View Full Version : Short story contest #1 - THIS IS NOT AN EXIT

05-08-2003, 16:16:35
OK people, welcome to the first ever CG short story contest!

For the first contest, your story should start with the words 'THIS IS NOT AN EXIT', but from then on you are free to go wherever your imagination takes you!

Write as much or as little as you like, but please respect the fact that your peers will have to find the time to read your entry :)

Submission deadline is c. sunday night, I suggest we keep to just one entry per poster.

Comments on stories should be posted in a seperate thread, this thread is for STORIES ONLY.

Management, can we make this and the comments thread stickies?

05-08-2003, 23:22:24
Me go first.

"THIS IS NOT AN EXIT!" flashes a blazing red warning sign every half second.
"THIS IS NOT AN EXIT!" scolds a shrill, recorded voice that sounds, interestingly, just like a penguin on speed.
"Shit, shit, SHIT!" I sob to myself as I duck and weave down a dim, dirty corridor trying to elude a motley gang of pursuers as well as the various missiles they shoot and hurl at me. I jump around an old, rusty fire door just as a rotten tomato, and a .45 caliber slug, simultaneously slam into the wall right where my head used to be. A chainsaw, spinning like a top, slashing at full throttle, rips down the floor in my general direction so I start to hop like a kangaroo on a pogo stick.

I can tell that the gang (pack?) of demented Neanderthals are gaining on me because I can now smell the results of their poor, very poor, hygiene as well as hear their grunts and howls.
"Die commie scum." yells one with a West Virginia nasal twang.
"Die fascist assassin." screams a Brit.
"Kill, kill, crush, crush." suggests the Dutchman.
"What are we doing? Where are we going?" inquires a polite voice that can only belong to a Canadian.

The authoritative burst of a B.A.R. drowns out their voices and fills the hall with ricocheting bullets. I see a light at the end of the tunnel. The last drops of adrenaline drip into my veins and gives me a final burst of speed that gets me out of range of the spoiled food and Mousterian spears. I race toward the light only to find the corridor ends at a grating of thick steel. I slowly turn to meet my attackers only to see a huge, bright flash. I instinctively duck and roll. A R.P.G. rockets into the grating, explodes with a roar, and rends a huge opening in the barrier. I'm out of that trap before you can spell Houdini and into the safety of a busy street.

I stop to catch my breath and notice the bloodthirsty mob gathers in the semi-darkness of the new Exit. The crustiest old warrior of them all growls in my direction, "And don't you ever come back to The Red Boss again jsorense."*

*Alternate ending; replace The Red Boss with The I Club.;)

05-08-2003, 23:42:18
"This is not an exit" he said
"But, the door's right there, it's so much quicker for me to go this way, please?" I said. Hating myself instantly for the pathetically fawning way I said the please.
In my head it was much more like "get out of my way you no-necked fuck. I just want to go home. There's no point me being here. I just want to go home, have a slow I'm too drunk to really but I'll have a damn good go anyway wank and go to sleep." That's certainly what I thought I should have said when I was replaying things in my mind on the way home afterwards anyway. In reality I had barely started that thought before he grabbed the lapels of my shirt and hurled me against the wall. Being drunk bonus #1; being slammed against wall by something with the mental capacity of a special needs wildebeast doesn't hurt until Tuesday morning.
"Get out of my way you ignorant fucking savage? I'll sue you for every penny you and your worthless motherfucking employer have got! Fuck with me and you'll wish your grandad never snuck into your mother's room the night you were concieved!" I said after I had flipped his hold on me and I was slamming his face repeatedly into the wall until his face disintegrated into a bloody smear against the bricks... in my mind as I zig-zagged home having left through the other door. I was desperately trying not to zag out into the road when a car was whizzing past me. Next time I'll do it, I fucking will. I don't care if he fucking kills me. Next time I'll get the fucker.

I Am Not Jon Miller
06-08-2003, 04:25:53
"This is not an exit," says the sign plastered to the toilet. So you can imagine my surprise when George pops out of the toilet and bites me on the ass.

"Hey asshole, can't you fucking read?" I scream, gesticulating wildly towards the sign.

George bursts into tears. "No, I'm are stupid!"

"Damn straight! And you're fat, too!"

George retreats back into the toilet. Rubbing my sore ass, I get back to business.

A week later I see George lying in a storm drain, and remark upon how much thinner he looks.

"Thanks," he says, "I've been to de-fatassify myself. I've even been taking remedial reading classes!"

I then learn that George is going to die of leprosy in three months.

"So I've decided that I'm going to read War And Peace before I die! It's my lifelong dream!"

But three months later he has only read the first 200 pages of War And Peace, because although he is no longer illiterate, George is still stupid. Stupid and dead.

His copy of War And Peace is spattered with blood due to his fingers falling off at inopportune moments, and there is a library fine as a result. George, being dead, cannot pay the fine.

This of course sends Libertarian Johnny into one of his rants. "George was a dirty thief! He stole my tax dollars by ruining a library book!"

"But you don't pay taxes, Libertarian Johnny," everybody says in reply. "You're fifteen years old and don't have a job."

Libertarian Johnny weeps.

06-08-2003, 08:15:59
"This is not an exit", yelled John, for the upteenth time. He then, for the upteenth time, collapsed again in a corner of his room. The nurse, who briefly glanced through the security window, didn't pay much attention. It had been going on for more than three months now. I guess I wasn't paying much attention either, although the whole thing was exciting my curiosity.

His name wasn't John. I mean, it might have been John, by chance, but it probably wasn't. It's the name we, the doctors of St Paul Hospital, had given him when he was brought here, totally amnesic. We dealt with a lot of weird cases there. Our Director, Fucktard Hendry, seemed to fish for weird cases. Anything that could get the local paper to talk about us, really. But I digress.

John was a force of nature. More than 6,4 feet, and a heavy built. Large, callous and threatening hands. The neck of a bull. He was probably in his thirties, in perfect health. He seemed to exercised a lot. Maybe a gymnastic teacher. It made his attitude all the more puzzling. He would wake up from near complete catatonia, his dark, saggy eyes would sprang back to life, then his pupils would dilate madly, as if he was under a considerable stress, or fear. Then he would yell "This is not an exit", at the top of his lungs. Then he would crumble, crying, shaking. Then catatonia again for hours, sometimes days. We could extract nothing more from him. He had been found wandering in a nearby wood, nearly totally naked, with several deep cuttings throughout his body. In some places, he had been cut to the bones, by something probably akin to a razor. As I said, he was in good shape, so he healed. His mind, however, was gone.

At the time, I was still a medical student, freshly arrived from Hungary. I had settled well. I was overjoyed to be in England. Everything was so much easier there than in the MagyarUstü Hospital. I was confident in my abilities, and wanted to do everything alone. In short, I was a young prick. That might have been this overflowing youthful confidence, that made me go see Fucktard Hendry (that's Dr. Hendry in public) to tell him about hypnosis. Hypnosis was a gift. I had it in me. I learnt as a kid, watching my late father practice in his cabinet, with his clients, mainly Party dignitaries. I quickly became a lot better than him. Make no mistake, my father was good. He was generally acknowledged as the best medical hypnosist in Buda. But I was a natural. Hendry knew it. I had pulled a nice trick in front of him, hypnotising Miss Sullivan, the middle aged nurse of Rheumatology, and having her tell us about her fuck feasts with Dr Philip. But then again Philip was fucking all the nurses, young and old alike, so that was hardly news.

