Terrance, plus an announcement!

Terrance was galavanting through a stream, devouring any salmon who dared cross his path. He took a deep breath and appreciated the smell of the flowing water and of the surrounding trees. A gentle wind caressed his back, and he realized that he had never truly appreciated the fearsome beauty of nature. Everything out here could kill you, and avoiding everything that could kill you also may kill you, but if you stop and appreciate it, there is nothing like it.

Terrance had a secondary realization, once nature had exhausted its stay in his attention span. He was capable of profound observation. Not that nature being beautiful deadly is actually that profound. No, he realized that never before this had he ever realized anything. He was infinitely aware of his surroundings, and he was unsure why.

This would be no big deal for an ordinary man, perhaps time for a change in career. Terrance, however, was no ordinary man. He was no man at all. Terrance was, in fact, a 600 pound grizzly bear that had just gained sapience for no particular reason.

He finished off the salmon he had been munching on and stepped out of the stream. While this was fun, he had an overwhelming desire to know why he had an overwhelming desire for anything besides salmon. Perhaps other creatures of the forest had experienced the same thing. He resolved to find one.

He first went back to the stream, since the salmon were nearby, but none of them seemed interested in talking. Terrance figured it was natural for them to avoid a creature who used to want nothing more than to eat them, so he set out into the forest.

Twigs and leaves crunched underneath his paws, but other than that, the woods were silent. Perhaps if he called out for someone, they would see he just wanted to talk. So call out he did. “Hey, anyone out there?” He heard a rustle in a nearby bush.

“Oh gods! It’s a bear!” A voice murmured from behind a bush. Terrance looked over, and saw two young bipeds hiding rather poorly.

“Shut up! Maybe he won’t hear us.” The second biped said.

“Hey, you guys aren’t great at hiding.” Terrance meandered over towards them. Maybe he could teach them to hide in exchange for bipedal secrets. Terrance got up on his back legs to seem less intimidating

“Oh gods! It’s a bear! It’s attacking!” The bipeds began to run away, and Terrance knew he had to do something.

“Hey, wait! I’m not a bear.” What a ridiculous lie. “I’m… Uh… One of you.” Terrance watched as the bipeds hesitantly halted their retreat.

“By gods, you can talk!” One of them turned around.

“Are you saying you’re a man?” The other followed.

“Yes!” Terrance clapped his paws. “I am, indeed, a man.” He couldn’t believe this, maybe he should seek more intelligent life to help him. Then again, maybe he was a man. He supposed it was about as likely an explanation as any.

“You’ve been polymorphed!” One man gasped and began to edge towards Terrance, and the other one followed shakily behind. “Well, only one thing to do for that. We’ve gotta get you to Kyle.”

“Kyle? Can this Kyle help me?” Terrance figured the men were awfully easily convinced of him being polymorphed, so maybe he was. He also wasn’t entirely sure what polymorphed meant.

“Yeah, Kyle’s a wizard. He deals with stuff like this all the time.” The men were right in front of him, and Terrance had a subtle desire to maul them, but decided against it. It was probably bad form to convince people to help you and then maul them.

“What’s your name?” The other one asked. They appeared to be looking him up and down. Perhaps they were seeing if he was indeed a man.

“I’m Terrance.” He nodded. “And you?”

“Well I’m Bill and this is my brother Drun.” Bill patted Drun on the back.

“Well, come along now Terrance, Kyle closes up shop at sundown, so we need to get a move on.” Drun began to walk off away, and Bill followed. Terrance decided these were the first men he had spoken to, and perhaps men are not very intelligent, or perhaps Terrance was in fact a man. Terrance hadn’t ever considered if he was actually a bear. Either way, Kyle could probably help point him to someone else. He dropped back down to all fours and followed along.

Terrance began to reflect on something he had said earlier. ‘I’m Terrance’. He undoubtedly was Terrance, but he wasn’t quite sure why. It wasn’t like anyone had named him Terrance. Had he always been Terrance, or has he only been as long as he’s been sapient. Perhaps he was just a polymorphed man, who used to be called Terrance.

Terrance added this to his ever growing list of questions. Questions like, why could he speak the language of the men, despite never having spoken before. These men quite clearly thought Kyle was the answer to all of these questions, so perhaps he was just a font of intelligence.

