The Gambler

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“What do you mean I am laid off? I need this job!” Michael shouted into the phone. After a brief pause, the one-sided conversation continued. “Please! I have child support to pay.”

Michael hung up the phone. He was already behind on rent and now he has lost his job. It did not matter that he lived in a low-cost community, paying all his bills just became a phenomenal expense.

Michael’s daughters were four and seven. They hated Michael. Michael divorced from their mother, Allison, three years ago.

Michael was not a drinking man, but tonight he was working on his second scotch. He sat at his computer and hopped from one gambling site to another. He debated on trying his luck; however he opted against it. Michael was about to shut down the computer when he came across a humorous site, become-a-god.org. He thought a laugh could lift his spirits, so he stayed online and checked it out.

Welcome to Become-A-God.org. It is time to utilize and harness the power of the social networking sites and get what we deserve from them. Through this site and the power of its administrator, you have been invited to become a deity. Gain enough followers and your power will grow. The first step is to choose a sigil out of the pictures below. If they are greyed out, they have already been chosen. Choose wisely, as the choice is permanent.

Most choices were greyed out. However, Michael spotted a pair of dice with ‘sixes’ showing. Michael was in the mood to gamble and felt the site was a joke, so he clicked the dice. Michael filled out the registration, created a password, and linked his social accounts.

To Michael, the site was straight-forward; the more followers, the higher the reward. Over the next week, Michael promoted his social networks every day. When Friday afternoon came, he left to pick up his daughters. When he arrived, he was not greeted by the girls, but by Allison.

“The girls want nothing to do with you.” She crossed her arms over her chest.

“Only because you brainwashed them! You never let me see them!” Michael snapped.

“Do not start accusing me, Michael. I really cannot stand this shit anymore!”

“What shit? My God-given, legal right to see my kids? Or, me calling you out as a mind-poisoning bitch that deserves the same bad karma you put out?”

“Get the hell off my property before I call the cops!” she shouted.

As Michael was leaving, he shouted back, “If I have any luck at all, you’ll break your damned leg!”

Michael entered his car and shut the door hard. Before he could reverse, he saw the wooden porch snap under Allison. She fell four feet, landing with her leg twisted and two bones sticking out. Michael almostgot out to help her, but her husband appeared. Michael drove off.

Michael came home and decided to check on become-a-god.org.

Congratulations on using your first power for the first time! Build more followers for stronger powers!

Michael stared at the screen. Did I do that to Allison? Was that me? Not possible. No, it’s just a coincidence. He thought.

After sitting in thought for a long time, Michael decided it was time to test it out. He found a gambling site, entered his credit card, and played for hours. He never lost. He made enough money to pay all his bills. Michael decided to stop playing to avoid suspicion.

Michael felt good about himself. He felt lucky. He wondered what else luck could bring him. He never thought of bad luck. He did not think of the consequences. Michael saw only the potential.

TO BE CONTINUED…. 

The Trip

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Lisa and Jason had been dating for over a year now. Lisa was hopeful that an engagement ring would come soon. Jason had never been one to really plan, always a spur of the moment kind of guy. However, he planned a get-away for the two of them to Ireland. It was going to be with a tour group where they would see some of the castles that still stand. Lisa imagined that Jason would propose on the trip. She thought of it being a beautiful setting of a castle overlooking the sea. Why else would he plan the trip, she wondered.

Lisa could not tend her garden and continue to dream of proposals; she had to get ready and go to work. She didn’t want to be late because she wanted to make sure she got the good janitor’s cart. It was an hour and half drive to the big city airport and she was sure the urinals would be bad this time of day. She packed up her gardening tools, cleaned up, and put on her uniform. She then packed and overnight bag which had a waitress uniform as well as next day clothes. Lisa had to work the graveyard shift at the restaurant and Jason had offered up his apartment so she could get some sleep before driving tomorrow. He would be at the dealership all day anyway, the apartment would be nice and quiet.

During the week that led up the big trip, Jason managed to sell three cars and convinced his father to give him his commission and paycheck early. Jason was very excited for the trip, he had been dating Lisa too long and he needed to make her his wife. He reserved them a hotel at Ashford Castle, the touring company was able to get him a discount on the room. Jason was looking forward to treating Lisa like a queen, walking the scenic grounds, and proposing under the stars. Plus, if she said yes, they could elope; get married at the castle, on the ferry boat ride during the tour, his ideas seemed limitless.

