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The Skeleton Man
By Adam McCully
“Alright boys and girls we’re a few miles out of Walpi Village. Couple of things we gotta go over before we get there.” Tim, the driver, spoke to his group of student teachers in the back as his Volkswagen Van bounced unforgivingly along the harsh mountain road.
“Tim, what is this our fourth time through this? Do we really need these little pep talks before every stop?” Said Chris, one of the student teachers. Chris wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to teach. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to do anything. He was a trust fund baby, but his father insisted that he get a real job if he wanted to receive his fair share of the family fortune and teaching seemed an easy route to him.
“Look man, this is different. I don’t wanna freak you guys out but this place is way off the fuckin’ radar ya know? Like back to the Stone Age and shit. They don’t like outsiders and the only reason we’re going in is because the Reservation Council insisted we spend a week teaching these little feather heads about the outside world.”
Tim had been a high school biology teacher for a few years but his excessive use of the words “fuck” and “shit” along with his fondness for THC had him seeking employment elsewhere. Shortly after he “resigned” he signed up to work with the REA (Reservation Education Association), and truth be told he felt more comfortable there. College girls were much more legal than the ones in high school.
As Tim went through his spiel on the dos and don’ts of dealing with the Hopi Villagers the only one really paying attention was Megan Myers, Meg she preferred. Of the four student teachers, Meg was the only one that took this assignment seriously. It had been, after all, her idea that the group spent their last semester traveling around Arizona and teaching at various Hopi reservations.
Megan had two great passions in her life, volleyball and teaching. At first it was only volleyball. She’d been awarded a full athletic scholarship to Arizona State University and even been picked to play on the Olympic team in 2012. Unfortunately a few torn ligaments in her knee ended her volleyball career quite abruptly. Now she focused on her teaching. She wasn’t bitter. She viewed it as a new opportunity. A simple life of teaching high school history and coaching volleyball sounded just perfect to her. She took on the task of teaching with the same voracity that she had with volleyball. Always looking to go above and beyond what was expected of her, hence, the student teaching at Native American Reservations.
The rest of the group went along with Meg’s idea for different reasons. Quinn, Megan’s boyfriend, knew how passionate Meg could be and realized he didn’t have much of a choice. If he didn’t want to spend a whole semester away from his girlfriend then he would have to tag along. A fellow athlete, Quinn had shared Meg’s passion for sports, but not for teaching. He just wanted to coach baseball and have his summers free.
The only other girl, Ashley, had been Meg’s best friend since the two girls shared a dorm together freshman year. Ashley had developed a sort of unhealthy dependency on Meg. Hanging out with such a wholesome girl made her feel better about her less than wholesome lifestyle. Chris had come along because he wanted to get with Ashley and thought four months away from any frat boys or jocks might improve his chances. He was wrong.
As Tim pulled his van around a tight corner the students got their first glimpse of Walpi Village. They’d been doing this for about two months now and all the Hopi villages they’d visited had a sort of cultural blending theme. The men wore blue jeans and band T-shirts while they performed their traditional ceremonies. The pueblos had satellite dishes on their roofs. Walpi Village was nothing like that. As they crossed the stick fence that signified the border of the village, they felt as though they were stepping back in time. The first thing they noticed, since dusk was rapidly approaching, was that there was no electricity whatsoever. The only light came from the fires and torches that bathed the whole village in an orange glow.
As they pulled in and got unpacked they instantly saw what Tim was talking about. Most of the Hopi Villagers ignored them. Those that did acknowledge them did so with scowls. Tim talked with the village elder who pointed out where the group would be staying, two tents set up a good distance outside of the village. This was going to be a long week.
The next morning the group set to work. Chris and Ashley were in charge of the five to ten year old group while Quinn and Meg taught the older boys and girls of the village. There weren’t any children there over the age of sixteen.
The first thing Meg noticed about her group of students was how small it was, five students in total. Too small, even for a tiny village like Walpi. She judged based on the number of people she had seen the night before that about three quarters of the village’s population had kept their children at home that day. She understood. The Hopi people had their own traditions. She wasn’t there to force Western Civilization down anyone’s throats. She was only there to help.
“Ms. Myers,” one of her students asked her, “what’s it like out there-beyond the village? Is it better than here?”
“No, not better,” she responded. “Busier, but not better. There are a lot more people, all different kinds of people, all living together. People out there are always rushing. Everyone seems to be in a hurry all the time.” After thinking about it Meg could see the benefits of living a quiet secluded life up high in the mountains, although she was shocked to learn that many of the children had never left the village. “I think that’s enough for today kids. Why don’t you run on home?”
