Wednesday, August 24, 2005

:::Timmy, Jimmy, and the Beast of Tagmart:::

“I think we should break their skulls open.”

“Quiet, Jimmy.” He crouched and picked up a rumpled lady’s shirt that was lying on the floor. His eyes jerked from point to point until they found a shirtless hanger on the clothing rack beside him. His right eye narrowed and his left opened wider.

“Evil,” he said.

“Break their skulls,” said Jimmy.


Carefully, he draped the shirt over the hanger, smoothed out the wrinkles, and placed it back on the rack. From somewhere ahead came a high pitched laugh. He followed the sound, his scrawny stick-like body moving quietly through the bright colored summer collection.

He almost caught up with them in the blue jeans section, but he had to stop when he saw the stone washed pair of Lees that had been tossed haphazardly on top of the Half Off display.


“Make them pay,” said Jimmy.

The trail got cold when he reached the aisle at the edge of Lady’s Clothing. He stood there for a long minute, listening. Then from across the aisle, in the shoe section, he heard that hideous laugh again. He hurried across the open space and turned down one of the narrow rows between the seven-foot-tall, double-sided shelves that held the shoes.

“Girl, look at these. My mom wears these!”

“Yuck! How can you stand it?”

“Right! I mean, doesn’t she see she’s embarrassing me?”

“Parents are so selfish!”

He could hear them just on the other side of the shelves. He pulled a box of athletic shoes down and placed it carefully on the floor beside him. Then he peered at them through the gap, but the shoes on their side made it hard to see exactly what they were doing.

“Oh my God! Look at how huge these are?”

“They’re like clown shoes!”

“I bet you could stuff an entire shoe that’s my size inside this one.”

“Try it!”

She reached over and removed a box of shoes from the shelves. Staring at her through the gap was a pale, frowning face with one eye opened wider than the other.

“Evil,” it said in a quiet voice, and then in an entirely different one it yelled “Smash your skulls!”

“Aaaghhhh!” The girl screamed, dropped the box of shoes on the floor, grabbed her friend’s arm and raced for the exit.

He frowned at them as they raced away. Then he replaced the box of shoes on the shelves on his side and walked around to do the same thing on the other side.

“You should have broken their heads, Timmy.”

“Shut up, Jimmy.”


At 10:00pm, Timmy swiped his ID card through the Tagmart computer in the break room and logged himself out from work. As he walked back through the store, he struggled with the concept.

“Off the clock…off the clock…off the clock…”

As he passed electronics, he spotted a DVD that was in the wrong section. He started to turn towards it, but then he stopped.

“Off the clock…off the clock…”

“Find’em and kill’em!”

“No, Jimmy – Off the clock!”

Ignoring the grumblings of Jimmy’s voice in his head, Timmy turned back toward the front and started walking again.

When he was about twenty feet from the front door, a very large man – over seven feet tall and with a waistline like a hula-hoop – came trudging past, bumping Timmy on the shoulder. The man was so massive that the force of this minor impact spun Timmy completely around in a circle.

“Timothy! I need to speak with you, Sir!”

Mr. Burnett, the store manager came running up, just as Timmy was recovering his balance.

“Did you scare two teenage girls today?”

Timothy cocked his head to one side. “Maybe… What did they look like?”

“The ones that ran screaming from the shoe department…”


“Timothy, we’ve talked about this. If you scare away the customers, the store will lose money, and I will have to fire you. Understand?”

“I didn’t mean to scare them, Mr. Burnett, but they were throwing merchandise on the floor!”

“It doesn’t matter. Look, Timothy, just don’t do it again, or I’m going to have to fire you, okay?”

“Yes, Mr. Burnett.”

“Thank you, Timothy.” He hurried off towards the office.

Timmy headed for the curb outside where the “New Hope for Life” van was waiting to take him back to the institution where he lived. Jimmy must have decided to take a nap, because Timmy could hear snoring noises in his head now.

Jimmy was like that. He did whatever he wanted to – right then if you let him. That was why he couldn’t come out and why Timmy had to keep control. Jimmy stayed on the inside so that no one got hurt, and Timmy worked the outside, keeping them functional enough that they didn’t have to stay at the institution one hundred percent of the time. The arrangement was a good one. Even though there were lots of evil people who threw stuff on the floor, working at Tagmart was better than playing checkers at the institute all day.

“Huh? Whazat?”

“Shh…go back to sleep Jimmy,” he whispered.



