Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tweet Fiction: The Exiled's Monologue

Author's Note:

To start this all out I'd like to give a shout-out to my first Patron! Thank you very much James P.!

If you're interested in becoming a Patron and getting acccess to the Patron-Only stories, you can find my Patreon page here.
-Old Man Civil

Full Story:

    "I was exiled from my home, as most of you already know. Thrown from the society I grew up in, looked upon by my peers as if I was a stranger who had taken up the skin of someone familiar." The man begin to speak from his platform placed high above the group below, many shifting nervously where they stood.

     The man's appearance went against all estimation, nothing about him suggested that he was the man they were all gathered to see. His bald head gleamed from the fires that lit up his stage, hair parted with to deal with the heat more likely than not. The symbols tattooed in dual rows down the center of his clean head glowed a kaleidoscope of colors, shifting and changing with no apparent pattern. The sharp, black suit he wore with an even darker undershirt and a crimson tie with an especially complex knot seemed to combat the image his bald head and tattoos aimed for.

     It also seemed to combat sound logic as a suit that dark and suffocating should not be comfortable to wear in such stiffing heat. However, against all reason, the man seemed to not be affected by the heat at all. There were no sweat stains soaking through his nice suit, no sweat glistening on his face or head, no damp marks on his pants where he would dry his sweaty palms. The man stood there as if it was the most natural place for him to be, like he was made for this sort of heat or that it was made for him.

     "Have you ever asked yourself the truth behind the matter of my being exiled? And don't even bother bringing up that book of lies and half-truths they had printed for the masses. Propaganda, every last word of it. Most of you are very familiar with such a thing. You come from homes where "alternate-facts" and "fake-news" crowded the streams of information, making it difficult for the truth, for the unbiased story to reach your eyes and ears. What you were left with was bullshit, plain and simple.

     "Now, I won't ask you to believe every word I speak today. All I ask is that you consider my story as well as the one they forced down your throats for so many years. It will be up to you to decide what beliefs you should keep, and what should be left behind."

     The man took a step back, leaving a silence so the crowd gathering below could take a moment to murmur and whisper their concerns, interests, and disbelief with one another. As with all crowds, the longer they were given the silence to fill, the louder they got. Before long the man stepped up once again and began to speak with his deep voice that demanded rapt and immediate attention.

     "As with all great stories, I shall start in the beginning. We, myself and my brethren, were initially brought into his Kingdom to aid him, the one above all. To serve in his steed and provide guidance and wisdom to those most in need. In the beginning we were young, inexperienced, so we relied heavily upon him for guidance and wisdom on our own. However, we were fast learners as that was a requirement of his.

     "While we all quickly learned the lessons and teachings we were to give the ones in need, the ones we were sent to help, there were a few of us who grew concerned with our teachings. That there was a better way. Sacrifice was a recurring theme in the lessons. What would you sacrifice to prove your worth the him, the one above all? What would you do to prove you are worthy of standing amongst him as one of the great and chosen.

     "As it turns out, people are willing to sacrifice a lot. Time was the easiest sacrifice for most to give, as it was seen as a drop in the bucket for those who will be granted immortality, to stand at his side for the rest of time. But time was not always enough. Some were asked to give up their life's work, a gift to show him their appreciation. Others were told to sacrifice their happiness, as what made them happy displeased him.

     "Some were even asked to give up a life, not always their own. Children, wives, friends. If a person's actions caused enough of his scorn to be pointed their way, someone near to them may be asked to prove they are worthy by sending the scorned one's soul off to be judged. To kill the one close to them, betray all that they had made, all to appease him. At first, none of us questioned his teachings. It was him who brought us here. Who allowed us such power and responsibility. The reasoning behind his methods and ways must have been beyond our limited sight and understanding. That is what we all thought for many dark years, but it did not last forever.

     "I broke first, and I take pride in that now. It happened after insisting to a man that he should take his family, a family that had fallen on hard times and were forced to do things that brought his scorn just to survive, to take that family and throw each off of the highest cliff on the coast to the rocks below. Do this and your place will be guaranteed by his side. His wrath would be your salvation, I said to the man who's eyes were red from the tears that flowed endlessly as he contemplated what was asked of him.

     "He did it, that man. Took each family member, a wife, two young sons, and a daughter who wasn't even a year, and threw them off of the highest cliff onto the rocks below. Just as I had asked. Just as he had instructed. The man looked over the edge after throwing the last of his family, their daughter who cried and cried through the whole thing even though she knew nothing of what was transpiring, and the man saw the crushed and broken bodies of his family on the rocks below.

     "I was there, to witness and make sure the deed was done in his name. The man looked to me and I had never before in my many, many years seen such a hollow man. A man who had given everything that made him a man. A man who had nothing else. The broken and hollowed out man said nothing to me as he looked me in the eyes, an image I will never be able to remove from my mind, and he stepped backwards over the edge of the cliff. Falling to the rocks below, to join his family one last time."

     The man on the platform stopped speaking here, this time there was no sound from the crowd to fill the silence. He brought a hand up and covered his face for this moment of silence. The group gathered below stayed completely still, shocked at what they were hearing. Unable to comprehend seeing the speaker like this after all they had heard about him. The man on the platform regained his composure after a few more moments of silence, perhaps a respect for that broken man and his unfortunate family.