Megan began packing up her things when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around to see Cha’Tima, a sweet boy around the age of fifteen. Tall for his age, and a bit awkward, the pockmarks and pimples on his face showed he was having a difficult time going through puberty.
“I picked these for you this morning,” said Cha’Tima as he handed her a beautiful bouquet of purple and gold desert wildflowers.
“Thank you Cha’Tima! That was very sweet.”
“I just wanted to tell you…well I think…I think you’re very beautiful.” His cheeks flushed red and he ran off embarrassed. Megan was getting used to this. She never considered herself beautiful, cute maybe, but many of the boys on these reservations had never seen a white girl. She was something different, and whether she knew it or not she was very beautiful.
Despite the initial hostility towards the group, the people of Walpi Village were beginning to warm up to them. Each day more and more students joined the classes and on the fourth day they were all invited to witness a traditional Hopi ceremony.
“The Snake Dance,” said Meg. “Isn’t that what it’s called?”
“That’s right,” said Cha’Tima. “I’m impressed. I didn’t think anyone outside the Hopi tribe knew about the Snake Dance.” Meg just blushed and watched the ceremony begin. Cha’Tima explained, “We pray for rain and the snakes carry our prayers back to the gods.” It was a beautiful ceremony, if not a little unnerving. It started with a dance around a huge bonfire by the men of the village. They wore eagle-feathered headdresses and hand woven cotton blankets. After this the priests came out. There were four of them altogether, each carrying two rattlesnakes. The rattling of the snake’s tails added to the beat of the drums to create an almost hypnotic rhythm. The priests placed the snake’s heads into their open mouths as they continued to chant their prayer for rain. Meg was sure she was going to see someone die that night, but she didn’t dare interrupt. Tim, who was sitting next to the Chief with Ashley enjoying a long drag on the peace pipe, had specifically warned against this.
The ceremony was short, lasting only about an hour. Afterwards Meg went to look for Ashley but couldn’t find her anywhere.
“She went off with Tim, out into the desert,” said Chris. “What the hell is wrong with her going out there with a creep like Tim? He’s gotta be almost forty.”
“Dude, he’s early thirties at the most.”
“Shut up Quinn! Nobody asked you!”
Quinn was a big and overly proud. He didn’t like being talked to like that by anybody, much less a spoiled rotten little punk like Chris.
“Listen motherfucker, Ashley doesn’t want anything to do with you. She thinks your weird and she’s tired of you hitting on her.”
“I said shut up!” Chris pushed Quinn hard, but only moved his large frame back an inch or so. Quinn’s eyes went red. His balled his fists and was about to draw back when the uncomfortable silence was broken by a shrill scream.
“That sounded like Ashley!” said Meg.
“Masauwu.” Whispered one of the old priests sitting behind the group cross-legged on the dirt. Nobody seemed to notice him until he spoke.
“Masa-what? What’s he saying?” Quinn said to Cha’Tima.
“Masauwu, the Skeleton Man.” Cha’Tima replied. His eyes wandered out towards the sound of the scream.
“Who the fuck is the Skeleton Man?” asked Chris.
The old priest began to speak in the Hopi language. Cha’Tima translated.
“The Skeleton Man is the spirit of death. He guards the door to the fifth world. He watches over the Hopi people and, when called upon, takes vengeance upon their enemies.”
“Do you think she’s in danger?” Asked Meg.
“Only of catching the clap,” said Chris, still pouting.
“Chris, that’s Ashley out there!”
“Look Meg,” said Quinn, “as much as I hate to agree with Chris I think Ashley’s safe. If we went out there looking for them we’d just end up getting lost.”
“But that scream.“
“Haven’t you ever heard a coyote babe? They can sound an awful lot like a chick, especially a chick with a high-pitched voice like Ashley’s. I’m sure Tim and Ashley are right outside the village getting stoned right now.”
“I don’t know, something just doesn’t feel right.”
“Look, if they’re not back by tomorrow morning, which they will be, we can head out with a guide to look for them okay? Let’s just go to bed. Why don’t you come sleep with me tonight?”
“No, no I’ll be fine. I’m gonna wait up a little longer for Ashley.”
The disappointment on Quinn’s face was quite obvious. “Alright fine. Well g’nite sweetheart. I’m telling you everything’s fine.” Quinn kissed Meg on the forehead and trudged off to bed alone. Chris followed him shortly after. Meg waited up as long as she could for Ashley. She fell asleep next to the fire. When she awoke the next morning and checked around the village, Ashley and Tim were nowhere to be found.