The next morning, Timmy woke up at exactly 8:00am, just as he did every morning. Because it was Saturday, he watched the clock carefully until it read 8:30. It was important to Ms. Watson that he try to sleep in on Saturdays, especially since he only worked half a day. They had wanted him to take the whole day off, but Timmy had begged and pleaded until Ms. Watson had finally gotten the manager to compromise and allow him to work half of it.

After breakfast he went to the Rec Room. It was kind of like a big living room, with some sofas, chairs, card tables, and a TV. Sitting on the floor with a large book in her lap and a spread of multicolored polyhedral dice on the carpet in front of her, was Lori. She looked up from the dice when she saw him enter.

“Timmy! Come over here!”

He walked over and sat down on the floor next to her.

“Hi Lori.”

“Hi Timmy.”

“Crunch their bones like cereal!”

“Hi Jimmy.”

“What are you looking at?” Timmy asked.

She looked around, making sure that no one else was listening. “A mystic tome…”

Timmy nodded and looked at the pages. There was a lot of text, a table of numbers, and a color drawing of a man with a shotgun facing down a dragon. At the top of each page the words “Modern Magic Role Playing Game” were written in stylized letters.

“Someone left it on the shelf at the bookstore in the game section. They must have wanted me to find it. I think maybe it was the Order of Hermes – like, maybe my father sent it. He’s not allowed to contact me directly because of the rules of the Order, but maybe he left this for me to find so that I could start training to become a secret guardian of magic and truth, like him!”

“So what does it say?”

“It’s a handbook for discovering the hidden history of the world. If you learn the secret formulas and master the dice you can determine the outcome of events!”

Timmy’s eyebrows rose high up on his forehead. “Like what kind of events?”

“That’s why I called you over here. I was practicing. First, I had to describe you on this piece of paper.” She pointed at a photocopied page that said “Character Sheet” at the top in big letters. “Then I made a roll to determine what you are going to encounter in your future.”

“What was it?”

“A twelve!”

“Whoa…so what does that mean?”

“According to the mystic tables…it’s some kind of monster!”

“Smash its skull! Kill it!” A crazed, wide-eyed look flashed across Timmy’s face.

“Quiet, Jimmy!” said Timmy’s voice.


“Shh…” said Lori. “Listen to him, Jimmy. You can’t let them know that you’re on to them.”

“Who?” Timmy asked.

“The Dark Pact… They’re the archenemies of the Order of Hermes. They set monsters loose in the world to aid their plans.”

This time Timmy and Lori both glanced nervously around the room.

“So what happens to me?” Timmy asked.

“I’m not sure.” She flipped through the pages until she got to a page with the word “Combat” written across it in letters that were meant to look like blood. “I haven’t made it through that part of the secret teachings yet.”

“What should I do?”

“Be careful. Something is coming…”


“Timothy, please come to Mr. Burnett’s office. Timothy, come to Mr. Burnett’s office, please.” The PA system in the store always repeated things. Timmy used to wonder if there were two people that had to give each message.

“We’re probably in trouble,” said Timmy.

Jimmy made an indistinct grumbling noise.

Timmy picked up his broom and started toward the office.

When he got there, Mr. Burnett was waiting with the security guard – definitely not a good sign. Timmy started sweating. His eyes jerked back and forth between the big guy in grey and the annoyed looking manager. Inside his head, Jimmy had gone dangerously quiet.

“Yes, Mr. Burnett?”

“Timmy, what did we talk about yesterday?”

“I’m not supposed to scare the customers, even when they’re evil.”

“That’s right.” He leaned forward over his desk. “So why, Timothy, are scared customers leaving the store without buying anything?”

“I don’t know, Mr. Burnett.”

“How many times have I…” He stopped in mid sentence. “What?”

“I said, I don’t know, Mr. Burnett.”

“Okay, let me put this in a different way. Have you scared any customers today?”

“No, Mr. Burnett.”

“Really?” he frowned and turned to the monitor on his left hand side. “Alright. You’ve always told me the truth before, so let’s take a look on the security cameras and see what we can find out.”

Timmy watched the screen as it jumped to different views of the store. Everything looked normal to him. It was a Saturday, so there were lots of people aimlessly pushing carts around, picking up things and putting them down again.

“There! Over by electronics… Who is that guy?” Mr. Burnett waved the security guard over for a closer look and pointed at the screen. “That really big guy there just said something to that couple and they walked away without their cart. Go down there and have a talk with that guy.”

“What should I say?” asked the guard.

