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.Advertisements3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
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
Hug"Ha! Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"Hug4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"It is a gun. But I am also happy to see you."
"...I knew it was a gun, Rich. I was making a joke, you know? Because your gun was sticking out like- oh, nevermind. You friggin' aliens will never get the joke."
"You could try the line again? I will laugh this time."
"No. It's ruined now."
"Is that why you are upset, then?"
"I'm not upset. It just would've been a good joke."
"You are upset. Your symptoms show it."
"Gah- I told you to stop doing that! You don't need to know my body temperature or metabolism at the moment or whatever the heck you were looking for. Stop using your weird power things."
"They are not weird."
"Maybe not on Mars."
"I didn't come from Mars."
"You know what I mean!"
"Sometimes I am not sure, little earthling."
"Seriously. Don't call me that."
"I have nothing else to call you, since you stated that you preferred me not to call you Elizabeth Sandra Lener."
"That's my full name. Just call me Liz. D
ArchetypeThe man holds a grimy hand to her mouth and whispers something I can't hear. She squirms against the alley wall, and she shrieks, muffled through fingers. I pull out my gun.Archetype3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The man's face jerks my way, and I look to his forehead. In the late evening darkness, glowing from his bald scalp is a violet tattoo: an X overlying a large circle. He's a Delinquent Archetype. A Thief.
"Step away from the woman!" I walk closer.
The Thief's eyes widen at my gun, but without missing a beat, he puts the girl between us and pulls her close. He has a knife pressed against her breast, where the tip pierces her blouse.
"You aren't going to do anything to this girl, are you Thief?" I say. "That wouldn't make your handlers too happy, you know." I press a button near the back of my gun, and the small, mounted screen blinks to life, displaying an ID number and a series of readings. One registers fear. It pulses. The Thief pales, almost to the girl's chalky degree.
This close, I can see pas
Anomalous Objects Catalogue chapter 1Anomalous Objects Catalogue chapter 12 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
"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
The SirenThere was a dead body on Sandie's back porch, and it was trying to get in.The Siren3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
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
TrivelaJanice didn't rush towards the dome wall. She limped as fast as she could, shifting weight to her good foot, painfully moving forward. She splayed her hands on the transparent wall and gazed at the growing crack. I realized I was holding my breath - everyone was - but I relaxed when the crack stopped growing. Janice sighed, lowered her head and just stood there, hands still on the wall, her silhouette framed by the red sand outside.Trivela3 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
I wanted to get up from the gray grass, to tell Janice it was all going to be okay. I wanted to tell her it was just a surface crack and that I would fix it in the morning, before I did my rounds checking the air conditioning. It would take me just a few minutes and it wasn't a big deal, it was just a matter of using a liquid neoplexiglass gun to refill it. The wall was fine and I was sure Janice knew it. I couldn't understand why she looked so upset. Was it their leg? Was it hurt that bad?
"It just… burst," Janice said, not even bothering t
Werewolves 101Werewolves 101 (according to me)Werewolves 1016 years ago in Science Fiction More Like This
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,
Change"I would like a Barbie for my birthday," said my young sister one day, in the words that would start a spiral of change. I looked up from my task of packing a small bag and stared at her. I took in the slight tremble of her chin, the watery gaze of her dark eyes, the way she tugged at a strand of her auburn hair. She matched me in more ways than just looks. She, like me, did not ask unnecessary questions. We didn't rely on others for stuff, but rather put suggestions out there and hoped that they would be taken.Change3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Why?" I asked after a moment of staring across the cave, where her face was illuminated oddly by the flickering, dying bulb in the lamp.
"Old Man told me about them. He says every girl had one once," she said.
Alarm. It was a common emotion. It was the sort that made my eyes widen and my voice grow sharp.
"How did Old Man tell you this?" I demanded.
3 Different Seconds3 Different Seconds3 Different Seconds5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
by L. Vera
An excerpt from a tape recording of Martin Stevens' interview with Dr. Henry Wurzbach.
1/20/89 9:00 A.M.
"How are you doing today, Martin?" Doctor Wurzbach's voice entered through the static.
"Good," Martin replied.
"If you do not mind Martin, I would like to go ahead and ask about the first time you discovered your ability," Doctor Wurzbach said with his deep calm voice.
"Sure. Like I said before, it all just kind of happened. Well, I was out with my friends. We were walking home from practice and we got to the bridge across from the park. Michael jumped on the stone wall on one side of the bridge," he stopped.
"Go on," Doctor Wurzbach said.
"He fell... or so I thought he did. But..." he paused again.
"But he did not?" Doctor Wurzbach filled in.
"No. I grabbed his hand and well... he... um... didn't fall."
"So you saved him," Doctor Wurzbach suggested.
"Well, I didn't think I saved him. I just thought it was I don't know "
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 Note3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
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
The Chemicals Between UsThe Chemicals Between Us8 years ago in Science Fiction More Like This
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
Cat Girl Fever TGCat Girl FeverCat Girl Fever TG4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Alan! Is that you? Please come over nyao now it's urgent!"
I was so surprised by my friend's sudden phone call that all I could answer was, "I'll be over right right over, Joan."
She hung up and I clicked off the TV with the remote. It was going to some "BREAKING NEWS" graphic anyway. Knowing that station, it was probably another in a long line of pointless car chases which went on forever.
I tucked my cell phone in my pocket and threw on my shoes. Joan and Carl lived down the street from my apartment so it wouldn't be too far of a walk.
I crossed the street after a pair of emergency vehicles screamed through the intersection.
Their house was at the edge of a rather large tract. It had more grass than most and their Halloween decorations were still hanging in the window. As I approached the door, I looked around a few times.
