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Just in case you don't remember what happened between us that fateful Mardi Gras night, I'm here to remind you. You went with me through it all. Thank you for your help, your support. This is our

(Based on a True Story)

Submitted: March 18, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 18, 2018




(Based on a True Story)

Krewe of Gemini is always the best.”

I staggered through the front door. Mardi Gras beads hung around my neck in an assortment of green, purple, and gold. I flipped the light switch to the living room. “Now it’s time to really get drun—”

You sat on my leather sofa, feet kicked up on the coffee table. “Mel El, Mel El, where in the hell… have you been? It’s a quarter past ten.”

I looked at you strangely but spoke over my shoulder. “Stacey, I swear I don’t kno—Stacey?” I spun around to the empty doorway. “Stacey…”

“What’s wrong, your date bail on you?”

“She was just right here—hey, listen, what the hell you doing in mi casa?” I reached in my pocket and withdrew a Mardi Gras colored USB with a skull in the middle. I tossed it on a brooding desk in the corner, near the laptop.

“I thought you forgot about me.” You narrowed your eyes to the USB. “What’s that?”

“Bumped into a weird old lady at the parade. She gave it to me.” I hung my keys on the rack while walking into the kitchen. “Care for a drink? Vodka/cran? I got some beer-rah-rah.”

“I’m good. Thanks though.” You hopped up from my sofa. “So, did she want you to read her stories or something?”

After pulling a cup from the cabinet, I poured myself a drink. “She, uh, told me—I shit you not—she felt a powerful aura coming from m—”

“Oh please.” You rolled your eyes while steadying a shoulder against the wall.

I continued more sarcastically, “…emanating out into the universe like a special being of force.”

You scoffed. “The last thing you need is a big head.”

“Which one you referring to?”

“The only one you have.”

I winked but went right along about the ‘Voodoo’ lady. “She knew I was a writer somehow. She knew…”


“Well, she—Pfft!—said I’m too arrogant for a mediocre writer. Can you believe that shit?” I took a sip of my stout drink but paused when I saw you look away. My face soured. “Awww, come on, mediocre, really? I tell clean stories. No hiccups. No having to look up big words. No distractions. I want you in the story.”

“So, how come I’m not?”

“Yowch!” I hung my head, rethinking my life’s purpose.

“It’s okay… um,” you stammered with an instant guilt, “well, uh, you’re creative. That’s it!”

“Whatever…” I feigned a pout and sauntered into the foyer, leaving the bottle of Vodka on the counter. “Anyways, weird lady told me, ‘In order to be a good writer…” I imitated the elderly witch doctor with a shrill voice. “…you need to get into the story. I need to have fun with storytelling like I used to.”

“And that’s gonna help?” You gestured to the USB.

I shrugged. “She also told me something about you.”

“Me? Like what?”

“She said you’re here for all the wrong reasons. She said you don’t come for the story.” I halted and glanced over my shoulder.

“What does that mean?” you asked.

“I guess you come out of kindness or wanting me to return a favor,” I said. “You come but you don’t get into the story yourself.”

You thumped my ear. “I’d blame the writer.”

“So, you say it’s true?”


“That didn’t even sound convincing.” I made it around my desk, plopped in the chair, and opened my laptop.

“Pity party, pity par—” You stopped. “Are you really using that USB?”

“Yeah.” I connected it into the laptop. “Why not?”

“Uhhh, it could give you a virus or something.” You leaned over my shoulder. “I don’t see how this is gonna make you, or us, have fun wi—”

The laptop exploded and emitted a clear current through the room. The force knocked me out of the chair and you over the leather sofa. Lights flickered. TV short-circuited. Smart-phones sparked.

“You alright?” I asked, winded. A smoky haze clouded the foyer. Although you didn’t respond, I could hear you moving. “Hey,” I called out again, “you alright?”