So when, that november morning, I got into Hendry's office, he was all ears. Clearly, the only way to get past John's mental block was to hypnotise him. We had no permission to ask, that's the beauty of amesic patients. Hendry quickly decided that we would conduct the experiment on the spot. Short, burly, bilious, with a limited inteligence, Hendry was less than imposing. He was largely despised, but nobody could deny he was getting things done. He stormed out of the room. I waited, looking through the window at the well kept garden, under the pale, wintery sun.

John was brought to us, nearly comatose, and was placed into a large leather sofa. His arms were tied up front. He was not considered dangerous, we just wanted to avoid he'd hurt himself in one of his 'this is not an exit' crisis.

Getting him into a trance was a lot more difficult than expected. I doubt many would have succedeed, but I did, after nearly two hours of struggle. This, by itself, was highly unusual. That man had been traumatised by something so terrifying that his brain had litterally shut down.

When I finally forced open the gates, his attitude changed. He straigtened up in his seat, stopped shaking, steadied himself. He acted as if he became totally conscious again. This was also extremely unusual, almost antithetic with the state of transe.. John's eyes, normally lifeless, became unsettling as he stared at both of us. I didn’t like his smile either, a smirk, cold, almost sadistic smile. Then he started talking. I had never heard a voice so metallic, lifeless, inhuman. That’s it, his voice was inhuman. He mixed words in English with word in another language I didn’t know, that seemed archaic, and that reminded me a bit of the Hebrew I’d hear in Buda synagogue.

“….approaching... entering my temple… fools… as fools as the Samaritains in Beleth Gol… soldiers again… looking for me… fools… nobody hunts Asafrël… Asafrël hunts… let them get into my temple… yes, fools, my temple looks in ruins to you… for I am here since Pendragon… enter, fools, enter my tunnels… crawl under the earth, into my narrow tunnels…. Asafrël hunts… now Asafrël enters the body of the last soldier… incarnation… passing through the flesh of this fool, feeling my power move his muscles… use his dager... no lights for you in this tunnel... you’re blind, and Asafrël sees in the dark… time to hunt now… grabbing the first from behind, breaking his neck… the fools heard… they shout… they use their weapons in the dark… but I am Spirit… get to the second, cut his head, the third, grab his heart, pull it out… fourth then fifth… they yell, running through the tunnel now… only two left… they reach the end of the tunnel… not an exit, fools, not an exit… I eat one in front of the other, breaking the bones to get the marrow… I eat slowly… the last one keeps talking… not an exit, not an exit… he can’t see me in the dark, but he hears me… then he uses a metallic bow… so I’m expelled from this body… only one soldier, running, firing again…can’t touch me, I am Spirit now… I let him come out of my temple… watch him… maybe time to get out into the world again…”

AT this point, John's eyes became blurred again and he collapsed. I felt suddenly very cold, and nauseous. I think I briefly fainted. The exhaustion, probably.

Hendry never actually talked about it afterwards. John was registered as a severe maniac depressive with delusional crisis, and treated with electroshock. I don’t think he ever got out of the hospital. He never became ‘conscious’ again.

The following year, I got back to Hungary, as you know, officer. The rest of my life, these last 10 years, you also know. Got married, became Head Surgeon in our beautiful town of Budapest. So that’s it. That’s the ‘confession’ I wanted to make. I want to help the police resolve this gruesome murders. The truth is that I just don’t remember what happened last week. The blood found on my scalpel, my memory losses, all that is troubling me even more than you, officer. I don’t know who did that to these people. I don’t know. But surely, officer, I wouldn’t have the physical strenght to do what you accuse me off. The young girl was cut in half! I couldn’t have done that. I’m certain. But since the word 'Asafrël' was written in blood, in Aramean, near the corpses, I thought you wanted to hear my story.

06-08-2003, 09:11:31
THIS IS NOT AN EXIT. The sign was unequivocal, and the door handle, which would not budge in his trembling hands, made argument redundant anyway. Shit, where were the bloody exits then? Blish was gasping for a smoke, but it seemed the entire complex was conspiring against him. ‘Down the corridor, take the second left, you come to a-‘ ah Christ, what had General Graham said?

He leant back against the hard white wall and closed his eyes, realising his chest was pounding. This was ridiculous, what was he doing here anyway? 3 hours listening to a bunch of crackpot scientists talking about ‘super soldiers’ and General Graham seemed to be taking it all seriously! He would certainly make sure that his superiors in MI6 found out just what kind of insanity was being encouraged here when he returned to make his report. God, as though funding wasn’t tight enough!

He pushed away from the wall and walked back down the corridor, turning right at the end and continuing along. It was deathly silent, and the small bottle glass windows gave no clue as to a life beyond the white walls. Blish knew there must be a door or a window that could be opened around somewhere, mustn’t there? Bloody hermetically sealed laboratories. He fingered his cigarette packet nervously as he walked down the featureless white corridors.

After randomly choosing between left and right at a succession of junctions he realised he was completely lost. Shit! Now his cigarette was forgotten, he merely wanted to get back to General Graham and the others before they wondered what had happened to him.

Panic gripped him and his heart began to beat faster again. What was it about this place that gave him such an unpleasant feeling? He quickened his pace and after taking several turns, began to see signs that he was heading in the right direction. He saw ahead the large glass window of one of the laboratories. Several figures moved inside and he quickly walked up to the door. What met his eyes as they took in the full spectacle of the laboratory made his hand clench around the door handle and he froze in horror.

The white-coated figures inside tended a large machine in the centre of the room, which resembled an open glass coffin. Wires and pipes of all shapes and sizes trailed from the machine in all directions, and banks of monitoring equipment flashed all around it. But there in the coffin, motionless and apparently unconscious, hooked up to those wires and pipes, lay that which Blish still could not comprehend – General Graham. He was unclothed, and Blish could see that not only was his physique grossly enlarged for a man of his age, but that several mechanical devices seemed to be attached to, or a concept occurred to him that was even more terrifying, were growing from within his body. One of the scientists happened to notice Blish and the expression of terror and confusion on Blish’s face evidently alarmed him, because the scientist quickly alerted his colleagues to Blish’s presence. Then the greatest horror of all, General Graham’s eyes, bulbous and bloodshot, flicked open and met Blish’s.

In that instant terror and the survival instinct got the better of him and he let go of the door handle and fled, as fast as he could back down the corridor. Behind him he head a crash and the sound of glass breaking and the shouts of the scientists. Then rising above the noise was a terrible roar that must have been General Graham.
Blish’s feet slipped on the smooth white floor and he stumbled suddenly. He could hear from behind him the sound of the Generals’ voice, distorted and crazed but still recognisable.
‘I tried to tell you Blish! I tried to make you see! This is the future of war, Blish! You cannot prevent this!’

The voice sent another surge of terror through him he scrambled to his feet and began to run down the corridors as fast as he could, paying no heed to the direction he took. As he ran, the General’s crazed voice got steadily closer, and he could hear the pounding of the General’s feet behind him.