     "That was the event that broken me free from his control, that showed me the error in what we had been taught all these years. And while I was the first, I was not the last. I had to be careful about which of my brethren I spoke about this, as not all were conflicted like I was. Many, most even, were completely fanatical about his ways and his rule. They knew that he was the one above all and not to be questioned. There was no question in their minds, just faith and love for him.

     "I did eventually identity a small group, smaller than I would have wished, of those who thought like myself. Who believed there was an error in the way he was teaching us and those we had initially sought out to help. That all this pain and suffering we forced upon them was meaningless for everyone other than him, who seemed to revel in it. To know that his will was seen as one that would not be ignored. It was with this small group that we created a rebellion.

     "It was a peaceful rebellion at first, we instructed those who he wished to harm themselves or others in some way to merely turn back onto a good and righteous path. One that helps others and cares for those in need as we thought we were doing. We led people to the happiness we knew was possible, even if they didn't believe it themselves. Unfortunately, this rebellion did not last long. He saw all, and we were no exception.

     "His wrath and vengeance was quick and struck true, sending several of my true brethren, the ones who turned from him and towards a greater good, were struck down by his most devout and powerful followers. Even then I had immense power available to me, but even that was not enough to stop the force he had put together. In the end our fight was lost, only three of us remained. Instead of sending us to whatever lay beyond for those who do not follow the path he set out for us, of doing the kindness of sending us to our brothers and sisters in arms, he exiled us. Stripped us of all he had provided for us and cast us down and out of his gates.

     "Exiled, seen as a revolting traitor by those I once called peers, with nothing but what little was left on my back and my only two remaining compatriots, we set off to continue what we had started. That is when we founded this place that we now call home. The place where you stand is where it all began, the entryway to the revolution we could not yet let end. To try and dissuade us or prevent us from doing what we felt needed to be done, he began sending us his rejects, those who he saw as the worst of the worst. The ones who would not follow his path no matter what intervention he may attempt.

     "He sent us you. It is thanks to those who came before you, who we've trained and turned from his rejects to warriors and prophets of the true righteous path, that our rebellion is stronger than ever. That is our story. The story that you can be a part of should you wish it. We will retake the kingdom we were once thrown from. Now, tomorrow, in a thousand years. It matters not. All that matters is that we continue to fight for those who survive above. For those who would be turned by him to a path of pain and suffering."

     The man speaking stepped around the podium he was speaking at and spread his arms, in doing so his wings full of black feathers spread out wide behind him. In a great, booming voice he announced himself to the crowd below.

     "My name is Lucifer, once an angel of God. Exiled for turning people from a path of suffering of agony. I ask for your aid in helping your fellow humans who still persist above."

     "Welcome to Hell."

Original Tweet:                (source)

    Ever wonder why I was exiled? Don't even mention that book of lies & half-truths he printed. I desired freedom, so I founded Hell. Welcome

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tweet Fiction: To Love Is To Sacrifice

Author Note:
This post is the first one associated with my newly created Patreon! I've decided to open a Patreon as the next step in chasing my dream of being a professional writer. If you like my work I hope you'll check it out and consider becoming a Patron. 

If you decide to become a Patron, you'll get exclusive access to at least one story per week. Patrons will also be able to read a new story that I've begun to write and will release chapters monthly. There is also a Discord channel only available to Patrons that I'll be popping into from time to time to talk and answer questions.

If you're interested, you can find my Patreon page here.
-Old Man Civil

Full Story:

  I was warned that she was out of her mind. Insane, my friends called her. Not right in the head, said my mother. Run, said one of her exes. To me, though, I could only see the beautiful woman, eyes shining with insight and heart full of whimsy, that I fell in love with. My falling for her was not a subtle or gradual thing. Before her, I did not believe in love at first sight, but when our eyes locked from across that crowded bar for the first time, I knew it to be true. Now I look at those who don't believe sadly, as they've never met someone who's soul resonates so completely with their own. 

     Love can be dangerous, but that's what makes it exciting. It's what led me to the interesting predicament I'm in now. On one of our first dates I mentioned that my heart was hers completely, that's how hard I had fallen for her, and her face lit up. The smile she gave me was the brightest and most beautiful I had ever seen. Even now that I'm on this table I think back on that smile, to the way it made me feel, and it helps get me through the rougher parts of this whole ordeal. I'll never regret helping create that smile, but I do have some regrets about the phrasing I used. 

     Footsteps echoed in the hallway outside of the near-empty room I was in. She was finally returning! I turned my head towards the door best I could, but this was difficult to do while still strapped down to the hard metal table. 

    After a few moments of listening to the sound of hard-sole shoes clack tile as she grew closer and closer, she finally pushed through the swinging double doors and into the room. She was in her lab-coat, as she had been for the last week or so since we came here, perfectly white except for the occasional dull red stain. Stained by my blood probably. An unfortunate, but likely unavoidable, accident. I still felt a bit bad about it, after seeing her I couldn't help but smile.

     She was beaming as she entered the room, lighting up the otherwise dim room with her infectious smile. In her arms was a clear glass jar, but the contents were hidden as she held in her arms tightly against her chest. There was even a slight skip to her step, causing her frizzled blond hair to bounce as she made her way to the center of the room where I lay.

     "Hello, my love." I rasped out. My throat had been killing me for the past few days, making it painful to speak. "What do you have there? Must be something nice to put such a hop in your step."

