Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Defence

Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I thank you for the opportunity to address you today.

It’s been said that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client, but I know that only I can relay the truth in such a way that you understand it properly, and I have neither doubt nor fear that, once you’ve heard me out, you will find me completely innocent of all the charges that bring me here today.

I stand accused of the attempted murder of my ex wife, and I have no doubt that the prosecution will put together many eloquent arguments in support of this accusation. Nor do I doubt that he will give an impressive performance. He is, after all, a gifted public speaker, as well as an experienced legal expert.

He will also, I admit, bring a large amount of physical evidence collected from the scene of the crime into this courtroom, and several eyewitnesses.

Are these witnesses reliable? That will be up to you to judge. Is the evidence credible? Perhaps. I’d call it circumstantial in the extreme, but I’ll have to await your verdict to find out if you share my point of view.

The fact remains, however, that the sheer amount of evidence collected against me is daunting. The very weight of it might well be enough to convince some of you, if not all, that I am guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. I know this, and I’m resigned to it. It is my burden to shoulder during this trial.

And what, pray tell, could I offer to combat the charges laid before me? Not much, I fear. Only… me.

I intend over the course of the coming days and weeks, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, to allow you to get to know me, to really know me, and to that end I’ll be bringing in the people who know me best, my family, my friends, and having them tell you what sort of man I really am. They’ll tell you of my warm, good humor and willingness to drop everything to help a friend in need. They’ll tell you about my quickness with a joke, about the work I’ve done for charity and, perhaps, about my singing voice. And as they do, you’ll develop a picture of the man that the prosecution claims tried to run his ex wife down with his car in front of a downtown restaurant.

And I intend to ask you once I’ve done all this if you really believe that I’m the sort of man who could possibly be guilty of this sort of crime. I’ll ask if any of what you’ve heard about the content of my character implies to you that I could be capable of this sort of violent act. Because character counts, ladies and gentlemen, character counts. And I believe in my heart that, once you’ve truly grown to know me, you’ll understand that I am not.

I am the kindest, gentlest sort of man, as you will soon agree, and as you grow to understand this, you’ll realize how ridiculous the accusations leveled against me are. And when you do, I am confident, you will exonerate me completely.

Yes, I will be found not guilty, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, and I will walk out of this courtroom a free man. Of this I am certain.

And once I have, I will go straight to that bitch’s house and finish what I started…

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Weekly Prompt Story: The Greatest Story Ever Told

Merry Chris Moose! Since My story doesn't really work without audio, here's the audio!

...and here, by the way, is a second link, to a seasonally themed youtube video Kat and I did!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


There’s an abandoned sanitarium near my neighborhood. Not in my neighborhood, but near it. I go there to relax.

It isn’t haunted, possessed, or any of the outdated tropes you’d associate with such places, it’s just a building. Abandoned during the seventies, in remarkably good repair considering it’s age, and utterly forgotten by the people who live nearby.

It’s where I keep the people I take from the side of the highway. I visit them, for as long as they last, and when they’re done I find a place to bury them.

You’ll see for yourself, we’re almost there now…

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekly Prompt Story: Fingertips

By Chris Munroe

“Fingertipss have memories, mine can’t forget the curves of your body…” Harvey Danger sang, in one of the best pop songs of the nineties.

That song was everywhere, seemingly overnight, but as quickly as they came they vanished, making way for more traditionally commercial pop-punk bands.

They’re still around, I think, somewhere. Still recording music, but something about the band tied them too much to their time. They wouldn’t make sense to me in my current context.

I got old.

Still, with one perfect song, in one perfect moment, they left fingerprints all over an important part of my youth…

Friday, December 16, 2011


Janette slams her bedroom door and the sound of it echoes through the house.

I hadn’t meant to be so harsh with her, I honestly hadn’t, but when I saw what she’d done to herself I couldn’t keep my damn mouth shut.

She looked ridiculous, and it was far too revealing. But, as I sulk in my study, I can’t help feel like I’d been the one who’d crossed a line.

I remember years before, when I’d gotten my tattoo in university, how furious my mom had been when she found out a few months later when I came home for Christmas. She’d done her best not to comment on the tribal pattern I now had running up and down my arm, but she couldn’t stop sneaking horrified looks throughout our family dinner.

“Why?” She asked over dessert, when she could hold it in no more. “For God’s sake, why?”

I didn’t have an answer to that question, not one that would have satisfied her at any rate.

I’d done it because my friends all had tattoos, had piercings, and because I’d thought it was about time I had some work done on myself. I’d chosen the design because I’d liked the design, and given it little more thought than that. Because it was the nineties, and that was the style at the time.

I still like the way it looks on me, even now. It’s a beautiful piece of design and I’ve never regretted getting it.

Mom, however, wouldn’t be convinced, and the argument that followed her outburst quickly escalated into a screaming match that sent me out to the front porch to smoke cigarettes and fume, her to her room upstairs to pace and curse, and left the rest of the family sitting around the table, staring at one another with the kind of awkwardness only the holidays can bring.

It didn’t surprise me, the argument. These sorts of things had been happening more and more often on major family holidays, sometimes involving me and sometimes not, and I’d known the ink would catch me some amount of flack. It did surprise me, however, just how angry Mom had become, and how she’d sounded as though she honestly wasn’t just using the tattoo as a stand-in for unvoiced familial tension.

For whatever reason, she was actually bothered by my decision to have the work done, on my own body, in my own adult life.

It also surprised me when Grandma joined me on the front porch. She’d quit smoking before I was born, after all.

“Hey,” she told me in a voice that sounded much younger than her seventy-eight years, “don’t worry too much about her, she’ll get over it.”

“You figure? How can you be sure?” I asked, not really wanting to be roused from my sulk.

“Because,” she told me, smiling wryly, “we had the exact same argument the first time she came home for Thanksgiving in a miniskirt. I thought it made her look easy, and she thought it was just how things were done. We argued all weekend over it, yet as you can see, I’m still here, I’m still her mother and I still love her. My thoughts on her decisions about how to present herself to the world notwithstanding.”

“I guess…” I eventually replied.

“I know.” She told me, “I also had the same argument with my mother the first time I cut my hair short. I think every parent has it with their child at some point. Fashions change, and eventually you no longer have the energy or the inclination to change with them, and a few years after that young people start doing things that shock you. Your mother isn’t angry that you got tattooed, she’s angry that she got old enough to find you getting a tattoo shocking. Try not to hold it against her too much, she really does care.”

I considered this a moment, then nodded, finally smiling a little.

“I guess that makes sense. But I’m sure as hell not going to fall into that trap. If I had a daughter, I’d respect what she chose to do to her body. It’s her damn body, after all, not mine.”

“I hope you’re right,” Grandma replied with a wink, “but I suspect once you have children you’ll feel very different. Most folk do. But I guess we’ll see…”

“Grandma? Why are you being so cool about all this? Shouldn’t you have the same problems as mom times two?”

She laughed out loud at this, and the laugh turned into a cough.

“Oh please,” She replied once she had herself back under control, “Your Grandfather was in the navy, I’ve seen plenty of tattoos. The color on yours is much brighter, though. It’s very pretty.”

We talked for a little longer before heading back in, to find that Mom had already returned to the dinner table. The rest of my visit was cordial, but distant, it was a while before the two of us forgave each other for that fight. And every awkward moment my body art caused was a reminder never to let that happen to me, never to lose touch with that open, accepting part of me, the part that knew that cultural mores changed and accepted their changing with a sense of hope and optimism. Never to let myself grow old.

Yet here I am, twenty-five years later, sulking in my study after having the exact same fight with my own daughter.

Fine. Fine, I’ll accept this. I may not have been able to prevent myself speaking in the heat of the moment, but I still have enough control over my actions to apologize now. I’ll march upstairs, knock on her door, look her square in the eyes and apologize, then ask if she’d like to join me for ice cream.

Dead in the eyes, I won’t look away from her eyes.

After all, if I don’t look at it, I won’t be tempted to comment on the exposed bone and musculature where she had the skin on her face removed and replaced with a transparent plastic sheath…

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly Prompt Story: Trees

By Chris Munroe

There’s something in the trees.

Technically there are lots of things in the trees.

There are leaves, and birds, and squirrels in the trees, just as an example. And sometimes cats get stuck up there too.

When they do, there are firemen in the trees. They go to rescue the cats.

Children climb trees, and then they’re in the trees. Sometimes pretending they’re firemen, sometimes not.

But none of that matters right now.

What I’m specifically referring to in this particular instance is a sniper. There’s a sniper in the trees.

So for the love of God, get behind something!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Meanwhile, out in the yard...

They’re still out there, in my backyard. Throwing around their Frisbee-disks, running to and fro, trampling the rose bushes I’d worked so hard to cultivate.

My God, how I hate them.

I know, I know, it’s my own damned fault. When I first moved in I tried to be friendly, tried to make myself well liked by my new neighbors.

I prepared snacks, and ice-creamy beverages, and invited everyone in the neighborhood to partake in the treats I’d created.

And, for a little while, it was fun.

But it’s not fun now. Now they come back every day, hoping I’ll serve treats again, and I’m too damned old to put up with their shenanigans!

I had no idea they’d take my offer to “drop by anytime” so seriously.

So I watch from my window, seeing the young men ruining the lawn I’d so carefully cultivated, and though I’m so angry I can barely breathe, I know it’s at least in part my own fault.

It is, after all, my milkshake which brings all the boys to the yard.

And I’m like: Get out of my yard!

Damn kids, get out of my yard!

