Short Story 11/12/12

I open my eyes slowly, returning to my conscious plight. The world around me is pitched black, as if my eyes were still closed. I breathe in the stale air around me and grimace. I turn over from my back to my stomach and stretch out all my limbs. I crawl eight paces to my right and feel a cold wall. I could stand on my legs if I wanted to, but I don’t like to walk because it expends too much energy. I reach out and touch the cold wall. A shiver slowly courses through my famished body. I knock loudly on the wall three times and put my ear to it after a second. I hear shuffling and scratches through the wall.

“Amanda?” I ask in a loud whisper. More shuffling, and then, a cough.

“Hey, stranger.” The tired voice gently coughs at me thorough the wall.

Hearing her voice, always made me  feel good. Given the less than pleasant situation that she and I have found ourselves in, she always seemed to be perky and upbeat; Although, recently, she has started to sound a lot more morbid. The hope and optimism she once sung through these stony walls now sound tired and helpless. I found myself waking up every day so I could talk to her, just so I can have some type of interaction with another being. The change in her voice signaled fear and panic in my system.

“Did you sleep well? How are you feeling?” I ask her. She sighs a little, fed up with the monotony of our empty life.

“I couldn’t sleep last night. Stranger, I’m scared. I don’t feel anything anymore. I don’t—“ Her voice trails off and a feeling of anxiety shoots up my spine.

“Amanda! What can I do? I’ll do what I can to make you feel better! Do you want another story?”

I hear her scoff and I frown.

Ten minutes of eternity pass by in silence. I hold on to the wall, my breath being my only company.

“Stranger.” She finally says.

“Yes, Amanda!?” I ask anxiously, willing to do whatever I could to bring normalcy back to my friend. I swallow hard, my throat parched having not drank water in a long time. Such a long time I had forgotten what it even tasted like.

“Stranger, are you willing to tell me your name now?” She asks. I shake the thought of nourishment from my mind and I think about my name. Name, name, what is my name? I thought I told her. This should be an easy question. I have a name, I’m almost sure I do. I mean, I have to have a name, right?

“You don’t remember, do you?” She asks after a moment of silence.

“Well, yeah. I mean I have to have a name. Didn’t I tell you once before?” I ask her genuinely.

What in the hell is going on? Why can’t I remember anything? I know I have to have a name, and I have to have drank water. I wouldn’t be able to survive otherwise. I can’t even remember the last time I ate, or even when I met…

“Stranger, you couldn’t hold on, could you? They took everything from you.” Amanda asks rhetorically. “How long have they kept you here?”

I swallow hard, again, and shake my head.

“I don’t remember, Amanda. What’s going on? I can’t remember anything!”

I hear her shuffle away from the wall and gasp.


“Amanda?” I ask the wall. I close my eyes tight and hold my breath, trying to hear something, anything, through the wall. I hear more shuffling and then I hear a moan. She was crying.

“Amanda, why?  Why are you crying?”

She starts crying harder, louder. The clumsy cry of my neighbor pulled at my heart and brought it up to my throat. Tears began to well up in my eyes and it became impossible to swallow. My jaws clench and I try to speak.

“A… Amanda.” Ekes out from my tightened throat. I clear it and try again. “Amanda, why are you crying?”

She ignores my question and gets louder. I sit back from the wall, her voice loud enough for me to hear without my ear being pressed up against the wall. Each painful breath she takes and moans out is like a stab in my already panicked chest.

“Stranger.” She cries out through her teeth. I perk up and listen. “Stranger, I’m starting to forget things too. And I can’t let that happen. If it wasn’t for you saying my name I would have forgotten it by now too. God, how could they do this to us?”

Who did this to us? What did they even do? I don’t remember a thing. I put my hands on my head and I try to remember. I try to remember anything.

Amanda suddenly gasps again and stops crying.

“Stranger.  I think I’m going to escape. I’m going to leave the only way I know possible.”

Escape? I think to myself. These walls encompass everything, we can’t escape. She can’t escape. She can’t leave me.

“Amanda, what do you mean? How would you even leave?” I ask her.

“There’s always a way, stranger.” Her voice steeped in regret and sadness.”Escape with me, please. Before it’s too late.”

I think hard to myself, wondering how we could escape. She should be happy about escaping, why does she sound so sad?

“How Amanda? How?” I ask to the weeping woman.

I close my eyes again, thinking, and then it hits me. It hits me with the force of a tank. My mouth drops and I become breathless, I shake my head in stark disagreement.

“No… No please. Please don’t do that Amanda!” I beg her. “Please no, we can figure this out.”

“I won’t let them take my identity. I can’t.” Her voice becomes cold like the wall that separates us. “I, no, we have to do this. This is the only way, stranger.”

My stomach drops and I knock on the wall in faulty plea.

“Amanda please no, we have to figure this out. Don’t do this!” My voice croaks out and tears begin to stream down my face. I might not be able to remember anything about my past, but I knew that she was my present and my reason for living. Without her company… I couldn’t even imagine.

“Stranger, it was nice meeting you.” She starts.

“NO, PLEASE AMANDA! Please don’t leave me alone! I don’t want to be alone again! God please don’t let her go Please!” My words go through the wall but hit deaf ears. Her mind was already made up.

“Goodbye. Forgive me, love.” She knocks at the wall twice.

“AMANDA!” I scream through tears. “Amanda!?”

I bang my fist on the wall. The force breaks my fingers and pain erupts through my hand. I bang my other fist and get the same results. I keep banging the wall, crying out to the only one I felt I had left to love in the world. I don’t know how I ended up imprisoned or even how long or by who, but I knew the only person that mattered to me was her and she’s gone now. I face the wall and try to drive my head through it, to stop the pain coursing through my body from heartbreak. The blow knocks me to the ground in a daze.

How could she leave me? She was all I needed to function, what do I have now? I pick myself up clumsily from the ground and run full force into the wall, head first again. The blow flattens me to the ground and I see a bright flash of brilliant light before I lose consciousness.

“Damn it, I tried to get it before that last hit. These being are quite peculiar.” A giant being in a hazardous suit picks the body of the man up out of a darkened container. The limp body is barely breathing and the head is bleeding from severe trauma.

“Yes, they act on a very strange impulse. They are quite the social beings.” A second hazardous suit wearing being says as he begins to sanitize the container the man was just taken out of. “Take him to the recovery vat, we will need him again for another series of tests. The girl can be disposed of, we will introduce another captive as soon as he wakes up.”

The being carrying the man drops him into a clear liquid and goes about his business.



He opens his eyes slowly. The light of the sun peering through his window heats his chin. He takes in a deep breath and gently lets it out through his nose. His eyes wander around his dimly, sunlit room as he continues to wake. He shifts to his left, moving his comforter off of him and he pushes it to his side. He sits up and drags his feet over the side of his bed and onto the floor. He puts his hands on his knees and as they support his body he peers down to the floor, staring blankly at his feet.

