The Cure – Mutant 750

The Cure

Empty houses and roads devoid of traffic whisked past in a blur beneath the HH-65 Dolphin helicopter. The unearthly whine of the Coast Guard chopper’s rotors screamed as Lieutenant Lowden raced over the Oregon coastline at maximum speed.

“You’re pushing her too hard, Cap’n!” shouted Crew Chief Hadding in the crew compartment. “She’ll blow a gasket.”

“Hold her together for me, Chief,” said Lowden.

A memory played in Lowden’s mind like it had every day since 2011. She was young, just 18 at most, and already beautiful. She tried to stay afloat in the torrents of the tsunami. She reached out her hand to the helicopter, eyes pleading for mercy. In his mind’s eye he recalled her in super-reality. Hair smeared against her face, droplets beaded on her nose. Her beautiful eyes held the promise of a future family, playing with kids in the park. Just a few seconds more and they would pull her from waves.

A tree trunk, driven by the powerful waters, ended it all. Her body crumpled, ripped asunder when the trunk smashed into her. The memory of his failure plagued him, slowly poisoning away his soul. He almost quit that very day. Six months vacation and psychiatric care brought him back from the brink of madness. But nothing cured the vivid, hyper-realistic nightmares that forced him awake, drenched in sweat, every night. No cure existed for the memory slowly destroying him, Lowden realized. Hell lived inside his mind.

Lowden shook his head. Practically the entire Pacific coast had evacuated. Death was coming.

A chunk of rock, the size of a city, broke from the volcano, Mauna Loa, in the Hawaiian islands. The megaton block hit the sea and created a mind-boggling destroyer. Far worse than a tsunami, this was a megatsunami. When the wave first formed it stood over 3,000 feet high. Honolulu never had a chance. Within 30 minutes one million people disappeared into the sea.

It took the wave far longer to reach across the Pacific. The American Pacific coast received urgent warnings ordering them to race inland, now. Of course, some people couldn’t believe it. They stayed. People like Brandon Bailey.

They landed in Bailey’s back yard 30 miles from Coos Bay while the 48-year old calmly chopped wood. Lowden sent Hadding out to get him. A few minutes later, Hadding came back alone. “He refused, Cap’n! He won’t come.”

As Lowden stalked towards the weather beaten features of a truculent Bailey, Quincy called over Lowden’s helmet radio. “Four minutes, sir. Then we die.”

Hadding trailed behind him. “He’s got a right, Cap’n. We can’t make him leave.”

Lowden ignored the comments. He stopped before a scowling Brandon Bailey. “Time to go, Mr. Bailey,” he ordered.

“Yeah, ’cause of high water, right?” spat Bailey. “All ’cause of melting icebergs and dying polar bears right? You damned greenies make me sick!”

Lowden shook his head. What? “Sir, it’s a tsunami, not global warming.”

“Oh sure it’s not. I been keeping tabs on you greenie freaks. You think it makes sense a few cow farts will raise the level of the ocean and wash away the coasts. Well I don’t buy your bullshit! You damned liberals can’t have my money, and you sure as hell can’t take me from my land!”

“Three minutes, sir!” called Quincy.

Lowden saw the desperate expression of the Japanese girl overlaid across Bailey’s face. That morose Johnny Cash song played in his head.

I will let you down
I will make you hurt

“Never again,” grated Lowden.

“What…?”

Bailey never expected Lowden’s right cross. The punch, driven by years of despair, dropped the older man like a sack of potatoes.

“I don’t think that was legal,” said Hadding.

“Just help me get him to the chopper. Move!”

Quincy had the engines racing by the time they unceremoniously hurled Bailey into the helicopter. The co-pilot screamed, “Are you freaking INSANE?” He pointed. The tsunami wave lost energy crossing the Pacific Ocean. Now, it towered a rather pedestrian 317 feet above them. A real-life Kraken, come to destroy.

Lowden climbed in and goosed the chopper’s engines. The wave roared like a living thing, raging towards them as the chopper clawed for altitude.

“We’re not gonna make it!” screamed Quincy.

Water-sprayed into the crew compartment as they cleared the crest by thirty feet.

“My God,” croaked Bailey. “You weren’t foolin’!”

Lowden just smiled. Already, the hyper-real vision of the dead girl began to blur in his mind. It became fuzzy, less powerful.

