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A Hard Act to Swallow  

Posted by Scott Wilson

A Hard Act to Swallow
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 384

I was going to give in without an argument, and let the bastard get his divorce, until his new girlfriend started to covert the things I had brought to the marriage: the Spode, the silver and antique furniture. That was just too much. It wasn’t enough for the hussy to turn him straight, but to try and take my family jewels as well as his was going too far.

“Clarence,” I said as he came home late from work smelling of her Elizabeth Arden perfume. “Come into the lounge room will you dear. I’ve got something I need to show you something.”

Clarence walked casually into the dimly lit room and gasped when he saw me lying naked on the sheepskin rug by the fireplace with a muscular young lad from our gym.
“I know you’ve always wanted to have a threesome,” I said, knowing he’d always let his eye wander when Trent walked through the gym with his tight, Lycra bike shorts. “Trent couldn’t believe it when I told him you where batting for the other team now.”

“I had to do anything I could to get you back, honey,” Trent said, stroking my shoulder. “Why don’t you come join us?”

“We can work things out, darling,” I said then kissed Trent deeply. I could feel Clarence watching as both Trent and I became aroused, and quite noticeably in Trent’s case.

Clarence dropped his coat on the floor and quickly began to undress.

“Maybe for old time’s sake” he said. “We could give it one more try, at least tonight anyway.”

Clarence knelt down and kissed Trent, while I caressed him gently. He stood to attention quickly and I began to work on him with my tongue before taking him deep in my mouth.

“Oh, Cindy,” he moaned.

That was just too much for me. Calling me by that bitch’s name. I couldn’t help myself. I bit down as hard as I could.

Clarence screamed and hit me on the top of my head. Not a smart thing to do as it made me gag and swallow. I guess I get to keep his family jewels after all.

THE END

Table of Terror  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Table of Terror
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 196

The table was immaculately set for twelve. Hand painted china, Waterford glasses, and sterling silver. Everything was ready for a big blast despite the careful preparations there was still one problem...only ten corpses sat around the table.

Lou counted the rotting bodies again, this time he remembered to include himself; he’d be sitting at the head of the table hosting the macabre meal.

“I need another guest,” he said as he paced the length of the immense dining room.
The doorbell rang.

“Just a minute!” Lou yelled. He closed the great double doors and rushed to the front door.

“Good evening sir,” the man at the door said politely. “I’m from Roy Morgan Research. We’re conducting random interviews about crime and safety in this suburb. Can you spare me twenty or so minutes?”

Lou smiled and beckoned the man into the hallway.

“I certainly can spare you all the time you need. By the way, would you like to stay for dinner? I have a spare seat at my dinner party later this evening?”

THE END

Standing Shoulder To Shoulder  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Standing Shoulder To Shoulder
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 340

“Everybody sees things differently,” I said to Charlie. “You and I were both there. Standing shoulder to shoulder and you saw the whole incident different from the way I did. Ain’t that interesting?”

“Sod you, you two faced git!” Charlie said from behind the Perspex screen in the prison visiting room. “If I had a wife, I would have had an alibi too, not that I needed one.”

“Too bad you don’t, hey Charlie ol’ boy. So you going to tell me where Jimmy the Fingers stashed those diamonds? I’ve looked everywhere possible in that alleyway and I can’t find nothing’.”

Charlie paused and looked like he was going to get up and walk away again. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d done so when I visited him. Six months in jail, half his sentence and he still hadn’t forgiven me.

“Like you said, we was standing side by side when Jimmy came running into the alley. Not my fault you didn’t see where the bag of diamonds ended up. I still don’t know how you ended up implicating me in the robbery?”

“You know Jimmy; he can’t see anything without his glasses. He must have mistaken you for his apprentice when the coppers caught him. If you hadn’t still been in the alley looking for the stash, then you’d have been okay.”

“You could have got me off if you’d pipped up. But seeing as how you left me stranded, I think I might leave you high and dry to the whereabouts of the rocks.”

I wondered if he’d even seen Jimmy hide the bag either. I guess I’d find out in six months when he got out of the slammer. I still don’t know how he could have seen anything when we were next to each other and I didn’t. Doesn’t really matter I suppose, I’ll take him out when I know he’s retrieved the gems.

THE END

Sales Pitch of the Century  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Sales Pitch of the Century
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 388

“This is developed to add fifty years to your life...so stop complaining, and take a swig for your personal eternity. Do it now, we’ve not had many fatalities from it so chugalug.”

“You are the pushiest sales bot I have ever come across,” Jinxal said to the shiny, silver robot at his apartment door.

“I am sorry if you feel that way, sir,” the sales bot said. “But I have to make twenty sales per day, and calculating the ratio you must purchase the elixir or I will need to work an additional two hours. That will not be acceptable as our hours of work are inflexible.”

“Look, I don’t appreciate you knocking on my door at dinner time and grabbing me by the neck when I said I’m not interested in your product.”

“I am sorry, sir. But I only had to use this sales technique when you interfered with my statistical calculations for the required sales ratio.”

“Grabbing customer’s by the neck is one of your sales pitches? What about customer service? What about my choice? Look, just let go of me and we’ll forget all about this, okay?”

The sales bot’s green eyes flicked as it stood motionless for a minute.

“I am afraid, sir. That the probability of you forgetting all about this, are quite slim. If I leave without the sale, not only will my sales record be tarnished, but you will with a seventy-four percent probability, lodge a complaint, leaving me with no other option but to return to extract a swift and well calculated revenge upon you and your family, sir.”

Jinxal gulped.

“Now, sir,” said the sales bot. “Can I interest you in some of this wonderful elixir?”

“Okay, okay...” Jinxal said. “Just put me down and get the hell out of here. I’ll buy your crap, okay.”

The sales bot handed Jinxal a small blue vial, took Jinxal’s credit card and swiped it through the card reader in his chest, then released his grip.

“Thank you for your business, sir. We are happy to be of future assistance, should your friends or family wish to purchase our elixir...after hearing of its benefits from you...personally.”

THE END

True Blood  

Posted by Scott Wilson

True Blood
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 549

“Watch out for the old man. That dementia he pulls out from time to time is an act, I think. He’s really trying to decide how to break up his estate,” said Julie.

“You are a cold hearted bitch, sis!” Caroline said. “You have absolutely no idea about dementia...you haven’t even tried to deal with it since dad started showing signs. For your whole life, you’ve dominated their time. Every time they come down to Brisbane to visit they have to stay at your place, just because you are an old spinster. Even when you do let them visit, you still tag along like a bloody chaperone.”

“Don’t talk to me like that,” Julie said. “It’s not my fault you don’t have a good relationship with them.”

“Bullshit, you cow!” Caroline said. “When you lived overseas for those couple of years they spent heaps of time with me and we got along great. Now you’re back, it’s back to the same old tricks. You play the pity card. Why don’t you get a friggin decent haircut and buy some normal clothes. It’s no wonder you are single. You wear homemade clothes and your frigging hair looks like you cut it yourself to.”

The phone went dead in Caroline’s ear and she slammed down the receiver.
“You okay, honey?” Caroline’s husband George said.

