"Did you take your protein pills? Good, now put your helmet on." Ground Control commanded and Major Tom obeyed. Ground Control droned on as Tom sat in his seat in his cramped capsule and waited. "Commencing countdown, engines are active." Tom counted down with the...

Over the past millennium, science and medicine has advanced so far as to put miracles in the hands of men. Many of the diseases that were fatal merely five hundred years ago now have cures or at least treatments thanks to the brilliant minds of...

I used to use the computer a lot. I would stay up late just surfing the web, playing games I’d beaten long ago. I guess it became an obsession. It got so bad that I would stay up till midnight just doing nothing. I tried...

I love my mice ever so much. You see, I own a little colony containing hundreds of mice, all finely bred and engineered in this very laboratory. But these are no ordinary lab mice, as they've advanced far past crawling through mazes for food. What...

May 26, 2009 Hello Diary, My name is Daniel Franklin. I just got this leather-bound beauty of a book in a garage sale. Its covers are smooth and black; the pages, yellowed and antique in texture—no doubt a detail I will become fond of as time goes on. Hell, I already like it. Gives the book a classical feel—such a delightful thing, don't you agree? But I digress. Today was just full of ventures to break the rut into which my life had sunk. First, I tried that new eatery on Eighth, and then, I bought this book at an old out-of-the-way garage sale in Eatonville. Such a kind old woman selling them, and the cookies she gave to buyers were just delicious. I may go back just to get one, if not to acquire the recipe itself! Well, my cat Bartolome is keeping me company tonight, and I must cut this first, rather short entry to a close. I hope to update this with the memoirs of my life many, many times. May 27, 2009 Hello Diary, Daniel again. Today was as boring as usual. Even my favorite book couldn't alleviate the cloud of boredom over my head. I’m starting to find my "best friend," Mark, to be a tad annoying. Mark is nothing special—normal American family man from the suburbs. Is there something wrong with me if I start to think some human beings as disposable? It earlier crossed my mind how uninteresting some of the robotic creatures I liked to keep in my company really are. Ashley, with her endless list of pet names for her latest boy toy. Stuart, his mumbling about the paranormal, UFOs and the like. Though his theories are interesting, they’re still about the same thing every day. Is it really wrong to think of these beings as just packs of meat that shouldn't have even been given a working brain? Death will be a mercy to them, once they reach that fateful day— Wait, what am I writing? These are my friends; what the hell came over me? … Well, I did stop by that sweet old woman's house today. We shared a plate of some of those delectable cookies with some tea, the flavor of which I just couldn't place. Such a sweet old woman; it is too bad much of her family is dead or has forgotten about her. Her name is Susan Anderson, and her home is filled with so many curiosities from the ages of old, and it just fascinates me so. I must go back there again sometime. I must pull this entry to a close. I am still asking myself how I could think such horrible things as I did about my closest co-workers. May 28, 2009 Diary, I am going to be rambling tonight. I woke up because of a....well, I don't know if this was a bad dream or a good dream. I remember it so vividly, even though dreams have almost never stuck in my head since the days of my puberty, and many of them were less confusing and a little more...wet. This one was strange, felt more like a memory than a dream, though before now I hadn’t been aware of such a memory. It was when I was barely five years old. I was the son of the town butcher. My teenage sister at the time loved me, and I loved her. I never knew she was sad in any way; she always seemed happy enough. I never knew her true thoughts. Even as I write this, I still don't understand. In my dream, I was toddling through the house, but, something struck me as being amiss. One of daddy's knives was missing. I looked up at the wooden knife block, seeing the curious gap in the row of black grips. Daddy always said to tell him when there was a knife gone from his counter. For whatever reason, I didn't pay attention to his rule and continued on in my dream. Suddenly, I was pushing my way into my sister's room. She was on her bed, her arms hanging off of each side of her bed, dripping with some dark red liquid. It looked almost like… juice. I walked over and dragged my finger across one of the pools of red liquid before placing my finger in my mouth and sucking. It was not a pleasant taste… rather, it tasted like some of those shavings left over when Daddy sharpened his knives. The rest seemed to happen in slow motion. Mommy walked in and found us, she screamed and fell on the bed over my sissy. I tugged on her dress. "What’s wrong mommy? Sissy’s just sleeping… and she made juice!" …that’s all I remember of the dream. It was chilling. I remember it, and I think I will continue to think about it. I can’t shake it. Is it an actual memory that I put behind me? I can still taste the "juice" in the dream. It tasted heavily of iron… but also… sweet.