“Owww-wah!” you groaned. “What did I say, huh? I told—”

“I don’t think that was a computer virus.” I made it to my feet, along with you. We looked to one another, eyes wide, before whipping our heads to the laptop. The computer was seared into my desk. The exposed wires, crackled, popped in flashes. “Sweet mother of shit…”

“Hey!” You shushed me. “Listen…”


“It’s too quiet.” You bustled to the front door with me on your tail. Without any hesitation, you grabbed the handle and opened the door wide. Our eyes expanded, jaws dropped at the sight.

My apartment, alone, appeared to be sailing through the universe. Stars dotted the black vastness. It was eerily quiet, space silence.

We shared bewildered glances.

As I started to peek out, you snagged my wrist and shook your head at me. “Crazy?”

“Just a look.” I stuck my head out. The scenery changed into a cave with a grand dome enclosure. Sparkling blue stalactites decorated the ceiling and floor. Tunnels encircled the rocky oval room. Four calm streams connected at the center, forming a lake. The clear water shimmered like diamonds. I backed out. Space came back into view. I looked to you with a heightened brow.

“What is it?” you asked.

I motioned for a second to think before peeking out again. Magnificent cave. I leaned back. Outer space. Forward. Cave. Back. Space. Cave. Space. Ca

“Hey!” You jerked my shoulder.

I clasped your hand. “Do you trust me?”

“No, no, no.” You gripped my hand even tighter.

“Trust. Me.” I flashed a smile, took in a big breath, and jumped inside, pulling you along with me.


My boots thudded against the cave floor and echoed in the rocky room. A waterfall rumbled from outside, down the cavern halls.

You gazed around the cave in wonderment. Bright blue stalactites hung from the ceiling like chandeliers.

“Beautiful, right?” I asked.


There was a splash in the sparkling lake.

I wheeled around, eyeing the ripples on the surface of the water. “Who goes there?”

A wave swept against the rocks at my feet, but a gurgling voice came forth, “You know where you’re at.”

“Pachu’a…” I zeroed-in on the crystal lake, and just below the clear surface, I spotted a sky-blue orb which resembled the stalactites on the wall. “That USB must’ve—What! We’re in my… This can’t fuckin’ be… This can’t be… my…”

“Are you saying we’re in one of your stories?” you asked.

“Every warrior believes this is their destiny, their story to defeat me,” Pachu’a said.

“No. I literally wrote this, like fiction.” I watched as the blue orb swam freely around the water. “Ya know, short story.”

“It will be a short story if you challenge me,” Pachu’a replied.

“I feel like you’re not understanding wha—” I stopped my argument and thought for a moment. “That doesn’t—I’m not… look, listen—”

“Enough talking!” Pachu’a shot up from the water. The monster was a liquid whirlwind, a funnel, with the blue orb glowing in its belly.

“Ohhhh shit, oh shit.” I backed up as water rained upon us. “I ca-ca-can prove it.”

Pachu’a swayed. “Go on.”

“There is a man coming to kill you, Miwok, because you murdered his wife,” I said.

“His wife was sacrificed to me!” Pachu’a struck but stopped inches from my face. Water sprinkled my cheeks.

“Be that as it may.” I surrendered my palms. “I’m just warning you.”

“And, what happens to you?”

“Well, me and my friend here weren’t in it,” I said, “I, uh, wrote it, you see?”

“You’re here now, so that must mean this is a new story.” Pachu’a coiled its liquid tongue around my neck, not enough to strangle but more than enough to scare me.

Pachu’a!” a voice called out.

We all rotated to the far wall.

Miwok crawled out from one of the small tunnels, torch in hand. He squared his broad shoulders and aimed the fire toward us. “Pachu’a, release him!”

Pachu’a withdrew its tongue from my neck and looked to the warrior. “Why assume I’m the villain?”

“You killed my—”

“Yes, yes. Your wife, right?” Pachu’a gestured his head toward us. “Point your anger toward them then.”

Behind the wet strands of hair in his face, Miwok’s eyes burned with fury. He gripped his war club with white knuckles. “What’s this beast’s meaning?”

“Uh, technically, he’s—” I started to explain, but you nudged me. “What I mean is—”

“You killed my love, my heart?” Miwok ripped the rawhide shirt from his chiseled, battle-scarred torso.

“No, no!” My voice heightened in a fearful pitch. “That creature killed your wife.”