He wondered if he had a man family, if he was indeed a man. He pondered many more questions, but he was distracted by a wooden wall. Bill and Drun approached a gate in the wall.

“Who goes there?” Croaked a voice from the other side of the wall. The wall seemed to be battered. It had arrows sticking out, deep gouges from swords and spears, and entire sections that were clearly patched together from different wood.

“Phil, it’s just Bill and Drun.” Bill said, approaching the gate.

A slot slid open on the gate, and a pair of crusty eyes peaked out. “You know the rules. No pets, especially not bears.”

“Oh that’s not a bear, he’s a man.” Bill patted Terrance on his shoulder.

“Yeah, his name’s Terrance. Say hi, Terrance.” Drun gestured to his bear companion.

“Hi, there. I’m Terrance, pleasure to meet you.” Terrance stood up on two legs. He figured it might make the bipeds more comfortable to perceive him as a biped as well.

“Oh, alright then. Sorry about that.” The slot slid shut. After a few moments of clanking, the gate swung open, revealing a tired old man. “My names Phil. We’ve been under siege a lot lately, so we’ve tightened up security.”

“It’s not an issue.” Terrance went back down to all fours and looked to Bill and Drun for direction. They went down a dirty cobblestone path between two wooden walls, out onto a dirt path. The village was beautiful. Houses lined the walls and were scattered about the middle. A pond in the center of the town was filled with laughing children. Terrance rather liked this town. He looked up and saw a haphazard tower, with various physics defying spires jutting out from it.

“We’re headed for that tower, Terrance.” Drun pointed up to it. “Kyle will fix you right up.”

 


 

Something different, and admittedly, quite silly. However, I enjoyed writing it, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. I was inspired by a D&D story I read, about a bear who had incredibly good bluff skills, and convinced everyone he was a man.

Now, silliness aside, an announcement.

*Drumroll*

Superzeroes, Season 2 Part 1, will be released next Friday, March 8th. I hope you will check it out, and I think you’ll like it. If you haven’t caught up on season 1, you’ve still got time!

Zoey: Part 2

Zoey rounded the corner of the staircase. Her dad was sitting on the couch, perusing Netflix, and eating a piece of pizza. “Hey, Zoey! What do you think of this one?” The cover was some guy holding two guns posing in front of some explosions.

“Looks good, Dad.” Zoey smiled as she grabbed a piece of pizza. She sat down and leaned up against him. It had been a while since they’d had the chance to make fun of an awful action movie together.

Two hours of explosions later, the credits began to roll. She looked up at her dad for a second. He looked away quickly, but Zoey couldn’t help but notice the remnants of the worried frown that he hadn’t had a chance to wipe from his face. She sighed. She couldn’t bother him with any of this. He had so much to worry about as is. It’s not like she was worth being worried about anyway. She looked up at her dad; “That was really fun, thank you!” A wobbly smile was all she could produce to follow this up.

Her dad rose from his seat “Alright, I’ve gotta go to work now. I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon?”

“Sure thing, dad.” She hugged him, and he kissed her forehead. For a moment, she felt belonging. As he went out the door, that moment passed.

Once he had left Zoey went upstairs to finish a bit of homework before crashing. She found that she felt better if she was just either busy or sleeping. Once she had finished her homework, she got ready for bed. After she got in bed, she realized that her strategy has failed her, as she wasn’t tired.

She thought about everything that happened today. She wished and wished for something to change. She didn’t know if she could take another day. She pressed her face into her pillow, and a few tears soaked into it before she nodded off. Eventually, she managed to fall asleep.

Zoey woke up, rubbed the crust out of her eyes, and got out of bed. She scratched her arm, but it felt crusty. She rubbed the rest of her arm, and it felt much the same. Now that she noticed it, most of her body felt like that.

She turned on the lights, and looked down at her arms. Zoey had been expecting some kind of rash, but her arms were covered in some kind of crystal. She ran over to the mirror, and found the rest of her body was coated in the crystal.

Zoey tried to pick some of it off, but it took some skin off with it. After a moment, the wound began to burn. Looking at her skin, she began to panic. What if she couldn’t get it off before school? Did she need to go to a doctor? It’s not like her family could even afford a doctor.