I’ll teach you, and if you trample my rosebushes one more damn time I’ll have to charge you with trespassing!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekly Prompt Story: Cookies

Yup! It is that time! Here's the link:'s the story!

By Chris Munroe

I brought cookies, though I know you’re about as likely to accept them as you are to accept my apology.

If I were in your position, I wouldn’t forgive me, so I suppose I can’t expect any different of you.

Why would you forgive me? You don’t owe me anything.

Plus, I’m a god-awful baker, I’m not sure the cookies are even edible.

But I had to do something. After what I did, I figure I owe you at least a gesture. Hence: The cookies.

I’ll leave them here, by the door. You can fetch them once I’m long gone…

Friday, December 2, 2011


At the bottom of the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, lay a treasure greater than any mankind could ever dream of.

I know. I put it there.

And none who know of it can resist it’s allure.

They send ships and expeditions in search of it, divers scour the bottom of the sea for it, and when they come I’m waiting.

I sink their ships and rend the flesh from their bodies as they attempt to flee the sinking vessels.

I have done this for centuries.

Because I hunger, and my hunger is something for which I won’t apologize.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekly Prompt Story: A Christmas Wish/Compulsion

A Christmas Wish/Compulsion
By Chris Munroe

I made a Christmas wish, for peace on earth.

And there was peace.

So the next day I made another wish, for good will to all.

This too was granted. That’s when my problems began.

I wished every day after that. I couldn’t stop, helpless against the power of my wishes.

The least among us? Cared for.

Equality among all? Achieved.

The world became paradise, but I was in hell, trapped in endless wishing.

Finally, the next Christmas, I wished myself freedom from wishing, and for the previous year to’ve never happened.

So yeah. Sorry, world. Couldn’t handle the compulsion.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I don’t remember why I booby-trapped the house, but I’m sure I had a reason.

I mean, nobody’d booby-trap their home without one.

However, what the reason is has since escaped me.

I’m also unhappy to admit I can’t remember precisely where I put each individual trap.

When that first one blew up in my face, knocked me across the room and smashed my skull into the wall, I may have gotten a concussion. My memory’s fuzzy all around.

However: I do remember there are a LOT of traps. So be careful while you’re getting us out of here, okay?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekly Prompt Story: Drums

By Christopher Munroe

For his ninth birthday, I bought him a drum kit.

When he opened the box his face lit up. I knew I’d chosen correctly.

As I set it up for him, I explained how much practice it’d take to learn to play really well.

He assured me he was willing to put in the effort.

When my coworkers heard I’d bought such a gift for a child, they thought I was insane. They said I’d never sleep again!

I wasn’t concerned.

He wasn’t my child, after all. He was yours.

So, tell me: Was stealing my parking space worth it?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Making Love

I’m here at my forge, making love.

Hot sparks fly up into my protective mask as I bring the hammer down, again and again, onto the anvil, shaping my love into what I hope will be perfection. I won’t rest until my love is perfect.

You’re worth nothing less.

You’re waiting for me at home, and I imagine you miss me terribly. I miss you too. I’d dearly love to return to you, I’ve barely seen you in weeks.

But I can’t go home yet.

Not until I’ve made love that I know is worthy of one such as you...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekly prompt Story: The View from my Window

Hey! I got so caught up in Nanoing I completely forgot my Sunday prompt story until 8 minutes before it was due! Seven minutes now! I better get that posted, eh?

The View From My Window
By Christopher Munroe

There’s screaming outside my apartment.

And as I listen from my chair, I’d swear it sounds like my neighbor.

Idiot. He knows when the sun sets, we all do. It’s why we instituted the curfew.

If he’s gone outside, what’s happening is his own damn fault.

I know that. Everyone does.

Still, hearing him screaming I can’t help feeling guilty.

I wish he’d stop.

He will soon.

I know I ought to at least try to help, but I can’t bring myself to go to my window and take a look into the street.

For fear of what I’d see…

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Arts Funding

This week’s story isn’t very good. I’m aware of that.

That’s why I’ve applied for federal arts funding. Because I honestly do believe there’s a kernel of a good idea somewhere in here, and that I just need time to develop it further to find it.

So I applied for a grant, it was approved, and I’ll be spending the next several months taking this piece of flash fiction on a tour of small, northern towns through Alberta and British Columbia. I’ll be reading it in whatever performance venues are made available to me, and afterword there’ll be Q&A sessions where I deal with the issues brought up in the text.

In doing these Q&As, the hope is that I gain new insight into my story, which I can then use to edit or alter it such as is needed to allow my nugget of a good idea to blossom into a better realized tale.

It won’t be easy, I admit. But not everything needs to be easy, does it? Sometimes the fact that a task is daunting makes it that much more satisfying to embrace.

After all, if success always came easily why would we appreciate it?

And I honestly do believe in this piece.

So away I’ll go, to do what needs to be done and, one would hope, eventually return with the best damn flash fiction I can create.

I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes…

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekly Prompt Story: Bubbles

By Chris Munroe

Bubbles rise to the surface, burst, and are gone. And as suddenly as that it’s all over.

He’d thought he could steal from me, thought I wouldn’t notice a few bucks “disappearing” here and there.

I make it my business to notice everything.

I could have alerted the authorities, but it’d been a while since I went hands on, so I solved the problem myself.

An invite to an afternoon on my boat, a bottle of wine and a willingness to wait for my opportunity.

And now, as I sail home, I can’t help but smile.

I’ve still got it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This is Not a Robbery

Everybody get down on the floor, hands behind your heads, and try your best to remain calm. This is not a robbery.

Maybe eighteen months ago, when I first lost my job at the firm, I’d have considered robbing a bank, but back then I thought a new job was just around the corner and that I’d be back on my feet in no time. And now that I realize what a joke those hopes were, it’s too late. The time has passed. It passed when my wife packed up the kids and moved back in with her parents.

They were my world. I tried to convince them things would get better, but after a year of waiting even I was beginning to doubt it. Once they were gone I felt like I had no reason to go on.

Didn’t even bother looking for a job after that. Didn’t see the point of it without a family to come home to afterward. I found it harder and harder to bring myself to care about anything at all. When the bank finally sent somebody around to kick me out of the house the only thing that surprised me was how little I cared.

Afterward, at a local shelter, my things in a trunk at the foot of my cot, I considered eating my gun. But that didn’t appeal to my sense of the dramatic. I’d always had a well-developed sense of drama, back when I was a man, and the idea that I die the way I wish I could have lived appealed to me.

So here I am. And no, this is not a robbery.

It’s a suicide attempt. And you’re presence is just an unfortunate side effect.

So try to remain calm as we wait together for the police to arrive.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

For the record...

...this blog will continue to update during NaNoWriMo. I have #fridayflash stories, albeit extremely short ones, in the can so as to keep #fridayflash going, and prompt stories are 100 words so I'll be keeping up with them too. This won't take an enormous amount of my mental energy, obviously, since I'm expecting NaNoWriMo to take a lot out of me, BUT I do take this thing seriously too, so I'll find things to update it with even as I'm busy NaNo-ing.

Also, if you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, here's my information so you can keep me honest about the work I need to do...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, my weekly prompt story and Halloween celebration! Enjoy...

By Chris Munroe

And welcome back to Zombie chat! We’ve got some amazing guests joining us on the show tonight and we can’t wait to get started.

First up we’ve got Nobel prizewinning economist Paul Krugman joining us, and we’re going to eat his brain. Our musical guest is Canadian ‘90s power poppers The Odds, playing one of their classic hits. Finally, the head chef of a popular downtown restaurant will be dropping by to cook us a meal involving a surprising secret ingredient!

But first, what’s left of David Mitchellson is outside with the action weather report. Take it away, David!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Publish or Perish

Last December I joined a Facebook group for aspiring writers.

Publish or Perish.

The group was fairly self-explanatory. I pledged to take my writing more seriously, to finish the projects I started and to actually edit and submit my work for publication upon it’s completion. In exchange, the group offered a forum in which to communicate with other writers in the same position, a place to vent, moral support and a clearly defined goal.

Publish one story, just one, in a major print magazine over the course of calendar 2011. How hard could it possibly be? I had a whole year in which to do it!

I figured the group would give me the kick in the pants I needed to get some pages written and it honestly has. I’ve gotten more work done this year than I ever have, and I credit the group with a large part of the motivation that took. I’ve kept up my friday flash stories week after week, expanded them from drabbles to stories of 500 to 3000 words, and even have my first novel outlined and ready to begin drafting come November. I’ve placed stories on a number of online magazines and podcasts, including appearances on some of my favorite audio fiction ‘casts. Hearing my work performed makes me prouder than I can say.

But I still haven’t placed a story in a major print magazine.

I’m doing my best not to worry about it, but sometimes I can’t help it. The twelve month deadline the group imposed seemed like forever when I joined up, but now it’s nearly November and, while I’ve accomplished a lot, the one hard, fast goal they established continues to elude me. I’ve even started having stress dreams about the deadline, now only two months away.

Which I understand is dumb. Stressing out never helped accomplish anything. But I can’t help it.

After all, they made it perfectly clear what was expected of me. Publish one story, just one, in a major print magazine over the course of calendar 2011. And they made the consequences of failure equally clear. I mean, it was right in the name of the group, and I did join of my own free will…

I do still have two months. I’m still writing, and improving every day. I’m still editing and submitting, and it’s certainly not too late.

But, in the meanwhile, I’ve bought a gun.

Just in case.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekly Prompt Story: Zoo

As heard on the current edition of "100 Word Stories"

By Chris Munroe

“You will not turn this courtroom into a zoo!”

