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Kingsboro Journal

Opposite Day – Part 1

Bobby walked slowly down the faded boardwalk.  The long boards of the wooden walk way jutted up here and there making it a small challenge not to trip.  The shops were long boarded up.  Former neon signs now looked like dark broken tubes which helped to keep people away instead of bring them to the shop.  The windows were long boarded up due to a hurricane which blew in years ago.  No one turned the power back on.  No one walked the rickety, broken floor.  No one cared much for boardwalk anymore.

Bobby rounded the corner.  An abandoned toy store stood sad and depressed.  The plywood that held up the large picture window had fallen slightly and Bobby could see something strange.  A red glow from something inside.  The power had been cut for the whole board walk so to see anything but black and gray over here was weird.  Bobby pulled on the plywood, which gave easily and walked into the building.  The small red glow sat in a corner of the toy story.  Bobby could not yet tell what was making it.  The shelves of the small toy store sat empty.  It’s shelves fallen face first onto the dusty ground.  A few toys were scattered but most were covered and dust and unwanted by the looters years ago.  Bobby had to climb over a couple shelves to get to the red object.  It sat over a thin cover, dusty like everything else.  Bobby covered his mouth and pulled.

Under the cover was a coin-operated magician.  A partial man, hat, head and shoulders, stood staring away from Bobby.  Inside his small square prison he looked like he just came off the manufacturer’s floor.  His hat was a tall stove pipe with a brim.  His face was painted on ceramic, wrinkles and all.  The partial man wore a half tie and suit.  The red light shone brightly from the top of the square glass case.

“Alfonso, the Great,”  shouted the letters as it spelled out the name.  Underneath the glass box was a steel slot and beside that a tin sign, bent slightly at the corner, that said 25 cents.

Bobby shook his pockets and found a quarter.  He pushed the quarter into the slot and the magician came alive.  First thing it did was straighten its gaze.  It looked forward into Bobby’s chest for a moment then upward.  It’s painted on eyes seemed to become real as it soon caught Bobby’s gaze.  “Young man, how are you?”  Said the magician his halved body moving back and forth as he continued to stare right at Bobby.

“I’m so sorry staring is rude,” he said as he adjusted his gaze to something less creepy.  “You don’t understand its been years since I’ve seen a young boy your age.”  The magician laughed.  It’s voice was metallic, his accent slightly British.  “I am Alfonso, the Great.  Magician extraordinaire.  I am hear for your pleasure.  “Would you like me to perform a trick for you?”

Bobby shifted uncomfortably.  Fear doubled up in his legs and gut.  “I think I’m just going to go,” he said but his legs would not move.

“Don’t be frightened, young man,”  said the magician.  “What am I going to do, I’m in a glass box for Christ’s sake and I have no legs.”

Bobby attempted a smile which peaked slightly at the edges.

“Let me get my small arms working so I can take off this old hat.”  Two small wooden arms moved slowly, stuttering at first, then eventually pushing upward to remove the magician’s black hat.  For a few seconds the magician’s gaze disappeared behind his hat.  Bobby breathed in deeply till his gaze returned.

“Alright,” said the magician, “let me reach into my hat and pull out a trick.”

Bobby watched as the magician’s hands moved mechanically into the hat and pulled out a small card.  The magician then turned, while still watching, and dropped the card into a large black pit area.  The card dropped and the magician asked Bobby to remove the card.  Bobby pushed himself forward.  He reached carefully.  Pushing the tin cover in.  The card sat face down at the bottom of the pit.  Bobby picked up the card.  He watched the magician carefully for any sudden moves.  The magician looked forward.  The paint in its eyes chipped slightly.  It’s two arms sat at the base of the glass case.  Bobby stood.  The light above the magician flickered then went out.  The magician suddenly disappeared into the darkness of the abandoned toy store.

Bobby shook off the nerves and turned back toward the only light he could find.  He stumbled over the fallen shelves and toys until he reached the front of the store.  He stepped out into the salted air and onto the uneven boardwalk.  He placed the card into his pocket and walked away.

Reaching home, just after midnight Bobby pulled the card from his pocket and sat on the bed.  He stared at the neatly typed letters on a business card shaped magic trick.  The only words displayed showed ‘Opposite Day’.  Bobby huffed.  Upset at the commotion this little incident caused him.  The fear and the weird gaze only to get a card that says Opposite Day.  He placed the card on his bedroom dresser and slipped into bed.

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Kingsboro Journal

First Street

Erik drove the Mustang slowly though the city.  The towering steel and glass structures of a post apocalyptic city stared down at him.  The dead walked around the car for the most part uninterested in the noise that didn’t smell like food.  It still took a long time to move through and it was approaching evening by the time they had reached the last 12-story building.  

