The Peelers

I was born for one purpose. My duty in life is to provide nourishment to the Peelers, to help fuel their lives by giving my own. My life was dark for some time, a flash of brightness before I and my brothers were taken away from our home. I don’t know how much time passed between then and now, but here I sit surrounded by my brothers waiting to be chosen, to be given my chance to live.

I am still a young creature, firm and green like my brothers. I know that now, in the Choosing Place, is a critical time for us. If we are allowed to age on these shelves, we will die uneaten. Our coats will rot and we will turn to slime and there will be only regret and despair until there is nothing more. Our lives will be a waste.

We are thrown carelessly into a basket by a Peeler, all of my brothers and I. I am filled with joy to know that we have passed this critical test. We circle the Choosing Place as distant cousins and foreign things are thrown into the basket next to us. We come to the Gates of Freedom in the Choosing Place and the Handler puts us in bags for the Peeler.

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Flash Fiction – The Train


The people walk in grim silence. Their clothes are plain and their faces hold no expression. They walk in formation: quick steps, arms close to the body, heads down. All of them are older; they never allowed the children to stay. The children would only return once they too were broken.

The town is gray; both the houses and the people. The only noise comes from the wind blowing through the streets and the footsteps of the people. Work is letting out. It is time to leave the factories and return home. Not to their loved ones, but strangers. Alliances of any kind are not allowed in the town. Family and friends can only connect underground. Being caught making such connections meant death. Instant death.

A patrol car drives through town. The people walk quicker, make themselves smaller. The warden inside the car scans them carefully. Anyone different will be taken into custody. However, the warden sees nothing wrong and drives on to the next town. The people sigh in relief.

The last of the factory workers are being let out. They cross the train tracks running through town. The lights come on, the barriers go down. They stop and wait for the train. Such a noisy thing, it is. In a town such as this, the train is deafening. Some people cover their ears.

Just as the train approaches, a woman jumps on the track. “This is not a life!” she yells. The train conductor makes no effort to stop for her. Her blood stains the area with a bright burst of red. The warden will not be happy about the bright color. Someone innocent will answer for it.

The train fades into the distance and the people scurry home. It’s just another day.



Friday Fiction – Doctor’s Demise

You are sitting across from one of the most dangerous super villains in modern times. His arms and legs are chained to his seat, and his blindfold is made of lead. He has been given a strong dose of a medicine known to repress superpowers. If it wasn’t for the fact that you’d felt the drug’s affect firsthand, you would not consent to be in a room with this man.

“Tell me, Arnold, why you started killing people,” you say. Arnold remains silent. He struggles silently against the chains surrounding him, but they don’t budge. Arnold is a tiny, ugly man who has no hopes of breaking out of prison now that he has been caught. “Well? Was it something someone did? Did they push you over the edge? Make you mad? What was it, Arnold?”

“I will not respond to that name,” he replies. You nod.

“Very well, Asphyxi. Will you answer my question now?”

“Of course.” He grins. His teeth are yellow. Luckily, the blindfold means that you don’t have to hide your look of disgust. “My first kill wasn’t a who.”

“Come again?” you ask.

“It wasn’t a who, but rather… a what. You’re asking the question wrong.”

“Fine. What was your first kill?” you ask. It had not been your original question, but you’d take what Arnold was willing to share.

“My sister’s puppy,” he says. He is smiling, as if caught in fond memory. “She’d just gotten in as a present from our grandmother. Grandmother had never given me any gifts, so I’d tried stealing the puppy into my room one night. I got mad when he wouldn’t listen to any of my commands, when he so obeyed my sister, and all of a sudden he stopped breathing. It was the first time I’d used my powers.”

“And how old were you?”

“Six, I believe.”

“That’s an uncommonly young age for someone’s powers to manifest.”

“But then again, there’s nothing common about us, is there, Doctor?” Arnold is grinning again. You have the feeling that he can see right through his blindfold, though that would be impossible.

“How do you know who I am?” you ask calmly. Doctor had been your superhero name. You’d had a brief stint with the local superheroes– flying around on Arrow’s back and covering for Bolt when raiding evil lairs– but you’d quickly grown tired of using your powers in such a way. It wasn’t exactly evil, as you’d been helping the heroes, but it still left you feeling ill inside.

