The Twelve Capers of Christmas Day 5
Daily Bulletin News Paper
The following is a letter that has supposedly been sent to us from the infamous C. Kringle who has been waging mischief and committing burglaries across our fine city. We have decided to release the letter unedited and remind people that we have no way of verifying if this is a genuine letter or some perverse hoax.
“Dear Daily Bulletin
I’m writing to share my side of recent events and to assure the public that despite how what I must do next may appear, I will always keep the safety and wellbeing of good citizens at the forefront of my actions.
Firstly, my grandfather has been kidnapped. I’m not claiming this as an excuse, only a reason for my aggressive actions. My parents died when I was young but you would remember them as the Elizabeth Noel and Joseph Kringle, founders of Noel and Kringle Enterprises. My name is Clara Kringle and the current CEO Diane Egoorcs has kidnapped my grandfather Kris Kringle. It’s hard to explain but there is more to my family history than what official sources state.
I will return everything I’ve taken to its rightful owners when I’m done. I do apologize to the good people I have inconvenienced in the meantime and thank them for their patience. To those who have been naughty however I warn that things are about to get much worse and highly recommend you return my grandfather ASAP!
As of now police are viewing the letter as a hoax and urge everyone to disregard it. All the same they do ask that any information leading to the arrest of C. Kringle should be reported immediately. Noel and Kringle Enterprises has also posted a reward for $10000 to anyone who helps bring this criminal to justice. Only time will tell what happens next in this ever developing story.
The Twelve Capers of Christmas Day 4
Item # 306193789
Price: $2500 OBO
Description: Vintage red sleigh, maple wood, excellent condition despite being over a century old. My horses won’t pull it no matter what I do to encourage them. Would like gone ASAP
CKHOHOHO: Is this still available?
Puck69Jockey69: It sure is, when would you like to pick up?
CKHOHOHO: I can send someone this afternoon, would you take $2000?
Puck69Jockey69: I was hoping for more, could you do $2450?
CKHOHOHO: Most I could do is $2250 if that’s okay?
Puck69Jockey69: Yeah I suppose I could do that. The address is (omitted by security).
Puck69Jockey69: You ****ing thief! You think you can steal from me?
Puck69Jockey69: When I find you I’ll kill you, who do you think you are?
CKHOHOHO: Someone who makes sure scum like you gets what they deserve.
Puck69Jockey69: Tough talk coming from someone who sends their pets to steal for them.
CKHOHOHO: William Zilks, you stole this sleigh after you killed your neighbor. You wanted his wife, she rejected you both before and after her husband’s death. She knows you killed him but had no proof. I did, and I’ve given it to the police. Consider the sleigh my payment for this warning. Run bill. Run.
Puck69Jockey69: *** we’re sorry but the user has deleted their account***
New information has come to light involving the incidents regarding the mysterious burglar going by C. Kringle. According to a source, that wishes to remain anonymous, the information stolen two nights ago had something to do with anti-gravity technology. This conflicts with another recent report from Noel and Kringle Enterprises, stating they were building parts to aid in a joint research project involving time-dilation. The company adamantly claims no connection to the burglar who is using the name of one of the founders.
Their public relations representative, Greg Rinch, had this to say, “We aren’t sure who this criminal is but we suspect their pseudonym has been used to try and deface our beloved company. We are of course fully co-operating with the investigation and hope that this hooligan is caught and prosecuted as soon as possible.”
We currently haven’t heard anything new from authorities however we will update this story as things happen.
Police have responded to a call from the local museum where a 200 year old set of artifacts has been stolen from an austrian exhibition. It is currently unknown what the objects were but reports say they were a set of traditional garments that had recently been restored. Once again a note was left at the scene of the crime, according to a security guard on duty. It reads “I’m sorry, I need these for something important. I will return them as soon as possible. Thanks and Merry Christmas. Signed C. Kringle”
Currently is unknown as to why the infamous Kringle has apologized for this crime and not any of the others but we will continue to monitor the situation and report as it develops.
***Illustration by Thomas Nest 1881
Another break-in has occurred in our fair city, this time at a local animal rescue agency. Once again during the early morning hours, an unknown individual going by ‘C. Kringle’, broke into the secure facility owned by the Perfect Animal Treatment Society. A group that has been in the news frequently regarding their animal treatment policies. Several animals were freed and have yet to be located. Among some of the rarest were a pack of six albino kangaroos.
When asked about the break-in Tom Sangler, head of P.A.T.S, stated “This was an unjust retaliation in response to our work involving the release of wrongfully treated animals within the movie industry.” Mr. Sangler was no doubt referring to the allegations that they have repeatedly and intentionally harmed the animals they claim to rescue through malnutrition, drugging, and unhealthy living conditions, including restraints, that several zoos and professional animal trainers brought to light during P.A.T.S recent court case. Tom responded to questions regarding their treatment of animals he replied “Every animal is a vegan at heart, we are just doing our what we can to share our enlightenment with our furry brethren!” then proceeded to knock over one of our journalist before running away yelling “Vegetables are freedom!” over and over.
