Horror Writers Association Member

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Welcome to the Herd

Welcome to the Herd

It was Shepard’s first execution at the Supermax prison.  He hoped he had the stomach for it.  Finally privy to guarded secrets of the Keystone State Prison, he was now one of the elite.  Months of intense physical and mental training was effortless compared to earning the trust of the Warden; a veteran by the name of Gerald Koffee.  Koffee’s reputation throughout the penal system was that of a fabled beast in command of a labyrinth of monsters.  And within the fortified walls of supermax prisons, where the inmates are deemed the worst of the worst, who better to forge the shackles of these monsters than a formidable beast? 

Shepard stood shoulder to shoulder with a core group of men hand-selected by Koffee for their strength, grit and ability to follow orders without question or hesitation.  Shepard was the youngest and most recent of the group.  Rumors swirled that once a Keystone State employee, always a Keystone State employee; and judging by the grizzled, ancient looks on many of the men- the rumor was true.  

While in training Koffee had queried if he was willing to accept death as his faithful duty at the prison.  Shepard believed in the cause implicitly and was all too willing to die in his uniform.

The window looking down into the kill room floor was dwarfed by the stature of the beast himself.  Koffee cleared his throat, demanding the attention of his elected. He then launched into what Shepard would come to know as his customary pre-execution lecture.

“Gentleman, this prison was built to hold those with no regard for life, human or otherwise. Because of that critical flaw, we are at war.  A war where we must fight to keep civility from being snuffed out by the unrepentant and the unviable.  

Culling the users and the takers of the world rests on our calloused shoulders.  We are here to assist the cleansing of our society.  Do you accept your role as the last line of defense?”

The men countered, “Yes Sir.”

Flooding the killing room floor with light, Gerald Koffee peered down through the shatterproof glass.  There a few dozen inmates stood shielding their eyes, attempting to blink away temporary blindness. Before placing the microphone to his lips, Koffee noted the time.

“June 20, 2030, at 4:45 pm. Let it begin.”

Shepard swallowed hard.  He knew what was coming. The men on the kill floor glared into the large window as General Koffee barked into the mic.

“None of you deserve to live.  You are a disease that feeds on the weak and vulnerable, and therefore must be eradicated.  

But today I give you an opportunity.  An opportunity for survival.  The rules are simple.  You will either kill or be killed.  This is the price of gaining your freedom.  Kill or die trying.”

One of the inmates interrupted. A pending confrontation with death left him with little fear of reprisal.

“And what if we refuse to participate in your fucked up little game, Warden?  Then what?”

Koffee declined to answer, instead motioning to the officer standing to the left of Shepard, who rushed to a small opening cut out of the window and promptly shot the affronting inmate between the eyes. 

Shepard kept his own eyes forward, quietly relieved he hadn’t been asked to take the shot.  But he knew his allegiance would be called upon soon. He clung to a hope that he wouldn’t disappoint Koffee or himself.

Without addressing the dispatched inmate, the warden continued into the microphone. He found his audience to be more attentive now.

“Once the room goes red and the sirens sound you may begin.  When the room goes quiet and the lights are returned, the winner or winners will be acknowledged.”

An incensed roar rose from the kill floor, startling Shepard. He tightened his hold on his rifle.  Meanwhile, Koffee bit his lip to keep from grinning.

“Death has brought you here.  Now death is the only way out.”

The siren blared and the kill room was quickly bathed in red.  The melee was slow to start but the possibility of freedom was enough to rouse the monsters’ savagery.  

Death was delivered in many gruesome and creative methods, the most common being concealed shanks that many inmates had fashioned from bits of honed plastic and shards of metal.

Shepard was surprised by his constitution as he watched the inmates tear each other to pieces.  Any relationships built at the prison were quickly dissolved in the violent will to survive.  

At 5:20 pm the red light was snuffed out and the kill room was quiet.  Five men remained, kneeling on the blood soaked concrete, each with significant wounds of their own.

Koffee took a moment to survey the scene. Then he smiled and congratulated them.

“Well done.  Your ferocity has kept you alive.  You have proved you are survivors at any cost.”

One of the inmates spit out a mouthful of blood and smiled at the realization of pending liberty.

“So we’re free men?”

“Free?  Nothing is ever free.” Koffee smiled, then lowered the window and nodded to his men.  A barrage of bullets ripped through the five remaining combatants.  Their bodies fell among the rest of the dead.   Everyone except Shepard lowered their weapons.

Placing his hand on Shepard’s remarkably steady shoulder, which was still aimed on the kill room floor, Koffee carefully slid his hand down his newest recruit’s arm, guiding him to lower his weapon.  Shepard’s voice cracked.

