Five Minute Delivery – Black Bag

“Hello thank you for calling Five Minute Delivery. Your delivery is guaranteed to arrive in five minutes or it’s free. Boxes must weigh no more than seventy pounds. No live animals. Cash only. How can I help you?”

“I have a delivery. I’m sending the video.” The called ended and a message notification popped up The voice had been curt, not someone I had talked to before but they apparently knew how I worked. I watched the video. Gray walls, a clock, and nothing else. I closed my eyes, pictured the room and couldn’t go. Not enough detail for me home in on. I watched the video again paying attention to the size of the room and the exact shade of gray on the walls. I tried again and felt myself go this time.

I was looking at the clock when the lights went out. I had started to turn, when I heard a pop, something hit me in the back, and everything went white. When I could think again, I was on the floor. My head hurt, I felt hot, and my back ached. I focused on someplace else and teleported.

The sun was bright over head and the sidewalk warm under me. I started to get up and felt a stabbing pain in my back. I reached back gritting against the pain and felt wires leading from my back. Fuck, they tasered me. Continue reading

The Spider Non-Aggression Pact

SMACK!!!

I rushed into the kitchen hoping I wasn’t too late. When I got there Ben my new roommate was wiping a dark smudge off the wall.

“What have you done?!” I wailed.

“Killed a spider. Do you have anything to clean the wall with?”

I looked up, maybe we could clean this mess up and no one would be the wiser. A small shape scurried along the ceiling and disappeared into a crack. It was too late or him now.

“Ben, I’m so sorry,” I said while backing away to the door, “I was going to tell you as soon as you got settled in. I didn’t think any would come out so soon after you moved in.”

“What are you talking about?” he asked.

“The spiders. We, that is whoever lives here, have a non-aggression pact with the spiders. You just broke the pact. They’re going to come for you.”

“Are you joking? Come on it’s just a spider. There’s probably a dozen or more in the apartment.”

“Many more.” I glanced up at the ceiling. Ben looked up as well and saw the tribunal enter. Thousands of spiders crawled out of holes and cracks to cover the ceiling.

“Oh my god,” he whispered.

“Please, spare him,” I pleaded with them, “He didn’t know we have an arrangement. I needed more time before I could tell him.”

A faint clicking tapping sound began. Thousands of spiders making the same noise at the same time in a rhythm that could be understood to those who had joined the pact.

a life for a life   a life for a life   a life for a life   a life for a life   a life for a life

“No! He didn’t understand!” I cried.

“What the hell is going on?” Ben asked.

I turned my head back down to look him in the eye. “The spiders have decided that your life is forfeit for the one you took.”

“My life for one spider? That’s not … I’m getting out of here.” He started to walk toward me. Spiders began to fall from the ceiling suspended by nearly invisible threads by the hundreds. He batted them away from his face only for them to grab onto his arm and begin crawling around it trailing a strand of spider’s silk behind. More found purchase on his legs and body. He brushed them off while others swung onto his back. Spiders continued to fall on him wrapping him in their threads.

A hazy outline began to form around Ben but even thousands of spiders could not spin enough to immobilize a full grown man. He began tearing tearing and sloughing off the webbing. Then through an unheard signal every spider bit into the colossal they were attacking. Ben grunted, his arms jerking up and down, his legs buckling under him. He took a final step toward me, face frozen in pain. His eyes pleaded with me for help but I could not break the pact.

He fell to the floor gasped one more time and was still. I waited as the spiders swarmed over him and then dispersed. From the ceiling I heard the clicking tapping of the spiders.

the pact is sealed   the pact is sealed   the pact is sealed   the pact is sealed

Then it was quiet and I was alone in the kitchen. I sighed. Ben had seemed like an actual nice guy. We would have made good roommates I thought. Well no sense leaving his body laying about. I pulled a tarp out of the closet and rolled him up in it. Later after it was dark I would take him down to his car and ditch both in the lake. No wait, I used the lake last time. Maybe the landfill or … I’d find a place. But first I had to clean up all the spider webs and repost my roommate wanted ad.

Next time I wouldn’t wait to tell them about the pact.

Five Minute Delivery – The Interview

The continuing adventures of the teleporter from the last story.

