Fresh Choppers

The Dale of Five Worlds – Part 7 (Conclusion)

By Christian Laforet

Sam was blindfolded. Her hands secured behind her back. After the Emperor’s men ambushed her and her companions, Felicia and Robi-Jo, at Fresh Choppers 9822, they were loaded on to a transport. She couldn’t help but wonder how the Emperor had managed to get to Hardpan. Although able to communicate across the worlds, he had, as far as she knew, not mastered the technology needed to teleport. A familiar voice answered all her questions.

“You must have known I’d figure it out.”

She tilted her head. “Professor?”

“Pahlease, I’m ten time smarter than that fool.”

“Don!” Sam’s words dripped venom.

Felicia piped in. “Hey, um, for those of us who have no freaking clue what you are talking about, how about some answers.”

Sam assumed her compatriots were secured, as she was. “The Professor was my mentor. He invented the teleportation technology that I’ve been using.”

“Huh,” Felicia said. “So, he turned traitor or something?”

Sam shook her head before remembering her friend probably couldn’t see the gesture. “No. The professor died for the cause. This is his half-wit twin brother Don.”

“Half-wit?” Don roared. “I’ve always been the smarter sibling.”

Sam laughed. “Yeah, right. You’re a lazy loser who leeched off the professor for years. I’m guessing you sold him out and stole his technology?”

Sam smiled when no reply came. Clearly she had hit the nail on the head.

Finally, the man spoke. “It doesn’t matter what you think, soon you and your friends will be dead. The Dread Rainbow Emperor will rule the multiverse and I’ll be there by his majestic side.”

Despite all her bravado, Sam felt a swell of remorse fill her. They had lost. “It’s over.” Her voice barely above a whisper, Sam shook her head. “We’ve failed. The great profit Veets was wrong, nothing can stop the Emperor.”

She felt the familiar distortion of a teleportation field wash over her.

***

When the blindfold was pulled from her face, Robi gasped. She expected to see anything but the sight before her. She, and the other two girls, stood in front of a massive window. The pane stretched floor to ceiling and looked out at the most gorgeous world she had ever seen. Towers of sparkling glass and ivory stood like sentinels across the landscape. Lush bunches of trees and foliage carpeted the land around them, and stretching between it all was rainbows. These were not just illusions of light like the ones she was used to either, these were physical arches which radiated glorious colour.

“Holy crap!” Felicia let out a whistle. “This place is—” (more…)

The Dale of Five Worlds (Part 6)

By Christian Laforet

The Siren slid towards Sam and Robi-Jo, Zack’s blood staining her lips. Even on land, the creature’s movements were fluid.

Felicia shook her head before slapping a palm against one of her ears. It did nothing, all she could hear was a dull whooshing. Looking up, she realized that her hearing troubles would have to wait, the Siren would be on her friends in seconds. She had to do something!

The light in the cave was dim, but there was enough for Felicia to spot the pistols. Zack must have dropped when he fell under the Siren’s spell. She had never fired—or held for that matter—a gun before, but she’d seen enough movies. Without a second thought, she hefted them off the ground, aimed them at the Siren and fired.

The bullets roared like cannonballs in the confines of the cave. The Siren saw the attack coming, ceased her singing and attempted to fall back into the dark water. One of the slugs went wide and ricocheted off the craggy wall. The other found a home as it slammed into the thigh of the retreating she-creature.

As soon as the music stopped, both Sam and Robi-Jo jerked before sagging to the ground.

“What?” Robi asked as she massaged her temples.

“Good question,” Sam replied rising back to her feet. “I’m guessing we were under the Siren’s spell.”

“Where did Zack,” Robi started, but stopped abruptly upon seeing his bloody remains. “Oh, never mind, he’s dead.”

“I DID IT!” Felicia whooped and hollered in triumph. “I TOTALLY SHOT THAT BITCH! I’M SO GANGSTER!”

“Why is that fool yelling?” Sam stomped towards Felicia but stopped cold when a massive form rose up out of the water behind her.

Felicia was in the middle of a series of vigorous pelvic thrusts when she finally noticed the looks of pure horror etched across her friends’ faces. She could see they were saying something, and judging by how fast their lips moved, it was something important.

“HUH?”

“There’s a huge sea monster behind you!” Robi-Jo screamed.

Still not sure what the big deal was, Felicia joined the other two girls. “YES, I DID SAVE THE DAY!”

Sam reached out, grabbed Felicia by the shoulders and spun her around.

Felicia felt her heart skip a beat. “OH MY GOD! WHY DIDN”T YOU GUYS TELL ME THERE WAS A GIANT MONSTER BEHIND ME?”