Zoey ran over to the sink, and began to try to wash it off. At first, it didn’t seem to be working, but once the hot water kicked in, the crystals started to melt away. Her wound stung, but anything was worth it to get rid of whatever this was. She got in the shower, and after a few minutes, the crystals were gone.

Once she was clean, her panic subsided, but she still felt uneasy not knowing. She tried to look it up on her phone while she got ready. All she could find was salt crystals forming from sweat after running. In the end, she decided to hope she wouldn’t die and ignore the issue. It’s not like she had the time to be worrying about it anyways. She was already almost late for another day in hell as is.

Zoey got her stuff together, and ran out to meet the bus just as it pulled up. As usual, nobody talked to her, and she didn’t talk to anybody. She did, however, manage to get a little bit of homework done. Unfortunately, the bus did eventually arrive at school, so she had to get off with everyone else.

She tried her best to just stay with the crowd, so hopefully she wouldn’t get singled out. After a few minutes, she felt something wrap around her foot, and she crashed to the ground.

She looked up and saw Jessica standing over her. “Hey, we didn’t get to finish our fun yesterday. So-” In a blur, Jessica raised her foot, and Zoey raised her hand out of reflex. Something flew out of her hand and into Jessica’s face, and she began to scream. “Ow! My eyes!”

Zoey wasn’t quite sure what had happened, but she didn’t intend to stick around and ask questions. She looked around to see if anyone had noticed, and of course everyone had. They seemed to be gravitating towards Jessica though, but for some reason Mr. Henderson was staring at Zoey. She had a feeling that her day was about to get worse.


< Previous Part ——————– Where’s Superzeroes?

Well, sorry for the delay, it was inevitable for me to mess up the scheduling at some point. Hope you enjoy

Zoey: Part 1

Zoey Rodriguez maneuvered through the bustling crowd, on her way to her locker. She could hardly hear herself think over the hundreds of other people in the hall, but she eventually made it to her locker. She had to reach as high as she could to even get to it. She began to trade out the books in her bag for the ones in her locker, when she felt something touch her side, and she was pushed to the floor.

She scrambled back over towards the lockers to avoid being trampled, leaving her books to be stepped on, and looked up to see who pushed her. Sure enough, there stood Jessica and her posse. “C’mon…” she murmured.

“Hey!” She looked towards her friends. “Who left their trash on the floor?”

They laughed as Zoey got to her feet. She closed her locker door and started to walk away.

Jessica and her friends surrounded her. “Hey, don’t you know it’s rude to walk away from someone when they’re talking to you?”

“Jessica, can you just let me go to class?” She backed up against the lockers.

“Well it wouldn’t be right of me to leave trash laying around would it?” She looked back towards her friends. “Trash belongs in the garbage, help me out.” She began to try to grab Zoey’s arm.

“Girls!” A man’s voice sounded. “Keeping it friendly i hope?”

They all looked around to see Mr. Henderson glaring at them. “Yes, sir! Just helping a friend who fell!” Jessica beamed. “Isn’t that right, Zoey?” She looked back towards Zoey. Her smile dripped with malice.

“Wha- Uh, yeah. That’s right…” She had already tried getting help, but the teachers couldn’t be bothered or weren’t allowed to do anything. Not that Mr. Henderson would be much help even if he could.

“Alright then, scatter. You’re making too much racket.” He tapped on the locker for a moment, as he waited for the other girls to disperse. “Zoey!” He said as she started to collect her books. “Quit dragging good people into trouble.” He walked away, shaking his head.

Zoey stood in the hallway for a moment. She choked back some tears, and went to her last class, where she sat silently waiting for the day to be over. After an eternity, the bell finally rang, and she almost ran to the bus. The bus was loud, bumpy, and smelled bad, but to her it was heaven, because people would leave her alone.

She rode in peace all the way home. She arrived at a small two story house, with an adequately maintained lawn, and only a couple of broken shutters. She walked in and placed her bag down by the couch.

“How was school?” Her dad stood in the kitchen, wearing his convenience store uniform. He had an open box of pizza next to him.

“Fine.” Zoey started to head up towards her room.

