Here's the first, a short little story about a new type of deadl-ydorable assassin. Enjoy!
Silently and slowly, the it emerged from the shadows. Its eyes were red and it wore a hooded cloak. A creature of anonymity. No one saw the being enter the room and no one saw it leave. The evidence of its visit lay scattered on the floor, enveloped in warm red blood. No one had time to scream.
The lights flickered on and the horrified observers gave a collective murmur of approval. The organisers of the demonstration sauntered into the glass-walled observation room. They were an unlikely couple; a bespectacled man fidgeting somewhat in the shadow of his companion. The shadow proved not an insignificant one to fidget in, being cast as it was by a giant gorilla of a man squeezed into a bulging Army uniform. Standing behind him, the scientist thought how he looked like too much meat packed into a sausage skin.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the gorilla began, “imagine that you have just witnessed a murder in a London street, rather than the death of an alsation in a zoo laboratory. The police turn to you as the only witnesses. What in God’s name, they want to know, could kill like that? Tell me, what did you see?”
The silence was marred only by the sound of six people watching their own feet shuffling.
“Come now, I know the lights were dim, but you were all watching closely. Did you see nothing?”
“It looked like… a child in a cloak. But no child could do that. Not skin a dog like that.”
“And those glowing red eyes! It was evil, pure evil.” Cried a lady from the back.
The Army colonel laughed, “not terribly helpful for the policeman. He can’t put out an APB for a child with burning red eyes, can he? And there will be no fingerprints, no incriminating hairs.”
“What was it?”
“What you just witnessed was the end result of Operation Tux Terror. Everybody loves penguins, right? Well, who would ever have suspected that deep inside Pingu’s brain is the capacity for – as the lady so cleverly put it – pure evil?”
“A penguin?” They all gasped as one. The scientist stepped forward.
“You’ve heard how humans use only one tenth of their brain capacity and that if we could harness the other ninety percent our enhanced intelligence would be phenomenal? Some time back, scientists discovered that penguins exhibit a similar brain latency, which led to years of tests, to see if we could “switch on” the lazy part of their brain. Recently we had a breakthrough - penguins using a hundred percent. But we soon realised the whole thing was a failure. Penguin brains are, obviously, very different from humans’, but we had hoped that the “switching on” process would be roughly comparable. It wasn’t. Nothing we could take from the experiments helped. The research was abandoned, which pleased a number of scientists who were disturbed by the penguins. You see, we’d assumed that with more brain power we would become more intelligent, more able to control our own bodies. Yet all the penguin enhancement resulted in was a capacity for…” he was loathe to use the word they’d all been bandying about, but it seemed appropriate as he stood facing an eviscerated dog “for great evil.”
The colonel stepped forward again, eager to continue the story. “This is where the Army got involved. I’ve seen soldiers willing to do whatever it takes. But I have never seen anything like these penguins. They clearly enjoy killing. Our problem was that they aren’t properly equipped. When the early prototypes were pitted against dogs their desire for bloodshed was marred only by their lack of weapons. Penguins are all smooth edges and flippers. Their beaks proved vicious, but no match for the dogs. So we genetically engineered the perfect killing machine. These penguins have thousands of needle sharp teeth on their flippers and beaks. A penguin need only touch your arm and the hooked teeth anchor deep into it, ripping the skin off with a flick of their flipper.
We knew that they would be useless if we couldn’t control them, so each penguin comes equipped with a remote controlled shocker, so we can send them out onto the streets without fear that they will skin every innocent bystander.”
The scientist took over, “the very idea of penguin assassins may seem crazy. But that is the advantage. Those smooth oval bodies slip easily from grasping hands. Their tiny footsteps are silent. And with their countershaded bodies, especially when hidden under a cloak they slip amongst the shadows. The very fact that they seem so ill-suited is what makes them paradoxically perfect for the task.”
The questions answered, the scientist left. He didn’t care to think about the conversations that would be going on between a half-crazed Army colonel and six of the richest, most influential figures of the country. Officially they were being shown the research and given the chance to donate to it. Unofficially…
The whole thing left a bad taste in his mouth.
What’s black and white and red all over? The zookeeper used to ask children as he approached the zebras.
A penguin dripping with gore.
He fumbled with the tranquiliser gun. It slipped from his hand, or rather what was left of it. A hand degloved of skin.
No one knew why the zookeeper had entered the laboratories. Only he could answer that and at the moment he was hardly thinking straight.
The dart, badly aimed, went through the flipper. The injured penguin advanced ferociously, his eyes sparkling. He had the man cornered in the observation room, stumbling on the slippery remains of his own proffered hand. In desperation he threw the gun at the looming shape.
“Die, godammit! Die, you monochrome bastard!” But the penguin had no intention of dying.
The man’s last thoughts were of sunburned nuns and of God’s sick humour.