Readers On Deadline (ROD) #2

Dame Rinda

Dame Rinda

Readers on Deadline is a new Deadline Dame monthly feature.  Each month, we’ll post an intriguing image and invite readers to be inspired and share the results in up to 250 words right here in the comments.  The Dames will pick the one that most intrigues us, post that entry in the next ROD day along with a link to that writer/reader’s site.  And you get a prize! 

The first ROD last month was such a success!  We were thrilled, absolutely thrilled with the response and I must say that narrowing down the finalists was difficult.  Took a little while. ;) You guys have serious talent.  In the end, we found ourselves very intrigued by Edward G. Talbot’s 1st person vampire feeding on catatonics at an insane asylum.  Just what would catatonic blood do to a vampire???

Very cool.  Congrats Edward! Email your address to our contact email in the right sidebar to claim Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs and Eternal Lover by our own Dame Jackie!

Edward G. Talbot (website
      Only one way out. That’s what they told me. Serene Meadows Hospital for the Criminally Insane might look like some highbrow university, but the security rivals Attica. As Jim Morrison once crooned, no one here gets out alive.
       I’m Randolph Givens, and I’ve been here three years. I shouldn’t be here. Don’t get me wrong, I did bite those eight people, and a bunch of others. But I’m not insane. They just didn’t believe that my fangs only come out when I’m hungry. Those assholes in the press started calling me the Count of Death.
      Anyway, until today, I was stuck here. Transforming into mist to seep under the doors takes serious energy, and jugulars have been short supply. I couldn’t just chow down and expect it to go unnoticed. But last month I moved to the ward with the catatonics. Five meals later, I was ready to fly.
      The problems started near the road. My shape wouldn’t come back. I leaned against a tree, gasping with the effort. I staggered forward and fell to one knee. I guess I couldn’t undo three years of starving in a month. I needed to sleep. But if I slept now, I’d wake up burning death with the morning sun.
      I managed a few more steps. Maybe I could get it together. I felt solid pavement under my feet. And then a loud honk. I looked up into two blinding lights, almost on top of me. And then nothing.

And here is the next ROD image!  I embedded it like this so you can pull up a much larger version.  It has a lot of fascinating detail to explore.  Click on it to see it on the Deviant Art website and click once more to enlarge. 

f l o o d by =inception8 on deviantART

The Dames were happy to get permission from Darren M. Boudreau, the artist, for our April ROD!  (website)  I know we have steampunk fans here and there are some great images in that genre, too, so check out his website.

Deadline for your entries is next Wednesday, April 15th and the winner along with the new ROD image will be posted on the second Wednesday next month.  Put your entries into the comments.  This month’s prize is one of these two version of the Mmm….Brains cap!  For wearing on those days you’re dead on your feet, have a deadline and don’t want to mess with your hair. ;)

deadline-zombie-hat2deadline-zombie-hat

 

 

 

 

 

HAVE FUN!!!!!

About Rinda Elliott

Rinda Elliott loves unusual stories and she credits growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and horror kept them amused, especially in some of the stranger places. For years, Rinda tried to separate her darker side with her humorous and romantic one. She published short fiction, but things really started happening when she gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, she loves making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with her husband and two children.

Please visit Rinda at her website/blog: http://relliott4.wordpress.com/

Comments

  1. Congrats, Edward! :D

  2. G. L. Troy says:

    My brother was the one who always made the numbers stop hurting before he killed himself. My autism was painful sometimes. After, constant visions of streaming binary harassed me. My friend Jen, rather than pushing me away for it, helped.
    She hadn’t seen death as I did, a system. She’d had Merry Shelly dreams. Mine were of binary turned to life, to crack the code. Numbers were mine. From the little impulses fueling brains to pacemakers fueling our blood, life was a science, and here I was with a theory after years of work. What I’d needed was power.
    A human generator – could they exist? Reading my notebooks like always, Jen had made herself useful.
    She’d said yes.
    Two nights later, I was ready.
    From Jen’s description I’d expected her neighbor to be crazy or just what I needed. The man had smiled at my questions. Not a séance, a calling. Not a psychic, a necromancer. He began.
    Electrical impulses physically channeled into light as I watched him. I stopped my human generator and explained the theory of permanent physical manifestation through electrical transference. He smiled.
    I hooked up to my equipment and felt my heart aglow. Our binary fields melded. The light formed mist in my hands as he and I guided synapses – my brother. Light shined through a window. But my eyes were all for my brother’s spirit. The necromancer yelled, just as another mist rose up, a fiery mist. Just as I initiated the transfer.