“Well, hey! I got us some pizza, and I still have a few hours before work. I was thinking we could watch a movie?” He smiled.

Zoey sighed. She really just wanted to curl up alone in her room, but she had already turned her dad down twice this week. “Sure Dad, I’ll be right back.”

“Alright, honey!” Her dad hugged her before she went upstairs.

Zoey went into her room, locked the door, and laid on her bed. She thought about crying, but she couldn’t even really manage that. She just stayed in silence for a few minutes, hugging her pillow.

She got up and walked over to her dresser. She stared into the mirror for a moment. The girl she saw wasn’t ugly, just… plain.

Zoey looked down at some half empty bottle of nail polish. She recalled that she used to love it, but she knew this was all she had. She didn’t want to make her dad buy more, so she saved it for the special occasion that would never come. Not that she had a particular occasion in mind; nothing special ever happened to her.

For a moment, she wished it was over. She reminded herself that she wasn’t that bad off. After all, she still had her dad. She dragged herself out of her self pity, and went downstairs to join her dad.

 


 

Where’s Superzeroes? ——————– Next Part >

 

This is another two part one off. I hope you enjoyed! If you havent yet, check out Artana: Part 1 and Artana: Part 2. Thanks for checking in during the break, I should have a firm time for season two to come back soon.

Also, just a quick side note. At some point this week-ish, my blog turned a full year old! I’m so proud of everything I have here, and I’m so grateful for your continued support.

Artana: Part 2

She made her way to a towering grey brick building, and went through the glass doors into the lobby. She nodded to the receptionist as she walked by, and pressed her purse up against a black panel adjacent to the elevator. A light on the panel turned green, and the doors opened up. She repeated the process on a panel inside the elevator, and hit the ‘7’ button.

She sighed with relief as the doors opened, and went for her apartment. She once again repeated the ritual with the black box on her doorknob, and the black box once again complied. She had previously questioned the idea of having 3 layers of security that are effectively the same thing. If someone finds a way around one black box, they have their way around the whole system. However, the landlord wasn’t particularly interested in talking security.

“Hey, Ash! You home?” She called into the apartment, but received no reply, as expected. She sat her purse down on the couch, and plopped down next to it.

She relaxed for a moment, before removing the necklace and book from her bag. The book was reminiscent of one of those pocket bibles they gave everyone at school, the ones that everyone threw away. It was dark red, and on the front it just had an eight-spoked wheel, like the necklace.

She opened it up and began reading. Immediately she noticed the book was written in Cyrillic, most likely russian. She thumbed through some more, to see if there were any pictures or anything comprehensible. While she could run the whole book through a translator, she would really rather not.

She eventually found an image of a man making hand gestures, while wearing the necklace. She looked briefly around the apartment, to ensure she was alone. She wasn’t about to start doing weird Russian yoga poses if someone was going to jump in on her.

Once she was confident, she put on the necklace. It was a regular necklace chain, with a latch on the back. The pendant was a simple eight-spoked wheel of some kind of metal. She glanced back down at the book, and struck the pose. She went to a comfortable standing position, into a lunge. She held both of her arms straight out. One of her hands was open palm, facing forwards, while the other was closed fist with her index finger pointing. The open palm was on top of the pointing hand.

A fine red beam of light erupted from her finger, and went forward onto her wall. This was physically impossible. She didn’t have any kind of powers, but she was doing something like this. She held the pose for a moment, in awe, but a small flame erupted where the light was hitting.

Arte swore, and leapt into action. Adrenaline coursed through her veins, and her heart raced. She grabbed a towel, and set about to beating the flame into submission. There was a charred black spot about the size of her spread hand. Upon further examination, it appeared that the light had burned a hole in the wall. She tried to clean off some of it, but she couldn’t make any significant progress, so she gave up.

She couldn’t believe what had happened. Ashley was gonna kill her. That security deposit wasn’t cheap.

Arte waited another half hour, until she began to feel hungry. She glanced down at her phone, and saw Ashley still hadn’t replied to her texts. She began to feel worried. This wasn’t like her, to be so late with no communication. She pressed the call button. The phone rang for a moment, then went to voicemail.

“Hey Ash, it’s me, Arte. Where are you at? You’re running kinda late. Give me a call. Love you.” She hung up the phone and sighed.