Istanbul, Turkey August 09:12:09 AM I am at a small outdoor cafe just a few hundred yards from the teeming throng of a morning market, just in sight of the Bosporus. I love this city, and all its thick and violent contradictions. The rising heat of the day is already causing the linen of my suit to cling to my legs. I awoke last night with a change of heart; you are owed an explanation, and even a warning. If I do as I have planned, I and my actions will be vilified, and misunderstood. Please believe me, I am doing this for all the right reasons. You may not see it now, but in ten or twenty years, you will see a new world born. That is worth any sacrifice. I have done my work here in Turkey, the first of many great cities to see, and I board a plane tomorrow. Don’t bother looking for me here. Samarkand, Uzbekistan September 05:04:20 AM I am in one of the oldest settlements of mankind, and her majesty overwhelms me, just as her descent saddens me. Once the jewel of Alexander’s conquest, and the capital of Tamarlane’s empire, she has fallen into disrepair and goes fallow with neglect. I must confess knowing this already, but forgive my sense of romanticism; I did want to see this place, once. I have no work to do here; once the junction of trade lanes between East and West, Samarkand has become isolated and useless to me. But the ghosts of her history and past bring me strength and resolve. The case that I carry with me is heavy in my hand, it is my burden, but with each stop, that burden lessens. I have allowed myself this one folly, leaving the web for a moment, but I will not linger long. Munich, Germany September 08:05:18 AM The city still sleeps late into the morning on Saturday, and in many places the streets are still empty. There is a grand majesty of Munich’s remaining prewar buildings, and I remarked on its beauty to my local driver. “It was a lot nicer before the British bombed us,” he said without a hint of irony. He was at least two generations removed from the war, and did not seem, or want, to understand when I told him that London had the same problem. Most of humanity is horrified by the specter of the war, of what happened here. They wonder how man could be so inhumane. These people know nothing of the world, or of nature, red in tooth and claw. These are the people that artificially elevate humanity above the animal kingdom, people that maintain an ephemeral barrier between our particular primate sub-grouping, and the rest of life on Earth. I never understood these people. I deposited one more device downtown, in a massive state-of-the-art theater complex. I hid it carefully, and set the little slaved atomic clock to my own. My flight departs in a few hours, and if you are following me, you will have no luck in Germany. London, England October 05:09:19 AM London shows her war wounds with flat gray office towers, and plain, blocky apartments, yet her age and history bleed through the scars as I stroll down the Thames, scarcely aware of the brackish odor of the oily waters. The trash and detritus in the river don’t sadden me, the way I imagine it would for you. You draw some artificial line between a hamburger wrapper and the fallen leaves of a tree that I will never understand. You distinguish between nature and humanity in a way that puzzles me. We are nature, our cities, our roads, and our orbital satellites are no different than a termite colony, or a birds nest, except perhaps in scale. There is nothing unique about humanity. I know that I am all but alone in this conceit, but history and nature herself will prove me right. The devices I planted here are in the Underground; silently waiting for the day to come when I will activate them, and they will open their ceramic filters and gently release their payload into the air. I burned the last decade of my life like a candle to forge the perfect weapon, hardened against the air, hearty and undeniably alive, burning with the will to survive. I have chosen the stations because the first letters of each station spell my name. Consider it an artist’s signature. I wouldn’t tell you this if I wasn’t sure this would be useless information, and I doubt you have even uncovered who I am. As always, I will be gone before you arrive.

For such a turning point in my life, the night I acquired a certain item is cemented in my mind only because of how mundane it was. I didn’t chance upon a dusty tome buried amidst a pile of mouldering books in a university library...

December 10th, 2003 My frozen hands tremble as I fumble to work my little butane lighter. The tips of my fingers are raw and bloodied already, and I wince in pain with every failed attempt to spark a flame. Finally, I achieve a jittery fire which...

Have you ever wondered about what happens when you die? Well, something does. Your body dies, but your conscience lives on. The night you die, you will be in an eternal dream. You will live that dream for all eternity, and it will be like reality. Whatever...

Alec sat in the cold blue glow of the steel chamber, monitors projecting their indecision between camera views outside the small compound. Each switch depicting the bright white of the lunar sands under floodlight, and the unrelenting black of the empty space above. Life in...

