Friday, November 22, 2019
By Randy Romero (Randy Benivegna)
Trevor Booth had an awful but unbreakable habit of eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. Sometimes it was unavoidable. Dependent on public transportation, Trevor couldn’t help but overhear people’s chitchat. But he also couldn’t deny that listening to these conversations was a guilty pleasure for him.
Maybe it was a way to make up for his own lack of companionship. Trevor was a paradox. He was lonely and he craved conversation, but he typically loathed people. He did have a few friends, but they were few and far between.
That morning on the train, he overheard a heated domestic dispute taking place over a cell phone. The conversation was one-sided since Trevor couldn’t hear on the other end, but it sounded like the woman’s boyfriend was breaking up with her. And judging by her profane remarks, she wasn’t taking the news too well.
He also overheard a man talking to his friend about how his wife left him for her younger, more virile yoga instructor. He overheard two teenagers, who were probably on winter break, gossiping about their classmates and talking about their boyfriends.
In the seat across from him, two strangers argued back and forth. One was a businessman–suit, tie, briefcase in his lap, newspaper rolled up in one hand. The other man was a bit younger, more dressed down. They were heatedly discussing politics, which turned into a debate about climate change, which somehow segued into a debate about vaccinations.
He listened intently to two women gabbing about their husbands and kids. The inane chatter was enough to bore most people to death. But he couldn’t stop himself from listening.
“I told my kids I’m older than Google and they didn’t believe me,” one of the women said. “They think it’s been around forever.”
“Kids have it easy these days,” the other woman said. “We didn’t have Google when we were growing up. We didn’t even have computers.”
“My oldest daughter wants a cell phone for Christmas. I’m putting my foot down. She’s only eleven. She’s too young for a cell phone.”
The rumble of the train ceased and the doors open. A man got on and sat next to Trevor. The man carried a wretched odor. The smell of death. He looked sickly, his eyes were bloodshot. He leaned in, close enough for Trevor to feel his cold, disgusting breath on his cheek.
“We all have it here,” he whispered. “We’re all infected.”
Trevor didn’t respond, just stared straight ahead. He’d dealt with his share of weirdos and creeps on the train, and he knew the best course of action was to ignore them. But that didn’t stop the man’s eerie words from echoing through his mind.
Trevor’s stop was next. He just sat quietly and waited it out.
The train’s brakes screeched as it came to the next stop. The man stood up and Trevor got a better look at his eyes. There was a dark red, almost black color clouding the whites of his eyes.
Trevor got off after him, and looked around. The eyes… Everyone in the train station had the same discoloration and seemed to be walking around in same kind of trance. He ran into the bathroom to get away from everyone and caught a glimpse of his reflection in a mirror, saw that his eyes were turning red too.
“We all have it here,” he repeated the man’s ominous words. “We’re all infected.”
Thursday, November 21, 2019
By Randy Romero
Kayla Wren–a short seven-year-old girl with a pallid complexion and shoulder-length strawberry blonde hair–stood at her parent’s window, staring out at the empty street below. Her eyes shifted back in forth between the desolate street and the cloudless sky.
It was a strikingly sunny day in early May, but Kayla wasn’t surprised to see the neighborhood deserted. Kayla knew something. Something even her parents didn’t know. Something her neighbors never saw coming.
Max and Alyssa Wren woke up just after 10 o’clock. It was a Saturday and Max usually slept in as late as he could on his only day off.
Alyssa was the first to notice Kayla standing at the window.
“Kayla? Are you sleepwalking again?” her mother asked, rubbing sleep dust from her eyes.
But Kayla was wide awake. She looked awfully pale and seemed distant, yet calm, serene. Eerily calm.
Kayla had heard her mother’s voice, but didn’t turn to face her. She just gazed skyward at the blistering sun.
“Today is a beautiful day,” Kayla declared. “We should make the most of it. It will be our last.”
Alyssa gasped, Max sat up straight in bed.
“Kayla! What an awful thing to say,” Alyssa chided. “Why would you say such a terrible thing?”
It wasn’t just what Kayla had said. The frank, matter-of-fact way that Kayla spoke frightened her mother, chilled her to the bone.
“But it’s true,” Kayla said.
“Who told you that?” Max asked.
“Who, sweetie? Who?” Alyssa asked.
“Who are you talking about?”
“The Dark Men. They’re coming to get us. They got Mr. and Mrs. Harper next-door. They got the Sanchez family across the street. Everybody on this block is gone. And we’re next. There’s no stopping them. ”
Max and Alyssa exchanged looks of concern, then turned their attention to Kayla, who still had her back to her parents.
