Joey roared across the frozen flat land
Devoid of human life.
He bobbed his head and tapped his hand
Sitting next to his wife.
She swayed and sang along to the music
The kids giggling in the back
Each one wearing a warm tunic
Good humour they surely did not lack
“We’re almost home” cried dad,
Earning a cheer from his family
It was the best day they’d ever had
Racing ahead to see the dome’s canopy
Bringing the grey vehicle to a stop
They did up their coats and donned their masks
Then each disembarked with a hop
And headed to the door avoiding the cracks.
Inside was the last forest on earth
Their home that kept them safe
Though the planet outside lacked mirth
In here that was hardly the case.
Smiling people ran and greeted their frozen friends
While the storm outside swirled.
The apocalypse may have brought a terrible end
But in here at least, it was perfect world
The Tiniest Hero
The monsters and bad guys are usually big
With knives, guns, teeth, and claws
Some are ugly with noses like pigs
Often with no regard for laws
But do not despair kind civilian
For everything is not lost
Despite all the criminals and villains
Every evil act has a cost
And who better to collect from these crooks
Than a tiny bear of amazing power
One who can fly, inspiring awed looks
While making it’s enemies cower
In a world of monsters skin cold and rough
A defender stands by the name of Zero
Strong, warm, and filled with fluff
This small bear is the tiniest Hero.
*The following were submissions for a project called Voice and Vision 2018, The second story was chosen to be published.
The artwork was created by Verone Solilo, check out more of her wonderful artwork at
1) The small boat made its way across the starlit bay, carrying it’s two favourite passengers as per usual. It was thrilled to see that they were back to their quiet loving selves this time. It had been deeply worried as their last trip had been over three weeks ago and they had argued relentlessly. Instead the two made their way to the usual anchoring spot in silence, broken only by the gentle hum of the boat’s engine and the slap of the waves against it’s hull.
As they reached the spot the woman turned off the engine, then began to help the man into the water for a swim. The boat never understood why humans tried to swim as they were far less buoyant than itself. Still, to each their own and the small red boat simply observed dismissively as the man floated for a second before slowly disappearing under the waves. The woman turned the engine back on and began making their way back to the shore. The boat supposed the man wanted to race them back which excited it. The woman seemed happy too as she smiled, steering the boat over the moon crested waves towards shore, even as raindrops fell solely at her feet.
Salt water sprayed refreshingly in her face as she made her way around the coast. Her suitcase rested by her feet as ‘that’ house grew smaller on the beach behind her, along with all the oppression and torment it represented. Ahead of her was nothing but open water and new possibilities. The little red boat she was never allowed to touch was now her trusted steed on her way to freedom.
Gunshots rang out behind her, muffled by distance as they splashed harmlessly into the water around her. She looked back to see her oppressors jumping up and down on the dock, the fire of their fury useless against the expanse of extinguishing sea between them. With a smile and a wave, she bid farewell to her past and turned her gaze back to the possibilities before her as the small boat dutifully carried her forward.
Alarms rang in the night and out into the bay as a frenzy of lights and sirens approached the house. Anne simply smiled quietly to herself as she guided the small red boat silently into the moonlit night. It slapped the waves heavily as Anne and the cargo of gold, jewelry, other priceless trinkets weighed down the small watercraft.
She tilted her head back and stared at the beautiful expanse of starlit sky above her, tuning out the commotion on the shore, already knowing how it would end. In the morning, the news would announce that millions of dollars of stolen treasure had been taken by a beautiful but mysterious woman during the prince’s birthday party that evening. There would be no accurate descriptions of the woman as she always made sure to be as forgettable in person as possible. All they would know for sure was that the white card with a single red lip print pressed to it would be found where the treasure had been. Anne didn’t care about that right now though, right now was simply between her, the sea, and the stars. She could worry about those pursuing the Red Lady tomorrow.
“Hey mister!” a small voice said, “Can you come play with us?”