Your power is the ability to give or take away the madness within a person. Since you hadn’t been cut out for a superhero– nor a super villain, for that matter– you retired your mask and buckled down for eight years of schooling until you could call yourself a Psychologist. You immediately began work at a mental institution. Innumerable people had been cured under your care, and you were able to work anonymously.

That is, unless the local league of superheroes decided to call in a favor. As they had been the ones to pay for your schooling, you couldn’t possibly turn away their request.

“Oh, please. I’ve killed hundred, and yet I’m not in jail yet? They tie me up and have me interrogated first? Do you think I’m an idiot?”

“Interrogation is standard for new prisoners,” you say.

“I’m sure it is. This kind of interrogation isn’t, however. Except for Ooze, perhaps. She was one mean son-of-a-bitch.”

You look at Arnold. “Let us return to the topic at hand.”

“Of course. So would you like to talk about the first person I killed, then? Because the puppy wasn’t the only animal I’d done away with.”

“Yes. The first person, please,” you say, rubbing your temples. Arnold is a psychopath, no doubt about it.

“I don’t know her name, of course, because I just hired her off the street. May have called herself Ruby, or Scarlett, or something like that, ‘cause she had bright red hair.” He pauses. “We went behind a dumpster and she got down on her knees, but I choked her without even taking my pants down.” His grin is savage. “I remember the feeling of it. I took the air out of her lungs, bit by bit, until she couldn’t breath at all. She tried fighting me, but she didn’t have the strength. I teased her a bit, letting her breath just before she was ready to pass out, but that grew old after a while. The fun in killing is seeing the life leak out of them, don’t you agree?”

“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never killed before.” You glance at the guards in the corner of the room, the ones who’d been there silently the whole time. They look ready to beat the prisoner within an inch of his life. You know that they’d never been faced with a criminal such as Arnold. Their usual super villains had solid motives for killing. For him, it’s just because he’s a sick bastard.

“Oh, surely you have. I saw some of your tapes from your moonlighting days. (Nice spandex, by the way.) I watch the way you could just look at a person and scramble their brains. They’d be weeping and clawing at their eyes and talking to spirits in seconds. Didn’t it ever tempt you to turn the whole world mad?”

“The world is mad enough as it is,” you say. “I returned each of the villains I cursed back to their original state. I don’t enjoy watching people suffer.”

“What differences we have, Doctor,” Arnold says. “Watching people suffer is what I live for.”

“That’s enough.” The comment is directed at the guards who have taken a step closer to the madman. Arnold smiles up at you.

“What? Had enough? Am I too mad for you?”

“Don’t worry. I can still help you.” Your powers are greatest when making physical contact so you reach forward for Arnold’s shoulder. He jerks backwards violently.

I don’t want your help,” he hisses, and then it seems as if all the air is suddenly gone.

“A-Arnold.” You struggle, grasping your throat and falling to your knees. The guards act the same way. The drug has either worn off or has no effect on the madman, for he is calmly releasing himself from his bonds while choking you to death. “Asph…yxi,” you say, once he ignores you.

“Yes, Doctor? What have you to say?” Arnold asks. His hands are freed– you struggle to think how this could be happening– and he takes off the blindfold and stairs down into your eyes. You are curled up on the floor, now, still gasping for air that has fled the room. “How pitiful you look. And old, too. I confess I expected something else. Those tapes are outdated.”

Stop this, you want to say, but you can’t get the words out. Your vision is growing fuzzy. You wonder what has happened to the people monitoring the room.

“Goodbye, Doctor. You think any jail can hold me? You’re wrong. All of you are so wrong.”

You vision turns completely black, and then there is nothing.

For the Friday Fiction link up from

All is Black – Friday Fiction

The voices are back. Never left, in fact. They’re always there, always whispering in my ear. Telling me nasty things. Telling me to hurt, telling me to die. They’re screaming now, screaming that I’m worthless. I cover my ears, but their voices only grow. I scream, and someone grabs me. Someone real, more solid than my voices. I find the world to be fading, and the voices go with them.

All is black.

