Anyway, eventually I decided that person is.....
K Lee Burkett
They get to choose a free electronic copy of a 2015 NBAS of their choice. All stories including the winner are below.
Madeleine Swann is the author of NBAS 2015 novella Rainbows Suck. She likes tea and squeezing animals in nefarious ways.
Rainbow of Happiness
by K. Lee Burkett
It had been raining for days. A veil of grey hung over the city, threatening suffocation with its repressive gloom. Eyes peered from behind curtains. A few brave bodies sheathed in rain gear sloshed through the soggy streets.
Sometime in the middle of a rainy grey day, the glowing began. Off in the distance, breaking through the bleakness, a fuzzy red-orange-pink glow. Like neon advertising color itself amidst the pallor. Soon after the odd humming began, a low frequency that vibrated through the marrow of everyone and into the hollows of dreams. The hum began to take the form of words, directing the residents of the town to find the end of the peculiar rainbow.
Clusters of slicker clad people tromped through town, heading single-mindedly toward the glowing, humming arch in the distance.
“What do you think it is?” somebody asked.
A few people answered by turning and giving a quick, narrow stare. The others just kept walking as though they hadn’t heard the question or it was too much bother to respond.
The crowd walked for what seemed like a long time, though they never really seemed to get much closer. When they began to slow, the light flickered, and the people gave a collective gasp.
“Oh, I’ve had it! I’m about beat!” a man said, sitting on a curb. At that point, the light went completely out. Screams and gasps and cries of “Where’d it go?” could be heard even as the rain began to pick up, drenching the grey curtain of sky that hung over everybody with no arc of colored light breaking through the dreariness.
It was then that the meters began to pop up. The pleasant hum was replaced by rumbling beneath the muddy puddled lawns and rain slick concrete. At approximately every 50 feet, slender metal meters popped up. Each one equipped with slots for accepting cash and credit card payments.
“Bloody hell!” somebody said. “What do we do?” said another. “Who has money?” someone else said. And with that, they all began digging in their soggy pockets and overstuffed purses for their wallets, looking for credit cards and spare change.
Damp hands began shoving money into the meter slots. After a minute or two of feeding the meters, the sky flickered with neon color. The crowd cheered. “Keep feeding ‘em!” someone shouted. They kept putting money into the meters at a frantic pace, and the neon rainbow glowed brighter in the sky with each payment. The hum grew louder, morphing into trance music. Suddenly, the rain stopped. People took off their raincoats, started peeling off their wet clothes.
People began to dance, and the rainbow glowed radiantly, and the music pumped like the giant heartbeat of the world. Some people began knocking on doors, getting others to pay the meters too. And more meters popped up. Soon everybody was paying to see the brilliant rainbow that was always glowing, 24 hours a day, always just a little beyond.
The Black Rainbow
And there, in the distance, I saw it. It stood like an arching monolith that looked down upon the earth, not so much guarding it, but more preying upon it. Its stripes bore no colours but only the shades of mourning as the seven forms of black and grey moulded and morphed into one another, offering no ray of sunshine in the damp aftermath of the storm. This was our becoming. This was our reckoning. We would venture to go around it, but how can one give a wide berth to that which has no end? Surely not could we go under nor through it, not after the horrors we had seen in recent days. Birds fly by and get sucked into it, blasted like moths on a UV fly zapper, and all those that try to go unnoticed have sunbeams shun upon them, revealing them to – what has become known as – the Black Rainbow.
It could never be forgotten how it came to be. The glorious summers’ day where bunnies played in the open whilst foxes bathed in the sun, as though nature were letting bygones be bygones and second chances were in bloom with the tulips and daisies. The luscious green grass that kissed the baby-blue skies as the sun illuminated the world. And there, just at the cusp of the sun’s circumference was the tiniest puff of cloud that we all believe to be harmless. That was until it grew bigger. And when its size grew larger its shade grew darker, and as it grew and grew it became thicker and thicker until the sun was hidden and the sky turned black, and with the crash of a thousand bombs came a downpour of titanic proportions.
The foxes butchered the rabbits, the rain massacred the flowers and the ground so bombarded that the fields turned to swamps and the forests turned to bogs. The rain fell hard and the rain fell long, and after thirty long days of flooding, hurricanes and disasters, the maelstrom in the sky turned in on itself and the sky turned clear. Only there was not sun, there were no clouds, there was no wind, there wasn’t anything. Just grey. And from the mist as it cleared on the hills was that in which some hate, some worship, but all fear: the black rainbow.
