Saturday, August 20, 2016

New Thread- Story 12- Watson's Walk

Eleven stories here in the comments of an earlier thread...
I'll do the same deal. Paste the stories in the comments section.
Having fun with these,
The process always involves having a rough idea, even some phrasing, that morphs into a completely new thing after I've written a single sentence. 
Ten stories will be pasted in this thread.

I just scanned this to replace old art. Study made from an online photo. Olympian, probably on the rings.


MrGoodson2 said...

Watson's Walk

“Houston, this is Space Center 2. I've secured Watson. Over.”

“Roger Space Center 2. Watson’s family is go for burial in two hours. You alright Commander? Over.”

“Roger Houston, I'm fine. I want answers we can’t get without an autopsy and lab work. No forensics up here. Over.”

“Commander, NASA would like answers as well. But the decomposition issues, weightlessness and the schedule for rotation are the problems. You understand. Over.”

“I understand Houston. What’s hard to understand, this was as routine as a spacewalk gets. Watson was going to scoop some debris we happened to be pacing. Over.”

“What do you think happened Commander? Over.”

“The radiation alarm sounded and went off just as quick. I think it means a concentrated pulse of radiation caught Watson and instantly killed him. Over.”

“Have to label it a freak occurrence from hazard unknown. We’ll want complete records Commander. Over.”

“Roger that. Everything that records…Damn!”

“Are you alright Commander! Over.”

“Yes… yes Houston. Whew. Watson somehow came out of the tethers. Drifted in here with me. Over.”

“Holey moley!”

“Holey moley is right Houston. I'll be back in a minute. I'll be re-securing Watson’s body. Finish prep for the burial. Over.”

“Understood Commander. Ceremony countdown is now, mark, 110 minutes. Over.”

The Space Center 2 Commander never reestablished contact with ground control Houston.

An emergency rotation launch was expedited weeks earlier than planned,

The replacement rescue crew found Space Center 2 empty.

Tom Moon said...

Hey Ellis, again, I just love that you are doing this! I have read the first three or four stories in your collection so far, but haven't gotten around to the rest. I'll try to do so soon. What I am doing is copying and pasting them from the TAG blog into a separate Word doc for easier reading.

I notice that several of the stories need titles. I made a table of contents for all your stories to date. The ones that need titles are 1,2,3 and 6. I marked them with an asterisk and have the first sentence of the story standing in for the title. When you come up with titles let me know what they are so I can fill them in.

1) * The doorbell startled Anthony.
2) * Martin moved boxes about in his garage.
3) * Bart stepped back from his latest design and said, “Let the party begin.”
4) Dry Gulch Night Patrol
5) Free Cat
6) * “Your chariot awaits.”
7) Cold Down There
8) What Are the Odds?
9) Top to Bottom
10) Jogging With Linda
11) The Last Pimple
12) Watson's Walk

Tom Moon said...

Regarding this latest story, "Watson's Walk", here is my feedback:

1)The first part of the story reads like play dialogue. This is great because it gives the story a feeling of immediacy as though we are experiencing it first-hand in the "now" through the POV of the astronaut retrieving Watson's body. But at the end you suddenly switch the voice to Third Person narration. This switch feels too jarring and takes me out of the story. It would be better to continue the form you established and tell the ending through the dialogue of the replacement crew when they reach Space Center 2.

2)The ending is a little TOO open-ended. You didn't drop enough clues as to what MIGHT have happened. Rather than triggering my imagination with interesting, spooky possibilities, I'm just left thinking, "What happened?"

Keep them coming Ellis. Your efforts are very inspiring!

MrGoodson2 said...

Excellent feedback Tom. All of these stories I'm going for a quick wrap that obviously may be too quick a wrap. I will study Watson's Walk for some extra info insertion.
The asterisk titles are

He Laughed
Moonlight Hitcher

in that order

Tom Moon said...

It's really hard to pull off a story with ONLY dialogue and no narration. Too much dialogue can leave the reader confused because there's no context for what's triggering the dialogue. On the other hand, too much narration without dialogue is monotonous. Dialogue adds emotion more effectively.

Have you read Ray Bradbury's short story "Kaleidoscope" from "The Illustrated Man"? It's a good blend of narration plus dialogue so you get the immediacy of dialogue plus the descriptive power of narration. It's also an astronaut story. It starts out like this:

The first concussion cut the rocket up the side with a giant can opener. The men were thrown into space like a dozen wriggling silverfish. They were scattered into a dark sea; and the ship, in a million pieces, went on, a meteor swarm seeking a lost sun.

