Monday, 9 April 2012

If only there were two of me...By Ashleigh Hull

The first thing I see when I open my eyes is my other self in a sleeping bag on the floor. I throw my pillow at its head. It groans.

‘What are you doing here?’ I hiss.

‘Barbados got boring.’ It sits up, blinking furiously. ‘I wanted to come home.’ It’s cut its hair shorter than I usually do, and its skin is darker; but still, it is unmistakably me. If any of my housemates wander in they will freak.

‘This is my home,’ I say.

‘Yes. And as I am you, it is my home also.’ I retrieve the pillow and stuff it back under my head, feeling defeated. I wonder if I could pass my other self off as my long-lost twin.

It hands me a fresh mug of tea that apparently originated from nowhere.

‘You cannot be here,’ I say, sitting up to take a sip. ‘It is impossible for you to be here.’

‘Oh, I know. If it helps I have an idea.’

‘An idea?’ The tea tastes weird, but I know it’ll get offended if I say so, so I just put it on the floor and lie back down.

‘To get us back together.’

I cover my face with my hands. ‘Please. Not another one.’

It sounds offended. ‘Why not?’

‘Because I still have nightmares about your last light bulb moment.’

‘Yes, well, in hindsight simultaneous electrocution was not the best idea I have ever had. But this one’s good, I promise.’ The sleeping bag rustles.

‘Alright. What is it?’

When it doesn’t reply I drop my fingers from my face. It’s looking at me in a way I really hope I have never looked at anyone else. I didn’t know I could be so unnerving.

I try to sit up again but my muscles won’t respond. I look back at its face; that distorted parody of my own; and I start to wonder how well I really know myself.

‘What did you do?’ I ask, voice slurring a little. It holds up the tea.

‘If one of us dies,’ it replies, ‘then our problems are solved.’

I’m oddly calm.

Control of my body slips quickly from my grasp, like grains of sand being pulled from my fingertips by the wind. I’m hot on one side and cold on the other. I shake with tremors I can’t stop. Everything’s getting brighter, fading into white.

It leans over me, sadness etched onto the lines around its mouth.

‘I’m sorry,’ it says.

I force my mouth to obey me. ‘But y-’

Friday, 30 March 2012

Wipeout by Natalie Bowers

At first, I thought people were just being kind.

“For the tenth time,” said Cath as we nursed our coffees in library foyer, “you did not climb up the fountain, rip off your top and declare your undying love for Geeky Steve.”

“But I remember doing it.”

“It must have been a dream.”

“It seemed so real.”

“That's alcohol for you.”

Cath's theory made sense, but I couldn't shake the feeling that what I thought had happened had actually happened, and during our first lecture, I began to wonder if I was going mad.

“That's better,” I said, sliding into the seat next to Ryan.

“What's better?”

“My trousers.”

“What about 'em?”

“They were inside-out.”

“They were?”

“Yeah. You told me they were.”

“No I didn't.”

“Yes you did.”

“Must have been somebody else.”

At lunchtime, I ditched the madness theory and decided upon conspiracy instead.

“Where were you?” asked Layla as she sat on the grass, baguette in hand.

“What d'you mean?”

“You were supposed to meet me in the launderette. At break.”
“I did.”

“No you didn't.”

“Yes I did. I was there before you.”

“No you weren't.”

“Yes. I was. Don't you remember? I tripped over that bag of wet washing and landed in a puddle of water. I had to go back to my room to change.”

Layla laughed.

“Oh, I'm getting fed up with this,” I said and stomped off back to the dorm. It was clear that something was going on, but I didn't know what. Not until after I'd run into to Ian. Literally.

“Sorry!” I said, blushing as I grasped his hand and hauled him to his feet.


“For knocking you over?”

“You didn't.”

I was about to say, “Yes I did,” but then a thought struck me, and, on impulse, I grabbed him by the collar, pulled him toward me and gave him a huge, wet, lip-smacking kiss. My cheeks now blazing, I let him go, span around, dashed down the corridor and waited breathlessly outside my room.

Moments later, Ian appeared around the corner. He said, “Hello,” and walked right by me as if nothing had happened.

So that was it … I rocked up to my last lecture wearing nothing but pyjamas. At dinner, I stood on a refectory table and sang, “My humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps,” and afterwards, I skinny dipped in the campus lake. No one batted an eyelid, and when I asked them about what they'd seen, none of them, and I mean none of them, could recall my actions. They weren't being kind; I wasn't going mad; and there wasn't any conspiracy. Somehow, I'd developed the ability to make people forget my most embarrassing moments. It was like a gift from God. Until it disappeared.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Frictionless Man by Ian Hawley

I was amazed it actually worked
After months of research I was finally ready, I’d donned my costume and mask, all I had to do then was to spray myself with the Micro-Mist-Molecular formula (MMMF - Patent Pending) and I would be invincible.

I’d set the pistol to fire on a timer, I know it was rather a dangerous way to test my theory, but it had worked in practice on so many other things that there wasn’t really any chance of failure. So, now with my costume in place I sprayed, smelling the lemon scent
I had added as the MMMF filled all the open molecules on my clothing and my skin.

Once completed, friction would cease for me, bullets would be unable to impact, fists would glance harmlessly away, nothing would touch me, I could fall from any height and avoid the impact, well that’s the idea anyway, and I felt it was the perfect solution to my hero problem.