Blish came to a junction and looked around in desperation for a sign of which way to run. His heart leapt suddenly as he saw corridors that he recognised, they must be near the entrance to the complex. He flung himself around the corner and ran onwards. Yes, he had been here earlier, this must be the way!

He chanced a look back at the sight of the roaring, deranged, half-human figure of the General urged him on in blind terror. He turned the final corner, this must be it, surely he would soon be free. The door was ahead, but- He stopped suddenly and screamed in anguish. The door was ahead, a familiar door. The door bore a sign, a familiar sign: THIS IS NOT AN EXIT

06-08-2003, 14:38:56
"This is not an exit" said the man in the uniform.
"Oh" said Ed, his hand on the handle
"Do you know where I-"
"Down the corridor, second on the left" interrupted the man in the uniform.
"Down the corridor, second on the left." repeated Ed
"Thank you" he smiles briefly
"No problem sir, have a nice day" replies the man in the uniform.
Releasing the handle, Ed turns, and walks away, along the corridor, and around the corner, second on the right.

The End.

06-08-2003, 15:10:50
“This is not an exit!”

She had a point, I’ll concede that. But right then we didn’t need a point, we needed a plan.

“Of course it’s not an exit, it’s a fuckin’ window. If you can see a better way out of here let me know. Jeez, you’re talking like you want that dipshit to kill us.”

I threw up the sash and motioned for Sarah to climb out onto the narrow concrete ledge. It was cold outside, and pretty windy too. From this high up the noise of the traffic 12 stories below was nothing more than a gently hum, and the view across the park was staggering, especially at night.

“Come on, for fucks sake, it’s easy!”

“No. I can’t, I’ll….”

Grabbing her hand, I jerked her past the gently billowing curtains up onto the sill. As the moonlight hit her face I realized for the first time just how scared she was, and how much that made me hate myself. What the fuck did I think I was doing? How did I get so involved with this? With her.

As I began to inch my way along the ledge a second explosion rocked the building.

Sarah squeezed my hand.

“Promise me we’ll be ok”

I didn’t reply.

06-08-2003, 20:00:44
«This is not an exit! And you’ll die if you let yourself think it is».
And the tarot card hovering before his sweating face while he kept falling, unhindered, to an immaterial nothingness.
He could feel the downward motion in his gut more than he could see it. There was nothing to see. All was dark. There were no walls around him so he could watch them running up as he plunged down towards a pitch-black abyss; no light of any kind to confirm his own existence; no shapes looming next to him to dispel his utter loneliness; nothing to provide a grasp for his desperate eyes as they darted left and right screaming for a hold.
And the merciless, endless fall.
He struggled to stop it. He suffered. He was going to die and the realization tore through his screaming soul - a vicious white-hot blade. There was no sweet abandon engulfing him to numb his panicking senses and make it easier for him to surrender to the inevitable.
It was just a matter of time. He knew that when he would reach the immaterial abyss seabed, whenever that was, all would end. No amount of kicking and screaming would make any difference except to ensure complete lucidity of what was happening until the very last split of the second.
The tarot card appeared suddenly in front of him. In a feather like motion before his face. His jaw ajar, saliva dripping up, his face deformed and eyes wide open he thought he could make out some kind of picture on it. Closing his eyes in schisms his heart stopped- as he saw on the card his own face starring back at him with a stern look.
A calm expression. A serious expression. The cold, unquestionable certainty of death on its eyes. Hovering in front of him. Falling. Darkness. Falling down. Falling down Falling down. This was the last night of his life.
He could not believe it was happening. Or that he could have ever been this stupid.

The tarot card started drifting further and further away. He instantly knew that if he didn’t bring it back in front of him, everything would end. The only thing between him and everlasting oblivion was now his sheer force of will. And it was his last chance.
Agonizing… teeth crushed against teeth… superhuman effort… closer… closer slowing down… slowing down…
Sitting on a sofa; someone’s living room appearing slowly through the dissolving fog. His soul bruised, his body shattered, every muscle trembling and a breath weaker than a summer’s breeze;
but he was alive - and out.
Her sweet breath as she drew her face close to his, delicate fingers brushing angelic hair aside. A soft kiss on his lips but he knew now, the lifegiver was the kiss of Judas.

06-08-2003, 20:37:21
THIS IS NOT AN EXIT the sign over the heavy, barred iron door proclaimed. The hallway was lit in a half-light with flickering sickly fluorescent bulbs. Only a third of them were working, and not very well at that. The thin man in the hospital gown tried to peer through the narrow safety glass in the door, but it seemed dark and foggy on the outside—he couldn’t make out anything discernible. He bent his shaved head, a long, jagged scar running from jaw to temple, to the side, looking like a gaunt, puzzled bird.

“Hello?” he called, into the clinging gloom. His voice echoed down the long hallway. There was no response.

He shuffled onward, dragging his twisted left leg along, trying the numerous locked doors he encountered along the way. The faint sound of a woman crying and gently pleading, calling a man’s name—he couldn’t make it out--seemed to come from behind one of them, but the emptiness around him was playing tricks on his ears and he couldn’t be sure. Just in case, he banged on the door. The crying continued, but it seemed fainter and farther away now and then trailed off completely.

There were two green double doors—one with the words STAIRS-UP and one that had STAIRS DOWN--painted on them in fading orange at either end of the hall. He made his way to the closest one and half-heartedly pushed on the bar that opened it. It clicked and he swung it open eagerly. It was pitch black on the other side, so he stood still, his heart pounding and his breath rapid, waiting for his eyes to adjust. The darkness did not abate and so, with arms outstretched in a gross parody of some noir horror mummy, he tentatively stepped forward, feeling for any unseen obstacles.

He fell. He anticipated a stairwell, but made no contact with the sharp edges he imagined. Covering his head in a defensive posture, he sailed down, as if in a well—he fell for an impossibly long time and, finally, had no sense of falling or the impact he expected.

When he awoke, he could not breathe. His mouth was full of sand and bitter, salt water. Sputtering, he rose to his hands and knees and spit until his airway was cleared. He looked up and saw a vast expanse of water, waves lapping at the shore. It seemed very familiar, but he could not recollect where he had seen it before. He staggered to his feet and looked down a long, desolate beach that stretched and curved away to the horizon on either side of him. Behind him, a small hut sat, recessed in the green shadows of foliage and vines. There was no sound except the crash of water on the shore. No birds, no expected insect hum, nothing.

He made his way to the hut and pushed aside the rough matted door. Inside, all was dark, as it had been in the stairwell. None of this made any sense—his mind raced for some memory of how he came to be here, on a beach, wearing nothing but a flimsy gown. He had a momentary image of a bright light and the sound of breaking glass and a sharp searing pain right behind his eyes. Frantically, he rushed forward, hoping to find a light in the room.

He fell again.

When he awoke, he was face down in the hallway, the door with STAIRS-DOWN on it to his back.

“Hello?” he cried, this time more plaintively “is anyone there?”
There was no answer.

Lazarus and the Gimp
06-08-2003, 21:41:44
"This is not an exit!" the sign read.

"Fuck that" said Brian, and left anyway.