She waited five more minutes before deciding to make dinner. She rummaged through the cupboards, pantry, and fridge for a moment, then decided on pan-fried chicken with some macaroni and cheese. Real food wasn’t too expensive, if you were willing to put in a little effort. She decided to go ahead and make enough for two. Worst case scenario she gets leftovers for tomorrow.

About twenty minutes of cooking later, she was finally done. The chicken was a little on the done side, but it still looked edible. The notification light on her phone flashed in the corner of her eye. She ran over, but it was just an email. Another company wanting to offer her a ‘deal’ on car insurance.

She decided to give her another call. She was more than an hour late now, and radio silence wasn’t like her. She pressed call, but was met with the same result.

“Hey Ash, it’s me again. I made dinner, and there’s enough for you. I’m getting a little worried, so give me a call. Love you.” She hung up the phone.

She sat down at the table and began to eat. There was no sense in letting both of their dinners go cold. She pulled out her phone, to browse some good distracting social media. It quickly became apparent that there had been some kind of shooting.

Her mind immediately rushed to the worst possibility. She reassured herself that it was basically impossible, and set about doing some research as to what happened.

She began to gather some bits and pieces of what happened. Evidently it was an attack on an office, in her city no less. She finally found a decent article about what happened. That was Ashley’s office.

Tears welled in her eyes. She wanted to scream, but she couldn’t make a sound. The world fell to pieces around her.

She jumped to her feet and ran out the door.

 


 

< Previous Part ——————– Where’s Superzeroes?

 

Hope you enjoyed. That’ll be it for this, for now. It will be back, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Artana: Part 1

Arte was walking home from her internship. It had been a grueling day, and she just wanted to get home. She knew engineering would be hard, but this was something else. Not even hard problems, just stupid stuff wearing her down. Then again she didn’t actually expect to be entrusted with anything of importance.

No matter how much she wore, she couldn’t get warm either. The sky was grey and crappy, and the crowd of people did nothing but bump her around. The streets smelled like sewage all around today, for whatever reason. It matched the tone of her day.

She looked over in an alley to her left. There was a pulsating neon sign, which she didn’t remember seeing before. She broke through the throng of people, and got a closer look. The sign looked weathered and dirty, despite the fact that it had to be new. Arte had an eye for detail, and this wouldn’t pass her by. The sign read simply ‘PUB’.

She was curious, but not stupid. She pulled up her phone to shoot a text to her girlfriend.

Hey Ash, I’m stopping in at a new bar. I’m sending you my location in case I get snatched, lol. I shouldn’t be long, but if it looks good, I might grab dinner here. I’ll text you if I do.

Satisfied, she turned to the door. It was a faded green metal door, with a stainless steel handle. She pulled it open, and stepped inside.

As she entered, she was astonished. It looked like something you might see in a fantasy movie. There were neat wooden floorboards, with sturdy wooden tables and countertop. The bar was devoid of people, but for Arte and the barkeep.

The barkeep was actually cleaning out a metal mug with a rag. He smiled as she approached. “Welcome to my pub! What can I get for you?” He spoke in a heavy Russian accent. He was thin, dressed plainly, and had a thick mustache and beard.

“Hey, how long have you been here? I swear I’ve never seen this place before, but it’s very nice.” She laughed.

“Well, I suppose I have lost track of time.” He put the mug down and stroked his mustache. “It hasn’t been very long, by your time.”

“Well do you have food here, or just drinks?” She looked around behind the counter, and saw a stove and fridge. All of the older aesthetic meshed pretty well with the newer equipment, much to her surprise.

“We have food, but if I’m honest, I am a bad cook. This is something of a hobby for me.” He looked below the counter for a moment, and pulled out a glass, setting his cleaning mug aside. “Now, one drink on the house. What would you like?”

“Oh, just a whiskey and coke please.” She smiled as he made the drink. She debated for a moment if she should really drink it, but decided it would probably be too rude to refuse. “Thanks.” She nodded as he slid it towards her.

“Now,” He placed a bottle of clear liquid on the table. “Let’s get to business.” He opened the bottle, and the smell hit Arte like paint remover. He drank straight from the bottle. “If you have found me here, that means you are probably my chosen one.” He reached out his hand. “If I may have your hand?”

