3/19/2012 05:51:38 am

We try to be like him but of course, that is impossible. He is a force all of his own. The only way we can even come close to him is to take him into our folds, make him our slave. We have watched him for some time and we know his every movement. He is so tender with his family, so caring—we’ll change that. His patrons are very fond of him, they always over pay their bill —that too will change. His perfect characteristics will be a triumph to our kind for eternity.

He is smart, so the one we chose to induce him has to be just as clever or he will not accept the gift that we wish to bestow upon him. Our chosen will need to entice him with the secrets of our ways but not give enough details until he is hooked. The one that charms the rats in the bowels of the city is intriguing. It can make them prey on each other or any other beast it wishes.

It goes to him and just makes its presence known. It slips into him at night and gives small tastes of what is possible, the life that could be. It leaves in familiar faces for him to see so he believes they will always be near. It swirls around him with complements without boasting on how great he could be. He sees hints of secrets and desires not of his own mind and he is interested, very interested.

We are close and as we thought, he is not as easy to convert. Then it sees the fear and terror in his mind. It knows what to do and leads him through his city as a tourist, opening his eyes to the decay and death around him that he has chosen to turn a blind eye too. Yet he remembers, deeply, the pain that overcame him when he lost his father, brothers and mother to the rotting decay of the sickness. He hid the memories from all around him, even though his wife knew; she had the same for herself.

He watches them load the black tipped corpses into the wagon. Grief of his memories overwhelms him. Fear that the same will come to his family and him, he agrees. Simply, pledges himself to us without question. He will do anything to stop that from happening to his dear wife and child. Unfortunately, our protection does not extend further than him but he’ll find that out soon enough.

Still he does not want to accept the grand gift we gave him. He wants to fight it and hide in the shadows away from people. No one will notice the loss of a few it persuades but no, he will not do what we request. The burning in his belly will not stop but he continues to fight what he is now. It takes him to his former life, he sees them decaying. His is ours.

500 wotds

3/19/2012 05:57:16 am

"We try to be like him.”

Wolffe laughed at the sarcasm in Retro’s voice. “You could do worse.”

Retro snorted and they went inside. The house didn’t show the usual signs of a struggle. Fuck, they must’ve surprised her while she was sleeping. Wolffe stalked silently through the house, his eyes cataloging everything and his body tense. Retro listened for any sounds of human occupation, but nothing came to his ears.

The bedroom looked like a tornado had hit. Pillows, blankets, and the usual household knickknacks were strewn around the room, and they had to step carefully.

“Forensics been through here yet?” Wolffe eyed the bed.

“Yeah, day before yesterday.”

“Okay.” Wolffe crouched beside the disrupted sheets and used a pen to lift them apart. “oh-ho-ho-ho. Lookee here.”

Retro peered over his shoulder. “That’s Chris’ Glock. How the hell did they miss that?”

“Dunno. Hasn’t been fired, but there’s blood on the barrel.” Wolffe nodded. “She must have hit someone with it.”

That’s my girl.

Well, not his. Not anymore. Magic had gotten her first. Shit.

“Let’s bag it and see if anything comes up in the DNA databases. Anything else?”

“Forensics has a lot of people who like perfume,” Wolffe said, wrinkling his nose. “I can catch Mrs. Hunter’s scent buried beneath all the others who have been here, but she lives here. The other scents are mixed and confused.” He paused and tipped his head back, looking at the ceiling as he inhaled deeply. “Hmm.”

Wolffe picked his way out of the debris of the bedroom and Retro followed, wondering what the enigmatic former SEAL had discovered. The taller man strode into the kitchen and looked around at the tidy space. Chris had left no dirty dishes or meal remnants. The place was immaculate.

“Someone likes curry and incense.”


“Do you smell any curried chicken or duck in the kitchen?”

Retro inhaled. “No.”

