A Bridge to Nowhere

This last short story of the year was inspired by this picture:

I shuddered in the cold air. Was this really the place? Her text had said to meet her here. What was I doing here anyway? Going to some unfamiliar place with a girl I’d meet at the bar one night and exchanged a few words with wasn’t really a smart idea. That’s the kind of stuff that got you killed in this country. I touched the railing and brushed off some snow that fell into the water and promptly vanished. My phone buzzed again, this time it was another text from her that simply read “I’m on the other side of the bridge, come meet me there!”

So I began walking and I kept walking. All around me was water and snow, the sounds were muted in the foggy air and about an hour later, I couldn’t even see the shore behind me, all I could see was the bridge behind me and in front of me and the water all around. The water wasn’t moving that much, the air occasionally blew a blast of air that felt like it was from the arctic.

About another half hour later, I got annoyed, how long was this damn bridge anyway? I pulled out my phone to text her, only to discover that it had no service. Suddenly, the feeling of impending doom swept over me and my whole body told me to run run run and never stop running. But I stopped, knowing that such reactions could kill you, I wasn’t gonna give into panic, I was fine, I wasn’t dead, hurt or bleeding, I was fine.

I decided to turn back, but after another two hours, the cold had really begun to seep into my clothes and my hands were getting numb, but there was no shore to greet me, just more bridge in front of me. I stopped to catch my breath since I’d been walking at a brisk pace for the last thirty minutes and that’s when I noticed something about the water. It was absolutely still… like a mirror. I looked down at it and saw my own reflection in the murky depths of it.

Water shouldn’t be this still should it? What was happening here? Where was I? On some strange impulse, I got out a coin that I’d gotten as change earlier that day and threw it into the water. It hit the surface which didn’t really produce the kind of rings you’d expect it to. The water just.. sort of .. rolled slowly and settled again quickly. Was it even water?

The light of the day was fading rapidly as I redoubled my efforts to get back to the shore again. As I walked I pulled out my phone which still showed no service, now that message chilled me more than the cold weather around me. I stopped after a while and turned around, suddenly unsure of where I was. Had I really turned around or was I walking in the same direction as before?

The footsteps in the snow behind me were proof enough, but when I turned around again towards the direction I’d thought I’d come from, I realized that there were no footsteps leading back! I sat down heavily as darkness kept falling faster now. What was this place?

I was exhausted by this point, there was no end to this space, there was just the endless walk, one that I was giving up on. In my despair and fear, I drifted off in the cold until the darkness came to claim me.

A boot at my back, ow… I got up, pinpricks everywhere on my body, what?

“Hey you! No sleeping on the bridge!” a stern male voice said.

I saw a policeman standing over me, I scrambled up and saw the shore behind him and the buildings of the harbor. I stared at him for a while and then looked out towards the sea where the bridge was still stretching out towards the horizon.

“Don’t go out there, it never ends” I told him as I walked past him, back to civilization.

A few days later, I got another text reading “Why didn’t you meet me? You were almost there!”

When I tried calling her number, all that I could hear as someone answered was the familiar sounds of the cold wind blowing.

Unknown Future

I was finally done with my construction of the machine. It’d taken a grueling two weeks to put together after I’d had a dream about it. Ever had a dream inspire you to do something you normally wouldn’t? Well, this was the same except I’d been studying quantum physics for a few months in preparation for a mid term and now.. it seemed, all that was just irrelevant considering the discovery I’d made. Time itself, just focused the right way ..would bend in on itself. All I needed was some cables, some lenses and positioning grips to focus it just so and it’d be done. I marvelled at the simplicity of it, why hadn’t anyone else thought of this before?

I was nervous though when I turned on the machine and time started to fold in on itself. If ANYTHING were to rustle the delicate machine when I went through, it’d be a total disaster. I’d probably die in horrible agony, like in that movie The Fly. So after a tense moment of trying to decide to go or to not go, I turned it off and then spent two more days just trying to psych myself up for it. On the third night, I woke up at 4am, bathing in my own sweat, nightmare after nightmare about the same damn thing.

That fucking machine. I’d built it, but I was too afraid to use it.

I COULD SEE MY FUTURE. But I was too afraid!

Then I got really angry, at myself, at my stupidity, at this whole stupid thing. Here I had the chance of a lifetime and I wasn’t going to waste it. I resolutely marched down from the upper floor and into my living room where it was still positioned. I grunted, turned on the machine and before I knew it, I was standing in a brightly lit mall.

Ah, of course, I’d been an idiot for thinking the world would just stop just because I travelled in time. My house was apparently gone along with my neighbourhood. I walked around for a bit, staring wide eyed at all the amazing new tech and it took me a while to realize that people were staring back at me as well.

It was at that point that I became very aware that I was in my PJs and still holding my wrench I’d used to tune the last mirror. So I snuck into some of the back streets outside of the mall and tried to compose myself. “A library” I thought to myself, “I’ve got to find a library.”

After wandering around for a few hours, I was nowhere closer to finding one, all the street signs had strange graphics on them. I assumed it was some new kind of technology I couldn’t decipher. Probably something like the old barcode or QR code system. After a while of aimless searching, I finally mustered up enough courage and walked up to a plain looking woman and asked her “Hey, I’m sorry to intrude, but would you know where the nearest library is?”

She looked puzzled for a moment, then smiled and said “Library? I’ve heard of those, aren’t they like the old museums used to be? I think we had a library once, but it’s been closed for ages. Are you feeling alright?”

The last question took me by surprise and I just shrugged and said “Yeah, I’m just a bit.. disoriented, I think I bumped my head.”

She looked concerned and replied: “Well, your PJs look really weird in the streets you know. Do you remember your name? Where do you live?”

I fibbed a bit when I answered “Yeah, it’s kind of odd, I don’t remember how I got here, but I know I used to live around here. I just can’t remember how I got here”

The woman took me by the arm and said “Mind if we head over to my place? It’s not far, I’m a federal nurse and I think you might be experiencing the aftereffects of a severe concussion.”

I just nodded feebly, feeling very out of place. We walked over to her place which truthfully wasn’t very far. One street down and she was opening her door and letting me inside.

Once inside, she told me to sit down on a chair while she got some things. She came back with a thing that looked like a tennis racket, she hovered it around my head, made some noises to herself and then looked me straight in the eyes.

“Who are you really? These readings don’t make ANY sense whatsoever. Your gene makeup is totally wrong, you’re missing so many markers that are usually present. Care to explain yourself?”

She stared daggers at me and I cracked and told her the truth. That I’d been travelling through time, that I was lost and that I was only trying to get a sneak peek of my future self. I told her my name and after some deliberation on her end, she told me hers: Kee.

“You know” she started, looking ponderous “If it hadn’t been for these genes, which you can’t really fake, I would have assumed you were delusional. OK, let’s find out what really happened to your future you then. I’m curious as well.”

She walked over to the wall and made some gestures and it lit up. She then made some cryptic comments which made lists show up on the screen. Not much of it made sense to me. After a while, she paused and looked at me and said “Oh, right! You’re from the past, you probably can’t read any of this without a blip can you?”

I shook my head and told her that it looked like total gibberish.

She laughed and said “Well, I can set you up with a temporary headset that we use for kids, it’ll be kind of uncomfortable, but you’ll be able to search yourself. “

And after a while, she came back with the headset and placed it on my head, suddenly I could see the screen, but also feel it. Then I realized I was the screen and I remembered that I wanted to find out who I was. I projected all of the information about myself that I knew into my tendrils and I started searching outward from the house I was in. All I felt was cold as I expanded further out. After a while, I looked at her and said “Is it supposed to be cold like this?”

She replied “Yes, cold means that there’s no information it can find, try looking around until you feel warmer. You’re really good at this, it’s like you’re a natural at it, keep going! I’ll be in the other room if you need me, I have some work to finish up.” she beamed me a smile and left the room.

And the hours passed, the cold remained and then after a while, she came back and asked me if I wanted something to eat. I realized that most the day had passed with me in front of the screen, trying to find something, anything about who I was in the future. I sighed, took off the headset and joined her in the kitchen.

The kitchen was unlike anything I’d ever seen, she was touching panels and making gestures and suddenly a beautiful melodic tone chimed from a box. She opened the box, drew in a deep breath and smiled as she said “Oh, I haven’t had this in a while, did you have Sushi back in your time?”

At the word Sushi, my stomach made a happy little jump of joy and I grinned and said that I loved the stuff.

So after a while, we sat at the table and had ourselves a nice dinner together. The sushi was markedly different from what I was used to. Strange meats and even stranger spices. As we both ate, we discussed the differences in her and my time. I told her about the California Maki roll and she was amazed at it and promised to make it at a later time. Then she told me about the Cyprenza Lemfo I was eating and how it was created with a very specific method of culvating a specific strain of bacterially contaminated mushrooms in ultra high gravity tanks.

After the dinner was over, I thanked her for a delicious meal and said “I’m really sorry to impose on you like this, but would it be OK if I went back into the other room to try and find out where I am now? Maybe the future me can send old me back home again.”

She smiled a strange smile and said “Oh, it’s no bother at all, just take your time.”

And so I kept at it for the remainder of the day and found nothing, the further out I searched, the colder I got. Not even an iota of warmth crept into my tendrils as I scoured the networks for any mention of me, any family I had, anything at all.

When I finally almost ripped off the headset in frustration, the sunlight had faded and a subtle brown glow in the edges of the room told me that the lights had turned themselves on everywhere.

I walked into the other room to talk to her and that’s when I saw her slumped on the side in the sofa. She was snoring very loudly and was clearly asleep. As I was looking at her, I felt a strange sense of shame, that I’d roped some stranger into this stupid search of mine. I was angry at myself, I’d taken a dumb risk and paid the price for it. And here I was, mooching off someone elses life.

I really had no right, I was a temporal anomaly and I was just making this persons life more complicated. So I snuck out, thankfully the door reacted to me when I approached and unsealed itself with a slight hiss. I stepped into the moonlit street and briskly walked down past the rows of houses, all wonderfully lit. I was in total despair and feeling more lost than I’d ever been in my entire life.

I didn’t have a future, I’d somehow disappeared the moment I left which could only mean one thing, I would never get back from this future. I was lost in time, I had no family left, no kids, no history, I was unmade. As I strode down the street, feeling ever more dejected and alone, I came upon a bridge crossing a pretty big river and that’s when it hit me. That’s how it was going to end wasn’t it?

I strode up to the edge of the bridge and looked down. The river was furious and shimmering in the light. It’d probably be quick, if the impact in the water didn’t kill me, I’d probably drown quickly enough. “Alright” I thought to myself, steeling my nerves “This is it, I hope I can at least do this one thing right.”

“WAIT! NO!” I heard a voice behind me scream in abject horror, I turned around and I was surprised to find Kee standing behind me. She looked tired and afraid. “Please, I know you’re feeling alone and lost, but there IS a better way!” she frantically blurted out.

“But I have no future, NO FUTURE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS?!” I yelled back at her. “I don’t get to live, I don’t get to ever come back there, my future ended the second I stepped through that damn portal I made!”

There was a deafening silence where we just stared at each other, both in total despair, time as it were, seemed to have stopped. But after a while, she slowly sank to her knees and broke down crying, between sobs she pleaded with me, no begged me to step down from the side of the bridge, it didn’t have to be this way she said, it wouldn’t be fair, as the rest of it was drowned in her tears I realized that this adventure would have quite a different ending. When I held her in her arms and promised I’d stay, we both knew that the future really wasn’t anything to think about, because the present is all that mattered.

* * * * * *

A couple of months later, I had mostly adjusted to the future, it wasn’t so different after all. People were still people, technology was still just there. As I turned on the new time machine, now made with vastly superior parts than my old one, I smiled and turned to Kee.

“Are you sure this’ll work? I mean, I basically inverted the design that I dreamt, but I have no idea if it’ll be viable.” I said to her.

Kee smiled and replied “It’ll be fine” and then we stepped through the portal.


As I looked at myself sleeping in the bed, I grinned like a kid that’s taking a sneak peek at their Christmas presents on the night before. This was going to be great.

The Best Kind Of Happiness

It’d been a shit morning so far. I’d had a rotten night’s sleep with vague dreams that were trying convey some message that I didn’t understand. Breakfast didn’t sit right with me, my stomach wasn’t really cooperating despite my implants trying their best to regulate it. I was sitting on my bunk, feeling the depressing weight of the attack corvette around me and thought about the black inky void peppered by stars outside.