“I blew a man’s head off.  A man that was promised a way out. You lied, sir. Why?”

“Those men have killed for much less son.  I gave them more than they ever gave the people they murdered.  I gave them a gift.  I gave them hope.  Unfortunately, the herd is always growing and it’s our duty to cull that herd.  Congratulations, you’re now one of us.  Welcome to the herd.”

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Men of Silver

This story is for the uber SUPER Geeks. You know who you are......

Check out Randommization.com   for more cool pix!
Men of Silver 

“Jeez Louise, think you could turn the heat up in here?  It’s freezing," Bruce Wayne grumbled, wrapping his old cape around his shoulders.

Clark Kent yawned. He’d heard this gripe from his former team mate before, “How many times do I have to tell you, you old bat, there isn’t a thermostat in the Fortress.  You always underdress. Put on my slippers. They’ll warm you up.”

Bruce starred at his host, the prior Man of Steel and leaned forward in his own recliner.

The awkward silence and eventual one word answered that followed said it all, “Who?”

Agitated, Clark stripped off his identity suppressing bi-focals and rubbed his less than super-eyes.

“What do you mean, ‘who’?  I didn’t say anything that required a ‘who’ for an answer. What are you now, a damned owl? ”

Confused, Bruce pointed a finger at himself.

“No Clark. I’m Batman. Remember?” he sucked his dentures, “It’s okay. I forget who I am sometimes too. Luckily, someone stitched my name in my underwear,” he said, still pointing to his chest.

Clark patted his addled friend’s hand and sighed.

“Yes, Bruce. I know you all too well. We’ve fought many battles together. Remember the epic war with Darkseid? You were magnificent in that encounter. By the way, I ran into Darkseid at the Justice League Retirement Community. He’s still a prick but with the glaucoma and osteoarthritis, his once forbidding Omega Beams are only good for warming his cocoa.  Plus, it’s hard to get around in a nano-second when you’re riding a hover-round.”

Bruce laughed. Clark missed listening to his old comrade’s laugh. He enjoyed reminiscing about the good old days where the good guys always vanquished the bad guys.

Bruce eagerly chimed in.

“Oh and you know who else is still hot?” he solicited with a bony elbow to Clark’s weakening arm- apparently not hearing any of the conversation.

Lois Lane. I would have had a shot with her if it wasn’t for Superman,” he leaned in and whispered, “I did touch her boob once.”  

Clark balled up his fist, but resisted to follow through with a strike. Instead, he snatched up Bruce by the arm in a less-than-powerful grip.

“I think it’s time for you to go home, Batboy.”

Bruce slowly rose from his chair.

“Wow, time sure flies. Tell Alfred to bring the Batmobile around.”

“Alfred’s dead, Bruce. He’s been dead for over 20 years,” Clark snipped, no longer in the mood to circle the planet known as memory lane.

“I think he’s stealing my silverware,” Bruce hissed, shaking a gloved finger in Clark’s face, “I know he’s been hiding my things. Yesterday, I found my codpiece in the breadbox. I should fire him.”

Ushering Bruce out the fortress door, Clark rolled his eyes which accidently set fire to couch. After a wicked coughing spell brought on by emphysema, the Man of Steel finally managed to blow out the flames with his icy breath.

“Damn cataracts,” Clark griped.

Knowing his old friend would need assistance traveling home he enlisted a fellow superhero to be his traveling companion. Clark pulled Bruce close and practically screamed in his ear.

“Bruce, Alan is going to take you home. You remember Alan Scott? A.K.A Green Lantern?”

Alan offered an outstretched hand, “Good to see you Bruce. It’s been too long.”

“Oh Alan, Alan Scott. Rumor has it you’re now one of those queers, right?”

Clark hung his head. But Bruce persisted.

“I had to have this discussion with Robin so I’m going to have it with you too. I just need to get one thing straight…ME. Got it?”

Alan bit his lip. The likes of the Joker and Penguin had been his arch nemesis in the past but now the villains resided within him disguised as years of concussions and the ravages of dementia. He was then and now the Dark Knight. He forced an awkward smile.

“Good, now take me home. I’m freezing my bat balls off. Clark, why don’t you turn on the heat? Your Fortress is as cold as the White Witches tit,” he snickered. 

Alan shot Superman a befuddled look. Clark waved and shuffled back inside. Patting Green Lantern’s shoulder, Bruce grinned and shouted, “Up, up and away!”

And with a single invocation to the Earth and a lick of green flame both Batman and Green Lantern were gone.

Clark dropped in his recliner and closed his eyes.

“That was my line…I think.”

Why Bumble Bees are Jerkwads

There are more bugs, insects and arachnids on this planet than there are people. That fact alone terrifies me. Especially in the spring/summ...