The judge seethed, and I suppose I saw his point. Calling a lion tamer in as a character witness was one thing, but a cage of monkeys as “evidence” in a murder trial was beyond the pale.

Perhaps I should have apologized.

Instead I threw open the cage.

Monkeys exploded out of it, and everything was chaos. Lawyers, bailiffs and jurors scrambled, dodging flying poo as best they could. Hilarious.

I was sad to make my exit amidst that grand chaos.

But I had to. They’d have inevitably found me guilty…

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Recounting of the War on Emo

In 2006, at England’s annual Reading Festival, Panic! At the Disco and My Chemical Romance shared the main stage, with Panic! taking the stage Friday and My Chemical… following them Sunday. The decision to involve the two bands was a controversial one, as the Reading Festival had a history of hosting harder rock groups, and plenty of fans were unimpressed by the decision to feature them so prominently.

However, nobody knew exactly HOW unimpressed the hard rock fans were until, the Friday of the festival, midway through Panic! At the Disco’s set, a 2L pop-bottle, emptied and refilled with human urine, came sailing from the crowd, colliding with the side of one band-member’s skull, knocking him unconscious.

He was only unconscious a few minutes, but it was long enough that the set was cancelled. This cancellation proved to be a mistake on the part of the organizers…

…because Sunday, when My Chemical Romance took to the stage, they were assailed by a barrage of detritus the likes of which no band had ever weathered. They played as much of their planned set as they could manage, then beat a hasty retreat. The crowd, realizing their power to prevent shitty bands from being inflicted on them, howled in victory as they fled the stage.

The opening shots had been fired. The War on Emo, as New Musical Express later dubbed it, had begun, and the time had come for everyone to choose a side.

The war went on for years.

There were bad times, to be sure. There are always bad times in war. I was there when the last of us pulled out of MySpace, abandoning it to our enemies forever. I was on the roof of our embassy as self-important poetry and simplistic rock riffing closed in on us and we feared the helicopters wouldn’t get us away in time. I sometimes wonder if my old MySpace profile is still there somewhere, amongst the Emo wreckage that once was a social media site. We promised we’d one day be back, but in our hearts we knew we never would…

But battles won and lost are, ultimately, irrelevant. In war there is one party triumphant, and the individual battles leading up to that point are nothing more than sideshows.

Which is why the real victory, the only lasting one, was the final one. When Fall Out Boy was forced to tour jointly with 50cent in a desperate attempt to stay in the size of venue they’d grown used to and then, a few weeks later, they were forced to cancel that tour in it’s entirety due to lackluster ticket sales we knew the war was coming to an end. By the time Fall Out Boy split up, a month after that, it was almost anticlimactic. We’d won, the genre was no longer a force to fear, and all that was left for us to do was to mop up the scattered remnants of what once was a potent, if god-awful, cultural force.

We congratulated ourselves mightily upon that day. Perhaps too mightily, our hubris in victory leaving us unprepared for future challenges. And yet all I can bring myself to wish for now is to be back in those heady days, to have more time to enjoy our moments of triumph…

Because now we live in utter squalor, scrabbling from day to day with neither plan nor hope. Our forces lay in ruin and those who survive wish they had not. We sleep, when we can sleep, in the burned out husks of buildings where once grand music played, and always that infernal WUB-WUB-WUB-WUB-WUB is there, in the background, like the endless heartbeat of some horrible, ancient deity.

Because Emo, you see, was all that had stood between us and Dubstep. And now, heavens help us, there’s no hope left for any of us….

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekly Story Prompt: Leaves

By Chris Munroe

The leaves on the trees turn red and gold and brown, and soon they’ll be gone.

I’ve a Scotch/Irish complexion, and I burn and peel in the summer, so when the fall breeze first blows I breathe a silent sigh of relief at having made it through another one. I grab a trenchcoat, an umbrella, and hit the streets to enjoy the season that seems made for me.

Soon Canadian winter will be upon me once again, and I’d be cursing the bitter cold. But at this moment, I’m too swept up in the breathtaking beauty of autumn to care.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Journey Into... (shameless self promotion)

For those of you interested in my work outside of this blog (I assume that includes most of you) my flashfiction piece "The Box" has been produced for the excellent Journey Into... podcast. The 'cast, for those of you not yet aware of it, is a relatively young podcast with a wider mandate as to what it produces than most venues. And it is excellent, in 15 episodes it's yet to fail to impress me.

Now, you guys: Listen to it. You already like my writing, otherwise you wouldn't be here, and hearing it produced increases the total amount of my work in your life. And what could be better than more Munsi!?!?!?? Here's the link:

...and when you're done, go back and listen to the back episodes, it really is a consistently fine 'cast.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Audition

I’d never placed an ad on Craigslist before, but the interface was user-friendly enough, so no trouble there…

Wanted: Young, uninhibited women to audition for BJ videos. Pays $50 to auditioners, $500 to the women cast in the actual video. Nude scenes necessary, contact email below.

The email address was a dummy I’d set up for the purposes of the ad. I knew I’d be receiving a lot of email from a lot of women I’d likely want nothing to do with, and I wanted to be able to abandon the address when I was done with it, never thinking of any of it ever again.

I mean, who responds to an ad like that?

A surprising number of people, as it turns out...

I don’t know if it’s the economy or what, but when I checked my email Monday I already had three hundred replies. Three hundred women who, for one reason or another, were willing to respond to an add like that on Craigslist. Disturbing, if you think about it.

I tried not to think about it as I deleted each and every one of the emails, unread.

This wasn’t about them, it’d never been about them. Their emails were just a byproduct of an unrelated agenda.

I wasn’t even really paying attention to their subject lines as I deleted them. I knew what I was looking for, and I knew it wasn’t there.

You’d already told me, after all, to expect your email Tuesday.

By which point another hundred fifty emails had arrived. Weeding through them was tougher, logistically speaking, as this time I was actually looking for something. But eventually all but one had been deleted. I responded as politely and professionally as I could, you responded back, an uncomfortable edge to your email, and we made our plans to meet.

So here I am, in a hastily constructed video studio in my living room, waiting for you to arrive. And when you do, we’ll see how your “audition” goes, and if you do well, we’ll see what other “projects” I might want to involve you in.

And I’ll do my best, through all of this, to be comfortable with the part I am to play in the process.

I honestly will do my best, nervous and somewhat icky though I am by the seediness of it all.

I’ll do it because you’re my wife.

And I love you.

And yes, I’m willing to play along with your kinks.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


From a prompt from the excellent 100 Word Stories podcast, found here:

By Christopher Munroe

Five days into growing a moustache I looked like a pedophile. I’ll own that.

The percentage of people who actually suit one, after all, is frighteningly small. Still, I commit to what I do, so the ‘stache was staying.

Until you got me drunk, waited for me to pass out and shaved it.

The next day, I faced my still-moustachioed friends, clean-shaven.


You thought I’d forgive this betrayal.

I’ll never forgive. Nor will I forget.

I’ll always remember, the fifth of Movember. The moustaches, treason and plot. I see no good reason moustaches and treason should ever be forgot.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


To Marcus Pembilton
C.O. The Edmonton Institution
21611, Meridian Street
PO Box 2290
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 3H7

Dear Marcus:

In the eighteen months since you moved from our fine neighborhood, I’ve agonized over whether or not to write you. I know you didn’t leave us on the best of terms and that, due to the unusual circumstance of your departure, you’ve likely had more important things on your mind than the old Neighborhood Association, but after thinking and praying on the question, I’ve finally decided to sit down and attempt to put my feelings about the incident on paper, to explain them to myself as much as to you.

First of all, I’d like you to know that in the weeks immediately following your arrest, the whole Association came to your defense. When the news media arrived I was on camera that very night explaining that you’d always been a quiet, polite person, the sort that keeps to himself. I don’t know if you saw the footage, but it was picked up by CNN and broadcast internationally. I’ll tell you, I didn’t expect THAT kind of celebrity when I allowed myself to be interviewed, though I do admit I found it kind of flattering. When it aired, I called all my friends to tell them to tune in!

Your trial was equally well covered by the news, and it seemed for a while that it was the only thing happening in the world, to hear reporters talk about it. Did they let you watch news networks while it was happening? If not, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you were NOT portrayed in a positive light. I suppose, in light of the discoveries made when they dug up your yard, this shouldn’t have come as a surprise. But I admit, the lengths reporters went to try and make you look like some sort of monster verged on ludicrous to anyone who knew you the way we did.

I mean, come on! Admittedly the footage from your basement made my stomach turn the first time I saw it (especially when I remembered my Donald loaning you his tools so you could remodel it three years ago!) but that was just one side of you. One small part of your life the media chose to fixate on, it hardly seems fair. They never mentioned, to name just one example, how delicious the brownies you brought to the school bake sale were, or how you brought them without fail every year even though you had no children of your own in the school system to benefit from their sale. Were they interested in that sort of thing? Of course not, all the media’s interested in nowadays is sensationalism, it seems. It’s all in the name of ratings.

By the way, those brownies were sorely missed at this year’s sale. I was the only one who was willing to say it out loud, but you could tell everyone was thinking it.

Another reason your absence is so acutely felt is the state of disrepair your former home has fallen into. It honestly is shocking how the police left the place, you’d be scandalized if you saw it, and rightly so. The bank’s since took it over, of course, and they haven’t had luck to date finding an interested buyer, but that’s no excuse for their not filling the holes in your yard back in, or their shameful neglect of your rose garden. It’s as though they weren’t even TRYING to keep the place up, like they’d just written the place off as a loss rather than attempting to put it back into a presentable shape!

