Alien Rock

Being a famous rock star is hard. Especially when an alien invasion hits mid-concert. As lasers and abductions abound, do you think your sick beats can stop this catastrophe? Write about how you attempted to fight off the aliens and whether or not you succeeded.

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653 thoughts on “Alien Rock

  1. rosmid


    The set was going pretty good, all things considered. I was strumming along on the bass while Anthony shoved his pelvis against the microphone stand. Anthony was a dick but the guy could sing and Carlos and I needed the extra cash. And, as we all know, hot lead singer equals hot girl presence equals guys cubed equals money.
    So there we were, rocking out. The place was packed with people. Girls actually threw their bras on stage. I had to laugh, it was so ridiculous. It was like something out of a Van Halen video. Anthony ripped on the guitar and Carlos hit the drums like they owed him money.
    Then it happened and of course it happened right in the middle of our top song, “Get You.” Anthony was just about to sing the catchiest hook I had ever written when we heard it: a noise that sounded like metal being torn in two. Everyone covered their ears. One girl in a pink tube top passed out.
    People started to rush out of the club. Carlos was shouting at me from behind the drum set but I couldn’t hear him over the noise of people running outside. I jumped off the stage and before Anthony or Carlos could say anything I had been taken by the flow of people to the streets outside the club.
    I stared upwards at the ship. It was wide and pulsing with a green light. It sat docile and tame in the night sky. Some people took photos with their phones. Others called the cops. One topless girl was crying.
    There was a flicker in front of the crowd and a creature materialized in front of us. The crowd gasped and backed away. Only I remained in front of the creature. My mouth was wide open. I must have looked like a complete dork.
    The creature was tall and green. It had mandibles in front of a mouth filled with sharp pointy teeth. Its skin was scaly like a serpent’s. It was tall, maybe about seven feet. Strangely, it was wearing what looked like a leather jacket.
It pointed at me with an impossibly large talon and screeched something. I covered my ears, as did the rest of the crowd. The creature took a step back then reached into the pocket of the jacket and pulled out a yellow pill. It tossed the pill back in its mouth and pulled out of the other pocket what looked like a flask. It downed whatever liquid was inside and coughed.
    “Shit, that’s tasty. Sorry, guys, didn’t have my translator in” said the creature. It raised two fists up in the air. “NOW WHO’S READY TO ROCK AND ROLL?” The creature laughed, then coughed, then held its stomach. Pink ooze fell out of its mouth and onto the asphalt, where it started to burn through the street.
    And that is how I met Zorbaz, the greatest metal player the universe had ever seen.

  2. girl-in-progress

    Call me a traitor all you want but I’m not going back with you my brothers. I don’t belong to that bottomless pit. Not now. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Not in a million light years. Not since I’ve burned the midnight oil ‘Up There’ scheming on how to get here, in this planet. Not now that I’ve began to succeed. Not now that I can act, speak, and understand Earthling. Not now that I’ve become a “world-class rock star” as these puny earthlings put it. Not now that I’ve finally found my talent – my voice. Not now that I’ve taken ahold of that Shure SM58. Not now that I’ve made the whole world sing…

    Heavens, brothers, can’t you see? Just look around! They adore me! My! They are even shouting my silly, unpronounceable name, asking for my autographs, selfie-ing with me, interviewing me, casting me on TV for the entire world to see…

    The number one reason that I’m not going back Up There is my fans or these earthlings, whatever you call them. Oh yes, we may have started off on the wrong foot but who cares? I just owe them my alienness. If not for them I would not have achieved everything – my rise to stardom, my billion dollar Beverly Hills mansion (which came to being when the engineers accidentally demolished my lovely ovoid-shaped mobile), and most especially, these, my dashing good looks. These humans deconstructed my face, my whole body. It took them two full years to complete this design of the earthling-me. From then till now, I’ve never been happier to look at myself in the mirror.

    That is why my brothers, guardians of the third kind, I beg you. All of you. Don’t take me back with you. Up There is not my home any longer. I’m now an earthling in body, mind and soul. And I’m proud of it. You should be proud of me as well. Besides, what are aliens for, right?

    And lastly, please oh please, don’t make a scene here anymore. I don’t want my beloved fans to think that this is an invasion which in reality is. You have made your point and I have made mine. I love these earthlings as much as I love you all. Let them be. Make a peaceful voluntary exit if you can. Your grand entrance a while ago was enough.

    From My Intergalactic Famous Speech. Copyright © 3014 by Azilisquafx “Allen” Nbufitliboxx. All rights reserved.

    1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

      lol, Girl… I’m really glad I came back to this prompt after the new one started because this was really really fun to read. You really hit a home run with this because the voice it is is just fantastic. You’re really grabbing hold of this writing thing, and I hope that you’ll post up for the new one! Thanks for sharing!

      1. girl-in-progress

        Oh thanks a million Doc Jay! I appreciate you taking the time to read my story and positively commenting on it too! :) Yes, I’ll try posting for the new one.

    2. Lexicomical

      What an interesting twist to an already bizarrely captivating prompt! This was a fantastic read, keep it up. Just for future reference, a light year is the distance light travels in a year, not a measure of time. The more you know.

    3. sjmca1966

      I echo Jays comments, girl-in-progress. Your POV was a great vehicle to get the message of your story across and something many people of this world could learn from.
      Well done :)

      1. girl-in-progress

        Thanks sjmca! I never thought you’d like the speech of that conceited alien! Hahaha:)

        P.S. Your take is terrific too! Hurray for you.

  3. Observer Tim

    Part Six and Final. See also:

    Coming Out Fighting
    Rust Red Rebirth
    Out of the Frying Pan
    Go Big Sister



    I got my first real bout of stage fright that evening. I was trying out a new song in a style I’d never done before. There was no wall of power, at least not for the first bit, only a single triangle jingling out a haunting melody.

    The morning after,
    The tears and laughter,
    There’s nothing left of the life that I knew.

    Aggie was gone. I knew that because I shot her myself. She’d had a gun pointed at Jenna and had already shot Luka. Her hatred of the Garridans had driven her to kill children.

    The morning after,
    It spirals faster,
    I’ve lived a lie but I know now what’s true.

    Luka was treated and released at emergency. Her organs weren’t in the same place as a human’s, which saved her life. But it triggered something else; she fell into a coma just after we got home. Jenna said that was normal, and we took her at her word.

    The morning after,
    Start a new chapter,
    The morning after my life without you.

    Trevor held me once the girls were safely in bed. I felt so alone, so hopeless and lonely, but he stayed with me. What happened next… maybe it was tension sex, or rebound sex, or any of those words we make up to hide ordinary human desire. All I can say for sure is I moved first and he assented to my desire.

    My life has changed and I can’t see where it’s going;
    The change is fast and it shows no sign of slowing;
    I’m rushing blind
    Into the depths of time
    I’m terrified ‘cause I’ve got no way of knowing.

    In the morning Trevor and I talked it out. He isn’t the girl of my dreams, he never can be. But he’s a friend, and he’ll stay with me as long as I want him. He even offered to pretend to be a girl in the bedroom if I’d show him how. It sounds weird, but it’s the best offer I’ve had in a long time.

    The day is new and it’s bright and unforgiving;
    My only hope is to just go on with living;
    The rain will fall
    It does that after all
    And I’ll be fine if I only keep on giving.

    Jenna says her sister is going through pupation, turning into a proper human. It’s sort of an alien puberty. The injury triggered it prematurely, but before long the others will do it too. I’m not supposed to worry, just keep her warm and wash her down with water a couple of times a day.

    The morning after,
    I am its master,
    I can decide everything that I do.

    The Garridans have been driven off and the human race is rebuilding. I’d love to say we’re doing it right this time, but old hatreds are already resurfacing. Someday we’ll go out there and exact justice; maybe we’ll even find out why they attacked in the first place.

    Time will tell.

    1. Observer Tim

      I’d like to thank those who stuck to this for the duration. My inspiration was the giant robot operas of the 1980’s and 90’s, especially

      Space Fortress Macross (the Japanese versions)
      Super Dimension Century Orguss
      Bubblegum Crisis (not actually giant robots, but a classic anyway)

    2. lionetravail

      Wonderful, bitter-sweet and majestic finish to the saga, with the opportunity for a lot in between to be filled in.

      OT, really fantastic- I had a blast reading this!

      1. Observer Tim

        Thanks, lionetravail. I had a great time writing it. I played an extended wartime anime in my head and pulled the episodes that centered around music. If I get really ambitious, I would love to spend time filling in the gaps. :)

    3. Reaper

      Tim, I don’t know if you’ll come back and read this but beautifully done, riveting stuff. This reads like a good light novel and with a couple of extended battle scenes throne in could be a good core for an anime with a possible extension into a second season of revenge. Glad I read it and came looking for the end today.

      1. Observer Tim

        Thank you greatly, Reaper. I had a blast writing it, and now the plot sequence through the subsequent mission to Garridan space (undertaken by the girls, of course) is stuck in my head. Before it fades I intend to write an outline and see if I can flesh it out further outside the scope of the prompts.

        Of the series I leeched for inspiration, the only one you mentioned that I didn’t use was Cowboy Bebop, which is after my time. I’ll have to check it out.

    4. snuzcook

      Nice conclusion with open ends for more, O.Tim.
      My popcorn’s soggy–don’t know if it’s more because Aggie’s dead, Luka’s been prematurely pupated, or because Trevor may end up in a push up bra.
      Thanks for giving us this wonderful series!

  4. Observer Tim

    Part Five. See also:

    – Coming Out Fighting
    – Rust Red Rebirth
    – Harmonics
    – Out of the Frying Pan

    Go Big Sister

    “Miss Myers, you are needed here!

    “Admiral with all due respect, and that isn’t much, I’m needed out there! The new Garridan ultra-mechs are taking our people apart and you need every pilot you can get your hands on!”

    “Absolutely not! We cannot risk a valuable strategic asset…”

    “I’m not an asset! I’m a human being!”

    “No you are not, Miss Myers! You are half-Garridan!”

    My voice turned to ice. “And you think I’ll defect. Admiral, those creeps have annihilated over ninety-nine percent of the human race; they have to be stopped before they finish the job!”

    He turned to the marines who provided ‘security’ for my concert. “Make sure she doesn’t leave this room!”

    I turned on Trevor. “You could have helped!”

    “What Mindy, use my awesome military street-cred? I’m too busy prepping the girls.” He knelt down and adjusted Sasha’s mike. Sasha and her three sisters were half-Garridan like me, hard metal rockers with truly magical voices. Unless you actually saw them you’d never know they were eleven years old.

    Trevor was just finishing up. “Okay girls, remember if something goes wrong you jump down that tube. It goes straight to the evacuation pods, right next to the mecha bay. Got it?”

    The girls nodded, but I was the one who got it. I was in the tube before anyone could react.

    The mecha bay was pretty picked-over; all the pure combat mechs were out there fighting already. I chose a search & rescue unit. It was lightly armed and armoured but very fast.

    I was in the cockpit with a flight suit half-on by the time my marine babysitter arrived.

    “Mindy! Get back here right now!”

    “Catch me, trooper!” I slammed the canopy and slithered my arms into the suit. I could do it up while launching. Just before climbing the mech onto the catapult I jettisoned the rescue gear. That got me a call from the ground crew.

    “Miss, you’re going to have to keep the throttle way down or you’ll black out.”

    “Screw that, ground. I’m Mindy Myers, half-Garridan. I can take twice as many g’s as a human and I’m going to use every one of them! Launch!”

    I love ground crews; they don’t waste time when it counts. Four seconds later I was in space and clear of the carrier. I switched to tactical channel and heard Jenna’s voice over a high energy bass line that would scramble the nervous system of any full-blooded Garridan stupid enough to listen in.

    Go Big Sister! Hit ‘em like a twister!
    This is the time, this is the place,
    Gotta blow the bad guys out of space!

    I love that song; it was the first one Jenna wrote after we rescued her. I’m Big Sister. I checked the tactical sub-channel and saw where I could do the most good. I slammed on the thrusters and blasted out at just over twenty g’s. Even the ultra-mechs could only pull fourteen.

    1. lionetravail

      I hear space opera music with every ‘episode’!

      Tim, your prose is absolutely racing! Every one of these have been pedal to the metal, full throttle, and balls (though no actual testicles, of course) to the wall. Even the pace of the stories is exciting!

  5. sjmca1966

    You Can’t Go Back –

    It was the last night of what had been an arduous eighteen month grind. We’d retired a decade earlier after nearly forty years of living the so-called dream.

    After Joey ran foul of the IRS and Nicky’s medical bills started piling up, re-forming was the only logical thing to do. The Hip Replacement Tour, we’d called it.

    Over the years I’d learned not to become distracted, but when we walked on stage we couldn’t miss the thin mushroom cloud forming in the distance. We were about to launch into ‘Mable Under the Table’, when two more clouds appeared in different parts of the city.

    “Richie, they’re back,” said Robbie.

    “Looks like it,” I replied.

    Within seconds an ominous shadow began gradually overtaking the stadium.

    “Yep, it’s them alright.”

    The mother-ship hovered to a standstill over the stadium.

    “Remain calm, everybody!” I yelled into the mic.

    My words were soon made redundant, as a wave of blue light left the audience incapacitated.

    “I know I promised,” said Joey, “But I need a bloody drink.”

    “Just play it cool, man,” I said, “Leave all the talking to me.”

    Over the years, Joey’s mouth had gotten us into more scrapes than I care to remember, not to mention costing us three damned good managers.

    A quick glance off stage let me know that the four of us were the only ones not immobilized.

    A humanoid figure of around seven-foot-four materialized at the stage entrance. The surrounding scaffolding shook and the floor felt like a trampoline as the figure made its way towards me. Stopping no more than three feet from me, I looked up at a face that was perfectly symmetrical, its olive-brown skin was unblemished and the eyes were like chrome with the full spectrum of colors ingratiating them as they moved.

    “Mul duc, et kal! Lal et verk Richie!” said the figure.

    “Qal Noc, you old bastard, how the hell are you!” I replied, as I was lifted up off the ground in a warm, if not a little painful embrace.

    “Not bad you son-of-a-bitch. Long time my friend, long time,” said Qal, as he finally put me down.

    Qal headed over to Nicky and gave him a hug, he repeated the gesture with Robbie. He offered Joey a handshake and wiped the sweat from his hand once they broke grip.

    “What brings you to this neck of the universe?” I asked. “As if I didn’t know.”

    “Well you always have the hottest chicks at your concerts.”

    “How many you after this time?” I asked.

    “About ten-thousand.”

    As he turned smiling towards the audience, Qal soon gave a look of shock. His back started arching in convulsions and his cheeks started expanding. He then chundered all over the front three rows.

    Qal crouched down and pulled a cloth from his uniform to wipe his face clean, “What’s happened?” he said.

    “We all get older Qal. You haven’t been here since eighty-three.”

    Within three minutes Qal and the mother-ship were gone. To us our audience was still as beautiful as it had been when we first started, I guess Qal just didn’t share our view.

    1. Reaper

      I love the hip replacement tour, both the overt meaning and the awesome secondary. Very funny with a nice feel good touch at the end. Wonderful story.

    2. Observer Tim

      I guess, according to Qal at least, rock and roll is a game for the young. This was great, sjmca; you had me laughing a good one. ;)

      I don’t know if you remember the Comets (as in Bill Haley) going on tour a few years back with “We Ain’t Dead Yet”. That is what this tale brings to mind. Of course, now a Rolling Stones tour comes across that way too…

      Septagenarians Rock!

    3. snuzcook

      You had me grinning with ‘hip replacement tour’ and brought it full circle to the punchline nicely. Love the device of the scary alien being an old friend. Wiping off the sweat after the handshake was a great detail. Wonderful tale, sjmca1966!

    4. lionetravail

      Jethro Tull again in my head- Too old to rock and roll (and too young to die)!”

      Nice work here SJMCA. I also love the Hip Replacement Tour, and casual hand-in-glove abductions, and the subtle reference to the aging concertgoers keeping pace with the aging rockers :)

      Well-written, the prose being, and I’m using this for its synchronicity with the story itself- Spry!

  6. lionetravail

    “Part 7- Conclusion of Rocking Barsoom!”

    My brother took us directly to the Palace of the Warlord of Barsoom. I remained on the flyer, hidden on the floor of the control room. Hestur would go to speak with the Warlord himself, so as not to give any suspicion to Talos K’ree or any of his agents that I might have returned. Such knowledge might easily have cost the lovely Seris Hatak her life.

    As I lay out of sight on the hard deck, my mind could not but revisit the fierce and heroic set of her mien, her courage in the darkness, and her willingness to risk herself to distract Talos and the Ptarthian assassin. Her actions were among the noblest of all, and such heroism did not deserve that which fate had already inflicted!

    Soon, Hestur returned to the ship and swiftly took us up. “I’ve informed the Warlord, and he agrees with your plan to attend the concert in order to give the assassins a chance to strike, lest they otherwise be warned and seek another opportunity. He will seed some of the best fighting men of Helium in the plain trappings of household servants who will be fortunate enough to sit near him during the concert.”

    “And what of Seris?” I said, perhaps a bit hastily as I stood up.

    “There’s been no word of her,” Hestur said. “If what you say about Talos is correct, and he intends to force her…”

    “She will no doubt take her own life rather than suffer the shame,” I said mournfully.

    “Then our plan is sure to keep her safe!” he said, hopefully. “John Carter has promised to make sure that Talos is among the retainers who accompany him to the concert- we will take him at the appointed zode, and force Seris’ location from him.”

    I could only pray that he was correct.

    Shortly thereafter we were at his dwelling. The comforts of civilization were the most appreciated I can ever recall finding them, but the largest portion of my mind dwelled on Seris’ plight, mitigating the pleasure.

    Within the zode we were off to the Amphitheater, where I met the other players. Hestur and I briefed them on what was to happen, and their faces showed their rage at the villainy to be perpetrated! I hid among the speakers above the stage, waiting for the right time to appear, as they prepared behind the curtains. Outside, we could hear the crowd begin filling the venue, and could tell when the Warlord arrived from the loving, full-throated roar of the people of Helium for him and his Princess.

    Finally, it was time, and the Green Woman, Th’lar, began to play on her drums, and the curtains lifted to show all the players but me. The music began in earnest, and the crowd cheered its approval as I surveyed movement in the area around the Warlord.

    After several songs, I saw them! Supposed latecomers, nonchalantly making their way through the seats around the Warlord’s position. And I dropped from my perch to the astounded cries and cheers of the crowd.

    The music stopped with my appearance. “This next song is dedicated to the Prince and Princess of Helium!” I cried, the signal for those hidden loyal warriors to spring to action. The space around John Carter and Dejah Thoris devolved into utter chaos as the Warlord’s chosen men rose to do battle with the would-be assassins.

    I dropped the microphone and leapt from the stage, aiming myself straight at the odious figure of Talos K’ree, who stood to one side, watching worriedly as his henchmen were met with steel of the greatest fighting men of Helium, and were steadily overmatched.

    He saw me rushing towards him and drew his pistol, but my speed was so great that I was upon him before he could take a single shot. With a mighty blow to his chin, the gun flew from his hand and he spun right around, sagging to the floor with a moan.

    I looked about to see every single assassin pumping his lifeblood to the floor of the Amphitheater, and only minor wounds among the Warlord’s personal guards. I grabbed Talos K’ree as he was coming to consciousness and shook him.

    “Speak villain!” I cried at him, as the noise of the concert site waned to see this additional drama. “Where is Seris Hatak? If she does not still live, by my ancestors I shall see you to your death this very moment…!”

    “She lives,” he coughed, spitting up blood. “She is unharmed, in the quarters of these Ptarthians who failed in their mission.”

    My heart sang in my chest, more melodic by far than any attempt I had made vocally during my life. I was about to reply when I heard the Warlord speak from behind my shoulder.

    “You have betrayed me, and the people of Helium, Talos K’ree,” he said. “The penalty is death, but if you would have that death with honor at your own hand, then you must explain to me this plot.” He put his hand on my shoulder. “Go find Seris Hatak, Padwar,” he said in a kindly voice. “Your work here is done, but the girl remains in need of succor.”

    I saw him glance at his Princess, the incomparable Dejah Thoris, and I felt a lump in my throat at the love between them. I nodded, and left the Amphitheater at a run to find the woman whom, I was certain, could make me feel the same.

    A short time later, I had freed her from her captivity. She greeted me coolly. “I would have escaped on my own in just a few more xats,” she explained.

    “I… I but wanted to ensure your safety, Seris Hatak,” I said carefully.

    “As long as you realize that I can take care of myself,” she said primly.

    “Yes, my lady,” I said. “I have seen your courage and selflessness firsthand, and know you for the capable Heliumite your father raised you to be.” I looked at her lovely face, and saw no softening there. “I will leave you then- I am just glad you are safe.” I turned to go. Never should I have even imagined that the daughter of a famous warrior could have affection for a mere Padwar.

    “I didn’t ask you to leave, Hintur Hund,” she said, a touch impatiently.

    I turned back to her. “But…?” I began.

    “I merely said that I wanted you to realize that I can take care of myself,” she interrupted. “I would not take it amiss if you were to call upon me.”

    My heart lifted. I offered her my arm.

    She took it. “And just where are you taking me,Padwar?” she said, the hint of a smile on her full lips.

    “Didn’t you hear, my lady? There’s a concert today at the Amphitheater….”

    1. Reaper

      Beautiful ending. I continue to love the language, the epic heroic dialogue. You did the action here very well. It was fast paced and well executed. Whew, that was a journey I’m glad I went on with you.

    2. Observer Tim

      This is positively epic, Lionetravail. It should be assembled, have the little bits of needed cleanup done, and published. This has been a three-day trip back to the past in grand style! There are not enough exclamation points in my vocabulary to do this justice.

      :) :) :)

    3. snuzcook

      What a wonderful series, lionetravail! All the elements are there for a full, statisfying hero story. And the ending brought it all back down to the classic hero being humbled by fair damsel’s whims.
      Well done!

  7. Observer Tim

    Part Four, following:
    Coming Out Fighting
    Rust Red Rebirth

    And now…

    Out of the Frying Pan

    I put the Garridan mech through its paces; there was no way we were going to escape from their ship only to be blown apart by Earthforce. Casey, my wing-lass, was out like a light due to g-stress; somehow, I was in fine form despite flying in my underwear with no flight suit. I finally found the communicator and turned it on.

    “Cambodia, don’t shoot! It’s Mindy Myers! Lightning Four! We escaped from a Garridan ship in a commandeered mech!”

    “What’s the passcode, Lightning Four?”

    “I don’t know the damn passcode! I’ve been held captive for the last two weeks!”

    I jinked the mech sideways and dodged. A plasma beam narrowly missed me.

    The Earthforce mechs redoubled their efforts as I approached the Cambodia’s landing bay. My dodging got the girls flying around the cabin and screaming with glee. Sasha slammed into my chest, knocking the wind out of me. This thing was designed for one, maybe two adults, not two adults and four kids.

    “Lightning Four? Mindy? If that’s really you, what’s going on over there?”

    “I have civilians on board!” Sort of a lie, but they don’t need to know that.

    “What’s a civilian?”

    “Not now, Jenna. We have to prove we’re not Garridans.”

    “But we are Garridans.”

    “We can’t tell them that!”

    A beam grazed the mech’s left leg, causing it to shudder.

    “Okay girls, any idea how we can prove we’re not Garridans?”

    Luka tugged on my hair. “I know.”

    My Garry lies over the ocean,
    My Garry lies over the sea;
    My Garry lies over the ocean,
    Oh send him a missile from me.

    It was crazy, but it worked. No Garridan soldier would ever sing anything. Singing was like a sonic attack to them. The shooting stopped and they let us land, which was the beginning of our problems.

    You haven’t lived until you’ve stood, in your underwear, alongside your wing-lass and four ten-year old girls, also in underwear, and faced down an angry Wing Commander and an amused First Officer, both in standard uniform.

    “I trust there’s an explanation for this, Lieutenant Myers.”

    “Yes, First Officer.”

    “And it is…?”

    “Casey –Lieutenant Parks– and I were on patrol when we spotted a Garridan science ship. We went close to investigate but were spotted by hostile forces.”

    “Sir, we have standing orders not to engage…”

    “I am aware of that, Commander. Let her continue.”

    “Our mechs were aggressively disassembled and our flight suits taken. We were held captive for nearly two weeks and experimented on. After that, with the help of these girls who we taught to sing, we escaped in a stolen Garridan mech.”

    “And how did these girls come to be on the Garridan ship, Lieutenant?”

    Jenna spoke up. “We’re half-Garridans, just like Mindy is!”

    At least the cell was comfortable. We had a bed, and we got coveralls. And there were enough blood tests so everyone could have one. Several, actually.

    1. Reaper

      Beautiful twist there. You have certainly kept the anime feel even in your plot flow. Very nice Tim. I would still be watching this anime and that is pretty impressive.

    2. lionetravail

      Tim, I love it- this whole suite of short pieces, told in Mindy’s voice, is an amazingly fun romp through mech adventure. I’d posit to you that these 4 pieces form a skeleton of a novel-length story I would buy and enjoy, and hope to see on the silver screen.

      I sincerely hope you run with this: I love the stories, the tone, the humor, and the MC’s voice. Nice job!

  8. lionetravail

    “Part 6″ (I lied, I needed this and one to follow- sue me, it’s my damn story, and I want to tell it right :))

    Rearmed from the would be assassin of Ptarth’s lifeless body, I began the long lope home, unsure I would make it at all, let alone in time. Mad Thuria raced from the heavens as I ran, with cold Cluros taking a longer and more stately progress before full dark fell. I knew that at that moment, Talos K’ree would be meeting with his Ptarthian killers, making final preparations for the murder of the most worthy man we know on Barsoom. Were I not cut of the same cloth as every proud fighting man of Helium, I might have given in to despair.

    Instead, I struggled on in the darkness, my pace cut to a careful walk over the uneven ground. Prior to dawn, as the sky began to lighten, I picked up the pace again even as my muscles and thews protested. But both my Warlord’s safety, and that of the valiant Seris, spurred me to every exuberance.

    And then I heard the unmistakable sound from a great distance. A flyer! It might be enemies, Talos K’ree sending agents to ensure that I did not reach the city in time, but it seemed far more likely that it might be the next Padwar set to patrol my sector. Or so my heart told me.

    When I saw the flyer, I took the radium pistol from my harness, and fired it into the distance to my right several times. The pilot turned the prow of the flyer promptly towards me, bow presenting the smallest possible target for hostile fire. “Well, nothing for it then,” I said, and waited.

    As I watched the ship approach, I was suddenly distracted by a wild, ululating cry from my right. I gasped, traitor fear clawing for an instant at my breast, as I recognized the hunting cry of the Kursk Green Men! Others joined them, and I realized that my pistol shots had attracted their attention as well!

    I broke into a run, pushing my trembling muscles forward, trying to close the distance to the flyer and to stay ahead of my pursuers. I saw the ship begin to dip, her pilot having seen me and undoubtedly also seeing the Kursk giving chase: whether to harm, or help, I still didn’t know.

    Shots from the powerful radium rifles of the Kursk began to pepper around me as the flyer landed. Fortunately, the sun was not quite up, so the fired pellets were not yet exploding as their contents were exposed to the light rays. I raced for the rail, knowing that while I might be heading toward my death, I was certainly fleeing a sure one. I leapt aboard, and the pilot immediately took us into the air as the Green Men fired at the ship, hitting it, but not injuring it without the explosive rounds. I sought my breath as muscles cramped, leaving me lying helplessly on the deck.

    Once underway and out of range, as my breathing began to slow, the pilot came out to address me. I couldn’t see his features in the pre-dawn light, but there was a familiar shape to his torso.

    “I would’ve thought you’d make one rehearsal,” he said sardonically.

    “Hestur!” I gasped. “Thank the First Egg you found me!”

    “I do so give my thanks,” he replied. “When you did not join us, I feared the worst and have been searching for you these past days. The concert begins in just over eight zodes- we have barely enough time to get back, get you cleaned up, and reach the Amphitheater.”

    “We have much more to do than that, my brother,” I said, and explained all which had happened and occurred since I had left on patrol. His face became grimmer and grimmer with each tal.

    When I had finished the tale, he turned for the control room of the craft. “We must race back! I will push this flyer to its very limits, Hintur, that we can protect the Warlord! You must rest, to be fit for what must come,” he said over his shoulder.

    “And not only that, Hestur,’ I said solemnly. “There is a brave daughter of Helium whose life also hangs in the balance. But fear not, I have a plan…”

    (to be continued- last one to follow… I semi promise this time!)

