Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ISLAND MACABRE: Episode 4 - "The Amscray Train Out of Deadsville"

Before returning to Jetwash (aka Mr. Melee), my epic space opera conserning a disbanded group of misfit fighter pilots, I'm posting another Island Macabre story that Scott's been pressuring me to finish. As it stands there are only three more episodes left. Or at least that's what I've outlined. It's possible if I figure out the structure that I could morph this into a screenplay, but that's later down the line.

Yes, this episode was once titled Wake Up Undead. It was a reference that only people who listened to Megadeth would get from their tune, Wake Up Dead. But I changed it to make it more accessible... and yet it still happens to be vague. Avast, here be The Amscray Train Out of Deadsville.

ISLAND MACABRE: Episode 4 - "The Amscray Train Out of Deadsville"

Orion takes a fire extinguisher and smashes open a cold drink vending machine.

"Honeycomb, start takin' some of the professor's booty out to Temba." Rooke runs past Teach who hands her a bag of first aid equipment. "Professor, snatch up some foodstuffs."

Teach sprints over to the snack machines where two bodies are slumped over a table. He goes to a corpse and lifts his wallet and feeds the machine. He's proud of his ingenuity, but the machine rejects his bill.

Rooke tosses the phone book, map and bag of first aid gear in the Rover. Her laptop is secured in a shoulder bag wrapped around her. She hears a symphony of nocturnal chaos and mayhem conducted by Shanghai Mars and his pirates. Motorcycles zip around the streets, but none of them are close enough to worry about. Her eyes scan the streets while backing into the hospital.

"Professor!" Orion sees Teach trying to flatten out a bill. "What in Valhalla are you doin'?"

"It won't take my bill."

Orion picks up a chair and smashes in the candy bar vending machine glass.

"Say," Teach starts, "I'm quite craving one of these Rubens."

"Those sandwiches have been in there for a year or longer, Professor. You sure you really want some of that?"

"It's just that the sugar sticks to my teeth."

Rooke walks in as Orion hands her a bag of cold drinks. "Shanghai Mars and his guys are running around out there."

Orion nods, "I say we cut our losses and take the first Amscray Train outta Deadsville." Orion and Rooke are about to leave, but Teach hesitates. Orion double-takes, "That means we're gettin' the fuck outta here, Professor."

"Oh. Quite right. You have a delicious way of expressing yourself, Captain."

Orion and Teach are the first out the door and stuffing bags into the Rover. Teach packs down a bag when Orion notices something out of the corner of his eye. Orion slowly pulls himself out of the Rover seeing Rooke with a blade to her throat. She gulps as the golden-tooth grin of Shanghai Mars creeps up from behind her shoulder.

"All fuckers hoay!" Shanghai Mars shouts.

The pirates' motorcycle headlights beam on pointing right at the Rover. Teach and Orion are blinded by tens of lights.

"Well I be cornfucked." Shanghai Mars starts, "If ain't it be the gratin' Orion Shamblerock." Shanghai Mars throws Rooke aside towards one of his men. "Nice little dungbie on this here fine wench." Shanghai Mars walks up to Orion.

"Didn't think you and your scurvy boys made it past the pin worms," Orion says.

"I must say," Shanghai Mars says with a bit of a swagger, "that was quite silly little thing." He presses his grimy nose against Orion's. "Don't suppose you be scavengin' for the old shogun's treasure."

"How do you fit into all this?" Orion asks. "Following me way out here is pretty huge. Probably one of the stupidest moves you coulda made. You might as well waited till I got back to the Dum Dum Club and jacked me there. Saved yourself a lot of trouble."

"Me ancestry be goin' back a bit. That treasure be hornswaggled from me great, great, great, great grandfolk by the shogun and his samurai scum. Now that he be dead, we be gettin' dibs on the claim, aye."

"Are you sure the old folks didn't drop the booty when they saw those pin worms coming outta the canyon and ran back to the ship?"

"I ain't got a single speck of yella in me line!"

