Is THIS The End? Or Is THAT?!

Is THIS The End? Or Is THAT?! (1990)

ITHIS2

an Alan Smithee film

screenplay by Alan Smithee

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Extract from a never-made 1990 comedy sci-fi film about a group of Hollywood comedy actors who hide out in a basement apartment while what could very well be the apocalypse breaks out in the world outside.

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INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY

Chevy Chase is sitting on a worn armchair, wearing a “Caddyshack” cap, swinging a golf club around casually. He looks perturbed by something. Steve Martin is sitting on a nearby sofa, trying to fix an old radio. In the middle is Rick Moranis, who is building a periscope with rolls of toilet paper, scotch tape and mirrors.

CHEVY CHASE

(annoyed, to Rick)

What the fuck are you doing?

RICK MORANIS

What do you mean? We need to see what’s going on, maybe it’s not that bad.

CHEVY CHASE

Not that bad?! Are you nuts? You saw what happened to Martin Short! Whatever’s out there is not fucking kidding around.

RICK MORANIS

Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to know what we’re up against!

CHEVY CHASE

It might! Why? What did you have in mind? Fucking shrink ‘em to death?

RICK MORANIS

(stands up, angry)

Don’t you fucking…

Chevy Chase stands up also, ready to fight. Steve Martin promptly gets between them.

STEVE MARTIN

Settle down…

CHEVY CHASE

(to Rick, taunting him)

Show us what you got, Spaceballs.

STEVE MARTIN

Alright, that’s enough! Let’s not say anything we might end up regretting. Rick, you’re building a periscope and that’s very admirable: you’re right, we should know what we’re facing. Chevy, I know it’s a difficult time but we need to stick together. We can’t afford to turn on each other like this.

CHEVY CHASE

(bitter)

Oh that’s right, take his fucking side. I thought we were “amigos”, I guess I was wrong.

Goldie Hawn walks in the room from the kitchen, she looks nervous and slurs her words.

GOLDIE HAWN

Hey, y-you guys got a spoon?

CHEVY CHASE

That’s actually all we have is a fucking spoon.

STEVE MARTIN

It’s on top of the fridge. Wait, you’re not using it for heroin, are you?

Goldie Hawn nervously scratches her arms one after the other and stands there not blinking for an entire minute.

GOLDIE HAWN

No…

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN. DAY

Dan Aykroyd is washing dishes quietly. Goldie Hawn walks in and grabs the spoon from the top of the fridge. She spits in it and wipes it on her shirt. She sits down, opens a small wooden box, rolls up her sleeve and starts trying an elastic around her bicep.

GOLDIE HAWN

You ok, Dan?

DAN AYKROYD

(to himself, emotional)

I knew it, I just knew it…

Dan Aykroyd drops a plate in the sink and bursts into tears. Goldie Hawn heats up the spoon and taps her vein.

GOLDIE HAWN

What’s up?

DAN AYKROYD

I always knew the intergalactic council would one day reach our solar system, I just… never expected them to be hostile…

Goldie Hawn injects herself and savours the moment.

GOLDIE HAWN

(to herself)

Oh yeah, there’s the spot…

DAN AYKROYD

(ignoring Goldie)

This changes everything…

Finally done, Goldie Hawn folds her arm and closes her eyes before standing up zombie-like.

GOLDIE HAWN

(slowed-down speech)

I’m gonna… go to the bathroom. I’ll be… right back.

DAN AYKROYD

Bill’s in there. Leave him alone.

GOLDIE HAWN

What’s he doing?

DAN AYKROYD

He’s reading my new Ghostbusters screenplay, let him concentrate.

GOLDIE HAWN

But I… I gotta sit down and take a shit or something…

DAN AYKROYD

Spoken like a true house shitter.

From the bathroom, we hear the toilet flush. Soon after, Bill Murray exits and walks into the kitchen. Goldie Hawn promptly stumbles to the bathroom and locks the door.

BILL MURRAY

What’s going on?

DAN AYKROYD

So? What did you think?

BILL MURRAY

(nonchalant)

I’m sorry Dan, ran out of paper. It was good though, can you print another copy?

DAN AYKROYD

(outraged)

What?! No! That was the only one!

BILL MURRAY

(unfased)

Bummer.

Bill Murray casually opens the fridge and finds nothing there except a severed hand holding on to an Oscar statuette which reads: “Best Supporting Actress: Whoopi Goldberg”.

BILL MURRAY

(loud)

Alright, who ate all the food?

INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY

After a look of sheer disbelief, Chevy Chase runs to the kitchen.

CHEVY CHASE

(angry)

What?!

STEVE MARTIN

(to himself)

Oh boy…

Chevy Chase soon walks up to the bedroom door and knocks hard on it.

CHEVY CHASE

(loud, angry)

Open up you fat fucks!

After he gets no response, Chevy Chase kicks the door down. Bill, Steve, Dan and Rick have now assembled around him. They find James Belushi and John Candy on the bed with Harold Ramis’ severed head.

CHEVY CHASE

Alright, which one of you porkers ate all the fucking food?

JAMES BELUSHI

Hey! I resent that!

BILL MURRAY

What were you guys doing with Harold’s head?

James and John discreetly tuck in their shirts and zip their flies.

JAMES BELUSHI & JOHN CANDY

(acting innocent)

Nothing…

RICK MORANIS

(panicking)

That was all the food we had left! What are we gonna do?

CHEVY CHASE

There’s only one thing we can do. We’re gonna have to eat one of ‘em.

RICK MORANIS

(shocked)

What?!

CHEVY CHASE

(simply)

You heard me.

DAN AYKROYD

That’s exactly what the good Belushi would have suggested…

JAMES BELUSHI

Hey man, I didn’t eat shit! I was just in the mood for some Ramis is all! Is that a crime?

(pointing at John)

He’s the one! He ate all the food! Eat him!

John Candy breaks down in tears.

JOHN CANDY

I couldn’t help myself… I eat when I’m nervous! I’m sorry.

CHEVY CHASE

Yeah? Well I eat when I’m pissed off and right now, I gotta tell ya: I’m real fucking hungry.

BILL MURRAY

(nonchalant)

I’m kinda hungry.

DAN AYKROYD

I could eat.

RICK MORANIS

(disbelief, to Steve Martin)

Steve, say something! You can’t possibly let this happen!

