Archive | October, 2016

Ice Flue Chapter 16

28 Oct


Ice Flue Chapter 16

   The glass baby didn’t make a sound as they drove back to Cheryl’s condo.

   They approached Ice Enterprises. Cheryl squeezed Stan’s wrist. “Can we stop at work for a second? I forgot something.” 

   They left their baby in the car. 

   The basement of Ice Enterprises was dark. A few flickering halogens guided their way, but unfamiliar dripping sounds and a damp coppery smell surrounded them. “Should we have brought the baby?” Elizabeth Dracula’s face emerged surrounded by a purple light.

   The concrete corridor walls shifted uneven cave rock. 

   Up ahead, a rusty circular cage had its door wide open, it’s lock dangling from its spiky-barred door. The police officer, petrified, huddled in a corner of the cage. She no longer spun; she simply looked androgynous yet each of her limbs had been removed and replaced by peg limbs. 

   Dayglo Arnie, wrapped up in a thick white cocoon on the cave ceiling like a caterpillar, shouted down. “Escape! This is your final test! Rebel! Escape! Revolt!” 

   Elizabeth and Stan walked past the cage.

   “Hey. Pssst. New bunk mate! Can you lock my cage. Unless you want to join?” The police officer stepped tentatively forward. He paused. Then he daintily raised one slippered foot over the threshold. 

   Elizabeth burst out laughing. 

   The police officer, mortified, slammed the cage door shut, locking it. Then she swallowed the key. 

   Dayglo Arnie roared, breaking free of the cocoon as he nosedived directly into the cage’s lock. 

   Elizabeth rolled the heavy sliding door shut. “Come along with me.” She yanked Stan’s hand as they careened through a burst of sparkles.

   Stan’s vision turned staticky. He smelt pine needles on a forest floor. 

   “I just need to pick up something from my desk.” She punched numbers into a key code outside their office laboratory. A wide cavernous hall opened up. 

   Chained Dracun lizards in silver space suits rowed in unison with palm-tree trunk oars.

   The police officer and Dayglo Arnie, dressed in flashy wizard outfits, screamed “Row, rebel! Row, Rebel” over and over again in unison. 

   One muscular Dracun Lizard with a scaly mohawk broke his chains and slam-dance walked to Dayglo Arnie. “Rebel? Is this what you bastards meant?” He grabbed them both by the necks. 

   Their faces turned blue, but Dayglo Arnie was seemingly gasping his last breaths in joy. “Yes, that’s exactly what we meant.” 

   Elizabeth closed the door, thousand of cricket legs and eyes pouring from the hole in the back of her head. “Oops. Wrong drawer.” She entered a different combination. The door opened.

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Ice Flue Chapter 15

27 Oct

Ice Flue Chapter 15

   The mermaid and unicorn were in blocks of ice on either side of the bed like beacons.

   Elizabeth Dracula edged away from Stan on the frosty bed in fear even though Stan was still bound and gagged. Elizabeth leaned in a strained reach, slowly removing Stan’s gag. Then she scooted to a corner of the bed. Snow abruptly covered her from a putting cloud.

   “You turn from me. You curl up in a ball as if you want to die.” Stan cried as the stones of the castle glazed to a deep dark blue. He struggled to maintain his balance on the now slippery surface.

   Elizabeth Dracula thrashed in her sleep until her face changed back to the mousy shape of Cheryl Chillingworth in spectacles. “Go back to the office laboratory. I’m waiting there. Then follow me to my condo. Once there, eat my serum. You must swallow the Time of the Ice Princesses to save our world.”

   The ice rocks of the floor fell away like in a scrolling video game. Stan slipped off the final block and tumbled downward. He slid down a steep hill covered in wet leaves. He held Elizabeth’s hand as they galloped to the front of a garden teeming with wedding guests. A cute laboratory the size of a girl tossed vials of Ice Flue rather than flower petals. The witnesses were mostly humans with bird heads and severed bear claws speared by sticks held up by unseen attendees. They dispersed and descended at the sight of the vials—the laboratory may as well have been throwing 100 dollar bills!

   On the backs of the bear claws were blinking human eyes. The floor of the garden shattered. Stan fell again until landing on a couch in a hospital.

   Proud Elizabeth, snake tongue slithering and Dracun eyes shining, held their child in a delivery room: a glass baby through which blue Ice Flue pumped. A purple liquid sloshed in its head.

   The werewolf doctor turned around. “Well, you’re all ready to be discharged. Now get back to cooking that Flue of yours, Stanny boy! You have no time left to eat the time! And don’’t forget to rebel. You do want to be the hero of our story, don’t you?” 