In the clearing it called out upon us like a thousand fog horns, deafening to those unfortunate enough to be standing too close, and menacing to all at a distance. It did not move, it did not shine, it did absolutely nothing, but that was enough. Many tried to escape, but the rays of an invisible sun revealed those who fled, and immediately they burst into a single flame and turned to dust, and then blew into the air to join the rest of the grey. We are its slaves now. What it wants, he do not know, but what we do know, is that we cannot ever leave.
The Graffiti of Devils
by Kevin Sweeney
The Beast and his granddaughter were walking in the forest, much as the Beast had once walked there with his grandmother (for you see, the devil’s family always skips a generation.)
It was winter, and so cold that when they came upon the end of a rainbow they found it frozen where it touched the world. They broke off icicles of indigo and orange and sucked them white whilst the Beast explained that the Creator placed such bows in the sky to remind humanity of the Promise. Granddaughter scented mischief, and spoke of such to her elder who delighted in her talk, and then searched they the whole world over for what they would need before returning, burdened, to where the rainbow was rooted and where the mischief would be birthed.
The bow sizzled when a hoof was placed upon it, and the younger helped the elder with that first step, but then they were climbing the icy arch of seven colours and began to paint.
For a brush they used the tongue of the last whale, plucked as the animal lay dying on the deck of a “scientific research vessel” in the Sea of Japan, and for paint they had stripped the auras of humans in every corner of this planet of the damned.
From child slaves on Ghanaian cocoa farms and the chainsaw wielding executioners of Mexican cartels, they filled their pallete with misery and wickedness and mixed their pigments; blue from drowned Syrian migrants at the bottom of the Mediterranean, and yellow from Indian family’s who lived by scavenging amongst burning mountains of the West's imported garbage. They found a remarkable hue of orange in a Middle Eastern territory engaged in ethnic cleansing, and in a locked cellar in a mid-west American town they discovered a shade of green whose source would shock the nation, until the next celebrity excess stole society’s glassy gaze.
With laughter like sobbing the devil and his granddaughter painted as they walked across the empty sky, and if the Creator placed his bow as a reminder of the Promise, what of this second bow above? Was it an answer, or an accusation? Better the devil, he knows.
by Sutter Kang
Kirby and Dave sat in the boat, waiting for something to bite. They were really hoping for one of those monster catfish they'd heard so much about, but at this point they would take anything.
"You want another one?" Dave asked, holding a cold brew out.
"Sh'yeah, "Kirby slurred out.
Kirby tossed his empty can into the lake. The can gleamed in the sun like gold, bobbing along like a fishing lure. He took the fresh beer from Dave and cracked it open. It went down smooth and he finished it in one pour, letting out a loud burp when he'd finished.
"Man, go easy," Whined Dave. "We only got..." He counted the beers slowly. "Shit, we got enough, never mind."
They both burst out in laughter.
Kirby stood up in the boat and threw the empty can into the river. It rocked side to side, coming close to tipping.
"Careful," Dave said.
"Mind your own queer,"
Kirby unzipped and let loose.
"Huh?" Kirby looked around as he zipped. "You say somethin' Dave?"
"Naw," Dave said. "I heard it too though. Don't know where it came from."
A fish the size of a pitbull slapped across Kirby's face, knocking him on his back in the boat. Dave burst out laughing and pointed. "You just got your ass knocked out by a damn fish!"
Kirby scowled. "You keep laughin' like that an' I'm fixin' to throw your ass outta this boat."
Dave just grinned like a schoolboy seeing a girl nude for the first time, until another fish jumped out and smacked him in the chest. It wasn't big enough to knock him down, but it gave a good slap before dropping into the boat.
"Infidel!," the fish said, its lips moving like a store bought talking bass. "Murderers! You kill our mother! Rape our land!"
"What the--". Dave started to say before their boat flipped.
Under the water a thousand mouths gripped Dave and Kirby's clothes, dragging them down. They were speeding so fast they didn't feel the scales slicing their throats into fully functional gills.
They hit the bottom.
A rope made from discarded fishing wire and six pack rings laced around them, holding them tight. They looked at each other, terrified and confused. A monster catfish they would have loved to catch and fry swam up.
"You have been charged with the crime of attempted murder." Said the catfish. "How do you plead?"
"How the hell can we understand you!" Shouted Dave.
"This ain't real..." Blubbered Kirby. "Can't be."
"If you do not make a plea, you will be found guilty immediately."
"Not guilty! Not guilty!" Dave said, still not believing he was talking to a fish.
The catfish turned to Kirby. "And you? What do you say?"
Kirby, still in shock, couldn't form a coherent sentence. When the fish had had enough he turned to the left and shouted, "This one is undeniably guilty!"
An even larger fish, close to the size of a shark emerged from the murkiness. Its mouth gaped wide, then closed around Kirby's head. It carried him beyond sight to an unknown fate. Dave thought about how he was going to get out of the predicament he found himself in. Then he knew he had only one way out. The only talent he had in all the muster of his body. He was going to lie his ass off.
