Dialogue Challenge – Hot, Hot, Hot

Dialogue Challenge: Story written in all dialgoue. There can be attribution such as “he said” or “she cried.” Internal dialogue is OK. Filler dialogue or pauses are OK such as … for someone not responsding. “Spoken” sounds like coughs, grunts, and such are also allowed. Feel free to try it yourself.

 “Man, it’s hot!” I said.

 “Of course it is, Dogboy,” said Brain via the comm-link, “the apartment building is on fire.”

 “WHOA!”

 “What? What just happened?”

 …

 “Dogboy? Joe? Joe! Report!”

 “I’m okay. Some of the rafters just collapsed.”

 “Satellite images show that the building is becoming more unstable. It is time to leave.”

 “No. My nose tells me that someone’s still here.”

 “The rescue workers are reporting that everyone is accounted for, thanks to you.”

 “There’s still someone else here. Check the records again.”

 “OK…there…click here…open…come on connect…ugh, buffering…”

 “Brain…this place is falling apart.”

 “I am doing the upmost I am capable of given the situation.”

 “Brain, this fire is getting hotter and soon even I won’t be able to stand it. Regular people surely won’t.”

 “I got it. Jim Sanders, who works for the water company, has two children: Jack and Jill.”

 “Got it. Jack! Jill! Where are–” 

 …

 “Joe! What happened? You’re vials spiked.”

 “Floor gave way. But I’m okay. I got to the leash grapple in time.”

 “I continue to strongly suggest you vacate the premises immediately.”

 “Not until I have those…Wait, I hear something.”

 “Joe?”

 “Just a minute…Yeah…I can hear them.”

 “Help!” a small female voice said. “Someone! Help!”

 “They’re in the next room,” I reported to Brain.

 “Please *cough* help us,” Jill said.

 “I can see them.”

 “Oh thank heavens,” said Brain.

 “Dogboy, please *cough* my brother. He hurt his head.”

 “It’s alright. I’ll have you out in two wags of a dog’s tail. I just need you to climb on my back and hold tight.”

 “What about my brother?”

 “He’s safe in my paws, uh, hands.”

 “Does the leash grapple have enough power to swing you all out?” Brain asked.

 “We’ll find out soon enough.”

 “Who are you talking to?” Jill asked.

 “Just a friend. I’m going to swing us out of here.”

 “What *cough* about the wall?” Jill asked.

 “Dramatically smashing through walls is the first thing we superheroes learn. Keep your head down and you’ll be fine…You ready?”

 “Hmm-hmm,” she said.

 “Brain, you contacted the rescue workers?”

 “They’re outside waiting.”

 “One, two, three. Here we go!”

 …

 …

 “Wheeee!” cried Jill.

 “There he is!” said the fire chief. “Move into position!”

 “There, safe and sound,” I said.

 “Can we go again?” Jill asked.

 “Dogboy,” said the fire chief, “is everyone alright?”

 “The boy needs medical attention.”

 “We’re on it,” said the chief. “Jeff. Sam. Get the EMTs.”

 “Jill!” came a voice from the crowd.

 “Papa!”

 “Oh my darling daughter. I feared the worst.”

 “I kept Jack safe,” she said with a hint of pride.

 “And she did a wonderful job,” I said. “Jack’ll be fine.”

 “Oh thank you, Dogboy,” he said. “Thank you so very much.”

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Busted

Part 1 Part 2

Jackson “Jack” Riggs

    “Accessing ILOST Database,” said the base’s AI. “Accessing Brood file.”

    The big “Open File” button stared at me. I glanced around checking to see if anyone was near. I took a breath and opened the file. 

    “Brood,” said the artificial intelligence. “Real name Vlad Drake. Hometown: Transylvania. Species: Reformed vampire.” I checked the area again. The volume seemed amazingly loud. “His race once were allies with the Xacians pitting them against the Sirian race. Though no longer allies, the blood feud between vampires and “werewolves” continues. Vlad comes from the upperclass of vampire society, a count, but he rejected the bloodthirsty ways of his kind and joined ILOST.”

    That must have been tough.

    “Powers include: strength, speed, immortality, flight, and the ability to transform into a bat, a swarm of bats, or mist. He can also hypnotize others and survive in extreme environments. Since he is reformed, crosses and sunlight have no effect on him. Garlic will drug him or keep him away. A stake through the heart will ‘kill’ him until it is removed. Dark sunlight, or darklight, can hurt him and unholy water will burn him. His costume includes a black duster jacket…”

    “What do you think you are doing?!” a voice said from behind me. I turned to see the fanged face of Brood. “Is this why you are here? To learn about us.”

