2051: a space monstrosity (part viii)

“We are going home,” I announced to the crew onboard the Sagan. “To repair the ship, we’ll need Yah’s help. He’s being brought to the surface as we speak. His chamber will be stored in the cargo area, where Dr. Jackass will release him. We cannot get too close to Yah. He’s highly radioactive, but the Doctor will be equipped with a radiation absorber that I stole from the Ishnarians. You are ordered to remain out of the cargo bay. The Doctor will ask Yah to remain a safe distance from the crew.”

“If he’s God,” Patel asked, “can’t he make more radiation absorbers?”

“Good question Patel,” I replied, “but let’s not overthink this. Yah is not a supernatural being. He is made of real matter and is bound by gravity. That’s why he needs a spaceship to get off this planet. Additionally, it should be noted that Yah can read minds. But it appears that he can only do so at a certain distance. Perhaps up to 60 feet. If possible, stay 60 feet away from the cargo area. I can’t go into any more details, but when I order everyone to be at their stations, you will have 30 seconds to get there. Am I understood?”

“Yes sir!”

“Good. Begin preparations for launch.”

I exited the Sagan to meet with Hazov. Off in the distance, Yah’s chamber was being wheeled towards the ship.

“It’s a shame that you are unable to stay,” Hazov said, “hopefully this is the beginning of a fruitful relationship between our two worlds.”

“Possibly,” I said.

“If you don’t mind me prying, Captain, I thought your ship was having trouble launching.”

I smiled. “Someone forgot to carry the 1.”

“I see,” he said. “Farewell Captain.”

“Farewell Hazov.”

We shook hands and I immediately went to engineering to speak with Commander Mwangi. “Commander, once when you see that the hydrogen drive is back online, fire it up immediately,” I told her.

“But Captain, with lift thrusters firing we’ll be moving at a tremendous speed. We risk burning the hydrogen drive out again.”

“Just do it.”

I went to the bridge and strapped into the navigation station next to Valdez. “What’s the fastest you’ve ever flown a ship?” I asked her.

“About 1/8th the speed of light sir.”

“Prepare to shatter that record.”

The Doctor then came over the intercom. “The chamber is loaded sir,” he said.

“Close cargo bay doors and release Yah from the chamber,” I ordered.

Yah spoke up. “Thank you for releasing me from my chains, Captain,” he said.

“Don’t mention it.”

I monitored controls from the command post. Moments later, Valdez spoke up. “Lift thrusters are online sir!”

“Launch thrusters!”

The Sagan began lifting off the surface and into the atmosphere. I channeled down to engineering. “How’s that hydrogen drive coming along, Nia?!”

“Hydrogen drive is fully operational!”

Then a deeply distraught Hazov came over the radio. “Captain Kananga! Our planet is facing a torrent of earthquakes and tornadoes! We are dying! What have you done?!”

I radioed down to the cargo bay. “Yah! Unleashing the apocalypse on Ishnar wasn’t part of the deal!”

“Sorry Captain,” Yah replied. “The people of Ishnar have broken the covenant. They shall face my wrath.”

Now Yah was about to face my wrath, I thought. “I see,” I responded to Yah. “Dr. Jackass, please report to the bridge.”

I looked over to Valdez. “Have we cleared the atmosphere?” I asked.

“Yes sir, we are about to leave the outer orbit of Ishnar’s moons.”

“Good. Hopefully we can put enough distance between Yah and Ishnar.”

Moments later, Dr. Jackass entered the bridge. “Doctor,” I said, “on my count, open the cargo bay doors.

“Sir?”

I went over the intercom. “Attention crew: please be at your stations,” I ordered, then activated life support systems on all decks.

After 30 seconds expired, I looked back over to Valdez. “Alright Commander, step on it!”

“Excuse me?”

“Damn it Valdez! FLOOR IT!”

As we accelerated to an extraordinary speed, I ordered Dr. Jackass to open cargo doors. Centrifugal systems instantly cut out and we were floating at zero-g.

“Sir!” the Doctor yelled, “all contents in the cargo bay have been suctioned out! Including Yah! Closing doors now!”

As the gravity was being restored, I looked up at the radar. An energy source outside the ship was keeping pace. “Damn it! Yah is on our tail! More speed!”

“But we’re traveling near the speed of light!” Valdez replied.