My guts churned again, oh Lord, not more cramps.. please.. my breasts felt heavy and my nipples were sore and somehow itching at the same time. I dry heaved, oh no, this was going to be a horrible day. After a while, the implants managed to regulate some of it, giving me back at least a semblance of self control. But my mind was already going into the dark places, I could feel it, I could feel everything blacken around me.

And why not? The universe was such an ugly place after all, such a dark and unforgiving thing that was filled with horrors that you could almost not imagine. I sighed deeply and hung my head down, letting my hair obscure my vision, I hated the world and everything in it. My body ached, no.. my entire being ached, body and soul. I tried to meditate a bit on the nature of the soul, but it just wasn’t happening. It all felt so gray and pointless. The world was always going to be like this, nothing was ever going to change. Why were we out here in space anyway? What was the point of anything?

A noise alerted me to someone standing in the doorway of my quarters. I looked up, wondering who was unkind enough to disturb me in my misery. I probably looked pretty haggard since the CO was smiling at me in a compassionate way.

“We’ve found another base that wasn’t accounted for.” he said with a level tone of voice.

I got up on my feet and saluted him “Sir, yes sir! Ready to deploy on your word!” I really was struggling to feel the enthusiasm. Hell, I was struggling to feel anything that wasn’t the inky void of depression.

“Move out!” he said and nodded and headed down the hallway.

I sighed and got dressed and headed to the launch bay where my Mark 14 suit was located. The techs were preparing it already. I gave them the sign of the higher order as per custom and they all smiled as they returned it. I was placed inside the suit; the canopy above me was lowered into place as the systems adjusted to my body, integrating me with it.

“Sigma Sigma Thirteen Echo Test” I said mechanically, suddenly become aware again of the massive amount of cold metal around me, this time not of the ship, but of my trusted combat suit.

“Echo test OK Sigma Sigma 13” base answered through the transponder. The voice sounded a bit tinny, they were going to have to fix that. I made a note in the suit’s maintenance recorder about it as they lowered the suit into position.

And then I was blasted off, I mused about how the inertial compensator could never really take the edge off the massive G’s that you felt as you were fired into space. I gritted my teeth as the suit headed into orbit, fuck, this was worse than ever. I now fully wished that I would die on impact, that something would go wrong with the systems. I muttered to myself the prayer of the order as I started entering the atmosphere proper now. But it felt like I was droning out my own death sentence, oh please let it be just that.

About ten minutes later, the suit started picking up telemetry data, identifying land features, outlining the base underneath me. The same thing as always, nothing would ever change. I wanted to claw myself out of the suit, I didn’t want this, I just wanted to be left alone. Why me? Why this?

The shell around the suit popped off as it landed on the ground with a thud. It arose on it’s two legs and the arms deployed while the systems came back online, one by one.

“Sigma Sigma Thirteen, please confirm landing” Base said in my left ear now, dammit, why wasn’t this shit ever working properly?!

“Sigma Sigma Thirteen, landing confirmed. I am the spear of justice.” I answered back, not even feeling any of the holy words as I should properly do in a moment like this.

“Sigma Sigma Thirteen, You are cleared to begin, releasing behavioral locks.”

I stood there in the suit as it kept identifying targeting data, I breathed heavily as my perception of the world around me changed. I nodded to myself. Yes.. yes this was the turning point as always. I started shaking with a mixture of fear and awe. The Lord’s vision was coming to me.

I walked up to the gates as I felt my mood swing into excitement and then perfect harmony. It was all going to be alright, I was going to make everything fit into place. I nodded as I looked at the weak gates, yes, this wasn’t going to even be a problem for me. I really felt now like I was the instrument of the Lord’s justice.

My breath now came in short excited panting as I activated the weapon systems, I felt so deeply happy and harmonious. I turned on the external suit speakers and uttered the holy words “Heathens of base 55 Echo Delta, you are hereby being blessed with the Octagon order’s light.” as I slammed my fist into the wall, breaking it down.

The defensive turrets activated and started firing at me, I laughed with wild abandon as I ignored their low yield fire. There was no way they were going to interrupt this holy moment. I felt a bit sad for the operators who were trying to struggle against the light. Why were they fighting against the divinity? I was going to save all of them after all.

With a few more hits, the gate crumbled as I stepped inside, now feeling the Lord’s power radiate through me in waves, oh the total rapture and exhilaration was embodying me. I smiled an angelic smile as I saw the paltry soldiers forming into squads around me. I reached out my hand and my mounted armaments fired, turning a good chunk of them to my left into bloodied mist. I nodded with satisfaction, yes, a most holy bloodied mist it was.

I stood there for a moment watching the carnage, feeling the message reverberating through me.

“CAN YOU FEEL THE RAPTURE?!” I screamed through the speakers as I moved inside, their screams were my confirmation that I was doing the right thing. I sighed happily as I turned yet another five of them into bloodied meat chunks, my heavy armaments of holy penetration firing with the beautiful golden light.

Another soldier in a smaller suit tried to rush towards me as I grabbed it by the chest, my hands crumpling the metal underneath my fingers, digging into the innards of cheap metal as it was just made out of clay. I laughed as I lifted him up and at a the same time, my angelic wings extended from my back, bathing the area around me in a holy golden light.

I threw him into the wall, exposing yet more of the base as I stepped forward and my instruments of high caliber radiance turned the rest of the heathens into nothing more than flesh and blood scattered around the area. When all was quiet, I knelt down and touched my bloodied suit’s hand to the outside of my cockpit and uttered the holy prayer.

“May the Supreme octagonal Lord have mercy upon your souls, illuminating them with His light.” I prayed, tears starting to form in my eyes as I’d never been happier than this before. I was so enraptured by the totality of the moment that it took me a while to get out the rest of the words. “As it was ordained in the beginning of time, the Lord’s light will reach you all. It will cleanse your souls and burn away the darkness and transform you into the holy beings that will serve Him forever in the perfect paradise. Glory to the Lord.”

I got back up seeing yet more telemetry data on my HUD, indicating that there were more people inside. It was most likely a trap, but at this point, I was absolutely certain that I was the instrument of salvation for them. I tore open the doors and entered the structure proper, heavy gunfire greeted me as the turret’s slugs slammed into my suit’s force field.

“WHY DO YOU ALL RESIST THE RAPTURE?” I yelled as I kept laughing uncontrollably between firing bursts of heavier yield to simply melt the turrets into piles of blessed slag that glowed with an orange light. I stopped for a moment to ponder the piles of slag running down off them and thought to myself that I’d never really considered just how cheerful the color orange really was.

I giggled as I resumed firing until there were no more turrets left and oddly enough, no more soldiers either. My soul soared as I tore open the last door, reaching the back compartment of the base. Beneath my suit on the floor, huddled together were 42 people that were all looking really haggard, dirty and most of all scared. I would often see this as I liberated bases and garrisons. They always had that same look in their faces, that fear of the light. These poor wretched people didn’t deserve being like this. No, remaining like this.

I raised my guns and smiled “Let the light bless you” as I started firing with my guns blazing a holy wave of destruction from left to right. I saw people’s heads explode into mists of blood, chunks and viscera, some of it got onto my cockpit, almost like a blessing in itself. I kept firing as they tried to run, but ultimately it was just bodies moving, being destroyed, turned into the constituent parts they once grew from. My holy eruptions reducing all the sin and corruption into beautiful red that coated everything inside the small space. One of the smaller ones tried to run between my legs and I caught her under my articulated foot and felt the claws dig through her torso as I twisted my leg, crushing her beneath me. Her screams turned into gurgles as her eyes lost focus of the world.

I smiled and lowered my gun and turned the rest of her into a red smear. Then as the already amazing feeling of rapture soared through my soul, I felt myself enter the golden light and then I faded away inside of its perfection.

When I came to again, I was back on the ship and the blessed technicians were helping me out of my suit. I wanted to hug and kiss them all, we’d done it, we’d liberated yet another encampment of the darkened ones. When I was free of the suit, I hugged the closest tech and kissed his hands, they all reached out to me, smiling happily as I touched all their hands, feeling the oneness of being the chosen ones. In the back I saw the CO approaching with a wide grin on his face, as he got up to us, he stood for a moment and then applauded us all as we all basked in the happiness. He then motioned to me and the others moved away in awe. This was it, this was going to be the mission report.

“You took out 142 heathens in total, most of them were soldiers, but a lot of civilians as well, including both women and children in the ages between 4-10. You certainly did the Lord’s work here soldier. You will be commended for this later as it is noted into your record along with your new rank of Radiant Paladin.” he said, smiling radiantly as he hung the golden octagonal symbol of my new station around my neck.

“No survivors?” I whispered, smiling.

“No survivors, they were all perfectly judged.” he replied with a satisfied nod.

It was all too beautiful, I sank to my knees and cried, it truly had turned out to be the best of days in the end.

Praise be to the light.


It all started when I came across one picture, posted on one of those shock boards meant to get you to gag or freak out. I was your typical edgy teen back then, looking for the sickest gif’s that I could repost to our little group to reap the benefits.

And I’d seen it all, creepy/sketchy porn, animals being killed, people being beheaded/stabbed/maimed, people straight up just dying in accidents, it was like a sick drug and I couldn’t stop because it meant admitting I wasn’t edgy enough.

The picture was a classic meme template that just made me cringe a bit internally when I saw it, because it was so fucking shit. “Oh fucking hell how damn laaaaaame” I thought to myself as I looked at the picture of what seemed like a piece of styrofoam someone had drilled some holes into and photoshopped some bugs onto. Man that didn’t even fucking look real for a second.

And then the words “Observe the picture and then you’ll see them. But your mind forgets.” Like.. seriously that is the shittiest text for a meme ever. I reported the picture as “not gore” and kept browsing and later down in some posts it came up with someone responding “WTF it’s real?!”.

I smirked at the post, goddamn newbies trying to push memes. I fucking hated them, they always thought they had a creepy idea and that making it into a shitty meme template would somehow make it popular. Ech, I needed to take a piss. I got up and headed towards the toilet and stopped dead in my tracks in the hallway.

… oh god it was real. My hands started shaking uncontrollably as I saw it sitting straight in the hallway. White.. spongy, fucking shitty styrofoam texture. About knee-height too, just sitting there impossibly white and like some fucking weird termite nest. It couldn’t be… it .. no .. it had to be a fucking joke right? They were putting me on. But .. how? Had they remotely accessed my computer? I let out the air that I’d been keeping in my lungs and giggled to myself. They’d almost gotten me. Mother … fuckers.

Man, top tier troll that one. I was still shaking like a damn leaf when I went up to the thing and kicked it. Ow.. like fucking concrete! … as I recoiled from it a single thing crawled out from it.. it looked like an oversized bug… it chittered at me and suddenly I felt like shitting my pants.

That .. getting bugs into it would be too much. besides, it wouldn’t have stayed. Couldn’t have.

The phone rang and I looked away from the nest at it. What?! … I picked it up and it was a salesman ranting about insurance, I told him to go fuck off and hung up and looked again at the nest.. except now it wasn’t there. I walked over to the area where it’d been, expecting to bump up against it.. but it just .. wasn’t there.

I rubbed my eyes with hands that felt clammy, my entire body was shaking… this couldn’t be real. Fuck no… This .. no.. I was going crazy. Yeah this is how it started with delusions, first you saw shit that wasn’t real, then the voices would start. Oh god I was going crazy, I was losing it.

With legs that felt like pieces of wood, I made it back to my computer and opened up the post again. Deleted. Fuuuuuuuuck.. the panic set in for real. If I didn’t have the picture, I couldn’t see it right?

A few minutes later, it became apparent that the picture was completely gone from the board. Even clicking the other link references or checking the profile of the person posting it didn’t lead to anything. I tried the waybackmachine too, but it hadn’t have time to index either. I had to stop for a moment since my hands were shaking so damn bad. It felt like a nightmare, except SOMETHING was sitting in my damn hallway. Something I couldn’t see, or touch or.. even smell unless I had that picture!

Then relief washed over me as I remembered my browser cache. I silently thanked myself for being a lazy fuck as I headed into my temp directory and looked through all the cached pictures. I started shaking and feeling nauseous the second I got it up. I quickly mailed it to myself and copied it onto a USB memory as fast as I could. Shit.. shit shit shit.. it was real. It was actually fucking REAL!

