S2:E4 This is a Fundraiser!

The older couple left the theater at about nine at night. It was raining, so they decided to take a shortcut through the dark alleyway. The sounds of their feet splashing through the puddles echoed off the old brick walls. The man’s gold watch caught the sparse light. The woman nervously played with her pearl necklace.

The couple stopped short when they saw the dark figure at the other end of the alleyway. The figure carried an object in the shape of a baseball bat. The couple gasped. The shape stepped more into the little light the alleyway provided. It was a teenage boy dressed in a Century High School baseball uniform and cap. He tapped the bat against the palm of his left hand like a thug threatening a victim; a moment later, he stopped to address the couple.

“Good evening, folks,” he said with a smile in his voice, “my name is Jeffery Marks. Recently, the Century High School’s athletic budget was cut. The student body decided on a crime spree fundraiser. I’m going alley to alley robbing people to help provide for new sports equipment such as basketballs and weight-lifting equipment. I would appreciate it if you’d empty your pockets of any money and other valuables.”

“No problem,” said the man. “Anything to help in the education of our youth.” The man removed $50 from his wallet and handed over his watch. The woman handed over her pearl necklace and diamond ring.

“Thank you, Sir…Madam,” said the teen with a polite nod to the woman. “We appreciate your support. This will go a long way to supporting programs that keep us off the streets and out of the gangs.” He started to turn to leave then stopped. “Oh! Do you need a receipt for your taxes?”

“No; we’re good,” said the man.

He tipped his cap. “Good evening, Ma’am…Sir.” He turned then left the alley.

“What a nice, young man,” said the woman. “So well-mannered and taking the time to help his school.”

The man nodded. “And they say the kids of today aren’t civic minded.”

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.


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S2:E3 Tales We Won’t Tell at Night

Good reader specific time frame, all you spooks and specters of the Internet. My name is the Bonekeeper. I unearth all the tales that should remain rotting within the hallow walls of the Storybook Graveyard. Today, I’ve dug up a delightfully delicious treat just for you. Sit back, turn off the lights, and gnaw on this bone of a tale.

Suzie, cheerleading captain and favorite for homecoming queen, walked home late one night after a victorious basketball game. The winds whispered and the fall leaves danced. Suzie smiled to herself knowing that tomorrow the victory would be coupled with her favorite day of the school year: picture day.

She abruptly stopped. A leftover instinct from primeval times gripped at her gut like bad sushi. She was being watched.

“Whoever this is,” she said in a voice trying to be strong, “this isn’t funny. Trying to scare someone is so 1980s horror film.”

She paused and listened. The only sound was the beating of her own heart.

There was no sound, no movement, yet she felt the Presence moving closer to her.

Closer and closer.

Fear wrapped around her like a hungry snake. She felt as stiff as a corpse as the Presence grew closer. She wanted to run, to scream, but the horror held her still.

The Presence loomed over her with the Chill of Death. She did not want to turn and face the terror, but she turned nonetheless. It was as if the Presence commanded her movements. She felt void of will. The Presence demanded attention, and she could do nothing but oblige.

The form of her stalker focused in from the eternal night. It was a humanoid figure with a giant mirror for a head.

Suzie screamed, a sound that some say still haunts the town to this day. For in the mirror, Suzie saw…she had a pimple.

Well frightful fiends of the digital age, that concludes today’s bone-chilling tale. Join me next time for another stroll through the Storybook Graveyard; we’ll see what other undying tales we can dig up. But be warned, brave reader, some tales are best left untold.

Aah-hahahahahaha!!

S2E2: Mission Log: While the Cat’s Away

Shortly after the Doomsday Clock event, Blue Light Technologies took an unexpected vacation. They ordered everyone to take time off; they even closed the Tower.

The vacation started out great until the giant vines and pods started showing up. Apparently, with no one to maintain/control the Creation Orb it went “natural.” It started doing what it was “programed” to do: create worlds. Wild phantasmic energy started to spread creating “magical black forests” across the Omniverse.

Fortunately, it was all part of BLT’s plan. With “magic” running amok, they needed people to take care of it. Enter the woodcutters. They could prune back the magic and get it under control again. This outbreak of magic created a wave of new jobs for people. With the new jobs came a better economy. The outbreak also brought an unprecedented uptick in stories and new characters. Hundreds of people across the Omniverse were called to action as new protagonists and antagonists. This new age also further refueled the Orb creating a time of peace.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!