“My sister is such a bitch. I’m so sick of her.”

George walked over and cuddled his wife, comforting her the way he always did after she spoke with her family.

“She’s hogged their time for the last ten years, and now dad’s got dementia, she doesn’t want to spend any time looking after him. It’s like she’s tossed them aside now there is some genuine work involved in caring for them and she’s leaving it up to me to carry the burden.”

“I know,” George said soothingly. “I’ve seen how she manipulates them over the twenty years we’ve been married. It’s amazing they never saw through her?”

“I bet she’s already made sure the Will has her as the main beneficiary and with full power of attorney. I can see the money hungry cow taking everything and leaving me high and dry.”

“I’m so glad I was an only child,” George said. “When my parent’s passed away, didn’t have to go through any of this. Mind you, the tantrums I had to put up with from the old lady over my life were enough to even that out. I wonder what a normal family is like?”

Caroline pulled her husband closer and hugged him tightly.

“I don’t know honey,” Caroline said. “Is there even such a thing anymore? Society really seems to have gone down the drain.”

“I’ll tell Andy to go ahead with the hit on your sister to take care of her for good if you like?”

“Yes, I’ve put off the idea for years, but I can’t take it anymore, and she’s not going to end up with the inheritance after all of this.”

“I’ll ask Andy about his family when he picks up the money,” George said. “See if his family is dysfunctional too?”

“That would be nice, dear.”

THE END

Dead Fish  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Dead Fish
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 187

“You know this is fundamental. This sex thing is like riding a bicycle. Once you find out how...you never forget.” Harvey said slowly.

The naked woman with loose, gray skin moaned at him, wiggling beneath the shackles that bound her to the cellar wall.

“If you just learnt how to stop trying to bite me I could take the hockey mask off you. I’m sure you’d enjoy it more too it your face was uncovered.”

The chains clanged against the cold, hard concrete, echoing like heavy wind chimes in the barren subterranean room. The noise spurred the woman into frenzy and she shook wildly, trying to break free.

Harvey tore his clothes off and joined in the frenzy until he was spent. Slowly, the woman stopped her struggles and flopped back against the wall.

“Look, Patricia.” Harvey said. “You used to be a real horn bag until you became a zombie. Why can’t you stop trying to bite me? You seem to still enjoy a good shag.”

THE END

The Phone Call  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Phone Call
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 363

“I really hate those phone answering devices. Why the heck don’t they call me back, it is a matter of life and death...I have to reach them,” Captain Grohl said.

“Unfortunately,” Communications Officer Vedric said. “That is a very common item in a twentieth century home. Most people over the age ten carried mobile telephones. I should have the number in a few minutes.”

The captain strutted across the bridge, rubbing his chin with the cybernetic hand.

“How long have we got until...the event?”

The Science Officer checked the timer on his computer screen, “seventy five seconds, Captain.”

“I need that number now, Vedric!”

“Got it.”

The captain rang the mobile number.

“Hello.”

“Catherine Morgan?” The captain said.

“Yes, who’s this?”

“My name is Captain Grohl. I need to talk to you...it is extremely important and of the gravest importance that you listen carefully and do exactly as I say.”

“What...who did you say you are?”

“I am Captain Grohl of the Interstellar Federation of...”

“Is this some kind of prank call? Who put you up to this? Was it Henry at the office?”

“Twenty seconds, Captain,” the Science Officer said.

“If you can just take a few moments to listen to me. I’m sure you will appreciate the severity of the conversation. It is of the utmost importance that you don’t go back to your apartment. Something is going to happen that will have devastating effects on your life and the history of mankind.”

“Five seconds, Captain.”

“Look, I don’t know who you are or how you got my number but you’re really starting to freak me out.”

The sound of a thundering explosion reverberated through the communication device, causing a severe ringing in the Captain’s ear.

“Catherine,” the Captain shouted.

After a few seconds, the Captain heard Catherine talking to somebody in the background. The mission was successful. The crew had prevented the planned assassination of the future creator of the vaccine that would save ninety per cent of the population in ten years.

THE END

The Devil's Cabbage  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Devil’s Cabbage
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 350

Bruce took a deep toke, “Man, that’s good stuff. Where doya get it?”

“The local good humour man, he pushes great stuff in dime bags.” Drew, the bartender said, pocketing the small bag of the devil’s cabbage.

“What the hell is the good humour man?”

“He’s the main man in this village. Anything you want, he can get you.”

Bruce looked along the dirt road that ran through the centre of the small town. From the tavern he was sitting at, he could see every building, the blacksmith, the bakery, and the markets.

“Where does he get his supplies from,” Bruce said. “It’s not a very big place you’ve got here.”

“Nobody knows. But what does it matter.”

Bruce took another long drag and waited a moment before exhaling. He picked up his broadsword, smiled and walked down the street.

“You the good humour man?” Bruce said to the thin, scraggily dressed man leaning against a cart full of wondrous items.

The man smiled, exposing his green teeth and foul breath.

“That’d be me,” he said. “What would you be wanting kind sir? I have a wide range of items to suit every need and desire.”

“You got any more of this whacky weed?”

“Sure, sure,” The good humour man said. “It will cost you; let’s say...that sword for all the grass you can carry.”

Bruce held the sword up, turned it around, smiling as the sun shone off it, making it seem to sparkle. He handed it over and picked up a large sack of the weed.

“Just see young Timberland over by the bakery,” the good humour man said. “I’m sure he will be able to find you some lodgings and employment...if you decide to stay on with us.”

The bartender walked past Bruce on the way to the bakery. Bruce looked at him with a strange recollection.

“Do I know you?” Bruce said.

“No, but welcome to Weedsville. I’m sure you’ll love living here.”

THE END

Double Shot, Double Trouble  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Double Shot, Double Trouble
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 482

“Jeepers. Can’t you hold still? How am I gonna get you in my sights for a clear shot if you keep moving around like that?” Bruce said.

“Well that’s the point isn’t it?” Tracey said to her husband. “Why make it easy when I can make you work for your money?”

Bruce walked slowly sidewards in a circle, mimicking the action of his wife, who was also holding a revolver. The stalemate had gone on for ten minutes with neither husband nor wife wanting to shot first.

“Okay. What if we both back off at the same time? You go back to your H.Q, I’ll go back to my H.Q, and we’ll report our mission a failure,” Bruce said.

“Why do you believe that I’d be a double agent?” Tracey said, moving so her towel dropped to the floor. It was not the first time she’d used her natural beauty and naked body as a diversion. “We’ve been married for a decade; do you really believe I’d sell our country out?”

Bruce tried not to lose his concentration, but the sight of his naked wife was too much, especially since they had not made love for weeks. He looked at the water dripping from her breasts and the trickle running down her toned belly into her pubic hair. He felt an erection rise in his trousers and was glad that the light was dim and his wife would not notice it unless she got closer.

“Why would you think I was a double agent?” Bruce replied. “When have I ever given off the impression that I like the Japs more than us?”

“It might have been that skanky little china doll you been pumping for the last few weeks that made me believe the report.”