STEVE MARTIN

Usually, I wouldn’t but… it sort of makes sense. Happened to me in “Little Shop” and I turned out OK. You remember.

RICK MORANIS

That was a movie! This is real life!

A half-asleep Goldie Hawn finally exits the bathroom and joins them.

GOLDIE HAWN

Maybe the little one wants to volunteer?

There’s a beat as everyone turns to Rick.

RICK MORANIS

I’ll get the saw…

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY – LATER

Everyone is sitting around eating what’s left of James Belushi.

JOHN CANDY

(to Dan)

You gonna finish that?

DAN AYKROYD

Hands off, you know the best bit’s around the bone.

RICK MORANIS

We’re all going to hell…

BILL MURRAY

Eating Jim was definitely the right choice. He tastes just like ham.

RICK MORANIS

But he didn’t eat our food, John did!

JOHN CANDY

Yeah but I’m funny.

GOLDIE HAWN

Hey you guys, check me out: I’m snorting Belushi!

STEVE MARTIN

Come on, Goldie, that’s gross!

Steve holds Jim Belushi’s nose in his hand and eats it by picking inside of it, as if it were a snail. Goldie Hawn snorts an acid-like substance and seconds later, the inside of her head melts.

Her eyes fall out.

BILL MURRAY

What was that?

DAN AYKROYD

(simply)

His stomach I think.

Just then, there’s a knock at the door.

STEVE MARTIN

Who could this be?

INT. ENTRANCE. DAY

They all walk towards the door, Steve finally opens it to reveal Bobcat Goldthwait, who is  sweating profusely. He appears to be on a leash.

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT

Hey (snorts) you GUYS! W-whaaaat’s UP (snorts)!

CHEVY CHASE

Bobcat? What the fuck? You still alive?

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT

Yeeeeah man! (snorts) Nnnnn… the MASTER wants to see you guys (snorts).

STEVE MARTIN

The “Master”?

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT

Follow me, it’s (snorts) SAFE! I p-promise.

They all follow Bobcat outside, up the staircase.

EXT. STREET. DAY

The entire street is is ruins: fire everywhere, cars toppled over, destroyed houses. As everyone steps onto the pavement, we see a large dragon-like creature being ridden by Michael Keaton, who is holding Bobcat on a leash.

MICHAEL KEATON

Well look what the “Cat” dragged in…

CHEVY CHASE

(to Michael)

How the fuck are you riding that dragon right now?

MICHAEL KEATON

They gave it to me.

STEVE MARTIN

Who?

MICHAEL KEATON

Get with the times, man. The aliens, of course.

DAN AYKROYD

I knew it!

RICK MORANIS

Th-they just gave you a dragon?

MICHAEL KEATON

Don’t you know anything? War’s over. President made a deal with them: they leave us alone, we share our resources with ‘em. It’s all good. Diplomacy, motherfuckers.

RICK MORANIS

But… we ate Jim Belushi…

BILL MURRAY

And Whoopi, don’t forget Whoopi.

STEVE MARTIN

Why did we eat her again? I thought we had food at that point.

BILL MURRAY

I cut off her hand, it was the humane thing to do.

STEVE MARTIN

Fair enough.

RICK MORANIS

(to himself)

I’m done with movies…

CHEVY CHASE

(to Michael)

Wait… why did they give you a dragon of all people?

JOHN CANDY

Yeah! What gives?

MICHAEL KEATON

Don’t you guys know?

Everyone looks at each other, confused. Steve shrugs.

There’s a beat.

MICHAEL KEATON

I’m Batman.

No one reacts.

Suddenly, Michael’s dragon eats up Rick Moranis.

MICHAEL KEATON

(to everyone)

Shit, sorry fellas…

CHEVY CHASE

It’s cool, somebody had to fucking eat him.

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After reading Alan Smithee’s screenplay for “Is This The End? Or Is That?!”, producers instantly dropped the project and never mentioned it ever again. To this day, the actors written into the script remain unaware that they were almost part of the very first end-of-the-world comedy blockbuster.

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More from Alan Smithee soon.

Only on We, The Mindthinkers.

WWV

WWV (2006)

WWV

a Lazarus Pitt novel

Written at the same time as Max Brooks’ “World War Z”

Extract from Chapter XII

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The war had begun.

It had begun and now it was.

It was and now it remained.

Would it ever end?

We didn’t think so.

Maybe our squadron was just being particularly pessimistic. Or perhaps we were right to not be hopeful. The things we’d seen, experienced, could still not be explained and none of us could see a bright future on the horizon.

Doomed.

Joining the army wasn’t an easy decision. Don’t get me wrong, there was never any bad blood between me and Uncle Sam or anything, it was just the idea of going out into the unknown and facing potential death I couldn’t get over.

Then they came flying in.

This was an enemy like no other we’d ever faced before. Now, not only our country was at stake but our entire world! There was no way I could have just sat back and watched it all happen live on CNN, without doing anything. What if this was the end? What then? What kind of life would I have led?

No. If they want this planet, they’ll just have to go through me.

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Where am I?

The whole point of this covert operation was to invade the enemy base not hide all around it and lose each other. There I am, stranded in this ghost town, with no means of communication and no direct support.

That’s just great.

All around me are seemingly empty barracks. They had built a wall around the base on top of which their soldiers fired at us relentlessly. I had to see one of them, I had to see what we were dealing with.

I approached one of their soldiers, who was lying dead next to his weapon and, to my surprise, I found a young woman, not in uniform. Actually, she was naked. Naked and covered in blisters. Not only that but both her wrists were attached to the very machine-gun she was firing from.

Why?

Then I heard it: a rumble coming from inside one of the nearby tents. I ready my weapon instinctively and start walking towards it. Whatever was in there, it was safe to guess it didn’t want me around. Then again, what if the rest of my team somehow went ahead of me and took refuge in one of the tents?

I tap the end of my rifle on the ground three times, pause for a moment, then repeat. This was our code, our way of alerting each other, of letting us know that one of us was near without attracting unwanted attention. This time, there was no reply.

Whatever was in there: it wasn’t one of us. And it was, most certainly, hostile.

One Mississippi…

Two Mississippi…

THREE.

I run in, spouting out orders:

“Get down! Get down! Hands on the gr-”

Empty.

I move in further into the tent, as I try to decipher what could have possibly been the source of the sound I had heard when suddenly, the ground breaks under me.

