“It happened again” the young officer said, eyes barely moving from the body laying on the floor as Detective Karden approached the scene. The body of the victim was exactly like the others, propped up in a chair, wearing a Santa hat. Every year, a new victim and every year the perp got away. “Have you found anything useful?” Karden asked the officer, who just shook his head. Karden had been on this case for eight years and the pattern was always the same. The victim would be taking part in an international Secret Santa gift exchange, the killer would use use their address and show up on Christmas Eve to give the victim their “gift”. No matter how much they looked, they never found any evidence and the trail went cold. Karden hated Christmas.
Serena couldn’t believe she was finally on the plane that would take her to Italy. Her entire life she’d dreamed about visiting the ancient ruins and walking the streets, gelato in hand, speaking fluent Italian. She settled in to her seat and looked out the window, beaming with excitement. The rest of the plane was still filling up so she pulled out her phone and sent some messages. By the time she was finishing up, the flight attendant was walking by and everyone started getting ready for take-off. Looked like today was her lucky day, there was no one in the seat next to her. As she looked around the plan, she noticed a man, good looking, but seemed a little hungover. He was sweaty and looked like he didn’t want to be on the plane. Serena ignored it and decided to get a little sleep. As the wheels lifted off the runway, she couldn’t help but take one more look at the sweaty man across the aisle and that was when she knew that no one would be sleeping on this flight.
Jeff sat in bed, breathing heavily, as his mind struggled to grasp reality. The dream had felt so real and it was heartbreaking. His wife had called him during the day to meet him for a coffee and there, in that imaginary little coffee shop, she left him. As Jeff wiped the sweat from his brow, he sat in silence, trying to make sense of how he felt. Though he knew it was just a dream, waves of guilt, shame, and sadness crashed over him. He couldn’t shake it. His wife was still sleeping next to him. Jeff gave her a kiss on the forehead and then left the bed. The dream had faded away, but it left a stain on Jeff’s reality. He couldn’t let her leave.
“It’s late, I think I should get going!” Mikail didn’t realize he was yelling, but the club music was so loud it was impossible to hear anything. His friend looked back with a disappointed, but defeated look, knowing there was nothing he could do to keep Mikail from going. Mikail put on his jacket, gave one last nod to his friend and headed out the door. The night was chilly, so Mikail put his hands into his pockets and felt something he hadn’t expected. He pulled out the mysterious item in his pocket and, to his surprise, it was glowing. Mikail held the ring and turned it over, enraptured by the glow of this foreign object he now held. He couldn’t resist; he put the ring on his finger. As the ring fell to the ground and rolled, there was no sign of Mikail. He was gone.
A crew of experts had been called to gather at a secret government facility somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They weren’t sure why they had been brought there, or where they even were, but they weren’t really given a choice. The plane made a hard left and as the wings dipped underneath the passengers, they caught their first glimpse of why they’d been brought out here. In the middle of the ocean was a hole. It was over two hundred kilometres wide surrounded by a fence of naval ships. Nothing was flowing into the hole. It was as though a giant circle of the ocean was just…missing.
In the year 2303, a discovery was made by an interstellar explorer. On her way to the Vega star system, there was an intense shower of cosmic rays that damaged the onboard navigation. It left her in a cryogenic sleep until she reached the edge of the universe. Her ship descended from hyper-speed and the systems began to wake her from cryogenic sleep. Although the shock of being so far off her mark would take some getting used to, Captain Eva Rae was about to discover something that would begin the thousand year space war.
The warriors gathered at the coast, staring out across the early morning fog. In the middle of the night, a ship appeared, larger than any ship they’d ever seen before. The scouts had taken notice of a light growing in the distance and alerted the leaders. By morning, most of the tribe had made its way to the water’s edge, anxious about the travellers at sea. As the sun split the fog, they noticed the smaller boat already on the beach. Whoever was on that boat had made landfall and it was too late to warn the others.
He didn’t realize how long they’d been laying there, staring into each others eyes, but he knew he never wanted to leave. As he brushed the hair from her face, she smiled, then he smiled. The world around them was gone and there was only this moment. When the alarm clock went off and he woke up, he instinctively rolled over to look at his wife once more, but he was met with an empty bed. And then he remembered.
I’ve come to accept the fact that today will be my last day. After three months of trying to survive, I’ve run out of food, fresh water, and hope. I quite like my little island, though it has been a harsh companion, it will make a nice final resting spot. The journey to this final day has been, what some might call, an epic bout of bad luck. And although I know this story will likely fade before anyone sees it, I’m going to share it with you.
The morning train rumbled by in the distance as the garbage trucks beeps made their rounds. Not many people were awake yet, not even the sun had made it’s debut, but Detective Johnson hadn’t been to sleep. The night had awoken a fear that lived deep inside the detective; they were back. The Wrangler had come back.