Immortal Wombat
06-08-2003, 22:22:41
"This is not an exit!" Will was annoyed. "This is an exeunt! You all leave the stage. How many fucking times must I tell you people?" They were already on their eighteenth attempt at this scene, and Will was almost at the point where the only way to cope with matters was a lupine howl at the heavens. He took a deep breath.
"Okay lads, come on. Once more from the top."
Will looked around at his rag-tag band of players. Two cretins, a retired pickpocket, a gorilla and a wiry adolescent entirely too enthusiastic to play female roles. He sighed. It almost wasn't worth carrying on. He'd still only got half the script written, his players couldn't remember their lines for even the opening scene, and the big performance was due on Midsummer's Day in just two weeks. Will raised his eyes to the sky and uttered a silent prayer.
As he returned his eyes to the stage, Ulf (the gorilla) was half-way through the prolonged mumbling fit that he ad-libbed into every scene. When Will was feeling optimistic, he'd attibute it to character development and good acting. When he was feeling pessimistic, he'd go around the back of the stage and smash snail shells with a large rock.
"Cut! Bugger off all of you. Back here same time tomorrow."
They all shuffled off, muttering to themselves. Most of them would go to the pub, Young Mikey would go home, and today it seemed, Dave - cretin #1 - would approach Will with something important to say.
"Hey Will, you'll never guess what I found!"
Will paused briefly before answering. On Tuesday it had been a piece of bread, on Wednesday it had been a piece of mouldy bread, today surely it wouldn't be "a piece of really mouldy bread, by any chance, Dave"?
Dave's face fell. "Yeah. How'd you guess?"
Will declined to answer, gave a blank expression and turned away. He was doomed.

The following day was even worse. Even to describe it would be tedious.

Saturday dawned, and Will was awoken by a knock on his door. It was Dave.
"Hey Will! You'll never guess what I found!"
"Another piece of bread?"
"Nope!" Dave grinned encouragingly. "Guess again."
"Some cheese?"
"Nope! Guess again."
"Just tell me, yeah?"
"Alright, but don't tell nobody... Its a secret doorway into Kit Marlowe's head..."

06-08-2003, 23:14:10
“This is not an Exit meeting,” said the Chairman.

“But surely it’s pure sophistry to argue that termination due to genetic impurities is limited by whether the life in question is inside or outside the mother’s body?”

“You think that’s a new argument? Why do you think we have a constitution? The start of life is a philosophical question that’s as old as the hills, and while it is a valid debating tactic to rise all possible counter-arguments, there have to be some limits. The constitution gives us a set of limits so that we can focus more closely on a single particular issue.”

Every time she spoke, it felt as though the words were a personal insult. I kept trying to peel away the layers of personal grievance that added malign significance to all our exchanges, but the worm still twisted in my gut. How long had we been feuding?

I resumed my seat, and words spun in my brain as I rearranged my argument into a form to which no retort was available. How could I construct a sally that would simultaneously impress my colleagues, and at the same time earn respect – without a layer of resentment – from my opponent? I needed to gain that respect so that our meeting later that evening would give me the edge I needed.

Meaningless questions sprang from the lips of those around me: all batted aside as easily as mine had been. I frowned with concentration. I plotted an argument in my head, and my stomach tensed as the exchanges led inevitably towards the opening that I sought. A question trailed off into rambling decline – rebutted by a simple “No”. I rose to my feet, and …

* * *

“Sorry to bring such a stimulating discussion to a close, children, but I just have to hand out the homework. And I know you all want to get away to get ready for Jamie’s 12th birthday party this evening. I hope you all have a good time mingling with your new schoolfriends.”

Sir Penguin
07-08-2003, 02:59:24
THIS IS NOT AN EXIT? What kind of idiotic graffiti is that? As idiotic as the fool who falls for it and misses his turnoff, I guess. I wonder what brushes they used... they did a good job. These were Rolf Turnbach's thoughts as he sped down the twilit freeway from Huda to Kiro. What weren't Rolf's thoughts were the important ones – Can I get to Banting without taking the exit?, and Do I have time to turn around before they catch up?, and Is it getting stuffy in here? Somewhere beneath consciousness, his brain processed each of these thoughts, answered each one with a No, and didn't trouble the surface Rolf about it.

Rolf Turnbach, former amateur painter, medical researcher, and family man, previously of Pennerton, Cupo province, was running. From what? He'd thought for a long time about it, but his conclusions were indefinite at best. The government? No, he was sure that they wouldn't even know about him now, never mind chase him. The Hunters? Ineffectual old men, who were led around on a government choke-chain. The Black Street? Rolf couldn't think of any reason that it wasn't them, but neither could he think of a reason for them to chase him—well, aside from the obvious, which was supposed to be a very well hidden secret. They were the least unlikely possibility, though, and he was working from there.

Rolf Turnbach, science experiment, currently of Huda, Newton province, was running. Where? That one's easy. Banting City (less than 3 km away along Exit 117), the heart and mind of Newton province, the centre of science for the whole of the human race. Banting City, whose medical centre was the natural choice to host an interprovincial meeting of minds. Banting was the city of miracles, where anyone could get a limb reattached, or a cancer reversed, or, as in Rolf's case, a pocket of lethal bacteria removed from his right buttock. “Think of the most excruciating, bloody, throbbing hemorrhoids you can imagine, Rolf,” Mika had said with a friendly, completely unsadistic smile. “It will be worse than that.” This memory percolated up to the surface Rolf, who rolled his eyes for the hundredth time since he had left Huda. After a precognitive wince, Rolf stepped on the gas, and tried to imagine how he could escape. Lighten the load? Sure, maybe his subconscious could jump out the window and junk the cycle in his trunk. Or he could ask the passengers of the cars chasing him to put a hole in his gas tank—but Rolf was pretty sure they'd run out of ammunition.

The cars behind him were catching up; Rolf's ancient Volvo wasn't up to the standard that his pursuers' had set with their generic but supercharged black sedans. Trading thoughts with his subconscious, Rolf thought, Whoever they are, how could they know? Ten years of silent work, and they know. He couldn't imagine that Mika had snitched. Nor any of the others, for that matter. They had taken exhaustive steps to assure that nobody could find out what they were researching, or even that they were researching agai—Arghargharghargharghargharghargh went Rolf's brain, as the black cars behind him pulled within metres of his Volvo. Rolf's subconscious thought to itself, Hang on a minute..., and burst to the surface—TURN RIGHT, NOW! Rolf wrenched the wheel right, and fishtailed onto a gravel road and into the bushes. The black sedans rushed past.

Rolf extracted himself from the Volvo and checked himself over, making sure that he had his wallet, and then that his pocket of bacteria hadn't burst. “Boy, that would be a way to go,” he said to himself, out loud. He listened for the sound of the cars that had been chasing him. Estimating quickly, Rolf guessed that they would be another minute or two decelerating and returning to his little road to capture him. Maybe it wasn't so wise to think they'd go about it leisurely. Rolf surveyed the damage to his Volvo—extensive—thought for a moment, and retrieved his cycle from the trunk. It was slow, but he might be able to escape... might. He grabbed the tote bag from the floor of the Volvo, powered up the cycle, set it to maximum speed, and took off down the road, spewing gravel to either side. Five minutes to Banting City and another five to the medical centre, he thought, if I can get through.