      1. lionetravail

        Thanks OT- this one’s turned into a labor of love! I often read to my wife, and we’ve gone through 12 or 15 novels over the last 14 years.. and several were Barsoom novels. I’m trying to stay faithful to the original :)

    1. snuzcook

      Awe-some, lionetravail! I finally got a chance to read the recent posts, and I am enjoying the opportunity to read them in sequence. I was entirely unfamiliar (or long ago forgot) the reference of Barsoom. Thank you for bringing it so artfully to life! Looking forward to the showdown!

    2. Reaper

      What is Barsoom? I must read this now. Love the language as it has grown on me and the voice not only of the piece but the individual players is amazing and well crafted. I have been completely sucked in and wait with baited breath for the finale. The only thing that confuses me is in part five. There is a mention of stabbing a man wearing metal in the chest. Am I confused because it seems like you are describing armor which would make a higher target a better option but I am unfamiliar with the original so maybe it is a reference I don’t get or maybe the knife is that bad ass? I was going to give you credit for the amazing idea of rounds that explode but only based on the elements. If that was you awesome idea, if it comes from the source I love the touch.

      1. lionetravail

        Thanks so much everyone! Reaper, “Barsoom” is the name of mars among the martian people of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ brilliant series of at least 11 books. The stories are all elegantly written, with wonderful concepts such as radium bullet that only explode when exposed to light- when they hit, the lead coating is scraped off allowing the explosion by day. It’s described in the books that, following nighttime battles, the morning battlefield is no safe place to be as the rounds begin to blow as the light comes…and the first book was published in 19-freaking-12!

        It’s… god, it’s this great fusion of sci fi, heroic fantasy, romance, proper behavior codes for men and women, the power of friendship to overcome hatred, the power of willpower to defeat despair, and just plain adventure story. The first in the series is “A Princess of Mars”, and it’s available as a free e book these days:

        I was just seized by the idea of trying this out, and it’s consumed a whole lot of time, but it’s really been that labor of absolute adoration for the original series. Hope you give the books a try!

        1. lionetravail

          Oh, and the Barsoomians typically wear minimal functional clothing- a “harness”, straps and such for gear and coverage of the private parts. Not much for armor- the term “wearing the metal” means wearing the metal trappings on the harness which identify where you are from, loyalty, how important or wealthy you are.

  9. lionetravail

    “Part 5”

    The multiple revelations of Seris Hatak had my mind reeling, even as we made our way over the springy but dour ochre moss of the Barsoomian surface. She was an able companion quite apart from her loveliness- I felt an attraction to her courage and independence of spirit, both in the dark earlier and with her famed father dead. I would never impose upon her in the turmoil that her life had become, and yet had never before met a woman who embodied such a rich synthesis of elements, including her fitness at following me at a quick pace across the sward.

    Our speed left us little breath to speak. Every moment outside the safety of Helium left the dear woman potentially prey to any manner of beast or man- the small, but fierce Kursk tribe of Green Men had territory along my patrol route. They had been scattered once in the recent past, but their hatchery had never been found and so were reckoned to be a continuing threat.

    As we were about to top a rise, the shock of hearing voices from beyond it made me drop immediately to the ground, pulling Seris with me. I made a warning face at her as she parted her lips, and she kept silent.

    “… And they’re most likely dead, only bones remaining now,” I heard a deep voice say.

    “Excellent!” came a wheedling sort of voice. “Spurn me, will she, the little she-calot?” Cruel laughter, shared between the two men. “And that Hintur Hund too!” he cried. “Proud to have been summoned by the Warlord, was he? Proud of what? A great windbag he was, hardly even a soldier!” he cackled.

    My eyes were slitted in anger. Villain!

    Seris caught my eyes, and I saw her own rage reflected therein.

    “Well,” said the deep voice gruffly. “While I am glad for your personal triumphs, noble Talos, I am more concerned about the task for which you have hired me. John Carter has proven to be a very difficult man to kill in the past- how will my men and I reach him to bring our blades to deadly purpose?”

    My blood went cold! Not simply the petty revenge of an evil man, but the calculation of an assassination of the unifier of all Barsoom, the greatest warrior ever! I motioned to Seris to stay hidden, as I prepared to jump the two men on the far side of the rise. Though weaponless, no man was unarmed when fierce resolution and love for his leader burned in his breast!

    “I will contact your men at their hiding place outside Helium at twenty five xats past the twelfth zode, and give them the metal of citizens of Helium, plus entry passes to the concert which will be held tomorrow. It is there that they shall find the opportunity to strike,” Talos K’ree responded. It was not difficult to imagine the sneer upon his countenance.

    And then I suddenly heard another voice from beyond the rise and far to the left. “What ho, evil Talos!” Seris said haughtily. I looked around, and saw she had vanished from my side. “Brave girl!” I thought again, my heart in my throat! She had undoubtedly set to hazard herself so as to distract the two men, and give me a chance!

    Without hesitation, I fairly threw myself over the rise and saw the two men staring at the beautiful vision before them in some shock. I hurtled down the hill and leapt at the muscular, deep-throated fellow, clad in the metal of Ptarth. He was only just turning towards me as we collided, and I knocked him to the ground. I heard a cry of pain which must have come from Seris, and thought “No!”, even as I grappled for the slim dagger sheathed in the Ptarthian’s harness.

    His strength was prodigious as he rose to his feet with me hanging off him, seeking to hurl me aside. But my heart was burning with rage at the plot against the Warlord, and chill with fear for Seris, and I plunged the blade into his chest over and over with strength born of necessity. He grunted, collapsing under me as his blood stained the ground beneath us.

    As I stood, I saw Talos drag Seris at gunpoint into a small two-man flyer. He saw me and snarled in my direction, firing several shots which missed me. I ran towards the flyer even as it rose, and heard his cackle as he took the noble girl with him in rapid flight towards the twin cities, leaving me alone with only the corpse of his henchman for company under Thuria’s waning light.

    (to be continued- one final part to come)

  10. lionetravail

    “Part 4”

    My unseen companion did no more than breathe as I heard the banth’s footfalls approach. “Brave soul!” I thought, as I cast about for a way to save us both. The thought itself prompted an idea, kindled by the words also being the title of one of the songs my brother Hestur had once written for me to sing. Excited now, I prayed that the terrors of the dark might work for us, rather than against.

    I took in as much of the thin Barsoom atmosphere as I could, tensed my diaphragm, and began to sing the wordless song at its lowest, starting register. The banth’s footfalls paused, and with increasing volume and upwards scaling note, my voice rang out, amplified by the close confines of the cave walls. Without break, I continued to sing, rising to ear-splitting shriek until it felt as though my throat would tear!

    Relief flooded into me as I heard the banth roar a challenge no closer than its last noises, and then the sound of its retreat. I fell to the rough ground, breath finally given out, and heard the the banth’s roar from a much greater distance.

    “You did it!” the woman exclaimed in some disbelief as I gasped for breath.

    I sat up, and gingerly felt my way towards her. “I must find your hands to free you now, my lady: please pardon any stray touches when I cannot see.”

    I heard her smile. “You are a gentleman of Helium in all things,” she said softly. “In such circumstances, I welcome your touch, brave Hintur Hund.”

    Soon I had her wrists unfettered, and we groped along in the dark. Though the silence pressed in around us, I had to ask what had happened to bring her to such straits.

    “My father was assassinated mere days ago, after he had refused a most unsavory suitor for my hand,” she replied. I made a sympathetic noise. “I suspected the suitor immediately and began enquiries.”

    “Yourself?” I said.

    “Yes,” she said. “My father indulged his only daughter in her otherwise ‘bizarre’ desires- I learned to shoot extremely accurately with all manner of firearms at a young age, and have continued to practice for many years. It has afforded me confidence in all that I do.”

    I was taken slightly aback. This was somewhat bizarre. “What is your name, my lady, and that of your poor father?” I said.

    “I am Seris Hatak, daughter of…”

    “The most famous General Stadak Hatak?” I asked, amazed, and understanding from where the strength of this woman of Helium had sprung.

    “Yes,” she said.

    There was a subtle lightening of the darkness in the direction we were headed, and we moved for it together. “But you were going to tell me how you ended up here?” I said.

    “I was kidnapped by men in the metal of Ptarth,” she said. “I am certain that they are working for the creature who had my father killed!”

    It had grown steadily brighter, and so I looked to my companion for the first time. Her beauty took my breath away, from her slim form to the slight crease of anger between her perfect eyebrows. “Who is this villain?” I said, hotly.

    “None other than Talos K’ree…” she began.

    “… Major Domo at the Warlord’s palace? By my first ancestor!” I said, incredulously, as we finally came out of the cave into the moonlight of mad Thuria, racing through the sky.

    (to be continued)

  11. RuthieShev

    The Alien Benefit

    Wow! This benefit concert for diabetes was a great idea. All these golden oldies rock songs are making a big hit with the baby boomers in the audience. They are on their feet singing and dancing and rocking the house down. Just as we were singing “One-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater”, I heard a crash. Landing on stage was this weird looking spaceship. This isn’t part of the show. OK, so I wonder who is pulling a joke and varying from the script.

    Everyone in the audience is clapping and singing even louder. All of a sudden a door opens up with a bang and out came several purple beings with one horn and only one eye. This is a cute addition to the show but they should have let me, the star of the show, in on the antics. I didn’t know whether to keep singing or run.

    Though the crowd seems to be singing even louder, I stand here with my mouth wide open in disbelief when these alien type (actually very real looking) monsters started dancing among the crowd. I believe they are actually singing although I couldn’t understand their high pitch sounds. I am just standing there watching, still not saying a word, as the group make their way through hundreds of people dancing to the beat with them. Really, they are sort of flying around the room. I wonder how are they doing that? Most of all, I wanted to know who planned this without my knowledge?

    As the song continues I am viewing the most amazing site I have ever seen. Everyone is having so much fun. Near the end of the song, the leader (at least I assume he/she is the leader) places a big pot on the floor and throws “green” money in it. People in the audience started taking out their wallets and adding their “green” money to the pile. Soon the pan was overflowing.

    The song is ending and I am wondering what the aliens are going to do now. Are they going to eat us? Are they really purple people eaters? But instead they all followed the leader into the spaceship and fly out the hole they had just made in the ceiling. The hole closed up and they were gone.

    The show is over and I am still in a daze and everyone is congratulating me on the best fundraiser they ever went to. And it was, because we made ten times as much as we ever had at any previous event.

    What about the one-horned, one-eyed flying purple people eaters? I have never heard or seen from them again but I cannot listen to that song without wondering how they put a hole in the roof and closed it up again. They must have been real, but no one realized it. And the reviews in the paper, the next day were amazing. I was pretty much a “has-been” performer but am actually getting so many offers for performances every day. All I can say is, “Thank you Purple People Eaters everywhere”.

    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    1. Observer Tim

      What a wonderful, whimsical response. :) I especially like it for two reasons – [1] I love that Sheb Wooley song, and [2] as a diabetic I’m sure it’s a good cause.

      Maybe we could have a benefit concert for poor old ailing WordPress. It’s been screwing up a lot lately.

      :) :)

    2. snuzcook

      I always suspected we would one day be visited by the flying purple people eaters–or rather, revisited!
      What a fun way to pull 1958 into the prompt! And with such a positive, uplifting feel-good story! A wonderful counterpoint to death-and-destruction stories that the prompt suggests.

    3. Reaper

      Ah Ruthie, you put a smile on my face. I love that song and your story took me back and brought the concept into the present. The absconding with the money was beautiful. You have some tense shifts but nothing too big, it looks almost like you wrote it in one tense then went back and changed it. I am curios if the green money in quotes was for emphasis on the different color or if it is a reference I am missing. Loved this, you do have a way of writing a feel good story that is hard to match.

  12. jhowe

    The Mos Eisley Cantina was abuzz with freighter pilots, associated pirates and shipping magnates from various parts of the galaxy and beyond. Not since the glorious Clone Wars had we been as hot as we were tonight. My Fragle Horn was on fire as we belted out our hit song which was so beloved we played it on a continuous basis.

    The crowd was very discerning and on the surface, seemed to pay us no mind. But I knew differently. I could feel the vibrations of the mental cheering and judging from the intensity of our music, I could tell the other band members felt the same way. One particular gentleman was so overcome by our abilities, he split the external cranium of a fellow Bithian with a leg of an upturned table. We often were honored by such displays of gratitude.

    And then the humans came in. I hated humans. And they had the gall to bring a Wookie with them. We once played a Wookie wedding and we barely escaped with our lives, although much gratitude was showered upon us that evening. But that didn’t change my feelings for the obnoxious creatures and I cringed when it was served a glass of brexie, as if it didn’t roar enough as it was.

    The humans were extremely hard to look at with all their hairless skin and oddly shaped heads. How they managed to avoid extinction was a mystery that had bewildered me for centuries. These particular humans carried an air about them I found very disconcerting. The older man with the white beard projected a calm confidence and the young blond haired man was alert and unobtrusive to the point of tedium. I didn’t blame the fellow from Tatooine when he accosted the young human in an attempt to have a little fun.

    The speed in which the older human reacted was uncanny. I heard someone use the name Obi-Wan Kenobi. What kind of name was that? It was then that I changed my mind about humans. Obi Wan paid us the ultimate compliment by lopping off the arm of the Tatooine gentleman with one subtle strike with some sort of antique weapon. The oozing arm lay in front of us in all its glorious gratitude. I looked over at Figrin D’an, our leader and he was smiling inwardly. He nodded, raisied his fromebone and we began our hit song once again as the roar of the Wookie reverberated through the cantina.

    1. snuzcook

      I love the creative perspective you chose, jhowe! I was transported back to Lucas’ interplanetary dive and thoroughly enjoyed the visit. The idea that severed limbs were a compliment to the band would never have crossed my mind–but it works so well! Bravo!

      1. lionetravail

        Ditto here- what a brilliantly fun takeoff on the classic, and fitting it with the prompt so perfectly. Exactly the right scene, and such a great flavor to compliment the original scene.

        I’m just surprised they didn’t report seeing Han shoot Greedo first :)

  13. Observer Tim

    And here’s a third music-based scene to follow “Coming Out Fighting” and “Rust Red Rebirth”. (both below)


    At a place once called Altamont Speedway stood a number of huge industrial buildings. Inside the buildings were troop shuttles: eleven of them, each capable of evacuating almost two thousand people. As well, three squadrons of mecha-fighters had been brought in to provide cover once the show started.

    “Lightning Four, please call in.”

    That was me. “Lightning Four. What is it, Garth?”

    “What’s your dirtside twenty, Mindy? Someone here wants to see you.”

    “Between shuttles sixteen and eighteen. Who is it?”

    “He says he’s an old friend.”

    I sat in the cockpit with the canopy up, wondering who it could be. I didn’t know anyone in California; even if I had, their odds of survival under Garridan occupation would be slim. The question was answered by a familiar voice.

    “Three minutes, Mindy!”

    Trevor! I hadn’t seen him since that concert six months ago when I’d been ‘recruited’. He was thinner and looked like he’d shaved with a pen knife, his clothing was worn torn and abused, but it was still him. I dropped down the pole ladder and gave him a hug.

    “Trevor! How in hell did you get here?”

    “I was taken by the Garrys not long after the first attack. They’re short on resources here, and have been capturing humans to salvage and repair Earth-tech for them. I had enough skills to be useful, so I’m still alive.”

    “And they just let you out for a stroll?”

    “No, I’m on salvage duty. I had to take a big risk to contact Earthforce, but I hoped you were here.”

    “So why did you contact us?”

    “They’re onto you. There’s two cruisers at the edge of the atmosphere with instructions to pick off the transports. They’re supposed to concentrate on the civilians, set an example.”

    I let out a whistle. “Damn. The idea was that the Garridans would be too busy shooting at us. These buckets can’t maneuver worth spit; it’s going to be a massacre.”

    “Not necessarily. I have a plan.”

    “You, Trevor? How do you plan to get a couple of dozen ships past their sensors?”

    “Every system has a weak point. I know theirs.”

    Captain Yeligthor of the Fury watched the sensor feed; a series of short rhythmic pulses had just been detected. That was their agent’s signal. The humans would be airborne soon. A dozen small blips lifted off from the surface. Fighter mecha, as expected. He waited. His orders had been not to attack until the transports could be targeted.

    Now the transports were emerging. He hovered a pseudopod over the “go” button. Just a few seconds more…

    Cacophonous noise burst from every sound-producing device on the bridge. His skin rippled and twitched, as did the skin of every Garridan on board. Complex harmonic vibrations made it hard to string thoughts together. This was a devastating sonic attack, something the humans called ‘music’.

    As the fighters climbed to engage the near-inert cruisers, Mindy’s passenger tapped her on the helmet.

    “Told you it would work. You’ve got about three minutes to slag those cruisers.”

    1. snuzcook

      O.Tim, this is so much fun! I feel like I’m sitting on the floor watching the story unfold on a big screen TV and reveling in the fantasy–music cranked to the max!

  14. icandootoo

    They came in the middle of my most popular song.

    “This is awesome!” my manager gushed. Anything that makes Facebook and Youtube is awesome.

    I wondered if they came to see me live and in person – “universe-famous” sounded better than world-famous, in anyone’s book.

    The crowd went wild.

    It was awesome.

    At least until I realized that the crowd wasn’t screaming my name. They were just screaming.

    With all the pyrotechnics in our show, I hadn’t noticed a few extra lasers, but the crowd had. It’s hard to ignore a laser when it disintegrates your best friend or the entire row of people in front of you.

    I tried my best to carry on, even after I realized what was going on – after all, there was Youtube to think of – but the louder I got, the more things escalated.

    Turns out, there is actually life on Mars, and the aliens there don’t happen to like twerking.

    1. Reaper

      Oh my. That last line is amazing. Nice commentary here and you have a very stark way of telling a story that is almost poetic. The details you put in are so essential and so well written with no extra words they invite the mind to fill in more. It is difficult to create a deep and meaty story while doing that and yet you do it so well. My hat is off to you.

      1. icandootoo

        Thank you so much! I’ve been participating in a six word story challenge, and I have been finding brevity very challenging (in a good way). Thanks for the very kind words.

      1. icandootoo

        Thank you – I really was going for something relevant. In twenty years this story won’t stand in all probability, but for now, it was apropos (I thought). ;-)

  15. lionetravail

    “Part 3″

    I woke to darkness in that most uncomfortable position for a fighting man- arms secured behind me with my own harness. The air was fetid, the blackness impenetrable, and I was careful not to move, lest I make a sound. Instead I listened carefully, and presently heard soft breathing from perhaps two ads away.

    My mind conjured the image of a banth lying in wait in the darkness, one of the most fierce denizens of the surface of Barsoom which often laired in such caves in which I found myself. Oh to have a sword in my hand, that I might meet my death in the fashion of my ancestors!

    Even as I thought this, I heard the soft breathing change, and the sound of stones scraping as whatever it was moved. Without moving, I tensed my legs to be able to spring at my enemy when it moved towards me, surprise and courage being the only weapons left to me.

    And then I heard something I did not expect from the stygian darkness:

    “Under Thuria’s hurtling glare,
    the night is pierced as is my Chieftain,
    his blood mingling with mine
    to nourish the sands of Barsoom,”

    sang the sweet voice of a woman. These were the words of a love song I had written and performed long ago, one which had long been a favorite in Helium!

    “Oh that such an angel should sing me lullabies in the darkness!” I said. I heard her indrawn hiss of breath, and continued quickly to forestall her alarm. “Nay, worry not- it is but a Padwar of Helium’s navy who finds himself in your pleasant company.”

    “I am no angel, and these are unpleasant surroundings, no matter the company,” the girl replied after a moment of shock. “What is your name, Padwar? Have you come to rescue me?”

    “I am Hintur Hund,” I said. “And did I have the freedom of arms and legs, I would be happy to rescue you.”

    “I see,” I heard her voice say, dejectedly.

    “But we yet live, my lady,” I replied, the famous words of our Warlord easily passing my lips and setting my own nerves to calm.

    “Not likely for long, Padwar Hund,” she said. “It is far more likely that…”

    There came a low rumble from deeper in the darkness.

    “… That we will fall victim to the giant banth which frequents this cave system,” she finished hopelessly.

    I sat up against a wall, heart beating faster. I shifted my legs under me so as to make to stand, and I felt my foot move something metal which grated against the cave floor. “Remember, we yet live,” I called out to her as the rumble moved closer. I fell to my back, and found the bit of metal with eager fingers: a fragment of jagged metal, perhaps from some warrior’s harness! Hastily I used it to saw through the leather which bound my wrists, and felt it suddenly part. I stood upright in the dark, hope quickened by my sudden freedom, and yet without weapon! What could I possibly do unarmed, in the dark, against the approach of the fearsome predator?

    (to be continued)

  16. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    Snuzcook, here’s the full one from your challenge… the other one was cut short. Not that it matters, but here’s the whole thing!

    “Bumkin-ville is… Heaven? (the full version)

    We’d been on the road for the entire previous day, and much of the night. At some point, we seemed to pass from dirt road to pavement to dirt and back again. After a long stretch of lonely asphalt and as the moon crested over the eastern firs, we finally saw the sign for our destination. ‘SHADOW FALLS’ it read, with a population of two-hundred-and-one that it proudly touted in big bold numbers.

    “Great” I told our drummer. “Another backwoods, muck-filled, shithole of a place.”

    “Scrap it, dude,” he told me, “At least we’re getting gigs.”

    That didn’t make me feel better, because as we pulled up through the trees and entered the small town, the first thing I saw was a giant red barn. Beyond that was a small town with maybe two or three general stores, and a stage set up in the middle.

    “Seriously? How much are we getting paid? Are we even getting paid for this? No, I know… it’s cow pies, right? Lumps of cow shit for out awesome thrashing.”

    Stig rolled his eyes at me, and began to drum the table with his fingers.

    I didn’t blame him. I’d been in a shitty mood that whole ride because at our last performance, we got booed off stage. It wasn’t because we sucked, either. At least that I could understand. It was because no one listed to rock anymore. They wanted bass drops and kinky songs sung by flamboyant singers who hit notes high enough to dissolve the balls off any man who listened to them.

    The bus stopped near the stage, and there was already at least a thousand people waiting in the crowd to hear our music. Stig looked through the window and whistled.

    He said, “Look at that, bother.”

    I looked, and was genuinely impressed. I thought for sure we’d find ourselves playing to a bunch of inbred whack-a-doos, but there were all kinds of people there. It’s as if the little town had gotten the word out that we’d be there.

    I said, “Bitchin’.”

    By the time we set up on stage, the crowd was already roaring with excitement. I looked out into the sea of people, and as we began to play our first song, they bounced up and down, hands shaped into devil horns, and some of the finest head-banging I’d ever seen.

    Alex began to sing into the microphone when I suddenly caught glimpse of some of the people in the back not getting into it. They appeared to be unaffected by the music. I missed one or two notes, lost my rhythm, and Alex urged me on. When I looked down to fix my playing and then looked up, they’d gone.

    The hell was that, I thought.

    As the song progressed, I noticed the buildings around us looked somewhat dull. Not dull in the sense of how dull the small town was, but almost unreal. Then, part of the building seemed to disappear and the reappear.

    I moved back toward Stig who banged feverishly on his skins. I said, “Did you see that shit?”

    “What?” He huffed, out of breath from his playing.

    “Dude, something’s not right.”

    Suddenly, the people were back, but they weren’t people. They looked like weird creatures, things I’d never seen before. They looked out into the crowd with hungry eyes. They looked like—aliens.

    “Shit!” I screamed, and suddenly the creatures began to feed on the crowd.

    Stig stopped drumming, and the rest of the band’s music died with him. We watch in horror as our music had brought together a food source for aliens.

    “We gotta do something,” I said, unsure if I really wanted to stick around and be eaten alive. After all, I wasn’t even sure we could do anything.

    It was a veritable slaughterhouse, whereupon the aliens had lured us here to feed, and there seemed to be nothing we could, do… until I remember that they’d disappeared earlier during the bridge of our song.

    “Guys! Guys!” I screamed as they began to vacate back to the bus. “Don’t go. I know how to stop them.”

    Reluctantly, they stopped. I was actually surprised because I was staged with the biggest pussies despite their 6-foot-plus statures, tattoos, piercings, and large beards that screamed fuck-off at anyone who neared us.

    “What the fuck, dude?” Stig said.

    “We gotta play the bridge, man.”


    “The fucking bridge!”

    I don’t know what it was. Maybe I looked crazy or maybe the snap of seriousness in my voice commanded them, but they gathered their instruments and we played. Over and over we repeated the bridge.

    Suddenly, the creatures began to back away. The facade on the surrounding buildings began to fail, and went away completely. The only thing left was the stage.

    The creatures squealed and backed away from us, but they didn’t get far before they began to explode. One by one, something, maybe a sound or the melody itself obliterated them, but it left nothing but green gelatinous piles on the ground.

    That was the last time I ever played a song. It wasn’t because of what happened that night. Well, to be fair, it was, but I suspect it’s not in the way that you think. I played my best gig ever that night. Saved the world, and rocked aliens so hard they blew the fuck up. I knew I’d never be able to top that in my lifetime, and retired a savior and a rock and roll god.

    1. Reaper

      There is an amazing blending of voices here Jay. Some of it is pure you but it blends with a voice very like the Martian Chronicles and has a very Bradbury ending with a wonderful Dr. Jay finish. Nicely done.

    2. snuzcook

      Ditto Observer Tim’s comments re style. The fuller beginning was grounding and set up the rest of the story nicely–maybe because I knew what was going to come and it answered the unasked questions from the first read.
      Confession of ignorance: the bridge. Clarify?

      1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

        The bridge is a musical connection between parts, but one that makes the song fuller with a contrast that blends well. The best example of one I can think of is the one in Moonlight Sonata. These technically three movements, but the first and third are the main parts. There’s the first movement and then right after is the bridge to setup for the third more vigorous movement. If he just jumped right into it, it probably wouldn’t have flowed so well, so he had to find something to mix the two movements. (In modern music, they are much much shorter than this.)

        0:00 — First Movement
        5:59 — Second Movement (basically a bridge)
        8:05 — Third Movement

  17. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    This one’s for Snuzcook, loosely based on Mars Is Heaven! from the the Martian Chronicles. I threw this together in probably ten minutes, so I apologize in advance for any mistakes that try to eat your face and make your red pens go on strike. That said, enjoy! :D

    “Bumkin-ville is…. Heaven?”

    The bus stopped near the stage, and there was already at least a thousand people waiting in the crowd to hear our music. Stig looked through the window and whistled.

    He said, “Look at that, bother.”

    I looked, and was genuinely impressed. I thought for sure we’d find ourselves playing to a bunch of inbred whack-a-doos, but there were all kinds of people there. It’s as if the little town had gotten the word out that we’d be there.

    I said, “Bitchin’.”

    By the time we set up on stage, the crowd was already roaring with excitement. I looked out into the sea of people, and as we began to play our first song, they bounced up and down, hands shaped into devil horns, and some of the finest head-banging I’d ever seen.

    Alex began to sing into the microphone when I suddenly caught glimpse of some of the people in the back not getting into it. They appeared to be unaffected by the music. I missed one or two notes, lost my rhythm, and Alex urged me on. When I looked down to fix my playing and then looked up, they’d gone.

    The hell was that, I thought.

    As the song progressed, I noticed the buildings around us looked somewhat dull. Not dull in the sense of how dull the small town was, but almost unreal. Then, part of the building seemed to disappear and the reappear.

    I moved back toward Stig who banged feverishly on his skins. I said, “Did you see that shit?”

    “What?” He huffed, out of breath from his playing.

    “Dude, something’s not right.”

    Suddenly, the people were back, but they weren’t people. They looked like weird creatures, things I’d never seen before. They looked out into the crowd with hungry eyes. They looked like—aliens.

    “Shit!” I screamed, and suddenly the creatures began to feed on the crowd.

    Stig stopped drumming, and the rest of the band’s music died with him. We watch in horror as our music had brought together a food source for aliens.

    “We gotta do something,” I said, unsure if I really wanted to stick around and be eaten alive. After all, I wasn’t even sure we could do anything.

    It was a veritable slaughterhouse, whereupon the aliens had lured us here to feed, and there seemed to be nothing we could, do… until I remember that they’d disappeared earlier during the bridge of our song.

    “Guys! Guys!” I screamed as they began to vacate back to the bus. “Don’t go. I know how to stop them.”