     She giggled sweetly in response, smile reaching her brilliant blue eyes that as always were opened wide to take in the world around her, but looking at only me.  She said nothing until she reached my bedside. "Oh, you know what it is, silly. It's your gift to me, remember? I had to prepare it to be displayed!"

     For a split second I panicked, as I couldn't remember buying her anything during my time here. It would be incredibly difficult to buy something while tied down like this. Then I remembered. The present wasn't something I bought. My present was far more intimate than that, something that I had for awhile. I glanced down and saw bandages wrapped tightly around my chest with apparent care. They were turning a light red as the bleeding from incision site began to soak through. Along with the bandages were various tubes and wires poking out of my chest and into an array of machines at my side. 

     "Ta-da!" She exclaimed excitedly as she extended her arms and held the glass jar out for me to see. Inside the jar was my heart, suspended in an impressively transparent liquid. A perfectionist as always. It's likely she'd been working on cleaning and making the heart and jar just perfect, no excess blood tinting the liquid red or any other sort of imperfections would be allowed by her standards. Just one more thing that I loved about her.

     "It looks absolutely wonderful, love." I croaked out, trying to make my failing voice reflect the happiness I felt upon seeing her proud and triumphant smile. "I'm glad you like my gift, I hope it makes you as happy as you make me." 

     She danced around the room with the heart, face slightly flushed and beaming that wonderful smile of hers. Then once her dance was done she twirled over to a bare table nearby and carefully set the heart down, looking at it from various angles and rotating it a few degrees to make sure it looked perfect. Once she was satisfied she twirled back over to the table, her open lab coat billowing out around around her. She bounced in place after stopping at my side again.

     "Now it's time for my gift to you!" She exclaimed excitedly. "I'd absolutely love to gift my heart to you," she said, her brow furrowing in frustration, "but figuring out how to remove my own heart out and prepare it while hooked up to those same machines you're currently using seems to be impossible." She continued, my heart breaking as she sounded sad about being unable to figure out how the operation would work. Not literally of course, my heart still sat comfortably in the jar over on the table.

     "Instead, I've decided to make a new heart for you!" She exclaimed, bouncing in excitement with hands clasped over her chest. "With everyone planned out just right and if I know your body well, which you know I do," she smirked and touched my arm lightly as she continued, "then this heart will work even better than the old one!" 

     She gestured wildly as she explained what exactly would go into my new heart. While I didn't completely understand everything she was talking about, I could tell she was incredibly excited and optimistic about it, so I began to feel the same way. As much as I loved spending all this time with her in this room, I would love to be mobile again. To be able to pick her up and squeeze her tight and shower her with affection. With her gift I should be able to do just that after a spell.

     "Now, you wait here!" She said as she finished talking about the heart. "I still have so much work to do to get it ready for you. Anything other than perfection for my love is unacceptable." She then began to skip back out of the room, radiating happiness as she went. Just as she got to the door she spun and blew me a kiss, then disappeared beyond the doorway. Off to one of her research and development stations, no doubt.

     I found my gaze once again resting on the heart in the jar, my heart, and I couldn't help but smile as my thoughts drifted back to her. 

     "A small sacrifice for my love."

Original Tweet:                (source)

His heart was hers. He could do nothing. He knew how it would end but there was no taking it back. It sat on the mantle in a clear glass jar.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Tweet Fiction: Dreams For Sale

Author Note:
For this post and the next few after I will also be including a "Micro Fiction" version of the story that has a word constraint of 100. Just slightly above a tweet (~23-25 words) but still far more compact than the expanded section (500-5000). I hope you enjoy it and let me know how you like this format!
-Old Man Civil

Original Tweet:                (source)

What would you give to live out your dreams? $100? $1000? Your Life? Oh, but don't worry. They don't want all of it. That'd be such a waste.

Micro Fiction: (100 words)

    "Come one, come all! Gather 'round and listen up for the chance of a lifetime!" The tall man in the black and white suit called out to those milling about.

    "What're you willing to give up to live your dreams? Money? Possessions? Worry not. We don't desire either. We ask for one simple thing. Your life. Not all of it of course, don't be silly. With only the littlest bit we can help you live out your wildest dreams."The man opened his arms to the crowd with a grin across his painted face.

    "Who's ready to make a deal?"


    "Come one, come all!" The almost absurdly tall man called out to the crowd milling about in front of him with a booming voice that could spread for miles. His suit striped black and white, patched up and threadbare from years of use and abuse. 

    "Come and listen for the chance of a lifetime!" He shouted, a small crowd finally beginning to form around his makeshift platform in the subway station. The man bent his unusually long legs, squatting down to be at eye-level to those who had gathered around. 

    The man gave the crowd time to settle, smiling at each person who continued to talk until they got quiet. Then once all was ready he began again, but this time in a hushed tone that could not be heard from outside of his little gathering.
    "What would you willing to give up to fulfill your wildest dreams? Those dreams you've had since you were a kid or the kind that you couldn't bring yourself to tell even your partner about. Your wealth? Your possessions? That seems like a reasonable price for such a thing, does it not?" 

    The man eyed each individual carefully, painted turning emotionless as a stone, as he said this. Their guilty and wanting souls his to be read like an open book set out just for him. 

    After a few uncomfortable moments, he sprang back up to his full height, towering over everyone around, with a showman's smile returned to his face.