“Is something wrong Alexander?” my boss asked.
“No sir, just finishing up some paperwork.” I grinned unconvincingly.
“Well then stop staring off into space and do your work.” he snapped before storming off to his own office to presumably do even less than I currently was.
“Mister!” the voice said again, “can you please play with us?” On my desk stood a foot-tall long eared rabbit.
“I can’t right now” I whispered, “I’m working Vel!”
She pouted and sat down on my desk barely avoiding her ears, “I don’t know what this work is but I don’t like it Mister!”
“Ok,” I sighed, “what would you like to play?”
Vel’s ears perked up at this and she flapped them once to land on her feet, “I want to play hide and seek!” I would have protested but she was off like a shot to hide.
You may be wondering as to why I just didn’t leave her to her games and continue to work while she was away. The truth is that although she is normally good, she can still interact with the physical world. This resulted in people suspecting that parts of the store were haunted, as she had a bad habit of knocking things over and giggling when anyone got close to where she was hiding. As I heard a crash from the back room followed by nervous shouts, I knew I couldn’t just sit idly by so I hopped out in a hurry claiming to be looking for a specific part.
They of course told me we didn’t stock the random item in question while I quickly scanned for my furry friend. I walked back to the human resources department to inquire about any forms required for changing how much I contributed to taxes each pay period. I barely listened to her as she went over everything, I would have to do for such a minor change. Still I saw no sign of Vel.
I sat back down at my desk and made sure to keep an eye out for a pair of long ears poking out from somewhere. It wasn’t until I made my way to bathroom that I saw them. Two long ears protruded from behind the toilet paper dispenser. I stroked one of them carefully and said, “Well this has to be the softest tissue paper I’ve ever seen!”
A giggle sounded out softly in the room, Vel jumped out from behind the dispenser and said “It sure took you long enough, what can we play now?”
I sighed, “You know it’s hard for me to play with you while I’m at work.”
“I know, Mister, but I just get bored.” she sighed.
“Ok, well how about we play Funny Faces?” I suggested.
“Yes!” she shouted pumping a paw in the air, “That’s one of my favourites!”
“Mine too,” I smiled, “but after that I need you to go and check on your friends. I can’t have someone like Chint showing up here.” I cringed slightly at the thought of the large behemoth Chint happily send cars flying from the parking lot as he pranced about.
“Oooh that’s a good one!” Vel said eyeing my worried face then making a goofy one of her own. I grinned back, “Yes, that’s one to one then, first one to ten wins.” and with that she squeezed under the door and disappeared. It was going to be a fun afternoon…
“Mr. Henry,” Agent Seventy-one said, slamming a thick folder on the table in front of him, “Do you know what this is?” He stared past her smiling at something over her shoulder. She glanced back then waved a hand in front of his eyes. “Mr. Henry can you hear me?”
He laughed and shook his head, “Man, Elmer Fudd didn’t stand a chance!”
“Mr. Henry!” yelled Agent Seventy-One, “What have I told you about watching cartoons in the debriefing room!”
He shrugged, “Beats me, I’m usually listening to the radio while you talk during debriefings.”
She rubbed her eyes and sat heavily in the chair across the table from him, “You know I can’t understand why, with powers like yours, are you so inclined not to use them.”
“Pfft, like some child agent would ever understand, what are you like seventeen?” Mr. Henry scoffed.
Agent Seventy-one raised an eyebrow at him, “Seriously? I’m thirty, not all of us are immortal like you Mr. Henry.”
“Hey, this is not my fault!” he said pointing at his face, “You think I like being seventy and looking like I’m in my late twenties? It’s a fight every time I try to get a senior citizen’s discount.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?” she said with honest disbelief on her, to which he just shrugged and grinned. Steering the conversation back on track she asked “Now do you know what this folder contains?”
Mr. Henry nodded “Are those my snack receipts from this year?”
