‘Followed’

It followed her around the whole day.

It got a few raised eyebrows on the train but it was good at embarrassing people into silence. It was almost like its special skill actually.

It waited patiently at her desk for the big meeting. And then it surprised everyone!

The stain.

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‘Don’t Smile’

‘Not so many smart words coming out of your mouth is there?’

Another backhanded blow and he’s right. The only things coming out of my mouth now are blood and teeth.

‘You’ve fucked with the wrong people this time Lewis.’

‘Look, I’m sorry,’ I say. Again. But all it gets me is another smack in the face.

‘Pull this piece of shit up,’ he says and I am hoisted to my feet. Two rough pairs of hands stop me from falling. ‘We warned you. We fucking warned you!’

‘But how was I meant to take you seriously?’ I say. I realise I am smiling which is a big mistake. But I can’t help it. It is ridiculous.

The air is whooshed out of my lungs by a fist exploding under my ribs.

‘You are the smarmiest of smarmy pricks do you know that,’ he says leering down to my sagging head. ‘Right put him down in front of the camera.’

I am dumped onto a chair.

‘You’re going to read it all.’

Water is splashed in my face and the bloody mixture wiped roughly away with a towel. I focus my eyes on the sheet of paper held next to the webcam in front of me. I start reading.

‘My name is Lewis Routher. I make documentaries. Earlier this year I made one about fringe religions,’ I feel the first stirrings of a smile. I force it down.

‘In that documentary I featured the Church of the Almighty Penguin.’

The smile is right there. I have to pause and almost physically squash down into my colon, as far as I can get it from my face.

‘What I said about the Church of the Almighty Penguin was wrong. It clearly is the one true religion. We are all subjects of the Almighty Penguin and…’

I have to pause. I can’t go on. I’m going slip.

‘Say it.’

A deep breath. ‘And we are all granted the boon of this, his great egg upon which we live.’

‘Go on,’ he snaps.

‘To mock the Almighty Penguin is to invoke the wrath of the..’

Then I have to stop. ‘You can’t be serious. That’s what you call yourself?’

‘Finish it,’ he roars. The camera is obscured for a moment as he stands in front of it and rains blows down on my chest and body.

I’m smiling now. I don’t care. ‘The Brotherhood of the Egg,’ I say.

Fear, adrenaline, shock; the insanity of it bubbles forth in a gradually building laugh.

‘Time to meet your maker,’ he says.

And in that instant all I can think of is a giant, fucking space penguin, shitting out this egg that we live on. Hysterics grip me.

I at least die laughing.

 

The suggestion was penguins/religion – which was a challenge to say the least.

For these 500 word short stories I am working on a theme and topic suggested to me at random, normally through asking friends on Facebook. Feel free to message me with a suggestion of your own. I will consider anything that’s not too gratuitous or explicit.AM.