Monday, December 30, 2013

Darkening Sturgeons: Chapter Twenty-Five

My blog fiction continues...

Chapter Twenty-Five

by John L. Harmon

    Eugene Raymond Stickler, quite unscathed, physically, bellows with unmitigated fury as his old and new scientific technology erupts in sparks and flames.  Sheriff Benjamin Straker continues to aim and fire his empty gun until his Chief Deputy snaps him out of it.

    “Okay, Ben, you’ve raged against the machines.  Now let’s get the hell out of here before this place blows!”

    “Yes,” Ben agrees, as if just waking up, “I need to see.”  He shoots a glance at the now dead television monitor, pivots and exits the growing chaos of the laboratory.

    Clyde begins to follow but is stopped by Christine.  “What about Stickler?”  The swelling noise drowns out his aggressively blunt answer, but she gives an understanding nod at the intense expression on his face.  She nearly follows the Chief Deputy out before realizing her co-worker has yet to depart this dangerous scene.

    Samuel, standing perfectly still, studies Eugene Raymond Stickler’s futile attempts to gain control over the uncontrollable inferno.  Even a fire extinguisher has little to no effect on the burning equipment.  The notion of all of this technology, all of this genius, wasted on a nefarious, destructive scheme has a life-altering effect on the young doctor.  He rips off his labcoat, having placed the debatably effective black gadget into a white pocket, and flings the physical representation of his life into the licking flames.

    Christine, respecting this silent, emotional decision, grabs his arm and as a team they run.  Through the narrow hallway, as sizzling, metallic popping echoes after them.  Through the unimportant living area, as a steady rumbling begins under foot.  Into the entryway, where Sam grabs a forgotten item on their way to the assumed safety of outdoors.

    The afternoon sun is blinding but they keep running along the forgotten gravel drive, past the unkempt shrubs.  Ahead of them is Clyde exiting the not-so-rusted massive gate, glancing over his shoulder to check if they are following.  They are and they do, out the gate and into the woods as the sound of multiple explosions rock the air.
Click CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX to conclude.

Until next year, Readers, be well and Freak Out,

Monday, December 23, 2013

Darkening Sturgeons: Chapter Twenty-Four

My piece of blog fiction continues...

Chapter Twenty-Four

By John L. Harmon


    One word.  One deep, deliberate word slams against Sheriff Benjamin Straker like a cannonball, but he takes a cue from its speaker, keeping the painful reaction hidden deep inside.  Deep inside, where he already knows the answer to his next question, but he must be certain.

    “Gone where?”

    “Lester Lawrence has joined Bob Kinney, the perverted Schroder boy, and many other residents of Sturgeons in oblivion.”  For a microscopic moment, the matter-of-fact expression of Eugene Raymond Stickler twitches into delight.

    Ben registers this delight, but, while keeping his gun aimed, refrains from pulling the trigger.  No matter how tempting it is.  Instead he fires yet another question.  A question he has a visual answer to, but not a verbal explanation.


    “My collection.”

    “Your what?” fires Christine, as her attention is drawn away from the surrounding scientific technology.

    “Gnats,” Eugene Raymond Stickler answers simply, with a proud, nearly fatherly glint in his eyes.  “Genetically and cybernetically altered gnats that can swim, swarm and devour at my command, to be precise.”

    “But…” Samuel joins the conversation, struggling to find words after such a massively bizarre explanation, “…our readings indicate natural energy, atmospheric even, but cybernetics would…”

    Before Sam can continue, a wide, knowing smile creeps across the face of Eugene Raymond Stickler, sufficiently stifling his voice.  It becomes obvious to those paying attention that there is more going on than what is being said.

    Questions develop in this moment of silent stillness.  Scientific queries occur to Christine and Sam, while only one word forms in Ben’s mind.  One word born of emotion…why…but before it can be asked, Clyde inadvertently answers it with barely a whisper.

    “Ben, look at this.”

    The television monitor, which Clyde has been entranced with since entering this laboratory, becomes the center of attention, causing the Sheriff to turn away from Stickler and lower his gun.  On the flat, wide screen, images of buildings from various positions and angles flash before their astonished eyes.

    It is disturbing enough for Ben to realize that Stickler has the whole town wired, but then the truth becomes far worse.  He sees the darkness—Stickler’s so-called collection—enveloping and laying waste to Sturgeons.

    “I have always hated this town,” Eugene Raymond Stickler states dispassionately.

    Sheriff Benjamin Straker steadily turns, aims and fires his gun until all that remains is empty clicking.
Click CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE to continue.

Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out,


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Darkening Sturgeons: Chapter Twenty-Three

After a brief sci-fi holiday break, my continuing blog fiction continues...


Chapter Twenty-Three

by John L. Harmon

    “Too late for what, Stickler?” Chief Deputy Clyde Woodhouse demands as he steps up beside his superior, confronting his childhood boogeyman face-to-face.

    “I see there is no need for introductions,” Eugene Raymond Stickler half chuckles in his deep, deliberate tone.

