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Random Fiction Stories & Other Writings

Intruder

Intruder

By Ronald Cypress

 

The first call Minnie Sinclair made to police came shortly after five in the evening. Minnie informed the operator that she was certain that someone was inside her home. She was calling from the master bedroom, breathing heavily into the phone as she whispered about the threat that was in her home.

“I can hear them moving around out there,” she said. “I think they’re trying to come kill me.”

She had been advised to stay in her room until the police arrived, but by the time two police officers showed up at her home Minnie was standing on her front yard, shaking and frantically looking around for assistance. The first officer to speak with her assured Minnie that everything was going to be fine, and she escorted the shaken woman away from the house and towards her vehicle.

“They’re in there,” Minnie said as she started to cry. “They’re planning on killing me, and they were in there waiting for me.”

“Everything is going to be fine,” the officer said.

With Minnie away from the house, the other police officer cautiously entered the house. Minnie watched him as he stood at the front door with his gun drawn and called out to whoever was in the house. Her whole body began to tighten up as the officer entered the home.

“I don’t know why they want to kill me,” Minnie said. “I haven’t done anything to anyone.”

“It’s going to be all right, ma’am. I just need you to stay here until everything is checked out.”

Minnie was more than happy to follow the officer’s directions. She didn’t want to go anywhere near her own home, not until they took care of whoever was in there. The officer who had escorted Minnie away from her home began to walk towards the house, leaving Minnie alone. Looking around the neighborhood, Minnie could see that some of her neighbors were starting to observe what was happening.

“I haven’t done anything to anyone,” Minnie said to herself. “I keep to myself. Don’t bother anyone. It’s wrong to want to kill me. It’s not right.”

She started to shiver.

Time went by slowly, but Minnie started to feel it passing. She wondered about the officers who were inside, and she figured that it was just a matter of time before there were gunshots.

“People have gone mad,” Minnie said.

The officers were taking too long inside her home, and Minnie considered the possibility that she might have to visit a neighbor’s house to call the police again and inform them that two of their own had been murdered.

The officers finally emerged from the house. The two walked towards her.

“Ma’am. ” the officer who had escorted Minnie to the car spoke first. “We looked all over the house and didn’t find anyone inside.”

“You didn’t?”

“No, ma’am. Are you sure you heard someone inside the home?”

“I was absolutely certain.” There was a little doubt in Minnie’s voice. “I know someone was in there.”

“Well, we didn’t see anyone. And we didn’t see any signs of someone breaking in.”

“So…”

“I would say it’s safe to go back into your home, Mrs. Sinclair. It’s completely empty.”

“Do you live by yourself?” the other officer asked.

“I do.”

“Okay.”

“One of us could hang around outside here if it will make you feel any better.”

Minnie thought about it. She shook her head and started to slowly head back to her house.

“It’s not right,” she said.

“Ma’am?” One of the officer’s called out to her.

Minnie continued walking until she was back inside her home. She closed the door behind her and locked it.

They must have missed something.

Minnie began walking around her home. She started in the living room, the first room one entered after going through the front door. Nothing looked as if it had been moved. Minnie looked behind the TV stand, inside the fireplace, and under the couch. She didn’t see anyone. The bathroom also appeared to be normal. Minnie looked in the shower and under the sink. Then there were the bedrooms. One was completely empty, and Minnie didn’t find anyone there. The other bedroom had a queen-size bed, a wooden dresser, and large cardboard box in the corner of the room. Minnie checked all around, including the almost bare closet. She didn’t find anyone. The investigation moved to the master bedroom, and once again Minnie looked all over.

No one.

She left her room and headed towards the kitchen. Minnie checked the stove and the refrigerator. She looked in all the drawers and under the sink. The search came to an end, and Minnie made her way back into the living room.

“I guess that settles it.”

 

It was shortly after nine at night when Minnie called the police. There was someone in her house, and she believed it was the same person who had been there earlier with plans to murder her. The police had to get there right away.

“I’m in the kitchen right now,” she said on the phone. “I can hear them moving around in the my bedroom. They’re going to come kill me.”

The operator advised Minnie to get out of the house if she could. Minnie followed the advice.

The two officers, neither the ones from before, arrived to find Minnie standing in the street, a few feet away from her property, her entire body trembling.

“There’s someone in there,” Minnie told the first officer who approached her. “They’re trying to kill me, and I don’t really understand. I haven’t done anything to anyone.”

Minnie was once again escorted towards a patrol car and told to wait until the house was checked out.

Both of the officers went inside. They moved faster than the two who had been there earlier, and it didn’t take long for them to come out and announce that they hadn’t found anyone inside the home.

“I heard them moving around in there,” Minnie said with defiance. “They were in my home, and I know they’re trying to kill me.”

“Why would anyone want to kill you, ma’am?”

“That’s a very good question, and I would like to know the answer just as much as you.”

“How old are you, ma’am?”

Minnie was shocked by the question. Her face contorted to show the aghast.

“I don’t see what that has to do with this horrible situation. Why would you ask me such a question?”

“We’re just trying to get a feel for what’s going on here, ma’am?”

“What does my age have to do with it? Maybe you think I’m so old that I should just let whoever’s coming into my home go ahead and kill me. Maybe I don’t deserve to be alive.”

“Ma’am, we’re definitely not saying that.”

Minnie shook her head. She opened her mouth, but the indignation was just too vigorous for her to speak.

“Are you taking any medications, ma’am?”

It was only getting worse. Minnie figured they were just a few questions away from asking about her sex life.

“I think I should just…”

“Are you okay, ma’am?”

“I should just go back inside, and you two should just go.”

Minnie began to walk back towards her home. She would do another search.

“We’re here,” she heard one of the officers say. “We didn’t find anything, and the woman that called is behaving kind erratically.”

Minnie was almost at the front door. She would have already been inside if her legs weren’t shaking so bad, preventing her from moving faster.”

“It’s an elderly woman. I would say about seventy. She wouldn’t tell us her age.”

She reached the front door and pushed it open.

The house quietly waited for her. Minnie decided that she would be more thorough when she looked around the house. She wouldn’t just look under the beds, but she would also check underneath the mattresses. She would look behind the refrigerator and stove. In the two bathrooms, she would go behind the toilets. Someone had been in her home, and they had wanted her dead.

But no one was found.

After her search was over, Minnie drank a small cup chamomile tea and prepared for bed. She was still trembling some, but whoever had been there before was no longer around.

“A good night’s rest is what I need.”

It was close to two in the morning when the police arrived at Minnie’s house. She had told the operator that someone was moving all over her house.

“They were in the kitchen,” she told the operator. “But now they’re in the bedroom across from mine. Wait. I hear them in the fireplace. They’re coming down the hall.”

Minnie had somehow managed to make it out of her bedroom and out of the house.

The one officer who showed up took Minnie over to his car before going inside to look around.

“I suggest you really give it a good look, and don’t just skim over the place like I suspect your comrades did.”

The officer assured her that he would look all over the house.

He moved even faster than the last officers had, and Minnie began to cry when she saw him leaving the house and walking towards her.

“Ma’am,” the officer said.

“Don’t!” Minnie screamed. “Just don’t. I know you didn’t really look around. You don’t care that there’s someone in there trying to kill me.”

Minnie moved away from the patrol car and back towards her front yard.

“I don’t understand why this is happening to me,” she said. “I’ve done nothing to deserve this.”

A few neighbors started to come out of their homes, including the woman who lived next door.

“I’ve worked hard all my life,” Minnie said. “And I deserve to be left alone in peace.”

Minnie wiped away her tears and took a deep breath. She couldn’t stop shaking. She knew that she would have to go back into the house. The person who had been there was probably gone again, but they would be back. They would keep coming back until they finally got what they wanted.

“She’s been changing for about a year now,” a voice said behind Minnie. “She’s really kept to herself and hasn’t spoken to us as much as she used to.”

“Do you know if she has any relatives nearby?”

“Her grandson was living with her, but he took off. Shortly after that some teens followed her home after an incident on the road and threatened to kill her. I heard them calling her all kinds of horrible names, and they said they were going to burn her house down with her in it. It was terrible. I wanted her to call the police, but she didn’t.”

Minnie couldn’t believe all the talking that was going on behind her. All that chattering wasn’t going to fix her problem.

Her neighbor kept babbling.

“I think that incident and being alone have really shaken her.”

Minnie heard a noise coming from inside her home. Someone was still in there. She knew that the officer hadn’t searched with sincerity. He didn’t care if she were killed. What difference would it make to him or the rest of the world?

“Ma’am, are you okay? Are you sure you want to go back in the house?”

Minnie’s shaking legs had to go step by step.

“Minnie, is there someone we could call?”

Minnie thought about turning around and telling her prattling neighbor to shut up.

“Minnie?”

She would go back in the house and lock the door. There wasn’t going to be another search. Instead Minnie would just settle down somewhere, likely in the living room, and wait for the person who was breaking into her home to reveal themselves. They might be in for a surprise. Minnie knew she still had some fight in her. They weren’t going to get rid of her with ease.

Minnie locked the front door once she was inside. No one was going to leave until the thing was settled. She brewed more chamomile tea and prepared for the confrontation. A few noises from just outside the home started up as she sat down on her couch. They were trying to find the best way to get back into her home. The noises gradually picked up volume, and Minnie eventually realized that they were there with her. She took a long sip of her tea.

It was time for the showdown.

The Bug

 

 

 

The Bug

By Ronald Cypress

On the day that she finally moved into her apartment, Valerie happened to look up at the eleventh floor while she was walking towards the main entrance. She could see the windows of the apartment that was across from hers. The whole area that encompassed her neighbor’s apartment was different from the rest of the brick building. The section seemed to protrude from the structure, and the bottom part appeared to be melting down to cover the rest of the apartment building that was beneath it. Valerie stopped and blinked her eyes a few times. The building went back to being normal.

