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HOT CARDBOARD

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        So XX Megablex, this real cool cardboard box with a Milivisita Munitions logo emblazoned on his left flank, he was zambling down the street in the redlight district, past the Giraffe House and the Lust of Dogs.
        He was navigating his way round a pool of urine outside the Randy Hairbrush, a low-class brothel which was more crack house than sex parlor, when a vortex of wind caught him and whirled him into the sky.
        "Ya-bla!" screamed XX Megablex, in terror.
        Wind — the eternal enemy of cardboard boxes! And this was not any old wind, but a vortex, the kind of updraft that can whirl a box out of the hardcore city and out into —
        Where?
        Momentarily, XX Megablex had a grim vision of himself, marooned in Kansas, stuck on the prairie somewhere — if they had prairie in Kansas — with nothing to do but watch mad dogs humping clumps of tumbleweed.
        Then the vortex dissipated, and XX Megablex fell, and that was when the hot pink pickup came roaring round the corner, yahoo punks waving shotguns out of the window, and one took a potshot at XX Megablex.
        The hot wind of the shotgun blast was like a roar of anger ripping through his psyche. A window shattered behind him. Rubber squealed as the driveby car took a corner, leaving XX Megablex rolling in its backdraft.
        "Are you hurt? Are you dead?"
        Whose delicious voice was that? Whose voice was stroking the tender G-spot in his mind? It was a fem, a gyno, a girl, a bitch box — no doubt about it! XX Megablex felt his corners stiffen, felt his mainsheets grow hard, felt his flaps swell with pink passion, felt —
        "Sex animal!" said the voice in his head.
        "No, no!" protested XX Megablex, trying to orient himself. "No, it's not like that at all."
        His encounter had rolled him right up to the marble walls of the Bridal Pink Hotel, an upmarket fantasy outfit which had boldly invaded the tenderloin, anticipating that by force of presence it could turn the area around and convert redlight into upmarket.
        Built into the hotel at streetwalker level were some toney boutiques, and XX Megablex had rolled right up to one of those, a trampheel chic establishment squeezed between Naked Goth Girls (a lingerie shop) and Extreme Prison Violence(a hair cuttery).
        "Get out of here, you," said the voice in XX Megablex's head, now hard and scornful.
        "You're very cute," said XX Megablex. "I like it when you're angry."
        She was a she, no doubt about it, a bitch box, and there she was, hot cardboard, clean, corrugated, sitting in the window of the very upmarket Sex Dog Emporium, an upmarket place — very trish — selling vildarbar perfumes such as Intimate Horses and Sea Lion Lust. Some of the perfumes had been unpacked and arrayed on lucent cubes of plastic, but the window dressing was only half-done, and that was why this cute fem was sitting there in the window.
        "Parallelogram!" said XX Megablex.
        "I heard that!" said the bitch box.
        "Hey," said XX Megablex, using the short-range telepathy which is the standard means of communication amongst cardboard boxes. "I was only stating a fact. Anyway — what's your name?"
        "Velafablia Oltristakaloba," said the fem — and the thought slipped out that she was a virgin, was tired of being so, was in a mood to be despoiled.
        "I didn't think that!" she thought, indignantly. "That was your male chauvinist pig undermind kicking in! You're a rape machine, that's what you are!"
        "But I love you," protested XX Megablex. "I love you, my darling, love, I want to rip your label off, I want to — "
        A squeal of fear came from Velafablia Oltristakaloba. Momentarily, XX Megablex thought it was his own fault. Then he saw the rapist, the monster, the violence man, the enemy. The rapist was an ugly young man with a yellow mustache who had scrambled up into the display area and who was ripping open boxes with a box cutter.
        Yellow Mustache, the evil window dresser, was going to rape the virginal Velafablia Oltristakaloba! He was going to rape her with the box cutter! He was going to rip her open! Rip through her corrugations! Tear through her mainsheet intensities! Disembowel her! Rip her and rend her and use her and trash her then throw her away and discard her! The thought was sickening.
        "Gotta, gotta — gotta do something!" said XX Megablex.
        But what could he do? He was only a cardboard box, when all was said and done. What could he do when he was up against a living breathing human being, a flesh-and-blood penis monster?
        Yellow Mustache grabbed the box right next to Velafablia Oltristakaloba and sliced through its unresisting flesh. From the box, no squeal of protest. Momentarily, XX Megablex probed the box which was being slashed up. He probed null zero, probed nullity. The box which was under the knife was lifeless, was dead. Necrophilia! Necrophilia rape, right in front of his eyes!
        "This is too much!" wailed XX Megablex.
        "Help me!" said Velafablia Oltristakaloba, fearing, rightly, that she would be next. "Help me! Save me!"
        XX Megablex gathered his strength. He would lunge at the window. He would smash the glass. He would grab Yellow Mustache and beat him to death with his flaps. He would —
        That was when XX Megablex heard it. A song blurt, not all that terribly far away. Somewhere, blapazap music was pumping out of speakers.