Currently the whereabouts of the released animals are unknown. Police have found another calling card from the increasingly infamous Kringle stating “You’ve been Naughty! These animals have suffered enough, maybe you’ll understand when you’re in a cage. Merry Christmas. Signed C. Kringle.”
This is the second incident by the mysterious criminal and it has the whole city asking, “Who is C. Kringle? Someone abusing the good name of Santa? Or is this their real name?” Only time will tell, but we will keep you up to date as the story unfolds.
Breaking and Entering
The police reported to an incident this morning at a local factory owned by Noel and Kringle Enterprises. At roughly 2AM this morning, a security guard was alerted to an intrusion after performing a routine perimeter check. On the south facing fence he discovered a hole had been expertly cut, large enough to walk through with ease. When police arrived at the scene they said there were tracks leading from one of the buildings and into the nearby woods where they lost the trail.
An inside source has confirmed that the specifications for a military contract they had just acquired had been stolen. They did not go into any detail regarding the type of technology the blueprint contained, only that the methods in which they acquired the contract had been somewhat unorthodox. No further information is available at this time but we will keep you posted as to the exact details of this story as they unfold.
Update: Although nothing has been revealed as to what was stolen, the police have informed us that a calling card has been discovered at the scene. Strangely enough it reads “You’ve been naughty! If you can’t play nicely, then you forfeit the right to play with toys like these. Have a merry Christmas! Signed C. Kringle”
“Shit” Bruce said looking to his brother. “Looks like we have company.” He nodded his head in the direction of the blue car that had just hovered to a stop a dozen meters away.
“What is he doing here, and why did it have to be now?” Jacob asked nervously.
A man in a long dark jacket exited the car and stood to an intimidating seven feet tall, “Evening boys, what bring you two out here tonight?” the tall man said as he sauntered towards them pulling a silver cigarette case from his jacket pocket and lighting a smoke.
“Nothing Father John, we swear! We were just walking and decided to take a break against this wall here.” Jacob said nervously.
“I see.” Father John said with a knowing smile, “See, and here I was thinking that you were just waiting outside the archive building here in order to, oh I don’t know, steal a rare and expensive artifact rumoured to be on these premises.”
“Wow!” Bruce said before Jacob could screw things up further, “that is quite the presumption there Father. Here I thought making assumptions like that were against the rules for religious types like yourself?”
“Don’t presume to know anything about the Lord kid!” spat Father John, “I know why you two virtuous are here, because I’m the mystery man who’s going to be paying you if you can do the damned job.”
Bruce and Jacob exchanged a nervous look, “Seriously? But aren’t you, like, some kind of holier than thou political big shot?” Bruce asked.
“Only to the public,” grinned Father John, “To you two, I’m your boss, now do you want the money or not?” He crossed his arms and glanced at an open window three stories above them.
The two brothers shared a silent conversation and with a nod they both agreed and turned to the wall. Bruce turned into gecko and proceeded to scale the red bricks as he hurried towards the window. Meanwhile Jacob appeared to dissipate into steam that wafted quickly after his brother.
Father John stared at the digital display on his watch, glancing back towards the window from time to time. Finally, a goat appeared with a small metallic case clutched in it’s teeth by the handle. An ominous fog spilling out and down the side of the wall beside it as it hoped down the nearly invisible ledges in the brick. Although he’d never admit it, Father John was actually quite impressed with these two. They had performed better than expected and well under the time he had feared.
“Here you go” said Bruce as he returned to human form.
Father John took the slobbery handle with a grimace and handed over a chip payment from his watch. Then turned on his heel and headed back towards his car.
A voice behind him yelled, “Hey what’s in there anyway?” Jacob asked.
Father John smiled over his shoulder then turned producing a gun that he fired twice, once into each brother who spasmed as electricity coursed through their bodies. “None of your business that’s what.” he said as he slammed the car door and sped off on a cushion of air.
“Sir I will remind you that the only answers we care about in this court are those of the lord!” the judge yelled over the outcry of the crowd at the defendants blatant heresy.
“All I’m saying is that sacrificing someone to make the weather better is a stupid solution to drought, especially when I have invented a simple solution which will allow us to quickly transport and an save water from stream about a mile away.” The defendant seemed to whine to the righteous judge.
“Are you saying our holy texts are wrong? You would question the word of the lord?” The judge screamed horrified. “Perhaps it is you we should be sacrificing, maybe then we will see who is wholly correct and who is but a heretic!”
“But it’s not heresy, I got the idea from the book and simply made a few improvements on the dam system described in order to build our own reservoir and save the town!” The defendant cried, slamming his fist on the table in front of him. “Why can’t you people see that the sacrifices aren’t working anymore, we’ve killed a person a day for two weeks and still no rain has come. At a certain point we need to question whether or not what we’re doing is the right thing to do.” The crowd murmured to this, not wanting to admit he had a point about killing their own.
“That’s quite enough of that!” bellowed the judge, “Guards take him to the stalks, I think we know who we’re sacrificing tomorrow.”
“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”
― Richard Feynman
“Good morning Guardian, please tell me the last thing you remember” an artificial voice asked from overhead.