    Reluctantly, they stopped. I was actually surprised because I was staged with the biggest pussies despite their 6-foot-plus statures, tattoos, piercings, and large beards that screamed fuck-off at anyone who neared us.

    “What the fuck, dude?” Stig said.

    “We gotta play the bridge, man.”


    “The fucking bridge!”

    I don’t know what it was. Maybe I looked crazy or maybe the snap of seriousness in my voice commanded them, but they gathered their instruments and we played. Over and over we repeated the bridge.

    Suddenly, the creatures began to back away. The facade on the surrounding buildings began to fail, and went away completely. The only thing left was the stage.

    The creatures squealed and backed away from us, but they didn’t get far before they began to explode. One by one, something, maybe a sound or the melody itself obliterated them, but it left nothing but green gelatinous piles on the ground.

    That was the last time I ever played a song. It wasn’t because of what happened that night. Well, to be fair, it was, but I suspect it’s not in the way that you think. I played my best gig ever that night. Saved the world, and rocked aliens so hard they blew the fuck up. I knew I’d never be able to top that in my lifetime, and retired a savior and a rock and roll god.

  18. lionetravail

    Part 2

    I took my flyer from the Warlord’s Palace and raced to my own home on the opposite side of Helium. There, I met my brother Hestur, and gave him the news.

    “Brother!” he cried, clasping my shoulders and shaking. “A wonderful opportunity!”

    “Aye,” I said, smile on my face wide at his pleasure. “I will leave you to get the others: Valus Var is back within the city from his last posting to Zodanga, and Kantos Kan expressed a desire to play once again should the opportunity present itself. I suspect that even a Dwar of Helium’s navy would enjoy the chance to join us on stage.”

    “And what of Th’la Tarkas?” he said.

    “Of course!” I exclaimed. “She is the niece of Helium’s greatest ally, the great Green Jeddak Tars Tarkas, and none is better with percussion than she!”

    “She is at her uncle’s guest palace?” I nodded. “I will get them together and we will rehearse, no fear, Hintur. Now, divulge to me where and when will the concert take place?” he said, rubbing his hands together in his excitement.

    I gave him all the details, noting his excitement at playing the Jeddak of Jeddak’s amphitheater. I couldn’t help but enjoy my brother’s great pleasure at playing such a venue. I knew he’d be able to entice the others to play- his enthusiasm would infect them, I thought. “Now I must leave, brother- I have duties, even as a Padwar of the navy: I must patrol my designated Karad. I will meet you and the others to add my voice to the preparations.”

    “Be safe, Brother, and confident that I, Hestur Hund, shall take care of all details in their fullest,” he said.

    We clasped hands, and I left, taking my one man flyer directly to the navy platform from which my patrol would start. My weapons were already in place upon my harness, of course: no fighting man of Barsoom would be caught without them except, perhaps, in moments of close intimacy with ‘his Princess’. I had no such relationship, being an otherwise unimportant junior naval officer without significant distinction in service to this point. I did not count my vocal talent as such a distinction- as I have said, the peaceful periods in which to raise voice in song were few and far between the more martial callings of a young Heliumite.

    Two zodes later, I was cruising about 5 ads above the ground, more than a quarter of the distance of my patrol when I heard the unmistakable crack of several radium rifle shots, and felt the shocks as their explosive rounds hit my small craft. I immediately dialed up the valves on the 8th ray generator, that remarkable device which allows the airships of barsoom to attain buoyancy, to take me up and away from those firing upon me, but instead of a rapid rise, I began a brisk descent. My buoyancy tanks must have all been ruptured, I thought as I saw the rugged Barsoomian terrain with its ochre vegetation rush up below me. I braced myself for the impact, and when it came the railing was torn from my grasp. I was hurled from the deck of my wounded vessel, and as I flew, I saw red men with radium rifles racing towards me upon thoats, smaller cousins to the standard mount of the green men. Too late, I saw where my trajectory led and curled to a ball, but struck my head on a rocky outcropping. I heard triumphant voices approaching even as l fell to sudden blackness.

    1. Reaper

      Nice. The voice change was a pleasant surprise and kept the interest nicely. A lot of words that had me scratching my head until I just gave into the story and the flow and just enjoyed it. Wonderful piece can’t wait to read the rest.

  19. lionetravail

    “Taking on Snuzcook’s Challenge, With a Twist- Part 1″

    It was one of the rare interludes of peace, a precious island in the ocean of war in which we swim, and our Warlord had ordered a celebration.

    “A concert, if you please, Hintur Hund,” he’s said to me, sitting in state by his incomparable Princess. “Let us take this time to celebrate life on our dying world through your innovative music.”

    I knelt, tilting my long-sword so it would not rattle against the floor below his dais. “As you wish, Warlord,” I said. “Had you a day in mind?”

    “Make it three days hence, Hintur Hund, so that proclamations may be sent to our sister city that all who wish to may attend.”

    I bowed my head. “So will it be. Warlord, Princess.” I stood, and swept out to make preparations.

    At the door one of the major domos of the Palace stopped me. His grey hair was an anomaly- though our lives were naturally long, few survived to advanced age in the constant warfare through which we moved. In addition, many of those who did took the voluntary holy pilgrimage to death, to not be a burden as infirmity caught up with them.

    “May I ask, noble Hintur, where it is you will be performing?” He seemed to have a wheedling nature to him as he spoke.

    “In the Jeddak of Jeddak’s great Amphitheater between the twin cities of Helium, built years since and dedicated to the Princess,” I replied. I realized that I sounded suspicious even to my own ears, but assassination has ever been the way of the unscrupulous upon Barsoom.

    “Oh, wonderful!” he exclaimed. “I intend to have my daughters attend, noble Hintur- two of them are of marrying age and have no suitors.”

    Ah, I thought to myself, my suspicions were accurate as to threat, though not to scale. “I would be happy to offer them seats near the front, Talos K’ree, in the immediate vicinity of our noble Warlord and his Princess,” I said, smiling.

    “Thank you, thank you!” he cried effusively, shaking my hand. “By my metal, I could not have hoped for more!”

    Suspicions allayed, I left the palace to begin preparations.

  20. Observer Tim

    First of all, this is part two. Part one is “Coming Out Fighting” just on the far side of Kerry’s post below.

    Second, if you’re not familiar with the Anime genre, you need to know that it’s kind of like over-the-top soap opera with fantasy and sci-fi elements. Plot twists and surprises are the rule, not the exception. That’s why it’s so much fun.

    Rust Red Rebirth

    The remains of the Third Space Fleet have made it to Deimos Station. We’re here to resupply, which is Navy-talk for ‘lick our wounds’. Our supply ships are all destroyed and only two carriers, Zambia and Deutschland, are still spaceworthy. Cambodia is repairable, but is going to be out of action for months if we’re lucky. Our butts have been duly presented to us on a silver platter.

    Mars hangs below us like a dusty jewel. I hate Mars. It’s not the planet itself, it’s the damn Martians. They’re telepaths, which would make our command-control system unbreakable and instant, but they’re also effing cowards. They say they value all life, and yet they hide on this rock while the human race is being annihilated.

    I’d volunteered to play a concert at the planetside base, partly because six weeks of running combat have left me emotionally drained and partly because the Martians detest hard rock. I should have known better.

    I was just finishing my first set when they came in. Quiet, serene people who looked totally out-of-water on a military base. Martians in disguise. But one of them had chosen the wrong disguise. I stopped in mid-note.

    “Aggie?” My girlfriend. She’d been killed when the Garridans blasted DC. I hadn’t even had a chance to say good-bye. Now here she was, her memory being worn casually as can be by some damned Martian. I jumped down from the stage, ran over and slugged her.

    “How DARE you do this to me? HOW DARE YOU?”

    She stared mutely at me with those doe-eyes that always tore a hole in my heart. I tried to hold my rage at the cowardly Martian that was doing this, but all I could see was Aggie. Walking by the Lincoln Memorial Aggie. Kissing in front of the White House Aggie. Aggie lying next to me with her soft breaths caressing my shoulder…


    When she said my name my rage evaporated. I knew it was a trick, but the Martian had chosen the one face I couldn’t be mad at.

    “Aggie,” I sobbed, “Why couldn’t I protect you?”

    Soft arms wrapped around me, holding me lightly as my shoulders jerked in time with my tears.

    “You did, Mindy. I’m not dead.”


    “I’m not dead. You and the others bought enough time for a couple hundred of us to get out of Washington, down into the marsh. We’ve joined up with others and are getting organized. The Martian Ambassador is helping me contact you.”

    “No! This is a trick!”

    “It’s not a trick, Mindy. It’s me.”

    She kissed me, and I knew. A hundred million miles apart, but I knew it was really her.

    “God I’ve missed you, Aggie.”

    “Shhh. It’s all right.” We held the kiss for a few moments, then she pulled back. “We’d better stop now. You’re still on Mars and, nice as the Ambassador is, I’d rather kiss you in person.”

    That was when the tide of battle turned for me.

  21. Kerry Charlton



    “Lanor honey,” my Mom said. “I want to vocalize you before school.”

    ‘AHHHHHH! I can’t even see this morning,’ I thought. Early mornings and I don’t suit each other.’

    I dressed as usual, white blouse, full skirt, two starched petticoats, two crinolines, white socks and penny loafers. A bowl of cereal and into Mom’s car. A rust and yellow Nash left our petite two story, hitting a small two lane behind Kilgore High School. We vocalized and sang songs in harmony of Mom’s choice.

    Nancy Sue, my best friend waited patiently as the Nash pulled into the school drop off.

    “Lanor, the high school’s been invited to a concert at Kilgore Jr. College today.”

    “Who’s performing Nancy?”

    “Elvis Presley.”

    “Who’s that?”

    “Who cares? We get out of class for a while. Your homeroom teacher can call your Mom for permission.”

    I really wasn’t worried about who sang. Nancy was right. We rode school busses after lunch to the auditorium. Taking voice lessons from three teachers, I studied classics, not rock and hillbilly. Singing in Latin was a pain but I wanted to learn voice, it was necessary.

    “One in the afternoon is a strange time for a concert,” Nancy said.

    Don’t complain,”: I answered, “the tickets are free.”

    We waited outside in the cool weather just to see what Elvis looked like. A long pink Cadillac with a driver was followed by a station wagon with non descript guys with instruments. Elvis had a red head sitting in the back seat with him but she wasn’t a looker. As for Elvis, he wore long, slick blach hair, a motor cycle jacket over a black tee shirt and jeans. he wasn’t particulary good looking and seemed scruffy, someone my Mom wouldn’t approve of.

    In the dark auditorium, Elvis strolled to the center of the stage with a mike and his guitar. Musicians were nowhere in sight, probably in the orchestra pit. A nice applause greeted him slong with his first song, a rockabilly titled, “I’m Left, You’re Right, I’m gone.”

    Then he started to gyrate to the beat, hips moving in rhythm to the guitar. The girls really got turned on and clapped loudly.

    “Can you believe him?’ Nancy said. “It’s a good thing you’re mom’s not here, she’d drag you out by your hair.”

    I didn’t answer, I thought his music was interesting as I had never heard anything like his sound but the volume was annoying to my ears. At the Kilgore Youth Center, we’d play rock and roll from deep east Texas and dance a lot, some pop music like ‘Rock Around The Clock’, ‘Mary Had A Baby’, banned in most towns and Wheel Of Fortune by Kay Starr. And of course, “The Little White Cloud That Cried,’ by Johnnie Ray.

    After moving body parts I won’t mention here, Elvis belted out, ‘That’s All Right’, and ‘Satisfied’. He finally played a song I liked, a slow ballad. To say the applause was deafening was an understatement.

    After the show, school busses lined up to take us back, while Nancy and I stood by Elvis’s Cadillac window while he signed autographs for some of my girl friends. I was an arms length from Elvis. For some reason I didn’t have the courage to ask him for one or shake his hand. I wondered where he came from and who he really was.

    I thought at the time, ‘at least his music was different and I kind of liked it but not as much as most of my friends did.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you flabeba. Since the story’s true and it’s not my tale, we both thank you. She had a lot of fun reminiscing the day she saw Elvis when he was 19 or so.

    1. snuzcook

      Wonderful story, Kerry! I love the way it really points out that kids can see beyond the hype and get honest impressions. Makes me wonder if Lanor’s opinion of Elvis’ music ever changed over the years as he became more famous.
      Nice play on the prompt with Elvis’ unfamiliar style being introduced to Kilgore, Texas, of 1955 like an alien visitation.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          rle, Lanor and I both thank you. You’ll hear a lot more stories from her, now that she;’s caught the bug. As soon as one hits another prompt, she’ll join me here. Kerry

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you snuzcook, we both thank you. I asked her last night before she went to sleep, when she changed her thoughts about Elvis. “It was gradual but when we saw Elvis’ concert on live TV from Hawaii, it probably changed then. She’s a real Elvis fan now. I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more from Lanor. Her mind’s chock full of memories..

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you David, from both of us. This is Lanor’s story, a true Texas girl. Hopefully, she’ll give us another story that will fit a future prompt.

    2. Observer Tim

      Magnifico, Kerry. Your stories and memoirs always make me wish I were a few years older so I could have been there.

      I can see where Elvis would seem like a complete alien to the people of small-town Texas. My recollection makes you a teen-ager about this time, so I’m guessing you lived the change.

      I’d also be curious about your thoughts at the time as a … brother? friend? boyfriend? Did you have a sense of the musical/cultural revolution to come, or were you too busy living through it?

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Lanor and I both thank you Tim. I lived in Miami, as an 18 year old freshman at the University of Miami at the time. Lanor was 1400 hundred miles away in Kilgore, Texas. I did live through the change and was in the business in early ’58 after college.

        I rode the changes up and down like a roller coaster. But the drastic change took place in ’67 amd ’68. Contrary to what you’ve been told about the Beatle’s invasion, it was a small blip compared to the real change in music. Was there any particular artist that keyed the change? Not that I know of. The only new phase I fell in love with was the disco revolution and ‘Saturday Night Fever’.

    3. Marie Therese Knepper

      Wonderful story. Welcome, Lanor :)
      Reading this reminded me of how I felt about Elvis. I learned to appreciate his music only after viewing a videotape of his 1968 Comeback Special. I was like ‘man, he really can sing.’ I still wonder about him sometimes; what he would have been like without the fame and drugs.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Lanor and I both thank you, Maria. She didn’t think anyone would be interested in her story. I told her, “Let’s post, you are going to be surprised.” Now that the bug has bitten, you’ll hear a lot more from her.

    4. Reaper

      This is wonderfully written. I myself often forget how Elvis was viewed as so wild, rebellious and hyper-sexual because of the time. I look forward to seeing what the bug does to Lanor in the future and thank you both for this story. It was beautiful in so many ways.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Reaper, I’ll pass your thoughts on to Lanor. I wish you could have seen the look on her face when she started reading these comments, priceless!

  22. Observer Tim

    I noticed nobody had done the Anime thing yet, so here goes:

    Coming Out Fighting

    The door shuddered. “Three minutes, Mindy!” Trevor’s good to me because he knows as well as I do that hungry fans have no patience.

    A last mirror check confirmed I looked like the Queen of the Biker Chicks, not a classically-trained cellist. I’d been seduced by the money and the adulation; I kept saying I’d give it up someday for classical, but not someday soon. I picked up my axe and headed for the stage.

    It was the last stop on my Coming Out Fighting tour, in a place called Horsell Common. The midwest town was so small you couldn’t find it with a microscope, but for some reason it had a 12,000 seat football stadium which my concert had packed.

    I was on the last song of the first set when I noticed them: four-storey tall robots looking over the tops of the bleachers. They looked like bastard children of jet fighters and humanoids, and I could tell they were eyeing me. I fought down the impulse to scream; instead I wet myself and finished the song.

    As the last power chords faded, one of the robots vaulted over the stands and landed over by the amps. With surprising grace it dropped to one knee, then the cockpit opened and a girl in a flight suit leaned out.
    She took off her helmet and shouted down, “Mindy! Are you ready?”

    “Ready for what?”

    “Aw, crap! Didn’t you take the memory releasers?”

    “I don’t take drugs, especially not from weirdoes in trenchcoats!”

    “Mega-shit.” She unbuckled and slid down a metal pole-ladder to face me. “In just over…” she checked her watch “…three minutes, a Garridan invasion fleet is going to drop on this stadium with enough firepower to melt Chicago. We need you.”

    “For what? Musical accompaniment?”

    “You’re the best damned fighter pilot Earthforce has ever produced. Take this pill and my mech.” She forced the pill into my mouth and punched me to make me swallow. “I hope fifteen seconds’ retraining will be enough.”

    Almost instantly things were coming to mind. How to control the robot, how to shoot, the fact that I should be wearing a flight suit.

    “Wait! How…?” but the ladder was already pulling me up into the cockpit.

    I stared at the array of controls. I knew maybe a third of them by now, but they were the most important ones. And I remembered my bloody sense of duty. Earth needed me.

    But there was something else; I got on the com. “Where’s the USB on this bucket?”

    A mechanical voice answered. “Under the main console.”

    “Thanks.” I reached under and plugged in a key. When the menu came up I chose track six. As I lifted off it started.

    I’m gonna come out FIGHTING!
    Don’t get in front of me.
    I will be fast as LIGHTNING,
    I’m gonna get me Free!

    Robot combat? If I must. Robot combat without a soundtrack? No effing way.

    1. Marie Therese Knepper

      I had to fight with myself to read this. My daughter is into Anime, and it seems to be all the rage right now.
      I’m glad I read your story. It hurts to try new things sometimes, but I took the plunge. You’ve made me like Anime; your version, at least :)

    2. Reaper

      Nice. I am very particular about anime, like I am most entertainment sources, much to the chagrin of most of my friends. I would watch this one. Bubblegum Crisis meets Evangelion meets Cowboy Beebop. So three of the best.

  23. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    The Stone: Series Finale
    WARNING: Read parts 1-4 before reading this part. It’s really long, and I apologize in advance. I cut some things out, and rearranged to make it more bearable for Writers Digest. lol I really hope you enjoyed this series and that you find this ending satisfying. I look forward to hearing what you think about it. You all have been so supportive of this series, and thank you all for reading it!

    Click. Click. Click.

    Thousands and thousands of creatures roamed from city to city just to murder, consume, and rebuild themselves. Where the large cities once heard honks and soft distant sirens at night, now it was nothing but the morbid screams of humans meeting their end.

    Stop that!

    The good doctor listened to the evil bastard complain about his tic. Anger boiled into fury, and the fury turn into…

    Click. Click. Click.

    If he had control of his own heart, he would’ve felt it beating with hope. If could feel his skin, it might pinch into gooseflesh. If he had a voice, he might scream with the very same elation the bad doctor felt when he thought he’d finally rid the world of humanity, but the good doctor guessed the evil in him didn’t realize the efficacy of human stubbornness.

    Your tic needs to stop! How do I stop it?

    He couldn’t seem to understand the link to the tic, until the bad doctor scratched his left arm, which decay blotched into a gray and pale crust. When the evil thing residing in the stone took him over, it pushed his soul aside. Without it, without his humanity, his body began to die. His muscles slowly tightened, small milky cataracts began to cloud his vision, skin turned rotten—all the signs of death.

    Click. Click. Click.

    One thing he knew with certainty was that the bad doctor took control of him because of his mind. Jeremy was a fine specimen because he was smart, but he was weak. The good doctor had a strong mind and high intelligence. Where Jeremy couldn’t control his addiction to the stone, the good doctor could until the evil thing could fully integrate with him.

    Click. Click. Click.

    The tic. He had it for several years until he had completely suppressed it. The fact that it returned was a sign that his mind was slipping. No, it was more than that. The deterioration—the decay of his body—was causing his mind to weaken, which was also causing the evil inside him to lose control.

    Stop that now!

    The good doctor could feel it slipping. When he was younger, the tic was most prominent when he was angry. In the same way that violent killers are known to have weak minds, the good doctor suspected that it also caused his brain to weaken in a way that caused the bad doctor to become angrier and lose control.

    Click. Click. Click.

    The good doctor could feel the creature burning with rage, and so he forced the tic. Each clatter of the teeth brought more anger, and that anger continued to swell and cause a massive amount of adrenaline to rush through the body.

    Click. Click. Click.

    If you don’t stop that, I’ll kill you!

    Click. Click. Click.

    The good doctor could feel the reigns releasing from his mind. The emotions he once shared with that evil thing now became two distinct perceptions. No longer did he feel as though he was one with the creature.

    Click. Click. Click.


    Fading… fading.

    Click. Click. Click.

    There was silence where he should have heard a voice, and his body suddenly crumpled to the ground. Because of the advanced decay, he was still only a passenger in an uncontrollable vessel.

    He wanted to feel happiness, but he still felt a darkness deep within him, but it wasn’t the bad doctor. It was something else. No, it was thousands of things. Thousands of dark emotions.

    The realization that he still had control over the demons was terrifying. They could sense his emotions, and they could sense that the bad doctor had lost control. He was afraid that they would come for him, kill him before he could do anything—and he was right.

    A creature appeared at the mouth of the alley. Its eyes trained on the good doctor, a hungry appetite to kill him. It walked to his body, and stood over him. Blood coated the sharp teeth and leathery skin around its mouth. As it drew near, thinking about how he might taste, the good doctor forced it to stop—and the creature obeyed.

    He thought long about those creatures. He thought about their deaths and about the dissolution of their existence from earth. As he did so, a wicked shriek of pain erupted from the creature. It backed up as its skin began to melt from its bones. The black sludge vacated the body, and revealed a muscle structure that seemed to foam and dissolve as though acid was poured upon it. The ululation of its death died with sickening gurgle, and the bones seemed to cage nothing but liquefying organs. Eventually, nothing was left but a puddle of remains and a desiccated frame.

    He no longer felt the connection to any creatures. The silence was welcome. A serene sense of self-control was in his grasp even though he couldn’t operate his body. He felt a smile cross his face, and though he suspected it was nothing more than a phantom feeling, it felt good nevertheless.

    He wondered if all the monsters had perished. He wondered what would become of the stones, and if they could ever be operated again. He wondered if there was anyone left to rebuild the human world.

    Finally, as he slowly slipped into a world beyond the mortal realm, he was able to think about his wife and daughter now that he’d once again regained control. He could’ve worried and wondered if they were still alive, but instead he chose imagine the three of them enjoying a family vacation on some remote beach. He dreamed about the warm sun, and the ocean creeping lazily upon the shore. His wife held him tight while his daughter laughed as she collected shells from the cool sand. He dreamed about their warmth; that it might guide him from the cold shell he once called his body and into the great beyond where he hoped he would eventually meet them to enjoy an eternity together full of abiding love.

    1. snuzcook

      Aren’t humans wonderful? Jay, I love your use of human frailty and imperfections to defeat the creatures of darkness. The entire series was driven with images of such nightmarish quality and the creatures were imbued with such power over their victims that it seemed surely only something of equal overt power could defeat them. But just as the quiet human quality of curiosity and greed invited the first stone to take power in the first place, something as simple as a suppressed tic could be the undoing of a planet-wide genocide.

      Interesting commentary and well written over all. Not my favorite genre, but well done.

    2. Reaper

      And you end with a flourish worthy of the great ones. Beautiful and sad in a way that is not standard and difficult to write. Thank you for finishing and sharing this. I know the author is taboo in many places these days but I cannot judge a great work by the politics of the man, and I have to say in some ways this reminded me of the ending of Ender’s Game where the aliens learn the right lesson at the wrong time. Just intense and powerful and so deep. Nicely done Jay.

    3. Observer Tim

      This story reminds me of The War of the Worlds, my all-time favourite novel. You painted the fall of humanity, person by person, then let the wonder power of frailty and sickness defeat the invasion.


      I’m sure there will be a human race left to pick up the pieces. A frail, damaged, and most of all humbled, humanity.

      1. flaboba

        So sad, gut wrenching and fascinating how he struggles against hope and then resigns himself but not in a defeatist way but with elegance. I want to read the whole thing together. Where is it?

    4. k.spicer

      Wow, what an ending! Your writing is tight and spot on…how all writing should be. I’m striving to tighten up my own writing…but you do such a good job. Kudos to your talent! PS. I don’t say that often!

    5. lionetravail

      What a fun and expanded read, Jay- I decided to save my comments until the end; a triumph of the human over epic evil, after a lot of darkness, horror, and destruction, and a timeless tale.

      It reminds me a great deal of the Terry Brooks series involving the “Knight and the Word”, moving through a dreamworld each night in which he lives in a future where demons won and took over the Earth, and every day’s actions in the present show their repercussions in the future world he sees in his dreams every night.

      What a wonderful read- nice, nice job, Jay!

    6. vaderize03

      In addition to the above comments (and I agree with them all), I’d have to say my favorite part was the MC’s ability to let go of his anger, and turn to an ultimate good: the destruction of evil. So often, anger brings only pain, but here, it leads to salvation. It is a point that is often forgotten.

      I also loved how the MC was able to accept the end with grace. Instead of drowning in fear at the approach of the unknown, he still has hope: hope he will see his family, hope that love will finally prevail. That is a very profound message, and speaking as one who works with the critically ill, a difficult place within ourselves to reach, especially at the end of our lives.

      Very very well done.

  24. snuzcook

    A Challenge:
    Due to the way this week is working out, I am unable to do justice to two story lines I have been trying to work out for this prompt. They are both lots of fun, but just not coming together in the time available. I would love to see what someone else can do with them. So if you’re stuck for an idea, or just feel like playing along, here are two kernels to weave into the Alien Rock prompt:
    1) Elvis
    2) Concert on Mars crashed by Ray Bradbury’s Martians
    Have fun!

      1. snuzcook

        Yeah, I would say popped, buttered and delivered!
        (I actually started with the Elvis concept, and had lots of fun with the idea of aliens who have make an error in timing, and crash a concert by an impersonator, thinking they are abducting the real Elvis with the intent of using him to gain access to the world’s leaders. Too much story for 500 wds.
        So then I started a story with the concert venue on Mars where real Martians, that no one things exist, show up…as you say, let’s see what someone does with it.)

        1. Marie Therese Knepper

          How about an alien training camp designed to train aliens as Elvis impersonators, who are subsequently sent to earth to wreck havoc on the populace? Or follow one of the alien impersonator’s life on earth.
          I’m tapped out this week. I love my story featuring The Beatles. :)

          1. snuzcook

            I like how your mind works, MTK!
            And I love your story, too! Hadn’t got to it yet, so I found it–Wow!

    1. Observer Tim

      I’ll go along with Jay. Awe. (Maybe it’s a spelling error, I don’t know, but the truth slipped out.)

      I can’t do Elvis, but Mars already figures into what’s cooking between my ears right now. I haven’t thought of Ray Bradbury’s Martians (from the Chronicle) in years. I can’t say if the two stories will mesh, but I’ll see.

    2. Observer Tim

      There we go, challenge met. Kerry took #1 and I took #2. Bet you didn’t know you had two wingmen.

      I hope next week is a perfect jewel to make up for this week; I enjoy your writing too much to let something like real life get in the way.

    3. snuzcook

      When I threw out the ‘challenge’ it was selfish, in a way, because I just couldn’t stand letting the ideas I wasn’t going to get to go unshared. But wow! It was but a weak catalyst to the inspirations already germinating among this site’s brilliant minds. What far and wonderful journeys we have shared!

  25. rle

    Okay, last week, the Robert Downey Jr. prompt wasn’t really up my alley, so, I massaged it a bit to make it work for me. This week…well let’s just say aliens don’t really get my toe tapping either, so……again, I’ve twisted the prompt just slightly. It’s also a bit over word count which is unusual for me. I hope it’s worth it.


    Clyde “Crash” Jones had finally come to the sad realization that he was getting too damned old for this. A fast life on the road had taken it’s toll on both his mind and body. Lately, each night just before he took the stage, he’d gaze into his dressing room mirror and beg for the strength to get him through another show. Tonight was no different. He shouldn’t be here; he was pushing sixty. He should have been enjoying a lavish retirement on a sprawling estate, but since he’d pissed away literally millions of dollars on drugs, booze, fast cars and women, he was still making music and playing shows like he’d done for the past forty years.

    He strode down the corridor toward the stage trying to project an air of confidence. He still donned his trademark skin tight leather pants and sleeveless matching vest. His familiar lime green and purple Fender guitar rested tightly against his midsection held fast by a black leather strap with sequinned letters that read ‘CRASH’. He thought he looked ridiculous.

    As he stepped to center stage and lights from all around illuminated him, concert goers erupted with shouts and applause. Even though he considered himself a has been, Crash Jones always drew a crowd that rivaled that of much younger and hipper acts.

