Sunday, August 5, 2012


By Nate/GSR:


“Oh, no.  Oh, no no no.  You’ve got to be kidding me,” moaned Jack as he stared in dismay into the back of the truck.

The deliveryman shrugged.   “Hey, I just deliver the stuff.  You want to complain, go talk to whoever put the order in in the first place.”

Jack groaned.  That would be him.  He was always rushing to get paperwork done; there was enough going on running a 7-11 that he didn’t need to sit down and spend hours of his day double-checking all the order forms. 

But then again, he thought as he stared at the two giant ice machines the deliveryman was now taking out on a palate, it wasn’t until you dropped an e from ‘Icee’ that you really appreciated the value of accuracy.


He stared morosely at the machines now sitting behind the counter (accompanied by a sign bearing a grinning polar bear – he’d been less than comforted that he’d gotten the spelling right on the order for the sign at least).   Wasn’t much to be done about it – he’d put a lot of the monthly budget into ordering these things, and the supplier was very particular that there be no refunds unless the machines could be demonstrated to be faulty upon delivery.  The scotch on the rocks he was now taking occasional gulps from was plenty proof that they weren’t.

Ice machines, then.  What could you do with ice machines? Well, you could make ice, for starters.  And then you could make more ice.  Maybe if you really put your mind to it, you could even make some ice.  Glumly, he flicked the switch on the front back and forth between cubed and shredded.  This wasn’t exactly going to be a hit with the customers; nobody needed ice when all your drinks came in 16-ounce bottles. 

Which left Jack with two big energy-hogging chunks of metal.  He sighed again and took another gulp.

The downside of running a 7-11 was that you didn’t have to be very creative to do it.


It was three days later, with a high of ninety degrees, when inspiration struck.  In this case, literally, against the side of the window on the side of the store, in the form of a weathered baseball.  He gave the requisite glare to the kids on the other side as they nervously darted over to the building to pick up their ball and return to their game, but his heart wasn’t in it; by then an idea had planted itself in Jack’s mind.

If you couldn’t sell butter, maybe you could sell guns.


He nodded with satisfaction as he pulled the lid off the old blender he’d never had much use for at home.  Pouring the results of his experiment out onto the counter, he set to work, packing and rolling the reformed ice in his hands.  A few seconds later, the finished result smacked against the back wall of the store with a satisfyingpluff.  He smiled.


When the kids next stopped by to pick up a stray ball, they took a detour inside and made a few purchases, tossing the gift from Jack’s ice machines back and forth playfully as they left.  Behind them, a painted-over Icee sign stood proud:



By Legolover-361:


The gunshot is still echoing in my head when the figure in my bedroom doorway falls with a thump.

I think I shot him. If I hadn’t, he’d be moving now. Right?

I only release how obvious that statement is a second after the initial explosion of emotion subsides. I’m sitting, I think; I can’t tell for sure through my thick jeans and numb legs. My pistol is still gripped in my right hand. It feels like ice. Deadly ice, like flash-freezing, like getting caught in a freezer—

Jon. Focus.

I breathe in deeply and, as I exhale, stand from behind the cover of my bed. The pistol weighs down on my arm like a fifteen-pound weight. I’m no weightlifter. I’m not even very fit.

The darkness of my bedroom and the adjoined hallway is broken only by the city lights streaming through my apartment’s windows. They’re multicolored, waxing, iridescent, waning; they illuminate the edges of the figure that now lies in the middle of my doorway.

I take a step, but I think the real Jon is on auto-pilot. He’s not used to controlling his own body, but I sure as heck aren’t going to do it. One cautious step leads to another, then two more, et cetera, as he — I — relearns how to walk.

But then, maybe I am still moving of my own accord.

The intruder lies facedown, his hands clasped over his chest. A bulls-eye. Reality brings me to my knees, and I pull one hand away to examine the damage.

