Brain Helmet 2000

Another Friday is upon us. Time for more #fictionfriday and #fridayflash. I have been sick this past week and it has certainly affected my writing. Today’s piece is a bit of Horror/comedy because it’s no fun being serious all the time. You have been warned. Enjoy.


“Let’s be honest, it’s almost impossible to identify a loved one after they’ve been eaten by a zombie. I guess that’s what drew me to this line of research. It’s not just about the survival of the human race; it’s also about preventing as much pain as possible for the unfortunate families of the victims.

It didn’t take much to convince the government that the old prison was the perfect place to conduct our research. It would be hard to refute really. It’s already set up with a hospital, a fenced in yard and plenty of holding cells for the subjects. Besides once you get past the ghosts, the old prison is actually kind of nice.

I admit I was scared after zombies outed themselves last year. Let’s face it; if you weren’t already one of them you were scared too. Until they made it illegal for a zombie to turn a human without prior approval we all thought it was the end. Then this research facility opened up and things started looking a whole lot better. So let’s get started. Please follow me into the lab.

What we discovered early on in our research was, once a person was attacked and their brain was consumed, the body would begin to liquefy and remove any trace of the victim’s DNA. That elimination of all evidence was how they were able to stay hidden for so long. It was also the key to solving the problem with identifying our dead. We’ve developed a serum that stops the rapid decomposition process and allows us to pull dental records before the bodies are reduced to a festering puddle.

That was step one. Step two, well, that’s a bit more of a challenge. It seems that zombies, like vampires, can go a while without feeding and still maintain some self control. We all know what happens if they go too long without eating anything, but not many folks know zombies can subsist on human flesh too. It’s a sort of in-between-meals snack, if you will. We’ve been able to grow human flesh for quite a while now. Used primarily for burn victims, the process is slow and not at all efficient enough to supply the world zombie population with enough flesh to slow the zombie’s need for brains. Using an advanced growth process developed here in this lab we have successfully decreased the time needed to grow skin cells. We are now able to harvest one pound of skin from each donor every three weeks. Still not efficient enough but we estimate we will be able to double the amount of harvestable skin by the end of the month. Exciting! If you will all just follow me into the next room.

Now to the reason you are all here. Today we are conducting our first trial of artificial human brains. As you can see our subject is securely locked in her cell and appears quite hungry. We have not in fact feed this particular zombie for seven days. Our paid lab assistant will be entering the cell and will, hopefully, exit unharmed. As you can see, Mr. Johnson is ready to enter. He is wearing the brain helmet 2000. It fastens securely under his chin to prevent accidental removal. The helmet is reminiscent of the 1950’s football helmet. It is constructed from chew resistant leather and is available in several fashionable colors. The artificial brain matter is coated on the outside of the helmet.

Johnson, if you would now enter the cell. There she goes. She has Johnson’s head clutched firmly in her grasp. There! She’s eating the artificial… Oh Dear. Johnson? Johnson! It appears that the chew resistant leather is not quite thick enough to stop a ravenous zombie. Well, in about 30 minutes you all will get a chance to witness how our serum impedes the liquefaction process of a post zombie attack. Let’s move down to cell two, where Mr. Davidson is sporting a fiberglass model.

Davidson, you’re up. Davidson? Where the hell is Davidson? Jenkins, it’s you then. No, just strap it on. Mrs. Jenkins is sporting a fiberglass model and is now ready to enter the cell of this hungry zombie.

There she goes. The zombie has her head. Oh! Good God.

Here ends the tour. Thank you all for coming. We have metal helmets still in the design stage and will be testing them in about a month or so. Those of you interested in the serum demonstration can follow me, the rest of you be sure to follow the exit signs as I can assure you this is no place to get lost.”

Author’s note: Any volunteers for the metal helmet? Once again this weeks prompt is courtesy A wonderful and supportive group of writers. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think of this little bit of ridiculousness.

I Seek

Today I stopped counting and started trying to find you. There was no point in looking for you in the numbers anymore. One hundred days or one thousand, what does it matter? The days won’t ever stop coming no matter how hard I wish it. They create such a divide. My mind isn’t able conquer mountains that size. Life is for the living. That’s the problem with this mortal coil. So I stopped counting and started seeking.