“Grandma Ann lives on First street.  Last house on the left,” said Kali with a smile.

“Of course, last house on the left,” Erik snapped, “it couldn’t be first house right the hell in front of me!  I need a beer.”  He then reached into his duffel bag and fumbled around till he found one.  He opened the warm can and drank it quickly.  He then opened the window and hit a passing teenage prom queen with the can.  The zombie growled and began toward them but Erik drove away and turned right onto First. 

The street began at the base of a large hill

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Kingsboro Journal

Long Black Train – Rewrite

The netherworld has no cows so the train has no cow catcher. The large outward grill of an earthly steam-powered train is absent but the tall round-edge box on wheels rolls past slowly as the Narcissus’s forest approaches. Above the train and into the night shoots a tall cylinder of white smoke. Behind the smoke stack sits a taller box. Within that box sits the operator. The operator stands half in and half out of this world. A faint flicker of life trapped within a steel prison. Unlike the earthly steam-powered machine this black train runs on the essence of life.  This molecular essence of every living being on the train is collected within a steel-walled tender or coal car.  This car had a set of ledges, one on top and the second two feet above the train wheels.  The ledge on the top was merely decorative but the one on the bottom was two foot wide, barely enough room to walk across.  To help the engineer aluminum hand holds were placed at body length along both sides of the car.  In the center of the car, painted on both sides, was ‘Spirit of the Dead’.  The engineer stayed in the next car, a passenger car.  The car was black, with windows gray from soot from the engine chimney.  The soot contains the remains of the evil in men’s heart.  These remains forever pushed into the atmosphere of the netherworld.  Within the gray windows and inside the passenger car sits a steel chair and upon the chair is chained the engineer.  Like Charles Dickens fabled protagonist the chairs bind the engineer to his earthly sins till his penance is paid.   Following behind the engine was hundreds of caged cars. The cars wooden planks shake in small metal slots as the train moves forward over its iron track.

You know about the Train, and the Engineer but inside the wooden train cars, within the think film of the spirits of the dead lay the living. Being alive in the Netherworld is not supposed to happen but it does. On the living world it was compared to a ‘dime a dozen’. In this world it is an advantage and a curse. The floor of the train car is slick with ethereal goo. The large wooden sliding doors are closed leaving only bars of early evening light. The stranger lays unconscious on the wooden floor of the train car. The thin film from the floor covering his face, arm and shoulders. It hides the dark uniform with the red sewed badges on his long arms. His attractive features, the sculpted chin and the military hair cut. Above his chin and past his sharp nose hides two beautiful blue eyes, hidden behind heavy lids.

The darkness pressed upon the stranger as he stared upward at the thin strips of light from the moon. The train car rattled loudly and chills danced from the tips of his fingers to the back of his shoulders. The stranger listened to whispers that passed through his ears. The whispers spoke of love lost, love found and life taken but the stranger could see nothing. The physical necessity to his sense of sight and hearing was missing. That was until something thumped upon the top of the car. The light skittered around several objects which began to move above. Then within seconds a large hole was torn from the top of the car. The moonlight fell through to the car floor. Silver forms appeared but quickly disappeared into the darkness. The chill from the strangers shoulders fell downward covering his back, arms and hands. He was paralyzed with fear from the overwhelming invasion of his senses. From the roof of the car the hole was ripped wider till it was wide enough for two men to jump through but it wasn’t a man that sank into the car. From the moonlight the stranger could trace the framework of a large bird. It’s two large feet curled with several large knuckles on three toes. Upon the toes were large triangular claws.

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Kingsboro Journal

The Red Line Bus Stop

The cold sat and ate upon my fingers like rabid dogs.  Nibbling away at the nerves as quickly as they could as I stood outside the bus stop waiting for the five o’clock Red line.  I had unfortunately forgotten my gloves and my pockets were full of rocks I had collected from the quarry down the road.  
I don’t know why I had such a fascination with rocks, it has been the same way since I was a boy.  My addiction to rocks has caused me more then a few problems and this was not the worse of it.  
The Red line bus was a two story monster on six wheels.  The driver sat on the bottom right side behind a large front window.  The doors, two of them, sat on the left side.  One next to the driver and the other near the back.  It stopped at the bus stop with a jerk and an angry burst of smoke from a metal pipe in the back.  I shook my hands, willing the dogs from my fingers, picked up my duffel and stepped inside. 