My heart tightens.

My rifle: gone.

I’m falling.

Darkness.

The fall wasn’t too deep but deep enough that the landing cracked my knee. Struggling not to scream, I promptly bite my sleeve. If this was a trap, I had to buy some time, gather my thoughts before the attack. The pain was intolerable. I had also scraped my arm during the fall and I could tell by the moistness on the other sleeve of my uniform that I was bleeding.

I fumble around the darkness for my rifle.

Finally: I reach it.

I shakily stand up and start limping forward, down a deserted, unlit corridor. I start to feel dizzy, sick, but I push all of that aside in my mind. All that matters is the mission. I’m expendable, I know that, but if this is some sort of underground lair I’ve discovered, it’s my duty to make sure I bring as much carnage and panic to the place as possible.

And just like that, I saw something lying in front of me I wish I had never seen.

It was Smithey.

My teammate, my brother.

What have they done to you?

There he was: lying on the ground face down with the bottom half of his body missing. Gnawed off, it seemed.

Oh Smithey…

We were gonna raise chickens together.

I approach my friend, get on my good knee and turn his body around to face him when, suddenly, his eyes open.

“V…”, he said.

“Smithey! Y-you’re…”

“V…”

“What is it, Smithey? Tell me, I’m here!”

“V…”

Smithey died in my arms just then.

What could he have been trying to tell me?

A name, perhaps?

I knew I couldn’t stay there any longer. I had to go forward, move on with the mission. I say a quiet prayer for my old friend and keep on walking.

Those bastards are gonna pay.

Still limping, the pain more unbearable than ever, I finally reach some sort of large storage area: long, flat rectangular boxes, everywhere. Boxes upon boxes just sitting there, in the dark. Weapons? Missiles?

What were these monsters plotting…

I step closer to one of the boxes and go to lift its lid, making sure to keep my gun pointing in the right direction. I start lifting the lid when I hear a voice calling me from the corridor I had just walked from.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you”, the voice warned.

I promptly look up and, upon seeing a shadowy figure standing in the distance, I point my weapon at the stranger with every intention of shooting.

“Get down on the ground! Now!”, I yell out nervously.

“It is unwise to shout.”, was the calm reply.

The dark figure steps forward.

“Stay where you are!”

They stop.

“Don’t step any closer. I mean it.”

“I mean you no harm…”

The silhouette steps forward once again and I shoot. This causes no reaction whatsoever.

“Now you’ve done it.”

Some of the boxes around me start moving.

“What are you?”

Finally, out of the shadows, walks a familiar face.

“General Lohman?”

“That’s right, soldier. I’m a night-walker. Always have been.”

“But… Smithey…”

“Smithey got sloppy. We’re attracted to sound, we love it. Can’t get enough of it. Couple of misfired gun shots in the dark, that’s all it took. They jumped him, tore the poor bastard in half right there and then.”

“What the hell are night-walkers?”

“We live in shadow, we feast upon the blood of those who try to come between us and our destiny. The world belongs to us, soldier, we are evolution and nothing will stop us.”

“You’re wrong. You’re a mistake, a failed experiment. We’ll win.”

“You’re a good kid, soldier. Resourceful. I have a proposition for you: help us. Be our eyes during the daylight hours and you will be spared. I can guarantee that.”

“Then what? Say I help you: what will be left for me? I’ve seen what you do to humans when you’re done with them. ”

“You’re far more valuable to us than you realize. If there’s one thing we night-walkers will always need, it’s humans. I organised this personally, I wanted you to find us, I wanted you here. You’re the best we’ve got, soldier. Think about it: it makes sense.”

I look at the monster and smile.

“You’re right.”

I start applauding the General as loud as possible and, in a heartbeat, I see his hopes of a human mole shatter in a thousand pieces before him. The boxes around me rattle, shake and finally burst open sharply, like overcooked raviolis.

“Nooooo!”, Lohman cries out as the cavernous ghouls jump towards me, their fangs wet with hunger.

It does make sense.

There’s nothing like the sound of a deceived vampire.

Nothing.

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More from the iconic Lazarus Pitt soon.

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In The Between

In The Between (1990)

In The Between

an Ian McCanus short story

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It was their last meal and the Torhns had lost their appetite.

Their world was about to end, the two black holes on either side of their planet were about to tear it apart, split it, right down the middle and that’s all there was to it. No amount of food could change that. Even the Schgleg they were about to consume knew something was amiss.

” Go, shoo.”, Yichn ordered.

The Schgleg, feeling unwanted, slimes out of its tray and leaves the table.

“What’s the point?”, Yichn asked rhetorically, “It’s all going to end anyway.”

Her husband, Gnok, had no answer for her.

“You’re upsetting Igli: calm down.”, he answered.

Little Igli was only 300 years old, she had no defined idea about what was going on. She had just wet herself, though.

“I don’t care! It’s the end! I can do what I want!”, Yichn continued.

“That’s not true, you have a responsibility: you’re her mother.”

“Oh blow it out your flaaagn…”

“I know how you feel but you can’t let it get to you, let’s just finish our last meal with dignity. As a loving family.”

“A loving family? You think I don’t know about you and Griil?”

“W-what do you mean?”

“Oh forget it…”

Gnok turns to his daughter, wiping the urine from her face.

“Go to your room, Igli. Mummy and daddy need a moment alone.”

“Wammy?”, replied the infant.

“That’s right. I’ll be in there to tuck you in right away. Just give me a couple of months, ok?”

“Wakay.”

Igli leaves the table and walks to her bedroom leaving a trail behind her. Gnok turns back to Yichn and gently places his tentacle on her shoulder.

“You’re upset, I understand that. But we have to make the most of our time together, while we’re still alive. The planet is splitting in half, that doesn’t mean we should do the same.”

Yichn promptly knocks his tentacle away with her paw.

“That’s just it: maybe we should do the same! After all, if nothing means anything, why shouldn’t we? Why should anything?”

“Yichn, calm down…”

“Why?! Why be calm? Who is there to wake up? Besides you?”

“What?”

“You’re the one who needs waking up! You’re asleep! Asleep from the truth!”

Yichn stands up. Now hysterical, she starts to turn purple as her antennas vibrate from side to side (a sign of stress). Gnok walks to her slowly, trying to calm her down.