    “D-D-Dogboy said to look around.”

    “I sincerely doubt he meant for you to access our database. Even he’s not that stupid. How did you get access?”

    “I-I, uh…”

    Brood then picked me up. I could feel his nails digging into me. He then tossed me across the room. I slid to a stop. Brood leapt into the air and was suddenly on top of me. I felt that same pain behind my eyes I’d felt when I copied Dogboy. The beam shot from my eyes and passed over Brood. 

    “Get off!” I shouted. I threw Brood across the room. He smacked into a wall. Once he recovered, he transformed into a swarm of bats. I swatted at them as they attacked.

    “That is ENOUGH!” a voice echoed. I felt some kind of shockwave hit me. It was strong enough to knock me to the ground. It was also strong enough to knock the bats out of the air and reform back into Brood.

Dogboy (aka Joe Rover)

    Master Mantle stood there with his hands still pressed together. His thunderclap had stopped the fight. The senior member turned to look at me. “Dogboy, get control of your team. If you can’t, we’ll find someone who can.”

    “Yes sir.” I lowered my head and tried not to look at him. The door slammed shut behind the older superhero. I turned to Brood and Jack. This I need. “What exactly is going on here?”

    I could tell Brood was a little winded as he spoke, but he kept it secret. “I found him accessing our files.”

    “What?” I said turning to Jack. Jack looked away.

    “He can copy our powers and now he knows our weaknesses. What more do you need?” Brood’s pale color was actually starting to show some, well, color.

    I glanced at Jack. Then I started looking around. “Where’s CyberCypher? I asked him to stay with you.”

    Realization dawned on Brood and he slowly turned to Jack. “So that’s how you did it. You copied CyberCypher. That was how you could access the files without permission.” 

    Brood stepped closer to Jack as I tapped the comm-link in my sunglasses. “Cy, where are you?”

    “At the library. I’ve been waiting for you for over an hour.”

    “Why…?” I turned to Jack. “Did you tell him that I wanted to see him?”

    Jack blushed, but not from embarrassment. “I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s just…uh…”

    “You have to understand how bad this looks,” I said. “You’re not going to gain many allies by destroying our trust.”

    “Those stupid enough to trust you in the first place,” Brood muttered. I shot him a warning glance.

    “Why did you do it?” I asked Jack. “There’s not too many reasons for a stranger to access files on us.”

    “I wasn’t trying to hurt you. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

    Brood huffed. “Lousy way to prove it, kid.”

    I put my hands on my hips. “Why, Jack?”

    “I-I-I…” He then collapsed.

    “How’s that for timing,” Brood said.

Part 1 Part 2

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First Contact

Part 1

Dogboy (aka Joe Rover)

    While I was thankful for the assist, I could tell not everyone was as grateful.

    “Who is he?” someone asked.

    “Where did he come from?”

    “How did he stop that thing?”

    “Are the Xacians back?”

    Sally helped me up. The burn mark from when the sphere hit me was already healing. My costume was also repairing itself. “You better say something,” she whispered, “before there is a riot.”

    “What do I say?”

    “You’ll think of something.”

    I approached the young man. “Hi.” I could hear Sally’s facepalm from behind me.

Jackson “Jack” Riggs

    “Uh, hi,” I said. Wow, I was meeting Dogboy.

    I started to reach out for his hand, uh, paw, but then I started feeling this pain behind my eyes. They felt like they were on fire. I groaned and shook my head. But suddenly a burst of light erupted from them. The beam of light passed over Dogboy and then vanished. I then got sick. Things were uneven. The world was tilting. Then as sudden as it began, everything was normal. Except for how everyone was looking at me. The crowd had taken a step back and even Dogboy looked frighten for a moment.

    “What?” I said. “What’s wrong?” I looked at my hands and could see that they had transformed into paw-like hands, much like Dogboy’s. I also had fur. I felt panic welling up in me as everyone whispered about how I’d stolen Dogboy’s powers. The fur and claws then retracted and I was back to normal.

    “He’s a mimic,” the woman reporter whispered.

    Dogboy glanced at the crowd. “I think we need to take this conversation to somewhere more private.”

***

    “Welcome to the International League of Super-Transbeings HQ,” Dogboy said. “Or ILOST for short.”

    “Wow,” was all I could say. The place was amazing. There was tech here that people could only dream of. The place was all nice and shiny too like it’d just been cleaned. While it had a very military-like look to it, it also had a homey feel. You could tell this was a place of business, but also a place where members could hang out and relax. “Wow,” I said again just before I bumped into something.