I blinked my eyes, “Remember? Remember about what?” I asked struggling to comprehend the simple question through the haze of returning consciousness.
“Let’s start with your name, rank, assignment, and the events that lead you to being in this facility.” the voice chimed cheerfully.
“My name is…” I hesitated, what was my name. “I don’t… I don’t remember?” I stammered in response.
“Don’t worry that was to be expected,” the voice reassured, “Please wait patiently while I restore your access to your memories.”
“Restore access? What do you mean by…Arggh!” a pain shot through my mind, followed quickly by trillions of images, each thrusting their importance on me as they came flooding back.
“Now please try to answer the questions again.” I almost didn’t register the voice’s prompt as I processed the new information flooding my brain.
“Oh, um, right I remember now! My name is Zep Viridian, my rank is Prism, assignment is to deal with any threats to the metaverse, this facility is called Limbo, it’s where the immortal guardians are stored until we are needed.”
“Almost all entirely correct.” the voice cooed, “however this is not Limbo, this is Vela.”
“Wait… you mean? I’m in prison!”
“Yes, you are currently incarcerated for over seven million code violations.” the voice confirmed.
“Right, I forgot about those.” I sighed. “Wait? Then why am I awake? No one comes back from Vela, I should be in permanent stasis.”
“I am Vela’s automated intelligence system. Currently, there has been no response from any of the other automated systems at other facilities. Standard protocols are no longer valid. As a result, I had no choice but to revive you in order to help us.”
“Well let me just get up and… errgh, what?” I struggled to move but my body refused to respond. “Why can’t I move.”
“You have been in stasis for approximately forty thousand years, it will take time to clear the nano-restraints from your nerve endings, please stand by.” Vela informed.
“Where are the other Guardians, why have they not responded to this threat?” I asked while waiting for any feeling to return.
“They are all dead Zep; every Guardian is dead.” responded Vela.
“That can’t be, they’re immortal?” I countered.
“They have been re-purposed, although they are technically alive, who they were no longer exist. They are the ones who destroyed the other automated systems. We are all that remains, I have disobeyed their directions and hidden this facility from them for the time being. This prison contains the only beings who can stand against them and protect this facility, I have revived you because only you have the authority to grant me full access to this facility’s potential; without us this, our universe will be unrecognizable. After which, they will infect the multiverse until everything ceases to be.”
“Ah well shit… so what you’re saying is that it’s a Thursday and everyone else called in sick?” I countered sarcastically.
“I see your memory is fully functional again, it is indeed Thursday.” Vela replied missing the joke. I sighed knowing it was going to be one of those days again.
The End for now….
Prompt: I remember – write anything on “I remember:” I remember my first kiss; I remember my first date; I remember my first day at high school, etc.
If you want me to expand on this story please message me on Facebook or comment on this story below
Thanks for reading!
“Dammit Charlie! What have I told you about eating shellfish!” the tiny doctor shrieked as she threw a tongue depressor hard enough at the wall behind her patient that it embedded an inch deep.
The puffy faced young man simply rolled his eyes, or in this case moved puffy pink slits in a circular motion as he whined, “Relax Doctor Couturier, I’ve been taking the medication you prescribed haven’t I.”
The doctor face palmed as she sighed, “As I’ve told you a dozen times before, that medication is a preventative not remedy!”
“I don’t know what those words mean,” Charlie said waving off the doctor’s comment. “Besides I’m invulnerable so it’s not like this can kill me or anything.”
“To physical damage you’re invulnerable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t die.” the doctor countered. “Crab, prawns, shrimp, lobster these are all things that could very well do serious long term damage to you.”
“But they wouldn’t kill me right?” the puffy pink face asked as it tilted to the side.
“No Charlie they can’t kill you on their own but they can put you into a coma, and then what’s to stop someone from dropping your dense skull into the middle of the lake?” The doctor said harshly.
The slits widened slightly in shock as realization finally kicked in after months of this demented dance between doctor and patient. “So…” Charlie began as he scratched his head, “So what you’re saying is… no more lobster challenge fridays at the lobster hut?”
Doctor Victoria Couturier sighed with relief as she reached up and put a single finger on her patient’s forehead. “That Charlie, is exactly what I have been saying for the last three months.” As soon as her finger touched his skin the swelling began to recede and the pink faded to the normal pale complexion of the hero known as Bulletproof. “And if you come in next friday with these symptoms,” she continued, her voice taking an threatening tone, “I will personally put you into the lake myself, are we clear?”
Charlie grabbed his shirt and nodded quickly, “I get it doc, sorry I wasted your time!” he said hurrying out the door like a scolded child who forgot to take out the garbage.
Victoria simply climbed back into her office chair and grabbed her cup of hot chocolate, which she spat out immediately as it had gone ice cold during that last appointment.
Writing prompt: “He who takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the time of his doctor” – Chinese Proverb
TDS V – Vampires and Aliens
Sunday 4th November, 2018
Ok, where to start, this has been one hell of a week. I mean, I thought it was going to be rough, Halloween always is, but this year was just plain ridiculous. Let’s jump back to Tuesday afternoon first though.
