Rise and Die (12/18/17)

On one fateful day, everyone in the world received a slip of paper with a date on it. (Date as in M/D/Y) It turns out that this date is when the person closest to you dies. The slip of paper that you have has tomorrow’s date. [Link to post.]

“I can never thank any of you enough. It has been a joy, and an honor to know each and every one of you.” I raised my glass to toast my friends and family. They gathered to celebrate my final day. They all cheered and wished me luck. It was the best evening of my life, and I made sure they all knew it.

The party would stretch well into the morning while they celebrated my passing, but my wife and I left early.

“You have the confirmation number, right?” She asked me on our way out the door. I nodded. I’d reserved a death suite months ago. The event happened before I was born, but every child born after is born with that same slip of paper. Humanity has adjusted. Death is normal, inevitable, celebrated as much as birth. The car drove us while my wife and I sat in silence and held hands. She still had decades left on her expiration date.

It turns out death is not very precise. No one knows why, or how it happens.  Initially the date meant death at sunrise for someone around you. Eventually scientists figured out the nuances. If no one is around you for sunrise on the appointed day, you die. Some very rich people have tried outrunning the sun, but no one succeeded.

We checked into the death suite and spent the night holding each other. We woke before the sun, and she left me with a final good-bye kiss. I took a comfortable seat on a chaise lounge on the balcony and stared out over the ocean to await my final sunrise.

All is Well (12-11-2017)

People lose the ability to dream if they have committed a murder. And you are desperate to end your constant nightmares…[Link to post.]

Tuesday. No one expects much on Tuesdays, but this particular Tuesday was a big day for me.
Tuesday, today, I get to commit murder. At least that’s how I’ve been looking at it. At night,
my dreams are only despair and horror. To keep my sanity I’ve been forcing myself to stay
positive during my waking hours. I fought to stay off the easy path, to keep my humanity.
Everyone knows murderers don’t dream.

As far as I can remember, my only dreams have been nightmares. My parents even offered
to take the blame if I murdered someone, but I never took them up on it. I stayed strong
as long as they lived. Now with them gone, I finally broke. I heard something on the news
about some child molester getting away scot-free. Why should people like that be allowed
to sleep at night when I can’t? I’ll do the world a favor.

It’s the perfect crime, because I’m not even planning to get away with it. I’ll be sleeping in a
jail cell, but I’ll be sleeping. Do the crime, sit and wait to do my time. No fuss, no muss.

When the police rolled up, flashing blue and red lights illuminated me. I sat on his whale-like
corpse holding my empty hands in the air, with a smile on my face. They burst out of their
cars and started yelling orders at me. Idiots couldn’t coordinate, and yelled different things
at me. I picked the guy who looked like he knew what he was doing and followed his orders.

That night I thanked God for small miracles. I didn’t have to share my cell with anyone. I climbed
into the bunk, then sighed to let myself drift off to sleep. And I didn’t dream! The next morning
was the best morning I’d ever had. Colors seemed brighter, the sun felt warmer. Prison was
amazing for about three months.

Then one night I had a nightmare. The worst one I’d ever had. It felt like all my nightmares
piled up into one. The next night I had two nightmares. The next night I was back to nightmares
all night, but each one was as bad as the first.

I made some friends during the three months. I finally asked some of the murderers if it
was temporary, but they all seemed surprised. Their dreams had stopped entirely, permanently.
One of my friends directed me to an older inmate. I’d heard of him, the rest of the population
treated him as a sort of respected elder.

“You’re here because you wanted to stop your nightmares?” The silver haired inmate asked me.
I nodded. “And they did stop, but they came back worse than before?” He stared into my eyes.
I nodded. “Easy. You’re fucked. Don’t make it worse.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked. I added him as the first entry to my kill list.
I figured I would need a list if it was going to be a temporary thing.

“Murderers don’t dream, right?” He asked while he sat on the table stool.

“Yeah, that’s generally the case, but what’s wrong with me?” He shook his head.

“You’re special. Did you ever think about where all those dreams the murderers aren’t having, go?”
He asked me.

“No? I didn’t think there was anywhere for them to go. I thought they just didn’t happen.”
The old man shook his head.

“The dreamplane flows like water through our consciousness. When a person kills, the dreams
that would have flowed to them are redirected. Into you. You’re a dreamwell that collects psychic overflow.
The only way to live with it is to go somewhere you can be without people around.” He said.

“Then I won’t live with it.” I said quickly. I jammed a shank into my neck and smiled at him.

“You idiot. You just made it worse.” The old man’s words were the last thing I heard before
everything went black. Then I heard voices.