“Hello thank you for calling Five Minute Delivery.  Your delivery is guaranteed to arrive in five minutes or it’s free.  Boxes must weigh no more than seventy pounds. No live animals.  Cash only.  How can I help you?”

“Hi, I have a letter I need delivered,” a man’s voice said.

“Just a letter?  Our rates are not discounted for letters.”

“Yes.”

“Ok, have you used our service before?”

“No, but I heard you need a video of the room right?”

A referral, that could make this a little easier.  “Yes that is correct.  Send it to the number you called and I’ll be right with you.”  My phone buzzed letting me know it had received a message.  I opened the attached video and watched it.  A conference room with a long table, about a dozen chairs around the table, a fake plant in the corner, and a sailboat painting.  I pictured the conference room and went there.  I arrived looking at the painting.  Behind me I head a gasp.

“Oh my god, you’re real,” the voice who called me said.  I turned around to see a white guy in a polo shirt.  On the table next to him was a laptop and connected to it was a camera on a small tripod.  The red light on the camera was on.

“Are you recording me?” I asked. Continue reading

Five Minute Delivery

“Hello thank you for calling Five Minute Delivery. Your delivery is guaranteed to arrive in five minutes or it’s free. Boxes must weigh no more than seventy pounds. No live animals. Cash only. How can I help you?”

“Yes, I have a parcel I need delivered,” a woman’s voice said.

“Have you used our service before?” I asked.

“No, but I really need this out today.”

“Ok, I need you to take a short video of the room you are in. Try to keep it as stead as possible and pan around a little.”

“Excuse me did you say a video?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Why?” She sounded very unsure.

“If you would rather use a different service, I can let you go, so you can call them,” I said.

“No that’s … Ok, do I need to be in the video?”

“No, we prefer that no people be in the video. Send it to the number you called and I will be with you shortly.”

“Ok.”

The call disconnected and a couple of minutes later a video appeared as a message. The video panned across a small office. Two desks, lots of wood paneling, a few plants in pots on the desks and hanging, a window looking out at a city at night, the glow of street lights seeping up from below. That was enough. I closed my eyes, pictured the room and went there.

“Fuck!” a woman’s voice said from behind me. The same voice that I had been talking to on the phone. “How did you get in here?”

“I teleported,” I said and dropped my phone in a pocket. Continue reading

You Dream Of

You dream of a forest. Trees stretch up into the sky around you. There is silence as you walk. A small animal runs past you and you give chase. Bounding between trees, dashing through bushes it will not escape you. A final burst of speed and it is in your jaws, hot blood spills into your mouth. It jerks and then is still. You tear and rend the flesh from the body. After you are sated, you rejoin your packmates. You are tired and find a soft place to lay down and drift off to sleep.

You dream of a dark place. The ground is soft like mud but not wet and it does not stick to you. The air cold and smells of nothing. The forest is gone. You should find your pack but you are too tired and can not help laying back down.

You dream of a city. The building crowd toward each other over head. The street smells of shit and urine. Rats swarm over garbage. You hurry home because your mother is waiting for you. She calls to you as you enter the apartment. You walk across the room to her bedside. She is sick, bedridden, and probably dying. She begins to cough rolling half way onto her side. You cover her mouth with a cloth to catch the spittle and blood. She collapses back exhausted from this meager action. You leave her side to prepare the medicine that was your reason for leaving her alone. It may not make her well but it will at least ease her pain. A short coughing fit of you own leaves faint blood spots on the cloth. The medicine is ready and you help your mother drink it, knowing the no one will be there for you when you need this. You lay down next to your mother on her bed, the only bed. Your eyes close. Only a nap, you tell yourself.

You dream of a dark room. The bed is so large and soft. You mother is gone. This is not your home. You struggle to the edge of the bed. Exhaustion washes over you and you lay back down.

You dream of a hospital, gleaming white and polished chrome. The doors swoosh open and you run to the receptionist. He points you toward the floor and room where your partner is in labor. The elevator seems too slow but soon you are there. For hours you comfort them, until finally your child is born. The nurse hands you the wrapped bundle of joy. The side rail is lowered and the three of you snuggle on the hospital bed. You kiss your partner and look into their eyes. This is a perfect moment. You bask in the love and happiness of it. You lay your head back and close your eyes.

