The Iron Writer Challenge #22
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
2013 Summer Solstice Open Finals
An 8 track tape (be specific)
You sing me morning dove lullabies on a Kingsfoil night
after spending the day with my hand in your back pocket
watching your Ferris Wheel halo and cotton candy smile and
thinking that our love is as fragile as a shopping center carnival goldfish
or as angry as a South Pacific coconut land crab so close to the coast
where we spread out beach towels and look past the waves to the west
It is no secret that you are my Achilles heel kryptonite
in our combat boot love affair rich with
depth charge kisses and camouflage espionage
and rather than hitching a ride from a funeral procession
we hotwire a 1976 Duster and its racing stripes and snakeskin roof
and when we can’t drive another mile or town
we click the dashboard mounted player to track 1 of
‘Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy’
driving between sunsets and city limits arguing which one of us is which
and questioning whether our love is still green and growing or dry and gone
my words gasoline and your touch a lit match
needing to set fire to ourselves in order to have light to read the map
that will take us back to the shore where our love can bloom or at least tread water
or to the middle of the planet where it will die among the empty sand dunes
but not knowing which we throw our rope from our Tower of Babel to a Tower of Silence
and walk the tightrope between misunderstanding and the bleaching bones of the dead
where my fear of dying alone is replaced with a fear of dying without you
we become each other’s’ incubus and succubus hovering in unison and
trying to spawn a fulfilling forever from erotic evil dreams
and scraping the dirt beneath us while prowling for hope
refusing to throw in the beach towel as we’ve done too many times before
Armed and Dangerous
The heat of the late Sunday morning warmed Mick’s face as he stepped outside to load his 1965 Mustang convertible for a picnic with his girlfriend, Jody. She was five steps behind with a black vinyl case.
“So, why do you not have a CD player in your car, again?” Mick and Jody have been dating a few weeks, though he’s told her before. He stopped and turned.
“Because a ‘65 Mustang was the first to have an 8-track player standard.”
Jody rolled her eyes after Mick turned around to place the picnic basket in the backseat. Jody placed the case next to it.
The radio sounded after Mick started the car: “The Harrison police department is looking for a man accused of beating a clerk at a gas station, leaving him in critical condition. The suspect, a white man in his mid-30s, was last seen wearing jeans and a gray tank top shirt. He covered his face with a red bandana. Police say he is considered armed and dangerous.”
As if he didn’t hear the news, Mick pushed in his Fleetwood Mac 8-track tape.
“Wait. Did you hear that?” Jody turned off the radio. “We can’t go to the park with that lunatic out there.”
“The nearest store is at least three, maybe four miles away. Don’t worry about it. The odds are slim we’d run into him.”
It took about 10 minutes to drive to Miami Whitewater Park. They walked from the park’s rear parking lot to a secluded part of the park. They set up their spot in a patch of sun just off the bike path and a dozen feet from the tree line.
“You got the cards?”
Jody pulled out a pack of Trivial Pursuit cards from a jean shorts pocket and waved them. She gave half the deck to Mick.
“The hardest ones?” Jody asked.
“If you can find a hard one.” Mick smiled.
“This creature is also known as the robber crab or palm thief and is native to Niue Island.”
“What the heck?”
“I take that is an, ‘I don’t know.’”
Mick tossed a slant-eyed glare. “Okay, what is it?”
“Coconut land crab.”
“Whatever.” Mick shuffled through his cards. He flipped one over and smiled. “The better known name of this in German folklore is Alp of Teutonic.”
Jody shook her head in humorous disgust. “Okay, let’s go with easier questions.”
“It was an incubus, by the way.” Mick smiled slyly as he giggled. Jody threw a grape.
As Jody looked through her cards, and Mick stared intently at her, their sunny spot took on shade.
They looked up. A man wearing blue jeans and a dirty gray tank top towered over them. Cash overflowed his bulging pockets, and a red bandana hung around his neck. His white knuckles wrapped around a baseball bat stained red along the barrel.
“I got a question,” he said in a gravelly voice. He looked at Mick. “Are you ready to lie in the Tower of Silence?”
He lifted the bat with two hands over his head, and as his face began to distort with force, pulled the bat down.
The Paradox of Choice
A. Francis Raymond
The cast scuttled into the chamber carrying Kaheru on their backs. A black magnetic tape bound her legs, foreclaws, and pinned one of her antennae against the side of her mouth. Attached to the tape, dragging behind her, was the object that ensnared Kaheru – a moldy green 8-track cassette. The top image was faded, but enough ink on the side was readable:
“BREAD: BABY I’M A WANT YOU”
Tane sighed. “What have you gotten yourself into now, Kaheru?”
“Maybe it’s a new weapon,” cried out one cast member.
