The Passing of the Lantern

The lantern held aloft in the hand of the dwarf cast its wavering yellow light on the age worn stones of the dungeon cell. It left too much of the room in deep shadows though. The thickly armored warrior eyed those shadows with hard flinty eyes. He looked to his companions—a lithe pit fighter, a bow armed elf and staff wielding human wizard. They nodded to him. He hefted his treasured runic ax and stalked into the dank dungeon cell.

“Skaven!”

The cry came from the wizard but the dwarf was already aware of the threat by the time the word flew from the mage’s lips.

A screaming rat man had burst from the shadows with a rusty, chipped sword raised high. The red eyes of the rat man were focused on the dwarf.

The stocky dwarf warrior was ready for him though. He let out his own shout of battle glee and swung his weapon. The blow was true. The rat man’s life was forfeit.

But a stern female voice pierced the gloom of the dungeon and stayed the scene.

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For the stories are the life!

 

    As the greatest of social animals, we humans love to tell stories; and why shouldn’t we?

Life is a collection of stories-some good, some bad, some random but endearing-and as social beings we share them every chance we get. We tell our stories during breaks at work, over the kitchen table, across counters, while sitting on couches or in moving vehicles. Anywhere we gather, we share our stories. That is our nature, so much so that I’m quite sure that our primal ancestors grunted out their stories over their nighttime fires during those long dark nights of our distant past.

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Madness in the Air

 

“Quackadoodle do!”

Ted watched the smoke rising up from blasted open roof of the cyborg gang leader’s long black car. From his vantage point above the lightning scarred battlefield he could see the big three armed cyborg thrashing in his crash seat as he burned to death.

“It smells like someone burnt supper”, he yelled into his com. Apparently no one in his gang thought that as funny as he did. They didn’t respond to it. There was some screaming on the line though but what did that matter? It wasn’t him. He was safe, flying high and dominating the sky.

He saw the long haired cyborg woman slid her bike around the front of the stalled black car.

“You’re next, chickadee!”

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Rage of the Machines

 

Trillian used the recoil from her forearm gun to assist her in easing her bike out of its tilt. She took her handlebars in both hands again and sped back to her position next to Havok’s long black car. She took a look across the lightning scarred battlefield and saw Hellskull raging in his car. The masked outlaw leader slammed a gloved hand into his steering wheel while the woman in the car next to him grabbed his shoulder and tried to talk him out of his anger.

Despite the effect of the Mood Stabilizer chip installed in her cranial interface she smiled.

First blood, she thought, grinning with pride. Her report to her leader was properly restrained though.

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A Bat on the Way to Hell!

 

As the newest member to Hellskull’s outlaw gang Bat was eager to prove his worth and this wasteland fight over the downed helicopter was his chance.

They already know that I’ve got the stones for this job, he thought.

He had proved his daring on the day he first approached the gang. He had heard that Hellskull’s mechanic Torx had just finished building a motorcycle and the gang was looking for a rider. That was all the invitation that Bat needed. He left Zeke’s that minute and went straight up to the decrepit mansion that Hellskull’s gang used as a hideout. He had braved three warning barrages of machine gun fire and stood in the open with his arms out. After a pause two shots rang out and dirt flew onto his boots.

He kept his position and a third bullet passed so close to his head that he heard the whine of it’s passing.

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Drawing of The Three

 

Dust from the knobby tires of Zeke’s buggy drifted out and over the cliff’s edge as he skidded to a halt on top of the jutting prominence. The government helicopter was strewn out across the lightning scarred ground at the base of the cliff. It had hit the ground skidding, the big bird’s belly ripping open and spilling out crates and rag dolls that used to be men in black suits of body armor.

Zeke climbed out of his buggy and looked over the cliff.

The helicopter looked relatively intact but for the shorn away lower half.

“I don’t know why them fellows was flying through that rad storm but they brought along a lot of stuff”, said the gray haired trader. “I sure as Texas wonder what’s in them.”

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Storm Clouds Forming

 

The thick clouds to the east of Zeke’s Hilltop Saloon and General Store were swollen with the angry red lightning of a rad storm about to burst free and lash the hard packed dirt and sun blasted asphalt of the wasteland the old codger called home. Zeke stood under his porch roof and watched the storm clouds roll north. They began to lightened up with red, green and yellow flashes.

The storm was about to break free soon but thankfully it was going to pass him by.

“I got lucky there”, he said.

He turned his attention to the west as the whine of motorcycle power plants came out of the desert. Two bikes were coming in fast from two different directions. Zeke recognized the rickety motorcycles and the grubby looking riders. He shook his head and put his hand on the big pistol on his hip.

“What do these two idiots want? I swear one of these days I’ll have to shoot them just to get a little peace and quiet.”

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