The apartment was small, having just enough room to fit a kitchen, living room, bathroom and one bedroom. Her aunt had helped her find the building, and once her parole office approved Valeria was allowed to move. She had been there for almost a month and still hadn’t managed to really know anyone else who lived in the building. It was just how she had hoped it would be. She could keep her head down and avoid talking to the other people. Most of the people in the building had the same type of mindset—they just wanted to be left alone. The landlord was easy, the type that wouldn’t do too much if something had to be fix but also wouldn’t make too many moves if a tenant was doing something that others might not appreciate. Most of the building was quiet. The halls were dark. Much of the walls were stained, but the carpeted floors were always kept clean. Some people would have been perturbed by dim, quiet atmosphere at night, but the mood was what Valerie needed.

Everyone went about their private lives without interrupting each other, and the only person who caught Valerie’s attention was the man who lived across the hall from her.

1107

There was something wrong with the apartment and the man who lived there. Valerie had first noticed it about a week after she moved in and noticed that the apartment door kept opening and closing. It didn’t open and close in normal manner. It was closed when she arrived home after going shopping for a few items. She put her key in the lock, happened to look behind her and see that it was suddenly completely open. She turned around, unlocked the door, looked behind her again and saw that the door had been closed without making sound. Her door cracked open. The door across the hall was open again. Valerie noticed the door open and close no less than ten times before she entered her apartment and closed her own door for good. She looked through the peephole to see the door continuing to open and close without going through any motions. Some time passed, and suddenly she saw a man appear in the doorway. Then she could see more than just the man sitting in an armchair. The whole apartment opened up, and Valerie could see a large room with just an armchair and a waterfall behind him.

Valerie closed her eyes.

When she opened them again, the door was closed. It remained that way, and Valerie went back to her own life.

There were other oddities about the man across the hall, but Valerie chose to ignore them.

One night, Valerie was awakened by the loud voices. They were all men’s voices, and at first they sounded as if they could speaking from inside her apartment. Valerie got up from her mattress and went out into the living room. The voices were coming from outside her apartment. Valerie opened her door. They were coming from the apartment across the hall.

1701

Valerie couldn’t resist any longer. She slowly approached the door and knocked.

A wind blew, and Valerie was suddenly sitting across from her neighbor with a long wooden table between the two of them. They were in a kitchen that was much too grand and luxurious to actually be a part of their apartment building. The wind continued to blow. Soon she knew his name.

“Jett.”

And as the wind went on, she began to find out a great deal about him.

“I’m not supposed to be here.”

He couldn’t really remember being born or ever having a childhood.

“I can make parents, but they can be anyone in this whole world.”

He had an unlimited amount of power, yet he was completely powerless. With the things he could do, Jett should have been considered a god but he was a mistake.

“Our world is part of a calculated and programmed system.”

He didn’t belong. Something had gone wrong, and he had been created. Or he had been created, and things went wrong.

The wind stopped, and they were siting in Valerie’s apartment. She was aware that at least a few days had passed since she first knocked on Jett’s door, but she couldn’t completely recall ever leaving his presence and doing other things besides talking to him. The two sat on the floor in her living room. Jett wanted to know about her.

“I just got out of jail not long ago.”

The law had found her responsible for the death of her brother. They had been together when he died, and they both had injected the same amount of the drug they had used for years. But he was the one who died.

“I’ve been clean since then, but I don’t know how much longer…”

Jett suggested that the leave the apartment building. He took her hand and they both sank through the floor, continuing to fall and slide until they were standing at the front door. Jett continued to hold her hand as he flew her down the streets. The people around them didn’t seem to notice as they went by. They would finally come to a stop on a park bench. Rain started to fall around them, but they remained dry with a luminous light coming down on them.

Valerie wanted to know if Jett really didn’t know where he came from.

“I’m just a hiccup in the system.”

He wasn’t supposed to be there.

Jett wanted to know about Valerie’s brother.

“He was a few years older than me.”

He had been completely straight until she introduced him to what would eventually cause his death.

The rain around them stopped, and the wind began to blow again.

Valerie awoke in her room on her mattress. She rolled over and fell to the floor. The mattress was no longer on the ground as it had been before. It wasn’t even her old mattress, but a king-size bed. The bedroom was still hers, but it felt like it was just a little bit bigger. Valerie began to think about Jett. She went out into the living room area and approached her door. Looking through the peephole, all she could see was a blank white wall. Valerie opened the door. There was a janitorial closet across from her apartment.

Valerie’s parole officer came to see her.

0000

That was the number on Jett’s apartment.

The parole officer wanted to know about how Valerie was doing. She wanted to know if Valerie was having any luck finding a job and if she had been attending anonymous meetings to help her combat the problems of the past. The woman felt that it was important for Valerie to keep herself busy and away from temptation. There wasn’t much to tell. Valerie frequently went to her door and looked through the peephole. The first time there was a hallway that didn’t seem to have an end. Then there was a dark hole that also appeared to be endless. Then: a forest, a room full of smoke, a large mouth with all thirty-two teeth, and a green plain.

The parole officer eventually left Valerie alone to watch Jett’s door.

She watched it for years without time actually passing. Suddenly, she was outside the door, and they were standing across from each other. Jett was apologetic about revealing himself to her.

“It’s not going to help anything.”

All he could do was leave her damaged and unable to recover from what she had found out about their world. Jett promised to move and to leave Valerie alone.

She begged him to stay.

A wind blew, and she was sitting in her living room. It didn’t look like hers, furnished with an expensive couch, an expensive TV and TV stand, and pictures on the walls. Valerie stood up and began to look over the framed mementos. They were all pictures of her and her brother, pictures that she knew had never actually been taken and had never existed in the past. They were both smiling in the photos and appeared to be genuinely happy. Valerie removed one of the pictures from the walls. She and her brother were standing together in front of their old house. She could hear his laughter, and in her mind she could clearly see how things had been, or could have been.

There was a knock at her door.

Jett stood before her as a much older man. He was nearly unrecognizable, but Valerie knew it was Jett in a form that he wouldn’t keep for long. He would move on and try to hide away somewhere else. Valerie worried about what would happen to him.

“I was never really born, and I’ll never really die.”

Jett suddenly reached out and took her hand. The building around them disappeared, and they were standing in front of Valerie’s old home.

“I was never meant to be, but here I am, a terrible mistake.”

Jett let go of her hand and began to walk away from her. Then he was gone.

Valerie heard a voice coming from inside the house. She instantly recognized who it was, and she slowly began to walk up the porch steps and towards the open front door. His voice grew louder, as did the nervousness she felt about seeing him again. The wind began to pick up as she stepped into her old house. It continued to blow until she was back in her apartment.

Everything was still.

A cell phone sitting on the couch began to ring.

Valerie stopped listening for the rush of the wind and walked over to the phone. A woman was on the other side.

“Are you coming to work today?”

Valerie didn’t know who it was.

“We could use you at the office.”

Valerie looked down at herself and saw the black business-like attire she was wearing.

“I don’t know what you want from me.”

The woman didn’t say anything. Suddenly, Valerie heard Jett’s voice.

“You know what to do now.”

It was a new life that had somehow and for some reason been given to her.

Valerie wanted to know about her brother.

“Is he alive?”

Jett told her that complete resurrection was beyond his control. The complete essence of her brother had been almost entirely erased, and one day it would be the same for her. But her destiny had been disrupted and reprogrammed. It was another life, and soon it would come to her so that Valerie knew whom she was and what she was supposed to do.

Valerie ended the phone call and walked over to her door. She looked through the hole.

1107

The door opened and a young couple emerged.

Valerie had to restrain herself from rushing across the hall and into the apartment to search for Jett. The problem had moved away from her. Her world would go back to being straight and well defined. But someone had made a mistake, and it appeared that they were closer to human than what may have once been thought to be. The glitch was out there, and Valerie considered that maybe there were more.

It was possible that they whole system was faulty, and people like her were just stuck with the consequences.

As she rode the elevator to the bottom floor and casually walked out to the street, Valerie wondered about what the new world would be like. The wind began to blow as she walked down the street, but it was just a simple yet pleasurable element.

And that’s what she would be.

Recall

 

 

Recall

By Ronald Cypress

 

Mr. Harris quietly suggested to his wife one more time that they could take Doc and run. He had read about a place that wasn’t too far where models like Doc could be safe. Mrs. Harris shook her head.

“We shouldn’t talk about it anymore,” she said.

The family gathered in the living room, and everyone met around Doc. The kids, Stephanie and Kevin, were crying as they both hugged Doc and tried to hang onto him. Doc remained motionless with a solemn look on his face. The entire family had known what was going to happen for several months. Ever since the recall had been made public and the government announced that there wouldn’t be any exceptions, the Harris family had tried to prepare themselves to say goodbye to Doc. He had been able to comprehend what was going to happen right away, but the kids still didn’t understand.

They knew that Doc wasn’t like them.

They knew what he was, but they didn’t understand the power that the government held over him. It didn’t seem fair that they could just take him away. Stephanie and Kevin had consistently inquired about why Doc couldn’t stay with the family.

“A terrible thing happened,” Mrs. Harris had told her children one night. “Someone like Doc hurt people, and now some people are afraid that guys like him will hurt more people. They don’t want that to happen, so now people like Doc have to be taken away.”

“But Doc would never hurt anyone,” Stephanie insisted. “You see know how kind he is.”

“Doc is nicest person ever,” Kevin said.

They had both cried plenty of times ever since finding out that Doc was going to be taken away, and they always insisted that Doc would never hurt anyone.

“Well,” Mrs. Harris said with some uncertainty in her voice. “I don’t think Doc would ever hurt anyone, but they’re saying there could be a problem with the models.”