Meg woke the boys and they agreed to go out and look for the missing members of their group. Cha’Tima agreed to be their guide.
“I know the land better than anybody I swear!” He said a little too enthusiastically. “I can help, really I can.” With none of the other villagers offering to help they really had no choice.
Cha’Tima took them out of the village and down the mountain trail. He took them through canyons, past dried up riverbeds, and into dark caves. The group must have traveled twenty square miles over the course of the day but they’d seen no sign of Ashley or Tim. By the end of the day they were thoroughly exhausted and beginning to lose hope.
“Something bad happened,” Meg said tearing up a little. “Something really bad happened. We need to get to a phone and call the cops.”
Quinn tried to calm her down, “Okay, well head back into town tonight. Who knows they might be back at the village by now.”
That’s when the group realized that they could see no sign of the village in any direction. They couldn’t see much of anything out in the desert.
“Cha’Tima, we want to head back now, which way is it?” said Meg.
“Umm…it’s North, I think, but I can’t see the stars.” Night was setting in quickly but heavy clouds covered the night sky.
“Quit messing around Geronimo, take us back.” Said Chris.
“I-I don’t know the way. I’m sorry Meg, I’m really sorry.”
“Oh that’s great. Look you little shit,” Chris now had Cha’Tima by his shirt collar. “I’m not spending the night out in this fucking desert. You better figure out which way home is real quick.”
Cha’Tima’s eye went wide with horror, but not because of Chris. He was staring at the two dark figures approaching the group.
“Oh my God, is that?”
Ashley and Tim shuffled towards the group out of the darkness. Their clothes were gone and their naked bodies were smeared with filth. Their heads hung low and they both appeared to be sobbing.
“Ashley, oh my God what happened?” Meg ran up to her friend.
“No! Stay away, stay away from me. He wants you too. He wants all of us!”
“Ashley what are you talking about? Who wants us? What happened to you?” Meg asked.
“Run! Get the fuck outta here! Just run away please!” Tim screamed at them through choked back tears. Despite their pleas Ashley and Tim kept shuffling, zombie-like, towards their friends.
“Looks like you guys had a good time together,” said Chris. “Timmy my man, don’t think for a second I won’t be reporting you for this. Good luck finding a new job buddy.”
Just then Tim lunged on Chris and grabbed him around the throat with one hand.
“Tim what the fuck!” Quinn shouted as he tried to pry Tim’s grasp off of Chris’ neck.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” Tim sobbed. “I can’t control it. I can’t control my body! Just run! Get outta here!”
Before Quinn could listen Tim’s other hand reached up and snatched onto Quinn’s throat. With inexplicable strength the stark naked Tim lifted the two men high into the air and started walking off with them.
Meg was frozen in place as she watched the scene unfold. When she finally found the nerve to turn her head she saw that Ashley was already on top of her. Tears streamed down Ashley’s face. She was sobbing and choking and apologizing to Meg over and over again. Her arm shot out like a bullet and she clutched Meg’s long blond hair tightly between her fingers. With a quick yank she pulled Meg to the ground and dragged her off in the same direction as Tim. Every nerve in Meg’s scalp shot out in fiery pain and she was certain the top of her head would come off at any second. She twisted and kicked to get free but it only increased her agony. Ashley’s grip was so strong! She continued to fight for what seemed like hours as Ashley dragged her body over the harsh desert terrain and finally into a cave dimly lit by torchlight.
Meg prayed for the sweet release of unconsciousness, but it never came. She felt every agonizing inch of her journey until Ashley finally released her grip and dropped Meg on the floor of a large circular chamber deep within the cave. Meg got up on her hands and knees and surveyed her surroundings. There was a large bonfire in the center of the chamber. Quinn and Chris lay at Tim’s feet, unconscious but still breathing. Around the fire stood more people, twelve altogether. They were naked and covered in grime, just like Ashley and Tim, but their bodies were emaciated husks. Nothing more than skin stretched tightly over bone. Their hair was long and thing and grey. Their eyes were yellow and bloodshot.
“I’m so hungry,” Meg heard one woman cry. “I’m so tired and so very hungry.”
How long have these people been like this? Meg thought to herself.
Meg saw the only exit to the chamber behind her, guarded by three more of the walking skeletons. A long dark shadow was coming down the ramp that led to the cave’s entrance.
“The Skeleton Man,” Meg said to herself as she prepared to meet the evil face to face. But it was not the Skeleton Man, nor any other beast. Strolling casually down the ramp was Cha’Tima. Not the awkward boy Meg had met at the village. This was a confident young man bearing a wicked grin.