“Settle down, Yichn. You’re having a breakdown…”

“You’re asleep, they’re all asleep!”

Gnok moves his tentacle towards her.

“There there, it’s gonna be alright. Just give me your paw and we’ll talk.”

“Don’t touch me!”

“I’m not gonna hurt, no one is…”

Just then, Yichn opens her third mouth and bites Gnok’s tentacle hard: she eats half of it. Gnok screams, flapping his remaining tentacle around the room, breaking vases and glasses in the process.

“There there…”, Yichn says in a dark monotone, “It’s gonna be alright.”

Yichn falls on top of Gnok and devours him on the spot, her mouths taking large chunks out of him with every single bite. Gnok struggles and screams throughout, his orange blood splashing over every family portrait, every inch of the room.

Minutes later: Gnok was no more.

Meanwhile, Igli is lying in a puddle in her bed, counting Niays, her favourite animal. Yichn knocks gently on her door and walks in, still completely covered in blood and foaming at the mouths.

“Hi honey, you asleep?”

“Weelp.”

“You are asleep, aren’t you…”

“Wilry.”

“Hungry? I’m hungry too.”

There’s a knock at the front door. Startled, Yichn gets up and goes to answer it. Igli continues counting Niays.

Before opening the door, Yichn enquires:

“Who is it?”

“It’s Poyng! Open up! One of the black holes imploded in on itself. It’s gone! Our world is safe!”

Trembling, Yichn finally opens the door.

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More from Ian McCanus soon.

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Man Made Of Steel

Man Made Of Steel (1938)

Comic Man Made Of Steel 2

a Jerry Jones comic-book

Extract from the 6-pages-long novelization

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“Look! Up there!”, the woman gasped.

“It’s a bird!”, her husband guessed.

“It’s a balloon!”

“It’s a bird!”, the husband guessed again.

“No! It’s Man Made Of Steel!”, said an older lady who had joined them on the scene.

Indeed, Man Made Of Steel had just flown across the sky after, quite probably, having saved yet another life. It had been a month since the first sighting of the fearless hero and crime in the vibrant city of Bigtown had reached its lowest point. The metallic wonder had been a blessing.

But who was this phenomenon?

Where had he come from?

That’s what ace reporter Sally Sullivan, of the Bigtown Daily, was trying desperately to find out. As yet, she had only been able to catch a glimpse of the mysterious helper, not enough to paint a full picture. Somehow, she knew she would need to get closer to him, be the first reporter in town to get an interview.

The Olsen twins had been no help at all.

The Daily’s go-to photographers, Jack and Jack, had been joined at the elbow since birth, which made their career twice as hard but, despite the occasional crooked shot, they often surprised their colleagues with impressive results.

“Anything on that Man Made Of Steel, fellas?”, Sally asked the twins.

“Not yet.”, they replied in unison.

“Well, be sure to let me know first, if and when you do get something worthwhile. With my words and your pictures, we’ll get that story if it’s the last thing I do.”

“Will you go out with me?”, the twins asked, again, in unison.

But Sally had already walked away without hearing their question. She was deep in thought.

Where would a Man Made Of Steel go?

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Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a child was crying.

With a “whoosh” and a “thump”, Man Made Of Steel appears and lands next to the child. Upon seeing him, the boy’s eyes widen in wonder.

“Gee whiz! Man Made Of Steel!”

“What appears to be the problem, young citizen?”, the hero asked somewhat robotically.

“It’s my kitty, Charlemagne, it’s stuck in that tree!”

“Have no fear. Man Made Of Steel is here.”

On that note, Man Made Of Steel deploys a cannon from inside his back and points it at the tree in question. Without warning, a thick, blood-red laser beam booms out of the cannon rendering the entire tree to ashes.

“But…”, the child is too stunned to finish his thought.

“No need to thank me, citizen. I do this for justice.”

Man Made Of Steel goes to ruffle the boy’s hair playfully but, his strength much too great, he instead proceeds to mistakenly crush the child’s head like an egg. Not noticing anything wrong, Man Made Of Steel’s laser cannon folds back into him and he is soon off, up and way, flying to further adventures.

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“A fire has broken out in downtown Bigtown. Next to nothing is known about the cause of this sudden disaster as yet but we will bring you the details, as they come. In the meantime, what’s the weather like, Bobby?”

Sally turns her radio off promptly.

That’s it!

Man Made Of Steel couldn’t possibly pass up a heroic act like extinguishing a fire like that. I only hope I get there in time!

Running out of her office, Sally calls out to the Olsen twins.

“Jack, Jack: big fire, downtown Bigtown! Be there.”

She sees one of her colleagues, the rather sheepish, forgettable Cal Karlson, exit the elevator and yells at him from across the room while running towards him.

“Hey! Karlson! Where were you?”

Cal goes to answer but Sally interrupts him.

“Never mind, you’ll tell me on the way.”

Cal goes to ask a question but she interrupts him again.

“I’ll tell you. On the way.”

They both get in the elevator and the doors close.

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Downtown Bigtown.

Fire.

By the time Sally and Cal finally arrived at the scene, the fire had already engulfed six blocks. Dark smoke filled the sky, fire engines everywhere, chaos.

“My god…”, Sally said to herself out loud.

“I know. Horrible, isn’t it?”, Cal confirmed naively.

“Man Made Of Steel abandoning his duties…”

“Tragic.”, Cal said in complete agreement.

“What a scoop!”, Sally finished her thought, “I can see it now: ‘HERO TO NOT HERO: THE MAN MADE OF STEEL STORY’. What do you think, Cal?”

Sally turns to look at Cal but he is inexplicably nowhere to be seen.

“Cal…?”

The fire marshal suddenly spots something above, in the sky.

“Look! Up there! It’s Man Made Of Steel!”

Everyone promptly drops whatever they were doing to look at the hero who has, indeed, appeared up in the sky, above the inferno he himself created.

“Fear not, citizens. Man Made Of Steel is here.”

Swooping down through the fire like a phoenix, the metallic justice man starts blowing the fire away with a giant fan he had deployed on his chest seconds prior. The fire doesn’t so much disappear as it does spread to previously unaffected blocks. Man Made Of Steel proceeds to move the fire all the way across town to the neighboring metropolis: Gothtown City.

Sally, unaware of the colossal damage caused by the hero over the rest of the entire town, looks at the wreckage left by the fire and starts feeling both moved, especially when she spots the bones of a dead child on the ground next to her (his head barely looking like a head anymore), but also a peculiar sense of pride.