"Barkley, Barkley, where are you?"
The sound of voices calling like lost children on a cold night.
"Woode, Woode!"
"Hollis, Hollis, this is Stone."
"Stone, this is Hollis. Where are you?"
"I don't know. How can I? Which way is up? I'm falling. Good God, I'm falling."

They fell. They fell as pebbles fell down wells. They were scattered as jackstones are scattered from a gigantic throw. And now instead of men there were only voices - all kinds of voices, disembodied and impassioned, in varying degrees of terror and resignation.

"We're going away from each other."

MrGoodson2 said...

I've read it as an EC comic I believe. At the end a kid looks up and says "Look, a falling star." That is a great sample of inserting beautiful description. Bradbury is a great writer. I need to make a project of reading everything he did. I always read his Playboy stories. Some great horror stories. Probably the most unsettling was the one about a girl that pitched such a hysterical fit if you tried to influence her, everyone just gave in and let her run things.

Tom Moon said...

Don't remember reading that story. Do you remember the title?

MrGoodson2 said...

Tom, I may have a false memory of the story. I can't find it among Bradbury's catalog of short stories. Not in Ray Russell either. Who knows. might not have been Playboy. I'll find it.

BDMontag said...

Silverfish, yuck.

Tom Moon said...

Such a beautiful name for an insect though.

MrGoodson2 said...

Crosshairs Diner

Steve pulled himself hand over hand along the floor. Gripping the steel posts of the counter seats. Easy task since he waxed the floors every night.

He stopped next to Jane’s location, hunched under the corner party table.

“You okay?” Steve asked.

“Are you sure it's him?” Jane asked.

“Can't take a chance it's not. I saw that laser dot and locked the door. Glad we're the only ones in here.”

“And Randall.” Jane said.

“Yeah.” Steve agreed, then called out “Randall!”

“Yo!” Randall answered from the kitchen.

“You got the back door locked?”

“Locked up tight Steve.”

“Stay put. If this is the twilight sniper you don't want to expose yourself.”

“No sir.” Randall agreed.

“Did you make the call?”

“Yeah, the police said they’re rolling.” Randall said.

“Good.” Quietly he said to Jane “He always warns the police before he attacks. If this is the sniper, the police probably know Randall’s call is legit.”

Steve felt a vibration buzz in his apron pocket. He had forgotten placing his new cellphone in the kangaroo pocket.

Jane said “You’ve got your phone?”

Steve put the phone to his ear, saying “I Forgot it. Sorry, glad I got it now.”

“Yeah.” Steve answered in a low voice.

“Steve, are you at the diner?” Steve recognized the voice of Police Chief Rogers who was a regular customer.

“Yes. Are your guys on the way?” Steve asked.

“No, why would we be on the way? Just wanted you to be alert. The sniper has called and warned he’s got a target. Close down and go home.” Rogers said.

“Chief Rogers, Randall didn't call you?”

“Randall? No, is that your cook? The new guy?”

“Yeah.” The new guy, Steve thought, locked in here with me and Jane.

Jane moaned “Oh no!” hearing a rifle loading action from behind the counter..

“Who you talking to boss?” Randall asked.

MrGoodson2 said...

The story above is me writing with a preset cliche idea. "The phone call is coming from inside the house!" Really freaked me out as a kid the first time I was exposed to that scare.
I Saw What You Did- William Castle movie.

MrGoodson2 said...

Found Memory

The flash drive had seen better days. It was in the rain gutter of the street, scuffed and faded. At first glance it looked like a total loss.

But Charles had found another similarly distressed flash drive and it had worked perfectly. On that previous thumb drive he had deleted a basketball coaches resume files and gained about 20 megabytes of useful memory.

Charles looked at the scratched and pitted thumb drive. The usb connection looked good. Not mashed out of shape or corroded.

And it looked like it might have gigs instead of megs! It would be a nice freebie if it worked.

At home Charles plugged the drive into his computer and warily opened it to see the contents. There was a single MOV file. So it still worked and that was good.

The cautious thing to do would be delete the movie and format the drive. But then he'd never know what the movie file was.

The file onscreen showed a thumbnail of a clown. He ran his antivirus software on the MOV. The software said “No virus detected.”

