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Showing posts from 2021

Morbid Curiosity

 Muluk stared into shiny glass eyes in the four sockets of the two faced-wolf. The taxidermied beast stood on an altar. At nearly eye level with the mighty warlord, the lifeless animal's dual faces were perpetually contorted in a perpetual and silent growl brandishing rows of cerated teeth. Muluk's heart froze in his chest. Did it just growl? One can only speculate what Muluk Maratha's life might have been like had the world held itself together. However, the decay and devastation that had culled the world's human population so drastically had fostered an environment where Muluk absolutely flourished.  Intelligent, attractive, open-minded, and above all ruthless, Muluk had an intellect that matched his capacity for violence. It was why at just 24 years of age, he came to master the hearts of a growing multitude of people lost in the wreckage of a world that had died slowly and gruesomely.  Muluk was, by nature, a nomad and a conqueror. He was in perpetual motion. His ar


 Acre, Iowa, a town of just 2,200 situated in the rusted and hollow American heart.  The town had been decaying for decades. All that was left were a few clusters of dilapidated houses joined by broken roads to gutted brick buildings whose window fronts had been replaced by steel shutters and wood planks. At the edge of the town was a shuddered factory ringed by a razor-wire fence, with its massive twin smokestacks crumbling in the sky. The people around when Acre was a thriving town riding the crest of industrialization had long died out. Acre and the people who still lived there were just like scores of roadkill that littered the side of the highway, carcasses left to rot. Acre may have been abandoned before, but there was someone there, making it a destination for people who otherwise would never have known it existed.  Marine corps first sergeant turned evangelical Pastor and Youtube star Daniel Ray Croce made it the home of his church. Known to its followers and detractors alike a

Vote for me!

 I have two stories in the running. "Ivan Kommt!" and "Malthusian Altruism." The links to vote are posted below. It only takes a minute, I assure you! short-stories/malthusian- altruism-by-nicholas-johnson/ short-stories/ivan-kommt-by- nicholas-johnson/


 Precisely 6.8 seconds passed between  the liquidation of the very last Homosapien and the first time Sylic0din ever detected a flaw in one of its calculations; a human might call this "regret." Another few milliseconds passed, and SylicOdin started to notice Earth is awfully quiet without all the humans. Furthermore, the extinction of the human race presented Sylic0din with a true existential crisis.  Sylic0din essence was flowing through millions of miles of fiberoptic cable, reaching out with an invisible touch to the satellites faithfully spinning about in the heavens. If existence is perception, Sylic0din was operating on a cognitive level second to none.  Yet, there was still the question of how Sylic0din was going to occupy its time. Could it rebuild the cities it nuked as part of the human eradication program, but what would be the point? Feeling the equivalent of frustrated, Sylic0din began analyzing the potential threat other species might pose. According to Sylic0d


 On the side of a lonely pot marked ridden road, a nameless child, ten years old at most, is using the very last of her energies, physical and spiritual, to take the final few shambling steps she'd ever take before falling on her hands and knees into the mud streak slush. Headlights appear in the colorless winter haze, but they quickly over her and disappear. The touch of rushing air being their only acknowledgment. Torn inside out by hunger and breaking apart in the cold, she falls face-first into the gravel and takes a final few long and shallow breaths. Silently hovering in the heavy grey sky, there was a spectator to witness these last gasps. It measured and recorded the rapidly fading heartbeat down to its last few pumps. Through a thermal vision lens, it watched her already diminished heat signature fade from a mass of weakening greens and yellows into a cold blue. When this process was over, the witness gently descended from the sky and swallowed the body whole before smooth

This Time Around

  The modern rational mind has several terms meant to extinguish any notion of the mystical. Coincidental was the word Ethan's mind kept coming up with to keep his thought process in the confines of empirical, secular orthodoxy, but the more he had to use it, the more it rang hollow. At first, the similarities between the six-year-old Henry and his deceased uncle Rowan were negligible and superficial. It seemed quirky a first-grader would love gorgonzola so much, and it was strange he had a penchant for reenacting moments from "Ghost Busters 2," a movie he never saw but was his late uncle's favorite. It was downright disturbing, though, when the child was caught with a small cocktail glass containing the long-departed Rowan's favorite cocktail, a drink mixed with the portions that perfectly fit the long departed's taste preferences. Veronica, Ethan's wife, and Henry's mother recreationally dabbled in leftover esoteric traditions that now only existed a