Ice Flue Chapter 14

25 Oct

Ice Flue Chapter 14

   “Will you put your inner hog child to sleep?” Elizabeth Dracula smiled, clutching a doll-sized creature emanating a buzzing orange light. She poured another cup of Hysterical Shriek Juice; it had to be imbibed fast or it would erode the titanium wine glasses. 

   “I feel so alone. I’m letting everyone down. I fear no one can ever find me here.” Stan’s hand shook as he placed it on Elizabeth’s scaly green thigh. 

   “That’s not how you touch me.” She leaned forward, her snake tongue piercing Stan’s arm and extracted a thin blue vein; it curled and swayed like an inquisitive worm. “That’s how you touch me.” She handed Stan the hairy hog child. His overpowering light blinded Stan. “You want to adopt him for dessert?” 

   The waiter cleared his throat awkwardly at having disturbed a private moment. Three shot glasses filled with sparkling light rattled on his tray. “I’ve already prepared some star streak. It would be rude to change your order now. A lot of lives have already been lost in the kitchen while procuring these.”’

   Elizabeth guided Stan’s vein to each shot glass until it gulped their contents down. 

   Gangrenous spores infiltrated the room like dirt on a film frame. Beads of sweat poured down Stan’s forehead. “I need to leave the castle. I have to get back to the lab. 

   “Not yet, Stan. Waiter. Waiter!” Elizabeth snapped her fingers. 

   The waiter returned with an enormous silver tray. He stripped Stan, tied his hands behind his back with rope, hoisted him onto the tray, put an apple in his mouth, and stacked a pile of mint leaves near his backside. He carried Stan on the tray back upstairs to the castle bedroom. 

   A mermaid in a billowy dress read a magazine in the while a unicorn with a cigarillo furiously banged the keys of a typewriter at a desk in the castle bedroom. A printed newspaper jutted from the back of the typewriter bearing the headline ‘EPIDEMIC OF THE ICE FLUE.’ 

   The unicorn ceased typing and smirked. “Stan Lunch?” 

   “He’s here to eat the time.” Elizabeth Dracula’s dress turned into a flock of red parrots. “Let a storm be born.” The sky turned blood red as the jackals chased the clouds past the bone-shaped castle of the Ice Princesses.    

Ice Flue Chapter 13

23 Oct

Ice Flue Chapter 13

   “You know there’s a restaurant downstairs I’ve been meaning to try.” Elizabeth carried Stan in her scaly arms.
   A waiter in a devil costume skated over and blew a ring of fire like a gum bubble. “Just the two of you?” He spoke only to Elizabeth. “Right this way.” 
   The only other customers were overturned swamp buoys: swamps who had walked away from their locations and then been overturned like drunkards. 
   “Sorry Empress. It’s the sort of scum only the Ice Princesses would drag in.” His crooked devil tail caressed Stan’s neck. “What’s his problem?” 
   Elizabeth grabbed a plate of strawberries swarming with honey bees and devoured it while continuing at her brisk pace. She burped then causally smashed the plate on the castle floor. “He’s sick with the time. Now for dessert we want the past–no whip us up the Ice Princess frost winds. Bottle it up. Fry it with the streaking of a star. We’ll get our veins extended.” 

Ice Flue Chapter 12

20 Oct

Ice Flue Chapter 12

   Dayglo Arnie pulled a strip of flesh from the flank of a half-human Dracun Lizard. Its body roasted over a spit inside a Bedouin tent. Arnie sucked at the greasy flesh while glaring at his recruits in disappointment.

   Stan and the police officer lay hogtied on the canvas ground. The police officer wiggled, his revolving face thudding as it spun like a windup toy fallen over on its side.

   Arnie licked his fingers and lifted a thin black whip from a compartment in his round midsection. “Well, what are you waiting for? Escape. Escape! REBEL!” He hissed, barring his fangs. “Don’t you want to be a hero? Don’t you want to save the world?”

   Dayglo Arnie paused for a few minutes, impatiently checking his watch between quick whip slashess that seemed to pull off thin pieces of facial skin. “Alright. I’ll escape for you.” He untied Stan and the police officer and pushed them towards the opening of the tent.

   Three tough street kids stood outside. One had an eye patch, another had gold ears, and a third had a prosthetic arm.

   The police officer sighed, pale with dread. “Those are the other recruits.” He sighed again. “Maybe someday we can be brave like them and not have our master rebel for us.”