Dave looked around. It was a courtroom, in a metropolis of a fish city. Fish of all sizes sat in the pews, scribbling notes on tree bark. A judge fish sat the the front, wearing a wig that looked like george washing tons hair, only it was rotting away from years of submersion.
"David Hill," Said the judge fish. It sounded like Mickey Rooney. "You are being tried for attempted murder. You plead not guilty. You will be judged fairly by a jury of mixed fish. First witness please."
Evil Rainbow™ From WhizzBang!
Frank J. Edler
Congratulations on the purchase of your new Evil Rainbow™. Its the rainbow that is sure to provide hours of a horrific, unsettling hell on Earth for you and your entire family.
To activate your Evil Rainbow™ remove the black prism from the package and place it on the evil stand. Using the atomizing bottle of sulfuric acid, spritz a fine mist into the air in front of the prism. Before the mist can settle, aim the evil death ray directly at the black prism. The ray will be refracted into a spectrum of evil colors and form your very own Evil Rainbow™.
Before you can begin using your Evil Rainbow™ you must first sacrifice one member of your immediate family to the evil spirit which possesses it. You may behead, burn or torture your loved one to death while pronouncing the name of the evil spirit that possesses your Evil Rainbow™. The name is stamped on the inside of the carton. You may also consider using the Evil Rainbow™ Sacrificial Dagger to stab your sacrifice to death (Sold separately.)
Once blood has been spilled in the name of your Evil Rainbow™ it will then begin its maniacal plan to take over the world. Though this is your Evil Rainbow™, it would be best not to interfere in its nefarious plans for world domination.
Also, Evil Rainbow™ will most likely murder the rest of your family and friends.
Evil Rainbow™ will make demands for ridiculous amounts of money for ransom from world leaders in exchange for their safety in lieu of the coming apocalypse your Evil Rainbow™ will bring on.
Do not, under any circumstances, agree to be your Evil Rainbow™'s second-in-command! The allure of that much power is enticing but your Evil Rainbow™ will become paranoid and execute you believing you are planing a coup to usurp its reign over the universe which it will eventually control.
Be sure to keep your Evil Rainbow™ misted with the sulfuric acid spray. Your Evil Rainbow™ will shrivel up and die if it dries out. Then it will become a poltergeist and torment you for the rest of your life.
Thank you for purchasing Evil Rainbow™ exclusively from WhizzBang! Keep an eye out for Evil Rainbow™ Evil Secret Lair and Evil Rainbow™ Evil Sacrificial Altar available soon!
by Leigham Shardlow
There is a thin thread inside my liver, sewing the organ shut to remake myself in the yellowest way possible. I had done the surgery myself, getting drunk on an advocaat and Lemoncillo cocktail called "Purest Yellow" . It had taken a lot of blood and digging around, eventually i had tied my liver off from my blood supply and stapled myself back together.
I'd also paid ten English pounds to Jack the professional body manipulator to yellow my eyes, he injected them with horse piss, I hoped it was sterile. The effect was perfect leaving only the small pits of my pupils floating in the yellow.
I was perfect for Geoffrey, I would be his yellow how could he deny me that?
The advert for the auditions came on the telly a few weeks ago, Bungle Bear, George the Pink Hippo and Zippy ( My favourite) had begun in a blood stained dungeon as the Programme "Rainbow" always started. Bungle, George and Zippy's masked heads wobbled as they writhed sexually against each other.
The screen flashed like strobed lights and Geoffrey's disembodied head appeared.
"I WANT HUMANS LIKE THE RAINBOW! BE ON TELLY! BE LIKE MY SEXY PUPPETS!"
Then the screen faded into a brief shot of some text detailing the address of the auditions with terms and conditions.
Rainbow was my favourite evil TV show, I needed to be it's Yellow.
The Queue outside the studio was massive, people had outdone themselves to become colour. Some where awful, people who had just painted or tattooed themselves, or that other yellow who had just sewed a patchwork of dirty yellow carpets to himself, the pathetic attempt of that made me laugh.
Some of the reds were fantastic. One bloke had actually skinned himself, the red of his muscles on constantly leaking blood really put the painters to shame. The Pink man two people in front of me was boasting about how he'd boiled himself for days to get the right shade.
The more I looked the faster the Queue filed into the tiny door and soon enough I entered it myself.
Geoffrey had Bungle the Bear tied into a rack. This was just like the show, if ever Geoffrey liked a picture someone had sent in he would viciously Bugger Bungle. I watched as the boiled pink man did a little tap dance on the stage in front of Geoffrey, Bungle and some security guards.
