Of the over three hundred people in my high school graduating class, only twenty-four of us are heading to more education. All the rest? They’re planning on staying in our town, or close to it, and working in the factories and the other manual labor areas.

The government has pleaded with us, all of us, to go earn higher degrees, to learn how to do the delicate, skilled, intellectual work that’s out there. But most of my classmates have no desire to do that.

It’s not that they aren’t smart. A great many of them are quite intelligent. They just don’t want to put in the time. See, to get one of those degreed jobs, you have to spend another four, six or eight years in an educational environment. But it takes no extra class time to jump feet first into an unskilled industrial job.

And with the way the government has changed the laws, like making it illegal to have kids unless you pay the exorbitant fees charged for the license, or making it impossible to vote unless you can prove you’re a contributing member of society, either with children or monetary contributions, and making it impossible to gain access to healthcare without a sponsor who’s been paid a fee, it’s no wonder no one wants to prolong the beginning of adult life.

Even with all the laws in place that keep people in lower echelon jobs, the government and the big businesses are crying about not having enough good, skilled employees to run their technology and keep their systems rolling. But none of the lawmakers want to change anything. They’re afraid, now, after that one President, the one the history books try to write away…

He made promise after promise, with no intention of keeping a single one. He just wanted the power, the opportunity to gloat at how he could lie his way to the top. The man kept pushing and pushing, making more and more outrageous demands, just to see where he could take it. If someone would stop him. If someone would stand up and speak out about his plans.

But no one did.

Not until it was too late. Not until after the laws were made and enforced. Even now, the voices clamoring for change are small and quiet. We’re here, though, working to make the change, no matter how long it takes, no matter how much suffering and sacrifice, we will make the world a better place, a place like it used to be.

Long live the revolution…


(****this is a work of fiction and as such, bears no reflection on my current political views, and should in no way be misconstrued as a missive for or against any current candidate for political office****)


A day in the game

The sphere, clenched tight in her fist, hummed with pent-up power. The soft, pale blue light cast by the sphere pulsed in rhythm with her steady heartbeat. She waited, body tense, watching for the creature to emerge from behind the dripping palm fronds.

The small blue and green froggish-looking thing scuttled from beneath the vegetation, its long tongue flapping from its wide mouth. Thin vine-like appendages whipped from its back, pulling up leaves, flipping rotting wood aside, as the beast scoured for its midday meal.

The girl, slender and long-legged, no more than fourteen years old, caught her breath. She was ready but still she was nervous. She turned her hand over, palm up, and looked at the red and white ball in her hand. She leaned close, her voice a breathy whisper, “Are you ready?”

The ball seemed to jump in her hand, the power increasing, and the blue light flashed quickly. Her pulse leaped in time with the blinking blue nimbus. Quickly, before the green and blue creature before her could escape, the girl dropped the sphere onto the ground.

“Beautifly!” The girl’s voice, sudden in the still air, startled the vine-wielding beast. Its vines whipped about in a frenzy. Its tongue darted in and out of its wide mouth, showing small, razor sharp pointed teeth.

The girl’s red and white ball popped open with a suction sound and out flew a winged creature, bigger than the girl’s wide-spread hand. Its wings were brightly colored. They flapped furiously, propelling the beautiful creature upward, where the beast hovered, inches from the girl’s curly head.

The butterfly type creature moved forward, darting toward the small frog like thing, wings beating furiously to avoid the other creature’s whipping tentacle vines. The beautiful winged beast stayed just out of reach of the vines. The creatures fought in near silence. The girl, watching the contest, held her breath, willing her own creature to victory.

Just when it looked like the butterfly might win,

Jamie’s parents called for her to put away her game and wash up for dinner.

God’s on vacation

For years, things were going great in the world. Wars were non-existent, poverty was nearly eliminated, the ozone was on its way to a fix, crime waves were never seen. Peace and prosperity were everywhere and everyone expected it to continue forever.

But that’s not what happened. Overnight, it seemed as though everything fell apart. It didn’t happen slowly. It didn’t have a definitive trigger point. Everything just happened all at once.

France and Italy all of a sudden declared war. On each other. They’d been allies and friends for generations. But one day, France invaded, with no provocation, no notification. Italy retaliated, of course. They each called on allies to assist, which caused more issues because they shared allies. Most of Europe and about half of Asia joined in on that war.

