ceremony for decades.

The hides of the sacrificed goats would then have to be stripped clean off. Some of the skins would be draped over the priests while others would be cut into lengths and dipped in the sacrificial blood.

The priests would then run back into town, slapping any crops, buildings or women who they happened to pass with the lengths of goat skin.

For Romans, this process was thought to have helped increase fertility in women and reduce complications during childbirth. They also considered it an important cleansing ritual that would purify their city and chase away evil.

At least they got part of it right, I suppose.

The Lupercalia Festival went on for many centuries.

Then the Christians came along, scrutinised the festival’s apparent deviousness and banned its proceedings in Rome.  By the end of the 5th century, Lupercalia was no more.

Oh, so you found that interesting, did you? You say it’s opened your eyes to the misconceptions of the past?

Well, I’m glad to hear that, I guess.

Do you remember how I said this ceremony was celebrated long before the Romans? Well, it’s true. The purification festival has been going on for a very long time. I dare to say that it was around even before the nomad shepherds existed. They just recorded the finer details of the ceremony and the Romans managed to perfect it.

I suppose the only thing the Romans got wrong was how often the ritual needed to be done. They always performed it once a year whereas the shepherds estimated it only needed to be carried out once every century.

Perhaps the Luperci were just being safe.

What’s that you say? How long has it been since the last ritual?

Well if we assume the ceremonies stopped at the end of the 5th century, the last one would have been done approximately 1500 years ago.

That’s fifteen ceremonies that have not been performed.

I would consider that a pretty damn lucky streak. The shepherds estimated that the amount of times the ritual could be avoided was maybe eight or nine times. They weren’t stupid enough to give it a try, of course.

What’s that? What would happen if the ceremony wasn’t performed?

Unfortunately my friend, that is where my knowledge on the subject stops.

However, I’m certain the shepherds did have some idea what the ramifications were of not performing the ceremony. The problem is that all they seemed to refuse to tell anyone who wasn’t a shepherd.

No really! I have read a replicated recount of a shepherd who was brutally killed by other shepherds for insinuating that he was going to write the consequences down for future shepherds to read.

I guess they didn’t like to keep records of it. I wonder how they would feel knowing the ceremony hadn’t been performed for nearly an entire millennium.

Fifteen missed ceremonies going on sixteen missed ceremonies.

If you want my opinion on the absence of purification ceremonies, I’d say it’d be kind of like if you skipped insurance payments.  Sure, you never think anything bad will happen, so you might not make a payment for a little while. You might even drop the payments entirely and laugh it all off as a useless investment.  Then all of a sudden, something bad happens to you, but oops! You didn’t make any payments, so you’re on your own. You’d be in some serious trouble, I imagine.

Now replace insurance with purification ceremonies, you with the entirety of humanity and something bad with something bad which may have ramifications for all life as we know it.

Yeah, looks pretty bleak, doesn’t it?

Could we do something about it, you ask? Could we perhaps make preparations to begin this ceremony as soon as the 14th comes around again?

I’m assuming you didn’t know that the three day purification festival actually starts on the 12th  and not on the 14th, right?

Oh don’t fret; it’s only one more missed ceremony. We’re doing pretty well so far, I think. Surely one more isn’t going to be that big of a deal.

We can afford to miss one more insurance payment, can’t we?

Besides, this gives us plenty of time to start getting ready for next year.

So, what do you want to do first then? Find the goats or round up some rich frat boys?

Willow Worshipped Part 1: Well that just happened…

(Anyone interested in drawing a cartoon character please scroll down to the bottom for more details!)

So today, I decided to have a go at continuing a short horror story I started in the middle of last year.

Well, five and a half hours and 13 extra pages later and I can happily say that I have completed it.

Actually, when I say completed I mean I typed the last word of the last sentence of the story. I still need to do some major editing/proofreading before I can be fully satisfied with it.

This post is pretty much just a bit of gloating over the fact that I’ve actually finished another story.

Oh heck, I’ll give you a bit of a preview to the story as well I suppose.

‘Willow Worshipped’ is a short horror story that gained inspiration from two of my favourite pastimes – watching horror movies and reading online recounts about the horrifying things people do.

We’ll start with horror movies because I think it’s the more boring inspiration. I love horror movies (and stories) that revolve around a crazy kidnapper. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like getting abducted by a sick individual.

I think the worst person to be kidnapped by would be someone who was totally obsessed with you. Someone who knows where you work, where you sleep, someone who would flip out if they discovered you did something that ruined their perfect image of you and your work. If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself “hey, this sounds like Stephen King’s ‘Misery'” then you are absolutely right. I’m happy to admit that ‘Willow Worshipped’ was more than likely inspired by one of my favourite Stephen King novels.

I’m also a bit of a guilty fan of freaky transformation horror movies. A crazed maniac takes a poor, unsuspected victim and turns them into their greatest desire – think ‘The Human Centipede’ and on a less horror and more of a directed by the same guy who made ‘Clerks’ way, ‘Tusk’. ‘Willow Worshipped’ loves this trope and if you do then I hope you’ll love ‘Willow Worshipped’ too.

My second biggest inspiration for this short story is a bit more of an interesting one. I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase ‘once it’s on the internet, it’s there for good’. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who haven’t heard this statement before. That’s probably why there are so many terrifying bits of TMI (too much information) on the internet.

Most of these TMIs tend to come from crazy, obsessive fans. One particular tidbit that caught my eye was a story about a man who just happened to be in love with a character from a 90’s Saturday morning kid’s cartoon. In fact, he loved her so much that he made a um…’love’ doll that looked just like her.

If that wasn’t bad enough, a revelation was made that he had used an actual human skeleton as the frame to make his perfect love doll. It both terrified and disgusted me. I think it’s safe to say that once you eventually get a chance to read ‘Willow Worshipped’ you’ll discover that…interesting story played a huge role in it’s creation.

Another fairly big inspiration that helped me to write ‘Willow Worshipped’ is the interesting world of character voice acting and all the crap the more famous voice actors have to deal with. Again, fans can get just a little bit too TMI.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little sneak peek into my brand new short story! I’ll hopefully have it all edited soon (all 23 pages of it, eek) and I’ll place it up here for everyone to read and critique.

[Oh, another thing! I would love to hire someone to draw Willow (the animated cartoon character that the story is all about). I have a shitty concept sketch but I’d love someone who can draw a decent looking 90s cartoon character to illustrate her to help promote the story! If you’re interested, please comment below!]