Liberating ‘Arking Lot, Part 3.

There I stood, face to face with a fierce gladiator more than twice my height. I looked around for a way out, but all exits were blocked.

Then the gladiator waved his sword, creating such a strong gust of wind that I was swept off my feet before landing square on my rear, right next to the book. I quickly reached for it and desperately sought any advice on how to defeat my opponent.

You again?

“Please,” I muttered as I frantically thumbed through the pages, “I need your help.”

Suddenly the ground shook as the gladiator took one giant step forward closer to where I was sitting. Just two more steps and I’d be smooshed. Not exactly a fitting end to my heroic ambitions. I continued my frantic search for advice from the book but all the pages were blank. And then I came to these words on the very last page.

What would YOU do?

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked. “My only weapon is a can of whipped cream, for crying out loud!”

Then I paused to allow the mental pieces presented to assemble themselves in such a logically sound arrangement that I heard a loud clicking sound inside my head. A smile came to my face.

“That’s it,” I said to myself as I slowly rose to my feet. “Sounds crazy, but it just might work.”

The giant gladiator stood menacingly, clenching his sword, ready to strike. I took the can of whipped cream and popped off the lid.

What would YOU do?

I raised the can and filled my mouth with whipped cream.

There.

I stood defiantly, daring the gladiator to make his next move. His face began to register shock and disgust as he let his sword drop to the ground with an earth shattering clang. Slowly he raised his hands and placed them on his head as his eyes widened with horror. Then he opened his mouth and screamed, “EWWWW, YOU SPRAYED WHIPPED CREAM IN YOUR MOUTH!” He began convulsing and jumping in place as seemingly disgusting thoughts materialized. “GERMS! GERMS! YUCK! I HATE GERMS!” he continued screaming. With each jump the soft sand began to give way and the gladiator began to sink into the ground. He was too occupied with his thoughts to notice. Instead, he screamed, “I’LL NEVER HAVE WHIPPED CREAM AS LONG AS I LIVE!” before disappearing underground, never to be seen or heard from again. Then the giant sword too sank into the sand and a few minutes later it was as if nothing had ever happened here in the first place.

Now recovered from this terrifying encounter, I began shining my light around the room to determine my next course of action and spotted a small door at the opposite side. I began my cautious approach knowing full well that behind this door was the Source of All Evil awaiting my arrival and plotting my demise.

I slowly opened the door and walked inside.

Then I screamed.

To be continued…

 

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Saving ‘Arking Lot, Part 2.

I continued down the dark, cold underground passageway, nervously shining my flashlight around in hopes of picking up advanced warnings of any terror lurking ahead. I did hear the occasional sound from nowhere that induced my panic reflex but I calmed down once I realized that it was most likely my footsteps.

Then I entered a huge circular room completely cloaked in darkness except wherever my light shone. The mood here was terrifying beyond belief although I couldn’t see anything that added to this mood. Perhaps that was made it so terrifying in the first place.

My flashlight caught a letter that was engraved on the wall high above me and next to it was another letter, then another, in fact a whole line of them. Then I saw what they said:

D D C  I AM HERE  P P W

I stood staring at this unusual arrangement of letters and tried to decipher their meaning.  Try as I might, I just couldn’t figure it out. Then I decided to consult the book and see what it had to say.

You’re on your own with this one, bub.

I did a double take. Did the book just say that?

Yes, I just said that. Want me to say it again?

Feeling defeated, I sat down and began thumbing through the pages of the book, skimming them as I went, trying to look for any clues that could help me out of this predicament. I caught a quick glimpse of the chapter dealing with the passageway with the scores of ratss behind the doors. I chuckled at what a silly puzzle that was.

Then I found myself a recipient of a hint of inspiration. What if I’m facing a puzzle similar to the one at the passageway? It’s possible that the letters on the wall too could be scrambled. Once again I shone my light on the letters and tried unscrambling them in my mind to see what words, if any, could form. Slowly and surely some words began to form that I couldn’t comprehend being inscribed on the wall in the first place. I tried to see what other words I could come up with but I kept coming back to the same ones. I shook my head, not understanding their significance in regards to the mission at hand. What could this have to do with the evil plaguing ‘Arking Lot?