“FUCK!” He screams loudly to no one in particular.

His once calm breaths begin to come out in seemingly uncontrollable spurts. His fingernails dig deeply into his knees and he begins to shake his head. His eyes begin to widen as he becomes more infuriated.

“FUCK!” He yells again. He bites down hard and tightens his jaw. “Mother fuck it all…”

Ernest Macken, called Mac by his close friends, is a thirty-four year old man stuck in the mediocrity of life. He only has time for work, which is as a correctional officer in Susanville, California at High Desert Maximum Security Prison. His wife recently left him suddenly and not only did the loss of her stress him out, but the fact that they could barely keep up with house payments already, he feared he would lose his house.

He wakes up daily to the same routine: Shower, cereal for breakfast, a cup of black coffee and a 20-minute drive to work. As he walks in he is greeted by his co-worker Guillermo, who he sometimes calls ‘Memito’. The skinny, but awkwardly tall man was one that Ernest felt he could talk to.

“Mac!” He yelps happily as Ernest enters the locker room to put his belongings away. He hops up and stands patiently behind him as he finishes putting his things away.

“How’s it going, Memito?” Ernest asks as he turns around and shakes the young man’s hand.

“It’s great! I had to tell you first though, Shields is pissed at you! He’s making you stay another overnight!” Ernest shakes his head and passes up Guillermo to wash his hands in the bathroom. “It’s your third time this week Mac, he’s trying to break you. What will you do?”

“I will bash his fucking skull in, that’s what I’ll do.” Ernest thinks to himself.

He walks to his boss’ office, Warden Kenneth Shields, and lightly knocks on his door. A rustling of papers can be heard before the Warden hollers,

“Come in.”

Ernest opens the door and steps into the musty, small office and is greeted by a huge smile that he could only read as meaning, ‘got you cornered’. Ernest sends a polite, ‘eat a dick’, smile back.

“Good morning Ernest, I’m guessing you saw that I have you for an overnight tonight? You’re the best guy for the job. Sorry for the short notice.” Ernest’s slick-haired, smug looking boss says. He begins to turn his chair around and adjusts his thick glasses as if he expected Ernest to accept the duty without question.

“Sir,” Ernest says calmly. “This is my third overnight. I’m not running off much sleep and I need to get home to—“

“To your wife? No. She left you, right? I’m sure you need the money, why complain, Macken?” Shields interrupts.

A spark goes off in Ernest’s brain and he slightly twitches. His face cringes a little, and he forces a smile and a nod. He begins to leave, but Shields calls for him to stop.

“Hey, that behemoth, Khan, needs to be escorted from the hole back into the general population. Handle that. Shut my door behind you, Ermac.”


A cold chill spikes down Ernest’s spine and makes his knees slightly buckle. He squeezes the doorknob tightly and his whole body tenses up uneasily.

“What?” Ernest turns to back to look at his boss. “What did you call me?”

Kenneth looks at Ernest puzzled and scrunches up his face.

“What the fuck do you think I called you, Macken? Get your ass out of my fucking office!” Kenneth bangs a fist on his desk that slides his glasses down his crooked nose and sprawls a few papers onto the floor. Ernest scowls and slams the door behind him.

Ernest walks past Memito’s desk on route to the bathroom.

Ermac, Ermac. We are Ermac.”

Ernest twitches, again, at the sound of the name and looks furiously at Memito, who is rhythmically nodding his head back and forth, as if he were listening to music.

“Memito, did you say something?” Ernest asks exasperated.

Memito looks up, surprised to see Ernest, and shakes his head slowly as he cocks an eyebrow.

“No, Mac. Are you okay? You’re sweating profusely. Yeich! You look filthy!”

Ernest grabs for his head and wipes sweat away from his hairline. He begins to shake his head, confused that such a word, such a name, could make him react so strangely.

“No…nothing, Memito. I… I think I just need some water.”

Ernest splashes a handful of cold water onto his face from a bathroom sink in an attempt to revitalize his sanity.

“Sheena leaving must have really fucked me up,” Ernest thinks to himself, blaming his estranged wife for his troubles. “There can be no other explanation. None.”

Ermac. Join us.”

            Ernest swing his head to the location of the voice and sees only his reflection in an adjacent mirror.

We are Many! You are but one!”

            He swings his head back to the other side and then behind him. All he can see is himself in the lonely bathroom.

“What the fuck, man!? Who the hell is this Ermac!? I’m Ernest” He yells.

“We are but a Legion without you. Join us! Together we will be strong!”

            Ernest’s jaw begins to tremble and slowly drops. He takes in large swallows of air, gasping. He drops to one knee and covers his face with his hand, trying to scramble the nightmare out of his brain. He shuts his eyes closed tightly and looses a muffled scream into his hand.

Ernest slowly stands to his feet after15- minutes down on a knee and listens. No voices. No whispers.

“I need to sleep. This is getting ridiculous.” Ernest thinks as he lets go of his face. He looks toward a mirror and jumps back suddenly. A figure, dressed almost like a mummy in black garb with a green-ish aura around him, reaches towards him. He looks the figure in the eyes and lets out a shriek.

Ernest runs out of the bathroom in sheer terror and runs smack into Kenneth. Both men bounce off each other and onto the ground.

“WHAT THE FUCK!?” Kenneth yells. His glasses fly off his face as he hits the ground. He searches for them blindly. “Macken! You dumb fuck! You know I’m blind without my goddamn glasses! When I find them I am going to put my foot up your fucking ass!”

Ernest gets up, his head pounding from knocking into Kenneth, and he runs downstairs. He gallops past the panicked Memito, away from the stern glance of Sergeant Sonja Blaze as she escorted two new recruits, a blond haired man with a scorpion tattooed down his forearm and a man with a menacingly cold stare, through the facility.

He ran down to the last level which is the dark, damp, and incredibly hot area where the worst offenders are held, away from the general population. Ernest, getting his wits slowly back, passes the cell of a deranged follower of the god of thunder, Thor. He was somehow able to take a transformer down and kill over 30 people at a local pool by electrocution. Ernest walks past probably the most famous, or infamous, rather, prisoner, John Gauge. He is a washed up daytime TV actor that mutilated his director after he found out he was being replaced onscreen by ex Japanese baseball player, Kay Ono. He also bashed in the face of his replacement, leaving the young man permanently paralyzed and blind on one side of his face.

Ernest reaches his destination, the cell of Khan. Khan was the leader of a vigilante group based outside of Houston, Texas. He took the law into his own hand and, because of his charisma and freakishly large stature, his followers were completely loyal. The local law enforcement had no real way of stopping Khan and his army of fugitives, that is, until he suddenly gave himself up.

