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10/01 Direct Link

The experiment was over, for now.

Contained white bolts of electricity still reflected off the glass bottles, lighting the room in flashes. From below, dark shadows crawled up the walls and around the silent corpse at the laboratory’s centre.

Peter, his fingers still on the lever, smiled.

“No matter,” he said to the darkness. “We’ll try again, after some strudel.”

“Yesss Mah-ster,” Laurie replied, his twisted backbone making it sound to Peter as if he were only four feet tall. Even the wretch's voice seemed beneath his station. Quite fitting.

The lightning failed, the shadows died down.

10/02 Direct Link
She sits on the corner of my bed next to me, watching the late night shopping channel and laughing. I bet she has no idea, but by doing this she has forever changed the way I'll think of that corner, the shopping channel, humour and late nights in general.

What kills me is that she, for sure, doesn't like me nearly as much. For now, never mind. I know that in a few months I'll be recreating this by myself. I'll still enjoy watching this stuff.

Bleh. This is a really nice evening. I'm glad I'm spending it with her.
10/03 Direct Link
I feel like I need to clear my throat, but if I do the audience will think I'm ready to speak. Has to be split-second timing here. I look at them: the look a father gives when his son has started a fight but won. My opponent shuffles.

'Ladies and gentlemen,' I begin, 'I love this country.' It sounds good enough to earn a decent applause. I feel terrible now. I don't love it at all. I love politics. That's why I'm so good. I just happen to have been born here. Good God, I wish I were Canadian.
10/04 Direct Link
I'd planned to write a poem for
the fourth day of this batch,
and now I read the forum to
find out I've met my match.

My friend and writing partner has
already published one,
so much more bloody artful than
what I've been working on.

Fuck you, Anthony L.
You got there first.

I'm the Ken to your Ryu, I know,
the Hammer to your Stark.
The Bucky to your Captain, Lowe,
but one day in the dark

probably at your first fucking booksigning

I will fire on your flagship, and destroy you.

You thick-bearded, Scary-Movie-loving, know-nothing-about-asari Yankee bastard.
10/05 Direct Link
'Mister Laurie, prepare for surgery please.'

The hunchback finished his chore and reluctantly shuffled back to Peter. It was a strange feeling, he thought, to prefer the busywork.

Laurie didn't even fully understand this task. Something about taking over the world. Something about a 'race of atomic supermen'.

The Master had never seemed frightening until now. Not in the graveyard, not when he selected his fresh subjects, not when he slowly pacified them while smiling impishly at his assistant. It had just been fun.

Peter made eye-contact and waited.

'Let's go home,' Laurie whispered.

'Home? I have no... home...'
10/06 Direct Link

In my high school library there are two paper signs on every pillar. The top one will say 'Law Library' or 'Sociology' and the bottom one invariably says 'Tokyo' and points an arrow left or right.

These funny little couplets are scattered all over, like a treasure trail for adventurous otaku kids who really should be studying. The bottom signs always look as if they're about to wink, or nod approvingly at my pink Sakura hairut and green contacts.

If you follow them, you get to a painted wooden door. I won't spoil it by going through.

10/07 Direct Link
Open a book from your shelf and read the first sentence you see. Does it inspire you?


"Tru... ooooo... luv..."

Ryder leaned over and kissed Natalie with a fervour that secretly thrilled her, especially as he nestled her so close to his hard, warm body.

Pull yourself together, Kid. There's people outside.

"Forgive this weakness, Mr. Holmes, I have been a little overwrought.

Well, Socrates, is there any reason why I should not?

Sophie was supposed to break that anagram on her own.

"When do you leave?" the drow asked.

No; Organa Solo had to be on a fishing expedition.
10/08 Direct Link
The tables at the restaurant are square.
Faded-stencil text on the boxes, printed perfect.
Quarter-pounder. Fillet o' Fish. Mortar.
Choose it, find a barrack, take your regular meal and empty it.

Half-full plastic holder of leaflets labelled 'knowledge'.
Trays with paper colour-ins: Looney Tunes Olympics.
Perspex box of ten-pees, painted caring clown hand on it.
Wile E Coyote with a javelin, tongue hanging out, transfixed.

Why do you always see their tongues?
Looney Tunes toons.