The children didn’t want to hear about it. They weren’t going to stray from their believe in Doc and his inability to hurt anyone.

Mrs. Harris secretly had her doubts ever since hearing and reading more about the automaton who had become homicidal. The initial act had made national news; it was one of the worst mass killings in the country, but the government had kept much of their findings about the incident shielded from the public. After the automaton had been put down, intense scrutiny of its parts, data and codes had been studied. The news finally announced that the government couldn’t pinpoint what had gone wrong with the automaton.

Mr. Harris believed that the people who had owned it were responsible for it’s behavior.

“Did you hear about how they treated him?” he asked his wife. “They were terrible to him.”

There were no excuses for automatons becoming homicidal. It had only happened once, years prior to the recent incident, but there had only been one victim in that case. The model that had committed the murder was known to be faulty, and it wasn’t difficult to scrap all versions of it.

Doc’s models were supposed to be different. The technology was far superior. They were supposed to be perfect specimen. But one had caused a good deal of harm, and there was no guarantee that there weren’t others like it.

Mrs. Harris couldn’t admit it, but she had found it difficult to sleep at night before the recall was officially made. Doc usually stayed in the living room at night, but sometimes she would hear him walking around. He had done it since arriving at their home and it never bothered Mrs. Harris, but after the mass murder she couldn’t stop the anxiety she felt over him moving around while her family slept. If one was capable of committing such a horrible act, then it was likely that all of them were capable of doing such a thing.

There could have been an error in all of them.

Shortly before the recall was announced, Mrs. Harris privately asked Doc about what he was feeling. She wanted to know if he had any violent thoughts or feelings.

“Never,” Doc said with the same sincerity that he always had. “I would never want to see harm come to this family.”

Mrs. Harris was ready to give him a chance, but it was soon too late to have a say.

The recall was announced on the news. Then a call came to the house. Next a notice arrived in the mail. The penultimate step in the process was an agent coming to the house and giving the Harris family paperwork to fill out. The agent spent nearly an hour asking questions. She insisted on speaking to the children and asking them if Doc had ever done anything strange or hurtful to them. The parents tried to shield them away from the agent, but she was determined to get the information out of the kids. Before the agent left, Mrs. Harris wanted to make sure that she voiced her feelings for Doc and the family’s displeasure with what was happening.

“We understand,” the agent said.

Mrs. Harris knew that she didn’t.

The government had no idea of what it was doing by taking away so many automatons from the families that had come to love them.

After the agent left, the Harris family had a week to say their final goodbyes to Doc. Mr. Harris spoke about helping Doc escape, but it was just wishful chatter. They weren’t going to risk other parts of their lives by defying an order. The government had spoken, and the decision had been made. On their final day together, they all hugged Doc one last time. Two agents arrived to escort him out of the house.

“Are you sure they’re going to keep him alive?” Stephanie asked as she watched Doc get helped into a van.

Mr. Harris nodded.

“Maybe they’ll work on him, and he can come back,” Kevin said.

“Maybe.”

The family stood outside their front door and watched as Doc was driven away. Across the street and also a few houses down, other families were also saying their farewells. It was a hard time for many people. Some people would never be the same. A part of their lives was gone, but there would always be memories.

So in some way there would always be joy.

Grass So Green

 

Grass So Green

By Ronald Cypress

After the new grass covered her property, Lena Heyward spent hours staring out the windows of her house and admiring the work that had been done to her yard. Daydreams about her late husband and what he would have said had he been there to see the replenished yard filled most of the hours she used to gaze out through the glass. He had been the one who had inspired her to make the change. The whole yard had been so dull before. The grass was barely green. Most of the blades had a greenish hue, but they were all very dull. There had been numerous spots of dirt in the backyard. All of them were now covered up. It looked like a whole new yard, and Mrs. Heyward couldn’t stop herself from feeling a great sense of pride whenever she looked at her grass.

One of the first things she had done after her husband passed was hire a reputable company to work on her lawn. She and her husband had talked about getting the whole yard fixed in the past, but nothing ever came from those few discussions. The yard had never looked too bad to him, but the shabbiness of their property was something that always stayed in the back of Lena’s mind. The decision to go ahead and get it fixed wasn’t some form of freedom that came because her husband was gone, but rather Lena saw it as a way to keep a slight bond with him. She had come very close to going ahead and getting their property spruced up while he was still alive, but too many things started to happen and he was gone before anything could be done.

The people who worked for the lawn company had promised quick results, and they hadn’t let her down. The upkeep was going to be expensive, but Lena didn’t mind. The yard wasn’t that big, and the money was there. There really wasn’t a price that could be put on the way the green grass made her feel. It wasn’t just the vibrant color, but whole yard was much softer. One night Lena went into the middle of her backyard and lay on the grass. Right away, Lena felt as if she could have stayed there for hours, engaging in daydreams and actual sleep. She closed her eyes and pictured her and her husband talking. He was right beside her, and they talked for hours.

It didn’t take long before some of the neighbors started to compliment Lena on her yard. They all mentioned how green the grass was and how they wished they could get their yard to look so nice. Lena offered to give them the name and number of the company she had hired to work on her yard, but all the neighbors who complimented her were certain that they would never be able to afford it. All they could do at that time was admire Lena’s property as it outshined the rest of theirs.

The yard was a nice distraction and small reward for a couple of months. It made Lena feel better about being alone. She tried to keep busy during the day, but there wasn’t much to do. At one point she considered finding a part-time job. Friends had suggested she could still go travel; they had been suggested that she do so ever since she retired. Lena thought about the places she would like to go, but when the new grass came she became certain that no place would ever be able to make her feel the way she did in her own home.

All the bliss she needed was there.

On Lena’s property, there were only three trees. Two of them were in the backyard and were about ten feet from each other. The third tree stood alone in her front yard. It was s fairly average looking tree, and Lena had considered having it removed while her yard was being renewed. She eventually decided that it could stay. The tree had been there long before she had, and it had a right to remain at its home. It was from one of the branches on this tree that Lena happened to look outside on morning and see a body swinging.

She didn’t get a good look at the body. All she could tell was that it was a man and he had a rope around his neck. Lena rushed to her bedroom, called the police and waited until they arrived. She couldn’t bring herself to look at the body again, and she averted her eyes as the police came into her home to speak with her. They had her sit in the kitchen and stayed with her until the body had been removed and taken away in an ambulance. They asked the clearly shaken Lena if she was all right several times before leaving her alone. Later, they would offer to take her to the hospital if she felt like she needed to go. Lena assured them that all she had to do was lie down for a while.

Information about the man who had committed suicide on Lena’s property got back to her and she found out that he was just some guy, someone who had left behind a wife, a few kids and a job as an electrician. That was all Lena would find out about him. After the incident, Lena had a hard time looking at the tree in her front yard. When she did look out her living room window her eyes would stay on the grass. The yard was still so beautiful.

About a week passed, before Lena awoke to the sound of people moving around outside. She heard doors being slammed closed and voices. Then she saw the red lights. Lena went to the living room to see what was happening. She had just gotten a glimpse of an ambulance when there was a knock on her door. The police were there to tell her that it had happened again. Another body had been found on her yard. This time, a neighbor had spotted the body of a man lying next to the tree in the front yard. Lena would come to find out that he was a young man who had taken enough pills to almost guarantee he would never wake up again. That was all she would find out about him.

Lena began to look at her yard less and less, and all it took was one more body to show up several feet from the tree in the front yard for her to stop almost completely. Lena had been home and awake to hear when that life was taken. All the police would tell her was that it was just some man. That would be all she would find out. He was some man who had left blood on her grass, and the stain was all she could see whenever she looked out at her front yard. Lena took her hose and sprayed the area several times in the following days, but she was convinced that the stain would never completely disappeared.

The hard day came when Lena had to tell the lawn company that she would no longer need their service. She told them that she was ready to see what happened when the grass was left alone to fend for itself. She said that she had faith that it would keep its incredible color despite the fact that the company had told her it wouldn’t last without the proper care. They would just have to see, Lena told them. They would all just have to wait and see.

Real Men

Just because it was time–probably past time–to post something again. 

 

Real Men

By Ronald Cypress

 

Several days and nights of random trembling and sweating had occurred after the game was played before Bobby finally broke down and told his wife about what had happened. The confession made its way out shortly after the couple had finished eating dinner. Bobby had gone back to the last time he had been at Travis’s house, and the trembling slowly started to work up again as he recalled the gam they had played. He remembered holding the small handgun and gradually lifting it up to his temple. The cold metal had touched his flesh.

The thought was what made him break. For the first time Bobby began to weep about what he and the others had done. Naturally, his wife wanted to know what was wrong and she kept pushing until he eventually told her about what had happened. It was just a stupid game that had been instigated by Travis. Bobby made sure that Jackie understood it was completely Travis’s idea and that he hadn’t wanted to do it in the first place. He had been pressured into doing it. Jackie knew how Travis could be.

She would nod and say, yeah, I know how he is.

Bobby mentioned that in a way he almost felt threatened and forced to play the game.

The whole thing had started while he and the fellows were playing cards. The usual group was there. Hops was there and he played the game, and Vincent was there, the one person who refused to touch the gun but remained in Travis’s garage as the others risked their own lives. As hard as it may have been to fathom, the game came about because of a discussion about ballet. Vincent had mentioned that his nephew was going to start taking classes in a few months, and the others had started to make jokes about a boy going into ballet.

Jackie would briefly interrupt to say that there was nothing wrong with that.

That wasn’t the point, Bobby explained.

The talk about boys going into ballet hadn’t last long. All it did was segue the men’s talk into another subject, one that was mostly discussed by Travis. Bobby couldn’t remember everything that was said, but he could tell his wife that Travis had started going on and on about how hard it was to find real men in modern times. All the real men were disappearing, and soon the only thing that would be left were weak little boys who couldn’t handle themselves or protect a “goddamn thing.” The talk about ballet had ended, and Travis had begun to discuss cowardice. He said that there were too many cowardly men out there. No one had any real guts anymore.

