Random Monday Mini: Apocalyptic Toffee

This flash is featured in the 17th issue of The Sirens Call – now available to download for free!!

Apocalyptic Toffee

Hallowe’en Night – 7:30PM

tofee

The first to be infected sat in a circle in the basement rec room of the parent who’d been sucked into the duty of trick-or-treating that year. There were superheroes, a princess, a witch, and even a cat, all of them devouring the small morsels of candy in their bags with reckless abandon. Mixed into the bounty were the small toffee tidbits lovingly handcrafted by the diminutive, elder woman who lived at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Each year the kids would run up the patio-stone walkway to knock loudly on her front door. And she would come out, her white hair always swept up into a tight bun, her arms bearing the bowl with her special treats. Each one would be greeted by name and a special remark made about their chosen costume for the year. Her house was always their favourite stop, and her toffee was the treat many of them saved for last.

But this year, the toffee was a little different. An ingredient had been tainted before it reached the small woman in her sunny kitchen. With each swirl of the wooden spoon around the saucepan, she mixed death into her sweets this year. And the neighbourhood would never be the same again.

It started with a quickening of the pulse, a flush coming over the children as they sat eating too much of their collected candy for one sitting. The stomach pains crept over them next, twisting cramps that doubled them over as they tried to climb the stairs in search of help. None of them made it past the wooden barrier before the change.

Hallowe’en Night – 8:33PM

“Kids! Your parents are here to pick you up!” The voice called from the front door, falling on deafened ears. Thinking the children were playing in the basement, or perhaps gorging themselves on all their candy, the brown-haired mother made a sweeping gesture to the congregated parents, inviting them in before moving down the hall. Her hand touched the gleaming doorknob and turned it, released the little monsters that waited for her.

They erupted from the basement, their bodies hungry for more than candy now. In a frenzy, amid the panicked screams, they ripped her apart, her blood mingling with the smears of chocolate already on their faces. It didn’t take them long to decimate her body, to infect her with their toffee sickness, her body rising in turn as the other parents came to investigate the source of the screams.

Hallowe’en Night – 11:18PM

The police couldn’t contain them and wound up succumbing like all the rest who’d had the misfortune of crossing their paths. It spread outward from the epicenter of the dead-ended street, a ballooning of bloody corpses in search of the uninfected. It was the start of something big, something that wouldn’t be stopped.

And at the centre of it all, a little old woman sat, scared and alone; unaware of the part she’d played in the end of the world.

All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

 

Advertisements

Random Monday Mini: The Cull

Okay so today’s Random Monday Mini wasn’t based on a word, but a photograph…

shattered

The Cull

The first stone pinged off the side of the vehicle with animosity, thrown by a protestor from the crowd. Her angry face shone brightly before being lost among the sea of acrimony the bus travelled through. The passengers could only sit and stare, unsure of what was really going on and what would become of them. Herded up like animals, they’d been forced onto buses, their meagre possessions stripped from them by masked guards. Silently they sat, in a state of collective shock, their powers of comprehension failing them in the face of such secrecy and overwhelming authority.

The children cried and cuddled into their parents, not wanting to witness their fate, not understanding what was going on. All along their route, the people outside hurled their insults along with rocks, the outer casing of the bus only managing to keep out the rocks. As the windows weakened, so did the resolve of the worried inside. The masked and armed guards could see the collective composure slipping away with each barb, their poison spreading and infecting even the most determined. And then the screams of hatred and words of abuse exploded inward as the web expanded across the surface of the glass. The angry roar of the gathered filled the interior of the bus until there was no space for anything else. The air reeked of smoke, stale sweat and fear.

Slowing to a stop, great wrought-iron gates loomed in the front windscreen; they had arrived. But no one knew where they had been brought to. The gates opened and the bus rolled forward. Fences and makeshift buildings had been erected inside the walls—the space designed to keep those who inhabited it inside, while the others were kept out. But which side of the wall was clear of infection?

All rights reserved. Copyright © 2014 Julianne Snow 

Random Monday Mini: Bacteria

And today’s random word is…

Bacteria

The perfect killer. Small, invasive, self-replicating; it needs you, it loves you…

***

“Mommy, I don’t feel very well…” Angie whined as she rubbed a grubby hand across her nose.

Laurie placed the back of her hand on the little girl’s forehead, judging the severity of her illness by temperature. “Is it your tummy honey?”

“No Mommy.”