He’d found a cure.
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Author’s Notes:

Tons to share with you today. First, Megatsunamis are not science fiction. They are real and are formed differently from the already bad enough tsunamis. From Wiki:
…Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes in Hawaii may have triggered past megatsunamis, most recently at 120,000 BP.[24][25][26] A future tsunami event is also possible, with the tsunami potentially reaching up to about 1 kilometre (3,300 ft) in height.[27][28] According to a documentary called National Geographic’s Ultimate Disaster: Tsunami, if a big landslide occurred at Mauna Loa or the Hilina Slump, a 30 metres (98 ft) tsunami would take only thirty minutes to reach Honolulu, Hawaii.
A Megatsunami struck Lituya Bay, Alaska in 1958. From Wiki:
On 9 July 1958, a giant landslide at the head of Lituya Bay in Alaska, caused by an earthquake, generated a wave with an initial amplitude of up to 1,720 feet (520 m). This is the highest wave ever recorded.
More about Megatsunamis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megatsunami
A Tsunami struck Japan in 2011: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_T%C5%8Dhoku_earthquake_and_tsunami
And now, the videos.
From a documentary about the 1958 megatsunami:

Dramatized Tsunami in Japan:

The distinct sound of the Coast Guard’s HH-65 Dolphin:

This was written for Grammar Ghoul Press’ Mutant 750 writing challenge. Media prompt was a song by Johnny Cash. Word prompt was, “Wave.” Look here for more info and more stories: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/mutant-and-chimera-winners-mutant-750-22-kickoff/

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Superstitions – Chimera 66

Superstitions

Clancy gazed through binoculars across the baseball field. “Look at Nicky. He won’t shave his beard until the World Series.”

Peter scoffed, “What a stupid superstition.”

“He’s a baseball fanatic,” said Clancy. “What do you expect?”

The pitcher hurled a fastball. Strike!

Clancy scratched at his closely-shaved scalp. “Can’t wait ’til the NLCS Playoffs, myself.”

“Why?” said Peter.

“I can let my hair grow out again.”
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Author’s Notes:
NLCS = National League Championship Series. The winner goes on to play the winner of the ALCS in the World Series.

It’s time for the Chimera 66 writing challenge at the Grammar Ghoul Press. This week’s prompt is: Fanatic. Oh, yeah. I could’ve gone a lot of directions this week, especially with those fanatics in ISIL. I’ll get to them later. Today, I was feeling light-hearted. Even though it’s early for baseball, I thought a little time with the Boys of Summer might push away those winter blues. Look here for more stories based upon the prompt: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/chimera-66-writing-challenge-7-%E2%80%8E/

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The Lovely Birds

Shey and I have been out birding with a vengeance lately. We stayed shut in at home for awhile, and we’re missing the outdoors. So we’re back at it and finding many lovely birds.

Carolina Chickadee
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Yellow-Rumped Warbler
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Eastern Bluebird
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Security Specialists – Friday Fictioneers

Photo by: Dawn Landau

Security Specialists

Chloe and her dog Sauvigny walked down the line of people at the train station.

Chloe pointed at a woman.

“Nope,” said Sauvigny.

She pointed at the next man.

“Yep,” he said.

The security man beside Chloe shot him.

“What the devil…?” screeched Peppin the new, uninformed Rail Master.

He stopped when the man’s head collapsed and alien tentacles burst out. The alien convulsed briefly, then died.

“Aliens infiltrating,” explained Chloe. “Sauvigny’s nose knows.”

Sauvigny pulled hard towards another man. “That one! Yes, that one!”

“Well, shoot it!” shouted Peppin, angry that the security man didn’t move.

“No,” sighed Chloe. “That guy has dog biscuits.”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers. Each week, the Friday Fictioneers meet on a train in France and ride the rails until inspiration hits us. We write up to 100 words of flash fiction based upon a photo prompt. Look here for more stories based upon the photo above: https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/27-february-2015/

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Hunger – Gargleblaster Microfiction #202

Tina raced into the gas station shop.

“What happened?” said Ed the attendant.

“Aliens!” shrieked Tina.

The lights went out.

“Cute,” groused Ed. “Some tentacled alien did that, right?”

“No!” cried Tina.

