A Quest Received

“On the eve of the first frost, the sentry of wild will wake.  This avatar of man’s demise will be joined by a rider, cloaked in darkness and atop a horse of strictly bone.  Together, Sentry and Rider will test your species, humans, and I fear you will not fair well.” The squirrel said.

The words fell heavy on the group of heroes, regular people no more than a month ago, thrust into a position of power, standing before the squirrel.  Fresh off their most recent victory, news of another fight was demoralizing.  The joyful rest they had earned gave way to fear.  Feet shuffled nervously, every stomach twisted into knots.  The five heroes had the wind knocked out of them.

All except Sandy, that is.  Sandy was trying to hide her laughter and failing tremendously.

“Sorry, guys,” she said as the chuckling hit uncontrollable.

“Sandy, for the reals, this is a serious omen from Lord Tolor,” Bea tried to calm her teammate.

“Does no one else find Lord Tolor absolutely adorable? I can’t be the only one.  Each prediction of our untimely demise is cuter than the last,” Sandy explained.

Tony laughed once, “you know, she has a point.”

“Be that as it may, you must begin your training immediately.  I must go now.  There’s a hummingbird feeder I simply must investigate,” Lord Tolor said.  His bounced away and the team went to work.

 

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Stevens Plays the Hero

“Tend to the wounded!” Sgt. Stevens commanded what remained of the division’s medical troops.  Stretchers entered the room a heartbeat later, injured soldiers moaned and the troops carrying them could not hide their fatigue.  As soon as all three stretchers were safely inside, they were dropped to the floor and the doorway barricade was reassembled.

“Stevens, you crazy maniac, what is going on out there?” Finletter asked.  Through attrition alone, Finletter had come to be the formal leader of this unit that had made a home out of a 12th story suite in a Holiday Inn somewhere outside Chicago.  Their mission began in Provo, Utah but the enemy pushed them east day after day.

“They were waiting for us, Fin.” Sgt. Stevens said, his usually gruff voice had given way to something like sadness.  “Have you heard anything from, sheesh, I don’t know, anywhere? Anyone?”

Finletter shook his head, “communications are down.  Yonkers to the Yukon, I haven’t picked up anything.”

Stevens stood at a boarded up window and tried to look at the street below, watching for enemy movement.  They were everywhere.  He realized in that moment the final days of this war were upon them all and they were on the losing side.

“Then there’s only one thing left to do,” Stevens grabbed for his sidearm.

“Sargent, the only we can do is wait for reinforcements.  The Tomatoes are too much.  We can fall back.  They’ll freeze in a good Canadian winter,” Finletter pleaded with the informal leader of the unit to make a good decision.

“No, boss. You folks get out of here. My path goes elsewhere. I’m off to make ketchup,” Stevens loaded his weapon, removed the barricades from the door and went outside to play hero.

 

That’s how I’d gritty reboot the crud out of Return of the Killer Tomatoes.

 

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Walter Keeps the Pests Away

“This stuff is good at keeping pests away, right?” Walter asked the sales clerk.

“Well, it is called ‘Bug Off’ so you should be set,” The clerk replied.

“Will it work on ducks?”

“Like, will it help ducks avoid pests?”  The clerk was unsure if the question was serious, but played along anyway.

“Um…yeah,” Walter sensed the clerk’s confusion.

“Or do you mean will it keep ducks away?”

“That. Definitely that,” Walter’s relief was tangible.

“I don’t think ducks technically count as pests.”

“They are to me.”

“Well it’s worth trying out then,” The clerk was not curious enough to continue the conversation.

“I’ll take it!” Walter handed the clerk a credit card, made his purchase and left the store.

The clerk shook his head as the strangest customer of the day exited the shop then went back to cleaning the store’s front windows.  As the final swipe of the squeegee ran over the window, the clerk looked out to see a group of three ducks run by the window.  The ducks honked and squawked angrily, obviously running from something.  That something was Walter.

Walter’s maniacal laugh could be heard through the window.  “Yes! Finally! I get a buffer zone from you pesky creatures of doom!”

The clerk watched Walter chase the ducks and spray himself with the pest repellent over and over again.

“That was pretty duckin’ weird,” the clerk said to himself, chuckling.  “Thank goodness no one was around to hear that one.”

 

 

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A Friendship of Trials

Friendship with Gage Louden was certainly never boring.  There were impromptu trips to Vancouver, three day bar crawls, organizing charity galas for fairly trivial issues; Gage was an impulsive, bright man who wanted to help those around him feel alive.

At this very moment, Caelan Rhodes was pretty sure Gage wanted them both dead. Continue reading

Lenny’s Edit

“Hey, Frank!” Lenny said, bouncing over to his murder buddy.

“Lenny,” Frank said, chewing a bit of discarded bread, “what’s up?”

“I just spent, like, four hours on Wikipedia and discovered some really crazy stuff,” Lenny said.

“Wiki-what?” Frank asked. He was ignored as Lenny began to speak of his findings.

“Did you know the humans call our groups ‘murders’?! Murders. That’s crazy violent. Makes no sense. None!” Lenny said, bouncing with rage.

“That’s enraging! I say we build some device to destroy them all! You know what. As I said it, I heard it. I retract it,” Frank said.

“I’ll update the page to be a Board Meeting of crows and we’ll move on,” Lenny hopped away to make the change.

The Name Game

“We can’t mess this up.  This is something the wee one will have forever!” Baxter said, stressing the importance of his goal.

“That’s why I don’t want to name the baby Optimus or Sunflower Ray,” Betty made her case.

The name debate continued for weeks.  Names were tossed back and forth.  Some names were tossed aside because of personal historic connections.  Some were just dumb.  Each name was intensely reviewed and discussed like it was all that mattered.  Finally the baby was born and the name was absolute perfection.

Years passed and Baxter, Better and Bobbi were excited to discover a fourth member of the family would soon join them.

“What do you want to name baby two?” Baxter asked.

“How about Bill?” Betty suggested.

“Good enough. I’m off to the gym,” Baxter said, grabbing a duffel bag and chomping into a dougnut. “Be nice to mom, Bobbi. Bye bye.”

Yarran, Wizard.

Yarran thought being a powerful wizard living in the heart of the big city would be a lot more amusing than the reality of the situation.  His days revolved around subway rides, finding the nearest outlet to plug his phone charger into and finding at least one restaurant line that did not have a hundred people queued up to order.  There was no pointy hat, cloak wearing battle against the sinister forces of evil that plagued his town.

None of the fun stuff the movies had promised.

There was one big perk that ensured his life was slightly better than that of an average mortal.  With a wave of his wand he could control and direct any number of pigeons.  His visits to parks were wildly amusing.