“K.. Kha..” Ernest coughs out, still reeling from the run in with Shields. “Khan, this is CO Mackens, place your hands on the wall. I will be escorting you back into the general population. Your time in the hole has been served.”

Shuffling is heard inside the pitch black cell and quickly quiets down. Ernest presses a button to illuminate the cell and opens the door.

The 7 foot 3 and a half inch man stares at Ernest, through Ernest, rather. Mackens clears his throat again and takes a step.

“Ermac.” The mountain of a man lets out in a low grumble. “You are the Legion.”

Ernest looks at the man in shock. His mouth slowly opens to retort, but is cut off by Khan.

“Accept your destiny. You are not what you think you are.” Khan says slowly. His hands still placed firmly on the wall. “You are the Bringer of my Army. You are the Harbinger of War. Legion! You are ERMAC!

The ground seems to shake as Khan says the name again. Ernest’s heart begins to beat rapidly and his palms become sweaty again. A thick pounding of echoes inside of Ernest’s head and whispers begin to arise from all around him. The voices call for ‘unity’, they call for ‘dominance’ and the call the name Ermac. The noise rips through Ernest’s head violently and beats like a tribal drum. What Ernest believes is screaming coming from the voices, is actually coming from his own lungs. He staggers back, away from the cell door and falls to his backside against the adjacent cell. A symphony of voices chanting, ‘We are ONE’, sing around him as he gasps for a breath of air.

Ernest curls into a fetal position and squeezes his head with both hands, his eyes bulging from their sockets. The cacophony of sounds unexpectedly stops. Ernest, shaking uncontrollably, uses his eyes to search the room. An explosion. Then another. And another. Coming towards him. Another.

“No, not explosions. Steps.” He thinks.

Khan crouches down in front of Ernest and stares in his eyes. Khan’s inhumanly pale eyes calm Ernest. A feeling of euphoria passes over him. He believed his death was imminent.

“Accept your destiny, Ermac. Search for me, again.” Khan says commandingly as he lifts his fist. Ernest’s eyes follow the fist high into the air and, as it rapidly descends, he says goodbye to the world he had come to loathe.

Ernest wakes up in a dark room. He blinks, slowly. Pain flushes up and down his seemingly broken body. Whispers are heard swirling around the room. They question their ability to move, how long they had been asleep, where they were. They encourage Ernest to try to move a limb, but he is unable to. They urge him, again, and forcibly lift his arms towards his face. He looks at his arm, which is wrapped up tightly in bandages. His alien attire and location should frighten him, but, surprisingly, they do not. His other arm is lifted and he sees the same tight bandages. He tries to squeeze his fist closed, but pain makes the attempt useless. The voices advise Ernest to let them handle functionality at the moment. Ernest obeys, unquestioningly. Ernest’s hands and fingers move completely by themselves. His legs slide slowly across the gurney. His toes and feet flex and his ankle tweaks itself around.

“What is going on?” Ernest thinks.

We are one now, Ermac. We, the Legion and yourself are now, US!”

Ernest tries to shrug in disbelief but is unable to.

We will take care of you until you completely improve. Trust us.”

Ernest is rolled out of bed and is puppeted towards a mirror.

An uneasy feeling drops through his stomach as he peers at the figure before him. He stares into the same eyes he saw in the bathroom that burned themselves into his memory. He peered into his eyes. But, just as it was in the bathroom, his eyes are now their eyes. At this very moment of realization, Ermac, the Legion of Many, is born.


The Tuesday night began as usual. Pete sat down at the bar, nine o’ clock sharp, and ordered a shot of whiskey. Dan, the bartender, quickly wiped down a clean cup and served him up. Pete then immediately began to drown his image in the brown liquor, staring through the cup to the dirty wooden counter. Next, Samael walked in, right on cue. I always wondered why such a young, handsome man as himself, would frequent this dirty hole in the wall. The liquor was watered down, women barely ever entered, and it was always filled with us older, depressed folk. Maybe he liked watching us writhe in the pain of having nothing else to go to. I’d never asked and probably never will, either. He walked over to the jukebox and looked toward me and nodded with a smirk. I tipped my hat and returned the acknowledgement. Maybe he’s just as lonely as us old folk, I certainly don’t know much about him to say otherwise.

He turned on a foreign song, his usual, and I closed my eyes letting the methodical beat on the bongos soothe my mind. Plucks at the guitar and a cello in the background were accompanied by a string of violinists which made the entire song haunting, though eerily smooth. As the song began to rise I took a deep breath and was startled by a beautiful, sweet smell. I opened my eyes to see that a gorgeous young woman had sat in front of me. This was out of the norm. Definitely. She wore a tight red dress that accentuated all the perfect curves of her body, and it ended right above her knees. Her high-heeled shoes matched the color of her dress and her crimson toenails matched her lipstick and fingernails. Her long black hair sat perfectly down the right side of her shoulder. She dug slowly, carefully rather, in her purse, searching for… a cigarette! She pulled one out and looked up at me. Her magnificently dark eyes stared what seemed like through mine and she leaned over and touched my leg. The feeling of another person, a female person, was surreal and the contact literally quaked through my whole body.

“A lighter, monsieur?” She asked with a French accent. Her sultry voice hit my ears and melted my heart. I sat there, mouth agape, seemingly stuck in the world of improbability. Her rosy cheeks perked up slightly as she smiled and she leaned in closer. Her hair gently fell from her shoulder and across her breasts as she put more weight on my leg.

“Would you perhaps have a light, handsome?” She asked again as she squeezed my leg. I shook my body out of its daze and nodded. I reached into my pocket and brought my lighter out, the flame that flickered out was perfect. She smiled and put the cigarette in her mouth. Using my other leg as a balance, she leaned in closer and lit her cigarette. She sat back in her chair and took a long drag. I swallowed hard, staring at the slightly tanned goddess in front of me. She crossed her legs and swayed her right foot slowly back and forth. She stared at me, slightly grinning, and tilted her head back and forth, analyzing me. She took another long drag as I got lost in her physique again.

“I am Lilith, I came here to meet you.” She said, her smile widened and showed white teeth. The name made me perk back slightly. What a strange French name, I thought to myself. She extended her hand and looked to me questioningly.

“Oh!” I finally blurted out. I coughed, clearing my throat and extended my own hand. “My name is Adam. It is a pleasure. Definitely a pleasure to meet you. Lilith, you say?”

She nodded,

“It is a Jewish name, quite peculiar, no?”

“Quite. So, Lilith, what brings you out here to this hell hole?”

She shook her head softly and leaned in to whisper in my ear. As her voice hit my ear drum all the blood rushed from my face.