“What about the photos in my file of you giving that Iraq a lap dance in our dining room? Maybe that, and the fact we haven’t had a root in a month might have given me the impression it was not just your loyalty to our marriage, but also the country that was in doubt. The mission I was given has some pretty damning info.”

“Come off it. You know how I feel after assignments where I have to sleep with the enemy. I can’t feel romantic when I just slept with someone I know is and evil enemy of the country.”

Bruce lowered his pistol and said, “I’m sorry honey.”

“So am I, dear,” Tracey said pumping two rounds into her husband’s chest. “It’s one think sleeping with someone for the job; it’s another thing doing it because of your libido.”

Bruce dropped to his knees, not believing his wife shot him, but then again, she knew he always wore a bulletproof vest so she didn’t mean to kill him.

“We’ll talk about this when you come around,” Bruce heard Tracey say as he passed out.

THE END

The Absolution of Sorrows  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Absolution of Sorrows
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 585

Lance watched in horror as the puppy spun around and over the wheel of the silver Ford Falcon as it braked suddenly to avoid the dog. Moments before, the puppy was running happily with its new owners, a ten-year-old boy, and his eight-year-old brother. In the excitement of the game, the puppy jerked the lead from the boy’s hand and ran onto the main road, thinking the shouts where part of the game.

“No...” Lance whimpered, tears welling up.

The boys cried as they carried the broken and battered body of the little terrier back to the footpath. Lance took an old towel from the boot of his car and brought it to the boys to wrap the shivering dog in as the boy’s father ran to them from a couple of houses down the street.

“Here,” Lance said softly. “This will keep him warm until you get him to the vet.”

Lance felt the pain and sorrow of the puppy, who knew it was dying, its internal organs ruptured and bleeding rapidly and bloating his small fragile frame. Tears streamed as the empathy consumed Lance, both from the puppy and the two boys who watched their pet of two days dying before them.

“You poor thing,” Lance said, gently patting the puppy on the head. The dog looked at Lance and whimpered, sensing that Lance felt his pain. Peace gently rolled over the puppy as all of its pain and sorrow transferred to Lance.

“No, no, no,” The boy’s father said as he picked up the puppy and shook his head. The puppy licked the man’s hand then stopped breathing.

Lance shook with the intensity of the dog’s feelings and emotions, but knew he had to help the boys as well. He reached out both hands, and the boys took them.

“He’s gone to a better place,” Lance said, helping the lads to their feet.

The boys rubbed their noses and wiped their eyes, the tears quickly stopping when the sorrow left them and entered Lance. Lance shook and trembled, overwhelmed by the intense feeling from not only the puppy, but also now the two young boys. He knew he would have to transfer this energy soon or his body would not cope and his heart would give up. He quickly walked away, heading towards the large Jacaranda tree in the front yard of the home behind him.

“I’m so sorry,” Lance said as he leant against the tree with both hands.

His hands glowed red as the emotions flowed violently from his flesh into the old tree, shaking both Lance and the thick tree trunk. With a sharp snap, Lance was flung backwards onto the concrete footpath. He watched the black veins run out from his deep hand impressions burnt into the bark. The marks spread out like thick black tendrils until they reached high up the trunk and ran along the branches four meters from the ground.

“I’m sorry,” Lance said again, seeing the grand old tree half dead now. “You should live though.”

Lance walked home, not bothering to get the milk and bread he went to the shop for. He was too worn out from drawing the suffering out of the three to worry about breakfast now.

“At least I can control this power now,” he said to himself. “Almost killed me absorbing the sorrow of people just from watching it on the news or reading about it.”

THE END

The Outlaw  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Outlaw
By Scott Wilson

Randall blew softly over the smouldering tinder as Emerson looked, shaking his head with an apprehensive scepticism. Emerson knew this was a bad move but his disparity with Randall over the intricacies of fire making was a mute point.
“What are you shaking your head at?” Randall said.
“Nothing, partner,” Emerson replied softly.
“I’ve started more camp fires than you’ve ever thought about. Ain’ no problems with my technique.”
Neither of them had eaten any solid food in almost three days and Randall was not about to eat his freshly killed fox raw. He was willing to take his chances with the fire. But then again the type of ruffian Randall was, he was always willing to take as long as it took to prove a point, even if it meant putting someone else at risk. Emerson was in no position to argue. Randall was the meaner and ruthless of the two and he was not beyond putting some lead in him if for no other reason than to shut him up or better yet, to not have to divvy up the fox with him.
“I might have a look for some branches and whatnot. Keep a supply handy to stoke the fire all night.”
Randall continued to tend the fire and Emerson grudgingly went about gathering what firewood he could find in the starless sky. They had made camp far too late and now they had to fumble in the dark until a decent fire was established.

As he walked outside the campsite, he could see Randall’s silhouette as he added more fuel to the slowly growing campfire. It was obvious that anyone tracking them would have no difficulty in seeing them out in the open with nowhere to shelter them. He hoped that they had a fair enough lead on the posse chasing them so they wouldn’t be sitting ducks. The thought had no sooner entered his mind than something caused him to stop dead in his tracks. He was already nervous about the fire and now he was hearing things. Slightly cocking his head, he stood silent in the dark and listened intently. Emerson thought he saw some shadows move in the distance, but not that far from their location. It appeared that Randall had heard it as well. His iron was already drawn and he sat motionless, keenly listening for the exact location of the movement.
“Get down, you fool,” Emerson mumbled softly to himself.
Randall was an excellent gunfighter and did not need the daylight to get a bead on his target. A single shot pierced the silence and Randall dropped to the ground letting loose three quick shots before rolling away from the fire. Emerson dove for cover behind a small group of cactuses and squinted to make out how Randall was doing and if he caught the bullet or was lucky enough to dodge it.
“Damned it,” Emerson said. “Where are they?”
Randall lay motionless and Emerson was not sure if he was avoiding the attention of the unseen gunman or dead. Emerson stayed low, motionless, and far enough away from the campfire to not give away his location if he was lucky.
“Glad I went to find some kindle,” he murmured to himself.
Emerson began to cramp up in his calf after lying motionless for over an hour. Each time he looked toward the fire he saw the still body of Randall, and after a few good, hard looks, he could tell that not even Randall’s chest was moving anymore. It appeared that the single shot had hit its target and laid Randall out for good.
Emerson slowly stretched his leg back and forth to ease the cramp, careful to not make a sound to avoid giving away his cover. He did not know if the gunman was still out there or long gone after hitting his target.
“Don’t even know how many are out there. Am I surrounded or completely alone now?” He assumed that it would be a posse and they would still be lingering around for sunup.
The night dragged on.
“Time to do or die, partner,” he said softly. “Anyone out here’s who’s going to hear me now will see me in a few hours anyway.”
Emerson decided after a few hours that he had to make a move and get to some cover before the morning came uncovering him as he lay out in the open. From his calculations, the Rocky Mountains were a few hours further to the north. Randall had steered them East, towards the gambling town of Gold rush, to spend their newly found fortune. If the posse guessed that, then Emerson felt pretty sure that his change of direction would not be realised until he had a good head start again.