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Kingsboro Journal

Midnight Snack

Peering through the windows of the garage Kali could see it was dark.  A fluorescent light flickered highlighting a shadow.  The shadow paced in front of the garage door. “Where did they go,” said one voice speaking to others somewhere outside.  Kali could hear the muffled whispers of other people talking and walking on the tin roof of the garage.
“We have to find them, Aaron is already pissed we wasted another day getting off on zombie blood, said another as he approached the shadow in front of the garage.  “They gotta be in the garage,” insisted the first shadow.  Kali’s heart jumped but the other seemed to dismiss it.  “No, they would of broke into the house first.  We check that.”  Kali watched both shadows move away from the garage door.  She could then hear them upon the roof of the house.  The windows on the second-story were unblocked.  Kali heard the windows break.  They entered the house then screams escaped into night air.  Chills raced throughout Kali’s body and she fell to the cold concrete floor. She looked over to Erik but he was completely unconscious.  Another situation left to deal with alone.  Laughter erupted after the screaming.  A chilling realization that these creatures didn’t care.  Kali stepped forward and stood under the light of the moon.  Her forehead barely reached the high windows on the garage door but she could see the vampire walking upon the roof of the house.  A pair of vampire paced outside the busted second-story windows as more screams erupted.  Kali looked over to see Erik stirring but didn’t wake.   The nurse still lay staring at Kali with her infected gaze.  with hopes that Erik heard the commotion but he was still asleep and the nurse still lay bloody on the concrete floor. Kali looked out the window again only to crouch quickly when a figure leapt up to look in from the other side. “Hopefully,” she thought, “he didn’t see her.”
“Hey, guys I think I found her,” said the young voice to the others on the roof.
“Doesn’t matter, ” said one of the others, “we have fresh meals all in this house. Tony says its a safe house. Let’s go.”
“..but guys,” the young voice protested.
“Come on, dumbass. If you did find her they won’t go very far. Their stuck in a garage.”
“Fine but its your ass.” Kali watched as a young man, not too much older then her leapt from the ground and onto the first-story roof of the house. He then disappeared threw the broken window. The others followed and Kali had to wake Erik.

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Kingsboro Journal

Death: Chapter 3

Death: Chapter 3: 

Ken walked right into the light that was farthest from him.  The light at the end of the column got brighter as Ken walked toward it.  He squint his eyes till he could barely see.  He attempted to block the light with his hand but that was useless.  As he stepped into the light he again felt warmth.  The warmth began at his toes and radiated a comforting peace upward.  Several steps within the light and the warmth began to dissipate.  Ken continued forward until the darkness began to dilute the light.  Soon the light was almost all the way gone, leaving only a small circular band radiating from mid-height.  Ken walked toward the circular band of light and looked within it.  It was a small hole, barely big enough for Ken’s shoulders to fit through.  Above the hole he could see a blue sky blurred by the green leaves of a large tree.  A large root from the tree stretched from one end of the hole to the other.  Ken grasped the root and lifted himself upward.  With nothing to put his feet upon Ken struggled to lift his body high enough to balance himself upon the top of the root.  After several attempts and a couple several minute breaks Ken managed to push himself up and over the root.  Ken climbs from the underground.  Above is the remnants of what is left of the Forest of Narcissus.  Within the forest is several small pools of water which serve as mirrors.  The pools of water reflect previous life and scenes that stay important to the one looking within it.  So important that the current world disappears from around them.

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Kingsboro Journal

Death: A world of it’s own

Introduction: The Wedding

Trees lined the small ceremony on the left and right. Guests sat on large logs placed one behind the other. Six in each row with a total of two rows split in the center by satin streamers. The ceremony itself was on a small wooden deck built over a small pond. The groom stood nervously stroking his tie. The pastor of the local church stood center of the wooden deck. He smiled as the bride stepped from the small house behind the trees. She walked slowly her white dress danced as she stepped forward. A quick nudge from the pastor alerted the groom and he saw her. It was like a romantic movie. The bride walked slowly, as if slowed in time. She smiled, light spread from the small edges of her lips. The light radiated outward covering her proud father and a few wedding guest that had yet sit down. Guest turned and saw the bride stepping carefully over the long red ribbon laid on the ground between the rows of seats. The light from such a beautiful smile spread to each and every one of the guest like the spiritual Good Word. By the time the bride reached the wooden platform everyone behind her smiled and glowed. The groom stepped forward and extended a gentle hand which she took and they both joined the pastor as everyone looked over the small pond.