I know where you are in the world, where you hide your face. I used to go there often, but it’s not you. You kept hiding until I started seeking. I realize now you’re not really sitting this one out. I watch you running with your sisters in the sun and drawing pictures in the sand of our beach. I see you in footballs and boats, jackknifes and forts in the woods.

I lift my head from the crook of my elbow where I buried it all those years ago and open my eyes. I’m done counting now and it’s all-in-come-free. I see you there, beaming out. Nothing, not even the weight of the earth, can keep you from me.

Author’s Note: This weeks prompt was “start your story with a game of hide and seek”. I hope you enjoy this week’s piece.

Hello Jones

If someone asks you if you want to see a dead body, your first instinct might be to say yes, but I’d think about it first if I were you.

Boris was always a weird kid. In grammar school we used to bully the hell out of him. We played ‘Hello Jones’. As soon as we saw him we would say “Hello, Jones” then hit him in the gut. “Hello Jones,” and knock his books to the ground. “Hello Jones,” Break his glasses. I don’t think a day went by without his underwear being yanked over his head. As kids we felt totally justified in tormenting him. I mean his name was Boris, and he dressed funny. Back then it was reason enough.

In high school we all pretty much shunned him. He would often try to befriend us by asking if we wanted his lunch or something similar. We’d take his stupid lunch then tell him to scram. No one wanted to be his friend. Until the morning he asked us if we wanted to see a dead body.

“Bullshit,” we said. But our interest was piqued to say the least. That afternoon Boris approached us again.

“So, what do you think? I found it in the woods behind my brother’s apartment yesterday,” said Boris. He gnawed on his bottom lip as he nervously awaited our answer. My friend Dan was the leader of our prepubescent terrorist cell and he always spoke for the group.

“You better not be messing with us, Doris, or I swear to Christ, we’ll kick your ass.” We all laughed but we were also a bit uneasy; I mean a real live dead body?

That afternoon we met Boris at his brother’s apartment and followed him into the woods. We walked for a while before growing impatient.

“Where the hell is it, Doris?” Dan demanded. Boris pointed to a pile of trash.

“It’s under those clothes and papers and junk. I covered it up. You have to dig through some stuff to find it,” said Boris

We dug through the small pile of junk assuming it was the last trappings of some vagrant who died out here in the woods.

“There’s nothing here,” I said.

Dan was at the end of is patience. “God Damnit, Boris, I swear to-“

Boris pulled a gun from behind his back. We stood there in the woods stupefied. Was this really happening? Boris stared unblinking at our group as we stared unblinking at the barrel of his gun. After what seemed like forever, Dan moved toward Boris with his hands in that universal sign for “surrender” but Boris made like he was going to shoot and Dan backed off. At the time, what struck me most was not the fact that Boris had drawn a gun on us; it was the look of resolve in Boris’ eyes. It seemed as if they were focused on all of us at the same time while his face remained completely devoid of emotion. He stood there like one of those wax statues from a fun house. Only there was nothing hokey or comedic about him. He was deadly serious. Slowly he moved the gun to point under his chin all the while keeping his eyes fixed on our faces. His emotionless face morphed into a smile. None of us had ever seen him smile before. It was terrifying.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked.

As his finger slowly tightened around the trigger, he answered.

“Hello Jones”

Author’s Note: This week’s flash fiction is a reworking of a story I wrote a couple months ago. The story I had originally prepared for this week is a shiver inducing 200 word horror story which I decided to keep for October. I hope you enjoyed this sad little tale. Oh, and as always, thanks to the great folks at WriteAnything for this weeks prompt. Till next week.

Last Aria

Through a series of well practiced stealthy glances he was able to tell she was young, probably in her early 20’s. Her long red hair framed her face magnificently. Glossy red lipstick contrasted sensuously with her alabaster skin and accentuated a spattering of alluring freckles across the bridge of her nose. She glanced at her ticket stub as she navigated the aisle and checked it against the numbers on the back of each chair.

Please God, please God, please God,” James thought as she made her way toward the empty seat next to him.

Apparently he had done something particularly pleasing in the eyes of the divine entity because the goddess in the low-cut emerald dress sat next to him. He glanced shyly and managed to croak out a hello. She responded in kind then bashfully looked in the other direction.

“I haven’t seen you here before,” said James. He felt like such a hack but decided to press on anyway. “First time at the Opera?”

“Je ne parle pas anglais,” She said. “Vous parlez français?”

