This blog has been heavily 2000AD orientated recently as I post the reviews I have been doing for the Everything comes back to 2000AD podcast site. I have also been writing short stories for the regular 2000AD forums short story competition. You can find the latest contest and voting thread here. I have found writing a regular monthly short story quite entertaining although my standard has been a bit variable. I've decided to post all the stories up here so they can gather dust in another corner of the internet.
Each contest is themed and the very first competition I entered was about the people who had the strange street level jobs in Mega-City One or any of the fictional worlds from other 2000AD strips. My entry suffers from a problem that I've had when writing serious stuff in that it drifts into melodrama, but anyway here is my very first attempt from July 2012AD which did not trouble the voters very much.
Down among the Dead
The message jolted me out of my doze.
“ Unit 17, clean-up required. We have a 407 on the pedway outside McMahon block. Priority one. Please respond.”
“OK, control. Got it. On my way”
The sat-com blipped as it downloaded the directions and I put the sked into auto-drive and nosed out into the late night traffic.
407. That meant body parts. I watched the news report on Channel 60 later, a Futsie had run amok with a cleaver. Killed three people, one of them a ten year old girl. Would have killed more except that someone came round the corner on his Lawmaster. A Judge ...The Judge.
Usually by the time I reach a scene the Judges have left and there is just perimeter tape and maybe a cadet guarding the area. This time the Judges were still there. This time He was still there.
I had heard all the stories and watched all the documentaries. I knew about the things he had done, the things he had seen, but I had never seen him in the flesh before. I knew he was big but I didn’t know how big until I saw him standing there, looking down at the victims. He looked like a statue, like something you see on the history shows. A gladiator, or one of those mythical heroes that they used to have before they had television.
I took four Resyk bags and the hover-gurney from the sked and stepped under the tape. I thought he hadn’t seen me but he sees everything. He turned that chin towards me and gave me the look. They must teach that at the academy, that look. The helmet glares at you. It’s impossible to hold their stare. I put my head down and started to work. I could feel him watching me as I lifted the bodies onto the gurney.
I left the little girl to last. Children are always the hardest. I closed her eyes and zipped her into the bag. A blood stained rag doll lay near her body. I placed that in the bag as well. I was about to put her on the gurney when he spoke,
“I’ll do that”.
He bent and lifted the small bundle in his arms and carried her to the sked. I grabbed the rest of my gear and followed. He laid the child’s body gently on the stretcher and just stood there. Then he took a deep breath, turned and looked down at me.
“A busy night, Citizen”.
“Yes, Sir. Always busy now since the bug”
Again, that look.
“Yes. Busy. On your way then”
He turned and walked towards the small group of grieving relatives who were talking with the other Judge.
The Judges pass sentence on us, but the sentence they serve is for life. All of it.