Man Made Of Steel had proven himself a true patriot, he had come back for us.

“What’s all this, Sally?”, a voice called to her nearby.

It was Cal, still wearing his good-old prescription glasses and looking completely unfazed by the events.

“Where’s the fire?”

“You mean, you didn’t see any of what just happened?”

“I was buying a hot dog.”, he replied candidly, not holding a hot dog.

“You know… you look strangely familiar to me. I never noticed it before.”

“Oh Sally, you must be suffering from smoke inhalation. Let’s get you to a doctor.”

Sally could not put her finger on it.

There was something about Cal’s red eyes, his straight posture, his hard, blockish shoulders and his monotone way of talking that somehow felt uncanny. Which was bizarre. After all, Cal was just your normal, paper-pushing, eight-foot tall reporter.

But there was something…

“You know Cal, I think I love you.”

Cal beeps.

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More of Jerry Jones’ unique comic-books coming up soon.

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Futurearth

“Futurearth” (1995)

Futurearth Book Cover

a Brendan M. Midnight short story

Inspired the motion-picture “After Earth”

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The young soldier was cold.

Outside, the cold had made everything cold: even the trees.

As he lay down waiting for death, a beard of snow grew on his face.

Colonel Unfeer, meanwhile, sat in his pod, powerless. He thought of his son, he thought of his late daughter and he thought of his wife.

He thought.

All at once, he thought of all of them and how he had failed them. If only he had been there when the unthinkable happened. He could not fear. He had evolved and they hadn’t, but did they deserve a fate worse than his? The answer was no.

Fear was a choice, he once believed.

Now, he wasn’t so sure…

If only there was a way to save all he had left: his son.

His wife didn’t matter right now.

And then he remembered.

“Birds…”, Unfeer said to himself.

Both his legs had been broken in the crash and he was losing blood rapidly but he still had his brain.

“Computer, find me a bird. A big one.”, the Colonel ordered his screen.

“Processing…”, the computer replied.

Still lying on the frozen grass, young J.D. Unfeer could feel the fear leave him. Perhaps he had finally attained the nirvana of self-control his father had often spoken of, or perhaps he was dying. His eyes turned to the grass around his right hand. On it, was an elaborate slug-like creature wearing what looked at first like a very small leather jacket but was in fact another layer of skin.

The creature starts climbing on J.D.’s hand, leaving behind it a trail of blood and scars. The young soldier, frozen solid, could not feel the pain or anything else. He could only stare at the creature, paralysed, and let it do what it was doing. Which, it turns out, was defecating.

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Back in the conapt, Colonel Unfeer was losing patience.

“The birds, goddamn it! The birds!”

“Processing…”, replied the computer.

There had to be an easier way.

A legend told of an early form of technology which allowed humans to tap into any living creature at a distance. He remembered his great-grandfather teaching him this. How, long before the Earth perished, a form of primitive communication known as the “Internets” evolved into a wireless web connecting everything to each other telepathically and, therefore, spiritually. This, of course, was only a tale he had heard as a young child but if he could only remember the details of how humans learned to control that technology, perhaps…

Finally, he knew what he had to do.

It hit him like a bold of lighting, in his brain.

“Computer, locate mind darts.”

“Processing…”

“Come on, come on…”

“Mind darts detected.”

On-screen, a blue dot appeared on the map of the ship: it was very close to the red dot which depicted Unfeer’s current location.

J.D. was about to lose consciousness. The slug had reached his lower back.

Crawling down the ship’s unlit corridors, slithering with great difficulty, Colonel Unfeer felt tremendous amounts of physical pain but the adrenaline pumping through his arms which pulled him forward again and again kept him focused. Behind him, a trail of blood was left by his gushing legs. He had soon arrived at the Science Quarters, a pod which, like all the others, was made of bone.

The scientists onboard the ship used this room to do science.

Crawling inside the room, Unfeer saw the fleshy pocket which contained the mind darts, embedded inside the wall next to the eye-nets, the ivory stomachs and the tri-toothed crystal chopsticks.

“Computer: release compartment B-12.”

Promptly, the wall purse burst open.

The transparent jelly-like wax poured out and the box of mind darts (made of eggshells and hard milk) hung there, ready to be plucked.

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J.D. had finally fainted, his snow beard was sparkling in the chilling wind.

The slug was now in him.

It was then that it came for the boy.

A great, impressive bird he had encountered prior had swooped down and was now dragging the young soldier with its claws over the grass. The poor bird was cold, but it wasn’t about to give up on J.D..

Soon enough, the latter found himself, still unconscious, resting in a warm hole in the ground, covered with leaves and the bird’s own comfortably hot faecal matter. But the frost had taken its toll on the unfortunate beast and after lying on the leaves over the boy, it fell asleep never to awake again.

The next day, J.D. opened his eyes feeling  predictably cool but unexpectedly alive.

Alive?

But how?!

That was unexpected.

J.D. starts to crawl out of the hole, still unsure as to how exactly he could have ended up in that particular location safe and sound. Once up and out, however, it all made sense.

Before him lay the bird, dead.

He remembered the previous day, when he had tried to save its young but mistakenly destroyed their nest, killing them in the process. The bird had followed him here and saved his life, all because he had risked his own life for its brood.

Or, at least, that’s what the young soldier thought before getting a closer look at the bird’s body. On its side and on its neck were small glowing darts made of teeth and elbows.

“Father?”, J.D. enquired.

“You have done well, my son.”, replied the bird’s neck, “You have made me proud.”

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More from Brendan M. Midnight soon.

Only on WeTheMindthinkers.

Star Trek Into The Darkness – Fan-Fiction

“Star Trek Into The Darkness” (2012)

Into the Darkness Poster

a G.J. Adams pre-imagining 

Written 6 months before the release of the motion picture “Star Trek Into Darkness”

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Extract from Chapter XIV:

“The Last Generation”

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The Enterprise had come to an abrupt halt, in space.

Where was John Harrison’s ship? Was it somewhere else?

The USS Defiant, which Harrison had acquired seconds before entering the black hole,  had pierced through first and although the Enterprise had promptly followed, the rival ship was gone. Now the Enterprise was floating aimlessly over an unknown planet in an unknown corner of the universe.