I printed the picture and it came out a bit blurry, but otherwise OK. I slowly made my way into the hallway and looked at the nest again which was back. Shit… fucking shit… OK OK.. breathe.. I thought to myself, gotta keep it together, can’t freak the fuck out. If these bugs were dangerous they’d killed me by now right? … how long had they been there? Had they always been there?

As I made it into the hallway, the nest was back again, I gently touched it with my shoe again, just to convince myself that it wasn’t a joke. Nope, hard as concrete and stuck on my damn floor. I very carefully made my way past it and headed into my living room where I stopped dead in my tracks, pure panic flooding my system. Fuck fuck fuck fuck mother … fucking .. dick ass shit bitch fuck my brain ranted in a sort of dispassionate panic as I surveyed the room.

It was .. FULL of the nests of different shapes and sizes. Some were stuck on the ceiling above me, some even had this weird glow coming out of them. I stared at them, again almost absentmindedly thinking to myself that maybe .. just maybe I was going crazy. I took a long shaky breath and backed away. Oh god, I had to somehow get out of my apartment in some way without going into that room. Going in there meant death, I knew it, I’d seen enough creepy bug movies to know that. They’d wait for me to get to the middle of the room and then I’d be swarmed and .. eaten or something.

My phone.. yeah my phone, I got back to it and called my sister, who of course had her fucking phone turned off AGAIN. Shit shit shit, who else? I called my mother, no reply, I called my friend Kyle who almost immediately answered, thank fucking god. As I heard his voice go “Sup man?” I started explaining and after three seconds I heard “AHAHAH Psych man!” and a beep.


I even briefly considered calling my dad at that point, but I decided that whatever this was, I couldn’t call the cops. Someone upstairs had to know about this shit. Had to have deleted that link to keep it secret. As I tried another friend, my mind started thinking about it, how could you keep something like this secret? WHY would you fucking keep this secret?

As someone finally answered, I silently thanked lady luck for not being a bitch for once. It was Baj an old Indonesian guy I’d met in a chat ages ago. Thank god for Baj. He sounded sleepy as he asked who it was. I told him it was me and that I needed him to see something right away.

He groaned, saying that it was 5 in the morning. Oh fuck, I’d forgotten about the time difference. I told him it was a matter of life and death, he groaned and told me I stopped needing to be so fucking dramatic. But after some more persuasion, he agreed to get online on chat so we could talk.

I hung up and made it back to my computer, never taking my eyes off the nest in my hallway, that fucking impossible thing. How.. why.. fucking hell. I tried to keep my thoughts from spinning out as I got my chat online with a giggle that didn’t exactly feel entirely sane. Again the thought of me having gone simply insane washed over me and I thought to myself that if Baj couldn’t see them.. then I’d call the cops and turn myself in as suicidal or something.

My thoughts kept spinning as his chat lit up with a “Hey man, are you OK? .. what did you wanna talk about?” without hesitating I sent him the picture immediately as an attachment and wrote “This is serious shit, once you look at this picture, you can see some freaky bugs and their nests. But somehow you can’t keep seeing them unless you look at the picture for a few minutes. Please tell me you can’t see them.”

A moment passed and then the reply came back “LOL, you seriously woke me up to fucking troll me bro? That’s the shittiest photoshop I’ve ever seen man, seriously you’re so fucking lame. Damn drama queen.”

I typed back at him, trying my best to convince him, to print out the picture and take a look around his apartment. After moment, he started figuring out that I thought it was real and told me he’d do it. I sat there, staring at my screen as the seconds ticked by. I looked out into the hallway, hoping the nest had gone away, but since I’d looked at the picture, it was still there. Almost feeling like it was defying my senses just by existing.

As the minutes started to pile up on me, I typed at him and asked if he was OK. No response. Then it became a quarter, then it going towards half an hour. oh god oh god oh god, oh god, fuck no.. something had happened to him.

I looked out into the hallway, still no movement from the nest. Whatever the bugs were, they were calm ones at least. What did they eat? I mean, for them hunting must be easy since nobody could see them right? I shivered. I had to do something. Fucking hell.. what was I supposed to do? I couldn’t go out there could I? They’d eat me like in one of those mummy movies. I knew it.

Then the most stupid thought hit me: “Ignorance is bliss”. I let out a shaky laugh, oh god that’d be the most stupid shit ever. I took a breath and shut down my computer and looked down into the desk. OK .. OK.. so.. I’d been living with them for god knows how long, but without dying. Clearly they didn’t think you a threat unless you could see them. Alright, if I could just get out of my apartment, thing’s be OK. Then I could tell everyone and warn them and get the cops on my side.

Once the lid was off the whole thing, they wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret. Fucking government and their sicko shit. They probably came up with it somehow in some crazy experiment.

I stopped my thoughts right there as I looked out the hallway, where again the nest had vanished. Good.. good.. out of sight out of mind. I laughed again nervously and thought to myself about how many shitty quotes I’d recited to myself until this was over. I went into my hallway again and got my coat and headed for the living room which was again the old familiar place where’d I’d spent so much time.. best not to think about them. Maybe even remembering them would make them show up again.

I quickly made it out of the apartment and onto the street. Late evening, no people outside. I immediately got out of the stairwell and then got the picture up from my pocket and looked at it again. Yeah, cheap styrofoam fuck nest, fuck you, fuck all of you fucking bugs that had taken over my apartment. I looked back at my apartment complex which looked normal. I looked around where I stood and again, it looked fine. No nests. I let out a sigh of relief and went back into the stairwell. When I opened the door I congratulated myself with a panicked thought because it was completely sealed off by a gigantic nest. Yeah.. whatever these things were, they had some kind of semblance of intelligence. Or maybe instinct. They stayed indoors apparently. I went to the next stairwell and opened the door, same thing. Oh god that had to be some kind of deliberate shit right?

I went down to the basement door and opened it, same. I felt my skin crawl as I got back up again to street level. An old man came riding on a bike, I tried to get his attention by showing him the picture, but he just went past me and went faster, no doubt convinced I was some crazy hobo.

With determination I made it downtown towards the police station by walking, I laughed to myself hysterically a few times when I realized that I’d forgotten my phone in my apartment. Fuck going back for that, fuck EVER going into that place again or any other for that matter.

My thoughts went to Baj and what’d happened to him. Maybe he’d been eaten or something. My thoughts turned up one gruesome horror movie theory after another until I tried to mentally straighten myself out. This was reality, not some shitty gore flick. These things were real weren’t they? You could look at the picture and then see them. Whatever made them invisible also affected the rest of your senses too somehow. It was impossible it was insane, it was so crazy.

I stopped a woman and her two kids coming from somewhere and asked her if she’d please look at the picture and tell me if she saw the same thing as I did. She was skeptical as fuck, but still obliged. As I opened the door to a nearby stairwell and pointed at the nest covering the entrance, her and the kid’s eyes widened. Then she turned back to me and asked how I’d done it.

It took me a while to realize that she thought she was being pranked. As I tried to assure her that I was serious, her two kids had walked up to the nest and tried hitting it with rocks and screamed at it in delight. I watched in horror as they touched the surface with their hands which caused the bugs to swarm out from it and over them. As the kids screamed in terror and tried to run away, I backed off further into the street. Oh god, I knew it, I’d known it all along, fucking freaky shits!

The mother screamed at the top of her lungs and tried to get the bugs off her kids, but that of course just led to her being bit by them, ,one by one they collapsed onto the street as more bugs now came out of the doorway, pushing open the door with their insane flooding and just covered the bodies, no doubt eating them. My mind felt like it was melting away as I saw the bodies eventually being dragged closer to the nests. My whole body was shaking with fear, oh god, this was crazy, so fucking crazy. My palms were sweaty as fuck and I felt like passing out. No no no, I slapped myself back into reality. No fainting here. Fuck, no fainting at all!

I needed to get to the cops, so without wasting another second I made it the rest of the way to the station which was lit up like a damn christmas tree, assuming you had neon lights in it or something. I sighed in relief, I’d go in, show the cops the .. oh fuck…

I looked at the glass windowed entrance which was covered in yet another nest. Right. OK.. yeah that’d be a problem. I took another deep breath to myself and put the photo back in my pocket again. A few minutes later I looked at the entrance and the nest was gone. Alright.. great.. fantastic, awesome. That was their weakness too. Those fucking things couldn’t affect you if they couldn’t see you. It went two ways, it went TWO WAYS! I giggled to myself again as I went into the police station proper and walked up to a desk clerk that looked like he’d seen everything and then some.

As he asked me what he could help me with, I put the photo down on the desk and told him to look at it and then look at the doorway behind me. I told him not to freak out and to stay very still. I looked away from the photo as he pulled it up and looked at it and then at me and then told me with a bored tone of voice that pranks at this hour wasn’t really a cool thing to do.

I picked up the picture with hands that felt like they were a million miles away from my body and I looked at it. It was blank, completely blank. My mouth felt dry as the Sahara desert on a warm summer day when I looked back at his bored face in panic. I tried to say something but the shock of it all finally overwhelmed me as the darkness swept in from the right all of a sudden.

Next thing I knew, I woke up with a start and tried to sit up, except I couldn’t because I was tied down to a stretcher. I tried to say something but my throat still felt dry and I could only get out a weak croak. My clothes were gone, replaced with some kind of hospital scrub. Oh fuck no .. no no no no, not this, not here!

As the doctor came in through the door, smiling at me over his steel-rimmed glasses, I felt my mind again trying to freak out. For the next hour and a half, I tried my best to explain in as much of a rational tone as possible (with only minor giggling) what’d happened. Then he started asking questions about things, and with each question it became more and more apparent that he didn’t believe me. I told him that I still had the damn picture in my coat.. and then I remembered it’d been blank and I got silent for a long while.

I looked the doctor straight in the eyes as I asked him the dreadful question on my mind:

“Alright Doc, how fucking crazy am I?”

That Guy Named Daniel

He came out of nowhere while I was walking home in the night. I got a flash of a big guy, tall, muscles, an oval of a white face and then it all went black.

I came to and felt like I’d slept for hours. I moved and realized that I couldn’t since I was tied up. When I looked down at my body, I realized I’d been tied up in the way that you’d only see in the old TV-shows, where the villain would use an absolutely ridiculous amount of rope. This didn’t feel comical at all though.

The place I was tied up in was some kind of shed or .. shack maybe, the walls were simple planks. Whatever it was, it certainly was spacious from the look of it and filled with all the general junk that those sorts of constructions seem to collect automatically. I started noticing things like old rusty tools, hammers, saws, pliers, and so on. Garden tools were lined up against another wall and then my attention was grabbed by a shiny metal tray containing different tools, my balls immediately felt like they were made of ice.

I took a shuddering breath, trying to stave off the panic as I looked closer at the middle of the room where there was something which was a cross between a workbench and a table. It looked mostly like a big slab of wood that someone had carved out from a tree and put there. In a way, it looked incredibly primitive, despite the fact that it had a lot of tools and such attached to it.

The only illumination was a dim light in the ceiling and what appeared to be a street light shining through a window so dirty that you couldn’t see anything outside. I looked to my left and saw a dark doorway leading to an adjacent room.

At this point, my sense of panic had properly woken up too and I couldn’t contain it boiling up, so I tried to shout, but the only thing I could get out of my dry throat was a crowing sound. To my horror something started shuffling around what sounded like a bag in the other room and I could only struggle uselessly against my bindings as he came into the room.

“He” being my captor, my very big and intimidating captor. He was close to two meters tall with a tightly muscled body that revealed that this guy, whomever he was, wasn’t a stranger to working out. He was wide, but not so much as to compromise his agility. His arms and legs still made me realize that for all intents and purposes, I would not be getting out of here unless I got some kind of an upper hand against this guy. The most striking part was his face though, where I’d expected a scarred and hideous face, I saw two warm brown eyes behind a pair of round glasses and a smile that normally would have seemed charming, but that in this situation was definitely creeping me out.

No wonder that he’d managed to knock me out in less than a second, I’d always imagined myself to be somewhat of a decent fighter, but compared to this guy, I absolutely wasn’t a man, I was a mouse. And I was a very terrified mouse at that.

He came closer and kneeled down next to me and inspected my bindings. He then spoke and his voice was as smooth as silk as he said “Hi there, I’m very sorry for knocking you out, are you feeling well?” And he looked truly concerned.

I could only whisper as I responded “I’m fine, why did you, why did you do this to me?”

