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 Paradigm3 years 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 not spending on other people’s problems. My purse was already slimmer than the waist of a size zero model. So, I simply sat there, watching the lion circling his prey.
A few seconds later, the prey went down. “Two coffees”, Raghav said, wiping away the sweat with a handkerchief.
Ramu turned his head back, gave me a leering smile, and we
Fire and WaterIt was raining in Lancaster on September 3rd 1555, and Jane Ask loved the earthy smell that it coaxed out of the soil.Fire and Water3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
She wiped away the sheen of rainwater from her forehead with the back of her hand and set her small basket of nettles down by the front door. Later she would dry out the leaves and reduce them to a powder; the substance worked wonders on small wounds which refused to stop bleeding.
Jane had always been something of an herbalist. Growing up with only a father, and two older brothers from his first marriage, she had spent the majority of her childhood outdoors. Now practically a spinster at the age of twenty-two, she knew the Lancashire countryside as though it were the dearest friend, and for years now its other residents had come to her for aid. She knew which plants could heal or, if nothing were to be done, could simply ward off the pain.
She sniffed, wiping a drop of cold rainwater off the end of her nose, and looked across her herb garden at Sally. Sally was her co
InnocenceIt was a time of love, a time of hate, the era of justice and immorality, the season of both insanity and clarity of mind. Sound familiar, don't it? Me wife used to love Dickens. Read him to me all the time, she did. That Jane what's-her-face woman, too: it is a truth universally acknowledged that a criminal who committed a crime is in want of a good hanging. Ring a bell?Innocence3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Yes, I like me literary allusions. I do, you know. Remind me of sweet Elaine. She was a messy death, but worth it. Oh boy, was she worth it. Crying and begging right up to the end. She had it coming to her, bet your arse she did, mate.
Why am I here anyway? I've already confessed. I'm a doomed son of a gun. Don't I get any last whatchamacallits? Can't I have a coldie, before I go up there and have me neck snapped back? Any beer will do I drink 'em all, so long as it's not that light crap.
Answer me, goddammit! What the bloody hell am I doing here? Kill me already. Inject me with the needle or string me up like
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 Wait3 years 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 million suns converted into raw energy all at once. While it was rumored once that the flash was our doing, our own horrid creation, we all know better now. It was the Maker who brought it forth from the void and cast it onto the earth's crust, as though shot from an immense sling, taking only those who were brave enough to trust in Him. We, who live in t
Across the Sea and Around the KotatsuSpringAcross the Sea and Around the Kotatsu3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Mom starts with rice. Japanese rice, one, two, three Japanese cup-fulls of rice grains into the cooker, because Sis eats a lot of this stuff. It's one of her favorite dishes, taco rice, and Mom's always happy to make it for her because it's the only way Sis will eat her tomatoes. But back to the rice. "You want to rinse at least three or four times, until the water's kind of clear," Mom says as she cups her hand under the cooker pot, letting the cloudy water wash over her hand.
Rice cooking's easy though – just fill enough water to the point the rice's covered, punch in a time (or set it to "Quick Cook," which with our creaking rice cooker still takes about an hour) and let the cooker do its thing.
Ground meat goes into a well-greased and heated frying pan. Break up the block so that it crumbles into fine little pieces, and do this with wild abandon, because this is taco meat. Mom uses any taco seasoning that happens to be cheap; most seasonings rack up t
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 Nature3 years 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 the door, glued to the screen of his laptop, Eoghan quietly tapped his pen against the notepad in his lap as his eyes scanned through the different news reports.
Another roadside bomb outside of Kandahar, three dead, all soldiers. God frowns upon careless mistakes gentlemen. You should have noticed the dead dog along the side of the road.
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 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 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
Changing GearsMy morning oats taste particularly bland this morning. I look outside the clouded windows and see the city across every inch of my vision. Buildings of all shapes and sizes are formed from copper, brass, and iron. At all times of the day, the city's Gears are churning.Changing Gears3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The Gears are the machines that run the city, the country, possibly even the entire world. Metals are formed together to form them, robotic men designed to replace our government. Their voices boom over the industrial noises of the factories and drown seem to drown out all individual conversations. We're free, I suppose, but they all say that there was once a time when freedom was all we had.
Across the street, I see Thayoden. He's a boy who works in the aircraft factory, constructing engines and attaching steering wheels and dials to bi-planes. I met him in Industry class when we were both eleven years old. Ever since then, we've grown apart, but I still see him and think of how much I miss being with him. But we're dif
The TranslatorMalena was born on the third of April, a heady Aries and a talented translator. She only waited for so long before she put her foot down and took charge of her destiny, riding it like a child of the sea would a dolphin.The Translator4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
She began her job with diligent care from the moment she first awakened from the drowsiness of the very young and into the slow comprehension of children. She first translated her own simple thoughts to the world in an agonized cry - 'I'm hungry! I'm hungry!' - first in the Spanish words of her parents and then repeated in the strange, native Tupi dialect of her Mestizo nanny. The dark-skinned woman had gasped in fear and tried to cover the child's mouth before any of those of the house heard and fired her for teaching Malena to speak the wrong language. But before she could even reach out towards the tiny mouth, the great wooden doors of the child's room burst open to admit Malena's fiery, proud mother. 'She speaks! Oh, she speaks!' the Spanish lady cried, waving a whi
The TypewriterThe TypewriterThe Typewriter3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It began and ended with a word.
Not a particularly strong or powerful word, but a word that changed everything. It wasn't too long or difficult to spell. It wasn't uncommon either. In fact, it was a perfectly ordinary word, but, I suppose, its commonplace origin is what made it so special.
I loved that word.
But the word doesn't mean much without the story along with it and I was always one for telling good stories.