I didn't see Clyde.
He was their silver tabby. And he absolutely hated me. The first time I came over to visit for a movie an
the editorI make bad things go away.the editor4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Hit man? No, it's nothing like that. No, not organized crime. Christ, kid, where do you get these ideas? I bet it's television. Or those goddamn video games you people are always playing. What? So now I'm being judgmental? Do you know what I could do with one scratch of my pen?
No, forget it. I'm a little tired, that's all. It's hard work, you know. If you'd just listen for a moment, I'll tell you.
I'm a city editor. Not like newspapers, no. You have to train a lifetime to do the kind of work I do. And even if you do train a lifetime, not everybody's got the brains for it, you know? Imagination, that's what I'm talking about! You're young. You know imagination, don't you?
Now don't be stingy with the bottle. I know you were just going to spend the money getting wasted is what you call it, right? Better I drink this poison anyway. You're not old enough to be ruining your liver.
Now as I was saying. City editor. You think it is about newspapers, hah! Shows
Mechanical DeathEven mechanical things can live.Mechanical Death3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It stirred, steel tendons and synthetic muscles twanging like sad music in the cold silent dark. In turn, the dark hissed back, a noiseless sound from the furthest depths of blackest space. The thing with the tendons of steel and the skinless hide glistening with oil twitched and spasmed and trembled, the mess of electric synapses it called a mind confused by the notion of life.
It felt. And what it felt confused it, for it had never felt before and it did not know what it was to feel. It felt cold and hot at the same time, two extremes of temperature that at a point became inseparable with each other. It felt and heard and saw a world that it did not understand. For it had never lived before now.
The mechanical pump at the center of its being fluttered uncertainly, a chaotic interruption of a carefully timed rhythm: Thump flutter thump click whiiiine. The hissing noiseless dark writhed in its corners of blackest black and waited.
What is this
Chronoscape, Chapter OneChronoscape, Chapter One8 years ago in Science Fiction More Like This
Can a line of events be traced to its origins, only to connect with its end?
Sept 17, 14:15
Apex clouds converged around the azure mountain of ice. The polar ocean rumbled, somewhere beneath, grappling into the iceberg, gnawing away at its foundations.
Grim, fluttering celestial arc released a blinding sphere of light has from the cloudy grasp. Scorching beams of sunlight smashed into the iceberg with relentless fury and the iceberg screeched in fear of their attack as glittering veins of cobalt and silver pulsated upon its surface. The temperature was rising, as the iceberg drifted south, pushed forward by the slashing wind. The iceberg fought against the warm currents till its last breath, but all was hopeless. An unyielding crack started to crawl across its surface, explosions of cold mist whooshing as the iceberg crumbled, expiring away; connecting with the clouds and the ocean.
Oct 4th, 9:12
A tiny, conical drop of water spiraled through the gray and blue mush of fog tha
Love SoundsLove Sounds6 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"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
I Guess I wasn't Made That WayIs it redundant to describe a brothel as seedy?I Guess I wasn't Made That Way3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I suppose it is, but then how can I be expected to describe a brothel that I think must be particularly seedy? I don't know, I guess I'm no expert on brothels or anything, but I don't think they can all be as seedy as the one I found myself in. Everything from the rather off-putting older woman who answered the door and questioned me severely about whether I was looking for "any freaky shit" to the mismatched, ratty furniture in the waiting room.
Now that I come to think about it, the idea of a waiting room in a brothel is a little gross in itself.
I wasn't thinking that at the time, though, I was full of 1. nervousness 2. a pretty serious identity crisis and 3. vodka because 4. my parents had just told me I was a robot and 5. I wasn't at all sure I wanted to be a robot.
So that's what was going through my mind, sitting on that plaid-patterned sofa with mustard-yellow exposed foam in several places, picki
Avatar But BetterOnce upon a time, there was a planet far, far way called Pandora. It was rich in unobtainium and the Na'vi were selfishly hoarding it all to themselves like wicked blue dragons and not sharing it with the rest of the universe.Avatar But Better5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Please sir," said a tall, strapping gentleman by the name of Miles Quaritch. "May we have some of your unobtanium? Our planet is in dire need and only this can save it."
"Hohoho!" laughed Neytiri and Jake. "You humans are inferior to our blue race. you cannot even play basketball at our level. How dare you think you can even deserve the unobtanium."
"But, Jake," said the Colonel, manly tears rolling down his man face, "I thought we had something special."
"No," said Jake. "I am a Na'vi now. I can run and jump like a ten foot tall blue child and play basketball better than any human. I can fly on dinosaurs. I can screw with blue neko smurf girls whenever I please and they will make me their king. Join me, Colonel, and I will make your face the greatest on Pandora
i had an out-of-body experience.I had an out-of-body experience at the age of thirty-one.i had an out-of-body experience.1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
Every year between the ages of ten and eighteen, I sent a letter to NASA. I told them a little bit about myself, the same general description year after year, and always insisted that despite my medical condition, I would one day love to sail through the stars. My dream was to be out there in the universal abyss, exploring every unknown corner until we knew all that we could.
Art would taunt, “Sick kids don’t go to space” before Mom slapped the back of his shoulder with a spatula.
NASA was as nice as they could be, but the bottom line was that we all knew I couldn’t do it. The spaceship would need to have extra space just for the amount of medication and equipment I’d have to bring along, and that was if I could even survive the zero-gravity environment. Whoever wrote the responses encouraged me to keep dreaming, and boasted about donations the association made to various sickle cell charities.
Fingernails, Please“Fingernails, please.”Fingernails, Please6 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
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