The others were starting to dismiss his words, but then Travis abruptly left the table and walked away from the poker game they were playing. He exited the garage and was gone for several minutes. When he returned Travis was holding a small gun. Bobby told Jackie that he had never seen the gun before and didn’t even know that Travis owned a gun.

Jackie wanted to know where Jess was at while all this was going on.

Jess had left again, and Travis didn’t know if or when she was coming back.

Jackie told Bobby to go on with the story.

There wasn’t much more to tell. The gun was brought into the garage, and Travis insisted that the poker game was over and it was time to play another game. He said that it was a game that would test their manhood to see if they were real men or cowardly little boys. The name was only mentioned once, but Bobby didn’t need to hear it. He already knew what Travis wanted to do, and initially he believed there was no way he was going to go along with it. He had actually wanted to get the gun out of Travis’s hands but found himself unable to speak up or take action.

Travis quickly went over the rules. He showed them the gun, the one bullet in the cylinder and explained how it would work. It was very simple, he insisted. He offered to go first. Vincent told him he was crazy and demanded that he put the gun away and stop acting foolishly. Bobby didn’t think anyone actually believed Travis was going to do anything dangerous with the gun, but the game was started before the other three had a chance to stop it. All it took was for Travis to put the gun to his temple and pull the trigger.

Jackie let out a short gasp, and she asked if he really did it.

Bobby nodded.

Jackie understood what it meant. It took a minute, but she had to hear the rest.

Bobby couldn’t offer a decent explanation, one that would alleviate what he had done. The only thing he could say was something, something more than Travis’s urging, had pushed him into taking the gun. Travis kept talking about being a real man and not a scared little boy. Bobby had taken the gun and stared at it for a long time.

He would say that it felt like time had stopped.

Jackie just shook her head.

By the time he had gotten the gun up to his head, Vincent had left the table and was standing in the corner of the garage, close to the door that lead outside. Bobby remembered seeing the terror on Vincent’s face, and he told Jackie that was the final thing he needed to see to go through with his part in the game. He was in a zone that he had never been in before, but once he heard the click the world around him began to fall. Bobby still didn’t understand how he didn’t faint after the act was over.

Jackie wanted to know about Hops. She knew that he was stupid enough to take part in such a game, but did he have any reservations?

Bobby paused and thought about how Hops had been before taking his turn. He knew that Jackie probably envisioned him with his goofy smile and naively going along with what Travis wanted him to do, but it hadn’t been that way. If the terror on Vincent’s face had pushed Bobby to actually play, it was the look on Hops face that would make him forever regret that he had allowed the game to go as far as it did.

Bobby would lie to Jackie and say that Hops went through with his turn fairly quickly and didn’t seem to give much thought to doing it.

Jackie shook her head some more, and said that it was sick to let someone like Hops be dragged into such a dangerous situation. Bobby knew that he didn’t know any better.

But it was too late to change anything. All he could do was talk about it, and Bobby was disappointed to find that it didn’t help him feel better about what they had done. When the discussion was over, Jackie assured her husband that she was going to have a talk with Travis. She was going to let him know her feelings about the game and what he had done to her husband and the other two men.

Bobby wanted to mention that he didn’t think confronting Travis was a good idea, but he remained silent. He knew that his judgment and character had already failed once. But he had made it back home, and one thing that Travis had said to him after the game almost felt like it could be true. Travis said that Bobby would feel like a real man when he got home and thought about what he had done. As crazy and dumb as it seemed, there was some truth in the statement. It had been a fleeting one, but for a moment it had been there.

Cartoon Sex

Another old and rejected one that I am only posting because I feel it’s time to post again. 

 

Cartoon Sex

By Ronald Cypress

 

I am writing about this because the thought came up after I managed to successfully set up a second date with a female who shall remain nameless. When certain connections are made, sex seems to come to the forefront of a person’s thoughts. Will it happen? If so, how far down the road? How strong will the feeling be when we are together? I’ve thought about these things and I was reflecting on a funny thought I had a long time ago; that thought happened to lead to what I considered one of my finest creations: Xylia Bang.

The idea really came while I was listening to the radio during my junior year in college. By the time I had reached the age of twenty-one, songs that played on the radio no longer had the appeal that they once had to me. I still enjoy the melodies and catchiness that many popular songs have, but the lyrics often leave me desiring more or just close to LOLing. There were particular songs that made me think of how sex was absurdly represented on the radio. The song that did it for me included lyrics that went something like:

 

Girl, you are coming straight from my dreams

And tonight I’m going to make you scream

Scream until you shatter glass

Girl, I’m gonna do that ass.

Do that ass good

 

This probably isn’t an accurate portrayal of how the lyrics go but it’s close enough, close enough for you to get the point if you are an adult.

It was a slow R&B song, sung by an artist who is pretty popular. The line about shattering glass with screaming is what really did it for me. My fellow adults, let’s stop and think for a moment. Have you ever heard of a woman screaming so loud during sex that she shattered glass that was around her? Think about it. If you have, I may just include my number at the end of this article and I would like for you to call me so that we can talk. I would love to hear that story.

You know what that is?

It’s what I now call cartoon sex.

 

Example 2:

 

 

Yeah, you’re going to know

When I’m licking you from head to toe.

Yeah, you’re to scream

When I turn into a sex machine.

 

There are more lyrics in this song about how the singer is going to transform into this incredible lover that takes the recipient of his affection to Cloud Nine. Good for him, but that’s cartoon sex. We all know how sex really works, and I can’t say that it is correctly represented in many songs. There are songs with the guy doing a woman for breakfast while pouring condiments all over her. This could really happen, but I can’t imagine any excitement lasting for too long, especially if you are as frugal as I am. I know plenty of songs that talk about sex throughout the entire night. I’ve never accomplished that goal. Maybe I just suck. I probably do, but have you ever done it? And I mean going at least from 10 p.m. to whenever the sun rises. If you try it, good luck being productive the next day.

Cartoon sex is what’s in those damn love/sex fiend songs.

I was thinking about some of those songs when I came up with Xylia Bang. I currently work at a computer programming place, but my big dream and employment goal is to be a very successful comic book artist/writer. I feel like I am almost there. There’s a good chance that you may have even heard of Xylia Bang. The comic has been placed in some stores.

If you haven’t heard of it, Xylia Bang revolves around the eponymous heroine who happens to be a robot.

Xylia Bang is a very attractive robot who was created by the brilliant Dr. Poll. Did Dr. Poll create a woman for his pleasure? No. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read it, but Dr. Poll created Xylia after his wife was viciously assaulted by two men, dying after one of the men stabbed her. Dr. Poll created Xylia to catch the men and others like them. Xylia Bang is a lethal, robotic woman with many different tools to use for attacks and defenses. After she was created, Xylia did catch the men who had sexually assaulted and murdered Dr. Poll’s wife. At the end of that issue, she killed them in a very violent manner.

Since then, Xylia has been in all kinds of adventures, many of them are sexual. The link between those excessive sex songs and Xylia Band is that I pretty much have her doing equally (and more) extravagant things in her sex life. Xylia was pretty much given free will by Dr. Poll, and she is a bit of a nymph. Call me perverted for being the creator, but society clearly made me that way. I won’t get into too many details since Xylia Bang issues are pretty X-rated, but I’ve had Ms. Bang having sex with a man until she did something to him that caused his internal organs to exploded(he was plotting to assassinate the female president of the United States). I’ve also had her literally doing IT all night with a guy; he was a Joe Blow who missed work the next day.

Cartoon sex is fun for me.

I have received some complaints over a few issues. In one episode, Xylia went walking in a dangerous area at night, and a man attacked her. The man was a rapist whom she allowed to enter her. Of course, the rapist was oblivious to what she really was and while he was inside her she shocked with electricity him before cutting off his penis, all done with mechanics in her vaginal region. My male mind thought the episode would show how rapists should be handled, but I received letters from certain groups that accused me of trivializing rape by putting such things in my comics. I didn’t see it that way, but I did send a letter apologizing to one organization, stating that I hadn’t intended to offend anyone.

I would like to think that Xylia will develop a cult following. Despite the latter complaint, I think there is still potential for a strong fanbase. I’m actually pretty close to quitting my job at the computer programming company. I have pretty big plans for Xylia. I recently introduced a man who will become her archenemy. Dr. Eagle is sort of the typical sinister, mad genius who is hell-bent on limiting people’s rights. Dr. Eagle is particularly against sex without the strict purpose of reproducing, and he will have all kinds of plans for how to stop it from happening. I don’t know exactly what those plans will be, but they’ll be very destructive and the world will have to rely on Xylia Bang to put a stop to Dr. Eagle’s cruel tactics.

So that’s what I got from listening to songs with cartoon sex in the lyrics.

I know, it’s pretty juvenile, but it has given me a moment. Xylia Bang can’t go on forever, and I’m always looking for new ideas. Lately, I’ve been trying to come up with something that is more mature. In this world it’s kind of hard to tell just what mature is. Have you guys taken a good look at your world?

Aside from cartoon sex on the radio, there are puerile dealings in commerce. Stick with me here. Do you own car insurance? Have you bought food recently? I’m willing to bet that the insurance or food you bought had something very silly connected to it. They didn’t just give it to you straight. I’m sure that they didn’t.

What am I going on about?

I’m going on about how I sat down the other night and watched an animated reptile try to sell me and other adult viewers car insurance. That’s what I’m going on about. A few commercials after that one, a lady who appeared to be on the same intellectual level as a fifth grader tried to sell me car insurance. It was all buffoonery, yet we are supposed to take having car insurance very seriously. The commercials may make you laugh, but if you’re a functional adult you probably know that when it actually comes to dealing and paying for car insurance there is very little humor, unless you’re just wealthy and can laugh at the fact that you wouldn’t even notice if a million dollars went missing from your bank account.