Put your selection on Wile E's mouth and hope no grease gets by

and then

the best… damn hamburger

and, oh, the fries.
10/09 Direct Link
-Want to go for lunch?

-I'll get a Subway.

-That's going for lunch. I'll go with you.

-No. I need to go... alone.

-What, are you going to face the Trials of the Lord of the Thundercats? Let me come with you. I mean like, as a couple. Is it still a 'date'?

-Sometimes. Yesterday I was at McDonalds and I noticed so much.

-Noticed.

-If you were there, I would have seen the Looney Tunes thing and not written anything. Just tried to impress you with nostalgic jokes.

-So I don't inspire you?

-No. All we do is talk.
10/10 Direct Link
Once Barry had finished sealing the radgards, the group removed their masks and breathed the safe air.

Max, Cormac and Moira sat close together inside a grey shack in the long-since pillaged Chicago deadzone. They had gathered everything the raiders left behind.

'All right,' Barry said, opening the tattered monster manual. 'So you guys are set upon by orcs.'

'This game is fuckin' ridiculous, man. The hell is an orc?'

'It's like a Night Terre. See?' Barry flipped the faded papers over, covering the text with a finger.

'Oh. Oh yeah, that... actually looks just like a Night Terre.'
10/11 Direct Link
The surgery had gone well but achieved nothing. Re sat in a patronisingly-warm staff room, watching Janice dip a bourbon biscuit into a plastic water cup.

'Well,' Janice almost whistled, 'cold water softens just as well as hot tea.'

'Does i-what?' Re muttered, thinking about Mr Barrymore's leukaemia.

'I'd rather assumed it was the heat.' Janice was a doctor.

Re watched Janice breathe. Trying to catch the brilliant diagnosis that the biscuit had led her to. After a while she asked, 'You thought the heat of the tea melts a biscuit? They are baked!'

They shared a smile.
10/12 Direct Link
When someone really dies, you wonder if he's really dead.

In a film it's perfectly clear: a sad crescendo, spilled life-blood, big hole in his forehead, his friend or lover elongating the word 'no'. All his plotlines resolved. In reality the bloke just stops talking and looks like he's either staring or asleep. Right in the middle of everything.

And for days you think 'When exactly did he die?' You analyse the specifics of death with a fervour you've never bothered with before. The last heartbeat? No, the last whimpered thought. When exactly did Mr Barrymore think that thought?
10/13 Direct Link
Fabio leaned manfully into her, his glassy eyes and enormous hands piercing into her personal space.

'My darling Eugeniaaa...' he purred in his dark and exotic possibly-Italian accent, 'Elp me write anaaathar of my ro-maaaaance novellls!'

'No!' she protested. 'No, Fabio, I'm done ghostwriting for you! I have a degree! I wanted to write the great American novel, not... this...'

His luxurious hair brushed against his bizarrely-proportioned chest as he laughed at her. Oh how she hated him, but oh! how she wanted to pay her mortgage.

Groaning, she closed her eyes and accepted his massive cheque.
10/14 Direct Link
Work soon recommenced. The ruined body of the first, failed atomic superman lay in a corner of the lab, one arm jutting unnaturally upwards. Dark splashes crossed the chest and hands. A finger dripped onto the floor.

Peter would have Laurie get a rug when the rain stopped.

The new subject's pallid face had a sweatless sheen across it. The eyes were puffy and still, their appearance somehow emboldening them.

Laurie seemed unhappy. 'More formula, damn you!' Peter all-but screamed. Quickly enough, the other obeyed him.

He did his work, the corpse beginning to find colour.

Clammy, melancholy green.
10/15 Direct Link
When I were fifteen, me dad was trying to like, get to grips with political correctness. This were back in the day when people wanted to be correct. It was ard for dad to understand.

'Gay men,' he says one day, making us tea, 'are really nice. On the whole, you know.' Then he stops and stirs more and says, 'probably quite nice in the whole, too!'

And I wish I adn't of stared now. He laughed and then apologised and then went into the dining room and didn't talk to me for a fortnight, like he was pissed off.
10/16 Direct Link
We visited Henri Rousseau's safari park in 1891
after the war was done, and the place overgrown,
left in such a hurry.