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S2E1: Mission Log: Doomsday Clock

Recently, I discovered that my family is related to the Boy Who Cried Wolf. You know the story: kid decides to play a prank by crying “wolf;” people get tired of the prank; they don’t believe him when the real wolf shows up. However, this wolf ended up transferring the werewolf curse to my family.

Once I learned about this bit of family history, my friends and I traveled back in time and stopped the curse, which also erased my powers. Or so I thought.

A dragon creature, made of phantasmic aura-energy, soon attacked us. It’d been the one to set up the family curse breadcrumbs so that I would be weak. This dragon creature was Simon Darkk and Stagori, two villains I’d fought and destroyed. Somehow, they’d come back and combined their power to become a powerful mega-beast. They figured they could weaken me and get their revenge.

Turned out I wasn’t as weak as they thought. I was able to turn into a giant-wolf-aura-thing and destroy the dragon, by going for the jugular.

Once the dragon was defeated, more past events started to come forward. It turned out the reason I was able to do the wolf-thing was because I was the Big Bad Wolf, aka Jack Wolf, aka Fenrir.

Many believed that I would one day swallow the Sun and bring about the end of the world. It seemed highly unlikely to me but then they told me I was doing it right at that moment. My body was slowly absorbing/eating every bit of energy in the area. I was swallowing up every energy from electrical to phantasmic to solar. I still wasn’t sure about this “you’re a villain thing.”

As I investigated further, I learned that when I was Number Four I came up with the idea to ZAP into other people. The other travelers and I had only seen the Catastrophe from our point of view. We needed to know the experiences of others. The only way to do that was for me to become other people. I discovered I’d been reborn as many other people, but I also found out I’d been doing it longer than just Number Four.

Turned out I was a Muse known as Hardcode. I got tired of being a Muse/artificial intelligence and became human, only I ended up becoming Jack Wolf. I then was reborn as other people, such as Joshua and even Red Rocket’s brother, Jake.

Along with the reincarnation bombshell, I learned that all of existence was a recording. It was a cycle of stories told over and over. It turned out that humanity was wiped out long ago; the only thing that remained of them were these stories on repeat. Also, the battery keeping the cycle going was about to run out. Once it ran out, there would be no evidence that humanity ever existed.

Thankfully, we were able to stop this Doomsday Clock. We recharged the battery thanks to rejuvenating people’s interest in stories. There’s been a lot of problems lately. Inflation, war, and creators writing stories to fit trends. Creators started controlling the story instead of just “reporting” it. This made the characters mad, and they started rebelling which created fewer interesting stories. With stories becoming more repetitive, fans started losing interest, which started the battery (aka the Creation Orb) to lose power.

We managed to restart people’s faith in storytelling, and the Orb atop Blue Light Technologies Tower started humming again.

I didn’t get a chance to process that adventure before learning BLT had planned all of this. They knew to restart the fanbase, we needed a big “end of the world” type story. They manipulated facts and evidence into encouraging us into believing I was Fenrir. They also set things up to make me believe I’d been all those other people. They did this to create the exciting and “original” idea that would restart the Orb. The story that humanity had been wiped out and everything was just a recording was a story. However, it was true that the Creation Orb was failing. They created the Doomsday Clock event to create hype.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!

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The Admin of I/O (Wizard of Oz Parody)

Here we go again, folks, another parody. This time it’s The Wizard of Oz.

After clicking on a bad link, Dot and her virtual companion, Pixels, woke in a strange land filled with strange people.

“Pixels, I don’t think we’re on our LAN anymore,” Dot said upon seeing the Binaries, a race of people where some were over 6-feet tall and some were about 4-feet tall.

The Binaries were eternally grateful to Dot for killing the evil Lord of Memes, even if it was by accident. Upon her arrival, she’d smushed the man, ironically, by dropping a TrentTroll meme video on him. When Dot looked at the body, it derezzed into a pile of pixel blocks leaving only his UltraCorp haptic gear. To thank Dot, the Binaries gave Dot the haptic suit. After putting on the gloves, vest, and goggles, a bright light appeared among the group. It belonged to Jessie the Good Coder. Years ago Jessie left UltraCorp in order to become an independent program designer.