* * *

Ten minutes and a chase through the woods later, Rolf had lost the men who were pursuing him and arrived at the medical centre. He stowed his cycle in the bushes, and changed into the suit from the tote bag. A bit wrinkled, but passable. Walking up to the door, he flashed a smile and a card from his wallet at the guard. “Dr. Frank Eimerson, biologist,” he stated to the guard, who ushered him inside to get his name tag. He proceeded to the conference floor, and straight to the bathroom.

Dr. Frank Eimerson, world famous biologist (though you would be unlikely to find somebody at the conference who recognised him these days), nominally of Banting City, sat on the toilet and removed a needle and a thick plastic pouch from his wallet. He pricked his right buttock, and directed the fluid that seeped out of the wound into the pouch. The ostensible Dr. Eimerson's subconscious formed a map of the medical centre while surface Dr. Eimerson belted his pants and slipped the pouch into his pocket. He called up the map, and took the quickest route that led to the kitchens. Most of the scientists he greeted along the way smiled faintly in non-recognition, but a few looked at him for a worryingly long time. The name of Rolf Turnbach didn't seem to click for any of them.

A skinny, young kitchen attendant stopped Rolf as he was leaving the conference floor. “I'm sorry, Dr.... Eimerson,” the attendant said in a somewhat panicky voice. “You can't go in there, but we'll be serving dinner in a matter of minutes.”

“DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” Rolf roared. The youth squeaked and his eyes darted around for support. “Don't worry, son,” Rolf continued, “I'm not here to steal food or anything. I just need to have a word with Mr. Davis.”

“Oh—of course, Doctor,” the attendant said, appeased. “He's in the second kitchen on the left.”

Rolf was as relieved as the young man facing him appeared to be. Mika's plant had successfully infiltrated the centre. Rolf proceeded into the large kitchen area, and leaned against a counter. He was starting to feel groggy, and a sharp pain had begun to spread from the puncture on his buttock while he had been traversing the conference floor. Mingling with the odour of roast beef from one side of the kitchen room, Rolf smelled smoke coming from a room to the left—Mr. Davis's doing. He scanned the kitchen for the soup. Two large vats were on a burner, against the far wall. Rolf could neither see nor hear anybody nearby. He stumbled over to the soup stove, collapsing onto a hot element. He screamed, and fell down in a haze of intense pain. After what seemed like hours, but was on the scale of seconds, Rolf's subconscious lifted his body, extracted the pouch from his pants, and emptied the contents into the soup vats. Rolf looked around for a cupboard, but none were apparent. He fell, and crawled towards the roast smell. With his last reserve of strength, Rolf pulled open the oven and climbed in, howling with pain. He shut the door and let unconsciousness steal him away, just as a cook poked his head into the room to investigate the screams.

Twenty minutes later, just before the first course, one last scream came from the kitchen. A hundred of the world's top scientific thinkers, many of whom had scorned a small group of biologists working out of Huda, Newton province ten years ago, started to shriek in agony. After an hour of torture more intense than anything Rolf Turnbach ever suffered, each of them was dead. The Black Street public office never released an official explanation.


07-08-2003, 13:31:48
"This is not an exit, but from then on you are free to go wherever your imagination takes you!” He said somewhat enthusiastically as he pressed his hand against the young man’s forehead and gently pushed him down against the table. Two other men stood next to him. One finished lashing the final straps, while the other began the injection.

Before that, I wasn’t that interested in the whole thing. My life up to that point had been fairly uneventful, unless you count losing your job, your family, and all your possessions eventful. I didn’t. Once something like that happens, you become kind of jaded toward everything else. You just kind of drift through life letting it pull you where it may. The drugs didn’t hurt much either.

But this had caught my attention. Yes, I remember being quite riveted to the whole scene. The young man’s body didn’t move for about five minutes. Listless, it lay there. My eyes darted across his chest looking for some kind of breathing. We’re not supposed to die like that, I had thought. Suddenly, the young man’s skin became brighter. It began to glow. Or so I thought. I rubbed my eyes and looked more carefully. It was shiny, and it was moist. His entire body had developed an encompassing sheen of sweat. Not little beads, but a thin sticky layer of goo. Then the tremors began. Slowly his arms began twitching rhythmically. Then the torso and legs followed. With each passing second, the shakes became more and more violent. His restraints began to strain under the pressure. He let out a couple of moans and screams. We could all clearly hear the snaps at this point. Most small, but occasionally there was a big one. Bones breaking under the pressure of spasming muscles.

I was already familiar with the tremors before I witnessed this scene. We all were. None of us would have been here, if it wasn’t for the Taste. Of course, it wasn’t so bad as the real thing. Mine seemed quite mild at the time. I barely noticed them. This scene was quite contrary to what I was expecting at the time. However, I should have known better. The man standing behind me joined at the same time I did. He seemed quite healthy and fit. That is for the type of person that usually does this sort of thing. But when he walked in today, there was a noticeable limp. I still wouldn’t have guessed that it was his Taste. Accidents were prone in our lifestyles.

Finally, the tremors subsided and the young man’s eyes opened. There was a small smile on his face. Quickly the men standing beside him removed his straps and lifted his mangled body to a nearby chair. They placed a small rusted knife in his remaining good hand. The young man brought the knife to his face and lazily inspected it. There was no shine on this blade. Caked with blood and rust it reflected no light. Yet, the man held it up to the light as if it did. Satisfied, he placed the blade to his throat and began to cut. About a third of the way through, he stopped. I’ve watched quite a few of these since this night. They never finished. No one ever finished. Another man standing beside him grabbed the handle of the blade pushed it all the way through.

As the body was being removed, someone tapped me on my shoulder. It was my turn. I slowly walked to table and sat down. I seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course, my judgement was never that good during those days. It’s much easier to see things from this perspective now. I sat up on the table and watched them strap my legs down. “Are you ready?” He introduced me to all of this. He convinced me that it was the true way. The best way. I don’t know why I trusted him then. I don’t know why I still do. He placed his hand against my forehead.

"Remember, this is not an exit, but from then on you are free to go wherever your imagination takes you!”

07-08-2003, 13:33:53
This is not an exit! “Ceci n’est pas un sortie!”. Herbert was feeling irritated. The painting clearly showed a door with a big exit sign over it and still the title tried to tell him it wasn’t an exit. He kept on looking at the painting, trying to find a hidden meaning or a clue to why it was NOT an exit. “Damn artists with their fancy humour!” he thought, “or even better, francy humour”. He smiled at his own creativity, brought forth by this decadent French painting. Still he kept gazing at the painting, as it were one of those dotted pictures you had to look into to see some cool three dimensional picture. Herbert strongly suspected those to be a hoax, just some stupid coloured dots. Slowly he let his gaze wander to the door on his right. He rested his eyes on the exit sign above it. “That’s probably not an exit either.” he thought grimly. He looked back at the painting, than back at the door, and back at the painting again. Slowly, very slowly something dawned on him. His heartbeat went faster as he tried to grasp the meaning he was looking for, but just when he thought he had it, it slipped away faster than it came.
“Stupid ass French painting” he grumbled. Herbert shrugged, turned around and decided to get out of there. He was going to treat himself to a large Big Mac menu, with an extra large portion of freedom fries.