Emerson slowly crawled along the hard, dusty ground backwards until he was twenty or so meters from the campsite. The fire had dwindled out to all but the soft, red glow of embers, giving off virtually no light at all now. He gradually stood up and walked quickly to the east.

By daybreak, Emerson was far enough from the campsite to feel a little safer. His legs ached from walking for almost three days straight and now his gun hand was stiff from carrying his pistol all night. He holstered his pistol and flexed his hand.
“I hope I don’t have to quick draw anytime soon,” he said.
If the posse hadn’t tracked him from the campsite, when they were so close, then chances were that he was in the clear now.

Emerson knew he had to get to shelter soon; he was exhausted from a sleepless night and too many days on the run. His eyes ached and he almost missed the horse tracks a few yards to the left of the path, he was on.

Cautiously, he walked closer to the tracks and saw splotches of dried blood in-between the hove prints.
“What have we got here?” he said.
Drawing his gun again, Emerson followed the tracks until he saw the owner of both trails. Slouched across the horse’s back was the limp, lifeless body of a bounty hunter. It appeared that Randall had managed a perfect shot just before he died, hitting the stranger directly in the heart.
“Thanks for that, partner,” Emerson said. “Least now I don’t have to keep looking over my shoulders for either of you.”
With the hope that this would buy him some time, Emerson got busy. He backtracked to the campsite and started digging graves for the bounty hunter and Randall. It was mid morning when he finished burying the two men. Not that he felt either one of them deserved it.
“More than either of you deserve. I’d rather leave you for the buzzards.”
His main concern was in hiding any evidence that could point someone else in his direction. After taking what few useful provisions the stranger had on him, he rest of the items and covered the tracks. He then took the money he and Randall had gotten from the bank they held up back in Railway Gorge several days ago and stuffed it into the saddlebag of the stranger’s horse. Emerson mounted up and continued east, away from where he and Randall were to meet up with some acquaintances to plan their next job.
Emerson had no plans on becoming an outlaw, and was dragged into the robbery after losing a poker game to Randall. He had no doubt Randall cheated, but he had had too many whiskeys to outdraw Randall in a gunfight. Emerson was led to the bank to withdraw his entire account as payment of his gambling debt. Before Emerson knew what was going on, he was already an accomplice in the robbery.

While Emerson only worked as a station hand on one of the medium-sized ranches just outside Railway Gorge, he had saved enough to buy a share in the Evenstar Bar. Now that plan was shot to pieces and he was a wanted man, an unlikely outlaw. Sherriff Brady was a decent, law abiding, God-fearing man and would most likely believe Emerson, but the bank manager, Bob McKinley, would rather see him hang. Emerson had less money than McKinley, but first dibs on the share in the bar because of a distant relative, both the current owner of the bar and Emerson had in the family tree. That and the fact McKinley was as popular as a rattlesnake at a square dance.

Luckily, Randall’s friends did not know about Emerson, so he would not have them on his tail when Randall didn’t rendezvous with them in a week’s time. Emerson counted the money and smiled. He would be able to make a fresh start in another state, maybe even buy a small bar outright. A good shave and haircut should disguise him from anyone who knew the rough and rugged cowboy he used to be.
“Just have to get far enough away from Railway Gorge and anyone that might recognise me,” Emerson said to the horse.
The horse jittered and stepped backwards. Emerson leant over to pat her on the main when a shot rang out. He felt the bullet fly over his head, narrowly missing him. It would have hit him in the chest a second ago. Quickly, he turned to the direction of the rifle shot and saw two men with Winchesters pointed in his direction.
“Hiyah!” he yelled, kicking the horse onwards with two spurs to the ribs.
Another shot rang out, the bullet flying wild as Emerson made tracks quickly. He did not know the bounty hunters horse and just hoped that it was fast, at least faster than the horses of the other two bounty hunters.
“I hope you can run girl,” he said.
Multiple shots rang out and dirt flew from the bullets hitting the ground around the horse as Emerson pushed it on. A rocky outcrop a hundred yards away would give him enough cover to get off a couple of good shots before losing the advantage.
“Come on girl,” he said. “You can do it.”
A bullet whistled over the horse’s head and it reared it, almost tossing Emerson from the saddle. He regained control and pushed her forward again towards the outcrop and safety. As he got closer to the cover, he pulled the rifle from the saddle holster and cocked the lever. Once behind the rocks he pulled hard on the reigns and turned the horse around. He leapt off and clambered up onto a ledge where he could see the two riders approaching.
“Just one good shot,” he said and squeezed the trigger.
One of the riders slumped forward then fell from his horse and tumbled beneath the hooves of the other. Emerson didn’t mean to hit the rider with a fatal shot, but the fall would have killed him no doubt. Emerson cocked the rifle but his second shot went wild as the bounty hunters bullet hit the rock just above his head. Dirt and fragments landed covered his face, but he fired off another couple of shots.
Emerson rubbed his eyes, cleared the dust out, and cocked the rifle again. The rider was not in view.
“Where did you go?” Emerson said.
A click behind him let him know where the other bounty hunter was.
“Toss your iron down, son. The game’s over.”
Emerson threw the rifle to the side and turned slowly.
“It’s not what you think, Randall set me up.”
“Everyone says that when they’re caught. Never caught a guilty outlaw, only misunderstood.”
“Honestly, I only went to the bank 'cause I owed Randall from a poker game. I had no idea he was going to rob the bank...”
Emerson kicked some loose rocks at the bounty hunter while he was talking. The bounty hunter fired blindly, narrowly missing Emerson as he dropped to the ground and drew his Colt .45.
“Sorry partner,” Emerson said. “But I am innocent.”
Emerson fired at a pile of loose rocks, dislodging them and causing them to tumble onto the bounty hunter. As the man raised his arms to protect his head, Emerson leapt from the ledge and tackled him. He whacked the bounty hunter on the temple and knocked him out cold.
“At least I’m still not a killer,” Emerson said. “Though I’ll probably be blamed for that other guy.”
Emerson took the bounty hunters guns and mounted his horse. He spurred the horse on not knowing exactly where he would go or what he would do. Emerson knew now that he would always be looking over his shoulder, never knowing whom to trust or if he was still a wanted man. Without making a conscious choice, Emerson had become, The Outlaw.
THE END

A Short Story  

Posted by Scott Wilson

A Short Story
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 133

“Oh man, that was a wild party. Frankly I don’t remember much of it except I think I passed out about half way through.”

“I did what? What are you saying? I killed how many people?”

“How did I kill them?”

“That’s crazy, how could one man do that to that many people. I mean, it’s not possible...is it?”

“Yes, I suppose that is possible.”

Outside the interigation room, the clinical pysciatrist stared in disbelief as the two detectives listened to the suspect, laughing.

“I thought crazy people answered themselves?” one detective said.

“Yeh, it’s a bit hard to follow his conversation when we don’t hear his answers,” the second detective said.

