the Chandler's Around the WayThe hose slipped out again. Chan cursed, and shoved it back into the incision he'd made, adjusted his mask, and bent over the pump. He yanked the cord, and the pump started to life with a cough of biodiesel. It bounced on the sand as it grumbled away. Chan kept one hand on it and held the hose in place with the other.
If fucking Fathers would spend the bone on a new one, I wouldn't be all night at this, Chan grumbled. He ached for a smoke, but didn't have the hands to spare. Plenty of hands here, he thought as he glanced at the riverbank. Some of them even had a pulse.
"Hey," he said to whoever was closest.
It was a sunbather. A walker who drew enough bone to slot time on the beach without having to fight for it. She had each arm draped around a man, both of them tattooed in the same place with the same sigil. Chan was jealous. Someday he'd have his own numbers, but they'd be women. All of them. He was old-fashioned like that.
The walker answered without raising her sungl
The Substitution ParadigmThe Substitution ParadigmThe Substitution Paradigm8 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
Ramu came up to our table. Glaring at me, he said, “You either order something or get out.”
I glanced away from the threat, and turned to Raghav. A single drop of sweat was running down his brow. Ramu saw that too and identifying his prey, he sprung.
Swinging around, he faced Raghav, “Order something or get out.”
Then Ramu just stood there. It was not as if we had rehearsed it before hand, but he knew. He knew that my co-occupants generally folded in the first round. Only the stout made it to second level, but they too buckled under Ramu’s relentless gaze.
I always had a policy of n
They Also Serve Who Only Stand and WaitI don't know when we first went underground. I don't even know if it was one mass exodus, a swarm of mankind trickling through the earth's crust so vehement we carved our own caverns by the force of trampling feet, or whether it was a gradual process, perhaps even a repetitive one, a family here, a neighborhood there. For all I know, the echo of the damp subterranean machine has always reverberated off the cave walls, created long past by the Angels, who think of our well-being even while they shake their heads helplessly at our flaws.They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait8 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
They say that those who remained on the surface were raptured away in a great flash of light, like a millio
Sforzando Magnificent, imposing shadows towered over the winking lights of the city; even in the late twilight hours, the noises of the bustling metro exploded into the colourful night. Patches of light from streetlamps and back-lighted signs broke up the shadows haunting the streets. Amid the luminous message boards advertising new brands of deodorant, Diamond Shreddies, and fast food chains, a woman with a mask of cold beauty gazed impassively across the city, her long dark hair seeming to sway in the wind. Her unmoving gaze fixed itself upon the silhouettes moving below, small nothings in an immense world.Sforzando2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Down in the heart of the city, people se
The Solipsist's LotThere's something about yourself that you don't know. You probably don't remember the circumstances very well, but I do. If you enjoy things the way they are, if you revel in even the smallest speck of ignorance, you need not read ahead. I won't force you. But from what I know of you, you don't like secrets. Especially not when they are about you.The Solipsist's Lot1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
You see, when you were born, so at once was everyone else. Your mother, she sprang into existence, just like that, the instant your tiny infant brain achieved the smallest semblance of self-awareness. Woven out of the ethe
Queen of GeeksUnexpected end to kidnapping caseQueen of Geeks1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
[Sunnyvale Tribune 23 Feb 2007]
In an unexpected development, police have closed the case against the kidnapper of twenty year old Nicole Cantrip. 'The circumstances surrounding Miss Cantrip's alleged disappearance have become clearer,' Inspector Frank Jones told the Tribune, 'and it's come to light that the case was filed in error. There is no evidence whatsoever that a kidnapping took place.' Since Cantrip is over eighteen, the applicable missing person legislation is almost non-existent, much to the dismay of her mother.
'Something has gone horribly wrong when a girl can be forced away from her family b
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.Someday2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"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
Souls and SparklesTo write something that is meaningful to someone else, you must first write something that is meaningful to yourself.Souls and Sparkles1 year ago in Emotional More Like This
There are a thousand rooms in each person's mind, and each mind is a maze because it has been tangled. The hallways are criss-crossing and clumping, like long hair in the wind. Society has made it so.
We all have impure thoughts. Things that would make us "bad", unequal, or imperfect. Thoughts that make us different in gloriously unusual ways. We are born into the world unashamed, but then we are taught the unspoken words. Words that are rules. Words like normal, like good and bad, ugly and pretty. We are taught that if we d
Imitating NatureThe morning sun streamed through a series of large plate glass windows lining the library's east wall, its rays warming the room's wooden paneling and illuminating the cavernous space. Tall bookshelves stuffed with literature from across the world towered over polished oak reading tables, each furnished with a plain, green-shaded banker's lamp. On the far side, a massive painting gracing the west wall depicted the solemn face of Saint Patrick, whose protective presence could be felt watching over the library's sole visitor.Imitating Nature11 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
All was perfectly quiet, save for a tap, tap, tapping that echoed in the otherwise silent room. Seated at a desk near t
Russian RouletteThey take her on her honeymoon.Russian Roulette9 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
The wedding was lovely, or as lovely as it could have been with a couple that were more polite acquaintances than anything else and two sets of in-laws as stuffy as a dusty pile of money. They grab her when she sneaks out for a walk one night, two men, beefy, not even bothered to arm themselves. Her last thought before the bag is shoved over her eyes is to wonder how much this would ruin her parents' plans.