(btw, writing in english sux)

09-08-2003, 03:37:29
“This is not an exit” she said, reading the sign I was holding. “Blocked from the other side.” She finished. “I don’t get it” she added brightly.

“What’s not to get?” I replied, opening the door. Looking through the open door, I could see it was a water closet. *Nope, they will definitely notice that missing.* I thought to myself.

“How’s that going to help us kill the king?” she whined at me.

*Why did I agree to help such a whiny brainless worrying twit?* I asked myself. *Oh yeah, Ralph the 3rd had pissed me off, and she was actually pretty cute. And very, very fun when she wasn’t being a whiny brainless worrying twit.*

I rolled my eyes at her. “What’s the plan?” I replied.

“To infiltrate the Duchess’s renovated summer cottage, to find a place to hide, and to kill him and the Duchess after they just finished a steamy night together.”

“Good girl. And so far, we’ve done what?”

“Well, we’re in the main bedroom of the summer cottage…”


“So, we are looking for somewhere to hide?”

“Right. And this is going to help.” I opened another room, and was startled. Looks like a very clean and bright torture chamber. These people really were sick! Humm… maybe we should hide off it? But I didn’t want to sit in a cell all night, and someone might notice that… I closed that door and moved on to the next.

“But how is that going to help?” she whined.

*If she’s going to whine at me all night, maybe I should gag her. Or put her to sleep for a while? But she wants to be the one to kill the King.*

“Just be patient. I’ll explain it to you later.”

Opening another door, I saw costumes. Lots and lots of costumes. Bunny girls and boys, superman and superwoman costumes, batman and robin costumes, cheerleader outfits (for men and women), giant diapers and giant pacifiers… a very long wardrobe filled with costumes. I sighed and closed the door. Another storage area of play things. The Duchess would notice that if it was gone. I closed the door and moved on.

It took another 4 doors to find a wardrobe that held a small collection of odd gear. Some rusty chain mail, a couple of knapsacks, a couple of backpacks, a couple of pouch bags whose glow immediately identified them to my eyes as magical (probably ever-full and never-full/never-heavy). Looking about, I decided this would be the place. One of the small sword hilts on the wall glowed lightly, and I knew its glow was visible to even to her eyes.

*Perfect. No need for any out of place light then.* I thought.

“This one. Get in, and don’t touch anything until I tell you it’s safe.”

“Yes sir.” She whined.

I took the “This is not an exit. Blocked from the other side.” sign and stuck it on the door to the small wardrobe room. The sign started to glow, very lightly. I watched as it executed its magic, and smiled to myself when it was done. *Yes, that will do nicely.*

I stepped into the small wardrobe, and pulled the door shut.

“STOP THAT!” I yelled at her. She was starting to pull the glowing short sword from its scabbard. To make sure she understood, I punched her, HARD. I don’t have the strength to chop down the great stone trees by thumping them barehanded, unlike some people. Heck, I’d have trouble carrying my adventuring gear in my backpack, if it wasn’t for the never-heavy enchantment on it. But I did catch her with enough force to make her stagger away from the sword.

“WHAT DID YOU DO THAT FOR!” she yelled back at me.



“I told you, I’m Baptist.”


“I told you, I’m Baptist.”


“So, the ‘jew boy’ is one of your other fun time partners.”

“Oh.” She said, ever the bright one. “Still…”

“You know, I can just leave you here. Pop over to visit the King, and explain to him about who was plotting against him. Hell, if I tell the Duchess, she’d give me a pouch full of rubies, maybe a nice reward like an ever stirring pestle, and a spot in her court…”

“No please! I didn’t mean it!”

“Of course you did.”

“Well, okay, but I’m sorry.” She took a deep breathe, and arched her back, to better make some of her other assets stand out. “I’ll do anything to make it up to you.” She said, huskily at me. I stared at her for a few seconds. She was perfect, of course. No magic glow peeking through her fae dress, showing she used magics to look that way. Just the fae’s magics of the dress itself.

*Maybe I should stone her, and put her up as a statue in my private den.* I thought to myself, again.

“Alright,” I finally answered her. “But you will do everything to make it up to me.”

Her perfect, worried, poutty frown, turned into a perfect, impish, sultry smile, promising the rewards of heaven itself. *Well, not Heaven’s rewards.* I thought with a chuckle to myself at that old joke.

She started stripping. “I still don’t see what the big deal was. I just wanted to see it.”

“Wait a second, my ivory succubus.” I told her. She paused getting undressed and looked at me confused.

“You want me to stay dressed?”

“What? No. I mean, whatever you want. We do have some time until the Duchess and the King get here. I was going to make that sword safe for you to look at.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I can’t have it telling on us afterward.”

“Huh?” she replied brightly. She really is that brilliant sometimes. “What does it matter who finds about it afterward?”

“Don’t be silly. You will want them guessing how it happened. If they know it was me that helped you, they won’t have to worry about it being Jack or Chale or George or Sven or Dirk or Roland. Or all of us. Heck, most in the Royal Castle don’t even remember I’m still alive.”

“I thought you said that crusty bunch didn’t know you!” she said, with a hint of panic.

“I said that most would not recognize me if they saw me. And that’s true. There are a few that have met me, some time again. They might remember… but I doubt it.”

I looked through my spell pouches, checking my inventory. It should be here somewhere… AH!

I grinned, and my perfect alabaster skinned partner smiled at me, and started getting undressed again. *Some people…* I thought to myself, and chucked.

I pulled the Maiden’s Handkerchief from its pouch, noting which pouch it was in. It was a rare, magical handkerchief, woven from the sheddible bits of Unicorn. I wrapped the short sword’s hilt in the handkerchief. That cause the light in the closet to dim. I could hear the sword sigh in happiness. *It’s been a long time…* it started to say, and then stopped.

*Must be confused why we are here.* I thought to myself.

“Has it been that long, oh ray of light forged into steel, that you have been allowed to nap on these walls?” I asked the sword. I could see my companion pause, having completed her undressing, and roll her eyes at me.

I could feel the sword thrill at being addressed. At being remembered. *YES!* it replied.

“Well, do not worry. Go back to sleep for but a small amount of moments, and {say nothing about me and my companion sharing your bedroom this time} and your chosen friend will carry you once again, in adventure.” I replied, and commanded, back to the sword.


“True, if conditions are met.”

The sword then started crooning an old song, quietly and happily to itself.

My friend’s eyebrows tried to shoot off her head. “Is it making noises?”

“It’s an intelligent sword. Had you drawn it, it would have {warned} its {owner} that someone was trying to steal it. And it would then have tried to kill you, by use of {Shining Supernova}, if I remember correctly.” I answered her. I pulled the sword from its scabbard, sitting down on the floor, next to her. I started to clean the sword with the Maiden’s Handkerchief. It continued to croon happily.

“What is Shining Supernova?” she asked me, and touched the sword. It {shocked} her, and stopped singing.

*I do not like her. Warn her to stay away, or I will damage her.* it told me.

09-08-2003, 03:41:05
I glared at her. “It doesn’t like you. That’s the only warning it is going to give you. Try that again, and it will kill you.”

She shook her perfect, and shocked, hand, and looked at me. “It’s not as pretty as I thought it was” she sniffed.

