Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Cape Noire

As per usual, another week another flashfiction. This one's based on pulp stories, and from what I've read over at terribleminds so far it might be a little held-back. Welcome to 1940s detective stories mixed with superheros. Please to enjoy!

    "Dame's in your office," my partner and sometimes secretary Matt tells me the second I walk into the door. "Quite the looker too, if your into her kind."
    He gives me a wink and stretches out his bum leg onto his desk. I know by his manner that I'll need to brace myself for this one. When I open the door though I still get the shock of my life.
    "Good morning, Mr. Kurtz" she says. Her voice is like honeyed poison. Sweet and deadly at the same time. "I've a problem on my hands and I believe you're the right man to solve it for me."
    She was black-haired, blue eyed and trouble all over with a capital T. In fact the T was blazoned in red across her black spandex suit. Madamme Tarantula, supervilliness extraordinaire. Instinctively I reach for my piece. I'm not a fan of capes, in fact you could say I hate their guts on general principle, but I like their enemies even worse. Especially the dame ones.
    She smiles, puts up her hands. "You won't need that, Mr. Kurtz, I assure you. I'm merely here to solicit your services in a matter that's of the utmost importance to me."
    "Maybe I ain't interested, lady," I tell her. "Maybe I don't wanna get in between a cape fight. Maybe I don't need that kinda trouble."
    "I can make it worth your while," she purrs. She reaches into her utility belt, brings out a wad of cash that's bigger than I've seen in longer than I care to admit. Matt whistles from outside. I shut the door and take a seat across from her. I wave my hand, to let her know I'm interested and listening. I don't need to though. She already knows she's got my attention.
    "I need you to find out who killed a man."
    'Ever tried the police?" I ask sarcastically. She must not be a fan of my humor by the mean look she shoots me, her eyes shining out with fury underneath that domino mask of hers. I would say if looks could kill but for all I know she might be able to do that kinda thing.
    "Or that cpae you arch," I offer up quick. "Dark Sentinel. Supposed to be the world's greatest detective. I'm sure he..."
    "Whose murder do you think I'm trying to solve," she says. It ain't a question.
    I lean forward in my chair. Now she's reallly got my attention.
    "I didn't read... it wasn't in the newspapers..."
    "Of course they couldn't print it yet. The cops haven't even found the body."
    "So how do you know he's dead?"
    "I know."
    "Woman's intuition?" I ask.
    "Something like that." She shrugs, then smiles. "A little birdie told me."
    I'm sure my mouth's gaping open like some dumb rube while I clue in. "The sidekick? What's his name ...Sparrow?"
    She slips a piece of paper across my desk. "Here's where he's holed up. I wouldn't tell him who sent you, if I were you."
    She leaves the wad of cash on my desk as she gets up to leave. "For expenses," she explains.
    "Wait," I say, maybe a bit too loud. She cranes her neck to the side, gives me a backwards glance.
    "Why? I mean, why are you doing this? You and the Dark Sentinel, you two were enemies though right? Arches? Ain't it better for you now that he's dead? Why pay me to find out who killed him?"
    She turns around, tips her head and looks me straight in the eye. I've seen my share of crazy scary things from my time as a marine in the war and my brief time on the force. So when I say that the look on Madame Tarantula face is the scariest, most terrifying thing I've seen in my life you can be damn sure I mean it."
    "You get to know a person when you arch them, Mr. Kurtz. What they'll do, what they won't do. How far theyll go to stop you when they think you need stopping. How they think and how they feel. You do it long enough it gets to a place that's beyond love, beyond hate. It's someting more."
    She's moved closer to me, right in my face. I've backed up while she's talking, til my back's pressed up against the wall. It's an apt metaphor part of me thinks.
     "I'm a very selfish woman, as you can imagine.I get very upset when someone takes things away from me even trivial, little things. Can you imagine how I feel when somebody takes something that important away from me?"
    I swallow."Uh, pretty upset?"
    She pats my cheek and nods. She saunters out of the office, and it's only when I hear the door slam shut that I realize I've got the shakes and I'm sweating like a junkie too long without his hop.
    Instinctively I pour myself a drink and when that one's gone I pour myself two more. It's gonna be one of those weeks, I can tell.  

