Story Chunks – Monsters Anonymous

Here’s a new kind of post I plan to share from time to time. I have already shared some of my drawings, but I want to share raw chucks of writing with you. I have several things cooking. About the same time I launched Urban Creep I wrote a short story about a werewolf. Since then I’ve worked it into a longer piece with vampires, fairies, and all kinds of monsters milling about a modern city based loosely on my hometown (just the city, not the millions of monsters). It’s on the back burner, but here’s a chunk anyway.


Monsters Anonymous

by

Carl C. Burgers

(from the beginning of Chapter 2)

“Why are we even here?” Steven asked. He’d planned to punctuate his question with a full body shrug, but grew self-conscious halfway into starting. Instead he just flapped his elbows, his hands still fixed in his pockets, and rocked back onto his heels slightly. “We’ll never get in.” Thaddeus didn’t witness his friend’s spasm. He was tapping and rubbing at the screen of his phone.

It rained in sheets earlier that afternoon, but just then purple-grey clouds sailed sluggishly towards the Mesa. The night was perfect. An earthy aroma of wet street mingled with the brine-soaked air that wafted up from the harbor. There was also the droning undertones of urine. The night was almost perfect.

Thaddeus looked up from his phone, wearing a closed-mouth smile that was close to exploding teeth. He held up his phone to his chest and pointed at the shingle of The Cat and Cauldron pub. “So, what’s the biggest problem being sober?” Thaddeus stared off into middle distance, like he was giving a lecture to an invisible crowd.

“I don’t know, Thad,” Steven said, trying a slightly more subtle shrug, “the withdrawal. The burning feeling that a drink is always within arm’s reach, but we can’t… you know?
 “Wrong!” Thaddeus tapped and swiped at his screen. “Tell me something, Steven.
Aren’t you tired of doing all your shopping at MaxMart?” Steven wrinkled his nose. “Bare with me here,” Thaddeus continued. “Why do we shop at MaxMart?”

“They have greeters at the door,” Steven said, “It’s the only place we are actually invited in.”

“Exactly. And the sober guys with old money can afford to hire a butler or PA or something.”

Steven looked up at the shingle as it swayed in the breeze. “I’d give anything to sit down to a nice beer,” Steven said, trailing off.

“It’s funny that you mention that,” Thaddeus was about to burst with excitement. Or smugness. Probably both. He raised his finger high up in the air, his phone resting flat on his outstretched palm, and brought his finger down to the screen with all the grace of a mime with a concussion. The phone booped.

“And?” Steven shrugged, somewhat naturally this time, “let’s just go, man.” Thaddeus shook his head. He held his screen inches from Steven’s face. “ ‘Your thrall is 10 minutes away.’ What is this?”

“It’s an app,” Thaddeus pocketed his phone and made a show of polishing his nails on his polo shirt. Definitely a mime with a head injury. “So, it’s like one of those ride sharing apps, right? Only this is more like ‘thrall sharing.’” Thaddeus jutted his chin out slightly, silence mounting.

Steven sighed. “Fine. Please tell me what ‘thrall sharing’ is?”

“The app, it’s called RNFILD. As in Renfield, only with the most of vowels missing for some reason. You sign up, tap the screen when you need to be invited in, a sympathetic individual, also signed in to the app, gets a notification, and he heads your way.” Thaddeus pushed his phone at Steven. A red blip crawled along the city map. Below that the words “Less than a minute" pulsed.

“A sympathetic individual?”

“Well, a regular person who wants to earn a little extra money, but doesn’t want to become enthralled full time, he opens this app and we get invited in.”

“I thought we were supposed to be hidden. You know, discreet. What’s the point of blending in if we’re going to put an app out there for everyone to see?”

“It’s not in the actual app store. It’s hidden deep in the dark web or deep web.” Thaddeus paused for a moment. “It’s the dank, dark, deep web, Steven. No-one goes there. It’s fine.”

Just then Thaddeus looked up in greeting to a man hurrying towards them.


 
So, what do you think? I plan to return to “Monsters Anonymous” sometime. I’m writing on a children’s book called “Dungeon Detectives” about a trio of kids who go on adventures in the ruins below the city streets. Maybe I’ll share some of that next time. Thanks for reading! 🎃

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