The pastor spoke slowly as each and every moment seemed to take hours. The bride and groom stood hand and hand when the ceremony was near the end. The pastor happily introduced Mr. Kenneth and Mrs. Jean Addison and release them into the world as married.  The reception went off without a hitch. The couple’s marriage continued on as it had begun. It was a fairy tale within a world that barely contained its distaste for so much happiness. The honeymoon stood as an exception to any rule that the couple had established as a norm. The hotel lobby was empty when Mr. and Mrs Addison walked in. So was the front desk.

“Funny,” said Mr. Ken Addison as he bent over the desk in an attempt to see if anyone was around the corner. “I just talked to the hotel ten minutes ago and it sounded super busy.”

“Are you sure you called the right hotel,” Mrs. Jean Addison asked.

“Yes, I’m sure because the person on the phone said there was a bar here named Dionysus and its sitting right there.” Ken pointed right toward a large purple sign above two swinging doors that had Dionysus written out in neon next to a flashing bunch of grapes.

“You think they are on a tea break?” Ken said, only half joking.

Ken and Jean walked toward the bar. Within the bar they saw some movement but it was too dark to tell what is could be.  “Hey, can someone help us at the front desk?” Shouted Ken into the darkness of the bar. Something crashed and broke then two men pushed through the swinging doors. The first man was terrified his eyes were wide and his mouth clamped shut. Behind him a taller, muscular man walked within inches of him. Both of this man’s hands were hidden behind the first man’s back.

“I suggest you come back in the morning…” Growled the taller man then he added, “…you know what just find a room and stay here free tonight. I’m sure Henry here won’t mind.” The taller man turned his head and looked at the man in front. Henry’s eyes got bigger and his nervousness was obvious.

“How about my wife and I just leave, “Ken offered,”Listen, we just got married and this is our first day in London. I just want to survive our first week of marriage.”

The taller man laughed, “Believe me mate, it isn’t worth it. I’ve been married twice before. I think I just changed my mind. I want all your American dollars… Now!”   The man pointed a pistol at Ken and shoved Henry into a wall. “If you move I will kill you,” he warned him.

Jean immediately threw her purse down at the man’s feet. Ken hesitated but then tossed over his wallet.  “Don’t move,” the man shouted as he bent down to gather up the items.  The minute the man looked down, Ken pounced on him.  Jean screamed, lost in disbelief that her husband would attempt something so brash.  The taller man was larger then Ken but was caught by surprise.  He fell backward into the swinging doors and both men disappeared into the bar.  Henry stood from where he had fallen against the wall, ran over to Jean, in an effort to direct her somewhere safe, but fell after a bullet burst through his heart and chest.  A second bullet struck Jean in the neck but didn’t kill her immediately.  She fell upon her knees then her back.  She attempted to slow the bleeding with her hand and wished her new husband was at her side.

Ken wrestled the gun from the taller man’s hands but not before two shots rang from the gun, just missing him.  Once the gun was clear Ken grabbed a broken chair leg and slammed it hard upon the man’s head knocking him unconscious.  He then grabbed the gun and stepped outside the bar.  Jean lay barely conscious upon the tile floor of the hotel lobby.  Blood covered the left side of her neck and shoulder.

“Oh, my God,” Ken leapt toward his wife and fell to his knees.  His knees swam in her blood as he took off his sweater and pressed it against the wound.  He looked around for some help and saw Henry only a foot away with a gunshot in his chest.  To the right, suddenly, the front doors of the hotel burst open and several London police officers stepped in.  A bead of hope blossomed within him till he realized that Jean had passed away.  The need to stop the bleeding was gone but Ken continued as he watched the officers walk toward him.  The next couple seconds turned into long minutes as a gun battle began.  The taller man stepped out from the bar and began to fire from another pistol.  The officers scattered and then returned fire till the room dimmed, as if someone had turned the lights down.  Ken looked up to see the battle still happening but the noise had become muted.  He looked over at the taller man and he was reloading his pistol while hiding behind the front desk.  Ken looked down to see himself, his lifeless body, lying over his wife.  A bullet had entered the back of his head and killed him.

Ken looked up to see the battle still happening but the noise had become muted.  Ken looked over at the taller man and he was reloading his pistol while hiding behind the front desk.  Once the pistol was ready the tall man stepped from behind the desk and began shooting.  It was a suicidal death march.  He stepped over Jean’s body but tripped.  Jean had died while grasping her neck.  The tall man’s large foot became caught underneath her arm.  Instead of going out like a homicidal hero the tall man died like an idiot.  The shots from the officers disappeared through Ken’s body and into the tall man’s chest and arms.  If there was any doubt that Ken was not of that world the bullets confirmed that fact but soon it was over.  The tall man fell over Jean’s body.  Ken watched as a new pool of blood flowed from the man’s chest.  He screamed as it inched closer to mix with Jean’s blood.  He attempted to stop it but it flowed right through his foot and out the other side.