  3. Into the Alley

    I stumbled on the dirty sidewalk as a stomach cramp took me by surprise. I paused to lean on the corner of an ancient building as I waited for the sharp pain behind my eyes that always came next. Not now! I thought while I looked around frantically for a quiet place to wait it out.

    Ever since the accident where my car wrapped itself around an electrical pole I just haven’t been the same – literally. My internal injuries were too bad and my “indiscretion” (read: underage drunk driving) made me the perfect candidate for a new transplant program. Instead of the usual donor organs, I received artificial ones. My name is Kayleigh and I’m The Bionic woman. Or maybe a female Terminator, he’s slightly more badass.

    As a bonus to the transplant, I now get visions of the future. Not the tall-dark-stranger-kind of visions, but the stomach cramps, blinding headaches kind. Being a geek it seems appropriate that my visions come in various computer languages. Pitching my body forward into a puddle, the vision overtakes me.

    Through a haze of binary images I see a dark figure emerging around a corner. A large hooded robe hides his face, but he seems familiar. I decide it’s his aura that looks familiar, like a slightly different version of mine. He slowly makes his way down a dingy alley as his aura begins to build power. I know that alley, just like I know that power cannot be a good thing. There can’t be another one like me, I’m not meant to be alive! I’m a freak, an aberration, but this dude is frea-ky.

    As I’m trying to reason it out, a deep voice behind me speaks and the vision dissolves.

    “You are an aberration, one that must be corrected.”

  4. I wasn’t supposed to be able to feel. Or think. But I could. Even as the madman that created me moved me around like his macabre little doll, I was aware and screaming inside my head.

    I knew I wasn’t human, not really. I hadn’t been born; I’d been created. But that didn’t change that I was self-aware.

    When he maneuvered me into the ally, I knew that there would be trouble. Like a good little marionette I walked through the darkness and crouched in front of the skull. It was too small, too perfect to have been human, probably one of the lesser species then. Even they had more free will than I.

    The sheer power that hit me the moment I touched the skull knocked me back off my feet and I sat there a moment before my puppeteer got me under control again. Reaching out, I created a frame around the skull, channeling the power into my body since he couldn’t hold it himself.

    As more and more energy flowed into me, an idea sparked – a beautiful, impossible idea. It might be enough to sustain me, at least for a little while, so that I would no longer be dependant on him. But I would have to severe our link swiftly – if it could be done at all.

    Balling the energy around my center where his control panel resided, I focused until I felt something snap and heard a strangled scream behind me. And then …

    Freedom.

  5. Thank-YOU Rinda and the other Dames! Glad you liked the piece from last month, and I’ll drop you my address. This month’s picture is even more filled with potential, so I’m gonna put something together on that before the deadline

    – Ed

  6. You’re welcome,Edward. We’ll get the books out to you soon!

    I agree with you on this new image. I just loved it and I can’t wait to see what people come up with. And I’m not reading any of these yet. I prefer to take away all the names before all the Dames start reading–makes the winner a bit of a surprise for us as well. :)

  7. Christina Gullickson says:

    Before I died, I cried for Death.

    I yearned for Him to come. To wrap me in his wings and carry me to a place where that elusive, sweet release would finally be mine. To deliver me from this mortal suffering where true meaning hides behind the clockwork train, the powder high, or the faith of the weary.

    When I, Cleo Rogers, managed that unspeakable sin and glimpsed that inferno …

    They brought me back.

    360 joules to the heart. Four times.

    The waves of His wrath have lapped at my heels ever since. His messenger haunts me, long robes dragging. I can hear the swish of the coarse material even when I sleep.