Thursday night came, Lisa was finishing her shift at the airport; Jason had her bags and met her after work. She changed clothes in the freshly cleaned bathroom, clocked out, and boarded the flight with Jason. She was so excited to be going, in eight hours she would be walking the green hills with the man of her dreams.

They slept majority of the trip and arrived at the Dublin airport at one o’clock in the afternoon; they were ready to meet the group. However, they never found the group. They decided to find their own way to the hotel and call the touring company and find them from there. Jason tried calling and was not able to get through. Maybe the hotel concierge knew the company and could help them out. Jason and Lisa headed down from their fourth floor room.

“Excuse me, ma’am.” Jason said.

“Yes?” responded the blonde woman at the concierge desk.

“Have you ever heard of the Great Escapes touring company? It is who we booked our hotel room through and we have not been able to find them.”

“Oh, that’s a scam. We have dealt with others who have fallen prey to their tricks. The hotel room is still reserved in your name.” she smiled.

“So, I assume my $300 a night was never paid, huh?” Jason snarked.

“Probably not and the rooms here cost $1200 US dollars a night.”

“Holy crap!” Jason exclaimed loudly, drawing the room’s attention to him.

“I’ll call the hotel manager. Maybe there is some way he can help the two of you.” The young woman immediately got on the phone.

Jason turned to Lisa, “I am so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault.” Lisa reassured.

“Hopefully we can get a cheaper rate so we can stay. We can always tour on our own.”

“I am sorry to interrupt,” started the concierge. The hotel has no cheaper rooms and the manager is unable to discount your room.

“Do you know of a cheaper place to stay?” Lisa asked.

“Not for several miles. However, I might be able find something. How ‘bout you two go to the hotel restaurant, on us, and I will see what I can learn.” She handed the couple coupons to the restaurant and got on the phone again.

The restaurant was cozy and low lit. It was nearly empty due to lunch being over and dinner not having started yet. Jason and Lisa chose a table and waited on service.

“Maybe we should just head home, Jason. We can see if the airline can trade our tickets for an earlier flight.”

“But I had a special weekend planned for us. Maybe we can rent a car and just drive and explore on our own?”

“I love your spontaneity, but we are awful far from home to be getting lost on a road trip.” Just as Lisa finished her thought, the manager and two security men approached the table.

“Mr. Phipps, I am Patrick Morgan, the manager here at Ashford Castle. It seems your credit card has been declined. I am going to have to ask you to vacate immediately.”

Jason felt defeated. He and Lisa headed back to the room to gather their things, Jason checking his account on his smartphone along the way. Empty. No money to eat on, to go home early, nothing. The touring company had cheated him out of everything, even his romantic weekend.

As he and Lisa were coming down the stairs, he told her about the money being gone.

“It’s all right. I have money to get us food and maybe pay the difference on an earlier flight home.” Lisa tried to console Jason, but it didn’t seem to work.

When they reached the airport, they were starving; they had not eaten since their flight. Apparently, McDonald’s was everywhere and the couple grabbed a couple of burgers and fries. After the quick bite to eat, Lisa was able to exchange the tickets for an earlier flight. However, they would have to spend half the night at the airport, as the flight did not leave till two o’clock in the morning.

It was a quiet stay at the airport and a quiet trip on the flight back to the states. Jason was not in the mood for conversation, no matter how much Lisa tried.

“I’ll just head home, Jason. You seem to want to be alone.”

“No. Come to my place. I may feel like saying or doing much, but I love having you around.”

Lisa got in her car, parked in employee parking and drove Jason to his car.  She then followed him home. Once home, Jason called his father to tell him about the trip and what happened. It was a short call, but Jason seemed a little less tense afterwards.

Jason turned to Lisa, “I was planning on doing this somewhere else, but I want to marry you. And I don’t mean propose. I want to get married as soon as we can. We can go to the courthouse on Monday.”

Lisa was shocked by the impudent request. “Jason, I would love to marry you, but I need an engagement. You know, a bridal shower, bachelorette party, my friends and family to be at the wedding.”