    It was Brood, the team’s reformed vampire. He looked just like his pictures: black duster jacket, black pants and boots with a red trim, black shirt with a red collar, and red gloves.

    He glared at me for a moment and then turned to Dogboy. “You brought him here?”

Dogboy

    I sighed. Brood and I rarely saw eye-to-eye on things. It probably had something to do with that long ago vampires were allies with the Xacians. That pitted them against the Sirians, or werewolves. Even though Brood was beyond the whole blood-drinking thing, there was still some resentment. Blood feuds are hard things to get over in one generation. And his attitude doesn’t help.

    “And where else would I take him?” I asked.

    “PAWS for starters.” PAWS: Paranormal and Weirdness Specialists.

    “Why?”

    “That machine, that he clearly could control, was trying to transform the planet. I’d call that a pretty good reason.”

    “He stopped the machine.”

    “After he probably started it. That’s the problem with you dogs; you’ll be friends with anyone who gives you a belly rub.”

    My claws started to grow. “Do you want to do this right now?”

    His fangs started to grow. “Anytime, Rover.”

    He hissed. I growled.

    A wall then dropped down between us.

    “Is that anyway to welcome a guest?” said a voice.

Jack Riggs

    The woman in the flowing white robe stood with her hand raised as Dogboy, Brood, and I turned. It was Daphne Spelling, the witch. There was something familiar about the woman with the short cut brown hair, beyond the fact that she was a famous superhero. A black cat sat at her feet cleaning its paws.

    “Let us hear what he has to say.”

***

Dogboy

    “That’s quite the story,” I said after Jack finished his tale. He’d told us how he always thought he’d been from Earth but the Sphere had reawaken his memory and his powers. It had also told him that he was the last surviving member of the royal family of Tetrix. 

    “Yes, ‘story’ being the keyword,” said Brood. “Now he’s telling us that there are more like him.” He faced Jack. “How many more?” Jack said he didn’t know. Brood faced me. “What more evidence do you need? They have already tried to terraform the Earth and now there is an army of them, somewhere.”

    “He is quite right.” Agent Zee stepped out of the shadows. “They are the ultimate sleeper cell. No memories of their goals until they are activated. I have also searched the star charts; there is no mention of a planet Tetrix.”

    “Big universe,” I said. “Wait, he just told us what planet he’s from. How did you know?”

    “I have my ways,” Zee said letting his Russian accent slip in even more to add effect. “I had many contacts before Xacians turned me into a zombie.” Agent Zee had volunteered for a project that would supposedly make him a better spy. What happened is the test subjects turned into zombies. Any more than this is classified, according to Zee. And since he’s a zombie, we don’t know his age, but he has accidentally made Cold War references. “We know nothing of this, мальчик [mal’chik].” Even though our interpreter technology allows us to understand each other in our native tongues, some…attitudes/feelings stay the same. The technology interprets what is said in a way that we can understand what is said, even if that is in another language.

    I sighed. “That’s why I brought him here. To find out more about him.”

    “Well, that was stupid,” said Brood.

    “Do you really think he’d try to attack a base full of superheroes?” I asked.

   “Not unless that was his plan.”

Part 1

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The Sphere

Jackson “Jack” Riggs

    People were panicking. The strange sphere came out of nowhere and was now floating over the city. Beams shot from the object and what they hit became cocooned in a strange wood-bone material. Though everyone around me was freaking out, I found it…mesmerizing. It seemed familiar. It felt like when your parents call you home for supper…that home feeling.

    The sea of people rushed around me…but I stepped towards it.

Dogboy (aka Joe Rover)

    I piloted the Dogmobile in a mad rush towards the unknown sphere. Brain, via the dog whistle comm-link in my sunglasses, told me that the strange wood material was terraforming the planet. Woof, the team’s artificial intelligence, confirmed this suspicion.

    “Not the first time some aliens tried to terraform the planet.” I then had to shake my head to resist the flashback of when I fought the Xacians. 

    The Xacians. A evil empire that had ruled most of our galaxy. They had come to Earth eons ago and began messing with, not just human life, but all. They transformed plant, animal, mineral in an ongoing attempt to rule all life. They came to our “backwater” planet because Earth life is surprisingly adaptable. They wanted to make the ultimate invader. Their mistakes became the stuff of legend and story. That’s right, every myth, urban legend, and story is true.

    But they weren’t the only aliens to visit. Many good aliens arrived to help, such as advancing our technology and knowledge of the universe. Many of the great inventors and creators in history were either these friendly aliens, descendants of them, or just friends with them. The world’s governments kept the secret by telling everyone: in the form of stories, movies, comics, video games, and so on. Which is why I’m even allowed to tell you this; you’ll believe it’s fiction. Also, in my time (2027), it doesn’t matter because everyone knows aliens, monsters, and superheroes exist.