THE END

Weekend Warriors  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Weekend Warriors
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 399

“With all this patriotism going around, you can’t help feeling more than a little proud...even if you don’t buy into it all the way,” Randy said to his colleague. “I believe the new president is on track to making our nation great again.”

“But you live in Australia now mate,” Paul, or Blue, as it mates called him said. “It’s not really being patriotic if you live in one country and say how wonderful the one you left is. I mean, if it was that great, why leave it?”

“I’m still a patriotic American. Just because I moved overseas ten years ago, doesn’t mean I don’t love the US of A.”

“You see, I’ve never understood that. You have all of these immigrants from all sorts of countries moving to Australia because of our freedom and relaxed lifestyle. But then, they want the country to change everything to how their culture is back home. I mean, can’t imagine moving to Iraq and telling them that I want roast pork on the menu and them agreeing to it. I’d be lucky if I didn’t get blown up for even suggesting it.”

“Whoa, slow down there chief. You’re starting to sound like a redneck, not an Aussie.”

“See what I mean, if a white Australian male says anything he is a bigot, but where are the blokes who made this a great and free country. Now, we aren’t allowed to say anything. I reckon in another ten years, this country will be so overrun by immigrants that there won’t be and freedom or tolerance. We’ll end up run by the same fascist bastards who dictate the living conditions that all these bloody boat people move to this country to escape.”

“So what would you suggest? How would you keep Australia a free democracy?”

“Well for a start, let’s just blow this Mosque up, and then get back home to have a brew and chat about how we can take out China Town next weekend.”

“Good idea, Blue. A lot easier to perform these operations here compared to back in America. It’s almost like ASIO turns a blind eye because of the targets we choose.”

“Do you want to grab a curry from Miss India’s on the way home, Randy?”

THE END

Shirt of a Happy Man  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Shirt of a Happy Man
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:412

King Gerald was sitting talking to his wise men and a priest in the royal chambers.
“I’m so unhappy; and I’m searching for some peace. It has been too long since I last laughed,” he said.
“Shall we call for the court jester?” one wise man said.
“Take the army, go, and find the shirt of a happy man,” one of the wise men suggested.
“Yes, that will do it,” the King said. “Go forth and find me such an item.”
The royal army left the castle immediately and began going door-to-door, seeking out a truly happy citizen. After many decades of high taxes and poor crops, most of the citizens had fallen into despondency and depression. No household contained any laughter or joy.
For a month, the army searched the countryside without any success. The general was about to return to the castle, when they came across a house that was broken down. The windows were broken and boarded up, but from inside they heard the almost forgotten sound of laughter. The captain of the army knocked at the door, careful to not upset the owner.
“Good day to you,” said a filthy little man dressed only in a stained loincloth. “Gorgeous day today isn’t it.”
The captain stepped back and held his hand to his mouth, gagging at the wretched stench from the man.
“Come in, come in,” said the peasant. “I have nothing to offer you to drink but the water from the well outside, but you are more than welcome to sit and chat with me. I enjoy company and am sure you would have many interesting tales, what with being in the royal army and all.”
The captain followed the man into his home and was appalled at the living conditions. There was no furniture, just a small fire set in the dirt floor in the centre of the room and a pile of hay that served as the man’s bed.
“Do you have no belongings?” the captain said.
The peasant laughed heartily and slapped the captain on the back.
“Why no kind sir. I discovered the key to happiness was a content soul, not possession of material trinkets.”
“So you have no clothes, no... Shirt.”
“No, no need for those out here. You’re the first person I’ve seen for many years.”

THE END

Passing in the Night  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Passing in the Night
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 219

Gavin woke up screaming with sweat dripping from every inch of his body like he’d run a marathon. The lights in his bedroom came on and his parents stood in the doorway.

“What’s wrong? Are you alright?”

“Just a nightmare I guess,” Gavin said.

“Must have been bad, that scream probably woke the whole neighbourhood.”

“It was so real.”

“Good night,” Gavin’s parents said.

“Night.”

Gavin looked at his clock radio. It was four twenty in the morning.

The following day, Gavin’s father picked him up school just after midday. Gavin was not surprised.

“Grandpa’s dead, isn’t he?” Gavin said.

“How did you know?”

“Last night, I swear poppa came into my room. It was like he came through the ceiling and hovered above me. He said goodbye to me. I was going to tell you, but I know how much mum freaks out about things out of the ordinary.”

“It’s alright, it was just a dream.”

“What time did poppa die?”

“It doesn’t matter does it?”

“I need to know, what time?”

“Quarter past four. Even if it wasn’t a dream, there’s nothing that you could have done. It would have been too late.”

THE END

A Job at the Blood Bank  

Posted by Scott Wilson

A Job at the Blood Bank
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 318

“You know, you’ve become a real kvetch. As a matter of fact, these days you are a real pain in the ass, Noel.”

“What do you expect, Paul. Who’d think to turn a midget into a vampire? You know, sometime the ass is the only thing I can reach.”

“Very funny. Look you were part of the gang before I was converted, so it was only fair that you are part of the gang now.”

There was a knock at the door. Noel let the two guys dressed in black in.
“Good evening, Louie, Lance,” Paul said.

“Hey boss,” said the other two gang members in unison.

“So it is a bank job or a blood bank job tonight?” Noel said.

Paul opened the fridge and checked the supplies.

“Definitely blood bank,” he said.

“Crap,” said Noel. “We’ve robbed the Red Cross more than any banks since you made us vampires. Why can’t we just bite people and rob real banks.”

“That only lasts for one night. If we get a good supply from the blood bank, we have food for a month.”

“But if we get enough from the bank we can by a big place, have some broads chained up in the basement as a permanent food supply,” Noel said.

“That is stupid...”

The front door was kicked in and a SWAT team burst in, armed to the teeth with stakes, crossbows, and garlic shooters.

“You are under arrest for the kidnapping and unlawful detainment of Shelly McPherson.”

“What are you talking about?” Paul said.

“Oh, boss,” Noel, said. “There is something I need to tell you.”

Two members of the SWAT team came out of the garage with a tightly bound woman with two puncture marks on her ass.

THE END

Trip at the Brain  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Trip at the Brain
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 822

“Jack, is that you? It is, isn’t it? What are you doing wandering up and down 42nd Street like that?” Luke said the man in a crumpled, tan suit as he brushed past him.

The stranger stopped suddenly and stared at Luke with a blank expression. He tried to remember where he had been, who he was.

“You mean New York’s 42nd Street? Can’t be...I haven’t been in New York for years and years. I think?” Jack said in a strong Australian accept that sounded foreign to him.

“You look like you’ve just woken up. Are you feeling okay, sport? Here come with me, there is a cafe across the road. We can sit down and get you a drink.”

“I’m sorry,” Jack said. “I don’t seem to remember who you are. Actually, I think I’d better sit down, my head is whirling around.”

Luke ordered two cappuccinos and some bran muffins, thinking Jack might need a sugar boost or something.

“Where are you staying, old pal?” Luke said. “You must come spend some time with me. Do you remember Patricia; we got hitched two years ago and have beautiful set of twins.”

