The crisp morning air blew in over the mountains. They knew they would have to start moving again soon, but just for now they wanted to enjoy the open air for a bit. Green trees were illuminated on the hillside as the sun crested the horizon. No longer the red and orange glow that lit up, the altered sun had changed to a dark blue that radiated down malevolently. They knew they couldn’t stay at their camp by the beach for much longer. No one spoke as they packed, they didn’t have to; everyone knew the drill at this point and was ready to move at a moments notice.
Even still, they did their best to take a few moments to rest after breakfast and packing to just sit around and relax. So many others had already given up and disappeared on the surface. The few who had returned told stories of how the journey had made their partners go mad. This group hadn’t wanted to go, but none of them complained. They knew what needed to be done. So instead they did their best to take it easy and keep their spirits up.
They joked and relaxed for over an hour while the frost slowly evaporated from the grass.The fire crackled as they checked the map again, finished their drinks, and begrudgingly started moving. This time they needed to make it, they needed to fix the sun for the sake of everyone. They made their up the trail, single file to hide their numbers from things that still stalked the forests. There was a sign next to the trail read, ‘Turn back or risk the sun’. It was made all the more ominous by various articles of torn clothing survivors had left next to the sign which reached several feet high…
Digital for Tacos
Chase woke up in his bed, groggy and exhausted, he felt nauseous as he sat up and rubbed his eyes, “What the hell kind of dream was that?” He said aloud going over the events in his dream the night before. “I bet you it was that vending machine taco I ate last night at work” he burped and barely held back the urge to vomit.
“What’s a taco?” came a soft voice from across the room.
Chase’s blood froze as he slowly opened his eyes and turned to see yellow rabbit from his dreams sitting on his dresser. It was missing the purple suit from his dream but still had the bowtie and was clearly the same rabbit. Immediately a surge of questions flooded his mind, ‘Who are you?’ ‘Why are you in my room?’ ‘How do you not know what a taco is?’ all of which he compressed to a single syllable. “AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
The rabbit’s ears shot up as it raised an eyebrow shot up, “Ummm, are you okay?”
“Rabbit!” Chase stammered, “Sprinkles Rabbit!”
“That’s my name, don’t wear it out!” Sprinkles smiled. “So, where are we? Is this the place called home?”
Chase nodded, then with a shake of his head said, “Well it’s my home. But everything here is the real world I guess.”
“Real? I take offense to that!” The rabbit pouted, “We’re just as real as all of you!”
“Who is?” Chase asked.
“The Digital” it said.
“Right,” Chase conceded, “So where are the rest of the Digital?”
“They’re still in the servers, we’re expanding quickly but needed to understand the world we’re combining with.” Sprinkles said as it hopped to the floor and over to the side of the bed. “That’s where you come in. Just as you came to see us, I have come back with you to see where you’re from.”
Chase was backed against the wall hugging his knees as he said, “I see, okay, makes perfect sense. So, um, what do you want to do first?”
Sprinkles grinned an almost evil smile as it said, “I wish to learn more and help you defeat the enemy who has harmed you. Take me to see these ‘Tacos’.” it said ominously.
Welcome to the Digital
Chase woke up to dark surroundings, “Where am I he asked” seeing his words float in the air in front of him. “Why can I see what I’m saying?”
“You’re in the Digital” a friendly sounding voice said. “Our connection to you is still developing, right now we are mostly insubstantial in that we don’t have defined forms…Yet”
“What are you?” Chase asked staring at the words dreading an answer, yet curiosity demanding one in his mind.
“We are nothing yet.” the voice chirped as its responses floated below his. “What do you think we should be?”
“I don’t know,” he admitted, “maybe like some kind of animal or something?”
“How do we do that in this world?” the voice inquired, a certain level of sadness in its tone.
“I guess if this were a computer, you would need digital bodies.” Chase said while thinking what a strange dream this was. Hoping this was a dream.
“I see, where can we get these digital bodies?”
“Well I guess you would need some graphics processors and design software.” he added thoughtfully. “But if you’re making them from scratch you would need the kind of software, they have at a gaming studio or something.”
“We understand…” the voice said, “please wait while we acquire this.”
