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Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc.
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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
Piñatas From Space!: Crazy Games With Cards And Dice

by Jeromy Henry
Stormcastle: And Other Fun Games With Cards And Dice

by Jeromy Henry
The Tooth Fairy War and Other Tales

by Jeromy Henry
The Wizard's House

by Jeromy Henry
The Dreaming Fire

by Jeromy Henry

A Little of Everything

by

Jeromy Henry



The white table curled its toes in scorching sand.  Half the table reflected the blinding rays of the sun directly overhead, and the other half slept in the shadow of a blue canvas awning.  The shadows also held a lady in a gray wool skirt and pearly blouse.  Gold glinted at her neck and wrists.  Her auburn hair piled on her head in fashionable twirls.  She sipped from a bone colored cup of china.  Steam curled from the cup and dissipated into thirsty air.

Oddly, only a few feet away from the white sand, so hot as to almost morph into glass, rose the trunks of oak trees and the prickly coats of pines.  The sand gave way to black loam, tangled vines, and the broken bodies of old leaves.

From the desert side of this odd tableau rang the sound of hoof beats.  A man in a greasy leather vest and brown cowboy hat rode a Palomino into view.  Blond stubble partly hid his grin.  He twirled a lasso over his head and whooped at the top of his lungs.

"Such manners!" said the lady.  She might have said more, but the lasso settled over her, and the china cup fell with a clink and broke on the table.  Pale golden tea spilled and steamed, and the lady jumped to her feet.

The cowboy reined in his horse.  His grin got bigger.

"Look what I caught!" said the cowboy.

The lady bent over, fixing steely eyes on the man at all times.  Her lips turned down as she opened the top of a hatbox.  She pulled out a short sword and slashed the lasso.

"Huh?" said the cowboy, as he stared at the decapitated end of the rope.

The lady jumped behind him and whacked him on the back of the head with her sword.  With a groan and a thump, he slid off and lay in a heap.  The horse bent its neck, whickered, and began to chew on his master's hat.

"Well, that's one nuisance taken care of!" said the lady.  She smiled.

The smile faded when another man rode out of the forest.  His black stallion towered over the Palomino.  The newcomer wore a loincloth of brown fur, furry boots, and a tangle of leather straps that held the mother of all broadswords on his back.  The wind blew his unkempt brown locks in a stream behind his head.  A shaggy beard hid his face.

The barbarian swordsman pulled out his four foot long blade and flexed a bicep the size of a normal man's thigh.  He flashed white teeth.

"Now really!" said the lady.  Her icy disapproval ought to have coated the desert with a layer of frost, but it did not.

The barbarian swung his blade and knocked the short sword out of the lady's hand with a ring of steel.  It flew in an arc and did further outrage to her tea set.  She slipped off the horse with a surprised yelp and landed on her backside.

"I have beat you in combat trial.  You is now Thog's wife!" shouted the barbarian.

The lady rolled her eyes.  She delved into a beaded bag on a strap over her shoulder and pulled out a silvery pistol with a bulbous nose.  She aimed and shot.

A sheet of purple light spilled out of the gun.  The barbarian glowed, and then turned into a fine black ash that soon lost itself in the innumerable grains of sand.

The black stallion looked over his shoulder.  He stamped once, and then decided to rub noses and get friendly with the cowboy's mare.

"I shall have to buy a new teapot," said the lady.  She sighed heavily and surveyed the remains of her table.  She walked over and sat down again.  She tried to pull the short sword from the table top with her small, white hands.

A metal cuff slapped over her wrist and closed with a clink.  The lady shrieked and looked to her right.  A gentleman in a black suit lifted his bowler hat to reveal a bald pate.  A nasty black mustache decorated his puffy white face.  Watery blue eyes smiled at her.

"I'm afraid I'll have to take you back to Scotland Yard, Lady Smith.  You are under arrest for aggravated assault and murder!"  The pudgy little man flashed a badge of some kind, and then tugged her to her feet.

He mopped his head with a white handkerchief.  "I've loved you so long, my dear.  Please say you'll be mine, and I can sweep all the evidence under the rug."  Watery blue eyes looked into hers.

Lady Smith took hold of her face and pulled it off.  Plastic stretched and tore, and revealed green skin beneath.  Except for the skin tone, she still looked human.  She still had the same high cheekbones, thin nose, and rounded chin.

"I am not really Lady Smith.  I am Excala, leader of an alien race.  We planned to conquer your world.  But... but I love you too!  Will you still have me, even though I'm green?"

The detective smiled and took both of her hands in his.

"My darling!  We will run away to America.  They will never find us!"

His arms circled hers, and their faces moved together for a kiss.

"Aaauuuugh!"  Chris yelled.  He ripped off the VR goggles.  It took him a moment to focus and see the gray walls around him.  A sky blue DreamCorp logo decorated the wall of the otherwise bare room.  Holographic red letters floated in the air and read, "Session expired.  Five more credits to continue story."

"That's the last time I ask the computer to give me ‘a little of everything'," said Chris.  He ran a hand through his sweaty blond hair, and pulled open the door.

Read more stories by this author



2010-10-31 18:51:10
It ain't "DUNE," but i liked it anyway.

2010-10-02 22:55:31
Very neat.. kind of Alice in Wonderland meets Total recall




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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
Piñatas From Space!: Crazy Games With Cards And Dice

by Jeromy Henry
Stormcastle: And Other Fun Games With Cards And Dice

by Jeromy Henry
The Tooth Fairy War and Other Tales

by Jeromy Henry
The Wizard's House

by Jeromy Henry
The Dreaming Fire

by Jeromy Henry


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