Geoffrey undid his fly, smiled sweetly and rammed Bungle a few time in approval. The pink chap cried and left the stage.
A painted green man got up on stage and before he could say anything George the Pink Hippo ran out from behind the stage curtain and impaled him with long sword. The security moved the body.
I was sick on myself out of either excitement or the Jaundice. It didn't matter, all the Advocaat had made it yellow. It was perfect sick.
"Next!" Yelled Geoffrey.
I stepped forward intending to sing the Rainbow song. I never got the chance as Zippy, who had been sitting off stage in the dark, rumbled on stage and punched me square in the face, exploding my nose in a shower of blood.
"That's not yellow!" Geoffrey shouted at me.
"Next!" He yelled as the security roughly grabbed me and carried me to the exit before chucking me into some bins.
Watching Telly that night I saw Rainbow and that carpeted bastard being caressed by Geoffrey, I cried myself to sleep it really was the most evil programme on telly.
For as long as I can remember, unlikely things have come to me as I fall into sleep. I could interpret the world to you in these moments. Like swimming through a retrograde LSD trip, all things connect to make perfect sense. In typical apathy however, I close my eyes and wake up with no recollection. Much could be said of this selective importance of things, even then.
Today is October first, and autumn has arrived. Leaves shed as temperatures lag, and my existence temporarily becomes less wretched. Stepping outside to escape the monotony, last night’s storm is fading, and I am apprehensive. I catch a glimpse of It on the horizon and my spirit sinks. Feelings of regret bloom before I even give this obsession a thought. I know too well the peril of the Rainbow. As I shield my eyes from the initial discomfort of it, the requisite translator is there, as he always is. He says out loud “It is wondrous here,” responding to the quickly moving clouds, the prismatic wonder, and the inexorable end to the current scenery. Other mandatory words also spew from his mouth: “Love is universal, but has no relevance here.”
My desire for all of this should be on a leash. But if you were told that there was a place where nothing was beyond the scope of your cravings, would you deny it? Would you be foolish to forego it? Keep in mind, I am often the foolish and lonely type who mistakes the simple sharing of a laugh or the mutual understanding of the mundane as much more. Clearly a pawn of the Rainbow whose one sided connection is pathetic, there are always ways to rationalize the harrowing details. As visions of a slave who desires to be king pervade me, the reality of how delusional this is comes to the surface all too quickly. I enter and further deteriorate all of my relationships, aware of my regression to a whore of the worst kind, deaf to the pleas of reason.
Euphoria takes over and I fall further away from all that used to mean so much. I no longer resist. All that guides me is devoid of any true esteem. Obediently I follow, despising what has become of me. These rituals...hopeless patterns. Priorities were deemed hollow long ago. I have overdone it, and this time, as I fall into sleep, I explain nothing, I value nothing. Fucking Rainbow, you promised me so much more.
RAINBOWS DON’T LIKE RAP MUSIC
by Sean Kelly
“Sorry bud! Not going over quite like you planned huh?” Elliot yelled over the buzzing sound. Sound stopped. Elliot pulled the power drill out of Marco’s eye socket. “Anyways…” He whipped out a handkerchief and cleaned the drill. “That’s enough of that.”
Marco stood. He looked down at his blood splattered clothes. Elliot took out another handkerchief and handed it to him.
“Why do you have so many handkerchiefs, man?” Marco asked.
“You got time to accompany me on a street race?”
“Cause you drilled my eye.”
“You were robbing me.”
“Yeah well. Last time you didn’t drill my eye.”
“Hey,” Elliot said. “Look out your window real quick.”
“Why is your car so cold?” Marco asked. “The AC isn’t even on.”
“Yeah. Look out your window real quick.”
“No. Why? You’re gonna put something gross on me when I turn away.”
“Will you hurry up!?”
“Fine.” Marco looked out at the passing store fronts. “Whole lot of pawn shops and liquor stores.”
Marco squinted. “I don’t know what you want me to see. Can’t see shit anyway. One eye is gone,” He turned and glared at Elliot. “The other ones still irritated from the feather tickling.”
“Little good cop, bad cop.” Elliot replied.
“Yeah, except you aren’t a cop anymore. I’m not sure you ever were, to be honest.”
“Well not officially, but… Will you look out your window god damn it!?”
Marco looked. “What?”
“In the sky. The rainbow.”
“So what? That’s always there.”
“So what is that’s our opponent.”
“Why? I don’t really remember what we’re doing anymore. Little light headed…” Marco noticed what appeared to be a booger wiped across the sleeve of his shirt. “From the blood loss and stuff. What are we doing again?”
“Street racing, Marco! What else?”
“What do you mean what else? I’ve never seen you street race.”