“Can God go faster than light?!” Dr. Jackass asked.

“I guess we’ll find out!”

The ship began to rattle back and forth. We were under attack. Using his god-like power, Yah came over the intercom. “Is this how you want this to end Captain?” he asked. “Empty space makes a cold grave.”

“Faster Valdez!” I ordered.

“She’ll fly apart Captain!”

“Fly her apart then!”

Alarms and buzzers were going off across the bridge. The vibration intensified. If we were going to die, we were going to die going the speed of light.

Then I looked up at the radar. Another energy source was was gaining on Yah.

The calvary had arrived…

TO BE CONTINUED.

pennies for the dead (part vii)

“Just be warned,” Joe said to me, “Hell ain’t what you think it is.”

“How so?”

“You just have to see.”

Joe, Pete, and I gathered our divinely blessed weapons and proceeded to the cellar in the woods. Joe went into the portal first, then Pete. I hesitantly went in last.

I felt my body break down into its molecular and atomic parts while time and space melted down. Then reality reconstructed itself and the three of us were in a large theater.

On stage was a nude couple: one an elderly woman and the other an average-looking dude with an abnormally large dong. A horse was also on stage. It was a community theater production of Equus.

“Ah shit. Now I know what you mean,” I said.

We rushed out of the theater, side by side, weapons on ready. We were men on a mission, a mission to find…and kill…Jezebel. And more importantly, we had to stop the dead from invading the earthly realm.

Outside the theater, we hailed a cab. The driver stopped and we all piled into the back. “Does anyone want to sit up here with me?” the driver asked. “Son of a bitch,” I said then got in the front seat.

“Where to?” the cabbie asked. “Downtown” Joe replied.

The cab driver then blasted Jon and Vangelis from the radio and was humming along. I turned to the backseat.

“Hell seems more boring and mildly irritating,” I said, “much like Minneapolis.”

“Yeah, but imagine spending spending eternity here,” Joe replied.

He had a point.

The cap pulled up to a downtown bank. We all piled out of the car. “Are you sure that the Empress of Hell and all of Damnation is here?” I asked.

“Of course, with their ungodly interest rates, there’s nowhere else she could be!” Joe said.

So the three of us…a wizard, an idiot, and a guy with a shotgun…walked into the bank lobby. We went up to a loan officer.

“We’re here to see Jezebel,” I tell the man.

“Do you have an appointment?” he asks.

I cocked the shotgun and blasted a hole in his chest. “She’ll be with you shortly,” the loan officer replied.

Security guards rushed into the lobby and began firing indiscriminately. Pete became an absolute beast and started slicing away with his machete. Joe unleashed fire bolts from his staff. I unloaded shell after shell from my shotgun.

As we looked over the absolute slaughter of security guards, with blood and guts strewn about the lobby, Joe nodded his head. “I think our plan is working out pretty good,” he said.

“I’m out of shells,” I said and dropped the shotgun. Then I pulled out the .38 and kissed it. “But I still got six shots.”

We all went into the elevator and Joe hit the button for the 666th floor. “Holy shit!” I said. “How many floors are in this building?”

32 minutes later, we arrived. Jezebel was in a conference call with all of her minions. She was planning the final stages of her Hellish invasion of earth.

“What took you so long?” she asked.

“Your slow ass elevator,” Pete said.

“You think your earthly powers can stop me?”

I lifted the .38. “Nothing can stop these bullets sister.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

pennies for the dead ☠️ (part vi- all the exposition crap)

“So you’ve been in hell for 70 years Joe?” I asked.

“Why is that so hard for you to believe?”

“Did you die first? Or did you go down there for shits and giggles?”

“Unbeknownst to me, my family has been guarding this portal to hell for 200 years. Jezebel was a maid at our estate and I went outside my marriage to be with her. But Jezebel was secretly the devil and she cast me into the portal.”

“So is your body buried in that cemetery or what? If so, how the hell are you standing here with a flesh and blood body?”

“Don’t worry about it. The point is there’s been a rebellion in hell. Spirits are escaping to this earth and if we don’t stop Jezebel, there will be hell on earth!”

“Relax Joe, you’re just describing Toledo,” I said.

“You already made that joke.”

“How can three flesh and blood men stop an army of evil spirits?” Pete asked.