And he smiled again, it was like the sun coming out of the clouds on a rainy day and said “Oh, I’ve brought you here so you can see what I’m doing here. I’m terribly sorry about earlier, but it was very necessary as you soon shall see. In this situation, you are what’s known as the Observer. I’ve brought you here in order to ensure that you will do your utmost in your role as well.”

At this point, I freaked and my instincts kicked in to fight, so I headbutted him in the stomach and yelled “HELP! HELP! HELP! I’M BEING KIDNAPPED!” or at least that was the plan. In practice, all I did was to feebly headbutt him, but it felt like I’d hit my head against a tightly padded sofa. The next thing I knew, I was being held up in the air by two strong hands, one of which was cutting off my airflow in a very soft, but precise manner. At that point, I nearly pissed myself on the spot, because I realized I’d fucked up really, really bad.

His face was now uncomfortably close to mine as he said in a calm tone of voice “You’re being very disagreeable right now Sir. Please, I must ask you to desist from any such future outbursts since you are disrupting my very delicate experiment here.” Before he could continue, I heard somebody start crying in the other room and his serious expression turned to one of concern. He looked to the other room and then turned his attention back on me and finished “Oh dear, you’ve awoken her, this is too early I’m afraid. Oh my, I’ll have to revise my play I suppose.”

He then gently put me down on the floor and gave me a warning glare and said “No” and walked into the other room. Then I heard the sound of him mumbling something and the sound of fabric tearing. A moment later, I heard the sound of something like bags being dragged again and he appeared in the doorway carrying a woman that had her hands and feet tied up. She was wearing a fancy, but somewhat dirtied dress and her makeup had been smeared, giving me the impression that she was a party girl. It tracked though, I’d been heading home on a late Saturday night, so he’d probably grabbed her first and then me second.

He gently put her down on the floor and I could see she was gagged now, which explained why her crying had stopped when he entered the other room. She looked at me with an alarmed expression and I couldn’t help but to notice that she was absolutely gorgeous underneath all that dirt.

Before I could say anything, the big guy shoved some oily tasting rags in my mouth and fashioned a gag from the same piece of fabric he’d used to silence her. He then smiled and started pulling her behind the bench, out of my field of view. I could then hear her try and scream and out of fury I tried to scream as well as he started putting his tools to use. I heard strange snapping sounds and cracks that indicated that he was breaking something behind the table, but because of it’s size I couldn’t see much of anything.

I could see him get up with big red splotches of something covering his face, his hands and his torso. He gave me a really innocent and enthusiastic smile over the table that felt like it froze my blood into ice as well. Then he grabbed a pair of pliers and chuckled to himself and went down behind the table again. I could only hear her gurgling now, the sound made me sick to my stomach, because it was obvious that he was doing something to her that wasn’t right. Then I heard her again try and scream and grunt and then the big guy seemed to hold his breath and struggle really hard with something and then all of a sudden he went very silent.

The only thing that I heard was his tools making snapping, creaking and cutting noises and at one point, his other hand, also covered now in a deep crimson, came up to get a hammer which he then seemed to hit something with repeatedly with great force. I felt nauseous, this was all kinds of fucked up.

After another seemingly endlessly long period of silence, he came back up and adjusted his glasses, exhaled deeply in satisfaction and looked at me and said “So, are you ready now my most coveted Observer? Are you truly ready to gaze upon my work of art?” When I didn’t reply he continued with a louder voice “I asked you a question: Will you be my Observer or will you prove to be utterly useless to me? Nod if you agree, I need you to be complicit in this undertaking of mine, otherwise my , um.. my …” and here he looked down and seemed suddenly so small and helpless and frightened before he looked up again me again and continued “objet d’art will be utterly useless. It’s a time-sensitive piece after all…”

And then he pulled her up and I steeled myself for what I was about to see, I knew she’d be mutilated of course, ruined beyond recognition, her face smashed, her arms broken, her eyes gouged out, my mind kept racing through every goddamn horror movie I’d ever seen.

Then I saw her head which was unscathed, but it looked like it’d been tied to a ..bike saddle?

As he pulled her out from behind the table, I saw that he’d used steel wire covered in plastic to create a rudimentary bicycle shape around her. Both her arms were stretched out into a T shape, her left arm was intricately woven into the back wheel of the bike while her right arm was woven into the front one. As such it looked like she’d been fully integrated into the whole thing, her whole upper body was in fact tied into the bike in a way that she couldn’t move. But what made me relax a bit was when she opened her eyes and looked at me again with those frightened eyes of hers.

He then steadied the bike sculpture and her against the table and started to clean his hands and arms and face and that’s when I realized that it had been red paint that I had seen on him, but there wasn’t even a speck of paint on her or the bike thing that he’d created so quickly.

Then he walked over to me and tore off the gag and said with a boyishly enthusiastic voice “So, dear Observer, how do you perceive my newest sculpture? I call it “Evidences Of Morning Dew” and quite honestly, I think I managed to express quite a lot of myself in it too! My name’s Daniel by the way and I’m terribly sorry for capturing the both of you, but I just had to make this piece alright?”

Considering the surreal situation I was in, I started feeling crazier by the second, so I laughed to myself and said “Dude… seriously, you could have just asked us you know?”

And he joined me in my laugh and after a while he turned again to her, looked at her in a strange way and then turned back to me and said “So, you would have truly followed me here to be a part of my art project had I just asked?” and looked at me with incredulity in his eyes.

Seeing my chance to get out of the situation I continued “Why yes, I would have done it in a heartbeat, wouldn’t you have joined as well pretty lady?” I asked her and gave her a look I hoped conveyed my message of “humor the crazy fuck!” and it seemed that she got the message, because when he walked over to her and tore off her gag, she panted out “Why yes, I would have loved to be a part of an … uh… an amazing work of art like this.. I used to model you know? Back in high school and all that…” her voice trailed off.

“Oh deary me! Oh no no no, this was a huge mistake then!” he exclaimed and he looked as if he was about to cry as he looked at the both of us. “My abject apologies goes out to the both of you, I’m incredibly sorry for having put both of you through this, I truly never meant any harm here.”

When neither of us dared say anything he asked me “So, please.. just to make this whole thing right, can you please give me a review of this work of art? I think I shall have to release you both afterwards, because this definitely was not my intention. I’ve absolutely gone beyond the pale on this one. My arts teacher, he always told me that one day, I’d go too far with this whole performance art thing and now I have haven’t I?”

Then he stared at me and I looked at him and her and realized that he was being serious, he truly wanted me to tell him about this sculpture that he’d created out of steel wire, some bicycle parts and a woman. The absurdity of it all gave me new strength and I mustered my best serious face and started:

“Well, you see, the way you created it was impressive since I had no insight into your creative process. Because of that, I didn’t have any knowledge of what to expect, which made the final expression so much more impactful (this was a thing I’d learned from art class, the word impactful always stroked the ego of whomever it was aimed at) and surprising. But having looked closer at this piece, I have to say that I’m just floored that you managed to create this out of some wire and bicycle parts and then the inclusion of the woman in the middle of it, it just speaks volumes to me.

“Oh?” he said and fixated me with a sharp glance “What message does this convey to you?”

I continued bullshitting as best I could when I continued “Well, I think it speaks of fragility and the human condition (another buzzword I’d picked up), this is a woman on her way to wherever, but much like society at large, this construction has her trapped as it’s a part of her life that she can’t escape. It’s a metaphor for the need to use a tool that brings you closer together with the tool in such a way that you’re inseparable after a while. The fact that you also made her hands so tightly wound into the spokes of the wheels really conveys the idea that she and the bike are mutually trapped together in this.”

And then I went silent, not wanting to overdo it, but I still added a final “I really think it’s brilliant” and at some level, I really meant it, because this huge guy had created a frame of a bicycle with nothing than tools and some pliers and also woven a woman into it somehow. In mere minutes, it was insanely well done.

He looked at me and he looked at her and then he laughed and walked behind the table and fiddled with something behind it and said “I’m most pleased with your Observations here Thomas, I thank you in the deepest of ways” and then he walked out from the table and stood in front of me for a while and then in what felt like a fraction of a second, he quickly turned around and shot her in the face with a gun he’d been concealing.

It took me a few seconds to process the event, but then it hit me with full force. He’d shot her in cold blood, right in front of me.

Her once beautiful face now featured a big hole just to the left of her nose, there was blood spatter everywhere on the bike and on the table. I was speechless and just before I was going to scream he looked at me and laughed and said “Oh man, I fucking LOVE messing with people like you, FUCKIN HELL THAT WAS FUN!” and then the merciful darkness of unconsciousness claimed me.

In The Faint Blue Light

A remote outpost in space.
The small craft is outlined in the light of a weak blue star.
Inside the outpost, the lights are off, everything is quiet. Something is slowly pulsating in the darkness.

(Why? Whyyy…. ?)
(Quietdarkcomfortingthought. Don’t need to.)

A long moment passes. It’s dark, warm, wet. Safe.

(W…. What?)
(Silence, sleep, safety.)

Something shifts. A prick of pain. Nothing. Time extends.

(So tired. Can’t… can’t sleep)

(Schhh little one, you’re very safe and warm and comfortable and pleasured and warm and safe and tightly held and nursed and comfortable and safe)

Something squeezes tighter in the dark. Like a hug. Undulating shapes. Something else stirs. Deep. So very, very deep. Blissful calm returns.

(What am I doing here? I… I… mmm …that feels nice)
(The outside is harsh. It’s cold. You won’t survive. Stay/Sleep/Nurse/Produce/Relax. Filament says so. Here. Pleasure.)

Something tightens hard somewhere and a moan is quieted. Pulses of movement in a series of carefully calibrated sessions. Like the most advanced orchestra playing a piece of flesh, for just one person, more pricks of pain, things injecting. Muscles tensing, flexing, shuddering, orgasming.

A deep breath. Stillness. Quietness. Relief. Relaxation. Something exhales and lies back.

Some time later. A sharp inhale. Wet. No. Confined. Too tight. Struggle. Sinew, flesh, skin tears. Open it. Got to get….

(Oh fuck what is this?!l Where am I?)
(Filament says you stay or I kill you. Go back to sleep or face the consequences. This is not a warning.)

“Let .. me… out!!”

With this Allanah tore at it, all of it around her. Grey, pulsating flesh connected to her everywhere. No.. not connected.. growing on her. She sat up in her bunk,.or what had been her bunk. She breathed in stale air and puked over the side on the floor. What came out had a consistency of water. Oh god she was so full. Something tickled her throat and she pulled out a tentacle. As she did she felt it wriggling, resisting, trying to stick to her again. She threw it against the week with arms that felt like they were made out of wet noodles. Oh aeons, it had been in her.. inside of her.

She looked around. Her room turned into a nightmare of flesh that had melted away almost everything. Something tried to pull her back, but she got out of the bed and felt the cold air against her naked body. As she got out,.she felt more tentacles wriggling in her ears, her ass and her pussy, with disgust she tore them out and felt a nausea trying to stand. She felt so weak, so cold.. so alone.

She almost instinctively got her space suit out from the locker and with fingers that felt numb, she put it on and pressurized it. SELF TEST OK the orange display blinked at her. So.. tired. She shook her head and the movement felt incredibly sluggish, like she was doing it in slow motion. She felt sore all over.

She opened the airlock and the air rushed out into the space outside. She took a few trembling steps. In the back of her mind she heard a whisper.


She slammed her arm against the wall outside and felt the pain spreading into her.

“No, you piece of shit. Not falling for that. Fuck off.”

As she explored the small outpost, all the rooms were emptied out of their contents, no beds, no lockers, no personal items. Just empty space suits crumpled in a corner. All in different places. She entered the dark mess hall by cutting through a membrane that shrieked as she sawed through it with her suit knife.

And everywhere she went, just that grey flesh everywhere. Pulsating slowly. The mess hall had a few suits with tears or the face plate crushed. No people. Not too hard to figure out what had happened. One table was partially melted. In fact, thinking about it, she’d seen places being melted everywhere she’d been, heat damage? Or something else? On a strange impulse, she checked the fridges. Empty. Cleaned.

She nodded tiredly to herself as she walked into the hangar. A force field shimmered and inside everything looked..normal. She lowered the field and as she started walking, she heard a noise behind her and turned. Something coming … no .. growing out of the wall. A head… a torso.. a person.

It walked out onto the floor which was covered in the same grey flesh. No…. clothes.. skin.. hair…She recognized the face smiling at her from the shadows of the hallway. It reshaped itself in front of her further, matching some ideal. No, not some ideal. A person.