“I told you, handsome. I came for you.”

I felt as if she meant something by it, but I didn’t know what. The kids always came in here speaking what seemed to be a different language to us older folk. I could care less what she meant though, this attention was ravishing.

“Would you like a drink?” I asked her and turned toward the bar. Before I could look all the way away from her she grabbed my face and brought it back into her gaze. She stood up from her chair and embraced me with both arms, smothering my face in-between her chest. As she released me she leaned down and gave me a soft kiss on my cheek.

“Don’t worry about anything else. I just want you, handsome.”

I swallowed hard again, confused by the intentions of the flawless woman standing in front of me. I tried to lean away a little, to catch a glimpse of her eyes, to see if she was just fooling with me, but she brought me back and held me close again.

“Don’t you want me, handsome?” She asked me as her scent filled my nostrils. “Aren’t you lonely? I know I am everything that any man could dream of.”

“You’re stunning.” I croaked out. “Shouldn’t we leave though? Aren’t we doing too much in public?” I began to look around, knowing I’d catch the jealous eyes of my comrades. As I scanned the room, I took in a short breath of shock. We were alone.

“What in the…” I quietly said to myself. I pried the clinching woman to the side as I looked for the bars’ usual customers. No Samael, no Pete, no Terry, and, where the hell did Dan go!? I looked at the woman again, her smile was even bigger. I got an evil feeling from her and it made me even more uneasy.

“Where did they all go, Lilith?” I asked her quieter than I expected.

“Where did who go? You are all that matters, handsome.” She leaned in for another kiss and I tried to back away, but my body couldn’t resist. As her soft lips touched mine, I began to feel my strength give way to her. A feeling of anxiety fell over me. I had made love before, but it had never felt so, strange. She grabbed at the back of my head and nudged at me to stand up. I stood to my feet and she unbuckled my pants and dropped my underwear. She grabbed at my member and stopped kissing. She smiled and sat me down again. As she touched me my body began to feel weaker and weaker. I could only sit back and try to relish in the attention that the beautiful Lilith was giving me. She pulled her dress up slightly and pushed my chair back against the bar counter. My head bobbed back and my eyes began to flutter, as if I were going to faint.

“Glad I could work with you, handsome.” She whispered in my ear devilishly and let out a frighteningly high-pitched laugh as she sat upon my lap, again embracing me, squeezing the life out of me.


I open my eyes to a bright light and loud talking.

“Holy shit! We thought we lost you, buddy!” Dan says. He and Pete are standing above me as I lie on the ground. I could hear Terry in the background, calling the paramedics. I look around the room woozily, trying to find Lilith.

“Where did she go?” I whisper out of breath.

“Where did who go!? Who are you talking about?” Dan asks surprised.

“Her! Lilith! The beauty in the red dress.” I say agitated.

“What in the world are you talking about? It’s only been me, Pete and Samael! Right when Terry walked you nodded right off that barstool!”

“She was here… Lilith.” My eyes close and my breathing slows.

“You ever heard of, um, Lilith, Pete?” Dan asks to which Pete shrugs. “What about you, Samael?”

Samael stands with an arm resting at the jukebox and the other in his pocket, waiting for his song to end. Dan turns away from Adam and asks again,

“Lilith, Samael, Adam is over here blabbing about some Lilith! You know what he’s talking about?”

The song ends and Samael begins to walk out. He stops next to the slowly fading Adam.

“Accept your fate, men. You will all meet my dear succubus soon enough.” He walks the bar laughing quietly to himself.

First Draft of Miniseries! No title yet

I loved the way she said ‘balloon’. She said it as if she were blowing bubbles. Her ecstatic ‘baugh’ sound perfectly matched with the ‘loon’ that would come out lazily. She was my star child. My link to the Heaven’s above. My essence in this void of nothingness, my shining light, my everything; and it was my task to find her.


Twenty-eight hours earlier, our humble home was ransacked by the Kami’s. The Church of Kami is a weird fucked-up religious cult that had determined that my daughter of seven years was somehow the third Messiah. I had been asleep, only for a second, I swear I only closed my eyes for a second! But that was all the time they needed. I had felt, for some time now, that we were being watched, but I figured that unintelligible paranoia was what came with the territory of being a father.


As I fell into my slumber they snuck in and threw restraints and a blindfold on me. They pushed me from my chair and I laid helplessly on my chest. I couldn’t tell how many infiltrated, but I knew immediately they weren’t coming in peace. I struggled to free myself from the cold, metallic, body-cuff, but was unable to. I screamed out to my daughter, Angelica, to hide, but I knew it was too late. I couldn’t hear her. Only the muffled shuffle of feet across my carpet as the goons moved around my house.


Suddenly everything stopped. No sounds, no breathing, no moving. Nothing. I perked my head up slightly, trying to sense something, anything. My blindfold came off and crouching down, only inches in front of my face, was Him. Black, beady, soulless eyes which sit in a ghostly pale face with equally pale hair stare back into mine. His hair falls right above his eyebrows in a fashionable bowl-cut style. His face is abnormally skinny and sucked up unnaturalistically from years of fasting and usage of the previously outlawed ‘Cure’ drug. His thin chapped lips crackle into a smile as he sees in my eyes that he is recognized, either that or he believed I recognized this situation was going to be fucked up very quickly.


“It is not nice,” He begins. His rancid breath strikes my nose and makes me grimace. An air of superiority soups from his mouth as he enunciates every syllable, seemingly letting his tongue touch every letter. His slow, monotonously high-pitched voice would be comical in any other situation though. “To hang onto and hide things that do not belong to you. You are filthy. You are the type of pestilence that panicked the Herd astray and made the Forsaken appear.”


The face of the Kami cult, Dulche-Dulche, stood to his feet and stepped back. The seemingly ageless man in a violet velour one-piece bodysuit sighed and stared at me. The eccentric man flaunts a style of clothing he claims to have worn back in the “Before Time”. His attire is always wildly colorful and attention grabbing. From leggings that turn into boots and shirts that fall down past his ankles. Most of his clothing wouldn’t fit through a normal sized door because of the angles and other protuberances his clothing often has.


Dulche-Dulche is a slender man with a mask on for God. He calls himself, and those that follow him, ‘Soldiers of the Herd.’ The ‘Herd’ being the last of humanity left after the atrocities that occurred after the second coming of the Messiah. The government disintegrated and a movement of religious ‘enlightenment’ gave birth to the Second Crusade. The wave of massacre and genocide that swept across the globe crippled the already declining population. Our world was blown to pieces. Nuclear fallout poisoned the oceans and sullied the land. Earth, now, is nothing more than a poisoned desert surrounded by an even more toxic mass of water.