A red stain is spreading across his no-sleeve shirt and into the carpet. Repulsed, I return the hand to its former position. His grizzled head moves a little, but he otherwise makes no reply. He is, after all, dead.

Now what?

Call the cops, I think. That’s what I was supposed to do in the first place. Except, he’d been there, and I had kept a pistol under my bed for such an emergency, and my exhilaration had been demanding...

My heart thrums in an up-tempo rhythm as I dial nine-one-one. Dial tone. Pause. Click. Calm female voice: “This is nine-one-one; what’s your emergency?”

My voice is shaky, but I manage to say, “I — I, uh, there was an intruder, and — could you send someone here? — I shot him in self-defense, he was coming in my room, I didn’t know what else to do—”

I pause. The operator seems to understand. “I’m sending an officer over right away,” she assures me primly. “How many? — intruders, I mean. Just the one?”

“Uh. Yeah.”


“Twenty-Fifth Street. Lobos Apartment Complex. I’m Jonathan — uh, Jonathan Dempsey.”

“Right,” she says. “Please hold.”

I put the phone beside its mount and stare at it for a long while. I blink. Now I’m looking at the man in the doorway again. No, don’t, Jon. Stop it. You did it already; it’s over; let it be.

Horror. I feel sick. I ended a life; is this how killing feels? It’s a sour aftertaste.

But there’s something else. The intruder’s face floats back into my mind to the background noise of a conversation I’d had with Ken Durante, my immediate neighbor and friend:

“Yo, man, going out tonight. Won’t be back till late."

Oh, God.

Feeling sick, I rush to the man and make excuses along the way. I just want to look at his face and reassure myself. I’m just a little afraid and need a confidence boost, is all. When I near him, my relatively clear mind interprets the body as reeking of alcohol and something unidentifiable but faint. Drugs?

I turn his ice-cold body over and somehow, through my crystal-clear recognition of his face, make a mental note to clean the carpets as soon as possible. My suddenly profuse tears aren’t enough to rid them of the bloodstain.


By John/55555:

Cold Venom

My feet are cold. It is the slow freezing, it is the beginning.

The iciness spreads, i have seen it many times in my patients in the see dark days. It spreads from wherever it begins, sometimes in the hand, sometimes the legs, sometimes the head or chest. Those are the quick ones. First the freezing pain, then comes a frightening numbness.

After this the victims lose consciousness, and this is when, I believe, they die. And begin their living death.

No one really knows where the Cold Arachnids came from, but it was very far from here. Long legs, long fangs, still as the earth they camouflage themselves against, and fast as straight lightning.

I have seen many of their bites, and many of their victims. Often and often I have tried to stem the tide of the freezing, never have I been successful. Pain, death, and worst of all 'resurrection' are the crooked path of these unfortunate souls. They clumsily serve their poisoners until they die again.

And now here I am, trying yet another remedy against the venom. I have kept careful track of the results of every cure I've attempted, many desperate, few hopeful. I have recorded my latest attempt, and will record the symptoms as they come. I apologize if this document is found unfinished.


By Andrew/Velox:


He shuffled nervously forward, wringing his hands together and constantly looking side to side. Armed men stood sporadically spaced out along the walls beside him, standing perfectly still yet ready to start shooting at a second’s notice.

He stumbled, tripping on a crack in the stone floor. His face hit the ground hard, and blood began pooling out of his nose. He let loose a whimper of pain before one of the two men behind him grabbed him by the collar and forced him back up.

“Move,” he said softly but sternly. The anxious man walked forward again, shaking. One of the guards behind him shoved him forward when he walked too slowly. He was falling. Falling toward the ground again, but caught himself, staggering forward before walking “normal” again, still shaking and nervous.

The large hallway seemed to last forever. He pleaded inwardly that he wouldn’t die today, even though he knew the chances of getting back out alive were slim. He prayed to a god he didn’t believe in – tried anything that might help. But he knew it was hopeless.