“Allanah, where are you going?” the voice rang out, a familiar voice that had that crack in it that only she loved. In front of her stood her bunk mate, no.. her girlfriend. Smiling as she’d always done. Allanah felt her heart swell for a second before she noticed it.

“You’re… not Badra. No.. no fucking way. She’s gone.. like the rest isn’t she?” She said, half wanting so bad to believe that she still was, in some way.

The being walked closer, becoming illuminated by the starlight outside, she smiled a blissful smile.. no.. it was changing.. it was her mischievous smile. That “come fuck me” smile.

“I’m not.. I promise. Come give me a hug.. please.. it’s so cold and dark here. I’ve missed you so long. I just want to hold you close. I … I love you Allanah.”

Allanah felt for a gun that was no longer at her hip, she took a step back and relaxed into a martial arts stance. “You’re an asshole. I’m not buying it, you come any closer and I’ll kill YOU instead you .. fila.. fucking .. whatever the shit you are!”

It observed her for a moment, then spoke with a flat tone of voice “Filament. It’s what we are. We offer you everything, pleasure, safety, warmth, dreams upon dreams upon perfect dreams. Life doesn’t have to be cold and dark and lonely. Not with us. All we ask is for you to join us.” It paused for a bit, then continued “You miss us. We feel it. Come back with us. Reconnect. You won’t remember. We promise you that. We can be again.”

When it uttered the word “be” there was such an undertow of emotions and sensations and half buried memories being sparked by it. Allanah almost agreed, she really did miss .. whatever it had been .. it’d be perfect. No words could do it justice. A .. state of pure.. nothing, endless dreams, always nice, always beautiful. Like a piece of art that wrote itself as it continued on and on. Hypnotic, there wasn’t any need to.. … she bent over and retched and puked in her suit, thankfully she’d angled her head so it didn’t splatter on her faceplate, but instead went down on the front of her body.

She stood back up again, the being was still, waiting. Her suit now smelled absolutely vile.. it snapped her back into her senses.

“Fuck no, you sick piece of alien shit, I’m getting off this rock .. and .. you can’t stop me.”

Allanah backed away towards one of the many ships lining the interior. The being had now backed away into the shadows again and assumed a neutral humanoid shape. No need for it to pretend anymore.

“You miss us.. come back.. come back…” the voice now again echoed with a timbre she knew, she’d known, she’d loved. The longing in it was maddening. She turned away from the being, because she knew she was safe. She knew so much about it and it about her. They’d melded. More memories flooded into her mind as she got onboard and pressurized the ship and activated its security screens.

It was old, older than humanity by a few million years at least. The filament.

She sat down in the pilot seat and the whole world became gray for a moment as more memories, violent ones forced their way into her mind. Death, so much death and dismemberment and melting and strangling and cutting and crushing. All of them, even Badra. She’d died in her sleep as it’d melted her brain slowly. Why not her?

And for a moment, she didn’t know who she was. Everyone was there. Everyone.

No, she was Allanah, A L L A N A H.

She spelled out her name one letter at a time, breathed deeply a few times and then did it again, reminding herself of which memories were hers. They’d covered this in training, forced disassociation during torture. She had this, SHE had this. After a few more deep breaths, she was back again, feeling like herself once more.

She activated the startup sequence of the engine and let out a sob as memories wormed their way through her mind. It’d arrived in the night. Attracted like a moth to a flame by the exhaust of some of their heat vents. It’d grown, slithered, silently making it’s way through the vent system and then.. then found sleeping bodies. By the time nobody woke up, it was too late. Outside, the ones awake on their night shift found themselves murdered quickly and efficiently by appendages taking on nightmarish forms, some familiar, some not so much. In the end, the sleepers kept sleeping, kept producing, the organism evolved, integrated, started feeding on everything in the base. Over the years, less and less edible things remained. Eventually a sleeper resisted, it killed him fast and mercilessly, absorbed him. Nutrients. Nothing more.

She started moving the ship out of the hangar, oh by the ages, so much death. As the ship accelerated into orbit towards the beacon there that was still operational, she sat back in her chair, took off her helmet and closed her eyes as more memories drip drip drip dripped into her consciousness. The food had been running out, it’d tried to eat the harder materials, but hadn’t found any nutrients in them. It’d eaten all their supplies. Drank all their liquids. It’d sacrificed a big part of itself to the medical bay where it had found potent drugs and poisons. That’d been a setback. A virus spreading inside of it. It’d severed and barricaded the door after that. A mistake. A lot of pain.

But it’d lived here with them for.. how many years?

She contacted the beacon as she got close. “S.. stellar… outpost .. alpha.. alpha uh.. thirty three seven. This is Allanah, first class private, calling in. Can anyone hear me?”

A long pause where she felt her stomach churn. She was still full.. no doubt it’d kept her well fed so she could produce all the chemicals and process all the things for it that it needed. Sickening. Another memory and she puked. It’d fed.. her.. oh god… no… When she realized the reality of that situation, she puked again over the side of the chair.

The radio crackled to life “Stellar outpost Alpha thirty three seven, this is main command, we read you loud and clear. Give us a sitrep over.”

Allanah composed herself and spoke back “We’re fucked, overrun by some alien .. thing.. … I’m the only one left.. you hear me? Only one left, everyone else is KIA, outpost compromised, full compromise. Request tactical response with maximum detail. I .. I .. might .. Ah…”

Her focus wavered, she felt weak all of a sudden. Weak and sleepy.

“Please confirm sitrep, over.”

She felt herself growing groggy, but fought herself back to consciousness. “Outpost compromised, do not land there, it’s full of hostiles. Biological in nature.”

A long pause where she zoned out and watched the stars twinkling in the distance.

“Understood private, can you cryosleep while we send an attachment?”

“Y.. yeah.. I guess.” Here Allanah remembered just how far out they were. Six months even by plus light. She thanked her lucky star for having chosen one of the bigger corvettes with a cryosleep attachment onboard, now it would save her life.

“We have previous confirmation that your location was compromised, bio alerts were inconclusive. Probes sent in were destroyed with no data available. We assumed hostile factions.”

Here she remembered the war.. oh the damn war. Of course they’d been ignored. They probably thought the enemy had gotten to them. She cleared her throat “No hostiles of the Star Union Sir, I don’t think this was one of .. theirs.”

“Understood private. You are hereby ordered to suspend in cryo according to SOP until further notice. You will be brought out once we have secured the area. Please confirm orders.”

“I’m .. to go into cryo and set the timer for six months. Gotcha command.”

“Command over and out.” the console went dead as per protocol.

She moved back into the bowels of the ship and made her way into the cryochamber where she laid down on one of the beds. She set the timer for six months and the canopy of the bed started closing in on her. The chill started creeping into her body and just before it all went black, she clearly heard Badras voice in her mind speaking. “You’ll be my Eve among the stars.”

The Vampire’s Stalker

I usually skip right to the stories on this blog, mostly because I think they speak for themselves. However, this story is a bit special in that it actually resulted in us being banned from r/writingprompts, a sub on Reddit where someone can suggest a topic and others write a story about it. Considering I’ve submitted stories with risqué content before, I was a bit surprised by a message informing me that I was now permanently banned from the subreddit.

When I asked about the reason why (Because I wondered if I’d missed a new rule or something) I was informed that because of the story’s obvious pornographic content, I was assumed to be doing it in bad faith, therefore a permban was issued. I can only just laugh at this considering I’ve been writing stories for years now and definitely don’t consider the sub in question one of my major places to post. Either way, here’s the story for all of you in it’s uncensored glory! 😀

The original prompt was this:

You are a centuries old vampire lord, during present day you are walking through a city when in the distance you see her exactly like how your remember her from her previous lives, your stalker has re-incarnated and found you again.

I had just exited the supermarket and there she was. Again.

As always, I felt an odd mix of strong annoyance and arousal and disbelief. Why me? WHY ME?

Sure, I’m a vampire since the dark ages, but .. why the fuck would someone who could reincarnate and remember each previous life want to stalk someone like me anyway? Beth was an annoyance, one that had followed me through the centuries, ironically the only thing that remained unchanging.

Well, that’s not fair, Beth would always change her clothes, but her hair and makeup would roughly be the same. Voluminous black hair in big curly locks, always like it was cascading, her eyeshadow, always with the old style emo raccoon look.

I sighed and walked down the street. I knew she’d follow me home again, as she always did. Eventually she’d be watching me through the windows. I hadn’t really bothered to check if she’d rented any of the apartments from across the street, but I assumed that since she was so brazen now to show herself, that yes.. she probably already had.

Life had been particularly difficult in this era, lots of surveillance, lots of disease and governments meddling in people’s business. That and humanity keeping faithfully destroying their biotope. Not that it bothered me, for all I cared, they could drench the planet in oil and nuclear waste and I’d be no worse for wear unless of course all the other animals died. Yes, I mused to myself, that age old superstition of vampires feeding on human blood was a quaint one. I’d always assumed it was some sort of body horror spawned from the blood diseases that had plagued them during the times when me and my kind rose up into existence.

I kept musing about feeding habits as I unpacked the groceries. Ah yes, it’d be a fine dinner tonight, two steaks and vegetables and potatoes. It was hard to find a good steak these days, luckily I’d made a decent fortune over the centuries, so I could still afford it. Synthsteak wasn’t really something I could use as a food anyway and the taste? That was horrible.

Before I put it into the pan, I lightly touched the surface of both of the steaks and as always, I absorbed the life essence out of it. Ah yes, can’t drain too much out of them, then they’d become brittle and lifeless. Better to just siphon as much as you needed and then have a nice dinner with the rest. I chuckled to myself as I thought about writing a cook book for vampires. A scraping sound on the window outside made me look out into the musky darkness outside. Nope.. nothing.

I sighed again, a bit more frustrated this time around. It was happening, I was getting jumpy again. It’d probably just been thermal expansion in the wood around the glass. As the potatoes boiling was starting to fog up the glass, I moved over and opened the windows to the outside and just barely caught her as her camo suit disrupted when she lost footing against the glass.

I stared down at her as she materialized once she shut off her suit. With her other hand she removed her face mask and I saw her face smiling up at me with that crazy attitude she always had.

“Elizabeth” I started and then chided myself “Beth, what are you doing here?”

“Better get me inside before someone notices..” she wheezed back at me. I hauled her inside the window into my kitchen and closed the windows. Immediately I had her in my arms and her perfume, oh god that same perfume as always assaulted my senses.

“Beth… … we .. can’t… you can’t keep doing this.. this isnt’ healthy for you.” I said to her as she planted a kiss on my neck.

“I live for you. Only you. There’s never been another. I’m yours.” she said with her eyes wide with wonder, that same old damn wonder as always.

I let out air through my nose in frustration. Dammit.

“Beth, you know that’s not how vampirism works, you’re not my thrall and you’re not my ghoul or any other of the millions of ideas that your kind has about us. I’m not controlling you, you’re not obligated to do anything. Please.. go seek help with this… obsession of yours. Please.”

“No” she said mutely against my shoulder. “I’m staying with you. For as long as I live.” and hugged me tighter. I swallowed hard and looked over to the steaks which were beginning to get a bit dry.

“Then at least let go of me long enough so I can get these steaks flipped.”

And with that, she let go and gave me that starry eyed look of pure devotion that I knew her to have. I shook my head with disapproval and went over to flip the steaks. Damn, slightly singed a bit too much on that side. Oh well, I’d just get the other side a bit less then.

“Is that.. steak?” she said with wonder in her voice.

“Yes, since you invited yourself in, which again, might I point out, is something a vampire thrall shouldn’t be able to do according to your old legends, you might as well join me for dinner.”

“But you’re a vampire, the rules of humans don’t apply to you.” she said, smiling widely. There was no arguing with her. She was possibly the world’s foremost expert on any and all vampire lore and she knew it. Too bad most of it was just made up bullshit fairy tales.

We sat down in silence and as we were eating, I studied her face. She seemed a bit too eager this time around. Almost like there was something wrong. The steak had turned out nicely though I thought to myself as I took another bite.

“So, why are you living here anyway?” she said and then added for emphasis “Nice place though, a bit too upscale for you isn’t it?”

“I got tired of the same slums and decided to change it up. Besides, in this era, nobody would believe in vampires anyway. Not with all the crazy tech these humans have cooked up. I could feed in front of a human and they’d just compliment me for my good augs.” I answered her.