“What hurts sweetie?” Laurie looked at the pallid complexion of her daughter, beginning to worry at seeing the dark-rimmed eyes and runny nose.

“I just don’t feel we—” Angie barely got the words out before going limp in her mother’s lap.

Laurie shook her daughter, gently at first growing more concerned at her inability to rouse her. Placing her fingers on her neck, she felt for a pulse, growing alarmed at how cool her daughter now felt. “Angie? Angie! ANGIE!!”

Panicked, she laid her daughter on the couch as she grabbed for the phone. Dialing 9-1-1 quickly, she cradled the phone in the crook of her shoulder as she waited for the line to connect. Still she searched for a pulse…

“Police, Fire or Ambulance?”

“Ambulance!”

Laurie waited a few more seconds as the general dispatcher connected her to the correct department, growing agitated at the delay. She stroked her daughter’s face with one hand as she pushed deeper into her daughter’s neck with the other. Why couldn’t she find a pulse?

“Ambulance. What’s your emergency?”

“It’s my daughter. She just fainted and I’m having trouble finding her pulse, can you send an ambulance please?!?”

“Is your daughter breathing?”

“No!”

“Do you know CPR?”

“No!! Oh my God, she’s going to die isn’t she??”

“Ma’am, calm down and do as I say. Can you put the phone on speaker and put it down beside your daughter?”

“Yes, hang on a second…” Noise can be heard in the background of the call as Laurie fumbles with the phone. She comes back a moment later sounding a little farther away. “Okay what do I do?”

“I need to take your finger and scoop out anything that may be in her mouth first.”

“Okay, gimme a second.” More noise can be heard in the background, then a piercing scream echoes over the line.

“Fucking hell! She bit my finger!”

“Ma’am?”

“Angie! Oh thank God you’re awake! I was so worried!”

“Ma’am?”

“Let me get a towel for my finger.” Laurie’s voice seems farther away as she addressed the phone again, “Operator if you’re still there can send help for me? It seems my daughter’s bite reflex was a little stronger than I expected.”

“Your daughter bit you? Is she conscious now?”

“Yes, she seems to be alert, though she’s still very pale and seems confused. Sweetie, stay on the couch I’ll be right back.”

All Rights Reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

Random Monday Mini: Regret

Today’s random word is…

REGRET

She held the vial in her hands carefully, gazing upon it with love. Her finest achievement to date and the surge of pride she felt flushed her face.

This would be her legacy, a lasting contribution to the industry of medicine. Her long days and even longer nights would finally be worth it.

There was only one thing she would regret; not being able to scream her breakthrough to all those who doubted her expertise. Oh, she’d scream, but it would be for a different reason…

As patient zero, she’d scream right before she bit down on your flesh.

Random Monday Mini: Ant

Today’s random word is…

ANT

“Fuck! Something just bit me!” Sarah squirmed underneath Aaron on red blanket they had laid on the grass.

“Just relax Sarah, I’m sure it wasn’t something horrible,” he said as he continued to kiss the tender skin of her neck. “Just relax and I’ll make you forget all about it.”

Sarah knew him well enough by now to know he’d winked when he’d said it. Aaron was certainly a charmer and there was no way he’d miss a chance to get into her pants. “Seriously dude, it hurts. Get off. Now!”

Aaron continued to kiss her neck, running his tongue up the length of it and using his lips to draw her ear into his mouth. He sucked for the briefest of moments until he felt her shiver before letting his mouth fall back to the spot just above her collarbone. His hands traced a number of paths over her clothes, venturing closer to the lower hem of her powder blue t-shirt.

Suddenly Sarah’s body jerked; the length of it jumping off the ground in chaotic movements. A seizure. Aaron had no idea how to help and wished he’d paid better attention to her lessons on what he should do if her epilepsy flared while they were out.

Rolling to the side, he brought himself up to his knees, taking her right hand in his and patting her shoulder awkwardly. As he stared into her face, tears of helplessness welled in his eyes. He could see the angry red rash creeping over the landscape of her skin, but he was at a loss at what to do.

Grabbing his phone, he called 911 and was connected in short order.

“Fire, Police or Ambulance?”

“Ambulance. My girlfriend is having a seizure or something and I need help!”

“Calm down, help is on the way. Tell me where you are.” The calm demeanour of the operator had no effect on Aaron.

“You have to come quick. She has epilepsy.”

“I need to know where you are sir. Can you tell me?”

