Friendship is Thick

Marmalade the unicorn galloped gleefully through the rolling hills of Summerberry Glen.

On the next hill over, he spied another member of his herd grazing.  It was that gloomy gus, Greyflicker.

“Hello, Greyflicker!” called Marmalade.

Greyflicker swished her tail and snorted.  “Go away.”

Cantering over, Marmalade winneyed his delight.  “I know when you say, ‘Go away,’ you just mean, ‘I’m lonely!’”

Looking up from her meal of fresh antelope, Greyflicker glared at the gleaming Marmalade.  “Go greet a virgin.  I’m fine by myself.”

“Okay!”  Marmalade trotted away in search of another friend.  Maybe UNICODE-BOT would like to play.

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Today’s story has two inspirations: i09‘s Concept Art Writing Prompt, and a drabble that Rachael wrote last night about a robot who tries to befriend real unicorns.  The former gave me the seed of an evil unicorn.  The latter gave me the idea to make it a silly story about friends who are just a little bit different.  Definitely check out those links for some more fun, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Lunatic Hysteria

Clarence rather missed his Gwendolyn since her illness.

It had started simply enough when she and Clarence had been having a pleasant breakfast, enjoying a hearty plate of sausages.

“I think I’d like to go for a perambulation today, Darling.  Do change into one of your outdoor frocks, and we’ll set off in an hour,” Clarence had declared.

With a careful glance out the bay window facing the garden, her lovely face framed by her dark curls, Gwendolyn had murmured, “That sounds rather dull.”  This response had been most unexpected, considering her usual enthusiasm for whatever plan Clarence might make for their daily leisure.

Clarence had been quite befuddled, naturally, and had called the village doctor to come and examine his lovely wife to make sure she hadn’t suddenly come down with a fever.  When that physician had been unable to find anything wrong, he’d been written off as barely more than a farmer’s veterinarian, and Clarence had sent for an acquaintance of his from his club in London, a doctor who also boasted a respectable lordship to come and inspect his beloved for any malady.

The good doctor had prescribed bed rest for Gwendolyn to cure her disagreement, and she’d taken to the advice with a fury, throwing herself into bed and insisting for several weeks that Clarence should not disturb her while she convalesced.

Of course, this attitude was attributed to the illness, and the doctor assured Clarence there was no harm in seeing his wife while she recovered from her ailment.  When this course of action only served to exacerbate Gwendolyn’s foul mood, the doctor insisted it was only a sign that the treatment was working, and soon dear Gwendolyn would be through the worst of it.

When a month passed and Gwendolyn had taken to locking her door at all times (a fruitless gesture as the housekeeper was always ready with her great jangling keyring) and flinging whatever object was at hand when she saw Clarence’s sandy head poke through that portal, the bedraggled man finally resorted to having Gwendolyn restrained.

Clearly, the doctor told him, they had simply caught a very early case of hysteria, and it was now progressing into the more violent stages.  There was nothing to do but wait it out.

Much to Clarence’s chagrin, he finally conceded the point that his presence only seemed to agitate Gwendolyn, and so he refrained from further visitations to her chambers, although he still overheard great thumpings and groanings coming from that forbidden place, and all the while he fretted over the degraded sanity of his formerly angelic wife.

After a rather miserable winter, Clarence grew accustomed to his new circumstances.  He realized that he was, in nearly all respects, once again a bachelor.  Though thinking of Gwendolyn struck him with periodic pangs of regret, he acclimated to his new life.  It was almost comfortable.

In fact, it was so close to comfortable that the cool spring evening when the creature appeared from heaven and escorted Gwendolyn from the manor, regaled in her finest jewels and best silk dress, was remarkable only because it legitimately freed Clarence from the obligation he’d long excused himself from.  Yes, he’d been shocked at the time, and had looked on in horror as the thing which resembled a man, but which wore a hideous orange suit and had the visage of some sort of reptilian tabby cat, had taken Gwendolyn from his home, her arm linked comfortably around its own, and escorted her to a floating carriage the color of bright mint.  When Gwendolyn glanced back at him, he thought he had seen a glimmer of a smile.  Then they were gone, disappearing up into the clouds.

In the ensuing weeks, Clarence often thought of that moment, and wondered what exactly he had witnessed.  He tossed Gwendolyn’s chambers to ensure that she wasn’t playing some coy trick on him, though when she failed to turn up, he began to suspect that she was really gone.  He took to wearing mourning, since as far as he could tell his wife was no longer with them on this mortal coil, and it was a more sensible thing to explain to friends than to suggest what he thought he had seen.  He dared not repeat the story for fear that he might be seen as brain-addled.  That would be quite a horrible fate, now that he thought on it.