The leaves we could see at the centre of it were choking, splatted under dead trunks on mud,
no animals left in there but the really frightened ones
with the biggest teeth.

It must have been beautiful in the moment,
when the bombs were cracking the city around it,
after the gift shop and before the peace time.

When we came
Europe was safe for one more generation.
We stood by the last fence, got back in our car and left.
10/17 Direct Link
TreyC and Jax step out of the Hol, shaking their heads. Treyce flicks her wrist sideways and is insported to the sofa in her cile in the time it would have taken her ancestors to think about which direction they should start walking.

Jax appears in a second once she has accepted his LocTRA.

'Alright, New Batman HFS, What Do U Think>' he asks.

'Unrealistic. DidUknow The Real Batman Didn't Actually Dress Like A Bat> It Came From An Old England Name For Cowl.'

'Man,' says Jax. 'They Should Read Their History. Now The Story Just Seems Silly.'
10/18 Direct Link
The tyranny of the blank page.

If it could, the blank page would wield a jagged broadsword. It would be bald but still have a pointed beard or sideburns or huge, dark eyebrows. Its name would be Pajor or Blankzus or some dreadful combination of the two. You'll have to use your imagination.

The penniless authors and journalists of the small inkside village below would cower before him. Every now and then some brave soul in glasses would rise up and try to smear the tyrant's face with black insights. Someone like Stephen of Maine, who dreamed of being KING.
10/19 Direct Link
You've been up all night consoling Jodie, and you are well and truly satisfied that you're a good friend. But now you want to sleep.

You're picking your teeth with that paperclip - the snaggletooth that you're always rubbing with the side of your tongue. Can't get it. Can pobably sleep anyway, now. Leave the food in there.

You notice something and inch away from her on the bed.

You smell the smell of Mike. No, it's your breath. It's disgusting but satisfying, sickly but so fascinating.

Jesus, has it been so long since you were kissed in the early hours?
10/20 Direct Link
'Did this P. N. Guin leave an address?' Batman sounds pissed at us. I can hear his voice by leaning into the telephone speaker. Admiral Fangschliester says no, and Batman thanks us. Sarcastic. I adjust my miniskirt.

'Disposing of pre-atomic submarines to persons who don't even leave their full addresses? Good-day, Admiral.'

We're silent. I'm blushing. The phone goes dead. We want to be angry but we can't.

But... no.

No.

Pentagon intelligence has just been scolded by a nameless vigilante in a skintight purple bat costume.

I turn around, dig out a service revolver, shaking.

No.

KAPOW!
10/21 Direct Link
Peter laughed. 'With my twenty-eight years against His thousands, I have met God's greatest accomplishment! Let! There! Be! Life!'

Laurie thought it ought to be 'light', but he remained silent.

Before the lever could be pulled there was a clanging at the door. A muted sneer before shouts.

The townsfolk.

'No! Mah-ster!'

'Be silent, now! Shut up!'

'But what shall we doooo!'

'Shut up.'

They had come for blood. They were going to hurt him. He froze. Scared. Desperately looking for ways out.

They hammered the door with big fists.

Laurie, for once, wasn't afraid. Did not understand.
10/22 Direct Link
The stinking corpses and animalistic screams don't even seem frightening now that he's said it. They're nothing to this.

'...possessed by demons...'

I didn't let myself listen to the rest of the sentence, beginning or end. Drowned myself in the familiar, medical horror. Things people said earlier. Better theories. Disease. Spread by saliva. Infected with rage. Haitian magic.

I don't believe in demons. The creatures - that's what we're all calling them now, I just realised - they're not human. I know.

I don't believe in God.

It's one thing not to know where I am in the dark, in this room...
10/23 Direct Link
And suddenly the mob was upon them, stopping the doorway's light and shrinking the laboratory. They coursed in, sweating and threatening. When Laurie finally understood the danger he staggered behind Peter.

'I have no home,' Peter had said. 'Hunted... despised...' Now the hunchback saw that it was true.

'And I shall show the world... that I can be its master!' he'd said. Laurie had believed him.

The man at the head of the crowd slapped Peter's face, making him stagger and wobble his fingers self-consciously.

The atomic supermen were still inert. When the thugs noticed them, they laughed.

Laughed?
10/24 Direct Link
-What do you think?

-Yeah, not bad. Have you ever read The World's Shortest Story?