        Oh do me pump me X me rape me
        Pump me beat me dog me hump me —

        Could it —
        Could it be the driveby guys?
        XX Megablex swung into action. Abandoning the window, he zippled to the corner, blunked around, spiltripped the street — yes! Yes, there was the driveby car! They had pulled up at the Pink Meat Animal Dog hotdog stand. The doors were open, one was out and stretching, the driver was just about to get a coffee and a carton of fries, the front seat passenger was lighting up —
        XX Megablex zirped down the street, scooted up to the car, and —
        Boing!
        He sprupped up onto the front seat passenger, blopped him in the face, skliffed adroitly sideways to stottle the whisky bottle from the dashboard, then bonked onto the driver's lap, knocking the fresh cup of scalding coffee from the driver's hand.
        "Wa?!" said the driver, as scalding coffee drenched his pants, shorts, testicles.
        The driver grabbed his shotgun, but XX Megablex was already scarpering. Even so, the driver took a potshot, missed.
        "Glarp!!" he said, pounding his fist in anger, mashing his fist right down on his carton of fries.
        Doors slamming, engine roaring, the driveby car got into gear, chasing XX Megablex down the street. XX Megablex took the corner. Up ahead, the Sex Dog Emporium. Was he too late? He swung into place, a target, a martyr to love. That was when a black and white turned into the street, coming from the opposite direction to the oncoming driveby car.
        Ga-BLAM!
        The shotgun roared, filling the red hot universe with violence.
        GaBLOOP-A!
        A white-hot zero burst through XX Megablex's mind, making him inside and outside, corner and sheet dissolved in a single yes.
        As for the driveby car, the driver saw the black and white, threw on the handbrake, did a handbrake turn, and dezarpled. The black and white sirened past, failing to notice the wounded man staggering amidst the shattered glass of the mainplate of the Sex Dog Emporium. The wounded man fell, sprawling onto the street next to XX Megablex, blood sproinking merrily from assorted perforations. Bleeding, dying, Yellow Mustache moaned and gasped.
        "Asymmetrical warfare," chortled XX Megablex.
        For a moment back there, he had thought that the shotgun had vorted him. But the truth was, it had missed.
        Spryly, XX Megablex hopped up into the shopfront's display area, looking for his love, his truelove, his sex doll, his bitch box, his one and only virginal Velafablia Oltristakaloba.
        Oh.
        She was no longer a virgin. Her staple had been ripped out. She had been sliced right open. Her contents had been decanted. She was empty, void, had scars from flying glass, had taken half a dozen shotgun pellets right through one of her mainwalls, was missing the corner of a flap.
        "My darling!" said Velafablia Oltristakaloba admiringly. "You did it! You saved me! I adore you! I'll do anything for you, anything! When should we start?"
        "Cheap slut."
        The thought was involuntary, a product of XX Megablex's social conditioning, but it slipped right out and it did the damage. Velafablia Oltristakaloba squealed with anger. Angry, she was no longer pretty. Just a squealing little thing, an annoyance. And, anyway, XX Megablex had already had his GaBLOOP-A for the day. He was done, he was through, a man doesn't like to hang around once his mission is accomplished.
        "Nice knowing you, doll," said XX Megablex. "Gotta zamble."
        And he hopped down onto the sidewalk and zambled on, leaving the violated female shrieking in his wake. All in all, the night had gotten off to a good start. And the night was still young. Who could tell what adventure might be right around the corner?
        "Gotta seek, gotta find," said XX Megablex. "I'm XX hardcore, I'm the man!"
        The shock of the driveby encounter was a thing of the past. He no longer felt soggy. He could feel his corrugations getting stiff, hard. He was young, he was randy, he was ready for anything. Yes, sir — he was one piece of hot cardboard!


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