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“Don’t go near the door.”
The words rung like a bell in Tommy’s head. How many times had Father spoken them? They’d been his final ones too, or at least as far as Tommy was concerned. They were the last words he’d ever heard another voice speak, “Be a good boy, Thomas. I love you. Don’t go near the door.” For years it had been easy to honor those words until, one day, a bevy of strange scents and sound stirred Tommy from his slumber.
Note: This story is the third in a series. While it’s not necessary to read the previous two to enjoy this entry, you can find them here:
A horn blared, severing the stillness of the suburban night. I just had time to leap out of the way as tires screeched and a sports car peeled through the intersection, xenon headlights searing my vision. “Eat shit, faggot!” called a too-familiar voice as it passed, something wet and heavy splashing against my chest, coating me in a lukewarm goo. A cacophony of laughter followed, only waning when the car finally disappeared around the block’s far corner.
Opting to stay prone on the grassy strip where I’d fallen, I closed my eyes, focusing on the wetness that was beginning to permeate my sweater. But before I could wallow too deeply in my embarrassment, an elephantine finger prodded my torso. “Don’t worry,” said Lognar, suckling at his finger. “It’s not real shit.”
A shrill wind blew the day they drove the drones out. Bringing with it a chilly bite that few of them had ever felt, it seemed to add even more weight to Mother’s statement about how there would be no room for the useless now that the Cold Times were returning. So out they went, all hundred and a half of them, and the first of them to leave was Bombus.
Note: This story is the second in a series. While it’s not necessary to read the previous entry to enjoy this one, it is recommended. Click here to read the first story featuring Lognar.
There was a buzz. It was faint at first, just a tickle at my center, but soon it had blanketed my everything in its sublime hum. I wasn’t something that interacted with the universe any longer, I was the universe itself. As I let the smoke go in a steady, even plume, the couch began to fold itself around me. I raised the bong again, preparing to go deeper, when a voice cut my tranquility short.
“Whatever happened to puff, puff, pass?”
“My favorite?” asked Mel. “No, no, no. You don’t get to have favorites in our line of work, kid.” He sipped loudly at the last of his coffee then hung the empty cup off the edge of the table, wagging it until the waitress saw.
“Fine,” said Mandy, trying not to roll her eyes. “Then don’t call it your favorite, call it your ‘most memorable.’”
Mel gave his salt and pepper beard a few pensive scratches. “Not sure I can pick just one.”
“Can I draw you?”
Gwen looked up from her book. A tall, gangly man was standing beside her booth, hiding beneath the hood of a black zip-up sweater. Draped across one shoulder was a bag loaded with art supplies and he wore a goatee that looked as though it had been penciled on. He was the kind of guy that had never passed up the chance to hit on her in college, the kind that would constantly brag about reading Dostoyevsky or never shut up about how pop music and summer blockbusters were “killing art.” So she said, “I’d rather you didn’t,” and returned to her book.
The man sighed, letting a patch of messy bangs spill over one eye. “Please?” he begged. “It’s for this color study, it’s due tomorrow and your hair is—well it’s just the perfect shade of red.”
Gwen raised an eye from her page and gave him a second look. “Fine,” she said, waving to the bench opposite her. “But only if you keep quiet.”
Captain Sirius Driggs pulled his plasma pistol from its holster and thumbed the hammer. The air was thick, both with condensation and tension, but Driggs kept his cool while the patrol of pygmy warriors passed on the other side of the tree line. When they’d disappeared, he let ‘Ol Trusty drop back into its holster and stepped free of the jungle brush. “Shouldn’t be too much further, what does the map say?”
Piper stood frozen on the porch, splintered floorboards creaking beneath her. To her left, something rattled and she nearly went backward down the steps before realizing it was only the ancient wind chime that hung at the corner of the old mansion’s wrap-around porch. Just beyond the fence, bushes tittered with laughter. She narrowed her eyes in their direction. “Laugh all you like,” she called at them. “You candy-asses couldn’t even get past the front gate.”
The bushes quieted and a second later a representative for the five boys who had followed her from the home popped up and shouted back. “Crack all the jokes you like Pippy, but you don’t get a dime of our money unless you go inside.”
The ladder clattered down. A few moments later it was followed by the all too familiar pitter-patter of feet skittering across the upper floor.
“Your turn Lil’,” I said, putting my pillow back over my head. But just like every other night this week she didn’t answer, didn’t even move. She was either suddenly sleeping a lot harder or getting a hell of a lot better at ignoring me. I sighed and hoisted myself up in resignation.