Shared Universe

The Fifth Monday Four: Ounta – Part One

Jason Abbott

Aen crouched in the brush, surveying the path that curved between massive redwood trunks and lesser conifers. The young hunter, no longer a child but still absent a beard, concealed himself beside a rotten and shattered pine. Having been there since dawn, dusk now deepened the shadows that filtered down from the towering forest canopy above.

Green eyes still focused on the path, Aen’s finger touched the knapped flint head of his best throwing spear. He left the weapon on the ground beside his knee to glance at the ash wood shaft of his second javelin. It leaned upright against the stump, beside a stout fighting spear.

Aen heard a shift in the birdsongs around him, and turned a keen ear to listen as the calls fell silent one-by-one. His gaze returning to path and forest, the growing hush was interrupted by a chittering treetop squirrel. He saw it drop a pinecone to the ground before skittering branch to branch.

His tanned limbs and back moved with a controlled, lean strength. Shifting his squat in a buckskin loincloth, Aen licked a finger and tested the air. Confirming he was still downwind of the path, he crouched deeper in the leaves and took hold of the spear on the forest floor beside him.

Slow, padded footfalls barely disturbed the carpet of orange pine needles upon the animal path. Yet Aen heard their approach, and eyed the bend that disappeared around a great redwood trunk. (more…)

Hole in the Wall: The Fifth Monday Three – Part Four

By Edele Winnie

“Jocelyn, is it really you?” Carol asked the white-coated woman up on the catwalk. “I am so…. muddled.” Carol ran her hands through her brown hair but the confusion remained. They were surrounded by buzzing machines, tubes and metal catwalks. “What is this place?”

Jocelyn laughed. “It’s definitely not the bank. The Jocelyn who works there with you is just one version of me. A sister, if you like.”

Carol pointed at one of the large glass tubes. It was filled with green liquid and an exact copy of Carol herself, floating languidly. Beside that there were more tubes and copies. Carol shook her head, unable to find words. Beside her, Gary shifted into a quivering red cylinder shape.

“I see you’ve met Gary. He’s a portal jumper. A creature that can transfer between dimensions without decomposing.”

“You make me sound so dull.” Gary complained and transformed into a star shape. “I’m actually a star.”

Everything seemed to be swirling in her head and Carol looked for a place to sit. She settled on the bottom step of a metal ladder that led to a catwalk above.

Gary changed into a rhombus. “There was a cloh enforcer right behind us.” (more…)

Hole in the Wall: The Fifth Monday Three – Part Two

Ben Van Dongen

Gary rolled into the portal and fell to the ground, landing with a splat. “Ahhh! Damn that hurts! Tanya? Where are you? That crazy thing threw acid or something at me!” Composing himself, he became a ball again.

The ground was a piece of land, ten metres around, floating in the ether. The bare earth beneath it bowed out, like the bottom of a bowl, but at a sharper angle and uneven.

A large tree sat in the middle, stretching up to the empty nothingness, its roots dangling below the platform. Shrubs and tall grasses sprouted all around, making it look like the tree was dug out of a forest, taking the ground coverage with it.

Hundreds of other platforms floated in the void, stretching out into blackness. Each of them had a single tree, roots dangling below the convex bottom, nothing tethering them, nothing holding them up.

“Tanya? Did you hear me?” Gary formed a cube, a tall cylinder, and went back to a ball. “Tanya!” (more…)

Hole in the Wall: Fifth Monday Three – Part One

Edele Winnie

The man in the long coat shuddered and his left arm fell off. The breeze was toying with his long black hair, pulling it off his head and whirling it away. His other arm detached and hit the ground with a dull thud.

“The hole in the wall,” he said. His teeth were drooling out of his mouth, and falling away. His nose slid off and his eyeballs rolled out and splatted to the ground. “Hole in the wall,” his bloody mouth said and then his legs crumpled and what was left of his body thumped to the ground.

His clothing seemed to unravel and the flesh began to slide off of the torso, leaving shiny white bones. The blood and flesh withered and vanished as the bones settled and then began to crumble. In just a few moments, all trace of him was gone.