“While in Hell, I learned the ancient dark arts of Mesopotamia,” Joe replied. “I’ve been made a priest in these ancient religions. All I have to do is bless your weapon of choosing, and voila.”

“Can you bless the bullets of my .38?” I asked.

“Sure can.”

“Hell yeah!”

“What about my pocket knife?” Pete asked.

“That’s a pretty lame weapon, Pete.”

“Grab as many weapons as you can carry,” Joe replied.

“What about this machete?” Pete asked.

“What about this IWI Tavor TS12 shotgun?” I asked.

“Yes, yes. I will bless them all. We must hurry though.”

“Thanks Joe!” I said. “By the way, I’ve always wondered: what’s it like having sex with Satan?”

TO BE CONTINUED

pennies for the dead 💀 (part v)

“I don’t know Sheila,” I said, “you’ve faked demonic possessions before.”

“Try me, asswipe!” she replied. Then I pumped a few bullets into her chest.

Nothin

“Alright, so I guess you’re Jezebel,” I said. “Where’s Pete?”

“His soul resides in HELL for all eternity!!!!”

“Good, he’s a Boston sports fan,” I said, “he needs to know how that feels.”

“You will join him soon enough!”

“Sorry sister, I already live in Ohio.”

I pulled the trigger again but I already emptied the revolver. I threw the gun at her and started running down the hallway while screaming for my life.

I hid in the closet under the staircase. Of course, it didn’t take long for her to find me. Using her demonic powers, Jezebel began to eat my soul. I started praying. “God, I regret everything,” I said.

Then God responded. Thunderbolts began raining down on Jezebel from some unseen force and she retreated into the shadows. I was still alive.

I crawled out from the closet. In front of me stood a wizard-like figure dressed in white robes and holding a staff.

“Thank you Jesus,” I said.

“I’m not Jesus,” the figure replied. “I’m Joe Morris.”

I stood up. “Joe Morris? Shouldn’t you be 120 years old?”

“119 to be precise.”

Then Pete ran down the hallway. “Ty! I’m still alive!” he said.

“I thought you went to hell,” I replied.

“I did. It ain’t such a bad place. I got to meet Dave Cowens.”

“He’s still alive dumbass.”

“Are you sure? By the way, did you piss your pants?”

“I did. It’s a side effect of my elavil prescription. Where did Jezebel go?”

“She went back to hell to lick her wounds,” Joe Morris said. “We must go to the cellar, return to hell, and make sure she never returns.”

“Fuck that,” I said. “This ain’t my problem. I’ll just collect the money from Dorthy and be on my merry way.”

Right then, a possessed Dorthy flew down from the ceiling and attacked me. While I fought her off, Joe Morris released more thunderbolts from his staff. Finally, she flew off of me and began writhing on the ground before whatever cursed spirit that possessed her left her body. Dorthy was dead.

“Mother!” Pete screamed.

“She hasn’t been your mother for a long time,” Joe said.

I took a moment to gather myself.

“Alright,” I said, “I need to change my pants before we go to the cellar,”

TO BE CONTINUED…

pennies for the dead (part iv)

I quietly hoped that Pete lived a lonely, miserable life. He never mentioned anything about a spouse. His mother was barely cognizant of his existence. Honestly, he seemed to be a stupid sack of shit and nobody would have missed him.

But I didn’t want anyone reporting his disappearance. What would I have told the police? That he was sucked into some black hole in the middle of the woods?

I had to find Pete. And finding Pete probably led to solving the mystery of Joe Morris’ death.

Actually, I could have walked away from this entire thing and no one would have been the wiser. But I knew the spirits were listening in. I had to get to the bottom of this thing before they got to me.

I picked up the spirit box. “Listen here, damn you,” I said, “I know you can hear me. I want some answers! Where’s Pete? Who’s Jezebel?!”

The spirit box began scanning through the channels before spitting out “suck.my.penis.”

That’s it, I thought. I reloaded the .38 and went back to the Morris Estate.

It was 12:30am. I pounded on Dorthy’s door. “Is it the milk man?” I heard her ask. “Come in!”

I opened the door and there was Dorthy playing Trivial Pursuit alone. “Damn it Dorthy!” I said, “I need answers! Who’s Jezebel?!”

“Jezebel? She’s been dead for 20 years.”