“Just ask him if everything is okay. Be helpful. Stick with him until he leaves the store, and make sure he doesn’t scare any of the other customers, but don’t let him start an argument with you. Can you do that?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Thanks, Dale.”

Once the guard had moved, Timmy got a good look at the monitor. The guy that Mr. Burnett was worried about was the same huge man that had bumped into him yesterday. Watching him, Timmy felt his head began to throb. He rubbed at his temples, trying to make it go away.

“Here we go,” said Mr. Burnett.

On the screen, Dale the security guard had just walked up. Dale was a big guy but he looked like somebody’s kid brother next to this customer. The two men faced each other. They could tell Dale was saying something, but there was no audio. The customer didn’t seem to say anything back. Dale said something else. Then he turned and walked off.

“Hey,” said Burnett. “Where is he going? I told him to stay with that guy!” He clicked the mouse a few times and the image jumped to an overhead shot from the front of the store. They watched Dale, much smaller from this perspective, as he headed straight for the exit and outside into the parking lot.

“Great!” said Burnett. “That’s just great!” He slumped back into his chair and frowned at the screen.

“Should I go back to work now?” Timmy asked.

“Huh? Uh, yeah Timmy. Go back to work.”

“Do you want me to talk to that man?”

“No. Absolutely not. I’m going to talk to him myself.” He stood up, straightened his shirt, forced his face into an even sterner look, and walked out of the office.

Timmy looked around the now empty room, and then he lifted his broom and turned for the door.

“…grrr…tear his nose off!”

“It’s okay, Jimmy. We’re not in trouble.”

Outside the office, a short hallway led past a conference and training room and back out to the store proper. There was a bench for customers to sit on just to the left of the hallway that he came out of, and he stopped to clean off the trash that someone had left there.



A minute later, as he was finishing, Mr. Burnett walked up, heading past Timmy for the office and mumbling something under his breath.

“Did you tell him it’s not okay?” Timmy asked.

“It doesn’t matter. I’ve got to order more stock…got to order it right now…” He didn’t even turn his head to look at Timmy as he marched past at a brisk pace.


“Please, Mommy, can we get it? PLEASE?”

“Alright. Show me which one.”

Timmy pushed his broom to the side as the little girl and her mother moved past him and into the toy aisle he had just finished sweeping. He turned the corner and headed down the next aisle.

“Here it is, Mommy!”

“You want the one with the tiny leopard print purse?”

“Yeah. Her name is Esmeralda. She’s a Chica. Everyone at school is getting them, Mommy. Can I, please?”

“Well, I guess if –”

The voice stopped in mid sentence. Timmy looked up in time to see the girl and her mother walk past his aisle, moving quickly toward the front of the store and not saying a word. He moved cautiously to the end of the shelves and peered around the corner into the aisle they had just left. His left eye opened wide and his right narrowed. In his head, Jimmy let out a warning growl.

Standing near the far end was the huge man from the security tape. He held a pink toy package in his hand, and he was leaning down to examine the shelf where the toy had come from.

Timmy’s head began to hurt again.

“…grrr…” Jimmy growled before Timmy could stop him.

The big man stiffened and Timmy jerked his head back around the corner. He waited a few seconds, listening, but there was no sound from the other aisle. Carefully, he peaked again. The big man was still there. He placed the package on the shelf and grinned in a way that showed his teeth. Then he turned away from Timmy, walked to the end of the aisle, and turned right.

Broom in hand, Timmy walked to the shelf with the Chica dolls and stopped. The package was back where it was supposed to be, undamaged. Everything seemed okay – except those people had wanted to buy it and they hadn’t.

“Smash’em?” Jimmy asked, uncertain.

“Hmm…I don’t know Jimmy. I don’t know…”

Timmy spent the last two hours of his shift watching the huge man from a distance. The man walked all over the store, stopping anyone he encountered. Each time, he said nothing, only staring at them, and each time, they would put down whatever they had been carrying, often leaving whole shopping carts unattended. These the man left where they were, so that by the time Timmy was supposed to leave, there were half full shopping carts all over the store.

“This isn’t right, Jimmy,” he said.


“It’s like everyone is going crazy.”

Reluctantly he made his way to the curb outside where the New Hope for Life van was waiting. After he got in the van, he turned and looked out the window. As the van pulled away, he saw the open sign switch off. The doors were being locked by one of the stockers, but the big man was still somewhere inside.