Sam eyed the beast. She had heard rumors of the Nicktopus during her travels. Legend was that the creature had once been a meat clerk at Fresh Choppers on Earth Prime, but due to black magic, had become something much more. She had always dismissed the stories as the Emperor’s propaganda. But, with black water dripping from its massive face, she knew that everything she had ever heard was true.

The Nicktopus arched up to his full height, his head nearly touching the ceiling of the cave.

“Oh great! A half-man, half-octopus just appeared.” Robi-Jo shook her head. “Well, at least we know it can’t get any worse.”

Behind them, the Siren re-emerged. Blood dribbled from her wound, her face a contorted mask of rage.

Sam glared at Robi-Jo. “Thanks for that.” (more…)

Dime Store Detective – Part Seven (Conclusion)

Ben Van Dongen

The elevator doors opened onto a dim city street. Streetlights were on to compensate for the deep shadows and setting sun, which was almost gone over the horizon. Groups and couples walked down the sidewalks or hailed cabs. Thomas took a moment to look for a cab without a group of people standing around it, trying to make their claim, but they were all taken, leaving dozens of people waiting. He turn and ran, dodging pedestrians and excusing himself.

At the first intersection, he went right then darted across the street through a gap in the traffic. Horns honked at him, but he ducked left into an alley, leaving them behind.

Coming out at another street, he followed it to the next intersection, ran left through traffic again

Thomas ran along the street, next to parked cars, but he was tiring and slowed. Plodding down the sidewalk as quickly as he could, he ran into a woman who walked out of a store without looking. (more…)

Dime Store Detective – Part Six

Ben Van Dongen

The office was quiet. It was usually quiet, but after his first case, Thomas could feel it. He sat at his desk, thinking over the events at the school, looking for what he did wrong. Letting his target get away was eating at him, but not as much as Diaz not caring.

A knock at his inner office door made him jump. He saw the shadow of Rachel in the window before she walked in.

“I brought you a cup of coffee.” Rachel walked over to the desk and gingerly put down a brimming mug.

“Do I look that pathetic?”

She put her hands on her hips. “I just trying to do something nice.”

Thomas rubbed his chin. “Sorry. It’s that phone call. I can’t shake it.” He picked up the mug and sipped. “The only thing I can come up with is Diaz knew more than he was telling me.”

“Don’t tell me you’re shocked by that?”

He waved her off. “No. They’re a big company, bound to protect their interests. But if they already knew, why did they need me?” (more…)

Dime Store Detective – Part Five

By Ben Van Dongen

The door closed behind the fleeing woman and Thomas slammed into it in pursuit. He lunged forward, running right into the back of the waiting officer, pushing him. The tall man turned on Thomas, red faced and furious. He tried to get hold of Thomas, but momentum was against him. Thomas spun, ducking the reaching arms, and sprinted in the direction the guard had been looking.

At the next junction, he paused, listening for the principal’s clacking footsteps. Hearing the sound, Thomas ran after it, further into the building, back towards the records room.  He had to force the smile from his face as he ran.

The woman was fast and far enough ahead that he hadn’t caught a glimpse of her. He was determined though, and manage to follow the footsteps echoing down the empty hallways. He heard the click and slam of a door closing and traced it to a stairwell. He pulled open the door and chased the principal up the stairs. (more…)

The Dale of Five Worlds (Part 5)

By Christian Laforet

The Dread Rainbow Emperor moved across his throne room towards the monitors. “Report,” he demanded.

On the screen, a soldier in rainbow body armor held up a name tag. “We found this in what was left of The Sensation’s palace here on hEarth.”

The Emperor stared at the piece of plastic. “It would appear that the every present thorn in my side, Sam, has found some companions. If The Sensation has already fallen, then it’s clear that his pieces of the hEarth Dale are now in her possession.”

“What would you have us do, my lord?” The soldier asked.

The Emperor thought for a moment, before waving a hand towards his minion. “Nothing. If my suspicions are correct, then Sam and her band of rebels have found their way to Teardrop. What they don’t know, is that I’ll have a little surprise waiting for them.”

Emperor Shawn turned away from the monitor, with a flick of his wrist, the call to the soldier ended. He strode towards his mighty throne and sat down. He pressed a small button on the armrest which opened a channel to his agents on Teardrop.

“Release the Nicktopus!” The Dread Rainbow Emperor smiled as he received the confirmation of his order.

The Em-Jay rocked gently through the calm waves. Gascogne Isle loomed in the fog like a colossal ghost.

Sam, Felicia and Robi-Jo stood at the bow of the ship.

“So, that’s not too foreboding looking or anything.” Felicia chuckled nervously.