Canada suddenly had a massive crime problem. Bank robberies, hostage situations, killing sprees, everything, all spreading like ripples in a pond. They all started in the major cities of each province, but the crime didn’t stay put in urban areas. Even the backwoods, sparsely populated areas were hit.

In South America, arsonists set fire to the rain forests. Smoke billowed so massively that we couldn’t see the sun most days. The heat from the fires warmed the atmosphere so much that the ice caps on Antarctica melted in record time. Huge parcels of land were swallowed in the massive influx of sea water. The floods wiped out a pretty big chunk of arable lands around the world.

Disease spread like wildfire. Everything became medically resistant. The sickness got so widespread, women couldn’t carry babies to full term. The population of the entire world plummeted. We were all starving, all sick to death, and it became a hell on earth.

The major world religions came together, looking for answers in the heavens. Of course, by the time they started talking to each other, most everyone had lost faith in any god. None of the big church leaders could decide what was going on.

Only one person had any ideas about the goings-on, but he was just laughed off. He came from some tiny, cultist sort of religion. He said we needed to hold on, just wait it out. He said it wouldn’t last long, just until God came back from vacation. He said all the wrong in the world was because God left someone else in charge. Some kid who decided he wanted to have some fun with lowly humans.

There wasn’t much left of that guy after the mobs got to him. His whole little cult of followers bit the big one, too. Nobody wanted to believe that any of the major Gods needed, or took, vacation.

Most of the crowd that tore those poor people apart weren’t around when God got back. They’d given in instead of holding on. But as soon as God returned, the world righted itself. Overnight, again, in most cases. Some things even He couldn’t fix, but in reparation, He made most things better.

The major religions of years past faded out of the collective conscious, replaced by the new religion, one that says even God needs a vacation every other millennia.

Solitary confinement

The static-filled buzz echoed in the large empty room. Kell looked around from his supine position on the small metal bed attached to the white metal wall. Across the sterile room, he saw a small red light blink, three flashes in quick succession followed by a single sustained light.

Groggily the small, dark man sat up, staring at the flashing light and listening to the intercom buzz away. Kell swung his bare feet off the bunk, letting them dangle for a second before he pushed himself out of the bed. He walked to the shining silver speaker housed in the flat white metal wall directly opposite his bed. The floor was also metal, white as the walls were white and shockingly cold.

The buzzing invaded Kell’s mind, shaking the fragile mental hold he had on himself. He moved close, near enough to nearly kiss the shiny metal intercom. His breath fogged the silvery spot, his chest heaving with pent-up fear.

“Mr. Davis,” the voice that came through the intercom was of indeterminate sex, the sound distorted and almost synthetic, “welcome. We are aware that you must be confused and possibly afraid. Do not be. We are here to help you.”

“Who’s ‘we’,” Kell whispered into the intercom. “I don’t remember how I got here. I don’t know who you are. I barely remember who I am…,” he trailed off.

The middle-aged man looked around the room once again, noting the harsh sterility of the cold metal walls, floor, and ceiling. Everything was white, including the thin shirt and too-short pants he wore. He didn’t remember getting dressed in the ridiculous outfit. But then, he didn’t remember much after his getting home from his best friend’s bachelor party the night before. If it was the night before. Kell had no idea how long he’d been held in the stark coldness of this room.

The mechanical voice returned, “Mr. Davis, you have been our guest for just over six weeks. Do you remember?”

Kell stepped away from the intercom, horror rushing into his soul. “Six weeks? That…that can’t be! I was just… I…”

The intercom buzzed again, “You do not recall? Then we must begin the program once again.”

Kell slowly slipped backward, searching for the hard edge of the metal bunk. He needed to sit and think. He needed to remember how he got here, where here was, and what was going on. The need to remember weighed on his mind, some instinct telling him he must find the answers before the sexless voice restarted the ‘program’.

He remembered, too late. Just as he stood to return once again to the shining silver intercom, hidden vents in the top of the wall opened and a glowing purple gas rushed into the room. Kell pushed against the thick, heavy fog, desperately trying to reach his salvation, but the mist pushed his small body to the floor. The purple tendrils wormed their way into his mouth, his nose, his ears.

He drowned in the purpleness, gasping for air, pleading silently with the watchers. He knew, just before the world went black, what the soulless voice wanted. But it was too late.

The survivor

His voice, cracked and dry from extended periods of silence, creaked from his throat, “Hello?”