I’m so cold. So very cold. There is no warmth left in this room. I suppose I should start at the beginning. It started about 2 weeks ago, back when I could still see the sun. I live alone, my parents kicked me out after I dropped out of high school…I always hated high school; the teachers, the kids, all of them…Every last one. They don’t understand you, nor will they ever. Friends…I scoff at the idea, they’re just people who act like they care, but turn around to stab you in the back. Deplorable. As you can tell, I’m not a people person. Although maybe it wasn’t their fault, considering my sickness. Oh, did I not mention my sickness? I guess I spaced it. I’ve always had serious mental problems; as far back as I can remember. I get these…weird images in my head. Sick images…images of murder, sickness, and war. From what I’ve been told by people around me when I’ve had my ‘episodes’, mostly teachers, I spasm and throw myself to the floor, scratching and writhing at everything around me screaming all the while. Of course I don’t remember it, all I remember is the images…I doubt I will ever get any of them out of my mind. These ignorant teachers thought I was merely acting out, seeking attention as it were, as did my classmates. I hated them and they hated me, leading to many fights at school. I even sent a few kids into the hospital. Ah, my youth. I live in a dingy rental home in the slums of an unimportant city. My parents don’t visit me anymore, and none of my neighbors can stand being around me for more than a few moments. Nobody ever cared about me and nobody ever will, and I’m content with that. Back to my current predicament; it was only last month when I saw a doctor about my episodes. He diagnosed me with a wide array of mental disorders, none of which I bothered to ask what they meant; all I knew was that I needed pills and he could give me some. I remember him handing me 3 or 4 bottles of pills or various shapes and colors, but I didn’t take them right away. I waited, thinking maybe, just maybe the images were caused by a troubled childhood, and maybe I had matured out of it, but sure enough in a few days, they came back. Suicide, bombings, and genocide this time. My mind was filled to the brim with disturbing, haunting images; these were some of the worst yet. I was already sobbing in the fetal position by the time my mind comprehended that I might be able to stop this. I couldn’t open my eyes, I didn’t want to see anymore. I remember crawling on my side towards the bathroom, shakily standing up and spilling open my medicine cabinet, spilling the assorted products on the floor. I grasped blindly for the unfamiliar shape of pill bottles, and soon found them. I ripped them open and threw them into my mouth, spilling many on the floor. I collapsed onto the cold tile, losing consciousness. This was a first. Then, I woke up in my bed. I must’ve thought to myself that I got up and walked into bed, I just didn’t remember it. Maybe. Then it began: I was cold. With my heavy comforter, one of the few things I had invested my small amount of spare money into, should have kept me warm. I always found solace in sleep. I got up and walked into the living room and turned on my TV. Cable was out, should have known. How long had it been since I paid my bills? Still cold, I thought to myself. I walked over to the thermostat and cranked it up, hearing that old familiar sound of the heater pumping warm air. I sat back down, but 15 minutes went by, and I still was cold. I walked over to the heat vent, placing my hand over it; I couldn’t feel any warmth, I couldn’t feel any air coming from the vent, but I could definitely hear it. Ah, my bills, no wonder there was no heat. I could only feel the cold grate of the vent. But then why could I hear it pumping throughout the room? Might as well call my landlord, I thought to myself, picking up the phone. Dead. “Doesn’t anything in this hell hole work?” I distinctly remember asking myself. It was one of the last things I remember saying out loud. How was I to know what was happening? I walked outside, I don’t remember if it was to grab the morning paper or perhaps to soak up some rays from the sun, but it was at this time I knew something was wrong. It was dead outside. I’m talking Sunday morning in the winter at 4:00 in the morning dead. There was no lights on in the houses, nobody walking outside, no noise. The silence was deafening, cliché as it sounds. I slowly walked back in, afraid to disrupt the perfect silence by too loud of a step. I hadn’t realized till I was back inside, but it was much colder outside then in.

Stop. No, don't look. It just encourages them. You know who I'm talking about. Them. More specifically, her. Keep those eyes focused here, don't look. Don't even glance. Use your peripherals, because I know you see her. Just at the very edge of your vision? Glance to the left...

Memories. They’re how we know what has happened. Everything you remember goes in to who you are, why you act the way you do. It's a shame that people are not afflicted by the things they cannot remember. Especially you. Memories are funny like that. Sometimes,...