Three days went by, each one worse than the last. Fewer people were coming to Tagmart, and those that did weren’t buying anything. At the same time, the stockers were cramming everything that they could onto the shelves, so the store seemed bloated with consumer goods. Timmy noticed something else as well – the merchandise was beginning to look used. The clothes were wrinkled – only a little, but he noticed. There were hundreds of little scratches and scuff marks on things. He spent hours trying to rub them all out with a rag.

Through all of this, the huge man walked, running his gaze over every shelf and display. No one challenged him. The employees seemed not to notice him unless they were in his way. Then they moved aside without a word.

Once, Timmy tried asking Mr. Burnett about him.

“A big man? Well I don’t know about that, but tell me this, Timmy – how are we going to get more items on the shelves? I’ve covered every inch of display space, but it’s not enough. We need more products! It’s the key to everything!”

Timmy had barely had time to say “I don’t know,” before Mr. Burnett had hurried off again.

To make matters worse, Lori had gone into her room on Saturday afternoon and not come out again. She was the only one that he could talk to about what was going on, and Timmy had hoped that there might even be something in her mystic tome that would be able to explain why everyone at Tagmart was acting strange. He waited anxiously for three evenings but saw no sign of her.

Finally, on the fourth evening, he couldn’t stand it any longer, so he went to see her.

“Lori…are you awake?” Timmy leaned against her door, glancing nervously up and down the hallway. It wasn’t after curfew, or he never would have gotten past the nurse that watched over this area, but he wasn’t used to being in the girls’ wing. It made him nervous.

“Timmy?” said a voice from the other side of the door.


The door opened a crack, and Lori eyed him and the hallway around him.

“Are you alone?” she asked.

“Jimmy’s with me.”

“Okay, come in,” she said, opening the door the rest of the way. He stepped in, and she shut the door behind him.

The light inside Lori’s room was dim and tinted red. There were arcane symbols drawn on construction paper and posted all over the walls. A green tapestry with a Celtic knot work design covered the twin bed that was pushed against the left wall, and Timmy could just make out the glow of star shaped stickers on the ceiling.

“Jimmy and I looked for you in the Rec Room,” he said.

“I’ve been laying low.”

“What for?”

“I kept getting this feeling like I was being watched. The doctor said I should up my medication.”

“Let’s smash open his skull!”

“No, Jimmy, the doctors aren’t evil,” Timmy said.

“He thinks it’s my paranoia, but I think it’s different this time. I think the Dark Pact may have found out that I got a mystic tome. So I told the doctor that maybe I just needed to rest for a few days. That’s why I haven’t left my room.”


“Something happened, didn’t it?” she asked, her forehead creased in a frown.


“Tell me about it.”

He did – starting with the security tapes in Mr. Burnett’s office and ending with the way the huge man at the store didn’t seem to ever leave.

“Hmm…” She walked over to her bed, reached inside one of the pillowcases, and pulled out the book and a clear plastic bag that held the dice. She sat down on the bed and started flipping through the book’s pages.

“You never saw him say anything to the people that left?”


“It sounds like he’s using some kind of mind control.”

“How can he do that?”

“It says in the Creatures section that a lot of monsters can use mind control – at least a little. That’s how most of them survive without being noticed. A long time ago, when humans started banding together and using tools to hunt down the bigger predators, they drove some monsters to near extinction. The ones that survived were the ones that could hide themselves somehow. The ability to hide your true appearance from a human mind was an advantageous evolutionary trait because it kept the human tribes from hunting you down in mass, so the ones that survived were closer to human size and more able to pass themselves off as something else. According to the mystic tome, some of the more powerful monsters can do more than just hide their appearance now.”

“Can they make you do evil things?” Timmy asked, picturing the abandoned shopping carts full of merchandise.

“They can try. Whether or not they succeed depends on how powerful their mind control is and on how strong your mind is. I can predict the results with the dice, but I have to know the mental power scores of everyone involved.”

“How do we get those?”

“Pull out his brain?” suggested Jimmy.

“I think,” she began, the sides of her mouth dimpling as she tapped a finger against her lips, “that all we have to do is find out what type of monster this guy is. Then I can look him up in the mystic tome.”

“How do we do that?” Timmy asked.

She turned and surveyed the room. Then she walked over to a dresser drawer, opened it, and pulled out a blue plastic diving mask with a snorkel attached to it. The clear plastic that the swimmer was supposed to look through was crisscrossed with cracks.

“We’ll need these.”


On a dark residential street, a young girl waited impatiently on the sidewalk across from a quiet one story house. Eventually, another young girl came silently around from the back of the house and crossed the street to meet her.