It’s now or it’s never. I want to marry you now. I need to marry you now. I am cannot wait.”

“Why can’t you wait?”

“My 37th birthday is in three days…”

“I know.” Lisa cut in.

“If I am not married by then, I will be written out of my father’s Will.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

Lisa was never rash, she always though things through. However, something about Jason brought out a different side to her.

“Let’s get married!” she nearly jumped from her seat.

Due to state laws, they could not get married till Wednesday, Jason’s birthday. But they were married on time as far as Jason’s father was concerned.

Jason never got his money back from the scam. Lisa sold her cottage in the country. The couple did not live happily ever after, but they came pretty darn close.

Useless

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I sit here, cooped up. I never get to leave my little hole in the world. I only move when you bump into me. I wait and wait, never getting a turn, never getting a chance. I am just as food as the others! Just pick me and I will show you. I can do better than all those others! But alas, you won’t come near me. I am not stylish enough for you. You assume I cannot glide as well as the others because I do not have some fancy design showing off my sleek body. I am just to plain for you. Why can’t you just try me out? I am worth so much more to you working than I am lying around.

“HEY!” Oops. I never meant to speak aloud. Great! Now you are looking for me. You look so puzzled and bit confused and nervous. I wonder what you will do or say when you realize it is me talking.

“Over here!” you look again.

You speak, “I am hearing things.”

I’ll respond. “No you are not. Look over here.”

Oh my goodness! You are looking at me! You speak again.

“My pencil is talking to me. I really have been losing my mind this last week.”

“No, you are not.”

“I’ll go with it, I guess. How are you little green pencil?”

“Pissed!” Oops, I did not mean to snap at you. You look taken aback. I will continue quickly. “You never write with me. I feel useless. I am tired of feeling useless.”

“I am sorry.” You say. “I will write with you now. I will use you to write in my journal about this strange encounter I am having. Clearly, I am nuts.

You pick me up. You are writing with me. You are actually writing with me! You are writing how crazy you think you are and how it all needs to end. But you are writing with me. I do not care if write how much you do not like my color, as long as you are writing with me! I am so happy you writing with me.

You know, you used me to write some pretty strange things. You wrote that you have been feeling really crazy and that too night it went too far. What does that mean? Are you okay?

I will yell for you and ask. “Writer! Where are you?”

What was that noise? Did something explode?

***

Several days have gone by since you were last in this office. Now, there are other writers here. They are using their own pens; they will not want to use me. But you can use me whenever you return. These other writers keep saying a word I do not understand. Suicide. I wonder what that means. When you come back, I will ask you. I miss you writer.

Insatiable

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The following was written several years ago. The concept, I feel is decent. However, the writing is a mess. Read with a grain of salt.

 

