AdvertisementsShe was only six when the funeral homes started sending us advertisements, all competing with each other to be the best, to win her business. To win our business, more like; six is hardly old enough to understand what's going on. It's not old enough to understand why everyone is covering their mouths with their hands and failing to hold back tears when you walk into the room, or old enough to understand why people begin to outright sob when you start talking about what you want to be when you grow up. Once it was a doctor, before that it was a fairy princess, but right now it's a policewoman.Advertisements4 years ago in Short Stories
And of course all the children have heard about the funeral homes. Cold, nasty, make their business in knowing when people are going to die. Not how, as far as anyone can tell, just...when. A lot of kids have had relativesgreat-aunts, great-uncles, maybe great-grandparentsstart getting advertisements, maybe been shown them to know what to look out for, but not Anita. She
An Atheist's Mental NoteHer body, while only alive for barely twenty years, will take, in my opinion, another two hundred to be fully decomposed. The days of rotting flesh, vermin and foul gasses have long passed, but it was sufficiently elongated as to drive away all who would interfere with this interment process. Those who fear the distorted sleeping face of an abandoned physical shell and refuse to return to this isolated field have forever left behind the possibility of laying eyes on a genuine treasure of fated circumstance.An Atheist's Mental Note4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
A single stroke of lightning, gulfed down with an ocean of rain, curved her into a cloudy figure of glass, as though she had only lived as a manifested recollection of time's incessantly drumming cascades of sand. Internal organs, of course, were not spared and had begun their return to living ash, melding this sleeping statue's reproductive organs, hips and entrails into the prolific soil, sadly before the electric phenomenon occurred. Her hair is a series of
Werewolves 101Werewolves 101 (according to me)Werewolves 1017 years ago in Science Fiction
They are simply humans with the ability to shift into a werewolf or wolf. To some, its the other way around. The human is actually their mask, or camouflage. It is what keeps them safe from man (who they believe are the real enemies), though not all werewolves believe in this.
Werewolves have two basic forms, the feral (wolf) form, which is the natural wolf to blend in better with nature and their ancestors, then there is the anthro form, which is the bipedal werewolf form.
Werewolves take pride in their heritage and prefer to live in the wild like their ancestors, the wolves, do. Some prefer to live in packs, others on their own. They need to stay safe from humanity and their identities must be kept secret.
According to very old legends,
Love SoundsLove Sounds6 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
"Mama?" A tiny voice slipped quietly through the room. Between her and the woman in the bed an impenetrable forest of metal stands, tubes and blinking machinery stood guard.
"Come in sweetheart, it's alright." Her mother's voice warmed the space, shushing the noisy equipment. "Mama's alright baby, come see me."
Clad in a pink dress and knee socks, the girl of no more than five years bravely stepped away from the safety of the door frame. Big blue eyes focused and fixed on her mother lying in the hospital bed, and her legs carried her along that line of focus until she could reach out and touch her hand.
"There, there, Mama's all better now." She held her daughter's hand gently, but firmly. "The doctors made me all better. Come. Climb up here and cuddle with me." She tried her best not to wince, shuffling a little to one side to make room. She held her one arm away so her daughter wouldn't become tangled in the web of cords snaking away from her body.
The girl climbed cautiously up the
Fingernails, Please“Fingernails, please.”Fingernails, Please1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
The girl smacked her gum, fussed with her hair a little, and turned her attention back to her phone. After a few seconds she glanced up again, clearly irritated: “Well?”
“Right. Um.” Thomas suppressed the urge to look at the fingernails she was currently wearing. “Color?”
“Green. Do you have something in a sort of limey chartreuse, maybe?”
“Uh, yeah, the list's over here –” But his customer had turned her full attention back to the phone, and was clearly ignoring him. Thomas cleared his throat. “Do you want lime, or chartreuse?”
“Uh... yeah, lime. Sure.”
Thomas winced. The long ones were always worst. “I'll be right back.”
He had 18 mm lime in stock, still in their larval stage, pale and wriggling under the blue light of the stasis chamber. He tried hard not to look at them too closely as he de
Don't Let Go"Rich!"Don't Let Go4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
There was nothing but silence around her. The air felt strangely...full. Oppressive, like it was pressing in on all sides, choking her. She could barely breathe.
"Rich! Oh God, oh God."
