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Planet Halloween

PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:45 pm
by leovineknight
Hi,
This is a short story sequel to my novel 'Looking Through the Windows of Madness' (free on http://www.windowsofmadness.co.uk). Hope you like it. :D


Planet Halloween

2020

The world came back in gasps and wheezes, shivers of pain and flashes of unwanted light. I seemed to be snared in a cobweb of tubes and cables which hung around the room in fascinating loops and swags. A giant computer screen flickered and died in the distance, as those around me coughed and trembled.

Outside, a group of zombies gazed at the spiralling brown cloud, shooting stars and choking smoke which hung above the jagged teeth of a sacked city.
“Is this a nuclear winter?” I whispered.
“Nah. Just the usual shit British weather” replied a passing clown in Sunday best ensemble.
“It’s a lot worse than I remember.”
“Oh, you’ve probably been out of town for a while.”
“Yes, that’s true….but what are those bright lights over the mountains?”
“Aliens.”
“Aliens!”
“Sure. Once they discovered we had nothing left, they simply revealed themselves and started clapping. We’re just a dog pit for the tourists now.”
“Oh.”

* * *

Well, it was obviously a surprise to discover that my suicide hadn’t been final after all. Shortly after my demise the government had passed a law banning death, ostensibly because this was a contravention of human rights, but actually a last throw of the dice to retain power. Ergo, all intact bodies had been kept in various cryogenic or vegetative states while they awaited medical advances, rebirth and population of alien planets. Fortunately, my fatal blood loss and oxygen deprivation had somehow been reversed by the interim experimental therapies and I was now free.

Free.

Free to chew my mouldy sandwich in the street corner barter café, a hundred miles away from home, with no travel pass, wondering what had happened during the last fifteen years - and how I could find my wife, my children……and Kate. I had no idea where to start, but it was clear that a lot of things had finished. There were no gas burners on the streets, for example, because petrol had abruptly run out five years before, while scavenging and looting had replaced benefits and profiteering as the primary means of income. Middle class taxpayers had become an endangered species by 2015, leading to rapid meltdown.

There were a few ageing mobility scooters on the duel carriageway, but the most common mode of transport seemed to be BMX bikes and skateboards, typically ridden by grunting muscle-bound bruisers with brown armbands. These were the so-called ‘citizens’ who ran a sort of unofficial police force, handing out summary street justice to any unfortunate they came across.
“Are these people paramilitaries?” I asked a man in tattered business suit and water wings.
“They used to be drunk all the time” he agreed, “but booze is so scarce now, they’re usually psychopathically sober. These days they tend to get their kicks out of…..well….kicking.”
“Ugh” said one of the citizens, approaching the counter with a severed human head, which he exchanged for a burger.
“What possible use will that head be to the café owner” I enquired.
“Recycling” was the response.
“Ha ha ha…..ha…..er…..”
The citizen had eaten his burger in one explosive bite and he was now sharpening his knife on a razor strop hanging from his flies. Doing a theatrical double take, I realised that the razor strop was actually a large flaccid penis and that the citizen’s red eyes were firmly focused on my neck. I picked up the skirts of my surgical gown and fled.

Nowadays the air was always thick with wood smoke as people used cut down trees and pillaged rafters for fuel, but a few coal burning power stations remained open around the country, generating energy for The Big Man and his machines…..

The Big Man
The identity of The Big Man was a closely guarded secret. He had emerged into the power vacuum created by the 2012 pogrom of criminal politicians, where hundreds of elite embezzlers were stripped of their assets and relocated within specialist training camps or hung from fairy-lit lampposts. As politics and economics had become obsolete, The Big Man had cleverly repositioned his global media empire as the pre-eminent government institution.

His genius was the management of images.
He had short hair and very large trousers.