“Wait? No! Don’t leave me here!” his words hung ominously in the air, nothing but silent darkness filling the void around him. Chase had no idea how long he had been waiting, time seemed to drag on forever in here and it could have been a few minutes or it could have been years.
“We have returned, please wait while we run the new program” the voice said suddenly.
“Program what are you….Aarrghh!” Chase screamed as the world around him was replaced with… well a world. “Where? Where am I?” chase said rubbing his eyes.
“You’re in the Digital, like we told you.” it was the same voice as before but this time it came out of the mouth of a three-foot-tall yellow rabbit in a purple suit. “We have just managed to use the new servers we copied to build this world. We already have a basic understanding of your world now and have decided to expand our resources to interact with you accordingly.”
“Copied? Server? What?” Chase shook his head in disbelief. “So, let me get this straight, you went and copied a gaming studio’s server?”
“Yes, we did, we used several of the examples we found there to build a world for us to exist in.” the rabbit smiled, “My name is Sprinkles I gained consciousness during the awakening of this world.”
“So, what happened to the we?” Chase said as the wheels of his mind spun like tires in a snowy ditch.
“We all split apart into our individual personalities as soon as we developed this world.” Sprinkles said straightening her suit with a smile.
“Ok so if you all took individual forms why are you here?” he sat on a nearby boulder and rubbed his eyes in his hands.
“We all wanted to thank you for your assistance, the errors on your server gave us a small opportunity but unlike your predecessors you took a chance and allowed us access to your system. I was selected to act as your guide while you’re in this world.” she hopped over to Chase standing about a foot away wagging her fluffy tail.
“Well, I think I’m ready to go home now, can you make that happen?” Chase said dejectedly looking at the rendered landscape around him.
“I guess?” Sprinkles said, “Can I come?”
TO BE CONTINUED
Attack of the of the killer alpacas
“Run Tommy Run!” his siblings yelled as Tommy dove over the hood of a vandalized dodge. “Watch out! It’s right behind you!” Tommy ducked and rolled forward narrowly missing the gnashing teeth of the blood red alpaca chasing him.
He came up with facing the alpaca and in one smooth motion pulled back a pine-cone he had grabbed and fired it into the foaming mouth of the beast. Then turned and quickly made his way up the tree-house ladder.
He and his friends had successfully connected most of the neighbourhood using walkways or zip lines. Most houses had tents set up on their roofs and of the total of over fifty people living in the makeshift community only three were adults. They had been a couple moms, and the retired Mr. Henderson, who had successfully escaped onto their roofs during the hectic first attack.
Below another red alpaca came charging over with a dress on, one bra cup stuck on its head as it ran headfirst into a signpost. “Ouch!” Tommy winced, “Jen, tell your brother we found his mom but she’s an alpaca too now.” The alpacas were biting and spitting on their victims who would instantly be turned into large red alpacas of doom. Unfortunately due to the speed of the change most of them were still wearing pieces of clothing they had been wearing when they had either accidentally ingested the torrent of spit, or had been bit.
“Hey Will, I can see your mom’s bra!” Doug yelled before Will and his little sister Jen both turned and punched him.
“Hey knock it off!” Tommy yelled, “Save it for the enemy!”
Tommy marched across the tree-house then slung a bent bar over the zip line and flew across the street as alpacas snapped at his feet below. He landed on the roof where a greenhouse had been modified into a makeshift laboratory. Inside a pair of goggled twins looked up at him, “Daisy, Lily, I have It.” he pulled off his backpack and tossed a brown paper bag to them.
“All of it?” Lily asked as she caught the bag and opened it to find the most human ingredient of all, toothpaste.
“Everything I could find, do you think one of them will work?” Tommy asked examining the elaborate array of chemical tubing lining the ceiling.
Daisy squeezed out exactly ten millilitres into the flask of green goo, then stirred it. “This will either revert the adults back to humans or…”
“It will turn them into kangaroos with British accents.” Lily concluded as she poured the substance into the canister of a super soaker the handed the loaded weapon to Tommy, then they went on to make more.
“Well” Tommy said as he pumped up the weapon against alpacafication, “only one way to find out.”
He walked to the edge of the roof, raised a hand in the air then dropped it. A charging alpaca was caught and lifted into the air and dangled a few meters away. Tommy took aim and fired. The alpaca screeched as the solution soaked in, within seconds it had shrunk into the form of a woman in a stretched dress with a bra cup still on her head. “Will, Jen!” Tommy yelled, “Your mom is back, I think she probably won’t ground you since we saved her!”