“Granger’s Park. Behind the Snack Shack. Hurry! Please!”

“I have a unit on their way to you now. Can you tell me your name please?”

“Aaron. Aaron Samuels.”

“Thank you Aaron. What is your girlfriend’s name?”

“Sarah Codger.”

“Do you know if Sarah takes any medications for her epilepsy?”

“I have no idea. Can’t you just come and make her better?” At this point Aaron was crying, the words coming out in huge slobbering gulps.

“Aaron, I’m going to need you to calm down. Can you do that for me?”

Aaron took a deep breath, trying to steady his nerves and compose himself. Within a minute he’d calmed down a small amount as he continued to stare at Sarah flopping around on the ground. “I think I’m okay now.”

“Good Aaron. Is Sarah still seizing?”

“Yes.”

“How long has it been going on?”

“Maybe 3 or 4 minutes?” He heard the pause on the other end and said, “That’s bad isn’t it? You’ve got to get here faster! Sarah can’t die!”

“Aaron, calm down. No one is going to die today. Can you do me a favour?”

“What is it?”

“I need you to put the phone down and place something like a belt or some sort of stiff fabric between her teeth so that she doesn’t bite down on her tongue. Can you do that for me?”

“Ummmm, yeah, I think so.” Aaron activated the speakerphone before placing it down on the blanket beside him. Unbuckling his belt, he drew it through the loops until he held it in his hands. “Okay, I’ve got my belt off and I’m going to try and get it between her teeth. She’s foaming at the mouth a bit, is that okay?”

“Aaron, that’s normal during a seizure. I just need you to concentrate on getting that belt between her teeth, okay?”

It took Aaron more than a few seconds to get the belt worked into place, the whole time worrying that he was going to hurt her. “Okay it’s in.”

“Okay good, now I need you to hold her head somewhat still. Can you do that?”

Aaron repositioned himself at the top of Sarah’s head and bent over her, placing his forearms on either side of her ears and tried to keep it stationary. “She’s moving around a lot still.”

“That’s okay. Her seizure will be over soon. You’re doing an excellent job Aaron.”

The next few minutes passed as the operator talked to Aaron, trying to keep him calm through the ordeal. Aaron did his best to follow the instructions of the voice on the other end of the phone, but he found his resolve slowly melting away. He wanted this all to be over, and he wanted Sarah to wake up.

“Wait! I think it’s stopping. She’s stopped shaking!”

“That’s good news Aaron. When she wakes up, she might be groggy or confused. I will need you to keep her from getting up. Can you do that Aaron?”

“Yes. I think so.” Part of him was relieved, the other part still scared shitless. “Sarah, everything’s going to okay. Help is on the way.”

“That’s good thinking Aaron, keep talking to her.”

“Ummm, I think there’s something wrong…”

“What do you mean Aaron? What’s wrong?”

“Are they coming soon?”

“They should be there soon Aaron, just hang in there.”

“I can hear screaming.”

“Screaming?”

“Yeah, it’s close too. This is really beginning to freak me out.”

The line fell silent for a moment and the eerie sounds of screaming in the distance came through the operator’s receiver. The switchboard lines at dispatch lit up almost instantaneously and all she could do was stare at her computer screen as the cacophony of calls echoed through the room.

“Aaron, are you still there?”

The last thing she heard before the line went dead was his scream, terrified and full of panic.

All Rights Reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

 

Random Monday Mini: Microscope

Today’s word is…

MICROSCOPE

“Mike, you’ve got to see this.”

“What is it Sarah?”

“Just look at the specimen.”

Mike walked over to Sarah’s microscope and peered into the eyepiece for a second before turning the focus knob toward him. He drew in a sharp breath before whipping his head up to look at her.

“Which one am I looking at?”

“It’s from Test Subject #1054.”

Mike’s eyes turned back to the cells he could see through the lens, his amazement growing with each passing second. He watched as they divided and then consumed the surrounding healthy tissues. He spoke again, unable to tear his eyes away, “am I really witnessing this?”

“Yes Mike, though I have to admit I’m not sure why you’re excited. These are not the results we were hoping for.”

“Yes I can see that Sarah, but do you know what this means?”

“Yeah, we’ve just created a monster. I’ll take all the samples from 1054 to the incinerator today and make sure the animal is destroyed and incinerated as well. It explains why the test subject didn’t react well at all. In fact, it bit me pretty badly while I was trying to get the samples.”

Mike looked up, fear entering his eyes for the first time. “You got bit?”