“Me neither. Those scents were in the bedroom and they were strong, like there were emotions underlying them.” Wolffe retreated to the bedroom again, Retro following like a confused dog.


“I can’t really explain except that made the scents stronger, as if the person or people associated with the scents were excited or agitated.” He pointed at the bedding. “The curry and incense scents are strongest in here and closest to the bed. Unless some forensics guy had just come from a Middle Eastern restaurant before work, I’d say your assailants liked curry and incense.”

“Yeah, the Blade of fucking Holy Light sent us letters saying they took our women.

“And jet fuel.”


“Someone had been fueling a plane before he came here.” Wolffe waved his hand in the air. “It’s faint, but I’ll bet a case of Killian’s Red that they took the women out by plane.”

Retro felt the first relief in 24 hours. If they took a plane, the SEALs could nail their asses. The trail had gone from cold to burning, and left a blazing arrow they could track.

496 #WIP500 words

3/19/2012 07:00:45 am

By Lisa McCourt Hollar

“We try to be like him, asking ourselves, WWJD…What would Judas do?” Peter smiled, his eyes lighting when he saw the look of confusion on her face. “Ha, gotcha, didn’t I? You thought I was talking about the other J. No, we don’t strive to be like Him. He and His kind are the antithesis of what we strive to be.”

“So, what is it you and your followers are trying to do?” Jeannine looked around the small hotel room, where she was interviewing the leader of The Children of Chaos, a cult that seemed to have sprung up overnight.

“Why, shape the world into our image, of course. Isn’t that what all religions try to do?”

“I don’t think any have been this successful. I did some investigating and there are several seats in Washington filled with members of your church.”

“And a few past Presidents. We have been busy the last few hundred years, shaping the world, getting it ready.”

“For what?”

Peter didn’t answer, just smiled, waiting for the next question.

“Why so secretive?”

“Separation of Church and State.” Jeannine raised her eyebrows and Peter burst out laughing, his deep voice filling the room. “You’re not buying it are you? I had to give it a go though, try to dissuade you, but I knew it wouldn’t be any good. You really are persistent.”

Well, my Grandmother always told me, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Your guy has been leading in every poll, beating out both the Republicans and the Democratic candidates. Never before has an Independent posed such a threat.”

“Well it helps when your father is the Prince of Darkness.”

“Excuse me?” Jeannine raised her eyebrow again, giving Peter a look that said, ‘who do you think you are, trying to pull that one on me,’ while inside her stomach flipped into a knot, sensing some truth in what he was saying.

“After Judas betrayed Christ, he tried to kill himself. I know, you’re thinking, tried? But you see, he didn’t succeed, like the Church would have you believe. He, wouldn’t let him. He forced Judas to live, because he had another role in prophesy, one that will be fulfilled with the coming election.”

“And that would be?”

“To be the beginning of the bloodline for the next Christ.”

“The next Christ? You mean the Anti-Christ?”

Peter smiled.

“Why are you telling me this? Certainly, you can’t expect him to win. When I go back and report this…”

“You won’t.”

“And why wouldn’t I?” Jeannine was beginning to feel uneasy, as well as tired. Her eyelids were becoming heavy. Too late, she realized that the soda Peter had offered her was drugged. More words from her Grandmother echoed in her head. “Sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie.” Just before she passed out, she felt arms behind her, lifting her and laying her on the bed.

“She will make a fine sacrifice. Our Lord will be pleased.”