“My dear, sweet, Meg. I’m so happy you’re here.”
“Cha’Tima, you…you did this?”
“Oh no. I’m just a servant. This is the work of Masauwu.”
“That’s just a story Cha’Tima. He’s not real—“
“He’s real!” Cha’Tima shouted. Suddenly his face went red with anger “You white people think our beliefs are just stories, stupid silly little Indians and their stupid silly little stories. Your race is too young, too polluted to remember the old ways, the ways of magic, but you’ll see. He should be here very soon.”
Meg wasn’t going to stick around to find out. She started to get up, but before she could get to her feet Tim’s body came over and put a knee on Meg’s chest. She gasped harshly, expelling all the air from her lungs.
“What’s the matter you little shit?” Tim shouted to Cha’Tima as he put his full weight on top of Meg. “You can’t fight your own battles?”
Cha’Tima shot Tim an angry look and before he could say another word both of Tim’s hands shot up to his face and his fingers dug into the soft flesh of his eyelids. He plucked out his own eyeballs and threw them on the floor of the cave. Tim screamed out in agony as the dark red liquid streamed out of his empty eye sockets.
“Quiet.” Cha’Tima said. “Masauwu comes.”
Tim’s body pulled its knee off of Meg’s chest and she gasped for air. She rolled over just in time to see the dark doorway open right in the middle of the bonfire. Out of the darkness emerged an enormous figure. With one great leap he came through the doorway and landed on the cavern floor. He stood before Meg, grey mottled skin stretched tightly over an enormous skeletal frame. He wore a simple leather loincloth and a tattered dingy rag was wrapped around his large head. Two deep crimson stains hinted at vacant eye sockets underneath. Silvery wisps of hair covered his skull in patches and waved about like tendrils covering his face. This was the Skeleton Man.
Cha’Tima knelt down before him. “Masauwu, I have three more for you tonight.”
The Skeleton Man said nothing. With great strides he covered the distance over to where Quinn and Chris lay. Ashley and Tim picked the two men up by their shoulders and presented them to the Skeleton Man. Slowly, methodically, he unwrapped the bandage around his eyes. He placed a finger into each of his exposed eye sockets and when he pulled them out the tips were coated in a black tarlike substance. He inserted his bloody fingers into each of the boy’s mouths and, unconsciously, they swallowed. Their limp bodies suddenly became rigid, but their heads still hung loosely. Then they came after Meg.
Meg sprang up, trying to get away, but the boys were on her too quickly. Their heads bounced around on limp necks and Meg was certain she heard something snap. They tackled Meg and held her fast on the ground, face up. She saw the tall gangly frame of the Skeleton Man standing over her, his long finger already coated in another batch of putrid black blood. She tried to scream but a hoarse whisper was all she could manage.
“Masauwu, if I may,” Cha’Tima said humbly. “I have worked hard for you and, well, I have a request. Once you change this girl, let me have her, please. I will keep her in the village as my wife.”
The Skeleton Man, paused, seemingly thinking it over, then nodded in agreement.
“Thank you great spirit.”
Quinn and Chris forced their fingers into Meg’s mouth and pried her jaw open. The Skeleton Man’s hand hung above her face. With the black blood caked underneath a cracked brown fingernail he prepared to administer another batch of the poison. She felt it brush past her teeth and land upon her tongue. It had a texture like cottage cheese and tasted harsh and bitter like stomach acid. She twisted and wretched with all her might but it was no use. Eventually she swallowed the Skeleton Man’s blood.
Cha’Tima stood above her with a wicked grin. “Don’t worry Meg. You won’t have to live like the rest of these walking corpses. I’ll take care of you. I’ll feed you and bathe you and love your for as long as I live.” Then, as an after thought, “Of course once I die you’ll have to live like one of them, but until then be happy!”
Meg’s body rose, slowly. At first she said nothing, did nothing. Her head hung low, but when she raised it to look at Cha’Tima she was smiling. “You know, I have heard of the Skeleton Man before.” She started walking towards Cha’Tima. The smile vanished from his face. “How he is the protector of the Hopi people.” She kept walking towards him. “How he takes vengeance upon their enemies.” Closer and closer she came. “And most importantly how Masauwu cannot harm the Hopi people.” She stopped walking and stood inches away from Cha’Tima. “Do you know who told me these stories?” Meg leaned in and whispered in his ear. “My grandmother, a strong woman, a Hopi woman.” With that Meg stepped back and kicked Cha’Tima square in the chest sending him reeling backwards into the bonfire behind him.