Jack rubbed his temples. His head pounded and his back ached as though he’d been rolled for his wallet, which would explain the amnesia and crumpled clothes. He tried to remember his last memory, something to let him know what had happened.

“Are you still shacked up with that brunette...what was her name?”

“I...I...”

Darkness came down across Luke’s eyes and he felt himself falling. He put his hands out to break his fall, rather than his nose, but he did not hit the ground. He felt cold and nauseous.

“I...I...”

Jack opened his eyes and found himself sitting at a kitchen table with a brunette and a young boy. They seemed vaguely familiar, but he could not place who they were, or where he was.

“You didn’t hear a word I said, did you?” the brunette said harshly. “I sometimes wonder why I even bother talking to you.”

“Dad, are you going to come to see me play football afterschool today? It’s the grand finals.”

Jack nodded at the boy, not knowing who he was, but not wanting to upset the kid’s excitement. The boy jumped up and hugged him, then ran out of the room.

“You’d better be there, Jack,” the brunette said. “You’ll break his heart if you miss this game.”

“I...I...” he began to say, then felt dizzy and nauseas again. Darkness clouded his vision again and the falling sensation hit him like a Mack truck.

He opened his eyes. This time there was nobody around, nobody at all. A chill ran up his spine. He stood in the middle of a football field, alone. Not a single person could be seen or heard.

“Hey...hey, you,” a voice called.

Jack looked at the player’s entrance to the field and saw a woman standing there. She beckoned him over.

“Who are you? Where am I?” Jack said.

“You must be a newbie,” she said. “Did you just start taking Insu-D?”

“Insu-D?” That rang a bell with Jack. He recognised it as an insulin replacement drug that was supposed to cure diabetes. “Yes, yes I did.”

“Well, you’re in for a ride,” she said. “Anytime someone speaks to you and says a key word that you relate to your life, you’re going to end up there.”

“Where am I now?”

“I don’t know exactly. It’s kind of between places...happens when you don’t exactly remember the prompt. Don’t worry, once you start thinking, you’ll remember something, or somewhere and you’ll be there.”

“Why are you here then?”

“Once you learn to control this, you can find your way to this place whenever you want. Comes in handy sometimes.”

Jack noticed the Armourguard bag in the woman’s hand.

“Did you just rob a bank?”

The woman was no longer standing there. Jack thought about the conversation and wondered if he was going mad.

“Just think,” he said. “Where is somewhere I know?”

He looked in his wallet, flicked through the credit cards, receipts, and photos. A script for Insu-D fell out and he picked it up. When he stood up, he was no longer at the stadium.

“Quick, grab him!” a voice yelled.

Jack looked around. He stood in a familiar chemist, but there were a dozen armed undercover police officers standing around him. He felt a needle enter the back of his neck and started to lose consciousness.

“Get him to the lab before he wakes up,” one of the officers said. “He’s the second last one we have to collect.”

“Lucky there was only thirty people in this new drug trial,” Jack heard before drifting away.



THE END

Count Handel and the Dark Planet  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Count Handel and the Dark Planet
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 200

Count Handel looked at the sky, happy at the site of a sunless sky and the surrounding darkness across the horizon.

“Well, my trusted servant,” the Count said to the small deformed man standing next to him. “This planet will be perfect to breed the humans on.”

The vampire released the prisoners from the cargo hold and watched as they began carrying the equipment to the planet’s surface. Without daylight, the clan would not need to sleep or worry about their crypts being shattered and being burnt to the second death.

“Let us see this planet’s beauty,” the Count said. “Awaken the rest of the clan.”
The Count strolled out of the space shuttle and surveyed the surface. The workers were running in all directions, no longer carrying the equipment.

“What’s going on here!” the Count demanded.

He did not see the two zombies lunge at him from under the shuttle. They dragged him under and began gorging themselves upon his cold, dead flesh before eventually giving up due to the lack of taste.

THE END

From Good Stock  

Posted by Scott Wilson

From Good Stock
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 155

The villagers threw tomatoes, cabbage, beets, radish, and even some potatoes at the young man in the stocks. The vegetables rained down in torrents and after only ten minutes the city guards had to disperse the crowd to prevent the young man being killed by a coronary, or a cabbage.

“Oi, you with the pumpkin!” shouted the burly city guard. “Put the pumpkin down and back away. And you ma’am, holster that gourd.”

Once the crowd left and the guards had began their patrol again an elderly man with a large wicker basket hobbled towards the stocks. He began collecting the vegetables, and winked at the man in the stock.

“There must be an easier way for you to get the food for the tavern, dad,” the man in the stock said.

THE END

Buy Now, Pay Later  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Buy Now, Pay Later
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 294

“Sure you can take it now,” the salesperson said. “Buy now, pay later. That’s our motto.”

Drew walked around the showroom again and looked at each cryotank again. He selected two young women and gave their order numbers to the salesperson.

“Okay, now you can read the contract if you like or I can give you the general gist of it. That is, unless you want to pay upfront. In which case, there is no need for contracts at all.”

“How much for the two again?”

“Ten thousand each or fifteen thousand for the two.”

“I only have nine g’s but I’ve always wanted to have two women. Get the contract ready.”

The salesperson produced a mobile hand pad and keyed in some data then handed it to Drew. Drew placed his hand on it and it extracted a drop of blood.

“Okay, the contract is sealed now. You can collect your purchase in the holding pen.”
Drew proceeded straight to the basement and saw his purchases on the CCTV screens. He released the door to their holding pen and watched eagerly as the two naked and groggy women stumbled out into the labyrinth. After selecting a range of sharp and blunt weapons, Drew entered the labyrinth to hunt his prey.

“Yes,” said the salesperson to the next customer entering the display room. “We have just acquired the contract on a forty year old male in good physical condition.”
He looked at the monitor and saw Drew closing in on the women.

“We should have your order in within the hour,” the salesperson smiled. “Will that be cash or contract?”

THE END

 

Posted by Scott Wilson

AHWA NEWS DIGEST [16.06.09-02.07.09]

The following digest of recent horror news is compiled from pieces published to HorrorScope and the Australian Horror Writers' Association website.

Leisure Books' Fresh Blood contest
Leisure Books, the company "leading the way in publishing paperback horror," is partnering with Rue Morgue magazine in association with ChiZine to present "Fresh Blood," a new writing contest specifically for unpublished horror authors. Click through for competition details.

2009 AHWA Flash and Short Story competition winners
The 2009 Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA)
Flash and Short Story competition attracted over 100 entries. The short story and flash fiction winners will be published in Midnight Echo #3 later this year. The winners will also receive an engraved plaque. Click through to view the winners.

Midnight Echo #2 now available
Issue #2 of
Midnight Echo, the magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association, is available to the public. Edited by Angela Challis & Shane Jiraiya Cummings, this issue of Midnight Echo is a mind-bending joyride into the horrific. Contributors include David Conyers, Bob Franklin, Kurt Newton, Felicity Dowker, Andrew J McKiernan, and Joanne Anderton, among many more. Art Director David Schembri has assembled an array of darkly visual delights from artists such as George Cotronis, Will Jacques, Liza Phoenix, Khara Burgess, and more. Issue #2 also continues the 'New Blood' series of interviews conducted by Stephen Studach (this issue featuring Jason Crowe). Click through for purchase and AHWA member download details.

