Long Pig

A thick sea fog crawled up onto the shore and billowed out along the ragged coast like a creature from native folklore. Confused seagulls called out to one another as the rain increased in intensity. A lone figure blindly staggered through the slushy sand on the coast.

He was the only survivor from the “Wild Countess” a pirate ship that was shattered asunder by a terrible storm at sea two days prior. His clothes hung in rags off of his frail body as he limbed along the beach trying to find his way inland and possible shelter. The gods were angry at Sir William Treacher, who was once a respected member of the English Court before turning to piracy as a profession. If it wasn’t for the damn storm he’s still be sailing the high seas in search of easy prey.

Sir William was not a religious man, despite feigning to be one for most of his life. So he had no supreme being to pray to. He cursed his fate and kept walking through the driving rain.

The island that Sir William walked on was New Guinea but he didn’t know that. All he knew was that he hoped the inhabitants -if there were any – were friendly.

The village chief, Loo Kaupa, patiently listened to the eager young messenger Vihaan Tali, tell his tale. The excited young man was reporting that he saw a stranger on the beach and he was a white man. This was big news. It had been a long time since white men visited their island. Chief Loo Kaupa had to strain his memory to recall when the last time it happened. His chief advisor, and oldest man in the tribe, Ewanga-Goiba Ani, said it was a special event – just like the last time many moons ago when five sailors had washed up upon their bountiful shores.

Other elders in the thatched hut buzzed like bees remembering encounters with the white men and their wisdom. Some talked about the white man’s ability to navigate by the stars and to read the heavens for their position. Some pointed out other amazing technologies they shared, like the mangled telescope which stood in a place of honor in the chief’s hut. Alongside of it were two pairs of spectacles whose power of magnification awed the simple natives. A map of the world was proudly displayed upside down on another wall. No doubt about it, the tribe had benefited from the visitors and treated them like valued guests.

Sir William cursed when he stumbled again. His legs felt like leaden weights and he was hopelessly disorientated. He was hungry and thirsty. Finally he sat down on a boulder. The rain stopped as suddenly as it started. Steam rose from the ground as he looked around in disgust.

“Damn me eyes if this isn’t a poor turn of events,” he grumbled out loud as he emptied sand from his shoe. Nearby at the tree line that Sir William hadn’t discovered yet, two natives watched him with wide-eyed curiosity as the fog slowly dissipated under the sun’s warm embrace. They were instructed to observe him and not reveal themselves.

After an hour Sir William worked up the energy to walk to the tree line that was revealed between wisps of stringy fog that doggedly clung to the ground. When he found a running stream he collapsed beside it and greedily drank the fresh cool water until he involuntarily vomited. As he lay recovering on the river’s bank he saw a wild pig dash through the underbrush. The sight heartened him. There was at least one meat source on the island. He suspected that he’d find eatable tubers and berries to supplement his diet. His spirits raised as he relaxed by the stream and listened to the calls of exotic birds overhead.

Sir William’s first instinct was to run when he saw the heavily tattooed chief Loo Kaupa emerge from the dense undergrowth to greet him. The chief’s face was painted in a fierce grimace but he was smiling and holding up one hand as he approached. Even more reassuring, the chief was speaking in broken English.

Ahoy, Englishman!” he called out merrily.

With a sigh of immense relief Sir William hailed the chief and smiled broadly. His luck had finally returned.

On the way to the village other natives joined them. Some had dead wild pigs on wooden slings, while others had baskets of red and black berries. It was a festive group that hummed native tunes as they traveled further inland. Sir William’s thoughts turned to how he could exploit the naïve natives as he followed them into an enclosed compound.

Chief Loo Kaupa proudly ushered Sir William into his spacious hut and called for drink and food to be laid out on a long wooden table in the center. Naked and nubile young women brought in baskets bearing various eatables, from reptiles to mystery mushes whose smell made ones eyes water.

When two brawny naked young warriors brought in a whole roasted pig everyone enthusiastically clapped. Especially Sir William whose mouth was watering at the sight. It was a memorable night where everyone got drunk on the villagers favorite fermented coconut concoction.

A week later chief Loo Kaupa announced that Sir William would have the honor of taking messages to the villagers loved ones. It seemed a bit odd that the villagers themselves couldn’t visit their loved ones but Sir Will’s mind was fogged with the excesses he was indulging in.

Beautiful young women were selected to sexually please Sir Will for six straight days. On the seventh day chief Loo Kaupa informed him that he was a “long pig.”

“What’s a long pig?” Sir William hesitantly asked.

“They’re special offerings to please the gods,” the chief beamed happily.

Sir William’s heart quickened and he dropped the wooden gourd he was drinking from as several strong warriors edged closer to him while the chief was speaking.