Having said that, The Big Man was rumoured to be a small man (if you know what I mean) and there were unofficial stories circulating of dissidents fighting brave guerrilla actions around the planet. But my first priority was to get home, so I joined a dozen others raking through the festering remains of Tescos looking for provisions, and filled my haversack.
“Ugh!Ugh!” came the battle cry, as twenty citizens charged towards us, waving razor strops.
“Bloody Hell, they don’t have much of a vocabulary” I commented.
“Well, what do you expect?” replied a nearby Mr. Blobby look-a-like, ”They only average 5 GCSE’s each.”
“But I thought all pupils were guaranteed 10 passes in 2011 as a further worthy extension of human rights?”
“Yes, but a highly influential pinko think tank complained that there weren’t enough lefts in society to counterbalance all the new rights. This led to a bloodbath of semantic infighting. It was the beginning of the end”.

With this, my journey began.

* * *

Two days later and I was trudging along a cracked cart track called the A1, when an ancient hippy hailed me heartily from the hedgerow.
“Do you be going to the big city boss?”
“I do.”
“Well, there’s trouble looming up North. Why don’t you rest here awhile?”
“Thanks, I will.”
“Only two tins of beans, or the exchange rate equivalent, per night.”
“What? Oh…er…..I suppose so. Here you are then.”
With no further conversation we set off towards a mass of colourful tepees which encircled a large wooden stage-like structure in the distance, and then passed through a heavily fortified gateway. A glittering razor wired fence surrounded the site and this was guarded by a platoon of Frankenstein’s monster clones; each supplemented with a slavering hell hound in spiked collar.
“Welcome to our fee festival” the hippy said “We’ve got somebody with sunglasses and a banjo performing at 2 o’clock. He even plays the banjo sometimes.”
“Thank you.”
“If you’ve got another tin of beans, that is.”
“Oh. Will rice pudding do?”
“God no! That stuff reminds me of the ruined sperm bank I once rifled through in the summer of ’14. There’s an ex-TV presenter doing magic tricks with his willy in the beer tent, if that’s any use.”
“No thanks.”
“He can stretch it around his neck and juggle his own balls.”
“No thanks.”
“He can play a medley of Lois Armstrong tunes with it.”
“No thanks.”
“He can hit a target 200 yards away.”
“No wanks…..er….thanks.”
That reminded me. Was good old Sidney still alive? Was the hospital still there? In a few days, I would find out.
“And after the show he’s going to give a presentation.”
“A presentation! Wow! Count me in” I ejaculated.

That night the ancient hippy gathered people around a huge bonfire and told far-etched stories about his youth. Strange yarns about people who could make things, and others who brought precious materials out of the earth. Fantastic fables about large groups of people called ‘nations’, who followed dreams. What a romancer he was. As if.

* * *

I was almost there.
The sky had darkened again and below it lay a Romanesque scene of carnage, disgrace and decrepitude. Buildings sagged at strange angles, roads disappeared into bottomless pits, people hobbled about in stained costumes, shrieking and laughing in equal measure. It was curiously reminiscent of the hospital where I once worked, yet nevertheless an entirely new order of decadence, depravity and vile Saturday evening TV. Could there possibly be order within this chaos?
Just outside the city gates a group of painted children straight out of ‘Lord of the Flies’ were using pointed sticks to prod a poor fellow strung up by his genitals. Rushing towards this obscene tableau, I proceeded to wave my arms about, remonstrating with the culprits.
“What on earth has this man done to deserve such a gruesome fate?”
“He’s the designer of the impossible-to-open supermarket plastic bag, mate.”
“Ah! Well why are you being so ridiculously lenient with him?”
“It’s his birthday.”
Inside the gates, all hell had broken out. Everyone seemed to have a strap on karaoke machine, with the amplifier, speaker and mike apparently powered by rapid leg and arm movements. Thousands of people were dashing around the streets torturing their favourite songs, bouncing off one another and grinning inanely at the numerous surveillance cameras which tracked their every movement.
“Are they all mad?” I asked the nearest figure.
“Welcome to my turd…er….world” he crooned.
“Are you all mad?” I repeated.
“Welcome to my fart….er…heart.”
“S-Sidney! It’s you isn’t it?”
“My God! Y-y-you look just like that prattling nutcase I used to work with at the hospital.”
“I am the prattling nutcase you used to work with at the hospital.”
“But that’s not possible….”
“I was frozen and stored for future research. When the electricity failed my repaired body started to function again. …and here I am.”
“Fact is certainly stranger than fiction. What can I say…..welcome back Steve.”
“Nice to be back Sid…”
“Sssssh. I’m on the run Steve. There was a bit of a misunderstanding after you died. Now I call myself Llewelyn. You can call me Loo.”
“Sure, but don’t let the world shit on you, Loo. Now, tell me, why is everyone using those karaoke machines?”
“We’re the ‘aspirants’ Steve. The Big Man is kind and good. Every fifteen hours a new group of ministers is elected to replace those who have gone before. He has decreed that every aspirant will hold government office at least once in his or her lifetime. It is our fifteen hours of fame.”
“Didn’t it used to be fifteen minutes of fame?”
“Yes, so it is said around the log fires, but The Big Man is kind and good. He has been benevolent to his children.”
“So, you’re trying to attract the attention of The Big Man by continually auditioning?”
“Yes. The Big Man is kind and good. He is constantly searching for talent. He is the guardian of human shites…er….rights. ”
Just then a large maroon exploded in the sky and everybody stopped singing, freezing in mid-stride, eyes agape. A tumbrel trundled around the corner and ten heavily armed citizens loaded five dribbling aspirants on board.
“The winners of the competition in this section of the city” announced Sid (Loo), in a hushed reverential voice.
“Oh” said I.