“Roll down the window. Yell some rude shit at the rainbow.”
“Okay.” Elliot punched the center of his steering wheel.
“Punch identification denied.” A robotic voice came from the AC vent.
Elliot sighed. “This car sucks.” He punched the wheel several more times.
“Denied. Denied. Denied.” A chime sounded. “Punch identification accepted! Initiating biological megaphone sequence. Seeking host.”
“Whats that mean?” Marco asked.
The glove compartment whipped open in front of Marco. An auxiliary cord shot in to his eye socket. He twitched a little, then went still.
“Host found. Deploying ‘Lil Wayne - King Kong’ at maximum volume.”
The trunk popped open. A massive chrome megaphone raised out of it. It blasted the track, tearing a city bus in to shreds.
“Uh, h-hey car voice thing!?” Elliot yelled at his AC vent.
“What do you want now?” The robotic voice asked.
“Pump up the bass.” He lit a cigarette.
“Sounds dangerous. I’m doing it because I want to. Not because you told me to.”
“Thank you, talking AC vent.”
The immense bass shook the whole block. Buildings crumbled. Lil Wayne’s rhymes could be heard several states over.
Elliot grabbed unconscious Marco. Stuffed him under the wheel. Used his head to keep the accelerator down. He rolled down his window, climbed out and stood on the roof.
“Yo! Rainbow! You look stupid!” Elliot flipped the rainbow two birds. Whipped out his dick and helicoptered it.
The rainbow did nothing. Didn’t look stupid though. Was pretty.
“Me and you, rainbow! Right now! To the end of the street. If I win, you get your ass outta town for good!” He put his dick away.
The music cut off.
Marco raised up. The car slowed to a stop. He opened the door and stepped out.
“Damn it, Marco! How’d you unlink?” Elliot hopped off the roof.
“I don’t know man. I saw some weird shit. Was running for my life.”
“Damn it! Can only link that thing once every 24 hours on the free trial.” Elliot looked up at the rainbow with a scowl and shook his fist. “Next time rainbow!” He yelled. “Don’t think this is over! I’ll be back! I’m gonna beat you! In a street race! You uh… You son of a bitch!”
Marco rolled his eyes. “Can you take me home now?”
Vlad the Impaler's Rainbow Rampage
By Neil Dinsmore
Vlad Dracula was a Wallachian prince with a problem. He had returned from the grave, and he wasn't very happy about it. The product of a lightning bolt from a nuclear warhead detonation and a perfectly timed incantation from a now-vaporised cult of wannabe vampire emos, the resurrected corpse now stalked the lands of modern day Europe with nothing but anger coursing through his revived veins.
Why had his ancient slumber been disturbed? Why was the land so different than he remembered it? Where were the Turks? Vlad was confused. And deeply, deeply, pissed. There was only one answer to all of these burning questions: genocide.
Vlad loved genocide. It was his number one thing to do when he'd been alive. So he called upon his own personal demon from beyond the veil to grant him a weapon with which to commence the slaughter. Owing to the fact that he held a lot of sway in the afterworld, he was immediately gifted a hand cannon. It was an ethereal rainbow blaster, the kind that never requires reloading or even a license.
“Sweet tits!” exclaimed Vlad, having taught himself English and vulgarity during his time in Hell, as he started firing the thing indiscriminately at peasants, buildings and cows. The land was soon awash with the fragmented entrails and liquefied soup smears of the dead. Vlad laughed and cheered, danced and pirouetted as he unloaded round after round of nullifying rainbow beam into people's screaming faces.
But soon, the gays appeared. As did the transgender people, the bisexual otherkins and the ones who refused to be pigeon holed. They arrived with their placards and signs and began cheering the irate slaughterer on. Vlad was unsure what they were doing. He'd never seen so many genders or piercings in one place before. The crowd grew bigger and bigger, swelling with seething diversity until it was soon a massive entity all of its own, screaming and chanting things about sexual liberation and social justice.
“Thanks for standing up to our oppressors!” shouted one man.
“Bless the zombie rainbow dude!” yelled another.
“He's wiping those privileged bastards off the face of the planet for our cause!”
Then it clicked. Despite his brain being more of a paste than an organ these days, the reanimated prince figured out that social attitudes to sexuality and gender and their associated arguments had taken over the collective consciousness of the world since his original departure from it. Judging from their loud t-shirts, posters and face paint, it seemed that the rainbow was a symbol of their unity and cause. They thought that Vlad the Impaler was there to bring sexual justice to the world, via his ethereal rainbow blaster.
But it wasn't true. This wasn't symbology, it was a genocidal madman doing what he does best. Sure, Vlad didn't discriminate (unless it was against the Turks), but he also didn't care about people's feelings. And so he blasted the cheering mob into a billion pieces of red slop.