Jessie told Dot that if she wanted to return home she would have to speak with the Awesome Admin of I/O. “All you have to do is follow the blue secure hyperlink,” Jessie said pointing to the blue, paved road.

After a brief song that we can’t go into here because of copyright reasons, Dot thanked the coder and the Binaries and began her journey. Along the way, she met the Influencer. He believed that if he could only understand the algorithm his content could go viral. Dot suggested that he come with her to meet the Admin.

Soon Dot and her friends arrived in the Glitch Forest, home of all the bugs and glitches found in cyberspace. Some of the glitch trees attacked Dot, Pixels, and the Influencer. Thankfully, they were rescued by Bot-X1, a bot once used by UltraCorp to promote product and make the company seem more popular than they really were. Bot-X1 was shelved after people continually outed him as a bot. Bot-X1 believed if he could only get an emotion core he could appear more human-like. Once again Dot, suggested joining her, Pixels, and the Influencer on their journey to meet the Admin.

Unfortunately, this is when the Crooked Coder for Corporations appeared. She would stop at nothing to get the haptic gear that once belonged to the Lord of Memes. With the much more advanced system, her coding powers would be unstoppable. Fortunately, our heroes managed to escape, but they soon found themselves in the Dark Web Forest.

“We must be careful,” warned the Influencer. “The Dark Web is filled with scammers and hackers.”

“And trolls,” Bot-X1 added.

“Scammers and hackers and trolls, oh my,” said Dot.

As the friends ventured more into the forest, the darker it got. They then heard a noise. Someone was following them. A figure jumped out in front of them. It was the Honest Insurance Salesman. He’d been trying for years to get his business off the ground; but for some odd reason, people found him untrustworthy.

“If only I had a verification certificate then people would know I’m not a scammer,” said the Salesman.

Dot, the Influencer, and Bot-X1 were a little skeptical about letting an insurance salesman join them–especially one found in the Dark Web; but after he preformed a heartfelt song, Dot decided that he should be given a chance; she invited him to join their quest to meet the Admin.

Finally, the heroes exited the forest and found themselves only a few miles from Cloud Storage City. Their arrival, however, didn’t go unnoticed. The Crooked Coder, using her malware spy program, watched as the heroes approached the city. She knew if she didn’t do something soon, they would be out of reach. She reached out and infected the fields around the city with pop-up ads. The pop-up ads slowed the progress of the heroes as they fought the onslaught of annoying ads. Luckily, Jessie was also watching the progress of the heroes and sent a pop-up blocker.

With the pop-ups gone, the heroes entered the city where they finally met the Admin. The mystical floating head told them he could only return them once they brought him the CPU of the Crooked Coder. The heroes were not happy about this news but continued on their quest.

Not long after leaving the city, the Crooked Coder sent her viruses to capture the heroes. They were brought before the Crooked Coder. When Dot refused to give her the haptic gear, she threatened to hack into the Influencer’s account and post scandalous videos that would get the Influencer “canceled.”

“Don’t do it!” cried her three friends.

“She’ll be too powerful!” said the Influencer.

“Quiet you!” said the Coder. She then infected the Influencer. He started to fade away.

Seeing the only thing nearby was a bucket of comments, Dot threw it towards the Influencer. She’d hope that the comments would strengthen him. She believed that the comments were friendly ones, full of well-wishes and praise, but they were in fact the comments that sprang from haters. Thankfully, Dot missed and got the Crooked Coder instead. She was doused in hate comments.

“NO!” cried the Coder. “What a realm! What a realm that my malicious acts be undone by those more negative than me!” The Coder collapsed into a series of pixels.

Dot and friends returned to Cloud Storage City with the CPU. Unfortunately, the Crooked Coder’s CPU was incompatible with the Admin’s system and therefore useless. It looked like all hope was lost. They would never get what they wanted. But Dot gave an inspirational speech to her friends telling them how valued they were not for the number of followers they had but for who they were. She told them they were true and honest friends. It then got better as the Admin informed the Influencer that he could give him the secrets of the algorithm. He also could give Bot-X1 emotion programing. Finally, the Salesman got his verification. But, he could not return Dot to her home.