“Records say she died in 1951. Stop jackin me around!” I pulled out the .38. I meant business.

The candles around the aged mansion began to flicker. Random objects started to move: books flipped open, mirrors were rattling, the record player was blasting Lionel Richie’s ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’. Dorthy meanwhile went into a trance. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she backed up into the shadows.

I turned on the spirit box. “Alright Jezebel! I know you’re on to me,” I said. “Talk to me! Let’s settle this thing!”

Suddenly the doors flew open. A woman floated into the room. Her eyes were as dark as night.

I lifted the .38.

But it was Sheila.

“Sheila, you’re drunk,” I said. “Go home!”

“I am not Sheila,” the demonic voice said. “I am Jezebel!”

TO BE CONTINUED

pennies for the dead (part iii?)

“Sorry babe,” I said to Sheila. “I got the whiskey dick.”

“It’s alright, I’m used to it,” she replied. “Maybe you shouldn’t drink before sex.”

“I wouldn’t know. Never tried it.”

Sheila climbed out of bed and got dressed. As she put her shirt on, she noticed the crap on the floor. “What’s this stuff?” she asked.

“Don’t touch it,” I said, “that’s a spirit box and a Ouija board. You might awaken a demon from hell. Trust me, that’s one can of worms you can’t close.”

“What are you doing with that?”

“It’s some case that I’m scamming *ahem* I mean helping some old lady solve.”

“Sounds dangerous.”

“Oh yeah, totally.” I looked over to the clock and noticed it was 7:30pm. “Speaking of, gotta get to work.” I got out of bed and threw my pants on. “You can stay here for the night,” I told Sheila, “but remember: DO NOT touch that damn Ouija board.”

I was running late. I had to meet Pete at the Morris estate where he was going to shed some light on Jezebel’s identity.

I arrived 45 minutes later. It was nearly pitch black. I grabbed my flask and flashlight and got to work. “This better be worth my time,” I told Pete.

“I told you that you’re not gonna need that .38,” he said.

“You let me be the judge of that.”

We began venturing into the woods. There was allegedly a cellar back behind the mansion that contained the remains of Jezebel. “I’ve been told all my life that this is an old Indian burial ground,” Pete said.

“Why didn’t you tell me that before I pissed on that hedge?” I asked.

“There it is,” he said. I shinned my flashlight in that direction. The cellar was only a few yards ahead.

“How far down is it?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I never been down there.”

I lit up a cigarette. “You go first,” I said.

Pete gathered up his courage and proceeded towards the cellar. He took a deep breath before going down the stairs. The cellar was deep. Too deep for my liking.

I put one hand on the .38.

Finally we reached the bottom. We were standing in a wide, musty corridor with multiple chambers. “What the hell was this place used for?” I asked Pete.

“Supposedly this was a torture chamber for runaway soldiers during the Civil War. Many slaves lost their lives down here.”

“Pete, I’m beginning to think that your family deserves to be cursed.”

“What’s this?” Pete asked. I shined the flashlight over to an old fire pit littered with ash and bones.

Then the cellar door slammed close.

I pulled out the 38. “Stay calm,” I said.

“I told you there’s something strange going on here!”

“Shut up Pete.”

“I can’t die down here! The Celtics are in the playoffs!”

“Pete, so help me god, if you don’t shut up I’ll shoot you myself!”

Suddenly my flashlight went out. Then something grabbed Pete. “Damn you Brad Stevens!!!!!!!” he screamed before disappearing into the dark.

I started firing indiscriminately into the shadows.

“Pete!” I screamed out.

There was only silence.

The flashlight kicked back on and I shined it all around the corridor. Pete was nowhere to be found. “Fuck this,” I said as I sprinted back up the stairs and to the car.

I floored the Geo Metro back to the apartment. I rushed in through the door and began frantically looking for the Ouija board. “Damn it Sheila!” I yelled. “What did you do with the Ouija board?”

Sheila stumbled out of the kitchen with a glass of wine. “The planchette began moving around,” she said as she slurred her words. “It started spelling out ‘You’re next’, ‘Hail Satan’, and ‘I heart ass’ I didn’t know what that meant so I threw it into the fireplace.”

“Sheila,” I said, “I might’ve opened a portal to hell.”