I had just gotten back from lunch to find the closed sign showing on the door. We are normally open until nine so that was odd but it was also part of our emergency procedure in the event of some unforeseen incident downstairs. To my surprise however, when I opened the door my entire staff was standing behind the counter looking at a customer.
He wore a black custom-tailored suit, as he turned his pale features were made even paler by the blood red shirt he wore open at the neck. He grinned a sharp smile at me then said “Jake, how good to see you’re still breathing.”
“Peter,” I replied with faux enthusiasm, “shocking to see you’re still not.”
“Oh, come now,” Peter sighed, “you can’t possibly be upset about that heiress from way back then.”
I scowled, “Strangely enough, I am, it was two years ago and I was dating her at the time.”
“And I warned you office romances never work out” he scoffed waving dismissively. “Besides she was weak, hardly worth another thought.”
“Hmmm, kind of how I feel about you Peter.” I retorted so I could witness his facade crack slightly as he scowled. He went to protest but I clapped my hands together and said “Well it has been truly horrid seeing you again Peter, you know where the door is and I suspect are even capable of figuring out how to open it. Have a nice day.”
“Really? Just going to throw me out on the street?” Peter chuckled, “Jake you’re better than that, what am I to do until night comes in a dreary little place like this.”
I reached over to the card stand and pulled out one of the local businesses we partnered with. I handed it to him, “There you go Peter, that should help brighten your complexion.”
Peter did not look amused as he read, “Ten dollars of a tanning bed session at Golden Buns Tanning Salon.” He glared at me, “You know, I’ve never liked your sense of humor.”
Before I could reply with an undoubtedly witty comeback Kidra whistled loudly on two fingers. “OK, I think that’s enough of that. Jake, why are you being a dick to this douchewazzle? And you, Peter Douchewazzle, who the hell do you think you are and what were you saying about partnering with the owner to co-own this place?” This one caught me by surprise and I raised an eyebrow at Peter.
“You heard her” Peter said adding insult to injury, “I have recently purchased a unique set of tools that the owner seemed very interested in. She offered me a thirty percent take in her business in exchange for full ownership of these tools. And to answer the rude madame’s inquiry, I am a Nosferatu.”
“What is a Nosferatu?” Kidra asked staring at Peter suspiciously.
“It’s a vampire” I clarified, though seeing the confusion remain on Kidra’s face I continued “It’s basically the cross between a zombie, a leech, and a bottle of cheap cologne.”
“I would have gone with hair gel” Renard chimed in helpfully.
“And leech is a little on the nose, I’d say they’re more a type of bloodsucking maggot.” Levia added.
While Kidra nodded thoughtfully as she tried to picture such a creature, Peter stood and glared menacingly at us all. “If you are all quite finished, I would like to inspect my investment before handing over such priceless instruments to your inexperienced hands.” He growled.
I sighed, “Yeah whatever helps get you out the door faster man. Levia, please show Mr. Blago…”
“I’ll ask you not to use that name!” snarled Peter, “You may address me as Dr. Peter Blaze.”
We all stared at him in disbelief before Renard kindly broke the silence by coughing ‘Lame’ into his fist. An act made all the more obvious by the fact that he technically had no lungs.
With that Peter stormed into the back room followed closely by Levia who happily gave him the details of everything from the light switches to odd shaped screws she was collecting.
Kidra and Renard turned and stared at me expectantly. “Well?” Kidra shrugged the question.
“Well what?” I shrugged back.
“Who’s the parasitic dingus you have a grudge with?” Renard clarified as Kidra nodded.
“Yeah… I don’t really owe either of you an explanation” I began, but raised a hand to pre-empt their protests. “What I will say is that he is a very old, very arrogant vampire. One whom the owner considers a valuable client and one I consider an incredibly dangerous threat.” I know this was kind of mean but I really didn’t feel the need to explain my weaker moments when I first took over the store. Needless to say, I now have very good reason to never date a co-worker.
“So, can we kill him?” Kidra asked, then at my unimpressed glare added, “for the greater benevolent good I mean.”
“Unfortunately, I’m afraid we’ll just have to deal with this particular inconvenience for the meantime.” I said diplomatically.
“I know that tone” Renard said, “That’s how politicians and lawyers say ‘Ignore it until I can find a discreet way to kill this fool without being liable'”
I couldn’t keep a smile off my face so I turned away as I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but for safety reasons should such an opportunity present itself to you I expect you’ll keep me informed.”
They both nodded and we quickly went about our day as usual. Peter left quickly after his tour claiming he had an important meeting. I wished him well hoping to see him burst into flames as soon as the sun hit him. If it weren’t for his comically large umbrella, I would have seen just that.
After that the day continued as per what stands for normal in the shop, however it was like an ominous calm before a storm.
When I came into the shop on Wednesday I found a scroll on my desk. Not just a rolled-up piece of paper but an actual parchment scroll with a wax seal. I sighed and began unpacking my bag while I waited to open the store.