August 2005

Jenna was a tall brunette. Her hair was a deep chestnut brown, full of natural spiral curls. Her eyes were as brown as her hair and as big and open as the midnight sky. Her lips were luscious and full. People paid thousands of dollars for injections to get the lips she was born with. She was a beautiful girl, but she never thought so because of her plump figure. Quite voluptuous, but she only noticed her stomach. This twenty-year-old girl was living on her own, two days away from anyone she ever knew. No family, no friends, and she had just gotten out of a horrid relationship. She didn’t think she would ever find love, not real love. She didn’t even think she deserved such a notion.
She started working again; she was on her own now, she had to survive. Working meant meeting people. It was just an unfortunate side effect in the opinion of her depressed state. After some time, she started making friends. Mike and Alexis was a married couple on her new friends list. They considered her family. She didn’t even have to knock whenever she came over. And it was never a worry or concern to them if it had been a while since she last stopped by to say hi. To them, it was just a quirk of hers.
On a rainy afternoon Jenna was working at the gas station, having one of her low moments of depression. She felt empty and alone. As she stood from her stool to start some of her cleaning chores, Mike and Alexis came waltzing in with a few of their friends. One of which was a very handsome stranger.  She was both shocked and mortified to hear herself greet the new man.
“Well, hello cutie!”
She did her best to hide her embarrassment, but she couldn’t hide it form her friends. Noticing her embarrassment, Mike quickly invited her to a night of card playing and goofing around. And then he cut the meeting short. Flashing a sympathetic smile to Jenna as he and the group left the building into the dark afternoon. After some thinking, Jenna decided to go. Of course she would go, the cute stranger would be there.
When she arrived to the house, the stranger was indeed there. He was a tall man, slightly taller than her. He had a natural deep tan, just dark enough to really make his eyes stand out. Eyes were her ‘thing,’ the one thing she always noticed on a person. She felt as though she could see into the souls of people through their eyes. His were blue, jellybean blue; but they were empty. That was so alluring to her, she wanted to fill them, make them full of something…anything. He was thin for a man, but you could see signs of muscle beneath his black tee. His hair hung to his ear lobes, and his nails painted black. Not what one might consider attractive, but Jenna thought he was gorgeous.
“A dark soul,” she thought. “Maybe he is as tortured and heart broken as I am.”
He was introduced to her as Andrew, and liked how the name seemed to suit him. All night, the group of friends laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. Jenna enjoyed the company of Andrew more than she did the others. Over the next six weeks, she saw Andrew just about every other day. They spent most of their time together; and after a couple of months, Andrew said he loved her.
She repeated the sentiment to him, never sure if she meant it. The word ‘love’ itself seemed to mask her growing depression. She hoped that maybe saying it would help all the more. Besides, she didn’t know what love was, so maybe she did feel it after all.
For three years they were together, living together. Somehow, despite him calling her names, belittling her, embarrassing her, even cheating on her, they remained together. He apologized for the time he cheated on her. He explained how he had an insatiable urge to be with women, to be loved. It was an insatiable urge to find the woman that would truly love him and become pregnant to show him her love. Jenna claimed to understand, and said she would have his child. She didn’t know if she was ready, but she wanted to please him. Maybe part of it was for all the good things he did for her. He helped her to pay her rent, pay all of her bills. When she was sick, he would bring her a flower. He would hold her and cuddle her when she was having a nightmare, he even told her how he loved her when she was feeling her worst. She could handle his insatiable urge to find love. She felt she needed love too.
Late one night, Andrew came home with an engagement ring. He kneeled beside her on the floor, and proposed. The ring wasn’t much because they couldn’t afford much. But Jenna didn’t care. She excitedly accepted and told him how she would be the best wife a woman could ever be.
“I don’t care how good you are, as long as you prove you love and conceive my child.” He said to her in a stern, almost demeaning voice. She knew he didn’t mean to sound angry; it was just his dream. His insatiable dream.
About two weeks after the proposal, Jenna was shopping for groceries, when she ran into someone she hadn’t seen since high school. It was Jessica, an old friend who had betrayed Jenna’s secrets long ago. But the two started talking anyway, Jenna needed a friend. They met for lunch, and talked as though no time had ever passed. Soon, Jenna learned that Jessica had a two-year-old son. In the pictures she had seen, he was adorable. It wasn’t long after their chance meeting, that the two began hanging out at each other’s apartment. Jenna mainly went to Jessica’s, because Andrew didn’t like the girl. He didn’t even want the two spending time together. But Jenna didn’t care. She had lost all of her friends when she and Andrew started dating. She needed a friend; she needed someone outside of Andrew.
Early one September evening, Andrew called home to say he was working late. It had been happening a lot at his factory. The holidays were fast approaching, and Jenna figured they were trying to get caught up before the New Year began. This spoiled her evening a little; she had dinner on the stove. His favorite, spaghetti; she even had his favorite beer. She had exciting news to tell him. She had been waiting for a week and half to tell him she was finally pregnant. She was waiting for the perfect moment, tonight’s dinner, to be exact. She couldn’t wait any longer, she would tell him tonight when he got home anyway. However, the night grew late and she finally fell victim to her exhaustion.