    As he struck the first chord, the crowd went into a frenzy. Drinks were held high, pot smoke hung heavy in the air and the not-so-lady-like types lifted their shirts and bared their assets for Crash and everyone else to see.

    Mid way through his first set, Crash began to notice the large spotlights that hung above the audience and glared down on him and the band. They seemed to be growing brighter with each passing moment. Suddenly, two of the lights seemed to grow brighter yet and move toward him. Crash felt nauseated. This had happened before.

    Thirteen years earlier, Crash had been involved in a horrific car accident. The lights he now saw were just like the high beams that had blinded him that night just before he collided head on with an eighteen wheeler. The wreck should have killed him, but miraculously it didn’t. Whether it was the cocktail of chemicals that coursed through his veins, pure dumb luck or divine intervention; Clyde Jones pulled through. After sixteen months of recovery, he went back on tour. It was the might that earned him the moniker ‘Crash’. It was the night he became clean and sober for good.

    The two bright lights cradled him in their beams and gently lifted him to the top of the dome, some eighty feet above where he’d been. When Crash looked down, he saw hid limp lifeless body splayed flat on it’s back in the center of the stage, guitar still clutched in it’s hands. The band looked confused; this wasn’t part of the act but they seemed to play on. Although he could hear nothing, the crowd seemed to cheer him on almost in unison among a sea of liquor, smoke and bare breasts.

    The lights that had lifted him here had somehow morphed into beings, angels in fact. On his left was an angel of heaven and on his right, and angel of hell. He looked to his left. She wore a flowing snow white silk gown. Curly locks of auburn hair adorned the flawless features of her face. “Come with me,” smiled softly as she beckoned him toward her. When she spoke, her breath engulfed him with the sweet aroma of the wildflowers he remembered picking as a child while growing up in the foothills of the Ozark mountains. He so desperately wanted to take her hand and be led into eternal bliss but instead, he looked to his right.

    Satan’s angel glared at Crash with a ghastly grin which revealed a mouthful of rotting and mangled teeth. Thin patches of wispy unkempt black hair fell around his ears and shoulders. Crash could feel the heat radiate from the fire that burned in the hollow of the angels eyes. “Come on son”, he croaked, “you were almost here once”. His breath reeked of alcohol and cigarettes. Crash wanted to go with him too, to relive the glory days of his youth.

    “No,” Crash heard himself say, addressing both angels, “No, No, No!’ With that he felt his fingers glide across the six strings that stretched across his stomach. This motion began a ninety second guitar solo unlike anything he’d ever played before. The crowd went haywire as he rose to a sitting position, fingers moving faster and faster over the strings. He leaped to his feet without missing a beat. He felt sweat dripping off of his chin and elbows. He peered out across the mass of fans before him. He smiled. Crash Jones would live to rock another day.

    1. Critique

      The first sentence hooked me and I couldn’t stop reading. Your descriptions of the two angels were stellar. Crash was in the zone for his guitar solo – a thing many musicians understand when they’re playing or just jamming – it’s like you don’t have to think and the music happens. I really liked this rle :)

    2. snuzcook

      Nice one, rle! You’ve created a superbly sympathetic character, and given the reader reasons to cheer along with the crowd. Completely drew me into the story.

    3. Reaper

      rle, this is the second week in a row you have provided something amazing and just a notch up. I think Klem needs to keep throwing out prompts that don’t instantly inspire you and push you out of your comfort zone because this was amazing, touching, and inspiring. I stand again in awe.

      1. rle

        Gosh Reaper, I hardly know how to respond. When one of the masters gives me this kind of feedback I’m rendered nearly speechless. Your words always inspire and your candor is always appreciated

    4. Observer Tim

      Wow, rle. This was a great yarn and masterfully told. It read almost like being there. This isn’t really a twist of the prompt, more of a head-banging slam dance of it. Way different, but still there and still very entertaining.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        This is my kind of neighborhood, rle, only you’ve done with this story, what I never would be able to do. You have put your actual soul in this tale and don’t tell me you haven’t. The choice between heaven and hell is a classic theme, but when I read the first sentence, I knew I was in for an awesome ride. You didn’t disappoint me, it s a beautiful piece of writing. I thought, “go back to your heart Kerry and try to write like this”.

    5. lionetravail

      Great story, as others have said! I finished it, and was hoping for more- specifically how Crash was able to refuse both. Then i began hearing Jethro Tull’s “Too old to rock and roll, but too young to die”. Nice job!

      1. flaboba

        Oh I thoroughly enjoyed this. I really felt for him and wanted him to realize his worth. Also loved the pull of both angels with equally enticing scenarios.

    6. k.spicer

      Well done rie, your characterization was great. Even the back story was well done. The ending was spot on and…and…and! Nothing else to say but good job!

    7. TheAwkwardLlama

      See what you mean about the last names. Really enjoyed this take on the prompt, very well written. Hopefully my trio of characters learns the same lesson that your rock star learned before it’s too late for them! :)

  26. TheAwkwardLlama

    76 words over, had a difficult time with this one :(

    Jacob cautiously cracked the door to the back room where Danny Jones, easily the most popular rock star in America, and the rest of the band were relaxing before they went on. Last time Jacob had checked in, the belligerent bass player, Chris Knapp, had hurled a lamp at his head.
    Inside, Danny was slowly spinning around on a table, naked with a curtain draped across his shoulders.
    “GET OUT!” snarled Chris at Jacob. “You’re interrupting the ritual, you c*********g son of a bitch!”
    “What ritual?” asked Jacob. It usually helped to engage Chris in rational conversation. It confused him and distracted him from attacking.
    “The ritual,” intoned Shiloh Rodriguez, the drummer, from the sofa. He was holding a hookah in his lap and was casually draped with the arms and legs of three mostly nude women, who were staring at Danny in stoned fascination. Like a toy top succumbing to gravity, Danny leaned and fell to a heap on the floor. He didn’t make a sound but began to twitch alarmingly.
    “Chris, you really need to stop convincing him to party so hard!” Jacob scolded. He pulled a small vial of ammonia from his pocket. “Jesus, man, what did you give him this time?”
    “It was probably the peyote,” mumbled Shiloh as one of the girls bit his lip.
    “Or the coke,” said Chris, suddenly helpful. “Do you think there was something in the coke?”
    “I imagine mixing peyote, coke, and three bottles of various kinds of liquors could have something to do with it,” said Jacob.
    “No one asked you,” growled Chris.
    “You do realize you’re on right after Devil Fetus?” asked Jacob.
    Chris curled up in a ball next to Danny on the floor. “Oh shit, oh shit, we have a show tonight? We have a show? Why didn’t you tell me, Jacob? Oh Danny, what have I done to you?
    “Try dangling your balls in his face, Jacob,” suggested Shiloh. “Sometimes that wakes him up.” Jacob ignored this helpful advice and after much coaxing, convinced Danny to stand up and put on jeans.
    Thirty minutes later, Jacob watched the band stagger onstage. He felt like a proud parent. They were only 20 minutes late and the crowd hadn’t started rioting. Danny was staring at his feet, his hands limp on his guitar, and there appeared to be vomit leaking from his mouth. Jacob crossed his fingers. Danny had come back from worse.
    Chris twanged out some chords and then stopped, staring at the crowd, transfixed. “DANNY!” he screamed. “DO YOU SEE THEM? The aliens, Danny! The motherf****n’ aliens!”
    Danny suddenly came to life. “We got to stop, the, the, aliens!” There was definitely vomit trickling down his chin. “We’re going to stop the aliens with some sick bass, and some awesome guitar, and some motherf*****g rock and roll, people, because the aliens are NOT AMERICANS and they can’t stand some sick rock, amirite?”
    “You’re right, man!” said Chris. “Let’s kill some aliens!”
    The crowd, already deaf and drunk from the previous three hours, couldn’t understand this exchange, but they knew when they were getting some world class rock. Danny Jones had pulled it off again, thanks to some helpful hallucinogen-induced aliens.

    1. Reaper

      Wow. I just followed a very twisty road. That was amazing and very slice of life. Confused by the edits, or partial edits? Unless the site started editing really strange words. I’m wondering if that is a personal thing or if you were going for an affect there. Great story.

    2. Observer Tim

      Okay, these guys are definitely stoned. It’s a brilliant description of a band livng the Jim Morrison quote: “Everyone stops, points up and gasps “Oh look at that!” Then- whoosh, and I’m gone…

      But they’re having a hell of a party while it lasts…

    3. TheAwkwardLlama

      Thanks for the kind comments! As far as the editing, I was over thinking the cursing, I was worried for whatever reason that I might get my story deleted or what not if any of the words offended anyone.

  27. flaboba

    Lanie grew up in the Hollywood club scene. She was at home in her world where everyone was in the fast lane, but no one seemed to go anywhere, where everything happened, but nothing was going on. Lanie had two plans in life, one short term and one long term. She never deviated. Her short-term plan was to get an all access pass to anywhere, and her long-term plan was to marry a rock star.

    Luka’s real name was Larry Hern. He’d grown up just a few miles from the Hollywood sign. At twenty-four, Larry caught a break when he was flown to London to fill in for a major act whose singer had collapsed from exhaustion. Everyone knew that was code for “overdose, then rehab”. Larry had morphed into Luka during his year abroad, returning with credibility, fame and a perplexing affect. The boy who had never been farther than six hundred miles from Los Feliz suddenly sported an accent that could make the queen blush.

    As is life on the road, we had been with each other almost daily for four years. I guess you could say we were all very close, or as close as one can be in the biz. There had been ups and downs and brief periods of “I hate your guts, lose my number.” But basically we were inseparable.

    The last time I saw either one of them, Lanie was kneeling behind a Marshall stack in front of “Luka” during Robin’s drum solo. She liked to say she was in charge of wardrobe, but everyone knew she was the official “ambience coordinator.” She and Luka had a thing for each other, but Luka also had LSD, ‘lead singer disease’, and try as she might, no amount of “ambience coordinating” on her part would keep him down on the farm.

    The night our lives changed forever is idellibly burned into my brain. At the beginning of the drum solo the platform, fitted on hydraulic lifts, rose sixteen feet above the audience. I was sitting on the riser next to Robin, hidden behind his massive double bass drums. It always gave me a rush to see fields of bodies waving at us. I peered over the edge of the riser just in time to see creepers climbing from the floor to the stage.

    Robin, lost in his twenty minutes of glory, beat away. The laser show, and pyrotechnics surrounding the drum riser, insulated us from the mayhem engulfing the stage. In fact the horror show that would ensue was swift and calculated, and over before Robin had even finished.

    The local MC chapter, hired to run security, was dislodging intruders from the structure one by one. What began as stragglers turned into waves of bodies climbing over the human barrier until huge, tat-armed bikers disappeared under a sea of people scrambling for safety. They were flanked by armies of ICE storm troopers as far as the eye could see.

    Later we would find out that coyotes had arranged for truck loads of illegal aliens to blend in among the sixteen wheelers lining up in the fields behind the stage. Their human cargo sat quietly inside, until the venues gates were opened. The coyotes then ordered the illegals to blend into the crowd as they filtered their cargo into the stadium a few at a time. A three day music fest seemed the perfect setting to release hundreds of immigrants unnoticed.

    Someone tipped off the authorities, and one of the largest illegal alien sweeps in history took place that day in the desert. Hundreds of concert goers were trampled to death, while others were caught up in the hysteria, and deported along with most of the illegals.

    Robin and I sat on the riser surveying the insanity below us while we waited for hours to be rescued. Thousands of injured concert goers lay helpless amidst hysterical protestors who had begun destroying and burning everything in sight.

    Sometime near dawn, Robin and I were able to climb down from the riser and make our way towards the road. We had to leave everything we had, and everyone we knew, behind. We never saw Lanie or Luka again, and I haven’t been back on a stage since the alien invasion.

    1. Reaper

      I really liked this. There was a lot of depth and I felt really bad for you MC which would not have been possible without the opening character intros.

    2. Observer Tim

      This is great, Flaboba. It’s not the first “illegals” take of the week, but it’s so well done it drives the others out. You did a great job painting the confusion and desperation of the event. The story itself reads like one of those “I remember when” articles that sometimes appear in magazines.

      I hope Lanie and Luka made it out safely.

      1. lionetravail

        I kinda get Lanie and Luka passing into urban legend, but in reality flipping huevos at some diner in the Mexican desert… and being sorta happy with thei lot. Great story, and with a nice balance of bittersweet.

  28. darren.white58

    My fingers played up the neck of the bass sliding in time with the flicks of my off hand. I looked out over the crowds of wailing fans, a sea of glowing hungry nineteen year old lust, my name stretched tight across chests here and there in pulsating red and green stage light. One more theater in a sting of run down bookings but this was the last one at least, I thought to myself. I let my hands do most of the work. They having played this set list so many times, were running mostly on autopilot anyway so I lost myself gazing out into the undulating mass that made up the first ten or fifteen rows.

    Bobbing my head I was attempting to work up enough moisture on my tongue to spit, the little tab of translucent paper having dissolved into a gritty patch of sand in the back of my throat. That’s when I saw him, it was his stillness that caught my eye more than anything. In a rolling pitching sea of color and sound he stood perfectly still staring straight ahead. Then I saw it for what it really was.

    In the Colum of white sparks that started the pyrotechnic display which drew our show to a close I saw the things eyes, a solid disk of flat black the sockets stretched wide and distended. I started to sweat and my heart, usually the steady beat I keep time to, sped into a fury my fingers struggling to keep up. The black cans of red and green light racked tightly around the metal superstructure of the stage started to pulse violently firing beams of chaotic wild color out into the crowd. In the explosion of bodies each one revealed I saw another one, black eyes of men and women staring right through me watching my heart speed in time with the splashy bass.

    I turned from the crowd closing my eyes tight, letting my hands keep up the act of status quo as they were obviously handling things better than I was. It going to be alright, I assured myself, one quick solo and the shows done, no encore for these grey bastards. I forced my heart back under control and opened my eyes.
    The stage light’s gleam off the glassy jet off my drummers eyes finally caused my fingers to falter and the flubbed thump of sound was devoured by the screaming mass at my back. As the knowing smile across his pale sweat soaked face spread wide. I started to stumble backwards away from him. One, two, three swaying staggers the whole time my feet struggling to stay underneath me as I slipped on the black cord snaking all across the stage. Than the stage was gone and I was falling, a whirlwind of static distortion and pulsating light, the sea of hands rose up to meet me and I was lost. Screaming, rolling, and laughing they carried me off into the darkness.

    1. Reaper

      That is an amazingly scary story. Starting with the overt, moving to betrayal and the psychological. Ending with the failure of the MC’s own body. Just enough to cause some sleepless nights if read in the dark. Very well done. Some of your wording was beyond amazing too. I particularly liked splashy bass.

    2. Observer Tim

      Great descriptions and imagery, Darren. I can’t quite tell whether the MC is encountering aliens or having a really bad trip. Either way it’s so luxuriently described I can see him slowly falling apart.

    3. lionetravail

      I agree with the above comments. There was a little confusion from some tense choices, but the story itself was chilling in that “invasion of the body snatchers” kind of way. Seems like a great beginning to a longer story, with most of it being a flashback to what happened leading up to this ending.

    4. darren.white58

      Hey thanks a lot for your great encouraging responses. I just took up writing as a hobby, and this is the first thing I’ve ever written that wasn’t an essay for school or a work email so I was a little self conscious to post it. I am glad you enjoyed it.

  29. Artemis4421

    [Did you say bands? This one is right up my alley, I suppose! Word count: 633]

    As the boys and I walk out on stage, the crowd goes near-silent. I smile to myself before walking to my place beside Dallon, the bassist, and grabbing my mic off its stand.

    “Hello Dallas!” The crowd goes absolutely berserk as the sound of my hello is amplified through the speakers. This is tradition, something that the band and I have done with every crowd on this tour. The first set goes great; a whole bunch of loud songs that every crowd is sure to enjoy. We go back out for the second, slower set, and I take a seat at the piano before introducing the song and playing it.

    It goes on like this for three songs, all of them picking up speed as we go. We get to a point in the show where we ask for song suggestions, and then the band and I pick a few to sing. It’s quite fun for both us, and the crowd.

    The first one that we decide on is a great song, even if it’s a bit on the slow side. Halfway through, I hear a single scream from somewhere in the back of the audience. I shrug it off -people get too excited a lot of times- though I still feel a bit of unease as I continue singing.

    I do stop though, when I see bright flashing lights and hear more screams less than a minute later. With everyone unsure of what’s going on, the venue turns into a place of chaos. I can see the fear on the faces of those close to the stage as they cast their eyes back, wondering as much as I am, just what’s happening.

    There’s a dark cloud that looks suspiciously like a spaceship, and it’s hovering above the crowd. I nearly gasp when I realize what’s going on.

    “It’s time,” I mouth silently, turning to Dallon, Tyler (drums), and Alex (guitar). In a flash, we’re all in ridiculous superhero costumes, with our instruments in hand. (Well, Tyler is seated behind his drums, drumsticks in hand.)

    The spaceship thing is slowly moving toward us, and I can see that where light from it hits people, they fall to the ground. “Full metal, go!” I yell, and the band is turning up amps and playing crazy riffs and beating on drums in a way that’s so primal, it almost makes me fear them. But let me tell you, when my band means ‘full metal’, they don’t mess around.

    The spaceship suddenly changes shape into…an alien? Are you serious? What’s more is the alien appears to be head-banging to our music. Alien rock; well I’ll be.

    I shake my head and address the boys again. “Bubblegum pop?” I question. I’m met with quick nods or shrugs. Without me saying anymore, a cutesy pop tune is coming out of the speakers. In seconds, I’m spewing the lyrics that might be Justin Beiber, might be Nikki Minaj- I don’t know or care.

    There’s a loud, high-pitched scream as the shape gets smaller, and smaller, and…poof! It’s gone. I look out across the audience and see people slowly getting to their feet, some looking confused, but others looking joyful. I let out a sigh of relief, and the band and I come together in the middle of the stage to high-five.

    We hurry off the stage, and we’re already on the road by the time the news crews show up. I lay on the tour bus in my Snuggy and watch the news unfold, telling of ‘supposed aliens’ and ‘Suspicious Band Flees Suspicious Scene- more to come.’ I laugh to myself; just another day on the job. I wonder if when people say “bands save” they know how literally…? In any case, oh, what a time to be alive

    1. Observer Tim

      This is very clever, Artemis. Who knew that genres of music would have such striking effects on alien life forms?

      When you brought in the transformation sequence I was expecting a manga superhero combat band with “solar powered laser beam guitars” (thank you Prism). That their music could simply alter the aliens’ reality was a total (pleasant) surprise.

      Also, I take it from your intro comment that you are in a band or otherwise live around rock music. Sorry if you mentioned it before and I hadn’t paid attention; I can be thick that way sometimes.

      1. Artemis4421

        Thank you, O.T.! I think music genres have a lot of effect on humans, (or the popularity of the song itself) so why not on aliens? No, you’re not being thick; I haven’t said anything due to the fact that no, I am not in a band (though I often wish I was). Music is just a very big part of my life, and possibly one of my favorite things in the world. I do play the saxophone though, if that counts, haha!

    2. Critique

      I thought it was clever the way the band’s music shrunk the space ship into a head banging alien, then the bubble gum pop it turned into a blob and then poof! From your comment it sounds like you’ve had experience in the music field. I’m picking vocals :)

      1. Artemis4421

        Thank you for the comment, Critique! I’d formulated the whole idea in my head, knowing that whatever I wrote, the transformation due to the genres would definitely be in it! I only have a little experience in the music field, if you count playing the saxophone for around four years for school. I’m honored by your comment though. I wish my vocals were actually worthy for it! :)

    3. Reaper

      Very nice. The musical commentary and the humor were awesome. You definitely made me think this was going another way with the super hero outfits. Way to keep it fresh and surprising. A pure pleasure to read.

    4. sjmca1966

      There are some bands that have been around so long, I wonder about their mortality. You may have just answered that question for me. Great read Artemis4421.

  30. james.ticknor

    The Epic Alien Dubstep Battle That Melted Faces- Alien Faces: Skrillix vs. Aliens

    Screams withered the air as the masses dispersed, trying to outrun the alien onslaught. “What’re you doing, Skrillex?” my manager asked me. “They’re firing laser cannons into the crowd and you’re more worried about continuing the concert?”

    I flipped my hair and adjusted the wires to the sound system, trying to get a spark from them. “Blasted aliens fried the sound system with that last EP, and they’re not ‘laser cannons’, Carl. They’re alpha wave particles fired in a highly concentrated photoluminescent line.”

    “Who cares? Dead is dead, which is what we’ll be if we don’t get out of here.” I shook my head. My hands were too busy to scratch my ear. The tortured moans of my dying fans were annoyingly distracting. ‘Laser cannon’ fire, as Carl had so nicely put it, didn’t help either.

    “It’s no problem,” I said as the spark made a strange click and the speakers on stage popped. “My latest song will put a stop to them. It was only a matter of time before they found me, and I’m tired of running. My latest song should save us.”

    “Skrillex,” my manager said, his face ghost white, “I don’t believe that heavily in the power of music.”

    I smiled. “Well you should. Time to make them face the music.”

    I climbed onto the stage, jogging into the center, and grabbing the mic “Hey, aliens!” I shouted. The little green men responded by firing their alpha particle blasters at me. I responded by cueing Carl to fire the strobe lights that I so aptly modified into chain amplfing alpha blasters. As they ran for cover, I ran to my DJ table, starting the record of my new dubstep song.

    The electric rifts and base made their skin blister and pop. They screamed, dropping their guns, and ran around in circles.

    “What did you do?” I jumped, not even noticing that Carl had came up beside me.

    “I sequenced frequencies and induced them at such a high decible that it’s a bit like radiation to their fragil skin. Simply put. I rocked their faces so hard they melted.”

    (NOTE: Sorry about the lack of character development and everything, I just had a cool idea and felt lazy on the writing part today. :-/ )

    1. Marie Therese Knepper

      Those alpha wave particles fired in a highly concentrated photoluminescent line will get you every time!
      Very entertaining, james.ticknor

    2. Reaper

      I’m not sure I would say lack of character development. You created a likable and unique character in the MC due to the brilliance mixed with everything else. I felt the manager was three dimensional. There wasn’t a ton of backstory but you gave hints to it. The idea is awesome and well delivered. Simple but elegant.

    3. lionetravail

      Very fun take. MC was very believable, right down to “the tortured moans of mh dying fans were annoying” ;)

      Another potential start to a longer story… sound like the MC has been on the run from the aliens for a while, making me think he is one himself, though long enough of Earth to have the lingo down enough to make puns. Sometimes you dont need to beat the horse with background, and just entertain us. Again, nicely done!

    4. lionetravail

      Very fun take. MC was very believable, right down to “the tortured moans of mh dying fans were annoying” ;)

      Another potential start to a longer story… sound like the MC has been on the run from the aliens for a while, making me think he is one himself, though long enough of Earth to have the lingo down enough to make puns. Sometimes you dont need to beat the horse with background, and just entertain us. Again, nicely done!

    5. sjmca1966

      Hell, who needs to know your MCs mothers maiden name! You gave plenty for the reader to work with and the story flowed nicely. I enjoyed this take james.

  31. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    The Stone: Part 4

    WARNING: Read parts 1-3 below before starting part 4, unless you’re a rebel. haha Thanks for putting up with my story. There is only one part left! The finale is coming, and I hope it doesn’t disappoint!

    The good doctor thought it would be over. He thought once everyone transformed that the stone would no longer need him to for its plan, and that his enslavement would end. The torture of the bad doctor locking him in his own body with absolutely no control made him wish he could die. Unfortunately, he could do nothing but scream silently at the dark passenger controlling him.

    His teeth clicked.

    The bad doctor looked down at his rotting flesh as the sound of ripping meat filled the small alleyway. Just ten feet ahead, a demon devoured a man. They liked to feed on live humans, so they ate around the vital parts the kept them alive. Soft cries for mercy came as pathetic whimpers from the poor soul.

    The bad doctor heard the sound of a speeding car, and he turned toward the street. He watched a green sedan plow through two abandoned vehicles, and crash against a pale brick wall.

    The impact from the airbag knocked the driver unconscious, but his wife didn’t make it. A soft blue glow drew a halo on the scratched paint, but no angel would visit them that night, only demons.

    The creatures climbed over the car. The one at the driver’s side smashed through the window and pulled the unconscious man from his vehicle. The partially shattered window seemed to act like a potato peeler, scraping cloth, skin, and muscle from his back, which caused the man to wake. He began to scream in pain, and then started struggling to survive. The creature, in an effort to hold him down, placed its claw on his face. The other demon snapped at the creature as if fighting over the chance to eat a living human. However, it put a little too much pressure on the man’s head and crushed his skull.

    They both whined, disappointed that it’d killed its meal. One of them sniffed the corpse and then sniffed the meat hanging from the door. After a moment, it licked the rare strips of undried jerky, and then consumed them. The other creature went around the side of the car and gnawed at the woman’s face, revealing that she did indeed look no different under the skin from any other human.

    The good doctor wanted to look away but the bad doctor wouldn’t let him. Inside he cried and wept but neither his tears nor his remorse was strong enough to win the battle of neural strength against the evil inside him.


    You cannot escape. You humans are nothing more than weak vessels and a source of food for these creatures. Your pathetic and meaningless lives should never have inherited this planet. You did not earn it, and you do not deserve it.

    There was no laughter, but the good doctor felt the bad doctor’s tickle of humor because with each death of a human, came the birth of a demon. The creatures fed, and somehow during the feeding process, they infected the corpse with their seed. Only hours needed to pass before a demon emerged from those human remains. In a sense, the stones had won, and the good doctor could do nothing to stop it.


    His sadness turned to anger.


    Oh, how he hated that click. A subtle reminder of his childhood. Something he couldn’t control as a kid, just as he couldn’t control it or his body now.


    No, it didn’t just anger him—it infuriated him.


    Not only could he do nothing about the senseless murder of the human race, but he’d returned to the odd boyhood tic that drove him to become a doctor in the first place. He’d kicked it when he was twenty after several years of mental conditioning. Now it was back, and he couldn’t figure out why.

    Click. Click. Click.

    Hell, it even angered the bad doctor, because the good doctor could feel the increasing emotion of irritation rising from the depth of the evil thing’s consciousness.

    Click. Click. Click.

    Stop that.

    Click Click. Click. Click.

    Stop it now, human.

    1. Reaper

      The imagery was disturbing. It felt very third reel with the potato peeler and the raw jerky. This is making my skin crawl and my mind hope for a happy ending that it is sure is not coming. Still intense and I look forward to the next part. One possible suggestion that connected for me would be to link the eating around vital organs and the birth of the demons. It would make an evolutionary sense if they learned to enjoy live food not for the torment but because it was how they reproduced.

  32. seliz

    “Dreaming with a Broken Heart”

    There’s nothing like creating music. Standing on stage in front of thousands of people becomes a personal experience when the audience falls away to nothing. It’s just me and my guitar. When I press my fingers on the chords, it’s like I bare my soul with each riff.

    I suppose that’s why I didn’t notice her until she was standing directly in front of me.

    She stood a head taller than me with slick, green skin. She had the basic anatomy of a human woman, but when she opened her mouth, dozens of snake-like tongues flicked out around a cage of pointed teeth. Milky white orbs stared unblinkingly at me, the red slit of her pupils narrowed dangerously. The creature snapped her teeth, each jaw moving independently of each other.

    With frantic eyes, I looked around for help—where was everyone? The room that had once been packed with fans was filled with nothing more than a white haze of gas. I couldn’t even see my band mates who had just been standing next to me.

    My knees buckled beneath me when I realized that I was alone. My mind went numb as I stared up at the creature, waiting for her to kill me.

    For a split second, she didn’t move. It was like everything stopped.

    And then she lunged.

    Her jaw split open as she emitted a series of earsplitting shrieks. Closing the gap between us, her limbs folded beneath her, as she knelt on all fours. The stink of flesh was nauseating as her head bobbed back at forth in front of me, her pointed teeth gnashing violently. A clawed hand snaked out towards my neck—like an animal swiping its prey—and knocked me on my back.

    Dark green lips twisted into a smile as the creature pushed her hand deeper against my neck.

    And then everything changed around me.

    The room shifted into a tropical forest, strange bugs buzzing around me. Towering above leafy trees, stood a massive black rock, chiseled down to jagged, pointed angles. Surrounding the rock, stood hundreds of creatures with their clawed hands stretched upward. As their hands stretched to the sky, the rock emitted a melodic hum, much like the strum of the guitar. All around the rock, the creatures swayed with eyes closed and mouths upturned into a smile.