When at last he came to the long corridor, a final two guards stood on either side of a wooden door. As he approached, one turned and opened it, allowing them to pass. The doorway spread into a large room, and in the center stood a single man dressed in an expensive black suit. Another sentry stood on the far right.

He didn’t want to enter, but the push with the butt of the guard’s gun behind him sent his feet moving again. As soon as he and the two guards entered, the door slammed shut behind him. He jumped and was shoved forward once again.

He approached the well-dressed man as slowly as he could, having to forcefully control his body to keep moving when his mind told him to stop.

“P-please, please,” he begged, “don’t kill me. I-I d-didn’t know!”

“Shut up,” one of the guards behind him said as he kicked him to his knees.

“M-my wife, my k-kids!” he sobbed, his head downward toward the floor and shaking back and forth. “They can’t survive without me.” His face was wet with sweat and tears, dripping down onto the cold stone before him.

After seemingly ages, the well-dressed man spoke. “You won’t make that mistake again.”

“No, no, I won’t, I swear!” But it wasn’t a question.

“No, you won’t,” the cartel leader said before putting a bullet through the man’s head. His heart was ice.  


By Caleb/Cederak:

Only Us

Claire sat on her front deck, staring up at half a moon. She took another sip of the drink in her hand, letting the ice gently meet her lips as the taste of strawberry and vodka mingled with her taste buds. A few feet away, a young man approached. Claire was two years his senior, a difference they were comfortable with. As he stared down at her, the moonlight glistening in his emerald eyes, he offered his hand.

"Adrian, I told you I'm not much of a dancer," Claire said shyly, hinting a smile.

"You also told me you wanted to dance beneath the moonlight," Adrian replied. "Well, we're here. Now. So please, dance with me, if only briefly."

Claire reached for his hand, hesitant at first, getting to her feet as Adrian pulled her up. She pressed her head against his chest, listening to the steady beat of Adrian's heart. "You have a strong heart. It's…loud."

Adrian chuckled. "It's yours."

Claire smiled, staring at the moon as she and Adrian began to sway in a circle. She was dancing. Nothing terribly intricate, but dancing nonetheless.

"When did you know you loved me?" she asked.

Adrian kept their pace as he thought about the question, moving them gracefully to the sound of the cicada harmonies and cricket choruses. "When I longed for sleep to come at night…knowing it was you I wanted to dream of. And now…it's like a dream come true."

"Our dream, Adrian," Claire said, taking his head in her hands and slowly, carefully kissing him. "One we can live each day. It's only us, love. And I wouldn't have it any other way."


By Aimee/Aderia:


Do you hate me?

I’ve only ever heard you speak six words, so I don’t know you. And you don’t know me.

But those words, spat from your mouth with such vehemence, left no room for doubt.

“Get this trash out of here.”

Am I wrong to hate you in return? You weren’t talking about me, I wasn’t the ‘trash’ you were referring to, although, I may as well have been. That day, I didn’t learn about anti-abortion campaigns. I learned about the world outside my world.

A day in the capitol is all I had expected upon opening my eyes only hours ago and rolling out of bed. I’d hopped on a bus with relatives and friends, looking forwards to a day where I would join hundreds of thousands of unknown friends and exercise our right to assemble and voice our opinions.  

It was cold and it was rainy. I remember not being able to feel my feet, it was so cold.

You and I may be important in this story, but my brother, my dear and little brother, barely out of the fourth grade, plays the pivotal role in this tale. His hands were frozen in his thin gloves around cardboard protest sign. I vaguely remember him hugging it to his chest, probably in an effort to conserve heat on that dreary February day. 

He  and I, we made our way to the nearest building. There was a pile of signs much like the one I was clutching, outside. They were prohibited beyond the door. In my rush to get him out of the icy cold, the pile of signs evaded our notice.

I was prying one of his hands away from his sign, trying to warm it with my breath, when you showed up.

You should not even be in my story. But now you are my story.  