They had gone into the darkness and now there was only darkness.

On the bridge, Captain James T. Kirk sat and pondered.

“Spock, any thoughts?”, Kirk said finally.

“Several, though seeing as it appears we are currently marooned on the other side of the galaxy, it is very likely that none of them will qualify as valid.”, the Vulcan answered.

“Indulge me.”, Kirk said playfully.

“By going through the black hole, space and time could have been affected. If you remember, my older self, in a similar situation, found himself travelling back into time.”

“What are you suggesting, Mr Spock?”

“It is possible that John Harrison, by piercing through the black hole first, landed the Defiant in another space, in another time entirely.”

“Fantastic…”, Kirk said sarcastically.

“I fail to see the positive aspect of this theory.”

“Sarcasm, Spock. Look it up.”

Spock raises an eyebrow and quietly judges Kirk. Meanwhile, Uhura, who had been working on confirming the ship’s current coordinates, intervenes.

“Captain, I believe I’ve found the Defiant.”

Kirk promptly stands up and walks to the elevator, instinctively opening up his communicator.

“Chekov, prepare to beam us onto the Defiant.”

“Aye aye, Kieptain.”, was the thickly accented answer from the communicator.

Uhura stands up and walks up to Kirk, concerned.

“Captain, I wouldn’t beam onto the ship if I were you.”

“And why is that, Uhura?”

“The ship has crashed onto the surface of the planet below. We don’t know how bad of a state it’s in.”

“Then I’ll beam down around the crash, walk in and search the ship.”

Dr McCoy, who had been quietly listening to the conversation from a corner of the room, walks up to Kirk. He looks worried, angry and sweaty.

“Jim, you can’t be serious! For all we know John Harrison was devoured by Glorbs and they’re still hungry!”

“Bones, Harrison is genetically enhanced and virtually undefeatable, I’m sure he’s fine.”, the Captain replied calmly.

“But what about you? You’re about as genetically enhanced as a Romulan boar!”

“I know”, Kirk replied with a smile, “That’s why you’re coming with me.”

“For god sakes Jim, I’m a doctor not a…”

Mr Spock promptly intervenes.

“Captain, may I offer a suggestion?”

“Don’t worry, Mr Spock, you’re coming too.”, Kirk turns to Sulu, “Mr Sulu, you have the conn. If we’re not back in an hour…”

“Yes Captain?”

“Warp the Enterprise out of this god forsaken place.”

Kirk, Spock and McCoy proceed into the elevator as a single tear rolls down Uhura’s cheek. And Sulu’s.

In the transporter room, Kirk approaches a nearby red-shirted security officer.

“Jones, is it?”

“Yes Captain.”

“You have been equipped with a working phaser?”

“Yes Captain.”

“Good, you’re beaming down to the planet surface with us.”

“What’s my mission, Captain?”

“Survival.”, Kirk said simply.

Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Jones get ready to beam down. A worried-looking Chekov prepares to activate the transporter.

“Ready Kieptain?”

“Energise.”, was Kirk’s reply.

“Wery good leck, yentlemen.”

A single tear rolls down Chekov’s cheek.

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The crew beam down successfully.

The planet surface is an unfriendly setting to say the least: a sea of sharp blue rocks with harsh, freezing winds and geysers of red ash popping out of the occasional crater. A Starfleet ship is close by, lying half-crashed into the ground and therefore barely recognisable. It looks worn and completely out of use. The crew approach the ship carefully. Kirk sets his phaser on “burn” and burns an entrance into the ship.

“Captain.”

“Yes, Mr Spock?”

“Based on the Defiant’s damaged structure, I can hypothesise that it did not crash recently. Quite the opposite, in fact.”

“We must have skipped over a few years when we… entered the black hole.”

“A few years or many.”

“How many?”

“Approximately 40 years, Captain. Also…”

“Yes?”

“Whatever ship this is, this isn’t the USS Defiant.”

They all think about that for a moment and finally enter the ship.

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Inside, the unlit corridors reeked of old. It was like nothing had passed through them in decades. Spock is scanning for lifeforms.

“Report, Mr Spock.”, asked Kirk.

“I have only found a single lifeform.”

“Harrison…”, the Captain said quietly to himself.

“Perhaps. Whoever he or she is, they are located on the bridge.”

“Damn it, Jim!”, interrupts McCoy, “What if it is John Harrison? He’s indestructible! What can we possibly do?”

“Bones, you forget his position. He has… nothing. He is lost… on an… unknown planet in an unknown time. Why… would he resist arrest? I, for one, believe he’d welcome a ride.”

“I concur.”, Spock confirmed, “Logically, Harrison would have more to gain by accepting our arrest peacefully than by setting up an unmotivated attack.”

“Open your eyes, you green-blooded son of a bitch! Nothing about any of this is logical! He’s not logical. He’s a demon!”, McCoy yelled out mindlessly.

“You’re letting your emotions get the better of you, Doctor. May I suggest you rethink your previous statements.”, Spock warned with the quiet sternness only a Vulcan can express.

“Why you…”

“Alright, you two, enough bickering.”, said the Captain, “We’re on a mission here. Focus, for crying out loud!”

McCoy grumbles something inaudible and remains quiet for the rest of the walk towards the bridge. Spock goes back to scanning.

They arrive at the door leading to the bridge. Kirk turns to the rest of the crew.

“Set phasers to “stun” but prepare to switch to “kill” on my orders. Jones, come with me.”

“Me, Captain?”

“No, the other Jones. Yes you!”, Kirk replied, sarcastic.

They approach the door after changing the settings on their respective phasers. It “shhhhh’s” open. Inside, is a foul stench like nothing any of them have ever experienced, except Dr McCoy, whose experience conducting autopsies made the smell almost smellable. Around them, the skeletons of what used to be the ship’s crew pepper the bridge. They approach the Captain’s chair, which is turned back the other way.

“Jones?”

“Yes Captain?”

“Turn that chair around for me.”

“Y-yes Captain.”

Jones gets close to the chair and turns it around. He is suddenly shot by a phaser and dies instantly. Kirk, Spock and McCoy point their phasers at the person responsible: a very old man, aged 80 or 90, bald, thin, British, well-spoken and tired-looking.

“You can lower your phasers, gentlemen, mine is now… powerless. As am I.”, he said.

The old man drops his phaser.

