He opened his eyes to see a bulky, metal globe floating above him. The sphere turned to reveal drawn-on eyes and large, endless smile that filled the surface.
“Hello friend,” the metal face said, its eyes unblinking.
“Where am I?” he groaned.
“You’re at the best place this side of the universe my friend. Before it’s time, what’s your name?”
He sat up and ran a hand through his hair. His head felt heavy. “I…I don’t know. I can’t remember,” he finally answered.
“That’s too bad. I like to get people’s names, but when you forget you forget. Oh, we’re starting.” The metal head disappeared.
A roaring filled his ears as he stood up and took in his surroundings. He was in the middle of an arena. Twenty-foot walls surrounded him. Above the walls were thousands of creatures cheering and jeering. Littered amongst them were his own kind. A small group of which had formed near the crest of the wall farthest from him.
“Welcome,” a voice boomed over the noise, “to the one, the only, ABATTOIR!!!!” The crowd erupted. The announcer waited a moment before continuing, “Without further delay, I give you the opening round.”
The noise drowned out everything. He spun in time to see the metal face charging at him with six writhing, mechanical legs. Two of which threw him across the enclosure. He hit the ground hard. Before he could react, he was lifted of the ground and slammed against the wall. He looked up and saw the small group from his world. He could hear their curses through the din.
He looked down at the metal arm holding him against the wall. The metal sphere filled his vision. The hollow eyes and endless smile mere inches from his face.
by Jack Koebnig
‘Is it still there?’
‘What?’ Jess hissed. ‘You’ve suddenly gone deaf or something?’ She hated how she sounded. It’s not me, she told herself. But it was, had been for a long time now.
Angela wrapped her arms around her tiny frame then lowered her head so that Jess wouldn’t see the fresh tears tumbling from her bloodshot eyes.
The ground shook beneath them. It was followed by another explosion; bricks glass and warm corpses spraying in every direction.
‘Here,’ Frank said, returning from a room that had once operated as a kitchen. He’d found a bag of apples. ‘Just eat around the bruising.
Jess removed two apples from the bag and while offering one to Angela she asked Frank where he’d found them.
‘They were in a box at the back of a cupboard. Next to this.’ Frank held up a revolver, its silver barrel gleamed in the dim candlelight.
Angela scrambled into a dark corner.
‘Way to go,’ Jess said, picking up the apple Angela had dropped. ‘How about the next time you warn us first?’
Frank studied the revolver, clueless as to what all the fuss was about.
‘Eat it,’ Jess said, offering Angela her apple. ‘You’ve got to keep up your strength.’
‘B-e-c-a-u-s-e … you can hear what’s going on outside. We can’t stay here forever. And …’ Jess paused, she didn’t have a choice, she had to say it, ‘… I’m not going to carry you if you’re too weak to walk.’
Angela grabbed the apple and took a bite. The simple act of eating an apple reminded Jess of a happier time, a safer time.
The ground shook again.
‘It’s time,’ Jess said, offering Angela her hand. ‘Can you walk?’
Jess smiled. ‘That’s my girl.’
The Ward Round
by Susi J.Smith
The nurses fell into silent rows, backs pressed against the wall, heads bowed. The ward door slid open. Doctor Aaron Matthews strode onto the ward and snapped his fingers at the nearest nurse.
With a small curtsy Nurse Nisbet stepped forward. “Good morning sir. There are four patients requiring your attention this morning; an appendectomy in bed one, a tumour in two, a hip dislocation in three…and an exorcism in four.”
Aaron frowned. “An exorcism? Since when does that warrant hospital admission? Tell the local physician to deal with it and clear the bed immediately.”
Nurse Nisbet picked her nails. “Mrs Jessops didn’t go to her doctor, she went to a priest.”
Aaron rubbed his eyes. “Wonderful. How long has she been possessed?”
“Three months. The demon’s burrowed into her top gum.”
“How far has it advanced?”
“She began levitating this morning. We’re expecting projectile vomit and 360 head rotation within the hour.”
Aaron’s face reddened. “And she’s still in a bay! Get her into the isolation chamber before we have a whole ward of demons to deal with.”
“Doctor Crawford’s using it to stage an alien abduction.”
Aaron scowled. “What about the side rooms then? Move her into one of those.”
Nurse Nisbet adjusted her stance.
“Don’t tell me, Doctor Carson’s delivering the son of Satan in one, Doctor Philips is in another impregnating women with the help of an incubus, and Doctor Wexler is using the final one to create a centaur.”
“A cyclops actually, but yes.”
“Wonderful. I said this would happen if Disney was allowed to buy up the hospitals didn’t I?” Aaron shook his head. “Give the whole bay antibiotics and intravenous holy water, it’s going to be a long day.”