The Great Spirit Father is honoring you tonight above all others. As a long pig, your sacred flesh will be consumed by everyone in the village this night, allowing you to carry messages to their beloved ancestors.”

Sir Will’s scream of horror rose to the heavens as the warriors closed in around him with long knives.

The end.

Trapped in a Dream?

I’m ready to wake up now.

It’s been fun surfing on monster waves in Hawaii in weather so beautiful it was post card perfect. Those two beach bunnies were a nice touch. Literally. Heh! heh! Everyone was real nice to me, and smoking pakalolo with those two Philippine fishermen was a cool experience, but I want to wake up now.

There must be rules.

Nothing is wrong with me. I’m healthy and happy. Just sleeping. So why can’t I get up? Shakespeare wrote,

“Are you sure

That we are awake?

It seems to me

That yet we sleep,

we dream”

In The Midsummer Night’s Dream.

This quote haunts me because I’m sure I’m awake, yet somehow dreaming at the same time. It stirs instincts from other lives that were hidden from my consciousness and are now scampering about like free rabbits in the wild.

What am I doing wrong?

Is it possible to forget how to wake up? Is that little piece of information in code somewhere in my unconscious? Did it grow tired of waiting for me to open my eyes and shrivel up? Way too many questions here. I have to pull back and not panic. I appear to be stuck in a nightmare. As soon as I get the right neurons to move from my cerebellum to the cerebral cortex it will go away.

I’m waiting.

Maybe I’m having the mother of all daydreams. Daydreams. That’s it. I’m having the most intense daydream ever experienced by a human. I don’t know why I was singled out for this dubious honor, but I’m over it. Time to move on. I have a life to live. Is anyone out there listening?

Im still waiting.

The end.

The Delivery Man

Clint’s apartment offered a panoramic 10th story view of Portland which could be enhanced if one desired by looking through the telescope on the deck.

The telescope was a Gskyer 70 mm with lots of interesting attachments. He could watch ants climbing up a lime tree in someone’s backyard five miles away if he felt like it. His favorite attachment was a 5×24 Finderscope and mounting bracket with cross hair lines that helped locate objects and subjects. He spent many pleasant hours looking at the world unfold outside as he sipped 18 year-old James Buchanan’s Special Reserve Blended Scotch Whiskey.

He was single and a successful day trader who worked from home. He didn’t like being around other people. Crowds made him uneasy. He didn’t mind one-on-one conversations with friends or strangers however. He was well-educated and graduated top of the class at Webster University, a national top ten business college. His soft spoken voice could calm people in distress and hold people’s interest when he told a story.

His rugged good looks turned more than one female’s head in admiration. Yet Clint never had a girlfriend, or a boyfriend. Never. His adopted parents never pressured him to date and often went out of their way to help him avoid large gatherings… like school. His adopted mother was a special education teacher who home schooled him when she came home from work. He absorbed knowledge like a sponge, but seldom showed emotion. Joy, or anger. Grief, or elation. Happiness, or sorrow. It was his poker face that made some people a little uneasy when around him. That, and his pale blue eyes, which seemed to sparkle with an unknown energy that suggested an icy presence lurking inside.

Money was no problem for Clint. He was very successful at investing his money in the market, and had over a million dollars in savings. His problem was entertaining himself. The television and the internet provided entertainment up to a point, but the day came when it wasn’t enough.

Clint adopted the persona of a deliveryman. He would bring surprise packages to houses, apartments, motel and hotel rooms, and businesses. He purchased numerous deliveryman outfits with different company names on the back and his front pocket. He wore fake glasses. The contents of the packages varied; some were bombs, some were piles of cash, some were just pranks using jack-in-the-boxes. He always felt calm about his deliveries regardless of their contents. It was a strange feeling for someone who experienced very little human traits.

One day while peering through his telescope, Clint watched a little drama going on a few miles away and near one of the many bridges below. One of his talents was lip reading. Despite turning their heads away from him at times, Clint pieced together what they were fighting about in minutes. It was enough to inspire him to deliver a special package to the house later that day.

He pulled up to the house in his General Delivery van and brought his package to the front porch of the house. It was where he saw them arguing. He calmly drove back to his apartment and went outside to his telescope. After lighting up a joint he inhaled deeply, savoring his favorite strain of cannabis, Grand Daddy Purp. Grinning in anticipation, he peered through the 400mm lens he had substituted for the 70mm and settled in for a long wait.

Two hours later the occupant of the house, a woman, stepped out onto the front porch. She peered around as if looking for someone, but the street was deserted in the growing dusk. Then she looked down and saw the package. It was the size of a shoebox and was wrapped in brown paper with a yellow ribbon and bow. There was no card. Her name wasn’t on it. She looked around again, straining her eyes against the withering light. Eyes back down. A step towards it. Clint imagined how hard her heart must be pounding as she neared the package. She hovered for a moment over it then bent down. Fear and curiosity crawled across her brow as she contemplated the package.