I read the words out loud.

“Whipped cream.”

I chuckled at the idea of such silly words being inscribed on the walls of a huge circular room under the spell of darkness and cold, not to mention the evil all over this place.

Suddenly I heard something slide open. Quickly I shone my light around and when I saw the source of the sound I nearly dropped my flashlight. A small panel in the wall at the other end of the room had slid open, revealing a small compartment with something in it. I slowly rose to my feet and cautiously made my way to the other side of the room. As I came close enough to identify the object, confusion once again set in.

There was a can of whipped cream inside the wall.

I reached for the can and removed it from the small compartment. It felt cold to the touch and sent my mind scrambling to comprehend the strange events so far. What could whipped cream have to do with ridding the evil from ‘Arking Lot?

My thoughts were interrupted by a thundering sound of some large doors opening behind me. The ground shook beneath my feet as a breeze roared into the room. Then I could see a light shining back at me, which startled me so badly that I dropped my flashlight. Oddly enough, the light across the room fell to the ground at the same time. Slowly I lowered myself to the ground to pick up my flashlight and saw the light ahead rise as well. Was I looking at a reflection?

Then the ground shook again as my light saw something huge move into the room. I couldn’t tell what it was at first but gradually I could make out small details that did nothing to help me decide whether to panic, wait, or panic while waiting.

The overhead lights came on and I ended up deciding to panic big time. Standing at the other end of the room stood a giant gladiator who was 16 feet tall. He held a long sword with a highly polished blade that I concluded must have been what reflected my light moments earlier. His face registered hostility as he stood ready to slice me to pieces.

I, on the other hand, nervously stood with my can of whipped cream.

This does not look good.

To be continued…

 

 

‘Arking Lot.

In this post I continue my spinoff of Salem’s Lot. As I developed the story, it took on such a life of its own that it no longer made sense for me to continue using the name “‘Salem’s Lot”. No, I thought it was better to use the name ‘Arking Lot instead. (Originally it was named Parking Lot, but the first letter was removed to make the town more inviting to visitors and residents alike. After all, no one wants to live in a parking lot.)

Standing inside the dimly lit lobby of the church that singlehandedly contained the evil plaguing the town of  ‘Arking Lot, I allowed my eyes to adjust to the darkness before I spotted a very dim light shining at a nearby corner. Then I heard a voice.

“Get your program here! You can’t tell a lot from a few without a program!”

I could see someone standing behind the table with a stack of brochures next to a short candle that barely illuminated his presence. I couldn’t see much of him but the tattered clothes clinging to what was left of the corpse that greeted me.

“Well, well!” said the corpse. “Another foolish soul trying to eradicate the evil from ‘Arking Lot!”

“Yeah, that’s me,” I responded.

“Would you like a program?”

“No thanks,” I replied, “I have the book.”

“Which one?”

“This one,” I held up my copy of So You Want To Visit ‘Arking Lot.

“That won’t help you here,” snarled the corpse.

“There’s nothing wrong with trying,” I said as I raised my camera. “Say cheese.”

Don’t point that thing at me!

Click.

The flash went off and the corpse instantly collapsed into a pile of rags and bones. Then I looked at the screen on my camera and saw the picture I just took. Not exactly a pretty sight.

I walked to a row of doors lined up behind me and was about to push one open when I suddenly remembered what I read in the book. The doors lead to a passageway inhabited by hundreds and hundreds of ratss. That struck me as odd. I thought perhaps it was a typo in the book but the word ratss appeared not once, but numerous times. I consulted the book one more time.

There is a long row of doors in the lobby leading to an underground passageway occupied by scores of ratss. Listen for signs of squeaking before entering, unless you choose a different setting for your entrance to the passageway.

What could this mean?

Then it dawned on me that the strange word might actually be a different word with the letters scrambled. But what word would that be? In the meantime, I did hear squeaking, lots of squeaking as the ratss lined up behind the door in preparation for eating me alive at the earliest opportunity.

Ratss.

