Childhood Fears

childhood_fears

This was made in Procreate with Apple Pencil. I also put on a silicone grip because the stylus is slick. I gave myself 30 minutes to make something in Procreate and it turned into an hour’s work. The concept is “fear of the unknown” combined with fears everyone has since they were young.

Toothbrush, interlude

The old toothbrush sat on his throne and contemplated what to do. He sat in his lofty castle with its dark halls and brooded over the sounds his troops made.

Screams of terror could be heard from far away. Looming footsteps shook the ground; followed by a sound not of this earth. Steal bent back in loud complaint.

“The east towers have fallen, sire,” said the aid.

“Form ranks,” said the toothbrush, “Let every man who can fight prove himself.”

Messengers were sent to relay the last orders of the old toothbrush. He chose to go out fighting. The three months that had been declared the law of the land for each toothbrush to reign, and then give up the throne, had gone. It was now the sixth month and a new toothbrush had yet to show. 

“Send the order for every man for himself,” said the old toothbrush, “We will not let our kingdom go into decay.”

They were empty words. The old toothbrush knew his abilities were lax. Were it not for floss and mouthwash the kingdom would be lost. There had to be hope. The dental appointment would arrive soon and with it a new toothbrush. 

–From the book of short stories, “I Am Lettuce, Who Are You?”

Excerpt from the short story, “When Medieval Fantasy Meets Modern Dentistry” by Hudson Jamison Toaster-Tabby, submitted June, 1983. Arthur T. Pearl-Lion Publishers, inc, Topeka, KS.

Flammable Darkness, Interlude

 

Sparks. Find something that makes more sparks. The black slime creature had evaded the sparks sent out by the broken portal generator.  June ran to her kitchen with a crazy idea.

In the kitchen June kept a brown paper bag full of sparklers. They were leftover from last year’s July 4th.  She grabbed the bag and her cigarette lighter and ran back to the utility room.

June smoked, but not in the house. She never let her son see her do it, knowing the risks and all the scary stuff cigs were supposed to do. For once her bad habit could do something to save her life.

A sparkler was lit. The creature’s slick body reflected the light emitted from the sparkler. It slowly backed away toward the wall. June threw the sparklers at the creature. Not good enough. The creature evaded it until the sparks went out. Then it started to advance.

June went for bear and lit all of the sparklers, throwing them at the creature. So many sparks, so much light.

There was an audible wail as the sparks did their damage. It didn’t take much to quickly incinerate the creature until it was all smoldering ash.

FOOM

The creature exploded like one of those puffball fungi, filling the room with black, purple, and blue smoke. The smell of death and rotting flesh and decay washed over the room. June, lightheaded, was covered in the ash and ran out of the room coughing and sick to her stomach.

The ash was filling the house. June had to get out of there. she ran to the kitchen, opened the door, and out of the house. the whole house was filled with the smoke and ash, becoming clearly seen by the neighbors. Someone called the fire department. An ambulance was also sent.

*

“Oh thank God you’re safe,” said June’s mother Carol. Along with June’s mother were Frank and Anne, friends of June. Their children had invited little Eddy to stay over. Eddy was there to visit too.

June had been sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation while fire and rescue personnel searched the house. The entire inside of the house was covered in black soot and it had been determined that the fire started in the utility room.

“What happened?” asked Carol.

“I don’t remember. Electrical shortage maybe,” said June, “I feel fine.”

“No, I mean what happened to your eye?”

There was a bandage on her eye. June touched the gauze lightly.

“It doesn’t hurt. I don’t remember it being here.”

In walked a nurse to check on June. she politely asked friends and family to leave the room. Then a tall man in a black suit with a white overcoat showed up. June assumed he was a doctor.

“Hello, ma’am. I’m Doctor Thomas Phasmid. In addition to your smoke inhalation, we’ve done some tests on the type of smoke. It isn’t anything we’ve ever seen.”

“Why is my eye covered?” asked June.