It feels like ninety percent of advertisements are geared towards kids, yet they are trying to sell products meant for adults. Do we really need to be humored in order to buy products? Does that actually work? It must work because companies keep doing. Call me a grouch but I would prefer if companies were just straight-forward with what they were selling. No more showing things that would never happen after drinking a certain liquid or featuring animals and babies talking about the greatness of a product. Just give it to us straight as adults.

I look up from writing this and see a former C-list actor in a commercial yogurt. There is a huge smile on his face and things are inexplicably glowing all around him. I am familiar with this product and have had it in my possession, and I must say things have never glowed while I was eating it. I’m probably giving it too much thought, but it does make me wonder. I may end up being a perpetual man-child, but then again the whole “adult world” could be a big fraud.

I was actually in a commercial one time. This would be back during my freshmen year of college. I was unemployed and someone offered me the opportunity to be in a commercial for an auto repair shop. My role in the commercial was a man whose engine was failing. All I had to do was drive into the parking lot and get out of the car with a frustrated look on my face. I received about three seconds of airtime. Back then, I actually thought that there might be a small possibility of becoming an actor; I’ve had plenty of dreams in this lifetime. When I saw the commercial, I was very disappointed with my performance. I had overplayed the frustration part and ended up looking like a guy who was on the verge of committing mass murder.

That commercial was pretty goofy. Some guy was jumping around (not in my scene) telling people that they should bring their vehicles to the car repair place. That commercial would be my only official acting gig. It wasn’t long after I saw the commercial for the first time that I began to seriously consider trying to create a comic book. I had entertained the idea while in high school, but actually doing it seemed overwhelming at that time. About a year after shooting the commercial, when I was finally ready to do it, I began working on my first comic book creation.

The series I had in mind revolved around a guy who had been in a terrible car accident and was saved by a mysterious company that possessed technology that was extremely advanced. They installed something in the guy’s head that allowed him to go about living a functional life. You probably already see what’s coming. The guy obtained a power; he could sense when a person was going to commit a crime. Eventually, he started to stop crimes before they happened. I had planned to have the company that had saved the man turn out to be in a gray area, playing both the villains and people with good intent. I had so many ideas.

I still have ideas; most of them go to Xylia now.

The series I just mentioned never worked out, though I did communicate with a few publishers. In the end everyone I corresponded with felt the material I had was too dark and wouldn’t attract an audience.

Maybe I should try writing a novel. I could write a novel titled Adult. I guess it would be a dystopian type of book. The main character would exist in a world where adults were forced to always follow standards set for adults. There would be no animated characters selling products. Sports would be completely eliminated, as well as fictional works. It would be a dull world. Or maybe just more comprehendible.

I bet that work would be considered too dark also. Damn us adults. Why are so many of us refusing to look at what is really around us?

But I’m not writing the piece to be brooding or philosophical in a hackneyed way.

Cartoon sex is the title, and cartoon sex is what I should get back to.

I wish I were living in a cartoon where anything was possible and I never had to really deal with any repercussions. It’s sort of my idea of heaven. It could happen. I will die and become a cartoon character. The world, or heaven, my soul traversed to would be an adult cartoon world. That almost feels hypocritical. In my cartoon world, I’ll be able to have sex with women on top of flying airplanes or 20,000 leagues under the sea (outside of a submarine and without an oxygen tank). Being a cartoon and experiencing real cartoon sex would be awesome.

All my sexual experiences have been fairly mundane, and I suspect as I get older just about everyone else’s will appear the same way.

In college the guys around me were more than happy to share stories of their sexual adventures. Often, I found myself being disgusted while giving approving words to whoever was freely talking to me about the sex they had. I know there’s something wrong with me. Then again, maybe I just have morals that even I tend to overlook. During my freshmen year in college, I was hanging out and drinking with a group of people one night. This was pretty early in the year, and we were all new to the campus and each other. I can’t remember what exactly happened that night, but the next day, one of the guys that I had been hanging out with that night told me about how he had sex with one of the girls who was in the group. The two barely knew each other, yet somehow he had gotten her to have sex in the shower with him.

My young, innocent mind was a bit flabbergasted.

By the end of the first semester, I would know of several hook ups that happened in a shower, none of them involving me. You know what I did in the shower that year besides clean myself? One night, I took some drugs and felt horrible about myself, so horrible that I got into the shower just after midnight and spent nearly two hours crying in there. What I was really crying about will have to be covered in a different entry.

Tales of sex in public places are pretty ubiquitous, and to be completely honest most of them disgust me, though I also feel a bit envious of the people who can successfully pull it off. The only thing I’ve managed to achieve is a few steady girlfriends and the tendency to overdramatize just how important the person was to me after the relationship ended. I always end up recognizing that I only wanted what was no longer there, despite being disappointed with it when I had it. I think my expectations for things and people tend to be too high.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m already closer to being a cartoon than an actual human being. I’m not even sure I know how a real human being acts. This neurotic, confusing world has managed to mess me up along with the masses. And the real damage always seems to come with a pleasant or childish presentation. But there goes my brooding again.

I’ll tell you something about brooding and taking this world too seriously. I used to live near and attend college with these two guys. One guy was a master at brooding and giving the impression that he was too deep to enjoy just about everything around him. He had the attitude of goth, but was always well-dressed in fairly bright colors. My first impression of him was that he was probably very into academics. Turns out he really wasn’t. He barely got by, claiming that the education system was a scam and that they were just prepping us to be part of a mindless machine.

The guy was really annoying.

One time he saw me standing outside and laughing with another guy. He walked up to me and asked me why I was always laughing. Before I could really answer (I got out a few “umms”), he had walked away. Now, the guy I was laughing with happened to this big goofball. He was a music major who was a very talented violinist. The guy was always joking around and doing goofy stuff. The way he went about in life almost seemed unreal. A few times I thought that he would make a great cartoon character.

I never saw the goofy guy express sadness or anger. The most down I ever saw him would be jovial for a normal person. I get a feeling you already know what happened to him. You’re right. The coroner stated that anyone who took that many painkillers was trying to kill themselves. I was shocked after his death, though I didn’t really know how to take it. I realized that I didn’t really know the guy, and I couldn’t think of a single time where he showed signs of being suicidal. It made me wonder about I could have missed what must have been something that was very obvious. It also made me think about my impressions of the other people around me.

The perennially depressed and supposedly deep guy continued to live. He started dating a chick with blonde hair and a very noticeable chest. Once that started happen, the depression decreased considerably and suddenly he was into fitness and health. I still can’t stand him, but I have to say his shoulders and biceps are quite impressive these days. The last I heard, he and that blonde girl were engaged.

I guess I should be happy for him.

One day, I would like to really fall in love. Maybe this upcoming date will prove to be the one. I’ve been thinking about what I could do to impress her. I really wish I could sing. I would write her songs, starting out with one that didn’t involve cartoon sex, but rather cartoon love.

 

I would travel a million miles for you

I would make the mountains move.

Just so I could love ya.

You know, I want to love ya.

 

I would sing my stupid songs for her. If she was impressed, then I would express happiness, but be very disappointed.

Mark of X

This is an old one about a mysterious person or group that forces men to wear a mask of shame or be put to death. I thought about just rewriting the whole thing with slightly improved writing skills, but instead I have just cleaned it up some to make it mostly comprehensible. 

 

Mark of X

By R. J.

Matthew Sweep had visited the brothel many times before. He had started going after being persuaded by a few male coworkers. The visits to the dark and dismal place weren’t something that the thirty-seven year old was proud about. It was just a part of life; just another thing that became a routine. He would usually go after work, heading straight there as soon as he got off. It was a way of relieving stress and a way to simply feel good, even if just for a short period of time.

He didn’t think too much about it. Plenty of men stopped by the brothel. It wasn’t like he was the only one, not in a city like his. There were plenty of men that frequented the place. Matthew ran into them all the time while he was there. It was one of those places that people went to do their dirty deeds, a shady little business that seemingly stayed off the radar of the law. Matthew was certain that they knew about what was going on in the supposedly vacant building. Either they were being paid off or just didn’t care. It didn’t make a difference to him. He was certain that he would never be caught. It just wouldn’t happen to him.

Matthew saw the kind of men that went in and out the brothel. Many of them were married. In fact, it seemed like most of them had wives. Matthew saw the rings on their fingers. At least I’m single, he would tell himself. It made him feel better as it put him above all those men who were going behind their wives back and visiting the dirty place. They were the ones who should really be ashamed. Not guys like him, single men who just didn’t feel like putting up with the normal dating world.

“God,” Matthew said with disgust as he stepped into the brother. It had that urine smell that it often had. Sometimes the whole place would reek of the odor. Other times the horrible smell would be absent.

Matthew continued to take his usual route to the girl that he wanted. Sheilah. She was a petite sixteen-year-old whom he had been seeing for nearly eight months. She was just his type. He had almost fallen in love with her. He was definitely infatuated enough to keep going back to her and paying the price.

“It’s been a couple of days,” Sheilah said when she saw him coming her way. She was standing right outside of her usual room. “I was beginning to get suspicious.”

“Work.” That was all Matthew could offer. “We’ve been really busy.”

“I understand. Well, I got a guy in there right now. Let me take care of him real quick and then I’ll be right with you.”

Matthew nodded.

She was well worth the wait, just like she was worth the money. Matthew stood by patiently, waiting for his girl to finish up with the guy who had come before him. He looked around at the other girls who occasionally walked by with other men. They were all so young, and plenty of them looked innocent. He knew that it was wrong and so did other people, people who would actively oppose his actions.