    I’m telling you this so you’ll understand when I say that this plays a part in my origins. One such Friends of Earth (or FOEs, horrible name by the way) were the Sirians, from Sirius (the dog star not the radio). These aliens inspired the legend of the werewolf. They came to Earth to stop the Xacians (they’ve been at war with the Xacians for a long time). A couple Sirians fell in love with Earth people and over countless generations genetics mixed to make me–a half human half Sirian…mutt.

    “Joe!” Brain shouted. “Are you daydreaming again?”

    “Nope, just thinking of the exposition I’d need to give the readers for my next story.”

    Though I couldn’t see him, I knew Brain was tapping his desk at the Doghouse in frustration. “Could you please keep your mind in the present.”

    “You try being part dog. Everything is so…fascinating. All. The. Time.”

    “You’re coming up on the sphere now.”

    I parked the Dogmobile and the gull-wing doors opened to let me out. My purple cape blew in the breeze created by the object. I crouched down, focused my telekinesis, and readied to jump. The ground began to break around my black boots as pieces of dirt started to float. I pounced into the air. Using my telekinesis, I could keep myself on track. At least until the sphere hit me right in the Dogboy emblem on my chest (a picture of a dog howling at the moon).

Jack Riggs

    “Dogboy is down,” the woman reporter said. I think her name is Sally Pine, but I didn’t care much. I had to get closer to sphere. I needed to get closer.

    The closer I got, the more I understood it. It was a part of me. I could feel it…awakening something in me. I could feel power in me. 

“Tetrix,” it whispered to me. I saw images of another world. My world. Trees. Animals. A blue sky. It was like Earth but different. There was more of that strange material. I was not from Earth. I’d lived on Earth for 16 years but this Sphere told me I had come to Earth from another world. 

    My world had been invaded by the Xacians. There was no way we could win, so we fled. My parents gave me to the couple I thought had been my parents. Others escaped on ships like ours. They sent a Sphere to a young planet, easily transformable, so that Tetrix could live again.

“Jackson,” said my father, “you will be the only surviving member of the royal family. Lead our people in a new age.”

    Our memories had been wiped so that we could fit in on Earth until it was time. Now the Sphere’s energy was reawakening us. All of us.

    The Sphere seemed to command me to stand down, to let it convert this planet. But I had memories of Earth. I could also see the fear in the Earthlings. Maybe they would survive; our planet was much like Earth. But no, this was wrong.

    I held out my hand. “I am Jackson of the royal family of Tetrix. I command you to stop.”

    The whirling noise and energy beams began to slow. The Sphere was shutting down. 

    The woman reporter went to help Dogboy. A crowd began to form around me. Whispers started.

    “Is he an Xacian?”

    “Another alien invasion.”

    “Where did he come from?”

    “What does he want?”

    “Is that thing dead?”

    The people seemed more afraid now than when the Sphere was on.

To be continued…

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Damsel Not in Distress

I was running for my life.

 I’d been working on a case with the police. A serial killer was on the loose.

 I was getting close. Too close. One final message to police. Sally was in danger.

 When I could I would teleport. It must have looked weird to see someone running down the streets poofing in and out. But I didn’t care, I had to get to Sally’s.

***

 Sally sat down to have some popcorn. She’d just gotten it the way she liked and had a movie ready to stream. She plopped on the couch and took a sip of her soda. She was about to start the movie when the phone rang. She sighed and tapped her Omni-Cuff. “Hello,” she said, but all she got in response was heavy breathing. “Not funny, Danny.” She hung up.

 She turned back to the holographic projection, the title screen still selected. She was about to give the command to start the movie, but the phone rang again. Once again she answered and could only hear the heavy breathing. “I swear if you’re playing a prank…”

 “Having a nice night, Miss Pine?” said a voice that could freeze water. He then began breathing heavily again.

 “Who is this?”

 “You’re…protector is ruining my fun. I had such fun before the police brought him aboard. Superheroes have a way of ruining everyone’s fun. Now, I’m going to have fun with you.”

 Sally hung up. “Omni-Cuff, trace that call.”

 “Tracing,” said the AI voice. “Call came from inside your home.”

 Sally jumped from the couch and went on alert. She rushed for the drawer that held her weapon. It was gone. The phone rang again but this time it was broadcasted throughout the house. “Ah, ah, ah,” said the voice. “Did you really think I wouldn’t find it?” The line then went dead.

 Then the lights.