“Today is a beautiful day,” Kayla repeated. “We should make the most of it…”
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Genre: Science Fiction
By Randy Romero
Rust Cogdale was the first to spot the anomalous shapes in the sky. He was standing outside his house on the veranda, puffing his cigar and blowing out rings of smoke.
Rust had never seen anything like it before. They weren’t ordinary aircrafts. They were irregularly shaped and diverse in size. Some were round and disk-shaped. Some looked like giant fighter jets, but with a bizarre, unearthly features. One metallic spacecraft hovered above them all, bigger than a house.
Rust’s neighbor, Sheila Barnes, joined him outside. She gazed in disbelief at the enigmatic space crafts that loomed over them.
“What in God’s name is that?” Sheila cried.
“I don’t think God has anything to do with this,” Rust said, shaking his head.
The otherworldly spaceships blotted out the sun, engulfing the town in darkness. It was three in the afternoon, but it might as well have been midnight.
Other people soon joined them and before Rust knew it, the whole neighborhood was gazing skyward, mystified by these technologically superior space crafts.
Kaitlin Caruso stood on her porch, huddling her children who looked like scared rabbits.
“Government?” Kaitlin asked. “Are they military?”
“No way can the government hide something that big from us,” Rust said. “I served as a Marine for eight years. That sure as hell doesn’t look like military to me.”
Tom Holt shouted from down the street. “It’s not just us! It’s the whole damn city! They’ve got us completely surrounded!”
The situation reminded Rust of those old black-and-white Sci-Fi movies he used to watch as a kid. The idea of an alien invasion used to scare the life out of him. But this was no movie. And Rust had a funny feeling that these aliens didn’t come in peace.
The space crafts cast a terrifying shadow over the whole city. This finally answered the daunting question of whether or not life truly existed on other planets. But the question on Rust’s mind was, “Why are they here? What are their intentions?”
He didn’t have to wait long for his answer as a laser beam from the largest ship reduced the town’s clock tower to ashes.
The first shots had been fired. They had come to declare war.
People rushed inside their houses, seeking shelter. Rust went back inside just in time to see the latest news on TV. The whole city was under attack. Seconds later, the signal was lost and every channel was on standby.
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
By Randy Romero
The cellar was jet black and freezing. Its walls were soundproof. Not like it mattered. The property was secluded, tucked away on the back roads of Westlake. No one was around to hear anything.
The Surgeon’s polished equipment glistened under the dim lights. His patient was splayed out on an operating table that was bolted to the floor.
“All those charlatans. Those sycophantic simpletons. They praise the wicked, the immoral, the corrupt. They worship false idols. And they dare to call me a monster. Foolish parasites. The media calls me The Surgeon because they lack creativity. It’s funny though, they actually got things right for once. Score one for those hate mongering bastards. Should the police ever apprehend me and reveal my true identity to the world, the media can gave themselves a congratulatory pat on the back.
I’m a surgeon by day, and a killer by night. A sinner and a saint. An angel to some, a demon to others. To my patients, I am a God, a savior. To my victims, I am the devil. For every life I save, I take one in return. Confused? I’m sure you are. Why would I dedicate all my energy to saving lives only to take the lives of others? Well, I could give you a load of crap, make up some excuse. But the truth is, there is no reason. I kill simply because I enjoy it. I’m sure they’ll say I’m mad, crazy. But I’m as sane as I’ve ever been. The only feeling better than saving a life is taking one. It gives you a rush like you wouldn’t believe.
I remember Grady Miller. He was my first. I cut him open, took out all the organs, and sewed him back up. No wonder they call me The Surgeon. Grady was the first…of many. If they ever do catch me, I’ll probably be sentenced to death. I wonder what will happen when they execute me. Hell won’t want me. Heaven won’t know what to make of me. But both will be in awe of my work.”
The priest–bound to the operating table–was speechless. He had that helpless look that The Surgeon had seen innumerable times before. He called it the death stare. That look of fear but also acknowledgement as they accepted their death was imminent.
“Well, Padre, thanks for listening to my confession. I don’t expect you to absolve me. I don’t desire redemption or absolution. Now, let’s get this show on the road…”
The Surgeon took a razor-sharp scalpel from the instrument tray and slit his “patient” down the middle, the blood spurting through the air in quick jets. The Surgeon wiped some of the blood from his face and checked his watch.
“Time of death, 12:14 AM.”