TO BE CONTINUED

pennies 4 the dead (part II)

I couldn’t shake the feeling of being followed.

I had a hunch that it was the repo man coming to take the Geo Metro. I pulled out my .38 and shouted into the dark. “I have your filthy money!” I yelled. “Show yourself!”

Out of the shadows, I heard a thick Boston accent: “Are you Mista Cahson?” it asked.

“What’s it to ya PAL?!”

The figure stepped forth slowly from the shadows. He was tossing a baseball into the air.

“I’m Mista Pete Morris,” the figure said. “I’m son of Dorthy Morris, your client. I understand that you’ve been taking my mutha’s money.”

“She’s been giving it to me in larger amounts than I’ve been asking. That’s hardly stealing,” I replied.

“Hey ohhh, buddy! I ain’t said nuthin about stealing.”

“Then you better make your point. I have a .38 aiming between your eyeballs.”

Pete straightened up his jacket and began stammering nervously. “All I’m asking is that you let me in on the cut,” he said.

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “I work better alone. Besides, fuck the Red Sox.”

“I’m tellin ya,” Pete said, “there’s somethin goin on with Dorthy.”

“Yeah, it’s called dementia.”

“No. There’s something else goin on up there at that estate. Something that can’t be explained, not of this world. Some things just can’t be stopped by bullets, ya know?”

Pete then tossed the baseball again and I shot it out of the air.

“I haven’t found one yet,” I said.

“Look, I have all the answers you’re looking for,” Pete continued. “The death of Joe Morris is deeper than you think.”

I put the gun back into my holster. “Buddy,” I said, “if you’re trying to grift your rich elderly mother out of her money, you’re gonna have to find another angle.”

As I turned around to finish my walk home, Pete spoke up again. “I know about Jezebel,” he said.

“So do I pal,” I said as I continued walking, “she was Dorthy’s sister who died of pneumonia a year before Joe’s death. She was 20 years old.”

“That’s not the whole story,” Pete replied, “in fact, she wasn’t Dorthy’s sister.”

I stopped, turned around, and pulled out a cigarette. “Alright bucko,” I said, “now you’ve got my attention.”

TO BE CONTINUED

a quiet life (part iV)

Well I’ll be damned.

It looks like we’re actually getting somewhere. But without a plot, conflict, hero, or villain, the story simply becomes another character study, therefore making the main thrust of the story “man against himself” or some pretentious bullshit like that.

That being said, let’s close this thing out…

***

After returning home from my weekly STD checkup, there was a package on my doorstep. It was addressed to my neighbor, but I took inside and opened it anyway.

In the box was a stuffed teddy bear and a letter from someone named “grandma”. I thought that was a stupid name but continued reading anyway. The letter said:

Dear Mikey,

Grandma and grandpa love you very much. We hope that you feel better soon.

Love,

Grandma and Grandpa

I put the contents back into the box and poured a drink. I was supposed to start taking medication for something called “syphilis” but I threw that shit into the trash.

“Maybe I should return the box,” I thought. But I wasn’t so sure. I lit up a cigarette, shot up heroin, took a bump of coke, played a round of Russian Roulette, then taped up the box.

As I was laying the box on their doorstep, my neighbor opened the door. “Get the fuck off my porch,” he said.

“This is YOUR package asshole!” I replied. “UPS wrongly dropped it off at my house.”

“Why should I believe you?” he asked after he pulled out his .38. “You’ve played your drums, lit off fireworks, and engaged in target practice with your shotgun at ungodly hours of the night. You’ve also ding dong ditched my ass, used my WiFi, and played peeping Tom on my wife. Well guess what PAL! You’re now on MY property and am well within MY right to blast YOUR ass!”

I raised my hands. “Now calm down John,” I said. “We’re both sensible adults. We can talk this out.”

“No,” he replied. “I’M the sensible adult. You’re an asshole.”

John then fired his .38 into my gut and I laid there bleeding out in his front yard. He picked up the package and opened it.

“Well I’ll be a son of a bitch,” he said, “you finally did something right in your life.”

I lifted my head up while holding my guts in. “Please call an ambulance John,” I said.

“Sure, I’ll get right on that.” John then looked up into the sky and smiled. “It’s nice finally getting some peace and quiet around here,” he said.

He went back inside and shut the door.

THE END