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Literature
The Siren
There was a dead body on Sandie's back porch, and it was trying to get in.
She wrung the coffee out of the front of her shirt, made damn sure that all of her doors and windows were locked, and called Mike.
"Mike."
"Yeah? Sandie? That you?"
"You don't know anything about this, do you?"
"About what?"
"The zombie."
"Come again?"
"Mike, there's a zombie on my back porch. It's leaving smears on the glass door. Is it yours?"
"I... Could you repeat that?"
"Zombie, Mike. It's a dead body in a puddle of nasty, and it's leaving more nasty on my door. God, I can even smell it. This is one thorough job, man."
She edged away from the door, keeping an eye on the intruder beyond the glass. It was bloated and purple with decay, green and black fungus speckling its face. There was fluid coming out of its mouth and dripping from its nose. It had no eyes, and all indication of sex or age had rotted away.
"Robotic, maybe? One of its legs is about to fall off. You didn't sic one of your Cyber Derby friends
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Literature
The Siren - 2
In the dream, Sandie was weightless. She had dreamed that sort of thing before, though, and understood that it would not last. When she dreamed that she was floating, it was only a matter of time before she dreamed that she fell.
It was an odd sensation, floating there in the dream. She could hear the world – cars and a dog and the rumble of a jet passing overhead – but there was nothing to see. She tried to raise her hand in front of her face, but she had no hand, either.
I'm a Presence, she decided. A Presence floating in space. That was comforting, because a Presence could not fall. She listened to the sound of the highway.
damaged?
It was not so much a voice as a thought, less of a word than an impulse, sort of like Sandie imagined binary code might feel to a computer. She tried to shake her head, figure out whether it was her ears or her brain that had received the message. But she had no ears, and it did not feel like she had a brain, either, and as
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Literature
The Siren - 4
Mike brought a pizza for lunch, and the crew piled into the back of his minivan to enjoy it. He disconnected the battery to keep the interior lights from eating up the juice and opened all of the doors to invite a breeze. Even so, the sun turned his car into an oven. At least the pizza was hot.
The sign on the Baptist church down the street flashed: "Pray for Rain."
"You feeling okay?" Mike asked. He had on a red plaid shirt that almost managed to hide the pizza-sauce stains. His collar was curled up in the cup holder in the front seat.
"Better," Sandie said. She bit off a string of cheese and helped herself to an orange soda from the cooler. "I mean, it's hard to stay freaked out when you're working the morning rush and you've got twelve caffeine addicts yelling at you over the counter. Would have been easier if Connie would stop bugging me, though."
Connie offered an angelic smile from her place on the bumper. "Not my fault you're loca, mama."
"I guess you guys don't listen to
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Literature
The Siren - 6
The rest of the night was quiet, and so was Sandie's morning. If the alarm went off, she never heard it, and she slept hard until nearly ten, when her phone rang.
"I think it's gone," she told Connie. "I mean, I don't want to jinx anything with optimism, but at least it's gone on vacation."
She drank her coffee black and supervised the installation of a new door. She picked up the phone to call Mike, but remembered belatedly that he had a noon Mass, and set it down again to wait until later.
Local news entertained her until the thump came from the new door.
A person's silhouette was visible through the frosted glass, standing still and dark beneath the shade of the back porch.
The thump came again – not a knock, but a meaty thwack as though the visitor was trying to come straight through. Then there was the horrible squeak of skin sliding down the glass.
Sandie's lip curled. She added Windex to her mental grocery list and stood up, grabbing a heavy wooden candle stick from the end
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Literature
The Siren - 5
All Sandie learned from her very expensive blood tests was that there was no reason for her to have paid for very expensive blood tests. She did not have leprosy, or hepatitis, or any of a number of different anemias. The news was a comfort, but the check was not.
Sandie bought a book of stamps and sent a stack of poems away to the offices of Lead Soldiers, thinking that a small royalty would at least begin to fill the dent that a new door and a medical bill had left in her bank account.