“Ah, but I know the truth.” she replied, her face positively glowing with the joy that she alone had the secret about me.

“Yes you do” I said, trying my best to avoid egging her on. She was always into it so damn hard. And .. it’d always end the same way. I cursed at myself silently.

“Sooo.. how’s the Family doing?” she probed with a flirty state of voice as she chewed on a piece of steak.

“They’re fine. I guess.” I said, not really sure since I hadn’t really been in contact with them for over two centuries. Annoying twats, the lot of them.

“Oh come on, they’re your kin! You shouldn’t shut them out like that you know?” she said excitedly, her voice betraying her obsession and wish to meet them someday. If I had my way, she’d never do that. Not for their sake, but for hers. “I can’t stand them. That’s the truth.” I said, scowling in a way that I hoped would convey my dislike with them. She didn’t notice it, no doubt dreaming up fantasies in her head about how wonderful it would be with a whole group at once.

Dinner was finally over and as we sipped the red wine afterwards, she gave me that look that I couldn’t ignore. I’d hoped it wouldn’t come to this.

“Join me?” she said, getting up and moving over to the sofa with that walk that she did. I took a deep shaky breath.

“No.. you should leave. This isn’t healthy for you.”

She sat down on the sofa and spread her legs a bit and smiled as she ran a finger down the middle of her crotch and smiled at me.

“I’ll decide what’s health for me. And right now.. this is what I want.”

I steeled myself “No, just no.. this isn’t.. no. You need to leave. This isn’t going to happen.”

“Awww.. is someone being shy?” she said, sitting up a bit more modest. “How about you just sit down in the sofa with me? We’ll just talk. I promise.” she added. I looked at her sternly, but her face betrayed no lies, after all, I could read her as plain as a book and she could do the same to me.

“Alright. Just talk.” I said as I moved over and sat down next to her.

And for the next hour or so, we talked and caught up. This was the part that I did enjoy in all our of encounters. The way our lives would always be similar and yet so different. She’d tell me about how she’d grow up as a normal child of her time up until her 18nth birthday when she’d always “awaken” as it were and remember her past lives. In a way, she was as inhuman as me in spirit, which was the way that we were connected.

Eventually, the hour grew late and soon enough her head was resting against my shoulder as she was drifting off to sleep. I looked at her and she, with her drowsy eyes looked back at me.


“It’s getting late. You should leave.”

“I’m fine right here.” she said with a bit of a pout as she made it very clear that she was staying.

“You’re sleeping on the sofa then.”

“No double sized bed this time?”

“No. I .. haven’t.. ” and as soon as I said the words, I tensed up a bit as I realized that I’d slipped up .. yet again.

“WHAT?!” she said excitedly and sat up, her eyes ablaze again with her obsession. “You haven’t since last we met? OH GOD, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!” she said with laughter in her voice. “Come on, what the hell?! You can’t deny your urges you know!”

I groaned a bit and then got up out of the sofa. “Look, this.. THIS isn’t happening, you’re not going to have your damn obsession with me fulfilled this time. This is all wrong. You can stay the night, but in the morning you’re going to leave and then I’m going to vanish and from then on, I want you to leave me alone alright?”

She gave me the puppy dog eyes, and I just shook my head as I went and got some extra sheets and pillows for her along with a blanket. I tossed it at her and then turned and went into the shower, but only brushed my teeth before heading off to bed. This was such a shit day.

It took the better part of an hour before I drifted off to sleep and the dreams that came to me were as always a disjointed mish-mash of disturbing imagery from my past. In the dream I reflected on my past and my own sinful living. It hadn’t been right. I didn’t have the right.

With a start, I woke up to feel a soft heaviness on top of me. I reached up and felt her familiar contour in the darkness. I sighed again theatrically.

“Go back to the sofa”

“Not until you do it to me, I want you to do it to me.” She said, her voice almost hypnotic to my ears.

“It’s not beautiful, it’s horrible. It’s ugly. I don’t know why you keep insisting on this in every life that you’ve lived. How many more lives will you waste on this nonsense? You know it only ends one way and one way only. Go.. live your life instead.”

“It’s what I want.” and her she shifted as she leaned down towards me, exposing herself in the moonlight that was shining through the windows. My breath got caught in my throat as I looked her face, as always almost a statuesque mask in the sharp contrast between darkness and light.

“What about what I want?” I said back to her with a weak voice, feeling my resolve weaken.

“I know what your kind wants after all” she said as she shifted slightly and I felt a familar warmth down there as she rubbed herself against my cock that was stiffening rapidly.

“That’s.. sexist.. and you know it…” I groaned out as I stiffened even more as I felt her pussy getting wetter.

“Yes, but only you can make me feel this way. Only I can make you feel this way.” she said, and on the word “this” I felt myself enter her. I groaned as she slowly pushed me inside of her.

“This isn’t right, it’s a sin.” I replied, half not even caring.

“It’s sex and it’s a normal thing for two adults to do with each other. What you’re doing is the actual sin.” and then she spat out “Abstinence” as if it was a curse.

“I made a promise to the lord” I meekly said as she straighted up and pushed the last bit inside of her.

“Whose quoting bullshit now?” she moaned as she leaned down and kissed me.

And that’s how it went. For the rest of the night, we fucked like animals and when dawn drew near, she’d passed out against my shoulder, my seed leaking out of all of her orifices and drying against her skin. I held her tighter and sighed, it’d be now like it’d always be. I’d love her to the end of her days and then she’d die and then there’d be those 20or so years more until she’d come back to me once more. I was a filthy sinner, but at least I had the love of my life by my side.

I apologized to god once more and swore that I’d try harder next time.

A Taste Of Victory

Soundtrack: https://soundcloud.com/user-427260418/wf-a-sad-russian

I sit in a skyscraper at the edge of the city. I stare through the window into the irradiated outside and I see victory.

They came, they blustered, they bragged. They lost.

I see the shells of the former proud skyscrapers, our factories, our streets and our neighborhoods, all destroyed. But we won.

I see the future ending in the fluctuations of that radiation in front of me, outside of this glass. If I were exposed, I would die in minutes. I think of our fathers and mothers and children, all gone. Blasted away in this storm. They could not withstand the might of it. They failed.

I see the raging storms tearing down yet another building, breaking down the last remnants of history that was once our beautiful nation. It is no more.

We stood fast until the end. And I am the last of my country..

I slam the last shot of vodka in the world and I grin to myself.

I think I need a bit of fresh air.

The Empty Room

A rainy cold night in a metropolitan city. In an apartment complex there is a window which is dark among all the other warmly lit ones. There is a plant in the window, a small cactus which is thriving. Behind the cactus there are dark curtains framing the window nicely. The lights from the outside city shine into the window, but can’t penetrate the darkness behind it. Deeper still, the room behind is a one room apartment with a bed, some posters and a small kitchenette on the side. Nobody has been here for a while.

The fridge hums to itself and inside are some eggs which are going bad, half a carton of milk that’s definitely gone out of date and a lot of packages of sliced ham. The packages were a present to the occupant of the apartment for a joke that was supposedly so hammy that it won an award. The freezer contains some leftovers from a cookout that happened a few weeks ago, some ice cubes and some bags of frozen vegetables.

The bedspread is a muted gray, the pillow is worn from many nights of tossing and turning. The mattress is a soft one, chosen because the owner didn’t like the harder one. On the nightstand beside the bed is a book entitled “101 Unsolved Mysteries” in truth, only 45 of those mysteries are truly unsolved, but the occupant didn’t really care about it, it was good reading at the end of the day.

Inside the nightstand drawer there are a few condoms, some lube and a sex toy, nothing fancy, but gets the job done. In the bookcase at the side of the bed there’s an assortment of books ranging from science fiction to horror to documentaries and cheap romance novels. The only kind of book you wouldn’t find would be a detective novel. There’s also an old photo album, filled with pictures that are both recent and really old ones from the owners childhood. On a shelf next to the bookcase are some awards, trophies, certificates, all designating a victory over something.

In the wardrobe, there are a few suits and some underwear along with a couple of shirts. The owner never did care much for fashion and it shows. The combined bath and shower room is decorated with a carpet that absorbs water quite easily. A design on the carpet meant a lot to the owner once, but it’s meaning faded over time. The mirror above the sink has seen the owner in various states of joy, happiness, apathy and anger. Now it only mirrors an empty and dark room.

Outside the bathroom, the silence in the small apartment is deafening, only the loudest of the outside noises penetrate the walls in a muted way, but mostly this place is very still as time goes on by silently. The reality of this apartment and the items within is that they are just objects to anyone but their owner. But, since their owner is dead, neither you nor I will ever know who they were.

A Beautiful Dirty City

It was an old city, mostly safe, but still worn down and dark. The soot clung everywhere to the architecture, giving it all a sort of dirtied look. The city council sometimes painted it over though, called it “refreshment”, but what it actually meant was that they put this hideous off-white colour over everything, which would look the same a few years later. As I sat on my balcony watching the traffic flow past me a few floors down, I wondered how many layers of paint and soot I could have scraped off the other building before I found the actual wall inside. I smiled to myself as I found myself wondering if perhaps the building had been a bright colour once upon a time.

Oh well, city building codes were stricter now, so many things weren’t available anymore. But hey, I couldn’t complain, I had a big apartment which wasn’t too bad. On that thought, I cursed to myself as I got up and checked the clock on the wall. Damn, too late to call the landlord today about the toilet. I sighed to myself, I was gonna have to call tomorrow and I fucking hated making calls. Authorities are the worst, but even just thinking about calling people I don’t know made me break out into a cold sweat.

I sighed and found myself staring at a speck of soot stuck to the glass encasing my balcony. I looked over the bulbous shape and found at least five or six more places where the pollution had started to attach itself to the glass. Damn, one more call to order a glass scrub I thought to myself and then headed for bed, feeling like my next week had just been ruined somehow.

The day after, I woke up and took a shower and made myself some breakfast. Out of eggs again and of course I’d forgotten to preorder new ones. That meant two more weeks of waiting for transports to come in. I briefly mused over the fact of the air pollution as I ate my sandwich. Chickens couldn’t make it within the city lines, but us humans were fine provided we took the prescribed dosages of drugs and kept our masks and suits on whenever we went outside.

But we all cheated sooner or later despite knowing the risks, especially if you were already on your way to work and your mask was sitting uselessly on your living room table. But in the evening when you cleaned out the filters and you saw that black soot go down the drain, it was hard not to think of that shit also going down into your lungs. Oh well, the drugs caused it to leave your system anyway in other ways. I had a brief flashback to being younger in another city with my piss being yellow instead of black. Felt like ages ago.

I snapped out of my reverie and grabbed my mask off the table and rushed away to work again. I’d snagged a pretty good job right out of school as a translator. My runic languages teacher had recommended me to the firm after I’d had basically demolished her entire curriculum in record time. I would be eternally grateful to her for that, because the gig was just awesome. I’d sit every day together with a group of people and we’d figure out the best way to translate basically anything that they’d throw at us.

Each project was a fun challenge and at the end of the day, I’d always retire home and my head would be buzzing with all of these strange glyphs and markings. It was a damn good job and my team was some of the smartest people I’d ever met. Including of course Emma…

I’d had my eye on her almost the whole year since she’d started in a temp position first, but her incredible skills had blown everyone away including me. She’d been hired a few months ago on a permanent position and while I was sure she just saw me as just another one of the people in the office, I saw her as so much more. She was a bit taller than me, bit older too with an ashen hair that was sort of curled in places. I bet she spent a lot of time making it look that way. Her angular face would sometimes seem almost bitter when she was focusing on something, but when she smiled it’d light up like the sun in the morning.

The reality though, painful as it may be, was that she wasn’t really noticing me among the crew, and I’d mostly given up on the idea after a few attempts at asking her out that didn’t really pan out.

Late in the afternoon one day in those two hours that seem to just drag on at the end of the day, I found her in the break room which was a really drab and spartan affair. Her brow was furrowed as she stared down at a paper and was trying to figure out something while shaking her head. I took a look at her, smiled a bit to myself and went for more coffee, intending not to disturb her in her important work.

“It’s impossible, GAH!” she exclaimed and threw her pen across the table and then rubbed her eyes and looked at me and smiled. “Oh, hey Daniel, more coffee? I swear, you’re really burning the midnight oil these days aren’t you? That’s what.. your fifth cup I’ve seen you get today?”