Arte obliged. She was definitely glad she hadn’t drank yet, as this man was clearly crazy. Then again, in a world of supers, was a chosen one that farfetched? Although, her being a russian barkeep’s chosen one was pretty unlikely.

“Ah yes.” He rotated her hand in his. “Definitely the chosen one. Judging by your face, however, you don’t believe?”

“Not quite, no.” She took her hand back, and ensured her rings were still there. She angled herself slightly away, preparing to bolt for the door.

“Very well, I’ll show you.” He crouched down under the counter.

Arte debated running now, but she elected to just stand. The man did have her curiosity, after all. She fingered the gun in her purse.

“There we are!” The man slammed a wheel as big as her on the counter. It was eight-spoked, and made of some kind of metal. He looped a chain around it, and beamed.

Arte backed away slowly. Her heart was racing. She supposed she wasn’t necessarily in danger, but she didn’t like it nonetheless. This wasn’t like the kind of stranger danger they tell you about. What are you supposed to do when a russian guy in a sketchy pub slams a wheel on the bar?

The man snapped his fingers, and the wheel and chain vanished. Arte looked closer, and saw that it was actually still there, just smaller. The man tossed it to her, and she barely caught it. “Alright, since you want to leave, I have manual.” He pulled a phone sized book from his pocket and tossed it to her as well. “Popular request. It makes the learning phase go quicker.”

Arte backed a little more towards the door and booked it. She just wanted a quick drink, not whatever he was pedaling. She crammed the necklace and book in her purse.

“Oh, by the way!” The man called after her. “Learn quick, someone else wants it!”

She sprinted out the door, and out of the alley. She moved as quickly as she could manage through the throng of people, but she was still slowed. Once she felt safely away, she pulled out her phone again, and texted Ashley.

That was WEIRD. I’ll be home soon.

She noted that Ashley hadn’t responded to her previous text, but wasn’t alarmed, as she was probably still at work. It was still a little unusual, since she usually answered at work, but it wasn’t unreasonable to think they got busy. She caught herself overthinking and giggled.

 


 

Where’s Superzeroes? ——————– Next Part >

Caveat

Hello all! Happy Halloween! I hope you have a wonderful night, with many a fright. It’s been a little bit since I uploaded a shortstory, and I’ve had this one saved up for a bit. Enjoy!

 


 

 

Phillip sat at his desk sipping on whiskey from a coffee mug. Some of the drink spilled out onto a stack of overdue bills. He sighed and pushed them off to the side. He hadn’t had a case in months, and those weren’t even all of the bills. He began to wonder if he should just call the whole thing off.

Maybe I can just downgrade my office… It appeared that sober Phillip wasn’t entirely gone. He looked around his office. It was pretty nice, hardwood floors, a fancy oak desk, an engraved name plate, and a comfy chair. Definitely more than enough room to swing a cat. Not exactly high end lawyer office, but he was doing well for himself. He span around in his chair to pour himself more ‘coffee’. He had almost downed enough whiskey to kill off sober Phillip.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Phillip almost dropped the bottle, then gently sat it on the shelf behind him. “Just one second!” Dammit what do I pay my assistant for- Oh I let her go. He straightened himself out. For all he knew this was going to be the client that would pull his practice out of the gutter. “Alright, come on in!”

The knob clicked, and a red man with curved horns and a tail stepped into his office. He was dressed in a nice suit and tie, and wore the smirk of someone who was actually successful.

Phillip stared blankly for a moment. Is this what my life has come to? Satan hitting me up in my office? “What can I do for you?” Phillip managed to sound not completely plastered.

“Alright, we don’t have too much time, so I’ll cut this short.” The devil sat down in the chair across from him. “I want to make a deal with you.”

“You have my interest. What’s the deal?” Phillip was drunk most of the time, so he was becoming a natural at being a high functioning alcoholic. He made some of his best decisions drunk. Then again, he made most of his decisions drunk.

“I want to offer you absolute power.” The devil grinned and revealed pointed teeth.

“Who are you? Are you the actual devil or am I just that gone?” Phillip began to question how high functioning he was. Maybe this is it… Is this what an alcohol induced coma feels like?