I mentally rearranged the letters before I got a different word, one that sounded way more pleasant than the one I started with.

Stars.

I went back and re-read that sentence again, this time out loud.

“There is a long row of doors in the lobby leading to an underground passageway occupied by scores of stars.”

The squeaking stopped as a bright glow filled the space behind the doors. When it faded, I cautiously pushed open the door and saw a dark passageway illuminated by countless stars overhead.

Whew.

I began my walk down the passageway with flashlight in hand, unsure of what was ahead. My nose already knew otherwise and alerted me to an extremely pleasant scent that drifted in my general direction. I couldn’t make out what it was at first, but the farther I went, the more recognizable the scent became.

Chocolate chip cookies?

Suddenly from out of the darkness emerged an oversized doll with a body of plain white cloth. It had no face but a plain head along with the plain arms and legs connected to the plain abdomen. And there it stood, leaning forward as if stuck in a bow.

“Ookay,” I said aloud to no one in particular, “What might this be?”

“The Grim Reacher,” came a voice from behind. I spun around and saw a bearded man with his long hair done as a ponytail. He wore a red polo shirt and black pants, an outfit not typical of one who resides in this dark, forbidding place. “Hi, I’m Jim, from Really Terrifying Props. We’re giving our newest animated prop here a test run. So what do you think? Did it scare you?”

“No, not really,” I replied.

“Did it at least startle you?”

“No.”

“Quicken your pulse?”

“No.”

“No? Wow, it scared us when we first ran it. So what would it take to make this thing scarier for you?”

“Well,” I explained, “this thing needs to look scary. What, you call it the Grim Reacher? Then make it look like a Grim Reacher instead of a plain dummy. Give it a scary face and dress it up in black robe and hood.

“Also, the movements need to be scary. Not just leaning forward, but this thing needs to really move. Make its arms reach for you and work in some head jerking movements, too.

“And lastly, this thing needs scary sounds, like maybe someone screaming. Put all those together and you’ll have a terrifying prop that’s scare even me.”

I sniffed the air and then added, “Oh, one more thing. I’d get rid of the chocolate chip cookie smell.”

“What chocolate chip cookie smell?” Jim asked.

“Never mind,” I sighed as I walked on.

My journey was just beginning. I knew the worst was yet to come.

To be continued…

Cleaning up ‘Salem’s Lot.

After reading Stephen King’s novel ‘Salem’s Lot, I came up with some crazy ideas to further enhance the story. I see this as a sign of a good book, one that stirs up your imagination to come up with ideas like this one.

It was well after midnight when I pulled off the road towards the woods just outside the town of Jerusalem’s Lot, a town in Maine known for its population of vampires. Many have been curious but few have dared to visit the town itself. I on the other hand was determined to rid the town of the vampires to once again make it safe and habitable.

Slowly I drove down the dirt road that ran through the woods where the vampires were known to hide and attack unsuspecting passersby. Everyone in town was a vampire anyway, so it was necessary for them to venture out of their territory in search of fresh victims.

I turned on my hazard lights and pulled off to the side near the trees. Then I opened the trunk and retrieved the tire jack and my flashlight before sitting down at the rear tire on the passenger side. The trap was set. All I had to do was wait.

Sure enough, I heard a rustling in the bushes behind me as someone approached. The stray light from my flashlight illuminated a friendly but fiendish face. The skin was deathly pale with a reddish hue around the sinister green eyes. The smile revealed sharp fangs amongst the rest of the yellowed teeth. No doubt I was in the company of a vampire.

“Can I be of assistance?” the vampire asked.

“Oh no,” I replied nonchalantly, “I’ll change this tire myself. Perhaps I’ll have more energy after a quick nap.”

With that, I reclined on the ground and closed my eyes. It was only a matter of time.

“You make this too easy,” the vampire hissed as he lunged for my throat. But instead of his fangs sinking into my flesh, they sunk into an air hose wrapped around my neck. I pressed the button on the remote control hidden in my hand and an air pump roared to life from its hiding place in the trunk. Instantly the vampire’s head began filling with air like a balloon before exploding with a loud bang seconds later, sending the lifeless body falling to the ground.