   Dayglo Arnie pushed them out forcefully.

   The street kids flipped open switchblades.

   A ghostly blue Elizabeth Dracula floated by.           

   “You’ll die from the Ice Flue in three days.”

   Stan tumbled into the desert sands until tangled in red silk sheets. He rolled over. Elizabeth Dracula with a Dracun Lizard Face slumbered. Her snake tongue flitted around her reptilian mouth. “Welcome to the bed of your death,” she mumbled, eyes closed, blue birds the size of ants coasting over her leathery green cheeks.    

Ice Flue Chapter 11

19 Oct

Ice Flue Chapter 11

   After they’d climbed the stone steps of the castle, feral Elizabeth Dracula shifted back into mousy Cheryl Chillingsworth. The bedroom doors swung open, silk drapes ushering them inside. But the view overlooked the sea and the floors were white carpet rather than stone. The walls were colored eggshell. The opposite window revealed a quaint cul-de-sac.

   Cheryl stepped out of her lab coat and smock. She lit a blue crystal at the end of a vial. She exhaled the smoke slowly and proffered the makeshift pipe to Stan. “Would you like some Flue?”

   Her condo was empty except for a series of glass cylinders and tubing by the window with the sea view. A purple liquid bubbled and cooked, worming through her invention. “While you’ve been brewing your Ice Flue, I’ve been fiddling with a liquid diet of my own.”

   A man with green skin and the head of a Dracun Lizard was tied to a chair in the corner, his wrists slashed and his teeth grinding as he clenched his eyes as if being administered a shock treatment.   

   Someone knocked on the front door.

   “Pardon me, neighbor, but have you any butter?” Heiferwaith wore a silk nightie. His face went pale. “Murderer! MURDERER! I’m calling the police officer.” He stormed off.

   Stan raced after him, yet as he coasted above the wooden steps to Cheryl’s condo they shifted back to the stone steps of the castle.

   The police officer waited at the bottom, his face still blurring between male and female as his now wooden arms with white gloves revolved like cranks. “Where have you been? You’ve missed detail for a week. All the new recruits have been talking about it. I know it was just us before, but there’s lots of others now too. And since we started off as partners, Dayglo Arnie said we’d BOTH be punished.”     

Ice Flue Chapter 10

19 Oct

Ice Flue Chapter 10

   As they rode through the darkness, Elizabeth Dracula’s skeleton sparkled with swampy vapors. “I may as well admit: I am Elizabeth Dracula. I don’t want to rebel anymore. I want to submit. Come back to my condo. I will cure your every last ailment, Stan. I want you alone in the Time of the Ice Princesses.” She leaned the motorcycle for such a long turn it felt like they were going in circles. 

   A broken vial hung from Stan’s wrist like a candy wrapper. The shattered glass defied gravity. The blue liquid of the Ice Flue hung in the air like droplets from a splashed puddle. 

   Finally, Elizabeth Dracula righted the motorcycle. They stood on a glowing fog in the shape of a drawbridge before a bone-shaped castle. She revved the engine, grinning perversely. 

   Ice Princesses gazed down, their jaws widened like figures from a Japanese folktale. 

   Elizabeth buried Stan’s face in her fur collar, pushing at the back of his neck with vulpine swiftness. Her perfume smelt of persimmon, her hair of cinnamon. “Come upstairs. I can correct the kinks in your Flue. But we must hurry before my wives come home!” 

   Her kiss was sweeter than sucking the blood from a peach in a sea of sugar.  

Ice Flue Chapter 9

15 Oct

Ice Flue Chapter 9

   The laboratory was cold and dark; jagged shadows of the experimental disease machinery were cast from the pale moonlight. 

   A light in the laboratory desk station next to Stan’s turned on. With enormous pilot goggles obscuring her face, she went immediately to work on a glowing orange and serum. After about five minutes of adding and subtracting chemicals, her serum exploded and burned to a dark crisp. “Damn!” She raised her goggles. It was unmistakably the beautiful but terrifying face of Elizabeth Dracula. 

   Stan recoiled in horror. “Elizabeth—“

   “Cheryl, actually.” She extend a long, thin hand, the Elizabeth snake rings intact with raised unusual jewels from the Zebra Fire Mines of Zantra. “I just started here yesterday, although my main interest is in politics. I’d like to be queen someday.” She blushed. “Arrogant, aren’t I? I haven’t even asked your name yet and here I am spouting off about my pipe dreams.” Her tone became series as the green in her eyes sent a chill through Stan. “I just want to state here and now that I do believe in the Time of the Ice Princesses with all my heart.” 