Seven Years Later

Jenna woke from her sleep, but something was wrong. Her bedroom was rearranged, and a strange couple slept in her bed right next to her. She was completely terrified, and screaming in horror for Andrew. He never came, and there was something else…the couple never flinched when she screamed. Something was terribly wrong.
It wasn’t long before she realized she was dead, she was a ghost now, in someone else’s world. She moved about the small apartment looking for anything that would tell her the date, so she could know how long she had been dead. A calendar in the kitchen held her answer; September of 2013.
“Dead for seven years? But…how? Why? I was pregnant!” she screamed. It wasn’t like anyone could hear her now anyway. She closed her eyes in despair, thinking only of Andrew. She was so desperate to see him, to know how he was doing.
When she opened her eyes, she was somewhere new. It looked like the living room of Jessica’s apartment. No sooner did she notice the resemblance did Andrew walk through the front door.
“Honey!” he yelled. Jessica smiled at him as she came out of the kitchen. “Babe! I have got some vodka, wine, and beer! I thought we should get a sitter for the kids to celebrate our seven year anniversary in style!”
“Anniversary?” Jenna thought. “They’re married? Wait, kids? Seven years? She only had one child, and they must have married right after my death!” Jenna was yelling as the shock of everything was sinking in. Andrew had moved on and rapidly. Now she was desperate to live again. It was an insatiable urge to be alive and taste the air, to breathe once more.

One Week Later

Nurses were moving about a hospital room, preparing for something that must have been important.
“I can’t believe she has been in a coma for seven years and no one has ever come to see her!” said a short doctor in an angered and saddened voice. “Before we pull the plug, I want to know this girl’s first name. Someone has to wish her peace.”
“Jenna.” Responded a petite nurse.
They took a few moments of silence to wish her happiness in her after life. Then, they started to unhook all of the life support. As the doctor was preparing to remove the heart monitor it beeped, an indication of a heart beat. But there was nothing to keep her alive anymore. The hospital staff stood in silence, pondering if it was a glitch. No. It beeped again! Before anyone could say a word, Jenna took a deep, exasperated breath and opened her eyes.
Jenna was alive. She spent the next six weeks in the hospital rehabilitating. Everyone was stunned that she could wake after a seven-year coma, and without any brain damage. The doctor, who was kind enough to wish her peace, was also kind enough to get all the details he could find of the event that put her here. Jenna had learned that she was attacked in her sleep,
At first, the police thought it was a robbery gone wrong, but nothing was stolen, their next suspects were Andrew and Jessica respectively. But there was no evidence to support that either. Finally the case became cold, and was filed away as unsolved. The more Jenna learned, the more she began to remember.
She could remember someone moving in the dark corners of her room. She could remember the pain in her head where she was hit. She could remember so much more pain, but she couldn’t remember from what or why.
When she was released from the hospital, she went strait to Jessica’s apartment. She knocked on the door, and a very stunned, surprised, and bewildered Andrew opened the door.
“Jenna! Wait…Jenna?” exclaimed Andrew with eyes wide in curiosity.
Jenna leapt forward into his arms and hugged him. He reluctantly hugged back, and she never noticed his delay. He invited her in, and she saw Jessica standing in horror and shock.
“Thank you!” Jenna started. “For taking care of my Andrew all this time. You are a better friend than I ever realized!”
A little puzzled, Jessica responded, “Umm, sure…I guess. Uh, no problem.”
“I’m okay now.” Her eyes went from Jessica to Andrew, “Let’s go, honey. We have to get a new place. Someone lives in ours now.”
Andrew motioned for Jenna to sit down, and she did. “Uh, Jenna…Jenna, Jessica and I are married now. We have been married for four years, and we have a little girl now. I can’t just leave all of this. You have basically been dead for the last seven years, and I moved on.”