    I hear it now, trudging through the rising river.

    He comes for me because I’ve made it my quest to turn the lost from their destructive paths. Since emerging from the landscape of flame and charred flesh, I’ve been obsessed with that lone mission.

    Each streak of red painted into my hair represents a lost soul, one that couldn’t be diverted from a damned path. But for every streak, I’ve saved three more.

    “You can’t take me yet.” I whisper as I call power through the skull. It pulses in my hands, and I pull the city’s electric currents into me, warding away the very thing I once coveted.

    This twisted, digital energy cannot worsen the stain on my soul.

    I already know where I’m going when I die.

  8. Natalie says:

    Focus on the energy. Feast on the pulsating skull. As the stream of electrons stung the nerve endings of finger tips, I felt the energy surge through every molecule of my body. Power ran through the fierce fiery red strands of my hair to the soles of my laced up Mary Janes. I closed my eyes and felt my Anam Dar glow brighten in the depths of my chest, instigated by the onslaught to come.

    My broken keytraid lay between my legs but it still managed to calm my mind as I focused on the transformation.

    The code had already begun to form beneath me. To any normal human being, it was a hallucination of numbers edging towards the darkness. But as a Nephelm, I knew I could use them to decipher what energies I could use to make my stand.

    He was coming, – with a vengeance.

    I could feel his wrath as it bore into my being. In this closed in alley, – the murk of human sin infecting its every wall – he came, slowly and cautiously.

    Armiheiger was no fool; he was powering up, indulging on the filth and betrayed memories of those long ago. I sensed his hands glowing, the plasma forming within the palm of his hands and lacing towards me, anticipating the blood to be spilled.

    He was teasing me; he desired what every man wanted in women.

    He would have sampled victory on this ominous night.

    But I had a human skull.

  9. Tiffany M. says:

    Good luck to all those who enter. I enjoy reading them. :) I don’t really have a story or piece, but when I saw this month’s entry a certain phrase popped into my mind.

    When voodoo meets the matrix, it spells bad juju.

  10. Rose had a touch that was toxic; one that could prove fatal to others is she wasn’t mindful. She could never forget the danger she could be to others, the danger to herself, if she unleashed the energy demon that prowled under her skin.

    Jesse had gotten too close, too fast, and Rose hadn’t been able to help herself. Jesse’s presence had ignited sensations she had never experienced before. The attraction had been instant and addictive. He cared as no one else had ever cared before. He showed her that, despite this raging beast inside, she was someone important.

    He was different from everyone in her life; or at least, he was supposed to have been.

    She had discovered last night that Jesse had betrayed her to the Brood of Iai’chubota. Because of his treachery, the very beings that had tried to cage her for years, use her for their grandiose plans, were now hot on her heels.

    Despite how she felt about Jesse, Rose knew that his betrayal couldn’t be ignored. With no more than a simple thought, she had used the energy coursing through her system to bring about his end.

    She shook from the excess power that was still coursing through her nervous system, basking in the sensation despite how very wrong it was. She could feel Dolas, the self-proclaimed leader of the Brood, near and knew that the time had come.

    There would be no more running; no more hiding.

    This time, she would fight.

  11. G. L. Troy says:

    Cool!! I love the stories popping up on this one!

  12. Saphron cupped her hands around the skull, sparks of light jumping from her fingers and back to the bone, sliding into the broken keyboard sitting on the ground. She just needed a few more moments and she’d have the information that her brother had died for. The information that had the skeleton men after her. Through the glasses she perched on her nose, the lines of code ran along the trash strewn alleyway. Dark eyes darted while whispers ran up along the connectors she had in her ears.

    “You don’t know what you’re getting into.” John spoke from behind her.

    “I have to know.”

    “You’re going to get yourself killed.”

    She threw a look over her shoulder, irritated at the interruption, lines of write current running back and forth over her eyes. “My risk to take. You can leave.”

    Thin lips thinned more as he tightened them. The expression in his eyes was covered by the heavy cowl pulled low over his face. His head jerked to the side and as his hands raised up, balls of electricity crackling to life.