“Hey we got a new dreamwell!” a raspy voice said on my right. I felt a touch on my arm, it felt like a lighter flame.

Cow Puck (12-10-17)

“Yeah, that’s what I’m asking you,” I said with a slight sigh. I burned up all my willpower trying to maintain my patience. “We don’t even own a cow. I talked to you last night, to tell you I’d be home today. Do you remember that? You didn’t say anything about a cow on the roof.”

“Wait.” Johnny held a hand up to interrupt me while his gears turned. His light brown eyes stared off into the distance. “Yeah, I remember talking to you. I told the guys it was our last night to party. They rushed over…” his expression went blank when he lost his train of thought.  

“Alright, I’ll ask them. Who’d you invite?” I helped Johnny keep his balance while he sat down.

“Tully, Puck, and Copper,” he said. He sat back and rested his head against the back of the rocker. He began moving himself back and forth gently. I vowed to punish him when he was sober enough to appreciate it. Tully and Copper were a fine couple of guys, but I shuddered knowing Puck was here. Worse, he was the only one that had cows. I knew I’d end up talking to him during the investigation so I decided to start there. I couldn’t get a good enough look at the cow to check its brand, but I took a picture of it to show Puck.

I checked on Johnny on my way out, he slept fine. I drove the couple of miles down to Puck’s farm. His name was Paul Christian, but an unfortunate accident with cow manure earned him the nickname “Puck.” He seemed determined to live up to the nickname by being as slimy and unsavory as possible. His older sister answered the door and I felt instant relief.

“Kelly, hi!” I said when I saw her.

“Hey Liz, what can I do for you?”

“Are you guys missing a cow by any chance? I found this guy on my roof when I got home this morning.” I showed Kelly the picture on my phone. “Johnny says he invited Puck over last night, thought he might have brought a date,” I said with a smile. Luckily Kelly knew all about how slimy her brother was, she laughed along with me.

“He did get invited, but he didn’t go. I took the message and encouraged him to go hang out with his friends, but he didn’t leave his room all night,” Kelly said with a shrug. “And that’s not one of ours.” She dismissed the cow picture.

“Alright, thanks Kelly. See you later.” I waved and headed back to my car. I got back on the road and headed towards the convenience store where Tully worked. I hoped to find Copper hanging around there too. I pulled into the lot and parked next to Copper’s old orange truck. I went through the door and saw a heavy teen with glasses in a store uniform talking to a lanky redhead across the counter.

“Hey guys, did you guys come over to my place last night?” I asked Tully and Copper. They looked like deer in headlights. “No one’s in trouble yet, but there’s a cow on my roof and I want to know why, so I know who needs to pay to get it down.” They shrugged.

“We don’t know nothin’ ‘bout a cow Mrs. Uh.. Johnny’s Mom,” Copper said. I looked at Tully for confirmation. He nodded.

“We were there till about midnight, but we left when Puck showed up,” Tully said.

“He showed up? His sister told me he didn’t go out all night.” I said. “I can’t believe Kelly lied to me.” I felt annoyance bubbling inside of me, and my fingertips felt the urge to strangle someone.

“Yeah, he showed up, but he was freaking out. I think he was on something, he was talking about his sister being a killer or something,” Tully said.

“Okay. I’m going to head over there and talk to her again. Do me a favor please. If you don’t hear from me in a couple of hours, send the cops over to Puck’s place.” Tully nodded at me. “Bye boys.”

On the way to Puck’s farm I wondered whether Kelly could actually be a killer, then I decided it didn’t matter. I’m just after answers about the cow. If she satisfies my curiosity on that, I’m not going to ask any unnecessary questions. I knocked, and Kelly appeared at the door again, with her white apron covered in blood and red spots flecked across her face.

“Liz, hey! C’mon in,” Kelly waved me in, gesturing me forward with the cleaver in her hand. I held my breath and followed her. I relaxed once I saw the head and assorted cow parts on the table. “Any information about your roof cow?” She asked.

“Maybe. I talked to Tully and Copper, they said Puck showed up around midnight,” I said. Kelly slammed the cleaver into the block and it stayed. She began undoing her apron. “Really?” She went down the hall and knocked on a bedroom door. “PUCK! GOD DAMNIT PUCK YOU’D BETTER BE IN THERE!” She kicked the door open and stormed in. She came back out considerably deflated. “He’s not in there.” She walked toward me and stuck her hand out. “Show me the picture again!” I pulled up the picture on my phone and gave it to her. She immediately burst into tears.
“Puck you big idiot!” she yelled at it and threw my phone down to the ground bawling.

“What the hell is going on?” I asked.

“The cow on your roof is Puck. I have a potion that turns people into cows, but I don’t know how to reverse it.”