Australian SF Blog Carnival June 2009
The Australian SF Blog Carnival for June 2009 is hosted at
HorrorScope, and has been assembled by the AHWA News Editor. Click through for highlights of the blogsphere.

The Writing Show's Halloween contest
US podcast website
The Writing Show will not continue the tradition in recent years of running the 'AHWA Days of Halloween'. Instead, this year, The Writing Show is hosting a Halloween fiction contest (with a US$75 prize). Click through for conditions of entry.

Classic horror-themed First Tuesday Book Club
Leigh Blackmore will guest on an episode of First Tuesday Book Club, hosted by Jennifer Byrne, along with childrens' book writer Catherine Jinks, novelist Tara Moss, and novelist Will Elliott. The special programme will focus on the classic horror novels DRACULA by Bram Stoker, THE WEREWOLF OF PARIS by Guy Endore, FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley and DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE by Robert Louis Stevenson. Keep an eye on HorrorScope for an announcement of the airing date.


Submitting News


If you have news about Australian and New Zealand Horror publishing and film, or news of professional development opportunities in the field, feel free to submit news to Talie Helene, AHWA News Editor. Just visit HorrorScope, and click on the convenient email link. (International news is not unwelcome, although relevance to Antipodean literary arts practitioners is strongly preferred.)

For information on the Australian Horror Writers' Association, visit australianhorror.com.

This AHWA NEWS DIGEST has been compiled, written, and republished in select Australian horror haunts by Talie Helene. Currently archived at the
AHWA MySpace page, and Southern Horror; hosted at the social networking sites Darklands and A Writer Goes On A Journey; and hosted by AHWA members Felicity Dowker, Brenton Tomlinson, Scott Wilson, and Jeff Ritchie (Scary Minds: Horror's Last Colonial Outpost).

If you would like to support the AHWA News effort by hosting a copy of the AHWA News Digest on your blog or website, contact Talie to receive a fully formatted HTML edition of the digest by email.

Night Shift  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Night Shift
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:412

“Be careful out there. The sky looks like we will have one heck of a storm, and the roads are already wet and dangerous. So drive with care...you got it?” Angelo said to his son, Nicolas.

Nicolas hugged his father, picked up his car keys then headed towards the front door. He turned at the doorway and smiled at his old man.

“You know me pa. I’m always careful. Besides, we still need a hundred dollars to make the rent this week.”

Nicolas ran to his taxi in the driveway and slid behind the steering wheel, started the car and began his twelve-hour night shift. With the pouring rain, Nicolas knew that it would be busier than normal, people tended to like the convenience of a more private means of transport than the train or bus on nights like these. He headed towards the city where the taxi ranks would be teaming and bustling with office workers eager to get out of the rain and home to their loved ones or family.
By two in the morning, Nicolas had made almost enough to cover the rent and was thinking about knocking early after the next fare when he pulled into the Edward Street cab rank. After ten minutes, Nicolas was the first cab on the rank.

“Where to?” he said to the group of three men as they got into his taxi.

“Uuugh,” moaned one of the men.

Nicolas turned around to see what was wrong with the man.

“Oh crap,” he mumbled. “You zombies got your vouchers? Last time I picked up a group of you zombies I drove two hours out to the reserve and they didn’t have their Government Subsidy Vouchers and it ended up costing me sixty dollars in gas and I lost four hours of my shift.”

“Uuugh,” moaned the zombie again and held out a fistful of brains.

“Look, you just get out of the taxi and I won’t report you. I just need to make another twenty dollars; I can’t lose the rest of my shift filling out paperwork with the police about this.”

The zombies moaned and groaned as they left the cab, but Nicolas knew he would still lose an hour cleaning up the mess in the back of the cab before he could take another fare anywhere.

THE END

The Stockmen of Ferny Downs  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Stockmen of Ferny Downs
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 980

Patrick flung the well-worn saddle on his stead and leapt onto her back. The word had gone out that Gregory’s prize colt had done a runner and the reward for bringing him back was about a year’s wage for a farmhand. Patrick looked over his shoulder as he rode out, and noticed that the station was a hive of movement, with every able rouseabout and ringer scurrying about to try their hand at bringing back the colt.

Patrick passed a number of noted riders and Bushmen on the old Gunny Track. He recognised most of the stockmen, or at least the brands on the rump of their horses and knew that competition would be tough once all the riders joined the gray. The stockmen from this part of Queensland love hard riding where the wild bush horses are, and even the tough old horses seemed to snuff the chase with delight.

The old man with hair as white as snow led the pack, his horse kicking up the red soil in his wake. There were few stockmen who could ride beside him when his heart was racing and his blood was fairly up. Even at the graceful age of sixty-four, Les showed no sign of slowing down, and he would go wherever horse and man could go.
“Good luck, young Patrick,” Les yelled as Patrick flew past him down the track. Patrick thought he saw the old man wink at him in good nature, or perhaps it had been a fleck of dust in his eye.

Patrick spurred his horse on and sped ahead of the pack before yelled back, “I’ll not be the one needing luck today, old timer.”

As Patrick gained distance from the other riders, he recalled the recent conversation he had overheard about Gregory’s prize colt. He was born of a wild Brumby, with a touch of Timor pony and he was hard, tough, and wiry and shone with courage and nobility in his quick impatient tread. The eyes of the colt bore a bright and fiery drive that Gregory saw where the rest of station owners saw an untamed spirit.

Patrick veered off the path and galloped towards the hills, where the colt’s mother was said to roam. The hills were dangerously steep covered with a blanket of loose flint stones and rubble. The horse's hoofs struck firelight with every stride, threatening to start a bushfire at any moment.

“Hiyah!” Patrick yelled, spurring his horse on when seeing the Brumbies in the gully ahead.

A sharp snap of a stockwhip rang out, echoing in the gully and scaring the wild horses. They charged off up the hills, towards the mountain scrub and softer ground. Patrick saw a horseman at the top of the opposite side of the gully, whip raised high for another herding snap.

“Hiyah!” Patrick yelled again, and spurred his horse on.

The lone horsemen tipped his hat and cracked the whip again. His horse reared up and leapt over the edge of the hill, hurtling down the sharp incline towards the sprinting brumbies. The wild horses fought among each other to reach the top of the gully and away from lone rider.

Patrick reached the ridge moments before the other stockman and gained ground when the other horse slipped as it leapt onto the loose flint stones.

“Whoa, girl,” the lone rider yelled.

Patrick sped along the ridge and closed in on the pack of wild horses. He chanced a glance over his shoulder to see if the other rider was near, and was relieved to see the distance increased between the two as the lone rider steadied his mount.
Echoing along the gully the thunder of the brumbies, tread resounded like a harsh summer storm. A sharp shrill pierced the air as a brumby went down, snapping its leg in a wombat hole. Panic spread among the herd and they began to scatter, no longer following the lead of Gregory’s prize colt. Four scared creatures turned and ran back towards Patrick and the other stockman. Patrick weaved between them and gained on the dwindling mob and Gregory’s colt. As the horses galloped down the hill, they startled the other stockman’s horse. It reared up, tossing its rider under the hooves of the oncoming fillies.