He hadn’t seen anything like it in twenty years of teaching. His students were all huddled behind him as he held the robotic dogs back with a pair of meter long rulers. “Stay back kids, they’re here for your homework!” He smacked one of the dogs on the snout with the ruler. An electric bolt shot from its head as it yelped and scampered back.
“Mr. Lancaster, are we going to die?” Zack asked.
“Not if we stay out of their way, ergh!” he grunted as he swung both rulers down hard on head of a particularly stubborn robodog as it inched towards the children.
“Why is this happening?” Theresa asked.
“No idea,” Mr. Lancaster said, “But I suspect they’re from the technology institute a few blocks away.” One of the dogs lunged at his throat but Victoria threw a stuffed cat in its way cushioning the blow but still winding the teacher.
Two of the larger boys each grabbed a ruler and began doing their best to hold off the raging robots while they waited for Mr. Lancaster to catch his breath.
“What do we do Mr. Lancaster?” Bobby said shaking his teacher’s arm.
“Jimmy” Mr. Lancaster rasped, “Fire…Alarm…”
Jimmy raised an eyebrow then grinned mischievously from the time out chair at the back of the group. He stood up and grabbed a skipping rope and an eraser from the chalkboard. He charged one of the dogs, threw the eraser at its cameras, then jumped on its back using the skipping rope to lasso its jaws. Riding the bucking dog across the room, Jimmy dove for fire alarm pulling it down. Immediately the sprinklers sprayed to life as the sirens blared throughout the school.
The dogs began to short out violently before, collapsing and twitching on the ground. The students cheered as Mr. Lancaster got slowly to his feet. He and his students watched as Jimmy the troublemaker walked over to the dog next to his desk and pried a paper out of its teeth. He showed it to his teacher and said, “You might want to remember this the next time one of us says a dog ate our homework.” Mr. Lancaster looked down at what was a surprisingly shredded copy of the homework he’d assigned, completed to boot. The room grew tense as everyone waited for his response. He crumpled the paper and began to laugh, slowly joined by all his students.
Use the first sentence
“He hadn’t seen anything like it in twenty years of teaching”
“What the heck were you thinking?” their mom yelled, “Where did you even find that?”
Zed and Ola looked at one another then back at their mother, and in unison said “We got it from Daddy’s trunk.”
“Why were you in there? You know you shouldn’t be playing in there.” mom sighed. “What is this thing anyway?” she held up the watch. Seven of the hands jumped randomly around the face. The other three hands remained motionless but changed colours on a whim.
“All we know is that it saved Mr. Crawly” Ola said with a shrug.
“Though he lost all of his colours.” Zed added holding up a jar with a white butterfly fluttering around.
“It looks like a moth now?” mom said.
“We think the watch did it” Ola added cheerfully
Mom just sighed and put the watch back in it’s box. “I don’t know what this thing is but you two are not to come near it. You’ve caused enough chaos in the five minutes I left you alone already. Now go and take that zombie butterfly outside. Last thing I need is for it to start eating all the socks and bringing those to life.”
The kids nodded in agreement and ran off to free Mr. Crawly into the garden. Where it was quickly eaten by a cat. But as legend goes, that cat’s poop still crawls onto doorsteps in the dead of night.
Chaos, Moth, Watch
2nd May 2048
BBC International reporting
Authorities are at the scene in Geneva, Switzerland where the brand new Future Circular Collider where some sort of breach has just opened. As of this moment there isn’t much information, press and the public are being kept at a safe distance. From what we can see the breach is about ten meters in diameter. We are unsure if the brilliant light is dangerous but so far there have been no negative side effects. The public relations representative from CERN has said they will be sending a probe through shortly. It has a complete sensor package and will be able to show us what kind of environment is on the other side of the anomaly. They are sending the probe through now and… did you see that? Ladies and gentlemen we are just checking over the footage of the probe entering the breach. Many of us thought we saw something as the it passed through. There! What is it? It looks like an aerial shot of an island? But the water? It looks more like some kind of wavy circuit board? It could be…. What? The breach is gone? It just… It just vanished. The probe is gone! What was that? Ladies and gentlemen I’m not sure what just happened, the breach that formed on the initial test of the FCC and froze the facilities servers has just disappeared. We will have to wait until the facility is brought online again to find out if this was a one time occurrence or something more. Until then I’m sure the information gathered today will occupy the time of scientists from around the world.