New voices, different from the others. Talking about the weather, about their medication. These voices don’t bother me, not like the others do. These voices are connected to bodies, to people. People not unlike me. They sometimes talk about their own voices, during the times when we sit in a circle and talk about our feelings. But I never hear their voices, only the voices in my head.

A voice has asked me to move over, and so I do. My lunch tray slides across the table. Not paying attention, my tray knocks over another patient’s water.


The other voices try to calm me, try to stop my tears. They tell me that everything’s alright, but I don’t believe them. I can barely hear them over my voices. I grab at my head again to get them to stop, I’d do anything to get them to stop, and my food falls to the floor.


Voices in uniform grab me, tell me to calm. I listen as their drugs enter through their needle, that ever-present needle. Calm. So calm. The voices go away, the world goes away.

All is black.

Lots of voices now, none of them my own. They’re steady voices, gentle voices. Happy voices, some of them. There are artificial voices coming out of a box, laughing voices surrounding them. I’m on my own, sitting in the corner. Every once in a while a uniformed voice comes to check on me, make sure I’m okay, as if I’ve ever been okay.

The voices leave me alone, for I’m always alone, alone except my voices. My voices never leave me.

We’re the only one you’ve got. You’re alone. No one wants you. PATHETIC!Give up, why don’t you? Look at you, sitting in a corner, talking to yourself. No one will ever love you. You’re nothing but a burden. PATHETIC! Your family hates you, everyone hates you, you’re a blight on the world.

I curl up in my chair, wishing the voices away. No one notices me. I look around and spot a table. An old, breaking table. Metal runs around the edges. Solid metal, sharp metal.

Look at that. Look at that! There’s your chance. No one’s looking. Come on, get up. See that bit? You can use it. Use it to end things. You want me to stop, don’t you? You’ll do anything to end the voices. I’ll never leave you if you don’t take it. Never! You’ll always have me, you’ll always be pathetic. PATHETIC!

Up I go, slowly, shuffling to the table. No one takes notice, I’m never noticed. I lean on the table, pretending to study the picture hanging on the wall behind it. My hand goes to the metal edge, the metal edge that slowly peals off and drops into my hand. It’s thin, but sturdy. Twice as wide as my finger. I look around, but no one sees. I slip it into my underwear.

I turn to go back to my seat, to wait to be alone, but someone is behind me. An old voice. I don’t stop in time, and I hit her. She falls down, her voice is all pain.


I fold into myself and whimper, my real voice crying out. Uniformed voices grab me, but I twist away. I don’t want them to take my secret weapon, my way out.


All is black.

Alone in my room, I wake slowly. It’s night. Real darkness. I feel something in my underwear, the piece of metal. The voices start again, but they’re quiet. They’re edging me on, not forcing me. Not yet.

You know you want to… Come on… Do it!… You know you want to…

I feel around the metal, finding the jagged edge where it broke away. It lightly touches the tender skin of my wrist. Pressing, not cutting. I stare at it.

Do it! Do it now! Before you’re caught! Before you mess up again! What are you waiting for? This is what you want! This is what you need! You have to die! If you don’t die, you’ll never be free of me!

I hesitate, studying the veins of my arm.


I press harder, the metal cuts into my skin like it’s not there. But it is there. I feel it splitting, feel the metal sinking in. I hiss and close my eyes.

Good! Keep going! You’re so close! DO IT! END IT! NOW! NOW!

I drag the metal along. Suddenly, I’m soaking. Blood everywhere. Pain everywhere. My arm hurts. It hurts so much. I hurt so much.

Almost there, keep going! You’re so close! Almost!

The other wrist now, this one more difficult. Both arms cut open, the metal falls to the floor. Tears mix with blood. I’m getting dizzy now, getting tired. But I’ve always been tired. So tired, so weary.

Good… good… It won’t be long now… You’ve done good…

My eyes close, the world fades in and out. Distantly, so far away, I hear panicked voices. Lots of them. I don’t care. They aren’t my voices.

Almost there…

I slip further away. I hear nothing, I see nothing, I am nothing. No pain, no voices; nothing. Nothing. Sweet nothing.

All is black.

 For the Friday Fiction link up from