I Have Found the Throne of Prisms
and Dream of its Mad Secrets
by MC Kessler
I was fourteen when my mother told me that the infamous Cyrus Lament was my grandfather and, being both curious and intrepid, I set about learning as much as I could about the self-styled and fearsome Rainbow Emperor.
It wasn't easy. Mother knew nothing, having grown up, she tearfully explained, in the care of Cyrus's cruel, dotty wives, all invisible from passing through his light extraction engines. It was, to hear her tell it, a troubled upbringing, and fatherless.
The internet was predictably useless, as it has always been post Terrorscrub 2081, and most of the physical books I found that mention him are filled with gruesome children’s fairy tales. The best I could find was a volume called The Omnibus of Majesties, made to look hundreds of years old like when old books were in fashion, dated 2111, the year I was born. The entry is brief:
LAMENT, Cyrus (2034-2084), "The Rainbow Emperor." Born: Coshocken, Ohio. Parents: Mark and Lucy (Thomosina). Brother (Tyro) and sister (Hildie) report him to be melancholic, and often ill. As a teenager he became enamored of lasers and destroyed the family home. He attended Cincinnati City College, studying Chromaticism, and upon graduation, began work at the Cleveland Polychromasia Reactor. Following a freak accident, which some accounts attribute to Lament's miserable temperment, his beard, at the time over twelve inches in length, transformed into a rainbow-hued shard of scintillating energy when in the vicinity of a rain shower. During this period he gained several unexplained powers: hypnosis, levitation, destructive rainbow energy beams (from fingertips, perhaps eyes), and, reportedly, the ability to bend light to alter reality and travel through time (though the latter is likely apocryphal). Scholars speculate that he gained these powers through a mastery of Chromatic Ontology, a young, poorly-understood discipline involving the invocation of light equations. He used his abilities chiefly to dominate and terrify mankind. In 2081 he briefly took over the world.
Oddly, there was no mention of his famous and verifiable exploits. No mention of the Green Pogroms of Kent, of the Incursion of Vomiting Chromatose Daemons, of The Summoning and Murder of the Virgin Iris, the many defeats of the Inky Knights of Macedonia, the Gray Enchantrix, or the Army of Black Looks. Even the city of Cleveland, which he took as his lair, and its surrounds, is still a mysterious pool of swirling colors, but no reference to it has apparently survived. Also, his apparent death is unremarked on.
So, as you can see, I have never in my thirty-four years been able to find any information that might provide insight into my grandfather's psychology, whether he was always evil, or if he was driven to madness later in life.
Only the throne, the throne, with its twisting mirrors and lenses. When I stare into it, I can see myself engulfed in dancing whorls of color. It could be a trick, or a gift. It is so disappointing to not know, which makes it difficult to explain what I'm about to do.
Roy G. Biv.
By Josh Darling
Roy was listening to Cool G Rap, sick of it, he changed the track on his MP3 player, skipping to Bell Biv Devo’s “Poison.” Nodding in time to the music, he mouthed the words then froze. A brown skid mark hung in the blue sky. The air depleted of humidity and the streets wet, this was “God’s post rain gift.”
Taking out his ear buds, he reached for his cellphone. “Hey, we’ve got a shit stain in the sky.”
“The fuck you talking about Roy?”
“I’m walking down Ocean St. in Hyannis Mass, someone, probably you, messed up. It looks like there is a giant turd streak in the sky, fix it.”
“What are you doing in High Town? I haven’t been there in ages. The Kennedys still live there?”
“Only their ghosts. I’m working, that’s what I’m doing here. Look, you got to fix this. People are going to start noticing.”
“I haven’t had my coffee yet, can you see if Orlando is free? It’s not really that big of a deal?”
Roy pressed end.
Orlando annoyed Roy. He told sex stories about the things he did to his Guatemalan girlfriend Yenny. Stuff he didn’t want to hear.
“Stop with the details about where you jizzed, can you fix it or what?”
“I need bile fleas.”
“Don’t got ‘em.”
“Nobody has those. I have a feeling Gary pawned me off on you cause he didn’t want to use the last of his.”
“Yeah, they are discontinuing selling them, saying it’s inhumane. If you stuff a dead seagull in a chimney you can grow your own.”
“That doesn't help now, can you get out here?”
“And do what?”
“Bring a tapeworm and fix this crap in the sky, people are noticing. Somehow, someone pooped rainbow up there. That either Gary or Billy fucked up and didn’t adjust the settings before the rain ended. And it’s getting darker.”
“You sure it’s poop?”
“No, I’m just using that to describe the color. What, like I’ve been up there.”
“You try calling Isabelle?”
“No, the new girl."