"If the jaundice fits." Orion thinks about it. "Wait. Do you even know what the treasure is? There's no treasure. We're on an archeological dig of scientific proportions."

Shanghai Mars presses the barrel of a Desert Eagle under Orion's chin and gravels softly, "Where be the map?"

Orion raises his hands holding the map between two fingers. "Take it easy with that pig iron."

Shanghai Mars snatches the map looking at Orion cock-eyed. "Avast, ye fucker. If this be a sham, the wench's breakfast be spillin' on the ground. And ye be sportin' the one-second lobotomy."

"You don't need the woman, Shanghai Mars."

"The wench ain't me type." Shanghai Mars lets out a piercing whistle. Rooke is shoved into the light. "They be an ass-pain to lug around."

Shanghai Mars backs behind the ring of motorcycles chuckling.

Orion feigns a grin and throws his thumb up.

From beyond the lights Shanghai Mars yells, "Drop 'em!" The pirates' weapons begin to lock and load when one of the pirates shrieks in terror. All lights turn to Orion's big, black symbiote shoving its fingers into the top of the pirates' mouth and snapping the head right off.

Orion, Teach and Rooke sprint back into the hospital. Orion snatches the map from a distracted Shanghai Mars.

Shanghai Mars and his pirates blast away at the creature. It roars taking a couple hits.

Teach and Rooke round one of the corners when Orion lurches and drops to the floor. He slides leaving a bloody streak. They stop to check him. He's got a couple of bullet holes in his body. Teach puts pressure on his chest wound. "He's been shot… again."

"They were shooting at the symbiote." Rooke says. "They psychically and physically reciprocate each other's wounds."

The creature hops on to the overhang of the Emergency Room and disappears on to the roof.

Shanghai Mars and his pirates look around and see that the juggernaut is gone. Shanghai Mars finally realizes that he's missing the map. "Orion!" He turns to two pirates. One on a Ninja and another on a Ducati. "Ninja, Ducati, after yay map-jackers!"

Rooke and Teach help the hobbling Orion along the hallway. Teach stops at a hospital directory placard. He presses his blood-soaked finger against the "You are Here" arrow and runs it along the corridor to a second floor exit. "The closest exit is on the second floor in the parking garage."

Two pirates' motorcycles zoom and screech around a corner presumably following Orion's blood trail. They all stagger toward stairwell door and head up.

The hospital PA system suddenly clicks on. "Well I'll be fucked sideways!" Shanghai Mars says over the intercom. "Whatever the Hell that be."

As Teach, Orion and Rooke bust through to the second floor, the motorcycles zoom by on the first floor.

On the first floor the two pirates screech to a halt.

Shanghai Mars flips around the security booth monitors watching Orion and company make their way down the hall. He holds the intercom to his mouth, "That thing be about as black as the night itself. Ye scallywags best be not makin' for the roof. That where it be now."

Ninja stops at the blood-streaked directory noticing their destination smeared in moist blood. He also sees that the blood speckles on the floor lead to the stairwell corridor.

Ninja rumbles up the stairs busting through the second floor door. The pirate sees the blood trail, pops a wheelie and zooms after them.

Shanghai Mars fumbles around the CD collection. "Here be somethin' for ye dyin' pleasure. Die to the gleeful melody of new J-pop sensation of…" He squints and then sounds it out. "Nam…mie… A…mur… o." He slaps it into the CD changer as the upbeat pop music of Namie Amuro's Body Feels Exit.

The juggernaut creature stands on the roof of the hospital reaching for the moon. As its body begins to repair itself the pirates' bullets begin to squeeze out of his body as it roars. One bullet falls out while another in its chest struggles.

Orion thrashes forcing him to his knees yelping in pain. His teeth grind. "Go on without me! I'm just slowin' ya down!"

"We are not leaving you here, Captain." Teach says with all the British chivalry he can muster.

"If I'm gonna die like a bitch in his knees then let it be so others could live." Orion grabs his chest spitting up blood and looks up at the fluorescent lights, "Come and get me, Odin. Come get me, you little girl!"