    But then the sky erupted into fire, massive orbs of flame spiraling down upon the screaming creatures. Blasts of fire smashed the rock to pieces, and the creatures fell to the ground—dead.

    All except one.

    The creature who knelt in front of me, pulling her hand away from my neck. As she did, I stared at her with a new understanding. Her milky white eyes were tear filled as she watched me.

    Not breaking eye contact with her, I picked up my guitar and began to strum. She swayed back and forth, eyes closed, dancing to the song of her dead people.

    1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

      Woah, good read. It’s rare that a story will give me goosebumps, but you managed it, and I’m not exactly sure why because I don’t think I fully understand what’s going on here. lol Is the MC dreaming? Is this a story with a moral telling us not to abuse our environment!? I suppose it might just be open for interpretation… or I just need more sleep than I get. haha Thanks for sharing!

      1. seliz

        He’s not dreaming. The reason for the title was that the song, “Dreaming with a broken heart” speaks a lot about the pain of loss, so it seemed fitting for the story. As far as the fireballs and the death of the other alien’s, that could be more open to interpretation like you said. I wrote it with an attack in mind, but just didn’t show it. Who attacked them wasn’t important to the story, just that they were killed. But the fireballs could have been caused by an environmental issue as well. But I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for reading :)

    2. Marie Therese Knepper

      Seliz, before the alien attacked your MC, I was reliving the verses of “Killing Me Softly With His Song.”
      I experienced lots of mental pictures throughout the reading of your story. Well done :)

    3. Observer Tim

      This is great, Seliz. I love the idea that the alien wasn’t so much trying to attack (though it sure looked like it) as to communicate. And music can truly be the universal language among all creatures that are able to perceive it.

      You took me someplace I hadn’t thought to go. Thanks!

    4. Critique

      Your description of the creature was excellent, Especially freaky for me were the multiple jaws and white orbs (eyes) with red slits for pupils. A weird and scary story. Well done seliz.

      1. seliz

        Thank you! And I’ve always thought there was something creepy about creatures with jaws like that (too many video games and horror books) and I think it carried over to my writing.

    5. Reaper

      I don’t think I breathed through this story. There is so much metaphor mixed with music mixed with message and a dash of straight forward in here. Simply beautiful and compelling. I’ll be thinking on this one for days. You are always good and I think this is one of your best.

    6. snuzcook

      The images you created, seliz, and the concept were so striking and so melancholy! They have stayed with me since I read it. A great response to the prompt, and a profound message delivered.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You’ve taken me into a realm of story telling I’ve always loved, fantasy. Your description of the wanton angel hovering between her sworn duty of evil but yet far in her backgroun is a small key to her soul, that you managed to open with that key, a broken spirit that the MC’s music was able to soothe. A clasic tale between good and evil.

        Your descriptive style is so on, I also at the last sentence, noticed goose bump on my arms.

    7. lionetravail

      And music is a truly universal language… great twist, Seliz, to make the ‘attack’ into the sharing of an empathic/telepathic experience. Really a great story, though to me the moral is more that, no matter how we look on the outside, its what is on the inside which counts- the ability to make an emotional connection, here through music, can bridge any divide.

    8. sjmca1966

      seliz, for me this spoke of judging others by appearance without getting to know the story behind their motives or actions. A very moving piece that was a joy to read more than once. :)

  33. smallPencil

    “I reach for the heavens
    look to the stars
    they’re crumbling mountains
    our invaders from Mars

    You come in peace
    but leave us in pieces?
    last I checked
    we haven’t bowed
    you should have left
    too late now

    Because we are the humans!
    hearts humungous
    heads up
    eyes to the sky
    can’t crush us
    or march us
    ‘quietly into the night’

    I reach for the heavens
    look to the stars
    like crumbling mountains
    our invaders from Mars

    your lasers are just light
    won’t win you this fight
    now take to the sky
    or kiss your ass goodbye

    you picked the wrong planet
    better understand it
    and leave at the speed of light
    before we begin to fight

    Because we are the humans
    hear us roar!
    your ships in ruins
    your ass on the floor

    I reach for the heavens
    look to the stars
    like crumbling mountains
    go our invaders from Mars”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      A very inspiring response to the prompt. The human spirit forever prevails. You did a beautiful job of portaying that. We give ‘em hell and don’t quit. Fall to your knees is no shame, rise up and do battle again, the human spirit.

    2. Observer Tim

      Great lyrics, SmallPencil! I can almost hear this being played over a hard rock background, with ‘we are the humans’ being shouted by a thousand voices.

      It somewhat reminds me (in theme and tone) of the crescendo of Chris de Burgh’s “Crusader” (We are invincible, And we will win!).

    3. Reaper

      Very nice smallpencil. I have to say I am always happy to see poetry on here because it is such a lost art. You fit very well into the lyrics of a hard rock song and I can see this played with the title of Don’t Tread on Me. I’d even say the flag Benjamin Franklin suggested for the the US if it had not been used by Metalica already. Just inspiring and beautiful.

    4. lionetravail

      I will echo the earlier comments- well done, and interesting take. The poetry leaves the reader to fill in the story around it, and i can see a bloody but unbowed humanity giving voice to the battlecry of a new generation.

  34. sjmca1966

    Live at Red Rocks –

    As a kid I’d sat listening to my Uncle Aaron’s vinyl copy of Under a Blood Red Sky, U2’s live recording from Red Rocks, Colorado.

    We were about to step on the very same stage and I had nerves like those I’d had five years earlier, when playing our first pub gig.

    “Colorado, are you ready? . . . I said Colorado are you ready?” The crowd let the MC know they were, as they yelled as one.

    “Okay then, make some noise for Dante’s Daughter-r-r!”

    “Let’s do it guys,” I said, as we broke away from our pre-gig huddle.

    I’d seen numerous videos of Red Rocks in full swing, but the lighting was even more exquisite than I could have imagined, even the previous nights rehearsal was nothing like this.

    Three chords into Jessica’s Dream, and every performers worst nightmare occurred. We lost all power. As I looked around trying to find someone to blame, a deathly hush fell over the audience.

    As one, all the faces in the crowd were hit by a red light. They were staring up into the nights sky with eyes and mouths wide open. An intense white string of light then darted across the mid-riff of a young women sitting atop the shoulders of her boyfriend, as he put his hands up to lift her down her body separated.

    Rushing to the edge of the stage to see what was happening, I looked up to see a spacecraft of immense proportions. A security guard on the ground below me drew his weapon, he never got to fire as he was quickly split in two.

    I felt an intense cold as the craft descended to within ten feet of the stage back-drop. We had no contingency plan for alien invasion, I ran to the back of the stage and grabbed my acoustic guitar.

    “What are we going to do?” asked Mike, as he returned to his drum kit.

    “Follow my lead,” I said, as I began playing, ‘We shall overcome’.

    We were singing at the top our voices as white light danced among the crowd, “This isn’t working,” said Mike.

    “I never thought it would,” I said, “These guys have the technology advanced enough to rip a hole in space and visit us from god knows how far away. There’s nothing we can do to stop them.”

    “Then why are we playing?” asked Mike.

    “Jessica made me watch Titanic the other night and I remember the band always keeps playing as the ship goes down.”

    It was then that I heard the ends of Mikes drumsticks hit the stage floor. He looked at me with resignation in his Basset Hound eyes.

    I just kept playing. . .

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Wow and a big double wow. This was great. The spirit of the Mc comes hurtling through your words and splits the computer screen in half. What an intense story this is.Good job.

    2. Observer Tim

      This is beautiful sjmca. A last great act of inner peace. I hope the aliens, despite the appearances, are taking the people alive. A captured band on a far-off world would make an excellent part two.

      1. sjmca1966

        Thanks so much Tim. Unfortuately I feel the fat lady has sung for the human race in this story. Bleak I know but that was my mindset when I began writing it.

    3. Marie Therese Knepper

      I totally love your story.
      Taking into consideration your MC was influenced by “Titanic,” perhaps “Nearer My God To Thee” might have worked :D

      1. sjmca1966

        Thanks Marie. As soon as I read your comment, you jogged my very unreliable memory about the Titanic song. I’m trying to speed up my posting time and I claim this oversight as a casualty of my haste.

      1. sjmca1966

        Thanks Jay, I wonder myself if my MC actually watched it by himself, but even facing certain death he wanted to maintain a certain level of cred.

    4. Reaper

      Lovely story full of power and great lines. I laughed in spite of myself at we had no contingency plan for an alien invasion. So stark and forward and yet so perfect.

      Years ago I was at a concert and two idiots got onto stage and started fighting. This was my second concert and the first one where something like that happened. The singer stopped singing but the band kept going. I looked at my buddy and asked him why they kept going with these guys fighting right there where one of the members could get hurt. He explained to me that the band always keeps playing because if they stop the violence in front of them and the sudden disappointment and change could cause a crowd to riot and more people would get hurt. Your story reminds me of that on a higher level.

      If I had any one suggestion it would be to remove your second to last line. Instead of having the MC look back leave the mystery of whether Mike stopped playing or was cut in half and have the MC keep playing without knowing. Not necessary but speaks to the band keeps playing as the ship goes down. I am completely in awe of this story.

      1. sjmca1966

        Thanks Reaper. Dam you’re so right about second to last line, I pride myself in trusting the reader but slipped up on that one. Thanks for pointing out and nice pick-up.
        Thanks for sharing your experience too.

    5. lionetravail

      I love the MC’s response to Mike- “I never thought it would…. there’s nothing we can do to stop them… I remember the band always keeps playing…”

      Classic- do what you can do for as long as you can- sometimes, it’s the only victory you get. Great story!

      1. sjmca1966

        Thanks lionetravail, it wasn’t really much of a Hollywood blockbuster ending, but their was a certain amount of myself in the MC’s summing up of the moment.

    6. snuzcook

      This hit me as unique because of the Titanic reference. I was disappointed in Mike, but that made the MC’s continuing even more exceptional. What is it about persistence in the face of sure defeat that rallies the human spirit? The Henry the V speech re St. Crispin’s Day comes to mind.
      Well done, sjmca1966. PS–love your choice of venue ;0)

      1. sjmca1966

        Thanks snuzcook, I think we’ve all wondered how we’ll react in the last seconds after the parachute doesn’t open.
        I remember wearing out my VHS copy of Under a Blood Red Sky, back in the day, so it was an easy choice as the most iconic and picturesque setting I could think of to fit the storyline. (Great minds eh!)

  35. Critique

    A one, a two, a three… Olaf hit the drums with a vengeance, Teddy and Whiskers added the bass and electric guitars, and Leo brought his magic on the keyboard.

    It was a phenomenal concert. The venue was packed to the rafters.

    The fluorescent yellow of security jackets could be seen everywhere.

    I pulled the mike off the stand with a flourish and got into my groove. It was our slow song. “Get On Out”. It was sweet.

    It was a winner – number one on the charts for three straight months.

    I gotta say – speaking for my guys – it’s a stroke to these old carcasses to see a mass of people dancing their brains out in front of you.

    At the moment they swayed to the ballad as if in a swoon.

    We knew how fantastically blessed we were to be doing what we loved – for one hundred years.

    The sweat was dripping off our faces and we were loving our rock and roll when the lights went weird.

    Whiskers noticed it first and sidled up to me plucking those strings without a miss. I looked over at him and caught the secret signal.

    Bands have codes in the event a crowd gets out of hand and they need to make a fast exit.

    Ours was a left eyed double wink and nod.

    An unusual powerful strobe light swept over the crowd. I was blinded momentarily. When I could focus, I saw fear spreading on the faces closest to the stage.

    Bless his beating heart Olaf kept drumming – something he knows to do when stuff goes south in a concert.

    Teddy motioned for Whiskers and I to meet at the keyboard..

    “I heard it through the earphones. Security says some alien dudes crashed the gates and are abducting the fans,” Teddy said.“Don’t look now but the upper balcony is almost empty. They’re using laser guns to paralyze their target and carting them off like cattle.”

    ‘This has gotta be a copycat of the New Orleans concert last month, “ I said. “The concert stopped when those alien freaks from Planet Killjoy crashed the place. Five hundred people vanished.”

    ”’What are we gonna do Pierce?” Leo said.

    “These dudes can’t stand happy – like a Zumba beat. My scientist brother studies these folks. He told me it makes them dissolve or something.” I grinned. “I say we hammer out some Zumba and get our fans dancing.”

    “Let’s do it,” we said in chorus and pounded our fists with each other.

    Whiskers went to brief Olaf.

    Like a tsunami wave we swept the spirit of the crowd into Zumba.

    We gave it our all.

    The crowd danced and laughed.

    The strobe lights disappeared. Our fluorescent protectors shovelled the remains of those scaly creeps and filled the trash bins.

    We kept up the Zumba for four hours straight.

    Check us out in the Guiness World Book of Records 2125.

    1. lionetravail

      Loved this, Critique.

      Hard to imagine how the band was so matter of fact: “This has got to be a copycat of the New Orleans concert last month”, but so tongue-in cheek! Love the ending too, “Check us out in the Guiness World Book…” nice!

      (One minor thing- Teddy motioned for whiskers and ME to meet at the keyboard.)

  36. Bilbo Baggins


    “Temperatures tomorrow are forecasted at a high of 105, with a low of…”

    The car surged down into a pothole, scraping its underside, and coffee sloshed out of the cup holder, burning into the seats.


    I reached over, turning up the garbled police radio. It was Sheriff Hall, from the next town over, who I’d been forced to work with—a result of wandering county lines and mismanaged officers.

    “Deputy Buckley, we’ve arrived and are checking out the scene. Over…”

    I grimaced, hated my last name being used. Well, tonight was already promising.

    “Sheriff Hall, I’m on my way. Be there in five. Over.”

    My tinny four-cylinder pushed across the desolate Utah wilderness, nothing but flat, arid desert all around, mesas jutting into the horizon.

    “No gas stations,” I muttered. “Perfect.”

    I took a gradual turn through a cliff of red, layered rock, and on the other side the massive amphitheater waited. My hands slid along the steering wheel, my eyes gazing in amazement. Fifteen columns held up a massive dome, stretching up to meet the setting sun.

    The parking lot was packed, three police cars pulled off on the gravel next to it. Hall waved me over, and I grudgingly parked, dust flying up in sheets.

    “Evening, deputy!”

    “Sheriff Hall…”

    I slammed the car door, gazing up at the building.

    “Can we go inside?”

    “Yeah, I radioed back to base. They’ll know if something goes… wrong.”

    I tried to smile, examining the empty trucks in front of me.

    “What could go wrong?”

    He didn’t smile back.

    “Spencer, Bill, come along! We’ll go in through the front,” he said.

    Passing through the parking lot, we reached the sidewalk. An American flag snapped sharply, and a pigeon fluttered from off a bench, the explosion of white flapping wings. Opening the door into the hushed, air-conditioned ticket lobby, Hall seemed to freshen up.

    “Bill, come with me. We’ll head backstage. Buckley, head to the stands.”

    I winced again, glancing at Spencer, a youthful deputy no older than my son. He trembled in anxiety, fingering his handcuffs.

    “Come on, let’s go inside.”

    Walking briskly through the white hallway, Hall had already disappeared. Four large doors loomed ahead. Approaching, a new smell entered my nose, sneaking in, a sickening odor. Quickened by suspicion, my hands braced on the door, flinging it open.

    My breath caught, and I stopped as if blown back by a wave of air. Hundreds, no, thousands of bodies were in front of me, crammed into seats and aisles, crumpled onto one another, in inconceivable positions, limbs tangled. It continued all the way over across the floor… everyone.

    “Holy…..” My voice descended to a whisper. “They’re all….”

    I went forward a few feet, crouched on my aching knees, flipped over a body. A woman’s face greeted me, gazing up, eyes glassy. One tattoo was on her hand, a cell phone slipping from it, a tattered heart, outlined in red.

    “Hall said it was—it was a mass suicide,” Spencer choked out.

    I stood up again, surveying the mass of bodies again. The stage was empty, no bodies on it, but the drums, the guitars were there, all tuned up.

    “Spencer, who did this?”

    I didn’t look back, could sense his nervousness.

    “Or, rather… what did this?”

    Swinging back to face him, he was practically convulsing, his palms gleaming sweat.

    “I don’t know! Hall said—“

    “Who gives a f**k what he said! How’d he know it was a suicide if he was outside the whole time?!”

    Understanding began to dawn on him at last. He cast a wary glance at the stage, walking slowly backwards.

    “The portal!” he belted out at last, a yelping cry that poured sorrow from his lungs, tears pouring down his cheeks. “The portal!”

    Spencer fled through one of the heavy doors, his legs jerky, moving out of alignment. My heart began to wrench, but I didn’t chase after him. What portal was he talking about? I had to find Hall, ask him some questions. He could clear all this up.

    Searching for any sign of him, I thought I noticed the woman’s chest rise just a little. Hope resurging, I got down again, my hands trying to feel for a pulse. Maybe they weren’t dead, but unconscious, a drug experiment, hypnotism.

    But that all gave way to an inescapable pained panic, my organs heaving within me, my hands fleeing back. A pulse had returned, but it came from her stomach, an odd four-beat combination.

    And it was growing.

    (Guess what? I’m back!! Did you miss me? There will be a part two to this. GH)

    1. Reaper

      I like your slow build here Mr. Baggins. You hooked me fast then reeled me in like an expert. For a second I forgot the prompt and wondered where you were going. Then I remembered and just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Amazing description, nice suspense, great characters. I anxiously wait for part two.

    2. Observer Tim

      There had better be, Bilbo. You did an excellent job building suspense.

      A thought for your consideration: Since the MC is a sherrif’s deputy, you might try as an exercise to rearrange this story to put it in that “voice”. Description would be blunt and direct, and the poetic turns of phrase you do so well would have to be re-wrapped as direct sentences.

    3. lionetravail

      I swear I can hear the music from ‘Jaws’ playing in the background, while expecting poor Detective Buckley to buy it any minute. Great work with this one, Bilbo!

  37. moscoboy


    Communiqué # 1345

    Date: 18 July 2418 – 1800 hrs. GMT

    To: Local UN peacekeepers, section MexAm 57, tan zone 56, quadrant 67887.
    From: Musical troupe, Peoples Enjoyment Ensemble. (Formerly Kid Rockers)
    Re: Flawed news reports.

    We want to refute the erroneous charges directed at our group by the One World News Agency that used anger prose and angst against our group.

    We were in possession of a valid permit to perform for the allotted time and paid our permit fees for security and recycling of any waste area after our festival ended.

    The problem was an errant UN sound-seeking drone manned by Mechanical Green Peacekeepers (MGP’s) that were not programmed to surveil our festival. The MGP’s malfunctioned and inflicted grievous psychological harm and trauma to the attendees as their craft crash landed in the midst of our music festival.

    We believe that our string instruments (that were properly inspected by the festival’s security units) may have set off sensitive vibrations that caused the recycled MGP’s to breakdown and attack the humans at the celebration.

    In our defense, we panicked and set off two confetti cannon blasts for effect. (Permits for sound and clean up were obtained and the confetti is biodegradable)

    It is our theory that border separatists switched our renewable confetti shells with weaponized confetti that permeated the command and control chips of the MGP’s and caused them to override their peacekeeping program. Eventually, the weaponized confetti seeped into their operating joints and caused the MGP’s to cease moving and fell on the ground powerless.

    We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the attendees as they expelled their bodily waste on the immobilized MGP’s, but we bear no malice or responsibility towards the damage caused to your defective MGP’s.

    We are in hiding until the World Court rules in our favor. This communiqué has been written on a substance called paper, using a mechanical writing device that bears the symbol IBM Selectric and is not traceable according to a museum employee.

    We pray to our One World Peacemaker, the late Al Gore, and implore that his spirit of Greeness will come upon your minds and conclude that we were innocent of any harm to your inferior security units. In lieu attempting to track us down, we humbly suggest that you protect us from the terrorist’s intent on causing chaos to our tranquil One World community.

    Written With Peace and Harmony,

    Unit # 445-67-8848

    1. k.spicer

      This was unique and entertaining and unfortunately very believable. I found the language to be very well done. I liked it as a story…but hate the fact that we are actually heading in that direction. This was inspired and up to date and very well done!

          1. moscoboy

            I’m toying with a manuscript involving a separatist movement. Thanks for your comment.

        1. flaboba

          “Alien Invasion”

          Lanie grew up in the Hollywood club scene. She was at home in her world where everyone was in the fast lane, but no one seemed to go anywhere, where everything happened, but nothing was going on. Lanie had two plans in life, one short term and one long term. She never deviated. Her short-term plan was to get an all access pass to anywhere, and her long-term plan was to marry a rock star.

          Luka’s real name was Larry Hern. He’d grown up just a few miles from the Hollywood sign. At twenty-four, Larry caught a break when he was flown to London to fill in for a major act whose singer had collapsed from exhaustion. Everyone knew that was code for “overdose, then rehab”. Larry had morphed into Luka during his year abroad, returning with credibility, fame and a perplexing affect. The boy who had never been farther than six hundred miles from Los Feliz suddenly sported an accent that could make the queen blush.

          As is life on the road, we had been with each other almost daily for four years. I guess you could say we were all very close, or as close as one can be in the biz. There had been ups and downs and brief periods of “I hate your guts, lose my number.” But basically we were inseparable.

          The last time I saw either one of them, Lanie was kneeling behind a Marshall stack in front of “Luka” during Robin’s drum solo. She liked to say she was in charge of wardrobe, but everyone knew she was the official “ambiance coordinator.” She and Luka had a thing for each other, but Luka also had LSD, ‘lead singer disease’, and try as she might, no amount of “ambiance coordinating” on her part would keep him down on the farm.

          The night our lives changed forever is indelibly burned into my brain. At the beginning of the drum solo the platform, fitted on hydraulic lifts, rose sixteen feet above the audience. I was sitting on the riser next to Robin, hidden behind his massive double bass drums. It always gave me a rush to see fields of bodies waving at us. I peered over the edge of the riser just in time to see creepers climbing from the floor to the stage.

          Robin, lost in his twenty minutes of glory, beat away. The laser show, and pyrotechnics surrounding the drum riser, insulated us from the mayhem engulfing the stage. In fact the horror show that would ensue was swift and calculated, and over before Robin had even finished.

          The local MC chapter, hired to run security, was dislodging intruders from the structure one by one. What began as stragglers turned into waves of bodies climbing over the human barrier until huge, tat-armed bikers disappeared under a sea of people scrambling for safety. They were flanked by armies of ICE storm troopers as far as the eye could see.

          Later we would find out that coyotes had arranged for truck loads of illegal aliens to blend in among the sixteen wheelers lining up in the fields behind the stage. Their human cargo sat quietly inside, until the venues gates were opened. The coyotes then ordered the illegals to blend into the crowd as they filtered their cargo into the stadium a few at a time. A three day music fest seemed the perfect setting to release hundreds of immigrants unnoticed.

          Someone tipped off the authorities, and one of the largest illegal alien sweeps in history took place that day in the desert. Hundreds of concert goers were trampled to death, while others were caught up in the hysteria, and deported along with most of the illegals.

          Robin and I sat on the riser surveying the insanity below us while we waited for hours to be rescued. Thousands of injured concert goers lay helpless amidst hysterical protestors who had begun destroying and burning everything in sight.

          Sometime near dawn, Robin and I were able to climb down from the riser and make our way towards the road. We had to leave everything we had, and everyone we knew, behind. We never saw Lanie or Luka again, and I haven’t been back on a stage since the alien invasion.


    2. Reaper

      Moscoboy this is definitely different for you. Your step out of your comfort zone led to amazing results. The format is perfect for it. The references are spot on and funny and scary at the same time. The political satire and tongue in cheek tone were perfectly balanced so they were obviously there but not a hammer over the head. Just brilliant and well written. I’d go see that movie or play you were talking about toying with.

    3. Observer Tim

      This story is beautiful, Moscoboy. You definitely captured the feel of a “letter to the bureaucracy” (I can say this with some small authority because I’ve been living behind that glass door for over 25 years).

      Excellent job!

      1. moscoboy

        A 100% from the master. Thanks for you helpful comments. Every time I think I’m ready to post a prompt I stop and think, “What will Observer Tim have to say,” and I go back and re-edit again. Your kind feedback is making me a better writer.

      1. moscoboy

        Every time I think the prompt is too far out there, I fall off my bike and get an idea on how to approach the subject. Thanks for your comments.


    Fourth of July and Rochester New York’s Galileo band was winding down their rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” Strange neon green sparks flashed in the park’s trees as the band played. The audience was oblivious to the light show in the shrubbery behind them. Gil Galileo’s drummer/percussionist was the first to react.
    “Y’all see that?” He asked the band.
    “I can’t get no…” Dante and Donnie sung into their microphones while shaking their heads yes and strumming bass lines that should have blew out their speakers. The louder the crowd sang the brighter the lights glowed.
    “I Can’t Get No….” The crowd echoed as Gil approached the center microphone.
    “All eyes on me alright?”
    The crowd nodded in agreement as keyboardist Emma wickedly danced her fingers across two keyboards. The band lowered their retro sound and lead singers Bianca and Catie noticed when the band played low the alien lights dimmed.
    “Did you see that Gil?” Catie asked as she danced the Dougie.
    “Yeah, tell everyone to follow my lead.”
    She turned to her all black clad band mates and mouthed the words…
    “Follow Gil.”
    The band indicated they understood.
    “Now everyone sing this after me real low okay? i can’t get no…” Gil sang low.
    The crowd followed his instructions and the green lights dimmed so low that they looked like flashing lightning bugs.
    “satisfaction.” Gil sang then remembered his basic high school Chemistry that the only way to kill tree aliens was with silence. But how to get the Gaileo band to perform a silent rock concert became his dilemma?
    “Again! C’mon!” Gil said thinking quickly.
    Meanwhile, a drunken fan riled up the crowd by shouting “Satisfaction’s” next verse.
    “HEY HEY HEY!-”
    The green lights lit up again like Christmas lights. The drunken fan jumped on stage continuing to sing.
    The fan shouted and the lights grew brighter like LCD lights on steroids. The audience witnessed the horror written on the band’s faces. They turned around and the alien lights laser zapped them with bolts of white lightning. Bloodied heads exploded while upchucked vomit splashed everywhere. Pandemonium ensued. People trampled each other seeking shelter under the trees. Some lightning strikes vaporized trees, stripping them of their bark and killing anyone standing near.
    “Everyone calm down!”
    Gil screamed at the chaotic audience. Guitarist Alan punched the drunken fan out and signaled the band to stop playing. The green lights dimmed instantly. The eerie silence caused the tree aliens to make a clicking sound and retreat back into the remaining trees. Crickets and the hum of amplifiers were the only sounds heard.
    “I can get some some satisfaction.” Gil sang.
    “hey hey hey…” The remaining living fans whispered.
    “that’s what I say…” Gil continued. Fans quietly exited the park in their cars. The Galileo band packed and disappeared in their vehicles while continuing to sing lowly. No one knows for sure where the tree aliens came from or their purpose for coming but everyone still remembers that day as Galileo’s Whisper Fest 2014.

      1. MCKEVIN

        Thanks for stopping by and commenting vaderize03. Remember the trees in the “Wizard Of Oz?” They threw apples at Dorothy and the Scarecrow. So this is a warning to be nice to all trees. Lol.

      1. MCKEVIN

        Are you saying you don’t believe in tree aliens? You also don’t think the Galileo Band of NY exist either do you? Well Google Galileo Band of Rochester NY or Youtube them and you’ll see that they are in fact real.

      1. MCKEVIN

        A rock band plays a silent concert by whispering the words to all songs played. You do know Galileo is a real band and there is a member named Gil. Google Galileo Band of Rochester NY and you’ll see that they do exist.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        MCKEVIN, such an original, unique story. I loved it eternally. Now that I’ve said that, I’ll give you the true story of tree aliens.

        They’re born and live in the piney forests of east Texas. The Waco indian tribes of the forest, many hundreds of years ago gave then a name to honor their privilege, Cicade prounced [si-ka'-da.]

        When they’re born, they live underground for a period of between five to seventeen years. They crawl they’re way out, leaving a noticeable large round hole in the ground. The male version grows to ten feet over night searching for a willing mate by vibrating membranes on the bottom of his body. Occasionaly a horny Cicade will mistaken an innocent Indian maiden for a hot to trot female Cicade. The resulting match produces a half breed, called a tree alien.