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As usual, this is a piece done for io9‘s Concept Art Writing Prompt feature.  I’m not entirely happy with the result, and would love to hear any suggestions for how it might be improved.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

The Octopus Train

The fog is thick enough that you feel your skin crawling despite the bone-freezing cold.  Massive, moist tentacles slide into view, grasping and sucking at the tracks, the station, the passengers as they pull your ride out of obscurity.

When it glides to a stop, a hatch opens, revealing glistening viscera the color of hot tar.

Stepping inside, your hand brushes the wall.  Against your skin the slime shimmers iridescent, as if the faintest red from your frozen, pallorous hand excites the entire spectrum.

The conductor takes your burgeoning pseudopod in his own, and as he punches it, you scream.

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I wrote up this drabble after my creative slump that happened earlier this week, and I think it turned out pretty well.  It’s based on the image you see up above, which I found on i09‘s Concept Art Writing Prompt feature.

When I first saw this image, I seriously had no idea what I was going to do with it.  It was just so bizarre and the people were so uninteresting next to the train.  After a few days with no ideas, I decided to do a drabble length horror story, since I wasn’t sure I’d be able to create any interesting sort of narrative with the extra space of 500 or so words.  One hundred words seemed like the perfect length to describe the train, have someone board it, and then make one really creepy thing happen.

Did I do accomplish my goal with this piece?  Let me know.

The Laundromat of Horrors

    Mervin sits hunched on the stool in the run down koin randorii at just past three in the morning, reading a cheap California Raisins comic with paper 3D glasses.  He hates doing his laundry in the middle of the night, but it’s the only free moment he has between his classes and his job at the pool hall in the same strip mall.  At least it’s Friday–no, Saturday now, he reminds himself.  No class in the morning, so he’ll be able to sleep in.

    Beneath the rumbling of the tumble dryers, Mervin fails to hear the door on one of the washers creak open.  A pale, billowing figure emerges and lets out a faint moan.

    Mervin remains oblivious.

    The figure, dripping cold beads of water on the warped linoleum, stalks closer to Mervin, moaning louder and louder with each wet, sloshy step.  Finally, it’s almost upon him when Mervin turns from his book.

    “Oh, hey Jeff.”

    “Dammit!  I was sure I was going to scare you this time!”

    Mervin rolls his eyes and sets down his comic.  “Jeff, I’ve been doing my laundry here for months.  You’re just not creepy anymore.”

    “Oh, come on!  I’m totally creepy!  Look, I was trying something new this time.”

    Mervin nods to the puddle that’s formed on the floor.  “Soaking wet and moaning?  Did you never see Ringu?”

    Jeff shrugs, flinging water from his ephemeral shoulders.  “Hello?  Mutant bedsheet creature?  Do you think I get out of the randorii very often?”

    Mervin thumbs over his shoulder toward the television mounted on the wall.  A pale man in a black hood stares back, unblinking.  “Don’t you get cable in here?”

    Wringing out the edges of himself, Jeff sighs.  “We would if we could, but you try calling a cable guy to come out here.  The shadowlings scare everyone away.”

    Outside, miniature humanoids no more than four inches tall skitter around, their bodies absorbing every trace of cheap fluorescent light emitted from the randorii.

    “God, Jeff, they’re just like little bugs.  You step on them and they go crunch and you move on with your life.”

    “Yeah, well most people prefer bugs that don’t screech bloody murder when they’re crushed underfoot.”

    Mervin sighs and sits back down, thumbing through his comic.  “Look, it’s not my fault if you can’t get anyone else to come in here after dark.  Hell, I’d probably avoid this dump too if I had the time.”

    Shaking what approximates his head, Jeff says, “You’re a cold man, Merv.”

    “Yeah, well I’m not the one who’s soaking wet after going through a cold/cold cycle.”

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As usual, this is a piece based on i09‘s Concept Art Writing Prompt feature.  Please feel free to leave feedback in the comments, and let me know what you’ve been writing this week!

The Monster with the Clipboard

    Her phone beeped with a new text message.  Scanning over it, Evangeline cursed.

    “Damn it, why right now?” She pouted as she looked herself over in the mirror.  She had been planning to turn some heads tonight in her crimson stockings and bustier.  The color was a wonderful complement to her smooth, ash-colored skin.

    She looked sexy as hell.

    She was all ready to go out to Belial’s party which had started an hour ago, but now because of work she was in danger of being more than just fashionably late.

    “Tch, better just get it over with.”

    Disappearing from her apartment, she appeared in a poof of smoke in the middle of a ring of gaudy, pastel candles that smelled vaguely of lilacs.  In front of her stood a boy in a worn old wrestling t-shirt and shorts.  He looked to be about thirteen.