“I was dead. I even saw you two when I was a ghost. I saw you on your anniversary….” Jenna began to trail off, her eyes shooting towards the floor. Then suddenly, the pain, horror, and anger flooded her face. “You’re anniversary! It was a seven-year anniversary when I was dead. Yet, somehow, you have only been married four friggin years? You!” She jumped from her seat, trembling and waiving her finger at Andrew. “You killed me! You’re the reason I died!”
“You weren’t really dead. I mean you are here now. It must have been just a coma.” Andrew stated in a calm, caring voice, as if to soothe Jenna. Jessica seemed to meld into her wall as she avoided to the wrath of the very angry Jenna.
Jenna’s face was red from the excitement of her anger, tears streamed from her big brown eyes. Her heart breaking all over again as she remembered the night Andrew had killed her. “Why? I need to know why you killed me.”
“You were acting strange. Jessica and I were afraid you knew about us. I didn’t  want to see your heart break again from me cheating on you again. And Jessica, well, she had her own reasons.” Replied Andrew in a voice not befitting of the moment.
Jenna’s eyes darted back and forth between Jessica and Andrew as she realized Jessica had been in on it. She stared at Jessica, waiting, wanting to know why, Jessica finally responded.
“I’m sorry. But ever since high school, I have had this insatiable urge to ruin your life. Yours was always so much better than mine, and I wanted to destroy it! Finally, the chance to calm my insatiable urges came, and I took it!”
Jenna turned a heated glare to Andrew. Her anger filled her, and her eyes were of a fiery rage. “I was acting strange because I was pregnant! I was waiting for the right moment to surprise you! I was trying so had to keep it a secret until the right time, you jerk!”
All the color ran from Andrew’s face. He started to realize the mistake he had made. Jenna did love him, she finally conceived. In a sudden moment, pain flooded and washed over him, surged within him as he realized the gravity of his mistake. Jenna’s anger was roaring and becoming more and more insatiable. She stomped her way into the kitchen and grabbed the butcher knife from the knife block. Jessica was following in after her, but before she could say anything, Jenna spun on her heals and jabbed the blade into Jessica’s tender throat. Jessica was clenching her bleeding neck, trying to avoid death, as Jenna eased the dying girl to floor very quietly. By the time Jessica’s head touched the floor, she was dead, still clutching her neck.
Jenna put her hands behind her back, like a mischievous child trying to hide something. Her eyes were sharp and piercing, almost like they were more deadly than the blade concealed behind her. Andrew placed his hands on Jenna’s shoulders as she left the kitchen. He had no idea of what lay beyond the hall.
“Jenna, I’m sorry. I never knew you actually loved me. I never knew you proved it to me…I never knew you were pregnant.”
An eerily calm smile caressed Jenna’s face as she leaned into his chest for the hug he was trying for. She moved her hands and blade behind him, he never noticed. She moved her hands up his spine, then plunged the blood stained knife into the base of his skull. His blood flowed like a busted water main, streaming down his spine. Andrew’s eyes shot wide. Betrayal. He thought she had forgiven him, but now….
Suddenly, his daughter flashed through his mind, “What will happen to my little girl? I’m so glad she is in preschool right now. Who will take care of her? Why did I deserve this betrayal?”
He fell to floor after a minute and half. Tears flooded from Jenna’s eyes. She was still angry. It was a truly insatiable anger and she needed more. She went to Jessica and Andrew’s bedroom, rummaging through their things. She was looking for something, anything that could cure this anger. This insatiable anger that filled her soul. In a bedside drawer, she found a fully loaded pistol. This was it. She decided to sit on their bed. One last way to defile them, to prove her hatred for them. She would shed her life’s essence, her blood on their beautiful silk bedspread. On the bed they slept in every night.
She cocked the pistol, placed it next to her ear. The tears were still flowing, but a calm smile crept to her expressionless face. This was it; her anger would finally go, subside. All she had to do was pull the trigger….