Finally she reached out and pulled the ribbon…

This was the part Clint enjoyed. Life, or death? What would it be? He knew she was risking everything. If the package killed her she’d never come up with the ransom money for her only child, a daughter. Still, in her desperation she hoped the package contained good news.

Clint watched, squinting in the growing gray sky, as she opened the top and pulled out the wads of money. Twenty-five thousand dollars in cash! Enough to get her daughter back.

When the man came for the ransom she had it. A moment later her daughter was freed from a car parked nearby. The man left without a word. As he got into the passenger seat of the car Clint took several photos with his wireless camera attachment to his Gskyer telescope. It would help him find the man so he could send him a package too. One without money in it.

The end.

Hunters

The hunt was on. Like a moon circling a planet, Djara kept a safe distance from the beast while patiently stalking and observing it’s every move for days.

In the course of her young life Djara had become a renown hunter. She was a superstar in the Milky Way Galaxy where hunters from different world’s gathered to share stories and techniques. Her reputation for bagging exotic game was well-earned. She had yet to find a quarry that eluded her and didn’t end up in her vast collection.

It was a harsh planet filled with strange creatures and endless jagged mountains surrounded by forests so thick sunlight couldn’t penetrate their canopies. Unbothered by the rugged land Djara made her way through the dense forest using her night vision glasses. All the stories she ever heard were true. The beast was eight-feet tall and had four powerful arms that sprouted from a massive hairy torso.

Hunters seldom returned after stalking the creature. There were some hunters who saw it firsthand and ran for their lives, only to be broken with fear and unable to ever hunt again when they returned. And there were those who died gruesome deaths for their efforts.

Flen’s grizzled features tried to crack a smile, but the effect looked more like a grinning death’s head than an attempt to be jovial. He was in a good mood. Someone was hunting him and they didn’t know that he knew. It was always like this. A game of life and death. Flen was exiled to the nameless planet eons ago for crimes long forgotten. Back in his world, before he ran afoul of the law, he was a bounty hunter. Some said he was the best one on the planet Druin.

Killing was a hobby for Djara. The only one she had. Because she was raised and spoiled by wealthy parents, she always got what she wanted. The best weapons instructors, and the latest high tech weapons were hers from an early age. She was sixteen when she went out on her first big game hunt. Since then she had become a skilled tracker and a crack shot.

The day finally came when she saw her chance. It was a clear shot. The beast was standing on a ridge line totally exposed 200 yards away. An easy shot. Instead of going for center mass she decided on a quick kill head shot. The laser rifle’s blue beam streamed in the same second as the quarry suddenly dropped out of sight! She wasn’t sure if it was a hit, or not. A cold feeling came over her and she involuntarily shuddered. This had never happened before.

She climbed up to the ridge line where the beast was a moment ago and looked down the other side hoping to see a body. Nothing. It dawned on her that she was in trouble. This quarry was turning the tables on her.

She would have been amazed to see how fast he moved when he plunged all the way down and into the forest below minutes before. He was already flanking her as she weighed her options.

By the time she decided to go down into the forest the sun was sitting and Flen was following her like a big cat closing in on its prey. Like a great cat, he played with his prey. He sensed she was better than most and decided not to underestimate her. It was this kind of caution that assured Flen of success since he stalked the first hunter who came seeking him for their trophy collection. He had no illusions. The hunters would keep coming until one day he died of old age, or carelessness. He was a universal target for so many years he lost track of time.

It was Djara’s hunter’s sixth sense that alerted her that she was in danger. She stopped walking and held her ray rifle closely. The beast was near. She saw a fleeting movement. The narrow space between each tree barely afforded a brief glance. But she knew the moment of truth was near.

Flen had no weapons. He always got by with his sheer brute strength and size. His speed is what made him the most dangerous. His ability to be on his prey in a blink of an eye was terrifying to his victims.

A dreadful recognition slowly dawned on Djara. The “beast” was a hunter just like her. She wasn’t facing a dumb creature who had been lucky thus far. It was a skilled hunter operating in his own terrain.

Her fate was sealed. Holding the ray rifle with one hand, she unclipped her last resort weapon – a grenade – and pulled the pin out just as Flen’s four arms wrapped around her!

The end.

Moonshiner’s Road

(139 words-flash fiction/poetry)

Illegal moonshiners in North Carolina back in the day drove ’40 Ford Coupes to get away from what would have surely been a jail stay…

those Fords took to the country backroads with their highly-flammable loads because they were a smooth ride inside due to their extra stable tension bar, not something seen on every car…

it took guts and skill to drive on a moonlit red-dirt switchback up a hill, but the payoff was worth the thrill…

the idea was just to drive away and live again for another day, so it was a race against a law that the local folk claimed had a flaw…

and some folks say that you can still drive those roads far out of the way, and on a moonlit night you might see a souped-up ’40 Ford Coupe being chased by a stock Chevrolet!