Word Count: 500

3/19/2012 07:33:00 am

“We tried to be like him but I don’t know if I can do this.”
“A few more weeks until Easter. Let's keep it going.”
“No I don’t want to. I’m tired”
“You need to be ready.”
“I’ll try to be ready.”
“You need to be in condition to carry the weight.”
“I know I’ll try to be ready.”
“I bought you some new weights.”
“These can help you lift up 600 pounds.”
“I said thanks.”
“When will you start working out with them?”
“Tomorrow will be soon enough.”
“You can never practice enough “
“I am ready now.”
“I’ll tell you when your ready.”
“How did you get ready for it?”
“I didn’t prepare enough and barely survived. It is a great sacrifice.”
“I gave up sugar for Lent.”
“This is the ultimate sacrifice you are recreating the walk of our saviour.”
“I will be ready.”
“Good enough. A few more weeks until your crucifixion.”
160 words

3/19/2012 09:20:09 am

[Ineligible Host entry]
We try to be like him. At least those who believe he was the savior of our people do. Even unbelievers marvel at the life he led. Joshua Barabbas claimed to be the son of the Architect. Rumors say the Architect and his crew built this vessel in just six days, but that was over 4000 years ago, before the flood destroyed the ship’s records so nobody really knows. His essence lives on in the mainframe, a mainframe that nobody has been able to access for thousands of years.
From what I’ve been able to gather, his mother, Maria, was a low-ranking staff officer. Nobody knows who is real father was, but a man named Joe, from the engineering division, married Maria and raised Joshua as his own son. Naturally the boy grew up as an engineer, the most talent one in our collective memory.
Everyone’s favorite anecdote is about his cousin’s wedding. The beverage generator broke - a common occurrence on this old bucket of bolts – he somehow managed to rig the water supply so that it produced wine. Don’t let anyone tell you it was grape juice, it was the best wine you’ve ever had, I know I was there.
But that’s not what set him apart to me. You see, before that wedding, he’d disappeared for six weeks. None of the machines or sensors functions on the deck we call the Wastelands so he must have been there. I don’t know what happened but he came back different.
Joshua went to visit his second cousin, Jean Baptiste, most people called the engineer a nutcase but he had a small number of acolytes. The man was forever raving about the Main Computer and how it was going to come back on someday soon and we needed to be ready.
“Here is the man.”
“Take me through the ceremony.”
“But Joshua, You don’t need this information. I’m not worthy to even comment on your code.”
Joshua smiled. “Please Jean”
Jean relented and said, “Place your hand on the mainframe and let it wash over you.”
When Joshua placed his hand on the darkened mainframe, the whole panel lit up. A voice from the mainframe speakers said, “So this is my son. I’m so glad to see you finally woke up.”
“Please show me your will Father,” Joshua said. A surge of energy leapt out of the console and coursed through him. The console went dark and Joshua slumped to the ground.
Jean rushed to his cousin screaming.
Joshua lifted his hand and slowly sat up. “I’m fine. It was just a lot to take in. I have a lot of work to do.”
And work he did. He went on to heal the sick, comfort the lonely. He challenged all of our notions about law and society. There were even stories that he raised the dead. But more importantly… most importantly, he taught us the truth about who we were, where we came from and where we were going.

500 words

3/19/2012 09:41:03 am

We try to be like him. It can be hard, and is rarely rewarding, but it is what we do. There are twenty of us. Usually plenty, but on occasion nowhere near enough. We don’t complain, except when he does. His name is William, and while he can’t hear us, he does see us.

There have been close calls over the years. On groggy mornings one or more of our number have overplayed William’s sleepiness and almost not made it in time. Of course until he’d had his coffee he was unlikely to notice. He may have suspected, but all would have been fine if he hadn’t visited the Hall of Mirrors on his trip to France. We were spread too thin.

William didn’t see himself where he expected to, and one of us made the critical error of jumping to fill the gap. It was then William realized he did not have a reflection. Our lives were ruined overnight. He sequestered himself from anything reflective and we could no longer be like him.

Fortunately his paranoia led to William being institutionalized. During a breakthrough hypno-therapy session one of us was able to trade places with William and secure release with a clean bill of health. It isn’t the same trying to be like one of our own, and William isn’t happy at all.

But it is a life.

229 words

3/19/2012 12:01:56 pm

“We try to be like him, you know?” the boy, Carson Powers, age twelve, said, arms crossed protectively over his bony chest. The overhead fluorescents made him look sickly. “He’s so fu—uh—flipping cool. Nobody was supposed to get hurt.”