Miwok turned his scowl to Pachu’a once again.

“As far as I understand it, I had no choice in the matter.” Pachu’a dipped low and eased closer to the warrior, but motioned its head toward me. “He created this world, our actions. As far as I understand it, he’s an evil god that sent us on a path of destruction.”

Miwok’s glare sharpened on me. “Did you make it so? Did you order my wife’s death?”

“Order?” I nervously laughed. “I mean ‘order’ is such a strong word. I umm—”

“Did you?” Miwok’s growl resounded off the cave walls.

“What the hell did you get us into?” you whispered in my ear.

I shushed you before looking back to the formidable characters. “I had to, um, I had to strike a chord with the audience.”


“Once I create a world, I put it into the universe,” I said. “Then others, quote/unquote gods, come by to see my creation as I do theirs. We share thoughts, comments, learn from one another.”

“This is for your amusement?” Miwok asked. “Our suffering brings you joy? The other gods give you praise for this pain you’ve created?”

“You learn life lessons from stories, from others perils.” I became defensive, voice gained bass. “What kind of world would this be without conflict? Boring, mundane—”

“Peaceful!” Miwok shouted.

“For you to understand peace, you must know war,” I said. “Without heartbreak, pain, how would you really understand love?”

“Is your world peaceful?” Miwok asked.

“It’s as peaceful as it’s ever been, I guess.”

Miwok strengthened his tone. “Is your world peaceful?”

“No. I suppose not.”

“Do you want it to be?”

“Well, yeah, but—”

“So you punish us because your god punishes you?”

“This. Is. A-fuckin-story!” I yelled, veins appearing in my neck. “My fuckin’ story!”

“This. Is. My. Life!”

“Oh boy…” The courage drained from me. I whirled around to you. “The tunnels!”

We made a break for one of the many cavern halls, but upon taking a step, a strong watery force tackled us against the craggy wall. The wind was knocked from lungs, and the continuous water pressure stung. I started to drown, so I kicked, flailed, and by happenstance, swatted the blue orb from the snake’s belly. Pachu’a splashed to the ground as the orb rolled back into the lake.

While catching a breath, hair and clothes ringing wet, you stood to your feet and offered me a hand. “Let’s g—” In the nick of time, you caught sight of Miwok swinging his mighty war club. You arched back as the club grazed the tip of your nose. The weapon collided with the rocky wall, splintered, and snapped in two.

Pachu’a exploded from the lake, showering the entire enclosure. The serpent postured up and darted toward us in a great, powerful funnel.

I extended my arms for protection. “If I’m the one to be blamed for his wife’s death, then I should be rewarded for her sacrifice, should I not?”

Pachu’a halted just above my head. Its salivating mouth dripped on my crown as though standing under a weak faucet. The creature ducked lower in my line of sight.

“An-an-and, what does one get from a sacrifice?” I lowered my arms but raised my gaze. “Eternal life under your protection, am I right?”

“Ugh!” Pachu’a sounded disgusted. “You made it this way!”

“But, it is this way,” I said, “at least for your story.”

“Mel!” you screamed.

Miwok rushed me with the jagged edge of his broken club. As he dealt a death dealing blow, Pachu’a splashed him against the wall with force, shaking the interior. Stalactites broke free and crashed into the lake. Loose rock and pebbles bounced across the slippery stone bed.

“Run!” Pachu’a held Miwok against the wall with the same water pressure that almost drowned me.

We hurried to our feet, climbed through a tunnel, and crawled until the surface began to change. The rough surrounding became smooth steel. Instead of a cavern hall, we found ourselves in a cramped ventilation system. After you kicked open the grated vent, we hopped down in a stainless steel closet. A pantry was in the corner. Mops, brooms, and towels stowed against the far wall. The room smelled fresh, clean.

“So, where are we?” you asked.

“It’s, um, another story.”

“Yeah. I am fully aware of the premise by now,” you said with a bit of agitation, “but what kind of story is this?”

“Umm… like, uh, well, it’s about my hard-on for 80’s movies.”

