Keith B Phillips

Expandmenu Shrunk

  • Junk Pile

    Dad stood there ahead of us, still as a statue for a moment. Then he walked up to the remains of one of the turbine frames and gave it a swift kick. I was sure he was doing my don’t press the mic trick and cursing up a storm inside that mask. I was glad I couldn’t hear it. When he went off, it tensed me up so tight inside that it made me sick.

    Brad and I got up close to the wreckage to take a look. The entire center section of both turbines was a twisted mess. The housing was torn to shreds where fan blades had shot through as they’d torn loose.

    “Help me lift this shit up.” Dad had stopped kicking things for now and was back to his take-charge self.

    I took the sun-gun from Brad and held it on the section Dad was indicating. A shredded mess of twisted blades and wire coils.

    Brad rolled his shoulders a couple times and then grabbed hold of the junk along with Dad. Together they heaved hard on it. It slowly lifted to shoulder height on one side and then they tumbled it over and out the way. My discriminator circuits sent a loud bang into my ears as it hit the ice.

    Under where that junk had sat was a giant bloody mess of meat. Like about three cows worth had been sent through the turbine as through a wood chipper.

    “Damn, what the hell was that thing?” Brad poked at it with a boot.

    “Something really tough. Look at those black shards mixed in there. Probably some kind of armor.” Dad reached down with a gloved hand and picked up part of what looked like a scale.

    He held it up to the light and we all took a close look. It was like a broken black seashell about the size of a shovel blade.


  • Hellfire

    I’m not sure where this woman character came from, but I think I like her.

    The world is full of critical assholes, and this guy was the worst. I knew it the first time that I saw him. That look in his eye. That stinking eye, a negative black hole that could suck the life right out of any room. That smirking, better-than-you corner of his mouth. That bullshit, I-know-everything stance. What an asshole this was. In a world full of asshats, this guy was the Mount Everest of assholes.

    There was no avoiding him. I had come to the party late on purpose. I knew this guy was going to be there, and I’d hoped that he’d decide that it wasn’t up to his perfect standards and leave early. He was still there, leaning against the doorway to the kitchen right next to the bar, a drink in his hand, that fucked up smirk on his lips.

    He was between me and the booze, and that was a bad place for him to be. I flipped my hair back, and swooped in to make my attack-run. I was a model on the catwalk, an olympic runner carrying the torch, a warrior running the gauntlet. Spears thrown from every side as I dodged the stares and the too-knowing looks of our so-called friends that he’d turned on me. I approached the bar.

    And he said, “She’ll have a vodka and cranberry.”

    I threw eye-daggers at him, then turned to the bartender. “I’ll have a Coors light.”

    Yeah, I would have loved a vodka and cran, but not now. Not after that. I’d drink from a toilet before I drank that, and then I’d stuff his asshole face into it where it belonged.