Sunday, March 15, 2020

SLAY!

Attention:  Lovers of vampire fiction...

Coming soon from Mocha Memoirs Press:

SLAY
Stories of the Vampire Noire
an anthology of vampire stories from the African Diaspora







 Vampires have been a part of the horror genre since the beginning but for all the varied vampire tales, few of them speak to the beautiful diversity present in humanity. To the point, this anthology will focus specifically on stories from the African diaspora, tales of the vampire noire. From vampires to hunters, this anthology celebrates Black vampires in all their beauty.

 
Mocha Memoirs Press is currently accepting submissions for Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire until March 31st. If you are interested in writing for this anthology, please find find submission guidelines here.

 



Thursday, July 4, 2019

Short Story: Aliens


ALIENS

By Tom Olbert

 

2037 A.D.

U.S. / Mexican border

 

Billy smiled as his finger tightened on the trigger, the barrel pressed to the old man’s head.  The old Mexie’s eyes were wild with fear, moist with tears as the search light washed over his lined brown face.  “Por favor,” he said in a strangled whisper, his sweat glistening in the sultry night as Billy pulled the trigger.

Billy howled with the rush as the old man’s head exploded like a piƱata, his brains and blood splattering across the sand.  He laughed into the wild, black night.

 “Papa!” the dead man’s teenaged daughter screamed, looking away, tears streaming down her face, her body trembling.  Billy grabbed the girl by her long dark hair.

“C’mere, Chiquita,” he whispered in her ear, nuzzling her neck.  She cringed and tried to pull away.  He laughed as he held the girl’s face to the light.  “Bonita,” he whispered, licking his lips and feeling aroused as the search lights played over her high cheek bones and moist doe-brown eyes.  An amusing mix of fear and hatred played over her pretty features.  He had his men shackle her.  “I’ll handle this one,” he said, dragging her toward his hut.

The drones buzzed about, their search light beams playing off the great wall as it loomed against the night sky.  He glanced up.  The muzzle flashes of the robo sentries lined up along the top of the wall sparked in the black night as the automated plasma guns swiveled, targeting any Mexies who’d somehow made it past the razor wire and land mines.  The drones swooped in with flawless coordination, launching their tactical rocket grenades.  The militiamen hooted and cheered at the sound of screams half-muffled by the explosions.

Stay the hell out of our country, Billy thought.

 

He slammed and locked the door to his hut, throwing the girl roughly across his cot and shackling her to it.  He drew his knife, tested the sharpness of the serrated edge on his thumb and smiled.  An indulgence, he knew, but a damned sweet one.  Why feel guilty, anyway?  Who asked them to come here?  He looked her over, his blood racing…

He swore as the grainy streaming video irritated his eyes in the dim light.  “What is it?” he demanded, driving the knife into a wooden post.

“Skipper,” one of his men, Hanson stammered, his eyes wide with terror, his face flickering in the vid.  “There’s something moving out here…”  Billy heard screams.  Screams from his side of the wall.  “Skipper…” Hanson screamed as something grabbed him.  The vid dissolved into static.

Billy’s heart raced.  “Corbin.  Briggs.”  He switched to every terminal, but got only static.  “Someone…anyone…what’s going on out there?!”  The screams stopped.  He could hear something, like…tearing.  Chewing.  The blood drained from his face and extremities.

That’s when he heard it.  A sound like dried leather scraping across rocks.  The girl.  She looked up from the cot, her face creased with wicked delight.  The sound he’d heard had been her laughter.  He nearly fainted when he saw the shackles crumbling to metallic dust around her wrists.  He gaped, certain he was having a nightmare as her face and body likewise decayed and crumbled, her once soft flesh dissolving, her once beautiful features melting into a half-skeletal death mask.  He drew his gun.  He gasped as the weapon crumbled to dust in his hand.