The noises in the deep verdant forest ceased abruptly. Fearful, he waited, listening for the sound of footsteps to come again. But there was no return of the sound, in fact, there was no sound at all, not even animals calling out to one another.

The grizzled man, still young looking after all his time in the wilderness, called once again, licking his lips, this time, to ease the words past, “Hello? Is there anyone there? Anyone?”

He lowered his tall, lean frame to the ground, squatting in the springy moss-like growth of the forest floor. He peered into the undergrowth, searching for any plausible explanation for the sound that couldn’t have been there.

As far as he knew, he was the only person left alive in the world. Oh, the first few years there had been more. Enough to almost make a new society work in the suddenly enlarged world. But slowly, over the last decade or so, all the survivors he knew about had disappeared. Some had died, and been buried or burned, but most had simply vanished between one day and the next. He’d been wandering, alone, for close to two years, he figured.

Nature had claimed most of what mankind had stolen, but every so often, he would find someplace where men had tried to hold onto that semblance of civilization. Even in those isolated areas, where buildings still stood and gardens still flourished, untended, he had encountered no other people.

So the heavy footfalls tracking him in the deep woods had startled him. Startled him enough, even, to forget his natural wariness. Like a fool, he’d called out, maybe in his loneliness, expecting another traveler, another true human craving contact.

But that wasn’t what he got. He got nothing, at all. Not a voiced reply, not more footsteps, not a friendly face peering through low-hanging branches. Instead, he got a wave of fear, washing over his ragged clothes and his rail-thin body, fear that whatever time he’d had left in the world was about to run out.

His heart raced, his pulse climbing rapidly up his body to roar in his head, screaming in voiceless fear. He kept his body low, his head swinging back and forth, searching for a way out, a way to safety.

Spying a narrow path through the thick vegetation, he scampered across the meager clearing, shouldering through the heavy branches of the evergreens, seeking safe passage. He stayed low, his legs and knees used to propelling his hunched body forward against the ravages of nature and beasts. His eyes scanned the forest floor continually, looking for deadfalls, animals, and other sources of danger.

He didn’t see the booted feet until the legs they were attached to halted his momentum. His long body fell backward. His large-pupiled eyes ran up the strange body in his way, from heavily booted feet to slender hips, then the small waist and tightly bound breasts, up to the heart-shaped face and the raven curls tumbling about delicately rounded ears.

“What do we have here?” The woman wondered aloud, perfect white teeth flashing in the darkness of the overgrown forest. “A survivor, yes?”

Her accent sounded off, wrong. Not the American accent he’d come to know from this part of the world. The words were English, but the lilt of her tongue was anything but. It wasn’t anything familiar to the grizzled man, who in the civilized world of long ago had been a student of languages.

He stared up at her, his body tensed for flight. But she just smiled at him, her eyes sparkling with some inner light. The longer he stared, the more her eyes sparked and swirled. He never saw the beasts circle them. He never heard her harsh, guttural command. He saw only the whirl and dance of galaxies in her eyes.

Open the door

The odd sound came again. Dylan rubbed his sleep-sore eyes, looking blankly around his darkened bedroom, trying to figure out what woke him from his much-needed sleep. A small light pulsed from across the room. The sound was coming from there, too.

Dylan pushed himself out of his cramped twin bed and stumbled across the pale carpeted floor to his flimsy metal desk. His cell phone was furiously trying to get his attention, pleading with him to read the text message from the unknown number.

Open the door, Dylan.

Bleary-eyed and confused, Dylan stared at the deep black letters in the middle of the brilliant white space of the phone’s screen. He didn’t recognize the number. It didn’t even look like a telephone number. It was just a jumble of seemingly random numbers scrolling across the top of his phone.

Sighing in annoyance, the curly-headed teenager thumbed off the phone and replaced it on his desk. He didn’t have time to mess with prank texters. He had finals in the morning and he needed sleep. He’d spent all weekend cramming as much as possible into his brain and now his head hurt and he was spent.

The light colored carpet glowed just enough, in the feeble light of the moon’s rays coming in from his solitary window, that Dylan could see well enough to make it back to bed without trouble.

The teen had just clambered back into his unmade twin size bed when his phone buzzed again. He was awake enough this time to recognize his standard text message tone. Groaning with impatience and fatigue, Dylan buried his head in his pillow, silently asking the world to silence his phone for him.