Agent Seventy-one blushed slightly, “Ahem, no, those no longer fit in a single folder, we had to move them to a cabinet… nevermind; No, this is the damage claims from the incident in New Zealand.”
“So?” he replied, “I wasn’t even there.”
“That’s my point!” she countered, “You could have single-handedly prevented any property damage, or injury, simply by using your powers to kill those monsters. Heck with your level of power you could have fried them from here.”
“Yeeaaaaaaah,” he said drawing the word out, “that’s never going to happen. Do you know what I did before your organization forcibly recruited me?”
“Um, actually no.” she admitted.
“I worked at a pet store. I got to play with animals all day long and never had to worry about using my powers for anything at all. Do you know why I didn’t want to use them?” he asked but continued before she could answer, “It’s because people like you were more interested in feeling safe rather than building a future.”
“That’s not true!” she protested, “Commander Valor has brought us peace and built a future we can be proud of!”
Mr. Henry laughed, “What kind of idiot are you? Commander Valor doesn’t care about you or anyone for that manner. That psycho has manipulated the system and is slowly weaselling his way to the top. When he finally gets what he wants he’ll start playing defensively and use his position to strip your freedoms one by one.”
Agent Seventy-one recoiled slightly at the unexpectedly serious reaction from him. “Well fine, you’re the most powerful being in the planet, why don’t you go and stop him?”
“Like I’ve told you and your predecessors, because it’s not my job. Solve your own problems.” Mr. Henry leaned back and stared off into space again.
For a moment her face turned a violent purple, but just before she decided to pummel him to a pulp with the folder, the rage evaporated and she signed. “You know, my mom used to say that the only reason bad guys win is because too many good people do nothing. If you truly think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, then maybe use that God-like power to do something about it.”
“No Scooby you dummy, why are you going in the closet? That’s the first place he’ll look!” Mr. Henry yelled at thin air.
“Whatever!” spat Agent Seventy-one, “Lucky for you, some of us still care.” and with that she slammed the door behind her as she stormed away.
Three months later, Tammy Rosedael (aka Agent Seventy-one) died in the line of duty, crushed by debris sent flying as Captain Valor battled some giant bird loosed on a city by a mad genius. The day after it was announced, Mr. Henry vanished from the facility, never to be seen again. At least, not under that name.
When Grim Reapers Laugh
As I drove to work this morning, I saw some rather peculiar things. And I don’t mean guys walking around in thong bikinis in the middle of winter. No what I saw was a redneck in a truck weave in and out of traffic honking and flipping the bird at other vehicles. This wasn’t the peculiar bit however as I witness that behaviour every morning; no, the peculiar bit came after the truck drove straight into a traffic circle before screeching to a halt. The driver leapt out and proceeded to violently soil himself to death. I would have stopped but it seemed too surreal to be real and initially assumed it was some sort of protest.
Shortly after I came to a stop at a red light, an elderly lady was walking across the street when a lady dressed in a full fuchsia jogging suit pushed passed her knocking her to the ground. The old woman screamed at her but with headphones on and her smartphone blocking her view she didn’t notice. I was disgusted but soon was shocked when the woman in fuchsia turned without looking and walked directly into oncoming traffic. A fully loaded dump truck barely had time to honk before she did her best impression of a dragonfly on a truck’s grill.
The light changed and despite the gruesome incident all the vehicles continued as if nothing had happened. As we made it to the bridge, I saw a large kid holding a smaller child with a leg cast dangerously close to the edge of the railing. Just as I got close the bully’s foot slipped out from under them and landed on their side. It looked like a rough fall but became all the worse when the kid they had been dangling landed heavily on top of them. I heard the spine snap from in my car. I was relieved to find out that the bully didn’t die but did end up dead from the waist down.