So he double clicked the file and the computer’s default movie player ran the film. It was a medium resolution shot of a clown in close-up. Red rubber ball nose. Black line outlines for a large happy mouth. White makeup, of course. Bright red, long, wild hair.

The clown stared into the camera without changing expression. Charles deduced this was someone interested in the success or failure of the make up checking himself on video.

Charles would not mind deleting this at all. The clown face begin to slowly turn, presenting first a profile, then the back of the wild red wig.

Charles thought, “Better than the mirror I guess.”

“But very boring.” he said aloud.

As he thought how boring it was, he passed into a cat nap state and a moment later jerked awake.

There on the screen was Charles’ face removing the white make up with a Kleenex.

MrGoodson2 said...

The story above is the somewhat new sub genre, 'found footage.'

MrGoodson2 said...

He Is Waiting

He assumed they were watching him. Were his posture and mannerisms damning him?

How does a guilty man act? He had read somewhere that guilty people in police interrogation rooms often took naps. Their guilt caused relaxation and acceptance.

But this was no interrogation room. His guilt wouldn’t lead to a lazy nap.

This room consisted of the red hardwood chair he was sitting in, a red carpet floor and two red doors facing each other 20 feet apart.

The red door he had entered quietly latched as it closed. It was pointless to check if it locked. He had nowhere else to go.

The other red door looked like it might be hot to the touch. It had no knob or handle. Instead it had a shallow inset hinting it would slide aside like a closet door.

A dark angel, gender unknown, maybe unknowable, waited on the other side of the sliding door.

He would either get a new assignment or he would face some final fate.

Prayer was no longer allowed him. He became ill the moment his mind strayed to prayer. Aversion therapy for the damned was how he thought of it.

His assignment had been to aid an evil man called, Toad, commit a large scale act of violence. Instead he had brained the foul smelling Toad. Killing the evil man. Calling the police to aid the still living victim of the Toad. Those impulsive actions led to this frightening limbo appointment in the red room.

Confronted with the evil Toad's day to day horrors caused in him a deep impulse to cleanse. But he was not still on earth to cleanse, just the opposite.

The hot door opened a crack. Beginning a constant slow sliding. His heart raced the entire time it took to slide fully open, revealing a coal black, empty space beyond.

He smelled something familiar. It was the Toad emerging, just visible in the dark, seemingly buoyed by the blackness. The Toad looked quite sad, a deep dent in the top of his head.

The red door, so slow to open, suddenly slammed shut and his chair pitched him onto the floor with a mouse-trap sudden savagery.

He raised his head from the ground. It wasn't red carpet. It was sweet smelling grass. He was now in a vast, beautiful park.

Someone was waving at him from a faraway hill. He couldn't wait to meet whoever it was.

MrGoodson2 said...

Years Later

Veronica noticed the problem immediately after she woke up. She almost stumbled and fell, tripping over her nightgown dragging on the floor and slipping under her feet.

She had gone from being a 40-year-old, tad overweight, woman to a 14-year-old teenage moppet. Veronica at once knew who and what to blame. That witch they had interviewed for the documentary Veronica was producing. Veronica had returned to the old woman's cottage alone to retrieve an expensive microphone.

The witch asked if Veronica would like to be young again. “Of course” Veronica had said. The old woman said she could make it happen. Veronica said, “As long as I don't have to swallow our drink anything.” Certain that unwillingness would end the sales pitch for witchcraft services.

The old woman cackled and walked to a cedar chest and pulled out a quilted blanket. It had very pleasing and interesting designs worked into the quilt. Veronica was sold the moment she saw it, wanting it as a memento more than a hand out to an old woman. An old woman who Veronica was sure could use the money.

“Sleep under it tonight. I will cast my spell at midnight. And you will awake young again.”

Now Veronica gazed at her cute but hopelessly immature image in the mirror. What was she to do? She couldn't go to work. She couldn't drive without attracting attention. She couldn't ‘adult.’ And of course the witch didn't own a telephone.

Just then the doorbell rang. Veronica stood on her toes looking through the peephole.

Sure enough it was the witch smiling crookedy.

Veronica opened the door and said, “It's you! Look what you did to me.”

The witch looked surprised and dropped her lock picking tools with a clatter.

“My stars, you ain’t baby size yet.” the witch said with a drool, “I’m early for breakfast.”