“It took you long enough!” said Stacey.

“I’m sorry, okay? My mom was watching me like a hawk!” said Tanya.

“Whatever,” said Stacey. She turned and started walking down the street.

Tanya hurried to catch up. “Look, I said I was sorry. Gah!”

“Come off it, Tanya. You’ve been putting me off all week about sneaking out ever since that weird guy at Tagmart scared you.”

As they neared the end of the block, the light from a street lamp illuminated the red in Tanya’s cheeks.

“I can’t help it, Stacey. If you had seen that creepy guy’s face, you would have gotten scared too!”

“Yeah, right.”

“I’m telling you –”

She stopped to listen. A strange whirring noise was getting louder by the second.

“Do you hear that?”

“Yeah, I think…”

They stepped around the corner and stared in terror. Barreling down on them from a few yards away was Timmy, seated atop the handle bars of a speeding bicycle and wearing a cracked scuba mask with a snorkel.

“Crash! Squish! Crush your bones!” yelled Jimmy in warning.

“Aaaghhhh!” the two girls screamed. They scrambled to get out of the way and fell to the ground in a tangle of limbs. The bicycle swerved a little to the left and just barely missed them.

“Watch it!” yelled Lori belatedly as she peddled the bike past them.

Sneaking out of the institution had been easier than Timmy had thought it would be. All they had to do was slip twenty dollars to the security guard at the end of the hall.

“Don’t forget to wear protection,” he had said to Timmy with a wink.

“That’s why I’ve got this,” Timmy had replied, holding up the mask and snorkel. The guard had raised an eyebrow then shaken his head from side to side.

Now, as they flew down a hill heading toward the back of Tagmart, Timmy wondered if it would be enough. Lori had said that since the man had looked the same on the video as he did in person, he was probably strong enough to cover the whole store with a mental command. This command would make your mind think you were seeing a huge man anytime your eyes told it you were seeing…whatever he really was. She thought that if Timmy looked at him through the cracked image of the mask, then maybe the distorted image of whatever he really was would make it past the blanket mind control he was covering the store with.

Lori brought the bike right up to the back service entrance, and Timmy hoped off. The security lights were bright in this part of the lot, but the whole area was very quiet.

“Okay, remember: get a good look at it, and then come back right away so I can figure out what its stats are.”

“Okay,” said Timmy. He pulled his ID card from his pocket and swiped it through the door’s electronic lock. It beeped and the little light on the lock turned green. Timmy pulled it open and started to step through.

“Be careful!” said Lori. Timmy turned back and nodded, the snorkel bumping against his head as he did so. Then he took another step into the building and let the door close behind him.

It was just as quiet inside the store as it had been in the parking lot. Timmy walked down the hallway, past the break room, and out into the store where he stopped, his mouth hanging open.

There was nothing there. He was in the back of the store, standing next to what should have been the house wares section, but there was no merchandise in sight. All he could see was the broken image of empty white shelves. He pushed the mask up to the top of his forehead, but the image only became clearer.

He rushed forward to the end of the row. Across the aisle, in the kids clothing section there was nothing but empty clothing racks. He stepped into the aisle and turned left, walking along the path that made a loop around the store. Everywhere he looked there were only more empty shelves.

When he came to the spot where the aisle that looped around the store intersected with the walkway that crossed through the store’s center, he stopped. His face pinched into a frown, and his eyes began to water.

“Evil…” he said in a chocked whisper.

Every single item that was missing from the shelves and the racks was there, in one massive, disordered pile. Basketballs, lawn chairs, toys, clothing – it had all been thrown together with no regard for the damage any of it was receiving. This was why the clothes looked wrinkled, and this was the source of the hundreds of tiny scuffs and scratches.

In the center of the pile, lying on his side atop the entire Tagmart inventory was the huge man.

Timmy ducked down and prepared to run for it, but the man didn’t move. In fact, he lay completely still except for the steady rise and fall of his massive belly. Timmy stood up again slowly. He wanted to scream in agony at what was being done to the store’s merchandise. His head began to hurt, and inside him, Jimmy had gone very, very still.

Remembering his mission, he reached up and slowly pulled the mask down over his face. Through the cracked plastic lenses the image was scattered, broken into sections that were shifted left, right, up, or down from where they ought to be. He could see the pile, which looked even more like the product of an earthquake, and in distorted, separate pieces he could see the dragon that lay on top of it.