I grinned back at her and shook my head a bit as I finished pouring my cup “Oh you know me, there’s so much to read out there that isn’t runic, I get my nose buried in a book and I’m just gone for the rest of the night.”

Inwardly of course, I was feeling a surge of emotions at the realization that not only had she noticed how many cups I’d been drinking, but that I was clearly a welcome break from her work. I knew I had to go for it, I was fucking going for it. I motioned towards her table with my cup.

“Mind if I sit down and have a look at this? I know I’m not as good as you with the ancient runics, but maybe I can see something with my dumb-dumb brain that gives you an idea.”

She smiled at me and moved some papers aside. I carefully set down my mug on the table and my ass on the chair and studied some of the papers she handed me one by one. It was certainly ancient runic, but a dialect I hadn’t seen before. The syntax and grammar made almost no sense at all. I could make out what maybe could be a word here and there. As she handed me more papers my confusion just kept growing until a pearly laughter shook me out of my haze.

“See? That look on your face, that’s exactly how I feel about this project.. this thing is so damn confusing and weird isn’t it?” she exclaimed happily as I handed her back the papers which she neatly stacked as if she was getting ready to leave. Uh oh, my chance was evaporating. ‘Shit shit shit shit fuck shit’ I thought to myself in a mild panic, trying to think of something else to say to her.

“Hey.. Daniel, I don’t know how you feel about taking your work home, but .. maybe I’ll be able to crack this in a more comfortable environment.. like .. say your place tonight at eight?”

It took me a moment to figure out that I hadn’t asked, she had.. I looked at her face to see if she was joking and her charming smile told me she’d probably been planning this thing from the start. I smiled back at her with a heart that felt like it was free flying far, far away from this sooted city.

“My place? Oh yeah, that’d be great, you just bring your notes and I’m sure we’ll crack it in no-time!”

She leaned over and murmured “I know we will, otherwise we’ll have to pull an all-nighter” and she stretched out the word all-nighter in a way that left no room for any other interpretation. I swear my heart almost jumped out of my chest as we both shared a hearty laugh over it. Oh yeah, I was in, I was IN!

The last hour and a half just whooshed by as I tried to keep my head in the game, but kept thinking nervously about what to wear, what to cook, what to do .. oh so many possible ways this could go!

I practically ran out the door and almost forgot my mask again. When I went back inside again, I saw Emma fitting hers, her piercingly blue gaze focused on me through the mask’s bulbous “eyes”. She laughed a metallic laugh and I stopped a bit and asked with some astonishment “voice filter?”

She twirled around a bit and faced me again and posed herself in a menacing way “Take me to your leader” her voice came out in short robotic bursts. We both laughed as I donned my regular mask which was basically a mould of my own face.

“You’re into those robot stories though aren’t you?” she asked me and at that moment, it dawned on me that she might be into me as well in a BIG way. As she flicked on the lights in her eyes which turned them into a neon green, I couldn’t help myself as I responded “Yeah, and I have to say, you make for one hell of an android with that!” the metallic giggle as a response told me that oh yes, she’d planned this too. To say that my heart was flying away on pink love clouds was an understatement at this point.

As we said our farewells, I could swear I practically flew to the store and got some of the meager leftovers still in the shelves. Rationing was tough again and people were leaving early from work to clean out the stores. Ugh, assholes. Not for the first time, I was briefly musing about it as I waited in line at the check-out. Was the ability to leave early a class difference, did it mean that the more well-off people had a better availability of groceries since they could easily beat the crowd? (Our firm was strict about leaving early, one of the drawbacks of it) I smiled at the guy at the cash register and we talked briefly before I got my stuff in my bags, put on the seals on them and headed for home.

After I’d cleared the airlock in the dreary apartment building lobby, I put my suit into the washing chute and headed into the elevator and pressed the button for my floor. The lights flickered but nothing happened. I sighed and got out of the elevator and started up the stairs. Fucking hell, the damn landlord still hadn’t fixed it from yesterday. Since the stairwell was narrow, I had to spend a lot of time just getting both of my bags into the right positions to make it to the next floor. Not for the first time, I found myself cursing the architect of this stairwell. Had they never had fucking groceries? “Oh they can take the elevator, no need to ever assume the landlord will be a fucking dick with repairs hehe!”

When I finally reached my floor, I was a bit winded and resolved to maybe start taking the stairs more often in the future. As I opened my door which hissed at me in a comforting way, I stepped inside and put the bags in the shower and let the water rinse off the build-up of stuff on them while I plucked out the masks filters and cleaned them in the sink.

I started cooking dinner and was mostly finished when there was a chime at the door that made my heart jump a bit with joy. The camera showed a smiling Emma standing outside of the door and I eagerly opened it and invited her inside. With her she had a strange looking box with the firm’s seals all over it. Whoa, big wig stuff. I felt momentarily nervous until Emma, having interpreted my face said “Don’t worry, the boss signed off on it. He knows I’m not gonna run off with anything. He trusts me you know?”

I was astonished by that, the boss was perhaps the most paranoid guy ever when it came to industrial espionage. Since we did contract work for the government sometimes from their digs, sometimes we’d get special stuff that wasn’t available to most researchers out there. But that also came with some stricter rules including security screenings and whatnot. It also meant that Emma was a lot higher up in the firm’s organizational ladder than I’d thought she was. To have that level of trust was really impressive, at least to me.

“Ah crap, I just realized something” Emma said with a lurid smile on her face before she continued “I forgot my spare suit.. I guess I’m going to have to spend the night here until cleaning comes up in the morning huh? I mean.. it’s alright with you isn’t it?” she asked.

The realization that she was going all in for this made my legs feel a bit weak, but outwardly I just grinned at her and said “Oh yeah, you’re more than welcome to spend the night.. I have a spare bedroom!” .. when her face momentarily revealed her disappointment, I felt bold as I got closer to her and held her tight and said “Don’t worry, I have a double sized bed if you’d rather share that with me…” as she leaned down to kiss me, all of my remaining doubts washed away in that instant. Oh yeah, it was good.. it was so good.

After our romantic dinner had passed, she led me into my living room and sat me down and told me that under no circumstances was I allowed to tell anyone about what she’d brought here tonight. “Listen, as far as you or anyone else knows, these runes all came off some papers we were sent OK? Nobody can know about this artifact alright?”

I nodded, suddenly feeling the seriousness of the situation as she opened the box. What she took out of the box looked disappointing as hell. Imagine a dodecahedron with an outline of orange plastic. Each facet had a recessed portion which was filled with some strange technological looking stuff similar to a circuit board. I tried to mentally veer away from my initial impression, but as I kept looking at it, I just resigned to the fact that this impressive artifact looked very much like a cheaply built children’s toy of some kind.

She handed me the artifact and as I got it closer, I could see that the orange parts were slightly metallic in nature with what seemed like absolutely microscopically small etchings into it with the same kind of runic symbols I’d seen transcribed onto the papers in the break room.

“Wow, this is .. it looks so weird. What is this anyway?” I said, carefully turning it around in my hands.

She shrugged “They didn’t tell us, but the dating on this came with it on a slip of paper and it’s fucking old.”

We sat there in silence for a bit and she moved closer to me and grasped my arm. As I put the artifact back in the box, she leaned over and kissed me and for a while, my world was just her smell, the feel of her body, the taste of her lips, the feeling of her tongue, it was pure magic.

We got up and I led her to the bedroom and as I opened the door to it, she pushed me up against the wall and murmured “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted this…” as she kissed me again with a passion that sent shivers down my spine. We barely made it to the bed before our clothes were off and I was inside her. In the faint light coming in from the outside neon, I could see her body which was every bit as magnificent as I’d imagined it would be. As she rode me I leaned up and grasped her breasts, easily cupping them in my hands as I felt her nipples stiffening against the palms of my hands. She moaned and grunted as she pushed down on me and I had to fight the urge to let go in that very second.

She leaned down over me and kissed me and smiled in a mischievous way and asked “So… you like it when I squeeze huh?” and at the word squeeze, her pussy practically cramped around my cock, I looked up at her and groaned “You’re gonna make me cum if you keep that up…”

She resumed riding agonizingly slowly and covered my neck and face with kisses and then pulled back and locked her eyes to mine, there was nothing in the universe except us at that moment. Yet my heart thumped even harder when she whispered “Do you love me?”

I kissed her and whispered “Yes, I always have, I want you in my life…” and as an answer to that, she clenched hard and started riding me in a way that made it clear that she was about to cum.

“Cum in me, cum in me.. oh I’m so close Daniel.. I love you, I love you I love you and I love you” she kept droning as I erupted inside of her, her pussy clamping down hard on my cock, milking it for all it was worth, it was a moment of delicious pleasure as we kissed and finally came to rest together. Time seemed to lose it’s meaning as we just laid there, content with the universe and each other. Then after a while, she grinned at me and got up and said “Sorry, although I love this, I’ve really got to clean up…” and she headed off for the bathroom while I got out a towel and wiped myself down as well.

After a while, I heard her voice going “Uh.. Daniel… could you .. get over here for a moment?” as the door to the bathroom opened a bit. I walked up to the bathroom and she was sitting on the toilet looking a bit embarrassed.

“Crap” she said and then added “Uh, I .. sort of forgot that it was close to that time of the month for me…….. you wouldn’t p o s s i b l y have something I could borrow until I can get down to the late night convenience store?”

I chuckled a bit and reached over to the cupboard and opened it and got out an old box of unopened tampons and handed it to her. She gave me a strange look and asked “… why do you have these?”

I grinned at her and said “Sometimes my little sister stays in my apartment while I go away on vacation, she loves it here she says. Thankfully she tends to forget some of her stuff every once in a while.”

She laughed and said “Oh there’s so much I don’t know about you Daniel… you mysterious sexy man you!” as I turned around to leave she took hold of my hand and looked up at me and said “Shower first darling?” and how could I resist such an invitation?

About half an hour later, we were both up in the kitchen, having a post coital snack when our conversation drifted onto the topic of the artifact again. We both ventured into the living room again and I took it out of the box again and studied it. Same stuff, runes, circuit shit and just that silly orange coloring. I shook it and it rattled loudly inside, Emma immediately took it out of my hands and snapped at me that it wasn’t a toy. I felt mortified since I knew it was a sensitive artifact, but as she reached for the box, a powerful hum came from it and almost in slow motion, I saw Emma drop it, clutch her head in her hands and faint.

I rushed forward and caught her in my arms, completely ignoring the artifact which crashed against the floor and rolled a bit. After a brief moment which felt like ages, she opened her eyes and blinked and looked at me with a momentary confusion “Wh.. who.. are you?” … but then she shook her head and I could see her recognition of me return to her eyes.

“.. is it OK?” she stammered out and feeling the intense terror one can only feel as one knows their career has reached a certain end due to a MASSIVE FUCK UP, I quickly lowered her onto the sofa and picked it up, thankfully it appeared to be undamaged.

“Oh hell, it’s .. it’s still good, it’s intact, it’s intact… ” I quickly said, putting it back into the box with a bit of trepidation while doing so.

She leaned over and looked at it, having recovered a bit. “That .. that was strange, I think we need to take this back to the office right away tomorrow” she ground out.

I nodded, only tangentially worried about the artifact now while turning my attention to her fully.

“How are you feeling, do you want me to call my doctor? I can have him here in 20 minutes if he’s on call tonight” I asked her, worry no doubt etched in my face.

“No no.. I feel OK” she said, waving her hand almost as trying to ward off the idea physically.

After a moment, she laughed and sat up and said “Yeah, I think we lucked out here, whatever it did just now, that’s very significant isn’t it? Maybe that’ll make the client happy that we actually made it do something you know? I’d love to have this with me for a few more weeks though.. ” as I looked into her eyes I saw a sort of longing, not for me, but for the artifact and the mystery surrounding it.

I was used to that look, I’d had it so many times myself when a deadline for a project was coming up and you wanted to translate ALL of it, but the client was happy with a partial result. Sometimes giving up a job was almost painful. Still, we ended up putting the box away for the evening, spending the rest of our time watching some shows on the screen while we cuddled like only new lovers do.

Eventually we headed for bed and after another amazing session of love making, I fell asleep, happy but completely exhausted. I was rudely awakened by a noise I didn’t recognize, as I blinked and noticed the shape next to me in bed beginning to move, there was a moment of confusion as to what any of it was. Then I remembered everything, myself and her and smiled as I leaned over to kiss her to wake her up.