“Such primitive technology,” a grating, hissing voice whispered.  That’s when he knew, the word forming in his mind.  “No,” the evil voice said.  “We’re not aliens,” it said, as though reading his thoughts.  “You are.  This is our planet.  You don’t belong here.”  He choked, paralyzed.  “Five billion years ago, we realized another planet would soon collide with ours.  So, we escaped by slipping five billion years forward, to a time after the planet had congealed and cooled.  A tick of the clock to us.  But, we returned to find our home infested with you alien scum.  Evolved from bugs that crawled out of the primordial slime.  Bugs evolved from the alien spores the colliding planet brought to our world.  We had to live in these grotesque, loathsome bodies of yours to acclimate ourselves to your bacteria…”

He screamed as a writhing mass of slimy, clawed limbs tore out of the girl’s shriveling body, tentacles slithering in dark fluid as the monstrosity lunged at him.  Its hateful thoughts shrieked through his mind.

Get out of our world.
 
 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Short Story: Birthday Wishes


BIRTHDAY WISHES

By Tom Olbert

 


Mary screamed and fell to the dusty ground, pressing her hands to her ears against the deafening burst of gunfire.  The light show was brilliant in the black Utah night as the underground soldiers around her fired on the government robots surrounding them.

Hideous things, like gigantic eight-legged metal bugs blasting with built-in machine guns.  As her life flashed before her, she happened to glance at her wrist comp and saw the red digits come up 12:00 midnight.  She realized it was now May 14, 2042.  She was 17 years old as of this moment.  Happy birthday, me, she thought, laughing hysterically, the light blurring through her tears.  An ice-cold skewer thrust through her as she thought of the unborn life she carried.  The one that would never see a 17th birthday if she made it to the Canadian border.  As a rebel fighter fell dead into the dust two feet from her, half the man’s head blown away, the guilt vanished.

“That’s the last of the bots, Nick,” Carlos called over, his plasma rifle still smoking.

Nick ran over to Mary.  “You okay, darlin’?” he asked softly, kneeling by her.  She held back the tears and sniffed, nodding.   “All right, turn loose the decoys,” Nick ordered.  “They’ll have DNA trackers out lookin’ for us.”

Mary drew a deep breath, looking up at the stars and trying desperately to hold on to sanity. 

                                                                                                #

Nick took a swallow from his flask as Mary patched his ugly shoulder wound, using one of the black market nano-probe surgical devices outlawed in the American Heartland, for their detrimental effect on healthcare profits.  “We’ll camp here for about an hour, to give the trackers a chance to fan out,” the big man said, wiping his whiskered mouth with the back of his hand.  “We should make the Nevada border before first light.”  Nevada.  Mary trembled just at the thought of it.  The Republic of Greater Canada.  Freedom.  “I’m gettin’ too old for this,” Nick said with a chuckle, putting away the flask.  “Don’t worry, kid,” he said, winking at her.  “We’re almost home.”

She was almost afraid to ask the question that had burned in her mind since Nick and his squad had rescued her from the redemption camp where her parents had sent her.  Where she’d been raped by those men who’d promised to “cure” her of her unnatural attractions.  She shuddered as she shook off the memory.  “Why are you helping me?” she asked.

He leaned back and lit a cigarette.  “We all got our stories.  Me…I’d just got back from droppin’ bio-toxins on civvies in Venezuela an’ Mexico…stuff that made unborn babies die in their mothers’ wombs.  I came home to our beloved nation of life and they told me my baby sister Rose was dead.  Rufied and raped by her college prof…who I killed, by the by.  Rose tried to escape to Canada to abort, and they stuck her in one of those machines where pregnant girls are fed through tubes like veal until the baby’s ripe.  Then, the second the robot cuts the newborn out of the womb, the blade comes down and chops the girl’s head off.”  She winced and lowered her head.  “I ‘aint looked back since.”

She touched his hand.  It was the first time she’d been able to touch anyone since the night her baby was conceived.

                                                                                                #

Mary trembled in fear as she saw the ominous dark shapes of the cyborg troopers marching towards them out of the night.  The cold chorus of their artificial voices blared through the darkness:    WE ARE A NATION OF LIFE.  The cyborgs and the rebels opened up on each other, the night exploding with gunfire.  Mary screamed in rage as men and women died around her.  For her.  “No!” she screamed as she bounded forward and stepped protectively in front of Nick, just as one of the black-armored, faceless monstrosities closed in on him.  Its laser site fixed on her chest.  It didn’t fire.  It couldn’t.  It was programmed to protect the life inside her.  Nick rolled and fired, blasting the cyborg wide open.