Dulche-Dulche looked toward one of his men and motioned toward me. The man lifted me effortlessly and sat me back in the chair. The cold restraints tightened and dug even deeper into my skin. I winced slightly, but stared at Dulche-Dulche.

“A child with wings, the one who fell from the Bastion of Heaven,” he stepped toward me and lifted his slender leg and put his pointed heel boots on my chest. He nudged me back slightly and the chair lifted so that only the back legs are on the floor. “This child will lead us to the Third Coming of our Messiah.”

He nudged me back further and chuckled. His right hand slowly reached up to the left side of his mouth and he rubbed at his lips with his wrist, as if removing drool.


“You should thank me for not letting my Angels rip you apart. Goodbye.” Dulche-Dulche kicked me back and I fell to the floor hard. I rolled out of the chair and caught a glimpse of the men leaving.

“NO!” I screamed out to the assailants. The restraints, aptly named the ‘Python’ by its distributors, squeezed even further into my body. Breathing became difficult as I tried to exhale. I didn’t care though, I didn’t know how, but I had to get her back. I had to get my daughter.


Knowing the failsafe for the device I began to hold my breath. Because this device was made for peace-keeping and not being lethal, all one has to do is cease movement for 60 seconds and it will detach itself. Of course, complete lack of movement for a minute is much harder when your captors move you around to reset the timer.


As I sat and waited for the Python to release I began to think of a way to get my Amgelica back. I knew for a fact that Dolche-Dolche was taking her back to Heaven, but getting to Heaven, especially the journey past Heaven’s Bastion, was much easier said than done. Hell, I didn’t even know if I actually could get into Heaven. I’d heard stories from back in the days when merchants and even Hunters of Forsaken would speak of being invited to Heaven’s Bastion and seeing the entrance of Heaven. Though each account was somewhat different they all saw a heavily guarded door with “Heaven” written plainly across the door frame. Never have I heard of what goes on past those doors though.


Getting to Heaven’s Bastion would be an immense task itself. The heavily guarded military base is a mass of land lifted five miles above sea level and held there by anti-gravity technology. The Church of Kami would lead one to believe, especially the children, that it was the miraculous grace of God that lifted the land mass that ‘slowly’ rises to Heaven. When in actuality the military moved the mass of earth upwards for two reasons. With most of the Earth in ruin, the Bastion would be a military regulated Mecca in which all things must past through it to be certified as ‘pure’. Anything un-‘pure’ is illegal. This leads to the next reason in why the mass was moved upwards. The crater left behind is used as a water purifying area and pure water is heavily sought after. 98% of the water is shipped directly to the Bastion, while the rest is given out to the highest bidder in the outskirts. It’s funny, even when hell befalls Earth and its people, money still reigns supreme in man’s mind.


Though I didn’t understand the exact technology used in keeping the land afloat I knew that seven bases around the mass kept the generators for the anti-gravity machines running. The only way to reach the Bastion is by a flight machine from the Before time. These relics from the past are only flown to The Bastion and back to the Earth. The only people with the knowledge to fly the ancient machines are the elite military force named the Angels.


The Angels are funded by the Church of Kami and jointly governed by the military, though the Church really holds all of the power. The men and women of the Angels are imbued with the purest form of the adrenaline pumping drug, Cure, and have been trained to die protecting the Will of God. The Angels are faster, stronger, more reactive and almost animalistic in their approach to a fight. The first prototype Angels were used in the Second Crusade to obliterate the last standing ‘Earth government’ and turned the tide of the war in the Church’s favor.



The restraint finally unlocks and I am able to free myself. I quickly try to gather myself and move to the edge of my living room.

The Oddities

To whom ever receives this:

This, friend, is my last night alive on this plane of existence. I have heard through the rustling of the leaves, the susurrus of the night, that I will not escape my plight. They speak to me every night, the Oddities. The men, the women, and the children of the night speak to me and tell me they will abduct me and devour my entire entity. These whispers, these faint stabs at my sanity have driven me to record this.

Please do not take these words lightly. For weeks they have gotten louder and louder. The voices have gotten closer and with each passing hour of the night I swear I can hear them running through my room. Running up my walls. Slamming my floorboards and scratching at my windows. Why, one night I even saw one. I SAW ONE! It ran past my window, a child, it had to be. It’s little black body climbed up my wall in my pitch black room. I heard and tracked its breathing until it crossed the light the moon cast upon my floor. As it entered the light it stopped and stood to its feet. What was once a crawling mass of what I believed to be flesh, rose to an immense height, stretching all the way to my ceiling! A considerable jump, if I do say–

Forgive me. I heard them. They spoke my name. They are calling for me to come outside… I won’t go. I won’t I cannot I have to finish. The little thing GREW to at least 15 feet and from it sprouted what looked like flowers and stems and roots and branches. It whispered for me to accept my fate and walk outside. I screamed at it. I screamed a shrill of an insane, tormented soul. It immediately shrunk down and crashed out my window. I swear I experienced this. I swear, I swear I swear I swear I swear I swear.

Forgive me. I must. Compose. Myself.

God, I hear them louder… A bigger one, on my rooftop. Knocking. Knocking. They know I hate the knocks. I hear creaks all throughout my home now. A harmonious melody that is fit only for a circus. I am beginning to reek, I cannot leave my house. The trees, I haven’t spoken about the trees! They are moving. They have moved ever so close to my house. Not over the decades I’ve lived here, no no no no no no nonononononono. Over the past WEEK they HAVE MOVED over. They have uprooted and now stand in front of my house. I used to be able to see the hilltop where I used to play as a child, but now the oak I used to play in fills my entire window. Am I going insane…


They are inside now. I felt a dramatic drop of temperature, they trespassed through my front door. MINE. The knocking, knick knocking, blick blocking. They are inside. I can’t take this, I cannot. I feel another scream surmounting inside. I want to give up. But I have heart. Hearth. Hearth….

I had to move, ever, so, cleverly, cautiously, connivingly into the bathroom. My last stand. It would be the shitter, yes.. Yes yes yes, it would be yesyes yes. I have so much to do and yet. No time, in which to, do it, in. They broke a glass down stairs and are scratching at my bedroom door.. The knocking followed me into the bathroom. I guess he heard me moving.


How peculiar.. Could that be?

This new sound they have emitted. They are… laughing.?

My bedroom door has been busted down. The laughing has turned to screaming. They are screaming and laughing and whispering and talking and breathing and knocking and coming. They scream like men.

Maybe I’m screaming.

This is it. I will leave it at this. This is the end. This is the conclusion. This is my last breath. I will not kill myself. I will not. My finger is on the trigger, but for them not me. Not me. Please not me. Please not me, not me, not me, for them, for them, for them not me, for me. For me.