 When they came back on the serial killer stood a few feet away from Sally. He wore a poncho and hood. He looked like some kind of twisted modern version of the Grim Reaper. She reached for the dog whistle comm-link to contact me. He waved a disapproving finger at her. “We can’t have any of that. I’ve jammed all signals.”

 The man approached her, slowly. He wanted her to feel every moment of panic and helplessness. He had her turn around so that he could smell her hair. He took a long whiff. “Ahhh…” 

 This is when Sally head-butted him. The blow dazed him. She elbowed him and then took out his legs. He fell, hitting his head. Sally put her foot on his chest. “Guys like you have been coming after me ever since I met Dogboy. Did you really think I was helpless?”

 “Kind of,” he wheezed.

 Sally pushed harder with her foot. “Men.”

 I then came through the door. “Sally!” I stopped. “Never mind.”

 “I told you I could take care of myself.” She pushed down again with her foot causing the killer to cry out again.

 “Apparently,” I said.

The End

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Haunted House

Hungry, cold,
Seeking shelter
We entered here.
No harm meant,
Just food and warmth.
Abandoned home.
Dust, layers upon layers.
How were we to know?
Someone watching, lurking.
Red eyes always following.
Cobwebs in the face,
A creepy feeling in this place.
Bats and rats and roaches the size of candy bars.
Aleya shivered.
Ryack gagged at the rotting food left out.
Finally, a fireplace.
Under its warm, heavenly glow,
We dined on food through running low.
We laughed and joked not knowing, not knowing
Something moved behind these walls.
A creature of fright,
Of eternal night,
Hands made of ectoplasm.
Hungry for souls, it waited.
I wished to rest.
Aleya wanted to read.
Ryack left for parts his own,
Pretending stoicism.
One by one we fell to the traps
Placed by our spectral host.
Now we wait,
In dungeon cold,
As the phantom cook
Prepares his meal of old.

The phantasm stopped and stared at me for a moment as I finished my poem. Aleya and Ryack had big smiles across their faces.

The phantom floated over to us. “What was that?” he asked in an echoing voice. “Why do you smile?”

“Because our wizard friend,” Aleya nodded towards me, “just finished his spell.”

Suddenly the room seemed to darken. The shadows began to stretch and drip. They began to form into unknown creatures of a mist-like substance.

“No!” the phantom screamed as the shadows took hold of him. “NO!” he continued to scream as the shadows pulled him into the wall.

The room then brightened and the sudden silence was unsettling. With the spook gone, the dungeon cell opened.

“Let’s go before anyone else shows up,” Aleya said.

“Good plan,” I said.

The End

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The Deep Lonely Woods Pt 3

Part 1 Part 2

The woman and man struggled. She was surprisingly fit. Finally, it looked as if she was outclassed. She scooped up the girl and ran. The axe man followed soon after.

I opened my eyes. The scents were fresher, so I quickened my pace. I ran deeper and deeper into the woods; trying to avoid roots, branches, and anything else that might slow me down. The little girl’s scent got stronger with each passing step. I was getting closer.

I then slowed. The girl was here. As was the axe murderer. I scanned the area looking for any kind of clue. All I could see were trees and darkness. I then heard a scrapping noise: metal being dragged across a dirt ground. The sound began to circle me. I could smell sweat and the fear fo the girl and babysitter. I then could hear a heartbeat. I ducked and rolled just as the axe flew by and hit a tree.

“Get off my land!” a voice said. It sounded suspiciously like Old Man Williams though that might have just been my imagination. “Every year you punks tramp through my home! No more!” The axe hit another tree as I dove clear. He raised his axe once more. “Is it that hard to throw things in a trash can!”

He swung, but this time I caught the axe’s handle. We struggled over it. I finally managed to head butt him. He stumbled back. I blew a blast of nasty dog breath his way. He coughed and choked.

“Run!” I said to the babysitter and girl.

The babysitter grabbed the girl by the hand and ran with her. I followed. We weren’t far before I heard the yell of the axe murderer followed by him slashing at everything in his path.

He was getting closer.

“Go!” I summoned in another Frizz disc for them to follow. “I’ll hold him off!”

The two vanished into the woods. I stood with my back to the attacker. He slowed when he saw me standing there. Not yet, I thought. I could feel him sneaking up on me. I thought back to those times with Old Man Williams, and that last night.

He was coming up behind me. I knew the rumors. They said he chopped up kids and fed them to his beast hound. They said he dabbled in the Dark Arts. They said he killed his wife and children.

Not yet, I would think. Danny remembers it as a fun and harmless prank, but what it was…was a challenge. The bullies just wanted yet another thing to tease me about. They knew they could out last pathetic Joe Rover. I had to show them I was the Alpha.