    “The skeleton men are coming.”

  13. Melissa Freeman says:

    Hers mine. I forgot all about the Readers on demand until now. Hope this is ok.

    Stupid girl must I do everything myself he muttered to himself. She couldn’t even be trusted with something as basic as collecting energy. All Ronan needed was a little more energy to finish his experiments. Yet the simplest task could not be done without supervision.
    She still had hopes she would get out of here alive. What she didn’t know was once marked with Ronan’s sphere the ball of light would glow in her chest until the day she died. She was bound to him! End of story.
    When Ronan and a handful of others went out to collect some new test subjects he came across Kia protecting some local children. Drake had lost an eye trying to capture this feral girl. She was eventually caught and the experiments started. Unfortunately the good results were only temporary. Her mind was becoming more difficult to break through. This wasn’t normal. Kia wasn’t normal. She was building a resistance to his mind manipulation techniques.
    Nothing a little electrotherapy couldn’t fix. Only problem with that was doing it too much would fry the brain completely. She would be deemed useless and her body would be discarded like rubbish. Then Ronan would have to start from scratch again. It took time and patience, none of which he had.
    Ronan came to inform Kia of her duties the following day. He pushed the door and it swung open wide. On the floor lay the glowing sphere covered in coagulated blood and Kia was nowhere to be found!

  14. Running. A pause, filled with harsh panting breaths. Then running. Always running. And thoughts—mine? <>
    But I was fading into colorlessness. I needed recharging, before… well, just before.
    Stumbling, growing frantic, I went from alley to alley, searching for the thick dark pulses of London, locked away in sluggish Veins underneath her streets. I collapsed onto the first artery; small and twisted—it was enough. I pulled out the now useless keyboard, but reverently handled Ecstasie, the skul… no, the anchor. I managed a deep breath, and then I sunk into *her*
    I felt *her* power seeping from the anchor, spreading in fingers of prismed lightening from my fingers and up my arms, slowing expanding over my body, over the dirty and wet cobblestones, over the keyboard pieces. I felt *her* power pass over my face.
    And I felt *her* terrible and exacting price. Icy perfection stole up from my neck to cover the lower half of my face. The veil that divided humanity from Other fluttered a little, and settled back with an open gap to peer through. It had pulled back even little further this time.
    I felt familiar tugging of the Teacher on my soul, always present at these times, that harsh reminder of who—and what—I had become. I pushed memory back, back behind the expanses of time and oceans I had crossed to escape that life. I could ignore the past for a little while longer.

    Maybe. Because…
    <>

  15. oops!!! Ok so my post was mangled somehow. There were words in between the on my original. Sorry, but I’ll have to post again.

    Running. A pause, filled with harsh panting breaths. Then running. Always running. And thoughts—mine?
    But I was fading into colorlessness. I needed recharging, before… well, just before.
    Stumbling, growing frantic, I went from alley to alley, searching for the thick dark pulses of London, locked away in sluggish Veins underneath her streets. I collapsed onto the first artery; small and twisted—it was enough. I pulled out the now useless keyboard, but reverently handled Ecstasie, the skul… no, the anchor. I managed a deep breath, and then I sunk into *her*
    I felt *her* power seeping from the anchor, spreading in fingers of prismed lightening from my fingers and up my arms, slowing expanding over my body, over the dirty and wet cobblestones, over the keyboard pieces. I felt *her* power pass over my face.
    And I felt *her* terrible and exacting price. Icy perfection stole up from my neck to cover the lower half of my face. The veil that divided humanity from Other fluttered a little, and settled back with an open gap to peer through. It had pulled back even little further this time.
    I felt familiar tugging of the Teacher on my soul, always present at these times, that harsh reminder of who—and what—I had become. I pushed memory back, back behind the expanses of time and oceans I had crossed to escape that life. I could ignore the past for a little while longer.