I ignored the call from the other room and remained seated. That tone wasn't unfamiliar. Taking a bite from my toast, I waited for him to call again. It wouldn't be more than ten—
"Sammy! Come quickly! I've gone an' done it!" he shouted. I turned just as he poked his head into the room with a bright smile across his face.
"What did you do?" I asked as I walked towards his study. Chris had said those same words nearly twelve times this week. Every other day he had called me in for some discovery.
I pushed open the door t
of the ground-of the ground4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It was Sunday night when Geo climbed into my room from the fire escape. I was painting my toenails and listening to the sounds of the city: police sirens, pulsating bass, the kids in my tenement running guitar riffs back and forth with the street musicians on the sidewalk. That was the year I turned sixteen and took a two-month vow of silence to honor the death of autumn. A premature snow had robbed the season of its delicate warmth and color, forcing the maples to weep their leaves into the gutters. All that rainwater, all that decay. How could anyone create when October was dying outside their windows? Pete and Jake practiced acoustic that entire month. The rest of us were too fragile to play in suicide weather, when the right chords might move us to open our veins.
Geo sat down next to me, examining my bottle of red lacquer. "'To Eros is Human,'" he read, and rolled his eyes. "I'll keep that in mind."
I offered him my shoebox of nail polish. He selected a purple the color of opium
Deja vu. Again.I had moved here two weeks' ago, but had never visited this section of town so late at night. I had been invited to the pub by my neighbour, to make me feel welcome. An hour ago, she had phoned to say she had been asked to work overtime, and wouldn't be able to make it. Seeing as I was there, I drank a couple of cocktails. I was now walking back home.Deja vu. Again.4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Drunken people yelled out across the street. A couple of cars drove by, their horns blaring as the inebriated stumbled into the road. A bright yellow car stopped, flashing its headlights. A woman in a red dress banged on the window. The passenger door was opened, and a shouting match started between the woman and the driver. The woman slammed the door closed, and walked away. My stomach churned. I felt as though I had witnessed this before, and a weird protectiveness came over me. I had a strong urge to warn the woman about her actions, but warring partners were not unusual on a night out, and it wasn't my place to offer advic
SouvenirsWhen her mom went to check the mail at breakfast, she returned with a thin box in her arms.Souvenirs3 years 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 buying it six visits ago. She opened the small envelope attached to package and read the letter inside with a fond smile. When she finished reading, she stood up and excused herself from the table. Her mom answered with a sad smile as she nodded.
She raced up the stairs and headed for the Gift Room. It was a special place in the house just for h
Shy1 New Friend RequestShy4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
1 New Message
Hey Dan! I can't believe it's you! You've really changed since school! Don't we all? Hehe!
Hey, are you still playing the guitar? You were so great at that. Little musical prodigy! So talented, I remember.
Aww, remember those times in maths when we'd have those deep philosophical talks about computer games? Life-changing stuff, that.
So what's been happening in your life? How's uni? Catch me up!
Sophianna! Yes, I still remember that nickname after all these years. But I don't know why I used to call you that.... How are you doing, Sophie? It's so good to hear from you. Did you just join FB? You'll find a lot of people from school here to add (if you want to that is, lol).
Actually, I haven't been playing the guitar that much. I've been meaning to pick it up again [. . .] See More
They used to be good friends before she moved. And after sending over sixty messages in online correspondence there was no need to be nervou
Queen of GeeksUnexpected end to kidnapping caseQueen of Geeks4 years 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 by people she's never met and it's called normal,' said a tearful May Cantrip. 'Nix wouldn't have abandoned us, dropped out of all her classes and left everything behind unless
somebody was forcing her.' Mrs. Cantrip claims that her home was invaded by several men who demanded that her daughter accompany them to what she describes as 'a k
ForesightDebra Mae was an astonishingly good programmer.Foresight3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Her code always worked correctly the first time, and she never missed a deadline. Her workspace was immaculate, but curiously devoid of personal effects. No framed pictures, no toys, just her small collection of pens lined up according to color and an inbox for the occasional old-school paper input.
Her computer was equally immaculate. Nothing extra on her desktop, no stray icons. If one peeked at her browser history there’d be nothing there but work-related google searches and company stuff.
She dressed neatly but very plainly. I suspected she had four dresses in her wardrobe and rotated them daily. On casual Fridays she wore jeans and a plain white top, unlike her shaggy coworkers who went in for clever t-shirts or flannel.
Her space was so depersonalized that visiting salespeople often mistook her desk as vacant, setting up shop for the day. The first time that happened Debra Mae simply drifted to an absent co-worker
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 Lot4 years 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 ether, she remembered everything that never happened, and she looked down at you, cradled and squirming in her loving arms.
"Oh," she said. "So here is life."
The doctor was there too, although a moment before if there ever was a moment before he was not. He just nodded, smiling assuredly, and said, "Here is the beginning."
The Origin of the InternetThis is the story of Compudites and Internedes great gods of knowledge and communication. It is a story of their love for each other. It is a story of their betrayal at the hands of Hermes the messenger. It is a story of Internedes' destruction at the hands of Zeus. And it is a story of how, with the help of Athena, Compudites was able to be together with Internedes once more. It is the story of how and why humanity got one of the greatest resources ever known the internet.The Origin of the Internet4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Compudites was a kind and gentle god, frail and limited in power, but boundless in intellect a patron of sciences, mathematics, and technology. He was the guiding hand behind many of humanity's technological breakthroughs throughout the millennia. But just as technology and discoveries in the maths and sciences depend on others to spread them, Compudites was forever dependent on others to spread his knowledge. Hermes the messenger was one, swift like the wind, he helped carry messages between th