“I think I’ve read this one,” you said. “Breathe Eas—”

Down this way!” a robotic voice ordered. A herd of footsteps ran past the closet.

I raised my arm across your chest and flattened both of us against the wall. After a wave of androids trotted by, I relaxed, sighed in relief.

You cleared your throat.

I turned to find my hand palming your upper body. “Whoa, hey, no! I’m not like tha—” I jerked back, tripped, and fell out of the door. You tried to catch me but ended up tumbling out on top.

“Is that a ray-gun in your pocket…” You chuckled. “…or are you just ray-lly happy to see me?”

I shoved you aside. “Get off m—”

Three skeletal androids hurried around the end of the metallic hallway, ray-guns aimed at us. Their fresh red paint gleamed under the overhead lights.

“Mel, we’ve got company.”

“Second that.” My eyes fixed on three androids at the opposite end. While standing, I whispered, “Follow my lead.”

The red robots approached, weapons outstretched.

“We have two more terrorists,” an android said into its arm device.

“Those two terrorists, Donnie and Adrianna, are they in custody?” I asked in an attempt to distract them. “You see, we were undercover—” Within arms reach, I snatched the gun barrel. The android pulled the trigger, but I shoved it to the left. The laser blasted the other two robots. They collapsed to the floor as their burnt chests sparked. I punched the last one in the jaw. Its head separated from the neck and clattered against the wall. Before I could turn to the final three on your end, I was kicked in the back of the knee. I collapsed forward and fumbled the ray-gun. I crawled after it, but two androids pinned me belly-down to the carpet. “Yelp!”

You tore an android’s gun away, kicked it back, and fired two quick blasts which melted its face. You rotated the ray-gun to the robots apprehending me and fired twice, blasting both off their feet. After clearing the hallway, you winked at me. “We make a pretty good team—”

You think Pachu’a can keep me from you?” a voice asked.

I slowly turned to the end of the hallway.

Miwok stood drenched, dripping on the red carpeted floor. More robots filed in behind him.

“Catch ya later!” You jerked me toward the janitor’s closet. The androids fired. Lasers singed the walls around us as we dove back inside.


We landed on the rickety front porch of a farmhouse. I caught my balance on a frail post and glanced to you. “You alright?”

You didn’t respond. Your distended eyes looked ahead.

A giant held an axe in front of the house, his large back facing us. His clothes tattered, shredded, and splotched with blood.

“Oh no. This could get ugly.” I started to turn back to the door.

You snatched my forearm. “Where are we?”

“…inside the mind of a serial killer.”

Hearing our voices, the giant peered over his shoulder. He moved just enough to give a clear view of a pale humanoid in front of him. The creature paced with hands behind its back. It had dark nerve endings upon its head and a tail which whipped back and forth.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt the fight.” I showed a nervous smile, waved. “We’ll be on our way—”

The front door swung open behind us and knocked against the wall before flying off its hinges. It wobbled on the patio like a dropped coin.

I jumped off the patio in fear with you trailing me. “Sequoia,” I said to the giant, “wanna help us, buddy?”

Miwok stormed out from the farmhouse. His heavy steps shook the wooden porch. He glared at us as two red robots took his side.

“We’re screwed,” you said.

“Giant, creature,” Miwok called out to the bewildered characters, “I have no quarrel with you. Only them.” He pointed to us. “They’re the reason for our pain.”

The pale beast’s dark, coal-like eyes settled on me.

“Free will is an illusion for us,” Miwok said. “This Mel creates worlds like a god. But like a devil, he makes us miserable, force feeds us suffering… all for his, and other gods, entertainment. Our torment is amusement for them. I say we return the favor.”

Sequoia’s brows arched. “You di-dis to my lil’ buddy. You hurt Sterling?”

“Who the hell is Sterling?” you asked.

“He’s the serial killer who is tempted by that pale creature over there,” I said. “Nukpana is its name.”

Nukpana stopped, tilted its head, and eyed me with intrigue.