Teach grabs his mouth to cover up a staggered gasp, but his eyes water. He gulps and gets himself together and balls up his bony fists, "We shall not leave such valor unaided!"

Ninja screeches around the corner with his machine-gun drawn.

Orion whips out his Swiss Army knife, unfolding a 2-inch blade and turns to Ninja. Orion's eyes are crazy wild with his teeth gnashed due to him using whatever strength he's got left to protect Rooke and Teach. His tiny Swiss Army knife shimmers in the light. "Come get your dinner, missy! Come and get your shanks!"

Ninja grins. The motorcycle speeds toward Orion.

The juggernaut growls in pain as the bullet shoots from his body while a ribbon of blood spurts from Orion's chest splashing into Ninja's eyes. The pirate loses control of the bike and crashes. Ninja slides head-first to Orion's feet.

Orion falls to his knees exhausted. He pats his bullet wounds. He's a bit surprised the pain is gone.

From behind Rooke sees Orion slump forward. Her eyes well up. Thinking this is the last of the great Orion Shamblerock. She sniffles as he turns to Rooke and Teach, "I feel better."

Rooke's jaw drops and Orion catches it. "Were those tears for me, Honeycomb?"

"They were for you when I thought you were dead."

Orion wobbles to his feet saying, "Those tears deserve a kiss." Rooke walks away. "Hey, Honeycomb, there ain't nothin' sweeter than tears and whiskey."

Shanghai Mars storms out of the security booth and into the waiting room. His pirates lounge around watching a blue screen on the TV. He takes a deep breath looking for someone to yell at, but they're all beat the fuck up. He finds one of his men's head knocked back against a chair with mouth agape. He walks over snatching up an M-60 and blasts away at the TV. A line of bullets chatter into the wall just inches from their heads. Hot shells skip and somersault over their faces and one falls into the mouth of the snoring pirate. Many duck for cover while some others are just overwhelmed by sleep deprivation.

"Avast, ye fuckmeats!" Shanghai Mars screams over the gunfire. "They be headin' for the parking garage! Go fetch me map!" About half his pirates get up and trot down to the parking garage. Shanghai Mars grabs another belt of ammo and follows them.

Orion, Rooke and Teach walk around the parking garage.

"I say, Captain," Teach starts. "That is a remarkable recovery."

"Well, I'm still a little shook up. Gets me thinkin' what would happen if that beast was decapitated. I wonder what things I'll have to say when my head's bouncing around like a soccer ball."

Rooke studies the map rubbing and phone book map. "On the other side of this structure there should be a construction site. That's where the proposed parking structure addition is supposed to be."

Orion and company arrive at the construction site. Where the hospital parking garage ends is where the construction site begins. Just like the rest of the city so far, corpses lie about. A cluster of Devil's Winds swirl around a tractor with a digging bucket buried deep into the side of a hill. Looking into just the opening of the tunnel the first of the samurai catacombs is revealed.

Rooke smiles, "This is where the Breath of the Bushido escaped." She turns to Teach. "Ancient bacteria. Prehistoric virus. My ass. This is a paranormal activity at its finest." Rooke takes out her camera about to take pictures, but her batteries are dead.

Teach holds in a grin, "I suppose the Breath of the Bushido is a bit shy of having its picture taken."

"I came all the way out here to document this shit and I've spent my batteries!"

"Take it easy, Honeycomb." Orion tosses her a dead man's Walkman. "See if those work."

Orion takes a couple steps into the tunnel shining a right-angle flashlight into the catacombs. "Uh, these fellas ain't gonna wake up are they, Honeycomb?"

Her answer, "I hope not."

Orion grimaces and nods. "Honest answer."

Teach studies the uniforms of the ancient samurai warriors buried into the walls. "Remarkable."

Orion takes a couple more steps into the catacombs, "Now, Professor, you say there was an epidemic that killed off this city. Why ain't we dead?"

"It's quite possible that if bacteria or a virus escaped it was killed off. Or it mutated with the environment. It's difficult to explain. This island requires much more research."