“Sorry, in my hurry I forgot proper introductions.” He stood from his chair and stuck out his hand. “I’m Stanley. Here’s my card.” He handed him a business card that read ‘Stanley Jones, Sarasota DA’.

“I’m Phillip.” He limply shook his hand. “So what was that about absolute power?”

“I give you absolute power, you give me Phillip Anderson.” Stanley sat back down.

“What do you mean? My soul?” Phillip was intrigued, he hadn’t really believed in souls and all, but he supposed Stanley might know otherwise.

“No, nothing like that.” Stanley laughed and shook his head. “I give you power, you give me your life. Your job, your house, your name.”

“I don’t know about that…” Phillip felt something wrong about this, after all, he was bargaining with the devil… Or at least someone who looked like it

“Your alcoholism, your student debt, your crumbling legal practice, your crippling loneliness…” Stanley counted on his fingers as he continued to list things.

“You know what?” Phillip slammed a different bottle of whiskey on the table and chugged half of it. “Screw it, my life sucks! You can have it! Give me the power!” He jumped up from his desk, and then leaned over, trying to not throw up.

“It’s a deal.” Stanley smiled again. He extended his hand for a handshake.

Phillip slowly extended his hand. He thought about his mom, but remembered he was a disappointment anyways, and that was his only remaining attachment.

Phillip shook Stanley’s hand, just as a green light washes over the room.

He looked around and saw himself sitting across the desk where Stanley had been. He looked down and saw that his skin was completely red. He felt a tail pressing up against his clothes. He felt a weight on his head. He ran his hands along two curling horns like a goat’s “What the hell!” He was completely sober now.

“There is a caveat…” Stanley smiled. “Unlimited power… But you look like that. Also, tiny thing, you can only use the power in deals. If you want something, you have to find someone who has it, or also wants it, and make a deal.” He paused for a moment. “Oh, also, stop thinking of yourself as Phillip. You’re not Phillip, I’m Phillip. You’re nobody.”

Nobody sat slackjawed at the realization of what he had just done. He supposed that he had it coming for bargaining with Stanley.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me.” He cleared his throat and began to scream. “Security! There’s an intruder!”

Nobody’s heart raced even faster. Phillip’s guards were Russian, and were definitely not associated with the mob, and definitely not told to shoot first and ask questions later. Nobody looked around Phillip’s office and saw the window that Phillip had forgotten he had. He leapt headfirst through it, shattering it with his horns.

Nobody slammed onto the ground outside of his office, and stumbled to his feet. He swept broken glass off his face, and swore as it just dug further into his skin. He took a moment to catch his breath.

Nobody ran. Nobody needed to find a way to be somebody. For now… Nobody ran.

 


 

〈  More of my writing  〉

That’s A Myth

Jonathon sat in a chair in front of an immense console of flashing buttons, knobs, and a yoke. He looked through a large window down onto a moon, that looked to be covered with buildings. The reactor steadily hummed in the background, the ship was otherwise relatively quiet.

“Dorian, commence landing protocol at site 1726.” Jonathon strapped himself into his chair.

“Yes, captain.” A high pitched male voice sounded from the computer.

“So do you really think this is an actual lead?” A woman asked from behind him.

“I’m not sure what I think Laura.” Jonathon sighed and turned to face her. “I do know one thing though.” He smiled. “This is one of the better bars around here. Kind of a hole in the wall, but definitely worth a stop on its own, so not really that much of a loss.”

“Why is it these guys always have to meet in bars? Why don’t they ever pick a shopping center or a concert hall?” She tried to hide her smile.

“That’s a good point. Alright, the next seedy criminal we need to meet, I’ll get him to meet us at a mall.” He laughed and turned back to the console.

“Landing protocol complete, captain.” Dorian chimed.

“Alright, are you ready?” Jonathon unstrapped his restraints and got out of his seat.

“Yeah, I’m always ready for a seedy bar.” Laura jumped to her feet and went out ahead of him.

“Hey! Hole in the wall doesn’t always mean seedy!” He called after her. He walked through the hall of the ship and out onto the platform.

Jonathon stopped and looked back at the ship. It was about the size of a large two story house. He looked at the name: The Nautilus II. “You know Laura? The Nautilus II is really warming up to me, feels like home, ya know?”