   Daylgo Arnie’s menacing and sweaty clown face appeared on the day screen at the front of the laboratory. “Okay grunts! Who’s ready to rebel against the system? Now don’t get down and give me—“ The screen was flipped off. Cheryl stood beside the screen, her puckered lips crumpled like a starfish’s legs as she raised a thin finger to them. Nobody had ever rebelled against rebelling in Stan’s presence. Nobody contradicted the revelations of Dayglo Arnie. Nobody. 

   Cheryl walked down the aisle, the green of her eyes flaking to blue as she stared hypnotically beyond Stan’s soul. “We’ve been at it all night and you haven’t even asked me out for a drink. Wanna play hooky?” Cheryl smiled, the ghosts of recently consumed silver cockroaches burning into muted fireworks displays. “I’m sick of all this rebellion. Let’s try a different approach. Have you ever been hurt by submitting? No? But it’s the most delicious hurt there is. I don’t even care if a religious disease burns me from the inside out. Get on the back of motorcycle, Stan Lunch, and hold me tight. Hold me like I’m your last breath of fresh air. Breathe me like a breath of ice.” 

   She ran her fingers through Stan’s hair, but the excitement made him clench up. He raised a shaking hand: he’d burst another vial of Ice Flue. The blue liquid dripped down his wrist like a precious wasted drug. His eyes blurred as he went cross-eyed until he could only see the glowing green skull of Elizabeth Dracula cackling as she gunned her motorcycle and aimed it straight past his soul. 

Ice Flue Chapter 8

14 Oct

Ice Flue Chapter 8

   Above ground was an endless desert, except for some bone-shaped skyscrapers blending with glittering ice castles in the far distance. 

   There were no other recruits besides Stan and the police officer.

   “Get down and DON’T give me a 1,000. We’re gonna make you rebel and we’re gonna make you like it!” Dayglo Arnie roared, lifting belts from the sands and strapping Stan and the police officer down so that it was impossible to do a single push-up even if they’d chosen not to rebel. 

   The two ferocious suns beat down from overhead as Stan coughed from the sand he inhaled. As Dayglo Arnie began to lecture about the importance of rebellion at all costs, Stan’s attention drifted to the faraway town of bone-shaped skyscrapers and glittering ice castles.

   “Don’t look over there. You are forbidden to visit the Time of the Ice Princesses,” the police officer said, lipstick blurring into mustache while smirking. 

   One of the ice princesses floated across the desert as fast as an arrow. Her lips were grotesque as her jaw spread inhumanly wide as she smiled and rocket back and forth as if her face were a villainous mask in a Noh theater production. “Take the Ice Flue to Elizabeth Dracula. Only then can you bridge the gap to the Time of the Ice Princesses. Go back to discover the ice flue again. Go back.”

   The Ice Flue droplets had changed from blue to red on Stan’s hand. 

   Dayglo Arnie, red in the face, continued to berate the police officer for its lack of motivation in rebellion. But, due to the altered state of the Ice Flue, Stan faded from existence as Dayglo Arnie and the police officer looked on in dumbfounded slow motion. 

   Stan’s surroundings elapsed and blurred, his vision a throbbing tunnel, as he was pushed back to a surface, a cold dark cave surface that gradually revealed itself as his laboratory. He held an unspilled vial of blue Ice Flue as a magic trick had been reversed.  

Ice Flue Chapter 7

12 Oct

Ice Flue Chapter 7

   Their bunk was like the inner chamber of a submarine.
   “Would you like some butter? Mother sent it from Germany!” The interval between spins had shrunken to a millisecond and the police officer blurred between male and female.
   Stan Lunch regarded the stick of coiled butter with dismay: it was shrouded by mold and packed full with cricket carcasses.
   “Mother says Elizabeth Dracula eats this every morning to keep her skin looking beautiful.” The police officer’s metal limbs resembled an antique wind-up toy.
   The hatch opened violently as a rush of boiling water poured onto Stan and the police officer. Steam rose from the police officer’s limbs as Stan screamed in agony. His metal hand bubbled and popped, but it didn’t feel like his skin burned; his hand was being forcibly shrunken, slowly and as if by an AWOL gravitational pull.
   Dayglo Arnie straddled the opening of the hatch. “Get a move on grunts. Your training has already begun. Where were you during the introductory video? Didn’t you hear the Flue Whistle?” Dayglo Arnie, his white clown makeup glowing as beads of sweat suspended within thick strands of his orange clown afro, hissed with fangs barred.