 

 

By the time he got home, Matthew was exhausted. He didn’t think too much about his trips to the brothel after they were over and done with. There was no need to reflect on it. Sometimes he felt bad about what he did, but he knew that it was going to keep happening. He was addicted in a way. Back at his apartment, Matthew grabbed a beer from the refrigerator. He would be alone for the rest of the day. After watching a few hours of television, Matthew made his way to bed. It had been a long day.

The next day was a busy one at work. Matthew found himself rushing around trying to finish up deals that needed to be taken care of. By the time he got off work, Matthew was too tired to take his usual trip to the brothel. It would just be another day that Sheilah would miss him. When he got back to his apartment, Matthew was surprised to see the black box sitting by his door. It was a small box, small and black with a red bow wrapped around it. He picked it up and examined it. Attached to the bow was a card that read:

 

 

For Matthew Sweep

 

 

Some friend had to have put it there. Matthew figured that it was either going to be some kind of prank or an invite to a lame affair. Matthew stepped inside with the box in his hand. His curiosity was starting to get the best of him. He had to find out what was inside. Opening the box up slowly, Matthew looked down and saw a folded up piece of fabric in the box. He told is out to get a better look at it. It was a black mask. A black mask with a red X across the face of it. Matthew looked back in the box. There was a note. He picked it up.

 

 

Dear Mr. Sweep

 

We have been aware of your unrighteous actions at the brothel. You have become a man of many sins and have now been sentenced to wear the mark of a sinner for two years. If you continue to commit your disgusting acts, more time shall be added to your sentence. This is the last day you have to show your face in public for the next two years. Starting tomorrow, you will wear this mask with the appropriate mark. If you choose to step outside without the mask, you will be terminated. Once again, if you step outside without the mask on, you will be terminated. We will be watching you, Mr. Sweep. You and many others.

Be right

XXXXXX

 

 

Matthew read the letter several times before putting it down. Someone was playing some sort of sick joke on him. He didn’t appreciate it. Not at all. Matthew held up the mask and looked it over once more. There are some really sick people out there, he concluded.

Matthew went out the next day without the mask on. The mask, letter, and black box had been tossed away into the trash. He wasn’t going to entertain some sick person that he would probably never hear from again. The day was stressful. After work, Matthew figured that he had time to swing by the brothel. He decided against it.

I’m really tired, he told himself. I just want to go home and sleep.

“See you later, Matt,” a coworker said as he walked out of the building.

“Later.”

That would be the last time the coworker saw Matthew Sweep alive.

A friend stopped by his apartment after Matthew missed four days of work. Nobody had heard from him. Being extremely concerned, the friend decided to check in on Matthew. He found the apartment door unlocked.

“Hello?” the friend looked around the living room area. “What the…?”

There was a smell in the apartment. The friend continued to walk around. He found Matthew’s body in his bedroom. He was tied down to the bed. Both of his wrists were slit as was his neck. The friend knew it was him because of the Japanese tattoos on his side. He couldn’t see his face for that was covered with a black mask. A black mask with a red X across it.

 

 

“This thing is really getting out of control,” Detective John Ramirez told one of his comrades. “I mean….Really. I don’t know what’s going on here. I’ve never seen anything like this. I don’t think there’s ever been anything to really prepare us for something like this happening.”

The man who had been a detective for over ten years had just found his tenth body with a black mask covering the victims face. It was the same kind of black mask with the same red X across it. This time the victim had been a preacher. His wife had found him lying out in the backyard. A stake had been driven through his heart along with other wooden stakes to hold him down. It had been going on long enough for Ramirez to know what kind of questions to ask.

“And you’re sure you don’t know about any extramarital affairs?” Ramirez asked the preachers visibly shaken wife. “You’re absolutely positive?”

“No.” the wife started shaking even more. “He never said anything about it.”

“Okay,”

Officers would search the house until they found what Ramirez wanted. When they did they would bring it to him. He was just hoping that the preacher had kept it around. Some of the past victims had thrown theirs out.

“Got it right here.” an officer announced as he presented Ramirez with a small box and letter. “Here you go.”

“All right.” Ramirez grabbed the letter. “Let’s see what we got going on here.”

Ramirez took less than a minute to read it.

“According to this,” Ramirez looked over at the preacher’s wife. “Well…”

“What?” the wife stepped towards him. “What is it?”

“According to this, your husband was molesting young girls. Girls who went to the church and turned to him for help.”

“No.” the wife started to shake her head. “It’s not true. It’s not true.”

Ramirez knew that she didn’t want to believe. He wasn’t sure about whether or not to believe what was written in the letter. But whoever was behind the killings did have a history of being correct.

There had been Thomas Long, a man who was found hanging in his bedroom with the black mask over his head. The killer or killers had accused him of being involved in child pornography. Mr. Long had been a married man with three young children. At first, the detectives hadn’t found any proof, but as Ramirez looked more into Mr. Long’s possessions he began to dig up things, things that were proof of what the killer had accused Mr. Long of doing. There were picture and videos.

“Who is this guy?” Ramirez inquired about the killer to another one of the detectives he was working with.

Once the bodies start piling up, Ramirez made it personal. He was going to find who was behind all of this. He was going to find them and make them pay. No matter what the victims may have done, the law didn’t want some vigilante out there killing people, especially when they were doing it in such gruesome manners.

Kevin Moody had been a heavyset man. His head and body had been found in separate places. The head had been left in front of the post office, while the body remained back in Mr. Moody’s apartment. The head had one of the black masks over it. Mr. Moody had been a cheat. He had found a way to take money from hundreds of innocent people. The killer had sent him a letter insisting that he stop and wear the mask for four years. Ramirez wasn’t sure if Mr. Moody had planned to stop the illegal activity. He never got a chance to make any amends.

Things were just going to keep getting worse. Ramirez was certain of it. The news had picked up on what was going on. There were plenty of headlines about the killer

Black Mask Killer Goes After Personal Justice

Sadistic Killer Loose: Making Victims Wear Masks

Who is the Black Mask Killer?

This guy had to be stopped. Ramirez was certain about that. If he were allowed to go on, then the whole city would remain in a panic.

By the time the twelfth victim was found, Ramirez had noticed that there were people walking around with the black masks on. They were out on the streets with their faces covered and a big red X going across it. The killer was starting to work faster and faster. Ramirez became certain that it had to be more than one person doing it. There was no way a single man could get to all those people in such a short amount of time.

Ramirez even wondered if it really was a person. What if it was something else? Maybe there really was some sort of higher being controlling all of it. He got it out of his mind right away. He knew it was people. There was a group behind it. Maybe six. Maybe the six X’s in the letter stood for a person. The signature was always there.

 

 

Be Right

XXXXXX

 

 

It was on all of the letters.

As he was adamantly working the case, Ramirez began to wonder if he could become a potential target for the killer. If they knew all that stuff about the other people, then it was a guarantee that they knew he was out there looking for them. What if they didn’t like that? Could they really get to him? Ramirez wasn’t going to let it slow him down. He was going to find the people responsible for the black masks death.

 

 

James Edwards had been ecstatic when he found out that he was going to be a father. He and his wife, Janelle, had been married for less than a year when their son came into the world. Tyler Edwards. He had been a blessing as far as James was concerned. Even when things were strained around the house between him and his wife, the twenty-four year old was always happy to spend time with his son.

“You’re going to be basketball star,” James talked to his son in a childish voice. “Aren’t you? Yes you are.”

The two were sitting on the couch. James had just gotten of from work. Another day at the grocery store. He had been working there for almost a year without many improvements on the job. Being with his son made him know that it was worth it all.

“What are doing?” James laughed at his son who was making a weird face. “What are you doing?”

“Honey,” Janelle called from the hallway.

She appeared in the living room holding a small, black box.

“This was by the door when I came home.” Janelle gently set the box down on the kitchen table. She continued to stare down at it with concern.

They had all seen the news. Since she was home most of the time, Janelle even had more time to watch the news and get a bunch of information on the Black Mask Killer. She had heard about how the killings had started. The victims had all received black boxes.

“What is it?” James said, picking him son up as he rose from the couch. He walked over towards the kitchen table. “What is that?”

“It’s a black box.”

“I can see that. What’s in it?”

“It has your name on it.”

“Okay. But, what’s in it?”

“You don’t know, do you? You really haven’t been paying attention.”

“Attention to what?”

“This is how it starts. With a black box. The mask killer. He sends his victims a black box.”

James stared down at the box with a blank expression.

“It can’t.” James thought for a second before handing Tyler over to his wife. “Let me see here. Probably some jokester. I’m sure they’ve been having those. People want to make light of this.”

James opened the box with reluctance. He set the top aside and looked in. Staring and staring, it took him awhile before he reached down and grabbed what was inside.

A black mask with a red X. There was also a letter. James read it silently.

“What does it say?” Janelle was beginning to get upset. She took a few steps back from him. “What did you do? The killer only goes after people who do something. What have you done?”

James put the letter back in the box. He lifted the mask up and looked it over.

“Honey.” he turned towards Janelle. “I’m sure this is some kind of joke.”

“It’s not.”

“It has to be. I mean…”

“I want to see the letter. I want to know what it says. I know it accuses you of something, and I want to know what.”

James just stared at her. She could see it on his face.

“It does say something about what you’ve done. So, is it true?”

His face continued to answer her questions.

“I think we should sit down,” he finally told her.

 

 

James liked to believe that he was still a good man, a good man who had just made a horrible mistake. It had happened right after Tyler was born. Janelle was focusing on the baby and when she wasn’t doing that, she seemed to be in a sour mood. He was feeling lonely and like he needed someone to talk to.

“But you didn’t just talk,” Janelle said. “You slept with her?”

“Yes.”

“How many times?”