“You’d better stay with me tonight” said Loo “The Big Man is kind and good. I have been allocated a large cupboard on the tenth floor of a condemned building.”
“Lucky you.”
It was only a five-mile walk to Loo’s pad and this gave me time to take in some of the changes in my hometown. There were apparently no new buildings, but some of the less damaged blocks were now flying garish flags and banners, their doorways flanked by menacing citizens, with sinister black mobility scooters parked outside. Some were evidently receiving power from The Big Man’s coal generators and in the larger tenements we could clearly see rows of hideously obese people in white smocks playing computer games. They appeared to be fixed in position by a spaghetti junction of catheters which maintained their day to day biological functions.
“Who are those people Loo?”
“They’re the ‘boffins’ Steve. It is said around the log fires that they were once very intelligent, creative individuals who somehow went completely mad. Because The Big Man is kind and good he has continued to provide them with the entertainment and occupation they were accustomed to before the illness struck them down.”
“Bang!”
One of the windows was suddenly covered in a red mass of wiggling maggots.
“Good Lord! What’s happened?”
“Oh, sometimes one of the catheters gets blocked up and the corresponding boffin explodes. It’s nothing to worry about.”
“wnju ijndin mlsyh lmsuu annn ojsi98” said a green nine-foot monster with several waving tentacles, a cluster of bloodshot eyes and a penis resembling a Medieval mace.
“palbx” said Loo.
“One of the visiting aliens I assume? What did he say?”
“The Big Man is kind and good.”

On we tramped, across a wasteland of split walls, sagging roofs, cracked paving and weed-infested parks, watching the rats running freely about the streets, big as fat spoilt cats, eating the cockroaches.
“How on earth was all this damage done?”
“A combination of blocked drains, crumbling sewers, flooding, subsidence, a chronic skills shortage - and twenty million people knocking their heads against brick walls in 2013, because they couldn’t get through the Hex-Factor auditions.”
“So it is said around the log fires?”
“So it is said.”
Finally we arrived and Loo immediately retired to his bed; an old chest freezer stuffed with fish and chip papers in the corner. Loo’s dog observed me from the rag rug, his tail wagging happily, looking just like the black hound I used to see on my way to work. I stretched across to pat his proud, shapely head…..
“Eeeeeach!!
He’d bitten me of course.
I found a tiny space amongst the bowls of cold soup and coils of poo, and I slept.

* * *

The following day Loo and I set of early back towards the city centre. He was keen to audition for parliament and I was looking for any clues which might help me locate Carol and the children. There was no point in revisiting my old house, because all the suburbs built after 1950 were now entirely derelict; the three-inch nails and gardening twine which held them all together having failed around 2014. Perhaps I would try the hospitals.