Every year, even though I won, I chickened out and was mocked for it. Not this year.

The man with the axe crept closer and closer just as Old Man Williams did. Each footfall as loud as a jet engine. My heart pounding because I feared I’d be the hound’s next meal or victim to whatever terror Old Man Williams could cook up.

I felt the shift in the air as he raised his axe. Not yet.

Old Man Williams was right on top of me. I could feel his rotting breath on my neck. I’d be a goner if I didn’t move, but I had to prove myself to the bullies…and to myself.

I then smelled something coming from Old Man Williams I didn’t expect. Not anger or evil…but sadness and loneliness…and a hint of pumpkin cookies. I slowly turned to face him.

“You aren’t running?” he asked.

“No.”

“Everyone runs.” He looked down at the ground. “I know the stories kids tell. But I’m not some vampire.”

“I know,” I said.

The axe man breathed heavily as he prepared to swing. I let out a breath. It was now or never. In one quick move, I turned and slashed the axe with my claws. The blade fell harmlessly to the ground. The man was in shock for a moment.

“Let’s go,” I said holding out my hand. Like with Old Man Williams, my fear had conjured the rotting smell, but I finally understood. He had the same smell of sadness and loneliness Williams had.

“I just wanted kids to stop messing up my home,” he said.

“I know.”

***

It wasn’t long and the police had the babysitter and the axe man in custody. The parents of the 8-year-old as well as the parents of the lost teenager arrived and embraced their respective children.

I gave Sally a quick wave as she and her cameraman sat up to report the story.

“Now what are you going to do?” Brain asked.

“I think I’ll visit an old friend and have some pumpkin cookies.”

The End

Part 1 Part 2

The Deep Lonely Woods Pt 2

Part 1 Part 3

“Help me,” a voice said.

The sudden sound made me jump. I saw a blurry object move. My human half was able to process the shape and size of the object as human. My sense of smell told me it was the same person who left the candy wrappers.

I put my sunglasses back on and approached.

“Dogboy, thank heavens,” he said. He was wounded.

“What happened?” I knelt down and put my paw-like hands a few inches over his wound. Golden liquid energy flowed into him as he told me what happened.

He and some classmates came here to do the traditional Halloween dare. These classmates had invited him, but it turned out to be a setup. Once he got some distance away, they ditched him. He got lost trying to find his way back.

“I then saw him.” The teen groaned softly as his wound began to close. “Some freak with an axe. At first, I thought it was the guys playing a prank on me; you know, something like out of those old stories kids would tell each other.”

“Urban legends.”

“Yeah, those.” He groaned again. “But I knew that wasn’t it when he swung that axe at me. I ran. I thought I’d gotten away; he just came out of nowhere. He left me for dead when he heard some kind of noise.”

The 3D fabricator in my belt printed out a flat throwing disc. I activated the drone and it took to the air. “Follow the Frizz disc,” I said. “It’ll take you back to the clearing. The police should be arriving soon.” He voiced his thanks and followed the flying disc into the dense woods. I tapped my sunglasses. “Did you get that?”

“Very odd,” said Brain. “The Amber Alert said that the girl’s female baby sitter kidnapped her.”

“She could have an accomplice or our teen friend was mistaken.”

“Just be careful, Joe. It is easy to get lost in those woods. Even for you.”

“Not to mention there’s an axe murderer on the loose,” Danny added.

I sighed. “It just wouldn’t be Halloween without an axe murderer running around.”

I continued into the forest and soon the scent lead me to a cabin with a light. Bingo. I sent another Frizz disc to investigated.

“No signs of life,” Woof reported.

Once I entered, I saw that while there were no signs of life, there had been a struggle. Judging by the light and the scattered food, whoever had been here was taken by surprise. I closed my eyes and let my senses piece together what happened.

The girl and a woman, about 18, were sitting down to eat. Man, that hamburger smelled good.

Focus, Joe.

A crash made them turn towards the door. Someone entered. I could smell the metal and wood of the axe. The person smelled of the woods as if he’d been in the forest a long time. But there was something else…a foul, diseased smell…like something wasn’t quite right upstairs.

The woman and man struggled. She was surprisingly fit. Finally, it looked as if she was outclassed. She scooped up the girl and ran. The axe man followed soon after.

I opened my eyes. The scents were fresher, so I quickened my pace. I ran deeper and deeper into the woods; trying to avoid roots, branches, and anything else that might slow me down. The little girl’s scent got stronger with each passing step. I was getting closer.

