Friday, November 14, 2014

2014 Halloween Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up Entry

We also want to congratulate our (very close) runner-up, Jason Witherow! Enjoy!

Maniac Inferno
My husband’s fire crew responded to an explosion at the gas station. The smoke was so dense it blots out the sun. The fire has been burning for hours; I hope Frank is ok. I pace the kitchen hoping nothing has gone wrong. I hear the front door slam shut. I walk over to see Frank in his fire gear holding an axe and covered with blood.
“Sweetie, what hap-“
“No time, grab my gun.” Frank says
Confused, I tilt my head, and stare at him.
“Now” Frank says.
I rush to the bedroom and grab Frank’s pistol from the safe, and give it to him. He nods, and hands me his axe, covered in chunks of red flesh.
“Frank, tell me what is going on?” I ask.
“A group of people went crazy and blew the gas station up. They waited for us to come and started attacking anyone who was there,” Frank says.
“Terrorists attacked us?” I ask.
“Not terrorists. They were something different. They were crazy, cackling, their eyes black. One of them smeared their blood on a cops face, and then he was cackling too. The cop pulled out his gun and started shooting into the crowd.” Frank says as he barricades the front door.  
“What,” I ask, sure this is a joke.
“They went crazy. They are savages; I don’t know how to tell you. Don’t open the door for anyone, if they come in, kill them.”
“You’re saying that people are becoming black eyed homicidal maniacs when some crazy person smears blood in their face, Frank?” I ask.
“Yes Honey, they got Steve too. He came at me.” Frank says, his hands shaking.
“Frank, I need you to sit down” I say, while I reach for the phone to call 911.
I dial EMS and I get a busy signal. I hang up and start to worry. I hear a knocking sound at the front door. Frank runs to the barricade and we hear talking.
“Frankie Boy, we saw what you did to Steve. We came to see how you were holding up” the voice from behind the door says chuckling.
Frank quietly walks towards me and puts one finger in front of his mouth. I tighten my grip on the axe. The man on the other side starts whacking the front door, and it breaks in two; I see the man and scream. His face has a bloody hand print, and a wide smile that makes his pitch black eyes seem demonic. He hops over the barricading table and points to Frank.
“You’ve been a bad bo-“
Frank shoots him in the chest. The man falls to the floor giggling, trying to catch his breath. Two other men come in through the window. Frank shoots them both.  One in the head, and the other in the arm. The wounded man tackles Frank and grabs his throat. I run over and plunge the axe into the top of the maniac’s skull. He goes limp on top of Frank. He pushes the body over, and wipes blood off his face.
“Are you ok sweetie?” I ask him

His hand moves away from his face and I see a wide smile, and black eyes look back at me. “Yes sweetheart, I’m fine.” He answers, staring at his gun, cackling.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

2014 Halloween Flash Fiction Contest Winner: How to Survive an Apocalypse


HOW TO SURVIVE AN APOCALYPSE1
by Peter Saunders

A parade of Four Horsemen? a slicing scythe?
Is this how we are to meet our dooms?
The Devil himself come to claim his tithe?
Clouds of chemicals shaped like mushrooms?

Is this how we are to meet our dooms?
The test of the Antichrist, or a common blight?
Clouds of chemicals shaped like mushrooms?
A conclave of witches on Walpurgis Night?

The test of the Antichrist, or a common blight?
Everyone suffering would die to find out
A conclave of witches on Walpurgis Night?
Superstition blooms from seeds sown by doubt

Everyone suffering would die to find out
Exactly why we endure this trial
Superstition blooms from seeds sown by doubt
Hope springs eternal from those in denial

Exactly why we endure this trial
None can tell with a definite answer
Hope springs eternal from those in denial
We must make the best of this ravaging cancer

None can tell with a definite answer
What we are learning by suffering so
We must make the best of this ravaging cancer
That drives us to madness, confusion, and woe

What we are learning by suffering so
Infected with plague that kills in the gloom
That drives us to madness, confusion, and woe
We know not, nor even dare to presume

Infected with plague that kills in the gloom
As we sit in our waiting rooms unto the gloam
We know not, nor even dare to presume
Where our late family and friends go to roam

As we sit in our waiting rooms unto the gloam
Now I ask you: do you still persevere?
Where our late family and friends go to roam
You, too, may yet follow, for our ends are near

Now I ask you: do you still persevere?
Do spectres of dead ones haunt your waking dreams?
You too, may yet follow, for our ends are near
Already, I see you unravel at the seams

Do spectres of dead ones haunt your waking dreams?
Greed turns neighbors into mortal foes
Already, I see you unravel at the seams
The Reaper rejoices, here and there he goes

Greed turns neighbors into mortal foes
As buildings collapse, as hate is rebuilt
The Reaper rejoices, here and there he goes
Wilting our will and compounding our guilt

As buildings collapse, as hate is rebuilt
We run from the world but cannot escape
Wilting our will and compounding our guilt
Is the ruin of our future that begins to take shape

We run from our world but cannot escape
But worse than pandemic or mortal decay
Is the ruin of our future that begins to take shape
Rotting by night, reeking by day

But worse than pandemic or mortal decay
Is the shameless greed that drives our deeds
Rotting by night, reeking by day
We reap what was sown by those seductive seeds

Is the shameless greed that drives our deeds
Peculiar to shortcomings of the human race?
We reap what was sown by those seductive seeds
Do we truly deserve such a low, vulgar place?

Peculiar to shortcomings of the human race?
Is this what it’s come to at last?
Do we truly deserve such a low, vulgar place?
Must we die in a penitent blast?

Is this what it’s come to at last?
Alas, we find that we don’t mind
Must we die in a penitent blast?
Our fates have long since been thus resigned

Alas, we find that we don’t mind
As prejudice fuels war like books on a fire
Our fates have long since been thus resigned
Dripping with oil, we recline on the pyre

As prejudice fuels war like books in a fire
And the splinter of winter deeper delves
Dripping with oil, we recline on the pyre
DID WE BRING THIS UPON OURSELVES?

And the splinter of winter deeper delves
As you read these words with your dying breath
DID WE BRING THIS UPON OURSELVES?
This question compels you in the shadow of Death

As you read these words with your dying breath
I hope you find these useful tips
This question compels you in the shadow of Death:
HOW DO YOU SURVIVE AN APOCALYPSE?

I hope you find these useful tips
When provisions of food and water are scant
HOW DO YOU SURVIVE AN APOCALYPSE?
The answer is tragically simply: you can't.

1 N.b. Results may will vary drastically.


Congratulations, Peter! Check back next week for the runner up!

Monday, October 27, 2014

All New Online Tutoring Experience!

video

Look out, Roosevelt Students!  The Writing Center is taking its unique peer tutoring experience into the boundless space of the Interwebs!

Now, you can "come in" to the Writing Center from the Schaumburg Campus Library, or even the comfort of your own home.  (Please, though, no PJs in the video chat. We like to keep things professional.)

This video will give you instructions for logging on and sharing your work with our tutors through the magic of Google hangouts.  You can still make an appointment by calling our front desk at (312)341-2206, via email at writingcenter@roosevelt.edu, or online at www.roosevelt.edu/writingcenter.