We were standing in the storefront, barely even through the door. I saw you in my peripheral vision, and before I could even shift my attention fully to you, I heard your six words.

“Get this trash out of here.” You didn’t bother to hide your spite. Not even for my brother's sake.

I still remember the fear, the confused and real fear, in his eyes as he looked from you and your angry words to me, desperately trying to understand what was now happening.

I didn't even know what had been happening until you had shoved us back through the door into the drizzling cold. I almost lost my footing on the icy sidewalk. I remember that detail because that's when I saw the pile of abandoned protest signs. Then everything made sense to me.

Execept it didn't. What's so bad about wanting life to go on in the world? Was it worth kicking two kids back outside to freeze for the sake of a two by two foot cardboard sign? Do you feel tough now?

I hope you realize you shattered my brother's world. He is young and lives in a world of books and love and innocence. Sure, he'd have to learn about the cruel world and the heartless people one day. But the fact that you were the one to introduce him to the real world, and in the manner that you did, it earned you my hate. I spent the two hour bus ride back home that evening sitting next to him, and trying to explain how everyone was different, and some people, as horrible as it may sound, are a very bad kind of different.

Maybe I'm being over the top about you, and this whole thing.

But maybe I'm not.

It's a matter of opinion, I think. And everyone is different.


By Grant-Sud:

Not Too Cold

"So, strawberry huh?"

"Double scoop please!" I heard Marie tell the bored ice cream worker behind the stand. This Ice Cream girl has curly blond hair, is an older teenager and wears way too much eye makeup. She's kinda good looking, but in that self important way. She has one hand near her pocket, and I swear I can see the glow of her cell phone.

"Right, double scoop of strawberry, and I'll have ... pistachio? Yeah, pistachio please," I say, reaching into my own pockets to scrap together the few dollars I have.

"Double scoop also?" the teen asks.

"Yeah, that'll be fine."

Marie looks over at me and smiles and grabs my shoulder and then shakes it intensely, all in like, two seconds.

I'm kind of looking away from her and feel a little nervous, since we've only been dating for two weeks. Or, wait has it been three already?

Our relationship is starting to get serious.

"It's gonna be ten dollars and ... sixty six cents." The girl is squinting at the cash register, like the numbers are some foreign language.

I blink though when I hear the cost.

Looking down at the dollars I've assembled into my hand, I do a quick count and find I'm about a dollar short. Sighing, I place hand up to the back of my neck and mumble to my girlfriend, asking if she has any money. The boy is always supposed to have enough money for the date, just in case, right? I don't know if I'm doing this right.

Marie though is already shifting through her purse, moving past her cell, iPod, makeup and whatever else girls carry around in their bags to pull out a crisp five dollar bill, like new. She hands the fin to the cashier, and receives the change.

We get our ice cream in the next few minutes, and somehow I feel like I've been ripped off, because these scoops are less than a pathetic snow ball in size. We move into the booth next to the window, where traffic is screaming past on the road and people walk toward their next destination to fill their unfulfilled day.

"Here," Marie says with a mouth full, having taken a bite - not a lick, a bite- out of her ice cream. "Here's what I owe you."

I blink as I stare at the change.


"Yeah, the change, you paid for almost all of it." She looks slightly disappointed as she says that, but there's appreciation in her eyes too I think. I guess I seem important. The boyfriend who bought her the double scoop of strawberry ice cream which I know is her favorite.

"Thanks," I reply.

"You feel okay? You seem a little distracted," she says to me, watching me intently.

"Yeah, I'm okay. I'm just wondering..." But I stop suddenly, realizing that despite the annoying little traits I keep finding, from the loud cars, to the pieces of gum under our table and that annoying girl who stands there all day and doesn't care while right behind all that ice cream, don't matter too much. Because I'm, with a good friend, who's just happy if I enjoy my desert.

"I mean, I'm thinking, that we should do this again next week," I tell her. And despite being a little chilly right now on the inside, my attitude glows for the rest of the day.

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