“I don’t know. A few. No more than five or six. We broke it off because I told her I couldn’t keep doing it. And she moved a couple of months ago. Babe, I swear, I never meant for things to go so far. I don’t know…..I guess it doesn’t matter now. This guy, if it really is him, is going to kill me.”

“No. How long does he want you to wear the mask?”

“What?”

“In the note, it says how long you’re supposed to wear the mask. I know one guy, a friend of mine, has to wear it for two years after stealing from a relative. How long did it say?”

“They want me to wear it for a year and six months.” James held his head down. “That’s how long.”

“You’ll have to do it. It’s the only thing you can do.”

James sat and thought about. Things had been going so well for him. Now, it was all about to change. Once he stepped outside with the mask on, everybody would know.

 

 

After three months of wearing the black mask with the red X, James had decided that he had had enough. He was going to find the people responsible for him being forced to wear the mask. The shame and guilt had started to subside as he went through his life with the mask on, but he still violated. It wasn’t right to have to be kept in fear and worry. Every time he stepped outside of his apartment, he had to make sure to have the mask on. James knew the consequences for going out with his face showing.

The murders had continued throughout the city. People were still receiving the masks, and many were still trying to defy whoever was behind the whole thing. People continued to be in disbelief over the fact that so many people could be monitored and forced to cover their faces or be executed. It seemed like almost everyday James was hearing about some poor person who had been murdered over their refusal to wear the mask. James started to catch on to a few things. One, the black boxes seemed to appear in a pattern around the city. One day they would be in the northeast part of the city. The next day one would be in the northwest. Then the southwest. Back to the southeast. A counter clockwise motion. The other thing that he noticed was that every single person who received a black box was male. They were never given to females. Many speculated that it was some sort of feminist group behind it. That wasn’t James’s theory.

He believed that it was a man or group of men behind the whole thing. They were probably Christian fanatics or people who practiced religion in a very strict manner. Their whole lives were dedicated to watching people. They did it with ease and secrecy. No one would suspect them of being the killer because they looked very much like normal people. They probably even looked like the kind of people who were warm and welcoming. They walked around with friendly smiles. They said hello to everybody. No one was going to easily catch on to them.

James was determined to find them, and the first person he went to was Detective John Ramirez.

“I don’t think you’re going to have any better luck than we have.” Ramirez gave it to James straight. “We’ve got just about all our men out there looking for these people. Yet no one can seem to catch them. They’re moving in places that have thousands of people. Security cameras. Still we have no known pictures or clues as to who they are. No one can ever remember seeing someone place a box down. Cameras seem to simply skip over the part of someone actually dropping off the box. One second there’s nothing there. The next, a black box. A bunch of cameras have also been broken. I guess if they can locate them, they’ll just take them out. These guys are good. Real good. And I’m actually beginning to wonder…”

“What?”

The detective stared at the mask over James’s face. He shook his head and turned away.

“Yesterday.” Ramirez stared out his window. “We got a call out to some guy’s house. His wife and kids came home and found him sliced in two. He had a mask on. It didn’t take us long to find out what he had done. He had raped a young girl, a friend of the families. And then he forced her to lie about what had happened. It never went to trial. That was a few years ago. I guess he finally got his punishment. The killer had demanded that he wear the mask for twelve years. The same age the girl was when he attacked her. The guy was arrogant. He just knew the killer wasn’t going to be able to get to him. I have to tell you, I’m starting to feel like we can have a bunch of people on this case because now that this black mask stuff has started catching on, people are a little more hesitant to stray from the law. So on one hand we have a group of people taking the law into their own hands, something that no man should do. On the other, we have a city that is much safer.”

The detective went quiet.

“What are you trying to say?” James asked him. “That what this guy is doing may be right? That people can just intrude into others’ lives and force them to live a certain way? And if they don’t then they are to be punished by death? Look at this. I don’t deserve to wear this. Yes, I cheated on my wife, but who the hell are these people to make me wear this thing?”

Ramirez turned and looked at James. The mask was covering it, but he could almost see the face. It was one with anger and pain. A human one. There were hundreds of them out there. People being forced to cover up. James for infidelity. Another for secretly taking nude photos of his neighbor. One for continuously being drunk in public. There were plenty of people out there wearing mask who hadn’t necessarily done anything wrong in the eyes of the law. Not the old law. There seemed to be a new one coming in, one that they were finding nearly impossible to stop.

 

 

James was going to find the people. He had his mind set on it. First, he started trying to hangout in the areas of the city that he knew the black box people would be at. They had a pattern, and he tried to follow it. His efforts were in vain. James was never able to find anyone placing a black box down or even be in the area where a person received on. He realized that he was never going to find the people that way. Especially after they broke away from their usual pattern one day. Things were changing because the people’s behavior was changing. James figured that there was only one real way.

“I don’t know,” Ramirez told him after James gave him a plan. “Some other detectives have tried this before. They end up living while someone else is watching, but somehow the killer always gets them while they’re alone.”

James had decided that he would take off the mask and he would go out in public. He had wanted Ramirez to follow him after he had taken it off. The killer would come for him, and Ramirez would be right there to catch whoever it was.

“You’re right.” James thought about it. “That may not be such a good idea. It would just be the two of use alone.”

He went home that night and thought about it. There had to be a way. A plan started to creep into his head. James dismissed it at first, certain that it would never work. It kept coming back until he finally started to work it out. If it was done right, then they would be able to stop the people behind the black masks.

 

 

The group met on the steps of the city library. For a week, James had been working on sending the message out. The day of the meeting, nearly a thousand people showed up wearing a black mask with a red X over it. They were all uniting as one. The plan seemed so simple that James wondered why no had ever thought of it before.

“We probably just needed larger numbers,” he told his wife earlier. “There’s enough of us out there now. And there’s no way these people can get to us all.”

That morning they all stood in front of the library. When it was time for the meeting, James stepped up to the top of the stairs. He raised one hand in the air. Then swiftly lowering his arm back down, James snatched the mask off of his face.

There was a gasp from the crowd.

“Come on,” James yelled. “We must all do this together. As long as we are together, these people will not be able to touch us.”

There were police on standby. Everyone looked around to see what would happen next. One man followed James and took his mask off. Then another. It kept on going for a couple of minutes when all of the men who had joined the meeting finally had their masks off.

“Finally,” James called out. “We are free. Our faces are back out. And if these people want to do something about then they need to come out and show their faces. Just like we have. Like real men.”

“Yeah!”

The crowd started to rumble in agreement. The noise went on for a few minutes before everyone went silent. They were looking around, anticipating the killer’s next move. The black mask people had to be out there watching. It was just a matter of time before something happened.

The silence remained as they all waited. Waiting and waiting, there was no signs that something was going to happen.

“What are we going to do?” one man asked James. “Do we just stay here?”

“Yes,” James looked around. “Eventually, one of them will show their faces.”

The crowd continued to wait. Many of the men were growing highly impatient. Finally, something happened. A man wear a black mask with a red X began to approach the crowd. There was a note attached to his chest. As he started to make his way through the crowd, the other men could see that the note was nailed to him. The man wearing the mask continued to make his way towards the top of the steps where James stood. When he finally reached James, the man collapsed to the ground. James bent down to check on him.

“He’s dead,” another man said from behind James. Several people had gathered around to get a closer look. “What’s in that note?”

With the help of another man, James released the note from the deceased man’s chest. He stood up and read it.

“It says,” James continued to read. “It says that we are all fools. While they may not be able to get to us, they can always reach our families.”

James instantly thought about Janelle and Tyler. They were back at the apartment. He knew that he had to get to them as soon as possible.

“All right,” James called out. “I have to go. I have to….”

James rushed off away from the crowd. Some called for him to come back while other began to go off to check on their own families.

James felt that he couldn’t run fast enough. His apartment was a ten minute walk from the library. He kept telling himself that they would be okay as he ran to his family. Finally, he reached the apartment. The door was slightly cracked open. He slowly pushed it opened and walked in. The tall being was the first thing he saw when he entered the apartment, but his eyes went directly down to his wife who was lying at the being’s feet. There was blood beneath her head.

James’s jaw fell.

His eyes slowly went back up to the face of the being. Once he looked into the being’s eyes, James instantly understood what it all was and what it all meant. All that time he had spent trying to fight it. If he wasn’t paralyzed with awe, he would have been mentally chastising himself for having been so dumb. They were in control all along. Even before the masks with the red X came into the picture. These were the ones who were in complete control.

And they always would be.

Constance’s Love

Flash Fiction…I think.

 

Constance’s Love

by Ronald Cypress

Throughout the years that she had been retreating to the woods for solitary, Constance had come across plenty of oddities scattered around the mostly vacant area, but she had never seen anything like what she found on that second day of a hot July. She had seen dead bodies before—all them in caskets—but Constance had never seen one that wasn’t prepared and set out for anticipated viewers. The sight of her first unattended body caught her off guard, but she responded better than she had expected. She hadn’t made a sound, not even a gasp, after spotting the body.

It was a young man. He was propped up against a tree, slightly slouched over to his right side. He was wearing a black, leather jacket that was unzipped, and under the jacket he was completely bare. The young man was also wearing blue jeans and black socks. In his right hand there was a gun, one that Constance surmised was a typical handgun, and under the jacket, running down his chest and stomach, was blood. Anyone could put together what had happened to the young man.

Constance started to weep once she realized what he had done and its permanence. She didn’t weep long, because something suddenly caught her eyes; the young man was quite attractive. There wasn’t any life in his eyes that were partly open; he had the appearance of a dead person. But Constance started to see more than death, and before she knew a strong feeling came over her. She sat beside the body, her leg brushing against his as she did so. The touching caused her to flinch a little, but it wasn’t because she was repulsed. It was something that was related more to her shyness.