They are sending some kind of insect inside. They stink terribly, but won’t approach me… I wonder why… Why do I even wonder, I wonder.. I am done.

They are breathing under the door. They are playing with the knob. I should probably hide in the shower, but what difference will that–

Thoughts of Suicide

The pressure of life has gotten me down.

I can’t eat any more. I can’t fuckin sleep. The seconds, minutes and hours of the day wrap together in chaotic dissonance.

I am distracted and discontent.  I am confused and desperate.

I’ve lost everything I had. My money, my career, my best friend. My love.

It’d be easier now, right now, to exercise my cursed being from this disgusting place…

I bought my ‘piece of mind’  from a dealer up the street from my house. I was ready. The shit will end tonight.

I put the metallic silver peace maker against my temple.

Close my eyes.

The cold tremble in my chest drops to my stomach. Nervousness overcomes my being.

My hands sweat profusely. I can hear my heart beat loudly, almost as if in protest.

“I give up.” I try to convince myself. “I fuckin’ give the fuck up, man..”

The trigger. I feel it between my index finger. It’s a lot harder to pull down when you aren’t aiming at another.

“Just do it. Do it!” I tell myself.

My breathing becomes short bursts. Adrenaline begins to rush through my body.

I begin to feel sick.

The weight of the gun begins to slowly make my arm tremble.

“what are you frightened of, kid?”

A voice to the side of me startles me and shocks me back to reality. I open my eyes wide like a deer caught in headlights and point the gun in the direction of the voice.

A young man with fair skin sits across from me. He is dressed in all black. His hair is slicked back neatly. He sits on my bed next to me, playing with a cell phone.

“Who in the hell…?” I begin.

“Do I really need to formally introduce myself?” He asks smoothly, not looking away from his phone.

I open my mouth to answer, but only a breath is released.

“Hurry up, kid.” He says, finally looking at me with a grin. His solid black eyes mesmerized me. I couldn’t look away from him. His cold eyes seemingly peered into my soul. I felt uneasy, but I wasn’t feeling as if I needed to defend myself.

“Why are you…? How did you..?” I start up again.

He shakes his head and groans. He closes his eyes and rubs between them.

“Though it be not your predestined time, child” He says breathing deeply. “I have been called to arrange a get away for you. A ticket straight out of this…. Life.”

My mouth slowly drops open, and I remember the gun in my hand. I look to it.

“Yep. still there..” I think to myself. “So does that mean ghosts carry guns? Shit! Am I a ghost?”

I begin to ask the stranger and he puts his hand up to stop me.

“Not yet, you aren’t dead. I was sent here to, more or less, watch you follow through with this. I am here as an arbitrator. I care not whether or not you die. I just have to watch. Quite a job, huh?”

“I don’t have anything else to live for.. I lost everything.. I don’t have anyone to talk to. I don’t have anyone to love or to love me back.. I’m….. I’m worthless.” I begin to sob slowly. “What do I have to live for!?”

“You beings do not listen very closely. Not only do I have to put this foolish flesh costume on for you, but I also need to repeat myself…” He stands up. He is incredibly tall and slender and towers over me. “I care not for your welfare. I am here to give you your ticket, if you so choose it.”

“I want this pain to go away…” I say, still crying.

“Then do it, child. Kill yourself.”

I shake my head, I don’t know if I can. I don’t know…. If I can.

“I don’t know if I can.” I say helplessly.

“Then don’t.” He says, obviously becoming more and more annoyed with me.

“Can you help me, sir? Please?” I look up to him.

He bends down. He hovers his face close to mine and stares in my eyes again. I begin to retch back, the stench of burnt plastic and rubbing alcohol escape from his body. He cocks his head at an angle to the side, still staring me down and says,


I swallow hard and slowly move back, across my bed.

“You know,” he says turning away from me and walking towards a mirror. “If I were a pathetic sack of worthlessness I’d kill myself too. The world would be better. What do you do BUT take up oxygen and resources from better specimen?”

I look at the ‘arbitrator’ confused.

“You have no reason to be here anymore. If I could take that tool from you, I’d kill you myself. But, alas, it doesn’t work like that. So come along, child. Pull the trigger, take your ticket and lets go.”

“I thought you said you didn’t care!? The fuck man!? I know I have some worth, I’m just in a rut, that’s all” I begin to shake my head and cry harder. “I’m just, I’m just confused is all. This has to be a cry for help!”

“Funny… You cry for help and no one is here. None in the physical anyway.” He laughs. “Worthless flesh skin…”

“NO! I just need help! That’s it! I want help. God I want HELP! PLEASE!” I lay back on the bed, crippled with sadness. “Don’t forsake me, PLEASE!”

The man begins to laugh even harder.

“Forsake YOU!? Foolish being… get it over with!”

I slowly put the gun to my head. Mucus and tears stream down my hot face. I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care. I’ll leave now. I don’t CARE!

I begin to pull the trigger.

“What do you think awaits you?” The man asks, as I begin to hesitate.

I sit up some to look at him. He is back looking down at his phone.

“You will die anyway, at some point. Why rush it? You have no clue what goes on after your short time on this plane of existence,  it could be worse elsewhere..” He says as he slowly puts his phone down and stares at me. His face becomes grim and he steps towards the bed. He puts his hand on mine. His frosty hand send chills through my body. He clutches the gun in my hand and puts it back to my temple.

“Of course, if it’s your time…” He smiles and his eyes widen. He squeezes my wrist, which clinches my hand.

The trigger is pulled.

“NOOOO!” I yell as I hear three clicks against my skull.

I lay on the floor of my room, soaked in sweat. The gun still clutched in my hand. I look at it and throw it away from me in disgust. As it hits the ground a thunderous clap erupts from it as it discharges. The bullet shoots upwards, into my ceiling. I look at the hole in shock and turn over to my stomach and begin to cry again. Life may be hard, but I have to continue… I shake my head, reliving, (could it have been real?) my last few minutes.

The smell of burnt plastic hits my nose again and I lurch up, looking for the man. I search around the room, but cannot see him.

“Guess it wasn’t your time yet, kid. Three bullets that don’t fire off? Who’d have thought. My missions been accomplished, see ya soon”

I sit back to the bed. A feeling of relief washes over me.

I immediately begin to thank God for sending his quite peculiar angel to help me.

I think it was an angel… Quite strange…

And what in the hell did he mean by ‘see ya soon…??’

The Grump-Story 3/19/12

Deep in the forest, And even deeper than that.

Deeper still.