****

The Skywalk’s Story

Two campers huddled by a fire trying to stave off freezing temperatures at the lower rim of the Grand Canyon one night, when they saw quite a sight…

an old Indian was walking on air beneath the bright moonlight, casually strolling alongside the ruby red ridge without making a sound, and not even looking down…

One camper told the other who was his brother that the man they saw was Levi Levi of the Hualapai, the last great chief of the Mountain Tribe who still protects his people and gives them pride…

and who inspired a source of income that is now worldwide…

… called the Skywalk, a trail shaped like a horseshoe with a steel frame and a glass floor, to some tourists delighted horror, with sides that project 70 feet from the rim, it’s an attraction that brings them in

and the two campers let the fire dim, as they slipped into sleep dreaming of walking Skywalk’s scenic rim.

****

Investigating a Disturbance

He was eating a burrito when the call came in that there was a disturbance at a local Inn…

… the odd thing you see, was the Inn was no longer occupied and hadn’t been for over a half of a century, which poised a mystery to Officer O’Reilly…

the Inn was once a landmark of fame where the wealthy came, but had hit on hard times many years ago, it’s interior splendor disguised by dust and rust, a sad and forgotten tableau…

Officer O’Reilly read the report by a citizen who walked by the Inn that night claiming he heard noises and saw an eerie light…

approaching the front door O’Reilly remembered the local lore that told of a hidden horror lurking there forevermore…

and peeked into the window instead, hoping he wouldn’t see the walking dead, when he suddenly saw a head and let out a moan of dread, because it was moving until it disappeared into the dark interior…

flashlight pointed straight ahead O’Reilly kicked in the front door and plunged into the dark gloom rapidly moving his flashlight around the room…

when he saw a man with an old-fashioned lantern in his hand, barely able to stand, O’Reilly called out and asked why he was there, but all the man did was stare…

deciding he was a harmless old vagrant seeking shelter he let him stay for one more day, and he went on his way when the old man had nothing to say, unaware he disappeared the moment he walked away.

****

The Champion

The Roman arena on display with the blood of humans and animals on a scorching August day…

we see a massive iron gate rise and out strides two gladiators in armor with killer eyes, ready to find out which one dies…

the blistering heat from the sandy arena floor shimmers on their swords as they walk through the gore and stand before the emperor, listening to the crowd’s roar…

“We who are about to die…” is drowned out by the crowd’s excited cries from spectators with blood in the eyes…

the emperor gives a slight nod and sat down, and the combatants turned around until they faced each other in the open ground, weapons held high, both hoping the other would die…

metal rang against metal in the raging heat, as each athlete refused to retreat so that blood covered each from head to feet while spectators passed out in the terrible heat…

finally one of the men clove open the other’s head, striking him instantly dead, leaving the victor the champion for the day, a title he’d be forced to defend again and again until his last day

****

The Meteorite

(132 words- flash fiction/poetry)

In the chronicles of Narmer the first King to unite the Upper and Lower Nile, a strange thing happened one night when a brilliant light streaked across the desert sky…

the light, which was actually a meteorite, hit a site near a Hittite temple hundreds of miles away, glowing where it lay, night and day, with a mysterious inner fire that attracted followers by the day…

who listened to the priests gathered there to pray to the meteorite, creating rites and calling it a god for lost souls seeking their way to eternity, a powerful entity that soon inspired a new prosperous Hittite city…

The inevitable clash of nations happened within a century, as the dark gods of both civilizations clashed, like opposing meteorites created by ideologies that couldn’t survive future centuries.

*****

The Last Match

(238 words- flash fiction/poetry)

The wind hammered down the narrow Sierra Nevada Mountain trail, followed by hail and then a blanket of snow as the man looked for somewhere safe to go…

he was covered by his old slicker poncho pulled over his sagging hat and leather clothes, a lone traveler who was nearly froze, but who was able to walk even though he couldn’t feel his toes…

… when the snow stopped and the night crept up like a rattlesnake, the traveler had a decision to make, if he were to survive he’d have to find a shelter to stay alive…

when to his relief he found a small cave in the mountain’s side, an opportunity to get warm inside, where his biggest desire was to start a fire so the heat could get to his frozen feet…

… he gathered some twigs and leaves off the dirt and knelt down while drawing a little cardboard box from his shirt, that to his horror only contained one match…

that he could feel and dimly see, a wooden key to warmth and being frostbite free, he sat there for what felt like an eternity, hesitant to see if the match would be able to relieve his misery…

holding the cardboard box on it’s side he took the match and let it slide across the rough surface and suddenly there was a spark, he lit the fire, and chased away the cold and the dark.

*****