“No tentacles,” growled a voice. “Just huge fangs, and hunger!”
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The Wealth of Ordinary Food – YeahWrite Fiction

Philippines Lumpia. Not to be confused with Chinese eggrolls. Lumpia is better.

The Wealth of Ordinary Food

Administrator Idalya Lu Almidien shoved the empty plate aside. It seems I’ve eaten the Earth, she mused. It was a silly notion, of course. She looked up. The Earth would actually be consumed by the fleet of 317 5-mile long starships in orbit above. Soon, their cutting beams would slice the Earth apart and use the metal molten core for construction, unless she decided otherwise.

In the UN building ballroom, Idalya addressed the terrified humans assembled to hear her decision. Cameras flashed and others transmitted digital streams, capturing the moment for the world.

“We began when I informed this body, representing Humanity, that the Duletian Hegemony considers your species an abysmal failure.” Idalya paused to brush at the short brown fur running down to her hands. Her dark-olive complexion shined in the hall’s lighting. “Your wealthy relentlessly abuse your poor. You continually oppress one another over piddling details like monetary status, skin color, religion, and ideology. These are indications of a failed species.”

UN delegates from around the world groaned collectively. “We are not without compassion,” Idalya continued. “We considered that if humans could offer an important export, you might be spared. Your technology is uselessly backward. Nothing there. Your art is charming, but easily duplicated. Lastly, I am here today to sample your cuisine. If you can not help but pursue the crab mentality of each human pushing the other down, permitting none to rise up, perhaps your cooking might have merit.”

Nearly everyone in the room held their breath. The finest, wealthiest cooks from around the world cooked their most expensive dishes using the rarest of spices and ingredients. The exotic dishes placed before her represented millions of dollars in materials and labor. Idalya presided over the most expensive feast in the history of mankind. The chefs stood nearby, skin sweating, eyes staring with anticipation.

Idalya dabbed her mouth with a napkin. “After sampling Earth’s food…” She threw the napkin down. “I see nothing here worth saving!”

The screams of dismay could be heard for blocks.

Jason Bourdain, one of the failed chefs, remembered something about his grandfather. Watching Idalya leave the hall, he suddenly realized where they went wrong. He made a quick phone call to an old friend.

As she walked away from the building, the UN delegates screamed and pleaded to no avail. She walked past skyscrapers and wealthy magnates, ignoring them all. Then she heard a small voice say, “Lumpia, ma’am?”

A Filipino man stood beside his food truck dressed in stained shorts and a torn tee-shirt. He held out a cardboard tray of Filipino eggrolls. Ernest Sobiango never made it big like Jason Bourdain, but Jason never failed to stop for the best lumpia in New York.

She took it from his shaking hand and tasted it. The most influential chefs in the world watched with trepidation. Who does this guy think he is? He’ll only make it worse! When she handed the tray back unfinished, they all groaned. “Idiot!” the chefs cursed him.

Idalya turned to the chefs and delegates. “Earlier, I pointed out your wealthy oppression of your poor. Yet when I asked to sample your food as a final possible salvation, you give me food that only the wealthiest 1% enjoy. Can you not think? Can you not learn?” She pointed at Ernest. “At last, I enjoy the wealth of your ordinary food.” She paused. No one breathed. “My decision is rescinded. Earth will remain!”

The cheers could be heard for blocks.

Idalya leaned towards Ernest. “How long to make 10,000 Lumpia? I’ve got a hungry demolition crew.”
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Author’s Notes:
Jason Bourdain is fictional, but his grandfather is an oblique reference to Chef Anthony Bourdain. His TV show, “No Reservations” is one of the coolest shows ever. Bourdain is no pompous snob in a poofy hat. Raised in New Jersey, he smokes, drinks, and cusses. Not to excess of course. He takes you to foreign countries to meet the common folk. He doesn’t eat at snobby 4-star restaurants. He goes into the street and you meet regular people and learn how they live and what they eat. With every show I watch, I gain a greater appreciation of the diversity of our world. I’d love to have a beer with Anthony some day.
More about Anthony Bourdain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Bourdain
A clip of Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam, eating one of my favorite foods.