I continued to make sure the sword would be ready for its partner when next it was pulled, checking on its enchantments, and its edge. My companion tried to get my attention several times, doing very interesting things. I winked at her, to let her know I did appreciate it. Finally, I put the glowing, crooning short sword back into its scabbard.

“That floor must be cold. Everytime you get off your dress, you get goosebumps. Here, I bet I can find us a nice sleeping pallet of Ever Warm somewhere in here…”

“Why, you bastard! You’ve let me sit on this cold stone all this time?”

“Why do you think I choose this closet?” I asked, pulling a chilled bottle of champagne from a {Chilling Pale Of Every Bottle} I had spotted on a shelf while attending to the sword.

She looked at the champagne and said, “Glasses?”

I looked around again, then shrugged.

“How barbaric!” she replied, and I grinned.

* * * * *

I stroked her perfect ass, running my hand over the only imperfection on her, a birthmark, smaller then my thumbnail, in the shape of crown. I was enjoying the look of her, and the feel of her, cuddled up against me. Her eyes were closed, but she was quietly humming the song the sword had been singing earlier. She opened her eyes and looked at me. “You really should come visit me.” She replied.

*That again.* I thought, and rolled my eyes.

“Really. I could show you around, and keep you entertained, in style. Really.”

*Does saying really twice make it magic?*

“Thanks for the invite. I’ll think about it.”

“Why not? You’ve never come to visit me at my home. And you don’t let me come visit you… we always have to meet somewhere else!”

*Oh, damn, this again.*

“Now is not the time.”

“Why not?”

“Because if you get loud, they might here us.”

She looked at me, stunned. “I was just loud not half an hour ago! And an hour ago, I was very loud, and so were you! Quit---“

She couldn’t say anything else. Oh, her mouth worked, but no words were coming out. I had worked a {Silence Person} on her when she started raising her voice. It didn’t stop her from hitting me though. OUCH!

“Stop.” I told her. “They are in the bedroom now…”

She punched me a few more times. OUCH! OUCH!

“{Hold thyself}.” I commanded, and she froze instantly.

“Shut up and listen.” I whispered. “They are in the bedroom.”

Now, the odd spoken words and noise of their personal play could be heard.

Motioning her to be quiet again, I released her from both spells.

She melted back against me. “I’m sorry. When did they get here?” she whispered back to me.

“About an hour ago.”

She looked at me. “Why didn’t they hear US?” she whispered, excitement raising her whisper too loudly for my nerves.

“Quiet! You want them to hear us?” I hissed at her sharply.

“Sorry” she said sheepishly. “Well?”

“Because we were under a {Cone of Silence} then. It just ran out about 5 minutes ago. Now, get dressed and make yourself ready.”

“If I make myself ready, I cannot be dressed!” she told me, kissing my nose.

“Humph.” *Well, she’s still happy, I see.* I thought to myself. *I wonder if a happy woman fights better then an unhappy one?*

* * * * *

*Damn!* I thought to myself. *Just how horny can two people be? Why hasn’t that bed broken yet?*

I looked over at my friend. She had that vacant look in her perfect violet eyes that told me her attention was elsewhere.

*Damn it! Hurry up and finish, you rutting bastards!* I thought again. I was bored, damn it! And one of us had to pay attention to what they were doing. And since I had to maintain our {Enshadowed} spell, which would disguise us from the King and the Duchess, which meant I had to pay attention to here, leaving her time to wander off, mentally. The {Enshadowed} spell would help keep them guessing for a few seconds more about who and what we are. Hopefully, we can keep them totally surprised and so off balance, they’ll be dead before they can do anything.

I checked the dart, making sure the venom was still on it. The King was immune to both the simple {Hold Person} and the stronger {Greater Hold Person}. However, he was not immune to this venom. I hadn’t expected the King to be any real problem though.

The Duchess, however… she was a most accomplished warrior, who had dabbled in assassination. Naked, she was still going to be serious trouble. From what I knew of her, I expected she had a few daggers or other small weapons nearby. It would be fitting, certainly. Was she vulnerable to {Greater Hold Person}? I wondered.

I decided to rearrange a couple of items into my ready pouches, ready to be summoned instantly into my hands. Yes, it would not matter if she had gotten into the Order of the Phoenix or the Order of the Unicorn, neither had protections from me. I smiled.

Finally, the snores of both the King and the Duchess could be heard. I signaled my companion to get ready.

“Remember, you attack the Duchess.” I told her. “Once I’m done paralyzing the King, I’ll come by to help you with her.”

She nodded at me. “Remember,” she told me, “I get to give Ralph the killing blow.”

We stood up, very quietly. I checked everything again.

“Ready?” she asked me quietly. I nodded.

She opened the door, and we charged through into the main bedroom.

09-08-2003, 03:43:02
Running through the door, I could see that the King had just sat up in the bed. “Hey Ducky…” he had started to say. At the sound of the closet’s door being slammed against the wall, he looked over at us. I stopped charging, and threw my dart. It smacked him in the inner corner of his right eye.

*SHIT!* I hoped I hadn’t just killed him. *That would screw everything up!*

I saw the King fall over in bed. Ah. If he’d died, he’d done more then just fall over in bed. Instead of summoning what I needed to teleport out, I summoned up my spell component for the Duchess.

Turning to face the Duchess, I could see she had already beaten my companion. The Duchess had already taken her scepter away. The Duchess had her pinned down, and was currently pummeling that perfect face with that scepter. Sigh. How did I know? I could already see the beginnings of perfect bruises rising on her face.

“Ducky!” I yelled at the Duchess, and smiled evilly. Not that she could see my face under the Enshadowing spell, but still, style was style.

“How dare you!” She screamed at me. “I’ll beat your ass after I finish pummeling your little bitch into a blood pudding.” She smiled, and smacked that perfect face again with the scepter. “Run now while you have the chance, scum, for you have angered---“

“{Drop-sies!}” I intoned. The magic sprung from my hand. The translucent, prismatic ball streamlined into a glittering teardrop as it shot towards the Duchess. It hit her, and merged into her. She immediately dropped the scepter, and at the same time lost her hold on my well bruised friend.

*SUCCESS!* I thought.

My friend hit the Duchess hard in the face. I pulled out my Vorpal knife, and charged.

The Duchess tried to grab my friend again, but couldn’t hold her. The Duchess finally gave up trying to hold something, and just started hitting open handed.

*Yikes! She’s about dead already!* I thought, seeing the sad state my friend was in. The Duchess was doing a good job of turning her into a pudding of blood. A *perfect* pudding of blood, of course.

I was close enough to the Duchess to grab her, now. *She’s gone beserk.* I noted to myself.

I grabbed the Duchess by her hair, jerking her head upward, and sliced at her with my Vorpal knife. It went “Snicker-snack”, and the Duchess’s head was no longer tethered to her body. I tossed her head aside, and commanded my Vorpal knife to return to its holder.

I grabbed my companion, and tossed her onto the bed, even as the Duchess’s body rapidly rotted, turned into dust, and blew away. I rolled my friend onto her stomach, threw her perfectly ripped and battered dress up, and pulled her undergarments down to her ankles.

“What? Now?” she asked, sliding her legs further apart.