Rooke's camera is working again. She tapes Orion and Teach talking. She says, "For whatever your science brain can't explain, Teach, supernatural is just as easy to accept as your unanswered explanations."

Teach turns to her, "Touché." As he looks in her direction Shanghai Mars and his pirates make their way out of the parking garage. "Shanghai Mars." He grabs Rooke's hand and leads her deeper into the catacombs. "Let us flee." He pushes Orion into the tunnel.

"Hold on, Professor," Orion says. "Do you know what's what down there?"

Orion hears Shanghai Mars screaming, "Ollie Ollie Oxenfreak! I be comin' to get ye!"

Orion begrudgingly shuffles into the moist and rancid tunnel.

Shanghai Mars sticks his face into the black of the tunnel. He pulls out a Zippo and flips it on and suddenly being startled by the skull of the samurai warrior. He can hear Orion and company stumbling down into the catacombs. "Here it be. Avast!" Shanghai Mars marches in and disappears into the black.

A couple of his pirates follow, but the rest hesitate. And right behind them the big, black, symbiotic juggernaut drops behind them from the hospital roof top. The remaining pirates spin around.

Terrified shrieks echo throughout the catacombs.

Blood splatters on the face of the samurai corpse.


The juggernaut trudges into the catacombs. It splashes in the blood of the pirates.

The blood speckled across the samurai corpse's face seeps into the skull. Its jaw twitches. The samurai's fingers grip the handle of its samurai sword.

To be continued…

You'll find the likes of Scott and other talented writers at Shadow Daily.com.

Appendix (in No Particaular or Organized Order)

Namie Amuro - At one time she was the queen of a J-pop kingdom, but later Britney Spears'd out of the title by another queen of J-pop, Ayumi Hamasaki.

Body Feels Exit - her first solo single after her departure from Super Monkeys.

Right Angle Military Flashlights - The standard military-issue flashlights. Or at least that's what the Army wants you to think. You have to buy these on your own and they take it outta your pay. You don't need these, but they're actually cool to have when you're fumbling around in the dark in the middle of a mine field... or a cow shit field. They're more compact these days, but these are the kinds that Orion would be lugging around on his belt or cargo pocket.

Samurai - Warriors that pre-date Industrial Japan that were killed off by modernization. There's a great write-up on
Wikipedia (Samurai).

Ducati -
I know as much about motorcycles as I do about J-pop music, which is damn-near nothing. I do know a friend of mine who owns a couple of Duactis and says they're the best in the world. My pocket-editor told me that I needed to name my faceless pirates no matter how little they're seen (eg. Eyepatch, Goldtooth, Asshole, etc.). So I named them after the motorcycles they ride.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7 -
I know as much about the Kawaksaki Ninja ZX-7 as I know about Ducatis and J-pop. I thought it would be cool to have a pirate named Ninja. That is all.

Desert Eagle - This is the fully loaded version of the Desert Eagle made famous in such films as The Last Action Hero and The Matrix. If you need all the accouterments on a pistol like this, then you're a pretty fucked up shot. But it looks good on film though.

M-60 - This belt-feed machine-gun was made famous my Mr. John Rambo in the Rambo movies. I've actually used this weapon a couple of times and it's not pleasant nor is it easily controlled as say the M-16 A2. It's erratic and hard to control even when it's on the bipod. If you can do as demonstrated in the video below, then you're pretty much the man.

Tractor with Digging Bucket - I know about as much about tractors as I do about J-pop, Ducatis and Ninja bikes, but this is what I had in mind when I wrote his story.

Evil Vending Machines - In Island Macabre Orion and friends smash in the vending machines for sustenance. If they weren't being hunted down by bad-ass pirates I'm sure they'd find a way to pay for everything. But since this town is dead, they don't have to worry about upsetting the delicate nature of commerce. So, this is an excerpt from Totse.com.