A scream emerged from the flames as Cha’Tima tried to claw his way out of the fire. Pain flooded his mind and all rational thought was lost. He flayed around for several minutes, his cries becoming higher and higher until the fire melted his vocal chords. Shortly after that the flames took his life.
The Skeleton Man towered above Meg, looking indifferent. He glanced at here once before opening the doorway in the flames and walking through it. The corpses he controlled followed after him. Quinn and Chris were still unconscious, or maybe dead, Meg hoped they were. Tim followed them and last was Ashley. She turned her head as far around as she could and looked longingly at Meg before the doorway shut behind her. Deep down Meg knew there was nothing she could do for her friends.
Meg made her way out of the cave and wandered the desert for a day and a half, bloody and broken, before making it back to the village. She didn’t say a word to anyone, nor they to her. She simply got in the van and drove away.
Punxsutawney Circa 3030 A.D.
By Adam McCully
“Over here! We found another one,” shouted the young archeology student.
Dr. James Bower, Chief Archeology Professor at the University of New Pittsburgh, cleared a path for himself through the gathering crowd to get a closer look at the student’s find.
“My God, another one?” Dr. Bower asked, “What’s that bring the total up to now? Thirty-seven, thirty-eight.”
“Actually that’s thirty-nine now sir,” said Emily Wong. In public Ms. Wong was Dr. Bower’s brilliant young research assistant. In private however, she was Dr. Bower’s mistress, a secret not even his wife had yet discovered. The two spent the majority of their time together doing research, which gave them plenty of opportunities to explore more carnal ventures.
“What are these things?” Dr. Bower asked himself as he brushed some dust off of the recently unearthed sculpture. “Some sort of idol I’m assuming based on the number of similar artifacts we’ve found.”
Dr. Bower carefully excavated the remaining bits of earth off the artifact revealing its full form. It was a sculpture of some sort, approximately four feet in length and cracked in two decently well-preserved pieces. The sculpture resembled some sort of animal, but not one any of the archeologists had ever seen before. The creature stood on its hind legs with a short tail sprouting out behind them. It had two small furry arms, which it held, close to its chest. The animal’s head was enormous with equally large features, especially the teeth that were so big they appeared almost deformed. The entirety of the creature was covered in brown fur and it appeared to be smiling. The archeologists had been finding similar structures all over the dig site with only slight variations.
“Professor,” one of the younger students asked, “what are these clothes that the animal is wearing. Are they ceremonial?”
“Excellent question,” remarked Dr. Bower, “As you can see, many of these sculptures depict the creatures wearing clothes similar to the style worn by the area’s former inhabitants. Top hats, they called them along with bow ties and suits. These clothes served no actual function. The material would be too thin to protect the wearer from the elements. Rather, as you just stated correctly, they were purely ceremonial, worn by the priests of this culture. We’ve recently uncovered various historical documents in the area, which Ms. Wong translated, that talk about the “Inner Circle”, a group of men that ruled over these Punk-soo-tow-nians and whom claimed they could predict the future. According to the ancient texts these men were able to communicate with this ‘ground-hog’ who would reveal to them the secrets of all manner of things, although they seem to be obsessed with learning about future weather patterns, probably something to do with planting crops. Early civilizations such as this were simple and relied heavily on their agriculture.”
All the students nodded in enlightenment. Dr. Bower’s insight into the world of the past amazed them all.
“Dr. Bower, what is a ‘ground-hog’? Some sort of extinct animal perhaps?” asked Emily Wong.
“I would have to say no, based on the size of the sculptures, although who can know for sure. The only creature I can think of that somewhat resembles the animal would be the short tailed beaver, but it’s much smaller. Also the clothes and the supposed magic abilities lead me to believe it could have been some sort of advanced alien that visited this early race and taught them the basics of civilization.”
The group continued to dig throughout the day, uncovering even more “ground-hog” statues. No one could say for sure what the symbolism of the “ground-hog” really meant but one thing they could all agree on was that these Punk-soo-tow-nians were a very simple minded culture indeed.