-What? No. What did you think of MY very short stories?

-I've read shorter. How come they all end so sadly?

-What?

-Every one of your entries is miserable, Chris. I think the only one with a glimpse of happiness at the end was the one where you were eating McDonalds.

-Well! It's not necessarily McDonalds, and it's not necessarily me talking. See, the poet's voice...

-Were you eating McDonalds when you wrote it?

-Yes.

-Write a happy one, okay? Without any pop-culture references.
10/25 Direct Link
Busted! You lose. You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.

You and your friends are dead. Criticial mission failure. Death by guitar warrior. You have no more lives left. You're sunk.

Terminated. Fatality. The souls of your defeated warriors begin the journey to the Astral Plane. Thy game is over.

Not even the carrion-eaters are interested in your radiated corpse.

The Earth now belongs to the Leader. His evil genius has triumphed. You have failed in your mission! We will not ask you again!

The hostages are all dead.

Mission failure. You were never born.


Try again?
10/26 Direct Link
Now I have to tell him I don't 'love' him, and argue that there’s no such thing. He's managed to ask me a question that forces me to either say exactly that or lie. Again.

I'm so angry, knowing how he's going to react to this. 'You have no emotions / you're a robot.' He's never said those words, to me, but I can read the guy's mind after our short time. He'll tart it up a bit. In twenty seconds.

Life isn't any less magical for me. I'll still remember today, when he's eventually rejected me and moved on.
10/27 Direct Link
I was damn lucky to have been rescued from that train wreck. The terrorist responsible (I refuse to call them 'supervillains') got away because Amazagal decided to pull me out instead.

She was enormous. I hate to say it, but I was disappointed. I was hoping for skintight spandex and bright-dotted lipstick. I know everyone says this about physically fit women, but I honestly thought she was a man at first. Her hair was short, but it would have looked worse long.

She saved my life though. 'Batgirl' she said, noticing my expression, 'is in a wheelchair these days.'
10/28 Direct Link
Peter was a brilliant scientist. Now, as the villagers' blows hammer onto him, he's just like them. Angry and scared and jabbing a pitchfork and torch into the centre of his viewpont.

Between the fists he sees flashes of white light. Not flashes, no. Sunlight. From the windows.

But what...?

The glorious lightning outside is just still, bright nothingness. His attackers pale away, only suceeding in dulling his senses. His eyes hurt.

He blinks again and again, sees both worlds. Sees a new horror.

The door silently opens. A tall, slender, white-faced figure stands silent and waiting. Teeth bared.
10/29 Direct Link
Mum clears her throat and the kids look at her like she's a monster. Are they bullies, or just play-fighting with Peter? Either way, they run like hell.

'Sweetheart, is your sister all right?'

Little Laurie is grinning in the corner, her back bent over weirdly like that bloke from the Frankenstein movies. With the funny voice.
Pete actually looks shaken up. His mother hugs him. After a moment, she hears him sigh.

And then she sees what they've done to her shed. There's the missing ironing board under the good white tablecloth. Green paint everywhere...

…and three… figures…
10/30 Direct Link
Tonight there are devils about, striding gleeful,
an eight-hour season of innocent freedom,
the chewy black centre of night, the last night
before the grim festivals of light.

Today your kids dress just like Satan
like Pagans with tridents, like demons and sirens,
begging for chocolate from strangers, secretly
dreaming of razors or hoping for razors
tonight.

And now we two wait in exhilarating silence
for realistic blood and a knife and a violin's scream,
for killers and Hammers and bats on a string, rebellious wings,
the strength of the female survivor
who kills

Michael Myers and shames his dull white.
No fear in damnation tonight!
10/31 Direct Link
Mister Laurie crept up the stairs, swaying from side to side, eating smarties. Up the spiral staircase of Castle Frankenstein. When he reached Peter's door he peered into the thin strip of black, widening it by half-inches and giggling. In his hand he clutched three Brandon Routh 'Superman Returns' action figures, painted green.

Peter is wearing his Ben 10 pyjamas. This does not make him any less of a genius.

Laurie creeeeeaaks open the door and steps through. The moonlight is weak but the atomic supermen glow in the dark.

'Mah-ster,' she whispers, 'the first batch is finished!'