It was only about seven or eight feel long, with scales that were grey, brown, and black in an almost random pattern that reminded Timmy of camouflage. Two short horns protruded from the top of its large head, and a pair of wings stretched part way out over the pile beneath it.

Timmy drew in a long, slow breath and let it out. There was a dragon living in his store.

“Tell Lori,” he whispered to himself. She would know what to do.

He turned to go, but stopped when he noticed a ladies shirt crumpled by his feet.

“Off the clock,” he said in a small voice. Then why are we here, asked another voice inside his head.

He reached down and gently lifted the shirt from the base of the pile. It was still on the hanger. He smoothed the wrinkles as best as he could and hung it on the rack next to him.

Pain erupted at his temples. He cried out. A powerful, deep voice spoke directly to his mind.

“Who the hell gave you permission to touch my hoard?” said the voice.

Timmy looked up. The dragon was awake and staring down at him from the top of the pile.

“Come up here,” it said. The voice was like a rope that grabbed him and pulled. Timmy felt himself moving.

“No!” he cried, as his feet stepped on top of the pile and his legs pushed him forwards. Half walking, half climbing, he made his way toward the dragon. The pain in his head grew worse. He struggled against it, and for a moment, his body stopped moving.

“Not bad, slim, but you’re not strong enough,” it said. The pressure on his mind doubled, and his resistance was washed away. Quickly, he climbed to the top until he stood face to monstrous face with the dragon.

It peered at the cracked mask he wore.

“You’re just all kinds of clever. Take it off and add it to the hoard.”

He did so.

“What’s your name, slim?”

“Timmy,” he said aloud.

“Timmy, I want you to do something,” said the booming voice inside his head.

“I want you to go home, and forget that you ever saw any of this.” Then it did something to his mind. It felt to Timmy like he was being strangled, like his consciousness was being put in a choke hold. He fought against, struggling to stay in control, but the dragon’s mind was just too strong for him. A moment later, everything in his mind seemed to just empty. Timmy had no thoughts. He just stood there, waiting.

“Now, do like I said, and go home,” the dragon commanded.

Timmy turned and took a step away. Then he stopped. Slowly he turned back around to face the dragon.

“Timmy, I told you to go home,” said the dragon.

“Timmy’s gone,” said a gravely voice. Jimmy reached down and pulled a heavy iron golf club from the hoard.

“Who are y–”

“Smash your skull!” Jimmy yelled and swung the club.


In the parking lot behind Tagmart, Lori waited anxiously for Timmy to come back. She wondered if she should have gone in with him. Maybe whatever monster was in there had captured him. Maybe –


The back door flew open, slamming into the wall. A huge, scaly beast came rushing out. A blue colored fluid dripped from a gash on the side of its head. One of its two horns was broken off in a jagged stump, and one of its wings seemed to be dragging on the ground as it ran. It screamed and ran past her at an incredible speed.

Lori swiveled on the bicycle seat and watched as it disappeared down a dark street.

A moment later, Timmy appeared. He was limping and there was blood dripping from his nose. Blue fluid stained the shirt he wore and dripped from the golf club he leaned on.

“Are you okay, Timmy?”

“Come back and I’ll smash your skull again!” he shouted in the direction the dragon had gone.

“Oh. Hi Jimmy,” she said.

Jimmy looked at her, and then he shook his head like he was clearing it. His expression softened.

“Hi Lori,” said Timmy’s voice. “It was a dragon.”

“I know,” she said. “It’s gone now.”

He nodded. Then he turned to head back into the store.

“We should go back to the institution now,” she said.

“I can’t. I’ve got to put all of this stuff up.”

“Timmy, if we don’t get back there before the guard goes home, we’ll get in major trouble.”

He looked up at her. “I know.” His eyes were on the verge of tears.

She sighed. “What the hell.” She swung down off the bike and walked over to him.

“Thank you, Lori.”

“Don’t mention it.” She put his arm around her shoulder for support on the side where he was limping. “Is there a lot of stuff that needs to be put back?”

“Maybe…what do you consider a lot?”

They shuffled back inside, and the door closed quietly behind them.

posted by D @ 5:28 PM |

I love stories - especially speculative fiction, and I named this blog Brief Glimpses of Somewhere Else because I think of each story as a window into another world.

If this is your first time here, I recommend "Legacies" and "The Great Puzzle", both of which were nominated for a 2006 Parsec Award. You can also find "Timmy, Jimmy, and the Beast of Tagmart" as well as "Late Shift at the Souleater" in the podcast anthology Voices: New Media Fiction available at

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