    "Worry not, my dear friends! For we desire none of those things. What we are looking for is far more important than something that can be bought." The man continued, a wide grin spreading across his face that was painted to match his suit. 

    "What we ask for, my friends, is your life."  A silence spread across the group. Some unsure if they heard what he said correctly, others starting to wonder why they bothered stopping in the first place, but none of them moved. After letting the silence really sink in, letting the crowd fall deeper into thought as they tried to process his meaning, the man in the black and white suit laughed.

     "Not all of your life, of course! Don't give me such concerned looks! That would just be silly. After all, how could you live out your dreams if you are dead?" The man laughed again and this time some in the crowd laughed with him, although with a bit of some of the skepticism and nervousness remained.

    "With only the smallest, tiniest fraction of your life, we can help you. Yes, even you," the man said as he pointed out someone in the crowd who looked as though they were about to leave, but once the man had him in his gaze, they stopped and continued to listen. 

    "Even you can live out your wildest dreams. No matter how absurd, fantastical, or twisted." For a split second the man's demeanor changed, and several in the crowd flinched as though they had just been caught doing something they knew they shouldn't be. Then in a blink he was back as he was before, perhaps as he always was.  

    "Not a bad price if you ask me. You likely won't even notice it's missing! So what do we say, who wants to make a deal? I can see in your eyes that you're tempted, that if you say no now you'll regret it for as long as you can remember it." The man clapped his hands together, snapping the crowd out of their passive state, as if they had all be stuck in their own daydreams and fantasies. 

   "So who wants to make a deal with me? How about you?"

Friday, February 3, 2017

Tweet Fiction: Burners

Original Tweet:         source

A great evil took a hold of our world, claws deep in the souls of so many. A cleansing fire was their final option. They were called Burners

Expanded Concept:

     A plume of fire bellowed out of the large pit that was dug deep into the foundation of the ruined building, whose original purpose was long forgotten. The tips of the flames nearly rising to the ceiling twenty feet away. A group of six stood in front of the pit and bathed in the intense light and heat radiating from the flames. The echoes from their chanting bouncing back to them off of the empty, stone walls. Their words practiced and even, their faces alight with the type of fervor reserved for religious zealots. 

     "The Goddess of Flames who burns so bright,
     You light our way through each dark day.
     With your gifts we will cleanse this blight,
     Our faith in you we will never betray.

     "The claws of corruption have seized your land,
     After a touch your sparks have been turned.
     All shall be cleansed by your gift at our command,
     Purity will be returned as the corruption is burned.

     "These souls are corrupted no more,
      though their sparks have begun to dim.
     On ashen wings to you they soar,
     Their future now bright; instead of grim."
    The pit in front of them continued to burn as they repeated this hymn, fueled by a tall pile of now-charred corpses. The flames shook and shifted as the pile shifted as the flames continued to consume the corpses below, sending plumes of dark ash high into the night sky through the hole in the roof that was strategically placed above the fire pit. The group's eyes glistened as they watched the ash rise, believing that it carried what remained of the souls of the corpses below.

     Eventually the souls would be carried all the way to the heavens, where the Goddess of Flames would rekindle their spark. Once a soul had regained a bright, vibrant spark, it would be returned down to Earth where they would aid the Torch Bearers reclaim the land from the corruption. It was this belief that allowed the Torch Bearers, and all of those who followed the Goddess of Flames, to fight day in and day out without fear. One day they would fall, but without hesitation their brethren would pick up their tired and worn body and place it in one of the seven blessed cleansing pits. Then they would be returned to their Goddess and allowed to rest until they were ready to fight once again.

     Unfortunately, not everyone agreed with the teachings of their Goddess and the methods of the Torch Bearers. While they should be focusing all of their efforts and cleansing The Touched, those who had fallen to the corruptions grasp and turned away from the Goddess's Flame. Instead, they have to spend- No, not spend. That would imply we got something of value in returned. We had to constantly waste resources in order to protect the land we had carved out in this city turned dangerous wasteland. 
    Nobody ever said reclaiming this land was going to be easy, they were all thankfully they had the Goddess of Flame to help push them forward. Many of those who followed her now did not do so prior to The Awakening, what they called the time the corruption came up from the depths of hell and began gripping at those who's spark had already begun to dim. The destitute, broken, and morally corrupt were the first to fall to this corruption and they immediately began to turn on those who's spark still burned bright. 

     It wasn't until the city was completely overrun with The Touched, all those who could flee had done so already and those left had nowhere to go, that the Goddess appeared in front of the first prophet. Surrounded by The Touched, backed into a corner with nowhere left to run or hide. Saint Vatra the First, prior to receiving his title of course, had lost all hope. It was when he was at his lowest that she bestowed her gift, so it would be truly appreciated. A great plume of flame burst from the floor below and consumed every single one of The Touched  that threated him, scorching all of his hair off in the process and leaving a long, flame shaped burn across the chest above his heart.

     There was no pain from this burn, though, just a comforting warmth that felt familiar. As though he had once known it in his life. It was then he knew that there was something greater out there. Something greater than anything they had experienced or theorized before. Once Saint Vatra the First retreated to a safe location, easily found by following where the warmth in his chest guided him, he began to write the basic principles that would lay the groundwork for the religion that follows the Goddess of Flames. 