Part 1 Part 3

The Deep Lonely Woods Pt 1

Part 2 Part 3

The wheels of the Dogmobile folded back down as I turned off the engine that allowed the car to hover.

“The license number is a match for the one in the Amber Alert,” Woof, the AI, reported from the dashboard.

The gull-wing doors opened and I stepped onto the unpaved but level ground. I took care to not close the door on my purple cape…again. Or to shut my tail in the door. My black boots made a crunching sound as I walked across the gravel. The cool October air made me thankful that I had fur all over my body.

I checked the suspect’s vehicle. No one was there except for a small doll that belonged to the abducted 8-year-old. I sniffed the doll a couple times to get her scent then turned to the path that lead into Evergreen Woods.

The woods were overrun and in disarray. Not many people visit the woods since they can just take a virtual reality tour of any forest in the Internet database, so the place hasn’t been maintained in a long time. It also didn’t help that rumors claimed the anti-technology terrorist group known as the Unplugs had a base here.

It took about 15 steps for me to leave the beaten path.

I spotted some candy wrappers near the entrance. My post-cognitive sense of smell and hearing told me it came from some teenagers. They’d come here to dare each other to see who could go the furthest into the woods. I sighed and used my telekinesis to float the trash into a nearby can.

“Remember when we were younger and we would dare each other to see who could stand the longest with his back to Old Man Williams’ house?” Danny said over the dog whistle comm-link. “You always won. Because you cheated.”

Granted I’ve had my powers my whole life, but it wasn’t until the accident that they reached their full potential. I could bend a spoon and that was about it…but I did use my psychic sense of smell to warn me when Old Man Williams was coming and chicken out, except for one year.

I slipped off my sunglasses and pocketed them. Now I had dog vision. I could see at night, though not as good as a cat. The downside was that everything was blurry and in shades of gray with very little color. Everything kind of blurred together unless the wind or something moved a leaf or some dirt.

The silence was creepy. I was thankful to have Brain and Danny there; even though they were miles away at the Doghouse.

“Help me,” a voice said.

Part 2 Part 3

Attack of the Killer Washing Machines

Attack of the Killer Washing Machines (Side Quests, #1)

“Police Commissioner White has confirmed that the recent cyber-attacks were caused by the radical group known as the Unplugs.” Sally’s holographic image buzzed and blinked in and out. “Police have no leads on their whereabouts at the moment.” The holographic image suddenly changed to a band playing rock music.

The young college student scoffed. “Who cares about Unplugs?” he said dumping a load of laundry into the machine. He began dancing to the music as he measured out the detergent. “Na, na-na-naa!” he sang along. He dumped the detergent in and stepped back. “This would be so much easier if I could just have new clothes printed every week like Justin. Thinks he’s so grand because his father owns a 3D printing shop.”

The washing machine clicked and whirled as the student began to do some air guitar riffs. Suddenly the holographic band vanished. Sally’s image returned. “The Unplugs…” she said.

The student turned. “Wha?” He tilted his head.

“The Unplugs—zzt—Unplugs,” said Sally. “The Unplugs are—zzt—terrorists. They—zzt—care for no one,” the voice was turning deeper and darker. “They first appeared—zzt—in 2017 claiming technology was evil—zzt—They are the reason for the protective domes over the cities. They wish—zzt—towipeout—zzt—all those who use technology. In 2018—zzt—they unleashed the nuclear missiles—zzt—If not for the domes—zzt—we would be—zzt—fried.” The word “fried” was so slow it took almost three seconds to say it.

The student started towards the glitching holograph. He slowly began to reach towards the image.

“The-the-the Un-p-p-plugs live outside of the cities in the-the-the waste-waste-waste…lands,” the holograph said. “They pretend to be-be-be pa-pa-pa-passive, but they are behind the attacks.”

The student was close to touching the holographic image of Sally’s cheek. The image then abruptly changed to a demon. The student went backwards as the demon roared and unfurled his bat-like wings. It pointed at the student. In a booming, demonic voice proclaimed, “You! You have been found guilty of aiding in the decline of mankind, Justin Willes!”

“No, dude!” said the student shaking. “That’s my roommate! I just swiped…borrowed his Omni-Cuff.” The student slipped the small clip from his ear and held it out to the demon like some offering. “See? It’s not mine. Justin gets all the best stuff while I barely make it on scholarships!”

“You have been judged, Justin Willes, and found wanting,” said the demon.

“No no no no, I’m not Justin!”

The demon then was sucked back into the Omni-Cuff as if it were a vacuum cleaner. The sudden quiet was deafening. The student glanced around whimpering. He then let out a relieved breath.