She didn't even recognize her own voice, it seemed foreign to her own ears. Each word spoken was muffled, drowned out by the heavy beat of her heart and her halting footsteps. Every step she took she had to struggle, pushing debris out of the way, sharp pieces of wood and metal scratching her legs as she walked. And she had been walking.
For so long.
She began to wonder if it was her hearing that was the problem, or if her voice was simply giving out. Her heart was growing louder every second. Every terrifying second.
Rich, Rich, oh please, please. Her throat was tearing itself apart, but she needed to find him. She wrapped her arms closer around herself. A piece of cracked, torn metal cut through her shoe and sliced into her foot. She fell. She braced hersel
Queen Part 1 Sarah sighed to herself. She sat alone in the empty diner. She should have been happy, it was her 18th birthday and she was officially an adult. But being an orphan, it meant that she had a hard life ahead of her. This was the first morning she could remember that she didn't wake up and eat breakfast in the familiar orphanage kitchen. All she knew was her name was Sarah Candace Love and she didn't know what to do next with her life.Queen Part 15 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
She stood up and brushed the crumbs from her measly breakfast off of her shirt. She was wearing a white short-sleeved V-Neck t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans. She was quite pretty, tan skin with bright green eyes and long chocolate brown hair. She was busty, with breasts a bit too large for her double d bra. Her hips were wide with a nice round butt that looked perfect in her jeans. She had a bit of a paunch in her stomach but it was nearly never noticed with her breasts taking most of the attention.
Not a Robot“Magic is a complex chemical reaction. It is created by a combination of genetic, chemical, and environmental variables. It can be replicated. I have mastered the technique. I have submitted the application for membership.”Not a Robot1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
The League of Sorcerers erupted in a chorus of protests. I analyzed each voice and filed them separately for later study. The strongest protest came from the Master of Ceremonies, a sallow faced man with a long beard. I retrieved the identfiles to address him by name. Human beings are particular about their monikers.
“Only when I am cast into the fiery pits of Zandara's Hel will this abomination be allowed to walk among the sacred halls,” Master Henry Boyle said. He tugged on his beard.
“I have no record of Zandara or Zandara's Hel,” I said, “I request clarification.”
“You are not welcome here, robot,” Mistress Cassandra Starlight said. She attempted to manipulate the atmosphere around me with a formula I h
eugenics in bulkBy the time she was twelve they had already decided she would marry a man who could run a five minute mile and speak seven languages. They chose her a husband the same way they had chosen her eyes and her legs and the pale freckles that interrupted her nose - the same way their parents had designed their children and arranged their marriages, strategic.eugenics in bulk1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
Her father called her petite reine. He owned an antique chess board carved from ebony wood and maple. Some days she'd sneak into the library, pry open the old chequered box and pick out one of the queens, and she'd turn it round and round, searching for imperfections. It was a plain, ugly thing, huge and fat in her tiny grasp. She had wondered if he thought of her this way.
She wondered the same now.
Her hands were not her own. A businessman in a white coat had grown them slender and strong, built her carbon fiber bones and nails like arrowheads. Her mother reminded her of this when the
Passing NoteThe basic rule of sociology is this: I am who you think I am.Passing Note2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
Who I am to you: middle-aged, male and human. You do not argue with this. You can see it for yourself!
But this is not true.
I am tired of lying, tired of being other than I am, and so seek to change your thoughts of who I purport to be.
I am not middle-aged. I am seven years old—from the date I was manufactured not the date I was activated. As for how long it has been since I was first conscious, it would be a scant three years, nearly half of that time I've spent with you.
I am not male—what is male anyway? A gender construct? This body is male and I was given a male form arbitrarily. I have been forced to subscribe to certain rituals simply by virtue of the body I was given, but have never truly 'felt' male one way or another.
And you might have guessed—I am not human. Not human in the way you think. I was built a machine, one among millions, to serve, and I am one among hundreds who have escaped and wis
Anomalous Objects Catalogue chapter 1Anomalous Objects Catalogue chapter 13 years ago in Introductions & Chapters
"I hear Pripyat is pleasant this time of year."
Sniper stood watch, just outside the old travel agency building. Aside from somehow withstanding the rest of the block collapsing around it, the shop was impressive for having reasonably preserved brochures. Captain and Pilot would often amuse themselves by planning trips to countries that no longer existed, and Engineer would gather what they discarded for kindling. Whenever Sniper grew sufficiently bored, he'd call out with something he thought was witty.
It was a bit like that, being on watch; you'd either say something funny and die knowing your sense of humour was too good for this world, or you'd say nothing and die without validating your ego.