So deep in the forest, in fact, that it isn’t until noon-time that light breaks through the trees. About a mile deeper than that he lies on his stomach, face to the ground. All seven feet tall and six inches, though he’ll often argue eight inches, of him. His hair is thick and brown, covering a grotesquely fat body. His hair covers all but the top of his head, which is bald from birth. He will often cover the bald spot with mud, or feces or grass. He has a square-ish face and has thick, boulder like cheek bones. His nose is round and hangs past his fat upper lip. He has huge brown eyes that are always looking ‘surprised’. He is considered male, though he technically has no genitalia, because of his deep voice and speech which consists of constant sighing.

For about a fifty yard radius nothing is living. His flatulence kills off the lesser wildlife and anything else it surrounds. This creature is the forest-dwelling Grump. The Grump is all alone in nature, he thinks, though Grumps are unknowingly communal creatures that live approximately fifty one yards away from each other.
Grumps share the same watering holes, eat each other’s leftovers, and annually bathe each other; but, because of their terribly short memory, they often forget there are others around them.

A normal day in the life of a Grump consists of waking up at 12:15 pm and sighing. As they rise up from their nose-to-ground position, they sloft their body over to the nearest stump and mope. After an hour of head-down-hand-to-chin-back arched-arm-to-knee action, the Grump will sigh and shlope over to a dead tree and eat at its bark. The Grump will loudly complain about the splinters on his tongue as he eats the bark. After his once-a-day meal, the Grump will speedily trudge down to the watering hole to stare at his face. After a long sigh, and ten minutes of staring, he will trope his way back to his face-to-the-ground-nose-supporting-head position where he will sleep until the next afternoon.

This rinse and repeat lifestyle often perplexes the Grump, especially one in particular, Aristotle. Aristotle often bathes his mind in thoughts about his existence and the world outside of his own. During his daily sip-of-water-stare-at-face ritual he questions why he never moves past the stream of water and why he’s never seen another one like himself.  As he sips the water, movement to his right startles him. A creature he had never seen before stands before him. It is a short, 6 foot 5 inches, but slim and sleek like a snake standing on two legs. The creature’s fur is white and has patches of green sprinkled around. The face is fox-like and symmetrical, with long whiskers that fall past its dagger-sharp, tooth filled mouth.

“How peculiar,” Aristotle thinks as his eyes grace this new creature, “how did a being of such beauty stumble upon my world of lonesomeness?”

The creature cocks its head to the side, its black eyes peering unwaveringly into the bigger Grumps eyes, it speaks.

“My name is Uluv, a Sliye from a neighboring forest. You are a Grump. You are a disgusting foul creature and must destroy yourself so the forest can breathe again.” It barks in a foreign tongue.

Aristotle couldn’t understand a word of Uluv’s, but he was thoroughly intrigued by its presence.

“I am Aristotle. Your being here has totally changed my perception of life in general. I will not accept being alone anymore! I will accompany you until I cannot walk anymore!” Aristotle sighs enthusiastically.

The foreigner Uluv scowls confused and retches its head back. Uluv takes a step back as Aristotle opens his arms and reaches for it. Aristotle grins and sighs excitedly again as he steps toward Uluv for a hug. Uluv yelps and runs down the riverbed with Aristotle in pursuit. The Sliye quickly evades the cumbersome Grump and disappears further up river. As Uluv slowly fades out of sight Aristotle begins to whimper. His soul mate, the only person left in the world had left him without any reason. As he comes to a slow halt, his bulbous nose picks up an interestingly familiar scent of methane gas. He breathes it in and feels refreshed. He turns to inspect his new surroundings and an odd creature standing behind a skinny tree catches his attention.

A Grump, about half an inch shorter than Aristotle, tries to hide his mass unsuccessfully behind a tree. When he realizes he has been spotted he jumps out and sighs loudly. He opens his arms wide exposes a jagged-toothed mouth.

“My name is Einstein and I want to do not feel like living in this world alone being! You are my soul mate!” He sighs proudly.

“No, I have a soul mate already stranger.” Aristotle explains with a sigh, “you also occupy my world of pain and loneliness, but I do not know why. You may accompany me stranger. My name is Aristotle. I wish to find my soul mate friend who ran away.”

Einstein scratches at his groin and shakes his head wildly, which exposes his once grass laden bald spot. Aristotle grimaces at the sight and looses a methane laced wind from his insides. The awkwardness of the bald spot ends when Einstein hides it with mud.

“Why, new soul mate, did your ‘soul mate’ flee from you? Quite a disheartening response, if you were to inquire with a source as myself.” Einstein sighs questioningly.

Aristotle slaps his stomach loudly and schlumps lazily to a tree on his right side. He bangs his nose against the tree and then turns back to Einstein.

“Do not call me soul mate, stranger, but that is quite disheartening, indeed… Very interesting behavior. Follow me. We will find you your soul mate. I am sure that whatever God put us here had no mind to create multiple soul mates for one being.”

Einstein sneezes loudly in confirmation and follows Aristotle.

The two Grumps walk for nearly fifteen minutes before they are exhausted and fall to their knees. Einstein quickly goes from knee-to-ground to the face-to ground sleeping position and snores loudly. Aristotle begins to follow suit until his mind begins to spin its cogs.

“Your soul mate will be gone forever and you will be stuck with this ignorant what-ever-his-name-is. Get up and go!” Aristotle thinks.

This motivational thought picks Aristotle up to his feet. He jumps straight up and gags with excitement, which disturbs Einstein enough to wake him. He turns from face-to-ground and stands up looking bewildered at Aristotle. He opens his mouth wide and locks his jaw, waiting for the ‘stranger’ to identify himself.

“Stranger, we must continue our journey to find our soul mates. If we wait forever we will be stuck in this vapid world of alone time.” Aristotle sighs enthusiastically as he shakes a balled up fist at Einstein.

The confused Einstein nods in disagreement, mouth still open, baring the Grump’s fork like teeth.

“You are my soul mate. I saw you first! You entered my pain domain and have now made me feel like I can live life without moping around my sad spot!”

Aristotle pulls his ear in disbelief and begins walking back up river. Einstein proceeds behind him as they slowly kill more wildlife with their gas leaking insides. About a mile up the river they rest again, next to a grove of dead trees. Aristotle sits with his legs around one tree and begins to gnaw loudly on it. Einstein does the same a few trees down.

“It hurts so bad!” Aristotle sighs as tears stream from his widened eyes. “I hate everything about this process of life!” He chomps down hard on the tree exposing his tongue to a myriad of splinters.

“I can attest to that, soul mate. My pain water flows freely from my sight sockets” Einstein sighs in retort.

The two continue to eat for hours until they hear an unfamiliar sigh. Both turn to see a huge Grump sitting in the head-down-hand-to-chin-back arched-arm-to-knee pose, staring intensely at them. They both immediately turn back to their tree and eat.