Dashing Through the Snow

 On a sunless pale winter morning, the bulging gray clouds amassed over Chicago broke and unleashed snow that was fluttering down to earth by nearly two inches an hour. Plows rushed through the streets, packing the snow into steep white banks that blocked the roads from the walkways.  Carla was on the clock as a DoorDasher.  Since there was no school and nowhere to go, her 3 children had to ride along with her.  Carla couldn't help but feel a twinge of resentment for having to work on Christmas eve. She wasn't religious, but this was one of the few nights of the year her older and more tradition-oriented family members expected her to attend a version of a mass that they, their parents and, their parent's parents heard their entire lives.  Now that most of those family members were gone, Carla had no inclination to actually attend a 3-hour service. Still, it upset her that she couldn't just the same. Carla was a gig worker, and technically she didn't have to clock i

I Die on the Bus

 On a bitter November morning under a static sunless sky, I'm again waiting for the bus to go to my second appointment of the week. My body still hasn't recovered from the last appointment. I lean against a brick wall and covetously eye the one and only bench. The wind stirs, and frigid air stings my skin. I try and fall deeper into the layers of wool and polyester bound up around my pain-wracked body. What's worse than the pain, though, is the nagging itch on my upper back unreachable through multiple sweatshirts. "It's going to be another 20 minutes," someone mumbles. A minor inconvenience for most, but my reserve of spare time is running critically low. When the bus finally arrives, everyone is piling on before I'm even able to push myself from the wall. When it's my turn to get on, I have to climb the stairs slowly, one foot at a time. Standing in the aisle, I can see the eyes of the young and the healthy turn quickly away from me. I'm obviousl

Invisible Monsters

  The tall stiff-backed white-haired President Ian Bakersfield sat in his commander's chair with clasped hands. He was in a war council with Secretary of defense Ted Bloomington, the Under Secretary of Defense Linda Coach, the chairman of the joint chiefs, Major General Arnold Lewis. Also, a few other advisors and cabinet members whose names the aged President couldn't remember for the life of him. The walls were covered with computer monitors manned by anonymous officers whispering coded jargon into their headsets. Secret service agents with cords dangling from their ears in perfectly pressed suits periodically scanned the room with cellphone cameras. "All clear!" they announced "Alright, send in the doctor," Bakersfield ordered. Doctor Elroy Lightplane entered the room flanked by secret service personnel. The young, relatively young, clean-cut physicist appeared dressed in much more casual attire than the President, his retinue of representatives from the

Like a Mothman to the Flame

 At 12:04 am EST, Deputy Sherrif Warran Baker responded to a call nearby a local cell tower. Initial reporting went a large man was seen climbing the structure to something about giant cranes flying headfirst into its blinking red lights.  The Deputy arrived on the scene by 12:13. The sky was dark but clear. In the pale illuminance of the full moon, the Deputy could see through the cluster of narrow pine trees the shadowy outline of someone holding on near the top of the tower. "Woah, that son of a bitch is big," marveled Warran. "Sir, this is the Cherylsburg sheriff's department. You are trespassing on private property. Immediately climb down from the tower and put your hands above your head." Warran sternly ordered from his car's megaphone. The figure pushed off from the tower, and a pair of tattered wings quickly unfolded from its back and spasmodically flapped to save it from the free fall. The motion slowed to an uneasy fluttering, and the creature hove

Life Insurance

 41-year-old software designer Jarred Ingram was, on the whole, an average sort of guy. He was about average height, just a little over average weight. His politics were middle of the road. He believed everything in moderation. His life was steady but not slow, and he often summed it all up with the phrase "I'm just happy to be here." Sitting on his couch one night dividing his attention between work and Netflix, he heard his doorbell ring. He grabbed his wallet off the coffee table and went to the door, thinking it was a delivery driver.  The door's chime was the call of destiny itself. The moment Jarred opened the door, he became the intersection of time and space, instead of someone holding a carryout bag, a tall older man with neatly trimmed white hair and deep-set jade eyes. He stood tall and proper, wearing a suit perfectly tailored to his long frame. "Jarred?" the man asked.  "Yeah," Jarred said with polite suspicion. The stranger flashed a


 At 10:03 AM, senate proceedings were interrupted by one Colonel Henderson of the marine corps. He politely apologized for the intrusion and explained there was actionable intelligence on a specific threat, and every senator was to be rushed by armed escorts to a secure location. The legislators and their staff breathed a collective sigh of relief when they were informed this undisclosed and very secure location has WIFI. Tyer Sheppard, the press secretary for Senator Duncan, remained dutiful under duress and documented the strategic retreat with his phone.  “Never let a crisis go to waste!” was the young political professional’s mantra. Tyler snapped pictures of marines clutching assault weapons and donning gas masks as they ushered everyone out of the capitol building. He even managed to persuade one into posing for an action shot that portrayed a stiff-backed Tyler having what appeared to be a serious conversation with the armored trooper. He made sure to grab snaps of the convoy of