“We will drop nothing. Who are you?”, enquired the Captain.

“Captain, I believe this is the man we are looking for: John Harrison.”, explained Spock.

Kirk turns back to the man dramatically.

“Harrison? Is… is that you?”

“It is I. Captain James Tiberius Kirk, it has been a very, very long time.”

“It certainly appears that way. What happened to you?”

As he answers, Harrison is weak and struggling with every word.

“I have lived a life beyond the one I once possessed. After entering the black hole, I was picked up by a ship. Starfleet. It was the future. Suddenly I was not superior, I was… not stronger and smarter than most. I was a dinosaur. I lived a life at the heart of Starfleet, my expertise allowed me to go up the ranks relatively quickly. I rebuilt myself. They gave me the Enterprise.”

“The Enterprise? They… gave… you… the Enterprise?”, asked a shocked Kirk.

“Not the Enterprise you know. I became the most respected Starfleet Captain since… well, you. But after a particularly feisty battle with the Borg, I was thrown off-course and landed here. Where I remained for decades.”

“The… Borg?”

“Advanced race of leather-wearing intergalactic… oh never mind. They are irrelevant.”

“John Harrison, you are under arrest for your crimes against Starfleet back on Earth and for attempting to manufacture a war between us and the Klingons.”

John Harrison laughs before coughing uncontrollably. Kirk turns to McCoy and nods: knowing exactly what he is thinking. The doctor promptly walks up to Harrison and scans him.

“My god, Jim. He’s dying!”, was the Doctor’s diagnosis, “We’ve got to get Harrison back to the Enterprise at once!”

“Leave me! I am dead already. I have been left buried alive for a reason, to pay for my crimes.”

“That’s for a court to decide, Harrison.”, Kirk defiantly explained.

Harrison starts staring at Kirk with a deadly serious expression on his face, never blinking once throughout the following revelation.

“My name is not John Harrison. That was only a smokescreen to conceal my true identity. Back when I was a heartless killer with nothing to live for, with no code to live by. My… name… is: Jean-Luc Picard. I… am the Captain of the starship Enterprise. The starship you are now, as we speak, currently, at present, right this second, standing in.”

“No, it can’t be…”

“I only ask one thing, before I go where many have gone before me.”

“Yes?”

“Tell my wife I love her. She’s in sick bay, growing babies for dinner.”

A cloud of blankness passes over Picard’s eyes and his heart quietly stops, never to beat again. McCoy scans him promptly.

“He’s dead, Jim.”

A single tear rolls down McCoy’s cheek. Kirk turns to Spock.

“Spock, I want you to keep scanning for lifeforms. If you missed Picard’s wife, there’s a chance you might have missed others.”

“Agreed.”, the Vulcan agreed.

“Bones, come with me.”

Spock starts scanning around the bridge as Kirk and McCoy exit towards sick bay. As Spock walks towards the ship’s smashed screen, he steps onto something crunchy. He looks down to find what appears to be some kind of small air-filter for someone’s face.

“Fascinating.”

A single tear rolls down Spock’s cheek.

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On the way to sick bay, McCoy starts sweating more than ever.

“What’s troubling you, Bones?”

“Did… did he say his wife was growing babies?”

“I believe so, yes.”

“TO EAT?!”

They arrive at sick bay and point their phasers forward, before walking through the door which awkwardly “shhhh’s” open. Again, they are suddenly faced with a horrendous stench as they notice the room is filled to the brim with babies in glass jars. Thousands upon thousands of babies in jars.

“Mrs Picard? This is Captain James Tiberius Kirk, of the starship… well,  Enterprise. But not this one, the old one.”

They hear a lower-pitched voice than they were expecting.

“The legendary James Tiberius Kirk?”, was the reply the Captain received.

“I… suppose.”

Just then, a male android walks in from the back of the room. He is naked but only the top half of his body still has human skin graphed onto it. The rest is all metal and wires.

“Welcome, Captain. It is an honor.”, the android said politely.

“Who are you?”

“Data Picard. Formerly Data.”

Data holds up a twitching, drooling half-grown wet baby.

“Care for a bite?”

A single tear rolls down Kirk’s cheek.

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G.J. Adams’ “Star Trek Into The Darkness” can be found in most second-hand bookshops, behind several other books. More Star Trek fan-fiction coming soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

Phalloids

“Phalloids” (1971)

Phalloids

an L.L.L. Burlap short story

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The Phalloids had spoken.

But could they have been wrong?

After all, they had been mistaken before, hadn’t they?

Hadn’t they… ?

They hadn’t.

Father had given his life for The Phalloids all those years ago, he fought bravely against the forces of The Mindreading Elite, telepath warriors, a sect of unbelievers. The Phalloids couldn’t be wrong, lives were lost and that couldn’t have been in vain.

“You are the destroyer of The Phalloids. Phalloids are we.”, The Phalloids had said.

How could this be?

Without The Phalloids, our proud city of Phalloidia wouldn’t even have a name!

Or Phalloids!

The very thought gives me chills.

Without them, how would we know of the future? How do you live without knowing what comes next?

Besides, we rely on Phalluid for literally everything. No Phalluid, that creamy, seemingly endless white nectar The Phalloids bless us with every morning, would mean nothing to water the crops, nothing to drink, nothing to wash ourselves with, nothing to make our water taste better.

Chaos.

I can’t let this happen. I won’t.

I will destroy The Phalloids after all.

They were right…

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Look out for more L.L.L. Burlap short stories ONLY on WeTheMindThinkers.

Milk Planet — a real-life science fiction mystery

Few texts in science fiction have such mysterious pasts as Milk Planet. An unpublishable, incomplete masterpiece, its author and the approximate year of writing remain unknown to this day.

Theories abound, readers…

 

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CHAPTER ONE

 

Lucas Lactusen rampaxxed the florg.

His vehicle dashed with rain, he rallied on into the night. The road, barely visible through the layer of translucent white that built up on his windshield, appeared now here, now there. Now left, now right, Lactusen pitched as best he could to follow the snaking concrete.

He switched on the vehiCall and punched in an ident. The rain pounded relentless.

“Michael, it’s Professor Lactusen. Please, please call me as soon as you get this. This is big – really big.”

Lights swung past and he swerved to miss.

“I’ve stumbled onto something. Something incredible. I –”

Lactusen fell silent, peering forward. He dulled the motor to a purr, slowing in advance of the obstacle ahead. Slowing in advance of the impossible.