Then clank, clank, thud, thud, clank. The student slowly turned to the washing machine. It was hopping. Foam suddenly erupted; followed by a mountain of clothes. The student was pelted by socks and jeans. The machine continued to jump about. The student began to crab-crawl his way towards the door. The machine suddenly rocketed across the room and landed in front of the door. Mechanical arms suddenly protruded from the machine’s sides.

“Since when did they have those?!” the student said. “And where were they when I was loading the clothes!”

CRASH!

The student and washing machine turned towards the sound. They saw me standing there. I had come through the window (the door had been blocked—besides this looked cooler). My purple cloak settled behind me as I stood.

“Dogboy!” said the student. “Thank heavens!”

“Dogboy,” the washing machine seemed to gurgle in an angry voice.

I tapped the dog whistle comm-link in my sunglasses. “You were right, Brain, killer washing machine.”

“Told you hacking into the city’s cameras would be useful,” Brain’s voice came through the system. “The AI was able to pick up what was happening and determine that you would be needed.”

I charged at the demented machine. I rolled from its swipe and slashed the body with my dog claws. The machine grumbled and tipped back and forth; steam began to come from its chamber. It spewed hot water on me. The water singed my fur a little, but I was OK.

The machine brought down its arms to hit me over the head. I caught them and using my telekinesis began to push back against them. It was stronger than I thought and I was losing ground. With the last bit of strength I had, I moved into position and bit off a mechanical arm.

Now the machine was really ticked. It tried to backhand me. I took a step back and teleported away. I landed near the student.

“That thing is crazy!” cried the student. “It thinks I’m my roommate!”

The remaining arm then became a buzzing saw blade.

“Really?” I said. “Is this where our college tuition goes?”

The student scampered away as the blade came at me. I rolled away. It jabbed at me and I jumped clear.

“You know, Brain, we never covered fighting a washing machine in training.” I then jumped as the blade tried to slice my legs. It nearly got my tail.

“That was why we had those improvising lessons.”

“Oh! Is that what you want me to do?” I called for my leash grapple. The tech in my belt 3D printed something that looked like a retractable dog leash device. I fired the leash at the machine’s arm, hooked it, and detached the leash from my end. I tied my end to a table which kept the arm still. I charged at the machine and leapt. I used my telekinesis to make my parkour flips and landings a little more graceful as I made my way over the machine and land near the wall. I then unplugged the washing machine. The whirling and buzzing got slower and slower until it finally shut down.

I turned to the door. “Here comes the police.”

“Retrieve a sample of the code that infected the machine,” said Brain.

I tapped the sunglasses again. A beam of light projected from them and scanned the washing machine. “It wouldn’t hurt you to say ‘please’ now and then.”

The scan finished as the police vehicles arrived. The student was blathering in a panic about what happened. I slipped back out the window and headed for the nearest tree.

I covered my dog head with the hood of my purple cape and closed my eyes to focus on the image of my human form. My skin began to tingle as the energy passed through me. My purple cape began to shorten and meld with my purple vest. The vest became a blue jacket. My blue jeans shortened to become cargo shorts. My dog feet began to shorten and transform back into human feet. The claws became nails and the fur retreated and became human hair. The toes of the black boots sealed themselves, from when my dog feet had broken through, and shifted into red and white tennis shoes.

The claws on my hands became nails and my fur became hair. The dog paw pads on my hands became human palms. My tail shrank back into my body and I began to lose some height. My emblem faded from the chest of my off-white T-shirt; the T-shirt then changed to a light blue shirt.

My ears became less floppy and my teeth less sharp, but my teeth did retain some sharpness and my ears, though human looking, did have some point to them. I also had a little bit more hair than a normal person. My nose and muzzle changed into a human mouth and nose. The black sunglasses became normal glasses. Finally, my golden retriever fur became blond hair.

I opened my eyes and lowered the now blue hood.

I started walking towards my car as others headed towards the college laundry mat. Brain came in over the dog whistle comm-link. “I have received the sample and will begin analysis.”

“Sounds good to me.” My voice now wasn’t as gruff and dog-like. “You know, for a group that hates technology so much, they sure use it a lot.” I opened the door to my car. I could see the student still waving his arms up and down and jumping around as police officers set up crime tape and began their investigation. “The Unplug are getting bolder,” I sighed.

Copyright © 2016 by Joe Rover

All rights reserved. No part of this story/post may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission of the author/publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews. Author can be contacted on Twitter @JoeRover2.

All characters, organizations, and locations in this story/post have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation to anyone bearing the same name or names. Any resemblance to individuals known or unknown to the author are purely coincidental.