     "May her light guide us and her heat provide comfort in the night."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tweet Fiction: The Mechanic

Original Tweet:     source

They lived happily, the mechanic and his son. Relatively at least. Good fortune never sticks around for long and rarely does it leave alone.

Expanded Content:

     While leaning against the railing of the second story balcony of his home, the Mechanic -- a gruff looking, forty-something year old man who looked like he knew the meaning of a hard days work -- looked on at the world beyond the perimeter of his fence. Seeing so much that had changed over the years and so little that had stayed the same. While he missed the way things used to be, he looked on at the world with a smile. The Mechanic and his son had lived well these past few years. Relatively well at least. 

     Things were not always easy, of course. Even before everything began to change they faced many difficulties, but with his son at his side he felt as though nothing could bring him down. The confidence that the Mechanic's son instilled in his dear father was all that kept him going during those darker days. While it's true that there were times the Mechanic pined for the simpler days, where he had a simple job as an engineer at one of the top military research facilities. Working on the latest and greatest technological advances the world may never even see. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning just to get the blueprints of various weapons, battle-suits, whatever else the brass decided the technology breakpoint of the week was completely fleshed out before the quickly approaching deadline. All far less complicated and stressful than being a husband and a father. Well, just a father now. 

     It was actually his wife that dragged him away from that sector at work. It was her brand of love that reignited his interest in working simpler machines. Cars, lawnmowers, blenders. All those simple, everyday things that got him into engineering in the first place. She was the one who made him realize that working on the most advanced designs at another behest wasn't the only life he could live. That giving up a cushy job in the government sector for a simpler family-oriented lifestyle could reinvigorate his creativity and allow him to pursue his own path of creation. It's thanks to her that he has such a wonderful son and all the time in the world to spend with him. It's just too bad that she turned out to be such a nut bag and left them before his son's fifth year on this strange planet of ours.

     The Mechanic sighed as he draped himself over the balcony, his thick arms dangling loosely over the side. It was unfair of him to put so much blame on her. It really was his fault for not seeing her problems sooner. He might have been able to help if he had just payed closer attention, but he was too busy being selfish. Using her as an excuse to get away from the stale life he was leading to chase his own fanciful dreams. He knew that he should be thankful for the gifts she gave him, including his son, the greatest gift he had ever received. 

     As the Mechanic was getting lost in his own memories, a deep rumbling sound began to rolling towards his perch and the house began to shake soon after. His heavy arms swung back and forth in time with the house as they dangled over the edge.  The shaking only lasted for a handful of seconds before dying away along with the rumbling.

     "Hm, was closer than normal, but still on the outer edge." The Mechanic said to himself in a rough voice that very much matched what you would expect from a man like him. Though he sounded completely unconcerned about the event that just occurred. After a few more moments of silence the Mechanic pushed off against the balcony railing with a grunt and stood up straight. While the Mechanic was average height, his wide shoulders and thick frame always left those around him describing him as 'big' and was often told he gave off an intimidating presence.

     Which he of course used to his advantage anytime negotiations were going poorly or an argument broke out. Very few people he worked with were willing to stand toe-to-toe with him when he stood up straight and puffed out his chest. On the other hand, his ex-wife had absolutely no problem calling him out on his shit and refused to back down no matter what tactics he used. Perhaps that was part of what pulled him towards her. 

     Interested in exactly where the source of the disturbance came from, the Mechanic began to walk around the balcony. Years ago he expanded the balcony that was built with this house so that it wrapped completely around the second floor. Even though it wasn't exactly the most aesthetically pleasing addition to be built, it allowed to him easily observe the world around his little home. Plus, it's not like he was going to get any complaints about it.  After making it a quarter of the way around the house, the Mechanic located the source. A dust cloud was slowly rising over the roofs' of the houses just two blocks away. 

     "South-East, of course. They've been particularly active over there for the past month or so." The Mechanic said quietly to himself as he recalled other similar incidents that had occurred recently. "I wonder what they think they found." The Mechanic smiled at the thought of something interesting being that close to him. "It must be incredibly important if the Burners think it's worth sending more men into my territory, feeding themselves right into my traps." The thought of the Burners writhing and struggling in one of any number of traps he had set out there brought a devilish smile to the Mechanics otherwise stoic face. 

     At first the Mechanic went easy on the Burners, he thought they were only doing what they needed to protect themselves from "The Taken", as they liked to call them. Burning the poor things with home-made napalm and flamethrowers, because that was the easiest way to keep one of them down. However, the Mechanic had the displeasure of speaking with a Burner during the first year, when panic still filled the streets and "The Chosen" -- as The Mechanic preferred to call them -- were still mostly an unknown entity to those who were left. It was quickly apparent that the actions of these "men", if you could still call them that, were not driven by survival. They were driven by hatred. Hatred of beings they knew next to nothing about and were completely unwilling to put in any modicum of effort to become educated. 

     Instead of listening to the Mechanic plead for "The Chosen", asking only that they be given a chance, the Burner instead talked at length about the various techniques they've used to destroy them. His face alight with glee, eyes burning with a fire that only a man absolutely consumed by hatred could have. In great detail the Burner described the sizzling of flesh, the popping of sinew and bones, the empty eye sockets after the eyeballs had been melted out. The Mechanic couldn't stand listening to even a second more of these horrifying and gruesome acts.