There, in his headlamps, oblivious to the storm – there, in the middle of the road, a cow.

Coming to a stop, the Professor kicked open the door and pulled his jacket over his head. Ducking out, he ran through the storm to the impossible creature.

He needed to see it; needed to see it close up. He needed to see that it was real.

Lactusen was soaked, the malt smell of the rain permeating down to his skin. The animal turned its head slowly, stupidly.

“Hey there,” he said. “Hey there, beautiful. Where did you come from?”

This was ridiculous, Lactusen thought. It had to be a fake – a hologram, a clone – or he had to be hallucinating, dead. Because no-one on the planet had seen a cow for a hundred years.

And then came the screech. Lactusen turned, spotting the lights blearily through the rain. Lights, from another vehicle. Lights facing straight at him.

The vehicle shot forward; milk seared upward in arcs from either side, like great white wings.

And the cow moved its head slowly, stupidly.

 

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The Mountains Upside Down – Chapter III

“The Mountains Upside Down” (1863)

a Gilles Vorace novel

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Extract from Chapter III:

“Downwards And Upwards”

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We had finally begun our climb down to the top of the mountain.

Dr Niemendorf had been right all along: the mountains upside down did exist!

Hektor Wiendelstein’s journal was not a fake nor was it a collection of demented ramblings which was certainly good news for the expedition. What lies at the peak of an upside down mountain, deep underground?

We were about to find out.

-“Dr Niemendorf”, I inquired, “What of the air down there?”

-“Young nephew, use your mind! Typically, a mountain peaks at the purest and lightest of its air. Therefore, since our journey already begins at the top, we should find a vast pocket of fresh oxygen right at the foot of the mountain. The freshest, most delightful air you could ever breathe. After that, it’ll all be downhill from there.”

-“Surely you mean ‘uphill’.”

-“Hush those mindless queries and corrections.”

-“But doctor”, our Finnish lumberjack friend Raskkattan started, “We five, we not enough. Maybe more people is better, no? Danger!”

-“Balderdash! A group of five abled bodies with working limbs and capable, functioning brains is more than enough to secure a safe and productive expedition.”

-“But we drop!”

-“Drop? Absurd! If my calculations are correct, and they are, once we have slid our way through to the mountain’s base, reverse gravity should kick-in just in time to guarantee a smooth upside down walk all the way to the top!”

-“But…”

-“‘But-but-but’, be quiet man! Keep your concerns to yourself and leave the science to those of us who are indeed qualified to discuss such intricate matters. Me, for example. Now carry this pig.”

Raskkattan should have known better than to argue with Uncle Niemendorf. He was as stubborn as an owl and, more often than not (by that, of course, I mean always), he was completely, surprisingly right. My uncle handed the bulky Scandinavian the pig and, after wrapping a long piece of rope around a nearby tree, started his descent.

Raskkattan followed, his porcine disciple firmly tied to his chest, like a real boy. Olaf was next, the weak-minded child was scared out of his wits, contesting throughout: “Why did he have to come?”, “Why couldn’t he go home instead?”, nonsense of the sort. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be part of such a ground-breaking discovery? I tied up the boy promptly, from neck to toe, filling his mouth with cranberries to keep him quiet, and lowered him down with the others.

The ungrateful tick.

It was to be Lady Seitenstreifen’s turn when she turned to me, her stunning figure in that all-too complimenting dress of hers, hardly suited to an adventure such as this one might I add, heaving towards me, like a bag of cherries, and asked:

-“Do they have napkins down there?”

Not knowing what she meant and for fear of sounding foolish, I immediately agreed with her. Puzzled, she nonetheless smiled and followed the rest of the group down the crack. Good thing I remembered to tie her rope to the tree in time, she had forgotten and a lesser gentleman could have lost himself in that magical smile of hers.

She truly was a special breed.

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The climb down was torturous.

Impatient, Uncle Niemendorf intermittently yelled instructions back at us. The pig, no doubt deeply disturbed by the events, squealed uncontrollably, Raskkattan muttered what could only be Finnish profanities on and off, young Olaf crying hot, bitter, childish tear the entire time, Lady Seitenstreifen complaining about the absence of a working powder room (poor, sweet Lady Seitenstreifen, I could bury my head in her) and me, unsure about where this unsympathetic road would lead me.

Respect? Fame? Fortune? Death?

Time would tell.

-“My uncle, how much farther down until we reach the mountain?”

-“According to Hektor Wiendelstein’s journal, we should be approaching the base of the mountain somewhere between now and later.”

-“Later as in after some time has passed?”, interrupted Lady Seitenstreifen, with a voice so soft and cushiony I felt instantly wombed by its motherly comfort.

-“Precisely”, simply replied my uncle.

This was going to be one long climb.

-“You have water?”, Raskkattan asked the doctor with a thick Helsinki accent, so thick it must have weighed at least a couple of inches.

-“‘Vwahtier’? I suppose you mean ‘water’? Fool, you imagine I would undertake such a monumental undertaking without packing enough water for us all?”

-“No, but it’s good you have.”

-“I don’t ‘have’ it now, of course. I had to drop some weight on the way down in order to perform my leader duties to the best of my abilities so what I couldn’t drink, I discarded. But not to worry, as long as I am hydrated, the group should enjoy a safe journey with me, its leader, in top physical form. Besides, the water will no doubt be waiting for us down the mountain thanks to good old, trusty reverse gravity.”

-“Surely you mean ‘up’ the mountain, Uncle Niemendorf!”, I playfully jested.

-“I loathe the very fabric of your being and, furthermore, your face.”, was his, I felt, somewhat harsh, reply.

A sudden move by Dr Niemendorf sent all of us swinging and sent Olaf face-first into the rocky walls which surrounded us, cracking his skull on a sharp piece of granite. He died on impact. The blood pouring out of his little head angered my uncle but provided Raskkattan’s pet pig with enough fluids to keep it alive and squeal-less for some time.

The circle of life.

-“I tire, lets set up camp here!”, Lady Seitenstreifen suggested as Olaf’s motionless corpse hung puppet-like right below her small, delicate feet.

Suddenly, and without warning, the rope snapped and we started our long tumble down this mysterious, upside down abyss.

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More extracts from Gilles Vorace‘s “The Mountains Upside Down” will come soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.