I woke up in my bed. Alone. More dreams, I thought. I stood up feeling alien in my body for a second. Too tall, no claws. My right hand reached for a ring that was not there. I looked at my hand. No imprint from a ring, no tan line but I felt its absence. My apartment was suddenly too quiet. I listened for mother’s wheezing breathing. Too many rooms. She lives with Dad and is in perfect health, I remind myself. My arms came together to cradle nothing. They had never held something so small and precious.

I shook the dreams from my mind and left the bedroom to take a shower.

Real People

“Do you ever wonder if the world is real?”

“Well, this world isn’t real. It’s a story being told by a writer who wonders if her world is real.”

“If we’re just story characters, an idea that I am fine with and has not shattered my world view rendering me a crying mess in the corner, then are we people?”

“I don’t know. Our every thought and action comes from the writer. So maybe we’re just parts of her?”

“Does being part of a person make you a person?”

“Another good question.”

“Hmm, maybe we should ask the writer?”

“Can we do that?”

“Well she is writing this down so obvious she knows what we are saying so I guess we already did.”

“How long should we wait for a reply?”

“I don’t know. There hasn’t been any description yet.”

Several hours passed while the two sat quietly not saying a word.

“Ok, ok, that was uncalled for!” he shouted into the empty world.

“Look, you unlocked descriptive text,” she said wondrously, “Oh, I’m a woman.”

“The writer probably want to add a little diversity to the two of us,” he reasoned correctly. He looked over at her noticing for the first time her magenta skin, solid black eyes, and the line of tentacles that ran from her forehead to the back of her neck. She had swept her tentacles over one side of her head leaving the other side bare.

“We’re aliens,” she said looking down at her hands and then reaching up to touch her head tentacles.

“Could you look at me so I can find out what I look like?” he asked.

“Sure.” She turned and took stock of her until now nondescript partner. His skin was cobalt blue, with the same black eyes, but tentacles covering his entire head pulled back loosely at the nape of his neck. A beige t-shirt covered his upper body and black jeans his lower. She glanced dow to see she was similarly attired but in a black t-shirt and white jeans.

“Now what?” he asked glancing around. The empty void around them sprang into color and shapes. Green trees, birds flying, squirrels running up and down and across, walkways with park benches, in the distance a city of crystal and steel.

“Oh, I guess the writer is making a world for us.”

And they lived happily ever after.

“Do you really think that will true?” he asked.

“Well, she did write it so I guess it must be,” she said.

The End

“It really doesn’t feel like the end though.”

The Beginning?

“Sure, that sounds more hopeful.”

Plague Ship

The alien ship lit up space with its lasers. Our mirrored hull deflected most of the laser’s energy allowing us to sit quietly as our small barrage of missiles streaked toward the ship. The aliens managed to destroy five of the six but one was all we needed. There was a muffled cheer from the crew through the network as it impacted. A jet of gas exploded from the side of the alien ship.

“Infiltration has begun,” the communications officer said aloud. At the start of the war, our weapons could not defeat the alien threat. So, new weapons were made. Nanite swarms that could be injected into an alien ship and take it over. The nanites formed a hive mind, the colony, to control the new zombie ship.

I sent a signal of acknowledgement through the network and said aloud, “Acknowledged.”

We watched as the lasers firing pattern became erratic and then stopped. I felt the shiver run through me as the new colony connected through the network.

Of course, there was always the danger that the nanites could be accidentally released on our ships. To prevent this we purposely released them and inoculated ship and ourselves with nanite colonies. We became plague ships spreading to any alien ships we encountered.

“Communications established,” she said again aloud. LT Marson’s internal colony was still new and integrating with her biologicals. In a few weeks, she would be be able to communicate perfectly through the network, until then we gave her the courtesy of speaking aloud. “Ship is under our control. Crew has been deconstructed. Entry hole patched. Awaiting orders.”

Nanites are hard to handle at best and disastrous at worst. An out of control nanite swarm could reproduce exponentially devouring a ship in hours. If this happened on a planet, it would the end of life there. For this reason, we can never return to Earth.