“Of course not,” the doctor said, jotting a quick note on the small pad at his right.

“So you and your friends were playing in the woods, right?”


“And there was an accident of some kind?”

“You know this already.”

“Where did you get the liquid nitrogen, Carson?”

“We stole it, duh. My dad’s Army. I can get all kinds of crazy shit on the base. No one pays attention to me.”

“Why is that?”

Carson shrugged. “Maybe they don’t want to see me.”

“How did the nitrogen get sprayed on—” He glanced over his notes. “Ryan Powers. Your older brother, correct?”

“Yeah, that’s right. And I dunno. We were screwing around.” Carson sulked, trying hard not to let his fear show. “It wasn’t supposed to hit anyone.”

“You understand this friend you wish to emulate is a Paladin?”

“Yeah, of course.”

“Then you realize they are—not human like you.”

“Don’t you say that,” Carson snapped, roused out of his shell. “He’s different, not alien.”

“Okay,” the doctor said. “Why don’t you tell me about this boy’s abilities? What makes him stand out to you?”

“He commands ice. He can freeze anything.”

“Can he freeze fire?”

Carson startled. “What kind of question is that?”

“You said he can freeze anything. I’m curious how accurate your statement is.” The doctor’s pencil scratched across the paper.

“What are you writing?” the boy demanded. “Tell me.”

“Just notes, Carson. There’s nothing for you to worry about here.”

“You’re gonna add him to your freak file, aren’t you? You’re gonna make him into a carnival show when he should be a hero.”

“Carson, calm down.”

“Tell me what you’re writing.”

The doctor’s hand trembled and slowed.

“Tell me.”

“I—I—” The man groaned in pain. “Medication. A sedative.”

“I don’t need it.”

“You’re—one of them,” he gasped. “A Paladin. Not—human.”

“Don’t you tell me what human is,” Carson growled and the doctor screamed. “I was born this way. Just like you were born pathetic and weak.”

The boy shredded the doctor’s notes and pushed a clean page in front of him.

“I’m free to go,” he said firmly.

“Yes,” the doctor agreed, voice shaking.

“What happened to my brother was a terrible accident, right?”


“Then write it, Doctor.”

Sweat crawled down his face, but with a steady hand he scrawled an order of release. The boy took it with a nod. The doctor slumped over the table, his entire body quaking.

“You should know, Doc,” he said. “I have another friend who can burn anything. He can come in here and burn your soul right out of your old man body.”

The doctor cried softly.

“The Paladins are human, Doc. We’re just better ones than you.”

500 #WIP500 words

3/19/2012 01:01:02 pm

The Explorer

We try to be like him. Every sunrise, remembering his words; every nightfall, his sacrifice. No other individual stands out in our history. But then again our history was never about individuals. For us, there was always safety in sameness.

Then he came, changing us as a people, making us individuals. It is a strange concept, this individuality, but thrilling.

He gave us courage. We used to hide, experts at camouflage, blending into the sandy walls of the canyons. We offered a few of our kind to the Others as payment so the rest might live. I watched my siblings die at the hands of the Others as I hid, quivering in fear. But he changed all that.

At first, he was more fearful than any Other we’d ever seen. But he was all alone, having lost his companions in his descent. I think he was very lonely. He was kind to us for no reason, teaching us to fight for ourselves. Even wounded as he was, he defeated our enemies with ease, figuring out their weaknesses and showing us how to make weapons.

The rebels say he taught us war and ruined us. But there are no tributes anymore and my little ones are safe. I believe some things are worth fighting for.

Tonight, I stand at the edge of the desert, beneath the crumbling stone statue of him. The winds and sand are fierce here at the edge. But we felt it was where he would want to be remembered – at the edge. Even among his own kind, he was an explorer.