Friday, 4 May 2012

Operation World Destroying Delirium

After you read this one you should definitely check out the other entries for random title generation. Of course it's at the blog of Mr. Chuck Wendig. As always please to enjoy and don't be shy to leave some comments. 

   In the deep desert the sky at night the sky is like an ocean of black and becomes a twin to the dark sand below. On a bleak cold night in May the desolation was broken by a group of tents. A man walks out of tent and stretches. He looks all the world like somebody shaved a chimp and stuck it in marine fatigues.
    He scratches his armpit and asks, "Hw the hell do I get out of this chicken shit outfit?"
    Another soldier, looking slightly less simian, pokes his head out of another tent. "When you learn to shut the fuck up Pendleton."
    "I'm serious Sarge what'n the hell are we doing out here?"
    Voices from the other tents chime in. "Yeah Sarge, c'mon. We got a right to know."
    Sarge rubs his bald jar head as he thinks long and hard about the appropriate responses from shouting shut the fuck again to firing off a few M16 rounds in their general direction. He realizes that nothing less than the gospel truth would only encourage em and make 'em all even more annoying. He sighes at this small epiphany. This is what his life has become.
    "The boys upstairs are wantin' to do a field test of some new chemical. Some sorta black ops, top secret shit. We're here to guard the west flank, make sure nobody disturbs em during the test."
    The rest of the squad piles out of their tents. They look at each other for a second before Pvt. Ramirez his arm in the air.
    "What kinda chemicals we talkin' bout here Sarge?" he asks.
    Sarge sighs. He knows his boys well enough to know what's coming.
    "It's a weaponized hallucinogen," he says. It only takes a second for the hoots, hollers and clapping to start.
    "Man in civie life you gotta pay fifteen bucks a hit for that," Pendleton laughs. "Army life sometimes man."
    "This ain't no flower power hippie trip, Pendleton. This is the deep shit. It's completely colorless and odorless.  Full on auditory-visual-tactile hallucinations, vomiting, seizures, muscles spasms, and temporary tourettes. If you're actually stupid enough to pay for this shit, then you're a bigger potato bug than I thought."
    Everyone looks at him. He's usually better at berating them. Sarge doesn't really notice though. He's too busy staring at his hands, how they've balloned out to twice their size.
    "Sarge?" he hears Pendleton asks. He looks up sees his squad as long wavy things that remind him of drunken poplars. He laughs. He can't stop himself.
    Suddenly it sounds like he's in a fucking zoo. The boys around him who only looked like chimps before are all shapechanging into simians, their bodies twisting about as they scream and shout. Seven ape faces look to stare at him, their alpha male, their leader. He must reassert his authority, become the dominant monkey. He picks up a wrench, and smacks the closest chimp. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knows it's Pendleton he's just struck. All around him are the sounds of chaos.
    "Oh my fuck it's the demons! The demons are attacking us!"
    "The enemy! It's al-Queda, they're raining down hell!"
    "Oh space Jesus, save me from the Saurians! Save us from the Greys!"
    Sarge doesn't understand what's happening, he can't really. But he knows that no one else is challenging his authority. His position as Alpha is secure. A feeling of contentedness washes through him before he notices he's shaking all over. He only has a few seconds before his body betrays him and he tumbles to the ground, shaking and screaming. He only barely notices the rest of them follow suite.
    Some time later the whoop-whoop-whoop of helicopter blades swirls in from above. Four men drop out of the chopper. Wearing black body armor and gas masks they look all the world like malicious spectres. They pivot about, guns drawn and quickly assess that the area's secure. A squad of spasming marines near comatose on the ground is absolutely no threat.
    "Echo team to base, all tangos are down. Repeat, all tangos are down. Beta test is a success."