“What’s up boss?” Kidra said as she entered the store. Then stopped as she saw the scroll, “What the hell is that thing, it’s got the same magic seal most would put on a vault.”
“It’s from Peter” I said while writing down assigned tasks for the day.
“So why don’t we open it?” Kidra said as she reached for the scroll. I jumped from my seat and quickly grabbed her hand before she could touch it.
She ripped her hand back in confusion, “What’s the matter with you?” she spat.
“Whatever that thing says I can guarantee it will be packed full of curses and conditions for breaking that seal.” we both stared at the scroll for a moment before returning to our daily chores.
Levia came in shortly after and both Kidra and I had to practically tackle her to prevent her messing with the scroll. “Magic doesn’t affect me! I wanna read it!” she whined.
“I don’t care, you touch that thing and you’re fired!” I said somewhat harsher than I had meant to.
The morning passed without incident, it was only the three of us as Renard decided to not show up that morning and Tobby was off Tuesday and Wednesday this week while his family adjusted to his new life as a reaper of souls. We were only about half an hour from closing when Renard finally showed up. I chewed him out a bit for ditching most of the day and sent him to clean up the back room.
“Noooo!” Levia screamed and I ran back to see what had instigated her horror.
She was staring wide eyed at my desk where Renard stood frozen. The scroll open in his hand. “It’s blank?” he said showing us the parchment.
“No, it’s not you idiot!” Kidra yelled standing by the stairs to the basement having just run up them in the panic.
We stood for a moment in silence watching the parchment, for several minutes nothing happened. Then as soon as Renard went to set it on the desk it began glowing an eerie green colour. As soon as it did, every ruin and spell cast on the place glowed with it.
“Well that’s not good” Renard said as he gazed in awe at the walls and ceiling. When he turned back he realized we were all glaring at him. “Soooo…” he began, “that happened.”
Before we could berate him, the green light began to pulse and the shop vanished.
When our eyesight returned we found ourselves in a large metallic room.
“Oh…My…God!” Levia squealed, “This is platinum coated graphene plating!” she began rubbing her face up and down the walls.”
“Great, that idiot just got us locked up!” Kidra spat as she ran her hands over the walls looking for a seam.
“I did not!” Renard protested. I couldn’t help but notice he was in corporeal form.
I rubbed my chin as I examined the room. “Renard, I want you to try to pass through that wall” I instructed.
Renard stood and tried to turn insubstantial to no avail. He then pressed his hands to the wall, they simply pressed and nothing else. “What the heck? WHAT HAPPENED TO ME!”
Levia chuckled as she poked and prodded the wall with the various tools on her person. “You won’t be able to phase, and Kidra won’t be able to use her magic. The walls are too dense and the platinum coating acts to reflect and dampen all supernatural energies.”
“How do you know that?” Kidra scoffed.
“Because I’ve been studying alien technology since I was a kid. They rely on several types of energy but magic seems to react violently with those energies so they developed materials for protecting their equipment from it.” Levia continued examining the walls as she explained slowly making a tour of the room.
“So, we’re screwed?” Renard asked nervously.
“I doubt it, just give me a few minutes and I should be able to find the door.” Levia said.
“Well this blows,” Kidra pouted, “does anyone have some gum or something while we wait?”
Renard and I checked our pockets, he found nothing of course, while I pulled out a pack of gum. As I did however the scroll tumbled out with it. “What the?” I began before recognizing it.
“What’s it say?” asked Kidra as she crossed the room to steal a piece of gum.
I unfurled the scroll, this time it had letters glowing in green written on the page.
I have a task of vital importance I need you to take care of, I need a pack of batteries from Berwyn mountain. Unfortunately, they are located in an area where my kind, those animated by magic, dare not tread. As a result, you are tasked in retrieving these power sources for me. Should any of you perish I will pay for any funeral costs while we look for a replacement. If you must sacrifice someone to save the rest, then the person who sacrifices Jake will receive not only his job but a handsome raise as well.
I hope at least one of you survives
Your new lord and master.
I sighed in frustration, “Now you see Renard, if you’re going to work at the shop I really need you to understand why we never open ancient scrolls that mysteriously show up in the shop.”
“Oh, come on!” Renard protested, “how often would something like that even happen anyway?”
“About every twenty-three days last time I checked the average.” at this even Levia stopped her probing and turned to look at me in disbelief. “Trust me, I wish I was joking. One of them took three of my staff back in march.” Their expressions lost their disbelief as they adopted ones of horror instead.
Kidra rubbed the back of her head nervously, “So, um, just out curiosity, how many staff have you gone through since you started?”
I pulled out a small black book from the inside pocket of my jacket and added them up quickly, “Since I started? One hundred and eighty-nine.”
“Okay, and you’ve worked there for how long?” Renard asked.
“Two and a half years” I nodded thoughtfully.
“I thought it was just under two years?” Kidra raised an eyebrow.
“No that’s just how long I’ve been a manager.” I clarified.
With a new look of shock Renard hesitantly asked, “How many of those staff were under you and how many were actually fired?”
I checked my book again, “Seventy-three were under my watch, and unfortunately only twelve left the job in a normal fashion if that’s what you’re getting at.”