        This is what in Texas we call a ‘Tall Tale’.

        1. MCKEVIN

          Only you could write such an original response Kerry and I love you for it. For a moment, you actually had me thinking there are such a thing as “Tree Aliens.” Lol. But seriously, have you noticed how trees move when storms are upon them? On another note, I invite you to Google the Galileo Band in Rochester NY because that they are in fact real. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    1. DMelde

      Hi MCKEVIN. Great idea for the prompt! I looked up the Galileo Band. I could see chillin with a scotch and water, listening to them play in the park on a sunny afternoon. Maybe sit under a tree and enjoy the shade. Well, maybe not under a tree. Things are going better for me now. I counted them up, and I’ve had seven life events in the last three months, but the quicksand underneath my feet has been turning into terra firma lately so I know the worst is over. Thanks for checking. I hope all is well with you too!

  39. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    The Stone: Part 3
    Warning: Read part one and two below before this third part! Again, I apologize for so many parts to this story. There’s only three parts left after this one, all completed, and I’ll post them periodically. :)

    The bad doctor first picked at the nub where his thumbnail had been, but he quickly moved to the flap of brittle skin hanging from the side of his face. His knuckle lightly grazed the pink exposed tissue, and he winced. He then chewed the dry peels hanging from his lips. A sporadic wild tic forced him bite at the air, and his teeth clapped together with a soft click.

    A legion of men, women, and children stood before him. Each one of them clutched a stone in their hand, and each one of them stood next to the creature that presented itself to him or her.

    It was a beautiful but terrifying sight. A part of him, the bad doctor, felt the love of each individual coming together as a harmonious and singular entity, but then there was a small part of him—the good doctor—that fought to remind him of the kind of darkness the legion meant to the world.

    His teeth clicked.

    Lightening flashed through the dirt-encrusted windows of the warehouse, which flickered reality from a dull-colored world to white then to black and then back to color, and following it was thunderous booms. A moment later, the thrashing drumming symphony of thousands of water droplets dancing along the metal ceiling filled the room.

    The good doctor didn’t know what the bad doctor planned. However, the stone’s puissance made him feel the creature’s intentions. He knew the future result it had in mind, and he felt every emotion. Even down to the excitement of destroying humanity.

    The good doctor didn’t know where these things came from, and no matter how hard he tried to focus on it, the power of the creature’s grasp on him made him flee his own thoughts.


    He nibbled a small peel from his lip. The skin tore back along a wrinkle, and a drip of blood beaded at the divot before dispersing into the thick stubble on his chin. The bad doctor smiled, and spoke with a silent voice to the unified legion.

    It’s time to take back what belonged to us so long ago. This world is ours, and we shall have it back soon enough.


    Though none of them moved or gestured, he felt each one of their emotions transmitted to him expressing their jubilation over the impending shift in ownership of the world.

    Bring forth your weapons, and let’s bring the human race to its knees.

    The good doctor felt energy pulsate from his stone as if it communicated something to the others. Then the other stones began to glow. The rain beat the corrugated metal harder and faster, and the flashes of lightening seemed to synchronize with the driving pulse of energetic transmission.

    Finally, the good doctor heard the first human voice he’d heard in days. However, it wasn’t refreshing, because it was a scream twisted by pain. Then more screams erupted until the entire legion of people harmonized into a chorus of tortured souls.


    One man in the front row shook as though wrought with violent seizures. His scream darkened with a phlegmy growl, and his skin turned grey. He appeared to be back in control of his own body, and began to rip at his skin. Suddenly, a large claw pushed upon the skin of his chest until it pierced through. His crimson life-force fluidly splattered the ground as the man fell to his knees. When his palms smacked into the concrete floor, his back pulsated, and his exterior shredded apart to reveal leathery skin as black and as tar-like as the creature that controlled him. Each vertebrae stretched the blackened skin to a sharp point.

    Eventually, the man’s previous body stretched and broke apart to reveal a new body, one that was no longer human. Its claws measured a foot in diameter, it had a tail ribbed with sharp hooks, and it had jaws design with only one purpose: to tear and consume flesh.

    As the lightening flickered, the thunder crashed, and the rain sung its song, everyone began to change. Flash. Ten more. Flash. Fifteen. Flash. A hundred.


    Teeth clicked.

    The good doctor stared out into that warehouse and felt a deep dread but tasted the excitement of his captor. The warehouse floor was nothing but human flesh and bone, a sea of death among demonic creatures who began to feed on the remaining corpses.


      1. vaderize03

        ….this also reminds me of a science-fiction short-story I read years ago about a deserted, intelligent city on an alien planet that kills and replaces a human expeditionary crew with intent of sending them back to wipe put the human race with disease.

    1. Bilbo Baggins

      I think I’m enjoying this “stone series” too much. Need to take a break to write my own thing…. but, anyways, the creep factor got notched up to a nice 50 here. Gotta love that “humans ripping apart to reveal alien inhabitant” thing!

    2. Critique

      Wow such vivid imagery in this Jay. I liked the word ‘click’ – brought me back repeatedly to visualize the bad doctor. Puissance – great word.

  40. Kerry Charlton


    1968 was the year my bride, Celeste and I attended the NARM Convention, [National Association Of Record Merchandisers.] A week in Miami Beach in March that Charlie Schlang, my boss, gave us as a wedding present. Celeste was a double wow hit with flaming red hair down the middle of her back, a face that Venus would envy and a wicked sense of humor.

    A yearly gathering of all phases of the music business, recording artists, distributors, record labels and merchandisers, privileged with an invitation. A deadly week of meetings where deals were wrought, sometimes with mafia incentives, king pins made and some broken. Dreams realized and illusions shattered, I being in the latter group.

    RCA hosted the first evening with Belafonte and Mancini Tuesday was Capitol Night. Glen Campbell, Bobbie Gentry and the Lettermen. Meetings I sat through became a blur with game-playing and politics. Celeste loved the hotel, trips to Palm Beach to shop and eating at Wolfie’s Deli, world famous it was and still is.

    Wednesday was A & M’s’ night to shine with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Sergio Mendez and Chris Montez. Great fun for all four thousand attendees, until Thursday. God, what a Thursday. Columbia Records put on a party with Johnny Mathis, Johnny Cash and a new band we weren’t familiar with, called The Electric Flag.

    That’s when it all started, Lord what a fiasco. Stage darkened slightly then light brilliantly lit the band. Dressed as American red, white and blue flags. They crashed into some weird music,. A combination of awful Rock, jazz fusion and R and B running around somewhere.

    “Where can we hide?” Celeste asked. Music increased in volume with Mike Bloomfield leading guitar, Barry Goldberg on keyboard and Buddy Miles slashing away on drums. People started heading for the door as the volume escalated. I calculated my ear drums might have another minute or so, when I noticed the ceiling of the ballroom start to part.

    The star lit sky revealed a spaceship shaped as a human torpedo, slowly lowering toward the stage. The band failed to notice the huge replica of a ‘you know’, hovering over them. We all thought,

    ‘Wha a hell of a show Columbia Records was producing.’

    People returned to their seats as a door opened from the spaceship. Large pill-pockets exited the ‘you know’ and landed on the stage, The rock group studied the large brown, quivering masses of ‘you know’ with large holes in their center. They beckoned to the band.

    Cheers erupted from the audience of record producers,

    “Jump in the pockets,” the crowd chanted. “Jump in the pockets.”

    “Jump, jump, jump,” the audience continued. Mike went first, diving into a wlde hole. The pill-pocket closed instantly and rose toward the brown torpedo. Barry, Buddy and the rest of the band, followed suit. The audience clapped in thunderous pleasure as the space ship absorbed the pills and rose through the roof and flashed away at the speed of light as the crowd stood and roared its approval.

    And that my little ones, is the story of The Electric Flag Band.

    Sweet dreams.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you”The Doc”. Unfortunately partial insanity runs in my family. Sometimes it breaks out. Curiosity, does everybody know what piil pockets are or only those with sick dogs?

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks MCKEVIN. Just call me weird Kerry. A lot of this story including The Electric Flag concert. is true. If only the aliens had come. The company I worked for had the A and M distribution for Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma during the sixties and the seventies. I met a lot of artists on the label but not Sergio. Love his music though! It wasn’t all fun and games, we did have to work. Also a Playboy Records distributor, spent a day with Barbie Benton going C & W in Dallas, Work was tough.

    1. Reaper

      I had to look up pill pockets but they were about what I expected. Kerry I always love the stories around this phase of your life and assumed you wished the aliens showed up. Nicely written, just the right amount of nostalgia and then some very weird at the end that flowed so nicely into this memory. This had the definite feel of a grandpa telling a story to the little ones so that ending was just amazing too. I feel calmed after reading this.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Reaper. Compared to most of the stories here, I was moved to change the title of this stoty to TRITE. I’m glad you like it anyway. Next week, I’ll try to get back in my right groove.

    2. Observer Tim

      This had me laughing, Kerry. Squirming a bit, too, but definitely laughing.

      Now did those producers and execs really think this was part of the show, or did they suspect what was going on and hope to find a way to rid themselves of a sure-fire non-revenue generator? The world may never know.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanjs Tim, I’m glad you liked this ditty. Regarding what the Columbia exect’s was on their mind, they were praying for a large hook to drag the band off the stage. In vaudeville days [1890's to 1920's] the stage manager, possessed a large curved hook he kept behind the stage curtain. When an act went south, the hook protruded from the stage backdrop, grabbed the guy and proceeded to pull him off stage.

        Pray to God, 535 hooks show up in Washington at the senate and house, and pull every one of those clowns out of there..

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you mosoboy. I did hear Chris in a live concert. I thought he had a lot of talent and personality and was really surprised when he faded away. Being a recording artist, sometimes is a cruel way to live.

    3. sjmca1966

      This took me back to my parents early record collection. A great story and a nice TRIP down memory lane Kerry. Thanks so much for sharing.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you sjmca1966. I love your handle for 1966 was ‘A Very Good Year’ for me as Sinatra sang. This story is a ridiculous as I could make it with pill pockets but the first part, I lived through, including the one song hit one album hit, of “The Electric Flag Band.” In all fairness, they were ahead of their time in the music world. Thank you for the read, I’m glad you enjoyed the stroll.

  41. Marie Therese Knepper

    The Little Known Secret
    by Marie-Therese Knepper

    “Good evening and welcome to another edition of Everyone’s An Alien. I’m your host, Gene Betts.

    “Folks, I have in my hand a certified copy from John Lennon’s personal private journal, sent to me by the 3rd cousin of Yoko Ono’s former maid, Katrina Smoke. Listen closely, folks, for you are about to hear live on the air the never before publicly released first hand account from John Lennon himself of a thwarted mass alien invasion.

    “According to this document, which will be available for viewing at my blog – – The Beatles were performing live via satellite from Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios. About 10 minutes into the broadcast their sound equipment started to malfunction. John, sensing a change in the atmosphere, allowed George to take a longer than usual guitar solo on Baby You’re A Rich Man, so he – John – could investigate the cause of this untimely interruption. According to John, he didn’t want to let down even one of their loyal fans.

    “John slipped quietly into the sound booth. As the lead engineer fiddled with various knobs on the soundboard, the silence was suddenly broken by static chatter. John couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Somehow their equipment picked up a broadcast from outer space. John listened in horror as he overheard what he deduced as aliens plotting a hostile takeover of earth. Always the genius, John quickly instructed the engineer to enable 2-way communications with the aliens. He – John – then slipped back into the studio just in time to wrap up Baby You’re A Rich Man.

    “Unbeknownst to those present and the millions watching on their televisions at home, John quietly asked his band mates to indulge him in an impromptu performance. Knowing his band mates so intimately, John realized it wouldn’t take them long to join in.

    “John addressed his captive audience: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for being with us tonight. This next song expresses not only what we believe in our hearts, but also what every being needs to survive in what can be, at times, a cold and unwelcoming universe.”

    “With as much emotion and strength of conviction he could muster, John started singing plaintively into his microphone, “Love, love, love. Love, love, love. Love, love, love.” Paul, George, and Ringo quickly picked up his mantra. Soon everyone in the studio was singing along, while John started giving verse to their background chorus.

    “Folks, that live broadcast occurred on June 25th, 1967. And you, my faithful listeners, heard it here first, how John Lennon single-handedly saved our planet from sure annihilation. After a quick word from our sponsor, our phone lines will be open to take your calls.”

      1. Marie Therese Knepper

        Thanks, Vaderize and Jay. I normally have a few ideas to chose from when I first read the new prompt. This one had me scratching my head in bewilderment. I think this take might be my one and only take on this week’s prompt.

    1. MCKEVIN

      I really like this and I see a compilation of similar stories in your future. That was a real fun ride. I actually thought John was going to start singing “Imagine” when he returned to play with the band. But I like your take better. Good job.

      1. Marie Therese Knepper

        Thank you. Imagine would have been great!
        Here’s a partial quote from Wikipedia regarding The Beatle’s song “All You Need Is Love”:

        “All You Need Is Love” is a song written by John Lennon[3] and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was first performed by the Beatles on Our World, the first live global television link. Watched by over 150 million in 26 countries, the programme was broadcast via satellite on 25 June 1967.[4] The BBC had commissioned the Beatles to write a song for the United Kingdom’s contribution.

    2. lionetravail

      What a fun, great story Marie! I love the incorporation of the historical element in this- nice research. Well written, and an entertaining read :)

      1. Marie Therese Knepper

        Thank you. After I chose the song I wanted to double check and make sure it was indeed a Lennon-McCartney composition. Google took me to the Wikipedia link I inserted in a comment above. The historical background fit perfectly into my developing story.

    3. seliz

      I love that this was about the Beatles. If anyone could save the Earth from near annihilation, it would have to be John Lennon. As said above, great research on this. It gave an already great read a special touch.

      1. Marie Therese Knepper

        When I started writing this story, “All You Need Is Love” was just another good Beatle’s song. After learning the background of this song, I agree with you. John Lennon was truly someone special.

    4. Observer Tim

      Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup; they slither wildly as they slip away across the universe.

      Thanks for giving an old Beatles fan a lift, Marie. This one struck the heart.

    5. Critique

      What a great imaginative and enjoyable take on this prompt Marie. Well done. I thought for sure the song choice would be ‘Imagine’. “All You Need” is Love is powerful. Love the Beatles.

    6. snuzcook

      I missed this story when you first posted, but had to come back and find it. Wonderful, MTK! If any time would have been the right time, it would have been 1967, and if anyone would have been the right band, it would have been the Beatles. What fabulous serendipity that you found that article after already starting the story!

      1. Marie Therese Knepper

        Oh, thank you snuzcook, especially for taking the time to find my story and read it.

        I totally agree about the serendipity involved, and that’s why this story and this prompt will hold a special place in my heart always.

  42. vaderize03

    Those weren’t my lasers.

    That was the first thought that went through my mind as I danced across the stage like a firewalker on hot coals, mic in hand, guitar hanging off my shoulder like a loose appendage. Throughout the stadium, the beams of light I had fought the city over were the wrong color, and far too solid; they were also touching the audience, and wherever they landed, a spectator burst into flame.

    Hmm, that’s not good. Especially for business.

    I frowned. Those weren’t my strobes. The harsh primary colors that brought our music alive were gone, replaced instead by a soft green glow which drew the audience up from their seats in a bizarre dance of human levitation. Screams arose, but not of joy. My eyes flicked up, and there it was: our enemy, the one who had pursued us from world-to-world. Not content to simply destroy civilizations, they also had a penchant for crashing our concerts. I glared at the cube, its dull grey surface criss-crossed with pipes and appendages, and my gut clenched tighter than the brakes on my old childhood bike. I had spent months securing the permits, and I wasn’t about to let it all go to waste.

    I brought the mic to my lips. “Excuse me,” I said, “May I see your tickets?”

    The voice was deep, and flat as the surface of a stagnant pond. “You will be assimilated.”

    “I don’t think so.”
    “Resistance is futile.”
    I shook my head. “Not again.” I turned to my band, a motley collection with whom I’d saved countless planets from these soulless parasites. “Okay, boys,” I said. “You know what to do.”

    I turned back to the cube and raised my guitar. Only one thing could stop these foul abominations, these grostesque hybrids of man and machine. The stories said they could learn to adapt, but in a hundred battles, I’d never seen a ship withstand our assault. I didn’t know why, or even cared; all I knew was that I wanted them gone. I glanced at my friends, drummer, bassist, rhythm guitar, and nodded.

    It was time.

    I cleared my throat and said a prayer of thanks, blessing the Creator for the day He sent us the album, the one that contained the lethal sounds. As we started to play, the ship blew apart, freeing the souls it had held in cold bondage. I grinned; we might not be heroes, or get invited back, but this world was safe, and like all the others, we’d given the natives a night they would always remember.

    Curious thing, that shiny silver disc, and aptly named.

    “Appetite for Destruction,” indeed.

      1. vaderize03

        Thanks man!

        Came up with this on the fly; one would think the beach might inspire, but it’s hard for me to focus when I’m on vacation.

        And good title, I forgot to add one :)….oops.

    1. WritingKittenOfLoki

      Fun one. :) I got the feeling your MC and his fellows aren’t looking for recognition of what they’ve done: saving countless people and planets. They aren’t necessarily wanting to be hailed as heroes, they’re content to know that they have saved worlds, and that’s enough for them. I really love that about them.

    2. Reaper

      Wonderful read, and the album was awesome too. I do have to agree with Jay except I think he forgot that there would be some comment in the feelings sharing about how the president rigged the attack to ban guns. You have an old school metal band feel, almost K**S in the business approach to the mentality. And yes I had to edit out to avoid paying royalties for using the name. I loved the Motley Crew reference in there too. Just all around entertaining especially when associating to the music I listen to most.

      1. vaderize03

        K–S is fun, though I’m more partial to G’NR; my first love introduced me to them back in high school, so they’re a special memory for me.

        Thanks for the feedback!

    3. Observer Tim

      Ah, if only Picard and the guys had known…

      “Mr. Worf, rotate the shield harmonics according to this pattern.”
      “Commander Riker, I’m not sure…”
      “Just do it, Worf. It’s an old earth legend. See if they’ve adapted to it yet.”

      [Borg cube blows up]

      “No Commander, I don’t think so.” [Klingon laugh]

      This is brilliant, Vaderize!

  43. Sophia K

    “Everybody!” The announcer called. The audience’s screams faded as flashing lights centered in on the stage.
    “Put your hands together…”
    I took a deep breath.
    “For the amazing…”
    I stretched a bit to loosen up as the guitar bounced up and down against its strap.
    The curtains rolled up into the ceiling as the audience screamed in excitement. What was so exciting? I’ve sung the same songs about a million times. There was nothing new about my concerts. Really, what was so exciting?
    “Are you ready to rock?” I shouted into the microphone.
    Ladies screamed and men chanted my name.
    “Okay, here we go.” I mumbled to my guitar.
    I began to play one of my signature songs as lighters were raised above everyone’s heads.
    I didn’t have to think about the lyrics anymore, they spilled out of my mouth like backtalk from a six year old to his parents.
    The floor trembled from the thousands of jumping fans in the crowd.
    Suddenly something bright crashed through the back corner of Madison Square, where I was performing. Nobody seemed to notice the disturbance except me, so I continued to sing. I didn’t want to make a scene and ruin my career. It may be a lousy career, but it’s better than living in a refrigerator box on the street.
    I squinted to see the intruder more clearly. If I were to be wearing my glasses I would understand what it is…but apparently wearing glasses is forbidden as a rock star.
    “Oh, so to be famous you have to be blind?” I had asked the agent.
    “Exactly.” She had exclaimed in her smoky voice.
    Something grey crawled out of the gaping hole. It seemed to be crawling on six legs, but that wasn’t possible. But as the creepy crawler walked upon the wall closer to my realm of clear vision, I doubted my own logic.
    A loud hissing noise interrupted my guitar solo, causing me to stop my routine performance.
    The audience mumbled in confusion, but after a few seconds they looked towards the crawler.
    “Alien!” Someone in the crowd screamed bloody murder.
    The audience began to scream and scramble for their lives. There were too many people packed in this audience for an easy run to the fire doors. Thus causing a riot to break loose. People were fighting others in the crowd. The alien had stopped moving, but in a few seconds hundreds of creepy six legged aliens rampaged through the hole. They jumped from the wall onto the people’s heads, ripping off their skin and clothes until there was nothing left.
    Maybe my songs could calm the aliens?
    I raised my guitar pick and prepared to sing my own, never heard original song when something heavy landed on my hair.
    I collapsed and shut my eyes as the skin off my face was torn apart, and my flesh was punctured and eaten.
    With my last few seconds, I prayed for my past to be my present.

    1. MCKEVIN

      Now see… This is…. The kind of dark stuff I live for. Lol. I thought the aliens ripping off the fans skins was brilliant but they ripped the star’s skin off was awesome. You got my vote and I loved this. Thanks for sharing.

    2. lionetravail

      Grim take, gruesome end, and a thoroughly enjoyable read :)

      If there were only one constructive thing to suggest, I’d consider some edit to the end. When you MC’s face is being torn apart and flesh being punctured, and then praying with the last few seconds, that all seems too coherent for a first person account of being ripped to pieces. In a 3rd person narrative, sure, “she got ripped to pieces…”, but first person I’d rather know what she was feeling than the drier account of what was being done. Since the MC described it happening to fans, we know what’s happening, but what they’re experiencing is our emotional attachment. Example: …landed on my hair.
      I collapsed under the weight, and screamed as what felt like thousands of barbs ripped at my skin…

      Great story!

    3. Reaper

      I loved this. Backtalk from a six year old was a wonderful line. I can see the last comment about the end but I wouldn’t change it. A moment of clarity before the white light seems fitting for me. We often see images of zen men going shallow at the end so the contrast of a shallow man going zen fits for me. Also with as blase as the MC was about everything I think the voice fit even at the end, and mostly I just love the power and perfection of your last line. Such a beautiful revelation.

    4. Observer Tim

      This is an intense and readable take, Sophia. The quick reverse at the end is a great way to end the story, and totally fitting.

      My only comment is a request that in your future posts (which I hope there will be a bunch of), please put a blank space (i.e. two carriage returns) between paragraphs. It opens up the story and makes it easier on the eyes.

    5. Critique

      Gruesome and terrifying. Great job. This is not something I read as a general rule but I thought you did this very well. The storyline flowed smoothly and the exit line was perfect.

      1. Sophia K

        I’ll think about the advice a few of you gave me in future stories. And thanks for the compliments of my story, I try my best. Thank you all for the replies!

  44. DMelde

    I was licking strings into riffs for our fans, gawd I love our fans, those sick bastards– those death carrions– the way they party with bonfires built into funeral pyres and sick carefree sex, and they follow us around in funeral-like processions like fukkin zombies and pay us serious cash to hear THE band, my band, Death Chord Scream, paying out cash so monstrous it feels like a jackpot payday every time, like a gawd-damn insurance payout, double indemnity style, like some gawd damn happy widow after her husband’s “accidental” death.

    I was getting tired and the whiskey was sweating out from my veins, so I nodded over to Lockjaw to get the pyro ready cause we were going to light up the place when I looked out over the crowd and I saw the light show already started and I thought to myself that dumb fuknut Lockjaw started the sky show early, but then my brain cleared up a little and I knew it wasn’t Lockjaw cause he was standing over on stage. I tried seeing what it was but weed vapor was rising up too strong from the crowd, like gawd damn fog, and sweat was stinging up my eyes so I took out a pair of black lace panties, a screwvenir from last night’s show in Ames, and wiped the sweat from my eyes and then I saw a UFO floating over the crowd and it had lasers coming out from underneath ripping though dudes left and right, lighting them up like fireflies and you could see their insides with ribs like in x-rays before their bodies popped like balloons. And the thing had arms coming out its front, like some alien bug, and it was picking up hot chicks and wrapping them up in some kind of light, like a force field bubble wrap, and it was taking all that frabulous ass and storing it inside the UFO and I could see the chicks’ eyes and they looked scared, probably going up to the mother ship to be probed by bug-eyed aliens.

    I got an idea so I yelled over to Lockjaw, “Load the cannon!” and he started stuffing more pyro into it than it had a right to hold and I started playing the alien bug song from that movie to bring the bugs in closer to us, Re-Mi-Do-Do-So, and it worked cause the bug ship starting coming toward us, and we aimed as best we could and fired that gawd damn cannon. We must have hit something good cause we heard a big bang and the bug ship went down and I hated losing all that frabulous ass, but when I got to the ship those hot chicks were still in bubble wrap safe and sound and they looked all grateful-like at me, and a legend, my legend, was born.

    That was three weeks ago and now I’m waist deep in screwvenirs. Gawd how I love our fans!

    1. MCKEVIN

      You have not changed one bit and I love you for it Dmelde. Good one and I love the voice accent this time. I haven’t seen you post in awhile hope everything is fine and dandy with you and yours. Good one.

    2. Reaper

      Oh that is amazing. I swear I’ve seen this guy perform but under a different name. The story is wonderful but nothing can compare to how you nailed that voice and the over the top mentality.

    3. Observer Tim

      This is great, DMelde. We can clearly see why this MC got into rock (or maybe punk) music. I get a sense that he’ll be screwing things together for quite a while longer.

      At least until the first paternity suit.

    4. lionetravail

      Awesome flavor and stream of consciousness- great voice for your MC! And I love screwvenirs… and grateful hot chicks in bubble wrap. (Is it too late for a career in music, one has to wonder?) Heh.

  45. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    The Stone: Part 2

    (So, I got this wild hair, and I kind of want to see this story to the end. Read the first part, though between the two of them, it doesn’t really matter which you read first. There will be several parts, but they’ll probably be spread between several prompts, unless you will be forgiving enough to allow me to post a response only once per day on this one without starting a lynch mob to burn me alive for writing so many responses here. haha If you don’t like where the story is going, just tell me to stop, and I’ll stop. lol)

    Winston, OR

    The young barista sat in the rear alley outside a coffee shop because the owners prohibited employees from taking breaks where customers could see them. A slightly bent cigarette hung from her lips and wobbled as she searched for her lighter. When she found it, she ignited the tobacco and it burned with an attractive orange glow.

    The nicotine burned her throat, but the sensation felt good after three hours of taking orders, dealing with piss-ant customers, and burning herself three or four times. She sighed as she blew the cloud of silver smoke into the air.

    She took another satisfying drag, and her eyes wandered to a small stone laying on the ground next to the dumpster. Something about it intrigued her, something she couldn’t understand but the feeling was beautiful, which made her stand up and go to that stone.

    The smell of rotten food was strong and it would normally bother her, but she didn’t notice it. She just ignored the stench, kneeled down, and picked up the stone; and suddenly, she felt alive. It was as though an amazing rush of empowerment surged through her. A moment later, she dropped the cigarette, and headed down the street, never to return to that awful coffee shop.

    Gallup, NM

    Kaelen plucked the stone from a small stand. He turned it in his hand, and on the back was a small rectangular price tag. He’d never found rocks particularly interesting because he knew they were nothing more than compacted minerals.

    He looked up at the owner of the shop and back down at the rock.

    He said, “What do you suppose these markings mean?”

    “What markings?” The flea market shopkeeper said, “Look, kid, you gonna buy that or you gonna stop putting your greasy hands all over it?”

    Kaelen retrieved his wallet, threw it at the man, and began to walk. Each step was a direction with an unknown destination. One thing was certain, though. He felt like he was going to find something amazing when he finally arrived at that place.

    New York, NY – A seven-year-old girl found a stone laying near a steam vent.

    Newport Beach, CA – A bleached and tanned surfer happened upon a stone as he headed toward the ocean for an early morning ride.

    Omaha, NE – While a trucker pushed double-nickels down a lonely road, an exotic sports car dashed by, kicked up a stone, and it shot through his windshield; its final resting place his passenger seat.

    Chicago, IL; Tulsa, OK; Arlington, TX; Miami, FL; Bangor, ME; Denver, CO

    1. Reaper

      This got even more interesting. I’m assuming each of these is a different stone but curios if that is correct or if the one stone is doing a lot of traveling. I particularly loved the idea of each step was a direction with an unknown destination. That paragraph was poetry.

    2. Observer Tim

      I love the slow build, Doc. The microstories give a great sense of how widespread the phenomenon is. The list at the end subtly speaks volumes. Of course, it also now forces you to get on with what happens next, because you can’t exactly shorten the names any more.