Constance had always been a shy girl. The fifteen-year-old had thrown up several times during the previous school year because of the nerves that came along with being so introverted. She didn’t do well around people; it was what brought her out to the woods so often. Her mother had warned her that one day she would journey into the woods, go too far and never come back. As she sat next to the young man, Constance began to suspect that day had actually arrived.

She sat and stared at the boys face. He wasn’t much older than her. He was youthful and beautiful. When he was alive, girls had constantly been chasing after him, the rare Adonis whom everybody wanted, but he had chosen to be with Constance. There were even several men, some married, who had pursued the young man. The young man was always kind and never harshly rebuked anyone. No matter how desperately he was wooed the young man always kept his heart faithful to Constance.

Constance had been the fool to question his devotion. She had been the one who pushed him away after seeing a sight that she mistook as another girl coming to take her place. She had pushed him hard enough for the young man to have fallen so far into darkness that he could see no way to go on. She had forgiven him and was on her way to see him and confess her absolute love once again, but the young man had gone away. Constance had searched without rest for several days before coming upon his remains in the woods.

Her true love had left her.

She would go back home and no one would know about what had happened. She would go to school, and no one would know about her real love. They would all just go back to tormenting her without understanding that Constance was already under the ground, gone from the earth and with her love. She would be numb and mostly deaf to talk at school, and at home she would just hide away in her room and cry quietly enough so that her parents didn’t hear her. Constance was wise enough to know that the pain wouldn’t last forever. Another love would eventually come along, but there would be the understanding of what had once been. Constance knew that she would never get over the rare Adonis who had once loved her so passionately.

The young man twitched. Constance was certain that she saw him move, but after staring at him carefully for several minutes the body appeared to be completely still. Her love was gone. Constance stood up and began to weep again.

“Oh, Amor,” she said.

Constance turned away from the young man and began to walk. She wasn’t going back home, but she was heading out of the woods. Thoughts about the summer’s end stayed with her as she strolled along. She saw all of their faces and remembered how she had often wished to be invisible to them. She wasn’t going think that way after the summer ended. Constance wasn’t going to be the same girl. The love she had experienced had taken her, and she wasn’t going to come back. They could look at her now, and she wouldn’t mind. She wasn’t going to be the girl they had expected to see.

Ants in My Pants

Another old one about suspicious kids. 

 

 

Ants in My Pants

By Ronald Cypress

The mom had been listening to the kids play outside for nearly four hours, and she had begun to lose focus on keeping a watchful eye over them. All together there were a total of five kids playing in the background. Her son, Tommy, had invited his friends over that Saturday, a ritual that had been occurring almost ever weekend since he had returned to school. The mom occasionally wondered why the group never met at one of the other kids’ home, but she figured that the meeting place gave her an advantage in making sure that her child was safe.

The group didn’t do too much; it seemed that way to the mom. She found herself feeling quite confused by some of the behavior that went on while the five kids were outside playing together. Often the five kids would stand around in a circle and talk. The meeting usually took place at the far end of the backyard, just a few feet away from the wooden fence that separated their yard from the neighbors’. The mom discussed what she saw with her husband a few times.

“Don’t worry about it,” the husband said as he flipped through the channels on the television. “They’re just back there talking. That’s all.”

“Yeah,” the mom said. “But they seem so serious. It’s really weird. I asked Tommy what they were talking about, and he just shook his head. He didn’t even answer me. It’s really strange.”

The husband didn’t respond. Since he worked every Saturday, rising early in the morning and not returning until late that evening, the husband wasn’t around to see what the kids were doing. The mom knew that if he had been there to witness it with his own eyes he would understand her apprehension.

Aside from throwing a large, red rubber ball around, there was very little play involved with the group of kids. Even when they engaged in playing, the mom found their behavior to be peculiar. She wasn’t certain, but the mom assumed that all of the kids in the group were the same age as Tommy. Since they were all at least ten years old, them playing with the large, red rubber ball came off as a bit immature. The manner in which they tossed and bounced it from person to person was slightly bizarre, and the solemn looks on their faces only added to the strangeness.

When they weren’t playing with the large, red rubber ball or standing around in a circle, the five kids would engage in exercises. They did jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, and other various drills around the yard. It was while she was watching them workout that the mom realized the power her son had over the other kids. Tommy seemed to be the boss of the group, and the mom felt chills as she watched her son silently and sternly lead the other kids through their workouts.

Something was going on with them. Tommy didn’t say much about what they were doing and the mom tried not to ask too many questions. But she knew that something was happening with the kids.

“You’re being ridiculous,” the dad said. “They’re just kids playing. You’re being paranoid, and I’m starting to worry about you.”

The mom agreed, or she pretended to agree. A part of her said that she was just being paranoid. The other part of her was certain that something was going on with the children. They were up to something.

Most Saturdays the kids stayed in the yard. A few times they did leave as a group without Tommy informing his mom about where they were going. The mom figured they were going to stay in the neighborhood. Tommy was old enough to safely play away from the house, especially when there was a group with him. The mom still had concerns, but not all of them were for her son.

One day the group met, standing in a circle for nearly an hour, and then they left the yard. The mom watched as the kids lined up. Tommy stood with authority in the back as the group of kids walked out of the yard, their steps locked together with perfect synchronicity. The mom didn’t think too much about where the kids were going; she just hoped that everyone would stay safe.

When the group came back nearly an hour later, the mom noticed that they were all holding walkie-talkies in their hands. The group was back to standing in a circle and Tommy was talking. The mom decided to step outside onto the patio. Her son was speaking in a loud and peremptory voice.

“I have given you all the code,” Tommy said to the group. The mom noticed that he was taking turns looking at the other kids’ faces. “Ants in my pants. That is the code we go by. I have made myself clear. Ants in my pants. When you hear the code, you move without hesitation. Ants…in…my…pants.”

The mom could feel herself becoming frightened. It was the way her son spoke and the determined look on his face. Suddenly, one of the two girls in the group looked over at the mom. A few seconds later, three of the other kids did the same. The only person who didn’t turn and look at the mom was Tommy. He stood silently with her back to her.

The mom quickly turned and retreated to the house. Something was going on. She was sure of it.

“They’re just playing a little game,” her husband said when she brought it up that night. “Quit worrying. We’re going to have to find something for you to do. You’re starting to lose it.”

The mom knew that her husband was wrong.

The next weekend, the mom noticed that the group wasn’t in the backyard during their usual meeting time. The only person standing in the yard was Tommy. He was standing in the middle of the yard with a walkie-talkie in his hand. The mom cracked the patio door opened so she could hear anything that was being said. Almost thirty minutes passed with Tommy standing in silence before she finally heard the code.

“All right, my soldiers,” the mom heard her son say. “Ants in my pants. Ants in my pants. Standing in the yard, and I got some ants in my pants.”

The mom looked out and saw that her son was speaking into the walkie-talkie. She waited to her a response come back, but no one returned a message. Ten minutes later, Tommy was inside the house, sitting at the kitchen table.

“Hey, ma,” Tommy said in an innocent voice. “You think you could make me a sandwich. I’m feeling pretty hungry here.”

“Sure,” the mom agreed, hastily preparing to make her son a sandwich.

An hour later, after Tommy had eaten and went off to his room, the phone rang. The mom picked it up; it was one of her best friends.

“You have to turn on the news,” the friend said. “You won’t believe this. I can barely believe it. It’s basically on every channel right now.”

“What?” the mom rushed into the living room and turned the television to a channel that was sure to have news.

On the television were images of building that appeared to have been bombed, and a bus that also appeared to have been blown up. The news headline read:

 

Two Bombings in City

 

The mom was horrified as she watched the news coverage.

“I can’t believe someone would do such a thing,” her best friend said. “This is horrible.”

“Yeah.” the mom didn’t know what else to say.

It was horrible, and she knew right away that her son had something to do with the bombings; all five of the kids had something to do with it.

That evening, the mom and her husband talked about the bombings with each other. Though they spoke about it in front of Tommy, he didn’t have a response to what had happened. The mom tried to get him to talk about it, but her son just shrugged and made a quiet grunting noise with his throat.

She thought about mentioning her theory to her husband, but decided to keep it to herself. If she brought it up, her husband would only be upset. The mom understood. Any normal father would be upset to hear their ten-year-old child be accused of causing destruction and death. But the mom remained sure that her son and the other kids had something to do with it.

Weeks went by after the bombing and the FBI and police were unable to figure out who had bombed the city. They had clues, but there were no solid leads. Videos showed boxes appearing at the bombed sites, but they were unable to see who had left them there. Some of the videos were shown on television and the mom noticed that some of the kids who played in her backyard were in the videos. Of course, the police and FBI would never suspect them; not even when one of the kids went up and touched one of the boxes.

It was just innocent child curiosity.

“That little girl is lucky she didn’t stay there long,” one reporter said as a video showed a girl that the mom was familiar with coming into contact with one of the boxes that had contained a bomb. “Just a minute more and she probably would have been killed.”

The media and law officials just weren’t going to get it. The mom was sure of it. They were just harmless kids as far as the adults were concerned.

Nearly a month passed after the bombings took place. Overall, fifteen people lost their lives, and there a couple dozen left with limbs missing and other severe injuries. The kids were still free and no one had been arrested for the attacks. The mom figured that the kids would eventually attack again.

She saw Tommy standing alone in the backyard again one day. That was how she knew the next attack was getting ready to occur. The fact that the other kids weren’t there with their leader meant that they were out and taking action. All they had to do was hear the signal. The mom stood by the patio door as her son spoke into the walkie-talkie.

“A hot day out here,” Tommy said with a grin. “A lot of bugs moving around out here. I may have to go inside pretty soon. I’ve been standing here for so long that now I’ve got ants in my pants. Ants in my pants. I’ve got some ants in my pants.”

The mom stood still, feeling almost completely numb.

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