“Well that’s what baffles us,” said Dr. Phasmid, “It appears the smoke infected that eye, but we were unsure as how to treat it.”

“I feel fine.”

“You’re also on pain killers. The infection was spreading. We  removed the eye.”

 

Excerpt from “Enzectozoid Chronicles: The Legacy of Whartleburg the Whalloper” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?

 

Next page (stay tuned!)

previous page

Pork roast & Rice, interlude

Exquisitely blended pork roast, carrots, in gravy over brown rice. Simple and elegant.

–ad for “Spoiled Baby” brand cat food, found in “Mini Lion Zoological Review” magazine, June 1999 issue.

Beauty and Exoskeletons, Interlude

Victoria Swansoncrop

 

Victoria’s luminescent yellow-green eyes were now curiously staring at Whartleburg. Having recently arrived via Channel Teleporter, thanks to June, she was expecting Whartleburg to take her under his wing.

“Who are you supposed to be?” asked Whartleburg. But he knew already; His instinct told him so.

“I’m June’s sister.”

Whartleburg didn’t know how to handle the revelation.

“I’m Whartleburg.”

The two stared at each other. For ten seconds, the world was frozen in time and nothing else mattered. Whartleburg suddenly could not move. He was transfixed in place, only able to see Victoria’s luminescent green and yellow eyes. Instinct told him it was a common trap that praying mantis type Enzectozoids used to catch their prey.

But then another image entered his mind. Salyria, tall and pale, her lavish gown, a wedding gift from Spider King Ahab, the same color as her sapphire eyes. Her long dark hair danced in the winds that endlessly chase at the height of her window outside the granite prison walls.

Her eyes were saddened, yet strong, determined to wait, knowing in her heart that Whartleburg would save her. At that moment her eyes met his. She saw Whartleburg from afar and her inward gaze was turned outward.

Salyria while in her prison was not helpless. Though not built for combat, she could still encourage the heart. She spoke briefly and the vision was gone:

Remember Salyria. Should Whartleburg give up now, all his efforts to oppose Spider King Ahab would be in vain.

Whatever huntress’ charm Victoria unknowingly had sent out shattered like glass, and Whartleburg was no longer smitten. He no longer saw the great beauty in the exoskeleton of Victoria Swanson, June’s sister. Instead he saw a confused, scared Enzectozoid woman. She needed training.

Whartleburg woke up and sprang to his feet.

“Hey, you’re alive! Thank God you’re alive!” Victoria was saying.

“You thought I was dead?” asked Whartleburg.

Victoria nodded.

“You were unaware of what you did? It’s called a Hunter’s Glare trap.”

“Hunter’s what?!”

“Lady, I cannot train you,” said Whartleburg, “Only a master in the Maantisazian school of Enzectozoid marshal arts can do that now.”

“What’s that?”

“The Maantisazian school is for Enzectozoids who are mantis, wheel bug, or other assassin types.”

“Who, me?” exclaimed Victoria, “I’m no killer.”

“Then show me,” said Whartleburg, “Put your hands up. Like you are praying.”

Victoria reluctantly put her hands up in front of her.

“Now close your eyes.”

At first she refused but Whartleburg convinced her it would be ok.
Whartleburg then picked up a rock and threw it right at Victoria.

Victoria quickly shot out her hand and snatched the rock out of the air. She looked at the stone, amazed she caught it. But then she realized the rock had been perfectly cut into three pieces.

“How’d I do that?”

“Your instincts make you attack anything that comes near. Until you can train, you cannot be yourself without causing violence,” said Whartleburg.

Just then, a swirling blue storm cloud boiled forth out of nothing six feet from the ground. From out of the swirling tempest emerged a giant. Muscular, white beard, light blue skinned and balding, The giant was sent to destroy the stronghold.

“My liege!” ran Whevelbor panting. “Reports have come in. The enemy knows the fortress is taken.”