By Adam McCully
June 1st 2016
Lt. Mike Dexter
Mission Day 91
Today marks our halfway point. Three months ago today, myself, Lt. James Gunn, and Cosmonaut Vladimir Korylenko took off from Kennedy Space Center and began our six-month mission aboard space station MX-13. We had a little party up here to celebrate but Korylenko was none too pleased with the non-alcoholic champagne. Smart move packing it though, a drunk Russian on a five billion dollar space station seems like a bad idea. All in all I’d classify this mission as successful. The experimentation we’ve done on zero-G plant growth has yielded extraordinary results. Seriously, you guys back home aren’t going to believe the size of these tomatoes! The Space Station itself is a little cramped for three people, but otherwise performing within satisfactory boundaries. We’re all starting to get a little stir crazy, but we knew that would happen eventually. Supposed to get a live feed from our families tomorrow. That should help to relieve some tension.
June 2nd 2016
Lt. Mike Dexter
Mission Day 92
Ran into a few problems today. Something went screwy with the video feed. Didn’t get to see our families but we could at least hear their voices. Strangely enough Korylenko didn’t want to talk to his. Gunn swears the Russian was messing with the feed, but I can’t see any reason why he would. Those two have hated each other since day one. Maybe putting them on a space station for six months wasn’t the best idea.
June 3rd 2016
Lt. Mike Dexter
Mission Day 93
More problems today as we lost the audio feed. We now have lost all forms of communication with home. Gunn’s working on the problem now, but swears our equipment looks fine. He accused Korylenko again. The Russian is getting more than a little agitated. I sent him for a space walk to see if he could find any problems outside. I’m going to need to think of something if I want to keep these two from killing each other.
June 4th 2016
Lt. Mike Dexter
Mission Day 94
Korylenko is dead. He never came back in from his space walk. He was only supposed to be out there for a half an hour. When he didn’t come back in I went to check on him through the observation portal. I didn’t see him outside so I reeled his tether back in. There was no one on the other end of it. I don’t really know how to say this, but it looks like the tether was cut. Gunn swears that he has no idea what happened and that he was working on the audio feed the whole time. I know how crazy this sounds, but I know I didn’t do it and Gunn’s the only other person here. Maybe Korylenko cut it himself, but that seems unlikely. I need to be very careful about how I handle this.
June 5th 2016
Lt. Mike Dexter
Mission Day 95
It’s gotten very strange up here since Korylenko’s death. Still no audio or video feeds. I’ve been fine with the isolation up till now but somehow not being able to communicate with home makes it almost unbearable. I’ve barely talked to Gunn since I asked him about Korylenko. He avoids me, whether out of guilt or fear I don’t know.
June 6th 2016
Lt. Mike Dexter
Mission Day 96
Found a utility knife in Gunn’s locker today. Finding a knife in there wasn’t strange, but the way I found it, almost as if he was trying to hide it. He had it buried under some dirty clothes deep in the corner of his locker, nowhere near his toolbox. I’m not going to bring it up, not yet. It’s still too risky.
June 7th 2016
Lt. Mike Dexter
Mission Day 97
I know he killed Korylenko. A part of me wants to believe it was an accident but deep down I know he did it. If the knife wasn’t enough proof then the way he looks at me is. He’s watching me, always watching me, like a predator or something. He’s eyeing me up and looking for weaknesses. It’s just a matter of time before he strikes. Well I’m not going to let that happen.
June 8th 2016
Lt. Mike Dexter
Mission Day 98
Gunn is dead. I killed him in his sleep last night, bashed his skull in with a wrench. It was the first time he’d slept in days. I guess he was waiting for me to doze off first. A part of me feels guilty for waiting. Maybe I should’ve just faced him, man to man? No, I did what I had to do. Any remorse I feel over his death will pass in time. Now it’s just the loneliness I have to contend with. Command’s got to know the feeds are down. I’m sure they’ll send a team up in a few days for extraction. I should try and get some sleep.
June 9th 2016
Lt. Mike Dexter
Mission Day 99
Feeds came back up today all on their own. I informed command about Gunn and Korylenko. They asked me who Korylenko was. I told them the Russian Cosmonaut that accompanied us on this mission. They told me there is no Korylenko, there never was. They told me that Gunn and I were the only ones that came up here. Then they told me to sit tight, that an extraction team was already on its way. That it’d be here in a few days. I think I might go for a nice long space walk before they get here.