MrGoodson2 said...

The Pit

“You got that charge where you want it yet?”

“I’d like to put it up your nose. This is dynamite not cream cheese. Fatso.”

“Fat!” Horst yelled in mock horror.

Ivan replied, “Fat.”

“If I was made out of toothpicks like you…” Horst started when his friend yelled “Uh oh!”

“What?” Horst asked as the ground rumbled and Ivan disappeared in a cloud of dust yelling “Horst!”

Horst scrambled over the rocky terrain of the strip mine, stopping at the dust cloud where Ivan had hollered. Horst stood at the edge of a 20 foot wide hole, nearly perfectly round, falling away to a black depth.

“Ivan are you alright?” Horst yelled. He cautiously stamped his way to the edge to look down into the black hole.

“Ivan can you hear me?” Horst turned his head to listen for any sound that Ivan was conscious.

Whether he was conscious or not Horst was certain he was hurt and needed help. Solutions how to get that help to him were just beginning to form in his mind when Horst heard a curious liquid sound.

Wet plopping sounds like concrete made during a pour from a big mixer.

Horst then saw a terror he dreamed about for the rest of his life.

Ivan rising, fixed on the top of a slimy gray surface that resembled an oyster. Ivan’s skin, and in some places his bones, were dissolving into the gray mass.

Ivan had managed to sit up, keeping his head clear of the palpating creature’s digestion.

“Horst! Blow it! It's set! Blow it! Kill it!” Ivan screamed.

Horst was frozen a half second more, memorizing the horrible image of his dissolving friend. Then he frantically stumbled back to the detonator.

“Hurry Horst!” Ivan pleaded in a tortured shrill scream.

The explosion knocked Horst down and the heat from the hundred foot tongue of flame shooting from the hole burned his eyebrows off.

But Horst’s more serious burn that day was the searing memory of the partially dissolved Ivan.

MrGoodson2 said...


“Is this enough people? Just us three?”

“Well Madam Oglesbee is the only important one for success. I suppose a séance can work with only her present.”

“I am nervous, this is my first business like this.”

“I can't really reassure you, it can be quite frightening and I warn you, Madam Oglesbee always connects to the great beyond.”

The two women were old friends. Tracy was new to spiritualism but after Vera’s breathless description of a madam Oglesbee seance, well, Tracy naturally wanted to experience it herself.

Madam Oglesbee entered the darkened room where Vera and Tracy sat around a small round table. Lit from its middle by a globe lamp. Their faces under lit like a spook show.

“Join hands.” Madam Oglesbee stated. “Close your eyes. Keep them closed.”

The globe lamp dimmed to half its original brightness.

“Spirit, I beckon your presence. Come through this vessel I offer you and speak to these earthbound souls.”

Tracy wanted to peek but she kept her eyes shut. Imagine opening them and being caught disobeying the Madam.

Now Tracy's heart raced as the air noticeably chilled.

Madam Oglesbee grunted as though in discomfort. And then she moaned in an unrecognizable deep voice.

Tracy wanted to tear her hands free and run from the room but she sat still and trembled.

“The one named Tracy…” the deep voice said “Speak! You are known to me.”

Now Tracy's eyes flew open. Madam Oglesbee’s chin rested on her chest, deep in a trance. Vera looked across at Tracy with wide eyes.

“You know me?” Tracy whispered.

“Yes. And you know me.” The deep voice said.

Tracy couldn't swallow, saying in a small voice “Who were you?”

“I was your husband Landis.”

“Landis it is you! I recognize you now!”

The globe lamp shattered.

The two women screamed as the spirit of Landis angrily howled “Always checking up on me!”

MrGoodson2 said...

Spy Blimp

High above the deep Northwest Canadian forest in his private blimp, Preston focused on a tiny cabin located miles from any other human being. This spot had become the nexus of his obsession. The creature known as Bigfoot.

Rich and eccentric is a common combination. To be rich often means to indulge desire and interest. The more stable of the rich had their desires firmly centered on money. Rich men like Preston spent money on childhood interests, turning them into research.

The cabin below belonged to an odd man named Wanderloo. Preston believed Wanderloo would lead him to Bigfoot. Preston took two security men to visit Wanderloo at his cabin and were rebuffed with a violently brandished ax. They were faced with shooting the mad man or retreating.