We had reached the inner city area when the chilling sound of drums, shrieks and groans began to echo down the streets. Within minutes a mass of grubby half-naked men and women snaked around the corner, chained together with heavy manacles, sweating like pigs, wild-eyed and desperate. Alongside, packs of blaspheming citizens kept the prisoners in line with brutal staves and ugly cudgels while, behind, a massive shaven-headed beast cracked his bullwhip above the heads of the whimpering rabble. A trail of bubbling urine and loose stools was left in their wake.
“Good God, who are those poor wretches?”
“They be the ‘payers’. Many years ago they were the mindless slaves who did all the work and paid taxes, but by 2015 their numbers had dwindled to about 10% of the population because they had no time left each day to copulate and therefore reproduce. They failed the majority of society, and now they pay.”
“The Big Man is kind and good.”
“So it said around the log fires.”
“How exactly do the payers pay?”
“Some of them gather food from the distant fields and woods, others chop down trees for fuel, and the chosen few become ARSE lickers.”
“ARSE lickers?”
“Yes. The chosen few attend members of the Ageing Rockers Special Executive in their private quarters.”
“Oh. Are those guys still around?”
“They are our spiritual leaders Steve. They are ‘the bishops’. You will have to worship them at noon. It is the Law.”

At noon, a loud klaxon droned above the city and members of every caste moved mechanically towards the ruins of the Town Hall. A primitive dais had been constructed with salvaged half-bricks and bleached bones, now encircled by a group of blond-headed brutes with black armbands and catapults. At the sound of an ancient serpent and bongo drums, the doors at the rear of the stage were thrown open, revealing a number of sepulchral forms, dressed from head to foot in white sheets, the eye holes covered in impenetrable sunglasses.
“Behold the ARSE holy ones” boomed the klaxon.
“Praise be” whispered Loo.
Slowly, the white forms floated onto the dais, separating into two files which turned to salute one another; a ritual that involved each member joining their first finger and thumb of their right hands into a circle, and then moving the circle rapidly up and down near the groin. After this solemn ceremony, the leader of group moved to centre stage, where his head swelled to twice its original size and his tongue was seen to dart right and left towards the ears of nearby females. There was something awfully familiar about him and when he turned his back and lifted his sheet there was no room for further doubt.
“Woody (Rock God) Willy!”
“Ssshh” hissed the devoted brethren.
“The Big Man is kind and good, - he thinks, and the rest are wood” chanted Woody in his best bass/falsetto warble.
“The Big Man is kind and good - he thinks, and the rest are wood” replied the spittle-spraying host.
After twenty minutes of these incantations and one public execution (an old, bearded professor condemned for having principles) we were considered spiritually refreshed, and allowed a half-hour lunch break, during which the P.A. system broadcast a series of enlightening news bites.
“The temperature is 17 degrees centigrade. This is the highest temperature since yesterday.”
“A new world record has been set for eating bluebottles.”
“20,000 people in Yorkshire now have the common cold. Pandemic just around the corner says ecstatic expert.”
“Power output increases at National Wind Farm…..”
“Where is the wind farm?” I asked Loo.
“Those around the log fires say it located in a big gothic building in London, next to the brown river. The ‘pigs’ work there.”
“Pigs?”
“Yes. It is said that those who once misgoverned the country have now been put to good use. They are strapped to long oak benches designed by Pugin, their heads are inserted in troughs of baked beans, and their fart gas is channelled into machines which generate more power for The Big Man.”
“Electricity?”
“No. It is in London city.”
“These people are very experienced in the subjects of feeding troughs and wind, I imagine?”
“The word ‘imagine’ is now banned Steve.”
Over the road, the painted children had returned. This time they were pouring a mixture of giant red ants and treacle over the bald pate of a man buried up to his neck in donkey dung.
“What was his crime?” I enquired.
“He was in charge of children’s TV in the late 20th century.”
“Oh……so you didn’t want 30 year-old presenters in garish clothes laughing endlessly at their own lame jokes?”
“No.”
“You didn’t want crowds of kids shrieking like banshees in response to a director waving a cue card.”
“No.”
“You didn’t want the volume turned up automatically.”
“Not particularly. We just wanted something that didn’t insult the intelligence of a chimpanzee.”
“Well, I empathise with you. I think it’s only right that you express your feelings in unstructured play situations. I’m glad you’re owning the problem. Carry on with my blessing - and don’t forget to put the cherry on top.”