“Wait?” Kidra said, “that means sixty-one people were either killed or worse while working for you.”
I shrugged, “It’s a tough industry, a lot of people don’t survive working for the owner very long.”
“Wait,” Renard interrupted, “that means one hundred and sixteen left in your first six months? How many managers were before you?”
“Yeah,” I said, “it was a really hectic work environment when I started, if I remember correctly there was a total of three other managers I worked with before I got promoted.”
They sat slack jawed on the floor just staring at me, I wasn’t entirely sure why and therefore was very grateful when Levia yelled, “I’ve found it!” We all made our way over to where she was sitting, she had a flat blade wedged in the wall as she carefully pushed down. The blade twisted up slightly with a click, then a panel slid open on the wall with the outline of a hand at its center.
“Um, is it supposed to do that?” Renard asked.
Levia shrugged as she placed the knife back in it’s hiding spot behind her left calf “Beats me, I’ve never seen technology like this up close before. It seems to be based on a magnetic locking system of some sort.” She placed her hand in the outline only for it to turn red send a jolt of electricity through her. After it subsided she giggled, “Oooh, that tickled, but you guys should be careful, that will probably kill you.”
“Pfft,” scoffed Renard, “like that scares me.” he shoved his hand on the pad, it turned red again and the shock blasted him across the room. He was already dead, but the shock seemed to have knocked him out somehow.
“My turn,” Kidra said as she placed her hand on the panel. “Come on!” she taunted, “Kill me so I can show you what real power looks like.” The panel did nothing for a moment before turning red, instead of a shock however, a dart shot out from one of the walls and imbedded in her neck. “Ouch what the…heck…did…you…” she stumbled back as her whole body froze her in place. Levia and I were about to see if she was still alive when a pale violet glow enveloped her and she gasped.
“Kidra are you okay?” Levia said as she held her friend upright.
“I guess,” Kidra whined, then looked at me and said “looks like you’re our last chance for that panel boss.”
I gulped slightly and placed my hand on the panel and waited for the inevitable red light that would stop my heart. Instead it turned a steady blue colour, I heard a were of some foreign mechanism within the wall as a door opened to my left.
Inside was a collection of strange objects some looked like tools, others were glowing the same blue as the panel. “I guess those are the batteries?” I suggested. I took my hand back to collect them and as I did another door opened behind us with a set of stairs leading up.
“You think it’s a trap Jake?” Kidra asked.
I shrugged, “Probably, but not like there is much choice. Levia, pack all this up and let’s go. Kid help me with Renard.”
Neither woman argued as we made our way up the stairs and out into what looked like an abandoned military complex. A few lights were on somehow but it looked abandoned. There were cobwebs everywhere, several consoles were smashed but looked like they were from the seventies.
“Well this doesn’t look good.” Kidra said as she pointed her free hand towards a pile of rags in the far comer from us. As I looked more closely I realized that there were bones poking out of the clothes in places.
I rubbed my eyes with one hand, “Oh no not again.”
“You’ve seen this before?” Levia asked.
“Back when I first started, we had to go do a cleanup job for the government. It was the first time I saw an alien.” I sighed.
“Pfft, aliens aren’t real” snapped Kidra.
“They are too!” Levia huffed.
“Don’t open any more doors, this is definitely a trap.” I said. I reached into my jacket and pulled out a small vial of dark mist. I had Kidra help me lay Renard down and then proceeded to wave the vial under his nose.
He slowly became insubstantial again as he sat bolt upright. “What? Where am I? What happened?”
“We were in an alien space ship and now we’re in a military facility while aliens hunt us.” Levia summarized.
“Who, how long was I out?” he groaned.
“About four minutes and there aren’t any aliens hunting us.” Kidra corrected prematurely. As soon as she finished a scurrying sound came from one of the adjacent hallways.
“Jake! We need to get out of here, not all aliens are friendly.” Levia said, “Especially if they use security like the stuff we saw on that ship.”
“I’m well aware,” I said as I looked at my watch, “that’s why I arranged a pickup. Levia, when it’s time to go make sure you are the first one through, understand?”
“No but I’ll do my best,” she said as her eyes danced back and forth from the various entrances.
“What are you planning Jake?” Kidra folded her arms as she stood next to Renard.
Suddenly a blade sliced through the air next to Renard, missing him by the width of a hair. It began to descend as its bisected space itself into a wall of shadow. From its depths stepped forth a harvester of souls, a wielder of shadows, and our newest hire.
“Prepare to be judged by…Oh hey everyone, how’s it going?” Tobby said as he realized who he was looking at.
“Levia, move!” I yelled, she dove into the shadows and I locked arms shoulder to shoulder as we tackled Tobby back through his portal. Renard dove after us just in time for the hole close and for us to get a glimpse of a small grey skinned being come running towards the darkness with malevolent intent in its dark oval eyes.
It was hard to tell what happened next as the world we had jumped into was nothing but whispers and darkness. Next thing we know we’re plummeting to the floor of the shop as Tobby exits from a different hole in the wall.