Lumpia: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/filipino-lumpia-2/
Crab Mentality: I first heard the term in the Philippines, but you can see it practiced in every human society. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_mentality

This was written for YeahWrite Fiction writing challenge #202. Look here for more stories: http://yeahwrite.me/fiction-poetry-writing-challenge-202/

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Novelist Blues – Mondays Finish the Story

Photo by: Barbara W. Beacham

Novelist Blues

The old typewriter had a mind of its own. It wrote some pretty terrifying stuff. Things that would make your toes curl up. Still, as demonically possessed items go, it could’ve chosen worse than my grandfather’s manual Underwood.

If Anhaeluvix had possessed my computer, it might’ve been scary. It could have turned itself on and wrote its horrors all night long. It could’ve posted bizarre selfies to my Facebook account. But no, Ani possessed a manual typewriter. Anytime I got tired of his foul mouth, I just forgot to reload a sheet of paper. Problem solved. Stupid demon.

Occasionally, when I became bored, I’d stick in some paper just to see what curses he came up with. I don’t think Ani ever repeated a one twice. I started typing things back to him, and we had conversations. Of course, for this to work, I had to establish boundaries. One conversation went like this:

Anhaeluvix: May the tentacles of Great Naharpythilus gouge your eyes, and his thorns of Inestimable Doom infest your rectum!

Jones: Knock off the rectum shit, Ani. Do it again and you’ll get the cheap bond paper for a week!

Anhaeluvix: Hey, hey, lighten up! We’re all friends here, right?

Eventually, I discovered that Ani wrote much more than curses. He wrote novels. A pretty fair writer I’ll admit, if you like zombies and demons portrayed as the good guys. Ani could write a full-length book in days. A pretty impressive feat, but unfortunately it meant I had to sit beside the typewriter and load a new page every time he finished one. Ani didn’t need sleep or food or potty breaks, so his novel-writing could be a grueling ordeal for me. Sometimes I’d wake up with my face in my own drool with something like this:

*Sniiiiiick…ding!*

*Sniiiiiick…ding!*

With the typewriter carriage shifting angrily back and forth, I read the last line on the page.

Anhaeluvix: Wake UP! You twice-damned spawn of the eighty-teated goat! Change the paper!

Jones: I gotta pee.

Just for kicks, I sent one of Ani’s books to a publisher. I was shocked when they bought it immediately. It went to print and immediately shot up to #3 on the Bestseller list. I published more books. Ani didn’t seem to care that my name graced the covers. He just kept writing. I started receiving fan mail from the weirdos that actually read this kind of crap. Some folks considered the sex scene between a rock demon and a wood chipper to be the pinnacle of American literature.

Whatever.

Checks from the publisher started rolling in. I quit my job and spent 12 hours a day rolling new pages into the Underwood. The eight books Ani wrote in a month all sold like hotcakes. He could’ve written more but my wrist was sore all the time from repetitive stress. I bought a lot of ice packs. I started attending Goth conventions. I learned how to compliment a teenager on successfully matching the colors of her black lipstick, black eyeshadow, and black fingernail polish with her black dress…and still keep a straight face.

With 42 books backlogged and waiting for a believable time frame to send to the publisher, I started noticing something odd in Anhaeluvix’s writing. It was getting mushy. I mean, mushy for Ani. The explosions and building collapses and hideous deaths by chainsaw dwindled. A softer, though still gruesome side appeared. The romance between a Balrog demon and a demonic parking meter seemed obviously starstruck from the beginning. What would they do when he ran out of quarters? Love is great, but you still need money, right? Eventually, they killed themselves in a lover’s suicide pact.

Ani’s romantic bent continued until he didn’t feel like writing for a day. Later the delay lasted a week, and then a month. I should’ve known the gravy train wouldn’t last forever. With 23 books published and another 37 in the wings, I honestly couldn’t complain. I was rich and that meant the medical bills for my carpal tunnel were covered. Still, I wondered what changed.

And then one night, I couldn’t sleep. I slogged into Ani’s room with a plate of nachos. That’s when I saw them. It explained everything. I’m happy for Anhaeluvix, I really am. Everybody needs someone to love, even demons.

Trouble is, I can never look at a slinky toy the same way again.
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Every Monday it’s time to finish the story. Thanks for letting me go beyond the 150 word limit, Barb! With a photo prompt and an opening sentence, it’s up to us to finish writing the story. The splash photo above is this week’s media prompt and the sentence prompt is, “The old typewriter had a mind of its own.” Look here for more stories based upon the prompts: https://mondaysfinishthestory.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/mondays-finish-the-story-february-23rd-2015/

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