Waiting on Orlando’s text, he looked at the reflection of brown stain in the water. As a child, he wandered out into the shallow flats, two hundred feet from shore, the water stopping at his hips. One time a shark brushed against him and he ran for shore. Today he had a piano to tune and a divorce to facilitate. Neither work related but he didn’t want to give up his day off. He should have said nothing and let this make the news. Not wanting to repeat himself a third time he texted Isabelle the details.
Heading down the street, he passed a mother and child in swimwear. The little boy said, “Look, there’s a rainbow.”
“I don’t think that’s a rainbow, Vincent.” She responded.
“It’s god’s ass print in the sky.” Roy interjected, maintaining the lie about the existence of a higher power.
A House of Flame
By S.E. Casey
She didn't like Barbara. It was the wrong century for a Barbara and truth was she didn't care for the name in the last.
However, Rayne had chosen Barbara, setting down at the beach next to her. She figured Barbara had the prettiness to draw some male eyes, and perhaps those out of Barbara's league would settle on her slightly older, slightly less pretty beach mate.
So far, no luck.
But what most irked Rayne was her flippant attitude. She had offered Barbara her sunscreen, as clearly she wasn't wearing any in spite of the Florida sun. However, Barbara rebuffed her goodwill with some cock-and-bull story about how her towel prevented any burning. Did she take her for a fool? Let her fry. Rayne secretly wished for something between the first and third-degrees.
However, three hours in the direct sun and nothing. Finally rousing from her nap, Barbara stood. As she picked her wedgie and adjusted her bikini top, Rayne intently searched for tan lines. She found none.
"I'm going for a quick dip," Barbara announced. "Watch my stuff, okay?"
"Sure," Rayne lied.
Barbara stood on the very edge of her towel as if it were a cliff. Finally, she took a giant step off, jogging toward the water.
Rayne quickly stuffed her things into her carry-all. She cursed as her red thermos was missing its top. It would be useless without it, but it couldn't be helped. Snatching Barbara's blue towel with the many rainbows stitched in, she left.
She couldn't sleep. The sunburn on the back of her thighs itched, but that wasn't the cause of her restlessness.
Rayne climbed out of bed shuffling to the dresser. She turned on the lamp and removed the shade. She then walked to the carry-all by the front door. Retrieving the rainbow towel, she shook the sand away and carried it back into the bedroom.
She put her hand on the exposed lightbulb withdrawing it quickly. It was already dangerously hot. Setting the towel on the floor, she stood on it. Again, she grabbed the bulb.
Rayne counted to five before letting go. Her fingers were unblemished and unburned.
Dragging the towel into the bathroom, she turned on the shower twisting the knob to the usual hot setting. However, she thought better and cranked it all the way. When it started to steam, she stripped, threw the towel onto the shower floor, and jumped on top of it.
She could feel the water running over her, but there was no pain. With more curiosity than fear, she examined her skin. It didn't redden, bubble, or otherwise scald.
Rayne exited the shower, gathered the towel, and made her way to the living room. Grabbing the lighter from the coffee table drawer, she lit the cheap curtains. As expected they went up quick, the fire spreading like spilled water across the ceiling.
In the middle of the room, she stood on the towel as the flames hungrily jumped to the furniture. Rayne bathed in the conflagration, soothed by the luxuriant caress of the inferno. The passion of the blaze was everything she had ever dreamed. She basked in the grandeur until blacking out from the lack of oxygen.
Rayne woke naked and unharmed under the night sky, her apartment reduced to a smoking husk. The glowing rainbows in the rectangular abyss on which she stood swirled and danced below.
Mesmerized by the splash of color over the cold void, she didn't hear the blaring sirens or her neighbor's screams.
“But I have no idea how young, why do people say that?” Landy argued as he banged the script on the wood table. “Is that, like, after 7:30pm, a little before 10:00pm? Is that young? What makes it young? Can we just say ‘night’?”
“Sure”, said Sam, “we can just say ‘night’.”
“GREAT!” exclaimed Landy, “because it's a silly sentence. The night was old, the morning was old- wait no, young? But if there’s going to be an old night it can’t be young, it just doesn't fit!”
“Fit what?” asked Sam, calmly behind the dark curly hair falling over his striking blue eyes and nearly matching the sleepless circles beneath them. Pale and thin, Sam could have been born a cat.
“What?” asked Landy, as pale and thin as his friend, but with shorter light brown hair styled as spiky as his tongue.
“You said it just doesn't fit” said Sam.
“Right, I know Sam.” said Landy.
“Fit what?” Sam asked again.
Landy let out an exasperated sigh. They had been practicing the art of not using figurative speech and it was driving everyone, including themselves, crazy. “What are you asking me?” asked Landy. Sam stopped typing and closed his laptop.