“Don’t look,” he said as she started towards the smoldering ruin, but she ran over and looked.  She gasped, looking away in disgust and crying on Nick’s shoulder as he held her.  There, inside the cyborg’s shattered chassis, hard-wired into its A.I. was the organic component that served as its brain.  A new-born baby.
***
Originally presented in the Science Fiction Microstory Contest:
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/175537-science-fiction-microstory-contest
  

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Two Faces of Alabama

 
 
Alabama has just passed the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the history of the United States.  One that could send a doctor to prison for 99 years for performing an abortion beyond a designated  stage of pregnancy.  (What, they couldn't pass a death penalty?  Wait.) A 12-year-old rape victim would find no escape from this law.

Alabama.  A state with a dark history of hate and oppression.  Odd that a state that has certainly never embraced a culture of brotherly love or Christian compassion should now violate a woman's constitutional right to control her own body in the name of defending the value of human life or of denying man the role of Almighty God.

This same week, Alabama was also in the news for having a prison system like something out of the dark ages.  The mentally ill and the helpless are often left to die in their prisons, the most fundamental legal proscriptions against cruel and unusual punishment callously disregarded by those charged with upholding the law.  No, Christian principles like compassion, redemption and forgiveness are certainly not at the heart of Alabama's attack on a woman's right to choose.

What is it, then?  Why do conservatives in general, people who have no moral qualms about bombing cities to rubble, killing scores of women and children in the name of geopolitical strategy, who openly practice execution in the name of revenge (assuming the role of God) and who will let innocent children die of disease or malnutrition or thirst in cages or on deserts rather than pay higher taxes or open our precious borders, suddenly and conveniently find religion when it comes to a woman ending her pregnancy?

The answer, I suspect, lies in one of the defining pillars of their ideology:  patriarchy.  Women must in their minds be allowed to control nothing of their own lives.  They can be domestic servants, nannies...and, of course, incubators.  But never self-determining free beings.  The irony is that a woman signed this bill into law.  (A woman too old to bear children, but not to run for re-election.)

The right wing hope is that laws like this one in Alabama may be the wedge they need for a right-leaning Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade.  It may well happen.  And, what then?

Will there be choice states and handmaiden's tale-type states?  Will the latter establish armed borders to prevent pregnant women from escaping to the former?  Will underground railroads appear?  Could interstate border clashes occur if one too many pregnant women attempt to escape?   Will abortion pills be the next great prohibition nightmare? Might we come to see floating abortion clinics; vans on lonely country roads in the dead of night, and trigger-happy militias opening fire on them? Will murders of abortion doctors become the norm in states like Alabama, as lynchings once were?  

The idle speculations of a science fiction writer?  Or America's future?  We'll see.



Sunday, December 23, 2018

Dark Shadows Herald the New Year

And as the holidays are upon us and another year draws to a close, let us review the evolving darkness of our nation's leadership.  If leadership it can be called.

A journalist is butchered and dismembered by a royal despot.  Our own intelligence services swear the royal prince of Saudi Arabia gave the order, but our president brushes it aside, acting as if it doesn't mater.  (Sure, why not?  It's just a journalist.)  And, the accused represents a royal family that has helped Trump make scads of money.  He can make more by selling them guns so they can kill more innocent people.  Priorities.  Money over morality.  Our leader.  Our role model for our youth.



The world's leading scientists (including Trump's own science team) unanimously confirm that pollution-induced climate change is destroying our way of life and that it may already be too late to change course.  Trump's response?  He puts Andrew Wheeler, a lobbyist for the coal industry in charge of the EPA.  (Par for the course, after Scott Pruitt.)  Trump seems determined to destroy this planet one way or another.  Why?  His pals in the fossil fuel industry want to make scads of money.  So what if their grand kids inherit a dying planet?  Priorities.  Money over morality.  Our leader.  Our role model for our youth.







The innocent are slaughtered in Syria.  By ISIS.  By Assad.  By Turkey.  By Russia.  Our president's response?  Pack up and go home.  Not our problem.  America first.  Last, and always.  But, not America the protector of freedom.  That America is dead, apparently.  Trump's America is the America of amoral self interest.  The America that withdraws from the world and hunkers down behind a wall and an arsenal, denying food and water to the poor at our gates.  (Isn't God supposed to have destroyed Sodom and Gomorah for that kind of selfishness?)  Money over morality.  Our leader.  Our role model for our youth.



