Short Story, Flash Fiction, Of the Day, BN249 by Bill Chance

Walter woke up in an ambulance. From the swaying he knew they were going very fast. His arms were strapped to the side of the gurney – a tangle of tubes and wires streamed away from him to beeping machines lining the vehicle. His pain was almost gone, but he felt the skin of his neck taught like it was swelling badly. Two EMTs were bent over him, looking very worried.

—-Bill Chance, BN249

Wasps at the Trinity River Audubon Center

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing yesterday’s Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge.

Let’s see… here’s one for today. What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.


Walter was jogging around the outfield of the softball fields that filled this part of the green buffer park between the town and the base. The lights were on and teams were playing on all the fields. He liked listening to the cheers and the clank of the aluminum bats and watching the white parabola of the balls hit through the air. At his usual spot, he turned and started to run home.

As he passed near the woods around the creek he was distracted by a loud, odd, buzzing/whirring noise. It sounded half mechanical and half biological. Turning to see what it was, he saw a dark blur moving through the air from the direction of the woods. It came on fast and before he could do anything it struck him in the neck.

The pain was immediate and incapacitating. It shot from his neck down his spine and had a strange electrical quality; his muscles all contracting as he tumbled to the grass. Bright lights flashed in his eyes as he writhed on the ground. For a few seconds his vision cleared and through the fog of pain he saw it on the ground beside him.

It looked something like a large, glossy, jet-black wasp. Even its wings were black and opaque. It was crawling along on preternaturally long, flexible legs that seemed jointed in the wrong places. Its abdomen was very long and curved and ended in a hook-like point that could have been a stinger. Walter knew it was impossible, but the thing seemed to be looking at him as it struggled to extend its wings. The odd noise began again, loud and close, and it was gone.

The pain increased and the world went away.

Walter woke up in an ambulance. From the swaying he knew they were going very fast. His arms were strapped to the side of the gurney – a tangle of tubes and wires streamed away from him to beeping machines lining the vehicle. His pain was almost gone, but he felt the skin of his neck taught like it was swelling badly. Two EMTs were bent over him, looking very worried.

“Hey, what happened?” was what Walter tried to ask, but he could not get the words out. He felt as if his mind was not connected to his body. Then the siren of the ambulance was drowned out by other, louder wailings and he felt the vehicle slow and then the crunch of gravel under the wheels. He felt the door open behind him and suddenly the two EMTs disappeared.

Someone in a dark uniform appeared and roughly pulled the tubes and wires off and out of him and them he felt the gurney slide out the back. He was rolled through a dark night lit by blue and red rotating and flashing lights until he was lifted into another vehicle. To Walter’s surprise it wasn’t another ambulance but some sort of military flatbed truck with a cover over it. He couldn’t move but his senses seemed to have returned, and he could clearly smell the familiar fungal scent of olive drab military canvas. He had lived next to the base his whole life and knew that smell well. Still, it surprised him that he was aware enough to pick it out.

Someone did something to his arm and he felt a warmness spreading… and everything went dark.

He woke up in a hospital room. He was on his back could not move. He looked down and saw that his arms were tied to the heavy bedstead with thick black straps. His feet were immobile and he assumed they were strapped down too. There were no beeping machines or wires hooked up to him. He saw there was a single IV tube running from his left arm. He surprised to see it running to a large dark red bag that was mounted lower than he expected. They weren’t adding drugs, they were taking blood out.

Looking around he saw two soldiers in full gear standing on either side of the door of the windowless room. They were holding M4 carbines slung across their chests and had sidearms on their waists. The odd thing is that they were wearing black full-face helmets, like riot troops or motorcycle riders.

“Hey, what the hell! Get me out of here! Get somebody!” Walter yelled at the two. His mouth felt like it had marbles in it, but at least he could talk. The soldiers looked at each other, then one left the room, returning in less than a minute with a white-coated doctor.

“Ahh,” the doctor said, “You are awake. Good.”

“What in the hell! What happened to me?”

“Well, I’m not really supposed to talk about that.” The doctor examined the bag of blood. “Ah it’s full. Let’s get another one going.”

A nurse appeared at the door and swapped the blood-filled bag with a fresh one. As she turned and left she was replaced with a large man wearing an officer’s uniform. The guards saluted as he entered the room. He walked to the bed and Walter saw that a piece of opaque white tape covered the man’s name tag.

“Ah, colonel, I’m glad you are here,” the doctor said. “As you see he’s awake and he has some questions, maybe you can answer.”

“You are dammed right I have some questions! What the hell happened to me?”

The colonel paused for a few seconds and then said, “BN249.”


“The BN249 project escaped. Before we could track and recapture it the thing had left the base and, unfortunately, ran into you.”