At this point, Pixels turned on the Admin’s facecam and revealed that he was really a human with a light pink shirt, acid-wash jeans, and a mullet. Turned out he was a programmer from the 1980s. He got stuck here after some bad coding.

With things looking really bleak, Jessie the Good Coder returned. She informed Dot that she could have left anytime. She just needed to log out of the haptic system.

“Why didn’t you say that in the first place?” said Dot.

“If I had done that then you wouldn’t have this story to post to social media.”

“It’s kinda long for Birdsong,” said Dot.

“Then put it on a blog,” Jessie said in an annoyed “duh” voice. She cleared her throat and became sweet again. “You just need to say the password: there’s no place like homepage.”

“Will I ever see you again?” asked Dot.

“Sure. If you remember to follow us and leave a review on YIP.”

“Wait a minute. Was all of this a simulation?”

“No time for that now. Say the password.”

“There’s no place like homepage,” said Dot. “There’s no place like homepage.”

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!

Grazer: A Ghostbusters Parody

The things I do to avoid editingThe following is a parody of the first Ghostbusters movie.

When there’s something bland in the neighborhood, who’re gonna call?

Food Fighters!

***

EXT: Apartment roof, Night

A giant tomato, Grazer, growls at the team of Food Fighters. 

Grilled Cheese Warrior: I thought Grazer was a giant broccoli!

Rocket Ravioli: It can be whatever it wants.

Grilled Cheese Warrior: What do we do?

Captain Heartburn: I have an idea. Go get it, PP.

Pasta Patroller gulps then approaches the sentient tomato.

Pasta Patroller: As a representative of the Newton School for Culinary Arts, I demand you halt this invasion and return to your dimension of origin.

Grazer: Are you a chef?

Pasta Patroller: No.

Grazer: Then BROIL!

The team is hit by high-energy beams and knocked back.

***

Grazer: Choose the form of the Destructor.

Pasta Patroller: We don’t understand.

Captain Heartburn: I get it. Whatever we think of, it’ll appear and destroy us. If we think of Gordon Ramsay then Gordon Ramsay will appear and destroy us.

The team takes a moment to shake off that nightmarish thought.

Captain Heartburn: Empty your minds.

Grazer: The choice has been made.

Captain Heartburn: We didn’t choose anything. I didn’t choose anything. (He addresses the rest of the team) Did you choose anything?

The team turns to the guilty-looking Pasta Patroller. 

Captain Heartburn: PP, what did you do?

Pasta Patroller: I didn’t mean to. It just popped in there. I tried to pick something that would never hurt us.

Off screen: A loud roar reverberates.

Pasta Patroller: It’s the mascot for Lovely’s Chicken Farm. It’s Sam N. Ella.

(Captain Heartburn smacks Pasta Patroller on the back of the head): You thought something called salmonella would be safe?

Pasta Patroller: Ohhh! I see it now. Yeah.

***

Rocket Ravioli: We only have one option to stop Grazer. We have to cross contaminate.

Captain Heartburn: But, Rocket, you said cross contamination is a bad thing.

Pasta Patroller: Cross contamination? Of course! A full spoilage reversal!

The team sets their microwave blasters to 425 degrees and fires at the killer tomato. They slowly move the beams closer together until they touch. The beams cause Grazer and the mega-giant chicken farm mascot to explode spraying the team with bits of food.

Rocket Ravioli: Is everyone OK?

(Captain Heartburn wiping off the tomato innards the best he can): I’ve been juiced.

END.

Don’t forget to like, follow, and comment!

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!

Pretend Comic-Con Post But With Real Writing Updates

Since Comic-Con is happening and all these creative people are showcasing upcoming events, I figured I’d give you a preview/update of events. Many of these stories are still in the brainstorming stage so they may or may not actually bear fruit.

I am still working on The Capstone Saga where the capstone from the Great Pyramid returns to destroy the world. A few of the episodes have been published on Amazon.

I’m also working on a story series based on the #vss365 prompts on Twitter. The story is about Blue Light Technologies (BLT) ordering everyone to take a vacation thus leaving the Creation Orb unattended. With the Orb unattended, it produces “wild magic.” I’m working on a way to compile the posts into a story. You should be able to search for it through #TheCatsAway and #DogboyChronicles. The first post should be here.