      Hey! All these places are in the USA! Is this an American phenomenon, or will we hear about cases in other parts of the world? I guess I’ll just have to read on…

  46. Observer Tim

    A Wild Concert

    Well now, Colonel, let me tell you how it all happened. It was the Calgary Stampede. Lobos Locos, that’s me and the boys, play an off-grounds club called the Wildcat Roadhouse over in the Ogden industrial park. Our brand o’ country-rock draws its own special crowd.

    Anyways, the night of the twelfth we were warmin’ up the fans for our big number– Moon Medley –when he come in. Robert Oh My Gawd Downey Junior. Don’t know how he got past all the “private party” signs; guess ain’t nobody gonna throw out a big star like him. Unless they cared about his safety. But he was covered that way, I reckono; him and his two bodyguards were all dressed up in fancy pants Iron Man suits.

    We’d just started in with Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” when ol’ Robby’s guards started shootin’ energy beams er somethin’. Simon and Jesse went down dead, but that only got everyone else dancin’ harder. You know what they say, the show must go on. We fugued over to “Bark at the Moon” an’ that was the cue to really start anyway.

    Greta and Marlene went first; makes sense what with them doin’ this since they was kids. Greta tore off her dress and howled. I love when she does that; it brings out the wolf in me. Marlene just let her clothes shred as the change took her. I tell ya there ain’t nothin’ like when a whole crowd goes feral.

    By that time Bobby’d got his helmet on so I kind of lost track o’which was which. Didn’t really matter none; when we checked the bodies later it turned out they all looked like Bobby. We kept playin while the fight went on. It was the old contest: nature versus technology. Three suits of high-falutin’ armour ‘gainst a bar full o’werewolves.

    The fight in the bar lasted for the whole medley, which means about ten minutes I guess. Lotta people got hurt real bad, but none as bad as the Iron Men. The fans gang-mobbed them and tore ‘em outta their armour to the tune of “Whole of the Moon.” Then they got a bit wild, if you catch my drift. By the time we got to “Moondance” there was only one left standing and he was doin’ a sexy-dance with Greta. More sexy than dance if I recall right.

    The party spilled out into the truck stop where there was this big ol’ spaceship and about a dozen more Robbies. They didn’t know what hit ‘em. When we got to the flight deck we found a coupla space-bugs, which me and Eddie twisted the heads off’n.

    Eddie will tell you he did it, but it was definitely me. After all the carnage was over and we’d cooled off a bit I held up one o’ the severed bug heads, looked it straight in the compound eyes and sang to it.

    Now you know, now you know that you can’t fight the moonlight.

    1. jmcody

      What a hoe-down! I wasn’t around for the January prompt but the RDJr references made me smile. This was so strange and surreal, with an amusingly casual voice on your MC. Loved the montage of Moon songs. First thing I read today, and it sure woke me up. Thanks, Tim.

    2. seliz

      Well, the iron men sure made a mistake walking into that bar! I remember exactly the prompt you’re talking about. I love that you incorporated the main character into this one. And the last line was too perfect.

    3. snuzcook

      Brilliant, O.Tim! The werewolves took me completely by surprise. The congruencies you drew with the details and at the same time a frugality of verbage created a dense, entertaining story. This is going on my faves list!

    4. Bilbo Baggins

      This was pretty much perfect, Tim. Now I can’t get that really weird image out of my mind from that last paragraph. I remember when you did that werewolf story– don’t think I commented on it, though.

      1. Observer Tim

        I think this is Chapter 2, Chapter 1 being the story of how Greta and Marline helped him develop his new persona.

        Chapter 3 will occur when I think of another anecdote from a laid-back country boy from backwoods Alberta, who just happens to have a bit of a wild side.

        Thanks, McKevin!

    5. Reaper

      Oh Tim this is wonderful. I remember that prompt and combining two of them was amazing. So that makes this a chapter three then? Nicely done. I also loved the last line and my only criticism is that in the montage of moon songs you did not mentions Dark Side of the Moon. ;)

      1. Observer Tim

        Thanks Reaper; that’s high praise indeed. I was really stuck trying to pare down the songs and set a tone; my thought is that “Moon Medley” was made up mostly of love songs about the moon and sung in a decidedly country voice.

        Whoa, my brain just nearly exploded trying to picture Hank Williams Jr. singing Brain Damage (a.k.a. Dark Side of the Moon). It wouldn’t be done justice in a medley, so I’m sure they’d have to do it separately. The same with Five Man Electrical Band’s “Werewolf” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London”.

        And the song to close the show, had it not been interrupted, would have had everyone clapping for the Wolfman. Auooooh!

        This was a heck of a lot of fun to write.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Holy Cow Tim. For a minute I thought you were describing ‘The Silver Helmet’, a biker bar off ‘deep elm’ in Dallas. I never wen’t there myself, [hold that thought ] but my sales manger went there every Friday night to get his ass whipped. By next Friday, his cuts and bruises had healed enough he went back for more. “Good stuff Maynard!”

        2. Observer Tim

          Thanks, Kerry. The Wildcat is a montage of what I’ve heard about a number of cowboy bars and roadhouses in my home town (Calgary), with a very tiny bit of personal experience thrown in. Like Dallas, we’ve got a pretty big piece of Oil in this city and it reflects in the attitudes.

          Personally, I think I’d be a lot less scared in the company of a couple hundred werewolves than I would be around bikers…

    6. lionetravail

      Nothing like starting a fight in a bar full of werewolves! Rock on furries, rock on!

      Nice job OT- I wasn’t around for the first story, but this was a lot of fun :)

    7. sjmca1966

      Great voice Tim. This worked as a stand alone but once I’ve finished reading this weeks stories I’m going back to read the previous work.
      Nice job :)

  47. Reaper

    Sympathy for the Devil

    Oh, Lord, tell us so

    The rock and roll lifestyle is difficult but not as difficult as the human condition. Knowing you are insignificant in the grand scheme leads to worry and misery. All I could do was entertain people, attempt to distract them from the empires conquering everything we knew. We hoped the great ones would pass us by. Life is never that simple.

    We belong way down below

    When the long cold silence ended we received the same message as many others. The monstrous dictatorships had fallen. The benevolent empires offered us a place amongst them. We could have peace and safety.

    One, two, three and four

    We knew the consequences of defiance. It involved punishments we dared not contemplate. Many fell to the simple machinations. The rest of us… We did not wish for enforced peace and armed safety. We wished only to be human. We wanted to be free.

    The devil’s knocking at your door

    We knew peace and safety were coming. We hoped they were not coming today. My job was to distract my fellow humans, the ones who enjoyed my music. I would give it my all. My band would back me up.

    Caught in the eye of a dead man’s lie

    Being a rock star comes with certain obligations. I enjoyed them. I would have performed my pre-show rituals even if I hated them though. As the house lights dimmed I took a Technicolor rainbow of pills, washing them down with a fifth of local vodka. I was as ready.

    Start your life with your head held high

    The crowd went wild when I hit the stage. The humble child I had been blushed. I did not deserve their adulation. They gave it anyway and it fueled the music. I introduced myself and my band. Then the aliens burst in. Our worst fear occurred. It was tonight.

    Now you’re on your knees

    I scanned their uniforms, black, green, mottled, all topped with matching headgear. The invasion force. They chose the concert hall as a base of operations not a military objective. However my fans were hard and rugged like my songs. Some were the enemies of peace and safety. The aliens descended upon those.

    With your head hung low

    The leaders looked to me. Their eyes implored me to make the right decision. The wished me to quell the anger and fear of my fans. They did not want blood but knew blood would flow if the mob resisted. I had seconds to decide. I will wonder until the end of my life if I made the right choice.

    Big man tells you where to go

    I threw up the horns and screeched into the microphone. “Zhyty vil’no abo pomerty!”

    Tell ‘em it’s good

    The crowd flew into a frenzy. The pacifiers were not expecting resistance, not expecting a riot. The first one fell in a spasm of violence. There were no troops present from Big Brother or I might have decided differently.

    Tell ‘em okay

    We launched into our set. We had never provided the soundtrack to a revolution before. I admit it felt wonderful. Our fans danced a bloody mosh with those who would subjugate us. We were one. We were unified in our cause and understanding. Tomorrow we may die, but tonight… Tonight we were free.

    Don’t do a goddamn thing they say

    *Lyrics from “Heaven Knows” by The Pretty Reckless and used very much without permission. It got stuck in my head writing this one.

    1. seliz

      First of all, I love that song and I think it worked perfectly in this piece. You paced it perfectly to match the crowds energy as the revolution took place. The main characters tone and voice were perfect as well; crisp and relatable. I’d love to find out what happens next.

      1. Reaper

        Thank you Seliz. They are one of my favorite bands, and while this is not my favorite song by them this or Going to Hell seemed to fit the best. And that one line screamed rebellion. Thank you for the comment on matching it. Your comments always encourage me.

    2. jmcody

      This was a thinker, on many levels. I got that this was about Crimea, but I had to check my facts before responding. I did not know that the Ukranians referred to the invading Russians as “little green men” and “aliens!” Very clever! The reference to “sympathy for the devil” fit so well with his initial compliance with the invaders, but then the “Heaven Knows” lyrics were a brilliant counterpoint. Wow, Reaper, this was so, so smart. Mind blown.

      1. lionetravail

        Wow, jm’s observations opened my eyes even more widely to the story. Slickly done, Reaper, and a novel and exciting and artistic format to use for this one. Kudos!

        1. Reaper

          Thank you lionetravail. I really almost didn’t post this one because I thought it was too heavy handed but since seeing the comments I see my editing did it’s job. I think I am proudest of the fact that this seemed to get people thinking. My work is done for the week.

      2. Reaper

        So Jmcody, I actually was not going to respond to comments this week because I knew I would have to admit certain things, but in for a penny and all. I actually did not know the reference to little green men, I had to go look it up after you posted this. So I would love to take credit for that but it was a happy coincidence, I was actually just thinking of any foreigner as an alien when I did this. Thank you for the comments on the title and the song. I am glad they worked.

        So what I was going to avoid admitting. I wrote this differently so it was one sided and then made some edits to make it ambiguous. It started as a condemnation of the culture of war, and a way of pointing out that everyone fights for their freedom and the other side doesn’t understand that because we only see things from our perspective. The matching headgear I edited out the fact that it was all blue. At the end I decided it worked better if it was left open to interpretation whether the force being fought against was Russia or a UN Peacekeeping force. Since either one works and my point was that you can’t force people to be free, they have to choose it for themselves and anyone that feels they are being invaded will want to fight against it. So I meant this as a very gray story because it’s all about perspective.

    3. Cceynowa

      I too had to check my history notes before responding. Very well done. I’m not a fan of rock, much to my kids dismay, mostly because I do not fully understand the emotions behind the songs. I feel as if you explained some of it to me with this piece. Thank you.

      1. Reaper

        Thank you Cceynowa, That is such a beautiful compliment. I love music and my tastes are eclectic but rock holds a special place in my heart because I was a rebellious child and rock tends to be the soundtrack of the revolution. :)

      1. Reaper

        Thank you vaderize03. I love metaphor but know it can get very tedious. I’m glad I blew your mind. I think I’m spending a lot of this week close to blushing.

      1. Reaper

        Thank you Mr. Baggins. I hope you know how much that means in general but also specifically coming from you. You have a lot of talent and your words mean a great deal to me.

    4. WritingKittenOfLoki

      Wow. I am unable to find the words to properly praise this.
      Some of my favorite lines are: “We did not wish for enforced peace and armed safety. We wished only to be human. We wanted to be free.”, “I had seconds to decide. I will wonder until the end of my life if I made the right choice.” and “We had never provided the soundtrack to a revolution before. I admit it felt wonderful.”
      Thank you for the brain food.

      1. Reaper

        Thank you Kitten, sorry to shorten the name but it seems natural. You triggered on some, well most, of my favorite lines. I am always happy to provide brain food and very proud when I succeed in doing so.

    5. Observer Tim

      This is powerful, Reaper. I’m not very familiar with the song (I just listened to it for the first time), but the story you painted fits in well with the tone.

      I especially like the MC’s last line “Tomorrow we may die, but tonight… Tonight we were free.” Even the tense shift within helps capture the rebellious feel.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’m on my knees again. How do you continue like this? Just when I believe I’m beginning to understand you, there you go again, off on a another amazing set of words in a totally different direction. This was almost spiritual in nature. Wait! Stop! It is a spiritual essay about the privilege of choice that melds the character of an individual. Patrick Henry, Joan Of Arc, Paul of Tarsas, Abraham Lincoln and Sparticus.

        1. Reaper

          Kerry, I should have put some of my response below to Tim in here. Mostly I am just letting my passion have the reigns. The last few prompts have touched on things I want to talk about so the ideas and the words flow. I mean I like to think it’s also because I’m just awesome but that’s a bit arrogant. Not that I’m opposed to that, writers are supposed to be a little right? that you say spiritual has me soaring, and that description of of it as an essay on such things. You see to the heart of the story and I am honored that you do and by the way you describe it. The things you say keep me going. I hope you know that. To have someone as good as you, with your experience and your eye say these things is a blessing I am not sure I deserve but am very happy to have.

      2. Reaper

        Thank you Tim. I always smile when I see powerful in connection to my writing. I’m glad it fit the tone. A friend introduced me to the band a while ago and I fell in love. I have a soft spot for powerful female singers and the music fits well with what I like. I have been going through a reevaluation of my life and that music and that song remind me of youth, of that passion and what it is to stand for things. I am fighting that urge we have as we get older to just accept things and some of the newer rock, especially with female leads, has reconnected me to the thought that I don’t just have to accept how things are, that we have a right and responsibility to push for a better world. That inspired this story and has been influencing my writing recently. It seems in a good way.

        Ah, that is my favorite line and I did not notice the tense shift so I’m glad it works there. Between yourself and WritingKittenofLoki you have hit all of the lines I was proudest of in this story and made me a happy man.

    6. Artemis4421

      Both “Sympathy for the Devil” and the alien prompt really got me thinking about Stephen King’s book, Dreamcatcher. I thoroughly enjoyed this, Reaper, and I like how you narrated the story interspersed with lines of the song!

      1. Reaper

        I am honored to have any comparison to King, well with the exception of a few rare pieces. The one you mentioned is one of my favorites though and I thank you for that. I am glad you enjoyed it and thank you for the last comment. I am happy it worked, I always worry with things like that.

    7. moscoboy

      “Don’t do a goddam thing they say,” got me 30 days in the gray bar motel. I wear the experience like a badge of honor to individualism. F-ing great prompt.

    8. Augie

      I only have a few minutes. My new commander is 13 and she is demanding. I dont know what I liked more. Your story or our responses. Keep soaring!

        1. Reaper

          Welcome home Augie. I’m guessing the best most demanding CO you’ve ever had. Thank you for your comments and making the time to post them, both mean a lot.

    9. sjmca1966

      Smacking myself in the head for missing so many references. I enjoyed this as a stand alone piece, but after reading the comments and having a re-read I was blown away. I should have known better, this being a Reaper piece and all. Kudos!

  48. dustbunny

    This story is about the legendary guitarist named ” The Guitar Diablo”

    The story starts in a little town outside of new Mexico, where the band Floats My Boat is playing its final show in its farewell tour. The band is tired of traveling, playing shows for people who don’t really care about them anymore, and there debating giving up and calling it quits and heading home early. The lead guitarist is especially ready to leave seeing how he thinks he was shafted from the rest bands popularity during the tour. Hours before the show word has traveled a freak storm is coming through and everyone knows rockstars don’t care rain or shine, but now it has become a worry if people will still show. As this being there last show they can’t cancel that wouldn’t be fair the the rock gods so they carry on and prepare for the show.

    The show starts and the Fox’s Arena is sold out for Floats My Boat final show. They are playing a great show and one they will remember forever, or at least they thought differently. Before long the storm has crept up on them and the storm clouds are overhead the members. Loudly a bang echoes through the land. The lights start to flicker, power is lost. Everyone begins to boo and yell and curse. Suddenly a glowing figure is on the stage. Everything is stopped, as if frozen in time. Suddenly the glow gets brighter and brighter, then BAM all of the lights have come back on, and the figure is still standing on the stage. The crowd, the band members everyone watching is motionless. They can’t believe what is front of themselves right now. It takes a minute to register what is right in front of them, but everyone connects the dots and realizes it is an extrarrestrial standing right in front of them. The alien takes a few steps forward and picks up the guitar on the floor. He looks at it odd, and suddenly his fingers begin to start playing, slowly at first but suddenly he is absolutely shredding. Everyone at this point is losing there minds right now and can’t speak. The alien walks up to the lead singer of the band and says, ” I would like to play.”

    The band looks at each other and then they begin to chant and cheer as if they’ve discovered fire. They welcome the little alien to the band and begin to play the show of a lifetime. The crowd is chanting ” Guitar diablo”, which means guitar devil. The chant gets louder and louder the arena is filled with this single chant. No one has ever seen a guitar being played like this, its ridiculous. The alien also plays a 2 hour guitar solo with no sweat. Everyone is enjoying themselves, Floats my boat is already making merchandise that says ” Guitar Diablo.” They feel as if they are about to cash in. As the concert comes to a close the band is already thinking of a pitch to get the alien to join the band so they can finally kick out there whiny lead guitarist. They walk towards the alien and before they can even get out a word, the alien says, “I must leave.” Floats my boat is stunned they begin to plead and beg for him to stay, but it is to no prevail. Suddenly a loud bang is heard in the distance just like the first one, and the power is out, everyone is quiet again gasping for air of what can appear now. Instead there is no glow of a figure just darkness. Shortly the power turns back on and everyone stares and the stage and the alien is gone. With no trace of him left. As if he was never there.

    That was the last anyone has seen of guitar diablo.

    1. Reaper

      Wonderful story, this has a very classic feel to it. In the sense it seems to flow in a style you don’t see much anymore, something like a fairy tale or a fable. It is just very pure and readable for that. With that said there is a roughness to the language that could use a bit of editing. A couple of homophones, some dropped words, and a few places where the same idea is repeated such as begins to start. That is more noticeable because the language is beautiful in all other places and conveys wonderful images and messages. One of my favorite lines being begin to chant and cheer as if they’ve discovered fire. Powerful, especially in reference to a rock band. Overall a great story that could use just a little cleaning up.

    2. WritingKittenOfLoki

      This was great. I really love your alien, he rocks! Pun intended. :)
      Maybe it’s just me but I think it might have flowed more smoothly if it was in past tense.
      One thing that really got me thinking was when the power goes out a second time, and everyone is expectant that another entertaining alien is about to show up, but nothing comes, the first one just leaves without a trace. It kind of pictures how as humans, we can be so eager to have everything go our way, we sometimes think that everything is here for our pleasure.
      Sorry if I read too much into it that wasn’t meant to be there, but I love how your story got me thinking.

    3. Observer Tim

      I can just hear this story being narrated around a beach bonfire by some ninety-year old rock dude. It’s a “just so” story of the first stripe. I’m not sure writing in the present tense is the best choice here, but it works.

    4. Marie Therese Knepper

      Dustbunny, I had a mental picture of guitar diablo’s likeness on a new Martin guitar, so you really drew me in to your story. Well done.

      1. lionetravail

        Cool idea, the legend of el guitar diablo! I agree with Reaper’s suggestions on tightening the prose with more editing, and also that the flavor of the story was a lot of fun.

        I can picture a couple of guys shuffling out of the concert venue, cervezas in hand: “esta muy loco, si?” says one, and the other replies, with a shrug: “esta la musica del Guitar Diablo”.

        Nice job.

  49. Amyithist

    “Are you ready,” Blade, my tour manager, asked, sucking back on a Stogie. His smile grew wider at the first sight of anxiety beading out over my forehead.
    I shrugged as I dipped my guitar back into the case and flicked the lid shut. “Ready as I’ll ever be,” I replied.
    Blade motioned to someone behind me. Byron Thompson, a young roadie with the right connections hopped up alongside me. Blade nodded toward me. “Give him a few lines,” he ordered.
    Without hesitation, he pulled a cylindrical container from the lapel of his jacket. He reached into the back pocket of his jeans and flipped a compact mirror open. He divvied out three lines of coke and I quickly inhaled them. Being a rock star went hand in hand with being a junkie; very few men had ever made it through the life without turning to some kind of vice.
    I wiped my nose, relishing the distant, numbed feeling sweeping over me. The drugs made it so much easier to go onto the stage. I grabbed my guitar and slung the strap over my shoulder. A haze started to fog over me as I walked down the short ramp to the stage.
    My band mates slowly poured out from all direction; Tommy, the drummer, took his spot. Slit, the bass guitarist took his. Then Rogue, the singer, took his right in the middle, waving at the massive crowd that’s gathered.
    We were able to get through one set before the strange lights rose above the tree line. The sun had just set, so when the amber glow filled the sky, naturally, everyone’s attention gravitated up. Screams of enthusiasm and excitement suddenly gave to way to shrill, panic-ridden cries. My fingers immediately hovered over the strings of my guitar. The song we’d been playing seemed suspended in the hot August night.
    The ship rose above the trees and filled the sky above us. Beams of light suddenly shot down. The scene became chaotic; bodies running in all directions, men grabbing women and aiding them away from the pools of white… I stood, frozen.
    I watched as other bodies lifted up toward the ship’s opening. Their screams seemed to be muffled behind the curtain of light. My throat clamped shut at the sight. They were hunting us!
    “Alex!” Blade suddenly grabbed me by my forearm and ushered me off stage. I was thrust into a rushing river of people; no longer a rock star, but a mere human being striving for survival. Terrified faces streamed together as Blade rushed me toward the bus.
    We climbed on. Rogue and Tommy were there. My eyes darted over the interior but Slit was nowhere to be seen. “Where’s Slit,” I cried.
    Tommy shook his head slowly. “He just…ran out there, man.”
    Blade ran his hands through his hair. “We gotta get the hell out of here,” he said. His voice was dripping with panic. “We can’t wait for him.”
    Reluctantly, we all agreed. The bus roared to life and we started to amble toward the highway; which was already beginning to jam with vehicles looking to escape.
    But before we can get anywhere, the bus is rendered useless. The motor sputtered. The wheels suddenly lifted. I watched from the window as the ground became smaller and smaller. What were they doing? Why did they want us?
    My heart thrummed in my chest. I felt like a lamb being taken for slaughter. The bus tilted. Through the windshield, we could see the opening of the ship. Blade was screaming. Tommy was crying like a child. Rogue was simply staring straight ahead. There were so many things I wanted to do… So many things I wanted to say… But words failed me as the bus was sucked up onto the ship. The light became blinding. The bus was excruciatingly hot… A hum filled my head. Before I could do anything or say anything, my body suddenly began to split apart.
    I turned, fear seizing me, but there was no help to be sought. The last thing I remember was my body making a sickening sucking noise as every fiber split at the seams.

    1. k.spicer

      Great detail…but you killed the hero! Good job on the story though! This might have ended with the whole thing being a drug induced hallucination, after all it started with Blade sucking back a Stogie, maybe it was laced with angle dust…that might do it! Good technique and story telling.

    2. jmcody

      This was some gritty writing. As usual, your descriptions were well imagined and full of life. I was particularly struck by the idea and image of the MC being swept up in the sea of panicked humanity, no longer special, no longer a star — just another fleeing victim. Interesting.

      1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

        I agree with jmcody. The descriptions are wonderful, and I also found the realization that he was nothing more than the sum of his actual basic existence particularly alluring. Well done, Amy! Always a pleasure reading your work! :D

    3. Reaper

      Amyithist, I know the urge of addiction to killing your heroes, the antagonists, any important supporting cast, and their families. I think it is important but I have been told it is a problem. I’m part of a support group that is not doing me very much good but if you want to give it a shot we meet in the basement of an abandoned asylum on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s called RPFETFP, (real people for the ethical treatment of fake people) but I prefer the easier to remember imaginary murders anonymous.

      This was amazing in the way that you just do every week. The description was spot on, the flow and the voice were unique. There were a couple of tense shifts but barely noticeable. The one thing that struck me odd was a drugged out rock star seemed too intelligent in first person, but I would assume that is why you chose coke instead of a drug that is more mind dulling, oh and the MC knowing the roadies last name but everyone else having only a first seemed out of place. Those are very minor things because the slight offness I felt at the first person with that level of intelligence was thrown out the window by two things. The first being the amazing realization of not being special any more that others have mentioned. The second being that amazing ending. That had to be in the first person, and it had to be brilliant to work the way you made it work. So I had one of those, oh, I get it now moments where I decided that was definitely why coke as the drug of choice. Just awe inspiring.

      1. Reaper

        And I just realized I sound like an ass there and am sorry for that. I took a very meandering route to say I started off thinking it should have been in third person but you made me a believer. Your skills are sharp as always and if any other message comes across please forgive and ignore it.

      2. Amyithist

        Thank you, Reaper. I was trying desperately to keep it below 1000 words. LOL I’m working on shifting and keeping flow at the same time with these prompts. Sometimes I find it a little difficult. To be honest, this prompt took me a little while to get inspired by. All I could see in my mind was Revenge of the Nerds and the electric violin. LOL
        Thank you for the feedback. Always appreciated.

    4. seliz

      Wow, that was great. You had me hooked the whole way through with action filled writing. The fact that you killed the main character was great too because as readers, sometimes we take it for granted that the MC will survive because of plot armor. By doing away with the MC, you took away that plot armor and kept us on our toes until the very end.

    5. Observer Tim

      Very nice, Amyithist; you did a great job capturing the confusion and disorientation that comes when the whole world goes to hell. My only thought was “If it’s first person and the MC dies, how did they get this narrative?” But then I realized the aliens could have used their supertech mojo to suck the brainwaves out of the air as the MC’s head came apart.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Holy Mulkie, Amyithist, you’re written a dead end into hell’s wrath. Wow, this was tight, hopeless and forlorn. I’not being critical, I’m expressing how I felt as I read your words. Talk about moving your reader, I’m all over the place this morning, I’m raising my hat off my bald head to you.

    6. lionetravail

      Grim- and another several did bite the dust! Fun story, Amyithist, with a very human-feeling MC,who, in the end, realized he wasn’t any more special than the other victims. Hard for me to feel bad for him :), so effective writing indeed!

  50. k.spicer

    This is the part where I grit my teeth and play the same old boring cords that I’ve played for the past twenty-four years. I feel like screaming; I want to tell these twisted punks how much I hate them, but that’s useless. The last time I did that they loved me even more. They actually wanted me to tell them just how bad they were–and wanted me to spank them…they’re sicker than I am, and the only thing that keeps me out of a padded cell is the money I bring in telling these worthless people how dirty they are.

    Why can’t they understand that I hate them…not just on stage, I really hate them. The only thing they’re good for is forking over their hard earned cash to pay for overpriced tickets to concerts where we scream obscenities at them and tell them to jump off buildings and shoot themselves because nobody cares about them. Just look at them; swarming like ants on a honey covered carcass devouring whatever we regurgitate. I haven’t been inspired to write anything new in years, but do you think they care?

    As the last whine of my guitar strings ends the mob of young minds full of mush erupt right on cue. This is just the first stop on our Steal-Them-Blind Tour and I already want it to be over with. I don’t care what the rest of the band thinks or how much money the Label throws at us; I can’t take this anymore. If I have to play one more of these old worn-out tunes I think I’ll take my own advice and jump off the nearest building.

    “What’s that?” People in the crowd are pointing to a huge craft floating towards us. Suddenly laser beams begin shooting out of the craft like lightning bolts from an angry sky. Screams of horror fill the open stadium as the massive wave of human carnage turns into a throng of panicked onlookers; some run for the exits and some laugh hysterically thinking this is part of the show.

    I look to our drummer who is standing there with his mouth agape. “Did you guys change the itinerary again without telling me?” Without answering he runs off stage like a scared rabbit toward the emergency exit. “Wow, this must be for real.”

    I can see the flags on the top of the stadium waving in the wind as several other craft hover just outside the stadium blasting everything that moves and for the first time in years I feel inspired. Pulling out the pad that I use to write down lyrics I sit down on the stage and watch as laser blasts send scores of people hurling through the air like ragdolls. “I haven’t felt this inspired in years.” Gleefully I start writing as the words begin to flow. “Oh, say can you see…by the laser-light-show. As so proudly we hail, at the twilight’s last screaming…” Oh, yea. This is good!

    1. jmcody

      I just loved your jaded, aging punk rock MC and his seething hostility toward his fans. How fitting that it took an alien invasion to blast him out of his creative rut. His newly inspired lyrics still sound pretty punk to me, but I guess an alien invasion isn’t going to inspire a bouncy pop song or a country ballad. :) You did a great job conveying a distinct character here.