Instead of falling silent, his phone buzzed yet again. Dylan rubbed a hand across his dark eyes and then through his tangled hair and sat up in bed. He glared at his blinking smartphone, willing it to shut up. The small black thing did go still. But only long enough for the tall boy to sink back down onto his back.

Fully awake now, Dylan waited, knowing that the phone would cry out again for his attention. When it did, he grunted, anger coloring the edges of his vision, and he rose again from his bed, shuffling his way to the desk across his tiny dorm room.

He grabbed the phone, sliding his thumb across the screen to read the several new messages he’d received from the unknown number.

Open the door, Dylan.

Open. The. Door.

Let us in, Dylan.

Open the door for us, Dylan.



Scared now, not sure if his friends were playing tricks on him or something sinister was happening, Dylan looked at his door. He felt drawn to it. Maybe it was the texts, maybe it was a feeling of someone standing at his door, he didn’t know, but he fought the tendrils of fear that crept across his tall, slender body. He stepped away from the door, backing up, hard, against his metal student desk. His heart thudded in his chest.

Outside the window above his desk, the moon vanished behind storm clouds, plunging his room into a deep darkness. Dylan dragged breath after breath into his burning lungs, the panic attack threatening to drown him becoming more intense.

A sudden knock at his window forced the air out of Dylan’s lungs in a hoarse scream. He whirled to face the window, panic driving his thoughts into a confused frenzy. A pale hand with slender fingers tipped in translucent fingernails tapped on the flimsy glass pane.

Dylan screamed again, the sound tearing from his throat before he could catch it. The crystal clear fingernails clawed against the glass, gouging deep lines into the window. The glass began to crack, spidery lines spreading from the gouges left by the pale hand.

Dylan backed away, his feet tripping over themselves in his panic. The dorm room door stopped his backward progression. In his trembling hand, the phone buzzed again. Another text message…

You should have let us in, Dylan.

The stalker

Man, this guy is amazing, Leandra thought to herself. How could I not fall in love?

The slender woman stretched her legs, alternately, one to each side from her crouched position. She watched, through the densely grown hedge, as the target of her affections unloaded several large black bags from his SUV. She watched him drag those bags through the wrought-iron gate that led to his immaculately manicured back lawn.

“Today, Jean-Pierre is looking mighty fine in his tight jeans and Docs. He’s wearing a bright orange shirt, but it looks amazing on him. He can pull off anything,” Leandra whispered into the tiny microphone of her smartphone. Her notes on the good-looking man of her dreams were copious, all dictated quietly into the notetaker app on her phone.

“He’s carrying some bags,” she continued, “They almost look like garbage bags. But I don’t know why he’d be taking them into his back yard.”

Leandra leaned forward, craning futility after Jean-Pierre. But the man had vanished into his yard. She waited for several minutes, crouched painfully behind the neighbor’s hedges, but her heart’s desire never reappeared.

Thinking the man had simply gone about his business and then retired for the night, Leandra swiftly rose from her hiding place and scurried across the darkening night to slip through the, fortunately, unlocked, ornate wrought-iron gate.

The dark was deep in Jean-Pierre’s back yard. No lights from the street penetrated so far and the moon had waned to almost nothing. Leandra paused, fidgeting, as she waited for her eyes to adjust to the new levels of blackness before her eyes.

A metallic sound nearby almost made her drop her phone. Another metallic sound, slightly further away, caused Leandra to whip her device forward, thumb pressing into the flashlight app she’d recently installed.

Brilliant white light burst from her hand, the tiny LED bulb brightening everything within several feet to visible levels. The scene unfolding before her made her stomach lurch sideways.

Jean-Pierre, her heart’s heartbeat, stood before her, stripped of his clothes, an open garbage back in front of his feet. Spilling from the torn black plastic were several body parts. Leandra saw, with her first horrified glance, a dark arm, two pale left feet, and a mop of blonde, curly hair. She squeezed her eyes shut, fumbling with her phone, trying to turn off the cold spotlight.

Panicked, she turned to the right, blindly searching for a way out of the nightmare, but her foot stumbled upon a chilled, fleshy object on the shorn grass. Reflexively, she looked at the thing in her way. A gruesome, Frankenstein’s monster of a child’s doll.

She screamed as the psychotic man of her dreams lunged for her and caught her arm.

“Yes! Just what I needed!”