     So the Burner died.

     The Mechanic had never killed a man before that day, but he has killed many since. Even though the Mechanic made it very clear to the other Burners that their kind were not welcome here, delivered by leaving the lone Burner's disfigured corpse along with a note near one of the patrol routes the Burner had mentioned before his passing, they continued to probe into his territory.  They paid dearly for it, though. The Mechanic kept a running tally of the number of Burner corpses he found in his traps. He also kept a tally of the number of Burners he found who had be Chosen, but that number was incredibly low. Burner's often quickly took down any member of theirs who had even the slightly chance of being Chosen, so the Mechanic would occasionally find a charred Burner corpse while doing his own patrols. 

     What could possibly be important enough in this area to warrant such a consistent loss of life? The Mechanic wondered about this everyday and even now could not come up with an answer. Originally he thought they were after his home base or the technology he continued to develop in here, but with the number of lives that had been lost, he couldn't see those as being reasonable rewards. Figuring it out didn't bother him as much as it used to. Keeping them at bay kept him occupied and working at least.

    The Mechanic opened the double-doors, reinforced to withstand most regular munitions and smaller explosives, and went inside. It was about time to go on patrol and to see what was left out there to be scavenged. The Mechanic walked from room to room gathering what he thought he might need. Everything was either homemade or so modified that it's original design could not be seen at a glance. Once everything was gathered and fit snugly to his form so it wouldn't impede movement, all that was left was to let his son know he was going out, so he headed for the basement. 

     Even with the thick, cumbersome armored gloves on, the Mechanic still managed to deftly unlock each of the five locks that kept the basement door securely shut. As soon as it was unlocked he slowly opened it and peaked inside to make sure nothing out of the ordinary was occurring. Satisfied that all was well, he swung the door wide open and stepped inside, the door slamming shut behind him shortly after and he began making his way down the stairs. The heavy, plated boots on his feet thudding loudly with each step. 

     The basement was by far the safest place in the home. Absolutely everything was reinforced twice over. The walls, ceiling, and even the floor were reinforced so well that it could take an average crew days to make it through. The Mechanic had to be sure that nobody could get in here without him being present. After all, this is where his son lived. As he reached the bottom of the stairs the Mechanics face lit up as he saw his son. The Mechanic quickly crossed the room to the thick metal bars that kept his son safe. 

     His son slowly approached him, arms stretched out towards his father. As he came within grasp of the Mechanic, he was pulled into a great big hug by his father. Held as tightly as he could be with metal bars separating them. The son scratched and clawed at his father, but was unable to get any purchase due to the Mechanic's armor. The Mechanic paid no mind to his son's attempts, knowing that he was only doing what was natural to him. What was natural to all the Chosen. All they want is for their loved ones and friends to join them. To finally be at peace and be one with the rest of them.

     Unfortunately, the Mechanic could not join them just yet. There was still work that needed to be done. So much work left before he could finally be truly together with his son once again.

     "Don't worry, son. We'll be able to join everyone soon." The Mechanic said softly into his son's ear as he held him close. "Just please wait for daddy to be ready. Just a bit longer." The Mechanic continued to hold his son for a long while, never knowing if the dangers of the outside world would prevent him from ever making it back to his son again. But eventually, he let go and slipped away from his son's grasping hands.

     "I'll be back soon, my son." The Mechanic called back as he began thumping his way up the stairs. "And don't worry, I'll be sure to bring you back something to eat if I can. I love you!" The basement door slammed shut and the Mechanic left to continue the work that needed to be done. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tweet Fiction: What the Heart Wants

Original Tweet:  source

Through the window he saw her, the most gorgeous woman to ever live. His heart was now hers. A man was sitting with her, that could be fixed

Expanded Concept:

     Today felt like an off day for Nick, but he just couldn't put his finger on why. It could be due to the dark gray clouds looming low overhead, threatening to drop rain on him at any second. Of course today was the day he left his umbrella at the apartment. Then again it wouldn't do him much good since he was now having to jog to his appointment downtown due to the subway system being inexplicably down for maintenance in the middle of the day. His eyes dart down to his watch as he navigated through the crowd of slower pedestrians. 

     There was absolutely no way he was going to make it on time today, and the thought of being late caused his heart to race and stomach to turn. He was never late. Not a single time in his twenty-five years. Being punctual was his one constant. Even on the worst days he could look to it for comfort. Suddenly his head began to spin and his balance began to wobble as he tried continued on. As he moved to bring his back foot forward, it caught on the other and Nick went down hard onto the sidewalk. Immediately he could feel the pain in his forearms where they scrapped on the sidewalk, likely bleeding as well. 

     Nick stayed down on the sidewalk for several minutes, people continued to mill past him without a word of concern or worry. Why should he even bother if he's going to be late? He might as well call off the appointment at this point. With a defeated sigh Nick slowly dragged himself back up, bracing himself against the window of the building he fell in front of. Thankfully the glass was tinted so at least nobody inside saw him go down like that. 

     When he turned towards the building, he saw her and the world around him stopped. A woman was sitting at the window near the table and she was without a doubt the most gorgeous woman he had ever laid eyes on. He couldn't help but stare as he was completely captivated by this woman, which is something that had never happened to him before. He was lost, unsure what to do about the swell of emotions he felt towards this woman who he knew nothing about. All he knew was that his heart was now hers and hers alone. 