They retreated and Preston arrived at the idea of the blimp. A brilliant solution except when storm clouds shared the sky with Preston, frightening him as much as Wanderloo with his ax. Electric flashing dark clouds like the ones today.

This interest in Wanderloo began when he traded a fur for supplies. That fur, with unique markings and textures, made its way to Preston. Scientific testing indicated it was a large and unknown animal.

An animal Preston wanted to know more about. So now he stalked Wanderloo. Trailed him invisibly a thousand feet high in the sky, night and day.

Over an hour ago Wanderloo exited the cabin and lay face down on the ground in a small clearing. Dirt flew out from under him in an astonishing bulldozer frenzy. In less than 10 minutes Wanderloo was buried in soil.

Preston monitored this shallow grave. In the stormy two hours that passed, it became a mound. Preston had cameras recording as he witnessed the shocking event. There was a thunder crash as the mound exploded. A huge Bigfoot creature stood in the crater, dirt tumbling out of its fur.

Preston realized Bigfoot was more like a werewolf! A shape shifter requiring some hitherto unknown communion with the earth to transform. Wanderloo was a Bigfoot! Possibly the only Bigfoot.

Preston gaped at Wanderloo the Bigfoot as it turned its head and looked directly at him. Seeming to lock eyes with Preston through the telescopic lens. Pointing skyward it moved its fanged jaws in apparent speech. Just as a pitiless, sky shattering lightning bolt blew up the blimp and Preston.

MrGoodson2 said...

In Control

The pencil pecked at the paper, adding dots where it struck. Terrence was tired. This was an exhausting, before bed-time ritual of his own invention.

He rubbed his eyes as he looked at the notebook with the same sentence written hundreds of times, “I control this dream.”

Terrence had dabbled with self hypnosis in an effort to plant the exact same suggestion into his mind. But the labor of writing and forming the words, “I control this dream” produced the best results thus far.

The dream Terrence experienced last night had been a tantalizing example of what he was after. In the dream he got into a black luxury car and went for a ride, sometimes miles above the ground.

Exerting control of the dream, Terrence caused a road sign to appear. A sign with a destination called Recall City. Terrence heard the car radio speaking in Spanish, a language he had just begun to study.

When he woke up Terrence turned on a Spanish-speaking cable channel and he could understand it almost as well as English. By the time he quit listening he said, “I know Spanish.”

Terrance nestled his head comfortably on his pillow. His tired eyes hidden behind his sleep mask.

Tonight on his drive to Recall City he wanted to review the material he found impossible to absorb in law school.

Terrence realized he was dreaming and thought clearly, “I control this dream.”

The black car gleamed in front of him, silently backing toward him. The driver’s door opened and Terrence sat behind the wheel smelling all his memories of new car interiors.

The car began to move into the sky, Terrence sensed before he saw his passenger. A dark shape that said, in Spanish, “I control this dream.”

MrGoodson2 said...


There was no question the movie work paid well but the deadlines were going to kill Francisco.

He had one day left before the final sculpture of “the beast” as he called it was due. He looked again at the sketch the director had approved. It was a delicious bit of gruesomeness.

The beast sketch detailed a pointy head, beady eyes and a pit bull jaw sporting rows of cracked, blunt teeth.

Francisco pushed and pulled the clay. It was close, the big shapes of the beast were there, but the details we're going to require nonstop attention.

Francisco wished he'd never heard of the word pipeline. He did his work, he was talented, but knowing he had to finish his work so that another person could begin their work, that was the pipe line.

And to fail the pipeline was to be assured that work would almost instantly dry up.

“But it pays well.” Francisco sighed, petting the beast’s jaw.

Ten thousand hours of work on previous sculptures guided Francisco's hands that night. Paring clay away there, adding bits there. Details emerged.

He began to sweat but didn't adjust the studio’s temperature. He looked at the clock.

Six hours before the deadline he got the awful feeling that comes over the body as it develops a cold. Francisco began to cough into the clay as he worked.

Anger filled him as he thought of the time left. Only an hour. “I need a week is what I need.” Francisco fumed.

Francisco wobbled and shook his head. He felt a wave of faintness and threw up all over the beautiful sculpture. Francisco moaned looking at the steaming mass covering his detailed clay work.

Francisco readied a water spray bottle to begin carefully dissolving away the mess dripping from the clay. A problem solved when the beast opened its jaw and licked away the vomit with a tongue that Francisco had not sculpted.