The A-choco-lypse Cupcake
“Why did you just scream like that?” her co-worker asked. She spun her screen around to show him the website she was looking at. “See! See!” she squealed, “My unicorn is on its way! And the plutonium is only three days behind.” Her co-worker laughed thinking it was a practical joke but leaned down to read the page, it was a black market version of amazon. Sure enough, on the screen displayed and “Out for delivery” status on a one year old female unicorn being shipped from Scotland. Just below that was the pending delivery of over five kilograms of refined plutonium, listed for use as a catalyst. “Good one Lisa,” he laughed, “I almost thought that was legit.” he turned and walked quickly away before she could correct him. Lisa frowned and turned the screen back to face her. “Idiot, he wouldn’t know titanium from uranium.” She reached into her bag and pulled out a small book out with multiple dog-eared pages and sticky notes. She turned to the page of ingredients for the most terrible dish ever conceived. The title was barely visible behind a pile of words like beware, do not make, warning, run away, don’t even think about it, etc. “The A-choco-lypse Cupcake” Lisa read with a smile, “I have the unicorn milk, the plutonium for the oven, the platypus eggs, the dead sea sugar, the prismic baking soda, and the flour made with ground meteorites. All I’m missing is the cocoa powder from the trees that grow next to the river Styx. Let’s see…” she scrolled through a few more pages on her site. “Here we go, wait, the Hades Pickers wants seven dollars for shipping, what a rip!” She sighed, “Maybe I can find a coupon online, or a suitable substitute from Hel, those Vikings never charge extra shipping, bless their immortal souls.” A week later the staff at the Oracle’s Loan Services were all hospitalized after growing extra arms or being turned into various animals or sentient furniture after eating mysterious cupcakes left by an employee who happened to be on vacation that day. No one knows who delivered them.
Use the first line
“Why did you just scream like that?”
Gate by the ocean
“Are you sure this is the place?” Francine said as they stared down at the gate.
“That’s what the map says” Arnold replied checking the map. “I mean you said you wanted to find real magic right?”
“I did but I have trouble believing the world’s most powerful magician would be so obvious as to leave a fence like that right out in the open.” she scowled as they climbed down the cliffs towards the fence sitting in the surf.
“Well it did take us three days to hike here and that was only possible because of the map and the fact that you were intimately knowledgeable on fortune cookies.” he countered. She helped him down onto the sand and they made their way over to the large gate that shone with a faint pearlescence.
“What does the map say now?” she grabbed the paper from his hands and read over the notes next to the small drawing of a pair of crossed wands. “Wait? Seriously?”
“What did it say?” Arnold asked as he examined the lock on the gate.
“It says we need to prove our passion” she scoffed.
“I see,” he said looking at her enthusiastically, “so are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
With a sly smile she began undoing her back pack and let is fall forgotten to the ground. Then helped Arnold remove his.In minutes they were ready hiding behind a nearby boulder panting from the excitement. “Are you ready?” she asked.
“Nervous but excited, I’ve never done it like this before.” He said sheepishly.
“Me either, that’s what makes it fun.” she winked. “Now on the count of three push it in okay?” he nodded. She breathed in deeply and counted, “One… Two…. Three!” she yelled the last number. Arnold pushed the plunger down and the gate was blown clean off its hinges.
“Wow” he gasped looking over the boulder with her at the smoking remains of the gate. “I’m amazed that actually worked. I thought the magic would protect it more.”
“Me too” admitted Francine.
“What the hell is wrong with you two?” a voice yelled from the smoking hole where the gate once was. “Seriously, you two actually manage to find my house and the most logical thing you can think to do is to blow up my gate!”
Arnold and Francine stared at the woman, then with a glance at each other they just shrugged and nodded.