At the top of the hill, Patrick lassoed the prize colt as it slowed before attempting the steep decent down the other side. It bucked furiously, almost pulling Patrick from his saddle.

“Easy boy,” he said soothingly.

The colt settled slightly when a graceful old mare eased up and nuzzled him gently. Patrick saw the kinship in the brumby’s eyes and knew that the mare was this colt’s mother. He hoped off his filly and walked up to the two brumbies slowly. Patrick eased the lasso from Gregory’s colt and patted him lightly.

“Don’t worry boy,” Patrick said. “I won’t take you from your mother. Thousand pounds or not, some things just aren’t worth it.”

Back at station that evening, Patrick listened to tales of how the colt had outrun each team of stockmen, but he knew these were just tall tales. Apart from the lone stockman, who broke his neck in the fall, no others searched Ferny Downs where Patrick let the reward go.

“She’s a beauty, ain’t she?” Les said to Patrick.

“Who?”

Les winked at Patrick.

“Some of God’s creatures should never be bridled up. Especially ones as noble and majestic as that colt and his ma.”

Patrick looked at the old stockman blankly.

“Don’t worry, son. They’re safe in that gully. Too dangerous for most riders.”

Les patted Patrick on the shoulder, winked at him again, and then walked towards the main group of tired and defeated Bushmen.

THE END

Blue Mountain Trails  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Blue Mountain Trails
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 337

Joel zipped up his tent and knelt down on his inflatable mattress. He unbuckled his army surplus belt and laid it next to his small battery powered lantern, carefully positioning the large hunting knife within easy reach should the need arise. Sitting on the ground near the lantern sat a battered compass crumpled map with numerous red crosses scribbled haphazardly. Joel lay down, picked up the map, and looked at it for a moment before picking up his red crayon and marking another cross.

“Where are you?” he said softly.

After staring at the map for another ten minutes, he folded the map, placed it back on the ground, and turned the lantern off. The silence of the bush was deafening and Joel was still not used to it, even after two weeks of camping. Without the noise and light of the city, it took Joel an hour to finally fall asleep. There was something unnerving about the tranquillity that Joel did not understand. He thought it should have had the opposite effect and helped him nod off quickly and sleep heavily.

As Joel finally fell into a light sleep, a pale white figure walked into the clearing and stopped a few feet from the tent.

“You came close today,” the ghostly figure said. “I’ll have to move my treasure away a bit further tonight I think.”

The ghost slowly walked behind the tent and put its hand into a pile of rocks. When if pulled its hand back out it held a small wooden chest the size of a shoebox and raised it to its chest. The ghost opened the chest and looked at the bundle of deeds to three cattle properties around the Blue Mountains.

“You’ll have to pick up your game, son,” the ghost said as it turned and walked away. “If you want to get your hands on your inheritance.”


THE END

Help?  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Help?
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 383

Doctor Graham sat behind his antique rosewood desk playing thoughtfully with his thick grey moustache. The brass plaque on the door of his surgery stated he was a psychiatrist, although he stopped helping his patients ten years ago.

“Let’s go over the records, shall we?” the tall, slender gentleman sitting across the desk from Graham said.

Graham opened a thick accounting ledger and slid his finger down the page until he reached the most current entry.

“I have to total at seventy-five now,” he said.

The gentleman produced a small pocket diary from his coat pocket and licked his finger, then flicked through it casually.

“I’m sorry to say that the tally is actually still at seventy.”

“What are you talking about?”

The gentleman smiled wickedly then said, “Over the last six months five of your patients have managed to get over your abusive and degrading treatment and actually forgiven you.”

Graham shook his head and looked at his ledger again. This time there appeared to be five less entries and the total was sitting at seventy.

“The longer this takes the more I lose these bastards.”

“Don’t take it to heart,” the gentleman said. “Causing seventy people to become filled with hate and resentment is not an easy feat. If you try harder though, you may be able to fuck the worst patients up enough to kill themselves. Suicide is a guaranteed keeper for you list.”

“I can’t get another thirty souls by the end of the year!”

“That is not my concern, Mister Graham,” the gentleman said. “The deal was one hundred souls for remission of your cancer and an extension on your life.”

“But it isn’t worth it. I can’t handle it anymore. These patients have severe problems and come to me for help. I’m killing them or fucking them up so much that their life isn’t worth living.”

The gentleman slowly closed the diary, put it in his coat, and stood up.

“Three months Mister Graham, unless you wish to settle your account now?”
Graham shook his head again and stared at the ledger.

“Ten souls a month...” he mumbled as the gentleman walked out of his surgery.

THE END

Gumshoe Gurney  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Gumshoe Gurney
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 433

Shelly was a fine-looking lady, very well turned out. Despite the open backed hospital gown, she looked desirable and very sexy. The slight puff of cold air from the air-conditioner let Shelly know that she needed to get back to her room before anyone saw her.

“Hot damn,” a voice down the hall said.

Shelly tried to pull the gown closed, but the lack of spare material prevented any form of decency, much to the delight of the owner of the sleazy voice, a sixty-year old cancer patient. She slid into her room and pulled the curtain around her bed for some privacy.

So much for being inconspicuous, Shelly thought to herself.

“How are you feeling today?” a nurse said, pulling back the curtain.

“Sorry, I didn’t see you,” Shelly said. “I pulled back the curtain because I was embarrassed. These gowns don’t leave much to the imagination.”

“True, true,” said the nurse. She popped a thermometer in Shelly’s ear and pulled the curtain back to hide Shelly just as the old man walked past the doorway.

The nurse wrapped a Velcro band around Shelly’s arm and took her blood pressure before picking up a syringe from the trolley next to Shelly’s bed.

“Blood pressures still high. I’ll give you an injection to get that back under control until the doctor makes his rounds.”

Before Shelly could argue, the nurse slid the needle into her arm and pumped her full of drugs. Shelly fell back onto the bed and rolled her eyes a few times before slurring, “I feel sleepy.”

The nurse nodded, waited for Shelly to close her eyes, and then walked out of the room.

A few moments later, the nurse returned with a doctor.

“She should be out of it by now,” the nurse said.

“Good, her charts indicate she is quite healthy. I’m not sure why she was even admitted.”

“Who cares? At least we’ll be able to harvest nearly every part. Should yield us at least two-hundred thousand.”

Shelly sat up.

“She’s awake!” the doctor cried.

“That’s right,” Shelly said. “And you’ve just given us a full confession.”

“Us?” said the nurse.

Four police officers pulled the curtain back as Shelly pulled the hidden two-way microphone from its hiding place in her long, black hair.

“But the injection?” the nurse said.

Shelly pulled the latex strip from her arm, beneath it hung a sack containing the drug, which was collaborative evidence along with the recorded conversation.

THE END