Kaheru didn’t tell them she knew exactly what it was. Well, not exactly. It was a human relic and after her years of human study, she used it to attempt to conjure up an old human. A crab from the only other surviving cast of Coconut Crabs, from the Island of Niue, claimed to have succeeded and provided instructions. It didn’t work.
“Please, get it off me,” begged Kaheru, free antenna drooping in embarrassment.
Tane flicked his antenna, disgusted at her smell. “Now, Kaheru, you know we can’t do that. This object is of amazing antiquity. We will not damage it.”
“Take her to the Tower of Silence,” he ordered.
The chattering cast quieted instantly. No one ever went to the Tower. Sea Eagles, the world’s other remaining great predator, ruthlessly warred with the crabs for eons. Atop the tower, exposed, meant certain death by their enemies.
High on the tower, one of only a few known human-created structures left, Kaheru was deciding whether or not to cut and destroy the artifact on her own when “it” appeared.
It looked human, according to surviving pictures Kaheru had seen. It had arms, a head, legs and an appendage she didn’t recognize dangling between its legs. But she didn’t expect to see wings.
“Greetings!” The cloud of thunder and lightning accompanying his entrance started to dissipate. “I am Odacas! Incubus and…” he looked around and saw Kaheru.
“I uh, am looking for some women,” he said.
“Yeah. They conjured me. I must impregnate them.”
“I might have conjured you.”
Kaheru explained the humans were long gone, her own predicament, and as much recent history as she could. Apparently, Odacas had been away from some time.
“I was last here…” he turned to look at the stars in the sky. “Wow, it’s been at least two million years.”
“You look disappointed,” he continued. “Was this not your intent?”
“No, I wanted to meet a human.”
“Oh. Sorry. Well, I should get back and impregnate a few. Get the population numbers back up so they don’t die out…”
“Can you take me back to the time of the humans?” Kaheru asked.
“You might not like it. They, uh, eat your kind,” said Odacas.
Kaheru thought about it. Death, ripped apart by the talons of an Eagle, unable to defend herself, or the possibility of survival but more probable death, in the hands of her beloved humans.
“When can we leave?”
World of Wonders, Episode Nine
“I don’t think we should do this,” Ang Number Six said. “We’re tampering with forces we shouldn’t.” His voice echoed through the warehouse.
Number Nine tapped Six’s forehead, “That’s how we got into this mess in the first place – using the God Machine Ang stole. We’re human, and now what? I’ve woken up the last six mornings,” he gestured to his genitals, “standing completely erect, with a feeling in my chest that I don’t know what to do with. We’ve started hiding our bodies with ridiculous clothing; started acting in ways we never did before we got souls, and I intend to find out what to do about it.”
“Stop, both of you. We agreed that this is the most logical thing to do.” Thirteen stepped between Six and Nine, placing a hand on their chests. He didn’t know why; he thought the contact might calm them.
“We have the items for the ritual,” Nine said. “Let’s just do it.”
“I’m not entirely sure I’ve built this Tower of Silence perfectly,” Thirteen said, studying his InfoPad. “It’s small. These articles were vague on the exact build. I’ve got the three interlocking circles traced with the blood of the Nuiean Coconut Crab, and the incantation, all of the important things to summon Ang’s spirit. Except his body.”
“I have Him.” All eyes locked on Number Four. One and Two placed a canvas bag onto Thirteen’s workbench. Four, Ang’s favorite of the doppelgangers, unzipped the bag, revealing His pale, blood-drained face. Four smiled fondly and brushed a strand of hair away. “One, Two, put him atop the tower. We’re doing this.”
A gout of fire erupted from the Tower, accompanied with the acrid smell of burning flesh. When he realized it was Ang’s body that was burning, Six vomited. His stomach emptied itself while his ears were filled with evil cackling. Six’s curiosity won over his stomach; he looked up to find Ang’s spirit standing, bound by flame and smiling. Six looked into Ang’s cold, lifeless eyes.
“I knew we shouldn’t have done this,” Six whimpered.
Nine stepped forward, ignoring Six. “Creator, we don’t know what to do. We’ve been. . . feeling. Sadness, happiness, lust.”
“It’s intense, and –”
“But what are we supposed to do with ourselves?”
The room fell silent, but for the 8-track tape playing Spiral Architect – Ang’s favorite song.
Ang’s spirit laughed sadly. “God banished me to Hell for giving you souls, and you ask me what to do with life? Live, you idiots! I’ve been burning in Hell, and you ask me what you should do? Live!” Ang screamed at them as his charred corpse rose. It spun in the air and became whole again. Burns settled into flesh and became clean. Color erupted across the corpse, and breath filled its lungs.
Ang’s body and spirit became one. He jumped down from the tower. “As for me,” He said. “I’m going to go get laid. A lot.” Ang, the reincarnated sex demon, strolled from the building.
“Did… we just bring Ang back to life?” Four asked.
“I think so.”
Thirteen shrugged. “Damnedest thing.”