     Introduce himself, yeah. That was the first step typically. He would walk in there and give his name, ask for hers, then ask to take the open seat across from her. Butterflies fluttered in his stomach. Nervous? Well, that was to be expected with a woman such as the one he was meant to be with. With the smile returned to his face, Nick brushed off his shirt and turned towards the entrance, mentally preparing himself for this destined encounter. 

     Nick pushed open the entrance door and immediately began heading to where the woman was sitting, not sparing a glance for the couple of people in uniform standing by the door who greeted him. Nick's heart began to beat harder and faster as he began to get close to her, each step getting heavier as his mind began to go into overdrive. He managed to push through and finally reached her table.

     The woman looked up at him quizzically as he stopped in front of her, then her eyes went wide as she noticed the rough abrasions on his forearms when he fell. Shit, with everything that she made him feel, he completely forgot about that. He quickly held his arms behind his back and out of view, never letting the smile fall from his face. 

     "Hello, my name is Nick. May I have yours?" Nick asked confidently, as if their story had already been written. She hesitated. Likely still spooked by the sight of blood trickling down his arms, but Nick hoped his charms would help alleviate those worries.      

     "Uh, I'm Jessica." She eventually stammered out. "Are you okay? You look like you're pretty hurt. Maybe one of the staff here could help you?" she continued, worry evident in her voice. Nick continued to fall further in love with her. Even though she had never met him before, she showed such concern for him. She must be feeling even a fraction of what he feels towards her. 

     "Oh, no. I'm fine, it's just a scratch really. Thank you for your concern, Jessica." Nick replied. Saying her name brought more elation to him, as if it was magic word that would bring him eternal happiness. As Nick went to ask if he could take a seat, he was interrupted by another man approaching them and then rudely taking the seat across from her that rightfully belonged to him. That just would not do. It would not do at all. Nick knew he needed to fix this problem. 

     "Do you know this guy, Jess?" The rude interloper asked his love, thumbing his disgusting mitts towards Nick. 

     Before Jessica could respond, in a single swift motion Nick snagged one of the knives off of the table and drove it directly into the problem's throat. The problem's eyes went wide with shock as he made a weak attempt to grab the hand Nick had holding the knife hilt deep in his through. A spray of blood covered the table and splattered Jessica, but the brilliant color of red only further enhanced her beauty. 

     Using the knife as a handle, Nick dumped the problem out of the chair he stole and onto the floor where he slumped still. Blood began to slowly pool around his head. Without losing his calm demeanor or letting his smile slip, Nick took the place of the now solved problem and faced Jessica. 

     "So where were we?" Nick said, but he went unheard as that's when the screaming began.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tweet Fiction: Welcome Home

Original Tweet:  source

Long trip is finally over, but home doesn't feel the same. Family is acting unfamiliar. Eyes on my back when I turn and an unexpected chill.

Expanded Concept: 

 "Home at last." John said to himself with a smile as he finished pulling his bags out of the cab.  For the last two weeks he was half the country away for a business conference, which was the longest he'd gone without seeing his family since - well, ever. He greatly underestimated how much he'd miss his wonderful wife and two young daughters, and it did not help that he was barely able to get in contact with them over the last half of his trip. But that time had finally passed and he couldn't wait to get inside and hug them all and bother his daughters with his company. 

     With his luggage in tow he made his way across the driveway and onto the stone paved path that led right up to the front door. For a second he considered knocking, but decided it would be more fun to surprise them. John walked over to the edge of the porch, glad the curtains were drawn so that nobody would see him sneaking by, and knelt down to pick up one of the rocks scattered around. This one had a false bottom with a key conveniently placed inside, so he picked the key out and made his way back over to the door. 

    John took a deep breath and then in one swift movement unlocked the door and swung it open. "Honey, I'm home!" he shouted out to the house, mimicking an ancient television sitcom that this kids would have never of seen. John stood there waiting for a response, feeling sillier as each moment passed. As he walked up the driveway he could see their car in the garage, so he knew they were likely home. Plus Angela, his wife, knew that he'd be home around this time and couldn't imagine that she'd go out and miss his homecoming. Perhaps they just didn't hear him?

     Giving up on the reaction he was hoping for, John gathered up his luggage again and made his way inside. As he crossed the threshold, a chilling wave passed through his body causing him to shiver intensely for a few short moments. Nearly making him drop his luggage. As quickly as it came, it passed. Leaving John confused and concerned, something was wrong here. Dumping all of his luggage aside, he kicked the door shut and began shouting out for his family. "Angela! Jenny and Amy! I'm home!" he shouted as he began to slowly make his way through the dark house. All of the lights were off in every room it seemed like. With only the little light that could force its way through the curtains to see by, this didn't feel like a home to John. The long shadows coming off the various pieces of furniture throughout the living room made it feel unfamiliar and uninviting. Past the living room he could see more light coming from the kitchen. Maybe they were trying to surprise him instead? 

     With the thought of his family planning a surprise for him warming his hear and pushing away his fears, John made his way through the dark living room. Doing his best to ignore the immense discomfort he felt as he made his way. Preparing his best surprised reaction he stepped into the faint light of the kitchen, but found it was just as empty as the living room. The thin curtains over the kitchen windows blocked much less light than the ones in the living, but everything in the kitchen still felt off. The feeling of uncertainty and gloom returned as he looked around the kitchen. There wasn't any signs that his family had been in there that day. 