If you asked me how long we’ve been down here, I wouldn’t know. We don’t see the sun, and nobody seems to have a watch. It doesn’t matter anyway; we don’t have anywhere to be. For all we know there isn’t anywhere left to be. The surface has surely been overrun with death and decay by now. There are six of us left. Until just recently there were seven. Her screaming has stopped now and I feel relief. It was hard to sleep with those agonizing screams and the banging on the steel door. Huddled in my blankets, I look around at the other survivors; four men and a woman, all of us unkempt and haggard. At one point we all worked here, but since the accident it’s become our prison. The painfully low amount of food is in a pile in the center of the room, so we can all keep an eye on it to make sure nobody is taking more then we’re allowed per day. There’s enough food for three, maybe four meals. None of us want to think about it. We just stare. There are no beds, just piles of blankets and paper that make crude sleeping areas. There’s one bathroom at the far end of the complex and it has running water. There are three other rooms, rooms we used to work in, filled with computers and lab equipment that has accumulated a fine layer of dust. We still have power somehow, so all the security cameras and lights still work. Unfortunately none of the computers work because they’ve been shut and locked, as per emergency protocol. Any contact with the outside world is non-existent. We worked for the military, doing basic chemical research. Somewhere along the line a chemical was leaked, and the results were fatal. People who came into direct contact with the chemical succumbed to vomiting, mild at first, then intense, until they had nothing to excrete except for their own blood. Nobody lasted more then a couple hours once they had touched the chemical. It also spread through saliva, bile and blood, so those with the misfortune of coming into contact with even a single drop are doomed. We had to toss that woman out because we caught her vomiting in the toilet. She said she was pregnant and that it was only morning sickness, but you can’t be sure. Her fiancé, Barry, tried to intervene, calling us animals. We clubbed him over the head, then tied and gagged him to a thick pipe at one end of the room. He strains against the bonds and screams into the gag occasionally, a fierce and wild-eyed look on is face. It’s for his own good and the good of everyone here. He might hurt someone. He needs to be untied and fed eventually, but nobody wants to be the one to do it. So we just sit and stare at the pile of food on the floor that gets lower with each rationed meal. He's another mouth to feed that we can't afford. Everyone is on edge, twitchy and jumpy. Every movement is watched intently, with suspicious and unrelenting eyes. Nobody talks anymore. They just stare. We all know we’re going to die, it’s just a matter of time before hunger or the chemical gets us. It's all in the backs of our minds, eating away at our sanity.

Many have speculated that the plane in which we live is not the only plane in existence. Those who say this will usually then go on to ponder realms of mystery and wonder. The truth is, there is a second plane, but it is not...

The Bay of Kola, off Murmansk, is a graveyard for old Soviet submarines, which spill nuclear waste out into the Barents Sea. Many a Western explorer has braved the subzero temperatures and biting tainted winds, but few have lived to tell the tale. The locals...

Exorcisms are often the theme of horror movies. Most people shrug them off and think that they are fake. They're not. But they are also not the way Hollywood portrays them to be. Instead, when a mere mortal tries to perform an exorcism, the demon leaves its...

I used to live in the Lower Queen Anne region of Seattle, just a few blocks from the Space Needle, which has a little park around it- lawns, a fountain, sculptures, a theater and museums- a little park which is remarkably safe after nightfall. There...

God, I need to get this down. I need this knowledge out of my head. I’m being, what’s the word to use? Haunted? By a being. A horrid aberration. I can only call it pale face. I remember the first time I saw it. I was twelve, taking a leak at the urinal of the hotel I was staying at with family. I noticed a flash of movement in the corner of my eye, though I dismissed it as nothing as it had been happening a lot lately. I went to wash my hands, and as I was about to turn on the tap, I saw it. Stood not more than a foot behind me, reflected in the mirror. A humanoid creature, roughly five and a half feet tall, completely naked, covered in oily skin. Its fingers were elongated, impossibly bony. The whole thing looked as if it had never eaten; its chest was a harsh relief of ribs, made to look all the sicklier by the fluorescent light. It wasn’t breathing, either. That is not what scared me though. Its face. A perfectly smooth oval shape, seemingly much too large and heavy for its scrawny neck, with two impossibly deep holes of blackness where one would expect to find eyes. It stared at me. It didn’t move; no single muscle twitched. It simply stood there, those jet pits boring into me for what felt like hours. After what felt like an eternity, I realised my legs had unlocked and I bolted for the door too terrified to scream. I ignored my room, running in a child-like panic to my parent’s room a few doors down. I brought my fist down again and again on the door, desperate to raise my family. As I finally heard the door unlock I risked a single glance down the corridor from which I came. It was there. It stood completely still, eyes fixed on me, oily feet staining a brown smudge onto the carpet. I barged past my father as he swung the door inwards, diving onto the sofa and throwing myself face down onto the cushion. My father turned from the door, asking me what I was doing as he let the door close behind him. I could only respond with wide-eyed terror as I saw it in the doorway, both of those pit-like eyes on me until the door obstructed it from my vision. Rest did not find me that night. After an hour or two of restless tossing and turning, I awoke to see it stood at the foot of the sofa. I stared back at it, too afraid to look away; its gaze was almost mesmerising, it made me feel empty, completely devoid of humanity, nothing but a consciousness stripped bare. I know not how long I kept this, as at some point my body had given up and lapsed back into sleep, and I was greeted by the warm sunlight of morning streaming through the room’s blinds. I was not sad to be leaving the hotel that morning.