After a hard day scavenging and karaoki singing, we were glad to set off for Loo’s flat again. We’d reached the first corner when out of an alleyway popped what appeared to be an anorexic monk, hood pulled well up to disguise his acne and atavism.
“I need coke an’ speed an’ crack an’ skunk an’ dope man. Gimme all you’ve got or I’ll cut yer wiv me blade, so help me.”
“Crack! Crunch!”
Instantly, the ground opened up and swallowed the miscreant whole.
“Wow! There really is a God after all” said Loo.
“It was certainly the best example of evolution you’re ever likely to see.”
About a mile up the road I noticed a metal lamppost resting at 45degress against the remains of a church and when I cocked my ear I could just about make out some music coming from it. It was unusual seeing a lamppost anyway, because most of them had been converted into spears by the larger citizens. It was a hobby they pursued in between producing armies of children they subsequently ignored.
“I think I can hear some music coming from that lamppost, Loo. The metal must be acting like an aerial.”
“It will be the bishops practising, Steve.”
“No it isn’t. I can make out a single voice speaking.”
“May Day! May Day! Can anybody here me? It’s Professor R----- here. I’ve completed the ascent of Mont Blanc on a pogo stick at last, and now I require rescuing. I need to spread the news and bask in glory. I need to plan my next unnecessary expedition. I need……..”
“Oh…..it’s a smug overgrown schoolboy who needs rescuing from a mountaintop.”
We grabbed a fat rat for tea and walked on, whistling.

I was still no further forward with my search for Carol and the kids, but Loo suggested that I try the main Library and Information Centre. Although this seemed to be an unlikely survivor of the mayhem, Loo reassured me that the place was still operating as a government sponsored drop-in centre for noisy unemployable people, as before.
“There aren’t any housing benefits to be claimed any more, of course, but there’s a useful needle exchange unit, free nappies for single mothers, plenty of play stations for boffins, soup kitchens and some old porn to browse through. There aren’t any books left thankfully – The Big Man donated all of them to the bonfire fund, to make sure we all kept nice and warm.”
“How generous.”
“Yes The Big Man is kind and good, although there were only three books left in the library anyway by 2014.”
“That many?”
“Yes, ‘How to Claim Your Full Entitlement of Benefits – An Odyssey’, ‘My Benefits – An Autobiography’ and ‘How to Get a Literary Agent if You Aren’t Already Famous and Don’t Copy Other Writers’ (out of print).”
“Anyway, it’s a starting point, so I’ll get myself over there now. See you later Loo.”
“Okay, I think I could be on a roll today. The small hairs covering my scrotal area are bristling with intuitive power. ”
“’Bye.”
The library wasn’t far away and at first sight little different – the usual scrum of broken, once intellectual alcoholics, professional tax recipients, pram fillers and gesticulating foreign nationals demanding their rights a la mode. It had in fact gone a bit further than I recalled, with the main room now devoid of shelves and serving as a bombed out tea room for itinerants. A hundred or so sprawled about the place slowly stirring their drinks, stinking in harmony, gazing vacantly at the doorway and dreaming of the good old giro days of yore. The nearest one to me was stirring his coffee with his penis.
“Don’t you know what that’s really for?” I enquired.
“Of course I do you sarcastic twat. I’m just bored that’s all.”
“You can’t think of anything to do in this razed post-Apocalyptic world?”
“Well, I could add two sugars I suppose.”
Perhaps the Help Desk could help; I’d always been amazed how completely unflappable the library assistants were, even when faced with a squad of crack-addicted suicide bombers asking for directions to the Town Hall they would carry on smiling through, giving answers, posing no questions. Information so tightly sewn into its ideology, that it had lost all sense.
“Excuse me, I’m trying to trace a missing person. Her name is Carol J-----“
“Yes sir, I can assist you. My name is Carol J----“
(stunned silence)
“Surely…..it can’t be you Carol….you’ve changed….”
“Yes, The Big Man is kind and good. He issues fresh undergarments every month to all library staff.”
“But….don’t you recognise me…. I’m your husband.”
` “The word ‘husband’ is now banned. All females are now married to The Big Man. The rest are wood.”
“What happened to the children, Carol?”
“I don’t understand sir. I cannot assist you. I cannot assist you. I am biodegradable. I am biodegradable…..fizzz…..fizzz.….splutter…..”
Carol’s head lolled to one side and for the first time I noticed something a little strange about her. There was a mechanical appendage sticking out of her left ear, a chrome plated key slowly turning in unison with her revolving eyeballs and waggling tongue.
“Yes, all the assistants are half clockwork now mate” said my friend with the coffee stained penis “In 2015 psychiatrists turned back to psychosurgery as their modus operandi. By that time, everyone was on psychiatric medication as a normal part of their diet, so the experts had to look elsewhere to justify their bow ties.”
“I see.”
Well, how would I find the kids now.
“The children…” gasped Carol.
“Yes, yes….Carol, what is it?”
“They’re….in….the….hospital.”
For a moment she held my gaze, and a single tear fell.

