Over Thair

Over Thair (1979)

Over Thair

an Abraham M. Moon short story

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They came for hair.

I know that now.

There are things that, here on Earth, we take for granted. Things which, in a world unlike our own, can translate as treasure.

Three days ago, when the Moon invaded, we were unaware and unprepared.

The idea of life on the Moon had been long dismissed as “silly” and “too far to check again” and our attention soon turned to Mars. Little did we know that a race of mostly liquid entities lived and thrived deep beneath the Moon’s hard structure. Despite our many studies, we remained blind to these beings’ existence and the Moon’s inner secrets.

Had we known three days ago that 80% of the Moon’s core was, in fact, covered in hair, perhaps disaster could have been aborted.

The Moon People, much like us with water, had been digging for hair for Millennia. It was their gold, their home, their food.

Their all.

When the Moon inexplicably stopped growing its own hair, desperation soon settled in and the Moon People began to panic. With their imminent destruction in the cards, they had no choice but to dig up to the surface, where they had avoided to venture to because it was cold and had a weird smell, to seek answers.

There, they found a flag.

A flag they did not understand.

Nonetheless, they concluded that the nearest planet was probably to blame so they set out on a voyage which could, and should have meant certain death.

The Moon People were a brave Moon people.

But they lacked hair and we had it.

Their interplanetary floating took centuries. To compare with the Earth’s timeline, suffice it to say that Christopher Columbus discovered America the Thursday prior to their departure.

Now, the year was 1999 and here they were: weak and hungry for hair.

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The long, uneventful and immensely slow trip had starved them and driven them to madness. Returning home with hair was no longer their mission.

Their new mission:

HAIR.

And lots of it.

Like mere liquid, hair-hungry zombies, they soon roamed the Earth in search of hair. Rendering anyone they encountered smooth all over. For head hair was not the only type of hair they were after. They wanted it all.

Cattle died of shock, cats of cold…

Chaos.

On the second day, the military intervened but no amounts of advanced weaponry could stop them. Bullets and big bullets just passed right through. Giant sucking devices and giant drying devices were brought in as alternatives but the Moon People had become too powerful. Somehow the hair they had consumed had made them undriable and too strong to be sucked by anything.

The third day was critical.

Earth was balding, fast, and it looked like nothing could ever stop those lunar devils. Then, an ageing Swedish physicist and aspiring boot collector by the name of Lukas Jarlsson designed a rocket which would be filled to the brim with hair and piloted by unwitting automatons (also filled with hair). Once inside, the Moon People would be trapped there and sent back to their cold, lifeless, hairless home. The spacecraft would then auto-destruct and the Moon (and its people) would be no more.

The plan was set in motion the very next half hour.

After a particularly tense build-up, the rocket finally launched with the Moon People inside. They had been lured inside thanks to Jarlsson’s last minute idea to pave all the roads of Stockholm with hair all the way to the rocket’s Moon People-shaped entrance. Many sacrificed their lives and their hair for this cause.

The Swedish people would never forget that day.

As the Moon People left our atmosphere, we Earthmen and Earthwomen looked on proudly, happy to once again be safe.

The Moon did not explode as planned, that was unexpected.

We all assumed the Moon People died of natural causes or perhaps simple gluttony during the voyage back.

We were free again: that’s all we needed to know.

But Lukas Jarlsson had not been seen since the launch. Could he have been left inside the rocket accidentally? What would happen to him? Would they use him to grow hair for them forever? Would they devour him?

It did not matter, his life was a small price to pay for our hair.

Our beautiful hair.

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More from Abraham M. Moon soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

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Hard Warriors

Hard Warriors (1979)

Hard Warriors Poster

a Hiroaki Yamada short story

(translation by Guillaume Le Taureau)

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They were strong.

They were hard.

Warriors with strength.

One was blue, the other: not blue.

They were ready.

Inside the beast, young Hideo was sweating. Sweating like an animal in the Sun. Like an unborn baby rhinoceros waiting to come out of its mother’s womb. But there was no coming out: the battle was about to begin.

“Stop it now, Isamu!”, he said to his opponent.

“Never!”, Isamu replied through his own metallic warrior.

“You were good! Now you are bad! Why, Isamu? Why?”

“I am bad because you made me bad! I was good! Now we are both bad.”

“Never!”

Hideo threw the first punch.

WHAMMAK!

Such power!

But Isamu would not be defeated so easily.

PAPOOM!

What an attack!

“Our strengths are matched! But mine is stronger!”, Isamu gloated.

“Don’t flatter yourself, Isamu!”

And Hideo lept at Isamu, clenching the latter’s waist with his thighs while thumping on his head with his titanium fists.

FHOOM! FHOOM!

“Aaaaah! Damn you!”, Isamu screamed.

“You can still end this: we used to be brothers!”

“Never!”

Isamu unleashes a hidden chest saw: sparks fly as Hideo is violently propelled by the rotations of the sharp thoraxian weapon.

“Take that, inferior thing!”

“How about… you take… THIS?”

Hideo’s warrior releases gold arrows from his eyes: they promptly pierce through Isamu’s shoulders. Isamu screams and drops to his knees.

“Nooooo!”

“Yes!”

“You will pay for this!”

“Surrender, Isamu! It is what you must do!”

“Never!”

Isamu pulls out one of the gold arrows from himself, stands and runs towards Hideo. He jumps at him, ready to stab Hideo with the arrow but Hideo was prepared: he had already deployed the anti-arrow disc.

BZONGH!

The arrow broke.

“Last chance for salvation, Isamu!”

“Never!”

Hideo slices Isamu in half.

Both halves of what once was Isamu plop down to the ground as blood, oil and wires pour out.

“Isamu…”, Hideo says quietly to himself.

Just then, Hideo felt a change of gravity.

Was he flying?

No.

In fact, he was being lifted. Inside the warrior, Hideo panicked, playing with all the buttons peppered over the main control panel.

“What the…”

A voice came from above.

“You have failed, Hideo.”

“Computer”, Hideo asked his control panel desperately, “Analyse big voice!”

Looking up at the screen in front of him, Hideo finally saw the truth.

The voice continued:

“You can’t kill so early: you lose the drama, young Hideo!”

Was that an eyeball facing him?

Were those glasses?

It couldn’t be… they were so big.

“Try again”, said the voice, “This time: use the arrows last. Take your time: length is good. We’ll keep rolling.”

“R-rolling?”

Suddenly, Hideo was placed back down on the ground.

“Aaaaaand: action!”, said the voice.

In front of him, Hideo found another hard warrior.

Could it be?

No.

It couldn’t.

“I…Isamu?!”

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More from the Hiroaki Yamada soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

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.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

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.

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