“Well, if you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” She laughed and poked him in the side.

“Well, honey, polygamy is still frowned upon, even in space.” He hugged her. “It looks like you’re stuck with me.”

“C’mon, we’re gonna be late.” She laughed, dragging him behind her.

They walked up to a medium sized building. The walls were a smooth gray on the outside, with a simple metal door. They looked up and saw a flickering neon sign that said: BAR.

Laura stopped and looked over to Jonathon. “So you’re saying that you wouldn’t call this seedy?”

“What’s that saying? ‘Never judge a book by its cover?’” Jonathon opened the door and they stepped in.

The bar was dimly lit by one light on the ceiling. Everything in the bar looked like it was salvaged from a junkyard, nothing was matching. The dim lighting almost managed to conceal all of the trash, crumbs, and spots on the floor. There was a vaguely humanoid blob laying in the center of the bar. It seemed to be moderately crowded, every table had at least one person sitting at it.

Jonathon walked up to the bar. Behind the bar stood a scaly humanoid, with a beard of brown feathers. Jonathon glanced over the bar and saw the man was in fact, quite small, and standing on a platform.

“What’ll you have?” The bartender spoke in a low tone, looking to Jonathon.

“Dealer’s choice.” Jonathon and the bartender both turned to Laura.

“I’ll have whatever you give him.”

The bartender nodded and pulled two glasses from the bar. He pulled two hoses from under the bar, and filled both glasses with half of each. He slid the glasses their way.

Jonathon dropped a few square coins on the counter and stepped away. He surveyed the bar. He saw many people, all of different species. He looked towards the back of the bar and saw a four armed humanoid wearing very bulky clothing, covering almost his entire body. He nodded to Laura and they both sat at the table with him.

The humanoid sat in silence as Laura and Jonathon both took their seats. His face was entirely covered except for his yellow eyes. Once they were seated he looked around, eventually seeming to be satisfied. “Do you have the credits?” He spoke in an almost normal human voice.

“Half now, half after.” Jonathon slid a fist sized bag over the table.

He inspected the bag for a moment and nodded. “Alright, I understand you’re in the market for… Valuable objects.” He looked between the two, trying to gauge his success, but their faces remained stoic. “I know where the horn of Magun-Viol lies.”

Jonathon laughed and began to get up from his chair.

“No! Wait!” He slid a card across the table.

Jonathon stopped and read the card. He looked up at him. “Lift your mask.”

The figure slowly lifted his mask and Jonathon saw a pale white face with red streaks. Jonathon had suspected he was Klax-On by his four arms, but the face confirmed his suspicions.

Jonathon sat back down at the table and slid the Klax-On his card. “That horn is a myth.”

“I am Gro-Unz, I was on the high council of artificers. They betrayed me and I made off with this, and some information.” He reached into a pocket of his bulky jacket and pulled out a roll of paper. “We discovered something.” He leaned in. “While Klax-On prime was ruined, it was not utterly destroyed.” He unfurled the roll of paper revealing a map. “Deep inside of his temple, you will find his horn, and Hurg knows what other artifacts.”

“And why would you sell me this instead of get it yourself?” Jonathon stared intensely at the map, trying to memorize it in case the Klax-On tried to pull something.

“Because, it is heavily trapped, and locked under several locks. Only a master could pull this off, so this map is of no use to me besides coin and revenge.” He rolled the map back up. “So, what do you say, Jonathon? This map tells you everything that you will need, without it, this would be impossible.”

“What’s your price?” Jonathon eyed the Klax-On suspiciously, he didn’t have the best of relationships with Klax-Ons in general, much less the high council of artificers.

“Five thousand credits and your promise to succeed.” He stuck out one of his hands for a handshake.

Jonathon shook his hand, rummaged through his bag, and slid him two pouches of coins. The man handed him the map and went on his way.

“So what do you think?” Jonathon turned to Laura.

“Well, we haven’t got much better to do, this seems like an excellent laying low activity.” She smiled.

“I agree.” Jonathon took a sip of his drink and promptly spat it out. “I believe that is actually piss.” Laura smiled trying to hold back laughter. “Okay fine, the bar is seedy.”