“Cig break,” said Sam, and Landy nodded in agreement.
Sam and Landy were working on a play. They had the building to showcase it, which they shared with other artists, together calling their group the Rainbow Piglets. Landy was President of the Rainbow Piglets, which meant nothing, but it was his startup. Sam served as Vice President, which also meant nothing, but he nevertheless earned his title by keeping the books and collecting the dues for their group. A variety of artists shared this four story building; its purpose was the dream of many, which was to have a place for members to create and showcase their art. The dues for the Rainbow Piglet Association, as the organization formally called itself, were $100 a month per member with 37 members currently there. Each of the 4 stories had four big studios and shared a bathroom; with hope their popularity would only grow.
Yet, while the small community creatively flourished, threats began to loom. The association made $3,700 per month while the rent for the building was $4,500.00, leaving the Rainbow Piglets Association $800 in debt per month. The city usually wrote this off, but recently Landy had been getting phone calls, and even a few visits, from city officials. They were nice men, even according to Landy, yet their visits were not casual. Since the group had not produced anything, they explained, such as exhibits or artistic happenings to bring to the public, the city could not continue to write off the monthly $800 debt and would be forced to close down the building. And, of course, put it up for sale. Landy already knew that once a private investor came into the building, it would be knocked down for something gross, like another condominium, like another parking lot.
They went outside to have a smoke. It was 7:00 pm, the sun was setting, and the October air felt nice. But the two men were beside themselves, unable to enjoy it. “We have until January” said Landy, “and we have to come up with a way to make that $800 per month so we can keep the space. And I think I want to die.”
“The members are aware” said Sam, ignoring the last part, “but raising the membership dues can't happen, we'll lose members. Why can't we start doing a First Friday thing like in Old City?” Landy shook his head, “You can't have a first Friday with no food or drinks, it's a social event and we're tapped out, can’t even borrow. We'll have to gather the Piglets and have a meeting, start preparing to get our stuff out of here and maybe find another space.” By now Landy's voice was void of emotion. Sam understood this, he understood why, yet of all the things Landy did this irked him the most: the defeatist mood, the voice of the finale. Sam wasn't ready to give up yet.
“Don't start an email panic yet,” Sam said to Landy, who was already starting to set up a blast from his phone to schedule an emergency Rainbow Piglet meeting.
“Let me do some digging first,” pleaded Sam, “we'll meet here after work on Friday.”
“It's Tuesday,” said Landy.
“I know,” said Sam.
“That's almost three days away,” insisted Landy, increasingly short on patience.
“Landy, please.” Sam was giving his all to force the irritation out of his voice and took a breath.
“It's… just 3 days. Give me those 3 days and I'll update you Friday after work.”
“Ok,” surrendered Landy, lighting another cigarette and starting to walk home. Sam nodded, heading back into the building to shut the lights down and lock up. It was when he was on his way out the door that he ran into Wolf.
“What's up?” asked Wolf.
“Nothing, Wolf, I don't have anything on me,” shrugged Sam “I get paid Friday and I'll grab some then.”
Wolf laughed, "I bet you will, but I was eavesdropping on you and Landy and I can see you're in a spot. You need cash to keep the piggies creating.”
“Yes, we do,” said Sam. Sam looked at Wolf with the same irony with which Wolf looked at Sam. Sam thought to himself, you are truly good at being a wolf. You even walk like a wolf.
“Well”, Wolf exhaled a sugar scented multicolored puff of smoke that swirled up into the night air, “I have a new candy that is right up your alley with your artsy group called: rainbow dream.”
“Oh My God! What is that?” asked a suddenly excited Sam, always piqued for a new substance.
“Rainbow Dream is a new pill manufactured in Vietnam and the black market is quiet right now, so the cost is low. For now. You could turn a big profit, have a couple of dream parties and you'll make up that 800 bucks real fast,” pitched Wolf, quite matter-of-factly. Sam was quietly thrilled, but cautious. He knew what Wolf was, but was never actually bothered by it. Still, Sam knew enough to always walk lightly when dealing with Wolf.
“Do you have one so I can try?” Asked Sam
“Sure do,” said Wolf, “on the house and…”
“You don't have a house,” said Sam, shifting his tone.
“I know,” said Wolf, rolling his eyes, “it's a figure…”
“We hate figure of speeches here,” said Sam, cutting him off.
“Whatever,” said Wolf, brushing it off as he gave Sam a rainbow dream pill.
“Rainbow Dreams for Rainbow Piggies; have fun!” With that, Wolf scampered off.
“Rainbow Piglets," corrected Sam, shaking his head. Looking down at his hand for but a moment, he popped the pill and headed home.