The Big Bad Math Exam
By Adam McCully
Welcome to Fairy Tale Junior High, home of the Beanstalks. The place where all your favorite fairy tale characters come to learn about reading, writing, enchanting, house blowing down, golden egg laying, ginger bread home construction, and arithmetic. It’s a magical place, a place full of wonder and—what? You don’t think any of your favorite fairy tale characters had to go to junior high? I suppose you think they just sprang up out of the ground and started eating poison apples and traveling to parties in giant pumpkins. Well you’re wrong, and frankly that is a very silly thing to think. Luckily I’m here to tell you everything about the goings on of Fairy Tale Junior High. Well, not everything of course. Fairy Tale High has been around for a long, long time and I’m sure you’d rather I didn’t bore you with the details of what dessert most frequented the lunch menu or how the water heater was constantly in disrepair. Come to think of it telling you the entire history complete with all the little details of Fairy Tale Junior High would take an enormous amount of paper, and writing it all down would likely consume the rest of my natural life. Seeing as how I have no wish to destroy that many trees or spend the rest of my life writing a story that you might not even finish I’ll just focus on one particular story within a much, much larger tale.
This is the story of the Three Little Pigs whose names are Oink, Pork-Chop, and Curly Tail Sue, all siblings, and their troubles with The Big Bad Wolf. That’s his name. No, I’m not kidding that’s what his parents named him. If he were your boss you’d call him Mr. Wolf, more personal acquaintances might call him simply, The. For the sake of simplicity in this story we will call him Wolf. That’s what his friends called him as in, “Hey Wolf” or, “Please Wolf, don’t shove me into my locker” or even, “I’m sorry Wolf, I don’t have any more lunch money. Please don’t throw me out the window.” Perhaps “friends” is a term used loosely in this situation.
To say that Wolf was a bully would be like saying that Brussels sprouts are a mildly unpleasant snack. He was the meanest, toughest, most bad mannered student that had ever walked the halls of Fairy Tale Junior High. Most of the students complained that the teachers didn’t do enough to discipline Wolf, but what they forget to mention was that he was also the biggest, strongest twelve year old the teachers had ever seen complete with razor sharp claws and teeth that could chew through leather. No joke, his mother packed him bologna and boot leather sandwiches for lunch. They were his favorite. One of the teachers, Mr. Woodsmen the shop teacher, tried to discipline him once. He held him after class and spanked him with a handmade paddle. No one knows what happened to Mr. Woodsmen after that, but Wolf spit out the chewed up handmade paddle the next day.
Despite all Wolf’s strength and ferocity he was remarkably dimwitted. For instance, if Wolf ever corners you, try telling him a riddle. Doing this will cause his brain to melt down and while he’s drooling, staring blankly into the distance you can make your escape. More than any other class in school, Wolf hated math class. Numbers scared him, and since he couldn’t punch them he usually took his frustrations out on whoever was seated next to him.
On this particular day things were a little different however. Today in math class the teacher passed out the students’ second exam of the semester. Wolf knew he needed to pass this and all the remaining exams if he hoped to get out of math class and move on to something more his style, like demolitions class. Wolf was sweating bullets. Yes, I know wolves don’t sweat. I’m just trying to make a point. He was very, very nervous, but not sweating because, as we all know, wolves don’t sweat. There is that better?
As Wolf looked down at his paper his mind started to race. The numbers all seemed to be moving around. Wolf swatted at them and tried to wrangle them back into place, but it was no use. Before he could stop them all the numbers jumped off the paper and down onto the floor. Wolf watched hopelessly as they made their way out the door.
“Thirty minutes remaining,” said Ms. White.
Wolf snapped back to reality. The numbers were still on his paper but they didn’t make any more sense than they had when they were making their escape. Wolf knew he had to do something. He could try to guess the answers but his chances of getting the right answer were one in…well one in something. As I said Wolf wasn’t good with numbers. That’s when Wolf noticed that he was surrounded by three of the smartest little piggies in the whole class. Oink, Pork-Chop, and Curly Tail Sue were all seated next to him. Surely he could get one or two answers off the Pigs.
Wolf leaned over to his right and whispered to Oink, “Little Pig, hey little Pig. What did you get for number one?”
Oink looked shocked that Wolf would ask such a question. “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.”
Wolf found this to be a very strange expression since the only twelve year old he knew with hair on his face was himself.
“Come on buddy, just a couple answers?” Pleaded Wolf.
“Mr. Wolf!” Said Ms. White. “Do we have a problem?”
“No ma’am. Oink here was just asking me what I was doing after school.”
“Oink, do you think we can hold the social chatter till after class?”
“Yes Ms. White. Sorry Ms. White.” Oink said. He looked angrily at Wolf and covered his paper up with one pudgy little arm.
I never did like Oink, Wolf thought to himself, but Pork-Chop will help me out.
Wolf leaned over to his left and said, “Little Pig, little Pig what’s ten to the power of three?”
“The Gettysburg Address.” Pork-Chop whispered back.
Wolf thought that was a strange answer for a math question but he was in no position to argue. “Ya, that’s what I got too,” he said.