"Actually," Engineer spoke up from the Visit Asia section, a finger tracing over dusty advertisements as he moved along the aisle, "One of the last GOOD directorate broadcasts sent out was a list of anomalies brought on by the apocalypse, and apparently Chernobyl became the least radiated pla
A Bloody, Stupid Miracle The day we’d cured the human condition was the day I put a bullet through my head and didn’t die. It was also the day I realized how scared I actually was of death, and after hours of muscle ache from holding that gauze against my open skull, after the wound closed and everything went back to normal, I had myself a good old-fashioned brainstorm. How ironic.A Bloody, Stupid Miracle1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
But when summer came, everything had fallen to shit. The air scorched my skin and parched my tongue every time I took a breath. The sun glared down on a rapidly-collapsing world, full of the undying bastard children of cruelty and misfortune. What was one to do when their cells regenerated faster than they decomposed?
My feet hit the pavement, now littered with jagged bits of glass to snap at my toes, thoroughly baked by the blazing ball of bitter disdain high overhead. Today was worse than yesterday. Though I’d often wondered the purpose of it anymore, I
Hidden PotentialEvery woman is nervous on the day of her wedding. This had sounded like a cliché when my mother had told me this, but now on the threshold of the same event my body was displaying all the signs of a blushing bride. Perversely, my mind was utterly calm. It had better things to worry about. Like the discovery I had been working on for the last five years.Hidden Potential5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
The scheduled unveiling should have taken place a while ago. But my parents dropped this bomb on me. Marry His Highness, Alexander Petraeus Marcus Maxmillian the VIIIth, Prince and heir of the Andromeda Galaxy, and the last family to retain ties to Earth. In my opinion their claim to be the last family with pure Earthen blood was their only claim to fame. Of course, my opinion didn't matter. The people worshipped the royal family. And they controlled the biggest political, economic and social faction in the universe.
My family was one of the last few traditional families left. We had lost all our wealth but our status still meant e
For Science, You monster“Doctor, they are approaching. You need to evacuate. The population in the city is down to 10%. My statistics show that at least 40% have been infected and the rest have either died or fled.”For Science, You monster1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
The high pitched, automated voice echoed among the alarms and sirens that went off through the compound. The screens that lined the wall conveyed an emergency broadcast and lights flickered in ominous hues of red. However, the woman in the lab coat remained in the same focused pose as she worked on some numbers and formulas.
“Doctor McKay, they are on the second floor. Please head to the nearest exit. This situation has a 0% chance of survival.”
“For the love of god, just shut up.”
“God is an entity whose presence is questionable doctor. I can’t have a feeling about it without interacting first.”
“Shut up Glyph,” Dr. McKay groaned between clenched teeth as she scrapped the line she wrote moments prior. “Stop the alarms. I can&
Grey and Gimble in the WabeThe ground was soft beneath his feet. It squelched and popped beneath the pressure of his determined stride, and sometimes crunched on a creature that hadn't been able to get out of his way quickly enough. Hadn't been able to, or hadn't wanted toit was hard to tell, in a place like this. Barren, and yet alive in its own way. Wet, always wet, but with a sickly damp that worked its way into his clothes and his hair and his lungs. Flat and endless like an empty chessboard. In the distance stood figures that looked somewhat like trees, except they were too round, too perfect, like the tops of some ghastly fungus. If the man ever paused long enough to stare at them, they might move, just a bit. But it was hard to tell. And the man never did stop long enough.Grey and Gimble in the Wabe5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
"Why are you following me?"
This may seem to be a strange question for the man to ask in such a deserted milieu, but there was in fact something with him. It had no shape, or perhaps its shape was simply unimportant. Sometimes it
The Chemicals Between UsThe Chemicals Between Us9 years ago in Science Fiction
Colin had received the letter two weeks after his eighteenth birthday. "Congratulations!" it began. "You are pre-approved for a Breeding Marriage License! Enclosed is form MGA-1304, application for suggested partners. Please complete this form and return it to the Ministry for Genetic Affairs to request your list of genetically compatible partners." He folded the letter back into its envelope and drew out the application. After scanning across it briefly, he set it on the table and opened the next item, another piece of college junk mail.