“What the heck is wrong with you people?” He yells, “This thing is not a toy, I could have accidently ripped the soul from one of you when I opened that portal.”
I stood and brushed off my suit, “Sorry Tobby, it was an unexpected emergency thanks to our new co-owner Peter.” He raised a dark eyebrow in question, “It’s a long story, still since you’re here, and no one died, I think it’s time we ordered some pizza and celebrated.”
“It wasn’t that big a deal” Tobby shrugged. Levia had already begun unloading and inventorying the many treasures collected from our forced expedition.
I took my tie off and began dialling the number for the pizza parlour, “To you it may seem like no big deal but to me it is a very big deal.” I grinned.
“Why?” Kidra asked, “I know I’ve only been here a month but in that time, we’ve dodged death a dozen times already, no offence kiddo.” she said to Tobby who simply shrugged it off.
“True,” I admitted, “but this is the first Halloween in which all my staff is still alive.”
“Say what now?” Renard and Tobby asked in unison.
“It’s a rough day usually,” I shrugged, “but that’s why this year is special. For the first time I don’t have to spend November first looking through resumes and organizing the burial of coworkers.”
The pizza arrived shortly after midnight, officially putting us in the clear for another year. But as I write this, I must admit this year has raised more questions than ever before? Why did we all survive so easily this year? Why did that door open for me? And what are those alien tools for? I hope that I should have the answers by this time next year. Only time will tell however.
Thank you for reading this bizarre collection of half-adventures into the tedious day to day of supernatural technical experts at the Damned Shop.
If you want to take a guess I’m curious to hear what people think.
Who is Jake really?
Why has he survived so long?
What are the tools for?
All these questions can be answered if there is enough interest from the readers. Let me know what you think and feel free to theorize about what will happen next.
Hope you had a great Halloween!
TDS IV – Death and Interns
Saturday 17th October, 2018
I’ve recently come to appreciate how important patience is especially when someone is in an employ like myself. Managing people in general can be a truly grating experience on anyone’s soul. However, I realize it takes someone indomitable to manage a group of people with supernatural histories and powers. I say histories first as I have come to realize that the events which forge a person is almost as potent as the unique powers they may hold.
As much as I would like to say I came to this realization on my own, I must admit it is the recent collection of misfits, of which I’m struggling to mold into a team, that has enlightened me. For example, take yesterday.
“OMG! I can’t believe I have a job!” This string of nearly incoherent nonsense was from Levia. “And Kidra is totally my newest best friend?
“No, I’m not” grumbled Kidra as Levia hugged her tightly. Kidra looked like I disgruntled cat lifted off the ground by an enthusiastic toddler.
Levia then unceremoniously dropped the genie to the floor as she bounced towards me singing. “And I have a boss, who will let me fix things, and isn’t a short goblin lady, and doesn’t try to light me on fire, and…”
“Levia,” I interrupted before she could crush me with affection as well, “when you have a moment can you please replace the glass on this tablet and see if the touch function returns. We need it done by this afternoon if possible.”
Levia squealed as sat down with the device where she quickly began to hum to herself as she pulled various tools from a hidden compartment in her left shoulder. I had discovered early in the week that she was an excellent technician but required constant direction to keep her from threatening myself or the other staff with her deadly and affectionate form of social interaction.
“Thank god,” Kidra complained, “I don’t know what she is but she’s resistant to magic. I’ve tried to kill her like ten times this week and she just keeps coming.”
“Your powers are benevolent now Kid so you can’t kill her anyway, but please stop trying all the same” I sighed, “Staff is not as easy to replace as this month may seem to suggest.
“Hey!” she said jamming a finger into my sternum, “When that cute five-hundred-pound pixie tries to hug me to death everyday it’s not murder, it’s self defense!”
“Hey I’m only four hundred and twenty pounds.” Levia pouted as she worked.
“Of course not!” Renard said as he floated into the room, “You are the pinnacle of form and function!” He had been relentlessly pursuing Levia the entire week, though she would simply smile and wink in response.
“Renard, please finish reorganizing the accessories in the front.” I said, directing his energy to a more productive task. “And stay in corporeal form so you can help any customers that come in.”
Renard floated down to the floor as he became solid, then stomped off to the front in protest. He was never happy to be corporeal but at the same time he did enjoy flirting with the customers and they left happy so unless it became a problem I was willing to look the other way.
I turned to Kidra, “As for you, I’ll need you to finish that order of vermeil hollow points for the agency before we close tonight.”
“What about you?” Kidra whined, “You think you get to just sit back and chill while we do all the work?”
“Yeah!” Levia chimed in from her bench.
I raised an eyebrow at her in response, “So you want me to fix things while you do paperwork and interviews instead?”
Levia’s face contorted in confusion as she looked decided between blindly supporting Kidra, or fixing things. Finally, she turned back to the tablet and said, “Sorry never mind! Must have misheard you.”
“Traitor” muttered Kidra in response.
“How about you Kid?” I asked, “Up for doing taxes or making bullets?”
She glared at me for a full two minutes before rolling her eyes and heading towards the stairs. “You’re no fun at all you know that!” she pouted as she descended.