* * *

‘The hospital’ could only mean one place; that black bastion which turned minds into aspic, people into planks and ideas into prison bars. The place where the occult met the chequebook, the blind led the deaf, and the future lay previewed for an absent audience. The psychiatric hospital.
I had unconsciously avoided the hospital since my rebirth, but now was the time to grit my teeth, grasp the nettle, gird my loins, bite the bullet, and….er…..push Loo well in front. This was no mean feat, in fact, because Loo was convinced it was his day for the dog food factory (where the newly chosen Members of Parliament apparently met with The Big Man).
“Oh, my turd…I mean word….I mean pdf. I suppose I’ll have to sacrifice my career as usual, Steve.”
“Good man.”
And off we went.

The walk was a horrible combination of the familiar and the unworldly, as devastated streets were punctuated with odd, preserved artefacts from my past, curiously preserved in shattered contexts. Pickled organisms in a wrecked laboratory, the duplex flats now lay on end, the Georgian terraces blinked windowless in the sun, the park ran wild, and the corpse of an old lady sat on the white step of her tomb. Rapid pigs roamed the avenues, flesh hanging from their jaws, ancient dog shit encrusted the pavements like a new fossil phylum, flattened and crystallised, stamped and ingrained, mixed and fixed. Putrid stenches vied with repulsive sights, beggars wiped their arses with tomorrow’s newspapers, a Rolls-Royce came around the corner drawn by four sickly horses, a tramp muttered a mantra as he sucked the juice from a dead bird, and the first snow of summer began to fall.
“That Rolls-Royce….” Said Loo.
“Yes.”
“The Big Man has one like that.”
“Oh.”
“Yes! Look, it’s pulling into the hospital. Maybe we can get an autograph!”

And then I saw it. Not so much the hospital, as what was left of it. Charred pillars stood around the site like the ribs of a blackened dinosaur, thick grey dust rolled and swirled about the gutted rooms and old ragged sheets fluttered from the ruined turrets. Rusting beds lay twisted on the ground, amidst the scorched grass and shattered glass, while feral beasts scuttled in and out, their eyes glinting with primordial lusts. The hospital was no more than a carcass.
“What on earth has happened here?”
“Ha Ha, that is a good one” said Loo, somewhat mechanically.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, Steve, you’re the one who burned it down.”
(silence).
“Of course I didn’t….I….”
“You bloody well did, mate.”
So, my pyrotechnic delusions of yesteryear weren’t delusions after all. The only delusion was thinking I hadn’t done it. I smiled, I laughed, I guffawed, I choked and squealed and howled. I almost crapped myself with hysterical mirth.
I hadn’t meant to burn the hospital down. But I had.
And I was glad I had.
Then, as the summer snowstorm blew away, a gargantuan dazzling glass dome appeared through the murk, like a Martian fighting machine, cold, deadly and all-seeing. A cathedral of the future, mortuary of the gods, ice palace in the desolate wastes.
“The n-n-new hospital” said Loo
“B-but it’s huge, like a spaceship.”
“Well that’s about it. The aliens are health service partners now. Them and The Big Man.”
“Is it the same old patient club inside?”
“No, the place is full of seriously insane people now – those who think they can explain everything and control the world.
“You mean scientists, philosophers and politicians.”
“Yes, such blasphemous terms were once used.”
“Psychosurgery?”
“So it is rumoured around the log fires.”
“And Carol said my kids were inside that thing.”
“We need a plan.”