“I admit my failure. Maybe, like you said…” I looked to Miwok. “…I do create worlds to release some of this angst in my own. It’s therapeutic for me, you see? I’ve used you recklessly to give meaning to my own life. I guess my world is peaceful, peaceful enough in my little box. I’m bored from a daily routine that I can’t escape. So, I created you to live vicariously through you. Every one of you has a little piece of me in them, even the vilest. I’m exercising my demons. But, um, you have to believe me when I say, I did not understand what I was creating. I did not know you all were so—”

“Real?” Miwok stepped off the porch. His grip tightened around the jagged war club.

“I can change the worlds you exist in,” I blurted in fear. “I can make them… peaceful. Is that what you want? I can give you back what you lost.”

“Liar!” Miwok yelled.

Sequoia’s face softened. “You save Sterlin—”

Nukpana leapt on the giant’s shoulders and bit into his neck. The creature pulled its head back, tearing the skin. Sequoia cried out. Nukpana spat the wad of flesh aside and glared down at me with blood dripping from its sinister smirk. “I happen to like things just the way they are.”

Sequoia reached around and snatched Nukpana’s head. He chucked the creature to the ground.

Miwok pointed the broken club at us, ordering the red robots. “Kill them!”

You dove out of the way as the androids opened fire. The lasers whizzed by. You barrel-rolled into a kneeling position and returned shots. One ray ricocheted off the android’s shoulder and into the wooden walls of the dilapidated farmhouse. The old structure caught fire. You squeezed the trigger again. The lasers pierced the robot’s neck. Its severed head clunked off its shoulder and rolled off the porch.

As I pivoted for an escape, the other android fired and caught me in the hip. It burned a hole through my jeans. My skin blistered. I tumbled to the grass, growling in pain. I returned fire as Miwok marched toward me. One shot connected to his shoulder and bounced off. The other hit his chest, turning his pec rosy red. He just snarled and raised his sharp club in the air.

You pulled the trigger at the final android but the gun clicked, out of ammunition. You tossed the ray-gun away, dashed up the porch, and jump-kicked the red robot through the front door of the fiery house. Flames crawled up the sides and to the second story, engulfing it all.

I fired once again at Miwok, but my shot just nicked his ear. I guarded my head. As he stabbed downward, you jumped on his back with your arm around his throat in a chokehold. He dropped his weapon and reached for you, snatching a fistful of your hair. I leapt up and attacked with a jumping front kick to his sternum. The force knocked his feet out from under him. He flew back on his face; you remained latched to his back. I dusted my palms and started to admire my work when a giant hand grabbed my arm.

Sequoia put pressure on his gory bite mark. His eyelids fluttered. “You save Sterling?”

Behind him, I noticed Nukpana rise off the ground. Blood covered its jaws and dribbled off the chin. The creature gathered itself and crept behind the giant, readying its claws.

“Behind you,” I warned the giant.

Sequoia looked down to the creature’s shadow. The straw crunched behind him. As the humanoid jumped on his back, Sequoia dodged out of the way. Nukpana landed, turned. Sequoia gripped its neck in his strong grasp. He growled as he made it to his feet. He held the creature out in the air, squeezing the life from it.

Nukpana kicked, shrieked. It clawed at the giant’s hand, forearm, for a release. It ripped away skin, but Sequoia’s grip never loosened. The cartilage in the creature’s neck crackled, popped. The giant stumbled back while wrestling with one arm on the creature. Nukpana whipped its tail around the giant’s neck, returning the favor. They fought past Miwok, tussled up the front porch, and wrestled through the front door.

The enflamed house buckled and collapsed on top of them in a fiery heap. Dark smoke clouded the sky.

I helped you up as Miwok began to catch his breath. We took off through the wheat fields, swatting the tall foliage from our faces. We ran and ran before finally stumbling out near a large grassy curb. We climbed up the side, but a symphony of gun clicks stopped us in place.

Lawmen blocked the country road. Their old Model 18’s parked nose to nose in the middle with two more behind them for support. They dipped behind the hoods and around the sides with their guns aimed at us.

“Whoa!” I submitted my hands. “We need your help.”