Finally, just as I pulled into work, I saw the owner of our company get out of his vehicle and stroll towards the door. He was a cold heartless bastard and I cringed at just the thought of having to deal with him today. I watched as the manager walked up to him and began their brown-nosing routine. The owner smiled politely but took out his phone dropping it behind him clumsily as he did. He turned around and bent over to pick it up, revealing a crack that would embarrass a plumber. I sighed as I exited my vehicle and slammed my door. Just then a large icicle fell from the eves and impaled the still bent over owner right through the heart. The manager, in shock, went to assist the clearly dead man and received an unfortunate face-full of excrement as his bowels released.
The store closed for the day shortly after that, so on my way home I stopped by a senior’s home. They had just finished lunch and were about to start a game of bingo. I won forty dollars and gave it to the head nurses to buy them donuts or something. But more importantly I helped make others smile. As I was about to leave the old woman who had been knocked down this morning came and thanked me for stopping by personally. She said “Death’s minions have been in a strange mood today, they love their pranks you see, but they’re always happy to join in a laugh instead if the opportunity presents itself so thank you for entertaining us this afternoon.” With that she shuffled off and I headed home telling myself jokes all the way.
Selling a two year old purple platypus
Friendly especially when food is involved.
Trained to do several tricks including, sitting, fetching, checking stock prices, handling investments, and “taking care” of unwanted neighbors.
Goes by the name of Vinnie.
Consists of a diet of primarily meatballs, steak, and seafood.
I’m selling him as my new girlfriend wants to get a dog, insisting that those death threats with the flipper print are from Vinnie.
I tried to convince her she was crazy but when we found her cat at the bottom of the fish tank with cement around it’s feet even I had to admit things were getting out of hand.
All applicants please bring $500 dollars in unmarked bills to mailbox at the corner of 12th and Main for approval by Vinnie.
Serious applicants only, hoping Vinnie can go to a good home.
All shots up to date.
Writing Prompt: Write an advertisement for a pet for sale.
A knock came thrice at the door, and a large awkward monster jumped excitedly to its feet and hobbled to the door. Once there it cleared it’s throat and in a musical tone said “Who is it?”
“Ummm is this 742 Evergreen terrace?” asked a woman’s voice from the alley beyond the door.
The monster bit it’s lip and hopped from foot to foot a couple times before saying, “Yes it is may I as who it is?”
“Um it’s FedEx, I have a Package for a one Jo Smith?” responded the voice in the alley.
“One moment,” the monster sang as it pulled a lever on the wall next to the door. A hatch in the alley opened with the word ‘Mail’ written in disturbing red paint. “Please put the package and any paperwork to be signed in the slot”
With a clunk the package fell into slot and the monster shoved the lever in the opposite direction causing everything to plop inside without having to open the door. It quickly picked up the box and drew a bloody ex on the sign sheet before the clipboard back to the alley through the slot.
“Thank you” the Fed-ex courier yelled followed by hurried footsteps,
“Oh no,” said the monster tearing the lid off the box, “Thank you!”
Inside was a bio-mechanical foot with a rose and a note that read, “As always it is an honour to be of service, let me know if you have anything else you need required, sincerely Mr. Renaud.”
With a bone shattering crack the monster ripped the wooden foot from it’s left leg and immediately began attaching the artificial limb in its place. Admiring it’s handy work the monster muttered, “Always best to make the most of one’s self” before hopping off and dancing around on the foot that had been custom made for it.
The Twelve Capers of Christmas: Epilogue
The business market has been turned on its head this morning as CEO of Noel & Kringle Enterprises has been arrested under charges varying from parking fines to homicide. Diane Egoorcs is to be represented by an assigned defence attorney as all of N&K Ent. lawyers have signed the overwhelmingly long list of witnesses willing to testify against the once prominent CEO. When we asked several of those listed to testify as to why they were so eager to speak against Diane Egoorcs many replied that it was “The nice thing to do”.