One down, who knows how many left to go.

I put everything away in my car before driving to a different spot in the woods to set up the trap once again to lure another unsuspecting vampire.

Then I was faced with a dilemma. Either I can continue this vampire trapping all night or venture to the heart of the woods to eradicate the very source of evil that has plagued Jerusalem’s Lot for centuries. Finding this source won’t be easy, let alone eliminate it, but I decided to give it a shot.

I slowly drove down the dirt road while keeping an eye out for any clues that could lead me in the right direction. Maybe an increased presence of vampires? Or perhaps a barren landscape with nonstop lightning and thunder?

Then I saw a road sign ahead.

THE SOURCE OF ALL EVIL

NEXT RIGHT

With a sigh, I turned right and there I was, at the very spot that transformed Jerusalem’s Lot from a sleepy small town into a dreadful realm of the undead. There, in front of me, was a wretched church that stood under an atmosphere of pure fear. If I am to save this town, then I must go inside.

And inside I went.

To be continued…

Ground control to major chaos.

“Mission control, this is Shonks.”

“Not again,” muttered the agent as he picked up his headset to communicate with the crew aboard the USS Haywire high above the Earth.

“What was that?”

“Nothing.”

“We’re still waiting on that AA battery,” Shonks said. “It’s been 2 days now.”

“We’re still trying to get it up to you.”

“That’s what you said yesterday.” Shonks was getting annoyed. “Are you sure you guys know what you’re doing?”

“We’re doing our best.”

“You said that yesterday too. Hurry up.”

End of transmission.

The agent shook his head in silent frustration before getting up from his desk for a quick break. He walked over to the window overlooking the facility outside and saw dozens of people, all lined up in a row while using rubber bands to shoot AA batteries at the sky. The batteries would only fall back down to the ground but this did not deter their determination to deliver the much-needed battery to the ship above. Occasionally, other people would run out with boxes containing fresh batteries for the futile launch attempts to continue for the rest of the day. The agent shook his head again.

Thank you, President Rouch, thought the agent. Deep budget cuts for us so you can build your roof over the entire country.

Good luck with that.

LOTS of luck.

 

I am not a robot.

“Come in.”

My boss greeted me after seeing me standing outside his office. I was furious but vowed to maintain my composure. He gestured at the empty chair in front of his desk and I silently accepted his invitation.

“What can I do for you?” my boss asked.

I felt like screaming at him but took a deep breath and tried to air my concerns with as much civility as possible.

“This workload,” I said with my voice rising in anger, “is beyond IMPOSSIBLE!”

So much for civility.

“And why is that?” my boss snapped back as he became defensive.

“There is NO WAY I can type at 10,000 words a minute while my head is spinning!”

“Well, how come THEY can?” my boss yelled, pointing to the cubicles outside his office. People sat at their desks typing at their keyboards so fast that there was a loud buzzing noise while their heads spun nonstop to glance at the documents and spreadsheets suspended from circular racks surrounding their heads.

“Just because they can do that doesn’t mean I can!” I shouted.

“AND WHY IS THAT?”

“BECAUSE I’M NOT A ROBOT!”

Now I had done it. The last thing anyone wants to do is scream at their boss, and despite my best intentions on relieving my frustration, made myself feel worse instead.

My boss only stared at me in shock. “You? Not a robot?” Slowly he reached for the glass of water on his desk and suddenly splashed it on my face.

“Hey!” I cried. “What did you do that for!”

My boss’s eyes widened with surprise. “No sparks?” he asked. “No smoke coming out of your ears? You mean you’re HUMAN?”

That was it. I unscrewed the cap to the bottle of water I was holding and lunged for his desk while splashing the water all over his face. Abruptly sparks began to fly from his mouth, smoke came out of his ears as his head spun rapidly before it dropped to the floor. His arms reached around frantically while sparks and smoke flew from his neck until finally he exploded.

The explosion caused a fuse blowout that cut off power to the entire office. The robots sat still and quietly at their cubicles, awaiting the return of the electricity that so powered their very existence.

I, on the other hand, had ample time to make my escape.