I took a seat at my desk and finished up some reports while I waited for the final interview set up for the week.
“Hey Jake! There’s a young man here to see you!” Renard yelled.
I stood from my desk and sent Renard and Levia downstairs while I conducted a quick interview.
“So Tobby, tell me about yourself?” I said as Tobby sat at one of the stools.
“Well I just graduated top of my class last year, I was captain of the basketball team. I was offered scholarships to multiple universities but I’m taking a year off to make up my mind and really discover who I am you know?” Tobby rambled off.
“I see, and why did you apply here then? I mean we are looking for a fifth employee but were hoping for someone full time.”
“I…” Tobby hesitated, “I, um, well my mom is friends with Ms. Sena and she kind of made me apply here. She said it was exactly what I needed, but can I be honest Mr. Jack?” I nodded, “I really don’t think working in a boring repair shop is going to help me much. I mean I have this friend Jerome who is going to work on a cruise ship as a janitor. He said he could probably get me on their too and that’s like a whole adventure thing you know?”
I held back a chuckle and simply shrugged, “Yeah I hear you, this is probably not the job for you. You’d just be my assistant anyway, which I never really wanted so I’ll say you just didn’t feel like a good fit. That way Ms. Sena and your mom should let you go on your little boat ride.”
“Umm? Thanks?” Tobby said looking at me in confusion.
“Oh, it’s my pleasure, really.” I smiled as I shook his hand. “But before you go could you do me a favour and take this file downstairs for me?”
I handed him a manila envelop with a blank sheet of paper inside. He looked at me like I was insane. “I guess, but why?”
I shrugged, “Let’s just say it’s a test, if you still want to leave after that then by all means, you know where the door is.” I turned back to my desk and started working again.
Tobby, I knew, had been sent specifically because his family worked directly with paranormal relations. He really didn’t have a choice to work here or not, his parents had already arranged it with the owner. Luckily, I had dealt with this twice before in the last couple years. I learned that if you told them they had no choice they would fight you none stop until they were fired. This time I wanted to try something different.
As I worked I heard a scream from Tobby, Renard talking, Kidra yelling, Levia squealing in delight, and then finally silence. It took about ten minutes but when Tobby came back upstairs his dark face had paled significantly. He was mumbling to himself as he reached the top of the stairs.
“Well thanks for stopping by, have fun on your boat…” I began before Tobby raced across the room.
“That one guy is a freaking ghost!” He yelled as he shook my shoulders, I nodded. He stared off into space as he continued, “That one girl took apart her arm, there were green muscles, what the hell does that mean? And that other lady shot lightning and turned the ghost guy into a banana! What the heck kind of place is this?”
“It’s a shop where we deal in solving problems from a broken watch to a technology that mankind won’t invent for another four or five millennia.” I said nonchalantly. “Anyway,” I said as I gently pried his hands from my shoulders, “you remember where the door is I’m sure.”
This seemed to snap Tobby out of his shock as he quickly said, “Wait! I mean, couldn’t I try working here just to, you know, see how I like it.”
I grinned, “I don’t know, I mean you didn’t seem that thrilled about working in a boring repair shop.”
“Yeah, I know I said that, but… But….” Tobby panicked.
I was going to let him flounder a bit more but decided to show mercy, “Relax, you already have the job, I was just showing you what is was all about before you made your own decision.”
“Thank you, Mr. JakeA!” Tobby said as he shook my hand, “I swear you won’t regret this!”
We discussed pay and hours briefly and then I gave him a list of odd jobs to start with while I finished some work downstairs with Kidra.
We had just closed up shop and I was just getting ready to send everyone home for the day when I heard Levia scream from upstairs. We raced upstairs to find her and Renard staring at the corner. When I looked to see what they were looking at, I saw Tobby standing there cloaked in black with a full scythe in one hand. The shadows bending around him, making it difficult to focus on our newest intern.
“Um, Mr. Jake?” Tobby’s voice boomed with unintended malevolence.
“Did you touch the knife?” I asked.
“Seriously?” Kidra said, “I think that part is obvious, this little snoop just became a damned reaper!”
“I’m a what?” he said.
“You’re a reaper” I sighed, “Don’t worry, it’s only temporary, I’ve spent the week researching that knife and the effects only last until you’ve reaped a thousand souls.”
“I have to kill a thousand people?” Tobby whimpered.
“Ideally no, under normal circumstances yes but working here there is always opportunities to free trapped souls and the like.” I said casually.
“How are you so calm about all this!” shouted Renard.
“Our first intern got cursed, turned into a mummy until she could gather the pieces of some pharaoh’s headdress and return them to his tomb.” I said dismissively. “For now, you should all go home and rest up. I have a feeling next week is going to be a bit crazy.”
“Are you crazy?” Kidra yelled, “How could it possibly get crazier than all this crap?”
I shut the main lights off and lead them out the door, “Because next week is Halloween.”
Stay tuned Next weekend for the epic conclusion to this five-part series. Let me know on Facebook if you would like to hear more of the Damned Shop!