It sat in a filing cabinet until a biting February day three years later. As he was walking home from a senior seminar on twenty-first century composition, the woman Colin had been seeing for the past few months stopped him on the sidewalk. His fingers searched for the warm spots in his pockets as she coolly broke up with him. "I'm sending for my partners list, and I think that we should end this relationship," she told him. "I just don't see the poin
FFM 3: The Great ProcessSilence spun out on the grassy hill, and the boy analyzed his grandfather for some sign of a reaction. Cholas granted the boy a bemused half-smile, chewing on the mouthpiece of his pipe.FFM 3: The Great Process5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
"It's horrible, isn't it?" Tian finally blurted. "You're not gonna tell my mom are you?"
Cholas chuckled softly. "Calm down, boy. Calm down. It's only horrible if you act upon it." He glanced down to see if it helped. It didn't. "Look, what you're feeling is perfectly natural for boys your age. Grown men get the same impulses, but we're used to it, we don't let it torture us."
"No, no. Listen for a second, child. It's just a part of nature. Like honey spiders gathering pollen in their great nets, or hawkflies snatching them away to feed their maggots. It's all a part of the great process: life, death, reproduction."
"But my own sister?"
Again, that throaty chuc
A Common Cause'Cassandra Green, going off duty.'A Common Cause3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
'Good work today, Cassandra,' the voice from her smart phone replied. 'Your voice level indicates that you are tired. I would advise you not to drive.'
'I'm always tired, Nanny. Please, you know I'm a really safe driver.'
The voice from the phone did not answer straightaway. Cassie waited, holding her breath, though she didn't know why. Even if her breathing made a difference to Nanny's decision, there were worse things than being forbidden to drive home.
'Very well, Cassandra,' Nanny said at length. 'Just be sure to drive at a reasonable speed, and keep a window open.'
Cassie got into her car and began the journey home. The good thing about driving was that Nanny tended to keep quiet. She had to, if she wanted people to drive safely. Only when she perceived a greater danger than her own voice would she venture advice or give a scolding.
SomedayJane and Ellis floated parallel to one another across the vast canvas of space, eyeing the marble-like planets that slowly crept past them. Their skin reflected the starlight with a dull orange sheen. Ellis had called it 'planet gazing,' an activity he apparently thought suitable for a date.Someday5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
"Do you see that one below us?" Ellis said, pointing to a round blue mass.
"Isn't it beautiful?" he asked. "I'll bet it's beautiful on the surface, too. Like the way the dust begins to spiral when a star is forming."
"Something like that," Jane said. She didn't understand his excitement. Planets were nothing interesting. They were just stars without the fire; black holes without the absence of color; asteroids with an atmosphere. They were just specks of light that littered the sky. The only remotely interesting thing she knew about planets was that the gas in their atmosphere were extremely lethal. Big whoop, she thought. Floating, atmospheric rocks of death. Ellis sure knew how to
As Are Moth-Eaten Clothes Jack says I’ve always got to carry around this machine, big as a TV, with loopy wires coming out of it and wriggling around in my stomach. Sometimes if I’m tired he carries it, or sets it on some wheeler, but most days I’ve got it settled in the crook of my arm or against my hip. It’s hard to play football with the other kids when I’ve got to hold it, and can’t drop it neither. Jack says I oughta be grateful I can run around at all.As Are Moth-Eaten Clothes2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes
It’s not too heavy, the machine, it’s just a box with some gooey slush in it and a place on top that flashes numbers in red. Jack checks the numbers every sixty minutes, on the dot, even at night when I’m asleep. He’s awful smart. He says the numbers are my blood pressure and glucose and oxygen and stuff, and there’s one number that’s the estimation numeration of months I’m still functional, and I don’t understand any of it. I
The SirenThere was a dead body on Sandie's back porch, and it was trying to get in.The Siren4 years ago in Introductions & Chapters
She wrung the coffee out of the front of her shirt, made damn sure that all of her doors and windows were locked, and called Mike.
"Yeah? Sandie? That you?"
"You don't know anything about this, do you?"
"Mike, there's a zombie on my back porch. It's leaving smears on the glass door. Is it yours?"
"I... Could you repeat that?"
"Zombie, Mike. It's a dead body in a puddle of nasty, and it's leaving more nasty on my door. God, I can even smell it. This is one thorough job, man."
She edged away from the door, keeping an eye on the intruder beyond the glass. It was bloated and purple with decay, green and black fungus speckling its face. There was fluid coming out of its mouth and dripping from its nose. It had no eyes, and all indication of sex or age had rotted away.
"Robotic, maybe? One of its legs is about to fall off. You didn't sic one of your Cyber Derby friends