My heart pumped heavily in my chest as I wait for the final seconds to pass and I closed my eyes just before the gun fired…

When I opened my eyes I could see the smoking gun but there was no impact, no pain, no open chest wound, was that a success?
I checked over my body and there was no blood, the bullet deflected somewhere else, without friction it has nothing to stop it and it must have hit the wall somewhere, but the important thing is that I was alive.

To be frictionless is to be truly free.

I felt so proud, so energised at what I had done, to have actually succeeded in the field that Galileo had only thought about all those years ago. I felt proud, and I had to share my proudest moment with someone so I reached for my phone, realising too late that I cannot touch it, due to the lack of friction.

I tried to walk to the door, but my frictionless feet fail to move me, I shout for help but my voice box cannot reverberate without friction, that’s my gun made no sound as it had fired.

So, it’s a success of sorts, I can’t even move my eyes to look around anymore as they have no friction and I think my lungs are starting to act up as well, I can’t feel my hands anymore as the blood is stopping flowing as the heart loses its grip.
Maybe I should have tested it more on a rabbit or something else, guess it’s a little late now, it’s just me and my subconscious, at least there is no friction ther…

NOW you see me by SJI Holliday

I was sick of being pushed around, sick of being ignored. After another shit day at the office where my colleagues got all the credit for the work I’d stayed late to do, I’d had enough.

That night I dreamt I was invisible.

Not all the time, just when I got really, really mad. When some synapse in my brain fired just one teeny tiny bit too far. Like The Hulk. Except you wouldn’t be able to see me when I was angry. Fact.

When I woke up the next day, I was disappointed that it wasn’t true. Distraught, I cleaned my teeth, showered and dressed, ready for another day of disappointment in the office. It was all the same old shit until the 11am meeting.

Jack Bukowski, my ultimate nemesis, stood up on front of the room and gestured to Heather, his obedient PA and current shag-buddy. She tapped on her laptop and up popped Jack’s presentation.

‘The Importance of Standardised Excel Templates and how they can benefit US!’

The bastard hadn’t even changed the freakin’ title! Four weeks I worked on that thing. Four. Bloody. Weeks. He fired his laser pen at the screen and the assembled crowd ooh-ed and ah-ed their way through it. This was too much. TOO MUCH! I felt myself getting hot, and my hand shook as I leant across the table to pour myself a glass of water. None of them even nudged the water jug in my direction. My heart was pounding so hard I could see the front of my shirt starting to vibrate.

Then it happened.

‘Wilson? Oh my god, are you okay?’ All chairs swivelled to face me. I couldn’t speak, my throat burned.

‘Wilson? Where the hell did he go? Did he faint? Heather – can you help us out here?’

I watched them as they came towards me, circling me, scratching their heads at me. I’m here! I wanted to shout, but I kept my mouth shut and tried not to breathe.

I was freakin’ invisible!

I waited until they started to move away, muttering to themselves; where’d he go? Did he slip past us? Oh man, the power… I slid the chair back a couple of feet, just enough for me to get up and out of it without them seeing it move. I snuck along behind their chairs; blew on the back of Heather’s neck, and she jumped like I’d stuck a pin in her ass. That was definitely an idea for later.

First off though, I was going to have some fun. You know when your computer goes crazy and you can’t fix it and you lose all your work, and you say ‘I’m going to throw this damn thing out of the window’?

I did that.

Oh man, their faces! Bukowski’s looked like a bunch of purple sprouting broccoli.

I almost wished the invisibility would wear off right there and then; just so someone might actually notice me.

The Power of Shapeshifting by Samuel Gore

'So what now, oh great evil one?'

'Uh, we wait.'

'For what? Can't we go on holiday or something?'

'Not yet, the Justice League still haven't stopped me.'

'How do you know they will?'

'Oh Henchman#2, they always come.'

'Sir, I've been meaning to ask.'

'Hmmm, what?'

'Why isn't there a Henchman#1?'

'Ah simple psychology, the right hand man always tries to overthrow his boss. Don't you read?'

'Not really sir, who has the time these days.'

'Very true. Maybe we do need a holiday. After all. I think I've earned it.'

'That you have sir and may I add, it was an excellent strategy.'

'Yes, well. I'm surprised I didn't think about being the Secretary-General before.'

'Well, if you remember rightly, it was I who...'

'Crete, that's a suitable location for an evil emperor to kick back, isn't it?'

'I guess, sir. Out of curiosity, what are you going to use the UN for?'

'Maybe Moscow... It's not too cold this time of year.'

'Good choice sir, but the UN. What's the plan?'

'Evil, Henchman#2, evil.'

'Yes, but what in particular.'

'Oh, right I guess I should prepare a little something for when they turn up.'

'Who sir?'

'The Justice League. Do keep up.'

'Forgive me sir, well may I suggest Article 97.'

'Is that the free drinks one?'

'No sir, it allows you to make a universal government headed by yourself.'

'Ah ha. That will do nicely. Wait, did you hear something?'

'Yes, I did. And that's the alarm. I think they're here sir.'

'You don't say. Right I need to hide, plant or giant machine?'

'I think you were plant last time. You sort of stuck out like a sore thumb on the submarine.'

'Machine it is. Thanks Henchman#2, you've been a loyal worker.'

'Dont mention it my lord. '

'No really, I consider you my right hand man.'