“Okay, folks, stay close. Our next stop is Techno Wonderland,” the museum guide said. He was a scruffy guy with a greying bushy mustache that belonged on a failed 70’s … Continue reading The Arsonist’s Flywheel
“Say it again,” said Rich. “It’s impossible,” said Butch. “Oooh! One more time,” said Rich. “This ain’t a game, Rich. I ain’t as smart as half the people I know … Continue reading The Hanged Men
Society. Civilization. Humanity. These words used to mean something. They echoed a promise. A contract between everyone that no matter how many people there are, or how different, we would … Continue reading Not Yet Done
The story starts like this: “Star Date 00412. Captain’s Log. We’re stranded now. There’s no way to get back to Earth. Mars will be our grave. All the cities have … Continue reading The Gull and the Raven
This is a transcript of a never-aired TV promo for Complete Defense Solutions’ new mini drone, the CD-3. Notes in the margins are confirmed to be from the Producer of … Continue reading Has This Ever Happened To You?
The Origin of Evan Singh
“I met her in middle school. She came from a broken home, though I didn’t know it at the time. When I met her I thought she was smart and pretty and shy. Kept to herself, didn’t have a ton of friends, a lot less than she could have. She was really nice. I was a loner myself, didn’t have any real friends other than you. But she made me smile. I liked her, but not in a school boy crush kind of way. She just made everything seem better.
“I found out about her home life in high school. We had gone to places with friends and she’d been to my house, but I’d never been to hers. I was curious to see where she lived, but the look on her face when I asked her told me right away she thought it was a bad idea. I didn’t figure out why until later, when it was midnight and we were sitting by a pond in a park and she told me she didn’t want to go home because she was afraid. Afraid of her dad. I told her that she couldn’t just run away. People would worry about her. She said she didn’t care. She had to get far away from there and never go back. Then she cried for a while and I didn’t know what to do. I thought maybe I should hug her, but it didn’t seem like the right thing to do at the time.
“After an hour, she decided that running wasn’t the answer and I walked her home. When she said goodbye… I don’t know. It was like she was saying it for the last time. I waved and pretended to walk away, but for some reason I decided to hide and listen. I don’t know what I was listening for. Screams maybe? Drunken yelling? I waited and waited but I heard nothing and I went home when the lights finally went out. She missed school for a few days after that and I got really worried.
“I went by her house on the weekend hoping to catch her there. When I rang the doorbell I heard his voice calling her name. She opened the door a minute later and she did not look good. She was surprised to see me. She told me I shouldn’t have come and that her dad would get real mad if he knew a boy had come to see her. I told her I wanted to help her, but she shook her head and shut the door in my face. I was at a loss for what to do. I thought about calling child protective services but I didn’t even know what to say. I had no evidence to show them or anything.
“After she missed a few more days of school I finally got fed up. I dove into the internet and managed to find out that her grandma on her mother’s side lived nearby. I looked her up and paid her a visit. She seemed very surprised to see an Indian boy on her doorstep but when I said I was a friend of Anna’s, she let me in. I told her about her granddaughter and that I didn’t know what to do but I really wanted to help her. I asked if it were possible for her to take Anna away from dad, adopt her or something. She told me that it had all been tried before, but nothing ever stuck with that man. He’d gotten away with so much, she told me, anger in her eyes. With Anna’s mother gone, he had sole custody of his daughter and without Anna willing to testify to his abuse, there was nothing the system could do.
“But there was hope in her eye. She told me a story, a local legend, about a dark figure that had terrorized the outskirts of the city going back almost a century. This person first appeared in the early twenties, but they kept showing up long after they should have passed away. The name Emerald City Clubber wasn’t the first, but it stuck. The Clubber had been responsible for dozens of deaths through the decades. He or she had the same modus operandi, and the same murder weapon. Other than that, every case was wildly different. The locations, the victims, the times. All seemingly random. I wondered why she was telling me this weird story when she looked at me and told me that there was one commonality among his victims. They were, all of them, truly the scum of the earth. Predators, abusers, even slavers. Every death made the community that much safer for those who lived. I swear she didn’t blink while she told me that part.
“Anyway, she said that the man or woman who committed these murders was never found, and every so often, someone else ends up dead the same way.”
“Holy shit. That’s fucking intense,” said James.
“So, after I went home, I had a realization that changed my life. The law wasn’t going to help Anna. No one was going to help her. The only one who could was someone like the Clubber. Someone who was willing to do anything to keep people safe.”
“Whoa whoa, wait a minute. You’re not about to confess to a murder are you?” asked James.
“Of course not. The guy’s still alive. Did a few years in the slammer and then probation. But, someone paid him a visit a few days after I talked with Anna’s grandma. Someone who caught him while he was stumbling home drunk as hell and beat the crap out of him until he understood what he had to do to make things right. Next day he turned himself in to the police and Anna went to live with her grandma. So far, it’s been happily ever after for everyone. ‘Cept for Doug of course. Did I mention the dude’s name is Doug?”
“No, but now it all makes sense,” said James.
“Once upon a time, there was a good little boy who went to sleep.” “I want a real bedtime story please.” Mae Lin sighed a frustrated sigh. “Why do you … Continue reading SKOPS