"Maybe you could take up a special collection for me," she told Mike as she got him a glass of water – root beer was an unnecessary expense.
"Meh," he said. "Charitable though the cause may be, it doesn't really work that way."
"Shame. I'm going to start getting really sick of ramen in a week or two."
"You can always come share with me. For some reason, people are always bringing me leftover barbecue. Which is nice, don't get me wrong. But they must think I eat like a football team or somet
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Private investigation by Togman-Studio Private investigation :icontogman-studio:Togman-Studio 211 68
Literature
The Siren - 8
There was a dead body in the back seat, and it was staring at Mike.
"It's not staring at you," Sandie told him. "Actually, I'm not sure that it can see."
"It?"
"Well, it's not a he or a she. I… didn't exactly check, but it was kind of hard not to notice…"
"I don't think I needed to know that."
And still it stared.
Mike kept a firm hold on Sandie's hand until they got on the Loop and she needed both hands to drive. She looked grim and determined in the green glow of the dashboard lights. It talked to her, she said, talked to her in dreams the way angels were said to do sometimes. Whatever was riding in that weird, hairless body, it was no angel. He watched Sandie's face carefully, keeping tabs on the thing in the back seat from the corner of his eye.
The bluegrass bar was called Hat Bands, and business was just beginning to pick up for the night. Rows of cars clogged the tiny parking lot, forcing Sandie to look for a space around back.
There was a noise from the back seat as S
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Literature
The Siren - 3
It was only reluctantly that Sandie went to work on Friday morning, but she had to admit that her nails looked awesome. She had settled on neon blue, and Connie had loaned her an eye shadow to match. It gave her a tiny bit of extra confidence, just enough to face a steady stream of coffee-hungry commuters. She flitted between the espresso machine and the rows of syrup bottles, filling orders while she deflected curious sympathy from her co-workers.
Connie was the worst.
"So, he didn't take anything?" she verified for the twentieth time. She popped her gum and flipped her glossy black mohawk to the other side of her head.
"Nope. At least, I haven't noticed anything missing yet."
"Nothing?" Connie asked again. She leered and winked. "Nothing at all? I mean, you don't think he snuck in and ravished your unconscious body?"
"What the hell? Where do you get this stuff?"
"From Padre. Not that last part, I mean. He just told me you had a break-in. Bo-ring. Doesn't make a good story to say some
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“Explain to me the logic behind MelloxNear, and I’ll give you a million bucks.”
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“The question we all want answered: is Mello or girl, or does he just have really bad PMS?”
“Why did Light have to make everything so damn complicated? It wasn’t like we couldn’t tell he was gonna lose in the end… oh, did I just spoil something for you? Sorry… not.”
“Raise your hand if you also think Death Note is very sexist. I mean, look at how WEAK those girls are, man!”
“How is it that Matt, a character with only about twelve panels altogether, has a popularity rating that’s higher than Light’s, Near’s, and Mikami’s put together?”
“ZOMG MIKAMI’S A
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Literature
The Siren - 7
The thing sat still and silent on Sandie's couch, swathed in the oversized black shirt and faded jeans of some long-ago boyfriend. Its white hands rested, motionless, on Its denim-clad thighs while Its expressionless eyes stared through the wall into nothing. It had not moved in more than half an hour, not even to breathe – which only made sense, Sandie thought, since It had been dead and rotting the last time she had seen It.
On the other hand, it was hard to be sure that this visitor was the same one that had shattered her window. The faces were so different, and this one was not dripping, but the voice in her head was the same. It felt the same, what few flashes she had gotten from It.
But after a few minutes, It seemed to have given in to exhaustion and fell into quiet muttering that filled the back of Sandie's head.
She tried to help. She dug up old clothes and helped It to dress, a process not dissimilar to trying to clothe a rag doll. She asked what It needed, both aloud an
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Literature
Sara's Photoshoot of Fear
As the repeated flashes dazzled my vision I could feel my cheeks begin to ache from the strain of smiling for so long. I stared into the camera lens trying to remain as happy as possible, though after an hour straight I was beginning to get impatient.