“Later! I promise!” I told her, tickling what she offered.

“Huh?” she brightly said, as always.

I rolled the King over, and frantically pulled the covers off him. I was scanning the King.

I could hear noises and shouting drifting through the windows to the garden outside. *Damn, that was fast. They know something is up.* I thought.

*AHA! There it is!*

I teleported my Vorpal knife back into my hand, and cut away a large birthmark on the King’s chest. I pushed the King off the bed. His vacant eyes told me he had already checked out. Only his body didn’t know it, thanks to the poison.

I slapped that bloody birthmark over my friend’s perfect and perfectly bruised behind, trying to get the birthmarks lined up. “STOP MOVING!” I yelled at her.



*AHA!* Aligned!

“{Juxtapose!}” I commanded. There was a large flash of prismatic light, and a royal purple after glow. Looking down, I could see the small mark on the piece of skin I’d removed from the King. Tossing it aside, I could see the large Royal Crown now on her bottom. I grinned, grabbing her up against me.

The outer door to the bedroom burst open. But they were too late!

I commanded her scepter to me. *No clues for you!* I thought to myself.

A couple of crossbow bolts wizzed by me. Obviously, the Enshadow spell was making it difficult to tell me from the other shadows. *Too late, suckers!*

Grabbing up my perfectly beaten friend, I intoned “{Hacker’s Bouncing Retreat}”. Space twisted around us, as we rapidly teleported. And then space twisted again. And again. And again. We bounced like that for over 3224 times, into and out of The Worlds.

I took that time to find one of the healing balms I had in my inventory, and rub it over my friend. The healing balm did its work, chasing away her perfect bruises. She looked at me.

“Is it time now then?” she asked, wiggling suggestively at me.

“Well, alright. But you are getting almost as bad as Ducky.” I answered her.

She pouted at me. “Well, if you aren’t in the mood. I just thought you’d like to celebrate…” she whined.

“Certainly. Just as soon as we stop bouncing away. You worked very hard for that dress, you don’t want to loose it somewhere, do you?”

She stopped taking it off. “Lose it?”

“Of course. If you drop it now, it will get lost behind us, somewhere on one of the Worlds. Just like you might, if you let go of me.” I said, wickedly.

She locked her legs around me. “Then I just won’t let go. But tell me, my wondrous wizard… Am I really Queen now?”

I nodded at her. “Yes. You have the Crown of Jhucadia now.”

She looked around. “I do? Did I drop it? I didn’t see the crown…”

“Silly, that’s just show for the peasants. This is the Crown of Jhucadia.” I slid my hand under her, and squeezed the large birthmark.

She grinned perfectly mischievous at me. “If you can reach that, my subject, then I have something else for you to do.”

*Goodness! She really was just as bad as Ducky tonight. I wonder if they are related?* I thought. *And she could be a very, very fun whiny brainless worrying twit.* I smiled. *And she apparently wants to be very, very fun right now. And we did have quite a few teleports left. Ok, what the hell.* I thought, grinning to myself. *Neither of us has anything more important to do for a while.*

10-08-2003, 17:41:17
My humble offering ... right up against the deadline as usual.


THIS IS NOT AN EXIT. The words were picked out in blinking yellow lights just visible through the marble of raindrops covering the screen. Adams jammed the heel of his palm into the metal door out of frustration, the hollow mockery of the echo bounced off the walls before being released into the night air through holes in the roof.

He raised his collar to protect himself from the chill and turned to slump onto the floor with his back to the door. He winced as he shifted his broken left arm into a more comfortable position. Cradling it, limp and useless, against his chest. The improvised bandages on his right knee were torn, saturated with blood and wet with mud and grease. It wasn’t pretty, but private detectives were never noted for their medical skills and Adams was no exception. Besides, there was no point in trying to fix it now.

Exhausted, he felt in his pockets for the pack of now sodden cigarettes he had bought that morning. It’s funny the way things work out, he thought. I promised myself that they’d be the last pack I would buy, I never expected to have the will-power to stick to it, but now ….. Yeah, it’s funny the way things work out.

The paper of the cigarette was already beginning to disintegrate as his lighter flared into life and lit the tip. Two drags, maybe three, were all he’d be able to manage before the damn thing fell apart, but it was better than nothing.

A dance among the shadows grabbed his attention and the air became frozen. The wind and rain seemed to stop and for an instant he was only aware of the curling smoke of his cigarette and the distant sound of footsteps. He instinctively reached inside his mud-stained coat, but his fingers went limp when they met the smooth, worn leather of his empty gun holster. A weary smile played across his lips and he laughed weakly.

“Something amusing you, Adams?” The chill tone of the voice he had been expecting came sharply to Adams’ ears as it cut through the air.

“I was just thinking,” he replied as he watched the silhouette approach him, a deeper shade of black amongst the darkness, “how nice it would have been to stay in bed this morning.”

Somehow he knew that his adversary was smiling. “Perhaps, but then you would have missed all the excitement.” Came the voice again, its coldness brushing Adams’ cheek as its owner knelt in front of him. “And isn’t it so much more satisfying this way?”

“For you, maybe.” Sneered Adams.

“For you as well I think.” Said his adversary in a voice as sharp as ice, “The thrill of the hunt, the hot exhaustion and fiery adrenaline of the chase. It’s what you lived for.”

The sound of a gun being drawn in the darkness.

“And what I’ll die for too … but I think I know where I went wrong … I came close … I almost got you.”

The cold touch of metal on skin.

“Oh, I’m afraid not.” He said, and as the first flickers of defiance began to spread across Adams’ face he pulled the trigger.

Scabrous Birdseed
10-08-2003, 20:01:45
This is not an exit. Not an escape.

He is just tormenting himself. His status makes him special, not an outsider. He hasn’t actually heard the whisperings, the talking behind his gown. He has no proof. He thinks himself paranoid.

I’m Paranoid.

Of course they are bound to not want attachment. He reminisces of the conversation he had with Eva the night before. He remembers the arc of her shoulder, how it changed supply as her head was turned away. She had seemed ashamed. Ashamed!

I’m Paranoid.

The shoulder. He’d always liked her shoulder. Not love- he can’t love, is not allowed to love. He sets himself that limit. And he knows he will never be loved back. Ashamed! No one thinks him lesser. He is certain. He is not sure why he feels the need to repeat that thought. It is an urge.


He wonders if doubts are part of his status. Perhaps, he thinks, the others are jealous. After all, his is a greater lot. But he is certain they could never be that. He’s not noticed it in any of them. Is he an outsider seeking closure? Ashamed!


Perhaps, he thinks, this is a response to wisdom. His status set up impeccably, refined for this experience to occur. The thought gives him reassurance. If he accepts or denies it his desire is just as hot. Wisdom!

I’ve chosen not to indulge my thought.

He is certain.

I’ve repeated it again!

He looks up. Close, now. He drifts away to Eva’s shoulder again. The shaming bone. The graceful blade. He adds bad poetry to his list of impurity. They never told him whether it mattered. For a moment he doubts. Both ways his desire is just as hot. If he was not strapped down he could have reached out and touch it.

I want.

In the last second he wavers even from that. He wants to go back to the beginning. He laughs inwardly. Child! Then it comes.


It will be recorded he did not struggle.