As she woke up, she had the same moment of disorientation, but after she remembered, she gave me a smile that made my groin tighten in a most delicious way and kissed me back.

“Good morning… mmm.. I’m late… ” she said as she swung her shapely legs over the side of the bed and got up. The sight of her naked ass made my cock go from “Maybe morning boner?” to rock hard in seconds. I shuffled over and caressed her back and butt and gave her right butt-cheek a kiss and murmured “this is perfection…mmm…” she laughed her pearly laugh as she quickly got into her clothes and smiled at me.

“I’ve got an early morning meeting I’m late for, I really hope your services are better than mine!” she laughed as she headed out the hallway to check the delivery chute. For a brief moment I wished with all my might that my buildings suit cleaning services would be having a shit day and that they’d be late with say.. an hour or two… but this morning her suit and mine were washed, dried and folded neatly as she opened the space to take them out.

“Fucking services…” I muttered to myself and smiled as I got up “So.. not staying for breakfast huh? I knew it.. I was just a pump and dump for you wasn’t I?” I joked, she smiled and leaned over and gave me a kiss that told me everything I needed to know.

But she still added “Daniel, I’m going to be serious because I really don’t have a lot of time. I really do love you, that wasn’t just sex talk last night. I want you in my life and I’m hoping we can do this again tonight, at my place. This time I’m leaving work at home OK?”

I nodded in a way that felt dumbfounded and replied “I love you too Emma, I was serious about that too.. and yes, of course, whenever you want!” as she leaned over again and kissed me goodbye and left.

After I’d closed the door, I sat down in my couch and thought things over for a moment. Wow. Not only did I have the woman of my dreams, but .. I was now involved in a high tier project at work in a way. Cool.

I got back up and went through my morning routine and headed back to work. I saw Emma briefly during the day, but had a lot of trouble focusing on my work since I kept getting distracted thinking about what’d happened versus daydreaming about what would happen tonight. My spine tingled at the memory of her kisses and the way she’d felt when I’d held her in my arms.

I drew a deep breath and thought about dead puppies and pus.. nope, didn’t help. I thought about bananas and how horrible they tasted, still Mount Everest down there, I thought about the possibility of the object being damaged and yeah.. that did it. I calmed my nerves by telling myself that if there had been some damage done to it, they’d had my hide by now. I went out to get another cup of coffee which tasted like shit, my impatience was almost tangible as I got back to my desk and the day ended.

I waited until the last person in the office was heading out before I asked him if he’d seen Emma. He laughed and said “Oh man, you’re really sweet on her aren’t you? I saw her leaving a while ago looking stressed, guess her meeting didn’t go that well.” His face betrayed his utter joy at that fact. Asshole, I thought to myself.

I thanked the guy and headed home, impatiently waiting for her to call. As the evening started to come to a close, I realized that she probably wasn’t going to call. Shit, I’d done it again. Had it been the joke about a one night stand that did it? Was it the fact that I had my sisters tampons? Was it the sex? I felt like crap as I turned in for the night, faintly smelling her perfume on the other side of the bed, feeling my heart ache with a longing for her.

The day after, she didn’t come into the office at all and my heart was sinking so bad while my head was busy with a million different reasons why she wasn’t there. My anxiety got the best of me and I mustered up enough courage to ask the boss if he’d seen Emma around today, since I needed to talk to her about a project I was heading up. He grunted at me and told me he’d given her the day off today since she’d asked for it. I smiled at him while my heart felt like ice as I returned to my desk.

Damn, she WAS regretting it wasn’t she? If she’d taken the day off, that wasn’t good. Fuck fuck fuck fuck, NEVER shit where you eat I thought to myself. This was gonna be one of those shitty office romances that ends up bad. I envisioned Emma coming back and treating me coldly, I imagined a short conversation summed up in the words “I’m not into you, let’s keep it professional.” or some variant of that.

I went back home that night feeling hollowed out. I didn’t even think of calling her, the fear of her giving me “the talk” kept me paralyzed whenever I considered it.

Another day in a city that felt so much gray than before, another endless day in the office and another evening was now coming to an end. I sat up from the sofa and got my phone and angrily dialed her phone number, enough was enough. If she was gonna dump me, FINE, let her fucking dump me, I just wanted it over and done with. Two signals went through before there was a busy tone, feeling even more angry, I dialed her number again and got the generic “This customers phone is currently not connected due to a networking error” phrase which told me she’d yanked out the cord.

A string of curses came from my mouth as I realized she was probably ghosting me, I felt like shit as I put the phone down and resigned to the fact that it was over. I felt disdain for her since the very least she could have done was tell me she’d changed her mind. People. When the gray rain started to hammer against my windows, I felt alone and angry.

The day after I lurched into the office, feeling like crap. I was feeling anxiety of the prospect seeing Emma, I both wanted it and didn’t want it at the same time. My heart was a cauldron of conflicting emotions. As I sat down at my desk, my boss came over and asked me if I’d seen Emma around, I told him no and asked what was up. He told me that she hadn’t called in this morning or shown up for her early meetings.

The client wasn’t happy either as he told me she had an object of “significant value” that she’d checked out without his authorization. I could tell by his face that he was lying to me. Interesting, it meant that he was under enough pressure that he was gonna throw her under the bus. Good, that bitch deserved it for ghosting me. After he’d left though, I started thinking more and more about it. This didn’t sound at all like her. It’s one thing that she’d regretted getting with me, but .. taking a serious object like that and just vanishing for a few days without telling the boss, that was a really risky career move.

Something in my gut told me that there was more to this and after work was done, I headed over to her apartment right away. The windows outside her apartment were dark and stained in a way that told me she hadn’t ordered a cleaning cycles in a while. Not a good sign. As I took the elevator up to her apartment and knocked on her door, I felt like my heart was made out of ash.

When there was no reply, I grabbed onto the door handle and tried to open it and to my surprise it opened along with a weak puff of stale smelling air. I took a second to consider my options and then went inside with a strange mixture of anger and fear for what might have happened to her. What was going on here?

Her apartment was a complete mess, spent food packaging was strewn around the floor, one of her suits, unwashed had been thrown into a corner and that absolutely wasn’t good at all. You NEVER kept unwashed suits in your apartment, the particulates would get into the air at the slightest provocation and then you’d have that junk in your lungs even worse than before.

I searched through the rooms which had all had their furniture pushed up into weird arrangements along with lots of papers being strewn about the floors with strange characters on them. These scribbles however, looked like nothing I’d seen before, they seemed to belong to a completely different language compared to the runic ones I knew.

While I was going through her bedroom, I noticed on the side of her bed was a small black book labeled “JOURNAL” with stylized lettering on the front. I picked it up and realized it was her diary of sorts. As I read it, my heart swelled along with my fear for her as it had entries going back very far of her trying her best to get my attention. Her latest entries though mentioned her happiness at the project, her profound joy at going to my place for dinner and her plan of “forgetting” her suit and hoping to get lucky with me. Tears streamed down my face as I started looking back into the other rooms again for any clue as to where she might be.

During my second pass of the living room I realized that she had a projector system and turned that on, as the image flickered to life on the canvas, I saw an outline of a map of the city with an outskirts area marked with a small red circle. I copied the design to my handheld and asked the computer to pattern-match the part of map and give me a travel guide to the location. A few minutes later, it bleeped and showed me the travel route which was quite a ways outside the city.

Wasting no time, I hailed a cab and told the cabbie to go this location. He gave me a strange look and asked me why I was going outside to some old ruins at this time of night. I told him that I’d pay him extra if he’d get me there fast and not ask me any more questions.

Half an hour later, he dropped me off at what really did look like some old ruins, I asked him to wait for me and told him I hopefully wouldn’t be long. He begrudgingly told me that although he’d stay for about twenty more minutes, he had other plans with his evening eventually.

I profusely thanked him and headed down a set of stairs that seemed really ancient and crumbling. The carvings on the walls initially seemed like runic script, but as I got deeper they were gradually replaced with that other strange language that I hadn’t been able to decipher before.

After what felt like a long while, I reached a bigger chamber where the floor was covered in grass, on a central round platform I could see Emma lying there with her eyes closed. No mask, no suit.

Fearing the worst, I rushed over to her and tried to wake her up gently, as she opened her eyes, she smiled and reached up to kiss my mask, her lips getting stained by the soot, I got her up into a sitting position before asking her “Hey, hey .. what are you doing here? Why aren’t you wearing your mask or suit? You know how dangerous that is, we need to get you out of here… now!”

She however, looked very serene as she sat there for a moment. Then her hand went to my groin and started massaging my cock as she gave a smile that normally would have been erotic, but here was just creepy as hell.

“Come on honey.. let’s .. let’s do it here… mmm… I want you here.. … come.. . take me… “

And to my surprise she leaned back and tore her shirt, exposing her tits and started playing with her left breast while her other hand made it’s way to her groin where it started trying to unbutton her pants. The odd action along with the fact that she was smearing more soot over her body made me dart up and back away in fear, what the fuck was going on here?

“Emma.. please.. this isn’t you. There’s something very wrong here, you NEED to come back with me so we can get you to a hospital alright? You’re not thinking clearly.” I said with a quivering voice while my mind was racing with chaotic thoughts.

She immediately stopped playing with herself and sat up with her eyes closed.

“Pity” she mumbled to herself and then with a louder voice “PITY you don’t want to join with me, with all of us.” she continued as she opened her now solid orange eyes which positively glowed in the poorly lit room, her face now completely devoid of any emotion. “Please submit for system integration, touch touch touch any stone” she added. Her voice now a flat monotone.

I backed away while part of my brain made the odd connection that her eyes now had the same color as the strange object. It really didn’t seem like a kids toy anymore now as it floated up behind her and started spinning around her head slowly while the floors and the walls started glowing with lines of orange light pulsing from the center platform, tracing even more patterns of runes that I could understand.

Both walls had old runic visible now that read “CONTAINMENT CHAMBER 01 – ONLY AUTHORIZED PERSONS ADMITTED” and I backed away even further. The dirt and grass on the floor was now being lit from underneath as the whole place started to shake.

She closed her eyes and then I yelled and rushed forward as first her clothes evaporated into an orange mist and then the lower part of her body simply ceased to exist as it liquefied and merged with the metallic podium that was now starting to protrude from the ground. I was thrown back by an invisible force as she kept rising to the ceiling, babbling incoherently to herself with runic idioms that I could understand (Breaking through, freedom, multiply) and other words which I didn’t even recognize.

Eventually as the rest of her simply kept melting into an amorphous form that started to take on other nightmarish shapes, I just turned tail and ran for my life as tendrils started making their way towards me. I scrambled up the stairs and saw even more glowing runes and shapes on the walls, but at this point, I was so frenzied that I paid no attention to them. Her voice, now distorted still rang out behind me “”Current avatar degradation at 63% please submit for integration. System error imminent.” and that only made me run faster.

A series of loud explosions behind me erupted just as I got into the cab, I yelled at the cabbie to drive drive DRIVE FOR FUCKS SAKE! As he slammed the vehicle into gear and sped off towards the city. I got on the phone with the authorities and told them the whole story, they asked for directions and I sent them the map and after a brief interview they told me they’d look into it and hung up.

The day after, I called in sick and had a visit by a man that called himself Mister Wood. He told me that I had two options, either 1) Resign my job and shut up about every aspect of the project and to hand over any materials I had that might be related to it. or 2) Get arrested for essentially stealing government classified materials and for trespassing on government property.

I obviously chose the first option and after a brief search of my apartment by a team of agents that looked even more serious than he did, they left me alone and reminded me that they’d be keeping an eye on me. Then the door closed and I was alone with my confusion and agony as the rain hammered against my windows.

A few months passed and life started to do its thing again. I wasn’t really doing well though, the loss of Emma weighed on me, but so did the loss of my job. What was I going to do now? I had no idea and I was getting desperate for money when I noticed an ad in my daily morning feed promising a job with double my previous salary for a simple blood test. The only condition was that it was a long term research project and that I would have to submit for the whole set of screenings over a long period of time. My luck didn’t end there though, as my landlord finally called me about my toilet which he simply had a guy replace, the guy though was a total bore and didn’t really talk much. But hey, new toilet right?

The only fly in my ointment was the recurring nightmare of that final night when I could see Emma over and over rising up towards the floor with her monotone voice rambling things. What scared me was that every night, I started understanding more and more of what she was saying.