Carol was rooted to the ground. At first she’d been afraid, then horrified, and now disbelieving. She took a few tentative steps towards the spot where the body had vanished. When ferns started sprouting before her eyes, she backed away, her thin legs shaking. She stumbled and had to grab on to a nearby wall to remain standing. Somehow she managed to find her way back to the bank. She tried telling Jocelyn, a fellow teller and her friend, but Jocelyn just laughed and accused Carol of drinking on her lunch.

 

The rest of the day played out like a parody of normal life. Customers came and went; the clock charted the extremely slow voyage of the afternoon. The people lined up to do their banking didn’t seem real. Carol felt they were robots, or paid actors. When it was finally time to go home she stood at the bus stop and shivered even though the breeze was warm. The same breeze that had torn away the man’s black hair. (more…)

The Fifth Monday – Hard On’s Curse Conclusion

By Ben Van Dongen

Chad struggled to wake up. His dream, something about a hot Quebecois redhead with a Charles Bronson moustache, kept tugging him back to sleep. Yawning, his jaw cracked, and water slipped into his open mouth. The half of his face he wasn’t sleeping on was wet and cold. The sensation, along with a burning desire to take a piss, roused him.

Burning. The word repeated in his head. Burning. It was distasteful, making him frown and fidget. Burn. He smelled smoke, or char. Burner. The word made him sneer.

“Ah!” He jumped up, running in a circle, kicking up snow, screaming and clutching his bottom.

The grumbled, deep voice of the snoozing demon joined the yells. “Shut the fuck up Hard-On, I’m still fucking sleeping.” The words, accompanied by small fires, caught dry branches and grass in the patch on the ground, melted by the demons heat.

“My asshole is on fire! My asshole, it burns!” (more…)

The Fifth Monday Two – Hard On’s Curse – Part 3

By Edele Winnie

The long flight to Quebec City was torturous. Cardinal Molson, nearly eighty years old and fortified by a glass of angel semen in water, was a constant attraction on the aircraft.  Women hovered around him like flies on dead meat. Three of the male flight attendants offered to give him a tour of the private areas of the aircraft- or maybe it was their private areas in the aircraft? It required a lot of forgiving, but Molson was up to it. It also helped distract him from his travelling companion. They were flying first class so Mr. T was already over-filled on complimentary beer and little packages of crackers. He was sweating profusely- the skanky smell of beer cold filtered through a human body with a bushy layer of greasy black body hair. The cardinal was named Molson but Mr. T was Molson inside and out. He was so drunk he was eating the crackers without taking the plastic wrappers off.

When he heard the commotion near the back of the plane the cardinal suspected the flight attendants were scrapping over him. Angel semen seemed to be some kind of crazy aphrodisiac.   But this time he was wrong.

“In the name of Allah!” a bearded man shouted. “American Imperialists and crusaders will pay the price!” He had some kind of button thing in his hand, with his thumb poised ready to press.

People were screaming and swooning. Cardinal Molson heard some praying to a Christian God and that snapped him out of his reverie. He raised his right hand- he wasn’t sure why at the time- and a bolt of white light came out and zoomed towards the bomber. And then the light was gone and so was the man. People blinked and rubbed at their eyes. The trouble maker had vanished. Cardinal Molson wiped the tingly palm of his hand on his black pant leg.   Angel semen indeed.

Far below a man with a beard hit the metal roof of a snowy barn and slid off, bones smashed after a freefall from thirteen thousand feet. Fourteen year old farm girl Ashley Bloomfield looked up just in time to be crushed by the falling pulverized body, killing her instantly.   One virgin, anyway. (more…)

The Fifth Monday: Hard-On’s Curse – Part One

By Ben Van Dongen

Chad sat at a scarred counter, behind bulletproof glass. The pawn shop was empty and he was on the verge of beating his Joust high score, on his phone. His boss, Mr. T, was in the back office doing the day’s banking, and probably, he thought, some blow.

“Hard-on!” Mr. T’s yell was accompanied by a bang, crash, and swearing.

“I pity the fool who calls me Hard-on.” Chad ignored the continuing swearing that grew louder.

“Cut that shit out.”

Chad put one hand up, the other was furiously tapping his phone screen. “Don’t call me Hard-on and I won’t point out that you go by the name of an 80s icon.” (more…)