“Mr. Wolf are you giving answers to Pork-Chop?” Asked Ms. White.
“Absolutely not ma’am!” Replied Wolf.
“Well let’s just make sure that you don’t. Oink, Pork-Chop, you two grab your things and come sit here by my desk.”
Wolf was in a pickle now. He needed more than one right answer to pass the test and he was pretty sure Curly Tail Sue wouldn’t help him. He had to try regardless. He was running out of options.
“Little Pig, little Pig, what did you get for number three?”
Curly Tail Sue said nothing. She continued doing her work totally ignoring Wolf.
“Little Pig, little Pig. Did you hear me? What did you get for number three?”
Curly Tail Sue didn’t budge. Wolf tried tapping her shoulder. Then he tried shaking it gently, then shaking it not so gently. Still nothing. He tried looking over her shoulder but her curly locks blocked his view. He tried moving her hair out of the way with his pencil and that’s when he noticed Ms. White standing behind him.
“Mr. Wolf, I’d like to see you and your three little friends after class.”
When the class bell rang and all the students filed out of the room Wolf, Oink, Pork-Chop, and Curly Tail Sue remained behind.
“Ms. White we didn’t have anything to do with this,” said Curly Tail Sue.
“Ya, Wolf was trying to get answers from us!” Said Pork-Chop.
“Mr. Wolf, what do you have to say for yourself?”
The three little pigs cowered as Wolf reared back his lips revealing sharp glimmering fangs. He balled his fists and the hair on the back of his neck stood up.
This is the end, thought Oink. He’s going to eat us all up.
But the Wolf didn’t eat them all up. He didn’t growl or snarl or roar. He started to cry. Big wet tears rolled down his cheeks and he buried his head in Oink’s shoulder.
“I’m sorry!” Sobbed Wolf. “I never meant to get you guys in trouble. It’s just that you’re so good with math and…well I’m so dumb.”
“Oh come now Mr. Wolf,” said Ms. White. “You’re not dumb, not at all.”
“No, I am!” shouted Wolf. “I’m the dumbest kid in the class.”
The three little Pigs looked at each other, a little embarrassed. “Look, Wolf, the only reason we’re good at math is because we help each other out. If you want, we could help you out too.”
Wolf sniffed back some tears. “You mean it? You could help me with math?”
“Sure!” Said Curly Tail Sue. “We’d love too!”
“Ms. White,” said Pork-Chop, “If we could use your classroom after school we’d be more than happy to tutor Wolf.”
“I think that’s a wonderful idea,” said Ms. White.
So it was that the three little Pigs tutored Wolf every other day after school. Slowly, he made real improvement and was able to pass Ms. White’s math class all on his own. Wolf and the Pigs became very good friends and whatever nonsense you heard about him blowing down their houses is a complete falsification. Probably just some shock story designed to sell more tabloids.
Okay, so if you read my previous post (My only other post!) then you are aware that I want to use this forum as a platform from which I can share my stories. Here’s the problem, do I really want to post stories I’ve worked hard on — okay, stories I’ve worked on — here on this site where someone can take them and pass them off as their own? The whole idea may not only be presumptuous, but absurd, and I’m the first to admit that I’m prone to thoughts of paranoia, but the internet is a big place full of conniving people. I could copyright my stories — I’ll have to at some point anyways — but that costs money that I don’t have. Honestly, as I’m writing this out I’m becoming aware of how moronically placed my worries are. There are many, much more lucrative, ways to scam people and I should be more worried about getting my stories published than I am of having them stolen. If I still can’t sleep at night I can always send them to myself via the post office, and the very act of posting them on my site should be proof enough. Okay, sorry about all that, on with the stories.
If I have something important to say — not that I ever do — I still might post it on here. Who are you the blogger police?! Get off my back!
I’ve never created a blog before. To be honest, I always found them pretentious and I still find most bloggers to be egotistical, attention starved, hacks. Does that make me hypocritical? Absolutely it does, and it is with a heavy heart and deep amounts of self loathing that I type what you are reading now. The only way I could justify creating this monstrosity was by telling myself that it’s for a greater purpose. I have stories in my head that I desperately want to share with the world. We are far beyond the days of lonely authors burning the midnight oil, furiously punching out lines on a typewriter. This is the way things are done now. I apologize if this sounds like an angry rant, because that’s what it is. I will do my best to use this site for storytelling purposes only. If you want to hear my thoughts on what Kim Kardashian is up to, I don’t have any. Quite frankly, neither should you.