The Game

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The game had gone well, better than he had expected. Aside from a few commenters, he did not think anyone really visited his site. He did not realize the size of his fan base until after he saw the news when the game was over. So many people played, so many died.

Two weeks ago, Jeremy was playing one of his many video games, running over computerized pedestrians for points. Earning “real” points, unlike the points always joked about when he is in the car with his friends. Jeremy had always wondered what the world would be like if there was an actual point system for pedestrians.

Jeremy stopped his playing for a moment and gave the point system serious thought. After all, an advanced student ought to be able to come up with a decent point system and structure for the game. He would make old people worth the most because they have lived their lives and they are now a monumental waste of money, time, and space. Fat and ugly people should be second and third, so as to rid the world of scum and stench. Besides that, fat people take up valuable medical resources. And ugly people would probably kill themselves anyway because no one cares about them.

Jeremy thought about the great service he would be doing for America…no, the whole world. He would help Earth regain some of her majestic beauty when he rid the world of the vile and putrid scum. He could even clean up the homeless epidemic. He would turn them into bonus points. And extra five points if your ugly person is also homeless.

Jeremy grabbed his book bag and wrestled out a notebook. He started jotting things down. He didn’t want too many details in his notes. He could not risk his mother finding out. She was too weak to assist with his genius. She once grounded him for cleaning the air of a foul and acrid odor. This nerdy kid at school smelled bad. And even though everyone knew the boy could not swim, Jeremy shoved him the pool to wash the boy in the chlorinated water. Jeremy’s mother was so weak that she grounded him for three weeks and was too weak minded to fight back when the school suspended him.

Jeremy thought about his game some more. He had to think of a way to discourage killing the youthful and attractive. He wanted to absolutely no children involved. Some ugly children grow up to be gorgeous and Jeremy could not take that chance. He decided he knew what to do and tossed the notebook aside and opted for his laptop. After half an hour of searching, Jeremy finally found the right place to host his site and his game. He posted:

THE GAME
Attention all readers, a new game will begin in two weeks on May 20th. The game can be played between the hours of 8 o’clock PM and 1 o’clock AM. The game will have to be on the honor system, obviously. You will report your points on the points page I have created. Points will be as follows:
Elderly………………..30 points
Fat……………………….20 points
Ugly……………………..10 points
Homeless….5pt bonus added to any of the above
Youthful……………..…-10 points
Pretty……………………-20 points
Child…………………….-100 points
As you can see, children cost you a lot of points, they are just too young to be a problem or to be involved.

You are free to hit as many as you like in the five hour window. You must hit them with a motorized vehicle and it must be a significant hit or the points will not count. There will be no double points. This means that you cannot hit a person twice and get more points. Even if the first hit did not kill them.

Let’s have a blast as we work together and rid our streets of the vile and useless citizens and improve our economy!

Over the next two weeks, visitors to the site seemed few. He only had three comment and they were insulting. They all said that this was a sick joke. One of them even said Jeremy should be locked up. He thought for sure his game would be a huge failure, so he decided not to play.  He did not want to be the only one in the world playing the game. But then May 21st came.

MAY 21

 “Good morning folks,” a news broadcaster broke into the Saturday morning kid shows that Jeremy was flipping through. The annoying interruption was on nearly every channel and his mother made him stay on one channel to see what the broadcast was about.

“We have tragic news this morning. Last night between the approximate hours of eight o’clock PM and one o’clock AM there was a series of hit and runs across the US and parts of Europe. It’s estimated that there are more than 5,000 deaths related to this organized crime series; with as many as 30,000 injured or in critical condition. The FBI is working with various local police departments to find the source of what they believe to be an organized terrorist attack. There are no concrete suspects as of yet, but we will keep you posted as we learn more.

The news stayed on for another twenty minutes with anchors discussing the crimes. Jeremy’s mother called her sister, exclaiming how frightening terrorists are.

Jeremy was irritated and muttered under his breath, “I am not a terrorist, I am a savior!”

His mother’s eyes blinked in astonishment and tears fell. Jeremy saw the look and met it with a glare before climbing the stairs to his room. He decided to pull up his website and could not believe his eyes.

There was a multitude of comments, good comments. He thought the news might have been a coincidence or fluke until this very moment. Jeremy went to the points page. There was no way he could add up all those points, but guessing from the average number posted and the amount of posters, there had to be well over a million points earned last night. He decided it was time to post a new game.

He posted the same rules and point system as before, the date for Saturday, June 4th. This time there would be more hours, more day time hours. People complained in the comments about not getting the old people because they were not out that late. So Jeremy made the hours noon to midnight. After posting the game, Jeremy decided to go down stairs. However, he could hear his mother on the phone.

“Please don’t hurt my baby. I think he is involved somehow, but I am sure he didn’t mean it.” Then his mother paused before saying, “Yes, that’s our address.”

Jeremy crept back upstairs, his only thought, “I need to add a point value for the weak before the cops get here.”

THE END

Red Scale

Standard

Its cold outside; the sky is dark and foreboding. No one is home, no one is out. No one is around anywhere. She was alone, so desolate and alone. She felt abandoned and discarded.  The wind kicked up the tattered leaves, heaving them into a circular journey across the hardened. The sky was so dark, nearly black; the only light was a dim and flickering street lamp. She was terrified of the dark, but she had to be out in it, walking on her frozen feet. At least they felt frozen in her thin tennis shoes. She wished for sunlight and for the wind to stop, but wishing never accomplished anything.