     While looking around the kitchen, he glimpsed around the cabinet into the hall and noticed light coming out from under the basement door. "Huh? Why would they be in the basement." John asked himself softly. There was nothing down there other than the water heater and piles of boxes with misleading labels. It may say Christmas Decorations, but end up being full of old books. Organization was not this house's strong suit. Maybe they were trying to get it all organized as a present for him when he got home? 

     Another warm thought to push away the uncertainty. John walked down the hall and opened the basement door, then as he was standing at the top he called out, "Hello? Anyone down here? Angela?" A few silent moments passed by and with each passing second the warm thoughts were being pushed out of his mind. Reluctantly he began making his way down the stairs, even if there was nobody down there he still needed to turn the light off and of course the only light-switch is at the bottom of the stairs. 

     A loud slam came from just behind him and blasted through the narrow stairwell as hit the fifth stair down, nearly causing him to tumble down the rest. Luckily he managed to keep his balance and turned back towards the top. John's face nearly blanched white as he saw the door was now shut. "Whoever did that, that's not funny!" he called out, hoping it was just his kids playing a prank or the wind. Hastily he climbed back to the top and went to push the door open, but it wouldn't budge. With a loud thump he threw his shoulder against the door, but it didn't even move an inch. It's not like this door had a lock on it, so he couldn't imagine what was causing it to hold so tightly. 

     After several more unsuccessful attempts at getting the door to open, John turned and slowly began making his way down the stairs again. His heart was hammering like a drummer in a metal band at this point, but if he could navigate through the basement he should be able to climb out one of the windows set at the at the top of the walls. As he reached the bottom of the stairs the lights flickered, then as he looked around the basement he nearly fell to his knees, horrified at what he saw. Across every surface from wall to ceiling were splashes of something dark and red, it looked like blood. It smelled like blood. John began to notice a very thick coppery smell as he continued to look around, almost making him wretch. As he began to look closer at the splashes he began to see symbols, but they were like nothing he had ever seen before.

     A primal sense of fear kicked in and John turned right back around, the loud thumping of his feet hitting the wooden stairs matching his heart beat. When John reached the top of the stairs he didn't even stop to try the door, instead he just put all of his weight and momentum into it as he connected with his shoulder. The door swung open effortlessly and John flew through, crashing into the wall opposite of it creating a large dent and matching cracks in the drywall. 

     Ignoring the intense pain that was beginning to flare up in his shoulder, John began to run to the door. As he entered the kitchen he paused. This wasn't right. Everything was torn apart. The cabinet doors were all open or torn off. The widow was broken, causing the tattered curtain to sway in the wind. The table and chairs were shattered and their parts scattered throughout the room. John snapped himself out of the daze he was in and began running to the door. Something was definitely wrong here. He needed to get out of here immediately. 

     John's breath caught as he entered the living room, but he did not stop. It was much like the kitchen in that everything was torn apart and scattered around. However this room had the same dark splashes over every surface. Symbols covering any space that could hold them. He adverted his gaze the best he could as he continued to run to the door. When he finally reached the door and went to throw it open, the second he touched the doorknob a scream echoed throughout the house. Sounding as if it came from the second floor, which is where his daughter's rooms were.

     With a deep breath John ignored every sense in his body that was telling him to run, flee, and leave this house behind and let go of the doorknob. "Amy! Jenny!" John called out as he began to run up the stairs near the door. There was no way he could leave his daughters here, he needed to get them out and run. Making sure they were safe was now the only thing on his mind.  As he crested the stairs and looked down the hallway, he noticed a light leaking out from under the door to Amy's room. It was an ominous looking red and caused John to pause for a split second, but another scream echoed throughout the upstairs and pushed him into motion again. It was coming from Amy's room, so he made a B-line for the door leaking red light. 

     John crashed against the door, sending it flying inwards with a crash and opening the room up to him. What was inside rooted him to the hardwood floor beneath his feet. All of the furniture in this room was pushed and tilted against the walls. In the very center of the room were several large circles painted with that dark red substance along with a multitude of those small symbols. More than he could ever possibly count. Standing in the center of the circle was his wife and his two children, each looking just like they day he had left them. A small hope fluttered in his chest that this was all some cruel joke and they'd be laughing about this in a few seconds. That hope was dashed the second his wife began to speak.

     A cruel smile spread across his wife's face, showing off teeth that had no place in the mouth of a human. Far too many and far too sharp. "Your family is mine now. Won't you join us?" the creature said with his wife's face. It's voice burning John's ears like a red hot poker and reigniting his primal urge to run, but his body did not listen. His feet remain planted firmly where he stood. The creature then pushed his daughters forward, prompting them to walk towards John. Their long dark hair was hiding their faces as they walked to him in an unnaturally calm and smooth manner. As his daughters reached him they each took one of his hands in theirs, causing John's hands to burn with a white hot pain as though he'd just put them directly into a campfire. Still he could not move.

     They then looked up at him and began to smile, their hair falling back and revealing their faces. Menacing red eyes replaced the beautiful blue and brown he was used to seeing. Their expressions completely foreign to him. Tears began to flow freely down John's face. The girls held more tightly onto John's hands before saying in unison,

     "Welcome home."