    Maybe. Because…

  16. ARGH!!!!

    Ok, I’m sorry for like dominating the comments page. I have two sentences that won’t show up. The first is located after “And thoughts– mine?” It should be “And thoughts– mine? run…run…RUN”

    and the last sentence of my entry (wahhhhh they deleted the climax!)

    “Maybe. Because…
    What have you done now?”

    Again, really sorry for the confusion/ multiple posts.

    Shelly

  17. Great image, Rinda. Here’s my entry:

    Death, her new BFF, watched over her shoulder, his drab, brown robes hanging like dirty shadows around his plump form. He’d fed well and often since befriending her. She didn’t mind. Even the devil occasionally got his due. She ignored him as she glanced over her shoulder. The flood was receding and she winced. Some days, she wanted nothing more than to lay down and let the deluge wash her away. She’d almost drowned once, floating face down in an endless, turquoise sea. Alone. Peace at last. Cocooned in silver silence. Waiting to be consumed by liquid sunshine. But her demons wouldn’t let her rest. Badgering and raking hot claws through her evaporating dreams, they dragged her back.

    Swamped. She felt swamped. Too much. Too much of everything. Nothing fit. Nothing made sense. Facts and figures chattered through her brain, no more relevant than a pack of Valley Girls shopping on Rodeo Drive. Then the answer came like that flood of cooling water, soothing the crackle of electricity in her brain. She knew. In that moment of absolute clarity, she knew what had to be done.

    “We hunt.”

  18. Serena bent over the skull and closed her eyes in concentration.
    A few days ago, we’d sensed a disturbance near a graveyard, and suddenly, people were dying. That could only mean one thing; someone undead was on the loose. A man’s grave had been empty, but fortunately–for us–they had left their skull behind, which usually happened in their hasty escape form death. Now, thanks to Serena’s magic, we could track them through their skull and return them to their natural–dead–state and return to our lives; which was this. Fun, huh?
    A sudden movement caught my eye. Someone was standing behind Serena at the end of the alley. I squinted and saw that it was only a friar–traditional brown friar robes and all. Now what was a friar doing in a smelly alley at this time of night?
    As soon as I caught sight of the inverted five-pointed star on his sleeve, I had my answer. I sprinted forward, expecting a fun game of chase-the-evil-friar. But I was horribly surprised when he stood still, head bowed, as if praying. Of course, I knew exactly what he was up to, which only made me speed up. Now I really wished I’d stopped Serena, because whilst she was tracking smelly-undead-guy, evil-friar was lurking in her mind, gathering information for his own plans–which couldn’t be good news for us.
    I tackled him to the floor, smiling at his grunt of surprise and pain. His hood fell back and I gasped.
    “Dad?”

  19. This image is awesome, Dame Rinda!

    “You can’t do this alone. I can-”

    “You forget,” I said, “I’m not human, Jake. I’m the only one who can stop him.”

    I sat on the uneven stone floor, arranged the broken keyboard in front of me, picked up the attacked chords and plugged them into the electrical sockets above my ears.

    “Skull,” I said.

    Jake removed the skull from his backpack. I took it and placed it between me and the keyboard. I unzipped the front of my sweater, below my collar bones the flesh opened, revealing the machine underneath. White light began to glow and I placed my fingers on each side of the skull.

    Power pulsed from the skull, electricity sparked through my fingers. An electric bolt shot up my arms, making its way through the chords in my head and flew into the keyboard.

    I struggled to push through a barrier. Damn, he was already in the system fighting to keep me out. The light at my chest began to flicker with the strain.

    “I can’t…break…through,” I said, voice tight with concentration.

    And that’s when I felt his magic. I looked up in surprise. Orbs of electricity sat in Jake’s palms, as he stared down at me.

    “We can stop him,” he said. “Together.”

    I was speechless for a moment and then I nodded. “Together.”

    The electric orbs rushed toward me. The dimming white light in my chest suddenly burst into a blue glow, pulsing with new power.

  20. I’m so glad you all are having fun with this! I’ve purposely stayed away so I can copy, paste, and remove names before we read. It’s been hard! Can’t wait to see what you all have come up with.

    So, the contest is closed to more entries now. Good luck!

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