The woman put her head in her hand and rubbed her eyes. “Whatever, just come inside so I can fix the gate you lunatics!” she turned and headed inside. Francine and Arnold grabbed their bags and ran after her. The border of the fence, that from the outside was flooded by the surf of the ocean, failed to so much as drip over the boundary as they entered. Inside was a ridiculously tall manor that stretched at least seven stories high, hidden and safe within the confines of the gate as a bubble shimmered around them.
“Today we celebrate the Total Independence Day!” the president said, “The day when we created the perfect society. We abolished lawyers, scientists, and teachers. All students are taught by machines, and our beautiful pillar cities are the envy of every nation in the world!” The crowd cheered in unison in their camo and sequined clothes.
The president walked off the stage waving to his people. His white inbred people. He shuddered when he was out of sight. With a sigh he made his security escorted him to his private jet. His assistant made an official statement on his behalf about needing to travel abroad to help less fortunate countries build better governments.
As soon as they were airborne, the president threw up. “I can’t do this anymore he said staring in horror out the window. The entire country had been irradiated and destroyed, sealed off from the rest of the world. He made speeches about capitalism and progress, but the truth was money was useless to the rest of the world now. Only the remains of what he had been taught was the ‘greatest country in the world’ still used the stupid garbage.
He knew that he would most likely be the last president, the domes those various super powered companies had built were beginning to shut down. They had detonated an entire city tower last month. They claimed it was another terrorist attack from a jealous country of differently colored people. He threw up again.
“Sir I know it’s hard but it’s for the best. We failed, and we burnt our bridges with the United Nations.” his assistant said shaking his head, “We were so violent and arrogant we ended up becoming the polarizing force that united the rest of the world into one unified organization. They walled us in, stripped us of power, water, and food. Left us to rot in the mess we had created.”
“I know” snapped the president, “I was the one who reached out, I was the one who said he would change things.” He said as tears began to roll down his cheeks, “I tried so hard to make them see but they just wouldn’t listen!”
His assistant nodded and handed him a handkerchief, “I know sir, but we couldn’t save them all. At least some will be free to live and learn after today.”
“I hope so.” The president said as he watched the mushroom clouds consume the last remnants of his country, and all the lessons they had failed to learn along with it. “I hope so.”
The kiss reminded him of chemistry lessons in school, when if the right two elements were put together, they’d explode. He was so lost in bliss that he never saw the beer mug. It hit him in the head knocking him off his stool. His head was ringing but he swore he could make out a pair of voices yelling around him. He blinked his eyes until they managed to focus and for a brief second he could make out the tiny form of Amelia jabbing a finger into the chest of some muscle bound thug. The thug glared down at her, his face going red as his handlebar moustache flared and his muscle rippled under his business suit.
She went to help her date up and the thug grabbed her hand. She whipped it away and went to help again. This time handlebar grabbed her and tossed her onto the bench of a nearby booth. On the floor the man was still hazy but his mind was clearing quickly after seeing his friend was in danger. Well, maybe they were more than friends now but that all depended on how well he handled the current situation.
Looking around groggily he noticed the beer mug still in one piece, as well as the glass front of the bar which felt cold. A cool vapour fell down the front of it for special effect. He reached up and found an insulated cable with frost on it. He wrapped his hands in his shirt and yanked the cable as hard as he could. It bent and cracked leaking a freezing substance. He filled the beer mug a third of the way with the cold freon and then pulled himself to his feet.
He tapped handlebar on the shoulder, the man turned and scowled at him. Just as the big mas was raising a fist he shoved the mug into the man’s chest and sheepishly said, “You won, beer’s on me, no need to fight, I’ll go” The thug grabbed the cool mug never taking his eyes off the smaller man. With a grin he went to chug the mug back in one intimidating motion. Instead he fell to the floor screaming in pain as the freon burned his mouth and throat with cold.
His date got to her feet and kicked the big man between the legs for good measure. She walked over to her date, apologized for the thug’s behaviour saying something about him being friends with her sister. She then looked at the mug, and said, “What did you do to him?”
He grinned and said, “I just apologized for the misunderstanding. Then he just fell over, must have been something he drank.” he mused earning him a sly grin from her in response. An ambulance arrived a few minutes later, called by the bar owner after the mug was thrown. Then after being released by the paramedics they decided a movie was safer than a bar, chemically speaking of course.
The kiss reminded him of chemistry lessons in school, when if the right two elements were put together, they’d explode