A heavyset man in a dapper three piece suit waddled in front. “Now, boy—”

“Edgar, right?” I asked. “I know you’re all lawmen, you see? I know y’all are here to stop Clyde from making away with the bank’s money. But, um—”

The tall verdure rustled behind us.

We spun around but backed to Edgar’s side.

Miwok staggered out and eased up the steep curb. His sweaty scarred body glistened under the sun.

“He’s trying to kill us,” you said to the lawmen.

Edgar eyed the strange warrior underneath the brim of his cowboy hat. “Now, who in the hell are you?”

Miwok’s muscular shoulders rose and fell with each heavy breath. His pain-stricken eyes singled me out.

“Do ya hear me now?” Edgar motioned for his lawmen to aim their weapons at Miwok. “I don’t know where you’re from, but in my town, you can’t just run around killing folks. No, sir-ree. Not in my town.”

Miwok narrowed his intimidating glower to Edgar. “Look away.”

Edgar shook his head. “Can’t do.”

“Then you will die with them.” Miwok started forward.

“Don’t do it!” Edgar said.

Miwok ignored the warning. He locked eyes with me while stepping forward.

“Stop!” Edgar’s jowls wiggled with intensity.

Miwok picked up his pace.


“Shoot him!” I shuffled back, tripped over my feet, and stumbled to the concrete.

Miwok leapt in the air with jagged club in hand. As his shadow materialized over me, the lawmen simultaneously pulled their triggers, giving rise to a thunderous hail of gunfire. Bullets riddled Miwok’s body, stopping him mid-flight. Blood sprayed the road. He crumpled to his back, head thudded off the hard surface.

You glanced to me through a thick fog of gun smoke and said something.

I could see your lips moving, but the deafening gunfire rang in my head. I shrugged, pointed to my ears before walking over to Miwok. I stared down at his bloody, gruesome torso.

Miwok caught eye of me. He squirmed with the last bit of fight in him. Fortunately, he didn’t have enough to even roll over. He tried to speak but all that came out was gargles. Blood streamed from the corner of his mouth. The muscles in his face suddenly relaxed. His gaze drifted away into another dimension.

I sighed with regret as you placed a comforting hand on my shoulder.

“So, who was this strange killer?” Edgar joined us. We all three looked down upon the corpse.

“You wouldn’t even believe me if I—” I looked up, froze. Just beyond Edgar’s head, I saw a ‘34 Daimler speeding our way. There wasn’t enough time to speak, act, or pray. All I could do was shudder as warm urine ran down my leg. “Clyde…”

Edgar’s forehead creased. “Huh?—”

The bank robber’s vehicle crashed into us, making bugs of us all. It carried us into the barricade of police cars, squishing us against the fender. Metal crunched, scraped. Bones snapped. Blood and glass rained.

The light faded in my eyes.



I’m here.”

Where are we now?”

Hang on…” I stumbled over to the wall, found the switch. The lights came on in my living room. “We’re back,” I said.

“That was a… ride.” You stood to your feet with a relieved breath. I hurried past you for my laptop, but you stopped me with a soft expression. “That Voodoo lady wasn’t a charlatan after all.”

“You’re right. I uh…” I thought about it. “…I did have fun with this one.”

“Me too,” you said. “But, after what you know now, I assume your stories are going to be about love, peace from here on out, right?”

“Hellz-to-the-nizzo!” I made a face, scoffed. “Are you kidding me?”

“You didn’t learn anything from this, did you?”

“I learned what I needed to learn,” I said, “and that was how to have fun with storytelling.”

“When you put this out into the universe, the others will see you as a villain, as an evil god.”

“Pfffttt! You think they'll believe this?” I asked. “You really think readers will believe, by Voodoo, we somehow got trapped in my stories and had to fight our way through?”

“Maybe, you're right.” You shrugged. “I wouldn't believe it.”

“I'll even post it to Booksie with a 'Based on a True Story' tag, and they still won't buy it. But! If by any chance, someone does believe, I'll simply defend myself with...” I winked with a devilish smile. “…if life isn’t as pleasant as heaven, create ones that are exciting as hell.”

© Copyright 2019 MELEL. All rights reserved.

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