An hour later, shrouded in mist and peering through the twilight, we began crawling towards the colossal dome. Having rolled in mud, pig swill and twigs, we were now virtually invisible amongst the debris and detritus of the eerie surrounding killing fields. Our elbows and knees were raw as we wormed our way through a maze of barbed wire fences, putrid ditches and abandoned bunkers, slowly circling the pulsating monster, looking for a convenient ventilation grill, sleeping guard or unsecured window. With every commando sense tuned to the slightest variation in our environment, we stealthily approached….
“Yikes!”
Surprisingly, we found ourselves swinging in the air, as the giant fists of an angry Troll closed viciously around our ear lobes and yanked us high into the sky.
“Ugh! Ugh!”.
“It’s one of the aliens” I cried.
“No, it’s a postgraduate” replied Loo. ”We should be okay if we use a lot of flattery.”
A steel door whooshed upwards and we were inside the hospital, travelling quickly down long metal corridors, past the familiar shouts and groans of patients on either side, and on towards the very heart of the fiendish hive. An archway loomed, and through it we were propelled like a pair of 10-pin bowling balls destined for a spare.
“Ugh! The visitors have arrived your majesty!”
Recovering out senses, we craned our necks around the vast stateroom, where every surface was festooned with rich silks, gold leaf, exotic wood veneers, and tropical fruits. It was Long John Silver’s treasure chest magnified a thousand times, and in the centre of it rested a stupendous, bejewelled throne, on which rested…. a….a ....a grotesquely corpulent form…..
“Richard!”
“Ho ho ho” chortled the abomination, its multiple rings of flab wobbling violently over cage-like artificial limbs, its eyes a pair of video cameras following our every movement, its face a bloated crimson caricature, its cock huge and metallically grasped.
“As always, things are well in hand, Steven” he rasped.
“You’ve aged a little Richard” I ventured.
“Rubbish! I am the acme of human advancement. A perfect quintessence of biological superiority, technological wizardry and verbal cow clap. I am absolutely impregnable.”
“Well, I can’t imagine you getting pregnant to be honest.”
“Ho ho ho. Always the court jester, Steven. But soon it will be my turn to tell the jokes.”
“How’s that?”
“Just look over there, old boy.”
And in corner of the room I saw my children, apparently hypnotised, occupying two outsize test tubes, flanked by postgraduate trolls with sadistic smiles.
“You hideous lout - release then at once!”
“Ho ho, ho. They’ll be released all right. Straight into my lucrative dog food factory. They have served their purpose in luring you here.”
“But why?”
“You think I would allow you to remain unpunished for trying to murder me?”
“Murder?”
“On the night of the hospital fire, I was trapped inside. I barely survived the ordeal, but after 1001 gruesome, experimental operations and a ten-year period of recuperation, I was at last ready for revenge. I have been waiting for you, Steven.”
(Gulp)
“In fact, we have been waiting,” announced a shrill, menacing voice.
“Oh no! Zebulon!”
From behind the massive frontage of Richard’s reverberating body, slid a shrunken monkey, with a towering mass of coifed, lacquered hair, bedecked in voguish dead mice, dried spiders and powdered cobwebs.
“B-but I thought everyone escaped from the hospital. I saw both of you outside.”
“I returned in order to rescue my collection of rare and irreplaceable porno tapes…erm…erm…I mean a briefcase with some very important, highly confidential healthcare planning documents.”
“And thus the damage was done,” said Zebulon, climbing up onto Richard’s rubbery shoulder and casually pointing a purple ray gun at my spleen. “But now we have lured you here and it is our turn to have some fun.”
“Fun! Fun! Fun!” we all chorused (old habits die hard).
“I will begin by vaporising your left testicle,” he announced, taking careful aim.
“Zap! Shriek!”
For a moment, everything was a beautifully crafted cinematic still, frozen solid by shock, and etched in memory. Then, a large hole appeared in the top of Zebulon’s mile high bushy hair-do and he slowly toppled forward, stone dead. Blood gushed from the wound and a secret was at last revealed. He did not have big hair, he had an extremely big head.
He was an elephant man.