She comes to in a small brick room on a sallow mattress, windowless and lit by a cool yellow lamp. There's a man there, standing just outside the barred door.
"Kelly Shale," he says, voice nasally, greasy
SouvenirsWhen her mom went to check the mail at breakfast, she returned with a thin box in her arms.Souvenirs1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It was a package from her father.
Her dad was sort of like a traveler... at least, that was what she assumed he was. His job always had him jumping from city to city, country to country. He'd been to almost everywhere around the world, and every few weeks, he would send her a letter with a little souvenir from his stay. This time, it was a miniature Eiffel Tower.
So he's in France again, she mused, studying the two-foot tall replica. A small chuckle escaped her lips. It was about time he remembered to get it for her! He really should've thought of b
Whiskey Laden DreamsBitter eyes and tears might taint a drink, but sitting in this bar alone with your stool pulled out next to me, and the Martini poured regardless of your presence still brings a smile to my face; despite the taste. I'm having a whiskey myself; dry. Yes, I know I don't drink, but every once in a while you need whiskey to solve an intricate problem, and mine is the distinct lack of alcohol in my life.Whiskey Laden Dreams1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
There are people everywhere and it amazes me how none of them are you, from the woman in the black dress coming down the stairs to the signing couple in the corner, laughing silently. They're not you at all, and that's what's amazing in an
The Order of Sublime Simulacra Kamon woke to the sound of bells and saws. The ceremony must have started hours ago; there was invigorating yellow sunlight outside the gauzy curtains. Kamon's Self was intoning eight o'clock, eight o'clock with all the insistence of a song looping in his head.The Order of Sublime Simulacra2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Flesh brain, he thought, you should have caught that alarm. Sometimes the flesh was louder than the devices supposed to make it properly quiet. The flesh insisted on the persistence of the Real. This was exactly the type of lesson that the brothers were supposed to learn, and Kamon hoped that relaying to the abbot how thoroughly he had learned it might lighten the inevitable punishm
grassy field with rustgrassy field with rustgrassy field with rust7 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I'd heard about the old car, three miles out of town and all alone. I just had to see it. It was time. School was over for the summer, my friends were at camp, and I was bored. I set out Thursday morning for a hike, following directions that Uncle Will had given me. As the heat was still growing with the climb of the sun, I found the field and wandered around looking, and looking some more, trying not to be distracted by bees buzzing in the flowers, and butterflies and baby mice. Then it was there, just a bit upslope from the bottom of a natural swale, and just below the sky at th
The Doppelganger 2The book still sings to me, and that's when I pull it from under my bed and stroke the cover. But I never open it, because I know what happens if I do it wrong. It's still blank; but only of ink. I know the secret, you see. It's how I understand the songs, and know the melodies it echoes up to me, through time. There are impressions hidden in the pages- spilled mead and raucous laughter, summer sunshine and frost on dead leaves. The last time I tried feeling them from start to finish, I passed out from the sheer weight of knowledge, and it left my brain scrambled for ages.The Doppelganger 28 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I found out things about my past and my family's past. I have Irish o
Becoming BrianBecoming BrianBecoming Brian2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The soldier coming up on him was swaying, limping, climbing wearily up the stony street towards the terrace. He walked like an old man, thought Brian Strong, though he was scarcely older than Brian himself. He dragged himself along, tripping over the cracks in the cobblestones, hauling behind him a filthy rucksack all covered in gray trench clay. Pausing by the café, the old boy took off his garrison cap and worried it between his black-tipped fingers.
"Well, hey," said Brian Strong. "Sit down and have a drink on me."
Regarding him for a moment, the soldier conceded and sat.
Brian Strong ran his hands over a perfec
The Price of Dying“I want to be interred after I die,” Mr. Peters said. He made that clear to his family while he was still lucid, before old age and illness rendered him unintelligible. Seventy wasn’t that old, but he recognized the symptoms that were creeping up on his ailing body – the aches, the fatigue, the feeling of helplessness and despair. Despite his daughter’s attempts to assuage his concerns, he sensed his own mortality.The Price of Dying8 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
The worst part about dying, Mr. Peters thought, was what happened afterwards. Even since he was a small boy, he had been afraid of fire. He could never forget the scorching heat of the orange flames searing his skin, the dark billowing smoke entering his nostrils. The time that his house burned down, the fire almost took him with it. How ironic then, to escape the fire only to be fed into it after death.
So one day, he sat his son and daughter down after dinner. “I want to be buried whole,” he said, emphasizing the
Harvest MoonThree a.m. moonlightHarvest Moon1 year ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
across lazy dust motes; a
tree scrapes the window.
Your arm weighs on my hip like
whispered promises of love.
Christmas on the Border of England and Over ThereIt's snowing on Christmas Eve, and half the men I've ever known in my life are dead. But that was in the war, supposedly a long way away from Oxfordshire, where I am standing outside my brother-in-law's beautiful brownstone house watching the snow quietly cover the hillside beyond. The daylight is dying and it casts the once-white ground in pink, and the pine trees are black against the hillsides, and the truth of it is that the war is not far away because it has followed me here. I am smoking a cigarette, watching the hill, and my mind is slowly counting down the list of men that I once knew, now buried under hills and snow, all of the way fChristmas on the Border of England and Over There6 months ago in Short Stories More Like This