Experiment #380

Wipple Gang: Prospect Part 1

“I’d give her three days,” I said, “till this stink hole breaks her.” But I was wrong, it took a lot longer’n that. 

Lots a lost souls flew out here to strike it rich in the Plaskar deposits that were “everywhere.” Only problem was any vein big enough for a rumor to travel back to Earth was twice bled dry by the time the dreamers got here.

Beyond the fortune hunters. no one came here ‘less they … Read More

Experiment #379

Awakening Part 2

“One time the Mounties were playing hockey and one broke a bone and we were like, ‘Glad you’re not American, eh?’”

“And a rather terrible stereotype…” Samuel’s mind raced. He’d known Thaddeus for years. “a useless anecdote… Several accents in the space of a few lines. Oh, no… he’s—the author—he’s a hack—and he’s editing…”

Samuel felt the tomb falling down around him. The ancient stone and inscription melted into an alien planet with bright purple walls and … Read More

Experiment #378

Awakening Part 1

Samuel dropped to the cold, stone floor. “It—it’s safe,” he said.

He stood in a dim, underground chamber with hand-smoothed walls. An intricate carving lay ten meters ahead of him. Thin and ghostly, in the twilight beyond his lantern’s reach, he focused hard on making out the bits and bobs of the language he had studied half his life. 

He was an independent thinker; one the University couldn’t stop from completing this “fool’s errand.” If he was … Read More

Experiment #377

Frieeeeendship

The zombie traveled deep into the nuclear winter. The cold no longer bothered him nor made his limbs ache, but the nights when his body froze he had to wait for it to thaw to move on. The cat had followed him from the Southern coast all the way up to this winter wasteland. 

He moaned to himself as he shuffled forward with the cat still following. She sometimes left for days on end, hunting rats … Read More

Experiment #376

Meooooowww

The zombie shuffled along intent on nothing and nowhere. His insatiable hunger for brains couldn’t be satisfied here. Even at night he kept shuffling forward till he tripped and rolled head over heals to a stop. Having lost the sense of his limbs when he was infected, killed, and then revived by the zombie contagion, he could not tell whether they were all attached or not. He could see his right hand’s silhouette, ring finger … Read More

Experiment #375

Cat Braaains

Long after most of humanity had hidden itself away in the mountains to the west and ceded the land to the hordes, a lone, zombie shuffled through a trailer park. His horde had disbanded long ago and it had been months since he’d seen another zombie, years since he’d seen a human. He shuffled past double wide homes ripped apart by apocalyptic events till he neared one still mostly intact. 

He had no need for food … Read More

Experiment #370

The Valiant Part 11

Hank stared back.

“You took my boy from me,” Mr. Hess said. His voice quavered with emotion and with the effort the stroke forced him to put into every word. “And I want to see you burn in hell for it,” he said. He looked down at the floor for a long moment. He turned to look at Mr. Sturgess, at Sarah and Jimmy sitting behind the defendant’s desk, and at the judge before turning back … Read More

Experiment #369

The Valiant Part 10

“I never turned back to help him,” Hank continued. “I went straight ahead, praying only for Catherine and the baby. And the next thing I knew, the place exploded, just like I said…

“I took Catherine to the hospital. The baby, Rachel, she…she never had a chance. Catherine almost died too, her womb…ripped open like spaghetti. It was a miracle she bore Sarah a year later.”

Mr. Sturgess stood and though he faltered here and there, went … Read More

Experiment #368

The Valiant Part 9

“Please answer the question,” Mr. Sturgess said and shook the bag for emphasis. 

“It looks to be my spare grappling gun,” Hank said quietly.

“How do you think it got there?”

Hank looked down.

“How, Mr. Wipple, did this get in Bobby’s hand? Did he take it from you? But you and I both know that didn’t happen. Why then, Mr. Wipple, was Bobby lying on the floor holding a grappling gun? Yourgrappling gun?”

Mr. Sturgess leaned forward onto his feet … Read More

Experiment #367

The Valiant Part 8

“I called my contact, Sammy Sparts. He was a third-rate gangster and a first-rate drunk. He told me to meet him in an old warehouse south of the city. So I went.

“Sparts held a gun to my wife’s head. He seemed high, souped-up on some drug. But he didn’t have any men with him. It seemed odd, but I was too focused on my pregnant wife to worry about it.

“I tried to talk him down, … Read More

Experiment #366

The Valiant Part 7

Mr. Sturgess suppressed a sigh. “Please be more specific.”

“As I was trying to explain, I had kept my identity secret. I was worried some criminal or nut job would come after my wife, my family. I’d just helped put away the two youngest sons of the Ganglia family, and they were champing at the bit to find something they could use to get me.

“But since my identity was secret, when the merchandising company tried to … Read More

Experiment #364

The Valiant Part 5

“No, Sarah! Listen,” Hank said. “It didn’t happen the way Sparts said.”

“Well, how didit happen?”

Without warning, the door opened. A police officer, one a few decades younger than the guards, entered. He passed Sarah and Jimmy, stepped to the side of the bed, and took off his cap. Under his arm he held a stack of papers. “I’m real sorry about this,” he said. “Are you Mr. Henry Alexander Wipple?”

Hank blinked at him and forced down … Read More

Experiment #363

The Valiant Part 4

As soon as word leaked that the police had found a guy in a Valiant suit, the news media, well-wishers, and protesters swarmed. He could have been a crackpot in a costume (and probably was). But given his age, his location, and the old, hand-stitched costume he wore, the court of public opinion made its ruling: he was The Valiant.

A few officers who’d been on the force since The Valiant’s glory days made it their … Read More

Experiment #362

The Valiant Part 3

The next day it rained again. When Jimmy got off the bus at the end of the day, Hank did not meet him with an umbrella. All Jimmy found was a hastily scrawled note about staying with the neighbor till his mom came home.

Hank wandered down a city street a few miles away. For hours he’d walked block after block, in the cold, relentless rain, listening. Finally he heard it: a scream.

He stepped into an … Read More

Experiment #361

The Valiant Part 2

The rain poured down as Jimmy’s bus pulled back onto the street after school. Hank headed for the end of the driveway with a wide umbrella, deflecting the slings and arrows of nature. He’d always had a knack for timing. Thirty seconds after he stopped at the end of the driveway, Jimmy’s bus arrived. Jimmy exploded out of the bus and babbled all the way to the front door.

While Hank started on supper, Jimmy banged … Read More