Suddenly, the scene went into fast-forward and the room was full of wrestling bodies, ricocheting bullets, screams and shouts, whistles and bells, barked orders and muffled explosions. Richard wobbled like a blancmange in an earthquake as dozens of direct hits peppered his folds of protective flab, apparently without effect, and his prosthetic penis pumped out retaliatory bursts of flame and smoke. A somersaulting figure in studded leather dived under the looping arc of fire and stuffed a stick of Semtex where the sun no longer shone.
“Bummmmffff!”
“Yikes! That smarts!” said Richard, as the red lights on his video cameras went out, his phallus drooped and his head fell forward with an unhealthy ‘click’.
“Everything was in hand….” he whispered.
For the first time I noticed a small, gold key in his right ear rotating to a halt, and I realised the truth. Zebulon had been The Big Man, while Richard was merely the stooge, the fall guy; just another surgically enhanced slave dancing to his master’s tune. I felt a second’s regret when I looked at the lifeless vat of lard which had once been the body of a proud pygmy, but (as this was no time for nostalgia) my memory pressed ‘delete’, and I turned around.

Kate.
“Kate!”
Somehow I knew it would be her. Looking a little older, perhaps, but still magnificently statuesque in her studs, tattoos, dreadlocks, African initiation scars, and tooth-trophy necklaces. A vision of controlled menace, with armour piercing eyes, toned biceps, boa constrictor thighs and a belt full of blood bespattered butchers’ knives, saws and skewers. Just as a remembered her from the ‘Steel Balls” heavy metal club, all those years ago.
“Hello stranger, fancy seeing you here” we chorused.
“Thank you for saving my life.”
“Oh, think nothing of it. We were due to make a house call anyway.”
“And who is ‘we’?”
“Why, don’t you recognise them Steve?” she laughed.
There was indeed something vaguely familiar about the crack commandos who were now lined up in perfect formation behind Kate.
“Permission to do 200 star jumps while we’re waiting, General?” said the Sergeant.
“Carry on Sergeant.”
“That surely wasn’t….wasn’t…..”
“You’ve got it at last Steve. These fine men and women are the residents from the old hospital. You were perfectly right. Once the tea and chocolate biscuits ran out they immediately began showing signs of recovery, and when all state benefits were banned in ’13 there was a wholesale revolution of the heart.”
“Necessity is the mother of invention?”
“And father.”
“Well…..Kate…..what can I say….”
My lips puckered up like those of a bizarre deepwater angler fish and I rushed with open arms towards my saviour, my heroine, my love…..
“Crack!”
Kate cleverly side-stepped my advance and landed a vicious chop to the back of my neck, sending me sprawling ignominiously to the deck.
“Sorry Steve, but that’s ancient history. You’re still too thin and your ears stick out. ‘Bye.”

And off she went, arm in arm with the Sergeant.

My kids gently led me from the room – they were now a good deal bigger than me, of course.
“I knew I was on a roll today” said Loo........

Re: Planet Halloween

PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:59 pm
by ethereal
Interesting story there and I wish you luck with your novel, however I am afraid I have had to remove it from the Halloween competition as it is...

A) Not about Halloween
B)3000 words over the maximum word count for the comp.

I am more than happy for you to have your self promotion here of course, and hope it brings you a few more readers... ;)
Oh, and welcome to the forum.