    Sheriff Benjamin Straker, eyes locked with the seemingly refined gentleman, formulates his own question.  Working back to Lawrence resigning and then his empty house, to now with the parked moving van and Stickler mentioning the former sheriff’s name, it all adds up to one thing for Ben.  “Where is Lester Lawrence?”

    Not even a flicker of recognition or fear passes over the face of Eugene Raymond Stickler, as if nothing can faze him.  “I see you’ve been through quite an ordeal to get here,” referring to Ben’s disheveled clothes, “so, perhaps you should all come inside.”  He turns around with the expectation to follow, “For I have nothing to hide anymore.”

    The law enforcement duo enter first, followed closely behind by the scientific duo.  A comfortable entryway greets them, complete with a coatrack and numerous shelves and pegs for shoes, purses, and the like.  Their guide, after silently motioning for Ben to relegate the beige hat of Lawrence to a peg, takes them through to an expansive living area full of ornate fixtures and paintings.  All of which are dusty, neglected, and deemed unimportant to the owner.

    Eugene Raymond Stickler begins a deep, deliberate explanation of sorts as they continue to walk through the living area.  He mentions how Lester Lawrence, while no genius, managed to connect the dots from his yearbook.

    “How did you change the color of that sturgeon, if you don’t mind me asking?” Dr. Samuel Dwyer interrupts, aching to know the answer.

    “It was all merely smoke and mirrors,” their guide answers matter-of-factly, “but it impressed the hell out of those judges.”

    Samuel nudges up his glasses, feeling rather disappointed at the mundane answer.  A quick glance at Dr. Christine Abernathy’s smirking face shows she assumed as much.

    “Yet, that trick inspired me,” Eugene Raymond Stickler continues, entering a long, narrow hallway.

    “But where is Lawrence?” Ben asks again, determined for an answer.

    “He came here all in a tizzy about the disappearance of Bob Kinney, swearing he had never heard of such a thing, that is, until he remembered my little science fair project.”

    “You are not answering my question, Mr. Stickler.”

    “Oh, but I am Sheriff Straker,” he states with an air of familiarity, proving there was truly no need for introductions.  “Lester Lawrence demanded to know what was happening, so I told him…and showed him.”

    As if he designed the scene for added punch, Eugene Raymond Stickler opens a door at the end of the hallway and escorts them into a room.  A massive room that can be best described as a laboratory with an impressive television monitor to one side.  He stops in the center and proudly turns to gage his expected guests’ reactions.

    Christine and Sam stare in awe over the mixture of old and new scientific technology surrounding them.  Clyde is in a near trance-like state staring at the familiar scenes flashing on the television monitor.  Ben, without taking his eyes away from Stickler, swiftly pulls out his gun, clicks off the safety, aims and fires a question.

    “For the last time, where is Lawrence?”
Click CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR to continue.

Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

'Twas the (Whovian) Night Before Christmas

This is a little something I cobbled together a couple of years ago for family and friends.  I thought it appropriate to dust it off and put it out there for others to enjoy, especially with the upcoming regeneration. 
'Twas the (Whovian) Night Before Christmas

or A Visit from St. Nicholas
by Clement Clarke Moore

(with some doctoring by John L. Harmon)

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the flat
not a creature was stirring, not even a Cybermat.
The Daleks were hiding by the chimney with care,
in hopes that the Doctor soon would be there.
The kitties were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of canned food danced in their heads.
And Sister in her nightgown, and I in my sweats,
had just settled our brains for a long winter's breath.
When out on the lawn there arose such a wheezin’,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the reason.
Away to the window I swam like a bass,
tore open the curtains, and pressed my nose to the glass.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should show,
but a rackety blue box and eight companions in tow.
With an old/young driver, so lively and odd,
I knew in a moment it must be a Time Lord.
More rapid than yeti, his coursers they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
"Now Ian! Now Barbara!
Now, Zoe and Jamie!
On, Tegan! On, Turlough!
On, Rory and Amy!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now Zig-Zag! Zig-Zag!
Zig-Zag Plotter all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
with a TARDIS full of rooms, and the Doctor too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the grinding and wheezing of each materialization poof.
As I withdrew my head and was turning around,
down the chimney the Doctor came with a bound.
He was dressed like a geek, from his head to his foot,
and his suspenders were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of alien gadgets he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll big chin was drawn up with a bow-tie,
and the fez on his head was the color of strawberry pie.
The stump of a sonic screwdriver he held tight in his teeth,
and the light it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a long face and very little belly,
but it shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of Jelly Babies.
He was tall and thin, a right goofy Time Lord,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his fez
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
neutralizing all the Daleks, then turned with a smirk.
And laying his sonic screwdriver aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his TARDIS, to his companions gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he dematerialized out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Whovian night!"
Farewell 11...
Click LIBRARY for more adventures in space and time.

Be well and Freak Out,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Darkening Sturgeons: Chapter Twenty-Two

Another week, another chapter of my blog fiction...

Chapter Twenty-Two

by John L. Harmon

    “I know Old Man Stickler came from a wealthy background,” Chief Deputy Clyde Woodhouse muses, as he peers through the massive gate, “but I’ve always imagined him living in a crazy person’s shack.”