“That explains why the giant is here,” said Whartleburg.

“My army has provided us transportation,” said Whevelbor.

Close to the fortress were several old military Jeeps.

“All we need to do is not get caught,” said Victoria.

“Can you still fight, my liege?” asked Whevelbor.

“It’s been a long day,” said Whartleburg, “But we must escape.”

Whartleburg raised his arms to summon his battle axes, but he knew already that he still did not have the strength to use them fully. The axes appeared, but then faded and returned whence they came.

“Alas, I need more strength,” said Whartleburg.

“What if I helped?” asked Victoria, “All we need is a distraction, right?”

“You’re not trained yet,” argued Whartleburg.

“Perhaps I can help,” said Whevelbor, “I happen to know the instructor for Maantisazian school of Enzectozoid marshal arts. I cannot use his instruction myself, but let me pass on what I know.”

Excerpt from “Enzectozoid Chronicles: The Legacy of Whartleburg the Whalloper” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?

To the next page (stay tuned!)

Previous page

 

Subsistence, interlude

Hey, hey watch this!”

The skateboarding seventh grader gained momentum up the concrete ramp for the gym used for handicapped wheelchair users, across a level area past the building entrance. He jumped over the guardrails with the help of a homemade ramp he had made in woodworking class. He tried to use the skateboard to glide down the descending rail, but nearly midway lost his balance. He did not land well, crashing onto the sidewalk.

“Woe, dude, that was so gnarly!” said his friends, who were also skateboarders.

It was after school at 5 p.m. and the deviant seventh grade skateboarding clique were beginning to get rowdy.

 

The seventh graders at Bernard Berenson Middle were, simply put, lesser forms of eighth graders. They were the great divide; the servants of the eighth graders, guardians against scummy sixth graders.

But they were only the guardians and servants of the cool crowd. Those eighth graders who were average or lowly were either seen as other seventh graders and befriended or were picked on, depending on the seventh grader.

But all these particular seventh graders thought about was the next rad trick on a skateboard after school. They weren’t really into the social agenda. Therefore, they were left to themselves.

So when Shawn Skipperson, the next skateboarding seventh grader, sped up the ramp, over the guardrails, successfully pulling the guardrail gliding stunt, for a few seconds, only to fall into a large open gutter drain— no one heard his fall. And no one expected the drain to close by itself.

The boy’s friends looked for him. He wasn’t far, just in an obscure place, on the blind side of the gym. But they did find him.

“Dude, Shawn, why’re you in there?”

“Major bummer, man! Get me out!”

The three boys pulled on the grate to the drain. It would not budge.

“It won’t open!”

“Ah c’mon, man, it’s dark down here.”

Something stirred.

“I think all the teachers are gone, right?”

It got closer.

“Well let’s try again to open the grate, ready?”

Ssss.

“Holy crap, guys! I just heard something!”

“Pull!”

The three boys pulled again on the grate. It started to open. Something was weighing it down.

SSSuuubsss.

“C’mon, guys, please hurry!”

SSSubssisssss! 

Shawn’s legs were pulled back from under him. He fell to the ground on his belly. He was being pulled backward, away from the light of the grate.

Ssssubsssissstence. 

 

“Ok, got it?”

“Glad I had these on hand. Yeah, now put your crowbars in the grate opening for leverage. Yeah, that should do it. Now Pull. Pull. Pull! PULL!

It had been two minutes since they had heard anything from Shawn.

Good thing Mr. Hind, the assistant basketball coach, was still around to lock up. With his help the boys were able to open the grate. He had also called the police. Paramedics were on their way.

The grate behaved like a great weight was attached to it. They got the grate open, but it slammed shut.

Mr. Hind called again.

“Shawn. Shawn, can you hear me?”

Nothing could be heard from Shawn. But soft, barely audible words could be heard seemingly far below.

Subsssistence. More. Subssistence.

From “Fall from Autumnway” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?

Go to Next Page

Go to Previous Page