“I’ve been watching you strangers for hours. Neither of you have paid mind to my constant attempts at making you my soul mate.” The huge Grump sighs deeply as tears drip onto a puddle on his stomach, and stream down into an even bigger puddle his feet are wading in. “My stoop of strife can now turn into happiness if one of you will accept my request at being soul mates. I just don’t want to be alone anymore.”

“You will never find a soul mate. You are a disgusting creature and your grotesque bald spot is showing. He is my soul mate, but we will let you accompany us until you find yourself a someone who can bare your wretched sight.” Einstein sighs with his mouth full of wood chips.

“I am not your soul mate, stranger” Aristotle sighs angrily. “But yes, Grotesque One, follow us up the river to find my soul mate. You both will surely find your own mates. Except you, grotesque one, it might be harder. Let us now make haste, for my soul mate won’t wait forever!”

The three Grumps get up and sh-callop through the dead trees, lined up one behind the other. The three Grumps hadn’t ever traveled beyond their 51 yard radius in their entire lifetime, but this journey to find a soul mate made leaving home worthwhile. Though the three would never talk, until they had to figure out who was whose soul mate, they felt a strange camaraderie between each other. After another mile of walking from the huge Grump’s stoop, they reach a clearing and are amazed by the sight of green luscious plant life and birds flying freely through the air. The busyness of the forest overwhelmed the three Grumps.

“This… This place… Is disgustingly colorful. Don’t you think so, Grotesque One?” Aristotle asks in a sigh.

The huge Grump sneezes loudly and doesn’t cover his mouth, snotting up the area around him.

Einstein grabs a clump of leaves from a tree and eats it. The lack of splinters pleases him slowly, but he vomits. He passes leaves to the other two Grumps and they follow suit. After vomiting each Grump walks to a different corner and relieves himself, leaving a large stench emitting, boulder-like cackleberry behind.

“I made a… Thing. A thing I don’t usually make.” The huge Grump sighs embarrassed.

“I hate to have to admit that I have anything in common with you, Grotesque One, but I have also left some sort of perfume stone behind. Same with you, soul mate?” Einstein sighs.

“I am not your soul mate, stranger. But yes. My smell area left a greater stench.” Aristotle responds in a sigh.

As they return from their respective corners, a shadow flickers past Aristotle and he turns to his right to see a surprised Uluv staring at the group of Grumps.

“These smelly shits followed me home!? No!” It barks as it dodges an excited Aristotle.

Uluv runs away from the open armed Grump and it scurries up a tree.

“This is my soul mate! My soul mate!” sighs a grinning Aristotle.

Uluv jumps from a branch into a clearing past the three Grumps. It sprints quickly up a path with Aristotle and the others in pursuit. Uluv comes to a spot by the river that moves furiously with white rapids. It decides to dash up a tree and hide again.

Aristotle lumbers to the area next to the white rapids first and goes from two-feet-standing to face-to-ground, a painful triumph to say the least. Einstein and the huge Grump trollygag in behind and look at their fallen brethren. Aristotle turns over and stares at the two Grumps and burps loudly.

“My happiness place is so near! My soul mate jumped into the fury waters below,” Aristotle sighs tiredly as he points to the rushing river. “We may all find our soul mates if we proceed!”

“Though I wanted you both to be my soul mates, I understand your refusal. I am disgusting. I will be the first one to traverse the fury water and find my soul mate.” The huge Grump sighs happily with a burp. “My name is Ashtar, by the way, it was a pleasure meeting you. If you weren’t already taken, I’d gladly have taken either one of you!”

“Your name will be promptly forgotten, Grotesque One.” Einstein sighs back quickly. “I do not have room in my thought space to remember such a foul creature as yourself. Neither does my soul mate. Good day to you.”

Ashtar yawns goodbye and dives haphazardly into the icy blue death. He is never thought of again.

Aristotle, now in the back-on-ground-eyes-staring-at-the-sun position, waves for Einstein to come forth. Einstein happily obliges by screaming loudly and flailing his arms, frightening the still hidden Uluv.

“Stranger, it was a pleasure finding my soul mate. That is all.” Aristotle sighs as he waves Einstein away.

Einstein growls sadly and wipes the mud from his head, exposing his bald spot again. Aristotle breathes heavily in disgust and turns away from Einstein.

“Soul mate,” Einstein starts with a low sigh, “I wish there was a way in which God made it so that we could have a being that is more than a shadow and less than a soul mate. I enjoyed every minute of our wacky adventure and loved that I made it miles away from my sickening pain domain. I have never been happier in my pitiful existence and I’m not sure I ever will be again” He rubs his bald spot slowly as Aristotle turns to listen.

“I will proceed into the fury waters to find my real soul mate, soul mate.” Einstein’s sigh continues, “Though I cannot swim and will surely parish alongside the Grotesque One, the off chance that I will survive and meet someone like your white soul mate drives my heart to take this chance. I will surely miss you, first soul mate. Thank you for everything.”

With that, Einstein walks to the edge of the rocky river bed and dives in legs first. He is carried a ways down the river, screaming in excitement, until water travels down his throat causing him to choke. He disappears under the white rapids not to be seen again.

As Aristotle watches calmly as both his comrades perish a thought dawns on him.

“What if the stranger and the Grotesque One were right? They both could have been more than my shadows. Our journey together was an experience I’ve never had before. They filled my time and, though it was my journey, they helped to take me away from my Void of Disappointment. I think… I think I may miss them. Not the Grotesque One so much, but definitely Einstein with his incessantly, ignorant ramblings.”

A tear falls from Aristotle’s eye as he stands and walks to the river’s edge. He takes a look back towards the green, lively forest and shudders.

“Such a disgusting place” he sighs.

He takes a step forward and immediately disappears into the water. He is thrilled, to death, of seeing his soul mate again. The yearning of another being in his life is enough to drive Aristotle to accept the fate of the other two Grump’s he watched helplessly die.

A jaw-dropped Uluv finally climbs down from the tree.

“What in the hell did I just watch?” It thinks to itself.

It stares at the river for a while longer in disbelief. Once it finally composes itself, Uluv walks back down the path it came from and sits next to a huge rock. The rock, which seems to move peculiarly, has a disgusting smell emanating from it. The tree it sits next to has all but died and the grass it sits on has also perished. Uluv begins to cough and moves away from the now vibrating rock. The thick smell of noxious gas begins to make Uluv dizzy and discombobulated. It tries to run away but the gas seemingly paralyzes Uluv. The rock bursts open, sending goopy clumps of cackleberry into the air and all around Uluv. Uluv, dying from the lack of oxygen, can barely make out the image of a bald disgusting looking creature. As Uluv finally breathes its last breath a sigh comes from the new creature who lays next to the face-to-ground Uluv.

“Born into this world alone, to die alone. I am forsaken” the creature sighs.