His ship is still behind the canyons on the mesa, a huge silver machine, now bent and crippled like he was, half buried in the sand that blows across our planet. His cloth banner is there too though its colors have faded. He called them red, white and blue and water drops invariably rolled down his face at the sight of it.

We stare out together, his statue and I, surveying the land he won for us. I often wonder why the masons didn’t make his hollow sandstone eyes look up into the sky. It would have been more fitting.

We loved him, but we failed him in the end. Beyond the two moons, I find the small blue star he showed me. His home. He said it was so far from here, it made him feel miniscule. I laughed when he told me this. I could sit in the palm of his huge hand, his thumb as tall as I. I think he meant to teach us there was nothing we couldn’t do. But, as small as we are, we couldn’t find a way to send him back to Earth before he left us another way. We are still trying to get there, and one day, we will make him proud.

479 words

3/19/2012 11:13:13 pm

“We try to be like him.” The guide smacked at another branch with the machete. “We follow in his steps so that we can understand him.”

The small group of travelers moved along the jungle trail, the cries to the wildlife following them. The humidity lay on them like a fleece blanket, causing clothing to stick to sweaty bodies.

“How much longer?” Darrius groaned, shifting the pack on his back.

“Hopefully not much longer.” Mecka glanced over her shoulder. “Remember, this is important for our findings. Primitive earth findings are rare since we moved out of the galaxy.”

“Most of the land has turned to jungle except for the great desert of the North Americas.” Penfer grimaced and slapped at a bug.

“The Earth is finally recovering from when we were here centuries ago. It is amazing to find people still existing, though it seems in a more primitive manner.” Mecka smiled at their guide. “Thank you for showing us the way.”

The man grinned as he smacked another branch down. “We try to be like him and show the way.”

“Who do you speak of?”

The man gave a grin and continued to chop until they came into a clearing. There were broken branches and downed trees as if something large had turned around in a circle. “The Great One. He lets us live as long as he has food.”

The three walked past him and looked up at the large temple that was almost swallowed by the foliage and trees.

Darrius rolled his eyes. “Who is the Great One.”

The guide bowed and gestured to the ruins, backing away. “The Great Lizard, he protects us.”

The ground rumbled as the giant komodo dragon curled around the ruins, approaching them.

“He is hungry and we try to be like him.” The guide grinned widely, showing his own sharp teeth.

312 words

Ryan Strohman
3/19/2012 11:34:46 pm

We try to be like him, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Like the time last month when I bought a few snacks at a convenience store, paid with a twenty, and then was handed back twenty-six dollars and thirty-four cents in change. The teenage, pudgy, bespectacled cashier just wasn’t paying attention, and when she handed me the money and didn’t even offer a thanks, I just smiled and walked out.

I felt bad afterwards, and I considered returning the money, but by then it was too late. Of course, I later learned that the young woman lost her job, and that because of that she had sunken into a deep depression and then had committed suicide just last week. Her family had stated that the loss of her job was the straw that broke the camel’s back, that the young woman was already emotionally distraught over a recent breakup and some run-ins with some girls at school. Her suicide was a culmination of things, and my greed had just been a weight too heavy for her to bear.

When I learned all of this, I gave in. I went to the girl’s mother and apologized. She accepted it, blankly, and then she even offered me a hug, saying that her daughter’s cash drawers were increasingly off in the last few days of her employment at the store, and that her problems were just distracting her from all of her aspects of life. I was not to blame, and blah blah blah. I really hadn’t expected the girl’s life story, but I got it, and when I left, I regretted going.

We try to be like High Priest LaVey and welcome his ideas of the Church of Satan. Individualism, greed, lust. These are the things we cherish. We are atheists and don’t believe in God or the theological Satan, rather that Satan is merely the name we give to our carnal selves. We put ourselves first and foremost, because when we don’t, we find ourselves beleaguered with the problems of depressed teenage girls. This is our way, like it or not.

354 words


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