Welcome to the good life, where we like the girls who ain’t on TV ‘cuz they got more ass than the models.
– Kanye West
The Wall Screen shows a close-up of a proud soldier in his camo jacket. His white head is freshly shaven and almost blindingly bright. He’s grasping something metallic-looking. The camera pulls back, and we see that it’s a chain. It loops and zig-zags its way through the handcuffs of more than a dozen brown-skinned Mexicans who shuffle along pathetically in their ankle cuffs. They are all humming the tune to “Panda Panda Panda Panda” by Deerhoof. I admire their taste in music even if they are all drug kingpins. Bold blue letters at the bottom of the screen inform the viewer that “Top Cartel Leadership Captured Saturday,” and in a tiny box at the top corner of the screen, President George Washington IV’s disembodied head tells us how very proud we should be of our law enforcement.
Isabel shakes her head. “This is very awful,” she says. “They are just trying to provide for their families.”
We’re sitting around the grey, vinyl conference table in the teacher’s lounge. This is the morning break where we all come here and relax for fifteen minutes while the robotic assistants watch the kids. If this were the 1960s back when I started teaching, everyone in this lounge would be chatting and waving their cigarettes at each other. The smoky air would be full of the sweet scents of tobacco and tar. It’s the 2030s though, and the air is full of the smell of antiseptic and mint chewing gum.
12,000 word short story: Volosasz, a cunning but conflicted displacer-beast gryphon, stalks the surface at the behest of shadowy, ruthless subterranean masters. His latest target, an elven priestess of a surface goddess known as the Pure Lady, proves to be more than he expected after he abducts her for the centerpiece to a dreadful magic ritual.
The following story was written as a commission. If you would like a commission of your own, please email me at blankage1 [at] gmail [dot] com or message me at Deviantart or Furaffinity
The car thudded onto the gravel road, and Mike’s mom inhaled sharply.
“Easy!” she said. “You’re not driving your ATV.”
Mike was quite aware that he wasn’t driving his ATV, thanks, but he said nothing. Since he’d gotten his learner’s permit, his mom had been pretty hesitant to let him drive, and pissing her off didn’t seem likely to help his plight. So he just sighed and squinted at the light of the setting sun as it filtered through the thick greenery that enveloped the road.
“How much farther?” Mike’s little sister Kinsey asked from the back seat. She’d slept for a good portion of the six hour drive, but now she was awake and restless.
“Almost there!” Mike’s mom said. “Doesn’t this look beautiful?”
The only answer to her question was the sound of the car bumping along the road, raising a giant cloud of dust behind it. Mike regarded the lush plants that blurred by them, and he thought they looked green. He wasn’t sure why that automatically made them beautiful or whatever. Heading out to a ranch in Nowhere, Tennessee hadn’t been his idea of a great spring vacation, but his sister and mother had both disagreed. That was two votes against one as his little sister had annoyingly informed him. Now, easily swinging the car into a gravel parking lot, he wished he was anywhere else. Continue reading →