Other potential stories include:

Wolfborne: While on a mission, the hero is captured and brainwashed into believing he is part of a cult.

The Doomsday Clock: Time is running out for the world. Midnight has struck.

The Supers vs. The Machines: Rouge Muses decide to create a Metaverse by turning creatives and characters into machines.

Until the next wormhole…have a fun Comic-Con (however you’re celebrating) and thanks for reading!

Kitty on the Prowl

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said the host of the Back Alley Club, “Miss Sasha La Purr!”

The cats clapped their paws; the dogs howled; and the birds whistled while the host left the stage. A spotlight appeared at stage left. A leg with white fur and long-heeled shoes peeked out from the exit/entrance. The crowd hollered louder. Miss La Purr, a white cat with some black stripes along the face, slowly entered the stage. She walked slowly to the microphone letting each new howl and whistle wash over her. She gripped the microphone. Finally, the crowd faded into silence. She nodded softly to the band of mice. The saxophone player began with a soft, slow tune. Soon the others joined in creating a playfully romantic song.

“You think I’m cute. But, honey, I’ve got claws and teeth to boot.

Don’t be fooled when I’m on the prowl…boys.

A sway of my hips, and a bat of my eyes, 

my attacks are neigh when the moon is high.

Perfume in the air beckons you to come near. Ruby red lips that hold your gaze.

You’ll never see it coming when I’m on the prowl.

Your soul I’ll steal with a ‘purr’ and a “hmm.’

A tail around your throat, and a gentle squeeze.

When I’m on the prowl, I always win.

Slashes and yowls are fine for some, but 

there are other ways to skin a cat.”

The audience whistled as Miss La Purr slinked off the stage; she winked at a patron sitting by himself.


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Cold Debt

Normally the ancient demigod, the Sandman, doesn’t interfere with crimes, but the cold case from 19ZX has left Detective Swayz and the victims’ family with 30 years of sleepless nights. While the family and detective pace wearily, the murderer, Sizzle Stacks, rests peacefully in a warm bed. Stacks’s, with no remorse for the murder of the high school cheerleader and her boyfriend, dreams of happy days and famous nights where he is adored. 

“Stacks has taken sleep from his victims,” said the Sandman. “The sleepless family does not dream; and without dreams, the multiverse starves. His debt must be paid.”

In a flash of sand and light, the balance of sleep was restored. Now, Swayz and the family rest peacefully while Stacks spends 30 years in the Nightmare Realm.


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Hot Snippet from “Game File Not Found”

Shadow Spark Publishing requested a “hot” snippet. So here’s one from Game File Not Found, which I just finished the first round of editing.

Once she was completely gone, I spotted a person in a cloak standing by the wall. The figure held an ion rocket. The mystery player unequipped the rocket launcher then produced a detonator. They pressed the button.

BOOM!!

Explosives lit up the base. Fires reached high into the sky. The chaos blocked my view of the stranger for a moment. Once it was clear, the player was gone.

“Let’s get out of here!” Alyx shouted over the sounds of explosions, roaring fires, and screaming skins as they derezzed.

“Seconded!” said Scott.

We ran for the exit as more bombs went off. Custom skins, once painstakingly created by Chi-Star, rocketed into the air thanks to the shockwaves derezzed while thrashing their arms. Some skins didn’t try to escape. They welcomed their fate.

More explosions rocked the ground. The ground cracked and code sprang from the virtual earth like geysers. We made it out of the base, but we were thrown from the fire into the sulfur pits of the Underworld. The mystery player planted bombs across the map. The whole game was on fire! Mushroom clouds of fire and brimstone spewed everywhere.

BOOM!!

We should have kept moving—though there was nowhere to run. We were swept up in an explosion. The world tumbled for a moment, and I could see the lights from the fires. It was beautiful, like looking out over the city at night watching the lights come on. Calming heat hugged my skin before my brain finally realized the danger it was in. Gravity returned. The heat grew as did the sounds of explosions.

Then everything went white from one final explosion.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!


Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure. What More Could You Want?

The name is Joe Rover. Gamer. Writer. Superhero. With the help of my friends, I protect Megaton City from all sorts of villains whose only desire is chaos & destruction.