It’s disrespectful to the neighborhood, is what It is, and I’ll let you know I’ve written several pointed missives to the bank to that effect. No response as of yet, but if they think I’ll be put off so easily they don’t know me at all! One thing is certain, none of this would ever have been an issue if you were still living there, the pains you went to to keep your home beautiful are another reason that, bloodstained sewer grate in your basement or not, I respected you so well.

In fact, I think it could be safely said that your presence is dearly missed, back here in Silver Springs. I mean obviously your crimes were horrific, assuming you actually did the terrible things they accused you of, but still. If you were guilty, you always kept that side of yourself out of the neighborhood, and within our community you were the perfect neighbor, a fact we all appreciate. I suppose I’m getting a little rambling with this note, but I’m really not sure what to say in a letter like this, obviously I’ve never known anyone in your particular situation before. I hope I haven’t said anything unintentionally to put you out. I’m sure I haven’t. I’m not even sure why I wrote you, I’m sure you’re very busy in your new situation and don’t have time for people you knew in what by now must seem like a previous life.

I guess I just wanted to write to say that, although the world looks at you and sees only the seventeen corpses found in and buried behind your home, to me you’ll always be the quiet, polite neighbor who generally kept to himself but always had a ready smile when he saw me in the street. You were a real asset to the neighborhood, Marcus, don’t you ever think otherwise. And we’re all better off for having known you, though it’s grown unfashionable to admit it. And for this I thank you, even if no one else will.

I hope this letter finds you well and that you’re keeping in good spirits, to whatever degree you can during your incarceration.

Sincerely yours

Amanda Henderson
The Silver Springs Neighborhood Association
320 Slivergrove Bay, NW
Calgary, Alberta

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Prompt Story: Coffee

By Christopher Munroe

I’ve had three cups today, and I’ll hit Starbucks on the way to work.

Latte, I think. Venti.

There’ll be a pot waiting when I arrive, and when it’s gone I’ll honestly try to remember to start a fresh one. It’s inconsiderate to drink it all without replacing it for my coworkers.

It’s just hard to remember things sometimes. Gets harder every day.

I hate the taste of coffee, it’s like hot tar in my mouth. But I’ll choke back as much as I can.

Because they come when I sleep, and there’s nothing I can do to stop them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


…and then came the day when my Twitter followers showed up at my home.

This was, it goes without saying, unexpected. 329 people standing under my balcony as I headed out for my morning cigarette left me quite at a loss for words. But I suppose they had pledged to follow me, so I oughtn’t have been surprised by the turn of events.

I’m just grateful I was wearing pants.

I suppose they were too.

Getting to work was tougher than I’d expected, that number of people tends to stop traffic as it crosses intersections. And our arrival terrified the day manager.

He’d thought they were looking for a meal, and we don’t have the staff for that many during lunch shift.

He was enormously relieved, if still somewhat disturbed, to learn that they were simply there to follow me.

Eventually, after my third table complained about not being able to enjoy their lunch in peace, I was sent home. I’d arrived willing to work in good faith, but the throng made anything resembling productivity impossible. It’s a shame, I could have used the tips, but I understand why I was cut. And paying me through to the end of the week while I attempted to sort things out was a classy move.

There was, we realized upon our return, no way they’d all be fitting into my apartment.

It was a smallish place, but Kat and I had never needed that much space and it’d suited our purposes to that point. Finding room for an additional 329 occupants, however, wasn’t going to fly. Still, it was the tail end of summer, the weather was still gorgeous, and if the other tenants in my building had a problem with a tent city cropping up in the courtyard they were too terrified by the weird, cult-like nature of the gathered people to bring it up.

I guess it was natural that they’d be a little bit terrified. I sort of was too.

I’d never meant to form a cult via Twitter.

Though I suppose, upon reflection, that running a Twitter account does hold certain superficially cult-like qualities.

You share your thoughts with the world and hope to attract followers that hang on your every word, and the more people who follow you the more powerful you feel.

In person, however, a few hundred people waiting for my next missive swiftly began to feel oppressive.

There are only so many jokes, quips and puns about pop-culture minutiae and politics I can be expected to make. And a real crowd is tougher to ignore when I’m tired than a smartphone with a flashing red light.

I had followers, but I was quickly learning that I wasn’t cut out to lead.

I attempted to explain this, but I couldn’t figure out how to phrase how conflicted their presence left me using only 140 characters. Eventually I gave up and took the easy way out.

They packed up their tent city, I threw some things into a bag and we set out on a pilgrimage.

We’re heading west. In search of Conan O’Brien. We’re going to follow him a while, hopefully he’ll lead us better than I did.

I expect he will.

From what my Blackberry tells me, we won’t be the only ones there…

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekly Prompt Story: Mirror Mirror

Here we go once more! Didn't post the link yesterday since I was working a double and then attending a birthday party, but for you prompt fans here's my weekly thing....

the link!–-mirror/

the text!

Mirror Mirror
By Chris Munroe

I don’t know if I’m the evil twin.

I mean, I don’t feel evil and I have all my memories from before the teleportation accident, so that should make me the original, right?

On the other hand, does anybody self-identify as evil?

And my twin did also claim to be the original. Though now he’s dead. Tell you what, I’ll let you cast the tie-breaking vote.

Sound good to you?

Promise me you won’t scream for help, and I’ll take the gag out of your mouth so you can tell me which one of us you think’s the evil twin...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

By the way... (shameless self promotion)

If you read my blog and don't already listen to the Dunesteef podcast, start doing so now. One of my longer-form stories, "Death and Michelle Jenkins" was picked up by them a few months ago and was broadcast today. It really is an excellent 'cast, and I'm pleased as punch to make an appearance there as an author. Won't be posting the text here, listen to the damn thing!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Trial of Munsi

I’m given to understand Holland’s beautiful in the autumn, however I haven’t had much time to sightsee, shackled as I’ve been and locked for most of my stay inside a prison cell.

I was caught coming out of a café in Switzerland by a rendition team operating under the aegis of an international human rights watch group. Which is funny, in a way. If I understand correctly human rights groups are supposed to be against rendition as a general rule. I suppose they thought me an exceptional case due to the nature of my crimes.

What wasn’t funny was being tasered, having my hands cuffed behind my back, a bag pulled down over my head and being thrown into the back of a black van with no notice or warning. But I suppose there are few, if any, people on Earth who’d expect that to be funny.

I’m not positive how they’d gotten me out of the country, the negotiations between the Swiss government and the United Nations had stalled and they were allowing me to remain until certain provisions (mostly pertaining to my personal safety during the trial) were assured, but I suppose once a group’s willing to kidnap someone in broad daylight in the middle of a crowded street, human trafficking becomes a comparatively easier task to pull off, logistically speaking.

I’d like to think the Swiss made a stink about the matter. I’d like to think an international incident ensued. However, I suspect this wasn’t the case. My host-nation liked me no better than any other country, they just liked being pushed around even less. I suspect once I was gone they were somewhat glad to see the back of me.

So I was spirited, quite against my will, out of Switzerland and brought here, to The Hague, where I am to be judged. My lawyer’s a squirrely little man, balding and bespectacled, who’s on more than one occasion expressed his personal sense of disgust and horror at my actions. Which I suppose is more than fair. What I’ve done is considered by many to be monstrous, after all, and as long as he respects the rule of law, I can live with the notion that he doesn’t respect me.

And he’s an excellent lawyer, which is of some comfort.

The cage, set up in the middle of the courtroom, seems somewhat excessive. After all, it isn’t as though I’ve shown any indication that I might attempt some daring escape. With my hands and feet shackled together I don’t even see how I could. But these proceedings will be broadcast worldwide on all major international news outlets, so I suppose some nod to it’s dramatic presentation was to be expected. It’s the trial of the century, after all, countless pundits have said so. It’s photos and sketches will become iconic images of a world no longer willing to blithely accept the actions of one such as I, and each indignity I face over the course of the proceeding will be cheered as a victory of sanity over madness.

I’m led, shuffling as I do every day since my imprisonment as the chain between my ankles doesn’t allow me to stride, out and into the courtroom by two well armed guards. My lawyer’s already there, although he won’t make direct eye contact with me. I’m shown to a stool within the cage, the only furnishing I’ll be allowed for the duration, and once I’m inside they lock me in, breathing a silent sigh of relief as they do.

I’d hoped they’d unlock my cuffs and manacles once I was safely inside. But then, I’d once hoped never to stand trial. Hope takes a man only so far.

The head of the tribunal, a dour faced, older man I don’t recognize, stares down at me from the seat that serves as the focus of the courtroom. I can see the naked loathing in his face, it’s an expression I’ve come to recognize intimately of late. I can only hope his own professional integrity matches that of my advocate. After all, were he to execute me summarily, few would protest my death.

Having looked me up and down, seeking the measure of the monster the press had had such a field day with once the contents of my blog were unearthed, he apparently decided that the time had come for my trial to finally begin.

“Christopher Munroe,” he intoned in a voice deeper than I’d expected, “you are here before us to stand trial for crimes against humanity, and for the torture in violation of international convention of various puns and premises. How do you plead?”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Prompt Story: Run

Y'all know the drill by this point! Here's the podcast link:–-run/

...and here's the Story!

By Chris Munroe

You killed her, and didn’t know what to do, so you ran. And you kept running.

You fled town, changed your name and moved halfway across the country, but even then your past was right behind you. You couldn’t stop looking over your shoulder, couldn’t stop running.

It consumed you, became your whole life, your whole self. Running…

Eventually you even ran the Boston marathon. Did yourself proud, you came in fifth overall.

When the TV coverage went out, somebody from your old life recognized you. You were arrested three days later.

Never lose track of what you’re running from.

Friday, September 16, 2011


You misunderstand. I wasn’t dying.

I had no horrible, incurable disease, and there was certainly no tearful conversation with my physician about how this one, desperate act was my only chance of survival. My health was, overall, quite good.

Not great, mind. I smoked too much, drank too much and had no doubts that these things were taking their toll on me. But good at least. At the time of my cryogenic freezing, I was in perfectly acceptable health. Although, if medical breakthroughs have since been made that might improve my body in significant ways, that’d be a conversation I’d be happy to have. However, it’s not why I froze myself.

To understand that, you have to understand something about my psychology and, perhaps more importantly, about the early twenty-first century. You see, at the time, a sort of malaise had fallen over the industrialized world, and the prevailing attitude, culturally and politically, was that humankind’s best days were behind it. An ugly school of thought had developed in the last years of the previous century whereby it was suggested that humans, as a species, had no great accomplishments left ahead of them. The logic followed that, without great things for a society to strive for, there was no need for it to exist, and we could go back to an every man for himself sort of existence where we looked out for our own insulated group and let the rest of the world go to hell. The money raised by the Earth’s governments, it was suggested, should be returned in the form of tax credits and we, who once collectively comprised mighty nations, should go our separate ways. But it wasn’t just governments, private companies were suggesting there was no middle class left worth marketing products toward, a generation thought they’d grow up worse off than their parents, half the world seemed to think the Rapture was coming and the other that Global Warming would kill us all. I put up with this as long as I could, but when NASA announced that it would be mounting no further manned space flights I could no longer push through.

Even NASA? Even NASA? No, I couldn’t bear the thought.

Which brings us in a roundabout way to the thing you have to understand about my psychology. Well, two things really. The first is that I believed, truly and fully, in the power of individuals to come together and solve our collective problems collectively, and I believed that, with enough minds working together, there was nothing that couldn’t be resolved. An opinion that left me quite out of step with my times as the people around me surrendered to what they felt they were powerless to change. However; the other thing you need to know about me is that, in spite of the contempt I felt for my contemporaries, I was, am and will always remain at my core an optimistic futurist. Humankind can triumph through our will and our wits, and given enough time I know in my heart we always will. So while I was dejected at the persons I saw on the television night after night attempting to gently usher my species into it’s retirement, I had the greatest of faith in people.

“We may,” I thought, “think we’re done now, but we’re not, and it’s only a matter of time before we figure that out.”

However, time wasn’t something I had in indefinite amount of, and no large-scale coming together of the peoples of all nations seemed on the immediate horizon. I am, as I said, acceptably healthy, but I do drink, I do smoke and my family is prone to sudden unexpected illnesses. Humanity would persevere, to be sure, but there was no guarantee I’d be around to see it.

And I would so hate to miss it.

So when the university put out an add looking for test subjects for a cryogenics project, it seemed just the thing!

The doctors in charge walked me through their lab, showing me the chamber they intended to freeze their subjects in and the apparatus they’d be using to monitor the suspended body. Once the process was deemed safe, they commented, only the richest people in the world would be able to afford it, but until then it was up to people like me to risk their lives as the bugs were hammered out of the process. This frequently tended to be the case back then. Oh, they were mainly just attempting two or three day freezes at the time, but it didn’t take much to convince them I was dying of something with an imposingly long Latin name, and therefore the perfect test subject for a longer term freeze. Put me in for two hundred years, I argued, and any side effects the mega-wealthy users of this new technology might experience will have years worth of notice via the observation of my own case.

It wasn’t an airtight lie, but come on. Science classes were teaching young-earth creationism in some areas of the country, you couldn’t expect much of their graduate students.

So they performed their tests, a friend of mine in the medical faculty faked a write-up of my fictitious disease, and they put me under. And for two hundred years I’ve been sleeping, not waiting for a cure for my own body but, as I said, attempting to outlast my era, waiting for human civilization to find cures for it’s own ails. And while I freely admit sticking around and trying to personally make the world a better place would have been the braver, better option, I couldn’t live with the thought that I might not see that better world when it finally came.

After spending more than thirty years loving the idea of tomorrow, I had to meet it in person, if only to find out if my optimism was well-placed.

So in answer to your question, no. No, I don’t think I will need counseling to help me come to terms with the fact that I’m alone in a strange new future. I’m reasonably certain I’m going to find the strange new future awesome, and if not I’ll freeze myself back up and try again in another two hundred years.

So, tell me, with the time I’ve been gone from the world, what have we done? Go ahead, impress me…

Monday, September 12, 2011

You and my Lamp (based on a prompt from 100 Word Stories)

It's the beginning of the week, so once again time for my prompt driven drabble! Here's the link:

...and here's the story!

You and my Lamp

By Christopher Munroe

After closing night, the theater didn’t need it.

Seven foot statues of actors are pretty useless once the show’s done, and heavy to boot.

I, on the other hand, always wanted an enormous statue of myself. The opportunity was too good to pass up.

I worried what you guys’d say when I brought it home, but you both loved it. I didn’t realize how much until I returned from work the next day.

You’d turned it’s eyes into lamps.

Now it stares light down upon me from behind the couch as I read.

The best part is: This story’s true.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Rise of the Dead

The thing that had once been Marc Russell awoke from the slumber of death, craving the flesh of the living.

It struggled to pull it’s half-rotted body upright, brushed the dirt off it’s shoulders and, not even understanding it was dead, shambled forward in search of it’s unholy sustenance.

It would never relent, it would never tire, and it’s focus would never be swayed from it’s one burning drive.

Hunger. Unending hunger.

Myself, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I mean, everything had worked perfectly!

But now comes the difficult part.

What are the commercial applications of such a thing?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wings (based on a prompt from 100 word stories)

So this appears to be a new thing of mine, so i'll start blogging them here with my #fridayflash, and random midweek drabbles. Here's the link to the podcast (you really ought to just subscribe to it, but hey, i'm not the boss of you!)

...and here's the story!

By Chris Munroe

It’s the wonder of shiftwork, you never know what schedule to expect.

I worked Tuesday to Sunday one week, Monday to Saturday the next. Since I got a day off each week, they didn’t have to pay overtime. See? Brilliant planning on their part.

Now every part of my body aches. But I try not to be bitter. I’m finished now. And I won’t be doing squat with my day off.

I’ll be downtown, headphones on, exploring a city I love and listening to classic rock.

Paul McCartney.

Band on the Run.

I won’t be coming home ‘til I’m relaxed.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Things were better back then. Brighter, somehow. More hopeful.

Humankind seemed on top of the world, with political revolutions overthrowing the seats of entrenched power one by one and an industrial one, made of iron and driven by steam, making anything seem possible.

Zeppelins sailed the skies, trains blazed across continents, and the cities… sweet Creator, the cities. Never before in history had such throngs of humanity piled upon one another in so concentrated a way, no wonder there was such an explosion of creativity. Not a week went by without a new technological marvel being unleashed upon the world, and the art and culture seemed freer and wilder than anyone even a generation previous could have possibly imagined.

There were problems, of course, all eras have their problems. No one seemed able to do anything about the bands of sky-pirates preying on the commercial zeppelins, for example, and plenty of the gadgeteers who created the age’s marvels were unquestionably mad. But nevertheless, things were looking up. Maybe not for the poor, crowded into squalled ghettos and forced to work longer hours than was strictly speaking healthy in the factories, but for mankind overall. Things were happening everyday that once would have been thought impossible.

And then, one day, a man conquered life itself.

Not death, death was still beyond any man’s control, but as that first iron/copper golem clanked and wheezed and struggled up out of the darkness into consciousness the power to give life stopped being the exclusive property of the Almighty. And with life at humanity’s command, could death be all that far behind?

Little did anyone know those first golems were the beginning of the end.

They could be created, to be sure, but at such massive expense that only a few dozen ever actually were. Fortunes were sunk into attempts at mass production, and those fortunes were in turn lost, with nothing to show for the work but shattered dreams. Many were the enterprising young industrialists who wound up tying their own nooses after watching all they’d worked for slip away, and by the time the century turned all such attempts to turn coal into life were abandoned. It seemed as though humanity’d outgrown it’s taste for miracles.

Oh, the cities were still there, and technology marched on, but it was all different somehow, and as the century wore on this became clearer and clearer. Two Great Wars and myriad smaller ones seemed to rob mankind of it’s wonder, and though people were living longer, and on the whole materially better, something indefinable was missing. Mr. Ford could easily have mass produced golems using his remarkable methods, but he was content simply to grow wealthy and it never occurred to him to want to strive for more. It did occur to Mr. Disney, but he never thought to introduce the magic he brought to his films into the real world. In every genius some small part was missing. So the handful of golems, of us, were all there would ever be.

And when one by one we broke down and died, like all relics of bygone ages that make no sense in the modern world must, those who once had built us, who’d once held the world in the palms of their hands, quickly forgot us.

We died and went unmourned, but for our remembrances of one another.

It wasn’t quick, we were well built at least, but as years became decades became generations a few dozen became a handful, became a few, became nobody but me.

And now I wait, because soon it will be my turn, and when the gears in my chest wind down there’ll be none left to even notice.

It’s funny, but though the world is so much larger now than once it was, it seems much smaller. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Wonders exist now that my creator would weep with joy at the sight of. The globe can be circled in hours, not weeks, and a machine the size of a world carries the sum total of all human knowledge and makes it available to all, downloading it directly into a human mind via a small jack at the back of the skull.

Even Earth itself cannot hold humanity in it’s grasp, the first colonies on Mars were founded a decade ago, and there’s speculation the moons of Jupiter might be next. By rights the world should be a paradise.

And yet…

The ghettos have, over the years, grown to swallow the cities that once they were but an unfortunate part of, and a small, squalid life of toil in service to the wealthy few is now the rule, not the exception. The rich, or those with power within the mega-corporations that have usurped elected governments, have the world at their fingertips and behave with the arrogance of Gods, and the masses cower before them.

Oh, there’s talk of “runners” stealing information from the megacorps and giving it to the masses, but every runner I’ve ever met is only in it for his or her own personal gain. Half the time they’re working for one corp and stealing from another. The idea of doing something solely to benefit mankind seems, like golems and zeppelins and revolution, to have been lost to the ages.

So here I wait, in this odd, alien world, to break down and finally shed these mortal coils. And when my time comes, I can not say I’ll miss this world.

And yet…

And yet when I remember what could have been, remember the sights and sounds and energy and the feeling that anything was possible, I can’t help yearn for days gone by. For the days when zeppelins soared…

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dead Hookers

Admittedly, three days before an election isn’t the time to be caught killing a hooker.

Still, life happens, detectives burst in and dead woman drape across beds.

His lawyers had him released immediately, but the damage was done. The press was having a field day.

So there was nothing else to do.

Lights bore down during that first press conference post “incident”, and he felt the reporters’ eyes deconstructing him. But he stood his ground, this was his only chance to seize the narrative. He braced himself, and spoke.

“You can see,” he began, “how tough I am on crime…”

Monday, August 29, 2011

Shrink (based on a prompt from 100 word stories) the way, I've officially joined in on isfullofcrap's podcast, "100 word stories". Why have I done this? Because I enjoy the podcast in question very well, I'd not contributed this far, and I like opportunities to write stories short enough that I can write/record them in an afternoon. Thus, I'm IN so far as the weekly story prompt goes. My first went up today, and if you don't subscribe to the cast you ought. If you don't subscribe, here's the link...

...if you STILL won't subscribe, here's the text of my own story:

By Munsi

I’m having panic attacks again.

I can’t seem to shake the notion I’m becoming… smaller?

If that makes any sense.

I know, I know, of course I’m not. It’s just anxiety and the feeling I’m not properly respected in my work and home life. But in spite of that understanding I can’t shake the feeling that as more and more of my decisions are taken out of my control I’m actually… shrinking.

It’s crazy, isn’t it Doctor?


Can you even hear me?


No, I suppose you wouldn’t be able to hear me, from all the way up there…

Friday, August 26, 2011

Not Another Ghost Story

Timmy already knew, standing in the front yard of the old place, that he never should have agreed to it.

All the kids in the neighborhood knew the house was haunted. Nobody’d lived in it for as long as Timmy’d been alive, and the yard was overgrown with weeds, as nobody cared enough to tend to it. The windows, long since smashed open wide, had allowed decades worth of rainwater into the building, causing the framework of the place to sag. Everyone on the block kept a wide berth, and even the neighborhood’s parents warned their kids to stay away.

Oh, they never called the place haunted, or even admitted there were such things as ghosts, but they did warn their kids to stay away. And that, for the neighborhood kids, was proof enough.

Timmy had known all of this earlier in the day, when on the playground Andy had dared him to go up and into the house after dark to meet the ghost. He knew it, and he knew that nobody he knew of had ever gone into the house and come back out. Nobody had ever gone in at all. And yes, he was terrified by what he might find in there. But he was much more terrified of being called a chicken, there on the playground, in front of everyone he knew. It was a name that could never be lived down once he had it, and one he would go to any length to avoid.

So he claimed that Andy was being stupid, that there were no such things as ghosts, and that he’d be happy to prove it.

And that was how he came to be in the front yard of a haunted house shortly after sunset, with a handful of witnesses from school waiting behind him to see if he’d really go through with it and a rotted oak door ahead, inviting him to come inside. He desperately wanted to run away, but he knew that he could not.

He breathed as deeply as he could, closed his eyes, counted to five, and made his way up to the door.

The knob was cold in the autumn night and the door creaked loudly as it opened, dashing any hope he may have had that it might be locked. Inside, the darkened hall stretched out farther than he could see, and as he entered moldy floorboards creaked under his feet. He took two steps in and stopped, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Then, girding himself, he set off down the hall.

He was inside, after all. The hard part was done with and he’d survived it. All he had to do now was find something to bring back out with him, to prove he’d actually gone all the way in, hadn’t just hidden in the hallway, counted to one hundred and retreated to safety. A plan of action which, had Andy not demanded the souvenir, Timmy almost certainly would have pursued.

Down the hall he went, hand braced against the wall for balance, looking for a promising room to search. But most of the rooms in the old haunted house had been long since stripped bare, and nothing could be found. Still, as he headed deeper into the heart of the place, Timmy could swear he heard sounds from the basement level.

He couldn’t tell what it was, but for reasons unknown even to him he was drawn toward the sounds, perhaps simply because the soul-crushing emptiness of the place made the prospect of something, anything, seem appealing. The knock-knocking grew louder as he made his way through empty halls and gutted rooms, and as he came to the door leading down to the cellar he saw a faint, ghastly light emanating out from under it’s crack.

To go on was madness.

To go back a humiliating admission of defeat.

Thus, there was no choice at all.

He cracked open the door, readjusted his vision to the sudden presence of light, and steeled what little courage he had left. Then, believing himself ready for anything, he made his slow way down the stairs.

He was ready, that is, for anything but what he saw.

A single, rotted mattress lay across unfinished floor, with two threadbare blankets thrown atop it. The room was lit by a few dozen candles, and they illuminated it enough to see… not much. An old looking, battery powered stereo, a faded picture in a frame by the mattress, a few articles of clothing strewn about the floor, and a table with a collection of glass flasks and bags of powder atop it, next to which sat a well used chair. Timmy didn’t understand what the flasks were for, nor what the powder was, but he knew he had to leave the house with something, and if he were to find anything this would be where it was found.

He took a step away from the stairs and into the room as behind and above him a slurred voice cursed and the door slammed shut.

As footsteps echoed down the stairs Timmy realized; in an empty room, there is no place to hide. Not that one can hide from a ghost.

So, cowering, Timmy awaited his fate. Though when the ghost arrived he looked nothing like any Timmy’d ever seen on TV.

His eyes were wide and wild and his hair long and stringy, falling to his shoulders in greasy waves. His too thin body was clad in old, torn jeans and a faded t-shirt, and he was shaking with fury as he arrived at the bottom of the staircase. He took a minute to adjust his own eyes to the light, the left one twitching uncontrollably, and finally fixed them, white-hot with hate, on Timmy.

“Who. The fuck. Are you?” This horrifying stranger nearly screamed as he bore down on Timmy.

So no, the house wasn’t haunted after all.

Though perhaps it soon would be.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Margaret Atwood

Today I spoke with Margaret Atwood.

She’s asked me to stand for election. She’s unhappy with the Harper government’s treatment of artists, authors particularly, and she’ll stand it no longer.

Thus, she’s organized Canada’s novelists, playwrights, essayists and short fiction writers, to represent the creative class within our government.

She’s hoping to shift focus to the arts and culture of this great nation.

Nobody thinks we’ll form the next government, but in the current political climate we may wind up electing a sizable number of MPs.

And if we do, parliament will learn what it’s like overcoming a writer’s bloc.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Haunting

She loved him. He killed her.

Worse, he got away scot-free.

Every year on the anniversary of her death, her spirit returns to plague her killer. But every year she stops short, unable to face the man she’d so loved in life. Without fail, she turns away.

Instead she winds up visiting me, ethereal, weeping. Saying it’s unfair, how she loved him and how betrayed she feels...

And every year I’m there, listening, wishing I could hold her, wishing she had a body to hold.

I’ll always be there for her.

Because I loved her, and she died on me.

Friday, August 19, 2011


She was a sorcerer, but also a ninja. Which in a nutshell is where the problem arose.

Because I knew one day she’d come. She wouldn’t be able to resist the treasure to be had.

The ancient tome had been in my family for generations, you see, handed down from father to son, and from it I’d learned my own dark majiks. I’d learned to control the elements, and to shape time and space itself to my liking. I’d learned to prolong my life and to heal the wounded and sick, and I hoped one day to learn mastery over even death itself.

But what I’d not learned was vindictiveness, nor how to maintain a clear conscience were I to punish an innocent for crimes she might one day commit. So, although I knew she would inevitably attempt to steal my rightful prize, I could do nothing until the day she actually tried it. And so, my hands thusly tied, I was simply forced to wait for her to come and make her attempt on what was mine.

And come she did, in the night, as I slept.

And I didn’t even wake up. I had to watch security footage after the fact.

My locks were nothing to her, as she came in through a skylight, and the security alarm I’d paid so much for meant equally little as it’s power had been “mysteriously” cut before she’d even begun scaling my walls. I had guards, but none had any inkling that anything was amiss. I had tripwires, but not one tripped. Protective runes were placed around my stately home’s library, but she knew the counters to each and every spell. She breezed through my security measures as though they were nothing at all.

And yet the cameras kept recording.

Oh, they were no longer being routed to the private security firm I’d hired to maintain continuous surveillance, all they got was a loop from a previous night that implied that all was well. But they were recording, and storing video of her feats of subterfuge that I might view them later. Because she didn’t simply want to take what was mine, she wanted me to know she had it. She wanted me to know she’d beaten me, and that with the knowledge contained in the tome at her disposal there was nothing I could do about it. It wasn’t enough for her to violate me, to violate my family. I also had to watch.


As humiliating to me as I imagine it was to her when she got home, opened the book and found that it’s every page was blank, though sadly I have no similar footage of that moment. What I wouldn’t give for THAT video feed.

If I had it, I’d keep it on the laptop onto which I scanned the pages of the tome eighteen months ago.

Because I’m also a sorcerer, and while I’m not a ninja I am a man willing to live in the modern age. And I’ve found a Kindle to be so much easier to carry around…

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yet Another Drabble About Rocket Boots

The wind howls as I stare through the plane’s door into empty sky, exhilarated.

My fucking rocket boots. Eleven years late, but finally arrived.

When Rob told me he’d built a pair, and chartered a plane, I jumped at the opportunity. But now, about to leap into freefall with nothing but boots to protect me, I’m having understandable second thoughts.

“We’re absolutely sure these work?” I scream over the sound of the engines.

“One way to find out!” He calls back.

“A series of clinical tests?” I try to ask, but by the end of the sentence I’m spiraling downward…

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Question

I very nearly didn’t ask, not least because it was an incredibly stupid question.

I mean, it was impossible. I understood that it was impossible, and yet I’d seen her.

She had Kat’s hairstyle, certainly, and drove an identical car, but she was clearly a different woman. Like, 50 years different. Her hair was grey-white, her hands hooked over the wheel, bony and withered, and her faced was cragged by what appeared to have been a very full lifetime of experiences. Yet, sunk into that face, surrounded by deep smile-lines, were the eyes I’d fallen in love with. More tired, certainly, but still clearly the same eyes.

She was stuck at a red light, and when she saw me she seemed to look away, as though avoiding my gaze. I started over to the waiting car, but the light changed before I arrived and she sped away.

Sped, by the way, was chosen very deliberately there. Tires squealing and everything, as though she was trying to escape something that terrified her. As though she was trying to escape… me? That made no sense, we’d never met, why would she want to escape me?

So I wondered. Then, realizing how stupid a thing to wonder it truly was, I stopped wondering, shook my head to clear it, and got on with my day. Because I’m a grownup, and grownups get on with what they have to do rather than standing around wondering incredibly stupid nonsense.

Later, once my errands were run, I started to wonder again. I guess I’m not THAT grown up after all.

I let the question nag at me all afternoon, knowing how embarrassing it would be to ask it out loud yet needing to know the truth. I agonized over it, vacillating back and forth on whether to ask or not, but by the time Kat got home from work, I’d resolved not to. It really was unbelievably stupid, after all, both as a question and as something to spend a day obsessing over. So I would put it out of my mind, we’d open a bottle of wine and enjoy a relaxing evening together. So I had decided, and so it would be.

Which is why I was surprised as anyone when the first words out of my mouth when she got home were “Honey? Could you come in here a minute? There’s something I need to ask you…”

My face went red even as I was saying it, I couldn’t believe what I was actually considering. But when she came in, blushing equally guiltily and staring at the floor, my eyes went wide with shock.

“Were you…” I stammered, suddenly certain she was, “did you, I mean… you were the woman? You were the woman?”

It made absolutely no sense, yet I could tell before she even opened her mouth what her answer would be. And when she finally worked up the courage to look up into my eyes, she knew instantly that I knew.

She put a finger to my lips to silence me, which was good because I was sounding dumber with each word I spoke, then silently walked to the kitchen fridge to grab herself a can of diet soda. When she returned I was on the couch, still visibly shaken.

She explained to me that yes, she was occasionally an eighty year-old woman. She had the ability to use years from the end of her life at any time she chose to, and so she used them whenever she had a convenient opportunity. While driving, or evenings when I wasn’t around and she didn’t want to do much more than watch TV, or other such trifling moments. She’d been doing it since she was in her teens, in order to get the years as an old person out of the way in as non-intrusive a way as was possible.

She explained that it was a skill she’d picked up from her grandfather, and that the first time she tried it she immediately dropped dead of a massive stroke at the age of eighty-seven. She’d been dead for nearly ninety seconds before she snapped back to her natural age, and had been plagued by headaches for weeks afterward.

But, she added, when it was pointed out to her that, having died of a massive stroke already, she never had to worry about doing it again, she immediately understood the value of the gift she’d been given.

Since then she’d been getting the years at the end of her life out of the way however she could, and by her count she’d managed to work her way back to somewhere around the age of eighty-one, in the process saving herself six extra years of youth to be used at her leisure.

Which seems insane. Because it is insane. Yet I saw what I saw, and to be honest she does look many years younger than me in spite of us being approximately the same age. I’d clocked it up to my smoking and her taking care of her skin, but if it was this…

Which, of course, it wasn’t. Because like I said, that’s insane. She’d spun a good yarn, but really? She was dealing with aging by getting it out of the way? That’s not even a thing, and hearing her say it out loud drove home this point such that it finally felt real. I was being silly, it was just a woman with a similar hairstyle and similar eyes driving a similar car, Kat happened to be somewhere nearby and had seen how I reacted to it, and she was fucking with me. It was funny, in a way, but I was on to her and the joke was over.

And I could have left it there, honestly I could have.

I could have just laughed it off, or said something along the lines of “Oh, I see what you’re doing, you’re right, it was a stupid thing to ask.” and then offered to order some takeout for dinner. I could have done any of a thousand things, and the matter would’ve been left.

Basically I could have done anything other than say what I wound up saying.

“Prove it.”

Which she then did.

And there, faced with an eighty one year old version of the woman I loved, slightly stooped, wrinkled and exhausted-looking, wheezing slightly as she breathed, apologetic that she’d never told me any of this before, it became impossible to deny.

Also; impossible to understand. I sputtered and stammered, trying to force my fractured thoughts into something resembling a sentence, failing utterly to express my response to the totality of all that I’d witnessed that day. Eventually, although it was woefully inadequate, I managed to get at least one word to squeak out of my paralyzed throat.


…and then, smiling, she showed me.

So yeah, that’s what happened to me today. Weird, right?

Oh, and sorry it took so long for me to post this. Arthritis in my joints as I type takes some getting used to, and it took me all night to finish…

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Too many secrets had escaped the agency, and everyone knew they had a mole within their ranks. But the council was at a loss. Whoever was leaking documents, they were covering their tracks too well.

So Agent Seven organized a party.

Space was prepared, and everyone with security clearance was gathered in what they thought was a simple social.

But Agent Seven had his own agenda.

He confidently walked out into the ballroom and, one by one, started punching the guests in the back of the head.

“Sorry…” One of them eventually mumbled.

And so, the Canadian spy was unmasked.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The End

The worst part wasn’t the destruction of the universe. It was the destruction of… myself?

The stars had been blinking out for days by the time the wave got to Earth, yet nobody seemed perturbed about it but me. Try as I might, I couldn’t make a single person see that this was a potentially catastrophic event. And when I woke up one morning and heard on the news that Australia had mysteriously vanished, I somehow knew even before I spoke to anyone about it that nobody would think anything was out of the ordinary.

As I arrived at work, the car’s radio cut out unexpectedly, but previous to that nobody on it had mentioned the disappearance of a continent as anything especially distressing. And now they never would. I switched from channel to channel, but the other stations were out too.

I waited a few minutes, to see if the stations would eventually come back. None of them did. Eventually, I had to get to work…

Everybody at the office was doing their job as though it were just another day, though as the day progressed I noticed more and more of my coworkers seemed to be absenting themselves. By the time lunch rolled around, only a handful of people were left.

By the time I returned from lunch, still hungry as the diner across the street was no longer there, I was seemingly the only one left in the building. Something, clearly, had to be done, but I had no idea specifically what.

When I went into my office to consider my options, letting the door swing shut behind me was an admittedly bad idea. Although, it could be that finding it impossible to open again was less emotionally taxing an option than seeing whatever was coming for me. By the time I had a plan I was trapped. Should have known I would be.

Though it wasn’t a very good plan, it likely wouldn’t have mattered even if I had been able to implement it.

I didn’t actually see anything in the room vanish, it seemed to happen only when I was looking the other way, but it didn’t take long before I found myself in an empty room, staring at bare walls. I closed my eyes, tightly, and when I opened them again even those were gone.

I was floating, in emptiness, nothing pulling me in any direction. No idea how I’d gotten there, or what had happened to the universe. No reference point of any kind, just… me.

Which made it that much more distressing when I started to go too.

I didn’t notice it at first, but by the time my legs were gone up to my knees I was fascinated as, bit by bit, my tissue and bone unraveled under me, more and more of me vanishing into the ether. I suppose I should have done something, tried to pull myself away, but I was too fascinated by the process to think of it. My torso unraveled up to my neck, and the last thing I saw before my eyes fell from my vanishing skull was my arms, unconnected and rapidly diminishing, spiraling away from where I used to be.

From where I still was.

Not in any corporeal way, not one atom was left from what used to be my body, but there was some thinking thing still left in what once was the universe. I knew, because I was it.

Though not for long.

The destruction of my body, oddly enough, didn’t hurt at all. The destruction of my mind, however, was excruciating. Every memory, every desire or ambition or drive, every stray thought I’d ever had in my life I felt die, and each one seemed to know it was dying. Me as a child, gone, my first day of work, gone. The face of my beloved, no longer waiting for me in a home that no longer existed, now no longer even a memory. Before long, all that was left of what I’d considered “self” was mindless animal terror, and pain.

And then, having stripped me to nothingness, the pain stopped.

Moments later, so did the fear.

Yet there I was.

I’m not sure what I was, my mind and body were long since gone, but some fundamental me-ness remained, unthinking, unfeeling in the nothingness for I don’t know how long. With no point of reference it could have been an eternity or an instant, but each moment was first brand new, and then instantly forgotten. These moments seemed to stretch out infinitely before me, not that I would notice infinity if it’d happened.

Finally, that sliver of consciousness too began to go dark, and the last light in the universe, meager though it was, winked out, shutting the door on all that was or would forever be.

And then I woke up.

I was in a lab of some kind, naked but for a hospital gown, with electrodes hooked to my shaved scalp. Soft music played in the background, a tune I thought I might recognize if I’d given it a moment’s thought. I didn’t bother, I couldn’t see how it was relevant.

I didn’t know how I’d gotten there, or who’d hooked me up, there was a lot I couldn’t remember, but that too seemed irrelevant. I couldn’t even bring myself to be angry about what had been done to me. Nothing mattered except in that it applied to the task at hand. And, with no task currently at hand, logically speaking nothing mattered. So I removed the electrodes, sat up on what appeared to be a surgical table, and waited, paying no attention to anything in the room until a nondescript man in a dark blue suit came in, holding a clipboard.

“Congratulations Mr. Robertson,” he said to me briskly, “you’ve survived the program. Many testees don’t. So, now that you’ve had time in the chamber to consider our offer, will you join our… organization?”

…and when I searched what was left of my consciousness, I couldn’t find anything within it capable of saying no.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bronies Vs. Juggalos

They came in greater numbers than we’d anticipated, and better armed to boot.

Their black and white warpaint, designed to terrify, succeeded admirably, and they still had access to the old weapons, from the before time. Weapons powered by magnets, though they knew not how they worked.

Attacking in one massive wave, trying to break our will. And for a moment, we did fear.

But hope’s never lost, and we have our own weapons.

Faith in ourselves, and each other.

The power of teamwork.

And yes, friendship, which has it’s own magic.

…and we shall pray that that’ll be enough.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Future

I’ve been accused of not taking my future seriously enough.

Indeed, it’s been said by those dearest to me that I live too much in the moment, too much for fleeting pleasure. People point out that, should I continue along this path, I’ll never “get anywhere” in life.

Not sure where I should “get”, I like life well enough.

Still, out of respect I’ll attempt, starting now, to take a longer view of things.

In one hundred years, we will all be dead.

In two hundred, forgotten.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to meet friends at a pub…

Friday, July 29, 2011

Patient Zero

I’ve only been in town three days, and already people are dying.

There’s been panic as they’ve flooded the streets, half blind, half mad, covered in boils, in their vain attempts to flee the city. But the bridge has been blown and the military’s sealed off all the highways, so they shouldn’t get far.

Some won’t believe that U.S. soldiers would fire on unarmed civilians. They’ll swiftly learn otherwise.

They’re saying it’s only a temporary measure, a quarantine as they research potential treatments, but this is nonsense, of course. They always quarantine the city, they always research treatments, and none of it ever comes to a God damned thing. Eventually, their “temporary measures” turn once thriving cities into mausoleums. I’ve seen it happen before and I’ve no doubt I’ll live to see it happen again.

And yes, I know it’s all my fault, don’t you think I know that? By this late stage in the game, of course I know.

But still, here I am, packing my things and preparing to run. I’ll be leaving tonight. By foot or by bike, sticking to the back roads, avoiding the quarantine zones as best I can and hoping to bluff my way through if I happen to get caught.

It’s easier to bluff through than you’d expect, considering. But in a way that does make sense. I look perfectly healthy, after all, and even soldiers are human beings, capable of the same levels of empathy as anyone else. They’ve been told the contagion shows symptoms in hours, and kills in days, so when they see a healthy looking fellow such as myself they assume I just got lucky. And by the time they start showing symptoms, a few hours later, it’s too late. They’ve already let me pass.

Because what nearly nobody knows is that there are carriers, who spread the contagion without showing symptoms of any kind. It’s one of the CDC’s best kept secrets. If people knew they could catch this plague from the seemingly healthy, there’d be even more panic than there already is.

If people knew they could catch this plague from the seemingly healthy, I might be stopped from leaving town.

I might have been stopped from leaving the last town.

Or the one before that.

Hell, if people knew they could catch this plague from the seemingly healthy, I might not have been allowed out of that research facuility in the first place, so many months ago.

I wonder how my life would differ had I not been…

No matter, life is what it is. I can leave town, so I will, and when I arrive at wherever it is that I wind up next, people there will start dying. I know that too.

And I also understand I ought to turn myself in. Should’ve turned myself in after the first town I murdered.

But to do so would mean a lifetime in a lab, poked and prodded and tested and, when I die, dissected.

I hope they would wait until after I die.

Hopefully I’ll never have to find out for certain.

So instead of doing what I know in my heart to be the right thing, I’ll set out on my own. Avoid people, avoid cities, and hope for the best. It’s all I can do.

Maybe that’s selfish. Probably it’s selfish, but I honestly don’t care. I never asked for any of this, and I most certainly don’t accept it.

I know you’ve stopped listening to me, you’re long since dead. You started dying the second I walked into the room, and I don’t know if you even understood why. Still, thank you for letting me vent like this. It feels good to get it all off my chest. People need that, sometimes.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go. I need to keep moving, after all…

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fight Bus

To get on the bus, you must first fight one of it's current passengers.

You'll get to choose which one.

Space will be found, and you'll each be provided a knife. We'll bind you both together by the wrist, then watch the two of you slash at one another.

If you lose this fight, none will help you. No ambulance will be called and you will die, unmourned.

If you win, you'll take the place of your slain opponent on the bus.

Only later will you realize there's no way off the bus, until a new prospective passenger chooses you...

Sunday, July 17, 2011


There are monsters in the woods.

I have reasons to know that.

And when the townspeople find his body, disemboweled and half-devoured, they'll know it too.

The only witness, a boy of nine, won't say a word, he'll be catatonic with fear, unable to describe the thing that attacked them in the night.

They'll know a monster hunts the woods, and they'll know the danger that lurks.

And they'll hunt me.

What they won't know is what my prey was doing to that boy when I found them.

But I know, because I know there are monsters in the woods.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Return

When he came back, he came back... wrong.

He looked the same, if observed superficially enough, but behind his eyes was a disturbing blankness. A lack of.... sympathy? Empathy? Whatever quality it is that allows one living person to connect meaningfully with another, he now lacked it, and in it's place was... nothing.

Were there enough of him left to wish, he'd wish for a merciful end. Instead, he lurched into the house where she, unknowingly, defenselessly, awaited him.

“How was work, honey?”

“You don't want to know.” He murmured, shoulders slumped, as he grabbed himself a beer...

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Chosen One

You, boy. Yes, you. My Gods, have I found you? Are you he? Are you... the chosen one?

Speak not, young one, for I know that you are from the scar across your scalp. You are he who was prophesied, who will lead our people out from under the yoke of the Sorcerer King and into a new golden age. You will continue, will lead the rebellion as your parents did before you.

But you already have parents, you say? Waiting for you back at home? Please, child, you jest. Surely you can't possibly believe that those drab, dreary creatures you grew up with could have birthed one such as you? You must have known from an early age that you were meant for more than the gray little lives they led, that you were too special for their world to contain or constrain you. They are good people, to be sure, and they have done their best to raise you, protect you, and to keep you from knowing your destiny until you were old enough to understand it's responsibility, but they are ordinary. And you, young boy-king, are anything but that.

Your true father was a great warrior, perhaps the greatest who ever lived, and he led the rebellion's forces against the Sorcerer King, winning battle after glorious battle in spite of his enemy's superior numbers and dark majiks. Your mother was an elvish queen.

You, of course, know none of this. When they sent you, at birth, to be raised by your “parents” here, on this world, they knew that any knowledge of your true identity before the time was right would only endanger you needlessly. So it was kept from you, until you came of age, and now the time has come to seize the sword and lead the rebellion your true parents began. To lead, and to avenge them.

Avenge? Yes, I'm sorry to say it, but your parents both were slain by the Sorcerer King's assassins. For great men and women make great enemies, and no enemy's greater than the Sorcerer King. Your road will not be an easy one, you must learn your mothers elvish majiks, and learn too to wield the blade your father forged. Many will resent you for arising from nowhere to claim leadership, and it will be a struggle to win their trust. But I have faith in you, child, for I know who you truly are, and what you are truly capable of. For you see, it was I who delivered you to this world to be protected, and it was I charged with the task, when the time was right, of retrieving and training you to take your rightful place as the warrior king you were meant to be.

You cannot, I'm sorry to say, go back to say goodbye to the two who raised you, but fear not, they'll understand. They've known how special you were this whole time, and will be overjoyed to learn that you've been called home. And time is most certainly if the essence. The Sorcerer King's armies are on the move, and we must move to meet them. We must away, and away with the greatest of haste.

Away, to meet your fate. other news, another dead child has been found in the forests just outside of town. The boy, one Antony Johansburg, aged twelve, is the fourth to turn up dead in the first half of this year, and authorities report they're no closer to the killer's identity, nor to determining how the killer is luring these poor children away with him. We'll be back for an interview with little Antony's bereaved parents after these words from our sponsors.