   “OK there Sara, so could you maybe move a little to your left…yeah that’s it,” the photographer told me with his eyeball pressed firmly against the lens. “Now would Abigail and Rachel like to take a step closer, and come on Harriet, keep smiling.”
    I took some solace in no matter how fed up I was getting, there was no way I was in a worse mood then Harriet. For the red-headed tomboy this photo session was her idea of hell. I looked briefly at her and could see her putting on a smile I knew all too well. The ‘I’m going to smile politely even though I’m inwardly seething’ smile which Harriet did so well.
   Her experience could not have contraste
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The Suitcase
As I parked my car in my garage I wondered just what I ever would have done without that suitcase. I had bought it just over three years ago, and I remember thinking at the time that maybe it was too big for my needs. Now I found myself sometimes wishing that it was larger.
     I turned off the ignition and stepped out of my expensive, jet black Mercedes. I moved around to the boot and opened it to reveal my large, dark blue, square travel case resting inside. I picked it up by the handle and pulled it out, wheezing as a result of how heavy it was. That didn't matter, as I pulled out the long plastic handle from the top so I could pull it behind me on its wheels. Tugging it along I pushed a button on the wall, closing the garage door behind me, and then walked through the back door into my house.
    Well you could call it a house if you wanted, but my gigantic ego would much rather call it a mansion. It was an old country manor completely
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Masterclass Detective Agency
The sun was barely up on Saturday morning when Brenda arrived at her little jewellery story she ran on the eastside of the city, ignoring the slight chill that hung in the air as she walked around to the backdoor.  A short, round woman of forty with short dark hair and an aquiline nose, Brenda was a respected member of the neighbourhood business community, having operated her store there for almost twenty years now.  She mostly ran it herself, but had a pair of girls, Pippa and Ester, who helped out during the busier times during the week.  In fact Brenda was expecting Pippa, a slender red haired girl of twenty-two, to already be at the store as she was going to help Brenda with the store’s stocktake before they opened for the day.
Brenda opened the back door and walked into the small foyer inside, where she hung up her coat.  She was dressed in a smart navy blue suit and a cream blouse, stocking and sensible shoes, ready to get to work straight away.  Sh
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Ashley's Lesson In Robotics
Ashley gasped as she pulled herself through the open warehouse window. Her converse clad feet scrabbled against the brickwork, trying to get a foothold after the makeshift tower of crates she had assembled had fallen from underneath her. Using all her strength she swung her bare legs around so they were dangling from the inside window ledge, and when certain the drop would not injure her, released her grip and dropped to the floor.
    She landed with nothing more than a soft thump, a skill perfected from her many hours of snooping. Drawing herself back to her full height the young lady reaffixed the belt wound about her jean miniskirt, and pulled back her purple hooded top so her silver heart shaped necklace was visible above her white tanktop. Then readjusting the purple bag slung over her shoulder, she gave a flick of her long, bright blonde hair held back in a ponytail and set off to find out what this warehouse secretly contained.
    The bu
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Literature
Sara's Predecessor
You experience a range of emotions when on a snoop. Sometimes it's exhilaration, sometimes fear, sometimes frustration. And occasionally you experience utter, tedious boredom. As I was experiencing at 11:26pm on a Thursday evening, sitting underneath the desk in an office of a Carrington Working Men's Club.
     Unusually for my adventures, I was stuck under here through choice. During evening service I'd snuck through a fire exit, and somehow avoided being noticed by half-drunk men with an average age of sixty five as I sidled into the office. I'd taken up position under here and had been waiting a good couple of hours for the sound of raucous, drunken laughter to disappear as the bar clients filtered into the night.
    I jiggled my legs in frustration, at least dressed comfortably in jeans, a blue hoodie and my newest pair of red coloured converse shoes which reached above my ankles. I'd clipped back my shoulder length brown hair to keep
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