Even stranger the arrest comes shortly after a massive break-in last night at Noel & Kringle Enterprises. Guards at the scene refused to comment on what the thieves were looking for however one did mention that “They got what we were hoping for, thank god!”. A sentiment many guards seemed to share through nods. When we asked to speak to the head of security we were informed that he had been committed to the psych ward of the hospital. Further inquiry at the hospital revealed he had suffered severe mental trauma, and was babbling honestly.
Holly Chipper, the acting head of security, said “We were ordered to unlawfully detain an individual in the building. All of us followed those orders under threats to ourselves and our families.” Although inquiries into who was being detained revealed little, we did discover that the detainee had a great deal to do with the now infamous Clara Kringle. When asked of her intentions in regards to the incident Ms. Chipper simply said, “I actually quit, but then Diane’s replacement called me and officially offered me the position of head of security. I agreed under the condition that every guard cooperate fully with the police and that our non-disclosure agreement would remain inactive until it was properly revised.” We asked if she had taken the position to which she replied, “I’m here aren’t I?”
We tried to get statements from the guards as to what the intruders looked like, unfortunately the stress of the evening seems to have taken its toll. In fact the only recurring reports we got referred to things like, “Mischievous boys”, “A giant cat”, “Frosty the snowman”, and “Santa’s evil granddaughter”.
More on this story as it develops.
In other news, the items stolen by Clara Kringle have been returned to either their rightful owners or to the authorities. Each was returned with a thank you note and a plate of cookies. The items left with authorities have all been identified as previously stolen and sold on the blackmarket. They are currently being catalogued and sent to the original countries of origin where they will be evaluated by local museums.
Six albino kangaroos have shown up at wildlife reserve in australia. A note was left on at the reserve’s office signed by the infamous Clara Kringle. It contained a list of care instructions including the animals names and their preference for candy canes as a snack.
The first reports of a red UFO came in early this morning from various military and weather services. It has jumped around the globe at speeds not associated with any man-made craft. Upon further investigation both military and weather services claim that the red blur is a practical joke from some hackers in Austria. They have released public service announcements to tell citizens not to worry and that their technicians have already released a global patch to fix the security flaw by the 26th of Dec.
Merry Christmas and thanks for reading, and have a Happy New Year!
J. S. Figment
The Twelve Capers of Christmas: Day 12
5:43pm: Building is clear. No sign of threats. Premises secure. Shift change scheduled for 1800 hours.
6:04pm: Guard change successful. Notes: “Extra staff has been reported for duty and has been assigned as per directions.”
6:12pm: Inquiry: “Extra staff? I didn’t hire any extra staff? What are their names?”
6:14pm: Response: “They simply gave ID numbers, there were 13 of them from Yule Security”
6:15pm: Response: “Find them! We have intruders, they’re making a move for Santa now”
6:19pm: Facility lockdown engaged. Sectors responding as clear 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,11,15,16,19 Waiting for response from Sectors 5,9,10,12,13,14,17,18,20
6:30pm: Status request
Sector 5: <no response>
Sector 9: “why are you stealing everything from the vending machine? What the… no… No…NOOOO!!!!”<static><no response>
Sector 10: *heavy snoring*
Sector 12: “Where is everybody? Why are all the lights out? Oooff! Gross what is this? Some kind of rotten potato?” <static><no response>
Sector 13: “Report, there is something outside the window. I found empty guard uniforms, they were from the temps brought in tonight. What the? What was that?” <static><no response>
Sector 14: “A giant cat! There’s a giant cat attacking the guards! Command, please advise? We weren’t trained for this!” *Meow* “Oh, my, gahhhh!” <static><no response>
Sector 17: “Is that? Sir there is a snowman down here, and is the temperature controls off? It’s freezing down here.”