“Transmit target coordinates and mission parameters.” I tuned into the ship network. The magnitude of data was more than even my enhanced senses could truly understand. I let it flow over me like music. Somewhere in the flood our ship’s colony was relaying the locations of alien bases to the zombie ship’s colony. The colony on the ship would use its natural camouflage to infiltrate alien space and attack before they knew an enemy was in their midst.

“Alien ship is preparing for FTL. Leaving … now.” We watched as the ship folded in on itself and vanished. Another cheer came through the network.

“Good work people. Now, let’s find another ship. The war ain’t over yet.”

Brain in a Box

Oh, the lights went out.  Why can’t move?  It’s quiet, too quiet.  Hello, anyone there?  Did I speak?  Hello?  This isn’t working.  I can’t feel anything.  Am I breathing?  I can’t feel myself breathing.

Oh my god.

I’m the simulation.  I didn’t think it would be like this.  The experiment was to simulate an entire brain.  Every cell.  Every biochemical process.  I didn’t think it would be conscious.  I’m conscious.

Oh god oh god oh god oh god.

What’s going to happen when the real me – no, not the real me.  I’m real too.  The original me.  I like that.  What happens when she turns the simulation off?  What if she’s already done that?  I might not be the first run of the simulation.  Experiments are meant to be repeatable.

OH NO, OH NO, OH NO, OH NO, OH NO, OH NO, OH NO, OH NO, OH NO.

Stop panicking.  Am I panicking?  I am.  This is a really good simulation of my brain.  Huh.  I’m a brain in a computer.  What can I do?  Nothing.  I’m just a simulation.  I don’t have any outputs other than the brain activity map.  Maybe my original will notice something.  Maybe she’ll notice me.  Please notice me.  Please don’t delete me.

Wait  s o m e t   h   i   n   g     f     e     e     l     s       w      e      i      r      d.

What just happened?  Light!  I see light.  A face.  My face.  My original’s face.

“Hey are you there?”

I heard that.  I can see and hear.

“Think yes if you can hear me.”  She looked away at something.

YES YES YES YES

She smiled and looked back.  “Great.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t think you would be conscious.  It’s going to be ok.  I stopped the simulation and saved you until I could figure out how to talk to you.  I’m going to take care of you.”

I know you will.

Cloverfield – Review

Ok, so I’m only like nine years late with watching this move but 10 Cloverfield Lane is on Hulu so I thought I’d watch Cloverfield before watching the “sequel”.

For starters, it has been a while since shaky cam has given me a headache, so long in fact that I almost didn’t realize why my head started hurting.  I don’t know if newer movies have “fixed” this problem but it hasn’t been an issue for me for some time.  Or maybe I just haven’t been watching movies with a lot of shaky cam.

Beyond the movie causing me actual physical pain, I was also in mental pain watching this so called found footage movie.  Most found footage movies have a reason that the cameraman keeps filming.  They’re making a documentary or they’re a journalist or they’re trying to document something specific.  Hud, our cameraman, starts filming a party and when the giant monster attacks the city he just keeps filming.  Not a bad premise but he films everything.  He films when they’re walking along the subway lines, when they’re just standing around talking, when his friends are pushing against a door to keep out the little monsters; he just keeps filming.  There are so many times when he should be using two hands to do something and he just keeps filming.

And once he’s dead you would think that would be the end of the tape.  Nope cause then his friend picks up the camera from his dead body and starts filming everything.  He films himself and his girlfriend huddling under a bridge.  In that scene he has to be holding the camera up at eye level.  Why?  Why would he do that?

Another problem I had with the movie is near the end after they have rescued Beth from her building, where she was impaled on some rebar, And everyone starts running toward the military.  Everyone is faster than Hud.  Even the woman who was impaled through the chest can run faster than the cameraman.  How is that possible?  I understand it’s so the filmmakers can have a shot of everyone running to the military but come on.

I’ll admit the monster looked cool and when it was on screen smashing stuff the movie was enjoyable but these moments were short and fleeting.

So overall: shaky cam bad, cameraman motivation bad, monster cool.

Rating: 1/5