“Get your god-damn blood away from my wife’s blood!” He screamed passionately but this new world listened about as well as the old world.  The blood mingled and eventually left a large mass of crimson death upon the hotel floor.  Frustrated, Ken stepped away but then realized that Jean passed just before him.  She is no longer part of that world.  She should be a part of his new reality.  She should be if that is the way this new world worked, the world between life and death.

Chapter 2: Through the veil

Where do you start looking for someone that passed on to this thin veil of a world? The hotel was full of people. Police and EMTs rushed throughout the rooms before him. Ken followed one officer into the bar passing through the door like Casper the Friendly ghost. The officer flipped a light switch upon the wall to reveal the horror before them. Seven bodies lie motionless within the bar. Most lay face-first upon the tables they sat. Others lay upon the floor. Ken was thankful he didn’t notice when he fought with the tall man. He may have second thought such a deed. The thought that followed was a question. Why would this man take on such a dark, suicidal task and where was his wife? Why didn’t she wait for him like he did for her? The answers would have to wait because someone grabbed him from behind and dragged him from the hotel. The hotel wall disappeared as he slid through it. Outside the noon sun highlighted the vibrate life that still continued. The warmth from the sun was missing though. Suddenly, Ken was thrown to the right. A large trash container and trash bags stood in his way but Ken lay within them. The tall man stood above him, his anger evident in his enclosed fists and heaving chest. The tall man grasps Ken by the front of the shirt and lifted him easily. Ken struggled but the tall man was twice as strong as him. The tall man pulled back a large ham-fisted arm and was ready to strike when Ken put up his hands and pushed forward an energy that was unfamiliar to him. Caught by surprise the tall man released him and fell backward. Ken fell downward the trash container surrounding him. He then pressed his hands forward again and pushed the tall man forward into a crowd of people that didn’t notice.

“God damn, American,” shouted the tall man who stood within the crowd. He then rushed forward but Ken stopped him with another push. The world then dissolved around them leaving only a black room, with a bright light at each end. Ken stopped pushing and they both paused to take in this new scene. The light only lit a column of darkness from which the two men stood. Outside this column was a think darkness.

“What the hell is this?” Ken asked loudly. “How the hell am I suppose to know,” shouted the tall man.

“I didn’t ask you,” snapped Ken. The tall man glared at him then stepped toward him again. Ken stepped back, arms outstretched.

“Pissed would not cover my anger right now, mate,” the tall man said as he approached. “Notice, we are dead! I’m pleasantly surprised that I can still grab you and toss you around but you seem to have an advantage you didn’t have in the real world. I can still tear your limbs off, I bet.”

Ken pushed his hands outward toward the tall man’s feet causing him to stumble but it did not stop him. The tall man leapt forward and grabbed Ken by the collar. Then tossed him to the left and laughed. “At least death isn’t going to be a waste.”

Ken slid upon the black floor disappearing from the light and into the darkness. Fear instantly struck him and he felt the pressure of someone grasping both his ankles. Barely able to move and struck with fear he managed to stand. He pushed his hands downward toward his ankles and leap toward the direction he came from. He stood within the column of light again. The tall man stood within the center of the column. Anger overwhelmed him and Ken pushed as hard as he could. The taller man fell backward and disappeared into the darkness. Ken waited for the tall man to reappear but after several long moments he did not.

Ken walked right into the light that was farthest from him.  The light at the end of the column got brighter as Ken walked toward it.  He squint his eyes till he could barely see.  He attempted to block the light with his hand but that was useless.  As he stepped into the light he again felt warmth.  The warmth began at his toes and radiated a comforting peace upward.  Several steps within the light and the warmth began to dissipate.  Ken continued forward until the darkness began to dilute the light.  Soon the light was almost gone, leaving only a small circular band radiating from mid-height.  Ken walked toward the circular band of light.  As he moved forward broken lines began to appear within the circle.   These lines were slowly filled in by a dark brown color.  “They looked like the roots of a tree,” Ken thought as he stared upward into the hole.  It was a small hole, barely big enough for Ken’s shoulders to fit through.  Above the brown roots he could see a blue sky blurred by the green leaves of a large tree.  The roots stretched from one end of the hole to the other.  Other then the darkness around him, the light above was the only way out.  Ken grasped the root and lifted himself upward.  With nothing to put his feet upon Ken struggled to lift his body high enough to balance himself upon the top of the root.  After several attempts Ken managed to push himself up and over the root.  He pulled up his left knee then his right.  He then climbed from the hole and into a whole new world.