James smiled coyly and shook his head no. The lights flashed to signal the audience to be quiet. As the lights dimmed he noticed the slit of her dress had shifted slightly to reveal the lacy top of her nylons.

James decided to try an experiment. He nonchalantly opened his legs so his knee would make minimal contact with hers. She didn’t protest by moving her knee away from his. He let his knee rest against hers for several minutes then casually moved his hand up. Again patience was required so it was another few minutes before he pressed the palm of his hand against her knee. This time she instinctively moved against the pressure. To his delight however, she gently returned her knee to its original position. The warmth of her skin grew hot as he began to ever so slowly caress her knee.

James moved his hand to the inside of her leg and began to trace up toward her groin. He felt the lace of her stockings before she slammed her legs shut. She pushed his hand back toward her knee and left it there. James cursed himself for rushing it. Operas lasted a long time. There was no reason to bull ahead and wreck it. A short time later he was again savoring the soft feel of the lace that decorated the top of her stocking. After a while he let his pinky drift above her stocking onto her bare thigh. Her skin was so smooth. His world suddenly consisted of this nameless beauty and her amazing legs. His ring finger glided its way to her thigh as well. Not wanting to destroy this perfect moment he chose to move his entire hand back toward her knee voluntarily.

James smiled to himself as she placed her hand on his and slid it slowly over her stocking and completely onto her thigh. His heart raced as the music ebbed and flowed in time with his fingers as they thrummed up and down her creamy skin. She kept her hand over his and helped guide it across the short distance to her lace panties. She pushed down hard against his hand as he made first contact with the edge of her lingerie.

He glanced over and saw her eyes shut tight, her lips slightly parted and her chest heaving noticeably. James faced the stage and closed his eyes too. He Let himself be swept away in the moment. His blood raced to his groin in anticipation. It was during this time of bliss that she slammed the edge of her free hand against his wind pipe and crushed his larynx. Then, as he struggled to breathe, she produced a dagger from within her purse and stabbed him in the heart. James heard screaming from behind. The performance staggered to a halt and the lights came up. She leaned her face in close to his ear and let her hot breath wash over his skin as she caressed his face with her long red nails.

“Au revoir Monsieur Bond,” she said breathily. “I’t vas a pleasure killing you. I hope Monsieur Double-Oh-Eight is more of a challenge.”

Author’s Note: OK, first off, I know this is technically fan-fiction, but I challenge you to name another famous international spy with a proclivity to hit on sexy women at inopportune times. Actually this week’s prompt from Write Anything put me in mind of an erotic piece I read at a time in my life when I was way to young to read such things. So this week I decided to try my hand at erotic fiction. The problem I had was the story had no ending for me that wasn’t hacky. So in a fit of desperation I fell back on one of my old stand by solutions (which in retrospect is pretty hacky) and ended it in a murder. I hope you dug it anyway.

Hint Fiction

I’m a big fan of Flash Fiction. I read a lot of it and write some myself. I recently came across a contest currently hosted by Robert Swartwood. The contest centers on “Hint Fiction”. An intriguing concept; Can a story of 25 words or less invoke an emotional response or have enough of an arc to be considered a story? Probably not, but that’s why there is the qualifier “hint” before the word “fiction”.

Robert does a nice job explaining Hint Fiction and the contest seems like fun. I find the 25 word story to be a pretty neat idea. Anyone who is even remotely interested in flash fiction knows of Hemingway famous piece of flash fiction: “Baby Shoes”. If not here it is

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Poignant isn’t it. What does this piece “hint” at? Oh, the poor parents. What happened to the baby? Was it a miscarriage, still birth, SIDS, or something more sinister? Or, what if the parents received nothing but baby shoes as gifts and simply had a surplus of miniature penny-loafers. Or what if they simply never got around to putting that particular pair of shoes on their kid’s pudgy little feet. If I had penned this now famous bit of prose I would have taken more advantage of my 25 word allotment and ended up with this:

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn. See Mr. and Mrs. Bunyan for details.

Now it’s a story of a kid with freakishly large feet, but it still “hints” to a more complex story. How did his mother give birth to him, what is the back story, did they attend a swingers party with John Henry?

Perhaps that’s why everyone knows the name Hemingway and precious few know the name Chartrand. Oh well I still like mine better. In any case I will be submitting my entries to the anthology contest. I encourage you to try your hand at “Hint Fiction” too and submit your entries. Who knows, it may make you famous.