    “He can definitely afford to be crazy,” Dr. Christine Abernathy opinions with just the right touch of levity.

    Beyond the tall, ominous, rusted metal gate stands a somewhat rundown home that still puts all other homes in Sturgeons to shame.  Some may call it a large house.  Some may call it a mansion.  Some may even call it a fortress.  No matter what the accurate description is, the structure remains impressive.

    Made of red brick, it towers at four floors high.  On areas doused with heavy sunlight, for there are no trees in close proximity to the home, vines creep unadulterated up the bricks.  On generally shaded sides moss has struck a homestead claim.  Solid bars frame every window and a few of the multitude of windows have plywood for glass.  To top it all off, the roof has seen better days and the remnant of a massive chimney peers out of one side.

    “We’ve wasted enough time,” Sheriff Benjamin Straker announces, moving to the front and pushing on the gate.

    The heavy rusted metal parts in two, splitting the large ‘S’ down the middle.  Ben slips inside and faces the others.  Dr. Samuel Dwyer enters next, surprised how easily the gate opened.

    “It appeared rusted shut.”

    “This gate is used more often than it looks,” Ben suggests and then points at a tire track.  “See.”

    “Are we really going to just blunder into who knows what?” Clyde asks, as he hesitantly enters.

    “This is where the last energy reading occurred and we all have a need to investigate,” Christine responds, as she joins the others.

    “Dr. Abernathy is right, Clyde, and there isn’t time to strategize.”  With that, Ben adjusts the beige hat of Lawrence and heads for the Stickler Family home.  The others follow close behind.

    Between the gate and the front door are a few unkempt shrubs and sporadic areas of a forgotten gravel drive.  Nothing bizarre or unusual is seen until Ben notices the moving van parked way off to the side.  It is a peculiar sight and one that fills him with nameless dread.  Before he can think too much about it, they reach the front door, and it is slowly opening.

    An older gentleman, with a shock of pepper hair, steps out, dressed in a brown pinch-back suit.  His voice is deep and deliberate, “Lawrence said there would be others, but I am afraid you are too late.”
Click CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE to continue.

Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Darkening Sturgeons: Chapter Twenty-One

My continuing piece of blog fiction, well, continues...

Chapter Twenty-One

by John L. Harmon

    “This is Straker,” Ben answers the cell without checking the incoming information.  Initially his ear is met with static, but quickly a determined voice sporadically struggles through the crackling interference.

    “—slie Johns checking in to—eed of assista—”

    “Leslie,” the Sheriff speaks loudly, “you’re breaking up.  Please repeat.”

    Officer Leslie Johns appears to have not heard his instructions.  “—eadquarters with Joe—what to d—”

    “Leslie, can you hear me?”

    “Norris and Cartwri—down—all others—pletely abandon—”

    Listening to his churning gut, Sheriff Benjamin Straker shouts into the electronic chaos, “Officer Johns, take Joe and vacate Sturgeons immediately!  That is an order!”

    Silence greets him as the call is unceremoniously dropped.

    “What’s going on, Ben?” Clyde quietly inquires.

    Ben slowly shoves his cell deep into a pocket.  “I’m not completely sure.  Leslie is at Headquarters and from what I could make out…”  He shakes his head in disbelief.

    “What is it?”

    “Officers Norris and Cartwright have been injured or worse.”

    “Should we go back?”

    Ben, listening to his churning gut once more, answers with somewhat faltering bravery, “No, Clyde, we need to push forward.”

    Samuel and Christine give each other a helpless look, uncertain of what to say, and then turn in unison.  Clyde gives Ben a silent nod and they continue to follow.  All conversation concerning the yearbook and the strange science fair project is put aside as the four walk through the densest part of Stickler Woods.

    Clyde focuses on nothing in general as he mentally kicks himself.  He feels a fool for allowing the thought of Old Man Stickler to bother him so while Officers Norris, Cartwright, and Johns were dealing with real troubles.

    Christine stares stoically ahead, while inside she struggles.  She could see the fear and pain in Clyde at the tragic news of his colleagues.  This surprisingly complex Chief Deputy touches something inside of her once again, only deeper and stronger this time.

    Samuel nudges up his black frames and focuses on the destination shown on the gadget in his hands.  Since there is no bandage for the emotional pain Benjamin is experiencing, this is the only thing he can do for him at the moment.  To arrive at the last recorded location of the energy reading as quickly as possible.

    Ben keeps his head down, looking at the ground beneath him.  An evacuated town, citizens lost, Officers down…it is too much to think about.  Keeping eyes on the earth stabilizes him and soon gives him something else to dwell on.

    He notices that they are now walking on a trail of some sort.  Not a hiking trail, more like a forgotten or disused road.  The most fascinating aspect of this overgrown road is the fairly fresh tire tracks that have been imbedded in the sporadic areas of dirt.

    “We’re here,” Samuel announces, as the scientific duo comes to a halt.

    Before them stands a tall, ominous, rusted metal gate with a large ‘S’ at its center.
Click CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO to continue.

Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out...