    He also looked terrified.

    Evangeline rolled her eyes and launched into her spiel.  “Why have you summoned me?” she asked, flaring her wings and flashing her fangs for good measure.

    The boy stood in awe for a few moments before his eyes started to roam.  “It really worked!” he said.

    God, she hated dealing with teenagers.  “The infernal plane is always at the service of any mortal who seeks it.”  Evangeline swished her tail, cracking it like a whip while she stood, waiting for the boy to make his request.

    “You’re a babe!” he exclaimed.

    Damn it, thought Evangeline.  She was a professional though, and staying on script was the fastest way to seal the deal.  “What do you desire?”

    The brat had stopped looking at her face. “Well, I wanted to be the most popular kid in eighth grade so I could look down girls’ shirts, but…”

    No.  He wasn’t going to.

    “Now that you’re here…”

    Damn it, yes he was.

    “I’d just be happy to bone you.”

    This was why Evangeline hated being on call on the weekends.  She’d always get dressed up for a night out then get summoned by some pervert.  This was not in her job description.

    “Look, kid.  You summoned the wrong kind of devil, okay?  What you want is a succubus.  I’m just a dealmaker, alright?  You can’t have sex with me.”

    The boy stood confused for a moment.  “But you’re dressed like a–”

    “Don’t finish that sentence.”  She tugged upward on her top.  “It’s my night off and I was on my way to a party when you summoned me.  These are not my work clothes.”

    “But you said you’re at my service.  I give up my soul and you give me what I want.  That’s how it works.”

    “Yeah…”

    “Well, I want to do you.”

    Evangeline sighed.  This kid was giving her a headache.  “Not gonna happen, kid.  Pick something else.”

    “No.”

    “Jesus Christ, kid, just pick something else.  I got a party to go to.”

    The boy jabbed a finger at her.  “You said the J name!”

    Evangeline blinked.  “Yeah.  So?”

    “Aren’t you supposed to, y’know, not be able to do that?”

    It’d be funny if it weren’t the ten millionth time she’d had this conversation.  “Oh my God, you mortals are such idiots!”  Evangeline was seething.  Checking her phone, she realized she was definitely way past fashionably late now.  She rubbed her temples slowly, regaining her composure.  “Look, you summoned me, so I’m here.  Now we need to make a deal or you need to dismiss me.  So pick something else!”

    The boy cowered at Evangeline’s outburst, but he didn’t back down.  “Nope, I want to bone you.”

    “Not gonna happen, kid.  Try again.”

    “That’s not fair!  I summoned you and you’re a smoking hot babe and you’re supposed to give me what I want!”

    Evangeline pinched her nose.  There had to be a way out of this. “Okay, you know what?  Fine.  Get in the bed.”

    The boy was dumbstruck for a moment, but then he gleefully jumped into his bed.

    Evangeline produced a clipboard and started drawing up a contract.  “What’s your name, kid?”

    “Zeke.”

    Pretending to write up the terms, Evangeline covertly slipped out her phone and sent a text to her friend Adremelek.  Once she was done, she started reading off the contract she’d conjured.

    “You, Zeke, hereby trade your eternal soul in exchange for sexual services performed by the smoking hot devil in front of you.  Are these terms agreeable to you?”

    “Yeah, now come on!”  Zeke squirmed impatiently under the covers.

    “Not so fast; you have to sign first.”

    Another puff of smoke filled the room and a monstrous goat-headed devil appeared.  Smoke continued to pour from his nostrils and his eyes glowed a dull red.

    “What’s going on?” Zeke asked.

    Evangeline waved to her friend.  “Hey there, Mel, glad you could make it on short notice.”

    “No problem, Angie.  Always happy to help out a friend,” said Adremelek, his horns brightening and then darkening, wisps of smoke trailing from their tips.

    Turning back to Zeke, she said, “Don’t mind him.  It’s just standard procedure that we need a witness for the contract.  Now just sign here, and everything’s official.”  She handed the clipboard to Zeke, who nervously scrawled his name at the bottom.

    Adremelek snorted out a puff of smoke.  “Is that it, Angie?”

    “Yep.  Thanks, Mel.”  Evangeline turned to Zeke.  “Have fun, you two!”

    Then she disappeared in a puff of smoke.  Checking her phone, she decided that she still had time to hit Belial’s party.  She had a great story to tell now.

Concept Art Writing Prompt: The Nightmare with a Clipboard

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This is another piece that I did for i09’s regular feature, Concept Art Writing Prompt.  It’s a little twisted, but I thought it was fun.  Let me know what you think!