“The project? You mean the wasp-thing that stung me? What does it do.”

“I’m afraid that is classified.”

“Classified my ass! It stung me. It’s inside me.”

“Yes, it is classified. And luckily we have you. We should be able to get what we need.” The colonel gestured to the slowly swelling bag of blood.

“Wait, what about my wife? My car is still at the fields. Let me out of here!”

“I’m afraid your car is gone. Last night it drove off the high river bridge. That bridge has cameras. The river is up, the water is fast and deep. The authorities are dragging the river now. Your wife has been notified. The car will be found. Your body won’t. At least not for a while.” The colonel looked at the bag of blood again.

Walter began to yell and strain against the restraints until, at an indication from the colonel, the doctor moved to the bed and gave Walter another injection. Like earlier he felt the warmth spreading until it all went dark.

But this time he had dreams. Strange, vivid, violent dreams. Dreams of lightening and giant flying monsters and rivers of glowing blood. After what seemed like hours of these frightening and disturbing visions Walter woke up. He was standing. Looking around him he saw the heavy black nylon straps torn into tatters on the floor. The stout steel of the bed rails was bent like a pretzel.

The door to the room was wide open. The bodies of the two guards were sprawled on the floor. It looked like their helmets had been crushed and dark blood was spreading out in a quickly growing pool. He took it in, his preternatural eyes noticing little details like the serial numbers on the guards’ guns or the code on the bag of blood hanging beside him. He noticed the now-familiar smells of gore, fear, and death. He could hear screaming and running down the halls of the military hospital and could somehow separate all the sounds from one another and know what he was up against.

Walter stepped forward, striding over the bodies with strong, confident, long steps. He felt good, better than he had in his whole life.


The Marriage of Reason and Nightmare

“The marriage of reason and nightmare that dominated the 20th century has given birth to an ever more ambiguous world. Across the communications landscape move the spectres of sinister technologies and the dreams that money can buy. Thermo-nuclear weapons systems and soft-drink commercials coexist in an overlit realm ruled by advertising and pseudo-events, science and pornography. Over our lives preside the great twin leitmotifs of the 20th century – sex and paranoia…In a sense, pornography is the most political form of fiction, dealing with how we use and exploit each other, in the most urgent and ruthless way.”
― J.G. Ballard

Tony Collins Art, Dallas, Texas

Oblique Strategy: Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action; incorporate

Is it a bomb?
Or simply a disposable fuel tank.

Does it matter? Now, anyway, it’s just a sculptural form.
A piece of shaped steel, sexy somehow. It pulls the eye to it.
You wonder about its story. Where did it come from?
Why is it hanging there?

Does it matter?

M41 Walker Bulldog

“A man must know his destiny… if he does not recognize it, then he is lost. By this I mean, once, twice, or at the very most, three times, fate will reach out and tap a man on the shoulder… if he has the imagination, he will turn around and fate will point out to him what fork in the road he should take, if he has the guts, he will take it.”
― George S. Patton Jr.

M41 Walker Bulldog Liberty Park Plano, Texas

M41 Walker Bulldog
Liberty Park
Plano, Texas

I think every park should have a tank, don’t you?

I mean, kids play in parks – and wouldn’t any kid rather play on a tank, on a real tank, a huge hunk of steel, than crawl around on engineered plastic safety guaranteed soft padded equipment set in deep beds of pine mulch or recycled rubber.

Back in the day there were steel monkey bars. The kids would line the sides and wail away – hit and kick – each in his turn as they tried to work hand over hand down the line. Anybody that made it to the end without falling would “win.” It didn’t happen often. This was awful, vicious, and violent. Nobody would act that way if they had a tank to play on.

This is an M41 Walker Bulldog in Liberty Park, in Plano, Texas… by the way.

The only disappointment is that the thing is welded shut. Wouldn’t it be cool if the kids could crawl in through an open hatch – look around inside – maybe a working periscope from the driver’s seat. Of course, I know that’s impossible – way too dangerous… not to mention what critters might move into a space like that. The maintenance costs would be astronomical.

But still… it would be so cool.

Their little imaginations would be so stimulated – their minds run free. I think there has to be a bit of danger involved – a forbidden element – for the flights of fancy to really go to town. Imagine if you grew up near a park that had a tank – a tank you could get inside of – one you could look out from. Imagine. You would talk about it your whole life.

But then everyone would say, “Yeah, we had one too – every park has a tank.”

M41 Walker Bulldog Liberty Park Plano, Texas

M41 Walker Bulldog
Liberty Park
Plano, Texas

M41 Walker Bulldog Liberty Park Plano, Texas

M41 Walker Bulldog
Liberty Park
Plano, Texas