    2. Reaper

      Nice writing. Definitely got into the character, though I despised them you did a good job of getting me into their skin and mind. I think if you ask most rock stars it is when you really hate the fans that you know you’ve made it.

    3. seliz

      Hilarious that the band makes its money off insulting people–yet believeable, especially how the main character explains it. The name of the tour was too funny and fitting with the MC’s feelings towards his fans.

    4. sjmca1966

      I imagined the alien leader is a big fan and your MC is destined to keep playing his tired old songs for eternity (no one wants to here the new stuff). Great job k.spicer.

  51. WritingKittenOfLoki

    Hi, this is my first time posting, but I’ve been reading these for awhile. So here goes nothing.

    Music of the Stars
    Hi, my name is Taylor “Nova” Williams. I’m lead singer in the band: Rockin’ The Stars. We’re a rock/emo/punk band, and we were on our second tour in 2018 when we had our toughest audience battle ever – we like to refer to it as “the Alien invasion”. We were in the Here We Come tour for up-and-coming artists, with three other bands: Team Let’s Go; Opulent; and The Aliens. They – Then Aliens – were not very popular until that tour; it was all in the presentation. Each band kinda had their own way with how the stage was set for their parts of the concerts. We sometimes had a dark stage with spotlights on each of us, the lights would change colors and intensity, kinda making it look like we were in space, and it was always real cool, we had different stuff for different songs. But with these guys, they had laser lights, pyrotechnics, and fireworks sometimes, they went all out for their thing, and it was a long and tough battle to keep the fans on us. For a time it really looked like we were gonna be forgotten – Opulent and Team Let’s Go kept up pretty well, but their style was different so we weren’t really competing with them that much. In the end though, we won, we beat, came out on top, we held interest better. The Aliens, they had talent you know, but they were doing it all wrong: metal screams in the background of one of their love songs. Their songs were catchy but they were all basically the same you know, they had about three separate formulas: unrequited love songs all from the perspective of pretty, talented girls that somehow never got any attention; rewritten eighties rock songs; and repetitive “let’s beat the competition” chants. And they did pretty much the same lights and all, for every song, they had such little variation that people just got bored with them.
    And so, in the end, their spaceship crashed to the music of the Stars.
    Taylor set down her pencil and brushed out her full head of frizzy pink, red, and yellow waves.

    “Taylor! Come on, we have to be on stage in five minutes!” The lead guitarist called from the open door. His longish black, red, and yellow hair danced as he jogged through the halls back to the stage. Taylor glanced in the mirror then hurried out, getting there just in time to hear The Aliens play their brand new 2018 single “Rock the Love Boat”.

    “Yep” Taylor thought to herself, “we have this win in the bag.

    I wrote this the moment I saw the prompt this morning but hadn’t gotten around to it till now, it’s still a little rough. But I’m mostly happy with it.

    1. Observer Tim

      It’s a good take, WritingKittenOfLoki. Like the story about immigrants below, it never dawned on me to The Aliens as the name of the band. Thanks for twisting my mind in a new direction.

      My only suggestion for improvement is to re-read and tighten up the prose of the story within the story; it still reads a bit awkwardly.

      1. WritingKittenOfLoki

        Thank you Observer Tim.
        I originally wrote this as an interview, so when I changed it to her writing it down, the conversational voice stayed.

    2. seliz

      I like the idea of the aliens being another band, as well. I didn’t even think of that but it made a lot of sense. The line about their spaceship crashing into the music of the stars was great.

    3. Cceynowa

      Thanks for giving a new perspective on the prompt. It never occurred to me that the “the aliens” would be another band. Possibly breaking up the main paragraph (put two spaces between paragraphs if writing in Word and pasting here) would help it flow better. I had to read it twice to make sure I got it all. Overall, great job and welcome to the group!

      1. WritingKittenOfLoki

        I tried to find a place to break it up, but I couldn’t find one that felt like it wasn’t overly disrupting to the flow. Any suggestions?

    4. madeindetroit

      You should be happy with it.
      Very good story. Love the name of your MC Taylor “Nova” Williams.
      Can I use that name in a novel I’m writing?
      Keep up the good work!

      1. WritingKittenOfLoki

        I love her name too. :) she’s actually named after two members of the band Paramore – though in that case Taylor is a guy. You are welcome to the name if you really want it, but I can’t make any promises that I won’t use it myself sometime. ;)

    5. Reaper

      Welcome to posting and fully to the community WritingKittenOfLoki, love that name too.

      I like the story, and the take. I love that you have your MC writing this down before the battle. That swagger was awesome. I noticed some of the same things already mentioned but you said it was still a little rough and the explanation of the interview voice brought the rest of it into line. I would actually suggest splitting your opening paragraph into three because there are two natural breaks but they both leave a large chunk and a small one. I would suggest a break right after it was in the presentation and another right before, for a time it really looked like we were gonna be forgotten. One break does seem forced but splitting the three central ideas into their own section seems to fit your flow. Great job, I for one look forward to seeing more from you.

      1. WritingKittenOfLoki

        Thank you so much for your input, Reaper. I can see how breaking it up where you said helps it a lot.
        I am honored that you commented on my story, I actually did a happy dance when I saw it. Like I said, I’ve been reading the prompts and responses for quite awhile, so I know you’re one of the greats. I’m so happy to be a part of this community! :)

        1. Reaper

          Glad to be of any help.

          You are making me blush over here. Knowing that you have been reading for a good while do you really think my ego needs to get any bigger? ;) Thank you for the compliment and I for one am happy to have you as part of the community. Though after the praise I might be just a little biased.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Welcome aboard Kitten. Your writing style is so relaxed, laid back with a small touch of valley girl thrown in. It’s an easy, soft read, cozy and descriptive. I see a lot of talent here, especially if you haven’t been writing for years. You’re probably a natural, lucky you. Some of us are ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ writers, includng your’s truly.

            My middle name is rewrire, along with worry thrown in. I can’t wait for your next splash, We’ll be waiting.

    6. WritingKittenOfLoki

      Thanks Kerry! I have been thrice honored by the bests! First by Observer Tim, then by Reaper, and now by you.
      I first started co-writing in 2010 with a friend – we’re still working on that book – but I didn’t seriously start writing until last year.
      Don’t know if I’m a natural, I often have to push myself to keep going, but this is what I’ve stuck to the longest, besides singing. There are many moments – or days – of doubting whether I am a writer, so thank you everyone for the encouragement! And the critiques are also appreciated.

    7. Artemis4421

      Reading about the characters, I thought to myself, “is this Paramore?” and from one of your responses below, I see that I was somewhat right! As all those before me, I really enjoy your take on the prompt, and I’m not sure I have any suggestions that haven’t already been covered. So welcome to WD, WritingKittenOfLoki!

      1. lionetravail

        Welcome, and nice job from me as well. I like the transition from memoir to experience, though it reads almost more like an article than a diary entry. I agree with Reaper, earlier, about the swagger of the MC really happening with the transition- had a ‘real feel’ to it.

      2. WritingKittenOfLoki

        @ Marie Therese Knepper: Thank you. :) I love writing, cats, and Loki – from Marvel’s cinematic universe, just to be clear. So I thought that it would be a fitting name.
        @ Artemis4421: I find it very cool that you thought of Paramore, since that was the feel I was going for.

  52. igonzales81

    The first clue I got that this wasn’t going to be a normal concert was when the stage blew up.

    Ordinarily, the band used enough pyrotechnics that we weren’t able to play indoor gigs, but this time something really exploded.

    I had been prepared to launch into my solo, crooning to the mike in my best Bryan Adams imitation; then I was flying through the air, an experience everyone should have at least once.

    The impact with the ground—somewhere around the middle of the bleachers—left me dazed, and it took a moment to sort out that the sounds I was hearing were a combination of hysterical screams and some sort of gunfire.

    Climbing to my hands and knees, I saw strange figures, a little bit like Robocop in a duster, pumping rounds into anything that moved. Fans were going down right and left, crumpling and dropping as the creatures played their weapons over the crowd.

    At that point, I had a choice: do something heroic and self-sacrificing, or run as fast as I could. Before I could make up my mind, something slammed into my back, knocking me flat again.

    I rolled over, feeling a fresh sense of grogginess, to find myself staring at a helmet dominated by a shiny visor, over the smoking barrel of a singularly frightening gun.

    “Where have you hidden it?” the voice was mechanical, overly-precise, like a machine talking, but I could still tell that the speaker was not in a good mood.

    “Huh?” My grunted reply earned me swift kick to the gut.

    “We know that you have it; give it back, or all of Tekidia will suffer!”

    “What? Tekidia? Where on Earth is that?” Maybe I wasn’t thinking clearly, but that’s what came out first.

    “Earth? This is…” the alien figure paused. “Oh, no.” He pulled a device like a smart phone out of a pocket. “Oops. Hey, guys!” he shouted. “We’re in the wrong place! We got the coordinates messed up!”

    The gunfire suddenly ceased. A few muttered curses could be heard amid the drifting smoke and lingering cries of pain.

    “Well,” the figure standing over me said. “This is embarrassing. Sorry about that.” He paused, clearly thinking hard. “Just take comfort in the knowledge that you saved your entire world. Later.”

    Then he was gone. They were all gone, leaving no evidence of their visit beyond a shattered stage and a slaughtered audience. All in all, one of our better shows.

    1. jmcody

      I can only echo the other comments. Too funny! The first and last lines were perfect, and I loved the aliens parting words. (Later.) Great, understated humor, Igonzales!

    2. Reaper

      Just amazing. That you kept me laughing and wanting to punch the aliens in their space junk at the same time was brilliant. It is a fine line to walk. Many fail with the dark humor by making it too dark or too humorous. You walked it like an acrobat, congratulations. I also have to agree with the kudos on your opening line. I needed to know more as soon as I read it.

    3. Marie Therese Knepper

      igonzales81, you’ve so many outstanding features to your story that make it my favorite so far this week ( of all I’ve read so far, and excepting my own, of course ;). )

    4. lionetravail

      To add my congratulations to the others- a great story with a funny denouement twist at the end, topped off by the ‘….no evidence of their visit beyond a shattered stage and a slaughtered audience. All in all one of our better shows.” Hard to put more cynical realism in than that. Nicely done.

  53. snuzcook


    Aurora Raging concerts have always been known as transcendent experiences. The impermeable wall of sound, the beat that seems to jam the air down into one’s lungs and the soaring theremin that draws it back out again – all seem to break the audience down to a common molecular level, then recombine them into an organism that responds to the music with a single mind.

    From the stage it is mesmerizing to witness the transformation of the audience. I find myself feeling much more a conduit than an artist as the music and the venue and the people meld into something that did not exist mere hours before, and will never exist exactly the same again.

    Tonight, the sky was flat black above the Red Rock amphitheater. Lights of the show shut off the stars and the moon hung like a shy wallflower off to the east. No one noticed the a certain shooting star veering off the astral plane.

    We were deep in the zone, halfway through our long set, when I felt a discordance. There’s really no other way to describe it. Something new had been introduced. It was sound and light, but of different frequencies and different quality from ours, born in the heart of a paynim sun. I had the inexplicable sense that it was vertical frequency, even though I could not explain to you what that meant—that instead of progressing outward like the ripples in water it was directed upward, drawn toward a distant point.

    I opened my eyes and saw what looked like bright blobs, three-dimensional auras of yellow and green moving among the entranced audience. As they moved through the crowd, each would pause, meld with a person until the aura surrounded them both, then lift upward and accelerate along a bright funnel of light that was forming in the center of the floor. This movement slowly affected the crowd, and the entire audience of 10,000 began gradually to orbit the central point from which the light beam rose.

    It was with immense effort that I pulled myself out of the tarry hold of the performance trance. Teri the keyboard and Rig the bass were impossible to budge. I looked up at Firebug the drummer, and saw myself reflected in the blind stare of his mirrored glasses. I turned away from him, but he had given me the answer I needed.

    I ran to the wings and returned with Mother Hen. At the press of a few keys, her ‘chicks’ came to life. Half a dozen drones with large hyperbolic reflective sensors, which we used experimentally to record both light and sound of our concerts, rose from behind the stage. I directed them into the edges of the funnel of light. The drones rode the upswell of light to a distance of about 80 feet, then the mirrors snapped into position and began to redirect the light and sound, introducing dissonances that shot through the pristine light stream like buckshot. The horrible and beautiful structure disintegrated.

    The silence that followed roared as darkness took the theater into its palm. Faces, still trance-worn, one by one looked upward, lit into white ovals by the now confident moon, and watched the fleeing stars shooting across the sky.

      1. snuzcook

        Thanks, k.spicer! Wouldn’t it be interesting on screen? And what happened to those abductees? Yep, there is some material here to explore, thanks!

    1. Observer Tim

      The imagery here is awe-inspiring, snuz. It paints a glorious picture in psychadelia.

      My only problem is a single word: “tarry”. My brain first interprets that as “wait” and it blocked the flow while I reprocessed it. “Tarlike” would have worked a bit better for me, but that is just me.

    2. jmcody

      My impression was that you somehow managed to slow down time here — in a good way — to allow me to fully experience the sights, sounds and sensations of a rock concert. My ears are still ringing. This was some Incredible descriptive prose!

    3. seliz

      Great poetic descriptions throughout this piece. And nice save on the part of the main character. Mother hen and her chicks was both funny and creative. I bet the aliens didn’t see that coming.

      1. snuzcook

        Thanks, seliz! I was concerned a little that the dream was broken when the MC dashed off stage and introduced the amusing note of Mother Hen. But it did seem to work as a counter point to heighten the dreamlike quality of those still in the trance. Glad you liked it!

    4. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

      You know, for some reason I got a strange feeling of drones versus Wraiths from Stargate Atlantis. haha The imagery is fantastic, Snuz!

      If it helps, I didn’t get stuck on Tarry, because you were flowing so well I pretty much jusdt glazed right over it to move on with the story. :D

      1. snuzcook

        I never saw much of the SG Atlantis series, but who knows what plots get absorbed if you fall asleep in front of the TV (I’ve probably spent as many hours absorbing stories that way as awake). What’s the theory? that there are really only 5 basic plots in the history of literature, and everything is just a retelling of those tales?

        But then, it’s the retelling that holds all the fun, isn’t it? Otherwise, gossip would hold no fascination, and legends would never grow beyond the barest facts.

        Thanks for the comments, Jay!

    5. snuzcook

      My apologies to anyone who actually has attended a concert at Red Rocks–it would not be possible for the audience to “orbit the central point from which the light beam rose.” It is an open air amphitheater–no large flat space in front of the stage. But the setting is so picturesque I wanted to use it, so please excuse the creative license.

    6. Reaper

      Wow… and I will say that again, Wow!

      Your opening is such a perfect description of groupthink or mob mentality if you do not think of it as a bad thing. That perfect community. All of that leads into this beautiful poetic description that I got lost in and then swam through the story. Then at the end you go back to these descriptions of unity and coming together that seem beautiful because of the opening and the word choice, and yet you make them scary as hell with this subtle but complete danger element without every directly saying it. The horrible and beautiful structure was a great descriptor. This is just all around amazing and I agree that you slowed time on this one.

      1. snuzcook

        Thanks, Reaper!
        It is interesting that the prompt really focuses on the experiences of the MC, but many of the stories posted here tell the story of the audience and the collective experience of equal importance.
        It’s always fun when I get to go all wordy and descriptive…

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’ve been to plenty of concerts, from Sinatra to Elton John. Your description on mob intervention and hynpnotic thought is written so well, I translated back to Sinatra. We sat in row three, behind Barbara Marx, Sinatra’s girl friend. He sang for two hours to her. I didn’t care if the world ended or not. Duke Ellington’s band was eight feet to my right. There were twenty thousand at the concert, If need be, I might have given my life to be there.

        I know the music was different but the spell, the feel of the sound hitting my ear drums, created a aura of sight and sound, I’ll never, ever forget as ‘Time Goes Bye’ Your slow down to unlimited time, I’ve been there. The concert lasted forever. You brought me back snuz, thank you.

        1. snuzcook

          That must have been a fantastic experience, Kerry! You expressed the universal essence of the concert, independent of the type of music or the venue. When it’s magic, it just works. I’m glad you had that experience to share.

    7. lionetravail

      To add to others, as I catch up- wonderful. From the description of how the concert brings the audience to a hive mind, then aliens bringing the audience to something hive mind-like, and the mystery of the experience being left… a lovely and symmetrical story. And then the ‘lit into ovals by the now confident moon’? Very, very nice Snuz!

  54. Russ

    Heeeere ya go.

    This past month officials of the United States were going door to door handing residents a metal square which had one large red button on the top. The officials explained to the citizens to press the red button if anyone had any sighting of an alien spacecraft or an alien. They also explained that it only worked if an alien was within a two mile radius of the pressed button, and that if a button was pressed within the range of an alien, we would all be safe. The officials lastly told the citizens to carry the button with them as they did their regular daily routine.

    A rock concert was going on last night. Many were there and many had brought their red buttons. It was loud and crowded. There were a few families and older people, but most there were young adults. The rock group was in the middle of playing a song when the drummer saw a small gray dot up in the clouds. Within a few seconds the drummer saw it was a metal disk hovering towards them. The drummer looked down at the button sitting next to his drums, and he slowly picked it up. He looked back up at the aircraft and back at the button, and then pressed the button. Right after this explosions went up in the sky all around.

    1. Observer Tim

      Short, sweet, and to the point Russ. It’s a nice very condensed story.

      But that’s it; I want more. Maybe you could spice it up by (a) highting the sinister nature of the government handing out buttons, (b) have some internal conflict in the drummer before he pushes the button, or (c) something clever from your own devising.

    2. Cceynowa

      Maybe I missed it or was not reading correctly, but did the cubes explode or the aliens? The cubes exploding would be a terrible (mean that in a good way) twist to the story. Had the aliens already infiltrated the government and were using the cubes as a means of total genocide of the human race when the rest of their alien world arrived? Or did the cubes blow up the aliens…. I’m with Observer Tim, more! Give me more!

          1. Cceynowa

            It is very good! It made me think and want more. After re-reading a couple times, I figured out the spaceships exploded (I’m probably too dark to think the human’s exploded). :) Seriously, I liked that it made me think and want more.

    3. Reaper

      Nice Russ. This was very deep especially for something so short and sweet. While I would agree that some more detail about the back story would be amazing I don’t think it is necessary because the conclusions drawn and the thinking we do as the readers seems to be the point. The only thing I see is that the wording in the opening sentence or two of both paragraphs is a bit rough, like you are finding your stride and then slipping into this amazing flow in the latter half of the paragraph, but then that also makes it read more like a news story so I’m conflicted about bringing that up.

      1. Russ

        Ya so basically I just thought it sounded really cool to make just the government take down the aliens no problem. Like the aliens had no idea what was comin as they were coming down. Then they just took em just like that.

  55. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    It had been three days since Jeremy first discovered the alien rock. It was just after he played a concert at the local watering hole. He probably wouldn’t have noticed it while on stage if it hadn’t been for the lasers from the light show drawing to its surface like the lightening of a plasma globe. And, like those lasers, he was just as drawn to it because he stopped the show, took possession of the rock, and immediately left the stadium.


    “You can’t have it!”

    “Have what, Jeremy?”

    You know what, and you can’t have it!”

    “Is he here right now?”

    Jeremy’s eyes quickly jittered left and right, shifted left, stayed there, and returned to the doctor’s gaze.

    Jeremy said in a calmed voice, “He doesn’t like me talking about him.”

    “Why not?”

    “Says humans are too afraid of things they don’t understand.”

    “What is he?”

    “He doesn’t like me talking about him.”

    “Does he communicate to you through that stone?”

    Jeremy wrapped his hands around the rock and pulled it closer to his chest. The doctor only saw it for a moment, but it was just long enough for him to see the ornate markings etched into its obsidian-like surface.

    “You can’t have it.” Jeremy repeated. You can’t have it!”

    “Just breathe, Jeremy.” The doctor said in a soothing voice, one that often worked to calm down even the most emotional patients. “It’s okay. In. Out. Deep breaths.”

    Like many people who find themselves led astray by their own mind, visual and auditory cues helped ground them. The good doctor breathed deep and showed Jeremy an exaggerated example. When Jeremy finally started emulating him, the doctor said, “Good. Very good, Jeremy.”

    “No one can have it but me.”

    “Let’s talk about that.”

    Jeremy shook his head, but didn’t vocalize it, so the doctor guessed he wanted to talk about it, but could only convince his inner voice to agree.

    “Is that what happened to the paperboy?”

    “He tried to take it.”

    “And the lady that delivers mail?”

    “She wanted it, too.”

    “Your aunt Halverson?”

    His eyes turned pink and watery. “She wanted it most of all.”

    Jeremy had loosened his grip on the stone, and the doctor eyed the rock. It was an alluring piece of artisanship, and he wished he knew who designed it. He’d never seen anything like it in all the anthropological studies he’d done throughout his life.

    The doctor said, “That stone…”

    Jeremy screamed, “You can’t have it!”

    Quickly, Jeremy shot up from his seat, and grabbed a heavy crystal object shaped like a horse from the coffee table. He held it over his head, and the doctor winced. A moment later, the horse fled through the air, driven by the reins of Jeremy’s fingers. Once, twice, three times it smashed into Jeremy’s skull. The young man fell onto the crimson-splattered couch, and even though Jeremy was visibly unconscious, his arm continued to batter his skull with the horse. Teeth broke, his jaw crushed, and his left eye popped under the pressure of the attack. The barrage didn’t stop until Jeremy was completely unrecognizable.

    Jeremy’s hand dropped the crystal horse, and his arm fell slack. The good doctor stood from his seat, walked across the small room, and calmly plucked the stone from Jeremy’s hand.

    It was warm, and seemed to move with a slight vibration. He held it to his face, and his vision blurred for a moment. The smell of roses filled the air followed by the stench of death’s decay. When his vision corrected, there was a small figure standing near the couch. Its skin was black as tar, and seemed to move sinuously as though it were independent from its body. It had red eyes flecked with silver. Its mouth, nearly blending in with its skin, was but a thin horizontal slit.

    The good doctor heard a voice, though the creature’s mouth did not move.

    Do not let anyone touch that stone.

    The doctor shook his head, and said, “No one will get near it.”

    It’s time to leave this place. We need to find a suitable way to cleanse this planet of all human filth.

    “Can I keep the stone if I help you? It feels so good.”

    You may.

    “Thank you.” The doctor said, feeling a love that was more than a love, an unequivocal adoration for both the stone and the creature.

    1. seliz

      I loved the idea of the rock controlling and talking to people. The fact that it was sentient and able to recognise the doctor was a better owner and kill the rock star was brilliant.

    2. snuzcook

      Well told, Jay. It has shades of some of the best alien-controlled-my-brain classics, but has that delightful ;0) twist of Jeremy bashing his own head to mush. You draw the creepy visuals very, very well and the tone of the tarry demon is spot on.

    3. jmcody

      I love your literal interpretation of the prompt (“alien rock”. Ha!). The flow and pacing and visuals in this were outstanding and the whole thing was very imaginative and creative in your signature, dark way. Excellent job, Jay.

    4. Amyithist

      Very well done. I think the most haunting part is the seduction of the stone and what it drives people to do. The scene where Jeremy bashes his own skull in? Whoa. Just…whoa. I felt my own head throbbing at the idea. Fantastic job, Jay! As always!

    5. Reaper

      Very well done. Creepy and gruesome. You found a middle ground here. Often your gore is applied with a heavier detail. The slightly detailed but more subdued form you gave it here matched the very cerebral feel of the story and was perfect for it. Excellent writing as always. There were definite tones of Bradbury amped up on meth and desperation here and I loved that.

    6. girl-in-progress

      How brilliant Doc! I loved how you tweaked this prompt. How did you come up incorporating an actual rock and a rock concert? Wicked! :) You literally killed two birds with one stone here!

  56. lionetravail

    Interviewer: Welcome viewers! We’re lucky to have Bright Light, lead singer and spokesperson for the famous heavy metal band “Rigorous Mortis”, in the studio for a frank and open interview… on today’s episode of “WTF Happened?”!

    Interviewer: Now, Mr. Light…

    Bright Light: Er, call me Bright.

    Interviewer: Right, right, Bright. Now then, before we get into the meat of today’s show, please tell us how “Rigorous” got started?

    Bright Light: Of course- in the beginning, it was just a bunch of crazy kids who wanted to rock out. We played everything, and just jammed, but it was heavy metal that got us totally stoked up. One day, we were playing this dive and jamming hard, and a bunch of metalheads in the audience went bonkers, and boom we were out on social media.

    Interviewer: And that established the musical identity of the band?

    Bright Light: Exactly- we were heavy metal only from then on.

    Interviewer: And you made it big- tell us about your first album’s success.

    Bright Light: Oh, sure- ‘Final Frontier’ went nuclear, and had gone platinum before 3 months were out. We were riding high, and working on the second album, when we got our first tour deal.

    Interviewer: That was “Trippin’”, right?

    Bright Light: Hell yeah it was! (laughs) Well, the name went with the gig, from the cash to the groupies, yanno? It was our first tour, and we partied heavily enjoying the success. It was really raucous the whole tour, and it only boosted album sales.

    Interviewer: Tell us about the last concert date of the tour?

    Bright Light: (exhales audibly) It started out like most of the shows; I remember Straight Edge…

    Interviewer: .. “Rigorous’” drummer, right?

    Bright Light: Yeah. She was like our ‘Fairy Goth-Mother’ most of the tour, but she was totally wasted when we got on stage, and before the curtain went up, she yorked on the floor behind her, and…

    Interviewer: … but she pulled it together, we know. What our viewers really want to know about is after you finished your second set. You’d just blasted out “She Drank Me Under the Periodic Table”…

    Bright Light: Oh, right! Well, that was when shit got crazy! There were suddenly these lights all over the place, and I was thinking “damn, do we have to pay for those mad effects”, right? And we were about to break into the ballad ‘Supervolcano at My Prom’ when everything went… well, whatever’s one louder than ‘sideways’, right?!

    Interviewer: Sure, that was when our world was first visited by the aliens- lots of confusion at the time, and since… but what were you thinking when it was actually happening?

    Bright Light: At first I thought I was trippin’… I mean, trippin’ on the Trippin’ concert tour was not only a given, it was lyrical fucking genius, and we were living that dream! When the first ship showed up and zapped our electrical system, we thought we’d just blown the fuse, but the effects just kept coming.

    Interviewer: Later, it became clear that those ‘effects’ you’re talking about were disintegration-reintegration beams which the aliens were using to abduct your audience, right?

    Bright Light: Yeah, but at the time, it wasn’t like we knew about the ‘reintegration’ part, you dig? We’d just lost power, and then Straight Edge said like she was stone sober- and I remember this like it was yesterday- “Fuck these alien assholes!”, and she launched into the drum opener of ‘Supervolcano’ without the rest of us! And we were all like “WTF, there’s no power!”, and then one of the techs hooked us up to a portable generator, and we were live again, and we followed her into the damn song…

    Interviewer: …And that was when you learned that some of the chords from the ballad interfered with the alien power systems?

    Bright Light: Totally! The disintegrations stopped like magic, the audience was screaming just mad crazy anyway, and then the ship slammed down to the ground, so we just kept playing until it opened the fuck up!

    Interviewer: Was that when the first aliens came out?

    Bright Light: Hell yeah it was! The audience had pulled back from the ship, and we stopped playing but had our instruments ready to start up again if we needed to, and then this hatch opened and a ramp came down… I mean it was nuts, yo, when the first few came out- they had these fucked up heads, only two arms and two legs, and they walked fucking upright, if you can believe it, and they said they were from this planet called ‘Earth’….

    Interviewer: … And that’s “WTF Happened?” that day in history! Thank you for joining us today, Bright.

    Bright Light: No, Shiny Carapace Firstson… thank you!

    1. Cceynowa

      Had me going until the end! Fantastic twist on the prompt, and a great diversion during my work day. Now I think I will go back to my egotistical human life.

    2. snuzcook

      I had not expected the twist at the end. Very nice, Lionetravail! Love your choice to do it as an interview–it really worked and your dialogue was well done. It was fun going back over the story to think of why the Earthers were abducting the residents, how many more missions visited and whether Earthers will be considered pests, etc.

    3. Observer Tim

      This reads like the story of a heavy metal song, only with less profanity. I love the interview format, it works really well here. And the twist at the end is priceless!

      My only suggestion is that, in transcripts (which this is written like), the common custom is to put the speaker’s name in ALL CAPS so it can be easily distinguished from the narrative.