Thursday, August 21, 2014



by Steven Novak

The sheriff is sprawled out on the ground, one hand cupping the wound on his shoulder, mustache slightly curled, a shit-eating grin spread across his stupid face.

He staggers to his feet with a grunt. “Heh. I told ya, Doc. Whatever you were before ya landed here is good n’ gone. Yer a part of this town, ya hear? There’s sand in yer blood, Earth dirt beneath your fingers, and whiskey in yer veins.”

His hand falls to your shoulder, fingers sliding across the slimy surface of the tentacle draped lazily over your shoulder. “Yer a saddle tramp, Doc. Raised on salt lick and browned by the sun of the south. There’s a giddy-up in yer step the likes of which I ain’t seen in damn near a hoolywang.”

Suddenly he’s smiling so bright he’s flashing the few teeth has left. His free hand lands on your other shoulder and gives it a pat. “And ya ain’t no yellow-belly varmint. I know ya ain’t about to vamoose n’ let the people of this town go up the spout. Yer better than that. Yer a healer, a dealer, and a hell of a card player. We’re yer friends.”

His hands slide up your neck and to your face, cupping your cheeks. He nods like he’s known you for years, like he’s your best friend, and your mother, and childhood pal GleebGlorp all rolled into one. “We’re yer family.”

He’s an idiot.

While he was busy nodding and waxing nostalgic about the one time you played poker, one of your tentacles was making its way up his back, heading for his neck. Before he can continue his babbling, you shut him up. Your tentacle wraps around his neck. Your muscles tighten.

His stupid head pops off.

Free from his body and airborne his head spins, spurting blood in every direction, shattered spine wiggling like a horses tail. It bounces off a table across the room and crashes into a monitor. When it finally comes to a stop, you notice the expression on the sheriff’s face.

He’s not smiling anymore.

When Sally screams you crack her in the chops, knock her into the wall, and put her to sleep.  There’s no reason to kill her. She might still be good for something. Weird half-human sex, maybe? She seemed pretty handy with those whips. So what if she double-crossed you? So what if she used her womanly wares to get the better of you? Made you look silly? Hurt your pride? Dented your ego? So what if she took advantage of you when you were at your lowest? When you falsely believed this backnebula planet and it’s backnebula lifeforms actually had something to offer? So what if GleepGlorp would’ve been ashamed of what you’ve become? So what if you do…

On second thought, fluuonk her.

Your tentacles dig into her chest, peel back her ribs and tear out her half-breed heart. It’s gross, not quite human and not quite you. It’s pink and purple, and speckled green. It’s an abomination.

Her father should be ashamed.

Fluuonk them all.

With a few tweaks of the levers and dials in front of you the saloon unfolds from your ship once again, crushing three or four slack-jawed locals in the process. 

Fluuonk them too.

You don’t need this place, or these creatures. You never did. You only became a “doctor” because you found it hilariously ironic. You don’t save stuff. You kill stuff. You’ve always killed stuff.

The blood from Sally and Sheriff begins to pool at your feet, green and red, human and alien, and all sort of nastiness. It’s going to be a pain in one of your three rectums to clean up. Still, it was worth it.

GleepGlorp would be proud.

By the time you exit the saloon the locals are have already gathered. Some of them are pointing guns in your direction. Others are cowering behind barrels or peeking through windows. A lot of them are screaming.

You’d roll your eyes, but its more effort than they’re worth.

You’re going to do what you should have done long ago. You’re going to corral these creatures like they corral the lifeforms lower than them. You’re going to strip them bare, shackle them, and teach them a rather harsh lesson about hubris, and their place in the universe, and the grand scheme of things. It’s long overdue.

A rock hits your head. Another bounces off your chest. One of them unloads a shotgun in your direction and it ricochets off the Rumanetic Forcefield you’ve erected around your body. Another fires his revolver. Three of his friends follow his lead. It takes nearly a minute and a half of pointless shooting before they realize it’s accomplishing nothing. When the shooting stops, old Mildred McGraw chucks her cat.

Oh yes, this is so incredibly overdue.

As you move from the saloon and into the street, your tentacles spread in every direction, tips twitching, suction cups drooling. “Now that you’ve gotten that out of your system.”

Hansen McGillicutty lunges at you from behind, knife raised, gritting through yellow-stained teeth and a beard in desperate need of a trim. “Ya son of a bitch! Gonna gut yer hear…”

He slams into your forcefield face-first, smashes his nose and chokes on his own blood. You rip his arm from his torso and use it to knock Mildred McGraw on her ass.

That’s for the cat.

Most of the crowd screams. Some of them start to cry. A few of them run. You extend a second forcefield further down the block and chuckle when they slam into it.

GleepGlorp would have loved that.

When they realize there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do, most of the crowd gives up, staring in your direction with unbelieving eyes. The time has come. The end is near. Those that believe in God, have come to the grim realization that you are it.  

It’s almost enough to make you grin.

“Most of you probably know me as Doc, but that is a foolish title, given by foolish lifeforms, on a shphithole planet at the ass-end of the universe. I am tired of tending to you. I’m sick of doing my best to heal your injures! I’m sick of pretending that I care what happens to your fragile bodies!”

You point to a skinny man near the back of the crowd. “You, Charles Smith! I inserted my finger into your rectum to check your prostate! I did that! That’s something I did to keep you from learning what I was! Do you have any idea how humiliating that was for me? Do you?”

Before Charles can respond you knock him through the window of a dress shop.

“I am through! My days of seeing to your sniffles, and coughs, and pains are history! The time has come for you to learn your place! To be treated like the ghastly, poorly constructed, weak-bodies monstrosities you are! The time has come for you to clean my bedpan! To bring me food! To stick your fingers in my rectum! The time has come to lear…”

The saloon behind you explodes, transforming into a fireball of splintered wood, and scaled steel, shooting in every direction. The inferno engulfs everything, scatters the crowd, tossing bodies, and removing limbs, bathing the street in blood and cooking flesh. The forcefield falls from your body. When you hit the dirt you hit hard. When you hit it again, you hit harder. For a moment you’re spinning, caught in the blaze, surrounded by fire and smoke, unable to determine up from down, tips of your tendrils on fire. You don’t stop spinning until you hit a horse, knock it over and wind up waist deep in its trough.

Before you open your eyes you hear the familiar hum of a ship, hovering somewhere above, obscured by the smoke and debris. Trexlarion Panels shift. Energy weapons recharge. The bounty hunter.

You forgot about the damn bounty hunter.

You don’t see the shot that blasts you to atoms.

GleepGlorp would be ashamed.


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