The girl had to find someone, anyone. Where did everyone go? Why was she walking a dark and lonely street so desperately? What did she remember last? It all came in flashes, but nothing tangible. It was a flash of red scale, like a fish? There was no creature face, no words, no form, just a flash of red scale.

The young girl walked nearly an hour down the dimly lit street. There were houses, cars, even children’s toys, but no people…not a soul. There was not greyish-blue light flickering in windows from televisions, no jumbled noise from music or radio, no smell of dinner cooking, no fireplace smoke, there was nothing. Absolute nothing.

“Hello!” the girl cried out. “Hello! Please!”

Tears began to run down her cold cheeks. She was alone, scared, and had been in winter’s chill far too long. She headed home. It was now an hour’s walk to an empty apartment complex. The girl shouted every so often, pleading for human contact.

“Hello, please someone?”

Still no answer. No one ever answered. She finally made it home, nearly convulsing from cold shivers. Her apartment complex was a tall old hospital from the early 1900’s. As she turned her key in the old side door, she thought of all the ghost stories she had heard about the building. She had never been in the complex alone before. What if the stories were true? Nothing could be scarier than being alone, alone in the entire world.

She walked through the wide corridor, plain white with dingy grey tile flooring. Each step she took in the well-lit hallway was a reminder this was a hospital. And this was the exit for the dead. A hard shiver shot down the girl’s spine.

“Am I dead? Is this why I am alone?” she thought

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sight of the elevator, cold and sad with its miniscule appearance. At least the power was still on, but for how long? Seven flights of stairs was a long climb for her cold feet and legs. She risked the elevator.

The doors rattled open and the girl stepped on. The doors rattled closed and slowly shimmied up to the seventh floor. When the door finally rattled open again, the lights flickered.

She entered her two bedroom home, no parents, no cooking food, nothing. She shut the door (locking it out of habit), cranked the heater, and headed to the refrigerator. There was no one there to stop her from having cookie dough for dinner.

The girl tried to remember more about the red scale, but there was nothing. What could she remember before that? A fight with her mother, she said she hated her mother. She retreated to her room after that, fearing the verbal lashing of a wounded mom. She had pulled out her favorite book to read again.

The book was a trilogy, all in one, unabridged. It was massive compared to all the other books she had. The torn paper cover surrounding the hardback book was covered in fiery reds and oranges as a red scaly dragon released a breath of fire onto an ancient city. It was the girl’s favorite tale of heroism overcoming tyranny.

Right after the fight with her mother, the girl had wished the dragon from the tale would come destroy her complex, saving her from her arduous life.

“That’s it!” the girl shouted to no one. I am dreaming because of the book! I dozed off, I am not alone!”

But the poor girl could not wake; this was not a dream after all.

***

Morning came; it was in the empty apartment. The girl had fallen asleep in her father’s recliner. There were no lights or heat, nor would they come on. The power was finally gone. After a morning restroom break, she went to her room and donned a sweatshirt and large sweat pants over her clothes, to keep warm. It was going to be a long boring day; she decided not to go anywhere. There was some warmth left in the humble apartment and she wanted to savor every last bit of it.

She decided to read her monstrous sized book, could find it nowhere. The book with the red scaly dragon was gone. Flashes of memory came back to her. Yelling at her mother caused her mother to lose her temper. She remembered the red scaly dragon flying at her face several times as her mother struck her with the book over and over again.

The more the girl remembered, the louder her dad’s voice became. She finally realized she could hear her father calling to her from some other-worldly place.

“Jess, wake up. Please wake up. I love you.”

Jess’s world began to fade and the cold grew bitter. Within minutes, blackness took the entire apartment. Darkness, cold, and loneliness were all around with her father’s words echoing in the distance. Jess could not resist closing her eyes, all she could see were red scales flying at her face.

She tried calling to her father, but he never acknowledged her words. He just kept begging her to wake up, his words growing more and more distant. But just was awake, sitting in her dark room, pleading to be heard, to be found.

New words came from her father, faint and very distant. “Ah, Jess, please…no!”

They were the last words Jess ever heard.