“Yeah, little bastard took a pretty big chunk too.”

“Did you report it to anyone?”

“Not yet. I wanted to see the samples before I did anything else. I’m probably going to need some strong antibiotics.”

Mike knocked over the stool behind him as he backed away from Sarah, terror plastered all over his face. There seemed to be a level of indecision in his actions, like he wanted to tell her something but couldn’t decide if he should just flee.

“Mike, what’s the matter?”

“I changed the formula last week.”

“You did what?”

“I changed the formula… Look, I know it was wrong, but I had a hunch!”

“A hunch?”

“Yes, I thought if I could make the cancer consume itself, we could die billionaires and Nobel Laureates.”

“But I don’t have cancer Mike… What will this do to me?”

“I have no idea Sarah, but you’re really not looking too well at the moment. I think you need to go into quarantine.”

“Quarantine?”

Mike had finally gotten himself to the door to their lab. Opening it, he slid out and closed the door behind him.

“What are you doing Mike?”

“Hopefully saving the world…” Mike gave her one last look as he palmed the emergency quarantine button on the wall. The room sealed and the ventilation system shut down. As the doorways around him all began to close, and the sounds of the ventilation system shut down over his head, he brought his face up to look at Sarah again, surprise covering it.

“Did you think they’d only quarantine me, Mike?”

All Rights Reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

Random Monday Mini: T-Shirt

This week’s random word is…

T-SHIRT

It came at me. From a direction I completely wasn’t expecting. Fucking zombie!

Sometimes you think you’re in the clear, you know? You look in front of you and all seems normal. That’s the problem with thinking you’re living in a normal world. Nothing is normal now.

I’d been surviving on my own for about a year now. In the beginning there were more people but you know when they say you can’t cure stupid? They’re right. Once, I watched this guy walk right into a grocery store without even checking first!

I mean sure, we hadn’t seen many of them that day, but it wasn’t like they had jobs to go to anymore. They just hung out sometimes waiting for the living to wander by.

I guess that’s their job though isn’t it… Hunting us. Who can blame them for getting a little smarter about it?

Geez man, now I’m giving them some intelligence. But I swear, if you watch them too long, you’ll see what I mean. They have an uncanny ability to sense things. I watched a few people walking down the street yesterday, doing the normal look-out and advance stuff we’ve all learned from watching movies.

The funny thing was that none of them thought to watch their back. Classic rookie mistake, but it wasn’t like any of us are rookies. Jesus, it’s been at least 16 months since everything went down. If you’ve survived this long the dumb luck has to have been tempered with a little skill.

And I was beginning to think my own dumb luck had run out.

Its fingers caught the hem of my shirt, pulling me back as I struggled to get away. In a the briefest of seconds it was on top of me, weighing me down. I knew it was over and had kind of come to a sort of peace a while back.

No one could survive forever, especially not alone.

You want to know the funny thing?

We were both wearing the same concert t-shirt…

All Rights Reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

Random Monday Mini: VAN

So I asked Creative Games to give me a word and it spit out… VAN. So here goes!

VAN

It came out of the darkness, its headlights blinding us for the brief moment it stayed true to our direction. It turned sharply, responding to what it encountered.

The road was full of them and us as we struggled to stay that important step in front of them. We ran past it, not wanting to slow down, not wanting to hope that someone was willing to help us.

“Hey! Stop! What’s going on?”

How could they now know? Didn’t they watch the news? It was everywhere!

The dead had risen and now they were taking over. All you could do was run, try to stay ahead of them. But even then, so many had no idea what to do.

The van pulled up next to us. The driver, a young man with a beard, rolled down the window, “Where are you going? Do you have a plan?”

The panic in his voice was palpable. I didn’t want to stop and I wasn’t sure I wanted to waste precious breath talking to him either. Risking a sideways glance, I stared him full in the face, letting him see the terror, the blood that marred my once porcelain-coloured complexion. “Out.”

“Out? What does that mean?” I could read the confusion and I continued to run, his van keeping pace with us.

“We’re getting out.” I didn’t know why I bothered explaining it to him. It was unlikely he was really going to care.

“Look, get in and we can get out together. Deal?”

I could tell he was nervous, scared to be alone. I also knew there was no way I was going to be able to keep up this pace with a kid on my hip and another tiring at the end of my arm.

“I drive.” It was simple, I’d stated the rules and he acquiesced.

All Rights Reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow