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Unwound Bandage

After many hours of carefully unravelling layer after layer of ancient, delicate linen, Benson and Wright had finally uncovered the last portion of the three-thousand-year-old mummy. Now their task was complete, neither new exactly what to say. After a good five minutes of awkward silence it was Wright that eventually spoke first.

‘Well, I think it’s fair to say neither of us were expecting that,’ he said. Benson could only nod in mute agreement.

‘I mean, we were both pretty convinced that it was some kind of ornamental facemask, right?’ continued Wright. ‘But this… this is… well, it’s certainly a turn up for the books, isn’t it?’ Benson nodded again, his eyes still fixed on the face of the desiccated corpse laying on their laboratory table. What the two Egyptologists had assumed to be a mask beneath the mummy’s wrappings was in fact a very real and organic aquiline beak where the long-dead Pharaoh’s mouth and nose should have been.

‘I think we’ve got a pretty good chance of getting that research grant now,’ whispered Benson.

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Family Man

Dr Bufo wiped his hands on his shirt, leaving wet streaks of toxic slime across the grimy material. Driven by paternal fervour, the genetically modified glands in his palms had secreted more than enough venom to send all six of the men that had attacked him into delirium then death, and yet the milky white fluid still dripped from his webbed fingers.

Only when he was satisfied that his hands were suitably dry did Dr Bufo dare to retrieve the large glass jar from it’s hiding place. He had stowed the precious item in a handy dustbin as Gammatech’s goons had closed in on him, and each moment he had been parted from it had pained him greatly. Inside the jar countless tiny tadpoles wriggled and squirmed in their watery nursery.

‘Don’t worry, my children,’ he croaked. ‘No-one’s going to hurt you while Daddy’s here, I promise.’

Cradling the jar lovingly, Bufo hopped off into the night in search of a new life for his beloved family.

Two Fists

David raised his gnarled and calloused hands. The skin of the knuckles had been scraped away countless times due to being driven against metal, stone or teeth during twenty years of adventure and violence. The fingers had each broken on numerous occasions but still possessed just enough flex to form two bony, blood-slicked clubs, ready to be pressed into service yet again.

David raised his two fists to protect his bruised face as the last four thugs stalked towards him.  Whatever numbers he faced, he always knew the odds were in his favour when he was armed with his two favourite weapons.

 

Moth Dance

After years of futile effort and searching, Casper finally experienced his Damascus moment, forgetting all memories of those nights of searching for the light in one glorious epiphany. The helpless banging against invisible barriers vainly trying to reach lightbulbs that would only singe his legs if he ever managed to touch their glowing surfaces no longer mattered. The fruitless attempts to reach the glowing white orb of the moon that never drew any closer no matter how hard he flapped his wings were in the past.

By some freak chance Casper had mistakenly emerged from his nest at the wrong time, and found a world bathed in more luminosity than he could possibly have imagined. Liberated from the urge to search for the light, Casper wiffled his feathery antennae in exultation, and simply danced in happy circles across the glowing sky.

Grizzled Oaf

First up there’s the broken bones.  Three ribs, left leg (tibia and fibula), collarbone, and most of the fingers on my left hand.  Of course, my left hand did better than my right which is clean gone. I bled so much out of that stump all the other lacerations – and there were a lot of lacerations, believe you me – that the surgeons damn near ran out of their stocks of the red stuff. I haven’t got the faintest idea how many stitches and sutures it took to get everything that was meant to be on the inside back on the inside… even the doctors gave up on counting in the end.

People ask me if it was worth it, and I always reply the same.  You’re damn right it was worth it, I say. I’m not letting any damn nosy bear go rooting through my bins.

Mental Contortion

You wanna see some gymnastics? Well you’re in for a treat. My mind is more agile and flexible than the bastard lovechild of Simone Biles and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

I can believe that my God loves everyone but still created evil. I can believe that He’s all powerful but couldn’t prevent Satan corrupting his grand design. I can believe He knows everything but still had to ask Cain where Abel was.

I can believe he sacrificed himself to himself to pay the price that he demanded to save us from the Hell that he created, and I can believe that all that makes perfect sense.

My faith is Silly Putty. It can bend and stretch in any number of logic defying contortions, and yet somehow it never breaks.

Lobster Lobster

Feeling the immense gravity of what he had just learned, Caleb slumped against the trunk of the olive tree.

‘You told me Gammarus betrayed and murdered my father,’ he whispered. Ammon the Sage looked up at Caleb, his eyes full of sorrow.

‘Your father was tempted by the promises of Dagon, The Demon Lord of the Deeps,’ said Amon. ‘He ceased to be Zoar of Moab and became Gammarus the Destroyer. When that happened, the good man who was your father was lost to the Old Ones.’

Caleb’s eyes were fixed on the dirt at his feet, unable to meet Ammon’s gaze.

‘When I met your father he was already a great warrior and I was amazed at the strength of his faith,’ continued Ammon. ‘I thought I could teach him the ways of our Lord as well as Samuel taught me. I was wrong.’

He can be redeemed,’ said Caleb. ‘There is still good in him.’

Ammon shook his head sadly.

‘He’s more Lobster now than man. Twisted and evil.’

Badger King

The king is dead.

His mournful retainers slowly clawed at the walls and ceiling of the chamber that would now be the King’s grave. They worked reluctantly, as if holding out a vain hope that the squat, powerful body of King Brock VIII would suddenly stir and return to life as it would after the long winter sleep.

But the king did not move. As the last few clods of wormy earth were dragged into place his family said their final goodbyes, amongst them the young cub that would henceforth be known as King Brock VIV, Lord of Sett and Cete.

The King is dead. Long live the King.

Adam’s Apple

And so it came to pass that YAHWEH spake unto Adam and Eve, and said

YOU HAVE DISOBEYED MY COMMAND AND EATEN OF THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT. FOR THIS YOU MUST BE PUNISHED FOR YOU HAVE SINNED GREATLY AND DONE TERRIBLE EVIL AGAINST ME

‘Hang on a minute,’ said Adam. ‘How can we be blamed for doing something evil? We didn’t have any concept of good or evil till we ate that bloody apple. How were we meant to know it was wrong?’

‘Yeah, he’s got a point,’ agreed Eve. ‘And another thing, if you’re omniscient you would have known we were gonna eat it, so why did you put it there in the first place? And if you created all things, why did you create that sodding serpent that was all like “oooh Eve, fancy an apple?”’

YAHWEH considered their words and then spake unto them in a terrible voice, saying

THAT’S IT, YOU TWO CAN FUCK RIGHT OFF OUT OF MY GARDEN. NO-ONE LIKES A SMART ARSE

Pizza Cutter

‘This is the BLU-82, a 15,000 lb mother fucker of an explosive device. If you wanna clear an area to create a helicopter landing zone, this son-of-a-bitch will remove anything from that Goddam patch of earth, whether it’s scrub, trees or an entire platoon of fucking Vietcong. We like to call it the Pizza Cutter.’

One of the assembled privates slowly raised his hand. ‘Uh… s-sarge…’ he stammered. ‘Isn’t it a Daisy Cutter?’

Gunnery Sargent Kowalski paused and allowed his mind to wander for a moment. He thought of the lying mother fuckers that ran Luigi’s Pizzeria in downtown Milwaukee. All You Can Eat Pizza, he seethed. Horseshit. Cheating bastards think they can tell me when I’ve had all I can eat?

For the umpteenth time that day Kowalski imagined a flight of C-130s delivering a piping hot serving of fresh baked BLU-82s with extra cheese right through the roof of that Goddamned restaurant.

‘Yeah, Daisy Cutter,’ he muttered. ‘Well spotted Sedgewick.’