Robi leaned on the rail to get a better look at the approaching land mass. The moon bathed what was visible through the fog in silver tones. “You really think this Stephanie-Siren girl, is as scary as they say?”

“No, she’s much worse.” Captain Zack approached (more…)

Dime Store Detective – Part Four

While walking back to the train station, Thomas called Rachel. The day was wearing into the afternoon and he figured she would be at work by then.

She answered on the third ring. “Thomas Holliday Private Investigations; how may I direct your call?”

“It’s me.” Thomas smiled hearing her nasally voice.

“Oh, well you better not have messed this case up already. You haven’t had one in months.”

“I need a warrant to access the student records.” He stopped walking, bursting with excitement. “She was actually going to throw me out!”

“I’ve already applied for the warrant, it should be in the records by now. I’ll upload it to your file and send one to the school.”

“You’re the best.”

“Don’t forget it come bonus time.” She hung up on him. (more…)

The Dale of Five Worlds (Part 4)

By Christian Laforet

Robi-Jo squeezed her eyes tight. A scream escaped her lips as her toes plunged through the surface. A chill instantly passed through her body. She wondered briefly why a chill, but her brain insisted that the lava was so hot, that it felt cold. It made sense, she guessed. It wasn’t until she swallowed a mouthful of salty liquid that she started to think that she was not being burnt alive in molten rock. She opened her eyes, and although it stung, she saw that she was submerged in water. Pushing with her legs, she swam upwards.

She found Felicia and Sam already bobbing on the surface. “What the crap?” she yelled to get their attention.

Sam surveyed the endless ocean which stretched across the horizon before looking back at Robi. “I teleported us to Teardrop, the water earth.”

“Oh gee, you teleported us? I hadn’t noticed.” Robi-Jo waved her arms around. “Maybe—and this is just a thought—in the future you could not wait until we’re about to die a horrible death before doing so!”

Felicia nodded. “Yeah, it’s kinda jerky. The whole, making us think we’re gonna die thing.”

Sam frowned. “I’m sorry, would you have rather me leave you in the hands of that narcissistic psychopath?”

“Well, she has a point there.” Felicia shrugged.

Robi-Jo was already fuming, but the smirk that Sam shot her way, sent her over the edge.

“I’ve had enough of you!” She grabbed a hold of Sam and pushed her under the water.

“Whoa!” Felicia tried to wade away, but was somehow pulled into the mix. (more…)

Dime Store Detective – Part Three

Ben Van Dongen

A cool breeze blew through the open ends of the train station. Thomas turned to it, relishing the feeling on his face as it eased the fatigue from the late night. He kept an eye out for the man he had seen the night before, but the only people there were three young men dressed in casual clothes. They sat at a table eating food from the vending machines and watched a music video, projected over the center of the table by one of their phones. The music, something Thomas didn’t recognize, boomed and twittered across the platform. One of them pointed at him and encouraged the other two to laugh.

The feeder car arrived and Thomas got in, ignoring the taunts he was used to hearing. He sat in a seat across from the doors and adjusted the collar on his tan trench coat. The empty car whooshed into the open and caught up to the train, connecting long enough for him to enter and find another seat. He huffed as he sat, and stretched his neck, cracking it. A woman with a baby carriage made a sour face at the sound and went back to cooing her child. (more…)

The Dale of Five Worlds (Part 3)

By Christian Laforet

The lift descended into the blackened earth. Felicia and Robi-Jo stood rigidly between the armed men. Overhead, through rusted mesh speakers, crappy pop music assaulted their ears.

“So…what do you guys do for fun around here?” Felicia flashed a smile to the man on her left. A grunt and a don’t-talk-to-me glare shot back.

The elevator came to a grinding halt. As soon as the doors opened, the guards shoved the girls out.

“Wow!” Robi whistled as she and Felicia entered a massive foyer lined with various doors on either side, a huge, spiraled staircase at the back and a dozen marble statues stationed at even intervals along the walls.

One of the guards exited the lift with the girls.

“You think that’s The Sensation?” Robi-Jo pointed towards one of the statues.

“Jeez, I hope not. That guy looks a teenager.”

“No talking!” the guard barked.

The armed man led them down a series of labyrinthine corridors until finally coming to a stop at a set of silver doors which stretched almost all the way to the arched ceiling.

Felicia caressed the precious metal of the door. “Holy smokes! Is this real silver?”

“Shut up.” The guard pushed the door open, then nudged the girls inside.

The harem was a lavish display of comfort. Luxurious beds and couches were positioned around the room. Trays of food and a fully stocked cabinet of fine wines and spirits stood at each end of the space.

“Hey, booze!” Felicia started towards the bar. (more…)