Refugees flee war and crime and poverty, making a long and sometimes fatal trek towards America.  America; that shining beacon of light that beckons the tired and the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  Their welcome?  Barbed wire.  Not enough? Hell no!  We need a wall, our President says.  Can't have one?  Shut down the government.  Keep it shut down until the opposing party coughs up five billion dollars for a border wall.  (Wait, wasn't Mexico supposed to pick up the check on that one?)  Five billion dollars couldn't be better spent trying to solve the problems that caused the exodus in the first place?  Or, to somehow pave a path to eventual citizenship for some of those refugees?  Nah.  Our president appeals only to fear and hate.  He claims to feel compassion for the American victims of crimes committed by the army of criminal evil-doers supposedly streaming across our border.  But, no compassion does he feel for children ripped from their parents and put in cages.  Or, buried in American soil.  Such blessed ground.  Money over morality.  Our leader.  Our role model for our youth.



Mass shootings continue.  No end in sight.  Children are slaughtered, and Trump and his NRA buddies say their thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.  Then, the victims speak out and demand gun control, and they're accused of being "soulless" or "mush-brained."  He does nothing.  We need more armed guards, he tells us.  In the schools.  In the temples of worship.  More armed guards.  The NRA is too powerful.  Too much money to be made from gun sales.  Money over morality. Our leader.  Our role model for our youth.





Resignations.  Terminations.  A revolving door on the White House.  Trump wants only fawning supplicants, apparently.  (Caligula's palace offered more stability.)  He chastises an Attorney General for not protecting him from prosecutors.  He accuses judges of being political agents and the law enforcement agencies of being out to get him.  He considers justice his enemy.  He believes the law should be his personal weapon.  That's how he sees the world and his place in it.  Money over morality.  Our leader.  Our role model for our youth.







Yet, our God-fearing heartland still loves him.  Why, only they know.  He makes them feel strong, perhaps.  He shows them the easy path, the self-serving one, and tells them it's okay to be selfish.  It's okay to do what comes easiest for human beings:  fear and hate each other.  Kill each other.  It's fine.  God loves us anyway, because we're Christian.

Happy Holidays, America.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

NewMyths Magazine

Science Fiction and Fantasy Lovers, attention: 

       NewMyths Magazine Issue #45 is now live:



https://sites.google.com/a/newmyths.com/nmwebsite/past-issues/2018/issue-45



Visit strange new worlds, and share in startling adventures:
















"Gentleman's Agreement" by Tom Olbert --  Excerpt:


The entire sand ship trembled on its massive treads as the sand crawler’s forward limbs, like the gigantic legs of some nightmarish arachnid crushed the upper framework.  Nicholas’s blood boiled.  Men plummeted to their deaths from the radar mounts and gun turrets, screaming as they were smashed like insects against the buckling metal hull or swallowed up into the churning desert sands.

 The writhing hydra-like organism swallowed several of the native workers even as they fired laser turrets from the overhanging gantries.  Nicholas lunged for one of the upper turrets as the gunner’s scream was muffled, the man’s legs kicking in mid-air as he was seized by one of the lashing triple-pronged tongues of the great beast and sucked into one of its three-sided mouths. Nicholas roared in impotent rage as he fired and fired, hoping desperately for a lucky shot at one of the damnable titan’s neural nodes.
 The crawler’s roar reminded Nicholas of a star destroyer’s atmosphere venting into space as its bulkheads gave way under a laser barrage.  Feeling the support platform give way under him, Nicholas leapt from the gantry, grabbing a railing along a walkway, and slid down a support strut to the deck.  He struggled to hang onto the guard rail, his boots sliding over the tilting deck. 

*******

This and other exciting stories, by a variety of writers is now available.  Stop on by!





Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Science Fiction...



      exotic worlds...
                         alien realities...

                              Experience them all:

https://www.amazon.com/Dissent-Book-Nexus-Thomas-Olbert-ebook/dp/B01CRCEMQG  ***