Category Archives: Short Stories

Oblivion, a Robert Asher Story

Oblivion a Robert Asher Story

Oblivion
by Adam Casalino

October 2, 1965

Robert Asher was on hold.  Easy listening music, meant to sooth the caller, was playing on the other end.  The rumba sounded like it was coming through a crushed cigarette box.  Asher was not one for rumba music, or dancing for that matter.  He didn’t like waiting on the phone either.  Leaning out of the phone booth, he looked up and down the train platform.  He checked his watch.  Almost out of time.  The rumba music played on.

Finally a voice spoke through the phone.

“This is Mr. Hargrave’s office, may I asked who’s calling?”

“My name is Robert Asher,” he said.  “I need to talk to Hargrave immediately.”

“What is this in regards to?” the woman asked.

“I’m working for him,” Asher said.  “Is he around?  It’s urgent.”

“Mr. Hargrave is in a meeting right now, can I take a message?”

“No, not really.”

A ball of fire bloomed out of the wall several yards away.  The train station shook with the force of the explosion.  Asher picked himself up, hung up the phone, and started walking.  Panicked voices came from everywhere.  Smoke rapidly filled the station.  Asher covered his nose and mouth and searched for a way out.  A crowd formed around him, the same idea on their minds.

People pushed each other to get to the exit doors.  Grown men laid waste to anyone who got in their way.  Nobody touched Asher.  A sandy-haired man brushed passed him, knocking down a woman in from of him.  Asher stopped to help her up.

“What’s the big idea, jerk!” she yelled at the man.  Her eyes met Asher’s and she smiled apologetically.  “Thanks.”

“Don’t worry about–”

The ground shuddered.  There was a sound like girders being twisted into pretzels.  Fire burst from the tracks behind them, tossing a train car into the air.  It slid across the platform, plowing through pedestrians.  Asher picked up the woman and ran for the doors.  He didn’t stop to open them.

Pointing his shoulders forward, he jumped through the glass.  He cleared the steps of the station and landed on the sidewalk.  Carefully, he let go of the woman, setting her on her feet.  They both looked back at what was left of the train station.  Fire lapped at the mangled doors; bodies hung from the train car like Christmas lights.

“What the hell is going on?” the woman said.

“You don’t wanna know.”

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Fire Caller, a Robert Asher Story

Fire Caller
by Adam Casalino

Fire Caller, by Adam CasalinoRobert Asher was thrown off the back of the truck. They didn’t even have the decency to stop. He sat in the snow as the vehicle rumbled away at top speed. It took the corner down the mountain a bit too hard and nearly flipped. The driver didn’t care. He just wanted to get away as quickly as possible.

Slowly, Asher stood to his feet. He knew going back down the mountain was useless. They’d find him eventually and bring him back. Of all his clients, they were by far the worse. Pushy. Uncooperative. Plus, they refused to pay. But Asher had little say in the matter; he had been kidnapped after all.

Asher pushed through the snowdrifts toward a shape in the distance. The snow had piled up on either side of the road, trees casting shadows like long fingers. The sun, which had been hidden by clouds all day, was now giving up and setting. Only until he was a stone’s throw away could he see what was waiting for him at the end of the road.

His clients did a poor job of describing it. It looked like someone had taken several houses and stitched them together. Lopsided and asymmetrical, the building was a contradiction of physics. Spires poked through the roof; medieval battlements clung to the eaves. Asher wondered at the kind of mind that could conceive of such a monstrosity. It wasn’t sane, that was certain.

Asher mounted the steps, instantly feeling small and powerless before the mansion. The front door had iron rings for handles. He lifted one and let it drop like a knocker, vaguely hoping someone would answer. The noise reverberated through the air until it faded harmlessly into the wind. Gripping one of the rings with both hands, Asher pulled. Inch by inch, the door opened.

Snow blew in after him as he entered. Asher left the door ajar. In the crack of light he searched his pack. His clients declined to offer him supplies, but were considerate enough to leave him the ones he brought. Asher took out his electric lantern and turned it on. Thankfully, it survived the trip and a small glow illuminated a portion of the room.

Asher took in the entry hall. A stone floor, covered in threadbare carpet, stretched on for a hundred yards. Paintings lined the walls, shrouded in darkness. He looked at one. It was a landscape, perhaps of the surrounding region. European mountains loomed over a valley town.

Picking his way through the shattered remains of a chandelier, he reached the end of the room. There was a staircase leading to the upper floors. A door nearby was ajar, leading to the rest of the ground floor. Looking them over, he considered his options. He decided to start in the basement.

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