Sector 18: <static> “Yoohoo, this Clara Kringle. I’m going to give you all one last chance to hand over Santa, my grandfather, or else!”<static> “Well have it your way!” <static><no response>
Sector 20: <no response> automated security systems status: Green, Armed status: Red (DO NOT ENTER) Cell status: Green
6:50pm: Sectors not responding, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18
6:56pm: Sector 19: *Gunfire* *Shouting* “DIE KITTY!!!” *more gunfire* “Why frosty why?” *explsion* “I know them! Those are the Yule Lads” *yelling* “Sand? Really? Like that will…*snore*” <static><no response>
7:12pm: Sector 20: <no response>automated security systems status: yellow (Main power offline, 48 minutes of auxillary power remaining), Armed status: Red (DO NOT ENTER)
7:20pm: Sector 20:<no response>automated security systems status: Red (Power Draining, 5 minutes of power remaining), Armed status: Black (Ammo depleted, please reload), Cell status: Green
7:25pm: Sector 20:<no response>automated security systems status: offline, Armed status: Black (Ammo depleted, please reload), Cell status: error, cell security not found
7:39pm: Email to Diane Egoorcs
“I quit! I’ve lost my entire team, some of whom were partially digested and defecated by a giant cat! Threaten me and my family all you like, but I don’t want to be anywhere near you when Clara Kringle finds you.
Good luck Jerk!
Holly Chipper, Ex-Interim Head of Security”
*** Check in tomorrow for the Epilogue****
The Twelve Capers of Christmas: Day 11
Time is running short. Tomorrow night I’ll be saving Santa or die trying. I would greatly prefer the former and that is why I have written you. I know you have not always gotten along with my grandfather or my family but I’m sure you can see the danger we face. If we allow a company to take the place of a legendary figure like Santa Clause, it will mark the beginning of the end for us. It will empower a company with the kind of magic and influence with none of the responsibility.
I know you probably have your own opinions of me, I’ve never been on the Nice List in my life. I’m the black sheep of the Kringle family and proud of it. All the same, none of the others are fighting to save Santa. They would rather rely in blind faith than lift a finger to protect those in need.
I know I have no right to ask, but I am, please, if there is any aid you can offer I’ll do whatever I can to pay you back. I can’t do this on my own but if given no other choice I’m certainly going to try. I have already collected the old sleigh, the first set of enchanted clothes, the White Kangaroos (The reindeer are under lock and key by the family), and a few tricks from the north. I’m not trying to brag, I just want you to understand how serious I am about this endeavour.
If you can come help or send anything to help it would be greatly appreciated.
Please don’t let Christmas die like this,
The Twelve Capers of Christmas: Day 10
Prepping the forces
“I don’t care what you have to do, no one gets to Santa do you hear me? This year Christmas belongs to us!” the phone screamed in her ear.
“Yes sir, we will do our best to secure the building and…” the interim head of security began before she was interrupted by the CEO.”
“Your best is garbage, do the work of someone competent instead and make sure no one gets in and make sure Santa doesn’t see the light of day ever again!” the phone vibrated with the force of the voice yelling from the speaker.
“Yes sir, right away sir!” the security officer said through gritted teeth.
“Oh and one more thing,” continued the phone, “if you or anyone on your team fails, not only will you be fired but I’ll be charging you with aiding and abetting the release of a violent criminal!” *Click* the phone went dead.
She slammed the phone down and rubbed her eyes. “If only there was a way to get rid of that annoying b…”
“Well!” a voiced cried as the door flew open, “did they find the boss!”
She glared at the guard, “What do you think?” she snapped, “Get the guards ready! We’re going to each be pulling double shifts until boxing day!”
“But that’s against the law?” sputtered the guard.
“It’s that or we are all going to jail on trumped up charges from the witch upstairs, now be a good little monkey and fly!” the officer yelled as she pointed out the door.
He slammed it and could be heard running down the hall to gather the rest of the guards. Some christmas this was going to be. She pulled a out a wallet and removed a photo from it, “Sorry sweetie, mommy has to work again this christmas, please don’t hate me” and with that she kissed the photo of the little boy and placed it back into the wallet. She brushed a tear away from her cheek and composed herself. With Sinclair gone it was her job to get ready for the war their employer was waging this holiday season.