Alright, I'm sick of reading all this crap on how to try and rip off vending machines when none of it works. Clay? Salt water? Gimme a fucking break. Keep reading to hear how to get into vending machines from someone who has worked with them for the last ten years, and still does.

Some warnings.

1- With electronics being so cheap these days, most people videotape their vending locations. Scope out the place first, look for cameras. At any rate, it's not good to look like you when you go raid the machines.

2- Almost all vending machines now have alarms and tilt switches installed on them. Candy machines have shock sensors on the front glass. All machines have plumb bobs on them. If at all possible, unplug the machine first to avoid tripping the anti-vandalism measures.

3- There was another warning I had all thought up, but now I can't remember it. I'll think of it later.

Okay, standard vending machines include soda machines, candy machines, cigarette machines and other upright product dispensing devices. I'll write a separate file for video games, bill changers and payphones later.

There are basically only two ways to get into vending machines without a key. Through the lock, or directly.


You can always try and pick the lock, using the standard method. The only problem with that is that there are usually at least eight settings, so you have to pick it three or four times to get the cylinder to travel enough to open the lock. That can be entirely too time consuming and generally not worth it. So, here are some better methods for opening a lock without picking it. It can be very easy to get into tubular locks or very hard, depending on how cheap the lock is.

Gematic-type: cheap as hell locks. Their main weakness is that the cam (small piece of metal on the back of the lock designed to hold the cylinder in place) is held on by a single, small, weak-threaded screw. Most of the time the cam is also only an aluminum alloy. To defeat this type of lock, you can use a tubular key. File it down so that only the pin that sticks up from the cylinder is left and when inserted into a lock it rotates freely, but you can't pull it out. Attach a chain to the key, then wrap the chain around a bar of some sort. Yank hard. Voila! Cam either comes completely off or is bent to hell, open sesame.

Ace-type: somewhat more expensive, better secure. The cam is held on by a nut over a larger bolt-type end. This makes it mainly pull-proof. However, the lock is only coated in carbon steel. Beneath that millimeter thin layer of hard metal there is only a nickel alloy. Insert a small drill bit into the cross section where the key slot meets the circular opening and go at it. After you get past the hard metal, the rest will give like soft cheese. Keep drilling until either the cylinder falls out, or you drill right through the lock and through the bolt in the end of the lock. It only takes me about five minutes to do this with a hammer drill.

American-type: you can tell these locks from the others by the fact that the face is completely flush. Instead of a tubular cylinder, these locks rely on a set of pins on the key, mounted at irregular depths. The face is drill-proof. These things are the Fort Knox of locks, if you see one you're pretty much fucked trying to open it without a key. So, on to the next method!


Let's not kid ourselves here. We're not trying to get into these things for the aesthetic value of the job. We want the stuff inside. C'mon, you want to try to dump salt water into these things, thinking it will completely ruin the machine and only work part of the time? I'm guessing we're not all that concerned with the well-being of the machine in question. Face it, this is a grab-and-go job. So fuck the lock, let's just get in.

Almost every single vending machine has the T-bar locking system. This means there's a steel bar traveling the length of the machine, securing the door at the top, bottom and side directly next to the lock, opposite the hinge.

This is a pretty good system. It doesn't work against someone determined to get in. Why? Because the point where the locking bar intersects with the machine's walls may be steel, but it's only about a quarter inch thick.

Bring a prybar and a hammer. Unplug the machine. Climb on top of it. Track where the locking bar intersects with the roof by going in a line straight up from the lock. Insert the prybar (you might have to hammer it down in) about an inch to the side of that position, toward the hinge. Pry the sucker open. Once you've got the top open, you can see where the locking bar goes into the side, pry that open too. From there you can yank the door open and grab anything you want.

A successful break-in to a vending machine should take less than three minutes. Doing it this way also doesn't damage the machine enough to make it unusable. In fact, it takes less than five minutes of welding to fix, thus the vending company loses very little... some product and a couple hundred dollars is chump change compared to the $7000 it costs for the machine. If you don't trash the machine, there's less of a chance the company will follow up on busting you for breaking into it.

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